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Could it be that I am finally learnin’


They say that age is nothing but a number.

Today I want to believe that. And I want to live that.

Today, on my 30th birthday, I’m asking myself to stop being limited by a number.

Today I am 30. Today I have been breathing for 3 full decades. I’ve voted in 3 presidential elections. I’ve had my drivers license for 14 years. I’ve gotten 3 speeding tickets and when I was in college I gracefully nudged a pedestrian with a car. I’ve been to 43 states and 11 foreign countries. I’ve driven across the country 3 times and I met Leonard from Salvation Mountain. I’ve spread someone’s ashes and I’ve run a 10k. I’ve photographed hundreds of beautiful faces and old churches around the world. I’ve fought battles with teenage girls and i’ve celebrated their victories. I’ve taught numerous people how to drive a stick shift. I’ve played every position on the baseball field. I’ve taught more Bible studies than i can remember and eaten duck. Accidentally. I’ve seen more live music than I can count and I’ve invented dozens of pancake flavors. I’ve made my own clothing and my own peanut butter. I’ve painted artwork for nurseries and offices and tried to save a civil war era split rail fence.

I’ve cried a lot of tears but I’ve laughed a lot of laughs.

I want to slow down and fight harder.

I want to dream bigger and quit more permanently.

I want to listen more intently and open my eyes wider.

I want to live more fiercely and play more frequently.

I want to read more books and rely less on technology.

I want to love more intentionally and breathe deeper.

I want to take more risks and choose more wisely.

I want to study more maps and learn another language fluently.

I want to stop making excuses and wishing for a different fate.

I want to write more stories and talk less about myself.

I want to sing louder and walk taller.

I want to give even more of myself away.

I want to look at myself in the mirror and believe it when I say “your life has been fruitful.”

I want to be all used up. And I want to start again, now.

Could it be that I’m finally learnin’?
Learnin’ I’m deservin’ of love and the peaceful heart.
I’m tired of lyin’ to myself, tryin’ to buy what can’t be bought.

(ray lamontagne- old before your time)

And if I stumble

Unbelief. Desperation.

When I read this chapter of Mark, I always relate to one person in the story, and it’s not Jesus.

I’m the father begging Jesus to save his son. I’m the father who says to Jesus “if you can…” I’m the father who pleads with Jesus to help his unbelief.

“O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:19-24 ESV)

I believe. I do. I believe that Jesus is who He says He is. But I need Him to help the unbelief I have that He is still working in my life. That’s the cynic in me. That’s the visual learner in me. The hard proof I have, the things I can see and touch and hear, have left me feeling desperate, unbelieving.

I want to believe that Jesus knows what He is doing with my life. I want to believe that He knows better than I do. I want to believe in His promises to make my paths straight. Too often I stay focused on the physical evidence instead of Jesus’ promise that He is faithful. Too often I choose to look at my circumstances and slip into an unbelief that keeps me from fully trusting Jesus.

Thankfully, I am not alone. Thankfully, God thought it a common enough human problem that He decided to show me a biblical example of my cynical self.

Through this father I am able to see that what I need to do is continually ask Jesus to help my unbelief. He gave the control of his unbelief to Jesus. And not only did he surrender control to Jesus, he was able to see his son healed. He was a recipient of Jesus’ grace and mercy and power.

But first he asked Jesus to help his unbelief.

My personal prayer is that I will always be able to turn to Jesus to be the one to help my unbelief. That I won’t turn to the people who cannot help me with my unbelief. That I will always speak out loud my unbelief, not because Jesus doesn’t already know, but because my cynical self needs to humbly approach Him in everything.

Feel I’m on the verge of some great truth
Where I’m finally in my place
But I’m fumbling still full proof
And it’s cluttering my space
Casting shadows on my face

And If I stumble, and if I stall
And if I slip now, and if I should fall
And if I can’t be, all that I could be
Will you? Will you wait for me?

Jesus, I believe. But when I stumble, will You wait for me? Will You help my unbelief? Will You be my belief when I can’t see it? Will You be all that I will never be?

(Alexi Murdoch-wait)


ever have a song that finally makes sense once you live the lyrics?

after this season, the song “clarity” by jimmy eat world does just that.

nearly 12 years later, clarity holds the words i thought and held.

maybe it doesn’t “make sense” so much as it means more. infinitely more.


i’ll take your words

as if you were talking to me

so say what i know you’ll say

and say it through your teeth
now in the deep and down your heart moves

now in the deep and down i don’t know how, but i know i want out

wait for something better

will I know when it can be us?
wait for something better

maybe that doesn’t mean us

wait for something better, i shouldn’t, it’s not enough

pull one excuse from another
and with pride, keep every failure in

and with pride, hold on to the  sinking

now in the deep and down, your heart moves

now in the deep and down, i don’t know how but i know i want out

wait for something better

will i know when it can be us?

wait for something better

maybe that doesn’t mean us
wait for something better- i shouldn’t, it’s not enough

pull one excuse from another

this time it means stop, stop

pull one excuse from another

this time it means stop

wait for something better
will i know when it can be us?

wait for something better

maybe that doesn’t mean us

wait for something better-i shouldn’t, it’s not enough

pull one excuse from another

this time it means stop

still one of my top 5 albums of all time. one of my favorite lyricists. and this album will never make me feel bitter. neither will this season. but it sure does feel healthily cathartic to have a way to express this season.
clarity. and growth.
and a whole lot of clarity :o)



(jimmy eat world- clarity)

a purpose worth being broken for


2011. it’s the obligatory end of year post. and i have much to reflect on. this is going to come in two parts.

it’s been quite a year. at the end of 2010, i was able to look back at a year of changing. and it was rough but so beneficial.

never did i imagine that 2011 would be even tougher.

this year i loved fiercely and intentionally. and it was the hardest thing my heart has ever gone through. it’s easy to love fiercely when you’re receiving love. but when you’re doing it knowing that you’ll never receive equally, it has the potential to wreck you. it would be easy for me to be bitter right now. but i started this year with one word on my heart.



it’s a word i prayed over and over again for myself. it’s the one word i can use to describe this year. this year i surrendered to a lot of things. i surrendered to my job. to my placement. to relationships.

but most of all i surrendered to an idea. to the idea that my life is not my own. i have a purpose and a calling on my life that i have been scared and hesitant to step into. and i know i’m scared because it is a calling that has the very real potential to bring so many blessings. but those blessings may be in equal proportion to the pain. if this past year was any indication, i’m surrendering to a life of constant giving. i’m surrendering to my “mary poppins” life.

and as much as i can feel a ripe hurt in my heart, i have never been more excited to live and to love than i am right now. for years i have been talking about being on a horizon. something that i felt was just around the corner. and i’ve been waiting, sometimes not very patiently, for a long time to have it revealed to me. but as God is wont to do, He has done everything in His own timing. and i am more thankful for that now than ever. because this year has marked the most growing time in my adult life. the most intentional time. and i know this is just a beginning.

this year was frantic. busy. overwhelming. difficult. enduring. growing. i’ve laughed a lot, but i’ve shed more tears. and truthfully i can say that i would not change a thing. i have no regrets. i am just fully content in my Maker and who He has molded me into over the year.

so as i sit here on the other side of the pain and the stretching and the growing, i am nothing but grateful. i know why they call them growing pains. i feel wiser today than i did a year ago. i feel more calm. i feel more content in the person God made me and is continuing to make me.

this year proved that i am feistier than i thought. i live more fiercely than i thought. and God has given me a resilience and a peace that i never dreamed i would carry.


i hope you understand that you haven’t seen the fierceness my God has given me. not yet. He’s unleashed it this year in a gentle way. and i’m not apologizing for it. here’s to 2012 and all that this night ceremoniously hold for us.


begin anew. it’s time.


(sleeping at last- noble aim)

it is steep/it is stone



what better way to kick off my new blog than a post about what i’ve learned today?

today i learned some really important things. and i’d love to share them with you


1. i learned for the first time what it feels like to be covered in prayer. i mean, i can literally feel the prayers people are praying for me. His peace is abounding.

2. i have a community and i never saw it coming. it doesn’t look like i expected it to look. my community spans the continent and age. and i love them so, so much.

3. i have the privilege of seeing the influence i’m blessed to offer girls. i don’t deserve the peeks into God’s plan for them, especially when He is using me. But He is allowing me tiny sneak previews. how wonderful that is.

4. i trust with my whole heart the gift He gave me of intuition. for the first time i trust that it’s Him speaking to me. such a comfort.

5. and lastly. i have learned to trust in the person i am in HIM. to be unashamed of the worth i have in HIM. to rest in HIS peace. i have learned the kind of strength and dignity He has for me. and i can’t explain the feeling. but i can’t wait for you to have it, too.


in my heart of hearts, i can say that the journey has been refining. i can look back on this year and know and believe that it was for my good. i now know and believe that the Lord spoke through melissa the day she called me mary poppins. it’s without a doubt.


the process is so very priceless.




(bon iver- beth/rest)


the future is brighter than any flashback

yesterday i was recalling how we spent new years eve last year.

it was a weird night. it made me afraid that the entire year would be weird. turns out, it was. but in the best way possible. it all happened so, so fast.


what did 2010 look like for this girl?

i spent (nearly) the entire year with my best friend in the whole world.

and we took lots of photos together. which i am so very, very thankful for. with my whole heart.

i took photos of beautiful ladies dressed as hollywood starlets.

i started  with my sister during the great blizzard.

i had 3 photos submitted in my very a first art show

i started designing with a graphic tablet

the Lord unearthed a passion in me and the words to share with girls.

i got a new job

experienced LOST from the beginning, to the very end with pemmy.

i struggled through lots of change. and i’m still learning how to do that.

i directed my first summer of camp. which was amazing.

started an art club and helped friends to be creative

i watched my roomie and dearest friend kelly move out of our house and into her dream.

i photographed 3 weddings.

finally unveiled my photography website.

spent the year singing with my church worship team and finding my voice.

i did a lot of self-reflection. LOT.

i took the of a lifetime with my sister. across our country. but across much more than that.

overwhelmed myself on a regular basis by how far i’ve come in the past 3 years.

had my life rocked amp; challenged at all the youth events we’ve been a part of in the last 5 months.

bought enough music over the year to open my own record store.

took our 3rd annual magical southern christmas tour, arguably the best yet.

loved a lot of people. learned how to love a lot of people. learned how not to love a lot of people.

when i think back on the year 2010, i’m going to remember it as the year i changed the most. i’m going to remember it as the year i spent with my sister. i’m going to remember it as the year i started opening my heart. i’m going to remember it as the year God shook me from my complacency and gave me new eyes. new desires in my heart. and most of all a fire in my bones. i’m going to remember 2010 as a year of tremendous growth.

i sometimes think it’s silly to base our changes in something so simple as december 31 ending. but i understand the need for a new hope. putting things behind you and looking forward. i learned this year that i have the option to do that every single day. it doesn’t just happen once a year.

i know that 2011 is going to be intense. and challenging. and possibly even more growing that 2010. i’m so ready for more unknown. i’m embracing it more than i ever imagined i would be able to. i hope that whatever this year was for you, you are ready for what is about to happen. because i know it’s going to be huge. and since it’s january, you have a blank slate. draw on it. color in the details. write some new pages in your story. work hard. stay focused. take risks. love people. go on adventures.


i’m working on all of those things. and i’m so, so excited.


(sleeping at last- january white)

if you want His kingdom

in need of some good words?

yeah, me too 🙂

‘overcome the notion that you must be regular. it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary.’ -uta hagen

‘she decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. and birds fluttered around her, writing “yes” in the sky.’

‘what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. it will decide what gets you out of bed in the mornings, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you. fall in love. stay in love. and it will decide everything.’ -pedro arrupe

‘this is a space for dream words. love words. made up words. flying words. fall down and get up words. get to know the sound of your own inner voice. be creative. be generous. be bold.’

‘it is without question our duty to honor the love of every human heart as we would our very own.’

‘greater are those who are with love than all who are against.’

‘any given moment can change your life. you just have to be there.’

‘the only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. all that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them.’

‘men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.’ -john steinbeck

‘look, i don’t want to wax philosophic, but i will say that if you’re alive you’ve got to flap your arms and legs, you’ve got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colorfully, or you’re not alive.’ -mel brooks

“trust is quicksand, claiming everything i have. all to give me life, all to give me life.’ -sleeping at last, quicksand

‘and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’ -anais nin

‘Jesus is on that mainline, tell Him what you want. call Him up and tell Him what you want. well, the line ain’t never busy. well, if you want His kingdom, tell Him what you want’ -Jesus on the mainline

‘the miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit. -mark twain



(Jesus on the mainline)

contagious and spreading quick

it’s been some time…

but i have something i need to say. enjoy.

i’ve been praying recently for us to be able to see each other not as we normally would. but to see each other as Jesus sees us. we get really concerned with appearance, both physical and spiritual, emotional and relational… and so i’ve been thinking about the word transparent. which can be one of those words that people throw around but hardly ever aspire to.

if you think about the word as it is defined: ‘allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen; easy to perceive or detect; having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived.’ then it sounds scary. “having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived. this means ALL our thoughts, feelings and motives. and if we’re being really honest, i’m not sure i want everyone to know all my thoughts, feelings and motives. they are not good all the time. in fact, i would say a majority of the time my thoughts, feelings and motives are selfish. unflattering. spiteful. terribly monster-like.

but if there is anything that i have learned recently, it’s this.

i’m not alone.

we all have terribly monster-like thoughts, feelings, motives. and i expect people to love me in spite of being monster-like. so. i think it’s time for me to start loving monsters.

and i think i should start by being a bit transparent myself. yikes… ripping off the band-aid.

– i like to control most situations. i’m working on not controlling you.

– i like to be right all the time. at the expense of others. i do not like looking dumb. i’m working on admitting when i don’t know something.

– i like things to stay somewhat the same. don’t mess with my traditions. only i can change them. this weekend i enjoyed misfit christmas. because i let go.

– i like to make things better. right away. i don’t like people to be mad. especially not at me.  last week i had to learn to let people have space. not everyone works out their issues like i do. some people need time.

– i like to be involved in everything. i’m working on stepping back. the world does not revolve around me. in fact it moves really well on its own.

upon review, this is a mild case of transparency. thin. veiled. shallow.

see, even my first attempt needs some revision. i’m not really sure i want to do that just yet.


i’m working on it.

this all started because i had this thought. this simple thought that we just need to be able to see through the thick coat of monster we sometimes wear. Jesus does. He knows the cracks we have in our hearts. but He knows why they’re there. how they got there. and He accepts us with those cracks, in our monster suits.

can you accept me in my monster suit? i’m not always wearing it. but when i do, i need for you to know that it’s temporary. and i’m going to love you as a monster, too. because i know there’s more to you than that.

i know it.



(sleeping at last- heaven breaks)

His law is Love

my house.
a car with heat.
a full-time job.
the ability to buy groceries.
and a jacket.
friends & family who love the heck out of me.
gifts &talents i’ve been given.
Forgiveness. Grace. Savior.

as i walked from my car into my house yesterday, i had one thought. and one thought only.
in this current time, i have everything i need. should have no want for anything more.

in this current time, i have no right to feel i need anything more. not when i see & feel how this current time is.

(o, holy night)