Body

That sleeps deeply and wakes to new strength

And grows and expands, ever developing with the seasons

That strengthens and adapts

That cradles precious things

That folds and squishes 

That laughs and crinkles

That soaks in sun and shivers the cold away

that leaps and falls

And stumbles back up again

That grows life

And holds it softly

That stretches and shrinks 

That scrapes and heals

That knows only to do its very best

photo: Patrick Demarchelier

rising

It’s the magnificent art of rising again

Dusting off your pants

Bending your aching knees and lifting yourself up, despite the pull of gravity you’ve sadly become familiar with

You rise

Again

And however small your rise, its magnificent 

Careful not to minimize it

That achy feeling that comes with it, its yours

And now you know you may fall again 

photo: Elfride Nutiu

Unpacking Grief

I was talking to my discipleship group recently about how I was processing a recent loss. One of my friends remarked how they admired how well I was handling it. I had been hearing that a lot lately, how surprisingly well I was handling it given how objectively upsetting the circumstance was. I laugh at that comment a little, because I feel like I haven’t done anything exceptionally brave or special.

I responded by explaining that it seems as though God has passed me my grief in parcels. To unpack one at a time.

I am glad I have heard His plea for me to be patient in this unpacking process, because I can almost feel the weight of what it might be like to climb up on the counter and open that messy cupboard by myself. I can imagine the mess and discomfort of letting it all hit me at once- all the questions, all the pain, and all the fear.

Instead, I wait patiently. Whether it be day by day, or week by week, or longer. Some days I let myself forget or pretend I have completely forgotten. Some days, now more than before, I don’t feel the weight of it so much, and I savor that, because its a gift. I trust that in time I will know all the little pieces that broke off in the calamity, and I will know where to return them to, or if they need a new place entirely.

Perhaps all this is a nonsense metaphor, but for me right now, it brings me so much peace to know that it is not up to me to put all the pieces back together, or to make sense of the events that caused the fallout. I am simply writing this post because my discipleship group asked me if I’ve ever thought about writing and I shyly admitted I write often, on my semi unknown blog for rambling thoughts. I decided this would be one of the few posts I’ll publish.

Year 1 of Marriage

Turns out, even when you don’t want to, even when it feels like you’re not getting what you asked for, even when you don’t understand or you’re just flat out angry- love requires something, something bigger than you’d like to give. But as it also turns out, the steady, everyday, good morning and good night kind of love lends itself to moments of completely unexpected awe as well. There are moments when I can’t seem to remember ever not knowing this person, and there are moments I see him for the first time all over again. This whole, individual person who lets me depend on me, who allows himself to depend on me.

One year ago I married my husband. I still feel every much as silly using the word husband for my best friend, because it feels so grown up, because we’re still kids in a lot of parts of our heads. That day was this kind of chaos I find myself laughing at a year later. I sit here and try to remember how eager I was to be my husband’s wife and just as everyone does I am humored by the two people who had no idea what the 1st year would require of them. We were, and often still are, blessed with an ignorant optimism about what we’re capable of. Together this year, as a young team, I graduated from college, we added a puppy to our team, we fought to open a coffee shop and finally did, I got a job, lost a job, weathered some storms and rebuilt some parts of myself, this time with someone who was looking out for me a little better than I cared to for myself. It feels like we’ve really finished this first year as a team. We are sending off this first year with some laughs, sighs of relief, well wishes and a little skip jump forward into the next year. I am proud of how we’ve grown and loved this year, but I know I am so much more excited for what is to come.

LOOK OUT It’s The Writer Nobody Asked For

Writing and I have a very will they/won’t they relationship in my head. That very sentence proves how much I live in my own mind most of the time. Here’s the thing, I love writing, I need to write. I get antsy if too much time passes and I don’t spill out my thoughts a little bit…BUT I can’t help but feel slightly aimless in my pursuit of dumping my heart and mind out through words. Who needs to know this information? Why do we as humans feel compelled to share our words? For me, it feels like my words are only half alive until they’re exposed to others.

So after much unnecessary and studious consideration, I have decided to just keep writing and sharing my words. Not for the self betterment of those reading, but for mine (sorry but welcome to the internet). If I believed I was writing to help others I think I would easily collapse within the first mile; it is far easier for me to write with reckless abandon and pray one day somehow it lands on someone and brings a sliver of thought, joy, amusement, laughter, or even judgement if that’s your style. I’d rather write for me rather than slave in thought over how to best appeal to others. That’s not my forte and I feel like that’s a little more than obvious in most art-obsessed-romantic types.

In conclusion (the way I’m pretty sure you should never conclude a piece of writing), I am writing to release the pressure in my head and heart like its a balloon about to explode.

So have a good day, don’t overthink everything & care way less. That’s my recipe today.

2019

It’s surely been a while since I’ve allowed myself to sit and write. I think due to the nature of growing up, I’ve ruled out a lot of things that feel self indulgent or unproductive, but I’m learning many of those things are things that make me come alive, so I’m back here on the keyboard.

2019 was the year I was engaged and quickly married to my best friend. There were the pre-wedding festivities with all the people I love…showers and parties, and then the post-wedding quiet that gave us the space to stretch out our arms as married people and learn about this new space we inhabit. It was the year we bought a house and began making it a home. It was the year that “coming soon” was all we could say about the coffee shop. It was the year we decided to get a puppy and name him Mowgli. It was the year I graduated from school and stepped into another new chapter. It was a year that felt a lot like promises fulfilled and also a lot like winding up a jack in the box and waiting to see what would happen next. I don’t know how I’ll remember 2019 10 years from now, but I’m pretty sure I’ll laugh at the two kids who decided to do everything in sight and didn’t even realize it because they were so blindly excited.

Sabbath: Trusting Rest

About a year ago I decided to start fighting for Sabbath rest in my week. I believe our society sees rest as a weakness, rather than a tool for endurance and growth. Rest can often seem lazy or self-indulgent, but I believe the God who created me, created me with limits. And because of my limits, I’ve been given the Sabbath- the surrendering my desire for productivity, the validation of progress and the satisfaction of busyness.

Though it is a gift, it can often be hard for me to set the to-do list down, close out of email, and just be. It’s the one day of the week where God simply invites me to be a human being, not a human doing

We wonder why we’re already so tired when it’s noon on a Monday. We wonder how it’s already Sunday evening and we’re dying for another shot at the weekend, unprepared to dive into our week.

I think my biggest obstacle is my forgetfulness. I can often spend a whole work week relying on myself and my own ability, and I so easily forget my value isn’t tied to the things I do. Thankfully it doesn’t take much more than a moment of stillness to bring me home to myself, to rest in my truthful identity – that I am loved, and I am enough, apart from my works. 

God doesn’t give me the Sabbath because He is rewarding my hard work, and He doesn’t withhold rest from me if I failed to get enough done in the week. It is His constant good gift to me, the thing I always need.

This Sabbath I decided to paint, not for a client commission, or for show, but for me. I wanted to paint so I could let me hands get messy and let my mind get simple. I gave God room to speak, and He met me right where I was, on the floor of my bedroom. As I layered paint, and pushed it around the canvas- I could hear my thoughts clearly, I asked God to begin to heal the parts of me I’ve neglected.

I think the Sabbath can be the easiest thing for a Christian to rule out of their busy life. That has at least been true for me. It’s hard to make space for it, and it’s so easy to assume you’ll honor rest when life slows down. But friend, this is the time for rest. In the middle of chaos and deadlines and responsibilities, acknowledge your limitations, and acknowledge the gift of rest. I’m so tired of hearing people complain of how tired and worn out they are. I want to see people who rest- people who honor their limitations and the One who meets them there with love. So I hope you don’t count yourself out. I hope you don’t assume you’re the exception. I hope you come to see you can enter your Mondays with readiness and even joy.

 

 

Mood board

Some things I found on the internet that are making me think about making more beautiful things.

insporaI’ve recently become very interested with the intersection of the digital space and tactility- even though I can’t physically touch these images, there is something real about them, in the texture and warmth and personality. I’m not sure how to do this in my own digital work, but it’s something that’s really fascinating to me. Design Inspiration

Gold Thread : Looking Back Last Summer

Life lately has been a little extra emotional for this ball of emotions over here. This post is kind of proof of that, but it’s also proof of something a little greater I hope.

I had a facebook memory pop up today, it reminded me where I was this time last year. I was wearing the same orange and white striped shirt I’m wearing today, and I was on top of a mountain. It was perhaps the most beautiful mountain I had ever stood on. I remember feeling it, I still feel it- the most conflicting feeling of overwhelming beauty and intense pain . . .

For someone like me, I can step into pain and really feel it all. I’m made up mostly of emotions and I’ve come to find when I feel, I feel deep and strong. Emotions seldom brush by me, rather they twist around me like a blanket, I can become completely entwined in a feeling.

I can remember standing on that mountain, feeling naked. I felt like my comfort and my safety had been mockingly taken from my hands. I felt robbed. Just the same, I felt overwhelmed with the view I had in front of me. I felt joy in the cool breeze that danced through the warm sun rays on my skin. I felt God in the lush grass that seldom saw many footprints. I felt every bit frail and collapsed as I did held together by something bigger. In that moment, I think I really learned a great contradiction: beauty in pain.

The days to follow were some of the hardest with some of the worst news. Learning one the most valuable people in your life won’t stay with you for all your days on earth like your childlike mind had pretended…well I don’t have words for that feeling, just the feeling that remains with me. In those hard days last summer, life was never more painful, the moments had never been that valuable and just the same I had never experienced so much joy in such small places

I recently heard this quote from a woman named Ruthie Lindsey, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain”. I don’t know why this is true, but it is. God met me in a hollow place and he showed me overflowing beauty. He showed me the overwhelming beauty of a smile, and it was only so beautiful because there would be days where I didn’t see one. I saw birds differently, I saw my family differently, I saw flowers and water and food differently.

Looking back at last summer, I see the golden thread woven throughout the most painful memories. A laugh in a hospital room became the very best thing I’d ever heard. Life isn’t all pain, and it’s definitely not all beauty, but I am thankful for a God who can use pain, who wastes nothing- who uses every piece of the pain for beauty.

If you’re walking through something right now & can’t see the beauty, that’s okay, just keep your eyes open and it will find you. And if you need some encouragement in your inbox, send me an email & I’d love to send you some words that might bring some light or hope to your life right now.

with love