Thursday, January 31, 2013

Roller Blades

"That's what I want my life to be, like a well-loved gift. I want to live in a way that shows how much I appreciate the gift. If life were a sweater, I would wear it every day. I wouldn't save it for a special occassion. I would find every opportunity to wear that sweater and I'd wear it proudly, shamelessly, for days on end."
 Shauna Niequest, Cold Tangerines

I remember one year I got roller blades for Christmas. I was so excited. I remember using them in my grandparents basement but thinking that they were so special I didn't want to wear them out and use them "for real" outside. At some point, I grew out of these roller blades. This is what happens when you're a kid, however, it was a sad day because I really did love those roller blades.

I believe later on I had another pair because I remember that roller blading became a regular past-time for me for quite a few years behind our house. The memories are still vivid of doing turns and going backwards and what it felt like to stop (or hit something and fall) on those rollerblades. True story: I had wrist and elbow guards at one point, and a helmet. I may have looked foolish but I took quite a few hits doing my tricks.

Through the years my old way of saving something special "for later" has stuck with me. Why do that? Overtime, I learned that while childhood me liked to "save up" for a rainy day or keep special things special in case they broke or got worn down, it was better to enjoy the gift that was given to me now. What I found was if you wait for later to come, your feet may be too small.

Have you ever held onto life like a pair of fresh, unused roller blades?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Turn The Music Up

to paint. to draw. to sing. to write. to dance. to run. what keeps anyone coming back to it again? to that space. to that place. a place that brings a waterfall to dried up bones.

mine is writing. a place to remember. a place to create. to dream. to sing through the written word what my heart says.

"I turn the music up, I got my records on
From underneath the rubble sing a rebel song" -
Coldplay


where can you not hide? when are you most alive?
what do you bring the world because you are the only one of you there ever was?

"No feels safe, while yes is dangerous indeed. Yes to possibility and yes to risk. -Seth Godin (V is for Vulnerable) Yes to truth-telling. Yes to turning the music up.

inspired by five minute friday - again

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Loved : Tuesday Tunes Once Again

Ah - I'm so excited.

A new album by one of my most favorite musical artists, JJ Heller, comes out in March, but you can pre-order it now!

If you know me, you know that I love music, but for some reason I don't buy music very much (I'm working on this), however I have almost all JJ's cds. I love her music, I love how she tells stories with the words and her heart behind everything she puts into it. I like to know things about the artists that I listen to and I was especially grateful to get to see her and her husband (my favorite musical husband and wife team) in concert last year - check out where they are touring again now to see if they are visiting near you. It's worth it, I promise. 

I love the theme of her latest album, Loved : Redemption.


She talks about what comes after the struggle and the hope and story of redemption. She talks about asking difficult questions and "finding meaning in the things that are difficult for us."

Check out JJ talking about the album and singing "Who You Are."


Her new album is available 3/12/13.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

7 Reasons Why I Like Kids

For as much as I talk about serious things and the daily grind and adulthood, I forget sometimes the joys of getting to be around kids everyday. Kids bring a joy to life that keeps you from living in the fog, keeps life from becoming predictable, and reminds you that simple things matter. Here are 7 reasons why I like kids and am thankful for them:

1. Kids seem to like the same things I do (so growing up is overrated :) ). Ice cream, magic tricks, finger painting, juggling, running around outdoors, did I mention ice cream?  

2. Kids are courageous. Some kids have to be more than others, but I'm inspired by kids.
 
3. Kids don't pretend, unless they are actually using their imaginations. 
 
4. Kids have an amazing capacity to learn new things. 

5. Kids seem to adjust better to change than most adults I know.
 
6. Kids get to play kickball and four square.

7. Kids don't take themselves or life too seriously.

Talk to me: what do you love about kids? Who are the kids in your life you're thankful for?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

If Grace is Real

Here's a confession: I used to compare myself a lot to my favorite writers, now I am just inspired by them.

Emily Freeman (one of my favorites), writes, "Does not the creator determine the worth and identity of his craftmanship? Does not the God of the Universe have the final word on the belovedness of his own?"

God is the Creator who teaches us how to create and how to live lives that reflect His beauty.
It takes courage to step away from a life lived on survival mode and reaction versus a life of creating. For years I lived life on survival mode. For the moments when that way of life creeps in, I remind myself to practice truth-telling.

Inspiring writers help me see more and more the truth that all I am is grace. 

Sometimes I'll see my brokenness more vividly but it shows me even more that anything I am today - made whole, united with Christ, free from entangelements that used to hold me bound, a new creation, - it's all the grace of God.

By trying to hande our own brokenness, we mishandle it.
We bury the pain. We might feel better for awhile, but temporary relief never lasts.

If grace is real then it has real implications for our lives. It means God is good and He loves us. It means there's freedom in receiving and accepting how Jesus actually changes everything. There is a common frailty in life but even moreso there is something, or rather some One who gives life to be found here.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity." -Jeremiah 29: 13-14


Friday, January 18, 2013

Cherished

Start:

Some days I don't feel as  bold as I once was. There's bold because you want to be and bold because you have to be. Back then I was bold because I had to be. Bold meant making a move. Bold meant making friends, being social in new places and with people that eventually became a home to me, all the while becoming familiar with solitude.
Bold meant talking about hard things to the real people in my life. Bold meant being real and not pretending everything was always okay. Bold was accepting change and learning who I was with it.

I like to talk about missing Ohio-home, and there's truth in the matter there, but if you really get down to it, there's more to a home than who you once were or a place or even the people you love there.

Today, I think of moments I didn't think mattered much. I think of friendships that have woven me together in NC-home and helped me see what it's like to cherish not a place, but the place you're called to, alongside the people in it.

End.

Linking up for Five Minute Friday.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dream a Dream

"But this joyful, imaginative, impassioned energy dies out of us very young. Why? Because we do not see that it is great and important, because we let dry obligation take its place; because we don't respect it in ourselves and keep it alive by using it; and because we don't keep it alive in others by listening to them."

-Brenda Ueland, "If You Want to Write"

When I was young, the book "If You Want to Write" was one of the first books on writing given to me. I loved the title because it always seemed like a no-brainer. How could anyone not want to write? This was what I most wanted to do.

Here's to the "joyful, imaginative, impassioned energy." May it not die out of us, whatever it be for and may you find ways to dream a little and encouragement to keep dreaming.


-don’t give up on your dream.
 
Even when life takes over, comes full force and it is easy to feel a pang of guilt for doing something you love over doing something you “have” to do, do it anyway.

-don't let other people tell you what your dreams should be.

No matter where I go in life and no matter what I do, for work or otherwise, I know a few things will stay constant. One of them is writing. What is it for you? Writing is a dream of mine but it's also a present reality.

If we listen only to the voices that tell us what our dreams should be, they won't have the chance to become our realities.


-make (a) goal (s)

Planning for the future gives dreams a chance to take shape. Sometimes this is hard for me. I'm an ideas girl. Part of me expects things to just happen naturally. This is not how life generally works. I preach making goals and can do it when it comes to things I can see, but for my visions and dreams, it's often harder to outline them. If you're like me, it helps to start small and figure out how ideas can be turned into action steps.
*** aka: if you're a blogger, pick an idea for the year to write about, such as BOLDNESS, and start writing about it. Write about what it's like to jump in. Take steps to write about new things even if it's not always easy.

-be around encouraging people
Don't you love people who can envision your goals and dreams and get excited with you? These are my favorite kind of people and the only ones I spend time with. Just kidding. But, it helps to acknowledge and reflect on those keepers who continue to encourage you no matter what.

-keep dreaming

Some dreams die. Sometimes I hate to admit it. We might try and keep them alive past their shelf life. But it's okay to let them go. Sometimes dreams change. 
As God shows you more and more who He made you and designed you uniquely to be, it's likely you'll go in a few different directions completely. God is the great Author behind the story he is forming with your life...and it is good.

*** my word for this year is bold. in what ways are you being courageous in your life? in what ways can you take more risks and be bold in places you've not stepped out before?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dive

One day soon I hope to get back to the pool on a regular basis, but since it's winter that will likely only happen if I swim at the gym, starting with reactivating my membership. Want to know a secret? That's why I joined in the first place.

I'm one of those swimmers who loves the water and could spend all day there but I'm not professional about it by any means. When I go to the "lap pool" I see swimmers who stay in their designated lanes and wear fancy goggles and swim caps. I tend to forget to wear goggles and so I don't swim straight. All the while, I enjoy myself quite nicely. 

Once a diver always a diver, even though I haven't thought about diving much lately. Learning to dive is like learning to ride a bike or learning to write your name, I'm convinced. Once you know how to do it, that's all you want to do. Until you get swimmers ear or swim only in water that calls for "no diving."

It made me happy to see a kid the other day who was writing his name write it as big as he could on the piece of paper I gave him. He was little, likely had learned to write it sometime yesterday. He seemed excited to show me what he could do.

Diving can be like writing your name in big letters, or it can be the opposite. I was a slow-to-warm-up diver.  I could never understand how people could just jump in. Plus, my dives were belly smackers for the longest time.

Finally, years later, jumping in comes a little more natural to me when I need to, even with water ice cold. My dives don't look like belly smackers anymore (most of the time), but even so, I'm not afraid because I know what the water feels like flat. I don't mind that my goggles fill up with water, if I wear any at all. Like the boy who wrote his name in big letters, life is sweeter when you let go and just dive.

Inspired by Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo and others. (A little more than) five minutes writing about some of my favorite things!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Opportunity

Start: Everyday is an opportunity to extend grace, to love more, to see beauty amidst the muck.

Everyday is an opportunity to hit refresh on that song I want to sing out to the Creator who gave me this one life to live, to remember the loveliness of this day. Some days we get there, some days we don't. We are all living out journeys rich with traveling mercies. Each of our tales weave together into a loud, joyous, sometimes chaotic, challenging, full life-song. : End


Linking up with Lisa-Jo and others for Five Minute Friday :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reminders

I read a sweet reminder about courage in a post by Emily Freeman. Check it out if you get a chance. I remember meeting Emily a couple of years ago when her book (Grace for the Good Girl) just came out and I remember thinking at the time, “oh, yeah, this book will be good for me someday.” You know when life gets hectic and things speed up and if life tightens it’s hold again, I’ll need a reminder of finding grace in the everyday and giving myself a little, too. Turns out I needed it then and I still need it now. Acceptance for the stronghold life throws from time to time, reminders of God’s unfailing love, receiving the victory that is already won in Christ.

I don’t know where you’re going or what you’re starting or where your new year might bring you, but I pray you are able to find the courage you need to get there.  

Emily writes that “Jesus saves is not just a religious slogan.”

It’s true.
Jesus saves me from myself. He saves me from being a rule-follower and from wanting to break the rules. He saves me from my failures and my faults. He saves me from my need to please and recovers me from perfectionism. He saves me and frees me to be myself in a world that tells you again and again to be someone else.  In him all my needs are met and again and again there is grace enough for this day, bread for today if I will receive it, and I am found in him.

May your new year be one full of courage and strength found in Him.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

When You Like to Stare at Snow, To-Do Lists, and Movement

It's 2013! In blogworld though, I'm a little behind. I'm okay with that though. I'm still catching up to my thoughts on Christmas.

I was in Ohio for Christmas and it was a fun time. A few days into the trip, amidst the relaxed busyness of preparations and late into the night family gatherings, I decided it was time to make a to-do list, you know, to get back to reality a little bit. Actually, all I really wanted to do was watch four inches of snow fall to the ground. Which I did.





 
I really wondered how I was going to get back to my to-do list. I had some things to do to get myself semi-organized for the new year, but who was I kidding? There was snow! I could not focus on being productive with my to-do list. I live in North Carolina now. So snow is a big deal for me. Apparently, so much so that my dad caught me staring at the snow at breakfast long enough that he stole my to-do list.
 
I wish I had taken a picture of this list. 
 
In a mad dash to actually "do something productive" for a bit while on vacation, my dad added a list of other random things "to-do" like reading and eating, none of which we might think were very productive but are necessary (for most people). Some of which were things he just observed me doing.
 
One was "staring at snow in trace-like state."
 
I checked that one off nicely, thank you very much.
 
I admit, at times it's been difficult for me to think outside the box. I've been working on this concept of living amongst the gray space for awhile now.
 
So I think to-do lists are a little bit like resolutions. A lot of people either excitedly or begrudgingly make them.  I have to say I've been in the latter category in recent years. I don't think resolutions work or are too meaningful most of the time. Typically, I end up feeling defeated at their short-lived run.
 
I'm starting to think that if I want to resolve for something, really resolve to consider something different for a new year to come, I want it linked up to what I'm passionate about. 
 
Instead of striving to try, I want to consider how to align them with my passions. Instead of resolutions having to look a certain way, I want to notice what God might be doing in my life. Here's some ideas for next year:
 
-Teen Girls: Start a group with teen girls in the area. Attend trainings to get more experience on certain topics like body image, self-harm, abuse, etc.
 
-Writing: Short term: go to a conference.
 
-Ministry: This is a thought in progress. Maybe in connection with number 1. Or get more involved with orphans local and international and explore this with missions opportunities.
 
What are some of your ideas for the new year?