Honest, washington whimsy

2017 might not be different

I normally wait till the end of the year to start processing a year gone by. But there are about 7 weeks left in 2016 and I am counting down.

This year has been brutal. Not necessarily lots of “bad” things have transpired, but every single week has been a competition for the award of the longest week. Most days have felt like battles I was unable to win
And I’m trying to figure out why. Was it me? Was I not trying? Did I not trust? Was I not kind enough? Was I not giving it my all?

I’m 31 and at some point I guess I began to believe the lie that eventually this would get easier.

But it doesn’t. (At least not in the way we think it should).

I’ve searched to find bright spots (and I have–I’ll share those another day), but those even seem to get muffled in what look like mistakes, miscommunications, burdens.

The wonderful, beautiful moments are lined in heartbreak. The dreams have a “but I’m not there yet” tagged on the end.

And, what I’ve come to realize is a new year isn’t going to change any of that.

That’s hard for me to say. To come to grips with. 
It’s not the person that I am.

I’m the one that says, “choose to believe”. I’m the person that hopes when people can’t hope for themselves. I believe when you are unable to choose that.

And I have to say:

2017 might not be different.

I distinctly remember when the year went from 2004-2005 or 2009-2010 or even 2012-2013.

I cried at midnight each of those years.

I was ready, I knew that no matter what, the year that followed would be nothing like the year that preceded it.

Depression, death, heartbreak.

But now, I’m 31 and I’ve experienced all those things more than I care to admit.

So, here’s what I’ve concluded.

2017 might not be different. 

It might have depression, heartbreak, death. It will probably have more than a handful of long weeks. It will have tears, anger, sleepless nights. The things that are lovely and joyful might be tinged with heartache.

2017 might not be different.

But I have to choose to be.

I have to choose to believe that I am a more whole person than I was when the year moved from 2015 to 2016. I have to remember that I care less what people think about me and more if they feel loved. 

(And I dare say, that maybe I am funnier than I was in 2015.)

I’ll share more as this year rounds out, more victories in the midst of feeling unsuccessful. More lessons, more moments that brought me to tears with laughter. This has been my year of honesty in writing and I will keep bringing that to the table.

Because 2017 might not be different.

But I will be.

To dream

29: Sorry Mr. Demaris, I need to relearn spanish.

26. (you were a wacky ride)

27.(you went whoosh)

28.(I’m gonna need a new passport)

Good heavens.

I started my 28th birthday in the midst of running across the Istanbul airport trying to get to the correct gate to catch our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa in that moment was probably my most favorite country in the world. And I was going to get the chance to spend my first month of being 28 nestled in the outskirts of my favorite city getting to spend my days doing ministry, living on a guava farm and of course getting to look at Table Mountain every day.

IMG_8806((my 28th birthday on a plane))

And what a start it gave 28.

The first 5 months of my 28 was spent in foreign countries. South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland THAILAND, Cambodia, Malaysia.

I slept in a stable, in my tent in the middle of a village, on a foam mattress in the middle of a team house, in a tent in a house surrounded by lizards, in a strip mall, in (a lot ) of hostels.

piclab-26((randy&betsy// two people who brought me more wisdom and love than I could ever fathom in my 28))

I did life with some utterly amazing people. I saw elephants and lions and so many giraffes. I hitchhiked down African roads. I laid hands on people and saw demons physically come out of them. I cooked for 100 widows and orphans on $30. I taught english, gave singing lessons, drank a lot of coffee, held babies, held some more babies, I filled up journals, wrote blogs, ate roti, cleaned   bathrooms everywhere, ran in the southeast asian humidity, baked cakes, and drank some more coffee.

IMG_8811((just a perfect day off with some amazing, truth speaking, lovely people))

I cooked for my family of 50 and got blisters cutting up butternut squash.

I found out that I was truly a BA

I fell in love with the city of Bangkok.

IMG_8809((my cooking crew in swaziland. cooking butternut squash mac n cheese for Nsquad))

And with street food in Mozambique.

I was reminded of my love for leading worship.

I learned so much about myself.

More than I can even begin to fathom.

And then that journey ended.

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((my BA women in Swazi))

I remember sitting in my counselor office on my first Thursday in the states.

Did that just happen?

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((the 112//no words needed))

Was it a dream?

And now almost 6 months later I can say it wasn’t.

These last 6 months I’ve reconnected with friends. I’ve had numerous skype dates and facetime calls holding onto the relationships I made last year. I’ve gone to Georgia and got to do life in the states if but for a moment with those I treasure.

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((i carry you in my heart))

I’ve got in and out of darkness over the last 6 months. In and out of ruts. I’ve curled up on the couches at my best friend’s house and laughed with her and her sweet girls. I’ve gone to orange county and laughed in an apartment that holds so many memories. I’ve sat in the same chair at a new coffee shop in my hometown and poured out so many of my feelings and heartaches.

((I still haven’t had the Choprah))

I’ve written A LOT.

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((the bestie and my goddaughters// my loves.))

I’ve realized I’m so much further from what I once was than I thought.

I’ve seen God in a new way.

I’ve made a decision to walk over fear and keep going.

28 was up, down, in and out. 28 makes me long for foreign breezes and watching the sun tuck behind an ocean that is not my own.

The beginning of 28 oddly enough felt like home and the end has felt murky.

I’m going to spend the beginning of 29 on a foreign lands.

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((our first family picture in 20 years. My older brothers and I))

I have so many hopes, dreams and passions and the beginning of 29 feels like the start.

I wish I could properly articulate why this next step is so important. It’s happening because of all I learned about myself in 28. There is still more to do and grow.

28 rocked me and changed me.

I literally and metaphorically conquered mountains.

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((members of Team V who conquered Table Mountain in South Africa))

It allowed me to be able to stand on the edge and yell that I am worth it.

29 is going to be apart of helping me believe it and 29 is going to be rough as I take an even bigger plunge.

28 was a turning point. Showing me that I never want to live in a world where God is only as big as we make him.

Because he is so much bigger. And I’m going to spend 29 and beyond pressing into that and showing those around me His truth.

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((hashtuck// ankgor wat, Cambodia))

((I still need some help to get there. If you want to join me in my 29 adventure and partner with me please check this out.))

To dream

Clean slate to dream

Whenever we came back for the second semester in college my friend Hosanna and I loved to go Target to get new school supplies. There was something gratifying in setting the scene for a new year. And it was better then the first semester because the target aisles weren’t filled with kids whining about going BACK to school. January was a bit more quiet and normally a Starbucks holiday drink could still be purchased for the shopping excursion.

And yes, we were kind of dorky. (we were also English Majors)

But I, without fail, always got the planner that our school bookstore sold because it had September to May (and in my head that made so much more sense). So when the new year came I didn’t need a new planner. Though, I must say, I love new planners. I really can’t get behind the whole technology planner thing. I need to actually pencil things in, cross them out, feel accomplished as I moved to a new week.

My planners in college were straight up crazy.

So even though I didn’t have a new planner when that semester started I had fresh notebooks, new books, new classes.

I had a clean slate.

And each year AFTER college seemed to be filled with more darkness then the one before and all I wanted was new. All I wanted was a fresh start. And when the year 2013 came around I got it.

I went on an adventure around the world. I held babies on 4 continents, heard stories of widows living in shacks in Mozambique, talked with women selling themselves on behalf of their family in the red light districts of Bangkok. I went on an adventure and found so much more of the joy in my life amidst the pain and hurt.

So now, once again, it’s a new year. And on new years day over a cup of coffee my friend Jolene’s roommate Sarah told me about “a clean slate to dream”. That the new year is a time to wipe the muck and grime off of the white board and start new. Start with a new dream. Believe in a new dream.

What a wonderful whimsical beginning to a year.

This year I have a new start in so many ways. I’m a new person with a new heart. New passion, new relationship with Christ. I have seen so many things, heard stories, felt stories and realized what actually is the heart of my story.

I’m writing the next part of my story. And I am going to write it here. A new page. A blank screen.

I have a clean slate to dream and a new desire to show up to my life.

Let’s see what happens.

To check out my adventures from 2013 click here

To find out more about me (or send me a message) click here

And to read more about a wind like this check this out