if life was a beach – therapy

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I love being in a place,

surrounded by people,

simply being.

All of us at our finest,

simple existence.

Free from work troubles,

finances, and any of the worries

of life – just free.

Funny, it is, the way we live.

Working so hard and long,

wasting away so much that we must

find a place, in or near,

the middle of nowhere to disconnect,

and exist in community.

Breathing deeply,

and exhaling, renewed.

Doing all things that we love that don’t fit into our busy schedules.

Reading,

Soaking up the sun,

Listening to the sounds of nature,

Boating,

Fishing,

Breathing,

Dreaming,

Writing.

Being.

Listening,

to the still,

small voice.

Here it doesn’t have to fight for attention.

Here it can be heard.

Amongst the leaves and the breeze,

the songs of birds, calls of loons, and the glurps of fishes.

It is heard in the late night whispers,

and uninterrupted conversations – finally made time for.

In connections with old friends,

or striking conversations with new ones.

Free, together, we are at our finest,

and the still, small voice is heard.

We are calm.

The therapy of sand sifting through our toes,

and refreshing, brisk waves enveloping our souls.

As we swim away our worries,

and our fears.

Here, we are free.

If life was a beach,

we would all be lovers (not haters)

this I guarantee.

We would be givers (not takers).

Freely investing in each other’s lives,

we would become the best possible versions of ourselves.

If life was a beach.

If all the ground we treaded upon

was sand, we would be strong.

Persevering through the heat,

and swift through the cold,

we would continue onward.

Footprints left behind

we could see when we were carried.

Easily, we could track the lost,

and follow until they were found.

If all the ground was sand.

If all the broken was water,

we indeed would be healed.

Mind, body, and soul.

Our thirst quenched.

Our scum washed clean.

Sleeplessness would exist nary,

as mother earth would calm us,

into an eternal-like slumber.

If all broken was water.

If all wrongs turns were right turns,

We would never get lost.

No longer would we fret

about where we were going,

or how long it’d take us

to get there.

We would just go,

and be,

and turn as we please.

If all wrong turns were right turns.

If life was a beach,

we’d simply follow the water:

enhancing our muscles in the sand,

healing our broken in the water,

and not ever (like ever),

wonder where we were wandering,

or how fast we could get there.

If life was a beach.

 

 

Beautiful, Seen, and Cherished

 

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I’ve always loved dying flowers.

Especially more than those in full bloom. 

They are a tragically, beautiful reminder of how fragile life is.

Here one moment, and gone the next.

Losing my father and most of my grandparents at young ages, I’ve learned to treasure life – not just life, but the people that life presents.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve had the privilege of unexpectedly, reconnecting with old friends, making business acquaintances, and spending an honorable amount of time with family. In these moments, I’ve reminded myself to cherish each and every moment – because just as the flowers bloom and fade away – moments are here in the now and gone with the morning.

Nearly three weeks ago at my favorite place on earth, McCarthy Beach, I ran into an incredibly kind family that I knew growing up. The father of the clan asked my friend and I to take their family photo, on my favorite dock of all places, and in the next moment we made the connection of who we all were. His son graduated with my brother, and one of his daughters I remembered from our choir days. Both of them came to visit for a moment and I must say it was a breathe of incredibly fresh air. They both had grown up spectacularly and seemed to be in places or callings that set their hearts ablaze. I love that – meeting people that are in their element. Beautiful, beautiful family, and I am so thankful to have crossed their path a few times over that weekend.

The following weekend I spend at car dealerships. For me, this generally isn’t an exciting experience. But I thought about the previous weekend, and how God had perfectly blessed it with the presence of old friends… I had wondered why the reconnecting occurred for only moments, and not hours or days. Why grant me only a glimpse of such wonderful people? Why purchase a bouquet of flowers? I felt God nudge. In the moment, flowers can bring such joy and peace, and even when they have wilted, we can still remember the way they once added beauty to our lives.

The beauty of mankind – much grandeur than the most flourishing petals can evoke such radiance within the soul.

That was my goal, while car-shopping – to evoke some sort of beauty within the lives of the car salesmen. This mostly existed through kindness, patience, gratitude and complimenting their exceptional customer service skills (only to those that were exceptional, of course).

It’s important to fully grasp and experience the emotions that people kindle in our souls. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly wave, impeccable eye contact, kindness, or the simplest act of service to remind us that we too are beautiful, that we are seen, and that we too need to be cherished. Because none of us last forever.

This past week has be overflowing with an abundance of family time. Cousins that I haven’t seen in years… nearly all of them, I’ve reconnected with for a catch-up conversation or a coffee. Enjoying the musical stylings of the incredibly talented step-brother with such an open and creative soul. An aunt in from states away providing weeks of giddy giggles and goofiness, that I wouldn’t trade for the world. And though I’d much rather live in the beautiful home that I pay rent for, I will admit, I find this time with my parentals quite treasurable. Not to mention short, but sweet FaceTimes with my beloved nieces states away (though the gleeful visit of their whole family wasn’t too long passed either).

Moments are fleeting. People are fleeting. And in this ever changing, crazy fast-paced world, it is all the more important to make connections with the people we care about. God gave us each other, that’s all we’ve got. I say we cherish each other, and do our darn best to let each other know – that we are beautiful, we are seen, and we are cherished.

What flowers, or people, has God blessed you with recently? Did you feel their presence kindle joy, peace, energy, healing within your soul? Do they know that they are beautiful, seen, and cherished in your life?

Sometimes, all we need to be reminded of is the power of moments, because a smile, hug, or compliment – ever so fleeting – can make a lasting difference.

 

 

 

 

Soul Structure

Heaven to me is a platform made of boards,

stretching from land to sea. This place is where I want to be…

Always.

. . .

It floats on the waters that

my Savior walked upon.

Steady as ever, sinking never…

Here.

. . .

Rain or shine,

it stands firm.

Through winter’s snows

it must return…

To land.

. . .

Floating with the tide and

waves passing gently.

Healing waters come and go.

Heal me waters to and fro.

. . .

Made with wood,

as was the cross,

this T-shaped altar

gazing into the sea,

is where you’ll

always find…

Me.

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Thank You, Friends

Dearest family, friends, readers, and admirers 🙂

I just wanted to extend a plethora of gratitude for all your prayers, thoughts, love, and healing vibes. I am excited to proclaim that after three treacherous weeks and more recently, a weekend at my favorite place on earth, I’m finally feeling human again! Even better, I’m feeling like myself! It has been a rough journey indeed, and I will still appreciate thoughts and prayers as I venture through the tangles of insurance, and continue to persevere through driving anxiety – I can’t do any of this alone! Prayer changes things indeed!

Early last week I hit my lowest point. Attaining an inexplicable exhaustion and feeling ill for a couple days, I shared my very ugly thoughts and feelings with the Lord. He heard it all – the pain, anger, frustrations, fears, hopes, desires, and tears. It was not fun, but it was necessary. And God lovingly listened to it all. What a Savior.

I’m so happy to admit that the past three days I’ve spent nearly 2-3 hours each day being physically active, including my usual speed of walking (swiftly), wading in the water, hiking, and even basketball!!! This morning I shot hoops for forty minutes, and it was simply the best thing ever! Pain-free!!! God is so good!

This weekend I found myself at my favorite place on earth, twice. On Saturday, with one of my best friends, I sported my new “NOT TODAY SATAN” red V-neck t-shirt, and lived with that motto! I did not settle for anything less than God’s best for me ❤ He presented me with so many truly wonderful gifts: quality time with my bestie, a short hike in the forest, a walk in the water on the sandiest of beaches, a long drive on country roads, ice-cream, reuniting with old friends, pizza and beer at my favorite bar with great tunes from a local band, and God ended the evening with the most marvelous of sunsets. On the drive home, we enjoyed a mashup of lightening and fireworks. God is so great!

On Sunday, after visiting the church I grew up in ❤ I felt God urge me to return. The sun was shining, and it seemed bound to be another beautiful day, so I decided to take the risk. It was indeed a risk because it was the longest drive I’d driven since the accident. Taking many deep breathes, I drove the hour and half there, and even enjoyed most of it! Jamming out to the mix I created to get myself back into the swing of things, I enjoyed the windows-down drive to my favorite place on earth. As a reward promising to comfort me after my drive home that evening, I bought myself a new McCarthy Beach sweatshirt, the one I had been eyeing the previous day. God’s blessings were abundant on Sunday as well: long walks around the campground, inspiration for writing on the beach, a couple hours spent on my favorite dock – writing, soaking up the sun, and making friends with a a very intelligent 9-year old fisherman – picturesque scenes, and seeing old friends once again 🙂 God is the greatest!!!

I am so blessed to have a Savior that loves me so well.

I am also so blessed to have every single one of you love me so well.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey, and for your continued prayers!

❤ ❤ ❤

May you have an abundantly blessed Fourth of July!!!

Thank you, friends!

Men’s Night at the Country Club

It’s men’s night at the country club,

Their beer I smell from holes away.

At summer’s end, we’ll all be friends…

Minus the cigar smoke and foul word play.

. . .

It’s men’s night at the country club,

As I critique each golfer’s twelfth drive.

At summer’s end, we’ll all be friends…

Ooo that swing… Nose dive.

. . .

It’s men’s night at the country club,

 I wave as they pass by my post.

At summer’s end, we’ll all be friends…

Of this opportunity, I will make the most.

. . .

It’s men’s night at the country club,

Swinging bull, swigging lies.

At summer’s end, we’ll all be friends…

For these truths, I will not apologize.

. . .

It’s men’s night at the country club,

Three months out of each of the years.

At summer’s end we’ll all be friends…

For now, let’s crack some beers.

. . .

Cheers!

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Simply Broken

Breathing out, I open my eyes and my chest jolts in pain. Sitting on my recliner for the third day straight I am desperate to escape. I long for my younger years when summer meant freedom from school and fun-filled trips to the lake. Lately, my adulting summers include financial stressors and as of a week ago, a physically painful detour. One moment I was five minutes from home, and the next, I saw the large black vehicle too late. My limited memory recalls attempting to swerve, but then <<CRASH>> I heard the shattering of glass and the denting of metal, and then I was spinning to a sudden stop. I unbelted, and crawled out on to the ground, my whole body shaking. I didn’t appear to be too injured beside the blood dripping down my glass speckled hand. I focused on breathing; it was suddenly hard to breathe in and out. My body shook and my chest sent out shocking vibrations with every sudden movement.

So I breathe in, and I breathe out. I close my eyes again, and float away from the broken body solemnly perched in its recliner.

This past week I have found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place, and honestly, with each passing hour my patience is becoming more and more exhausted. I cry on a regular basis and shout obscenities at God in a “Why me?” “When will I get my big break?” “Where were you?” fashion. It is difficult being tasked as the “tragedy child” or I guess, adult. I know we all have our own struggles, and not everyone is as open with theirs as I am with mine, but at times it really does seem like some people have everything going for them. I am not ‘those people’. (I am far, far away from ‘those people’.) Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish this on anyone, honestly, but I really do hope that someday soon (like really, really soon) I’ll get my break.

It’s not just the accident or injury that tests my patience, but also my inability to find a job that combines passion, money and benefits. Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that God called me home, I’m becoming more and more worn with every application. Angry tears line my eyes as well-meaning friends offer ideas of “settling for now” or positions that would at least pay well. My insides tear and tremble as I consider settling again. When is my time?

Deep breath in, and let it out. I am constantly reminded by friends and family to breathe. Diagnosed with four hairline fractured ribs and a cracked sternum, the doctors told me that time and deep breathing was necessary to help my body heal, and fight off pneumonia. Implemented in my hour schedule are ten deep breaths and five usually painful coughs. So in the midst of career and personal turmoil, God is reminding me to breathe. You’re not okay. That’s okay. Just breathe. You will be okay.

This I know is true:

  • I am in pain – physical, emotional, all of it.
  • I am not doing well.
  • I wish, for once, I’d get a break.
  • My positivity wanes as I weaken.
  • Even considering settling prickles anxious tingling within my heart and soul.
  • I am awesome, and as much as the devil tries to knock me down, I will continue to get up again – no matter how pissed off or frustrated I am about it.

my fighting words

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 5:6-11 (NKJV)

It was a sad day when my favorite activity (and life’s best medicine) suddenly sent waves of pain throughout my entire body. Though I pride myself in having a high tolerance for pain, I knew the moment had come that I needed to humble myself and allow the professionals to do what they do best. My anxiety perked as my bruises deepened their purple coloring, and the area of my chest, that caused a shock of pain to shake my system any time I moved against gravity, didn’t seem to bruise at all. Checking my modesty at the door, I was poked, prodded, scanned, and lectured. My dedicated peoples faithfully stayed beside me each step of the six-hour journey. Though I was grateful never to be alone, I was not a fan of their “game” at the end of the night. Rewarding their childlike patience, I painfully played along as my step-father and best friend (and mother) attempted to raise my pulse by seeing how hard they could get me laughing. I’m glad they, at least, could find pleasure in my pain…

For the past week, I’ve found myself thinking nightly, I can’t wait until I can laugh without pain. It really is the little things we take for granted. Evenings with my new roommates are swiftly becoming bittersweet memories for me. God has blessed us with a beautiful town-home on a golf course where we can see both sunrises and sunsets! God surely uses his finest paints to coat the skies in magnificent light. The golfers, and their self-boasting abilities also provide free and interesting entertainment, as my skin soaks in the sun’s Vitamin D delight. God surely granted me a fine establishment where I can heal, with incredible laugh therapists at my side. However, I have never been in as much pain as when we find ourselves lost in a spree of laughter. Sharp jolts emit from within my cracked sternum and outward, as I continuously hope for the day of pain-free joy. 

angry tears

Generally, I try to spin my struggles into a positive or humorous light, but this time I want to solidify the truth in this statement: “I’M NOT OKAY. IT’S OKAY. JUST BREATHE. I WILL BE OKAY.” In the Scripture posted above we learn that we should “share our cares with the Lord, for He cares for us”. Though God knows all, He reminds us He is present and listening, we can tell Him our troubles. It’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes we need to shake our fists at Heaven and ask “Why me? Why now? and When will it ever work out?” Angry tears work best when they are emptied and expressed. God is present in my (your) pain. And bless His heart, He’s willing to listen to us banter on and on about how we are not okay.

NOT OKAY

(Just one glance at my poor totaled car tightens my chest, hastens my heart, and saddens my soul. I wish this experience on no one ever.)

Reflecting on the past week, I breathe in slowly, and let it out. My favorite Scripture comforts as my Kentucky quilt cocoons me in a warm, soothing embrace. The evening laughter pains send shock-like ripples of pain through my system, but the Words of Truth remind me, It’s not okay, but you are going to be okay. And don’t forget to breathe!

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

– 2 Corinthians 4: 7-9; 16-18 (NIV) 

jars of clay

Sea Sick Psalm

Mind wandering.

Frantically trying to come up with a plan.

Something.

Please God, Something.

I’ve been on this boat for too long.

The waves constantly tossing and turning.

Moving.

I fear I will never see shore again.

A persistant transition.

Like the wind, always blowing.

Eternally tossing.

My ship at sea.


Even the calm days leave me wanting.

Yearning for even a glimpse of shore.

Sometimes I see one in the distance.

Hope arises.

Sun warms at the possibility.

Heartbeat quickens.

I am alive.

But then my vision changes.

What I saw was only a mirage.

Clouds cover where there once was sunshine.

I’m chilled to the bone.

A near-miss.

A close-call.

Almost.


Oh Lord, when will you deliver me?

To a piece of dry land.

A land flowing with milk and honey.

Or in modern terms.

When will I land that job?

Flowing with abundant salary and benefits.


My faith though present,

Is being exhausted.

Wavering:

As each wave breaks.

As each mirage disappears.

As hunger ensues.

Waiting on that which you promised.

Waiting on you.

To revel yourself, and your plan, to me.


“Help!” I holler to no response.

“Jesus?” I question into the silence.

“Somebody? Anybody? Help.” the  desperate voice of Simba echoes in my mind.


My boat, now cruise ship…

All that time for renovations.

Through the light of the TV screen,

I hear voice of another frantic character,

“but right now, it’s like he’s a million miles away.”

Her assuring father gently responds,

“Honey, you of all people should understand…

When you’re going through something really hard”

(or when the waves are always tossing

and the waters never-ending…)

“the teacher is always quiet during the test.”

(the captain always concentrating

to get you safely through the storm.)

Instantly, I feel the warmth of His Spirit.

His pressure on my soul.

My anxious ocean calmed.

Momentarily.

I exhale,

knowing,

I am not alone.

CAPTAIN SAFE

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Right-Hand Man

Disclaimer: Each day I lemmingly follow the person in front of me through each card-key locked door, to the break-room to drop off our lunches, and off to our work stations behind a computer. Here we sit and stare for nearly 8.5 hours, five days a week. Sometimes my computer will freeze for a session of five  to ten minutes. In these beautiful moments of freedom, I drift off to another world, a fictional one, made up stories of the people around me. Some stories will have small essences of true experiences, others will be simply created off of a small detail, or sarcastic thought in my mind. Welcome to the fictional side of The Rah Raw Diaries.


 

Skeevy. One word describing the man who sports his wedding ring on his right hand ring finger.

She saw him from the corner of her eye. Well-dressed in his pink-striped button up tucked into his kaki pants. Black socks coated his ankles and sunk their way into his designer chestnut-colored shoes. He smiled his skeevy smile, confident he was fooling his audience away from his troubles at home. Desperate as she may feel, he wasn’t fooling her.

No. Not this time. She would not let this sly fox near her.

“Hello,” he wheeled his chair closer to her. “I’m Steve.” Attempting a smolder and failing miserably, Shashauna blatantly ignored him.

“Hello,” he said again. Staring sexy daggers in her direction he smoothly crept his hand towards hers, fingers moving like the legs of a spider as it moves towards its prey.

“Ummm. I don’t think so!” Shashauna scolded as she swiftly withdrew her hand from his near grasp.

“Bubble…” she mumbled sternly.

“Ah what,” Steve’s voice threatened to tease.

“Get out of my bubble,” she motioned to the invisible bubble of space around her. “This,” she moved her arms around her nearly-arms length bubble, “Is Shashauna space, not…”

“Steve,”he smiled, cockily, clearly hoping for the essence of romance having finished her sentence.

Catching her eye for just a moment, he winked.

Suddenly, in response to Steve’s wink, Shashauna fell limp in her chair, acting as if she had been shot.

A moment passed and she still didn’t move. At the strange turn of events, a crowd of coworkers shot glances in their direction.

Awkwarded out, and slightly embarrassed by the unexpected scene he had caused, Steve slowly rolled away back to his work station. Under the desk, hoping no one would see, Steve pulled the ring off his right hand, and slid it gently back into place on his left ring finger.

Remaining limp for a moment longer, for the sake of dramatic flare, Shashauna subtly peered in Steve’s direction. Catching the not-so-clever action of the right-hand man, she silently scoffed. Sitting upright, back in her seat, she slightly shook her head and thought, Skeevy. Steve…. Skeevy Stevey.

At the trace of witticism, she smiled.

Teenage Dreams

There is something wonderful about watching a chick flick in a room full of teenage girls. Something about the ambiance. Feelings and angst are so rampant already as an eau du teenager that somehow breathing it all it, allows even a 28 year old (who dragged her 50-something parents to see “Everything, Everything”) let her emotions run wild.

There was something about him at first glance. Not his hair, definitely not his hair, but Olly, the main guy, reminded me of someone that I used to know.

For the first time, I think ever, I didn’t mind the high-pitched chatter and giggles in the background. (Usually I like to watch movies alone, and silent. Hush you over there!) Everything was so perfectly timed that I couldn’t help but smile along. The sighs and awws of the pursuit, giggles at the awkwardness of beginnings… to more giggles during kissing scenes, and “Oh my gosh! No! Gross!” during the sex scene. (I was comforted to know that not everyone is corrupted by the prevalence of sex in our world these days.) Even the perfectly timed mothers gasping towards the end (I won’t spoil it for you)… made the experience all the more worthwhile.

And that was just the sensory experience! Think about the emotional; I remember being a teenager once… Do you? I mostly didn’t like it. There is something to be said about having so many feelings on the surface all at once. But it has its beautiful parts too, like being able to giggle at a kissing scene without judgment, or aww at the adorable things Olly did to woo Maddy. It’s just not as commendable or endearing for a spinster (see #7 and #10) in her late twenties… It doesn’t really have the same effect.

There seem to be two free passes in life. Once as a teenager when you don’t know any better, and finally as an elderly person when you know better but no longer give a shit. It’s this in-between period where emotions get stuck, buried or forgotten, or at least we try to forget.

Like trying to forget one of my least favorite questions: “Have you ever been in love?” I think it’s a dumb question, probably because I haven’t, not in the conventional sense at least. Nonetheless I’ve been there. It’s probably not the happily ever after, ooey-gooey story you’re looking for, but oh boy, (Oh! Boy!) I’ve been there. I’m sure this makes less and less sense to you, but tonight on a whim, in this delightful teenage dream, I’m going to try and explain.

The main gentleman in this movie reminded me of you. I doubt you’ll ever read this, so I’m going to pretend like I’m writing to you, because I’ll be able to express myself better. Like we used to.

I see it now, it was in his smile, and I think a bit in the eyes too… That damn smile that accompanied all your smart-ass comments, and those puppy dog brown eyes. Bet you never knew I thought that about you. My friends didn’t see it, but I did. Oh, how I did.

The movie reminded me of those jitters, the good ones. Not being able to sleep at night, because all I wanted to do was chat with you jitters. You, at least, had some sense of when sleep was necessary. I did not. Perhaps, because part of me is simply a teenage girl inside. (The other half, an elderly women which explains why I’m suddenly daring to no longer give a shit.) I surely felt like a teenage girl, anxiously waiting on responses… or that one time, after you left, texting that I missed you. I felt like such an idiot. Who actually admits that they miss someone? Well, I guess I do.

I remember giving up on watching chick flicks and reading even the cheesy, love-inspired romance novels (that I not-so secretly made fun of) because I knew that real life was so much better. My life better than pretending to have someone else’s. Imagine that? (I hate feeling like something’s missing. Hate it.)

I remember waking up one morning after a blink of sleep to go running. I’m pretty sure I ran faster and farther than I ever had before. I had this happiness, or joy that fueled me far beyond what I believed my capabilities were. That’s the thing about people and connections and (this so-called) love, it has the ability to move mountains. Given the right place and the right time, and a whole lotta Jesus.

God has this way of placing the right people in our lives just when we need them. No more, no less. It wasn’t necessary for us to be friends forever, but God knew I would desperately need someone just like you when it was time for Gma to go home. I needed someone who would ask all the right questions, and read my incredibly long-winded answers. I needed someone who would somehow put off sleep late at night (though I know you probably preferred it) to tell me she would want me to be happy, even if those were the exact words I didn’t want to hear. You were still there, and somehow awake.

I needed that smart-ass sense of humor and witty banter about all the stupid things, and more important things like how awesome the Packers are, how terrible the Vikings are, or what events are worth driving 2-3 hours for…

all the stupid things

Teenage dreaming freed me to do all the stupid things (even though I knew we’d only ever be friends) like picture our names together or look for silly signs… Like how your birthday is the same day, one year later after my father passed away. Not in the morbid sense, but more like a gift. That’s how I always saw it at least. You have their sense of humor and pranking abilities (speaking of morbid) as my father’s family. That’s why it was always too easy to picture. Or hope for.

I felt a connection, if only for a moment. Recognizing that someone in the world more than half cared about what I had to say, believing in my story, made all the difference. You, if only for the blink of an eye, made all the difference.

Love is not always two people doing romantic things together on Valentine’s day (sometimes it’s three). Love can be a connection, even if temporarily so. It can be hugs and kisses and late night candle-lit conversations.  It can be romantic or not so romantic. In a multitude of times though, what love really seems to be is listening, and encouragement. First listening without an agenda, simply knowing that you care enough about this person to just listen (no strings attached). Then using the heart and soul they shared to help them find pieces within that only you could show them, harvesting those seeds, and letting them flourish. Adventuring into the the great unknown, somehow bettered because of this person that God allowed you to get to know and care for, for such a time as this/that.

Not the happily ever after you’ve been searching for? I find endings rarely are. I think that is why I enjoy movies that don’t end “happily ever after”. For example “La La Land”: Two aspiring dreamers meet, share an epic connection, encourage each other to truly follow their dreams, sacrifice, and simply rock at doing what they were created to do. Not Hollywood happily-ever-after, but really, the dream. If there’s some dancing and kissing along the way, cool beans, if not, no biggie.

teenage dream

I want the messy, (welcomed-) awkward beginnings and the beautiful, giddy, jittery middles. Like the ooey-gooey middle of a s’more, where the perfectly burnt marshmallow (crispy on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside) meets the melting Hershey chocolates. Enjoyed on the perfect, chilly Minnesota night on the edge of my favorite lake, cozy by the fire, surrounded by my besties listening to my crazy, ridiculous teenage dreams.

And they lived…

And they decided it was…

Time to go make s’more…

Crazy, awkward, ridiculous yet perfect, teenage dreams.

Humble and Prayerful

Sometimes there are no words that can be said, or written. As the world keeps throwing fast balls in our (a collective we of the world’s) direction. In these instances it’s not the words written for the sake of being shared or read that matter. It’s the words spoken straight to our Father, confessing our humble, desperate need for His help.

LORD, WE NEED YOU.

Bless, comfort, heal, redeem our brothers and sisters all around the world.

We need each other.

And we desperately need you.

Amen.

pray

Please consider taking a moment today to pray for somebody, anybody. Perhaps a country who’s name you only hear during opening ceremonies at the Olympics. Maybe a family in Syria or one facing constant fear and attack. Or, it could be your neighbor, or someone in the next cubicle over. Adventure into the unknown, pray for someone you don’t know, or for something, or someone, who scares you. Remember that statistics on the news are more than numbers, and each one has a group of family and friends now, unexpectedly, learning to cope. We need to take care of each other. Listen to each other. Pray for each other.

If you need prayer, don’t be afraid to ask, or send some requests up for yourself. It is not selfish to ask God for whatever you might need, feel, hope or desire. He’s listening, always.

Prayer changes. Prayer moves. Prayer heals and comforts. Prayer releases. Prayer loves.

I’ll start. You’ll notice that my words are not perfect. They may even seem too floofy at times. I am far from the “perfect pray-er”. Though God blessed me with a capability to move people through words, these still seem to fall flat. My prayer won’t cover all the needs of the world, but it’ll be a start. If we all do our part, share kindness, speak meaningful words, and pray the prayers on our hearts, then we will be…

* LOVE * PEACE * FAITHFULNESS * KINDNESS * GOODNESS * PATIENCE * JOY * GENTLENESS * SELF-CONTROL * COMPASSION * HOPE * MERCY *

* the hands and feet of Jesus*

*the change*

Dear Lord, bless this reader. Meet them where they are and please, Lord remind them of your presence and your light. Spread your compassion, peace and healing over England, and specifically Manchester. Clear away any traces of fear of the enemy and instill an inexplicable hope and peace in all the attendees at the concert, and the families of those taken, too suddenly, from their lives. Please Lord, remind this world so consumed by dark happenings all around that YOU ARE STILL IN CONTROL. Oh we desperately need you Lord. Bless my brothers and sisters, those who know you and those who have yet to have the pleasure. Be present in us, with us, and through us. Grant us your peace. 

May we experience the beauty worded in Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” I can’t imagine Lord, what it’s like have safety constantly in jeopardy, but I do pray this Scripture over our whole world and every single person in it, that we will not fear evil, FOR YOU ARE WITH US, ALWAYS.

Thank you Father.

Amen.