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Stubborn Tulips

I love the way tulips keep growing even after their stem has been cut. It is like they don’t have enough sense to stop. It is like they are too stubborn to NOT grow. It is like they know they could be more, regardless of their surroundings or circumstances. They don’t mind standing out. They fight death and decay until the very end. Growth isn’t an option, it is natural. I could see how people might not like this fact about tulips because they break out of the desired floral formation but I think that is my favorite thing about it. They take the plan and make it their own. It might not be perfect, but it is different and changing every day.

It is a challenge to break away from the norm. It is scary to stand out. However, if we aren’t growing we are decaying. Creatively. Relationally. Spiritually. Professionally.

I think those tulips might be on to something.

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The Mom List

I wrote a blog post for work the other day that was featured on our Power of the Home blog but I thought I’d share it here too. Disclaimer: I love my roommates, I only used them as an example because we had recently been joking about me being the “mom of the apartment.” With that said, here goes ::

I’m not a mom. Most people who contribute to this blog know a lot more about parenting than I do because, well, most of them are parents. Sometimes I joke about being the “mom” of my apartment, but reminding my twenty-something year old roommates to turn off the oven and keep the refrigerator clean doesn’t hold a candle to the things my mom has done for me.

Here’s a list of some of those things:

  • She birthed me (obvious but still worth noting)
  • Stayed home with my brother and me while we were very young although she previously had a career in social work.
  • She forgave me for breaking our above ground pool when I was six and fished me out of the bushes when the resulting tidal wave swept me away.
  • Drove me to weekly piano and soccer practices
  • Loved me through middle school
  • Kept my dad calm(ish) when I broke curfew in high school
  • Helped me move into my college dorm (although I won’t mention how she and my dad left my dorm and immediately bought a new car)
  • Helped me move from California to Texas for graduate school
  • Supported my decision to move home a few months later when school didn’t work out
  • Encouraged me to move to Nashville, which is farther away than Texas, even though I was unsure of myself and previous decision making abilities

But one of my favorite things about my mom is how she taught me that family is what you make it. We lived in Southern California, hours and states away from blood relatives, but our house was always full of people on holidays. I can recall many times that friends of my brother and mine came to live with us for a few days or weeks because of family issues. I shared my high school graduation party with a friend my mom didn’t even know because she found out his family wasn’t doing anything to celebrate. She loved when I brought friends home from college (I mean like 6 or 7 friends at a time) even when all they did was eat and sleep on the floor for the entire weekend.

My mom, like many moms out there, has an ability to create home wherever she is, whether it is in her second grade classroom or the hotel we inhabit for the week. She makes family out of whoever is close by. I love sharing my mom with my friends and look forward to sharing her with a family of my own someday.

So in honor of your mother, make a list of what she has done for you. It might make you laugh and it might make you cringe (that pool incident was far more terrifying than it sounds), but it will definitely bless you to think of the ways your mom has been, and still is, one of the greatest blessings of your life.

Are you glad it’s over?

20120510-175846.jpg“Are you glad it’s over?”

I’ve been asked that several times over the past few weeks. This seems to be the go-to question for graduates, second only to, “what are you doing when you graduate?”

I hate answering this question though because I feel like it takes something away from the truth. I feel like if forces me to think about the things I didn’t enjoy. Yes, I am glad I won’t have more homework, comprehensive exams, and the pressure to be in three places at once. However, I am MORE glad about what I experienced. I was in a highly concentrated creative environment for two years with some of the greatest musicians I know. I learned from professionals who have been in the industry for decades. And the thing is I wasn’t sure I could even get into the graduate program!

Why is it so easy to push the great experiences out of the way and hold on to the experiences that we really need to let go of?

Hebrews 10: 24-25 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

May I be more concerned in order to always promote love and good works.

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When God First Slept

One of my favorite lyrics is from the carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It says, “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.” I would love to just sing that line over and over but today I am humbled by the fact that He did sleep. He slept in a womb. He slept in a young girl’s arms. He slept in dirty hay. He slept while his earthly parents were questioned of their own morality. He slept everyday during His time on this earth. Sleep is something that we must have to function and most of us would say we’d like more of but God had never, ever slept before. He had rested, yes, but not slept. I am blown away by this act of humility and that after giving Himself up to sleep, He willingly died. He subjected Himself to a form that was only an image of the Father to provide righteousness for us. He being God was not overcome by death and because of that we sing, “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.” Amen and Merry Christmas.

What it means to fail… to me anyway

I think many people have a false impression of failure. Often we look at failure as if it is the result of things that don’t go the way we want them to. Over the past couple years, I’ve seen a lot of things go in a different direction than I had originally planned but have also found those to some of the greatest lessons of my life.

So my thought of the night is this: Watching your dreams NOT come true does not qualify as a failure. Failure is never doing something about those dreams in the first place. 

The same can be said of the flip side: Watching your dreams come true does not always qualify as a success. Success is the pursuit of those dreams and everything you get to learn along the way.

It reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago about a man. One day he walked past a giant rock and God told him to push the rock. Every day he spent hours and hours pushing the rock, all the while growing more and more frustrated. The rock never budged. It remained in the very same spot where the man had found it but every day God told him the same thing. Finally after years of pushing the same rock and not seeing it move even an inch, he threw up his hands and said, “I can’t do this anymore! I keep trying and trying and nothing has ever happened! That’s it, God, no more!” He sat down and hung his head and the Lord whispered over him. “My son, you say nothing ever happened but lift up your head and look… look at your arms, your legs, and your back. Your muscles are stronger than ever they had been before. You are frustrated because you think that you have failed because you weren’t able to move the rock but, my precious son, I never told you to move it… I only told you to push.”

Things I Appreciate

After a 6-month blogging hiatus and a perfect day I thought I would awake from my hibernation and make a simple list of the things I have appreciated today:
•pumpkins
•sunshine
•driving through the night to see best friends
•best friends who wake up in the middle of the night to let us in
•walking to Starbucks and enjoying our drinks outside
•laughing at an uninhibited volume at poor choices we made in the past and crazy things we’ve experienced lately
•fall scented candles
•Jenni, who has been my best friend since I was 7
•Kinsley, who “shares part of my soul”
•Cando, who is my roommate and has been a huge encouragement to me this past year
•being with people who know me well and encourage me with every conversation
•the future… because if it is anything like the past it will be full of laughter, joy, hurt, failures, successes, and most importantly, people who have carried me and will carry me through them

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I love a good bullet list

Evidently my blogging has become so poor that even Kaylyn has given up and stopped reminding me that my time for writing a post is long past due.

I just haven’t had much to say. I also haven’t had much time to say it.

This is not a complaint by any means. I am so grateful for the past couple months. Since my last post:

  • I led an amazing groups of 9th and 10th grade girls for a Disciple Now.
  • I got to spend a weekend with 12 other people who will be directing Fuge camps across the nation. These people are all so incredible and I wish I could spend more than 4 days a year with them.
  • Merea Price, who is family, was in town and we celebrated our birthdays together by going to the Grand Ol’ Opry and doing super fun stuff. (I am still new enough to Nashville to enjoy the sightseeing scene!)
  • The following weekend Robin Moore and Kinsley Kuhn came to visit and made me laugh harder that I have in months. It was so refreshing to be with girls who have known me for so long and don’t require any back story for conversations! I also got a new pair of boots out of it!
  • I heard my first tornado siren
  • I’ve talked to almost every person that will be on my staff this summer.
  • I’ve started cooking new things: sweet potato fries, Chicken Parmesan, coconut shrimp, omelets, and grilled chicken salads. And they’ve all turned out good!

I’ve also been learning a lot as well.

  • My work environment has taught me that I can use my creativity in so many different ways.
  • School has been teaching me that there is a lot to be said for discipline and hard work.
  • My roommates and friends have taught me to appreciate the people around me who are so understanding and supportive when all I can do is walk to my room and shut the door to do homework every night.
  • When you can’t go home, the Lord is gracious and brings home to you sometimes.
  • And the greatest truth that is still true and will always be true is this; the gospel is still good news.

I’m looking forward to a lot more wonderful experiences and lessons that will be coming in the next few weeks!