Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Adventures of the B.B.B.B. (The Best Beach Beauties Bureau)


     So how do I escape the craziness of my schedule, the demands of people, and unfinished writing projects?

     I lay on the beach of course and have some much needed girl time with one of my favorites.

     I've learned over the years, that one has to "practice" resting.

     It's not just a one time deal.

     For today's restful adventure, I needed very little movement and sunlight.

     Especially sunlight...in more ways than one...


I had to pause for a moment and collect my thoughts.

For a moment, everything and nothing was happening all at the same time.

And the very thing that God kept whispering to my spirit was "REST".

I hadn't realized I was spinning.

Not out of control. Just spinning. Like a top.

I was this close to Anxiety's choke-hold.

Last post, delivered "Bad News".

But this time, God wanted there to be a reset and a resurrection.

(He's so good at that.)

The doctors no longer found cancer in her body. But they all swore that it was lethal just weeks ago. Professionals. People with desks and diplomas. People with stature.

But they didn't get to have the last word...

And now we all exhale.

We'd been holding our breaths ever so tightly for over 2 weeks.

The war is over, but the battle still wages.

There are still unanswered questions.

But I have breath in my lungs and boldness in my veins to at least ask those questions.

Be brave.

We always fear bad news, but with God, there's always an open door of hope in the midst.

So what will you hope for today?

Wisdom's Knocking:

"They will have no fear of bad news; 
 their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord."
- Psalm 112:7

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bad News

     It's so unassuming.

     Even though we seem to spend most of our life worrying. Worrying about those things that never seem to find the light of day.

     And then before we know it. The one scenario. The one scenario we never had the time to worry about and play over and over in our minds like a broken record, is the one that surprises us.

     It's the one thing that actually sneaks up on us.

     It comes at a time when you never truly suspect.

     Oh, how life crafts such stories, I'll never quite know.

     It's also the moment when you're not looking so intently when love seems to be found. And when such life defining twists occur.

     But one is never quite ready. Not as much as we'd like to think we'd be.

     There's a vulnerability in the air now. Our humanity on display. Reminding us, that though we may wish it to be so, we do not control and run as much as we think we do.

     And I am still a bit stunned by it all, by such bad news.

     The events leading up to it, were just so damn unassuming.

     And now she has cancer. 

     She delivered the news to me with such gravitas, with such grace, with such ease and peace. I almost misunderstood the words.

     And what do you do with bad news?

     We face it.

     It's tempting to look away. To cover it up. To run away.

     But no -- we will look at it.

     WE. WILL. LOOK. AT. IT.


     Never alone.

     Because our position in the world has not changed.

     We are still vulnerable, small and tiny creatures, being held by an incredible infinite force beyond our finite comprehension.

     And we lean in.

     We lean into this force of Love.

     Bad news has a way of causing us to change, to discard the unnecessary, and to appreciate the everyday miracles of the good.

     Because in the midst of bad news....there--far, far off in the horizon, is a new world.

     One to be explored, not just merely conquered.

     A world that is meant to show us more about ourselves and the God that walks with us in the valleys as well as the mountain tops.

     Meanwhile we are shedding tears. And we are praying.

     And I'm learning more about what love looks like in the midst of such terrible and bad news.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me..."

-Psalm 23:4a

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

X-Files, Nerves, & Bridesmaids


     I’ve been stewing for a bit. I wanted to come back with a blog post that would knock your socks off. But then I realized I couldn’t necessarily do that. I mean, maybe this post will change your life, but I’m quite prepared for it to absolutely not. And that’s okay.

     But the one thing I know I can bring to you is my honesty, my heart, my perspective and a brief overview of what I’ve been learning (and re-learning) in the past month.

     Can I just start with what happened to me this morning? And then let’s just work our way back to May 2014.

     So this morning, I had another one of my bizarre dreams. I was the Scully to someone’s Mulder. X-Files people, X-Files reference.

     Anyhoo, we were solving some really crazy crimes. I couldn’t tell you what they were exactly, but they were crazy. But get this, my crime fighting male partner, who was a bit older than me and taller than me in my dream started to develop a crush on me. Yes, the feelings were mutual, but we both felt the need to keep it under wraps. Neither of us were sure that we could have such a relationship in the work place.

     (Sidenote: If you are a male, one of my co-workers, unmarried, and have a crush on me, this is your cue…)

     Meanwhile, that relationship stayed suspended for the duration of the dream, and the different forces of evil that we were fighting took center stage.

     At one point this girl was trying to do some crazy spell/voodoo-ish thing on me (Yes, these are the things I dream about) and I somehow defeated her with a bloody cut on my hand. See what I mean…X-Files…

     But my favorite part came when a different X-Files partner (or maybe my guy partner morphed?), —into a female. Regardless, She and I, in the middle of the swirling evil and crime fighting broke out into an Earth, Wind, & Fire song, “Let’s Groove” and started dancing it out, like it was our birthday. Which apparently helped to defeat and confuse the forces of evil—ending the dream.

     And that my friend, pretty much sums up what this last month has been like.

     I know you’re like. UM. What.

     Yep. Exactly.

     You see, after I finished production on my latest TV show, “On the Menu” which is meant to air on TNT this Fall, I felt like I was free falling for a little bit.

     Let me explain.

     When you have 2 months of bliss, you re-learn that everything doesn’t have to be a battle. And your heart becomes so full of gratitude just for that fact alone. (Because more times than we’d like to admit, life can kick the crap out of us. So what a beautiful respite when it doesn’t--)

     So when bliss comes, it’s like the verse in Proverbs, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 - NIV)

     Well in May and June of this year, personally and professionally, I was experiencing the “Tree of life” bit of that verse. It had been a long time since I’ve experienced back to back to back good things happening in a row. The unfolding and coming to fruition of some of the many things that one waits for. And these sweet and good things were coming with such ease. There was no striving, no pushing, no trying to make things happen. Things were just happening and falling into place.

     And I can speak for so many others that worked on my particular show. Something magical happened with the coming together of the many, many details of “On the Menu”.

      But what was happening on the outside with that show, was simply mirroring personal and private victories that I was experiencing.

     But then we wrapped our show in mid-June.

     What would life bring me after such a high?

     Well, it didn’t bring any horrific defeats if you’re wondering.

     But mediocrity can be just as disappointing.

     And I found myself “in the waiting” once again.

     Waiting for good things to happening, instead of experiencing them.

      I was starting to get a bit anxious again. And my Nerves were getting tested.

     In all actuality, I probably just needed to be kissed. Often. And by somehow who knows how. #GonewiththeWind

     But as you know, I haven’t been properly kissed since 2001.

     That is no X-Files statistic that I just gave you, that is real life.

     Moving onward.

     When you feel loved, you feel fearless.

     With that said, I think I’m starting to learn more and more about the realness of the verse, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” (I John 4:18) I mean. It just DOES. #selah

     And something about May and June left me feeling incredibly loved and seen and down right invincible.

     Then July entered the scene. And here I am, desperately aware of how much more love I need in my life --which boils down to being much more intentional about receiving love for myself as well as giving it out. And remaining hopeful in the midst--in the lulls.

     And as I wait and do, and wait and do, I don’t want to fall into the trap of rushing and just doing things just to do them.

     We all want to connect to something meaningful, something that stirs our soul, makes us feel alive.

     And it’s no surprise to me that my X-Files dream came to me in the midst of my current state of affairs: Influx and On-Guard.

     Because that’s how I feel a bit. That I’m slowly regressing into the old way of things, to that which is so familiar. Still hope-filled, but never able to fully grasp that tree of life—that longing fulfilled. Influx. Never quite there. But almost. And in a posture ready to fight endless battles for myself and others with no sure victories--On-Guard.

     But something within me is stubborn. Not allowing me to just lie down and accept this as the “Way it is and has to be”.

     I refuse to believe that the best is behind us. No. It’s just simply not true.

     2014 has given us all a small glimpse of how beautiful certain things can be…like our dreams for instance.

     And it wasn’t a dangling carrot, but rather a reminder.

     We’ve been positioned for success, by a God that delights in His kids.

     I’ve prayed, talked about, laughed and cried with Lindsay Coleman for 12 years regarding her future husband, for a true partner, a real companion. And would you believe, these prayers have been answered just within the last few months?!

     12 years people. 12 Years.

     I mean. We put in time, tears, hope, and faith.

     And maybe you could care less about a marriage partner or romance for that matter (Of which, I think you may be investing your reading time on the WRONG blog. But really though…) But the takeaway, even if you’re already married or not into sharing your life with another miraculous human being in a long term way—the takeaway is that those passions of your heart are NOT to be ignored.

     Moreover, anything worth waiting for, worth having for keeps, WILL TAKE TIME.

     We often need to grow to fit those things waiting for us.

     Treat those dreams and passions with a sense of sacredness. Devote time to them. Allow yourself to be excited about the gifts and passions that you have. Because everyone on this planet didn’t get them the way you did and with your fingerprints.

     And so Lindsay Coleman is getting married.

     And I have the honor of being one of her Bridesmaids.

     And in partaking in her celebration. Her longing fulfilled. Just like that--I’m reminded. Dreams do come true.

     It’s just a matter of time.

     Meanwhile, take good care of your opportunities, because you never quite know where they might lead you too…

Wisdom’s Knocking:

 “Don’t dig up in doubt, what you planted in faith.” 
 -Elizabeth Elliot

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Validation: Part 2


     The way I see it, Validation and Encouragement are cousins, if not siblings.

     And as one who loves being an encourager, I thought I knew and somehow practiced well the art of validation. But I was merely scratching the surface. The art of validation encompasses encouragement, in that it gives motivation and well meaning intentions towards it's recipient--building them up. But validation goes one step further and says, you, in the current state of events, in the confusion, in the unsettled-ness of it all-- You are seen. And your perspective and emotions, and your voice are valid.

     That right there is a piece of love in action. Love does look like something. It feels like something. It creates momentum, gives courage and gives hope.

     But we can't give away what we don't have.

     Validation is as much about giving out as it is receiving.

     Did you watch the video link I left in Validation: Part I ? "She" couldn't give away what she didn't have, but once she got it...she. got. it. And then she was able to give it away...

     And often, people that are suspicious of validation, encouragement, or compliments, or think it's only for weak people, have encountered extreme disappointment, shame, and embarrassment when they did put their heart on the line and trust someone. So it becomes a bit easier to wall up, then to be bare and vulnerable. Trust me, I get it.

     However, on the other side of that wall of suspicion lies a world of wonder, beauty, love, accomplishments, and lots of laughter. All the things you've been wanting more of in your life.

     With that said, the only way to get "Unfrozen", is to "Let it GOOooooooo..."

     Then, when you step out and give someone else encouragement and validation, and you see and feel their response, something comes alive in your heart as well. Their victory becomes your victory. It's like watching your favorite team play. You're invested. A new chamber  in your heart comes to life.

     It's a beautiful thing really. Just don't be afraid to receive this. This act of love being returned to you in the package of gratitude.

     And please don't think you're too high and mighty, too pompous or pious, too grown or mature, or too strong and self-reliant to receive such validation in return.

     Our hearts crave it. We were made for it.

     Love begets love begets love, begets love. And the giver can't help but be blessed in return.

     I think I'm actually addicted to encouraging others. At this point, it feels like second nature to me, and I honestly don't even notice when I do it. I only become aware when someone hugs me out of the blue or repeatedly says, "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you--You have no idea how much that means to me."

     And it's true. I may never know how much it means to them. But I do know what it means to me when someone pulls me out of the muck of despair and hopelessness and reminds me that I am seen, not forgotten, and that miracles and impossible things still happen each and every day. #forevergrateful

     But how do we receive a sense of validation for ourselves, even when no one is around?

     Here's my the secret:

     I'm constantly having quiet times with God.

     No matter what.

     That's it.

     Growing up an only child, I may have an advantage over you. Because you see, us only children are so used to talking to ourselves that it feels completely natural and wonderful.

     But just know that quiet times can look like a variety of things. You may want to go to a favorite place of yours, and just talk to Him. It might feel awkward at first, but you'll get past that.

     Get still. Get loud. Read the book of John in the Bible. Go running. Dance. Etc. But have your mind set on hearing God and "following the clues".

     It's amazing to me me how many times in the day God speaks to us in little ways: The billboard across the street that says "Dream Bigger", the ad on the bus stop that says, "Don't Quit", the license plate on the car in front of you that says "URLVD", or the cashier that says you look incredibly handsome or beautiful, just when you thought you didn't look good enough for your current crush.

     Validation is like a mirror. A witness of sorts, authenticating who we are and our experiences and emotions as beautiful and important. Showing us that we are significant in the array of mess flying around our world each day.

     Or on the flip side, the lack of validation, leaves us feeling incomplete, lost, left out, unworthy, and unlovable.

     But we are never unlovable. And we are never unlovable by God. Ever. The end.

     But this lie of being unworthy, not good enough, unlikeable, unlovable, starts to circulate around our hearts and our heads when we become validation starved.

     Which brings me to my next point.

     Why is validation from a man so important to me? If I were to deny that having some sort of validation from men wasn't important to me, I'd be lying. Now don't get scared, I'm not about to go lose my mind and go holler for a dollar. But there's something to be said when the opposite sex affirms your presence, who you are, your physicality (in a non-creepy way), and the things you do.

     I mean, men, how affected are you by the words of women when they validate and lift you up?

     --But before I go any further on this point, I want you to know that I have a GREAT father. I really do. I mean, you might want to be jealous. Real talk.

     My dad and I have had some amazing heart-to-hearts over the years. But he has admitted to not being as emotionally available as he wanted to be during my teenage years and has expressed his regret and sincerest apologies. Because he now understands how important it is for a daughter to be affirmed and validated by her father in specific ways, regardless of works and performance.

     I mean, I didn't know I even had such a need for this type of validation, not until I started working around so many men in my television industry. Don't get me wrong, I hold my own. But I also hold a lot in, and on those weak days, I need encouragement, validation--a simple knowing that I'm not in the trenches by myself. As would anyone.

     Our culture wants to paint women (and men) as being so independent that they can do it ALL by themselves, but that's not quite how we are fashioned as human beings. We are meant to be in community, in fellowship, in family, in a tribe. The healthy and beautiful kind. Even, and especially when accomplishing a common goal, whether it be connection, understanding, or completing production on a television show...

     Two of the biggest things I'm learning in this season in life about validation and how it can strengthen our friendships and relationships:

1. Never underestimate the power of listening. Listening in itself sends a sense of validation to a person without even saying a word. Hear their story. Let them talk. And really listen with the intent to understand not always solving a problem. 
2.  And don't forget to love yourself  through the imperfections of communicating to another human being and possibly being misunderstood. It's okay. These things take time. But always worth it.

     Furthermore, the extraordinary and beautiful thing you'll find on this journey--is what you do for others, you'll find others doing for you...

Wisdom's Knocking:

"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

-Mark Twain