playing haman: be your own sparkle tape

{As you know from my last blog I was up in the mountains of southern California last week at Royal Family Kids Camp.}

The Saturday before we left for camp I got a phone call from the drama coordinator, who happens to be one of my cheerleaders in life, Michele. She asked me if I wouldn’t mind being in the drama that year.

Sure! I’d love to be a part of the wonderfully, wacky group of people who put on the drama.

Who would I be playing?

Haman.

If you don’t know the story of Esther all you need to know is that Haman was Hitler before Hitler existed. He wanted to kill all the Jews and then at the end of the story he was hung in the gallows. (if you prefer the veggie tales version he is sent to the island of perpetual tickling.)

Now the being in the drama was fine. I was in theater in high school and have no problem making a fool of myself in front of kids. So, what was I actually worried about?

It may sound dumb but I was worried I was going to be booed.

In the past I’ve watched the person playing the “evil” character get booed through the week.

So I started in early. All day Monday before the kids met Haman I told the them that I would be playing a man who made really bad choices and I made them agree they would still be my friend.

(Ok ok I may have resorted to bribery with scrapbook tape and stickers)

Guess what? I didn’t get booed.

The kids came up to me and had conversations about what was going to happen to Haman, the choices he made, how tantrums don’t solve anything. On the off chance a kid called me Haman, I would look at them shocked and ask if I was wearing a wig. Most of the time they’d giggle and say no then call me Miss Meg (and ask me for some sparkle tape).

My 5 day stint as Haman made me think of all the times in life where I was freaked out about what COULD happen. Like this week, last year, I was afraid to go to Spain for so many reasons.

One main one was “what if they don’t like me?”. Which, like being afraid of being booed was so very dumb. People I loved, and who loved me were already there waiting to hug me when I got off the plane.

But like my sparkle tape to the kids I took “precautions” when I got to Spain.

I did. I volunteered for things and was overly helpful.

For so long I thought the value I brought was ONLY by what I did.

But of course, when it came down to it none of THAT really mattered. I remember the week of reunion when I had been there a mere 6 weeks Kellen came up to me and told me I was appreciated (and what he may not know is I lost it promptly after). It hit me hard that I had barely been there- and that people were seeing ME, not the role I was attempting to play.

I forget that who I am is someone who is capable of being appreciated and loved. Who I was last week was still a person who the kids knew loved them. So even IF they would have booed me they would still know I loved them. (Though I stand by the fact the sparkle tape DEFINITELY helped.)

I believe it’s one of those deeply rooted human lies that we each have: that we aren’t enough without the things that we can bring to the table. And I believe that singular thing can cause us to NOT bring what we really have. I believe it causes us to bring THINGS not HEART.

It causes us to SET things on the table and not SIT at the table.

Playing Haman was hilarious. I got to spend my nights at camp with some hysterical people and I got to use gifts that have been long buried. I could have said no to playing Haman, because I was a wee bit worried, but that would have been silly.

I shook hands to an agreement to do the thing in Washington back in October, sitting in front of El Ultimo Mono. And that handshake agreement is officially in real life. In now time. There is a cute little yellow house waiting for me with a roommate whom I adore to the moon and back.

And all of those lies that I’m not enough, that I have nothing to bring, that I’m going to fail, they’ve all made rounds in my head.

We can’t be afraid to just sit at the table. We can’t be afraid to bring what we deem nothing to a table that seems bursting with everyone else’s gifts and talents.

It’s ourselves that matter. It’s what is innately in us. We don’t have to bring anything extra. Sure, you can if you want too but it’s not necessary.

And at the table you are surrounded by people who won’t let you be scared off by some silly little lie that you aren’t enough. Or that someone is going to boo you, or not see who you actually are outside of the job you work to pay the bills.

Show up and open your mouth in spite of what people may think and see what happens. Show up even if you think you might get booed because of a way you used to be in the past. Show up even if you think that someone ELSE may deem you unqualified.

Show up not to PROVE you are enough but to ACKNOWLEDGE that you know that you are.

Don’t bring sparkle tape to the table- be your own sparkle tape.

a letter to my royal family

image

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
From the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(Gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(Gold gold you’re gold)

gold-britt nicole

I know that for most people the hashtag #themostwonderfultimeofyear is centered around Christmas and Starbucks red cups and all of that kind of stuff.

But if I am being completely honest, my favorite time of year is a span of 6 exhausting days tucked up in the mountains wearing wigs, eating salad, laughing with kiddos and being with one of the most giving group of people I’ve ever encountered.

To my hard-working, incredibly loving, (more than just) sometimes sarcastic Royal Family-

You all are amazing.

I’ve been trying to put it into words over the last twenty-four hours. I was in tears getting on a train traveling away from Orange County today.

image

lauren.krystle.vanessa.priscilla. lovely ladies I get to do {camp & real} life with and be a {temporary} buddy for.

My heart swells at the thought of all you. Every single one.

On Sunday while we were running around Pinecrest getting all the things ready; the thought that kept coming into my head was about the importance of changing the connotation of family for the kids coming up the hill the next day. How important the word “family” is. How important our interactions are in front of the kids. The hugs, the inside jokes, the smiles we give each other all week is so important because it shows the kiddos that even though we aren’t related we are indeed FAMILY.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this week the friendships that have formed and grown amidst the 100 counsellors, staff and teen staff showed the kids a picture of Christ. It showed them that family isn’t just what you are born into but it’s also the people you are given.

image

photo of {a lovely photographer} Casey taken by {another equally lovely photographer} (and also her mama) Janel. So grateful for these two who catch the joy of the kiddos like photo ninjas.

It’s such a lovely thing. And I know it’s exhausting but man, this royal family needs every part. From the teen staff (who are the most awesome teens ever) to the nurses and staff counsellors, to the deans and directors to the mail ladies, to those of us in chapel to the coaches on the field and the karate instructors on the pavement, to the activity centers, wood shop workers, fantasy corner inhabitants, grandma & grandmas, aunts & uncles to our photographers and videographers. To those who do all the work pre-camp to our birthday party volunteers who come up one day to bring the kiddos so much joy. And last but in no way least; to the counselors who tuck the kids in at night after running around with them all day.

image

i’ve gotten to watch these guys do their thing for 4 years and was stoked to get to be apart of the crew this year.

I’ve met a lot of people in this world, a lot running great ministries and doing beautiful work all over the world. But it’s all you guys, all those who head up that mountain for the week that give me hope. All of you show me the love of Christ in such beautiful ways. Because you don’t have too. It’s not your job.

You do it for the kids.

It’s all of you who make it never a sacrifice to come up the hill; but an utter privilege.

I’m so grateful that 6 years ago Kim made me fill out an application to be a counselor instead of just being the person who house sat while they were gone.

image

5 year pin. Here’s to 10-15-20-25 more.

Thank you for allowing me to be apart of this family. Thank you for laughing with me (or at me because: Haman.) thank you for encouraging me and hugging me (or putting me in a headlock) and thank you for letting me see pieces of the inner strength you have in you that maybe not many other people see. Thank you for taking the story God gave you and the life you’ve lived and pouring it not only into the kids but into me.

So lastly, this week, as you go about your daily lives I want you to all remember something:

You are so utterly and completely lovedAnd every ounce of love you gave out last week will come back to you.

You are wonderfully, beautifully known and loved.

You are all in my heart and I am so very, very proud to know you.

Can’t wait to see you next year,

With love, blessings and {so much coffee},

Meg

(aka Haman aka Juneapera)

{to learn more about Royal Family Kids Camp or to find one in your area click here)

an example of how I can turn anything into a sermon illustration

I have a confession to make.

It’s kind of (really) embarrassing, but I just wanted to put it out there.

I like….I mean, LOVE fan fiction.

Fan fiction (noun): written by a fan of and featuring characters from a particular TV show, movie etc. …

It started slowly, with Vampire Diaries and lead into Hart of Dixe with a smattering of Criminal Minds and now I’m full blown into the Mindy Project. I don’t read every single one and I can usually tell within a paragraph if I am going to read the whole thing. It normally has less to do with story and more to do with grammar and spelling.

I love reading stories and stories that are focused around characters I already love? Even better.

Let me tell you there are some talented people out there, some crazy storytellers. I myself have never really dabbled in it (she says as she remembers college and stories written based on a red headed pop star) mainly because I suck at dialogue and my creative mind doesn’t normally work that way.

For some fan fiction is a way to see two characters actually end up together and to “right a wrong” the writers did by not having them end up together in the first place (klaus and Caroline-am I right?) and for others it is a home to take already created characters and twist them into something new (ladies and gentleman I give you the fan fiction that made millions of dollars off of the characters Edward and Bella- fifty shades of grey).

Fanfction is the ability to create a universe for yourself.

It’s creating something out of bits and pieces of something already created.

Really, if I get down to thinking about it- it’s kind of how I feel about my life.

I’ve already been created. My story has already been written.

And then God said, “create!”

But wait haven’t you already done that? Haven’t you already created? Shouldn’t I….

And God said, “create!”

Here is what baffles me about that. God didn’t create us out of something already created. He didn’t add on. He didn’t take characters someone else had formed.

He created us, formed us- out of NOTHING.

WITH HIS WORDS.

How do you even live in the same realm of creating when God himself the creator of creation is the one who tells you to create?

It’s hard for me to grasp that I create with words. Sometimes I don’t like to place my writing into a form of creating. God used words and BOOM universe.

A song lyric from my friend Allan’s song entitled “song of inheritance” punches me in the face every time I hear it

So scream out what you want and from chaos create because he gave you HIS voice and it’s filled with HIS power

Woof. I’v read, referenced and listened to this line hundreds of times. And yet it still gets me right in the knower when I think of what God created with words.

And I- whether I choose to believe it or not- create with words.

Oooof.

CREATE.

What’s really stopping me?

Because this parallel terrifies me.

Now let’s hit the brakes for a second. I’m not saying I can create exactly like God and abracadabra here’s another universe.

What I am saying is if I took the power that God has nestled in his pinky toe and used that to create what could I do?

We are ALL creators. All people have the ability to create something lovely, beautiful and God-breathed.

So why the heck don’t we?

Why the heck don’t I?

Why do I allow the silence around me not to be filled?

Maybe because I don’t necessarily know how to use that power.

I’m working on it. Figuring it out. Delving into the mystery that is creating things, making things alive with words.

That power was awakened in me in full force last summer amidst the unrelenting Mijas heat. It was nurtured with a some shabbas and a tough cookie or two.

This creative power, these words bubbling up inside of me are ones of which I want more.

I don’t know what I am going to create but I am.

So why don’t you?

Why don’t you find that thing that one thing where the power of God’s pinky toe is nestled in you and use it to create lovely and raw and life giving and changing all in the same breathe.

Use it.

I am.

(And yes, I will also still be reading fan fiction because I need to know what happens in 60 years when Bonnie dies and Elena wakes up and I need 200 different versions of Mindy and Danny’s life after baby)

Dear Lauren

Dear Lauren:

I have never in my life been this heart broken to finish a nonfiction book. Normally it’s the fiction ones, the ones where I want the story to continue, where I want to see where the characters go AFTER the final sentences have long passed. I want an epilogue to everything I read.

I started reading your book “Girl Meets God” about 2.5 months ago. I have savored it. Not reading more than 20 pages at a time or less. I haven’t wanted it to end. A friend had recommended it to me after I came across your words on foreshadowing and said I should read it.

She’s a good friend who knows what she is talking about.

Here’s the thing: The last two years I had been in a spiritual maze. I started in the labyrinth when I went on an 11 month mission trip and when I came home I didn’t realize that I was still in it. Then I went to Spain and had 6 months that rocked my core. I call it a maze because I was lost, but I didn’t realize that was ok. I didn’t realize I didn’t need to know where I was going at the time. But the thing about this maze is that suddenly it opened up without me knowing it.

It’s not like I was changing religions or denominations or something like that but I was finding a faith that was my own, that was free from living by rules and putting myself in a box.

“Oh,” said the wife. “Now I see. You’ve come to see us because you’re trying to figure out how to put your life back together.”

I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve quoted this. How much this one sentence described what I feel like I’ve been trying to do the last six months. How I’ve been trying to put together not only what I knew about the last 16 years of being a christian but what my mind has seen, heard and felt over the last two years.

I wish I could describe to you how much I was trying so hard to combine the church I knew and the church I had seen and come to love. How much I wanted the church I knew to see the Christ I had found.

I wish I could go back and show you how many quotes I’ve instagrammed or text to friends. Or the fact that I too talk to my books and this one is highlighted and written in as if I have to take an exam or write a paper.

I wish I could fully show you how much your book has reminded me that I’m not alone in a shifting of something that was so grounded in me.

“Sometimes, as in a great novel, you cannot see until you get to the end that God was leaving clues for you all along.”

I want you to know how much hope and joy your words gave me. How many times I laughed out loud because of the way the wrecking ball hit me.

How much peace your journey gave mine.

That’s all I want to say.

Thank you for allow others a moment, a glimpse, a photograph of who you are and what you went through and the words God gave you.

Sincerely,

Meg

image

I want you to know I prefer my water with bubbles: 29.

“28 was a turning point.

Showing me that I never want to live in a world where God is only as big as we make him.”~ me about to turn 29.

I’m about to turn 30 and I literally don’t even know what happened this last year. I’m trying to find words right now that aren’t just a mess of HA! and shaba and caffeine. I’m trying to figure out how to tell you about two halves of a year that are polar opposites, but both still so good. And I didn’t start this to be one: but here is a list. 29 things I want you to know about 29. WITH PICTURES.

1. I want you to know that I drink my coffee black now and that’s a big deal.

IMG_9276

2. I want you to know that after years of making excuses of why I didn’t, I actually started reading my Bible for myself.

3. I want you to know that I am grateful for the people I did life with pre-28&29 because they are the foundation of why I was capable of being so brave.

image

an oldie but a goodie. A3forlife

4. I want you to know that I felt known.

image

The Garmon’s. So grateful to continually have them in my life.

5. I want you to know PEGARINA.

image

and TRIBE

image

G42 October 2014 to December 2014 term


image

#classofsix December 2014


image

Santi. One of the best big little brothers I’ve ever had.


image

thornhill men. enough said.

and HOMETEAM

image

family twice. family forever.

6. I want to tell you about people who showed me the Father’s love and a home that wrapped me up from the minute I set foot in it.

image

some of the most open armed people I have ever encountered.


image

freds. no words. none.

7.I want you to know that I met a new Christ I had never known before.

8. I want you to know that chose to believe.

9. I want you to know I learned that things weren’t such a big deal.

10. I want you to know the conversations I had looking at this view with people I knew for a day or for six months changed my life.

cropped-10818295_688211198849_2452349128371098736_o.jpg

the view from the mijouse porch at sunrise.

11. And I want you to know I kill at making omelettes and that sometimes lunches of spreadable brie and prosciutto and congas are the best ever. And that sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts are one of my love languages.

12. I want you to know that prophecy and revelation are daily practices in my life.

13.I want you to know that I found a voice I didn’t realize I had and words I didn’t feel capable of speaking and songs I didn’t know I could sing.

.

14. I want you to know that I still roll my eyes at cheesy Christian jargon but I will be the first to use it with my people when they need to be slapped across the face.

15. I want you to know that one of my favorite things I am called is Nina.

image

16. I want you to know I am proud of myself.

17. I want you to know I love my parents a lot.

18. I want you to know that I found joy in sitting with a pot of tea at the English tea room or a glass of wine at the wine museo or the shrimp tower at pampa.

image19. I want you to know that it isn’t day drinking~ it’s lunch.

20. I want you to know I do my best writing in coffee shops.

21. I want you to know that the last 3 years of my life I have made some of the scariest but best decisions ever.

22. I want you to know that one of those scary best decisions is moving to Washington with this chick.

image

23. I want you to know that her friendship showed me more about God’s timing and sense of humor than I had ever known.

24. I want you to know that my new favorite book is “girl meets god” by Lauren F. Winner and that it will always make me think of 29.

25. I want you to know that I made wedding cakes and birthday cakes and realized how much heart and life I can pour into baking.

image

gorbett’s one year cake. parker wedding cake. andrew’s birthday cake.

26. I want you to know whether I am 3 years old or 30 this is still my best friend.

image

27. I want you to know that my life theme is to #chooselovely

28.I want you to know that my faith was broken in the most beautiful way.

image

my first week in spain at what would become my favorite spot.

29. I want you to know I fell in love.

And 30 for luck and for life- I want you to know that I prefer my water with bubbles.

So I raise my glass to 29. I thank it for its adventure, its people, its tears, its wine, its laughter and its love.

Here is to 30 and everything it will hold.

Let’s do the damn thing.

image

a letter to anonymous: please speak life

I live in a really small town. Like a can’t walk into the grocery store without at least knowing one person type of small town. When I went on the World Race my local paper did an interview about me and I still field questions about my “adventures”. We have Stars Hollow type town events with a Swedish theme and a daily basis there is a Swedish music playing over the town loud speakers and you can always find the lovely Swedish lady in her Swedish garb sitting outside her shop.

When tragedy strikes our town it hits pretty hard. I’ll never forget a father of a friend of mine that passed away when I was in Junior high. It felt like the entire population felt the impact of it and was at the funeral celebrating his life. It was a bittersweet moment; bitter for the occasion but sweet to see people coming together to lay hands on one another’s shoulder and comfort in that moment.

Yes, there are the small town hindrances. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Gossip runs a wee bit rampant and people can be judgemental. But if you can widen your eyes and look beyond that you will see the whimsy, the life and the loveliness that abounds down our main street and through the mismatched houses, through stories told by old murals and through overhearing the men that sit at the donut shop every morning for their coffee. You can find comfort in knowing that your kids will most likely walk at graduation in high school with people that they sat next to in preschool. Stability in small towns is a gift and a curse, but we just can’t narrow our eyes to what is negative.

This past week the local high school where I went, where all of my aunts and uncles and my mom and my brothers all went was hit with tragedy. Two students over the course of a week committed suicide; one freshman and one senior. The staff and students and the community are reeling.

And so is the comment section of the news articles that have been going online.

I hate comment sections. I rarely read them or dabble in them. Because usually they make me angry. There was one that hit me. I’m not going to quote it but I am going to say this:

There is life and God and Holy Spirit in this small town amidst everything.

People can see our sweet little town and see a conservative, Bible thumping place full of hypocrites. And yes, sometimes I have seen that. I have been hit by that and hurt by it.

But we have to choose to see the sweet along with the bitter.

Last year when I got home from the world race I was a wreck. I didn’t want to go to church, didn’t want to read my Bible or talk to God. But without a fail, once or twice every week I would find myself sitting in Common Ground Coffee House. It’s a sweet coffee shop that is run by a church in the town.

I couldn’t go to church but I could go there.

And even though I felt wrecked and in no way full of any kind of life it was still there in that place, bursting out of the seams and pouring out the door. The conversation that would occur around me were full of laughter and sweetness, victory and celebration and oh so much joy. And that cannot occur unless there is life, unless there is Holy Spirit~ unless there is Christ.

And because of that light and life and Holy Spirit I found words and truths that were buried deep inside me because I allowed the light and life in me to come alive in little bits and pieces in that place.

And now in the midst of sadness and death I know that people will go there to talk and lay a hand on each others shoulder and question and ask why, but they choose to go there because there is life and light.

And darkness cannot exist inside of light. Because light BANISHES darkness.

So to me, just that small picture shows me that there is still life and light and Christ in this tiny town. There is still goodness.

So yes, there are really tragic, bitter things that have occurred within the city limits of this small town. There are conversations that have had to be had that I wish on no teenager.

But there is also the sweetness of a prayer circle on a high school campus, of high schoolers opening their eyes to what it means to listen and be there for someone, really be there. Of conversations between two people who didn’t know each other yesterday. Of casseroles and meals being made for a family you might not even know.

In the midst of death there is life happening.

If we spent our days solely seeing the pain and the hurt and the bitter, that is all we would see. Some days yes, we have to scavenge to find the sweet and the joy.

But it’s always there, whether or not we choose to admit it.

So please, speak life. Call out words and prayers of hope and encourage and sweetness. Find places of life and replicate them. It’s easy to speak to the darkness and the violence and the things that are ugly. It takes more to stand and look them in the face and tell them to go back where they belong.

Let’s come together to speak life.

(a gofundme account that was created by a student to spread the word about depression and suicide)

trivial

I have now deleted three drafts of writing and turned to my journal to decorate a page and decide what to write. On the top of the page I scribbled out a “I don’t know what to write”. Because there is a lot going on right now. And none of it is necessarily fun or whimsy.

Because I’ve come on here three times to write about storytelling and Grey’s Anatomy.

And it all just some seems so trivial. It makes me FEEL like I am trivial person. Like I don’t care. I haven’t wanted to just drop words into lala land amidst the heartache and pain and death and brokenness that has been happening around me.

I haven’t wanted to wax lyrically about a character,a fictional made up character, while there is real stuff happening around me for which I don’t have words.

I didn’t want to come on here and pop out a relevant bible verse or story.

But with all of the different heartbreaking things on the news, and in my inbox and popping up via text I need to write.

I need to remember that there is still goodness in the world, there is still loveliness. There is still a good reason to use that filter on instagram. Or laugh at a friends #tbt. Or rejoice over good news. Or be brought to tears over a perfect cup of coffee.

There is still a reason to laugh. A reason to search for beauty.

There is still a reason to trust.

And believe that there is goodness in humanity.

And it’s not because of a picture of a kid handing water to police officers, or someone buying the person behind them coffee. Those are all beautiful things that make me teary, that add to my belief in the goodness in humanity.

But I believe that there is still goodness in humanity because of our ability to tell story. To me the day that there aren’t people yelling at a TV because of a something that happened on their favorite show, or the moment where I no longer am yelling at a book, (an inanimate object) because I cannot believe that a writer killed off the main character (and you know EXACTLY what book I am talking about). The day we stop inviting others to laugh at our pictures or cry over our newborns.

The day we stop creating story and telling our own I will know we are all robots.

Story is in our blood. We were created by a great, whimsical story teller. Our hearts desire to tell story. Be it our own or a fictional one.

That’s why I have no shame in mentioning the fact that I cried for 42 minutes straight over last weeks grey’s anatomy. Or that I read Christian romance novels. That’s why one of the CD’s that is on constant replay in my ears is my friend Allan’s.

Because they are someone’s stories. Completely born from their heart. There are heroes and antiheros and climax and resolution and a lesson to learn.

So yes, once again I want to talk about story. Once again I want to ask people to keep telling stories.

That is where the goodness lies. The lovely and the whimsical.

To me that is where the Christ in us lies.

That is where the creator in us is.

Be it the fictional story of a neurosurgeon who saves lies, a song written in a dusty old church or even just a simple photo.

That is us creating.

When we stop creating, when we stop telling stories, when we stop opening our mouths I will know we are all battery operated.

But I don’t think that day is coming. Because our world is fresh with storytellers.

So please let’s talk and let’s listen.

Let’s tell story out of our red hot hearts. Let’s drown out the hate with stories of victory and love and hope. Let’s not get trampled.

For every story of terror and sadness and violence let’s claim love.

And may we never stop claiming love.

May we never stop crying over fictional characters and storylines that brings us joy.

May we never stop proclaiming tales of redemption, restoration and change.

May we never stop choosing lovely and beauty.

And may we never EVER stop creating.

image

if you have to choose, choose lovely.

I’m really not good at short and sweet blogs. I’m not great at just allowing myself to put a few hundred words on a WordPress page and press submit. Short amounts of words are for Facebook statuses and Instagram captions.

But what I want to say here, in this moment is this:

I need you, want you, IMPLORE you to choose loveliness.

The last couple weeks at work, while on my break, instead of grabbing my phone and scrolling through instagram and facebook for 15 minutes I’ve been grabbing something to drink and reading the book “Girl Meets God” by Lauren F. Winner.

On my mornings off I choose to take the time to make breakfast, brunch, whatever. Anything that requires chopping and cooking and smelling and tasting. I’ve been trying to remember to cook for people.

I’ve been reading news articles that are political, funny, literary, Gilbert Blythe related. I’m making sure I read other peoples’ words daily.

I’ve been taking time to blow dry my hair and wear it down. I’ve busted out summer dresses and earrings and big necklaces.

I’ve been reading my Bible again.

I’ve been having conversations full of life. Be it in person, on the phone, over Facetime, text, email.

I’m drinking my coffee out of mugs and mason jars.

I’m watching Disney movies with my nephew.

I’m printing pictures instead of just posting them.

I try to daily put loveliness in others lives in the form of a smile, some words, chocolate or a hug.

I’m daily choosing loveliness.

And as I have done this I have noticed something.

It’s changing me, my words and my days in big ways.

Choosing loveliness is helping me to choose better. To choose to walk in life, speak out life and choose things that are life.

Loveliness is different to everyone, but find what is lovely, find what is life giving to you and choose it each day and see how it changes your sight.

how criminal minds reminds me we need community

this post ran away from me. I’d like to dedicate to the occupants of the text conversations that pepper my inbox daily, people who I sit on couches with and those who I sit across skype screens from. you know who you are. thanks for being my back up.

If you could hack into my Netflix all you would see would be Criminal Minds. I think over the past month I’ve probably watched every episode I hadn’t seen before and I have tagged a few favorites that I’ve maybe watched twice…or three times.

Why Criminal Minds?

Well, for one thing, the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) is my favorite TV family. Hands down. It’s hard to describe, none of them are related but they are the most lovely picture of a family. They have each others back, they have community, spencer reid is the bees knees….

I digress.

So because I have been watching all these criminal, gun slinging, FBI, bad guy/good guy type shows it is usually what my mind refers to when in conversation when other people.

Even, when we are talking about Jesus and Satan.

Here’s the revelation that came today.

I was talking to one of my people about not knowing sometimes, when Satan is standing in front of you. And how we feel we should, at this point in our lives, be able to identify what he looks like.

Sometimes it is hard though. Really hard. And then you look back and you beat yourself up a bit for NOT recognizing the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

And today I thought of all the times on TV shows I have watched older agents/officers, take the newbies through the shooting ranges, specifically the ones where you have civilians and bad guys popping out from behind doors. It all happens so fast and you have to shoot the bad guys.

But what if the bad guy was dressed as a good guy?

Mistakes are made in those practice ranges, sometimes a reaction takes down a good guy, or a bad guy is dressed in maintenance uniform and the second it takes to register that he’s a bad guy KAPLOW he gets ya.

But as the officers get more seasoned, as they train more and get in real life scenarios they begin to get better at responding to situations and on the spot profiling someone. Their judgement becomes more attuned because they start to figuring out what small details can automatically give someone away.

But they aren’t perfect. They mess up sometimes.

There is an episode of Criminal Minds where they are dealing with a serial killer that went dormant for years and years. He only left one surviving victim who he stabbed 67 times.

You find out that this man actually stabbed himself 67 times. He was the serial killer.

The FBI met with this man, they interviewed him, they gave him protective detail. AND HE WAS THE KILLER.

Does this mean that they aren’t good at their job? That they aren’t good at what they do?

No, it just means this man was REALLY, REALLY good at what he does.

The devil is REALLY REALLY good at what he does. And sometimes, even with all the training we can miss him.

Sometimes I forget that, and sometimes I forget that I am still young. I haven’t had to go in with my gun and decipher good from bad. I still have to follow someone in, someone older and someone that has better judgement on the occasion.

We are supposed to learn, to notice the signs from someone more trained. And in life those people helps us see our blind spots. They help us figure out what something means in our lives. They help us figure out discernment.

And when the time comes that the training is over the agents never go out alone. They have a partner.

We aren’t supposed to go into things alone. There is a reason Jesus sent people out two by two and there is a reason why FBI agents have back ups. Maybe if I don’t notice the bad guy, the person behind me will.

I can normally distinguish when depression is creeping in when it is just that, depression. But sometimes it comes in forms that it hasn’t before. Because the devil is a trickster and he is going to try to come in the back door to get me. He sometimes dresses in grandma’s clothes and covers his ears. He sometimes is a bad guy dressed as the maintenance man.

I’m not in a place right now to automatically notice that the maintenance man is a bad guy with an AK47, but I’m getting there. I still have moments where I am more prone to fall in a trap then others, but I’m getting better. I’m starting to see the signs of pits I could fall in before I fall in them. Sometimes I get a little scraped up climbing out if I fall a little, but my judgement is getting better.

I’m not a senior agent yet and that’s ok. All the knowledge I have, all the time that I follow behind those who are older and wiser is adding to my profiling skills. I have partners when I go out on the field, and people I can consult with.

I have people who have my back. And who remind me where my blind spots are.

(And that’s really what this about.)

The unsub on these shows want so badly to separate the agents that come to get them. They want to divide them, because they are weaker when they are separate and more easily manipulated and pushed into a corner.

That’s why they are trained not to separate. That’s why we need to have each other’s backs. But sometimes you get pushed in a corner and can’t see what’s what. You feel discombobulated and your mind wanders and you don’t know what to do.

And THAT’S why we have back up.

image

untitled honesty on friendship

I was the kid in junior high that sat by herself and read a book at lunch and I was completely fine with that.

I had friends that I hung out with in high school, girls who were in the same AP classes as me and my after school time was taken up in the little theater rehearsing for whatever play was going on at the time. The people I still keep in touch with are those ones, the ones who I spent hours at a time with painting sets and rehearsing lines.

I moved away for college and made friends there. I chose to be a little more outgoing. I was in choir so I was plopped right into a group of 50 women who I wandered southern California with on weekends. I lived with 3 other women who I laughed, danced and with whom I made seemingly bad decisions.

What I am trying to say is I have always HAD friends.

The last two years have been community on high. I participated in an 11 month mission trip where day in and day out I was with the same people. Then I went to a 6 month leadership academy in Spain where I lived in a house with other interns and sat around a dinner table every night.

And it was those moments, those ones where I had to live in these communities where I realized something about most of the friendships I’ve had in my life:

I don’t always 100% believe that I am someone’s first choice. That I would be anyone’s first phone call. And because of that I hold friends at an arms length. I don’t expect anything from people.

There is a small group of people who I do believe, now, that I am the first choice.

But I don’t go into most friendships believing that. I don’t go into friendships believing that I me, in who I am, is enough. That I don’t need to do some tricks to get someone to like me.

And isn’t it that feeling that makes us post the pretty, filtered pictured on instagram, or edit statuses until they are just perfect explaining the best of our days?

I’m not saying to post depressing things or “my life is the worst” statuses like when were teenagers and had instant message and would make roses out of an @ sign.

What I am saying is we need to stop believing that we have to wrap ourselves in pretty pink paper. Something Shauna Niequist says in her book Bittersweet hits home for me.

“I’ve spent most of my life and most of my friendships holding my breath and hoping that when people get close enough they won’t leave, and fearing that it’s a matter of time before they figure me out and go.”

That’s how I’ve felt a lot of my life. That I wasn’t enough. That I didn’t merit the first phone call. That I’m not a first choice.

And that is a sucky way to live.

We need to choose not to live that way. This isn’t about comparison or something that someone else is doing. This is me, and my perception about other’s action.

And the knowledge that I am not going to be everyone’s first choice, but I am on a handful of people’s speed dials.

It comes down to the realization that I don’t need to be liked by everyone. It comes down to being myself and knowing that as long as I am that it is enough.

We need to stop believing that we need to be something other than who we are. It’s something I’m obviously still working out and walking through and figuring out what to do when the lies hit.

And thankful, I have those friends to remind me who I am when I forget.