Break time

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I don’t want to say I’ve been bad at answering texts and buckling down to write just because of Instagram…but you know when say DoubleDash would stop working on GameCube and your cousin would have to take out the game cartridge, blow the (imaginary?) dust out of it, plug it back in and try again?

Who knows if that helped, but I’m basically taking that initiative to get rid of some (imaginary?) dust.

I’m writing a story on noise accumulated over the years from our youth, and well, in order to get it to some people (and to maybe quell some bad dreams…) I’m into cutting some of my own noise right about now.

Not sure what will make me decide it’s all good to go back, but in the meantime, I want to build back up from an 8 second attention span.

✌🏼

Come out fighting

In many ways during 2016, I think my heart came out fighting for… few good reasons. The main excuse being fear.

Too many times in the last year I was wary of intentions, so much so that once the cloud of doubt would relax, the question on my mind would reveal itself to be, “Wait… Does this mean this person wants to be my friend?”

I blocked myself from understanding. But we never stop sharing a need and hope for connection.

In these times it seems we’re all suspicious of authority, news, goodwill and allegiance. How can one speak for all? Why won’t any speak for one?

Over the summer and fall I learned a lot about the thoughts I tend weaponize against myself, and how better to say no to them (beginning with that I can say no to them). It’s far easier to discern now when my mind and heart have drifted way too far from trusting my Shepherd. And because He is loving, I’m (PRAISE) tuned to desire more of Him than to just be rid of all the bad (often read: difficult) stuff.

How do we do this together? How to we choose love and understanding over getting in one more word, shutting out two more? How do we banish apathy (in its big and small forms) and stir our hearts to true empathy, and mature reactionary discourse?

I think it’s for this that we have to come out fighting.

Still on my mind:

These fragments:

I don’t write songs for free, I write songs for freedom

They want a 4 minute song? You need a 4 hour praise dance

I’m at war with my wants

from “Blessings” by Chance the Rapper.

I want to hug all of the babies and I have no profound thing to say about them/to them.

There are some pretty ugly pictures of cats out there.

I can feel my muscle mass disintegrating.

Kinda worried about the deluge of things I need to do, everyone I need to get back to.

Please have mercy, send Hayley with peanut butter bars.

I am excited to see Rachel.

I am excited to see cousins.

My Lyft driver Rui was from Portugal and has been my favorite yet. Out of a few over 27. He said something funny that almost flew over my head. He used to drive school buses in Portugal, Spain and Italy, and met his wife on a tour. She works in journalism and he’s very proud of her. Rui been here 10 months and says, “I don’t feel like immigrant. I feel like I am at home.” He will receive his citizenship in 3 years. I would have asked him to teach me some Portuguese if the ride was longer than 10 minutes. A true pleasure to have someone like that want to tell you their story.

I didn’t realize much of this year’s music had jazz and Gospel influences. I thought it was just Chance the Rapper but I don’t know much. I wonder Jake was the one to plant a seed of curiosity for me…to keep my mind’s eye squinting at the often vulgar nature of, well, human beings. Everything violent and gory and terrifying to cheesy, awkward, resiliently hopeful — scratching at something. That’s what Mac Miller’s new album The Divine Feminine seems to be from this one article I read. It was on Snapchat, I know.

There’s definitely more I want to go into. This scratching at hope makes me hopeful. I really think searching for truth, honesty in love, pleading for justice, and believing in mercy and beauty and joy and freedom are like panning for gold. So slow, so demanding of every muscle, every cell, a choice to wait, a choice to keep going.

I’m gonna praise Him, praise Him til I’m gone.

When the praises go UP, the blessings come down…

I think about sitting in Hayley’s Saturn talking about Coloring Book, the way the assured jazzy tones nodded to Chance’s streaming voice. I know nothing about music; I imagine his voice as bronze-y gold glittering over dark, iridescent space, eyes closed letting truth reveal itself*, a first step giving instant ease to releasing that which should be let go of.

How do we discern that?

That’s still on my mind.

*this thought is partially inspired by Kyle in awe of Kathy Bates’ advice to “let things reveal themselves.” I can’t stress more how much I agree with that in the time I have grown or aged in just a few months doing something new.

It still boggles my mind how wrong we can be about ourselves. A friend may see something in us and tell us the exact opposite of what we believe. We think, Oh, it’s an outlier and you’re my friend so, well, also you’re really kind so.

So.

Are you being kind? To yourself? Not cushy. Kind. Can you say that? Or, are you cutting off many beautiful avenues to allow it to flow through, just because you’re too distracted with yourself?

Missing so much constantly available friendship, knowing and being known, has made a whole different daily, weekly, monthly routine difficult to adjust to.

It’s also put me gravely out of practice with unexpected, deeply genuine encouragement. It felt like a lie between my teeth to respond to a (hyperbolic) compliment with, “Ohhhhhhhh, I don’t think that’s true…” The lie was and is in how much I hope it’s true. And if you’re like me in that moment, maybe let’s just forget ourselves and our words for a moment and listen with more silence than ready reply.

Let things reveal themselves right? Let others share with you. What grace you will find yourself piled-on, surrounded with.

I’m doing my best. There’s more I can do.

A few favorite quotes as of late:

I can’t find my quote book.

I have one thin blue Rifle Paper Co. notebook I’ve used since about freshman year of college to collect quotes in. No context or commentary aside from who it comes from, it is simply a collection of snippets. Many of them are rather long but I feel most effective in delivery of truth in their fuller forms.

My phone bursts at the seams of storage with all the photos I cram in it, and many pictures are just screenshots of quotes that have stopped me in my tracks.

Even if they aren’t the most particularly comforting of words, I find that when I return to my quote book (if I ever find it…), I feel a lot better after flipping through a few pages. Usually I end up going through all of them.

So until that flowery little booklet makes its appearance, here are some quotes that have been either hiding in my photos or in my mind.

Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life.

Dallas Willard (via John Mark Comer’s Twitter)

Hurry is a form of violence practiced on time.

Eugene Peterson (also via John Mark Comer’s Twitter)

Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.

M. Scott Peck (via something I’m very excited and hopeful you’ll read soon)

Literally nothing makes sense in life unless you’re to be a servant.

Lauren Franklin ❤️

I am made in the image of God. I will not forfeit that for pseudo-liberation. Liberation absent of God is no liberation at all.

Sho Baraka (via Jackie Hill Perry’s Twitter)

When you have all that you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.

Jenna Kutcher

Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.

— unknown (via @blairtaft on Instagram)

You ask me, “What is the greatest act of faith?” To me is to look in the mirror of God’s word, and see all my faults, all my sin, all my shortcomings and to believe that God loves me exactly as he says he does.

Paul Washer (via my friend Claudia’s Tumblr heheh)

Prayer is a constant reminder than the human being is not autonomous. Prayer, in its most basic form, is the surging of the human spirit in its weakness, grasping at the Spirit of God in His strength.

Ravi Zacharias (also via Claudia’s Tumblr!)

No significant long-term fruitfulness in this fallen world comes without obstacles and resistance. To serve others in a meaningful way will mean to encounter friction soon enough. Patience, then, is the virtue of soul that helps us persevere in doing good, and not be scared off from worthy causes by opposition, toil, and fatigue.

David Mathis (via Desiring God: God Works in Those Who Wait)

Before there can be fullness there must be emptiness. Before God can fill us with Himself we must first be emptied of ourselves. It is this emptying that brings the painful disappointment and despair of self which so many persons have complained just prior to their new and radiant experience.

A.W. Tozer (How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit, quote via Tumblr) | emphasis by me for mic drop of hopefulness

Breakfast sliders

There is a time and a place for everything. And breakfast sliders are sacred.

A warm little black and white checklist of all things comforting and beautiful. Crisp rosemary rolls with apricot jam sparkling off the toastiest edges. Fresh egg and vibrant bits of bell pepper all held together in an unassuming but not unsung provolone — or was it swiss?

I always forgot and it was my own “usual…”

Familiar is the walk through the light glass door framed in wood painted red. Eyeing the small, occupied seating situation and knowing it’ll be fine. Parents visiting a Claremont student at the largest table for 4. A mom has roped her territory of a few bar chairs by the window. Another couple of friends are almost done at one of the two-person tables against the wall under the same square paintings of succulents. Getting in “line” and reaching around undecided guests still browsing, I grab a golf pencil and the little order form. It’ll be a half hour wait but it’s worth it — that’s why we won’t worry about the seating.

We already got coffee around the corner anyway. We’ll work off the mild shame of our red Augie’s cups while we pay our dues in hunger, a deep breath will lay our claim of two seats by the entrance. By the entrance again? Ugh, the door opens. More people aren’t sure if they want to stay for the wait. But we’re sure, and we’re home.

Psst

All the stuff you’re not sure about, all the stuff everyone in your life is unsure about? God is answering your prayers through this.

God knows the deepest desires of our hearts, and at the very core of our being new creation, He knows exactly what will bring us closest to Him, make us most like Jesus, most ready to move to serve others, serving Him, and none of it’s a waste.

Rest in that He is good. (YEAH! YEAH HE LOVES YOU!)

Lake water

Over the summer I was a novice penpal, and a gracious girl adopted me as a friend. She wrote little questionnaires and sent cute bits and bobs and asked if I preferred the lake or the beach.

At the time in June of last year, I’d never really been to a lake, but in July, my family drove up to Lake Tahoe for the first time.

We didn’t stay in any cool Air BnB (though my internet odyssey of all things Tiny Houses began here), or find exceptionally good food (we made it), or meet any striking people. And we didn’t really figure out how to Tahoe until half the week had passed (oops).

But somehow I’m always thinking of this place and its big blue sky and the clear waters I kayaked ineffectively through. The church we visited that didn’t have the vacation small talk feeling. Not enveloping but not strange. Blue, green, sunset spark everything. Air to breathe. I actually had a lot of terrible lonely feelings while there in I think Truckee, a lot of frustration over hope and purpose and acceptance. 

I still love the beach, and there’s nothing like crashing salt water. But I wish I’d know someday soon why I can never get lake water off my mind.