Monday, April 27, 2015


     Everyone always seems so dashingly normal.

     All of you.

     I walk past you in the street.

     I drive past you on the road.

     I order my tea from you in a semi-posh sounding cafe.

     I sit next to you at church.

     And you, yes, even you seem normal.

     And then, we become friends.

     We talk after a lunch, or before a lunch.

     And some of your crazy starts to seep out.

     But I just laugh. To make us both feel comfortable.

     But deep down you know we are both thinking. What the hell is happening?

     I pray for grace. Grace to not stare at you like a homeless person wanting answers. Like, "Where's my money? And my life? And how did we get here?"

     Were we ever really normal??

     Now is probably not a good time to remind you that I've been a youth pastor for a little over 7 years. Especially since this post is more PG-13 than most of my other writings. But nevertheless, I wanted to be real and frank with you.

     I've had to wrestle with the hard truth, that often, I would become just a blip of a memory in the lives of the kids that I mentored, prayed for, cried over, and watched grow into young adults these past 7 years.

     Grappling with the fact that I might not see any real change and growth in an immediate time span, but rather, I might have to wait years and years to see the seeds of what I planted grow in these young hearts. Or the stark possibility that they may never grow and reach their true potential ever. This possible reality being the most Heartbreaking.

     I knew all of this was on the table 7 years ago. But when we do things out of love, logic doesn't always figure in properly. And I didn't step into my role as a youth pastor from a logical standpoint, but rather out of an opportunity to love--the agape way--the sacrificial way. A way in which getting something back of equal value in the relationship, was never going to be a guarantee.

     Because you see, spending time with me for a little over an hour on a Sunday, wasn't going to be enough to counter the dysfunction that was going on in their respective homes.

     And let's just call a spade a spade here.

     These kids were dealing with some real-deal-Holyfield dysfunction.

     Suicidal parents, life-threatening illnesses, death of parents, sibling abuse,  emotional abuse, sexual abuse, drug addiction, sex addiction, crippling obesity, paralyzing depression, devastating fear...

     And add on top of all that: PUBERTY.

     For these teens, Sunday morning was simply respite.

     Enough for someone to catch their breath.

     But not to necessarily change.

     Not just yet.

     And as we wrestled their demons together, I wondered how my efforts fared against the storm raging in their personal homes. The places where they sleep, drink, and eat. Where life is really being lived.

     And the verdict is now out.

     The places we call home truly do shape us the most--even if we are trying to run away from a negative stigma of home.

     Our beginnings in this life do set a course of sorts....what we love, what we hate, what we cling to...

     I have seen God do the miraculous. Really, I have.

     Some crazy sci-fi miraculous. Blind eyes that begin to see. Cancer disappearing. This has become my normal.

     But the miracle that truly floors me every time is that of a CHANGED life.

     A life that is so incredibly impacted and beautifully wrecked by love, that all hindrances of the past are but ashes.

     Old friends barely recognize you, because that's the kind of change that's happened in your life, your heart, and your internal and external world.

     But some people are just not tired enough of their dysfunction.

     Those that I thought had learned their lessons, and have chosen to grow and change out of a toxic lifestyle, are now showing their true struggle in this hour. Their dysfunction is now pushing through the poorly built facade they created. The facade that was much like a straw roof on a brick house. All in an attempt for them to not have to "do the work" -- to face their truth, their current ordeal and mindset and furthermore, make new and better choices...over the playing field of time.

     But these things require work.

And not everyone is up for the tedious discipline that change demands of us.

     So here's the thing.

     If you are choosing to lie (whether out of pride, fear laziness, or arrogance) and/or to remain dysfunctional. I give you that space, wholeheartedly to make that choice. Yes. That is a choice.

     But here's the thing, I just can't carry you with me up the mountain.

     The intimate reserves of my life, dreams, and time will now get shifted towards those folks also pursuing health and breaking the patterns of dysfunction in their own lives.

     Because guess what?

     I'm somewhat dysfunctional, too.

     And I know that misery loves company, and the temptation to stay dysfunctional is all too great, even for me.

     So how does one break out of dysfunction?

     Pursue and stay in emotional health for yourself first.

     Make that a priority.

     And no, that is not selfish.

     It's like what they tell you on airplanes...put the mask on yourself first, before assisting someone else--even a small child...

     Can I tell you a secret?

     The big draw for me becoming a youth pastor, is because God baited me with the promise of healing my own heart through loving these wild, broken, tender, and adventurous teenagers.

     It all came with doing the work on the ground level, but in the context of a youth group. From the non-glamorous and often non-romantic aspects of sitting in meetings, planning, coordinating, and attending small teen prayer and worship nights, youth retreats, service projects, and driving teenagers all over southern California for the last 7 years, while working full time in TV production.

     It was my road out of my own deep dysfunction and pain.

     But what's your road?

     In my constant pursuit to know God more, to love people wholeheartedly and well, it has become imperative that my core group of friends be in a place of health.

     Now I didn't say perfect.

     And we are all free to wallow every now and again.

     But that's not what I'm talking about.

     I'm talking about folks that get you, and that you get as well.

     People that you are choosing of whom are choosing you right back. Iron sharpening iron. Those bringing out the best in you, and you bringing out the best in them.

     As you continue to pursue health, in all its forms in your life (spiritually, emotionally, physically), you'll need to get around and glean from other spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy people.

     (Which, by the way, may not be in your current friend group....)

      But be warned, you'll be challenged to grow and to change.

     And if you're not really ready to change, conflict will arise--mostly within your own life.

     So do yourself the honor of not lying to yourself.

     If you need help, admit it.

     If you're not really ready to change. Admit it. And explore the reasons why...

     And if you're scared to change. Admit it. And confide in someone who will breathe life into your dreams and kill your doubts.

     Two people that have had a far-reaching influence in my emotional health are Bruce and Jean Hammond.

     They are hands down one of my favorite married couples of all time. And simply two of my favorite people on the planet.

     I met them years ago, when I had my first intense counseling session with them.

     4 hours later, they had discovered and exposed a deep-seated area of dysfunction in my own heart, and in that session, they became God's vessels of profound healing.

     I've never had an experience quite like that ever or since.

     Their ministry is quite unique.

     Here's a description of what they do, taken from their website, "Destiny Manifest":

Destiny Manifest is the ministry of Bruce and Jean Hammond who are servants of Jesus Christ with a unique ability to bring understanding, clarity, and insight. 
Through a combination of practical knowledge and the leading of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:6 and 1 Corinthians 12:8) we bring freedom to people who often have felt like there is nowhere else to turn for answers. As a believer in Christ, everyone should experience the joy of knowing truth in the innermost being (Psalm 51:6). The inner life often takes a back seat as people struggle to make their way through life and in effect ignore the deep places of hurt or lack of emotional foundation in their souls. These hurts, or areas of lack, eventually end up affecting their relationships, work life, and destiny.

Jesus said He came to “heal the broken hearted” (Luke 4:18-NASB). The apostle John takes it a step further: “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2 -NASB).

We believe that as a person comes to prosper in their soul and understands truth in their innermost being, they will not only enjoy a healthy emotional life, but their relationships, work life, and fulfillment will be greatly enhanced. Destiny will manifest.

For further information or to schedule appointment, Please Click Here to Email Destiny Manifest or call 615-217-1763

     Although Bruce and Jean are based in Tennessee, they travel quite frequently all over, and also do Skype sessions.

     So if you're resolute or tired of your current lifestyle of dysfunction, or you've just been feeling stagnant in ways that you just can't put your finger on---maybe it's time to do something crazy and intentional. Something as crazy as calling them or emailing them....

     Tell them I sent you. xo

     They won't think you're crazy. I promise.

     In fact, they'll simply think you're lovable and brave.

     Our dysfunctional journeys don't have to be solo. Thank God we don't have to be alone in all of this--left to our own devices.

     Thank goodness, a road has been walked out before us.

     A road marked with tears and blood, but also with victory and love.

     A road beckoning us beyond our dysfunction and the mistreatment done to us through our past.

     The road ahead is going somewhere--somewhere we've always, sincerely longed to go...

Wisdom's Knocking:

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper 
and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” 

-- 3 John 1:2 (NASB)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Master Manipulator


     The things we do to be seen. My Lord.

     And I'm often aware that us girls can be master manipulators.

     So my prayer constantly is: "Lord, help me get out of my own way..."

     Not too long ago, I orchestrated something, in the hopes that when the picture of the event went live online, a particular person--No, A particular man would see it, then comment on it. And would then see me in a different light.

     And then...he would be so enamored by my sense of adventure, my ability to have such rich friendships, and such an exciting and enticing life...

     He'd then be curious about me and would feel compelled to get to know me and date me.

     And then love me.

     And then marry me.  Naturally.

     How could he not?

     End of story.

     I know, I know.

     It's embarrassing to share.

     So all parties involved in today's "adventure" were for the most part used by me, to facilitate this grand scheme of sorts.

     Lame.  Believe me, I'm aware.

     And my apologies to all parties involved. Although, they probably don't know who they are...because I'm often that good. Ugh. I know. Horrible.

     The overall point being.....anything that I try to produce out of my own manipulative striving and selfish gain ends up being wack-tastic. A fleeting and cheap regifting and regurgitation of the real thing.

     But anything I let God do and begin to orchestrate through a sense of trust and rest ends up becoming a gift of eternal weight, and a blessing beyond what I could have ever imagined--and not just for myself, but for all parties involved.

      And that's what I want---truly.

     The lasting gift-- not the temporary half-baked gift...on loan.

     So my prayer again tonight is: "Lord, help me get out of my own way..."

     And not be such a dang clever master manipulator.

     And to have patience for the real thing...

     The end.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"The chief means of resisting manipulation is humility – knowing who we really are and facing it. 
You can only serve by love. You can only love by choice. 
True love cannot be the result of decree, force or manipulation."

- Gayle D. Erwin

Monday, April 20, 2015

I Don't Want a Man


      I know. These posts keeping getting more and more bleak, especially for a "relationship" blog of sorts.

     But as I sit in my parent's rec room, and let the noise of some non-watched television show play in the background, I'm assessing once again.

     My dad is a kind genius of sorts.

     Did I tell you that I hit a semi-truck a couple of weeks ago?

     Well I did.

     I'm okay.


     But now, my vehicle once again is in the hospital.

     I get it. These things happen. It's life.

     One day your doing fine. And then you're not.


     But I called my dad right after the semi-truck and my vehicle had a rendezvous on an LA freeway.

     And I thought to myself, "How amazing is it that I actually have a dad to call right now, who can walk me through this whole mess and also understand all the technical aspects regarding the ways in which to fix my vehicle."

     My dad, he's just good at stuff.

     And I know this might sound morbid, but I'm constantly thinking, what will I do when my dad is gone?? Who will be the man in my life that I can call at any time of the day or night? Who will be the one that can always fix my car? The one that is willing to come rescue me as I'm stranded in God knows what city and won't leave my side until I ask him to?

     For those that don't know, my dad--or rather technically, my step dad, has raised me alongside my mom since I was about 3 years old. So yes, he's my dad. I can't remember a time that I ever referred to him as my step dad. That title never fit him.

     I understand sacrificial love because of him and how he's laid down his life for my mom and me.

     On certain occasions, I find myself thinking about those of us who had extraordinary fathers, it's sort of a crushing blow.

     Because many in this world did not have extraordinary fathers. And their actions reflect a sort of pain and anger. And I find myself in contention or at odds, or on a different playing field altogether when it comes to my faulty communication methods. Like, "But why are you so worried? It's gonna work out. It always does." Cue, the angry stares back at me, not understanding why I don't have my underwear in a bunch, why I'm not freaking out in the midst of turmoil and high intensity situations.

     But my words come from a place of feeling stability and safe, secure and cared for. All the things my dad provided for me while I was growing up.

     But then again, those of us with extraordinary fathers, sometimes take the whole experience for granted. And we can easily trip into this sense of entitlement and act as if we've lost all common sense and the world solely revolves around us. As if we are always owed something. But that's another topic all together. You know the topic, the one where you feel as if the world always owes you something, forgetting that the entire world is going through something everyday--Just.Like.You.

     But the nuts and bolts of it is this:

     I don't want a man.

     And I don't expect a man.

     Rather, I sorta kinda need a champion.

     I want a champion.

     One who's not afraid to get his hands dirty. To figure things out with me. To talk to me about random technical things. Because I'm always curious.

     One who's not afraid to be vulnerable with me, who's not afraid to be afraid, who's interested in the solution not just rehashing the problem.

     One who is sensitive to the ways of a woman.

     One who's finished living recklessly. So much so, the rough parts of him have given way to the diamond essence of who he is.

     One who understands legacy.

     Yes, I'm quite keen on this idea of a champion, because I've seen and lived with one once (Thank you, dad). I know they exist.

    My champion is out there. I'm quite sure of it.

    But until then, I'm convinced more than ever I don't want a man...

Wisdom's Knocking: 

"We aim above the mark to hit the mark."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Six Five (6' 5")


     So I may never get married.

     And that's okay.

     I'll be okay.

     You'll be okay for me.

     And no, this is not my slick attempt to trick the universe into landing marriage directly in my lap.

     I'm just sayin'. I may never get married. And although I may shed a few more tears, I'll continue to live a life full of joy, of kindness, and believing that miracles of all shapes and sizes still happen.

     I'll be more than just "okay" - I will learn how to thrive.

     I think that's my new favorite word right now: Thrive.

     It just feels good to say.

     Say it with me....THrrrriiiiiiveeeee.

     It's like a long satisfying exhale that just happens to be a word.

     You get used to the rhythm of your life in a certain way and you just assume that's the way it's always going to be.

     But it's not.

     Change is the only constant.

     And now I have to learn to expect good things again.

     It's all apart of thriving, you know.

     I want to maintain my childlike awe and wonder. I never want to become a jaded pessimist. If I get hurt, I want to admit I'm hurt and not hide behind a litany of excuses or statistics of how bad everything must always be and end up.

     I give myself permission to thrive in this season.

     You might want to do the same for yourself.

     And so yesterday, "they" asked me what kind of guys I like.

     And for those that don't know, at this stage of the game, I honestly don't have a "type" other than the "Good" kind.

     Take of that what you will.

     But at the same time, I know EXACTLY what I want. I'm not talking physicality here. I'm talking substance.

     It's so funny how close people can be to you and not really know you at all.

     Thus the question was raised.

     And do you wanna know the first thing that came out of my mouth?

     SIX.    FIVE.

     Oh, really Patrice?

     Not into physicality much are you?

     Hashtag: Fibber

     But granted, 6' 5" is not a hard and fast rule for me by any means. It's just the comfort height I made up in my mind in my late teen years whilst being obsessed with college basketball.

     I'm a girl with curves.

     I love my curves.

     And I want my curves to feel safe in the wrapping of a gentleman who is quite possibly 6' 5".

     But meanwhile, I've had crushes on guys shorter than me, "chubby bunnies" as we would call them, and real life nerd alerts.

     So it honestly depends on what season of life you catch me in.

     But the substance will always far outweigh the exterior.

     Whether in relationships or friendships.

     There's a certain texture of human, male human that is, that I know I will recognize when I see it. It's the fiber I like to call "Home".

     It's that, "I just met you, but I feel like I've known you my whole life" feeling.

     We were strangers, yet somehow not upon our first meeting.

     You and I have both experienced this on different levels in our lives, most noticeably in a select portion of our friendships.

     So I know that the idea of finding a sense of "Home" in a male counterpart is not some fiddle faddle relegated to clever fairytales.

     But yes---easy and hard enough indeed.

      So I may never get married.

      But I will still thriiiiiiiiiive.

      Or, I may very well in fact, get someone who is 6' 5" and you bedda believe I'll be Thriiiiiiiiving.....

Wisdom's Knocking:

"He’s not perfect.
You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect.
But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice,
and if he admits to being human and making mistakes,
hold onto him and give him the most you can.

He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment,
but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break.
Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give.
Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad,
and miss him when he’s not there.

Love hard when there is love to be had.
Because perfect guys don’t exist,
but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you."

 — Bob Marley

Friday, April 03, 2015

Watching Arranged Marriages

"Married at First Sight" 

     The social experiment.

     Have you seen this reality show yet?

     I mean. I thought it was going to be the dumbest thing ever. Another bit of reality tv show foolishness.

     A marathon of the show is currently on.

     And here I am, in tears.

     I don't think I've cried more watching a reality show EVER. I'm serious.

     Here's the premise:

"The cart comes way before the horse in the reality series "Married at First Sight." Based on a hit Danish format, "Married ..." features six people who agree to participate in an extreme experiment: Each covenants legal marriage with a complete stranger. Four specialists -- a sexologist, a spiritualist, a psychologist and a sociologist -- use scientific matchmaking methods to determine each couple, who will not have met or had contact with each other until the wedding day. The series then documents the relationships, including honeymoons and other relatable events of married life. After several weeks, each couple must decide whether to remain together or go their individual ways."

     It's been so fascinating to see the different "experts" match these folks together. It's quite a detailed and somewhat scientific method. Plus, the journey for these individuals stepping out to marry a stranger, appears to be more heartfelt than I've seen on a variety a dating/"The Bachelor"type shows. 

(And of course, me being a reality dating show expert (HA), since being on one myself.... and working professionally in LaLaLand- I feel as though I can tell when something feels genuine versus not.)

     So with that said, I'm fascinated with the themes of this show and especially its weighty position it holds regarding marriage. Marriage is not seen as something flippant on the show, not for the strangers nor the experts, which is incredibly refreshing.

    So yeah, arranged marriages....all I can say wheels are turning...My. Wheels. Are turning..................................................

Wisdom's Knocking:

“It's never the differences between people that surprise us.
It's the things that, against all odds, we have in common.”

 ― Jodi Picoult, House Rules