This blog is weird but I love it and I’m back for awhile.

Around December of 2015, I felt a buzzing in my fingers and in my spirit. I had “made it” through a dark season of depression. My family was operating atop a somewhat smooth collection of rhythms and routines. I had transitioned jobs without turmoil and now found myself with more margin and, dare I say it? Free time. I had traveled a bit, was planning to travel a bit more, and felt refreshed. It was time to start writing regularly. I wrote down some goals, one of which was to post weekly, if not more. I even toyed with the idea of no longer writing captions on my Instagram? I think to make me write here more? Thankfully, my best friend and my husband talked me out of that one. Nevertheless, I was ready to write. A lot.

But then January came and the Lord spoke clearly, once I gave him permission. I’ve shared a bit of that story, but God graciously and mercifully gave me a heads-up that life was going to get more difficult in 2016. He gently rebuked me and told me that I was unprepared. He said it was time to put some discipline back into my life in a way that would soften the blow when it came, whatever it was. What’s more, God told me to put speaking and teaching and writing on hold for the time being. He asked me to be faithful in the small and in the daily.

And so I spent 2016 learning how to have a quiet time and actually spend time with Jesus. I went through Holy Yoga teacher training, which I now fondly refer to as “a mini-seminary coupled with a bendy boot camp.” I returned to school to pursue another nursing degree. I developed a regular exercise routine. I spent more time with my kids than ever. I began to build the tiniest beginnings of authentic community with women nearby. I explored new ways to take care of myself as I age. I dug deeper into intimacy with my husband.

The blows came, and Jesus in me handled them, with only a few bruises. My family and I just kept pressing forward, and I shared little snippets as we went. Along the way, you women pointed out that you had been watching all along. Some of you had followed me since I first hopped onto the Internet nearly fifteen years ago, and others were only just now getting to know me. You sent direct messages, emails, and texts. You left comments and asked questions. Mostly, the questions were peppered in amongst a whole bunch of much-appreciated encouragement. But I’ve begun to notice that a lot of them cover similar themes. You want to know how I do this or what I think about that or how my family makes it work.

So recently, I asked the Lord for some clarity, and I think he said to go for it. I asked my husband for his blessing, and he absolutely said to go for it. Over the next few months, I’m going to start writing again. I’m going to share some of the topics near and dear to my heart. I’m going to talk about the rhythmic and the mundane, the routines and the disciplines in my life that seem to bring God the most glory and me the most good right now.*

When I asked you about it on Instagram, you gave me the oomph I needed. Your suggestions were incredible and gave me a head-start on some topics to cover. But as always, I’m open to feedback. Just click the contact form at the top of this page to send me an email. Thanks for all of the grace and the cheerleading and the prayers. I think this is going to be a sweet, sweet journey.

 

*I can't help but smirk at this a little. I spent the first few years of blogging exploring my feelings, trying to be dramatic and poetic while finding my voice. Then I chronicled new family life, with a wedding and births and breastfeeding. Then I decided I was most definitely NOT a mommy blogger, and I stopped sharing so much as a picture of my kids on this space. The blog is a weird and beautiful thing. I'm grateful the Lord uses it how he sees fit for each season; I'm just here to be obedient.

 

Racial reconciliation book list

We’ve got two eyes, two ears, and only one mouth. I believe it’s for a reason. As a white woman who desires to be an ally to my black community, I feel that it is crucially important to take watch and learn first. You’ve got to assess a situation and take notice before you can help. Here’s what I’ve read so far. I’ll continue to add to this list (open to suggestions!), but I think this is a decent place to start if your heart beats for racial reconciliation and you want to learn more.

Disunity in Christ, Christena Cleveland

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Same Kind of Different as Me, Ron Hall

Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson

By Any Means Necessary, Malcom X

The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson

 

Thoughts on election frenzy.

*edit – almost immediately after publishing this post, I received critically important and helpful feedback from some kind folks on Twitter. So I changed the title and made a few edits, because this election DOES matter. The future of America DOES matter. I tried to keep things vague and tidy the first time around, but vague and tidy just doesn’t work during election season. So I took things in a different direction, a topic on which I’m pretty proficient and a direction in which I feel safe leading my readers. Thanks for being such a part of this process!

I love politics. I discovered NPR my freshman year of college and I haven’t recovered since. I’ve always had this desire to know a little bit about a lot of things. I’m almost positive it stems from sin – fear of failure, and desire for approval, and maybe a little pride thrown in. But the genuine thirst for knowledge is real and I’m grateful the Lord put that in me. So I listen, and I read, and how many times do I have to say I love Twitter? I’m a millennial – of COURSE I get my news from social media!

I’ve voted Republican and I’ve voted Democrat, and I’ve never been totally satisfied with either party’s platforms. And that’s okay. Nobody gets it perfectly. No party gets it perfectly. We are sinful and greedy and easily corrupted. This world began falling apart the moment sin entered the world and it won’t stop decaying until Jesus comes back to fix it once and for all. Even in the waiting, I’m still grateful to be an American who loves the democratic process.

I know elections are exhausting to watch. Your brain hurts from all of the ads and your Facebook feeds are probably tired. But here’s why I think it matters to follow politics and current events, both in America and around the world – because God says to look. Both the Old and the New Testaments are filled with examples of God’s desire for us to keep our eyes open. To perceive what he’s doing. To be in this world while not of it. To fight for truth and justice as he defines it. To bind up broken hearts and set people free. And so we listen, and we read, and we talk about it, and we rally, and we vote.

But there’s a catch. It’s easy to get burnt out. It’s easy to succumb to fear or feelings of overwhelm or hopelessness. Self-care is important. I could say I don’t get caught up in the frenzy, because I know who wins in the end and I know the God I serve cares about truth and justice even more than I do. But there’s more to it than that, on a daily, micro level. I guess when it comes down to it, I have an election self-care regimen.

I refuse to engage in conversations that involve hateful, damaging, fear-mongering language about the direction in which this country is headed. I thank God that I live with a black President and a woman Presidential candidate. I fact check a lot. I open my Bible each morning and look for clues on how to love people better and what God says about leadership. I click through several funny political memes per day. My favorites were from the second debate.

I gather my kids around the table and teach them how to look at the world through a viewfinder that says a man named Jesus died for it. I remind them that this includes every single person, all of the genders and all of the colors, with all of the baggage anyone cares to bring to the table. I stay off of social media at least one day per week, sometimes two. I practice saying things like, “You might be right” (thanks, Jess). I pray for more humility and wisdom. I bite my tongue more now than I ever have in my life. I also speak up more than I ever have in my life. Because there is a time for everything, and this matters.