Archive | March, 2011

A Wednesday Evening Sunset

30 Mar


Unexpected sunset,

Sea gazing,

God-craving,

Beautiful moments.

A mist grazes the wave tops.

I stop. Amazed by it.

Seagulls dive, surfers glide.

I open my hands to receive.

If I swallowed the last few minutes of day,

Maybe I could remember them here.

Instead I take pictures, I smell sea air.

And before I know it, the sun has whispered away behind the horizon,

Like a mother slipping out of the baby’s room just as it falls asleep.

Darkness begins to descend,

It’s tranquil, as more of a friend.

Not sinister, unkind, and gray,

Rather putting a cap on a warm spring day.

How many sunsets have I seen?

But none are ever quite the same.

A surprise to discover,

A joy to uncover,

Impossible to fully explain.

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To Jessica on her 30th Birthday

28 Mar

Dear Jessica,

I wanted to write you this letter because there’s really no other way to tell you what you mean to me. We have been through so much. Here’s just a snapshot:

Harvest fest 2005

You are rare and raw truth when I most need it.

You are windows down, hair blowing, music loud and free.

You are heartbreak and comeback in the same breath.

You are surprise at the most random times.

You are life and beauty and courage when I haven’t known how.

You are Dave Matthews concert, running through the fields in San Francisco, laughing at the top of our lungs.

You are laugh until I cry and can’t breathe in less than three seconds.

You are the song that I’m still waiting to hear about me.

 

President's Day party 2005

 

You are Beantown. Dogs and babies. Random thoughts strung together.

You are Writer’s Group.

You are California Rasins and The Bushes at the President’s Day Party.

You are patriotic.

You are driving me all the way to Camarillo for Jersey Mike’s.

You are your first coffee house appearance, nervous but so good.

You are superstar Christian.

You are watching me fall in and out of love and helping to break my fall.

You are purple converse shoes that make me smile.

You are PAing on Life With Bonnie, Jesus on a bench at that retreat, leadership.

You are dust yourself off, pick yourself up, get out of the house. YES!

You are nasal chestnuts being cured.

You are Trader Joe’s.

You are Burbank backyard with Sal and orange blossoms and balls being

Indigo Girls concert

thrown over the fence.

You are dragging me out for pie at midnight when I pretend to not want to come but do anyway.

You are so mad about your peed on Birkenstocks, walking to the car barefoot through Golden Gate Park.

You are so many songs, sometimes sad but starting to get hopeful as years pass.

You are comfort.

You are home.

You are beaches, whether it be Atlantic or Pacific.

One of Jessica's first gigs on stage

You are forcing me to go into the waves but realizing I’m really scared when I scream like a four year old.

You are swimming, even with the floaties on.

You are guitar.

You are random writing exercises at random coffee shops.

You are making me laugh at myself when I am too self-important.

You are good advice after the interview.

You are an instant friend with a picture to prove it.

You are loyal.

You are passionate.

You are telling me that I’m overdramatic and I’m laughing because it takes one to know one.

You are risk-taker, living life with zeal, not afraid to make mistakes.

You are sneezing with me when there are too many cats and telling me I’ll make it till morning.

You are “I’m not quite at the same place as you but we’ll still be friends” and we were.

You are spirit.

You are reminders of the best parts of who I want to be.

You are too many tears that I want to wipe, even from a distance.

You are driving me crazy because I don’t know what to do with you.

You are the full boob hug.

You are listening to me overshare intimate details in your Burbank backyard.

You are air freshener nowhere to be found.

You are red towels in your bathroom.

You are making me dinner after I already snuck to Wendy’s because I couldn’t resist.

You are speeding ticket in North Carolina on the way to Washington DC.

You are at mile 6 and then 14, still smiling.

You are giving me advice on how to run my own half-marathon from three timezones away.

You are Ghana personified.

You are falling down a mountain in Prague. Ow.

You are the angels on the Charles bridge.

You are Eleanor, which always makes me cry because it’s so a part of your story.

You are Manaic Magee.

You are letting go of the past to embrace the future.

You are carefrontation to the max.

You are best life group ever.

After Jessica and my friends gave me my iPod at my 25th bday

You are hitting send on the email I sent to IJM accepting my internship.

You are This Road by Jars of Clay.

You are the best mix cds I’ve ever heard.

You are Cafe 50s milkshakes after seeing the Indigo Girls with your dad and me.

You are learning boundaries with me.

You are the originator of the “thing.”

You are telling me that I need to be careful because you care about me.

You are best surprise birthday ever and ipod that makes me cry because I want it so bad.

You are stories I’ve heard so many times I think I’ve lived through them.

You are not going to tell me my baby is ugly even if it is.

You are Harvest fests.

You are the roommate of the girl I knew who went to Emerson.

You are “Oh, Meliss.”

You are one of my biggest fans.

You are friend but more sister.

You are inspiring me to take big risks and live for Christ.

You are 30.

I am thankful for all that you are and will become.

I love you.

Love,

Meliss

Roses and us

As I Am? Seriously?

27 Mar

I love Henri Nouwen. I feel like he’s talking to me, even though he’s no longer here. His book, “The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom” is one of my favorites. I can pick it up when I’m feeling terribly ashamed or guilty or incomplete and it reminds me to relax and breathe. It reminds me that there is a God who loves me and I can rest in that. Not always easy for a recovering perfectionist.

He writes: “Do not despair thinking that you cannot change yourself after so many years. Simply enter in to the presence of Jesus as you are and ask him to give you a fearless heart where he can be with you. YOU cannot make yourself different. Jesus came to give you a new heart, a new spirit, a new mind, and a new body. Let him transform you by his love and so enable you to receive his affection in your whole being.”

“As you are.” Wow. As I am? Then I think, “But I’m flawed. I judge myself a lot. I don’t love people well. I try too hard. I fall short. I don’t know how to not try,” and many more harsh thoughts from my inner critic. What if “as I am” is uncomfortable or awkward? When will I ever be okay with “as I am”? It still feels like work. I’m really diligent when I work hard. I don’t always finish what I start, though. I know that. Sometimes it keeps me up at night.

How do I rest? How do I let go of control and let myself be transformed? Some days are harder than others. Like today. If I’m honest, today is a hard day to trust. Today I’m having a hard time believing. It’s as if in an instant I can forget whose I am. I can forget that this isn’t about the striving and struggling. It’s about freedom. It’s about resting in who I am and was created to be. I’m taking a few breaths. Drying a few tears. Giving myself the pep talk I need to move forward.

I’ve asked friends to remind me of who I am, who I’ve become, who they see. I’m pretty biased when it comes to all of those questions and not in the best way. “Committed to growing.” “Dedicated.” “Courageous.” “Strong.” “Beautiful.” “Lovable”. I ask God what he thinks and he reminds me that he loves me and is jealous for my attention. He tells me he’s going to calm my fears. And I still wait on him. I’m patient to wait. Even in the desert, I wait. I don’t believe in random coincidences. I think there’s a plan. I don’t always think I’ll understand it, but I believe that there is one.

“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.”

I’m in the desert. He’s speaking to me. He won’t leave me or forsake me. God loves me right here right now no matter what. To me, that’s comforting.

Stream of Consciousness: Blurting out random thoughts

17 Mar

Respond. Respond to the different stories. To where people are at. I can’t help but think how unique, how beautiful all of the women I’ve encountered lately are. We’re so quirky and wonderful. Everyone has a story. A place they’ve been. A place they want to go. Everyone has pressures, thoughts to work through. Poetry in motion. People are blunt and true and struggle to be themselves. They might be embarrassed. True vulnerability, I’m learning, is beauty.

Loving people’s moments of epiphany. Their movements toward self-realization. To a deeper sense of themselves and more. Like a dance. Loving to take part in the process of realizing we’re all human together. It’s a foreign situation– connecting the dots of life. Of story. Comedienne. Poet. Musician. Photographer. Writer. Person. So much more than that.

Words express me. I express words. Words strung together make an amazing piece of art. Fated to always use words. Cerebral, yet unapologetic words. I break through. This breaks through the boring doldrums of our days. How do we really express ourselves? Love ourselves better? Believe we are true to who we are and are meant to be? Revealing my passions, my struggles, my hopes and dreams. Almost there. Here is not so bad though. What if I were content with now? What if I were okay with who I am in THIS moment? I take a second to inhale. To breathe as I was taught this past weekend.

I worry about being judged by people. I’m so sick of always being on guard. My eggshells I walk on are breaking and I’m starting to feel the yolks stick to my feet. It’s gross. I don’t want to care. I want to be free there. Stop holding my tongue, being quote unquote perfect.

It feels like the parts of my childhood I’d rather forget…

I go in this direction.

Unexpected expectation. Where in tarnation

Do I endeavor to discover,

Uncover this belief?  I feel like a thief, brief but stealthy,

I’m working toward healthy.

Break free from my Yolks and yolks. Maybe tell some jokes. Laugh with joy,

Begin to employ– a new sense of self, protected. Unrejected. Free to be. Free to laugh.

Free to find that joy all around me.

I’m uncovering the truth. No excuse.

Remembering to Remember

9 Mar

The ashes come from the previous year’s palms from Palm Sunday

Oh how easily we forget. I need reminders. All of the time. I need to remember how to love because I get so wrapped up with myself and my needs and my hopes and dreams. I so easily forget everyone else. I forget to notice the grass. I say this because today on my lunch break, I made a point to notice it. If I don’t stop to slow down and notice, the world will continue at it’s breakneck pace and I will forget again. Today is Ash Wednesday. I brought my life group (a group of women I co-lead on Wednesday nights), to a traditional Ash Wednesday service, not knowing what to expect. We do not go to a traditional church, but instead go to what some call a “happy clappy church” or a “hugging church” where weekly we experience community and the joy of God. It’s amazing. It’s healing. It’s done so much for my soul. I love it there and it has become more like home than any place I’ve ever belonged.

At our church, Christian Assembly, we don’t often get a chance to experience a liturgical service where there is chanting and hymns and prayers where we repeat after the pastor. Tonight was that at St. James Episcopal. It was very procedural compared to what I’m used to, which in some ways was freeing. It was kneel. It was ashes. It was “From dust you came and to dust you will go.” It was a reminder of all that Jesus did for us brought forth in an unfamiliar way. It was beautiful.

As I watched these women go to have the ashes placed on their foreheads, I couldn’t help but smile. I love exposing people to new things. I love traditions. I love Ash Wednesday. On no other day throughout the year except for maybe Good Friday do I get the chance to pause and reflect on the sacrifice that was made for me. For me, Lent has become sacred. It is about preparing my heart for Jesus’ crucifiction. It is a time to acknowledge the ways that I have sinned and the ways in which I need a savior. It’s reminder that we are all here for such a short time.

I don’t want to take advantage. I want to love well. I want to believe strongly. I want to remember. Lent is a great time to remember and to fast. God doesn’t need us to fast, but sometimes we need ourselves to. In times of fasting, I become profoundly aware that I am not in control. There is this illusion that I walk around with that makes me think that I am. But I am not. I remember that when I go without food. My stomach growls. I get cranky. I simply need food to survive. And I need it often. In giving it up, I remember that if it weren’t for provision, I wouldn’t have food in the first place. I am brought in communion with those who don’t have food. I am thankful in a new way because I am reminded again of what I have. I love this season. I feel like I have a new chance to reflect, pray, fast, and become aware of how little I can control. And for a perfectionist like me, something about that is quite freeing.

Reclaiming Home Part 2

4 Mar

My recent blog about home created a lot of comments on Facebook, and I thought I would update everyone on where I’m at. I’ve decided to create a space where I can feel at home within my own home. After a respite from the beach due to some inclement weather, I’ve decided I need to embrace my living space and create a place where I can just “be.” I’ve gotten much better at recognizing my limits these days. I can tell because I get anxious, start having bad dreams, can’t sleep, and feel resentful toward pretty much everybody. So when those things start happening, I take stock and realize that I’m doing way too much.

Here’s my recent solution to this: I bought a lemongrass candle after smelling every candle at Rite Aid.  My friend, Cara, convinced me Rite Aid had better and cheaper candles than Target. So last weekend we went with Jill and started smelling candles. I walked away with my new Lemongrass scented one. So far, it’s awesome!

I’ve filled my space with good music. Always a plus. If anyone knows where I can get good portable speakers that would be better than my Macbook speakers, I would appreciate it!

I just bought a 3 inch mattress topper because it was reasonably affordable with no charge for shipping and I can’t afford to buy a new mattress right now. This ought to give me more comfort when sleeping, I hope. Thank you, OVERSTOCK.com!

I plan on buying curtains because I’ve decided that after a year and a half, the venetian blinds in my room are not doing it. I’m using this pole that ballerinas at the Community Center used to use as their barre to hang my curtains. It fits perfectly over my window. It was FREE! I can’t wait to paint…

I’m packing up some of my books and all of the electronic stuff in my room and putting it somewhere else. Having books around doesn’t inspire me to be knowledgable like I would hope, instead, it inspires me to want to read and then feel guilty because I’m not doing enough. Too many unread books! I need to find another place to put these books. Maybe not away, but out of sight…

Green paint: I’ve decided. That’s the color for me. Something light. Not like gross green, like spring green! It’d be awesome if I could get an artist paint a tree or something in my room. How cool would that be?

My high school room was a much more dramatic version of this, although not as cool...

I’m trying to figure out my taste. Liz, my former roommate and best friend said to me, “You know, you’ve never actually decorated anything yourself.” She’s right. At least not as an adult. I’ve let other people determine how to decorate my space. So I’m in the process of figuring out what I like. Green is my color right now and it inspires relaxation. So I’m going to follow my instinct on that one.

More as I continue. Behr.com is my new friend. I’m taking a picture of my room and then I’m going to upload it and see what it would look like with green paint. This is going to be fun!

 

Another Blog You Should Be Reading!

1 Mar

My cousin, Jen, inspired me today with her blog about her fight against cancer. She’s 35, a top athlete in her prime who got diagnosed with breast cancer in January. Her story is unfolding before her. Sometimes she’s afraid, sometimes confident. Sometimes restless, sometimes quiet. She has support around her and love. Her husband, Shannon, is amazing.

I wanted you to read her story for yourselves. It’s worth it!

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