Showing posts from 2013

the risk of excruciating vulnerability

I discovered this talk a couple of years ago and I watch it pretty regularly. Each time I take away something different. Which I both love and hate.

 “There is only one variable that separated the people who have a sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it and that was that people who have a sense of love and belonging believe they are worthy of love and belonging… the one thing that keeps us out of connection is the fear that we are not worthy of connection.”

What then, are we to do, when someone we desire a connection with doesn’t reciprocate? How do we NOT withdraw again, how do we believe that we are worth connecting with?

“We must be willing to invest in relationships that may or may not work out…”

“…to let ourselves be seen”

These may be my two greatest fears. I am willing to be excruciatingly vulnerable if I knew the other person would not only be ok with it, but would still love me anyway. (And not leave.) Yet her research showed that the way to l…

sentimentality and the death of Christmas idols

I’ve always been a particularly sentimental and nostalgic person, and it has increased significantly since moving away from my family, where this nostalgia is often born. Even as a teenager, I collected and kept things that represent memories and moments that are special to me. I have a keepsake box in my living room – it’s actually one of those old photo boxes you used to be able to purchase at craft stores, but since we no longer print pictures, I’m sure it’s an antiquated reference. However, I love to use them for keepsakes, and every so often I get it out and look through the odd little items from years and years ago and remember. The box contains everything from piles of letters from dear friends to a piece of a broken plate. Other random items: small plastic toy with a particularly funny memory, a sticker from another great moment in life... you get the idea.

 This kind of sentimentality is one of my favorite things about decorating my Christmas tree, as nearly every ornament …

disappointment, love and being an INFJ

It’s been a while since I've talked about disappointment in a post. And I’m experiencing it in spades right now, so that usually means I needs to write about it. So I can figure out how I feel. Yes, this is how an INFJ works.
I have a friend in my life that regularly disappoints me. Not because of unrealistic expectations, but because he says he is going to do something and he doesn't do it.
It ranges from telling me, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” to “We are going to watch that movie together. I can’t believe you haven’t seen it.” To then things like, “I’ll come by and see you.” And other kinds of statements. Nothing huge. But little things add up to a lot.
Oh, there is that evil math again.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. -1 Corinthians 5:13 (NIV)
NERD ALERT: I prefer the ESV most of the time, but with the Greek word, I think the NIV is a bit more faithful to the original meeting.  Logizomai means to rec…

when I get to guest post for Preston Yancey

Earlier this year, I was chosen to be one of 12 for a guest post series author Preston Yancey was doing while he finished his book this summer, Tables in the Wilderness, with Zondervan. After some extenuating circumstances, it is now on his website, but part of a different guest post series than planned. I am humbled to have been chosen by him, as his words are beautiful and real. He said he finds my words the same. What?!? Craziness.

You can read it here: so i had to bake a peach pie

in repair

You may have noticed something different around here.
I’ve always, for the last several years of blogging, tried my best to be honest in my writing. Part of it is exposing what is inside of me to the outside world, and figuring out just how I feel can only be done by writing it out. (Mostly.)
There has been of shift of late, particularly in the last several months. I’m making more time to write like I used to, but I am shifting into something that may not seem like a big deal to you, but oh… it is to me. Remember my word for 2013? Anything? I had something else in mind entirely when that word presented itself to me, which sort of defeats the point. But I am reminded that I did pray that word to God, promising him that whatever he would be up to, I would do it if he asked. God has been whispering some big truths to me, since about March of this year, that I now seem to find everywhere. In things I read, classes I teach, sermons I listen to, books I finish and bible studies I work on. …

being tethered

…and so it begins.
This is the time of year I start to feel homesick. 2 years ago it hit me very hard around this time, so last year I went home in September to stave off these emotions. This year, I went home in the summer because hadn’t seen the corn grow and I wanted to see the stocks tall and bending in the summer wind. But now, the holidays are coming. Harvest is happening right now. I can picture my brother out in the field, my family making meals for all the guys to take out there late at night. I want to smell the cool crisp air of autumn, see the beauty of orange and red leaves and cloudy skies. And I’m longing to dress myself in head-to-toe red and go to a Husker game.
But instead, I go outside to dust storms, skies with no clouds, and brown. Everywhere.
I’m certain that God decided to have a good laugh when he created this introvert with the love language of quality time, because once again, these opposite sides of myself are at war and all I want to do is be with people w…

tight corners, feelings and self-talk

It’s always been a little been hard for me to be truly authentic with people when I feel hurt by them. Much of this is part of my own story, going back years and years of being taught that I was too sensitive and therefore, my feelings about things were not only “over the top” and “dramatic”, but also not relevant and necessary to have.
So I shut down.
When someone hurts me, I bottle up every emotion experienced and tuck them away into the smallest and tightest corner of my soul. For years, I assumed this was the best way to operate in order to be a functioning citizen of this world.
What this told me, inadvertently, was “don’t bother anyone with who you are… just get out of the way.” This has led to much heartbreak and relationship deficiency. I’m truly sorry to all the people who have chosen to stick it out with me and be a friend. It cannot be easy. Many of the great have tried and fallen in the process.
This has also led me to, throughout my day, talking to myself in strange way…

on feeling marginalized

mar·gin·al·ize: treat (a person, group, or concept) as insignificant or peripheral.
Most of my life I’ve felt like a social pariah.  In high school, I was never pretty enough or athletic enough to be accepted. (I wish I’d known then the importance of music and that it would one day become a career for me, so that I would have felt less horrible about it. None of the popular kids in school use their athletic ability or good looks in their career, which makes me sound petty and small, but let’s face it, all us social pariahs think this way. … if we’re being honest.)
And I really thought the social pariah status would go away at some point in my life. But then this happened.  And two big emotions caught me as a result: in the moment, complete relief. As my post says, I actually felt a weight lift from my shoulders when I was told that there was a reason no one understood me and it wasn’t my entire fault. In the years since, though, I’ve also settled into a rather unsettling emotion: inse…

beauty, mess and being left out

Being left out is one of the worst feeling in the world.

Yes, as an adult, I still really believe that.

Perhaps it's because of how often I was left out of things in my childhood that makes this still a challenge today. And there is such a part of me right now that is screaming, "Won't you ever grow up? Won't you ever just get over it?"

As children, we are told by our parents that being left out is "their loss" and the familiar, "they don't know what they will be missing" and then, of course, "You're too good for them anyway" would often come from the mouths of friends. Which means nothing when you are at your grandmother's house after school and her next door neighbor is a classmate having a birthday party that she did not invite you to. My 4th grade heart was crushed. I still remember standing in my grandma's driveway while I watched all the other girls in my class run around in the yard playing games, without me, birt…

Remnants and Stories

One of the most interesting aspects of my job involves remnants.
It's amazing what you find when you are cleaning and sorting through a church cabinet or closet. Everything from old bandages from a first aid kit to curriculum from 1987 to pictures of kids in the nursery from 10 years ago to construction paper scraps are discovered. There are keys to things we don't know about (see above pic) and crayons. Each person who touched those items, each kid who used them in Sunday school… they are part of the larger story of the body of Christ and the kingdom work God is doing in this place.
One of my favorite ways to decorate any space around me, whether it be my office at work or my home living space, is to fill is with things that have memories attached to them. I love looking up from my desk at work and seeing a frame piece of parchment paper with the lyrics to Amazing Grace on it. I love it because it causes me to remember the church I served in Nebraska for many years that gave it…

Our Inextricable Connection

When I grabbed my phone off the charger this morning to toss it in my purse and head out the door to work, I glanced at it briefly and discovered my entire screen filled up with facebook messages from high school classmates.
The group had been trying to plan a reunion, so it wasn't unusual to see these messages on my phone’s screen. But the message this time carried much different news than reunion plans.
Grief is a strange thing. We've lost two classmates already to unexpected, early deaths. Other classmates have lost parents and other family members. But now, one of us had lost a child.
It’s probably been ten years since I have seen anyone from my graduating class. I’ve moved around a lot – Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and now Arizona. And since I wasn't particularly close to anyone in my class, I haven’t made an effort to call or exchange emails over the years. I left high school behind the year I graduated and haven’t really looked back.
My class was small bec…

the slow art of mending

When I find myself trying not to look across the room, wondering. When I find myself waiting for that acceptance in some form of contact. When I find myself assuming rather than knowing. When I find myself waiting and hoping that this isn’t really rejection but just miscommunication.

When I find myself asking “was it something I did?”

When deep down I am really just asking myself “is it something I am?”

Everyone hates rejection. That does not make me special. The desperate pain we all feel when rejection hits our hearts and the ache causes our chests to cave in and our breathing to become shallow. This is real.

But perhaps I am the only one who feels this way.

I find myself desperate to mend the feelings of rejection that seems ingrained in my soul… that crop up when an expectation isn’t met, when an invitation isn’t extended. When leaving feels like rejection, even though it isn’t always. When criticism tears open a wound where a freshly healed scar was mended by a prayer. I want to…

pragmatism and the lavish love of God

I grew up on a farm.
That doesn't mean much in my life now, for I’ve always been a city kind of girl. My mom made sure there was more than just farm culture in my life growing up and I have fond memories of trips to see the Nutcracker, Broadway shows, museums and all others kinds of things that she believed would make me a more well-rounded person.
I was still the girl who had to get up at 6am in the summer and help her brother irrigate. The girl who rode on the back of pickup truck and shucked sweet corn after a morning in the field, picking it by hand. I was still the girl who mowed an acre and half of lawn on the homestead, rode horses when she could, and had a chore list.
I was also the girl that got lost in the music of Miss Saigon and Les Miserabl├ęs, lived my life with rich imagination (okay, it was more like my version of a pop music video but… whatever) and wanted to know more about Van Gogh, devoured The Catcher in the Rye and was often brought to tears by sections of Ra…

Of Influence, Change, and Loss

I've been refreshing my mind on adaptive leadership of late, as some significant changes are happening in my job. Three themes are on my heart today, and when something is on my heart I will loos sleep until I write about it.


I've been placed in a position of great influence, pretty much by accident (on my part.) But I am aware of the power I now hold and have been prayerfully processing how best to use this in grace, challenge and love. Influence must never been abused, and must always be used selflessly and with wise discretion.

There is another term for this kind of influence - most of the terms are nouns. Some call it a "power-broker" (I first heard this when I read the book "Transitioning" by Dan Southland). PBS went so far as to call it "The Merchants of Cool" in one of their best episodes. Some simply may call them influencers or leaders.

I call it terrifying.

I've spent a fair amount of time in the last six weeks or so ask…

Prayer, Silence, and Kneading

Week 3 into "Sacramental Baking" course I'm taking online and finding this week particularly tough... and it's only day 2 1/2 since we've received our assignment.

Week 1 was particularly sweet, because it was the epitome of everything I wanted to get out of the course - take me out of my comfort zone (baking bread) and quiet myself (pray while kneading and practicing examen prayer). My time of kneading and praying was so sweet. It's something I want to do every day, except that I would have so much bread I wouldn't know what to do with it all.

This week, even though I'm an introvert, I know is going to be difficult for me. We are to practice silence.

I'm okay with learning how to quiet myself, as long as I am doing things that come pretty easy to me. I'm such a hypocrite. Really.

My parents and my brothers are here in Arizona, staying in my house, until Thursday. My dad and my brother are very extroverted, needing to be around people to get t…

my umbrella for 2013

In many ways, I am happily leaving 2012 behind. In other ways, I’m scared for what this means for 2013.

My first two years in vocational full-time ministry have been painful. They’ve been a struggle. But I have never loved Jesus more in my life. So it’s impossible to say that I, in some way, have screwed this up. But I sense some pretty big changes ahead. I’m not sure if they will be for me personally or if they will be for this church I serve, but big changes I know will come. As a creature of comfort, change is a scarry thing. As an introvert, there are plenty more things that scare me.

This is why my word for 2013 is what it is.

Let me back up - I’ve been inspired this year to have a word. A word that challenges me, a word that is a prayer, a word that I intentionally allow to play out in my life in 2013. I’ve seen a few other female bloggers do it and I like the idea. For me, I see it like the umbrella I no longer get to hold (I live in the desert now, for heaven’s sake).

But I c…