Tag Archives: life

Buried Under the Shoes


Somewhere between the boxes and the piles and the packing I lost a little bit of my excitement. I’m hoping its temporarily buried under my mountain of shoes (yes, I know, guilty as charged: so, I may have a slight shoe fetish. And no, I will not be bringing any of these to Guatemala. When you’re 5’8 and already tower over most Guatemalans no need to add another 3 inches to the mix)

I wish I felt bounds of joy about my upcoming move, but instead I’m sitting on my bed surrounded by stuff–and with that stuff comes stress and fear and this wave of questions. The main one being, “ahhh, what the heck am I doing?”

Moving and Packing

I am moving this weekend– leaving my home of the past 2 1/2 years, saying good-bye to two incredible roommates and packing up my hodgepodge of belongings– to go live with two of my favorite people in Santa Barbara who have offered me their guest bedroom for three weeks until I leave. So, now is the time to start packing.

Packing has a way of bringing up and sorting out what’s important. Old CD’s, letters from ex-boyfriends, and articles from grad school (many still unread) are intermixed with camera batteries and saved receipts organized in envelopes with black writing that says “2007-2008.” I have a costume box with feather boas and hot pink sunglasses and 80’s crop tops because you-never-know-when-you might-just-need-a-costume, right? These things don’t quite make it to the important side.

What’s important are people. Friends and roommates. My parents and sisters and brother. And then there are the kids from kids club and my students. And these are the things I can’t pack. I get sad about leaving these people. Sad that I am going to be missing out on part of their lives. And I get sad that sometimes it feels like I am leaving alone, while everyone else gets to stay here together.

Not Alone

Maybe that’s part of the catch-22 about sending out support letters. I’ll be honest it’s a humbling process mailing out a letter to family and friends not only admitting that I need your help, but also admitting that I actually can’t go through this next year without your support and care. I realize I have gotten pretty darn good at doing most things in life on my own and as a result this confident, self-reliant, independent spirit has been fostered deep inside. But I am learning that maybe I also need to leave room for the humble, meek side that admits, “I can’t do this alone. Will you help?”

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Filed under Travel & Perspective

Two Things


There are two things I like in life…
One: going somewhere new and Two: camping.

And this weekend I got to do both.

Somewhere off Highway 62, nestled between some huge rocks and lots of Joshua trees I found myself camping with my friend Dee-Anna and a bunch of her friends. I like camping because life moves just a little bit slower. There is more sitting, more relaxing and less doing. Camping invites late night conversations and groggy morning faces. It gives permission not to shower and have hair that smells like campfire. I am convinced that the food tastes better simply because it’s eaten outside. Fashion is dictated by how many layers are needed to stay warm, not by what colors go together. I believe I have successfully mastered the art of s’more making and I think the headlamp is one of the best inventions of the century.

It’s only March and I’ve been on two camping trips. Not a bad start to 2010. Here’s to daylight savings time, warm nights and hopefully some more camping trips.

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Filed under Travel & Perspective

Drops Like Stars


On Thursday night I and about half of southern California went to LA to hear Rob Bell speak. I was like a little kid waiting in line to meet Santa Clause. Now I know Rob Bell is not in fact Santa Claus, but that same childish excitement and giddy feeling was present as we waited to enter the Wiltern Theater. I’ve read RB’s books and listened to his podcast for years because they offered a different voice, a new perspective and sometimes a radical understanding of the gospel. In some of my darkest and most painful seasons his writing and words offered Hope, when everything else seemed silent.

And in case you were wondering, he is just as good live. Articulate. Creative and Down Right Funny. He somehow connects Will Farrell and Jesus in the same sentence- pure brilliance. He’s the kinda guy you’d want to have over to your house to hang out with your friends. And yet he seamlessly connects faith and pop culture and art and politics and the bible into a canvas that leaves room for mystery and honesty.

Obviously, I don’t really like him.

The best part about Thursday was that Rob Bell acknowledged right off the bat that bad stuff happens- pain, heartache, loss, suffering, and grief- and yet, we don’t know why. Our lives do not unravel the way we expected. Some things never, ever make sense! But instead of trying to give simplistic answers that many Christians to do, he invited us to see pain, heartache and loss as a complete disruption to our lives-which it is. But “The Art of Disruption” as he says, also plants seeds of creativity. When we suffer we are challenged to re(create), (re)imagine and re(define) parts of our life that will never, ever be the same.

I think about some of the times I have cried out in anger or heartache and how I often feel like the sadness and loneliness are the roots of my pain, but RB said often the root of our pain is actually mourning the loss of the expectation.

Aren’t these some of the thoughts that often go through our heads?
This is not how I thought life would be. I expected him to be here forever. I never thought we would lose our house. I expected to be married by now. I never imagined my mom getting cancer. I never thought we wouldn’t be able to have kids.
I never planned on this. And the list could do on.

RB said something that stuck with me– Pain has a way of making us honest.

He didn’t justify the pain, gloss over it or simplify it. No, he just said, it has a way of making us honest. And I think he is right. Pain forces us to look deep inside and cry out with questions. Pain forces us to admit I can’t do this alone. And the God that I believe in meets us right there in our pain. He meets us in the empty places. Some of the most beautiful, honest and genuine people that I know have experienced deep pain and loss, but somehow they’ve taken the art of disruption and let it shape and change who they are.

RB obviously describes it better, but this is the best I could do at quick synopsis. If you’re inclined to fly to the UK or Australia you still have a chance to see him! Click here for tour dates. For the rest of you, you can settle for buying the book.

Next post, bar soap and “The Art of Elimination.”

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Filed under Faith & Culture

10,000 ways to say i love you


Last week I was strolling through one of my favorite bookstores trying to ignore all of the sentimental, and yes slightly cheezy, valentine books that are so conveniently placed on the table right by the checkout stand. I am still a firm believer that Valentine’s Day is a hallmark holiday that was created to boost greeting card and flower sales in between Christmas and Easter, but nonetheless I still happen to like this day of love. Maybe because cute cards and handwritten letters are my love language so any excuse to receive one or give one is well worth it.

On the table that day at the bookstore I saw this book, 10,000 ways to say i love you by Gregory J.P. Godek. Apparently this guy is some kinda of love master because I don’t think I could come up with 10,000 ways to say I love you, but I did come up with 10. So, whether you are spending today with the love of your life…or wishing you had a love in your life, enjoy these 10 little nuggets. And know that they can be done any day of the year, not just Valentine’s day.

10 ways to say i love you
1. do your _________ (fill in the blank: husband’s, roommate’s, sister’s, etc) dishes in the sink, even though they’re not yours.
2. give a foot massage
3. be a good listener
4. every now and then when you’re out to dinner with friends, take the check and say “i got this one” instead of diving it up 5 ways.
5. call. sometimes it just means more than sending a facebook message or having a texting conversation
6. learn someone’s favorite coffee drink and bring to them. just because.
7. let him choose the movie. and don’t complain about it after.
8. buy her flowers. and put a handwritten note inside. trust me on this one.
9. take your daughter out to breakfast- just the two of you.
10. Give good hugs- often.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Filed under Love & Relationships

Being the Same


Henri Nouwen is one of my heroes. His perspective on people, faith and life is inspiring. However, I often find myself experiencing this internal tension when I read something that he wrote- first there is pure amazement at the eloquence and honesty of his words, but then envy creeps in and I immediately become jealous and wonder why I can’t write like that? This is not one of my finer qualities.

So with that disclaimer, read this because he says it far better than I can or ever will:

“At first sight, joy seems to be connected with being different. When you receive a compliment or win an award, you experience the joy of not being the same as others. You are faster, smarter, more beautiful, and it is that difference that brings you joy. But such joy is very temporary. True joy is hidden where we are the same as other people: fragile and mortal. It is the joy of belonging to the human race. It is the joy of being with others as a friend, a companion, a fellow traveler.”

I find it humbling that in so many areas of my life I strive to be different. I think we all do. We all want to be unique or set apart. We want our writing style or our blog or our fashion sense to be set-apart and special. I like it when my friends compliment me on something that I’ve made or praise me for some random fact that I’ve shared simply because it was different or unique. It feeds some part of me that seeks to be known and viewed as one-of-a-kind. But in reality, I think Henri is right– these compliments and shorts boosts of self-esteem for not being different from other people only brings temporary joy.

And who wants temporary, or fleeting joy, right?
What I long for in life is real joy.

Perhaps this joy comes from admitting to each other and ourselves that we are all really the same?

We come as broken and fragile beings, who actually need each other. Maybe we should stop striving to be different and instead try acknowledging that there is joy in being the same.

Quote Credit (and basically all thoughts and inspiration goes to): Mr. Henri Nouwen.

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Filed under The F-Word

I believe


Lesly is a friend of mine from Westmont and a fellow blogger, who creatively started writing these “I believe” posts. Her writing is marked by a sincerity that captures both the simple and complex moments of life. You can read more of her blog here.

So, in the spirit of capturing the simple and complex moments of life, here is what I believe–

i believe remembering peoples’ name is important and that’s it’s ok not to finish every book you start. i believe in farmers markets, reading the newspaper and reusing tea bags. i believe washing my hair is overrated. there is nothing wrong with honking. and people would be happier if we hugged each other more often. i believe writing is healing and car naps are essential. i believe in post-it notes and not putting syrup on my pancakes. i believe in a God that can handle my questions, even when I am too afraid to ask them. i believe war is not the answer. i believe “I’m sorry” and “I love you” go hand-in-hand. I believe good-byes are important and that the little things matter. i believe in leftovers, teenagers, and creativity. i believe eating outside makes food taste better. i believe in not always following the rules. i believe fabreezing and washing are almost interchangeable. dark chocolate makes everything better. and grace and generosity cover a multitude of sins. i believe in still using old fashioned maps. i believe teaching makes me a more patient person. i believe in good jokes, beach days and campfires. i believe in listening to what kids say. i believe saying yes, means saying no to something else. and i believe that sometimes not being in control, is a very good place to be.

what do you believe?

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Filed under The F-Word

Just one


According to my reliable sources at Real Simple most people give up or simply forget about their new years resolutions by February 17th. Well, it’s January 6th and I am happy to report that I have kept my one, yes, just one, new years resolution:

I will floss my teeth everyday.

You would think as a fairly responsible, healthy adult I would naturally floss everyday, but truth be told– I don’t. And it gets worse. I am also am one of those people who causally lies to my dentist every 6 months or so. (oh, just confess, I know there are others out there who do it, too!)

“Are you flossing every day? uh-huh. I mumble, nodding my head to convince him, just as much as myself.

Because new years resolutions often dissolve into new years ideals that seem to either get forgotten or broken by the 3rd week of February I’ve decided that my new years resolutions should be 1) simple and 2) shared. Cassie, a friend of mine who has this way of bring simplicity and joy to just about everything in life, told me that she only has one resolution each year-just one thing, however small or practical. One year she decided to stop biting her nails and for a whole year that was her goal.

I was inspired by the “just one” rule because so often I tend to over do it. I tend to create unrealistically long lists of every hope and goal imaginable for the coming year. Now there is nothing wrong with dreaming big dreams and writing out hopes for the year ahead- I still do it, but my lists are too long and far too personal to publish on the public-sphere of the blog world. Nonetheless, there is something significant about having a very tangible, measurable new years resolution, however small or practical it may be.

Last year my one resolution was to not use a plastic grocery bag for the whole year.

And thanks to my handy-dandy, reusable chico bag that was compacted and stuffed into in my purse, I did pretty a good job keeping this one. And now we will all breathe a little less CO2. Thankyouverymuch. I plan to keep this one up, only because every little thing helps. And I am convinced that a world with less plastic bags will be a much better world.

So, dear twenty-ten, this year I will floss my teeth everyday.

Please ask me about it. And remind me that although the world may not be a better place because of my diligent flossing, I am convinced that my gums and teeth and my future children will thank me for it. And if nothing else, I will not have to lie to my dentist anymore.

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Filed under Neither Here, Nor There