Thursday, December 11, 2014



What a strange thing. Vulnerability. 

All of my life I was taught not to be vulnerable. I was reprimanded for crying. I was told to not put my heart out and give pearls to swine. I was shown that when things get hard you ought to go more into yourself. I was demonstrated that it is best to not breach the hard topic, and that if someone else brings up the hard stuff the best response is to put up defenses and to point out their wrongs. I was told that Jesus wasn’t vulnerable. That God doesn’t want us to be vulnerable. That vulnerability looks like empathy and that empathy is bad.

Then I grew up.

I tried to not be vulnerable. I took my anti-depressants. I put on a smile. I decided that it is better to work 60 hours a week for noble causes than to be present with individuals. I was insistent that I would never get married, and especially that I would not have children. I didn’t plant roots. I traveled around. When things got hard I moved again. When family was messy I stayed with other family. When friendships got complicated I check out. When situations were beyond me, I moved to a different state or country. I did what I was told, I self protected and put on a nice face and participated in great causes, so that I would never have to deal with that vulnerability shit.

And it was a waste of 10 years of my life.

Then I met someone who told me that even if I never change the world, I have changed his world. 

I smirked… that’s not enough. What a silly thing to say. To think that changing your world is consolation for failure. That being present with one person could be sufficiently important. That I could live a purposeful and valuable life with out being written in history books. That I don’t have to constantly be propelling myself to meet “more important need.” That I could love just one person well and still be ok.

I could not stop thinking about his comment. It seemed so inconsistent with my worldview; that impacting one individual could be enough. 

Then it hit me, I proclaim to believe that social causes are important, but if it’s not enough to change his world, then do I really actually care about the people behind the social causes? Or am I pursing great causes for an ulterior motive?

It became apparent to me that, even amidst the good motives, were some motives rooted in the fear of vulnerability. That not only was I unable to be present and value the individual (because that would require a level of empathy), but that I was seeking identity and value from the justice causes which I pursued. That I was unable to be fully present and to value an individual because I didn’t know where my own value came from, so I was constantly trying to do the bigger and the better. The individual wasn’t enough for me to be enough myself. I had gotten to this point because I was never shown or told who I am, that I can do hard things, that strong women are simultaneously the most vulnerable. I didn’t realize that I have identity and value apart from the way someone may respond to my vulnerability, as well as apart from the social causes that I champion. My whole world was challenged.

So I sat on it. It took years. But I became pregnant with these concepts. I didn’t know what it ment. I didn’t know how it would impact my life. I didn’t know how I was going to birth it. I just let it grow.

I married that man whose world I changed. He kept telling me silly thing like that I didn’t need to be written in history books, and that the purpose may not be about getting the most done for the most people.

I started to recognize that God’s biggest act in history was His most personal and most vulnerable. That Jesus was sent to empathize and to be vulnerable. How unproductive. He died. He didn’t start His ministry until He was about 30. Then He spent half of His time alone or with only three disciples. What a waste.

Or was it?

Maybe my life was a waste. Maybe I was completely missing the point. 

So I sat on it longer. 

I had a baby. It wasn’t in the plans. But it was good. 

It took a few weeks, but she slowly became more important than the dishes. Eventually she became more important then me doing big things like training for a marathon. I even stopped running all together for a season because that’s what seemed best for her… to be more present with her. I stopped planning to attend graduate school. I stopped thinking about all of the ways I was going to impact the world and how I was going to be written in history books. I stopped looking for my value in all of these things. I didn’t yet know where my value really came from, but I knew that she was more important than pursuing those grandiose causes.  So I put it all to the side… not knowing what the other side looked like. But I was willing to try it out.

Even writing this I feel like I need to defend myself. That I threw away my life and that I am wasting my time. I keep hearing the voices of a few individuals in my life who have always told me in words and actions that I could never do enough to be enough. That they will read this post and call me to tell me that I am doing it wrong. Maybe that’s the point… that all along they have missed my heart. That all along the lies they have lived and have pointed me towards were because they were not willing to be vulnerable enough to see my heart. They never empathized with me. They couldn’t . I forgive them. But I can no longer let them be my standard or my measure of living a wholehearted life. 

So today, I find myself on the journey to the other side. Whatever that means. I think I’m naked. Maybe that’s how it will always feel. If vulnerability is the goal, then this purgatory between no vulnerability and full vulnerability may actually be the best place to be.  It feels raw. It’s the best place I’ve ever been.

I know that I have gifting’s. I want to change the world. I want to run marathons. I want to go to grad school. I want to do these things with the right motives. And I will. But those things will never be enough. So I’m done chasing them as those that’s the purpose of life.

It is becoming apparent that if I am to do all of those things and more in a purposed and wholehearted life worth living, then it is worth sometime to align my motives. To learn value and identity apart from all of those things. 

I don’t know my vision or my plans.  And for the first time I feel like I’m changing the world in bigger ways than ever. I’m changing her world. And that will always be enough. I will always be enough; I have always been enough. She doesn’t make me enough. But she reminds me that neither she nor the ‘bigger’ things can ever give me my value. That Jesus came as a baby, and that He changed the world in just the right hour, after years of being present.  In His last breaths He was present. His greatest, world changing work was the most vulnerable act of them all… for individuals like me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Encountered by More than Existance

Infinitely diverse and infinitely complex. 

Your are Creator of everything and yet you are not Creator at all. Still, You are not not the Creator. 

You are omnipresent yet You don't exist at all. Not in the way that existance is defined by our human minds. Not in the way that I exist. You are existence, yet you do not exist at. Still, you do not not exist. 

Your are who You are. Undefinable by me. Undefinable by my community. 

Still, I seek to know You.

I seek to know what there is to know about this Entity that is everything in such an all encompassing way that It is nothing. Show me what there is to learn. Give me knowledge of You. Of what You've touched. Of the expansion of your Energies.

Even more, encounter me. Encounter me, as I can never encounter your Omnipresent Nothingness. Encounter me. Meet me where You have placed me. Meet me where I now find myself. Wrapped in Your arms. Not wrapped in Your arms. Not not wrapped in your arms.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mysterious Destany

My journey is a slow and long one because of the destiny that I am called to. It's taken a long time for me to learn to walk in that truth. I've felt like I've waisted time flailing in life due to the implications of that truth.

It's always seemed apparent to me that me walking in my identity and passions and destiny looks like a final goal... Not a journey. And it always seemed like this destiny should arrive at a young age because I worked hard for it.

Now it seems more evident that this destiny looks more like a daily choosing into a journey rather than an end goal. And, further more, I now understand that the big things that I am called to are bigger than a career or a job or a house or certain accomplishments. That I'm called to something bigger, longer suffering, life long, and developing.

This is a freeing revelation. That I haven't missed my destiny by not arriving where I feel I should be. But, rather, by being present in the journey, I am not just choosing into the journey but, actually, living out my destiny... Daily.

So, in my own awkward way, I am now choosing to live out my destiny in the little things and in the detached things. And this new reality feels more true to my heart than ever.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Liturgy is simultaneously one of the most mundane and exciting expressions of truth. It's a true expression of the natural manifesting the supernatural. It's mystical yet it is ordinary. It repetitive yet it's creative. It's empty yet it's truth.

So why the dichotomy?

The Creation Story. The beauty of putting spirit into physical form through spoken word alone. The dark became separate from the night; order was created. The night became separate from day; time began. The ocean became separate from the land; diversity was developed. Land animals, flying animals, and animals of the sea were cast into their homes. Mankind was created in the image of the creative community of the Trinity. Definition was given to the spiritual mysteries of community, creativity and existence. The act of creation in itself was a repetitive calling forth of beauty.

"Let there be light, and there was light, and it was good."

"Let there be separation from the waters of the heavens and the waters of the earth, and there was, and it was good."

"Let there be... And there was... And it was good."

"Let there be... And there was... And it was good."

"Let there be... And there was... And it was good."

Over and over again, words create and "good" is prophesied. 

The original liturgy was more than Spirit filled, it was actually Spirit encarnet. 

Yet today there is only "Spirit filled" or "litergy." What a manachistic, graco-roman, gnostic believe. Yet the Western church holds the dichotomy dear to its heart. 

Maybe that's why I am secretly enchanted by the post-modern Christian movement. Because, in all of its own broken short-sitedness, it recognizes the mystery, it relinquishes controle, and it admits a marriage of Truths. The grey, as some call it. The relative, as it is known. But at it's heart, I believe the post-modern movement, in itself not holistically Truth, is a reaction to the poor theology of the black and white. A philosophical reaching for Absolute Truth.

The brokeness in the post-modern movement is not that it is an overly open minded and "relative" philosophy, but that it is a proclamation that the only truth is that the Truth is relative. That the grey is black and white. That to dance between natural and supernatural is the only way. That there is no black. That there is no white.

But, instead of believing herasy, what if we embraced philosophical truth as just that... A lover-of-thought's perspective on something much bigger than the thinker. What if struggling through truth (little 't') is acceptable because the thinker knows his or her place in the arms of the full Truth. What if Truth (big 'T') is personal encounter and philosophy and theology and so much more (emphasis on the 'so much more' part)? What if Truth is something or someone that cannot be defined by mans perspective of Truth, but that Truth is beyond any humanistic knowing.

Seeking to live in this mysterious zone where Truth cannot be fully defined, where I relinquish controle to say that 'black and white are absolut,' just as 'grey is absolute,' I seek to live a liturgical-Spirit filled life that knows that the Truth is absolute. A life where the Truth is bigger than what I could ever understand, and where all words are powerful and prophetic just as Spirit is powerful and encounters me. Where black exists. Where white exists. Where grey exists. Where I can experience the Truth that is bigger than me. Where I can speak out words that are seemingly simple and mundane, but that can bring forth Truth in all of its forms.

Powerful are my words. Prophetically charged. Spirit emparting. Natural. 

So, I ask, what words are I prophesying? What truths am I calling forth? What dance am I dancing, and what is my rhythm drawing forth? What truth do I follow? What truth am I speaking? How can I dance amongst the colors and how can I live my life in spiritual litergy?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Roots of a Foodie Blog

The reasons that I ever even considered to start blogging was because people kept asking me about food. Food. Anything about food. Everything about food. Food theory. Food making. Political food history. Food serving. Food sourcing. Food for functions like loosing weight or gaining weight or building muscle or .... You name it.

It's true, food has become a passion. I'm good with food. I'd like to say that at times it is an obsession, but that's not at all true. Though it used to be.

To start, I'm 26 years old, 10 months post-natal and I weigh 105lbs. I know what your thinking... I've heard it all my life... Don't hate me, that's just ridiculous.

Ever since I was young I hardly weighed anything. I was so skinny that I was too embarrassed to wear two piece swim suits. I got made fun of a lot. And no one ever stood up for the skinny kid on the play ground. Making fun of obese kids is politically incorrect. But making fun of skinny kids... Well, we were all alone out there on the lonely playground surrounded by much larger kids.

People would always tell me that I should enjoy being skinny now because I would be fat when I was 30. Now, being closer to 30 than I am to the playground days, I realize that those women were just hoping I would be fat so that they wouldn't feel so bad about themselves.

Being the type of person that takes such comments as challenges, by middle school I determined in my heart to never be fat.

But, mean while my pediatricians told me I was in the unhealthy bracket and prescribed me to eat Ensure and milkshakes with meals on a daily basis. I was certainly confused.

All the while, I grew increasing interested in justice and social action and, ultimately, in where my food came from. And I was gravely disappointed.

So here I stood as a 5th grader. "Skinny as a rail" (as my grandfather would say), drinking Ensure with my veggie burger feeling the weight of this food world that was, frankly, just stupid! I had determination to stay skinny to prove to those fat ladies that I won't console their insecurities, yet force-fed milk shakes, and ethically motivated to ban anything unsustainable or potentially abusive of animals. And I hadn't yet even entered Jr. High.

Food became an obsession.

I can't say I ever had your average eating disorder by all conventional definitions, but I certainly had disordered eating. I knew I was skinny. But I didn't like my body. I didn't like where food came from. And I had those fat ladies to one-up. So I found it safest to bring extreme controle to my eating habits.

By the time I was in college, I was trying to calculate how much food I could eat to survive... Never asking what it took for me to thrive (though I never had valued myself enough to ask that question... But that story is for a different blogpost).

I hoped to save resources on food so as to donate the rest to starving children. It became a game for me. If I could live on just 1000 calories then I would donate the equivalence in money to World Vision. It was bad.

And to further belabor the issue, I was an avid runner. So I probably should have been consuming much over 2000 calories a day rather than less. It's called athletic anorexia. And no one knew I struggled with it. Not even me.

I won't bore you with my detailed journey of healing, but it has been just that... A journey. And it's been mostly through hard earned failures. And crazy grace. And my husband. I'm forever grateful for his perseverance my my life (he sees me for who I am, not for the baggage I carry).

But on this journey I have learned many things. The biggest being this: it it's not bad that I'm skinny as a rail and it's not bad that I care where my food comes from. It's also not bad that I am blessed to thrive and that I don't have to live off of 1000 calories a day.

I guess the hard earned lessons are the best, because I now have a store house of perspective from which I value communion. True communion. And I value locally sourced food. And I know how to eat good fats to loose weight. And I value eating those good fats. And I also value eating store bought pumping pie and cheap turkey when I visit with family on Christmas.

So, here is one of my first entries regarding food. That's my roots. And here are the fruits.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Voice

In the crowd in which I currently find myself blessed to run, the term 'voice' and the phrase 'find your voice' are commonly thrown around. I don't like talking about my voice. I have too much pride. I want to be ahead of the curve, not vulnerable enough to make it apparent that I'm just like the rest and learning about the same things. Maybe that's why I am so filled with questions and too often sit back in insecurity. Pride does that, you know,... Creates a false security that really manifests as insecurity.

I have been known to follow this same pattern in relation to many other topics. Which makes me a poor learner. Or at least a young and foolish learner. But I'm starting to recognize my error. So maybe there is hope for me after all.

The struggle for me is in feeling and in letting people know that I feel. I want to be composed. I want to be knowledgeable. I want to be independent. I don't want for you to know that I'm learning. I don't want for you to observe me grow. I want to grow and to learn but I don't want to do those things in community because then there's no facade that I have it all together. I'm not so sure why it's so important to me to be flawless.

There have been many an opportunity for me to be poured into by other women or men. Or for me to take a risk and ask questions, yet I choose to not receive or risk because I don't want people to see who I really am. Which is a strange fact for me to write out because I have always embraced questions in an academic setting. But maybe 'real life' is different? Or at least for me since I tend to compartmentalize.

The truth is this. It's a risk to grow, because to grow, one needs to ask questions and to take risks. To grow to ones potential, they need to be rooted in community. To feel and express emotion and intellect in community. Which is the struggle for me.

So, in bold attempt to counter the lies, I speak out my questions? What does it look like to find MY voice? What is my stage? What is my topic? What moves me the most?

I reflect and I think I know the answer. Or at least parts of the answers. Maybe it's silly that I struggle with these questions. After all, I write a blog that tries to dive into the topics of sustainability and intentional living... Rooted in the experiences of thin places, and the awareness of connectedness between mind, body and spirit as well as the natural and super natural.

But it seems to me that this blog is not a response to the knowledge of who I am and what I was created to do... But, rather, a seeking out and an awkward birthing of something bigger. It's my step into the dark. It's the active choice to push into the messy in life. It's the small attempt to do all those things I proclaim to be bad at... To be emotionally and intellectually vulnerable in community... To pose questions and to face answers... To find my voice. To sacrifice the pride,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


To begin, I applaud all the mamas who have chosen to breast feed for the healthiest length of time for their family.

In our age of microwave-generation-turned-adults, that's often longer than most mothers (and fathers, I might add) are willing to fight for. I'll let you determine with your own family what it looks like to fight for wholistic living in all things from nursing to formula, to resting to exercise, and every other paradigms that may exist. This is just my family's story.

For me, I always reasoned, "wow, it can't be that hard, why would one ever settle for formula?" And, now, here I am disclosing my own interactions with a REAL decision that REAL people face (no fairy take idealism grounded in unhealthy expectation).

My now 9mo has been nursing since birth. We had a home birth, so from the moment she was born she has been used to the warmth of nourishing herself in moms embrace, near my heart. We love nursing. My husband fights hard to make it successful for us. It is a team effort.

Things got a little more difficult, though, as she grew older and became more fascinated with the world around her. She seemed to be weaning herself. No matter what I did, she would always get distracted and loose interest.

I initially figured it was something she would grow through, but then she started skipping nursings all together. So I figured it was something I needed to grow through, so I started putting us in distraction free environments, but then she would just play with my hair. It didn't seem to matter what I did or didn't do. And the worst part was that since she wasn't nursing, my supply was going down and pumping didn't keep it up enough.

I tried fennel oil and nursing tea, and those helped me to keep my supply up enough to pump a bit. But it still wasn't sufficient.

So, after a week of her skipping nursing all together and only taking bottles of pumped milk, I went through my supply of frozen milk and had to figure out another plan.

Resistant as I was, I researched a lot and decided to start making homemade formula to give her on the days she wouldn't nurse. Of course, we would always start off with nursing, but if that didn't happen, I'd give her some milk in a tippy cup or bottle in between meals. It seemed to work. But we keep trying to nurse.

After a while, my patience would pay off and she would nurse and play on and off during nursing sessions. It became a new season for us, as I was no longer nursing an infant but a very mobile and strong willed baby. It was actually fun!

So now, at 9 months, she still seems to be weaning herself, but we've landed a compromise where we play and nurse rather than just play. And maybe in a few months we will be ready to stop all together. But until then, I still give her formula on occasion and she still nurses. And it feels right for us. Though things change so much, and tomorrow might be different.

Nursing is valuable for a number of reasons. There all sorts of research out there. There's all sorts if testimonies. I don't need to repeat them. But it is a good reminder that nursing our children is beautiful. If for no other reason than that it is how we were created, which means that each time I nurse, both Harper and I are choosing (yes, sometimes fighting) to be who we were created to be. Imperfect, distracted, messy, and all.

That each time I choose to make her formula, I'm also bringing that decision to the Great Physician, who wants to partner with me and with Harper in the middle of whatever season we find ourselves. I don't believe that God frowns on us (like many moms do and like I used to - #confession) for not exclusively nursing. I think He actually takes joy in the journey with us. Same as I also take joy in the journey of Harper becoming so mesmerized by the world that she is too busy to nurse 'perfectly.'

Way to go baby girl, for doing what makes you come alive... Even if I'm still convinced that nursing is healthier for your body than is formula.

But I guess being wholistic requires rolling a bit with the punches and doing what is healthy for ones body, mind and spirit (and community).

Here are the ingredients in my homemade formula. It's based off of a few formulas and nutritional needs that baby's have. Most of my inspiration was from the Winston A. Price Foundation, where you can find a more measured out recipe. I normally don't actually measure everything since I just make formula for one bottle at a time:

Black Strap Molasses
Sunflower Seed Oil
Coconut oil
Cod Liver Oil
Yeast / Desiccated Liver / liquid B-Vitamins
Elderberry concentrate
Acerola powder
Raw milk / keifer
Flack seed oil
(No you don't actually need corn syrup like is in many formulas, nor do you need hydrogenated oils... Those ingredients are nothing like anything found in breast milk)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunscreen and Living from Conviction

Dipping my finger into my 10oz jar of home made sunscreen, I give thanks for how well it as worked over this summers hottest and sunniest months.

Layering it onto my arm, the group around me looks at the situation inquisitively. I hold my breath... What do I say this time? What are they going to say? Choosing to own my alternative choices with value and confidence, I answer their questions with new authority.

"It's homemade sunscreen."

The questions in sue. I respond to them in order: "I make it with essential oils, coconut oil, Shea butter and bees wax. I don't really know what SPF it is, but I use it on my baby and she's never had anything close to a burn. Yes, I make it for all of the reasons that you listed. It saves money. I don't like the chemicals. No, I'm not trying to be 'hipster'. Yes, I make my own deoterant and toothpaste."

A year ago I would have just brushed away the situation and changed subjects. How unfortunate. If I truly value homemade sunscreen for "all of the reasons listed," then why can't I be proud of it and why am I too timid to share it? If I really think it's important to live slower, more natural, less wasteful, less to toxic, less disconnected lives, then why can't I live that life with confidence?

For years I lived with self righteousness. For years I lived privately. Now I'm hoping for a balance. A grace filled and messy balance. It feels nice.

It's intimidating to be convicted. To believe in something. To walk out in that believe.

It's easier to not steward the convictions. To compartmentalize my beliefs. To live a good and comfortable life.

But, that's not really a life worth living, so I take the risk. I dive in. I choose to walk confidently in who I am... Because, even if I do not have the most refined apologetics, I live my life with conviction and with intention. So I choose to press in and to be vulnerable enough with my values that I might face opposition and have opportunities to learn along the way. But I'm free to live convicted while not living perfectly. After all, my identity and personal value is not in what I do and why. I love out of identity and value, not for it... Or at least that's how I'm trying I live.

Here is my homemade sunscreen receipt if you would like (it hardly takes any time and lasts all summer!!):

Shea butter (the more pure the better)
Bees wax pellets
Coconut oil
Jojoba oil
Essential oils based off of your desired purpose for the sunscreen (I use mine as a bug/tick replant as well as a post-sun lotion)
• lavendar (heals skin)
• melecula (keeps ticks and other bugs away)
• raspberry seed oil (natural chemical blocker, AKA it has SPF)
• carrot seed oil (natural chemical blocker, AKA it has SPF)

Make a double broiler using a medium sized pot and a glass bowl that can sit inside of the pot enough to be surrounded by water but not enough that water can get into the bowl.

Fill pot with water, but not so much that it can flood into the bowl.
Add bowl.
Pour into bowl 1/8 cup pellets, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup Shea butter, 2 table spoons jojoba oil. Stir until melted and consistency of sour cream (add more of oils to make smoother consistency, add more of pellets to make thicker, to your liking).

After the mixture is the desired consistency, let sit to cool for 10 minuets. Then add essential oils, 10-20 drops of each. Stir and pour into the container(s) in which you plan to store your sunscreen.

Use as though you would use any sunscreen. It is water resistant due to the bees wax, but let it soak into skin for at least 10 minuets before getting into the water. Reapply every 2 hours (more or less depending on activity level and water exposure). Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cookie Grace

Colossians 1:6... The gospel is bearing fruit and growing through out the whole world - just as it has among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace.

I continue to be quickened to a faint whispering of the Fruit of the Spirit. You know, the Fruit every Sunday school student colors pictures of and memorized songs of. The passage in Galatians that every Jr. High youth kid is encouraged to memorize. And church going adults refer to in-between gasps of expressed disappointment in themselves.

Not too long ago I heard a message about fruit only coming from trees with roots. That fruit is a result of a healthy tree with a healthy root system. That the fruit are symptoms of the state of the tree... Good or bad.

Then somewhere along any conversation revolved around the FOTS, someone always refers to the fig tree that Jesus cursed. What's that about? We speculate it's something to do with bearing bad fruit, or not bearing fruit. Or maybe Jesus just had a thing against figs. Or it was just a parable... Or maybe.... Or maybe....

What I find most compelling and less referred to is the part in Colossians where it says that "the gospel bears fruit just as it has among you as soon as you understood true grace."

Now we could dissect the exegesis in this passage but even short of that scholarship, it's apparent that the gospel is bearing fruit in the recipients of this letter as soon as they learned about true grace. Fruit came from them after they encountered true grace.

Fascinating little study of a cute little passage. But what's that got to do with anything?

It certainly stands out to me just in that the writer doesn't just call it "grace," but "true grace." As though a distinction must be made. As though there is less than true grace. As though less than true grace doesn't actually allow the gospel to bear global fruit. Interesting.

As I reflect on my life, I'm not so sure I've ever born fruit because, let's face it, I can hardly accept or give basic grace, none-the-less true grace. I'm not even sure what that means.

People know me as sweet and nice and all sorts of things that are not always true of my motives. In reality, I'm over come by a lack of grace for myself. Which only leaves a lack of grace to share. I judge others as I judge myself... It's only fair. And it's awful! It truly is. If people only knew the times I think to myself that they just need to get over it and get it together. If people only knew the times I told myself that.

But apparently no fruit comes from that. So, here I sit, again. A mess. And it seems just right this time. If I'm to accomplish this TRUE grace thing and produce some fruit, I'd better get over myself get some grace up in her'!

Or maybe that's not the point.

Oh, I'm so bad at this.

Maybe that's where I should start.

I used to call it cookie grace. It was my form of potty training for the graceless. I was so bad at offering myself grace that I would intentionally do bad thing so I could sit in the imperfection and deal with it. Weird. Stay with me.

The history of Cookie Grace goes like this: at 20 years old, 5'6" and 110lbs, I was very much a vegetarian that didn't buy Jamba Juice because it came in styrophome. I felt guilty every time I'd take a vacation because I thought my time, money and fossil fuels could be better spent. I made sure to not sleep in because I felt that would be irresponsible with my time, and I'd eventually have to face some punishment for such things. I sat on every justice comity, half because my heart authentically burns for justice, and half because I believed I'd be condemned if I didn't. I labeled myself a Freegane because Shane Claiborne and I both agreed that people are starving around the world, so I'll buy sustainable vegan food and I'll eat whatever is free (or maybe that was just what it took to be a vegetarian on a college budget). And the list of guilt based low carbon footprint living goes on.

I have since recovered, but I now believe that I also struggled with athletics anorexia... Where I always ate my 2,000 calories, but I was constantly training for a marathon, so I burned more than I ate. I felt bad eating more because people were, once again, starving.

Aside from the above eating and socially motivated ideologies, I banned sugars from my diet. Why not?

So, here I sat (or ran), a long, skinny, bag of bones.

So eating cookies didn't happen often. First of all, the sugar was probably GMO, which is bad. The chocolate chips were probably not fair trade and were shipped from far away, which is bad. And the carbs didn't add value to my nutritional make up, which is bad. So why would I waste my time (which is also bad)?

And this cookie grace began. Though I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.

In general, I tried to reduce my carbon footprint in all ways possible. I was calculated with my finances. I tried to keep my schedule perfectly set out. I tried to calculate everything and not hurt anyone. Buddah would be proud... Aside from the stress.

If I ever fell off of my perfect band wagon, catastrophe would hit and instant turmoil would overcome me. One Jamba Juice would throw me into a fit of anxiety. Seriously, I needed a sozo.

I knew I was far from where God created me to be. So I decided that when things were going "perfect" I'd buy a cookie to throw it all off. Just for kicks and giggles.

In hind sight, I was young. Let's just say that. But there is something to be said about Cookie Grace. I mean, what if I didn't have to be perfect all of the time?! Or what if I didn't have to be perfect ever? Or what if my best isn't perfect any ways (that's a shocker!!) Or, even better, what if perfect wasn't even a daily concern?.

Cookie Grace is far from True Grace, let me tell you. Honestly, it's quite redo lupus. But it came out of an acknowledgement that I was missing something. That there was some type of grace that I wasn't walking in, and that not walking in that grace was worse than reducing my negative impact on all of the starving children in Africa. I'm not sure I really believe that in my heart, but now I know it in my mind. Grace is important. After all, it's by grace that we are saved.

By grace we are saved. So, inversely, we are not saved unless we experience grace.

This gives me a vision of a bunch of type A personalities hanging out in Hell while the type B's sit in Heaven. That's horrible hermeneutics, but it's so contrary to what I've been trained to believe that the imagery has some value for me.

By grace we are saved. Bearing fruit to the world comes after accepting True Grace.

So, what does that look like? What does that mean?

I've tried to force grace on myself. It looked messy. I need grace for my broken efforts.

I tried to not accept grace, which lead my to anti-depressants and house of counseling.

So here I sit. And this time I'm going to stop trying. I am going to choose to be messy. I am going to let Father God encounter me in new ways, that my story may be re-written. I'm going to let Him journey with me on this lesson of grace. Maybe that's what True Grace looks like.

Maybe not.

But I do know this, I've never before been in a place like this. A place where it's ok to care about justice and sustainability and to also drink a Jamba Juice every now and again. And, at the same time, it's also ok to choose to not drive somewhere for vacation because I don't want to emit the gas fumes.

A place where God can share His heart with me with out me freaking out. A place where I can see the brokenness of the world and then look inside and see how broken I am. A place where I can trust that it's not my responsibility to fight brokenness, while at the same time being bold enough to stand for wholeness. A place where I can hear the rhythms of the supernatural with in the natural while, at the same time, missing many of those rhythms. A place where I can trust God to be God. A place where I can partner with the Omnipresent and sin at the same time. Not because I choose to do whatever I want, but because that's the beautiful dance found between Creator and creation.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Beginnings

Well, here I am again... "Ready to blog with consistency." I've been here before, I tell myself. Whats different? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. Maybe it's just part of the journey.

 It's funny, because I realize that part of the reason I didn't blog with consistency before was because I didn't think people would follow it. "What a waste of time", I reasoned.

And maybe it is. But the strange thing is that I don't care anymore. And that's how everything has changed.

My journey has been one of strength. One of accomplishment. One of independence. I could do it all and if it not, no one could say I didn't try. From the time I was in middle school I would save all of my money to buy flights to spend my summers in Orange County with family. When I was 14 I raised funds to spend two weeks in Mexico. When I was 16 I raised money to spend 11 days in Spain and two weeks in D.C... all with a broken clavicle. When I was 17 I re-shingled the roof of our home in the nights after school during a frosty November. I moved 3,000 miles away and went to college in Boston of my own efforts and funding when I was 18. At 19 moved to New Zealand for 5 months and never once called home. I traveled to 4 different continents of my own fund raising by the time I was 20. I held countless leadership positions in college and even in High School. When I was 22 I had trained for 3 marathons, graduated college and gotten married.

I was raised, like any good American, to pull myself up by my own boot straps, but my efforts have only disappointed over the past four years.

Graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in schools loans during the Recessions, I was only able to land either a barista job or a support funded non-profit job of my dreams. I took the barista job because at least I would be able to keep myself from going into forbearance. I applied to volunteer with a bunch of justice and sustainable development related NP's (maybe that way I could kinda use my college degree)... literally non of them returned my countless emails and calls (weird... I was experienced and offering to donate my time). That same month I got a running related stress fracture after running my third 18 mile run in 6 weeks. Four months later I got adrenal fatigue, mono and about 6 rounds of strep through out the next 6 months, and struggled with chronic exhaustion and illness over the next 2 years. The harder I tried the worse it got. Not only did all of my efforts not work, but they'd actually got me to where I was.

In the middle of this I got married, which may have been the only good thing going for me.

Two years into this confusion, I was crying out to God, asking why He has put so much in my heart if this is going to be my life.... rejection, disappointment and illness. He told me that if I wanted to steward all that He has out in my heart, that I need to support someone else who is living their passions. That I can't just land where I want to be with out the journey and with out serving. So I volunteered to do some secretary work for Nathan Edwardson at the Stirring as he planned for an up and coming conference. It wasn't even on a topic that I had passion for... Granted, it was a cause that I cared about and was able to support from my heart and with authentic energy. But I was a little disgruntled and, to be honest, I mostly just did the tasks with a deep dissatisfaction.

In hind sight, I wasn't ready for Him to up and say it straight out, but more than serving, I was being called to not put my value in the results of my efforts... I was being called to be present. I was being called to enjoy the journey. To be beautiful. To be a daughter. To be enjoyed. To enjoy.... just for the hell of it. I was being called into my true identity... Away from everything that used to give myself identity and value. I was being called to be the women I was created to be... Inclusive of, but not defined by, the passions and my capacities.

It was in the middle of working for this conference that I had a dream, like I often do. Sparing the details, in the dream I was offered a choice to leave my job as a Starbucks shift supervisor in training for assistant manager, for something that I cared about but that wasn't in my plans or in line with my goals. In the dream God said it would be good. He said it was my choice. The dream regarded becoming a midwife and doula and birthing babies, which has been more than symbolic, as I have helped birth lots of visions in this new season.... I guess vision birthing should be my job title because that's exactly what I have been doing now working as Nate's PA and the Office Manager at the Stirring.

That night I told God that I was willing to do whatever He was putting before me. He asked me if I was willing to put the burnings of my heart on a shelf for now. I said I was willing, even though none of it made sense. I chose to trust. The next morning I received a call from Nate that he wanted to hire me as the new Office Manager at the Stirring... A position I didn't even apply for.

It's funny that I find myself where I am at. I love it!

I never wanted to work at a church and I never thought I'd be doing work as a office administrator. Still in the middle of this season, I don't know what exactly is happening, but I have learned that God wastes nothing. And He cares more about the passions in my heart than even I do... After all, He gave me those passions.

If nothing else, this season has been about healing. But I cannot reduce this season to just one thing. It's a chapter in my journey. I'm forever grateful.

I cannot say what tomorrow will look like, but I do know that it's no longer about what I do or don't do. I acknowledge and choose to no longer partner with the lies that tell me I am only as good as what I do. The lies that continually tell me that I'm never enough and never can do enough and that I need to be affirmed to be of value. The lies that tell me that I am not doing enough and that I will never be good enough. The lies that prevent me from deeper healing because it's not ok to be vulnerable. I call out the lies that, among many other things, tell me I should not blog because I won't be good enough. Even deeper, I call out the lies that tell me that I can't blog unless it achieves something. The lies that prevent me from greatness because I'm too occupied by trying to be great and trying to derive my value from what I do.

So here I am again. And yes, every thing is different... At least my motives are different. And, yes, maybe my blog is disorganized and not helpful and my vulnerability is rejected. But this is my choice to step into my real identity. To do things that give me life. To live out of value rather than for value. Call it an exercise of discovery and healing.
 Maybe it will wane and die as soon as I've healed through enough of my baggage to move on. Maybe it will thrive. Either way, I don't care anymore. It might be messy, but here it is. Here I am.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sustainable Moderns

It's fascinating to me how often I unexpectedly overhear conversations about kombuca and essential oils and EVOO and all things old. Yes, all things old.

There seems to be a shift. Or maybe I'm just young. Or maybe not.

A shift of culture, back to tradition. Sustainable moderns unite!

How beautiful. How beautiful to live in tradition, yet to maintain a value for good things of old. To not throw the baby out with the bath water, as they say. It seems to be a season of re-discovery... At least in America where we have desperately screwed things up by taking such controle of our lives from agro-business all of the way to medically unnecessary cesareans (oh how I could drone on with those topics).

I will admit that there is greatness in the scientific, medical, technological and agricultural advancements that we have made as a culture over the past 300 years. Even just over the past 50 years. Phenomenal! We were created to be creators... In the image of our Papa; so we are living out our identity in these discoveries. Yet, there is a great brokenness in the way that we apply our creativity to the world around us. And, conversely, there is a great beauty in the natural rhythms of the created order. I ponder over the beautiful balance between living in the created rhythms and advancing what we have been given. What does actual stewardship really look like... As it was made to look.

That's why I love running into people and casually talking about how they co-sleep with their baby rather than putting them to sleep with a bottle. Yet, in the same conversation we talk about pursuing post-graduate education. It's as though we are reclaiming the truth written over by the limited Greco-Roman philosophy of dichotomy. That we are, again, embracing that life is both supernaturally beautiful and naturally broken at the same time.

Sustainable and yet modern. Bread and yet body. Enchanted and mystical yet ordinary and natural, as the dessert Fathers and Mother of old write. As the God fearing Catholics proclaim. A circular perspective of life, as the Hebrews embrace. A kind of pre-Western way of thinking. Could this be the heart behind the broken truths of post-modernism? The desperate extension of the heart back to a Truth that's is not black and white but is not fully grey. A Truth that is not determined in the eyes of the beholder, but that is determined in the eyes of the group, yet is so personal to the individual that it is closer than their skin. A Truth that is so True and beyond us that we cannot comprehend it. Maybe that's the real value in post-modern ideals... That Truth cannot be held in your hand, as the moderns tried to say. Yet the brokenness in post-modern though is that Truth is neither just a whimsical and emotional projection of ones own experiences. Truth cannot be limited and Truth is not just an abstraction of personal value.

As this type of Truth and this world view applies to the daily (that is to assume that Truth is more than just a philosophy or theology, but that it has physical and daily and personal implications), it makes me ponder if Godly stewardship looks like co-sleeping and nursing your baby while also pursing career and education (or whatever else you have been created to do). What if health looks like using organic essential oils while enjoying some In In Out every once in a while. What if sustainability looks like riding your bike to work while also having the newest Apple products. Maybe that just sounds like progressive hipster, or maybe it's part of what Colossians talks about when it states that creation groans for restoration. Maybe it's part of this generation listening to the rhythms of creation. Broken but desiring good. Maybe this generation is like the modern Josiah of the Bible. Maybe shalom can be Heaven on Earth. Maybe restoration looks like all of these little choices.

This is my Father's World

Psalm 50:12

Hymnal lyrics by Maltbie Davenport Babcock

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I ope my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Ordinary

Lately I'm finding the ordinary mystical. Beautiful. Wonderful. Enchanting.

My heart has always come alive to the mysteries of Creation. But life got busy and over the years I've lost my first love. But I'm being called back. Called back to my first love. Called back to the original purpose of Creation. Mystery.

How beautiful. My heart just comes alive!

There is a mystery that is beyond me. And I love it! I'm not sure what to do about this perplexing enchantment. It overwhelms me.

It's the beauty of the normal. This beauty is too often lost in the pursuit of what we believe is good and what we believe is important and priority. That's because this beauty is far smaller than anything we can controle. This beauty is in the simple. It's in the Eucharist of the daily. It's in the very fact that the mystery is itself in the ordinary. It's not the ordinary itself that calls me in, but the beauty of the lack of duality between my spirit and the ordinary.

The beauty that we are ok. The beauty that simple herbs harbor healing power. Actual healing power. The beauty that we don't know and that that's ok. The mystery of the way our body's interact with medical technology. The mystery of the way our body's don't interact with medical technology. The enchantment of the air I breath. Beyond the science. It actually brings me life. The physical mingling with the spiritual. Something lost in the postmodern world. But something more abstract than any contemporary philosopher could conger. Something more certainly uncertain than anything else.

I'm perplexed. I'm in love. I'm in search of the beauty everywhere. Of the mystery. I will spend my life seeking it out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Motherhood in Community

This is my first post as a mother. Mother of a 5mo. Full time Office Manager. Wife to an amazing husband who is pursing Gods calling to communicate truths by writing stories through the form of screenplays. Life is full. Yet we have never been in a season of life filled with more peace. It's strange, but beautiful. We are walking more and more in our identities and callings. We are more comfortable being consistent with our priorities. We are being stretched to deeper places than ever before.

And it's amazing how, in this season more than ever, I'm learning so much about myself. Learning my identity. Learning my value.

It's crazy how, in life altering experience, one is given such a gift of perspective. Perspective of purpose and perspective of priorities.