Thursday, January 30, 2014

The End-Beginning

     And here we are! 30 posts from me in 30 days!

     To give you some perspective, I did 50 posts in total all of 2013.

     So I've done more in 30 days this year, than I did half the year of 2013!!

    Thank you to my blog subscribers for letting me bombard your inboxes for this month. I promise it won't be so crazy from here on out ;)

     And thank you to Lindsay and Stephanie who were my champions this month. When I started to lose steam with writing over the weekends or during my long work weeks, I would get random text messages and encouragement from these ladies.

     I honestly feel like a better human being when I make time to write. Key word here, make.

     I had to purposely make time, over and over again. It was difficult, but not impossible.

     I learned to truly prioritize the gifts and talents that God has given me and that I also happen to enjoy. #perks

     I encourage you, to step out and pursue your hobbies, your talents, your gifts. Not in a half a** casual way, but like you mean it. There truly is purpose in it.

     Oh--and do not, I repeat, DO NOT go at it alone!

     If I've learned anything from this writing challenge, it's that success never comes in a solo package, but rather in a team dynamic.

     I'm truly honored and blessed that you would take time out of your busy day to read my words. I hope they resonate with you, and that my words give you a peek into my heart and perhaps yours as well.

     I'll continue to share my insights as a single woman who loves God, living in Los Angeles, and who dares to live a life of adventure. I invite you to join me on this crazy ride. I can guarantee neither of us knows how this thing is going to end.

     And in closing, as a result of me completing this writing challenge, I've finally decided to write a book *falls backwards and faints*. The subject matter will relate to the main themes in this blog, but in a much more concentrated way. I'll update you come the summer.

     Until then...

Wisdom's Knocking:

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; 
that is where they should be. 
Now put the foundations under them.” 

 ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

4 Secrets to Becoming Brave

I honestly believe that we are not meant to walk through our time on earth like drones or zombies.

Living. Well, it's something else. And it takes more than just breathing. It takes more than just observing. It comes alive in the doing, and in the risk taking.

Fear is the opposite of Love.

And fear holds us back in countless ways, day to day, month to month, and year to year, before we know it, we've missed opportunities that we can never regain in the same way. We secretly wish that we would have been courageous. That we would have walked away sooner. Or that we would have said yes, before the chance passed us by.

But it's not too late to be Brave.

I love encouraging you in the ways of love and also in the ways of adventure.

This life is meant to be lived, and lived fully.

What would your life look like, if you were suddenly brave--braver than you've ever been before?

I think you'd be proud and pleasantly surprised.

The old folks used to say, if you're going through something hard...well, just keep living. And if you haven't gone through something hard and difficult...well...just keep living.

I'd like to add a little something to that. Living, and getting through the difficulties and even the highlights of life take a special sort of bravery. A bravery that is tempered with perspective and the ability to risk again and again, whether in love, career, friendships, relocations, etc. It's a type of bravery that allows you to believe in a hopeful future beyond your own legacy. This type of bravery can be acquired by absolutely anyone, and it has the potential to change the world.

With that said, it's time to live and it's time to be brave!

4 Secrets to Becoming Brave: 

1. Be Loving

Remember how I said that fear is the opposite of love. Do you ever notice, that when you're in a relationship or feel well loved, you feel practically invincible. Anything and everything seems possible. You get the energy to pursue dreams that you never thought you would ever do.

While most people would concentrate on getting someone to love them to achieve bravery. It's crucial that you know that you are already loved and being sought out by God. #truestory

If you don't abide by that reality, of already being Loved, being brave and selfless will not only be a bit more difficult, it may even seem unnecessary and elusive at the most important of times.

Practicing the act of loving, is all kinds of brave wrapped in one.

You might get rejected, ignored, hugged, cried on, whatever. But your part in all of this, in order to become more and more brave is to love and to love intentionally. Simply love and be kind to the one in front of you, sincerely.

2. Stop Hiding

This is a big one.

We human beings are funny. We want to be known and seen. We want acknowledgement and fame, and yet, we don't want to step out and be highlighted in unfamiliar territory.

But you must.

You must get out there.

I too, adore hiding. I love being in the background. It's comfortable there. It's territory that I know. But my heart keeps challenging me to step off of the cliff into new lands that I've never been to before.

Dream with your heart.

So you love to dance, but none of your friends do? That's okay. You should still sign up for that dance class. You wrote a song, but you don't think you're ready to play it in front of a friend? You should.

Sure you might be scared. But being courageous and brave doesn't mean you don't feel scared, it simply means that you do it scared anyway. I know. Not the type of encouragement or secret you wanted to hear. Ha! But the reality is, you will get better and better at pushing through and releasing fear over to God, the more you stop hiding, get out of the boat, and take risks.

Because when you are seen, it's not just about you, it's about them. The eyes that get inspired by seeing you be brave. And in turn, will spark a new seed of bravery in someone else.

3. Get Vision & Say Yes

Have you ever done a vision board? You know, Pinterest 1980s style? Where you cut out pictures (From a magazine, etc.) that remind you of all the dreams of your heart (Career, places you'd like to travel to, things you'd like to accomplish in your life, style, relationship hopes, etc.) and you post them on some sort of board, whether big, medium, or small. If you haven't, its time for you to do one. And if it's been more than 2 years from your last vision board, it's time for an update.

Vision boards are powerful, and placing them somewhere in your home where you will constantly see it, helps to reinforce the dreams in your heart.

So when opportunities arise, whether big or small that you've been dreaming of--and they will arise, you simply need to practice saying yes.

I recommend visualizing yourself first being brave and doing the thing you think that you could never do.

With that said, practice saying yes, now.

Don't let the fear of success or the fear of failure shut you up.

Practice saying yes now, and be committed to your yes.

You've had dreams of being a CEO. So when someone asks you to be the head of a committee at your current job and you feel slightly stunned and not perfectly prepared in every way, say a prayer, and then say YES.

You've had dreams of speaking to groups of women across the country. And then someone asks you to speak to a group of ladies, to simply share your heart, don't think of all the things that could go wrong. Simply say a prayer, and say YES.

You've always wanted to travel overseas, and your friends invite you on a trip to Africa, giving you some time to save money for the trip. Guess what. It's time to say YES.

And note: While you may be saying yes to said opportunity, know that seasons of our lives change, and what you said yes to in one season may not be a yes in the next season, but it's imperative that you step out and TRY, breaking the fear of risk and perfectionism.

4. Get Supportive & Supported

It's amazing what happens when you go on a crazy journey with someone rather than trying to go it alone. There is strength derived from supporting someone else to do something crazy and seemingly impossible.

Being a support team for someone else is a major secret to becoming brave. Be sure to have 1 or 2 people in your life that you are encouraging and being supportive towards in terms of their dreams and their life journey. These are not folks that you casually say, "Go get 'em, tiger!" to. These are the people that you cry with, laugh with, and text to make sure they are writing all of their blog posts for the week.

Being invested in someone else's dreams makes you brave in ways that you would not believe.

Seeing what other crazy things people are attempting is quite humbling and inspiring at the same time.

These beautiful souls are in the fight with you.

And in the most dire of times, you'll find yourself supported by these same champions. Because they know what it's like to be standing on the edge of a cliff with 2 choices. And these people are determined to see your soar, just as you helped them fly in journeys past and present.

Bravery is never just for ourselves.

That would be quite empty.

Bravery is undoubtedly for the sake of love.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Rules of Discretion


     I think I'm good at keeping secrets. I mean, I think, I'm pretty good. But I can promise you that 5 years ago, I was waaaaaay better at keeping secrets. Now, to my friends and family that are scared that I'm about to put all they business in the streetz, don't worry, now is not the time.

     I'm just simply saying, we have to garner much more self control these days than in years past to not blast every little precious thing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email. There's this urge to draw people in, to share, to have some sort of team on our side--a family so to speak.

     There's this line from the Gospel of Matthew that says, "Don't cast your pearls before swine." And I fear, that we as a culture have put some of our most sacred and valuable secrets on display for just about anyone and everyone. With that, I mean on display for a particular sect of the general public that is simply walking by you casually in life, and not necessarily committed to you in any sort of way. Nor are they at all invested or able to contribute to the discussion that you are initiating through sharing your soul.

     But in our quest for attention and affirmation we give away our prizes, our secrets, the secrets of others and the rules of discretion are thrown to the way side.

     Now all this coming from the girl that shares about her virgin ways, singleness vow, and lack of french kisses.

     True, I'm comfortable with a certain level of openness, but honestly I've been pretty forthright my whole life. My parents can attest to this. And getting older has just made me a bit more adventurous and bold. But I still abide by the rule of discretion, believe or not. There are things that I keep close to my heart. Things that I only share in detail with God, things I only verbalise with my mother. And things that I only repeat with close friends.

     And when it comes to the stories of others, I make sure that I am aware that this is not just an okey-doke sort of thing, it's a precious thing, when someone shares their truth with you. The movements of their hearts, the questions in their minds, the sins they've committed, the pain they've caused.

     I listen intently.

     We lock eyes.

     And I want them to never feel as though they have to tell me, "Please don't tell anyone else." I want them to automatically feel safe, and know their secrets are safe with me.

    While, I may be full of raw openness at times,  I've learned through trial and error that I cannot force that mindset and lifestyle on other people. I don't want to steal away people's opportunity to share their stories and their secrets on their terms. I also don't want to steal away their opportunity to be brave and to grow.

     Discretion is described as:

"The quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information."
credit: Google dictionary 

     Yes. Discretion is for grownups, for lovers, for friends, for kids, for families, for co-workers, for teachers, for me, for you.

     Understand, I'm not advocating being politically correct in all manner of speech, but rather, wise and loving in the things you say out there in the streets (Internet, social media, emails, etc.).

     So the next time you feel the urge to share all the details of your last break-up, your last crush online, or how Joe got fired, be aware of all parties involved. Although it is difficult, exercise love. Honor those involved, including yourself, and I admonish you to use discretion in the sharing of those impactful stories.

Wisdom's  Knocking:

“The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.”
 ― Henry Green

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Those Moments You Feel Dumb


    So, most of you know that I was working The Grammys this past week. And I'm still a little shell shocked that I made it through and managed to write throughout the entire week! Seriously, though. I can no longer rely on my excuse of being SOOO busy as a way to hide behind my hearts' true desire to write. You truly make time for what you want to make time for. #truth

     I'm a little bummed that I didn't get to write to you all yesterday though, but this journey of my writing has been inspired by Jon Acuff's 30 Days of Hustle where he encourages us to pursue a dream-- a goal of ours with dedication. Each day of this journey with Jon and many others across the country has been such a gift and a learning experience. This is what Jon told us on day 22:
"Perfection is not the goal. Never was, never will be. We’re not aiming for a perfect month, we’re aiming for a month more awesome than last month." 

     And come day 27 and day 28, I'm clinging to those words of encouragement and giving myself grace in the process, as I am EXHAUSTED today.

     So exhausted that I feel as though I cannot form sentences when I talk to people.

     Such was the case yesterday as well, while I was wrapping out for the show.

     A few days back, while I was neck deep in celebrity demands and drama,  I dropped the ball with one of my vendors and a majority of their merchandise went missing.

     I did my best to locate it, but to no avail. #wack

     In trying to remedy the situation, my communication skills were about a .1 on a scale of 1 to 10. And the back and forth between this vendor and I was full of miscommunication on my part. It was embarrassing to say the least.

     But here I was, an intelligent person, not able to properly communicate the necessary information and/or solutions. Which then in essence confused and disappointed my vendor.

     I felt like we were in that Abbott and Costello bit of "Who's on First". I promise you, everything that I was saying and relaying to my special vendor, was being misunderstood. So much so, by the end of the night last night, they were so frustrated and I was so delirious that they simply said, "Oh, just forget it!"

     I was left there feeling awful, irresponsible, and with no options to remedy the situation.

     And there has been no communication since...

     Have you been there? Just feeling like you can't fully express or communicate the needed information. Whether it be your heart, your thoughts, or logistics at your work place...?

     We and often other people demand perfection from ourselves. And when that perfection doesn't arrive in a nice package, we often get frustrated, discount ourselves, and become hopeless.

     Nevertheless, in the midst, I want to encourage you and I that we by no means, have to stay stuck in that scenario. Resolve will come. It may come later, it may look differently than you want it to look, but it will come.

     Part of my resolve regarding this situation involves 2 key things:

1. Humility

2. Letting Go

    Humility: I have to be willing to take responsibility for my choice and my mistakes. It's key not to do the "hot potato" blame game. The sooner you can take responsibility for the choices you make, the freer you actually become. It's quite amazing.

     Letting Go: It's so important for me to know that I am not God. I don't make the sun rise and a baby breathe on its own. And with that said, I have to willfully entrust the situation to God. I simply tell Him, "I know I screwed up, I'm sorry. And there's nothing more that I can do. I need and want you to be in the mix and bring Your resolve and redemption to both parties involved. #amen

Wisdom's Knocking:

"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good."

-- John Steinback

Sunday, January 26, 2014

When You Release


      I've been sharing with you how I've been fighting off anxiety these past 2 months. Which this anxiety was an unexpected surprise blow for me. And perhaps loads of people that get hit with waves of anxiety off and on in their lives can relate.

     It's so weird. Because I never really experienced any sort of anxiety in my life until I entered adulthood.

     I grew up encouraged and ready to take all kinds of risks and adventures in my life. But around 10 years ago, my bubble was burst. I had my first experience with crippling fear and anxiety. We are talking the type of fear, where you are afraid to leave the house or be around people. And where everything about your life seems like some weird mirage or video game world. I promise you, I thought I was going to have to commit myself to some mental illness facility. True story.

     But the story did not end there.

     The short version ending went something like this:

     Prayer  & Choosing Faith.

     Choosing to believe that good things still can and DO happen.

     Because at first glance, my anxiety 10 years ago  (similar to what I was experiencing in December), would have appeared to have come out of nowhere. But that was not entirely true.

     There were some pretty significant triggers then, and there were also some triggers recently:

     Transition + Disappointment + Fear = Anxiety Cocktail

     Now you may be a 1.5 on the scale of anxiety or you may be a 9.9, but I can almost guarantee that there is an intersection of these emotional and physical stages that have not been resolved in your life and/or  have not been honestly given a chance to be influenced by the Truth of God's love.

     In many cultures, there is a rite of passage. A moment, a victory, that celebrates a child officially embracing the next stage of life.

     It seems as though, in our eclectic American culture, we don't yet have a clear cut rite of passage for our young people as they become recognized as adults.

     I do like this idea of proving oneself. Not just for the sake of the community, but for the sake of the individual transitioning into a new stage of live. Because it is in times of challenge and trial that we are truly exposed and formed.

     It's fascinating to me, that despite our lack of official ceremony in the actual doing of a rite of passage, God still knows how to reach our hearts, challenge us to love more honestly than we've ever done before, and cause us to truly grow in very deliberate ways.

     I'm learning more and more that it's simply our job to cling. To cling ever so close to God, gently releasing all other things and people. But you and I must in many ways, fight to cling to love, because it won't always feel like the most natural thing to do.

     But keep releasing, and then keep clinging.

     Because you will--yes you will, make your way through this wondrous and mysterious rite of passage that has now been set before us.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“There's truths you have to grow into.” 

 -- H.G. Wells, 
Love and Mr. Lewisham

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Living the Fruit Life

     It's so funny to me that I teach teenagers or anyone for that matter about God. And I don't mean funny-Haha, I mean, funny like, "Really, God, me?"

     I find myself teaching from those things that have illuminated my heart and deepened my relationship with God over my lifetime. A rich, yet growing secret history with God that began for me around 8 or 9 years old.

     But here's the thing about teaching on an infinite God. The more you know, the more you realize you don't know, OR the stuff you already knew, you forgot and need to relearn that jazz.

     Sometimes it feels like I'm going around the same tree, the same trail, around the same building in my mind and in my actions, relearning the most fundamental and basics of my faith/love relationship with God.

    Which brings me to the "Fruit of the Spirit".

     So a couple months back, we were teaching this series on the "Fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-23) to our teens. Of which I've heard with great repetition these attributes almost my entire life, but let's ignore for a moment, and despite the repetition, I could never fully remember these 9 "Fruits" in detail (I have a theory about why...more on that later). Plus I was always mystified in the past by the fact that they are called the "Fruit" of the Spirit (Singular), even though there's 9 of these whopping things. But then I later gained a bit more understanding about the beauty of "One fruit" with a "Manifold Yield" - Yes. This is supernatural indeed.  

     So I wondered if I would be able to remember the 9 attributes while teaching this series...but even more importantly, after teaching this series.

+ Love
+ Joy
+ Peace
+ Patience
+ Kindness
+ Goodness
+ Faithfulness
+ Gentleness
+ Self Control

    And then, after teaching this series, something extraordinary and awful happened to me. I became much more aware of my humanity, my frailty, my need for a Savior through the events that followed.

     Death in the family, sickness, life transition of sorts, pain, anxiety and sadness creeping over me like a soft wool blanket. I thought I was going to suffocate. And I'm honestly surprised I didn't.

    And yet, those sacred and beautiful 9 would somehow come to mind. And as they would, I would receive the gift from God.

     Meditating on God's peace, I then would allow myself to receive it for myself.

     Looking at God's love, I would then nod my head yes to Him that I wanted it.

     Observing and being in the hustle and harshness of L.A. traffic drivers, I would tenderly hear the word gentleness come to mind. And I would begin to drink it in.

    And so on and so forth.

    So remember how I had a 'theory' about not being able to remember these beautiful and wonderful attributes in the past? I think it's because I never took these traits in. Not fully. They were allowed to be long-term guests at my house, but not family, never truly family.

     I'm learning more and more, the depths of these attributes have yet to be truly tapped by us. And I can confidently say that, because we are talking about the "Fruit of the Spirit" here, of His Spirit, the Infinite One. And the depths of His Love, His joy, His peace, etc. are limitless in every way.

     Yes, there is fruitful life waiting for both you and I.

     Contingent upon something vitally important:

     Before you can give these things out and away, you must first receive them for yourself.

     For you can't give away what you don't already have.

    And He knew this all along. And that is why you are being pursued by Him, the Life and Fruit Giver.

     The One who draws you to Himself, to simply love you into fullness.

     That is indeed a fruitful life.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.” 

 ― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Lioness

This is a love letter to my mother, Lucille:

How do you let go and hold tight at the same time,

There's love in the palm of your hand.

Early memories, come up from behind like a shawl and cover my shoulders causing me to stand tall.

Like you.

Standing tall.

Kindness never looked so fierce,

And I never felt stronger crying in your midst.

I'm your treasure, you say to me, but you're, you're--

You're my mother.

And that makes me believe.

In good things. In great things.

It makes me believe I can fly and other impossible things more than 7 times a day.

I am so proud to be your daughter.

And we learn from each other,

Patience, trust, careful inspection of dreams.

And you just won't stop believing.

One can get weary without a mother.

And you've always made sure to give me rest.

You always make it light and easy. You just do.

I appreciate you now, and I'll appreciate you then.

When my babies ask how I know how to hold them the way that I do, I'll tell them the truth.

God gave me a mother, named Lucille,

To look after me, so I would know how to look after you.

And that has made all the difference.

Many differences, changes, roads, and turns.

Yes, love has been a journey for me, and it began in many ways with you.

Strong and tender with resolve unmatched. Peace abounding and love overflowing.

Great grandma was right...

Your's is a life that will be forever on this earth and heavenly realms resounding.

Happy Birthday, My Lioness! 
I love you, Mom.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Dangers of Prayer


     Sometimes I can get snug and comfortable in my Christianese bubble and forget that all things spiritual may not resonate or be well received with every single person I come in contact with. Which is always shocking to me, because, the love, joy, peace and adventure that I get to experience on a daily often takes my breath away, and I have a hard time understanding why someone would be completely shut off to its possibilities.

     Yes, we're all aware of how quickly people might get offended, even with the best of intentions and a solid heart behind our actions.

    And today, I was reminded of the turbulent territory of spirituality and how it can effect our encounters with people.

     I'm convinced that people to react to spirituality in 1 of 4 ways.

1. With Joy - Treating it as if it were an adventure and a fun new relationship to explore.
2. With Confusion - Because, if you can't see it, then it can't be real.
3. With Anger - Because religion has been known to cause horrific wars throughout the world and countless injustices throughout the centuries.
4. With Fear - Like watching a weird horror movie at night, it just gives you the heebee geebies.

     But I'm most fascinated with #4 today.

     It's true that we often fear the unknown or what we have yet to fully understand.

     So I was talking to a friend (#1) today, who told our other friend (#2) that I had been praying for them. Friend #2 has known me for years and knows that I'm a church girl that loves Jesus. And that I pray. And not just to bless my food. But you know, praaaaaaaaay.

     But when Friend #1 told Friend #2 that I was praying for them, their first reaction was, "Oooo, that sounds a little scary." And then proceeded to shudder.

     Which then made me think, what exactly does Friend #2 think I do when I pray for them. Some seance of sorts in the forest in a white robe?

     Wait. Let me pause.

     In case you're reading this, and you've never prayed or had someone pray for you, let me just say this. Prayer at its most basic, is talking to God, sharing our hearts, our hopes, our areas of need. It involves speaking and listening. It may seem super, super awkward at first, but the more you exercise that spiritual muscle, the more and more natural it becomes.

      Okay, so back to Friend #2. I was surprised at their reaction. But not shocked. What Friend #2 was beginning to experience, is what I like to call "The Tug". When God is so tenderly, so sovereignly, calling out to you  and calling you higher. Calling you to look beyond the things you can see, beyond the temporal, to something greater. Because deep in your heart, you know that this isn't all there is.

     It's almost shocking, a bit disorienting, and often offensive to your brain. Because all you've ever known is being challenged -- it's all being rocked.

     I, myself have seen some crazy beautiful things happen as a result of prayer. And if I told you half of my stories, you'd probably never believe me.

     And that's okay.

     But just as a heads up, the truth is often shocking, and almost always stranger than fiction.

     I know now more than ever that prayer is truly dangerous. It can heal the sick. It can comfort the broken hearted. It can release peace. And it can bring someone into a deep relationship with God. I am still in awe at how faithful He is to reveal Himself to us, in so many different ways through prayer. Just ask Him, you'll be surprised in the ways in which He answers.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“Let us never forget to pray. God lives. He is near. He is real. He is not only aware of us but cares for us. He is our Father. He is accessible to all who will seek Him.” 
 ― Gordon B. Hinckley

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lots and Lots of Dates, Etc.


     I've been in a date drought of sorts, since well...................................

     Okay. You get the picture.

     But I have a feeling the flood gates are about to be released.

     I have this sneaky feeling that I'm gonna be hit up all at once.

     "Can I have your number...Can I have it?....Can I have it? Can have it?

     ...Can I have it?"

     I know. These are honestly the things that I envision in my brilliant imagination. At that very moment, I'm not devising how I could go out and create more peace on the planet, or how to provide solutions amidst a poverty stricken world.

     No, instead, I'm having full blown conversations, meetings and faux dates happen in my mind with invisible people that I have yet to see in real life.

     But I can't quite shake this feeling that I'm going to have to make deliberate choices in the near future. And isn't that what we all avoid? Making choices on purpose. Because then, we'd have to own and take full responsibility for our choices, and there's a part of me that is actually like Peter Pan. There's a part of me that wants to cling to the past, to the past comforts and ways of doing things.

     But here comes the new with all its shiny and all its glimmer, but if you read the fine print, it will plainly tell you, that a big mountain of surrender must be conquered before walking into the land of the new.

     Um. What.

     Didn't I just do this?

     Great. Facing fears. My favorite.


     But I do kinda want what's on the other side. I at least want to have a fair peek at it.


     Oh, shoot.

     That looks like my Land of Milk and Honey.

     But of course there's a dragon and a moat in the chasm between us.

     So I'm trying to muster up enough...something, to just lay down. To be at rest with all that's been presented to me.

     I thought we were just talking about dates in this blog post, but clearly I'm beginning to talk about more than that.

     Being open and ready. That's a big deal for me. And coming into a deeper place of surrender. If I'm honest with you, I'm still fighting it... It's just...I don't want to get burned. And I don't want to be the burner unintentionally. But choices still must be made.

     Ready and Willing to make good and powerful choices = Preparation for Milk and Honey.

     I'm almost there, I'm almost there...

Wisdom's Knocking: 

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
He leads me beside quiet waters, 
He refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

-Psalm 23: 1-4

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Butterflies Matter

     It's always the little things that leave the most astounding impressions.

     If I meet you for the first time, I may not fully remember your name, but I'll remember that you have a beautiful birth mark on your neck, of which you probably hate. But it almost looks like the shape of a heart.

     And maybe you were ridiculed all your life because of it, maybe that's why you constantly act as though your poppin' your collar, constantly doing a scaled down version of Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes.

     But that's no matter to me.

     It's the little things that leave the most astounding impressions.

    When I looked down at his feet, he was wearing these antique looking cowboy boots and they somehow reminded me of the Civil War. I didn't expect that. I didn't expect him to be so forthright with his fashion choices. So bold. But what stood out most, was the glimmer in his eyes. Both of them. Usually, I see people that have an exceptionally bright light in one eye, not him. Both eyes were shining--with love, towards me.

     It wasn't the boots that were astounding, but it was the fragility of his eyes.

     I bet you were made fun of too. For being too sensitive, not having a strong enough backbone. I know, they did that to me too.

     But I learned it takes courage to cry.

     Tears matter.

     And when you hugged me, you pressed your chin ever so softly into my shoulder. You held it there for a while. It wasn't the hug that did me in. It was your chin.

     It's the littlest things that leave the most astounding impressions.

     And I noticed today, that there's a whole world of beauty and strength around us, even in our defeat. There's someone still carrying a torch for us, whether unrequited or not. And it's the glimmer of hope that streaks across the sky each morning, as the sun rises to remind you of a new day's promises.

     No, things won't be the same. Not as they were.

     That season has past.

     But you are still in the race.

     And when I get overwhelmed by the forest and the trees, I remind myself, that there are still butterflies in the world.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” 

 ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Lingering Crush


     For once, I'm not in that frantic mindset, where you keep replaying fake scenes in your mind of having a conversation with the person you have a crush on, and somehow in this made-up scenario, that deep soul satisfying conversation quickly turns into a sweet embrace and then possibly the best kiss you may have ever had in your entire life. But then you pull yourself out of this ridiculous daydream, not simply from a deep sense of conviction and a need for repentance, but because said person happens to be standing in front of you asking a question.

     Crushes are exhausting.

     I mean, why do they feel like they suck the life out of you.

     I'm convinced because its like a romance mind game of chess. You keep trying to predict your opponents every move and your necessary or probable counter moves. Of which, you never get to use a majority of your moves, because progress between you and said crush either never really escalate or they are actually making basketball plays and you realize you've been prepping for the wrong game all along.

     I know. No one prepared you for crushes.

     And no one tells us that those suckers don't go away easily.

     I mean, it may have taken a hot second for you to fall head over heels for this person, but by goodness their memory is forever imprinted on your mind.

     But this year, I want you to be open to love like you've never been open before.

     I felt it important to write to those of you that have had a lingering person of comparison on your mind. The one who has become the romantic standard in your life.

     Now look, I'm all about standards and knowing your worth. But when a standard prevents you from moving forward, chances are it's not just a standard, but has become a comfortable place of fear.

     What do I mean by a comfortable place of fear?

     Well as long as no one looks like or acts exactly like your former crush, you feel no need to open your heart or move forward in love. You stand still. Or as I like to see it, you stay stuck.

     I've said this many times, but often romantic love surprises us and doesn't always look like we previously imagined. Now that doesn't mean that your boo is going to look hideous or that you two won't have essential things in common, it simply means, you just might be pleasantly surprised who you open up your life to.

     So be open.

     And don't let the woulda been, coulda been, shoulda been story continue to play in your mind. Let go, and get ready to receive afresh.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“One can begin so many things with a new person! - even begin to be a better man.” 

 ― George Eliot, Middlemarch

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Labels, Titles, and Love


     So do labels in love matter to you? Whether being called boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, fiance, etc.?

     I've learned that some people have elevated beyond such titles, and I'm truly fascinated. And by fascinated, I mean confused.

     I know that we can go down the philosophy of semantics ("The branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning" -- or as I like to say in layman's terms, the meaning of words), but I don't think I'm that smart yet, and I'm already feeling sleepy just thinking about it.

     But for me labels do hold meaning, especially in relationships. Naming and defining something, is like taking pride in something, like being proud to associate yourself with something or someone specific. It differentiates your role and place in my life, amidst the other billions of people on this planet whom I may or may not ever come in contact with. I'll say that again. A label or a title differentiates--makes known publicly, your special role and place in my life, amidst the other people in my life, which is unlike (and purposefully so) any other relationship and friendship I have.

     Labels and titles are powerful.

    And yes, we are keenly aware of the negative effects of labels and how one might feel boxed in and even overwhelmed. But that's not my concentration right now. I'm strictly looking at the beauty and freedom of having a safe haven and a platform to express love and relationship within the landscape of a well-thought out label. And for women, to feel safe, does our hearts good. And for men, to be given something of value to protect is powerful.

     I've also observed the similarities of a label to our own personal names.

     And sure, I know that there are other Patrice's out there in the planet. And yes, I do get a little jealous when I hear someone else has my name. It's because, my name has been marked out for me, it carries legacy in this intangible away. It's how I know that someone is talking to me in a conversation, that someone is directing their efforts and love toward me--specifically.

     Therefore, if you simply called out to me, "Hey you--girl. Yeah, you, person." I'd somehow feel demeaned, because you didn't call me by my name - which is something specific and has meaning to me, to my heart, to my lineage, to my stories.

     My stories are connected to my name and I'm reminded of that every time someone says "Patrice". I'm affirmed, I'm seen, and recognized.

     In matters of love, I'm of the camp that believes titles are necessary in romantic relationships, for the benefit of the man and woman.

     Life is messy, as we all know, but its interesting to me that in midst, we are able to roam free in love, feel freedom and safety while actually being aware of our boundaries (And standards) not because of the lack of them.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"We [Men] love you, but how we demonstrate that love is what I call the 
Three Ps of love: We profess, we provide and we protect. 

 That is how a man — if he loves you — this is how you can tell he loves you: He provides for you. Whatever his economic structure is, he provides for you and he will give you whatever he can. 

He will profess. If you have been dating a guy for six months, he has a title for you. If after six months, he is still calling you a friend, he has no plans for you. It doesn’t take us six months to figure out if you are the one. We are just not that difficult. We are simple people. 

 The last P is protect. He will let nothing happen to you within his means. A man loves in threes, if he tells you he loves you, but he doesn’t protect or provide for you, he is just telling you what you want to hear to get what he wants. He doesn’t really love you."

Credits: Google Dictionary

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Do You Like Being Yourself?

     Before we even start to touch the question of, "What's your type?" I have to ask you a pretty personal question:

Do you like being yourself?

     Maybe that's too weighty of a question and somewhat abstract to answer right now, but let me help you answer this honestly.

     Have you grown bitter, even if just slightly?

     Have you lost your innocence, completely?

     Are you having trouble dreaming about your future?

     As with any proper survey, if you answered "Yes" to any of those question, it's safe to say you need to get your love tank filled.

     Now see, this is the time when our culture would tell you, to just go out with they guys, get wasted, and laid. This would also be the time when our culture would tell you, just go out with the girls and put your lips on the first guy who tells you you're pretty.

     But as most of us know, the results of such a solution leaves one pretty empty. And instead of filling our actual love tanks, we often feel a bit more depleted.

     Another person won't fill the gap, at least not in the way in which you're hoping. You've probably figured out by now, that love and romance doesn't normally work out perfectly and tied with a bow like it does in the movies. Plus the typical Hollywood romance movie follows a specific formula. A formula that works, and a formula that keeps you coming back to the movies over and over again. It sets up an ideal and the rules of that ideal world, and then, like magic, it delivers.

     But our lives are messier and last longer than 120 minutes.

     Your quest for true and meaningful romance, won't begin with another person. It will actually begin with you.

     If you haven't taken the time to enjoy your own company, you're going to find it difficult to sustain a relationship with another person long term.

     You will have something of value to add to your romantic relationship, it's called yourself.

     But if you haven't placed any value on yourself...well...there won't really be a fruitful and lasting relationship.

     Now as much as  I love leaving myself little love notes, I alone am not capable of filling my own love tank.

     It's under the guise of love that I can begin to see myself and others much more clearly--for who we really are.

     It is then and only then, that I can appreciate the eccentricities that make up Patrice Patrick. It's only then, when I get into a quiet space with God (Whether on a hike, my room, or church) am I able to truly enjoy myself and the other aspects of my life.

     It's then that I realize that I actually like being myself.

     In those moments, God validates that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" and no one will be able to steal that fact away from me.

     And I take in God's beauty, knowing that the beautiful things around me are simply a waning reflection of the absolute beauty that He is. And even moreso, how He wants to lavish His love on you.

     This week, take the time to get still (Or even after reading this post--just take 5 minutes). And let God speak to you. Let Him wash away the past and begin to show you His future. Take the time to let Him love you.

     You are in no way a nuisance or a unwanted obligation to God. He is and has been pursuing you with His great kindness.

     Let Him wash away the bitterness. Restore your innocence. And give you new dreams.

Wisdom's Knocking: 

“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become - because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .
It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, 
that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.” 

 ― C.S. Lewis

Friday, January 17, 2014

Modest Is Hottest


     "Modest is Hottest" - I know some of you have heard this phrase before. But I'm quite sure many, many of you haven't. And I know this, because of how I'm seeing some of my ladies representin' themselves out there. You know who you are.

     Now please believe I love feeling beautiful and dare I say, sexy at times. #yesidid Don't get scared. It's merely in preparation for my husband boo.

     And as you might recall, I just did a blog post on chivalry earlier in the week, and I put you men under the spotlight. But now, I get to spotlight the women for a moment.

     I have the privilege of having a front row seat to the changes of fashion as they begin to impact culture. Whether it be amidst the young teenage girls in my youth group, or the high profile celebs at the award shows that I work.

     I've seen the gamut of what is considered sexy and desirable, and oddly enough, ladies, it always comes back to the art of illusion - to the mystery of what lies underneath.

     What I mean is, you might think a man wants to see all your goods and bits upon first glance in order to fully entice him, but the magic doesn't reside in what he sees, but rather in what he doesn't see.

     I now know more than ever that one can buy fashion, but not necessarily style and class.

     Now before you think I'm bringing the gavel down like Judge Judy, hear me out.

     I often think that women lack a certain finesse of style because no one has simply taken the time to tell them, "Yo, baby girl, you're sending out mixed messages..."

     So here I am. To tell you that first impressions do make a difference, everyday. And the way you carry yourself as a lady makes a huge impression. And we often carry an extension of our personalities and personal stories through the way we dress.

     I grew up taking dance classes around the age of 4 and since then, I've been very aware of my body in space and time. With that said, I'm aware of my wonderful...assets as well. And as much as I enjoy having those assets, ...with Great power comes great responsibility. #selah

     This doesn't mean that I'm in turtlenecks all year long, this just means, I pay attention to how I really look in the mirror, from head to toe,  before I leave the house.

     Some days I feel feisty, some days I feel extra femmy, other days I feel like a mixed martial arts thug who likes to visit museums, and I dress accordingly, but with class, always with class.

     I'm fixin' to attract a king. Therefore, I don't have time to be mistaken for a Lady of the Night...or anything less than a queen.

     And I truly believe the same about you. Be beautiful, be bold, be stylish, but above all stay classy.

Wisdom's Knocking: 

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future."

-Proverbs 31:25

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Science of Thought

     I usually end each of these blog posts with a quote, some food for thought, but I'm actually going to begin with a quote instead:

"We get stuck in certain habits, 
because whatever we think about the most grows." 
- Dr. Caroline Leaf

     I am fascinated with topics of quantum physics, our minds, and brains. I say, "Mind" and "Brain" separately, because Dr. Leaf makes a very interesting distinction between the two:

"The Brain is part of the Physical Body and therefore is controlled by the Mind. The Mind does not emerge from an accumulation of Brain activity. Brain activity, rather, reflects Mind activity. Even though the Mind controls the Brain, the Brain feeds back to, and influences, the Mind. The Brain seats the Mind, and therefore the Mind influences the Physical world through the Brain." 

     And just because I'm a nerd, I'm going to add another quote from the lovely Doctor:

There is mounting recent evidence for Neuroplasticity, that is, the ability of the Brain to change according to experience[12]. The anatomy and physiology of the Human Brain is much more malleable and plastic than we once thought. This shows that the Brain changes according to how we use it. The saying ‘Use it or lose it’, which is usually applied to the Musculo-skeletal system, can now be applied to the Brain as well. Thinking, a Mind activity, effects gene expression. Gene expression produces proteins. Proteins are fashioned into structural elements and enzymes (biological catalysts), which change Brain anatomy (structure) and physiology (function). Therefore thinking changes Brain structure and function. 
     So I share this science lesson with a point in view. As single people, what occupies a majority of our 30,000 thoughts that we might have during the day? Are we constantly looking at what we perceive as romantic lack? Or are we thankful (beginning in our thought life) for the dreams that we are able to whole heartedly pursue in this season of life and are we hopeful for good things to come?

     We now know that thoughts, in essence are alive and can leave behind tangible evidence in our bodies, good or bad.

     Let's just let that sink in for a moment.

Yes, those invisible things that no one else sees being produced in your head, are not as hidden and secretive as you'd like to believe.

     Everything that's hidden eventually comes to light...

     And our thought life is no different.

     I remember being devastated and I mean DEVASTATED, to learn at 11 years old that God could read our thoughts and already knew the true condition of our hearts. I mean, I knew how to fool all the adults and kids with my outward demeanor. But you mean, God could see past my facade? Ahhhhhhh! #toomuchtoosoon

     But ultimately that reality freed me up.

     From that point on, I always lived with the awareness that I'm being seen, and nothing is truly hidden. I think that's what propelled me to write and to write honestly. It's no coincidence that I started writing in a journal that same year I received such a revelation as a part of an individual class project, given by the lovely Mrs. Fry. And it was then that I was told that I had a propensity for writing.

     But I poured my little 11 year old heart out in that little journal. The highs and lows of elementary school life. You know how it is. It gets rough out there.

     But I learned to share my thoughts. My true thoughts. And I learned to bring the scary and confusing thoughts to God. And it's something I continue to practice to this day.

     I invite you to be aware of your thought life. It's not too late to change your 'stinkin thinkin'. And I'm not just talking about getting on the 'positive thinking' bandwagon, I'm talking about bringing an honest heart before God and people. There's healing in that. And there's restoration waiting for you.

     I've not yet learned to take every thought captive. I mean, I usually write about it--the struggle here on this blog. But even though the odds may often seem stacked against you, proclaim a better story and ask for a heart to truly believe it.

     Because your propensity to receive and give love is intrinsically connected to the way in which you've experienced and thought about love in the past or the lack thereof.

     But it's time to prepare yourself for a better story-- a better love story.

     Let it begin now, with your thought life. And may shift give way to a beautiful and powerful legacy full of love.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

5 Ways to Know You've Been Single Too Long

1. You Can't Remember the Last Time You Had a Proper Date

Or perhaps you refer to a date or a relationship as "Going Steady" of which I'm here to kindly tell you no one uses that phrase anymore, well not since 1987 and only on special occasions.

But really though. When was your last date. When did someone ask to take you out, make plans, pick you up, and Ladies: Where he pays your entire way -- yes, I'm about THAT Life. #unapologetic

When did someone say to you, "I'd love to get to know you better."

Whoa. Did you see that? That was intentionality right there. So let me back up, when was the last time someone was romantically intentional with you and I don't mean just for sexual gratification, I mean, like on that level where they want to know how your mind works and how God made your soul. Yeah, I just went there.

If you can't recall or this has never happened to you, you may have been single too long...

2. Your Parents Stop Asking for Grandchildren 

My parents regarded education as a must and a priority while I was growing up. Boys would have to wait. My mom assured me that boys would always be there. I'd have plenty of time for that stuff in college or after college. But until then, "You ain't got time for no boyfriends."

And then college came.

And then college went.

And I could tell that my mom was now starting to get nervous. It was that look of nervousness I had in high school when I thought I'd never ever have a boyfriend. Oh, how the tables turn.

And then my mid-twenties came. And friends were getting married left and right, and babies were popping out everywhere. I mean everywhere. And folks would joke with me about me being next.

And I could see my mom on the sideline, "Please, Lord Jesus."

Fast forward to family gatherings in my late twenties. Still with no boyfriend in sight, the topic itself was the white elephant in the room. And occasionally, in gentle subtle ways, my mom would mention her future grandchildren to me, you know, how she would just like to see them. No big whoop.

But now, I'm 33 and when my mom and I hear of another 23 year old getting married and having a beautiful baby 2 years later, there's simply a deafening silent hush that envelopes the room.

If you have a similar story, you may have been single for too long...

3. While Watching the Romantic Bits of a Disney Cartoon You Find Salty Tears Making Their Way Down Your Cheek.

I've found that I've become way more sensitive while watching the most mild mannered love stories. Whether it be a cartoon or a Hallmark movie, I find myself almost overly connecting to the prospect of romance in a storyline.

Perhaps this is an upside, a blessing in disguise. The little things, like holding someone's hand, being held, a soft kiss, now hold far more weight than they ever have before. They now possess a type of beauty that I honestly never noticed before. And my heart is truly moved. Whereas for others, their hearts may be stoic and desensitized to such small and almost trivial looking actions.

But at the same time, I'm constantly like a teenager, enthralled with the visual of romantic love (And again I'm not talking about sex here, I'm actually talking about storyline--the journey of getting to love) and it has the potential to become a weird emotional crutch if I'm not careful.

So if you too, find yourself overly emotional while watching rom-coms, Disney cartoons ("Aladdin", anyone?!), and every Hallmark Channel Movie, you may have been single for too long...

4. You Send Yourself Flowers and Love Notes, and Not Just on Valentine's Day. 

I often look in the mirror and tell myself how amazingly beautiful I am or how hot I am. #realtalk

Look, my reasoning, is that my man is not currently having the honor of seeing me on a day to day as I bring my A-game. And yes, I do know how to bring A-game in case you were wondering. And as I've said before, I may be single, but this is not the year of ugliness. Trust.

But sometimes, I take it further. Often I like to treat myself. And you might find me picking fresh flowers and putting them in the vase next to my bed.

And yes, sometimes, I also write little hearts in my journal or to-do list. And inside those hearts, I'll write something like: "You're Lovely", "Why you so fine?", you know, things like that.

Those are my versions of romantic sentiments to myself.

I don't think I've gone completely off the deep end yet.

Hey, at least I'm not saying that my flowers and notes are from my invisible boyfriend Fred. When I start talking about Fred, someone needs to organize an intervention.

So if you tell friends that your brand new pair of shoes or those dozens of roses we saw at your desk are from Fred (or Ginger), you may have been single for too long...

5.  If Someone Does One Nice Deed for You, You Are Ready to Make-Out with Them on the Spot.

Look, if you approach me at the right time in life, I might just fall in love with you. These are the times:

  • Sunday Morning. If you see me struggling to set up for my youth group and offer to help me carry some equipment in and set up. You can bet that I will be prayerfully considering you for marriage. #couldthisbeyourwillGod

  • When I'm Traveling on A Plane. If you help me put my heavy carry-on luggage in that over head bin thingy. AND if you help me take my heavy carry-on luggage down. It's guaranteed that I'll want to give you a hug. And possibly even my number, IF you're single. #dontgetittwisted

  • Our First Meeting. If you shake my hand firmly with great eye contact, a warm smile and some smiling eyes, I'm done for. #letthecrushcommence

And with that said, I know my limits. Thankfully, I'm not always like this. Not always...

The kids like to simply call this mindset and its subsequent actions as Actin' Thirsty.

So, if you are actin mega thirsty around the opposite sex, chances are you've been single too long...

What are some other ways you know YOU'VE been single too long?? I know I'm not the only one with expertise in this area. Feel free to put your additions in the comments below:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mr. Chivalry and Mademoiselle Lady

Photo Credit: Tiffany Johnson

     I read an article yesterday talking about the decline of chivalry in our day and age.

     You and I both know this argument has been going on for some time now and I must agree, chivalry looks as though it's dying out, but I have news to tell you. It's not dead.

     In the article, it talks about how a majority of men choose not to open a door for a lady or help her with her luggage at the airport because they feel as though she would be offended by the very act. And not just that, but that they would be insinuating that she is 'less than' in some way. With that said, many men have opted to play it safe in hopes of not rocking the boat in their daily encounters with women.


     If you are a man and reading this, first, I want to say thank you. You're a brave one. Next, I want you to know that being chivalrous is probably one of thee sexiest and most honorable things you could ever do for a woman. I mean that. You are in no way being patronizing. In fact, you are tangibly expressing your heartfelt honor for a woman in an often small, yet profound way.

     And you're not simply saying something about how you are discerning the value of the woman in your company, you are blatantly showing the woman something about your own heart and character. That you are a man that understands the ways of kindness, of honor, and the power and beauty of simplicity. Plus, you'll reap what you sow, eventually. Because even if the one woman you hold the door open for gives you stank face, 10 other women after her will give you a smile that'll make your day, and you'll find yourself reaping some other unexpected blessings in other areas of your life.

     Now let me make a quick distinction between being Chivalrous and being Pompous.

Chivalry protects // Pompous disregards
Chivalry is giving // Pompous is about personal ego
Chivalry is attractive // Pompous is revolting

     Point Blank: True Chivalry is selfless and Pompous is selfish.

     Yes, women disdain men that are simply doing nice things for them to reap some sort of benefit. No one wants to be used. But see, that's the beauty of real chivalry, it's not about what you can gain, but rather, what you can give.

     Our culture has lost the ability to truly trust. Everyone is a potential perp. Thanks C.S.I. and Law and Order. And yes, I find myself under this spell often. I often think every guy walking the streets is a potential cray-cray stalker, and I flash a quick suspicious eye if a man tries to help me do something, even if I do need the help.

     But there are still men out there that know things....

     They pay attention.

     These men already see the single mom struggling to come down the small plane aisle with 2 oversized bags in her hand and a toddler on her hip. And instead of trying to avoid eye contact with the woman, they immediately (without waiting for someone else to do it) stand up to help get the woman and her bags to her seat.


     And there's the man that is walking into your favorite coffee shop and holds the door open for you and he then goes about his business.


And then there's the young man that is nervous about his first date with the girl of his dreams. He gets to her house, gets out of the car (Doesn't just honk for her or text her he's outside), greets her at the door, walks her back to the car and opens the door for her, waits until she's comfortably seated and then closes her door.


     And then there's your solid guy friend that somehow when you guys are walking the streets of the city, he always makes sure that he's on the outer edge of the sidewalk as you both stroll, to simply protect you from the dangers of the cars on the street.


     Now ladies, let me share with you our role in all of this.

     Stop pretending that you don't need help with anything, ever. Seriously.

     It's okay to admit that you need help.

     And I love my independent women. Seriously. But a prideful passive aggressive woman--well that's another story. Because in the end, these women end up resenting men for not being men in their lives. But these women never gave them a chance to be the man in their lives. Go figure.

     I know you might have trust issues. I'm the same way.

     But real talk, ask God to help you with your trust issues. He will.

     Let that man help you, let the man give of his time, his kindness, and himself to you if you're so lucky.

     Our other response ladies, in all of this, should be gratitude. If it's not gratitude, and you find yourself getting offended when a man tries to do something nice for you, please just take a beat, and ask yourself "Why did I just get offended?" The answer might surprise you.

      In any act of chivalry, big or small, please never forget to smile and say thank you. He has just put himself on the line. And as a small token of honor and respect back to the man, it's always lovely to say thank you.

     With all of that shared, I'm convinced that there's going to be a revival of chivalry in our day and age. So many men and women are tired of the current trend of things. And with good reason. We were never meant to live lives of sterile self-preservation. But instead we were meant to partake in a type of kindness that validates the human experience and points to something Greater. Including an exchange, where both the giver and the receiver get to reap the benefits.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“His attentive treatment of her had nothing to do with the presumption that she was weak, and everything to do with the conviction that she was valuable.”

--From "Once Upon a Road Trip" by Angela N. Bloun

Monday, January 13, 2014

Being Cinderella


Photo Credit: Lindsay Coleman

     Okay. Let's get down to the nitty gritty.

     I had a little bit of a mini-baby meltdown today.

     I got caught up in the ways in which I felt overlooked in regards to romance.

     Have you ever been in a room, restaurant, classroom, or in a family conversation, where they are trying to hook up every other single female they can think of with a mysterious eligible bachelor doctor who happens to be your type, but they don't even think to consider you?

    Or does this just happen to me?

     Well, I've always loved the story of Cinderella. I've always loved the idea of someone hidden being brought to the forefront and later recognized as worthy of a great and profound love story. A royal love story of sorts.

     And today I realized that I love Cinderella so much because I actually feel like Cinderella in my own life, you know, before the castle bit.

     Yes, I often sing songs with birds and I actually do love to clean, but something today got triggered where I felt that no one is going to ask me to the ball. And that thought crossed my mind, "I guess I get to remain hidden...forever." Oh joy.

     I feel like some of you reading this, girls and guys, feel a little bit like Cinderella as well. Like there's this big ball that's already happening and somehow everyone else gets to go, but no one has bothered to give you an invitation, you weren't even considered.

     I know. It's painful.

     Oh, I just remembered something.

     Do you remember the part in Cinderella (Disney's version) where her stepmother tells her that she's able to go to the ball if she does all of her ridiculous amount of chores. Cinderella gets SO excited and later her animal friends work on their version of an elegant dress to wear to the ball. But then, right before Cinderella is meant to go to the ball with the family,  the stepsisters ruin her dress and Cinderella is left behind as the other girls go ahead of her to the ball. And in that moment, all hope is lost.

     I think I've been my own evil stepmother. I've created a laundry list of items for myself to do in order for me to feel worthy of going to the ball.

     But my worth should have never been on the table. My worth has already been established. Your worth has already been established. You're wonderful, beautiful, handsome, and amazing.

    And I think I've also been my own evil stepsister, I've done my fair share of self-sabotaging throughout the years as well (especially my twenties. I mean seriously). Disqualifying myself for this reason or that reason, etc. etc.

     But the amazing part of the Cinderella story, or of any story for that matter, is always after the "All Hope is Lost" moment.

    Because that's when the Fairy Godmother appears.

     No big deal.

     Just a little bit of Divine intervention that interrupts us right in the middle of our sorrow and grief.

     And God knows, that's exactly what we need.

     So yeah, I'm single. With no end in sight. I'm 33 years old. I haven't dated anyone since I was 19. I've been oddly consecrated to God during that entire time (19-33). And I say oddly, because I honestly did not do this on purpose. Ha. I kinda got punked into it. I mean, yes, I willingly did it, His Love is that good and life changing, but if He would have told me at 19 that I would be practically living like a nun for over a decade, with no late night french kisses or one night stands, I would have probably either walked in the other direction or said to God, "Oh, you so crazy!"

     But alas, here we are.

     And I honestly regret nothing about my romance journey so far; it's just been a lot different than I thought it would be. But, tonight,  I guess I just needed to tell my heart and your heart something:

I just wanted to let you know, you have been invited to the ball.

Yes you have. 

And I'll shall see you there.

Wisdom's Knocking: 

"A dream is a wish your heart makes 
When you're fast asleep...
Have faith in your dreams, and someday 
Your rainbow will come smiling through. 
No matter how your heart is grieving, 
If you keep on believing, 
The dreams that you wish will come true."

- "Cinderella"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

But What Color Are His Eyes...

Photo Credit: Elias Galarza

     Today I was teaching my teenagers about Moses and his incredible encounter with God on Mt. Sinai and the "Tent of Meeting". It's said in the Scriptures that God talked with Moses, like a man talks to a friend. #mindblown

     And then of course, there's the scene where Moses asks to see God's glory. And God basically tells Moses that he wouldn't be able to handle all of His glory (the true essence of God - eternal and endless love, etc.) and live. But instead, God shows Moses a portion of His glory.

     And let's not forget about Moses' face glowing after encountering such love and such glory. It glowed to such a degree that it freaked people out and Moses ended up wearing a veil over his face. I mean what. Wow.

     And with that, I'm provoked to go deeper in my journey with God.

     Moses was a man that wanted to know God face to face.

     And as love does in our vertical relationship with God, so then does our love in our horizontal relationships with people.

     In high school I remember always looking at people dead in their face, but not in their eyes. You know what I'm talking about right? We end up looking at people in a very general way and because of that there is a lack of true connection, at least a connection that is beyond the surface level.

     And then later on in life, I somehow adopted the skill to look people intentionally in their eyes.

    It's so powerful.

     And honestly, that is the one practical skill that has made all the difference in my adult life, and has challenged me and helped me to connect with and love people in a deeper and more meaningful way.

     You have to get close to someone, square in their face to actually see, register, and remember what their eye color actually is.

     It's a bit intimidating, I know.

     And I believe I know why. It establishes true and legitimate intimacy. And true intimacy is costly, and often makes us get squiggly at first, but then when you take a deep breath, you realize that you were made for this.

     Looking in his eyes, you become invested.

     Looking in her eyes, you become invested.

     And that is when love begins to truly flourish.

     So, I inadvertently had a bit of staring contest with a guy today. Don't get excited. Please.
     It's just that I now love looking people square in their eyes. And did you notice, that sometimes, depending on the reflection of light in their eyes, you can even see yourself in their eye's pupil, you know the deepest, darkest part of their eyes. I find that absolutely extraordinary.

     But you won't see this hidden and mysterious story behind their eyes, until you are in close proximity to someone's face.

     We often get away with not paying attention in life.

     But now is the time to pay attention. To the big things, to the small things.

     Even the color of their eyes.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter
- often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter
- in the eye.”

 ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre