For the First Time

I went home last week.  I was there for a week.  I adventured from LA to Mammoth, through Death Valley to Las Vegas, and as I always do when I travel, I didn’t relax at all.  But, this time I brought someone home with me.  My boyfriend and I flew on an airplane, and he went further west than he’s ever gone before.  It was easily one of the biggest adventures I’ve ever been on.

I’ve never taken a boyfriend home before.  I’ve never traveled anywhere with a boyfriend.  And now he’s met almost everyone.  We spent time with at least three of my closest friends, my dad, and my brother.  We went to the top of Mammoth Mountain and took photos.  We ate tri tip.  We drove through Death Valley.  We went from the cold to the heat.

While in Mammoth, we attended the Lighthouse Conference.  Most people know that Lighthouse is the Global Church family that I attended while living there.  There were words given.  There was music played.  There was community and food shared.  It was so good to be home.  It made me miss church.

Not that I haven’t been attending church here in Alabama.  I have.  But I have disengaged.  I hear far too much about the church politics.  I analyze the words without ever hearing them.  I am tired.

I brought a boyfriend home.  Because I’m in love with him.  And I fell in love with life again.  I fell in love with community again.  I fell in love with God again.  I tried something new, and I’m pretty sure I’m okay with it.

Blogging Everyday in July|Social Media

Do you ever log onto Facebook and see someone’s post about something great that happened that day?  Do you log onto Instagram and see photos from some new and exciting adventure?  Do you see tweets on Twitter from all your friends who appear to be hanging out without you?  Can I let you in a secret?  It’s not real.  Not really.

Yes, great things are happening in your friends’ lives, but that’s not all.  Think about what you post on social media.  You only share what you want people to see.  You of course share the good times, the fun times, the spontaneous jam sessions, and midnight adventures.  How often do  you post the dark times, the lonely times, the times you feel left out?  Exactly.  Because when people are negative on social media, they look annoying and pessimistic, unless they find a way to do it in a funny way.

And I’m not saying any of this to point a finger.  We all do it.  I do it.  Go through my feed and you’ll see photos from my adventures and posts about how great my friends are.  I once had a friend from college say that I only take photos in scenic places.  Which is only true because that’s what I share.  I do my best to make my ordinary surroundings look extraordinary.  I go out of my way to find something beautiful.  I push myself.  And I think for a while it became less about the adventure and more about the photo.

When I lived at the camp in Mammoth, 85% of my photos were taken in the same location, but if you didn’t live there, you’d never know it.  I could walk less than 200 feet and get a completely different vantage point.

I took far too many ski lift photos to show how sporty I am.  Except I rarely skied more than three hours at a time, and I usually went up for less time than that.  But that’s only because I had the luxury to do so.  I want my life to be an adventure, so I did my best to show that I really was adventuring.

In reality, I spent a majority of my time at work, and the rest of my free time drinking, sleeping, or wasting time with the boyf on Netflix.  I’d probably ski once every week or two.

I gave the illusion that I travel a lot.  I’d post photos of Costa Rica or Ireland like it was no big deal.  But those trips were life changing, and I have no idea when I’ll be able to do another one.

A lot of times social media can bring depression.  We feel alone or sad or lost, and people post about how their lives are so great.  You’d never know that those same people have struggles too.  If social media is getting you down, maybe you should unplug for a little while.  I know I’m thinking about it.

Because social media isn’t all negative.  It has a way of building community.  I am able to keep in contact with my friends from literally all over the world.

So we have to take the good with the bad.  Step back, look at what you have.  And maybe, the next time you get annoyed at how great someone’s life appears, think about what you’re sharing.  Because you’re probably comparing their positive with your negative, and that’s never a good idea.

In Conclusion

You may be unaware of this, but I have been unintentionally angry with God for quite some time now.  I’m not sure when it started.  It’s kind of like he’s that friend that you want to be mad at, and then he does something wonderful and you’re like, oh right, you’re actually great, I’m just being a beezy.  So I was mad for a lot of college, but after I graduated and moved to Mammoth and got to spend almost a year just listening to his voice, I fell back in love with him.  I remembered what it’s like to have a good relationship with a loving God.
After I came back from Ireland, which might possibly be the highlight of my entire life, I wanted to move right away.  I tend to try to rush God.  And really, it might not have been God at all that kept me from moving in October.  I stayed for the winter.  And really, it was a fantastic winter.  But I pulled away.  I pulled into myself.  I became someone else temporarily.

Being in Florence, I’m learning to find myself again.  I’m learning to listen again.  But all of this is just digression to the story I want to tell today.

Last Monday I flew back to Nashville from Reno via LAX.  I knew that when I landed in Nashville I would have to get an uber or a taxi to get back to my car, because my flight was delayed so much that the shuttle would no longer be running.  I also knew that I had barely any money left to do this.

On my second flight I sat next to this girl who kept catching my eye.  If you follow me at all, you know that I do my best not to talk to strangers unless they first address me, and even then I get awkward.  I’m not good with small talk.  So this girl caught my eye.  Our plane took forever to get clearance to take off, so we kept taxiing around the runway and I realized that she was editing photos on her phone using the same app that I use.  I always edit photos on planes too, because it gives me something to do.  This is not that strange of a thing to have in common though.
Then (I’m such a creeper) she started going through her music on her phone and picking songs to listen to on spotify.  We have the same taste in music.  Again, not that strange of thing to have in common, except that I listen to a lot of folky indie music.  She started working on editing a short film on her computer, mostly just the title sequence, and I was trying so hard not to watch her as she did this, but I couldn’t stop noticing this girl.
Finally, they came around and asked what we wanted to drink, and I almost always order coke on planes.  It kept running through my mind that this girl and I were cut from the same cord, and then she ordered a coke.  And we both got a second bag of pretzels.

As the flight went on I tried to fall asleep, but God kept speaking to me about this girl.  I felt that if I didn’t write her a note that I would regret it.  So I grabbed my notebook and wrote to her, telling her that God was speaking to me, possibly, and that she didn’t have to believe me and I told her how I never do this and that I would understand if she thought I was crazy.  I told her how I had been angry at God, but I needed to write to her anyway.  I told her what God was saying to me.  I said if she ever needed help from a stranger that she could email me, and I gave her my email.  Then I folded it up and put it on her tray, while she had her head in her hands during the turbulence.  I went back to my music, stared out the window, and tried to fall asleep.

About ten minutes later, maybe twenty minutes before the flight landed, she tapped me on the leg.  She said that the note was exactly what she needed to read, and that I had no idea.  She asked me my name and told me her’s was Molly.  We talked about her school, how she’s in her last semester.  We talked about how she grew up in the south, but she wanted to break free from it, and talked about how I was trying to embrace it.  We didn’t really talk about God.
Molly asked me how I was getting back to my car and I told her that I honestly didn’t know.  She said her mom was picking her up and then they offered to give me a ride.  These strangers drove me the 8 minute ride to my car all because God made me a creeper on the plane.

God is all about connection.  Connection to him.  Connection to the people around us.  I think I’ve been so angry because I’ve forgotten that.  I was so stuck in my own reality, in my own social anxiety, that this connection terrified me.  Really, he just wants us to be able to enjoy the life he gave us, and he gives us the tools to do this.  We just like to do it on our own so often.

In conclusion, once again God has taken care of me.  And once again, I will do my best not to forget it.  He’s great.  You’re great.  I’m great.  We’re all great.  Also, I’m tired and losing my train of thought.

Staying Put

(I seem to write a lot of blogs in airports)

I just spent a week in California.  I flew into Reno last Monday and got to spend one day in Mammoth, my home, before venturing onward to Crescent City to be a part of an old friend’s wedding.  Back in Alabama, I was so excited for this trip, and everyone kept telling me to enjoy my vacation.  But I knew it wasn’t a vacation.  I don’t remember how to vacation.  I’ve forgotten how to rest.

My day in Mammoth I tried to run around and see people, but instead was monopolized by someone who cannot have my heart.  I had dinner with my parents.  It’s too hard when your minutes are too few.
My best friend and I drove to her parents’ house near San Jose on Wednesday, and onward to Crescent City, up at the top of the state, on Thursday.  We went to straight into Bachelorette party mode.  We drank and it was loud and I was tired.  Already drained, before anything had even begun.  My heart had been left behind me.
Friday we ran around picking flowers and finding teapots and books for bouquets and center pieces.  It never occurred to me that all of this wouldn’t be done before the day before the wedding.  My heart wasn’t there, I had left it behind me.  I was drained.  But weddings will never be about the bridesmaids, and it was so important that I do everything I can to make the day and all the preparations go smoothly.  I think I had forgotten what I was getting myself into.
The wedding day my dress was too long.  There were bugs and heat, and then sudden coldness, so I wore a sweater to the reception.  The bride was beautiful.  She is so in love, and there is no doubt that Josh is the one for her.  She has wanted this for so long.  But I simultaneously drank too much and not enough.  My heart was not there.  I lost it somewhere.
Yesterday my best friend and I drove 10 hours to be back to Mammoth so I could go to Lighthouse and see the people I hadn’t gotten to see yet.  However, after the whole day, the whole week, I didn’t want to see anyone.  I’m out of money and I haven’t eaten and all I wanted was to sleep, but there were things to be done.
I saw who I could, but left before any real conversations were had.  I got picked up for dinner by the one who has my heart, but was too tired to function.  Waking up with my memory erased.

I don’t regret this trip, but I regret this trip.  I regret coming home too soon.  I need to find my heart and drag it to Alabama with me.  I think it’s time that I stay put.  God keeps saying, “Stay put.”
I want to plan more trips, but I’m never going to be happy and rested in my travels if I keep trying to do everything all the time.  I want my life to be an adventure, but it’s time to learn to adventure where I live first.  Start small.  Embrace your reality.

So I told the one who has my hear to give it back.  I won’t be visiting anymore.  Not until I have someone to visit with.  Not until I’m healthy enough to be who I was, versus who I am.

Because I don’t have a drinking problem, but when I drink, I drink a lot.
I don’t have a drug problem, but if someone’s offering, I’ll accept.
I don’t have a guy problem, but my heart latches onto anyone who will let it.
I don’t have a money problem, but I forgot that moving to a different culture means adjusting to a different budget.
I don’t have an eating disorder, but it’s really hard to eat when your heart beats for someone else.

I keep finding all the ways that I am broken.  But in reality, I am one whole person.  We all have a story.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to share all of mine.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to be completely honest about why my heart is still broken, rather than broken again.  But until then, here’s one piece.  Just one more piece.

I’m breaking up with California.  I’m ready to be freed.

Road Trip With Me: Saying Goodbye

So I’ve been thinking about doing this series for a couple weeks now.  There were just a few minor setback, which is why this is getting posted today, as opposed to last weekend.  See, on the road, it’s much harder to find time and wifi in the same moment.  Anyway…

Let me catch you up.  Last Friday I said goodbye to my home, my friends, and my life in Mammoth, and I packed up my car and set off across the country.  Except I went to LA first to say goodbye to few friends before truly beginning my trek east.
I have been excited for this adventure for such a long time.  I wanted to move all the way back in October, so I was not sure why I had waited so freaking long.  I love traveling.  I love following my heart.  When I’m doing the right thing, nothing else bothers my heart… So I thought…

I wasn’t sad at all.  So many people would say how they were going to miss me, and though I knew for sure that I was going to miss my friends and my job and my lifestyle, I knew that it wouldn’t be enough to change my mind.  I wasn’t sad yet.  I wasn’t homesick yet.  I don’t even really get homesick.
So on Friday I made my rounds.  I said goodbye to Michelle, Jacob, and Gus, my old roommates and some of my best friends.  They prayed for me.  They were excited for me.  We only got a little emotional.
Then I went to say goodbye to someone else.  Someone wrong for me, but still right for me.  Someone who I have spent far too much time with in the past five months.  He was still lounging in bed.  We talked for a minute.  I hugged him goodbye.  I kissed him goodbye, and I left.  Then he begged me to hang for a half hour, to watch a show or something.  To just be together for a little bit longer.  So of course I did.  And when it was finally time for me to actually go, we both fell apart.  I cried into his shoulder.  I apologized so many times.  I don’t think either of us thought it would be so hard to let go.

So that pretty much ruined my next few days.  Seeing friends in LA just made me fall apart more.  I kept telling myself that I cannot turn back.  Not yet.  I need to do this.  And I am not afraid.
There is so much more to that story, but my heart is not ready.  It might never be.  Love is such a complicated thing.  And life is such a complicated mess that I’m not even sure why we keep trying.

So I’ve said goodbye.  I’ve said goodbye to everything I’ve known.  I’ve embarked on a crazy adventure.  I  have broken my own heart.
But I’ve also seen a lot of dinosaurs, so there’s that.  I’ll keep you posted.  And I’ll be less emotional and more on time next time.

I Must Be Doing Something Right (When Things Go Wrong)

I have a philosophy in life.  It’s that nothing is easy.  I fully believe that when my life is going the right direction, that’s when I hit the most opposition.  Some Christians would call this persecution.

One of the biggest forms of “persecution” for me is car issues.  In high school I was supposed to go to Panama on my first ever mission trip.  About a month before I left I got hit head on by a car that was driving on the wrong side of the road coming around a corner on a dirt road.  He totaled my car.  But that was a trip that God was sending me on, and it changed my life.

When I started college, I had a Miata that I loved.  I went to a school that God told me to go to when I was 15, and I was definitely doing the right thing by going there.  Suddenly my Miata started having random problems.  The alternator suddenly went out.  My brake pads welded to the wheel so I couldn’t drive anywhere.
My sophomore year I moved onto a different car that slowly fell apart.  I had to replace the transmission, and after a few months, the transmission started to fail again.  I sold it and bought a Honda.
My Honda was great at first.  But when I started my senior year of college the brake caliper just randomly fell off while I was driving.  The idle control valve went out my junior year, so I had to replace that.
After I moved to Mammoth, I still had the Honda.  I did the School of Ministry, and my car was falling apart more and more.  The second gear stopped working.  The speedometer went out.  Eventually the alternator started failing and I couldn’t start it without a jump.
But God was directing every move.

Last summer I bought a new car and sold my Honda.  I am in love with driving and I am in love with my car.  It’s a new car, should have no problems, and I haven’t had problems since I bought it.  Last week I decided to follow the prompting of my heart and I put in my 2 weeks notice to move to Alabama, where I felt called to go months ago.  On Sunday, through a series of events, a bunch of sensors in my car decided to go off.  There’s not anything wrong with the way it drives, but my safety features might be compromised.  Except I’m supposed to drive it across the country.
So on Thursday I get to take my car to the shop in a small town where I might be charged too much, and there might not be anything major wrong with it.  He might just have to adjust some wires.

Basically, when I’m doing something right, things go wrong.  Especially with cars.  So I must be doing something right.  It’s time to trust again.

The Last Day of 2015

2015 is almost over.  In some places, it already is over.  And it has been a year, hasn’t it?

I have seen friends get married, and friends have babies.  I’ve had friends find love and lose it.  I’ve found it and lost it myself.  There has been heartbreak and new adventures.  And so much more.

2015 my life changed for the better.  And then for the worst.  I visited multiple countries, saw God do some crazy things, and wrote more than I have ever before.  I fell in something like love.  I let other people fall for me.  I made big decisions.

I traveled California and Oregon twice.  I got what is very easily becoming my dream car.  I moved into my own place for the first time ever.  I learned how to be on my own, and I remembered what it’s like to be truly alone.

So here’s to 2016.  I could contemplate more on the past, but I want brightness.  2016 is for moving on.  It is for green horizons.  It’s for my biggest adventure yet.  Crossing borders, finally.

Stuck

Have you ever found yourself in a situation and wondered, how did I get here?  And by that time, there’s no way out.
If so, I can relate.

I went down to LA to clear my head, knowing that there’s a problem that I need to solve, something in my life that needs to end, to change.  I know the right answer.  My head knows, but my heart does not agree.  So I feel trapped.  I don’t know how I got to where I am, but I don’t see myself getting out.  So I’m stuck.

But maybe that’s okay for now.  Because my heart has found something.  It’s the wrong something.  It’s a distraction.  But it’s something.

And I’m exhausted, and I’m in bed, so that’s all I have to say.  I’ll stay my vague self for a little while longer now.

Transient

Don’t ever settle
Being comfortable can leave you unaware
And I am leading you elsewhere

A transient life isn’t easy
Yet Christ did not have much when he walked the earth
And he transcends all

You see the next destination in the distance
Yet even it is not final
This adventure is just getting started

So collect these broken hearts
Hold them close as your eyes shut
Everything is changing

Be ever ready
Because the next move could be when you least expect it
I am waiting right around the corner

Don’t be so concerned with what you might be leaving behind
You’ll never be leaving me behind
I gave you wings for a reason

You’ll always have a home to return to
Because I am your home
That’s why you’ve never felt fully home
Yet felt home so many places

I am calling you home
Pick up your feet
And follow me

Going Back

How does one just go back
From a dream like this?
Where the earth shook?
Where everything changed?
A soul connection
Guided an unspeakable adventure
Once again ripped to pieces

Yet it seems I’m always going back
Hollowed out
Like I gave myself away by mistake
Leaving my heart behind
Because it seems to know
Where it belongs
Better than I do

Shredded across the continent
From coast to coast
And beyond
Puzzle pieces given out
Hoping to make a bigger picture
Someday

But what is to be made of this?
Fearing we’ll never meet again
Was it all for nought?
Probably not
Yet I can’t help but question
The reality of it all

Stumbling down the rabbit hole
I must have
Call me Alice
Always running late
An appointment I’m afraid to make
Please take me there

I wish I could keep it
Not only in memory
But to replay
Everyday
Before my eyes

I want to feel real
Knowing this has been felt before
How does one return
To normalcy
After living out
A fantasy

I refuse to accept my life as a dream