Monday, April 7, 2014

Do not apologize for existing.

I heard this spoken word from Natalie Patterson. A poet. Her words have been helping me release some of the junk and pain I am still holding onto. The internal war I face, daily. The battle of perfection. The desire to be loved, and accepted - while feeling like I never amount to, "enough." Oh to be a woman. It takes strength to be confident. I am just not there yet. 
... Yet. 

 Here is Natalie's spoken word:

"I was not always confident to speak the words the way I felt them.
Thought silence would suffocate the pain - It does not.

I taught myself to come alive.
I wrote.
And wrote.
And wrote.
Until my mouth could form the words that my backbone wouldn't carry.
I wrote, until I found the truth of things, until I saw the light again.

There is always light somewhere.
Beyond the bruises, and the names you call yourself.
Sometimes your worst enemy is in your own skin.
Sometimes it shares your face and claims to love you.
That hateful voice is not love.
I promise you.

There will come a day, that your fight is bigger than your fear.
That you nearly claw your way out of your body to prove that you exist.
Leave that skin for someone else and design your own wings.
You, are a masterpiece. Magnificent in your glory. Have you seen her lately?

The girl. The girl with the halo smiling and welcome home hands.
She is the best thing never seen cause your to busy being scared to be great.
And I get it.

Sometimes your body is as cumbersome as adulthood is.
Sometimes your drowning and wonder if anyone even notices.
Read books for answers and nothing speaks to you.
We are told that our complexity is a burden by people to weak to embrace their own condition.

To be selfless, exist, restless, unhappy - and never, ever expected to verbalize it.
We are told, to balance the uncertainty of this world with grace in stilettos heels, with a perfect complexion.
And that is just not realistic.
So lets rewrite these unspoken rules.
The ones that shackle us to people we never intended on being.

News flash.
You're allowed to fart.
And cellulite.
Well... cellulite is the devil.
"Get out you naked girl with cellulite."
Said no one... ever.
So get over it.

High heels aren't a requirement.
And a flat stomach isn't for everyone... cause chips are delicious.
You are allowed to be as you truly are.
There is space for every person on the spectrum.

We are dynamic, if nothing else.
Gorgeously ourselves.
We are women of something grater.
Speak, and the universe will react.
Align your actions with your intentions and watch your life become as breathtaking as sunset.

I dare you."

I give everything over to You Lord

Monday, March 10, 2014

Filled Up From Friendships

It has been a rough couple of weeks, emotionally, finding out about some devastating situations that have happen to people I love and cherish. I have cried, been angry, been confused and it's something that I can't get off my mind. God is good - I know this to be true - but this world is hopeless and extremely broken. In the past few weeks I was, unfortunately, reminded how much devastation plagues our world. This is not intended to be a downer post - this is actually a post to thank my friends and boyfriend and to share how fulfilled and blessed my life is.  

This morning, in the midst of knowing some of the situations that people are facing around me, I scrolled through the photos on my phone. {I do that a lot!} While I was scrolling through the pictures, I was reminded of how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends. Kasey and I attended a wedding this past weekend {Congrats Scott & Alyssa}, and a situation arose that made me look at him and express how thankful I was to have such great friends. There have been several decisions I have had to make along my journey that could have easily caused me to become isolated. But now, because of how my life has played out and the decisions I've made, I barely have a free weekend without spending time with friends or family - and dating Kasey continually keeps my life adventurous. As an introvert, I crave quiet rooms, sketch books, silence, and stillness. Kasey is very aware of my need for time by myself, and he knows when I need to curl up in a ball and not talk. But, thankfully, his vibrant spirit also helps me refrain from becoming a little recluse! I am so glad that I have girlfriends that are powerful, strong, open-minded and encouraging. I adore them and appreciate them - especially because I know how it feels to lack a solid group of girlfriends. & I am also so grateful for Kasey and the life he and I continue to create for ourselves. He helps me so much. On the way to the wedding he helped me clean deodorant off my dress, whipped lipstick off my teeth, got me a protein bar and banana cause I was "starving," & he even fixes all my stray hairs that fly in the wind. After all of that, I looked at him and said, "You must wonder how I manage to get ready in the morning, huh?!"

But more then just being aware of those small but important things, Kase brings me joy, laughter, excitement and love. He is an unbelievable combination of passion, kindness and understanding.

Today I am thankful. Thankful for friends, and my relationship with Kasey. My heart is so full.
My life is blessed. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Heart To Serve - Wildly, Passionately, Eternally

I had the privilege of being recorded for a piece that was shown at my church - City of Grace. This video was, unexpectedly, really challenging for me to film. I am extremely passionate about serving and I have served at my church, in the youth ministry, for the past 8 years. I have been a part of the same ministry for a total of 11 years. So when asked how serving in the ministry has impacted my life - a flood of emotions and memories came rushing back. I have had to sacrifice so much throughout my life to remain consistent with serving. I have lost friendships, a romantic relationship, I gave up outside activities, lost sleep, comforted broken hearts late at night, all with the purpose of remaining faithful to my church and my relationship with God. My desire has been to mimic the heart of Jesus - His love, His care, His faithfulness, and His sacrifice.

Here is a look into my life and my journey of serving - one of the toughest most rewarding parts of my life!

I give everything over to You Lord

Monday, February 24, 2014

Brush Party

I had to share what my Friday night looked like - it was JUST that good! Kasey, is very attentive and aware of the things I am passionate about and he is so thoughtful to plan dates that incorporate the things we love. This weekend was no exception - and definitely one of our favorite date nights yet. Kasey bought me vouchers to go painting, but not just normal painting, a class that involves food, wine and music. It is a perfect combination. 

So we arrived, grabbed a seat,  and put on our smocks! At Brush Party, there are themed nights you can choose from, and we chose a midnight scape with a tree. Our teacher showed us how to paint, step by step. We had the creative liberty to choose the colors we wanted and the type of painting style we were comfortable. We received instructions but were able to add our own individual touch to our artwork!

Nights like this remind me how well Kasey and I work together. We are able to share in the excitement of each others hobbies, let our hair down and have fun! The new experiences and adventures that Kasey and I share, are some of my highlight moments of our relationship. His adventurous spirit encourages me to venture out and live a wildly passionate life.

I give everything over to You Lord

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Nip & Tuck - Image Obsessed

While being surrounded by an image obsessed world, it is hard not to fall snare to the lies and the desire for (perceived) "perfection." I've written about and spoken with several people about body image and the struggles that most of us face when it comes to obtaining this unrealistic goal of beauty. It is not just a girl thing. It's a human thing. Girls try to slim down, guys try to bulk up - you know, typical stereotype stuff.

I have mentioned in my spoken word, briefly, about my struggles with my image. But if I'm honest with you, I have researched costs for liposuction, tummy tucks, boob lifts, teeth whitening, and unfortunately, lots more ridiculous "Body Enhancements," aka. plastic surgery. Sounds crazy to some - but in a world where I can't go a day without seeing the "ideal" girl on a Billboard, Internet ad, Television show, Magazine cover, Movie or walking down the street, it is hard not to let the "You're not good enough," thoughts cross my mind. Maybe a little nip and tuck is the perfect solution?

It would be my great pleasure to share how I've overcome and conquered my worries, insecurities, and body image issues, but unfortunately, I'm still working on finding freedom from destructive thoughts. I have not arrived - I know - shocking!

But, on my journey to finding peace and contentment with my body, I have decided to unveil my insecurities and share them with you. Come on, who doesn't like the feeling of being exposed and vulnerable? (And to the few people who don't mind it - you are a braver soul than I!)

I have a weakness for visual expression, so I decided that the best way to bare my soul for all to see, is to create a video that embodies my struggle and my fight! I am combining music, still photos and video footage to speak the message that my heart still wrestles with.

My hope is to encourage the person who feels shame, disgust, frustration and discouragement when they look in the mirror. I also hope that you will come along my journey while I continue to redefine how I see myself. I'm working on rewiring my thoughts - if you are doing the same, cheers! You are not alone!

I give everything over to You Lord

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Get Out There and LIVE"

“Something wonderful begins to happen with the simple realization that life, like an automobile, is driven from the inside out, not the other way around. As you focus more on becoming more peaceful with where you are, rather than focusing on where you would rather be, you begin to find peace right now, in the present." 
 ― Richard Carlson

As most of you know, my sweet niece, Jemma Sophia, was born with a severe and complex heart defect. Finding this out has created a keen awareness of how precious and dear life is. Jemma has unknowingly taught me how to love people "better." And what I really mean by 'better' is unconditionally. To love when it isn't convenient and when it stretches me past my comfort zone. Finding out about the condition of my darling niece has changed the way I live. My perspective, the things I value, what I deem as important, how I handle my friendships, my family and my own personal life. 

I drove by the Phoenix Children's Hospital, a few days ago, knowing that my inspirational sister-in-law was caring for Jemma while she was recovery from her recent Cath procedures. I texted Stephaine to see if she needed anything while I was in the area. (It is hard to sit back and know that there isn't anything I can do, physically, to help my family in their greatest time of need.) Steph responded and let me know that they were covered and didn't need anything. So I kept on driving, only to receive this heartfelt text from Steph...

This was one of those moments where time stood still for me. It was a powerful reminder to live intentionally, boldly and to love and LIVE. Really. Truly. LIVE. As the old saying goes, "Don't sweat the small stuff." Stephanie's words graciously reminded me to stop and see the beauty in life and to always remember how blessed I am.    

It is all wonderful and dandy to be reminded of these inspiring life lessons... until I actually have to put them into practice. 

"Where the rubber meets the road!"  

I was recently confronted with an "opportunity." A chance to move past my self and my own uncomfortable feelings, to stop and assess what is really important, and to choose to love instead of holding negativity in my heart. The epitome of loving someone unconditionally.

Here is the brief, and intentionally vague, background story. I recently shared, with my boyfriend Kasey, some discomfort that I was feeling about some past situations. I was honest, really honest! I expressed how I didn't want to love or get to know these two specific people that I was having trouble with. These two people are very close to Kasey. I told him that I didn't want anything to do with them and I had no desire hearing about them. I know, I know... I am NOT making myself sound very sweet. But despite my resistance, Kasey loving heard my heart and made me feel understood. He shared how he would do whatever it takes to make my comfort his main priority. 

How did I get so lucky blessed!?    

A day later, at church, the very two people that my heart was struggling with, came into the youth building to say hello to Kasey. And it was there that I was met with the two decisions. To either hide and avoid contact with them or to remember how precious and short life is. A chance to choose love. I knew the very moment the Holy Spirit promoted me to say hello. I was in the middle of folding prayer request cards and God said, "GO!" So I dropped the things in my hand, I stood up tall and marched my way to the couple. I shook hands, hugged and honestly expressed my gratitude in meeting them.

A seemingly small feat for others, but a monumental moment for me. To willingly, with no hesitation or begrudging heart, choose to LIVE life. To not love when it is convenient for me. But to let go of the small things that can so easily entangle my heart, and instead say, "NO," to the voices of bitterness, resentment and sourness.

"If you're not going to talk about something during the last hour of your life, then don't make it a top priority during your lifetime." 

All the difficult feelings that I have been processing with Kasey haven't just gone away. They didn't just up and leave. I am still working on them. Not for Kasey, not for the couple, but because I want to love God and His children with a passionate unconditional love.

So I am continually learning the meaning of Forgiveness. Love. Acceptance. Trust. & Redemption. To be reminded of this is to be reminded of what life should really be about. The ability to, 

"Get Out There and LIVE!"

I give everything over to You Lord