Thursday, June 30, 2011


EEEEP!  I'm excited/nervous/scaredy-cat. 

I hope this is simply awesome sauce. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Winter of My Heart

Here's the truth.  I'm a private person when it comes to the deepest parts of my heart.  I also don't like to come across as whiny or be one of those people who sings a sad song all the time.  Life is full of beauty.  But God, in that way that He has, has asked me to tell parts of my story that aren't so pretty, and in the telling of them has used it to reach the heart of someone else.  People who are struggling in the same way I am.  And so.  Here we are about to delve into a painful and not that pretty part of me because maybe in the telling it will encourage someone else.  And also because I need to write down where I am and how this decision came to be so I can return to it in those moments when I'm less than strong.

All of that vague rambling above is to do with this fact of my life:

I will never be a mother.

Having those words stare back at me in black and hideous white is an immediate opening to a chasm of real. deep. pain in my heart.  And when I say pain, I want you to know that there have been moments in my life where it's bent over on the floor weeping kind of pain.  The kind that you don't want to look at to closely so you push it away down deep, deep inside.

The why's and wherefore's of the fact are less important than what I'm going to do with it now that it's been a reality in my life for 5 or 6 years.  A reality that I have only gradually and kicking and screaming come to accept.  And to say that I have it all wrapped up in a bow and labeled finished would be a lie.  I know that it's a struggle and a pain that I will have to look at for the rest of life from time to time. 

I guess my question, and maybe yours would be why is God asking me to walk this all honesty it seems, unnecessarily?   And then the other question would be, if following God and living in obedience to him means continuing to walk this road, is it worth it?   Because the truth is that I have the choice to step off of it.  To go another way. To pull a Jonah.  We all know how that turned out. *sigh*

Commitment to Christ is not commitment to Christianity.  Christianity is a lifestyle.  One that can be full of cliches and platitudes and endless quoting of verses.  Blech.  Spare me the piety, please.

Commitment to Christ is where the rubber meets the road.  Where the reality of life punches you full in the face and you have to decide what the heck you are going to do with it.  Realities like death.  Depression.  Addictions.  Infidelity.  The simple fact that life is not fair.  It doesn't have a reset button.  Like Eminem says, it's no nintendo game.  Of course I have had long, agonizing periods of anger and sorrow.   I still feel it in my gut when well meaning people ask me if I have children, or tell me that they are sure it will be soon.  When you've walked through valleys a few times in life, to have to walk through another one seems like a really bad idea.  So.  My choices are obedience and relationship with God.  Or disobedience and chasing after family and love in a way that I would define as good. 

It is apparent that to chase my own definitions of happiness would cause destruction in my family and circle of friends.  But as a dear friend said, you can't live the life of a martyr and be happy.  A counselor suggested to me that I live my life vicariously through my nieces and nephews.  Which is just terrible advice.  Word to my readers, don't ever tell a hurting person to live through someone else.  You're welcome.  Hope I just saved you $125 an hour.

I am not a martyr.

But I choose Christ.

Faith, friends and neighbors, is not church on Sunday.  Or bible verses to quote.  Or cliches.  It is wrestling with God in the hard, crappy stuff of life and still choosing Him.  I came pretty close to making the opposite choice.

It doesn't feel awesome or good.  No trumpets follow me around blaring victorious jazz riffs.  Pretty sure no clouds parted and no angelic cupid descended to give me what I want once the battle was won and I made the right choice.  Not even a touchdown.  Damn those sports movies.

So this is the story of the winter my heart has been in.  And now it's mostly over.  I hope that spring is around the corner soon.  And for those of you who are pretty disappointed that I haven't filled this with inspiring cliches and bible verses, here ya go:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  ~Philippians 3:8 

Favorite songs part deux

 My project is FRIDAY!!!!  I cannot wait.  And because it, like so much of my life and art, is inspired by music, this is my updated list of favorite songs.  To be on this list a song has to strike a cord deep, and be a part of a memory.  And be on constant repeat.  ;)

1.  Como Quisiera, Mana
2.  The Luckiest, Ben Folds
3.  Part of the List, NeYo
4.  Making Memories of Us, Keith Urban
5.  Beautiful Mess, Jason Mraz
6.  You and I Both, Jason Mraz
7.  The Thief, Brook Fraser
8.  Beauty for Ashes, Crystal Lewis
9.  Fields of Gold, Sting
10.  A Puro Dolor, Son by Four
11.  Antologia, Shakira
12.  The Sweetest Love, Robin Thicke
13.  Everything, Michael Buble
14.  Home, Michael Buble
15.  Y Solo se me Ocurre Amarte, Alejandro Sanz
16.  Your Song, Elton John
17.  Rush, Ferras
18.  Set Fire to the Rain, Adele
19.  Make you Feel my Love, Adele
20.  For Good, Wicked
21.  Many the Miles, Sara Bareilles

Monday, June 27, 2011

a lil whine

I woke up in the grumpiest of grump moods today.  And of course everyone wants to ask me stupid questions. 

Can I crawl back in my bed and be an irresponsible, lazy lump,  please? 

I thought you'd say that.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Today I had the pleasure of being asked if I was looking for a mother of the bride dress, and that I looked too young to buy alcohol.  In the same 2 hour span.  By two different people.  I dunno what was going on with my outfit, or if it was my hair, but I don't think I'll be wearing this combo again.

Pretty sure that the girl behind the counter at Barnes and Noble had a 5 o clock shadow. 

My friend Keely texted me this week asking to go to church on Sunday and saying she wants to get saved.  Been praying for her all week.  Saw her today.  She confirmed for Sunday.  Pray for her friends who read this.  We still have 2 days till Sunday.  Pray for protection for her and for her to follow through and come. 

I went on a domestic rant tonight and cleaned everything.  Including the dogs. 

Finishing up season 2 of the Vampire Diaries.  SO GOOD.  hello Stefan.  Are you my Edward competition.  Carry on. :)

Speaking of Stefan and Edward.  I always like the good, hero types.  I was the girl who wanted Joey to end up with Dawson.  Pacey was just sick and wrong.  Endings that are neat and tied up with bows, please.  Thank you.

Plotting a boat trip for the 4th on SML.  Hurray!  Fireworks galore. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pep Talk

Every so often I have to give myself a pep talk.  Here's todays.

I will not be intimidated by someone else's talent or success.  My path is not theirs.  I will rejoice for them, and walk my own way in the times set for me.

I will not be discouraged, but I will work harder and knock on more doors until they open.

I will be the best darn artist I can be.  And I will make the most of every opportunity.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Count Your Many Blessings, Name Them One by One.....

Well, after a rash of, if I'm being stark raving honest, people doing stupid things this week.  I'm just gonna take a lil moment and count my blessings instead of counting my irritations. 

Ahem. In no particular order:

1.  I get to make art for a living.

2.  I get to wear sweatpants to work if I feel like it.

3.  I was able to spend all day Sunday with my JJ.  In the park and at church.

4.  I have friends that want to have princess brunches and plan trips to Anthropologie with me.

5.  I get hugged on a regular basis. 

6.  I have a newly opened Diet Coke on my desk.

7.  I had platano frito for lunch today.

8.  Jesus loves me.

9.  Got some good tunes on.

10.  I watched a delightful BBC miniseries with some CRASH ladies this week.  4 hours of story leading up to one kiss?  You betcha.  :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The View from the Middle

There is a fantastic hiking spot here called Devil's Marbleyard.  It's called that because it's a mountainside of boulders.  One tumbling over the other, all the way down.  It's a fun hike, with a really great view at the top.  The tricky thing about it, though is you can only see one section at a time, so as you are climbing up to what you think is the top of the mountain, you get there, and see a whole 'nother hill in front of you before you're done.  I've climbed that hill a few times with newbies and errey time there are eye rolls and groans and a stop to rest at that halfway point you thought was the top.

Last week a photographer friend of mine facebook msged me asking for business advice.  Routinely now, I get inquiries and questions from photographers asking me how to accomplish this or that.  It's kinda weird for me, because I feel like I'm still at the beginning, looking up at the long climb in front of me professionally to get where I want to be.  But after another conversation today with a colleague, it kinda hit me.  I'm in the middle.  I'm not at the top, but there are certain milestones that I've passed.  And I guess from where some of my photog friends may be professionally, it looks pretty high.  From my point of view, it looks pretty low. haha.  It was kinda an ah hah! moment for me.  A time to reflect and be grateful for the things I've achieved and incentive to continue to strive for the things still to come.

Friday morning, at 6 freakin' 30 am, we were sharing where we are right now, in this moment, with God.  And I've had a week full of what really is a continuous struggle for me.  Tension.  Caught between the time constraints and demands of my job, and the demands on my time of discipling, and building community with women at CRASH.  Wednesday was rough for me.  I had to go and return from VA Beach in one day, and head straight to church for group.  I was in the crappiest mood ever.  Angry and full of self pity.  In the circle, as we were sharing with each other, Ash said that she was feeling distant and disconnected from God and people and Jesus broke me.  Because what matters in life is not so much how much work I do, money I make, or artistic and professional heights I attain.  What matters is the people God puts in my life and says, walk with them.  They are the ones I'll see on the other side of now.  Melissa said this morning that she remembered a great talk from Andy Stanley at Catalyst last year talking about the tension between responsibilities and how God often uses that tension to strengthen and teach us.

So here I am in the middle.  Caught between places in my life professionally and spiritually.  God is teaching me that it's ok to be here.  After all, nothing is going to get done in me or through me anyway unless He's orchestrating and doing it.  So, for now, I'll take in the view from the middle and try to limit the eye rolls when the rest of the climb appears, as long as God's sitting right there next to me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Universe Smirks

For someone who really doesn't like long road trips, or driving for more than 3 hours in one day, I've been spending a lot of quality time with my Kia.  So in honor of this development, I thought I'd give ya my top 10 reasons I hate road trips:

10.  That person who tailgates you for a mile, then moves in behind you when you move over.

9.  That person who cuts right inbetween that teensy space between you and the car in front of you....and then slows down by 10 miles an hour.

8.  That moment when you've gone through the drive through and pick up your fresh Coke to take a sip and it spills all over you, because they didn't put the lid on right. 

7.  Bumper to bumper traffic at 4 miles an hour.

6.  Having to be somewhere soon in bumper to bumper traffic.

5.  When your GPS decides it's going to have a lil laugh and sends you down a dirt, dead end road surrounded by rickety trailers in the middle of the night.  Cue scenes from Deliverance.

4.  Playing mind games with your car about how much further you can make it on less than 5 gallons of gas before stopping.  A game which you will prolly never win.

3.  Construction.  There is ALWAYS construction.

2.  Buying chocolate on impulse at a gas station, and having it be a melty gooey mess 5 minutes later.

1.  Sunburn on one side of your body. 

So, although road trips are marginally sweetened by sunsets, sunrises, singing at the top of your lungs and getting where you're going....I'd still rather be a passenger.  And the universe smirks. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sisterly Conversations in the Car

Ruby and I spent a LOT of quality time in the car this weekend.  Which was mostly her reading/napping and me listening to music and letting my thoughts wander near and far.  But we had occasional moments of brilliance like this....

Ruby:  Well, you know, you carry yourself like you're taller than you are. 
Me:  What?
Ruby:  You have a presence when you walk.
Me:  I have a presence?  YES!  So, next time I walk into a room, I can say me and mah presence have arrived people.  Soak. It. In. 
Ruby: oh nooo....
Me:  YES!  (beginning to sing along to whatever was playing on the radio)
Ruby:  Well, your singing's got no presence.  Shut it down.

For the record, I have no idea what she's talking about but it does make for great elder sister moments.  I feel that I can now remind her of my presence anytime we have a disagreement.  I want chocolate.  She's bugging me.  She wants to borrow my clothes.  The list, it just goes on. :D

Friday, June 3, 2011

Message in a Bottle and Other Things

This week was the week of romantic, sappy, make you cry movies.  The Bodyguard, The Notebook, and Message in a Bottle.  Interested in my reviews?  Good, cuz Imma tell you anyway.

The Bodyguard has glorious music.  A great concept.  One good actor.  I think it should get a remake.  It had more potential than execution.

Loved all parts of the Notebook that involved Rachel McAdams and Ryan G.  Coulda lived without the older versions of them and that whole storyline.  Love the period clothing.

My favorite was Message.  Most believable relationship.  Most believable dialogue.  Chemistry.  Storyline.  I HATE that he dies at the end.  (If this is a spoiler for you, I have no words.  Including apologies. 1999, people.)  Hence why I love Disney animated movies.  Hero always gets the girl.  Nobody dies except the witch.  Fantastic.

I didn't feel brave enough to attempt PS I Love You.  I sobbed into my sweater for the entire movie, in the theater.  Super humiliating to run into everyone you've ever met also at Friday night movies, with a cherry red nose.

No idea why the sudden craving to watch love stories.  With sad endings.  The good news is I have puh-lenty of weddings to make up for it.  Inspiration.  I think so.  If you see a Bodyguard inspired bride and groom pose....well...
                                               at least there will be no red noses.

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