Honest, I choose champagne

2016.2017.2018. Let’s just be who we are.

I am sitting in my favorite bar, as it becomes increasingly more crowded than normal on a Sunday early evening. Most are in pairs, or groups. I’m the sole solitary human, sitting at my favorite table tucked in the corner. My back is against the window and I am directly next to an outlet and the exposed brick.

I am pretty comfortable sitting by myself in most places. I am fine shopping by myself, I’ve traveled across an ocean and been alone in the Istanbul airport more than any other airport in the world.

I almost always get slight amounts of anxiety right before going somewhere by myself or to an event with a large amount of people. But here, and a smattering of coffee shops, public transport and airplanes- I am always good.

This year, I believe, has been about being as home as I possible can be in my own skin, in my own identity. It’s been about being where my feet are.

I don’t always do well at this.

But, I am trying.

And now, it’s the end of the year. Now, for me personally, 2017 has been eons better than 2016. But, as my work wife has pointed out, 2017 hasn’t been all confetti, champagne and sunshine.

In reality, I said the F word more times this year than last. I lost more faith in people than I ever have. I have had more anxiety and more moments of being alone.

I haven’t been as constantly exhausted but I for sure have hit more walls of “all done friends”. My schedule has been more busy than I think it has been in a long time.

And that isn’t going change when the clock strikes midnight and turns the year to 2018. Last year, I remember sitting, shortly after midnight, in my sparkly gold dress, barefooted, on the porch of my friend’s house, watching the snow fall with a glass of champagne that slowly became mixed with the tears falling down my cheeks. All I wanted was for the world around me to feel different.

I tried to believe it did- but it didn’t.

So I became busy in 2017. I did a lot of things. I rarely had a week go by that didn’t involve at least 3/5ths of the weekdays being filled with something, be it working at my church, hanging out with someone or having an event or organized group situation.

I think part of my reasoning for becoming busy was that busy equaled full. That my life could be classified as full because it was busy.

I could say that my life was full because my laundry had piled up to overflowing in my closet and didn’t even care that there were dishes in the sink.

Busy meant not being able to stop to hear what I needed to hear.

Back in August, a part time job popped up at a different church. It would have been 10-20 extra hours a week being a children’s director of a local churches smaller downtown campus.

It would mean a lot of things: extra income, no free time, getting paid to do something I know I love (and am good at), having no social life and not getting to go to the church I adore.

But, I had done that exact same thing before so I knew I was capable of that schedule.

I had a random day off in August, the day after the ad had been discovered. I had coffee with a good friend, lunch with my roommate and obviously talked to both about it. I headed for home to work on my cover letter and resume.

Because of applying for this job, I ended up having a very honest conversation with one of the pastors at my church. Through the conversation we had, I realized that I was running from being known. She, of course, called me on all these things, as she should.

I didn’t end up interviewing for the job. In all reality, though I want a job like that, but working 60 hours a week and moving from the two places where I feel like myself in Bellingham was not the best idea.

In reality, most of this year I’ve been running. I’ve been running from stopping, from thinking and from pushing in.

I have in certain places and situations. There are friends in my life with whom I can never run from my problems around. But I have reached that place here in Bellingham where I am known and that’s terrifying.

So, why have I said all of this?

It’s simple actually.

I want to encourage you not to make resolutions.

(What?)

I just want to encourage you to step more into who you are everyday. No matter what.

I spent this year trying to busy everything so far away, in the name of my resolutions that I forgot parts of who I was. When those parts were awakened they felt like hope, when in reality they should have just felt like me.

December 31rst and January 1 are no different from today and tomorrow.

There is symbolism in the changing of the year. It is a new book in your life. But it’s not a separate book. It’s a continuation.

So, as the holidays kick in full force and as my kitchen get covered in flour and coconut sugar. As we celebrate the year, the now and the yet to come, I want to remind you that the changing of a calendar doesn’t change who you are.

I want to encourage you to hope for more, but not put the more on a new year.

Don’t run from who you’ve become in all the things. Grab who all the things have made you.

Right now. Today.

Here, in this bar, where I am the only solitary human, I am being where my feet are more than I have in a long time.

Right now. Today

Honest

Figuring out the silence

I don’t think I talk about my faith a lot. I think I try to live it, I try to let what I do speak for who I am. I try to be kind, try to treat people how I would want to be treated. I try, to the best of my ability to make good life choices that reflect who I am, not who others are.
And today, in church, everything felt electrifyingly silent.

This silence isn’t new to me.

A couple years ago I wrote a piece for a now inactive online journal about my faith becoming broken and sitting in silence.

“It was a weird silence. 

Like Jesus, playing the part of the creeper in a horror movie, when just after the power goes out, calls your house so you can hear him breathe and then when the police track the phone call you find that the call is coming from inside the house.

Jesus was apparently in the house still.”

Normally, I write in an effort to untangle something. I write to figure out how to get to homebase. 

Right now I am writing to remind myself that I do have Christ inside me.

I think that, for a while now, I’ve forgotten that.

I know the words to say, I have full confidence in my ability to access my faith and my spirit.

But, I’ve lost something.

Recently, I had a situation occur in my life that knocked a lot of faith and grace out of me. I’m realizing how much it effected me as an individual, as a Christian, as a human who tries to extend grace and love to those around me on a daily basis. I’m realizing now, how much it broke off a part of me and caused me, subconsciously, to want to step away from those parts of my life.

It has caused me to question the foundational things of my life. Those things that cause me to love and be kind are still in me, but activating them and using them has taken more effort.

I didn’t realize that it was causing me to question my faith and feel tangible silence, because I was stepped on in a way that I don’t believe I have ever been stepped on.

Back in 2014 while I was in Spain, I had an instance where Kellen, someone who was an adamant speaker of truth and life and hard realities in my life, told me during a stressful, somewhat overwhelming portion of my six months that “I was the leader and I needed to love them through their shit”.

I think that’s what I’ve done since then in different aspects of my life.

And about a month ago I text him to yell at him because I felt like I’d been kicked in the face because of it.

When I started writing today, this isn’t where I was meaning to meander. I just wanted to figure out what was blocking me, what was causing the world to feel shockingly silent.

And over the course of these 500 words or so, I’ve realized that I’m feeling more broken and hurt than I gave myself grace for.

I’ve realized that a new wall was formed and my actions and the way I love people, albeit probably not as much as I feel, has changed.

My whole heart isn’t in it.

But, in that regard, it pushes me on, to know that I am capable of big love.

My need to protect, to be wary, shows that it is still there.

You don’t protect something a castle if there isn’t anything inside.

And the silence I’ve felt isn’t bad.

It’s space-giving.

I guess, what I want to say, at the end of this is that even when it seems like something natural for me, loving people and being kind and giving grace is a choice for me.

Actively. Every day. 

Part of it is tied to my faith in Christ, part of it is just inside.

But it’s still a choice.

And that’s ok.

I believe I will get those pieces of me back. 

I believe that I will continue to choose love and grace and kindness even if I need a moment to make those decisions.

It’s who I am.

Please, give yourself space to feel. Space to figure things out. 

Space to be.

Deep breath to the toes friends.

Honest, ramblings, washington whimsy

On Sundays, I write.

My couch is currently covered in clean laundry. My bedroom floor could use a vacuuming and there are a few dishes in the sink. I’m going to a party in an hour- I should be straightening my hair or doing my makeup.But, instead, I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee and my fingers to a keyboard. 

Because, on Sundays, I write. I write whether I feel like or not, whether I have hours and hours or just a few minutes in between activities. I write in preparation of a week to come or maybe just still in a cleansing of the week that came before. 

I write because it is in my writing that I find breakthrough inside myself.

This morning at church we actively stepped into breakthrough. We chose to believe it was there for us. We chose to believe it already has come.

I struggled with that a little.

As my boss Jamie and multiple other people in my life has said to me: I am too hard myself.

But isn’t everyone?

I lack grace for myself and I hold myself to a higher standard- a higher level. 

I have chosen to treat others how I want to be treated, regardless of whether or not I am treated back the same.

So, when it comes to breakthrough, I assume it’s for someone else. Not to belittle myself, or to be falsely humble, but because I want it to be for someone else. I want someone else to grab the thing that I have previously grabbed. 

When breakthrough comes to me I meet it gingerly at the door. I am unsure of it. I am wary of it. Not because I don’t want it, but because it seems foreign. 

I know I have had breakthrough in my life. It is so evident. I can see it across the walls and interwoven into the story of my life. 

I am realizing that I have been taught, whether through life examples or the people around me that breakthrough must be painful. 

I probably had so many small breakthroughs in my four years of therapy, I probably overcame more on the world race or in Spain then I can comprehend, but it’s the nitty gritty moments that have defined breakthrough for me. It’s the ones that came with pain and heartache and tears. It’s the storms that ended with a rainbow. 

But sometimes there are rainbows and good things without storms. Breakthrough doesn’t have to come through massive construction of the heart. 

Breakthrough can be a peaceful wind.

I think I forgot that more often then not. I think I end up waiting on the edge of my seat for something to come, when all it takes, for me, is writing a few words to realize that it did indeed happen.

So now, I’ve come full circle to say that this is why I write.

I write to pull he thoughts out of my head onto paper. I write to hopefully, start a conversation. I write to encourage you, to let you know that you aren’t alone.

Because you aren’t. 

Whether you realize it or not. Something in you is doing the damn thing. 

You are it.

So be it.

washington whimsy

A letter to creatives

To my dear creatives,

I know you are probably sitting in front of a blank slate right now.

I know you believe with every passing moment that words don’t form in a sentence or you aren’t able to mix colors just right on a pallet or your cake falls flat for the third time that you are no longer creative. That something inside you isn’t working right anymore.

And I know that the shame piles on from there. 

Man, does it hit you like a wrecking ball. Each time you say you are going to do this or that and come up empty. Each day you set aside time to practice or write or sculpt or cook and you end up cleaning the house or reorganizing your coffee cup collections for the fifth time.

You don’t know how to sit with yourself and not feel the shame pile on, not feel the guilt or the all of the “I told you so..” about your creativity.

And I know you probably feel if you have to call the creativity out of yourself that something in that isn’t natural.

But sometimes, my friend, we have to call out to our creative spirit. We have to yell at it and tell it that it needs to come to the table and do some work. We have to remind it that there are nuggets and truth and whimsy below the surface and sometimes we can’t wait for it to just be there, sometimes we have to ask it to show up.

So, my dear creative friend, to you, I say first: shame off. You are no less on the days when you feel incapable of creating then in the days when you write the great American novel.

And second, on days where you feel the furthest from the creative that you are take a deep breath and choose to call the creativity out of yourself. 

Tonight, amidst yawns and back pain and exhaustion that’s what I needed. I chose to, in any way shape or form, find a way to put words on a page and realize that the shame creeping in wasn’t mine to grab onto.

So third, please remember this:
You don’t have to always create be a creative. 

You are creative because it’s who you are, not what you do.

It’s in you, down to your tiptoes and it pours out of your finger tips.

You are still creative even when you feel incapable of creating.

With love,

A writer who doesn’t always feel like a writer but knows forever she will be a writer.

back to the barre, stateside

So please, WRITE

I always want my words to be profound.

I want them to hold something to have meaning.

I want to write things that incite conversation and promote action.

I also try too hard.

I sit in front of my computer every 4 days or so to post a new thought, a new revelation, a new truth that is rippling through my spirit.

And I erase a lot.

To the point where I am surprised my delete button still works on my computer.

There are a lot of words I haven’t said in my life and many of them come in the form of the backspaced words on word documents. If only there was a way to put all of them together.

On second hand let’s not.

Then I think of all of the words that go unsaid or unwritten.

Or all the words that go unread.

(And if they are unread are they really written? Just kidding…not going there)

There is something about profound insightful thoughts that cause us to move. I love reading words my friends have said and reading what they are going through and their insights. My email is crammed with blog subscriptions and the ability to see the world through others eyes. It’s crammed with group emails from friends about ramblings and stream of consciousness thought processes.

But now I think, I know what I HAVEN’T said. What haven’t THEY said? What moments of brilliance have been backspaced away or crumbled and thrown in a trashcan.

And it’s also kind of funny because we live in this crazy world where there are so many platforms to be heard; from 140 characters on twitter to creating your own website to podcasts and blogs and everything in between.

So with all of that ability to be heard; why are so many of us still silent? Why do we throw words in the trash and decide we don’t need to say them?

Some I’m sure think there are too many words out there so will their words be heard. Or maybe they are afraid of the comment section.

Or even just too afraid of what one singular person will say.

And so we delete or backspace or walk away from a thought because it is too honest or too real or too much of the person you actually ARE as opposed to the person who people see.

The last blog I posted entitled “Real” took everything in me to press publish. I really just wanted to delete it all and pretend it didn’t exist.

I think when I choose to delete something or send it to a friend rather than post it on my blog it’s mainly because I think it might be too much. Too vulnerable, too spiritual, too Jesus. Or sometimes it’s because it shows my flaws or my fears.

But when, in reality, it’s just my thought process, how my brain works.

It’s true sometimes I tie a spiritual lesson to an episode of Vampire Diaries and it’s inevitable I will talk about therapy, or the lessons from Spain or Cambodia small eye or getting hit by a car.

But it’s what’s in my heart.

It’s where I come from.

So I will write.

And I want you to as well.

So very badly I want to read the words you have written. I need them actually. They cause me to think and to write and they inspire me.

So push past the comment section, push past the vulnerability and the fear and put words to paper. Quit hitting delete, quit crumbling the paper and throwing it aside.

People need your words, they need you at your broken or your whole, they need you at your happiest, your angry and your giddy. They need you at your real, your teenage self who loves vampire shows and your adult self who has treasured things in your heart that need to come out.

So please, WRITE.

Here are some blogs of people who’s words I treasure, find humorous and lovely and adore reading. Some of them have been MIA for a moment but take a second to go back, read the archives and find some inspiration. None of them are “proffesional” they may have gotten paid once or twice for their writings, but mostly it’s a heart thing. It’s a pouring out onto paper of what’s inside.There are so so many more I could post or brag about. so many more words I read on a weekly basis. There is inspiration out there. You just have to choose to read it, see it, use it, and be it.  (and if you have a blog or a favorite space to read words comment and let me know!):

Patty~ Patty is one of my best friends and someone who has influenced my writing more than anyone. Her words are timely, poetic and beautiful.

Tiffany~ This woman called me to write and be truthful. She has been calling me into my story for over two years.

Abby~ Another member of my hometeam. She is currently on an adventure leading a World Race squad and she has beautiful words and truths.

Allan~ A crazy worshipper I met and got to do life with in Spain. Check out his Euro journey and all that entails.

Helena~ I followed her blog while she was on the race. She empowers women and has a hysterically lovely view on life

KellenWhitney ~ a couple whom I treasure. Their words inspire like none other.

Casey~ a longtime hometown friend who blogs about her adventures in dating.

Sarah~a truth speaker, bringer and a lie crusher. soon to be on another amazing adventure. 

Lauren~ from my orange county neck of the woods. her words are witty and intelligent and everything in between.

Glenalyn~ a fellow adventurer, wanderluster and tribe member. 

back to the barre, stateside

writing on writing

Something that I heard on multiple occasions in Spain was that there is new revelation every day. That each day we can grab a piece of truth and wisdom that we didn’t have before.

And I believe that that statement is true. I believe that we CAN get something new out of everyday. A bible verse, a song lyric, a word from a stranger, a prayer, a sunrise, ANYTHING that can unlock piece of truth for us.

Five days ago I started this daily writing challenge for myself. Not for anyone else.

It’s just for me.

I call it “back to the barre” in reference to a favorite movie.

And so, for the last 5 days I have turned my phone onto airplane mode and set an alarm for 30 minutes.

And written.

A couple of the days I worked on a story I’ve been writing for awhile while another day I wrote for myself. And then the last two days I’ve been furiously writing this short story. It’s going to become a five parter. I’ll probably share it with a few people, but mainly it’s for myself.

Because I’ve realized over the last year that writing is something for me.

It’s a place for me to throw all the things out of my brain and stare at them and then see how they fit back together.

Sometimes that is in the form of a blog, a letter or a Facebook status.

And sometimes it is in the form of a story that isn’t supposed to be about me. But it is. It hold a piece of myself.

I’ve realized it is actually easier for me to post a blog about myself then to post a short story or a poem. Because that writing, that story that comes from somewhere out of the depths of me is personal. More personal than I would like to admit. Or care to realize.

So, in all of this writing and putting words on a page, I didn’t think I was searching for truth. I thought I was just trying to open up this room in my mind that was storing words that I didn’t have access to anymore in the continental US.

But, of course I was searching for truth. I’m always searching for more truth. I’m always searching for things that make more sense then they did a day before.

The words that paint across the page from my pen or pencil are the inner-workings of my mind trying to put more pieces of the puzzle together.

Words unlock things. At least for me. Reading the words of a friend or an ancient scholar. Skimming through quotes on instagram or scribblings down the side of a page in a journal.

Words are my keys into the next. Words are my voice.

Words are a part of my truth.

So I guess, what I am getting at here is this: find your truth. Find what brings you to MORE truth. It could be writing, or painting, reading or listening to a podcast. It could be running or cooking or anything in between.

Just find what’s yours.

And use it.

Use it every day. There is so much out there for us to grab onto BUT there is so much inside of us to utilize and we don’t even know because we don’t know how to get to it.

Finding what brings you truth is essentially finding what brings you life.

That’s what is on my heart and mind right now. A push, a call, to find what brings you truth and life and do it everyday.

Find truth. Find life.

Grab it.

Honest

I’m horrible PR for myself

I’ve apologized a lot this week. I’m in a new place where only a few people know me. These new folks have been told I’m a good baker, a great cook etc.

That makes me nervous.

And it makes me apologize.

I’ve broken a wineglass, had way too many blonde moments, I’ve accidentally used corn starch instead of cornmeal. I used the wrong type of sugar in baking cookies. I’m walking this line of insecurity that is laughable.

IMG_9363(test layer of cake I made//gone in five minutes)

And I just keep apologizing.

Tonight during worship I realized that I keep apologizing and belittling the gifts and talents that God has given me. And in that way; I’m belittling God. I’m belittling the fact that He Himself gave me all these gifts.

And here I am just apologizing away all of these things when I am unsure, or insecure or make a mistake.

I’m calling myself out on apologizing. I’m calling myself out on not having confidence in the gifts and talents He gives me. And it’s so funny because just this week I allowed myself to be taken up on stage and I danced with this Spanish rapper during the half of the World Cup final in the square in Mijas in front of at least a couple hundred people.

But ask me to write something for you, bake something, cook something and this week I have been full of excuses that it might not be up to par or that I’m full of nerves. Compliment me on something I made and I haven’t responded with “thank you” but “oh it’s actually really easy”.

IMG_9364(my refrain on the novel I am writing “I suck at writing dialogue”)

Why? Why do I completely brush away the things that I know God has given me to use? Why do I not allow myself to walk in gifts, talents and knowledge.

Why have I been walking these week like I will never be enough?

I was told tonight that God delights when I wake up every morning. That He gets so excited to see me live out my life.

And here I am squandering it away with “I’m sorry” or “It’s not my best” or “Please, don’t think to highly of this or that thing that people say I’m good at.”

It’s stupid, lame and I need to stop.

So if you’re reading this and you are currently doing life with me in Mijas: this week (and beyond) I give you permission to call me out when I don’t respond with “thank you” to a compliment or when I belittle the work I have done by undercutting the task.

IMG_9365

And mind you this next week I am doing the following: making a wedding cake, cooking for my house and helping with some writing projects.

Three things I hold close to my heart. Three things I know I am good at. Three things that I have undercut and apologized for lacking in in the last two weeks.

I don’t want to live a life of apology.

I don’t want to live a life peppered with insecurities or feeling like I’m not a enough.

I want to live a life walking in confidence of the good gifts He has given me.

So here I go: choosing to live a life free from apologizing and undercutting myself away.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

(Why I am in Spain? Check out journey with me)