adult{ing}

Yesterday, I feel like I officially became “adulted.” * I have less than a week to write a check, scribble my name on it, and send it to the U.S. Department of Treasury. I am “adulting” and I now pay taxes.

To celebrate, I bought an accordion file to keep track of my future expenses. It is black and boring, but it looked official so it just felt right under the circumstances. I am sure you understand my sentiments.

~~~I am now eating a brownie, because I am most assuredly getting work done and I needed a brownie for goodness sakes (I explained why I needed a brownie to the barista and, with kind eyes, she nodded her head with affirmation)~~~

While I was thinking about money, I decided to take a look at the value of my car. I felt even more adulted so I laughed. It is rather funny to wake up adulted one morning. I mean, this has totally been a process, but paying taxes made it feel so tangible. In any case, the brownie really helped.

I find it odd that as my body ages, my brain function feels about the same. I still feel young and sometimes think I am totally a freshman. Just the other day, I was at an art gallery where there happened to be a high school field trip in progress. To be honest, I felt about the same age as the teens in front of me until I remembered how old young I am and quickly stopped staring and walked away from the group. Weird.

A bit shocked by my new discovery of being slowly adulted, I have had a hard time focusing today. It seems as though, in order to focus, I really need to wear a beautiful silk robe, have a desk in my room, and make a DIY coffee filter garland to properly frame the desk. The problem is, I don’t own any of these things. *sigh* So, I am going to go shopping, but what I really want to buy is chalkboard paint for my large mirror. I figured that if I could just paint the mirror then I could write a list of things that need to be done and maybe, after that, I will be able to get to work. Then again, I need the desk first and foremost so that I can write the check to pay my taxes….

*Adulted//adulting- coin termed by my dear friend, Fern, and it just feels right. Essentially, it means becoming an adult.

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In other news, Fern now has dog, named Walrus. For a good 8.5 seconds I thought about how great it would be to have a dog that I could name, but then I remembered that sometimes I forget to eat lunch and thought it would be best to focus on learning how to cook for humans.

Guest Post(s), International Day of Happiness, & Thankfulness

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Happy Monday!

I recently wrote a couple guest posts for Single Matters and wanted to share them with you. I am still writing, but often exhaust myself on other projects and my personal blog is the first things that goes by the wayside. In any case, if you are interested, feel free to check out these recent articles.

Why Creativity is Important in Relationships

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Does Virginity Signify Purity?

In case you were unaware, last Thursday was the International Day of Happiness! To celebrate, a few friends and I decided to spread the love and bliss on the UCSD campus. Below are some photos of our adventure.

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As you can see, it was truly a marvelous day!! We simply passed out candy, blew bubbles, handed out notes, gave away free smiles & hugs, and just talked to people. While everyday is a day of happiness with Jesus, it was fun to intentionally celebrate this bliss with others!

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Have a wonderful week!! I am kind of mind blown right now, because I just spent a few minutes writing down things I am thankful for and I’m realizing that there is so much to be thankful for!!!!!!! Seriously, so much. I encourage you to take just ONE minute out of your day to remember the beautiful things in life and write some of them down.

 

free tattoo{s}

I was contemplating getting a tattoo, but then I remembered that I already have a few. Life has given me several “free tattoos” and my body is a witness. After all, isn’t the point of a tattoo to tell a story or trigger a memory? If that’s the case, then I have my fair share of tattoos and they were all free.

My body grew tall in a short period of time and there are some beautiful stretch marks on my long and lushes legs. I took a tumble off a skateboard once and my ankle can attest to this calamity. This is not entirely related, but my nose always felt a size too big and I used to regard it as an unwelcome statement piece affixed to the center of my face. I could share more stories, but I am sure you get the general idea. What I am coming to understand, however, is that the human body is a remarkable thing.

For some odd reason, contemplating getting a tattoo has made me appreciate my body all the more for the things I used to dislike. These very things make me unique. As such, before paying to get a memory inked onto my skin, I am excited to embrace the free tattoos that life has already given me – the things that help comprise who I am and the things that I used to wish that I could change. It is time for these very things to be prized and considered beautiful. I suppose these things are more than mere marks on the body, they can also be memories or experiences etched onto the heart. Experiences that you used to wish, to no avail, that you could alter. I have plenty of these, but I am gradually making peace with them and realizing how they help comprise my story and make me who I am today. You see, those very scars etched onto your heart can be turned into something beautiful. When you hand them over to Papa God, those wounds can be healed. Not only does He bring restoration, but I have found that He gives you pieces of His heart in exchange for the pain and your heart is left enlarged and more whole than ever before. I don’t know how this works, but it is so beautiful and worth every minute of the surrender.

I am not sure what it is that you don’t like about yourself, but I am telling you that those very things can be restored and reclaimed as something extraordinary. Maybe you won’t believe me, but I dare you to try. Don’t sit in your pain or scars, but take a moment to get some fresh perspective and love yourself just as you are.

sexy + missions

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I am sure the words missions + sexy don’t seem to correlate, but somehow they seem to make a stellar team when they do. Let me explain myself…

I am part of a fabulous campus ministry, but it isn’t located overseas. In fact, I primarily reach out to college students in the beautiful San Diego, CA. Yes, I live in America and I live by the beach. *ehem* When people ask me what I do I sometimes don’t really know what to tell them. I simply live life and notice the people around me. Sure, sometimes I get a little “wild” and sit on the campus with a Spiritual Reading sign, but for the most part I don’t feel different or extraordinary in the least. This is just my life.

 

I have begun to notice something interesting within the ministry world and I feel that it is worth mentioning. When people talk about going overseas, it sounds sexier. You know what I mean? It sounds more adventurous and worthwhile. Even though I do campus ministry, I caught myself thinking this way and I realized that I had to actively change it. If it is really about loving the people in front of you, does it matter whether it is in the grocery store or in Antarctica? Seriously though. I have the greatest respect for overseas missions and desire to live overseas one day myself (simply because I love the idea of learning from different cultures), but in the meantime I don’t want my thinking to unknowingly elevate certain people or nations over others. This is just something I am currently mulling over.

 

Perhaps it is time I disrobed my mental hierarchy of missions and remembered what it is all about. Humans are fascinating and they are everywhere. After all, if I continue to think from this unhealthy place, I will forever leave the “real” work of loving people up to “missionaries” and I will forget that I am one. I think we all were created to be conduits of God’s love and isn’t that what it is all about? In the purest of forms, love looks like reaching out to the person in front of you. Some people may do that for a living, but I think we all were created to let our love leak out. It looks like getting to know your neighbor and letting your actions do the talking. It looks like noticing the overworked and overly tired mother at the checkout and letting her go first. I am afraid that the more we idealize overseas missions and the more we categorize what “true” missions looks like, the less we will feel empowered to step out and be the change right where we are at. The less we will put love into action and the more we will live waiting for change to happen. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out on the incredible humans that I encounter each day simply because it doesn’t feel as worthwhile or “sexy.” I, for one, need to do a little bit of mind renewal and once again come back to the basics of loving my neighbor as myself. Literally. If everyone purposed to intentionally love the one, I know that there would be a remarkable shift.

 

There is a whole craze about clean eating. Well I want to see a lifestyle of clean living//loving. To me, this looks like a yielded life that continuously chooses to love when it doesn’t feel or look as fabulous. It looks like consistency even when it isn’t fashionable. No frills or fluff. I am not there yet, but it is my hearts desire.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

laughter does the heart good

On a whim, I decided to attend a laughing seminar today at the library. I passed by the dry erase board sign and just couldn’t help myself. I mean, what on earth is a laughing seminar?! I HAD to find out. I soon discovered what it was all about and I was both thoroughly entertained and fully engaged. To both my left and my right were the most glorious faces. We were encouraged to practice different types of laughter while making eye contact with people across the circle. For obvious reasons, this made it all the more contagious and hilarious! 

 As it turns out, I unknowingly was in a laughing yoga class for those 55+ and most of the participants were well over 70. It was a most enjoyable experience and I found many of the principles to be very kingdom. 

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” – Proverbs 17:22 

 After 30 minutes of solid laughter, the teacher enthusiastically shared the medical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of this free activity (yahoo it’s free, thanks God). Everyone was amazed. It is true though, laughter does the body good! I absolutely loved watching everyone laugh and laugh some more once they heard their neighbor start to loose it! Hahahahaha! You can only imagine it, but this is a moment that will be etched into my memory for life. Truly remarkable to laugh with strangers – future friends. 

 This spontaneous adventure to the library was honestly one of the most beautiful things that I have experienced in a while. Everyone was giggling and really getting into it. Some people cackled, others chuckled, and I even heard a chortle or two. Yes, a chortle. It was delightful. 

 I tell you what, I certainly left the library happier. The more freely I laughed, the lighter I felt. Everything that was stressing me out suddenly seemed so insignificant. 

 I want to see random outbursts of joy and laughter like this happening more frequently. It only takes one person to start passing along a smile or a chuckle. How amazingly simple and profoundly beautiful. 

 At the end of the seminar everyone was encouraged to bring their happiness outside of the class by smiling more at people and engaging with the world around them. This really hit home. I mean, laughter is so great, but I know the source of joy that never runs dry and you don’t have to conjure it up! If I am truly convinced of God’s kindness towards me, then it should be leaking out everywhere I go! Wohoooo! Clearly the laughter seminar was a hit in my book. It was a great reminder to unashamedly spread the joy and kindness of God wherever I go. I have so much to grateful for! Purposefully feasting on these things, even the littlest of things, brings forth much joy. 

I wanted to secretly record the laughter and keep it forever, but I couldn’t figure out how to accomplish the secret part. So, being that I don’t have any of the amazingly hilarious recordings of the varying types of laughter, take a look at this cute baby laughing or this one. If this doesn’t make your heart smile, I am unsure what will. Children don’t need a “solid” reason to laugh, they just go for it! 

holding hands

I have been carrying some things in my hands. These things made me feel accomplished, they reminded me that I was brave and they were familiar. Unfortunately, they were also rather heavy.

I had someone real special by my side, but it wasn’t until He stood right in front of me that I noticed His hands. He had hands all along but I never seemed to pay much attention to them. Once before me, they became an invitation. I instantaneously handed over everything that I was carrying and it all disappeared. Everything was tossed  aside without a moments thought. After all, these things were nothing in comparison to the exchange. I swapped the past for the future within the present, but my hands were filled just as quickly as they were emptied. Then I marveled at the freedom that my hands now enjoyed. It is hard to hold hands with someone when you are carrying luggage. It is also hard to jump and dance and spin. These things too, however, are best enjoyed when your hands are grasped by another.

celebrating life

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I recently watched a little girl walk down a flight of stairs. She was so careful with her every step. When she reached the bottom step she proudly exclaimed, “I did it!” You could tell by the way she smiled that she felt extremely accomplished.

This little girl is an inspiration to me, because she celebrated her accomplishment with enthusiasm and she was visibly proud of herself. I want to live more like this little girl. I shared this with you in the hopes that you would too…

Every moment is a gift worth celebrating! 

My goodness. Thank you sweet little girl for reminding me that life is beautiful. 

a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor…

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I have been pondering this quote the past two weeks…

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”

I am not sure about you, but the past year of my life has been filled with challenges. Despite these challenges and the heartaches that arose, I find myself filled with gratitude. You see, I can either look at these challenges as though they were an unwelcome guest or I can invite them into my life with the understanding that they provide me with the necessary skills for the seas ahead.

While I may never understand why certain things happen, I know full well that:

1. God is Kind 

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2. The circumstances that I have gone through are setting me up for success. 

Perhaps you are feeling a bit discouraged. I encourage you to see these challenges as rough seas that give you skills for the crazy amazing destiny that God has for you. He works out EVERYTHING for good. I don’t always understand it, but that is why He is God and I am not. *whew*

There are so many things to be thankful for. Today, I am thankful that my plant, Lucky, is still alive after nearly 3 months of coming to my humble abode. This is a miracle. I am also thankful for pandora, the online radio station, because I think it is just great and deserves accolades on this wintery afternoon. Furthermore, while I have many many things to be thankful for, I am thankful for the people and circumstances in my life that have contributed to the rough seas. While I am sure that some of these circumstances intended to trip me up, I am now equipped with the necessary skills for the next adventure and I am as excited as ever to journey with Papa God!

photoThis is Lucky, my pet plant. The little man in front of Lucky, playing the recorder, was given to me by an old man in Austria. Not that it matters, but I suppose I treasure both the plant and the little recorder playing man equally. *chuckle*

What are you thankful for? I believe that thanksgiving shouldn’t just happen once a year around a table of food. So, go on… what are you thankful for, huh?

transparency and vulnerability in relationships

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A few weeks back, as I was sitting in the corner of a cute cafe, I saw a mouse. I was thankful to have not ordered any food from this establishment. *whew* I kept sipping my coffee and tried to focus on my work, but my senses were heightened to the presence of mice. Gross.

On the drive home I began to ponder this experience a bit more. I walked into the cafe with trust. This establishment looked nice externally, but it had a few secrets. You see, this cafe housed mice. I suddenly began to imagine the mice swimming in batter at the back of the cafe. Nevertheless, I was glad to be aware because it helped me make the powerful choice to:

a). avoid the food for the time being.

b). discreetly speak to the manager in order to get this mess cleaned up.  

This experience made made me think about the establishment of new relationships. I form relationships rather easily and tend to dive into them a bit too quick. I willingly trust people from the start, but am often plunged into a pile of mice with little to no forewarning. I don’t think I am alone in this and I want to learn from this encounter with my mouse “friend.”

I want to encourage people to trust. At the same time, however, I want to encourage awareness. Everyone has “mice” in their life. Some people show their furry friends from the start, but others wait to expose the infestation. If we realize that this is part of humanity, then we won’t need to stand on chairs or grab a broom when these things are exposed. Instead, we will approach these moments with kindness and care knowing that they do not comprise the whole person, but are merely an extension of who they once were. In return, these “problems” will transform into potentials that merely need a bit of attention so that the person can begin to truly walk out in the promises and provision of God. When we are aware of the mice in people’s lives, we can make powerful choices and empower them to walk out in their destiny versus enabling them to continue to keep their mice hidden in the back of their heart and mind. By loving people when their mice are exposed, versus standing on chairs and shouting (further scaring the mice and encouraging the person to hide), we are setting the person up for success and giving them the ability to clean up the affects of the mice in their life. Sometimes, however, people are comfortable with their furry friends and are not ready to clean up the mess. It is important to be aware of this, because it helps you readjust your expectations and learn how to love them well while still being wise with your heart.

What are your mice? What secrets do you keep in the back of your heart? I encourage you to begin to practice transparency with trustworthy people. When you are safe to be your whole self, you will become a safe person for others to do the same. 

A person is not their mistakes. Do you have people in your life that have hurt you or have shared vulnerable information with you? If you did not respond correctly at first, it is not too late to start loving the person and empowering them to make healthy choices by cleaning up their mess (the relational consequences that are the byproduct of poor choices). Get off the chair, put the broom away, and create a safe space for the infestation of mice to surface. This will empower the individual to seek the necessary help for the healing of their heart and start to clean up their mess when needed. When mice are left alone the whole establishment suffers, because it looses credibility and trust as a healthy place to come and eat. In the same way, when people do not clean up the mice in their life, the output of their life demonstrates this and it no longer becomes a healthy space for friends and family to come and get their hearts cared for. As a result, relationships suffer.

Trust people. Let safe people truly see you so that you can see others. At the same time, however, use wisdom. People are not their mistakes, but if those past wounds and messes are not healed and properly cleaned then the wounds will quickly seep through behaviors. You can tell whether or not a person has healed by the fruit.

When Jesus Passes By…

“…As Jesus passes by, everything is transformed. Sadness leaves and joy takes its place.”

I was struck by the truth in these lyrics. When Jesus passes by, truly everything is transformed. EVERYTHING. Perhaps life if mostly about these encounters with Jesus. Sometimes life is hard, but then we get to see Jesus come and transform everything. Sometimes life is sad, but then we get so see joy rise up in the midst of pain. Isn’t this beautiful?! I love that Jesus does not just pass us by, but He is constantly with us. I want to remember that I get to walk side by side with this life transforming Jesus. The amazing thing is, even when we are not aware, Jesus is still transforming everything around us. I want to look like Jesus. I want to know the truth of what I carry and see lives transform as Holy Spirit and I simply pass by. From this perspective, life is remarkable.

 

“…As Jesus passes by, everything is transformed.”