His Name Means Salvation

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This Sunday my husband and I visited a new church. Originally, I thought that maybe we’d come on the wrong day to see what the church was like on a typical Sunday. Not only was I wrong, but things inside me were broken in the best way possible.

I have struggled tremendously and painfully at different seasons of my life with doubting my salvation. Even, by means with which we are saved. Sometimes, I get scared or nervous when I find out others have come to know Christ. It often brings up questions and fears for me. Some of the time it is spiritual warfare. Some of the time it is anxiety. Some of the time, I think it is learning more and giving up control. A lot of the time it is a struggle for me because of the ways Obsessive Compulsive Disorder manifests itself in my life and my own failure to recognize intrusive/scary thoughts as false at times.

13307351_10156967629790258_1844672367572396345_nThat day, I tried to appreciate each moment of the service and what I could learn from/be blessed by during it. When we walked in and a baby girl was being prayed over during baby dedication, I was thankful for her sweet family and pointed out to my husband that the family next to them was holding a baby boy. We are having a son in the Fall.

When it came time for baptism, it was approached in a unique and beautiful way. There were two little girls and a mom from the same family sharing a bit of their testimonies and the husband/dad was going to be the one to baptize them. I had a bit of nervousness, but I was so blessed by the testimonies. Especially, the two from the little girls. Their maturity, faith, and pure love for Christ was beautiful, inspiring, and genuine. It reminds me of the miraculousness of our God and that receiving Christ at a young age doesn’t mean that God hasn’t drawn you to Himself and that there is a consciousness of decision or beautiful love that is sincere. It reminds me that we are to love as these.

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I was also reminded as the husband and wife cried while he baptized her, that my husband and I were baptized on the same day at our old church when we were engaged. A day that I spontaneously gave testimony to what God had done in my life at a time when I could remember fully and use my own words.

I prayed during the service Sunday for a few things. A couple of them were these — I asked God that if it were His will, would he give me confirmation and assurance that I was His and that if He felt that this was a prayer He had answered over and over that was fine too. Also, I have felt a lot of numbness spiritually, and I knew that it may be God teaching me to love and trust Him without sensationalism or relying on my emotions but I had missed being moved. After praying about the confirmation of salvation, I didn’t really think about it anymore but began to pay attention to the things that were being brought to my heart pretty vividly.

Members of the church got up and began to share things they were learning from God, encouragements, provision, and victories. I had already begun to notice the amount of young babies and the other pregnant women in the room. A couple got up and began to share about God’s faithfulness in their lives. They had struggled medically for awhile to conceive a baby. The wife shared of a women coming up to her at a library parking lot and telling her that she felt God wanted her to be reminded of His miraculousness. She shared that although it didn’t quell all her fears, I think it reminded her that God was with her, listening, and working. She was now sixteen weeks pregnant. I clapped along with the church in joy.

God brought many images and memories to me during the process of listening to the stories of each person. I remembered how grief stricken I was earlier in our marriage when I thought I was pregnant. The chemicals in my body and hormones had surged mimicking a pregnancy, and although I knew it probably wasn’t the perfect time or maybe the baby hadn’t been completely fertilized or had never been there … we saw so many signs. I was so sick like I was pregnant and I already fell in love with it, my husband in a lot of ways too. So much so, that when my period started late, my heart broke. I was reminded of times we went to church after that and when I saw someone holding a small baby I would cry.

Bridge-wbI remembered as my husband and I served the homeless while living in Nashville, God using several of them to speak to my heart about becoming a mother. Once we prayed over a homeless couple and the women said to me, “Are you pregnant? I feel like God is wanting me to tell you that you’re going to have a baby soon.” It was not the only time that it was brought to our attention by a homeless friend. In fact, one of them told us we were going to have a little boy. At at time when I wasn’t pregnant, it gave me hope that I would have a baby. Also, I think it made me think I was pregnant at times when I wasn’t, but on Sunday, I realized that God’s soon and my soon are different and if anything He was showing me that he hadn’t forgotten me, that he knew the desires of my heart, and that I could trust Him. I wasn’t always good at it. It wasn’t that I had baby fever so much or that I wanted us to have a baby before we were ready or had been able to enjoy our marriage. It was just that something was different in me after I felt the loss I’d felt.

I also remembered when my husband and I did choose to be open to having a baby and trust God with timing in our lives. We took the leap and a few weeks later we found out that I had a lesion on my brain that could be a low grade tumor, a cyst, or MS. I went through several MRIs, lots of doctor visits, painful headaches, visits to the ER, and a spinal tap. The neurologist made us wait on pursuing the baby and said that in six months we could try again if the lesion hadn’t changed or there weren’t any additional lesions. She said then would be a perfect window. We had no idea what would happen.

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It was brought to my mind that we had been without birth control for eight months, which isn’t long in a lot of ways, after deciding as a family that I would take time off from working so my body could heal and be healthy enough to carry a baby. Also, because of hypothyroidism in my life we didn’t know if there could be possible difficulties to navigate.

We moved to Birmingham to be closer to our families so we could start a family. I remember that the day I found at my sister was pregnant, I was so genuinely happy for her but when I got off the phone I was crying, thinking why is everyone super fertile but me. I read a devotion about not just praying but reminding God of the things He’d done in the Bible for others and asking Him specifically for the things we desire. I for a long time had looked at the beauty of Mary as a mother, Elizabeth was older when God brought John into her womb, and God was  faithful to Sarah. So I asked him that day to do for me what he had done for Abraham and Sarah. That day I’d found out my sister was pregnant. At my cousins wedding, I’d been more emotional than usual and had said to my husband, I’m never going to get a baby in my belly. What I didn’t realize at the wedding or the day my sister called was that already pregnant.

At church Sunday, I looked at the lady holding her young baby and remembered that time of great grief when such things would have made me cry and knew now without any doubt that there was a thriving baby in my belly — a little boy who I am six months pregnant with. No more sad tears. As each of the memories surfaced I was reminded of God’s faithfulness in my life. Sweetly, as the service passed, more and more pictures and moments came to mind, and I became more and more aware of God’s love for me. I had never been let down by Him even when I thought He was silent. This was no exception. There in the midst of His Spirit we sang about His goodness. The reality of His goodness in this situation became so tangible.

13895257_10157215381430258_4841005585647761234_nI thought about a movie we’d seen not too long ago that shared about how magicians trick our minds. They make us look at the thing they want us to focus on and we don’t see the reality of what is actually happening. Life is like that for me a lot. I’ve definitely enjoyed this pregnancy, but I’ve been focused at times on the distraction. The house repairs, learning how to fit back into being around people again as a couple, having healthy grown-up boundaries with family, and my own expectations. It’s crazy how a blessing comes and we are led either by our own humaness or the enemy to look at the illusion that keeps us from the truth. All that was torn away for me on Sunday …

I put my hand on my side and my tummy. I thought of how special this kicking baby would be for me. Not just because it was a child and we wanted a child. It wasn’t just like we said let’s have a baby and immediately got pregnant. Mostly, because at a time in my life when I knew I was being blessed but felt a bit lost, numb spiritually, and that maybe I was resisting my relationship with Christ . . .God reminded me of his faithfulness, that He is still moving in my life, that He’s not done with me, and He’s not distant.

I held to my son growing inside me and thought about how special he’d be because of the answered prayer he was and all God was showing me. I thought how though his birth may be painful that it would be a worship experience to me because of the things God showed me throughout the service. I thought about how God must have a beautiful plan for our son. After all, the baby’s name, Ezra, means help …

Then, quickly in my spirit I heard —

His name means Salvation.

I immediately broke into heavy tears. I was overwhelmed in the best way possible.

In a less than a moment, God had knocked down my walls with His power and stomped the enemy in my life. Answering a prayer I had forgotten about from earlier in the service. We had never planned on naming the baby Ezra and had decided a couple of months into my pregnancy. I knew now that every time I look at my son I will be reminded that I belong to my Lord and nothing can change that.

I have never been more blessed to crumble.

 

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The Second Woman President

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When I was in high school, I sat in my best friend’s grandparent’s living room and watched a political debate on Television. I went over to the bar in the kitchen where my friend and her Nana were sitting and said, “I’m going to be the second woman president.” I went on to explain that I wanted to campaign by telling the truth, not being mean or name-calling my opponents, and win because of how much I cared for people. I remember my friend’s Nana saying something to the effect that she believed I could be the one to do it. fadedflag

I’m not completely sure why I said I wanted to be the second woman president except that I’ve always been really into being quirky and unique, yes, also weird. Also, I was probably only sixteen at the time. I don’t know that it was ever a dream I clung to, but maybe it was an honor to live in a world where I didn’t doubt there was the possibility.

What I do still cling to are the ideals of honor when it comes to the office of presidency, strive for genuineness, and how much I believe that roles that broaden our sphere of influence should hinge on caring and valuing those in that sphere.

One of my favorite presidents is Ronald Reagan. A lot of it has to do with his writing ability. Once, I bought a CD of his letters to his wife and they were beautiful. How could you not admire a man that felt such a way about his wife? Also, he was in one of my favorite Bette Davis movies, Dark Victory. He knew how to give a speech. In my baby book, my mom saved the front page of the newspaper from the day I was born, and he was on it Reagan’s inauguration 1981. I vaguely remember the Berlin wall coming down and the coverage on TV. He seemed to be a classy man, who although human/imperfect, wanted to help.

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When I was in elementary school, we said the pledge in the mornings. Hand over heart. Not because we were required to put our hands there but because that’s what you did with your hand during the pledge. Also, you never sat during the national anthem. There was a flag in the room. We were taught that flag was to be respected. I learned that if it ever touched the ground, it had to be burned.

We learned about presidents in history lessons. The office of the president held esteem and honor. No one was saying that the people who were president were flawless. However, for so many decades there was a bit of mysticism, value, and prestige attached to the office. If you were lucky enough for the president to come to your town there was Santa-like anticipation, a great privilege in shaking a hand or catching a glimpse of him, and as a child you didn’t bad mouth the president.

In fact, the flaws of the president were kept quiet (yes, he had some privacy), families gathered when he addressed the nation on TV, and trusted leadership in times of trouble. However, I am saddened in the ways our world has changed. With the rise of social media, we have all become overly transparent, we see more than we ever have, are viciously manipulated by the media, and we all, in some ways, seek celebrity status. We have forgotten how to honor one another. So, in a lot of ways, the office of the president has become no more to us than a celebrity-type cut-out. Ignorance may not always mean safety but having a little bit of privacy encased the presidency with a bit more dignity.

kindnessWe are not only constantly bombarded on social media by memes, opinions, and articles that are seldom solely factual, but the majority of the information we are fed through Facebook and media outlets is mean spirited, harshly argumentative, and negative. I suppose it is naive of me to believe there could ever have been a campaign of several people based completely on platforms, truth, and sincere hope for taking care of the American people that culminated in a vote leading to a president that we treated with honor and respect.

As a US citizen I grew up in a world where I was taught that I could be whatever I wanted if I dreamed big enough and worked hard for it. I suppose that maybe as a people it is hard for us to honor or value an office or expect other countries to respect our own, when we’ve forgotten how to value and respect ourselves and one another.

I am scared of a world in which I was taught to honor a country that has steadily become broken and shattered. Concerned for a country that will be led by leaders who we only vote for because we don’t want the other candidate to win, not because we are honored to swear them into office for four years. So, what would a valuable campaign for presidency look like to me?

help-the-homelessIt would begin with a candidate who was motivated from a servant’s heart. I would love to witness a person desiring to lead this country yelling at less rally’s to get in a sound byte or dig against their opponent and more images of them loving on others. If black lives matter … why not talk about it less and spend the weekend meeting voters by cleaning, painting, and doing yard work in a low income area of a local city. Without a lot of fanfare, serve food to the homeless or maybe have a rally just for them and give away tents, snacks, hygiene packets, bicycles, and handshakes/hugs. Read to an elderly man in assisted living who is worried about losing his social security or paint a women’s fingernails in a nursing home who can’t quite remember her name but could tell you amazing stories about president’s that served before you.

Maybe, it looks like learning a speech in a different language, even if it sounds like an elementary school student is giving it to that ESL individual. Maybe, pray or spend the day with a veteran or a current soldier who is suffering with PTSD or just wants to be home with their family. Maybe, campaign to the soldiers by taking a trip to where they are because they need to know the person they are voting for from so far away cares for them. Maybe, remind kids today that their worth isn’t in the most provocative photo that can be posted on social media but it is valued by a government that has their best interest at heart. Because they risk their lives daily by just going to school.school_refusal

A long time ago, children were taught not to say bad words, they were disciplined in school for treating their fellow students with disrespect or throwing punches with fists or words. They were taught that they could be whatever they wanted to be because they were growing up in a land of the free. This was a land where the president’s role was honored. Yet, now the very things we were taught as children that were wrong are displayed daily on TV and the internet to a generation who is wandering. A land that now, pays them back after years of hard work, dedication, and perfect grades with mounds of debt for their desire to continue their education. Education they were told was the pathway to their dreams.

A lot of people, a lot of my friends are longing for hope right now. What can I say to them as we are all disappointed in our options? I can say, Let’s do the things we dream of the president doing. Let’s value ourselves and honor our neighbors. For me, I can continue to love God and love my neighbor without blinders, walls, and classism. I can be kind to my family and the people I see every day. I can stop scrolling through internet feeds and step outside and serve. I can hug, pray, and comfort the citizens I come into contact with. I can believe that if we all took on the challenge of loving and valuing each other then we could be proud of our country again. Not because of one man or woman but because, as a community, being Americans begins to mean something worthy of honor again.

I won’t be the second woman president. I can be who I hoped she would be — genuine, courageous, and a full of caring for those she serves. We all can.

 

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Are you successful?

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What is success?

My goal is always to find success where I am, in the small things as well as the “mile-markers.” Some days it’s getting through the day breathing and seeking to be kind to myself and others, even if I’m not perfect at either of those things. (Yes, sometimes I’m not the best breather.)

Morrie Schwartz of Tuesdays With Morrie fabulousness, once asked Mitch Albom (at least in the movie), “What’s wrong with being number two?” Geez, he actually said so many amazinMorrie Schwartzg things, “You’re not just a wave. You’re part of the ocean.” I love teachers (in school and life).

So, why do we compare ourselves to things and people? Why are we so quick to measure ourselves by success as an end product instead of celebrating each step of our journey as an achievement?

I believe success can only be measured by the things you value. So, someone may thing they’re successful because they make a lot of money or go further in their career path? While, success to others might be how many people they are able to encourage or help in their lifetime …

Awhile back, my husband and I decided we wanted to live for things that were eternal. We were aware that life is short and wanted to work each day to take steps toward doing the things we felt we were called to do, would lead us more in a ministerial time of life, and that we both wanted to be able to make enough money to live on and be responsible while putting most of our efforts and finances towards things that made our souls soar.

I put money on the back-burner before I met him. Making tons of money or having a lot of material things was much less important to me than getting to spend time with those I care about, getting to be creative, or seeking to live in the moment and lift-up others.

In fact, it seems that the people we are blessed to know or look up to are actually a good gauge in glimpsing at what we value as successful in a long-term life journey vs. what society or even other friends/family might view as success.hethballoon

I believe my husband’s beautiful grandmother if successful — She’s creative. She’s loving. She encourages others. She gives of herself even when it may not be the easiest thing to do. She loves God. She uses her spiritual gifts. She loves spending time with her family. In my life, she has given me the gift of bringing back a special role that I thought was gone forever.

I love Mother Teresa. I love the homeless that have blessed my life. I am inspired by the special need actors I got to spend time with in Nashville. In my eyes, all of these people are incredibly successful in very important ways. The things I value in others are not how much money they make, the things they have, or how they can impress me. Mostly, I love people that spend time with me, want to be creative with me, laugh with me, and I love hugs. If you are living a life where you are seeking to overcome, love yourself, love God, and give to others to any degree … Why would that be unsuccessful?

So, why do we tell ourselves so may times throughout the day that we are failing? Why do we compare ourselves to others and become disappointed when most of the time the things they have are not things are even what make us happy spiritually, uniquely, or personality wise? If I traded lives with that person, would I be happy in myself? No, but I think I should compare myself to them. That’s how we think. It’s so strange.

Today, I want to feel unsuccessful at sleeping (because I can’t sleep this week), unsuccessful career-wise because in the season of my life I’ve been unable to work at much as I used to, and unsuccessful creatively because things have kept me or I have resisted my gifts.

Wouldn’t it be so cool if we celebrated achievements in where we are daily? So, like, say your health is bad or your home-bound, maybe success is not being your neighbor but that you sat outside on the porch for ten minutes when yesterday you had to stay in bed all day. What if we had special dinners, at cupcakes, or gave ourselves little gifts were achievements like that?

What if.

Life would be more joyful, more often, I think. But I’m no Morrie. I’m just a sleep-deprived, thirty-four year-old, soon-to-be mom that sat on the porch today and was finally able to share some words.

Success.

 

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NewIsh Poem

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I haven’t shared a poem in awhile. This one still needs work, but here is something newish from me.

After seeing an ad reading: “Spray the Bitch Away ­­­Aromatherapy Spray/Perfume for PMS Symptoms, Bitch Days, Menopause, and Hot Flashes ­­­ Frankie & Myrrh”

Dear Bitch
By Amanda Gayle Oliver

The same gifts the wiseman laid at the feet of the Mother, glowing Mary with her halo … the Messiah suckling at her breast. They set them at her feet.
Frankincense and Myrrh has been bottled for you, too. “Spray the Bitch Away” the label reads. The perfect remedy for PMS, “Bitch Days,” Menopause, and hot flashes. Because breathing in the gifts left for the Savior of the world will relieve you of being, being a woman.

Because the symptoms of needing
Bitch spray are the thing you were taught would help you become, become a woman. For 18.50 you can surrender the badges of honor that you wear across your Suffrage sash.
Veil the time of the month when you don’t suck in your stomach or hold your tongue. When the hormones slash your pearl necklace, when they cause you to spill the sweetest tea you’ve concocted yet, and render you powerless to feel sexy in that pure white lingerie that your husband loves so much. Stop feeling the pride that comes with the heavy flow of red, the reassurance that you can release, that egg, and hope for the baby you’ve been trying for now in years.
Breathe in deeply past the spanx slimming your bloat and spray. Spray it into your mouth in case you snap gnashed teeth shut on the hand that feeds you. Spray it on your feet when the fatigue becomes too much to carry to all the places your dreams haven’t dragged you. When hot flashes prevent you from flashing bright like the neon sign of his favorite strip joint. Spill it in his lap. Maybe some will rub off on the next bitch. The one who didn’t vow for better or worse.
Wise men lay gifts at your feet.
Love. Respect. Acceptance. Compassion. Grace.

I Am Drinking The Gross Tea

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Dandelion tea is not for tasting good or maybe back in the olden days before preservatives and “natural” flavoring bitter and flavorless was what tasted good. I’m not a fan of flavorless. I snuggle up on the sunporch and look at a newly bloomed tulip tree and knead a dream I had this morning in my mind — like dough, of which I cannot eat. Because? You guessed it, things that make things that taste good are not good for you.

dreamanity-dream-interpretation-guide-healing-through-dreamsI had a dream this morning after husband left to go to his networking meeting. It felt long but I don’t know how long episodes are in dream world. For sure, to me, it would’ve been like an hour long not sitcom length.

If dreams are representative, maybe it isn’t so strange when you dream of people from your past. Sometimes it leaves you dazed and wondering, for a good part of your “after waking up with Folger’s in your cup.” (or gross tea) Before, when I’d dream of someone I had seen or talked to in a long time, I would pray for them or reach and out and make sure they were okay. There is the woman I dream about who was a big part of a past journey, and I came to realize when I saw her in a dream that I needed to ask myself — what is going on with the strong woman inside of me? where do I need to be stronger in my life? where am I trying to be strong that exhausts me?

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This morning I dreamed about a high school crush. Unrequited love? What is it about that? Maybe, it’s the same thing as fanfiction. What compels me to write fanfiction about characters another writer has established? All three shows I’ve written for … it’s been about love that is unrequited. Writers that left tension, losse ends, almost a kiss. So, maybe that person is your fanfiction … the real life kind. Eh … But maybe, they represent something … So, a friend that I went to high school with showed up in my dream this morning. I had a crush on him … maybe my first love (but unrequited), he had a crush on me … the timing was always off. I wasn’t there that day he knocked on the door. Star Trek: TNG movie blocked that path in my life. It’s okay because Riker/Troi got married in that one. So, we’re friends, we were friends … it wasn’t something that probably would’ve worked out other than in high school and God had better plans for both of us. He married the love of his life, and God created the most beautiful man I’ve ever known to step into mine. But the mind wanders for a writer and in sleep … it makes for good stories … good ideas for stories and fanfiction. Maybe, the passion for a lot of creating exists on unrequited. We propel ourselves forward a lot on things that we won’t let ourselves miss out on again, ideas of the imagination, or things we hope to come true that are enough even if they don’t — the striving, the journey.

Anyway, husband and I were staying in the bonus room or basement room of a family friend in the dream who has a sick loved one. In someways, the reflection of a long love relationship that is facing the ultimate step to overcoming or loving wit the possibility of letting go is a beautiful thing to reflect on enough in a dream. The fact that we were staying at someone else’s house wasn’t surprising either. We’re in transition. We seem to have walked a lot of our marriage in the in between, but sometimes you have to take chances and risk changes even if no one else can understand … even if you don’t understand the journey.

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Also, in the dream husband realized that a huge final paper for a class we were taking was due the next day while we were talking to a neighbor that had tried to sell him pot. He had been smoking a cigarette moments earler or at least, had put one in his mouth. I was looking at him like, “Take that out right now! You don’t do that!” So, husband does indeed check the website for the class and the paper is due the next day. We’re both responsible for the assignment. It’s one of those long college papers that involves books, research, and steps. He leaves to go get it done, and I get on the phone to the doctor to see if he can write me an excuse for the illness and anxiety that has kept me from all the classes and now there’s a final paper and I’ve missed the lessons and the work. bc66b9b2106279f682ed7dc72b92240f

I think this part of the dream could go two ways. I used to dream a lot that I was on stage in a play that I’d never been given the script to or learned the lines for and I was expected to just carry the show. I think it’s kind of the same thing. We’re both learning still how to do life in a relationship, to be married, and as two people that are introverts … how to be with someone all the time. I also think that it is a time when spiritually husband has been growing a lot, is feeling God’s spirit, and is putting in a lot of work to know what he believes and the Truth of the things he believes in … I have struggled a bit with my faith this year. For various reasons, I have struggled with spending time with God over vegging out on things with no meaning.

top-10-carl-jung-quotes-4-638I know what you’re thinking … it was a dream. But it was a long dream and one that stayed with me. I was taught long ago to pay attention to my dreams … it’s a lesson I’ve kept with me. You can be biased and filter your emotions and thoughts in life, but in your dreams you can’t. They just are and are happening.

So, my friend shows up … it’s one of those examples of wanting to find out the answers from something that you’ll never have all the answers to. He doesn’t speak a lot in the dream. Mostly, in the beginning when he comes into the room with me. It’s when he is about to shed light on things that I wake up. But, he has come looking for me. It’s that thing in high school that you wish the person you like would show up at your doorstep or at your work with flowers. You want them to be looking for you. In my dream, he was. It was weird to me because we were no where close to where he lives … why would he think I would be there? At a person’s house he doesn’t know and in the basement? But, he was calling for me from a hallway. I told him about wanting to leave school … he got it. The thing that stood out to me was that I asked him the best thing that happened to him that day and he didn’t answer. I even brought it up later … “Why don’t you answer the question?” It’s not a really hard one. There’s always something in your day that you can be thankful for … even if it’s small. He was exposed in front of me in some symbolic ways … I was folding or packing or teaching … I’m not quite sure. There were feelings there. The kind that come when you’re reading a fanfiction. Will they or won’t they? Will they ever be together? Will he tell her what’s been going on in his mind? Faithfulness was always in place. Even, in my dream, I knew I was married, but I wanted to know only something he could say … wanted only something he could give me. Right before I thought he was going to explain everything, I woke up. Unrequited.

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Someone told me this once. I understand the idea. I don’t believe it, fully.

So, who is he? Well, if you even knew me in high school … you’re probably saying … duh, that’s an easy one. What I mean is, what does he represent? I’ve been asking for more affection towards God/Jesus and he’s the one with the answers that seem distant or illusive at times. Could that have been the symbolism? Maybe, it’s the dreamer in me. Maybe, it’s the creative life. You know I’m the one who struggles against the flavorless … even when it’s good for me. Maybe, seeing someone who represents something that you wanted to happen or a love that wasn’t reciprocated in the season or time you had laid out for yourself …

Yes, it’s the issue with being a dreamer. A believer in all things can come true. A faith follower in God wanting big and beautiful things for those He loves. It’s something about being a creative and trusting in the life you want to lead when everyone else’s looks more stable and possible. It’s that thing that makes you dream about your high school guy friend, that crush that never went further than cheek kisses, hugs, and wearing class rings … when you wonder if you’ll ever see your creative hopes come to fruition and if that sweetness the bits and pieces of “almost” will ever be enough for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Isn’t That I Fail To Try

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I’ve been thinking since I got off work today. A lot of that is because my achy, headache-ridden, nauseous body wanted me just to stare for a few hours. However, I do feel like if you’ve been thinking for a hours straight you should always right a blog. *wink*

So, here I am, wondering if I will be able to stay up late enough to work on my X-Files fanfiction. I just got out of a lavender/rosemary bath, in a borrowed bathroom as we are living with a sweet friend and being blessed by God’s provision for her. I looked down at my body that has many moles and red freckles as of my late twenties and thought about how they look like constellations. Stars painted on to my skin by the Most Creative. How imaginative that they would form new solar systems at different seasons in my life …

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The best story I probably have from today is the one about how I think I might have accidentally “molested” the dog at work. We’ve become friends, he and I. It made me happy when I started my new job two weeks ago that the owners brought their dog to work. He’s there to pet when you’re nervous about starting something new, having a bad day, or just to have a new doggie friend. Anyway, it all started when I shared my chicken and bacon from my salad on my first day. It’s a nice way to start a relationship with a dog. Today, he let me rub his belly while he was standing next to me, and so I scratched his belly and looked over at the paint I was analyzing when I felt my hand bump into something. It took me a nanosecond to realize what it had been that impeded my hand movement. He rolled over onto his back and let me scratch his belly … I thought it was awesome that he wasn’t skittish around me anymore. Then, I saw something I didn’t want to see on a dog and remembered that we have a girl dog and I can scratch further on her belly because her penis is further down. Either, way it was barely contact, he flashed me a little, and now we’re back to boundaries. We’re still tight though, I think. This is the story I told my husband when he asked me about my day. It made us both smile.

Sometimes, I think a lot and on a subconscious level, I think, to be able to find answers … to fix things. I’ve wanted my health to be fixed for a long time now. What I’ve found, at times, is waiting and listening can be better than “fixing.” Last week, I was being. I started my new job and it was rough on my autoimmune stuff. It frustrated me that I would hurt so much and be so tired after shifts. However, I enjoyed the overcoming. I liked the ocean waves of just floating. I’m going to work today so tomorrow I have to be still, rest, be kind to myself. (I didn’t like it all the time …) I liked relying on God. I enjoyed the sunshine and the ride to work … listening to praise music, listing things in “my thinks” to be grateful for (also blessings, positives, and even small accomplishing). I did it and even though afterwards I might not be as peppy as I wanted … I could be blessed in the overcoming.

This week I had hope in new treatment, herbs, a new approach. I woke up the next day and was too sick at my stomach to go to work. I couldn’t even move without feeling super nauseous. I got no sleep. My voice was hoarse. I decided I wanted my approach to better health to have steps in it and not an “all at once.” I mean, there are times to push through, the “ick” that has to come before the awesome of getting your body back in order. There are also times when so many other changes are going on that maybe baby steps are worth it. I tend to jump in and then jump out at times. I felt peaceful going into my first IV treatment last week, but after I longed for the week before when I wasn’t at 100 percent, but I was more accepting of the “being.” I missed being able to ride to work with God without a tummy ache and a migraine … listing the things I’m thankful for.

I’m not saying that I fail to try … I’m just saying that sometimes there’s a little more joy in the floating. Healing will come when it’s meant to … God will be my always.

Strong Women (Part 1): Glasses

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One of the first things I associated with strong women growing up, was the way they pushed there glasses back onto their heads. That, and the way their “grown-up” shoes clacked on the floor when they walked. (I love grown-up shoes!) Maybe, I didn’t realize that glasses on top of the head was the superhero signal that strong women wore, but I believe the first time I saw it happen, that time that left an palpable mark, was in elementary school.

little-girl-wearing-glassesRamona Shannon. She was my principal at the elementary school I attended in Birmingham, Alabama. I remember her glasses as if she was sitting across from me today. I remember knowing that she was walking through the hallways of our school because of the sounds her shoes made on the tiled floor. I remember how I would cry every day in the third grade for my mom/to go home. Eventually, my teacher had been instructed to put me in the hallway. Sobbing, I would end up being rocked by the school secretary. Smelling of her perfume, I would eventually be walked back to class by Mrs. Shannon. I remember her telling me that I had beautiful eyelashes. I remember how I grew there from the girl crying in the hallway to the one running for SGA Vice President, becoming co-captain of the Academic Bowl, winning the school spelling bee, and my last year being presented with the Principal’s Award for my growth as a student and for overcoming. I can still here the sound of her voice as she called my name.

Needless to say, when kids my age thought getting glasses was nerdy, I thought they were the coolest. I wore my cousin’s, I wore my best friends in middle school, and now, well, I where my own because I messed my eyes up being “cool” in everyone else’s glasses. I have always had a love affair with strong women without even realizing it. It was an admiration that caused me much pain in my late teens, early twenties when I grabbed onto them too tight and a gut twisting lesson that taught me so much about others and myself.

When I went away to college, I broke into pieces that I didn’t quite know how to put back broken-heartinto a whole. I had once been taught that if you see people that you admire or that do what you want to do, to learn from them, ask them to mentor you, and to set goals with habits that would help you be more like that yourself. It took me a long time to stand on my own and to learn who I was as a woman with strength. Being able to push your glasses back onto your head, it’s kind of like being able to where one of those cardboard hats and move your tassle to the other side. The road to get there is steep at times. When I was sick with depression, an eating disorder, and during the time I self-harmed I grabbed on to women I saw as strong because I thought the could keep me safe when the world I was living in was spiraling. Especially, because I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I was scared of myself.

It was during one of the darkest times I’ve ever experienced, that I had to let go as some of those women who become huge idols in my life and some even had to be ripped away from me by people in authority. One of these women, who wore glasses on her head, and at times forgot they were there … she explained to me that I was gravitating toward these strong women because I wanted to be close to these things that I admired that I couldn’t see yet within myself. Yet, they were there. It was a painful season of growth. I learned on a real level about my own identity, how dependence on people will always let you down, and how my true strength was in God. I learned where my strength came from and how to walk in it.

I said to a friend, last weekend, that I believed that the beginning of each decade has been a time of growth for me. I crumbled in my early twenties. It was a falling apart that helped me to stand firm in God and to realize the unique way he’d made me and the gifts that he’d given me as an individual. It didn’t happen overnight this graduation of glasses pulled back to rest on my head, but what a blessing it is the day you look back and reflect on all you’ve learned. The beginning of my thirties have been another dark and painful season, however, because of what I went through before I am able to be excited about a season of learning and growth … maybe that next level, where you get to put the glasses on your head and then forget about them.

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It took me a long time to be able to separate the woman I admired from the myths I had created about them. When, I look back, I think about all the pressure my admiration caused. I also, see their flaws. I’ve learned what real strength looks like and I think these women are even more beautiful. I realize the women I admired for their strength had their own struggles with marriage, death in their families during those times, stressful jobs, probably family drama, and yet, somehow they made time for me. It is vulnerability, perseverance, and being raw in the flaws you have as a woman that make you strong. It is sharing your story without a mask, it is the puffy eyes behind the makeup, and the power in letting yourself be.

A strong lady, that has been in my life for quite some time, said to me recently that when we embrace the things about ourselves that maybe aren’t all shiny or things we might not like best about ourselves, things others might see as imperfections, that we are being healthy. It is when we resist them that it becomes unhealthy.

I’m glad as I’ve gotten older that I’ve learned to embrace who I am and to see strong women as they are (it’s a process), without projecting some type of fairytale on them. I think that we have to continue to refresh this lesson even as we get old. It is easy when you’re going through as difficult or exhausting season in your life to compare yourself to someone you see as strong, especially people on TV or in magazines. We look into the mirrors of writers we adore, women that run nonprofits that we admire, or even that have already reached where we want to be someday.

I think that you have to sit back and remember everyone is struggling, everyone has that thing in the mirror that they don’t like, everyone is looking to someone else at times and thinking they have it all together. Celebrities are real people.  Every strong woman is flawed. The beauty in strength is the embracing, walking in and through the difficult, and being transparent.

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It’s this strong women truth that I learned. This secret that had light shined on it so that I could see the flaws. It’s the myths that I learned to untangle that has helped me be able to walk in my own strength, even if on days that doesn’t look very strong. I am seeking to be supportive of women that I’ve met and may never meet, that just aren’t the stories we right on them. They are so much more powerful when they tell the stories themselves.

This week I got to lean back from a particular obsession and practice the skills I learned going from the girl clinging to strong women to the woman who sometimes pushes her glasses back onto her head without even realizing it. (See Part Two of Strong Women)

 

woman-making-listPut yourself at the top of the list of strong women you admire. – Kaye F.

 

 

 

 

 

Strong Women Pt. 2: What I Hope For Gillian Anderson

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 I am in no way acquainted with Gillian Anderson. This was meant as a blessing to her as well as a reminder to all women to unravel the myths we project onto one another. 

Wallpaper-star-trek-the-next-generation-32404551-1280-720This week I was reminded of an eleven year old girl that fell in love with Star Trek: The Next Generation one summer, became obsessed, and began to write. Through this process I learned that positive things can come from passion over something  you love and then you can fangirl too much to your friends and they never spend the night at your house again … that happened too. Then, I stepped into middle school the following autumn and at times was grounded from the X-Files because I kept my parents up with nightmares. That little girl who still resides somewhere in the spirit of this 34 year old woman has become re-obsessed with the X-Files, only without the nightmares this time. When I became a fan of ST:TNG it was because of a strong woman by the name of Marina Sirtis. I couldn’t get enough of Counselor Troi. Back then, you had to buy Communicator magazine or wait for a special on E! to fangirl over you favorite actress/character.

Now, I can overwhelm myself and wake up the next day with an X-Files hangover strong-womencourtesy of Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, FB, and the list goes on. It’s fun to lose yourself in something you love for a bit. The trick is lassoing yourself back to reality. You have to observe yourself enough to realize that a bit of balance is in order. I think we go through seasons of our lives when we’re exhausted, when we want to rest into something comforting from our childhoods or getting excited over something you never thought would happen (like Season Ten of X-Files).

daveandgillWhile there was no indelible harm, I did learn some neat lessons from the X-Files Revival press week. I remembered that there are so much more important things in my life such as my writing, my relationship with God, and my ministry to the outcast … it sure would be nice to pour into them in the way I scrambled to scroll through everything I could about a show I love on TV. When I want to read a fanfic, involving Mulder and Scully, I have the beautiful lips of my husband to kiss right here that I could kiss a bit more often. I also had the chance to remember that the strong women we admire even on TV are very real, carry their own flaws, and when we write myths upon them we do them a disservice.

X-Files Revival press week was exciting, fun, and rough. I was beat, and I am only a fan. Then, last night I read a post on Tumblr and realized that Gillian Anderson had gone back to London. I was reminded it was just a week and Friday marked it being over. My life could get back to a norm. My next thought about Gillian — I hope she’s sleeping.

I love strong women. This week, along with many other fans, I watched a strong woman. Today, I hoped for her.

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I hoped that Gillian Anderson slept for much of the day, if not all of it. Because really I don’t know how she was staying on her feet all week anyway. As an introvert, myself, a full day or two and I’m mush for like a week. I thought about how heavy it must feel to have so many eyes on you. How at times you must want to let yourself bend under the honor of being personified as a strong woman, when so many times what we view as strength in public figures is not giving credence to their true strength at all.

When do I think she was probably at her strongest this week? I think maybe that thirty gilliananddavidfoxtcaminutes or so she had to herself in a bathroom when her sugar was low or her body didn’t want to go another step — that was strength. I think if she shed a tear or more to vent the stress — that was strength. I think the millionth time someone asked her about her chemistry with David Duchovny and all she could think about in the back of her mind was wanting to snuggle her kids — that was strength. I think when she sat in one more chair across from an interviewer and she struggled to get any words to come — that was strength. I think that when all of us were in good nature were reading into body language between two people who have known each other for over twenty years and a wrist was grabbed or a body leaned into because of understood anxiety you were pushing through or how difficult it is to grow in public, keep your life private, and be true to yourself when all kinds of expectations are pushing your way — that was strength.

I hope that Gillian Anderson arrived home today and realized when she felt like all her strength was gone … that there was strength in that moment, too. I hope that she stayed in her pajamas all day — maybe a too big but extra soft T-Shirt, lounge pants, a robe with holes that felt like a security blanket, and the most comfortable house shoes in all of England. I hope that she took naps, had many cups of her favorite tea, took a long bath, and played light sabers with her kids. I hope that all the questions from a week of being looked at underneath a microscope fell away, and all she could hear was the unconditional love of those who really know her. I hope she wiped off her make-up and felt even more beautiful than when she was made up over and over again for interviews in the U.S., seeing each wrinkle as a miracle, memory, or a season of overcoming she could cherish. I hope she rested. I hope she rested in the humanity of who she is and realized that it is enough. I hope she gave herself the gift of finding her strength in her vulnerabilities. I hope she is telling bedtime stories to her sons — hugs and kisses from the people that love her without unrealistic expectations. I hope she is still after the whirlwind, giving grace to herself for wherever she is at this moment.

This is what I hope, because if press week was rough on those that admire, it had to be heavy on her. And we strong women, have to support one another.

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If by some chance she were to read this, I hope Gillian would be blessed. I also hope that every time you see her on your Tumblr feed, on Twitter, or a replayed interview you wouldn’t stop admiring her strength but see truth and remember that your own vulnerability makes you a strong woman, too.

 

“A strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.” – Marge Piercy
“… let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.” 1 John 1:3

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May The Force Make It So

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I popped my Star Wars cherry on New Year’s Day. Well, I let my husband do it. I mean it isn’t that scandalous. We are married now. cherryheart

Here’s the story. The summer before sixth grade I fell in love with Star Trek: TNG. When I say that I fell in love with TNG, I mean I saw Counselor Troi and I had a favorite character and a TV idol. I loved her. That summer, I got a desk in my room and I began to write a TNG novel b/c the show was going into it’s last season and I hadn’t had enough time to love it. Now, I suppose it would be considered fan fiction, but then I thought it might really be published someday. So, I developed these principals as I began to obsess over my new found love of Star Trek.deetroi

There would be no Star Wars. It was either/or for me. I did not want Star Wars getting my money or attention. I was a devoted Trekkie. Also, I wasn’t really a sci-fi fan before this. I was only 11. I also boycotted Voyager when it came on in the stead of my show leaving. You know, like we had a Nielsen box at our house and somehow I’d help take the show down and they’d put Picard and crew back up on the screen.

Every guy I have dated since then has tried to get me to watch Star Wars. It drives them insane to the nth degree when you do not agree to watch the movies. They’ll argue and whine. It’s so good. You’ll like it. Do it as a couple’s thing. No, I would say. It’s just a weird thing I decided as a kid. I will not watch it for anyone. It doesn’t matter if it is good or not.

Last Christmas, I allowed Heath to put in the first movie, because in marriage you want to show someone you love them. I had waited a long time to be with someone I respected and treated me well and finally, much like my virginity, I would give this gift to someone I loved deeply and was married too. I also think it was because he promised to watch Gone With The Wind. Anyway, I fell asleep really soon after it began playing. I suppose we can call it the Star Wars “pulling out” method.

However, a new movie with the original cast came out and it was Christmas … then New Year’s. Our New Year’s tradition is to get up, eat breakfast somewhere, and then spend the day at the theater watching movies. So with much thought and wanting to do something with him that he loved … considering he has been so amazing to me this year, he loves me unconditionally, and I have been binge watching X-Files like crazy since August — I went.

The theater was packed a month after a release, we sat in the third row right in front of the screen. I thought I’d be cross-eyed, but that turned out okay. It was a good movie. Most of the way through, I thought of things I liked and could talk about with him when he wanted to discuss it in the car later. Here’s something he loves, I can fangirl/fanboy over with him. Then, there was this one scene.

dekelleyDid I ever tell you that I didn’t watch or like original trek (except pieces of the movies), but I love Bones? I love DeForest Kelley. I wanted to be his granddaughter, his friend, and his mentoree. In the same way, I don’t like Star Wars. However, I do like Hans Solo (and Yoda) (and now BB8). Do you see where I’m going? I had so much to enthusiastically talk with Heath about, even considered becoming a fan, then … Hans Solo … Well, Harrison Ford stipulated … Hmm, let’s just say *spoiler alert,* it’s sort of like when Brent Spiner wanted Data to get blown up in the last ST:TNG movie. I turned to Heath in the theater and said with a pouty face, “I hate this movie.” I’d done this once before when a similar thing happened to Gandalf in one of the Lord of the Rings movies. Gandalf came back.

So, here is what I have concluded from my “first” full encounter with the force. It’s entertaining. There are good themes and metaphors. I shipped Han/Leia until I couldn’t anymore. I had fun with my husband. I want a BB8.

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On a sidenote, I do love Carrie Fisher! I’ve been watching every YouTube interview I can.

I am still a Star Trek: TNG fan through and through though. I’m in it for the character development. I’ve loved those seven characters since I was a little girl. I write fan fiction. I’ve been to cons. They are part of my story. I am a writer because I got serious about writing after the show went off (God gifted me too, I had amazing teachers, but my enjoyment started then).

Besides, it’s 19 days! 19 days until X-Files. Do you know how huge it is to lose something so great and get it back even just for six episodes? And not just the show … the press promotion before the premier next week, the new fan fiction that will drop after … I mean may the force make it so.

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“The truth is out there.” – Malcolm Reynolds

 

 

Counting By Threes

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downloadI don’t know if I’m quite finished with 2015. Everything has been a little off and being the perfecionist I can sometimes be … Well, I don’t like to leave things behind until I can “fix” them or make them like “they should be.” I know I have no ability to redeem this year. That ability is solely God’s.

It was a year that began with a desire to heal and to be able to do more activities with my husband and friends. I was so ready to start over from 2014. However, two months later I experienced a loss that I still have not recovered from fully. I probably never will. No matter how hard my brain tries to right what it still cannot take in … I will never be able to bring back my friend. The last time I will see him in the physical world will be 2015. Even, the seasons did seem to know how to change this year. The were late changing hue, it was hot and stormy on Christmas Day, and Spring, well Spring is always short in the South. I have been changed this year. Some for the better, some for the worst, and some I’m still processing. Yet, God has chosen to bless me with another year. I am still breathing. With joy (the proper use of the word), I am looking forward to what a new year brings.

What I can say is a lot of life happened in 2015. I wanted to share some of it in 3s. Of course, there is always more, there will be more than three hard things that happened this year, much more than three good things, there will be more than three good books that I read or hugs that I had …

Three Fun Things

  1. Husband and I took ballroom dance lessons for several months. It brought us a lot of joy, helped us engage in a hobby together, and increased our intimacy as a couple.
  2. Kayaks! We finally got to be out on the water this summer after living by the lake for a little over a year. It was relaxing, fun, and just what we needed. I grew up on the lake and I felt closer to parts of my life that I really like.
  3. We went on our first family vacation with my parents to the beach. It was such a blessing because we haven’t been able to go in two years. It was a wonderful, relaxing time. Sand on my feet, a book in my hands, the ocean, seafood, and binge watching the X-files.

Bonus: Going to Dixie Carter’s hometown with Heath and visiting her grave.

 

Three Hard Things

  1. One of my favorite people to joke around, who I had known and had been in my family for thirteen years, unexpectedly took his leave of this world and went to be with Jesus. Young and healthy, he was torn from his life and his family. This brought sorrow, doubt, fear, stress, panic attacks, and more into my life this year. I still haven’t grieved the way I need to and my mind strains as does my body to will him here, to produce him before my eyes, and to make him be here when I want to spend time with him. I have learned beautiful things from God during this time of loss, have seen my family work as I believe God meant it to during times of duress, and have seen God be glorified in amazing ways through my cousins life. I learned more about him, I’ve held his wife in my arms, and I’ve loved on his kids. These are blessings that I’m grateful for … Darin, George Strait Music, and Amanda, another thing that comes together in his memory in threes.
  2. Learning to find joy, despite living with illness. Last year around the holidays, the doctor found a lesion on my brain. Much of the holiday was magical b/c husband and I sought to take everything in and live in the moment. Eventually, the stress of four MRIs, a spinal tap, IV infusions treatments, and waiting for results wore down my body and my spirit a bit. I had chronic headaches and was learning to deal with other chronic illness in my life such as hypothyroidism, mitral regurgitation, low bp, and fibromyalgia. I felt like my days were being wasted, I felt isolated, and was disappointed that I wasn’t able to do as much with husband or do as many activities with friends. I had to go back on an antideppresant for a short time this year because of the physical stress on my body and the way it had tired out my mind. Eventually, we got the okay from the doctor on the brain lesion. We prayed and God blessed us with a good report, the okay on having kiddos, and after June 2016 never having to see the nuerologist again if no more lesions appeared.download (1)
  3. Struggling with my creativity. I have been resissting my writing. I find with God and beauty when I create. I have missed putting words on the page as often as I have in the past.

Three Beautiful Things

  1. I got to work for a few months this year with an organization called Backlight Productions, Inc. It is a theater company comprised of special needs adults. I got to watch talented individuals reach goals, be blessed, express their gifts, and conduct themselves with love towards others, and complete positivity. It was a great privilege to be in their midst.
  2. I made a friend who is a beautiful survivor, a currently unhoused individual in Nashville, and is an amazing poet. I was glad to have her in our home and get to spend some time with her.
  3. I got to see my husband’s face light up as God began bringing people into his life to minister to in the avenue he was called to minsiter and as it came time each week for him to do his seminary class.

Three Accomplishments

  1. I had a couple of poetry features this year, one in which I got to be part of a podcast with an amazing singer/songwriter. I got to be apart of a great community of playwrites and actors when I had my play performed at the Dark Horse here in Nashville for the Ten Minute Playground. I went to as many readings as I could, some when I was sick but sought to overcome.
  2. I gave baby Easton his bath the night after his daddy went to heaven. I got to see the joy in the smile and feel the bittersweetness of knowing that thought he was smiling he didn’t know the enormity of what was happening around him. I felt like this was an honor to make him smile and be blessed by his joy. Something I could do for his dad — love his baby boy.
  3. I think, though I’ve listened to so many untruths, and acted off of those that I have been a much better wife this year than the first year we were married. I became less scared of intimacy with my husband, I am trying to let down my walls and love more without protecting myself too much, and although there is so much more for me to learn and impliment. I think our marriage is growing.

Three Changes

  1. My sister got married and moved to California. I’m so excited for her new adventure and to go visit her there.
  2. We sold our house and will be moving in the new year.
  3. I decided to move on from a job where I loved the people, where I enjoyed working, and where I stretched myself professionally to take care of my health. It wasn’t easy to leave when it wasn’t a negative situation, but I had to do what was best for myself and my family.

Three Hobbies in 2015

  1. Housesitting
  2. Video Games with Heath
  3. Kayaking
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    I was blessed to see this fabulous lady in concert for the 2nd time. So, that’s a hobby now.

     

Three Stand Out Quality Times

  1. Tea and poems on Ciona’s porch. This was a day I needed words, a good friend, and to overcome. Such a peaceful day of fulfillment.
  2. Gena, Ella, and I eating breakfast together.
  3. Flannery and I catching up when I went to Birmingham on my red dirt jar journey.

Bonus: Cooking with Ruru. All the amazing time with family and friends during October, especially for my Birthday.

Three Lessons From 2015

  1. bestillpiccopyYou are a human being, not a human doing. Just be where you are and let God be powerful in your weaknesses. “Being.”
  2. Joy looks different at different times and circumstances in your life. It’s not always laughing, dancing, and smiling. Sometimes it’s a heartbeat.
  3. Life is short.

Three People I’m Glad I Met in 2015

  1. Nate Eppler, Rebekah Durham, Rachel, and the team from Ten Minute Playground. Amazing experience!
  2. Gerty! I never was a huge animal person. However, this little rescue, with the soulful eyes, has become a great friend and source of joy.
  3. Kirsten. (Although, we’ve technically met before, I have been blessed to be around her this year)

Three Suprises I’d Like to Have In 2016

  1. A baby.
  2. A trip to New Mexico.
  3. A visit from a special friend I haven’t seen in a while.

Three Goals for 2016

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  1. To write everyday in some capacity, not because someone will see it or it will be published or to have something to read at a reading but because I love it.
  2. Spend more time with God in all different kind of ways. No expectations or limitations of what that should look like. Just Him and me figuring that out. Listening to Him.
  3. Be kinder to my husband and love him more daily.

Bonus: See the adventures and miracles around me that are already there daily. Learn what it means to be in my thirities — saying no to things without regret, taking the best care of myself, not comparing myself to others or their expectations, and letting go of the things I can’t change.

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Three Hopes for 2016

  1. More prayer.
  2. The ability to continue to share my story and serve.
  3. That the X-Files Revival is just as good as it seems when it gets here January 24th.😉 Can’t wait!mulder-and-scully-in-the-x-files-revival

Three Thankfuls

  1. Our church that I will miss greatly when we move, the things I’ve learned there, the people, and the outreach we’ve gotten to participate in. Serve – A – Lution!
  2. That I’ve gotten to stand behind an mic as much as I have here and have been givine the opportunity to share my words, thoughts, and gifts from God. I LOVE the writing community in Nashville!
  3. The homeless community that has made my life a better place here in Music City.

Three Things I’ve Learned From My Husband in 2015

  1. The beauty in how he leads with vulnerability, humbleness, and unconditional love.
  2. The importance of Bible Study.
  3. Not all men walk away when things are hard, when they’re scared, or when things don’t look like they thought you would. And he still thinks I’m beautiful when I can’t shower or wear makeup every day. Grace.

Bonus: I am an admanent snuggler and whether it’s a snuggle hug, snuggle nap, or snuggling during a movie … He snuggle more than I’m sure he ever expected in his life.

I know all of you have had “much” life this year. Good or bad. Misteps or triumphs. Gains or losses. I just want you to know you are loved. You are important to me. AND if you’re reading this … you made it! So, you’ve accomplished much more than you realized. Here’s to breathing in and being this 2016!

2011_uspro_you_made_it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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