Sunday, 28 June 2015

stay clear.

photo courtesy of
two words that a friend, a handful of years ago, gave me.
words that help me frame health and happiness.
believe me, it takes intentional, mindful effort for me to live life "clearly".
oh, the constant mind activity...

with all the life noise, both productive and detrimental, a decision must be made to stay present and awake, not getting caught up in the tornadic activity which swirls about me.

so many notebooks, blank notecards, and journals surround my bag, next to my bed, stacked on my bookshelves...all there at the ready to catch my thoughts and experiences when they overflow.
[sidenote:  if you are a thinker and do not keep some sort of written account of life, I would highly encourage you do so.  goodness, the catharsis that can be found with that pen and paper.]
my grandmom used to tell me in the midst of all my adventures to make sure and
"jot it down."

years ago, during my time at home in london, a high school friend of mine wrote these words during a time we called "blender questions"...
"what should I be living for/working toward?"
what I hope is an ever present thought and mindfulness.

When Chase was eight, a woman approached us at the grocery store and said, 
“What a handsome boy! What do you plan to be when you grow up, young man?” 
Chase looked at her and said, 
“I plan to be kind and brave, ma’am."
- Glennon Melton (via nsana)

what a lovely answer.

my friend, sarah, always asks people "what are you passionate about?" in the conversational space when we would normally ask, "and, what do you do?".
I so prefer this question.  it encourages conversation and connection.  people light up from the inside when you ask them to share about what they love.

may we strive to stay clear about what is important.
may we see people as people.
may we appreciate and be thankful for grace and mercy, as we all desperately need both.
may we be about being kind and brave people, as both of these traits can only help make the world a bit better.


Friday, 3 April 2015


feel free to listen to this over and over.  I know I am doing so today.
smooth and soulful.

this friday is good only when looking through the lens of the sunday that follows.  a cross of pain and death this day which was experienced by so many in ancient days can only be seen as good when the sunday arrives when only one man conquered that death.

I know beliefs differ from person to person.

for my soul,
that deep part of my being where heart assurance/knowledge is beyond words, that place where connection, intimacy, and joy live, that location where love, self-awareness, peace, and quiet have their residence,
I choose to believe this friday to be good and I am sat thankful and mindful of a peace that passes understanding, remembering moments as recent as yesterday where conversations led me to feelings of goodness in a way where only a smile, a hug, a pat on the shoulder - only non-verbal forms of communication - can appropriately or adequately communicate.
silence is powerful and allows us to be present.  to simply 'be'.

with all the pain, suffering, brokenness, confusion, in our lives, I need to believe that recovery and redemption exist.
and I do believe.

soul moments...
so many I could tell stories about where words fall short when I try to explain or help you feel like you were alongside me.
you have stories like this, too.  you could tell me about interactions and experiences that changed your life, and as much as I would like to completely "get it", I cannot, which can feel quite sad and isolating, actually.
and, yet
at the same time,
the inability to describe is what makes it special.
it is what makes it yours,
on purpose.
for you and for those who were alongside you during that time, when you lived in another country, when you worked at that job, when you went on that trip, when you passed that test after studying yourself silly... you have a shared experience that will bond you together always.
soul connection.
and the beauty of it all is that though I may not fully "get" your moment and you may not fully "get" my story, we also recognize that these type of moments exist for us all,
and that shared awareness binds us together as people.

you know when you hear a song, or see a movie, or look at a piece of artwork, or read a book that you just connect with, that you feel like everyone you know needs to hear it, see it, read it, as well?
when you have a moment you feel compelled to share because you just want others to have a chance to experience the same type of depth and/or joy?
for me it can be anything from a ridiculous one liner on a tv show to a story of a moment on the side a dirt road where a friend and I stood one afternoon crying together in common hurt.
I feel like that those moments of "can there be anything greater/more meaningful than this?" live in our souls.
creativity lives here.
maybe we don't have the ability to paint or sing or turn a phrase in a particularly eloquent way, but we are all creative.


each of us can do something like no one else can.
maybe that is connecting with people.  maybe that is sitting quietly and reading for hours upon hours.  maybe that is performing on stage.  maybe that is thinking outside of the box and problem-solving.  maybe that is refinishing furniture.  maybe that is making an omelette.  maybe that is creating space in your schedule to go to the park with your kids even when you are exhausted after a day at work.  perhaps that is folding a shirt so that all the buttons line up in stacks.  maybe that is making the perfect caramel machiatto.  maybe that is creating a safe space for people to share.
I do not know what "that" is or "those" are for you.
but, you do.
if you don't, ask someone who loves you.
they can tell you.

lean into those places where you feel the most "like yourself",
like "the best version of (insert your name here)".
when you those soul spaces and lean in, the people around you will find more joy, and so will you.

finding this space is worth the effort.
because it is in these soul spaces that we find
more laughter, peace, love, meaning,
and LIFE.

"...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  
                                                                                                                     john 10.10
and who among us would not like more of these things?

I pray that grace and peace reside within your soul moments today.
thanks be to God.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

to write.

I have a friend called sam.
he has taught me lessons in friendship and love of people for which I am truly,
some of the lessons I learned from a season living life alongside sam were illumined all the more for me, I am certain in the face of a comparison from friendships past.  for me, at that place in my story, the Lord needed to redeem, heal, and properly define some misconceptions and untruths I held about care without condition.
one summer afternoon, a group of us lounged on the pool deck allowing our weekly taco lunch to digest.  sam sat on my left, legs outstretched, one chuck taylor leisurely crossed over the other.  a guy strolled over sipping coffee out of a mug with a mustache emblazoned with on its side.  he stopped to address sam.
"sam, I didn't know you were a hipster!", this fellow said with inflection, pointedly glancing at my friend's sneakers.  (here it is important to note that sam spent his days working down the mountain in the horse barn wearing quite different attire than at the time of this conversation being recalled.)
sam looked up at this gent and replied, "I'm not.  I'm Sam."
his matter-of-fact tone I will not soon forget.
I smile now as write remembering how he spoke.  without pretension, without a touch of arrogance, without malice or mockery...simply from a place of self-understanding and perspective.

do we ever like to be 'put in a box'?  I certainly do not.
we are living, breathing, growing, changing creatures.  we were created to be so.

I have another friend called kate.
kate possesses a level of authenticity that blesses me deeply.  during the season I lived alongside her, she asked me questions that I am not sure anyone has asked me before or since that time.
she asked me what I was about.  well, she didn't actually ask me outright, but she told me she wondered what I was about and then simply... waited for my reply.
that silence led me to truly examine my heart to answer her honestly.
as she was bold and real with me, she led me into a place of honesty.
she loved me well.
another moment which will live in my story where depth resided and challenge was felt.

raison d'ĂȘtre.  reason to be.
I am of the opinion that we all need to know of what things we are convinced
and to be aware of those things which compel us.

recently, I have been helping out with a local alpha course.
this intentionally created safe place for pondering life is full of people who speak john 1.14 language.  my church in london, htb, is the source of this haven for hashing out one's questions, and though I attended a bit of a training while living in london, my focus on my own ministry kept me from going on the course.
my instinct has proven to be correct.  the approach, the content, the people...
I have quite enjoyed myself.

how impressed I am by people and by the courage it takes for us to be vulnerable.
to be.
tremendous courage.

in my nature, a risk-taking demeanour, I have not.  the list I could make here of friends' names who would attest to this fact is lengthy.  for many years, I have 'played it safe' and have mindfully sidestepped potentially dangerous situations.
I still would stand on my proverbial soapbox and preach that always choosing the risky path is not necessarily the best choice.  yes, I would.
and yet concurrently, in my experience, my personhood, my 'be'ing, has become
more layered
when time is spent with other 'be'ings who "live life to the full"by
being genuine.
as I am quite impressionable, I strive to lean into those people and places where I recognise authenticity. and I get to choose.
we all get to choose.

oh, that I would choose wisely so as to continue forward motion and that I would mindfully be thankful for those friends who love me so well whether their 'be'ing shares my zip code or resides in a land too far for my liking.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

as you go...

se dĂ©placer.  (to move oneself)

the train which carried me the route of london to virginia water and back with its red seats placed within carriages filled with passengers who rarely speak above a whisper regardless of their number of companions travelling alongside them, makes my heart happy to remember.

this still shot of said transport appears to be steady, but with a glance out the window
you see it actually is in motion.

as you well know, the past dozen years have found me processing and maneuvering.
striving to stay steady while progressing.
looking for "the rhythmic character or quality" of life,
the proper cadence

{deep breath.}

this season
is not an easy one.
each transition is different, n'est pas (is it not)?
thankfully, wherever we go, we take ourselves with us, but years on, in new settings, sharing life with people with different names and stories, alongside numerous other factors, each phase of life feels a bit unique within its sameness.

I could fill this page avec mots et phrases (with words and sentences) to describe right now, but I see no need, as they might be interpreted as wicked melancholy.
my intention in taking the time to compose and share is not to commiserate but to simply give a peek through the window of my current state of being.
my life when more full of solitude is naturally filled with more contemplation.
some thinking is good.
without space to ponder, health drifts out of my grasp.
too much time on my own?
health drifts out of my grasp.
"and, we're back...", to the life quest for the
proper cadence.

"therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, 
in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit..."
matthew 28.19 (ISV)

the great commission, this verse has been deemed.

I chose this translation with great intention.
in my processing, living life alongside, moving into the neighbourhood disposition,
"as you are going" is the personification of my personality and approach to life.

I recognise that looking to live a life, organically making friends and building community, is much more difficult in adulthood.  and yet, I still want that to happen.  perhaps that is the six year old child in me. separating life into segments will never make sense to me.  no.
spend forty hours a week with one group of people.
then, go home and do life with a whole other lot.  "you gotta keep 'em separated..."

please do not misunderstand me.
my childlike stubbornness and joy is woven into my spirit with a healthy amount (at times wicked excessive amounts) of mature awareness and desire to manage expectations properly.
needing work friends to also live next door to me is silly and not real life.
(well not real life for me right now, at least.  I have experienced this type of dynamic and have many friends who do live in such a way.)

I simply miss living life with fewer segments.

so, how do I navigate this less than preferable, highly prevalent reality while keeping hope alive for finding organic relationship?
I have no easy answer.
however, I do have a deep fervent desire to keep looking and settle not.

so for those of you who share my temperament and at times find yourself living life as an adult in less than natural social situations, wishing we were all kids once more who just spend time together without appointment or plan other than just to "be",
know you are not alone.

may we keep hope alive,
look and pray to see opportunities, and
choose to be glad.