Monday, November 25, 2013

Movin' on up

I have an announcement!  I finally took the leap and bought my own domain through Wordpress. I would LOVE if you would all hop on over to and continue to follow my blog over there!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Toronto for the Weekend

I'm sitting in a ballroom in Canada watching as 180+ people celebrate a 12 year old girl. For those of you who don't know, I had the honor of spending the weekend with my parents in Toronto for Makayla Goodman's Bat Mitsvah. Makayla and her family came into our lives about ten years ago when my mom got a call telling her she was an almost perfect match for someone who needed bone marrow. It wasn't until after my mom agreed to donate that we found out that the "someone" was a baby girl in Canada. Years after that, we finally met the people who are now precious members of our family, and we are so lucky to be able to spend this day with them.

Right now, the DJ is playing "Celebrate!" and we are not taking that command lightly! TONS of Makayla's friends and rocking the dance floor accompanied by the largest extended family I've ever seen. While this is a party celebrating Makayla's turning 13 and what that means in the Jewish faith, there is so much more to what we are celebrating. There was a time when Melissa and Ian, Mak's awesome parents, didn't know if they would be able to have this celebration. You see, Makayla was born without an immune system. She was put into reverse isolation at 6 months and stayed there for the next 10 months of her life. Only 4 members of her family were allowed to see her and care for her. During that ten months, her family did everything they could possibly do while they waited for a bone marrow match to be found. Since the day of the transplant, which was an absolute success, Makayla and her family have created a life full of lots of love, family, and loud never ending laughter.

Makayla had the religious ceremony of her Bat Mitsvah a few months ago, tonight is the reception. We (both sides of Makayla's family and mine) spent all morning with hair and make up, then we headed to the hotel where a photographer took pictures of everyone. This part of the night felt very similar to a wedding reception. After the pictures, the guests started arriving in droves. Can I just tell you, this is by far the fanciest party I've ever been invited to and its for a twelve year old. All the men are wearing suits and ties and the women are in gorgeous dresses. *Do not underestimate the amount of glitz and glamour in these dresses and shoes. It was amazing.* There is a DJ, a digital photo booth, red carpet-esque picture background, popcorn bar, lights, cameras and professional dancers to get the crowd going. Makayla, her parents, and her good friends gave speeches and then Makayla smashed a cake with a rubber mallet. I'm not sure if this was Jewish custom or just fun, but either way it was great. It's tradition for several people in the Bat Mitsvah girl's life to each give a speech and to light a candle signifying their relationship to the guest of honor, but the Goodmans did things a little differently. They only had one candle on the table and had my mom and Makayla light it together. There was not a single dry eye in the house. Everyone close to the Goodman's knows about my mom and that she gave the bone marrow that enabled Makayla's body to function correctly so many years ago.

While the bone marrow was the initial connection between our two families, our bond has grown to so much more than that. I have only spent a short time getting to know the Goodmans and their family, but I know that our lives are richer because of them. It's impossible to be with them and not feel like one of the family. It was truly an honor to be able to be a part of this very special day for Makayla.

God blessed me richly when he let me have a front row seat to one of the most incredible stories I've ever known unfold right before my eyes.  I am working on writing out the journey of this epic adventure we have with Ian, Melissa, Makayla,Zachary, and the whole family and will be posting it on here soon.

Please consider going  online and registering to be a bone marrow donor yourself. Thousands of people are waiting for marrow and it is so easy to register and maybe one day save a life.

Lynn (my mom)and Makayla

Melissa, Zach, 
Ian,and Makayla

Makayla and I

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

He Is Able

Those of you who know me well know that managing my finances is not one of my strengths. Its not something I'm even remotely proficient at. I seem to swing from living comfortably and confidently to completely falling off the swing itself. Right now, I'm pretty much lying under the swing staring at the sky, trying to catch the breath that was knocked out of me. I tried to get gas yesterday and my card was declined. Not because I had insufficient funds, but because I was already overdrawn. For the third time in about 5 weeks. My first thought was "I just don't make enough money." That was followed by "STOP GOING TO TARGET AND BARNES & NOBLE IDIOT!!" While both of these are valid points, they weren't answers that helped me solve the problem.

We are six weeks into our study on Ephesians and this week's lesson is called "His Amazing Love." We've been reading mostly out of Ephesians 3, with the last week being focused on 3:14-21. Verses 3:20-21 say, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to him be the glory..."

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. He is able. Plain and simple. He is able to turn my finances around. He is able to solve my career cluelessness. Not only is he able to solve these problems, he can do it in a way that completely blows my mind! Ephesians 1:4 says, "Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. 8-10 He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth." II Corinthians 9:8 says, "and God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

Why am I worrying? God has given me all that I need right now in this moment. He has decided that I only need $40 in my checking account and $20 In my savings. And you know what? After soaking in his word yesterday and today, I'm ok with it because He is able, much more able than I ever could be. It's not comfortable, but I'm not made to be comfortable. While I will continue to look at jobs/career options both in Nashville and Iowa, I will do it patiently and with comfort that at the right time, he will reveal his plans to me and they will be incredible.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"You, being rooted and established in love"

I've been doing a bible study over the book of Ephesians. It's been so rewarding and comforting to be able to do this and to read this incredible love letter from our Savior. This post is just some ramblings that have stuck with me in the last few weeks. My apologies for the lack of flow and abundance of run-ons. I have to get this done before the kiddos wake up :)

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through Faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all God's holy people, to grasp how wide and kind and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowlegde-that  you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19

What a powerful prayer from Paul. Can you imagine if this was prayed over you everyday? What would your life be like if you lived using only the strength from your soul and the love we are established in? We would be a pretty incredible people. I love that Paul prays we know how immeasurable God's love is but that even if we could wrap our minds around it, the power of that love is a thousand times more than the power of that knowledge. He understands that we will never know it all, but if we just know how much God loves us, we don't need to know it all.

Another thing that gets me is God's faithfulness to us. I cannot comprehend how constant, how loyal, and how true God is. God wrote my story before he even started creating the earth. That means that he wrote my story, promised me this life, and then millions of years later, is following through. On Sunday I said I wasn't going to go to Target this week. Yesterday I signed up for a Target debit card, in person. Yesterday was Monday. I can't keep a promise to myself that will greatly influence my ability to pay rent and have a place to live for more than 24 hours. God kept his promises for centuries, and has never wavered in the 23 years of my existence. After being let down over and over again by people and things in this world, I am so incredibly moved and humbled that God stands firm day after day.

I don't think I will ever fully get it. But I don't think that's a bad thing. There is so much to gain in the quest for understanding and in the discoveries of all the ways I am loved, that on the day I stand before him and finally get it, I pray that during this journey I will have grown in love to be the person he intended me to be, all those years ago.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why Faith is like Shaving your Legs

Studying the bible and drinking wine, as the Good Lord intended. 

I recently started a bible study and we will meet for the second time tomorrow. The study is set up to read certain passages and answer 5-10 questions a day for 5 days. I, being the motivated, word-thirsty, GodStudent that I am, typically wait until Wednesday night at 8pm to attempt to do all of it. This is not advised. I was on Lesson 2 Day 3 when I saw it was 15 deep thinking questions with an additional "Truth Seeking" section. I rolled my eyes heavenward and said, "Are you kidding me?" A quiet voice reminded me that most people follow the directions and take it one day at a time and generally no, the bible doesn't kid. I finished the questions without the deep thinking and then took a break to shower. Earlier today I bought new razor heads and shaving cream (I never buy shaving cream, and I promise this information is related to my bible study woes, just stick with me). I was super excited for my legs to be "luxuriously smooth and richly moisturized," as the can promised, so you can imagine my disappointment when I got out of the shower and had a prickly line up my calf that the razor missed.

Faithfully, God used something trivial to remind me he has more in store for my life when he had me sign up for this bible study. Just because I bought fancy shaving supplies, doesn't guarantee perfect results. I have to take my time and use them correctly. I signed up and paid for this bible study. When the money left my account, the knowledge and subsequent faith wasn't deposited into my brain. I have to spend good, quality time every day with Jesus if I want to know him better. If I try to cram it all into one night, the results are as prickly as my calf. It doesn't matter if you were raised by nun's and studied abroad for a year in heaven- our investment is in God, not the tools or classes. The classes are worthless if we are not invested in knowing Jesus more. He then uses the tools and classes to help us learn.

In the coming weeks, I am praying that I will be excited about the opportunity of ending long work days in time with Jesus. Reading his words, writing out thoughts and prayers, and allowing him to fill me up in order to let this study do what He intended it to do.

Monday, September 9, 2013

That Fateful Day

We have so many specific days that stick out in our minds. Milestones like starting preschool, getting our drivers license, graduating high school or college. These days are celebrated with family, friends, pictures, and parties. There is one "milestone" however, that is greatly under appreciated. A single day- no, a single moment that makes you stop in your tracks and examine your entire life up to that point in time...

The Day You Open Your Mouth And Your Mother Comes Out.

If you're in your 20's, have or are around children on a regular basis, or had a mother that loved you fiercely, you've probably experienced this moment . It should not be confused with the similarly shocking milestone of Realizing Your Mother Was Right...About Everything (that's another post, for another day).

Let me tell you what happened...

I am a nanny. I care for two of the world's sweetest children who, for privacy reasons, I will call Question Master and Sweet Pea. Question Master (or Q) is so named because he is the absolute master of all questions. He has in fact, asked every single one of them. He's 4 years old, insanely smart, and has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Sweet Pea is 2 and is just as sweet as can be. Her adorable smile could defrost the coldest of hearts.

Today Question Master had a T-Ball game. I was in the middle of getting everything ready, and needed him to get his uniform on. He was relaxing from a long day at preschool and watching TV. I brought him his uniform, helped him with his socks, and then asked him to put his pants and shirt on while I took a few things out to the car. I came back in, Sweet Pea had taken the pants and he was laying on the couch in his school clothes. I returned the pants, got his attention and asked again. Few minutes later... no change. I again, wrestled the pants away from Sweet Pea, turned the TV off, and gave her a snack...still no progress. About 15-20 minutes has passed at this point and Q is now making carpet angels and asking if I remembered the time I said Pluto was a planet, and he so graciously corrected me for an hour and a half. I gathered his clothes, pointed him towards the bathroom (to minimize distractions), happened.

"You have 5 minutes to put this uniform on your body, or...."

Sweet Baby Jesus.
I couldn't even finish the sentence. It was the tone! The words! The feeling that I was 7 years old and still hadn't cleaned my room.

My unbelievable, loving, attentive, caring mother had a way of finishing any problem, any procrastination, anything with a time limit, a task and "or I will do it for you."  Couple that with the ol' raised eyebrows, and stuff got done. NOBODY wanted Mama to do it for them. I took a second and evaluated where I was in life, and tried to accept what had just happened. I also made a mental note to call my mom and thank her for being so incredibly present in my life, that even though I am over 700 miles away, she's still popping up out of nowhere, helping me out. That's a good Mom.

Question Master was in and out of the bathroom in 3 minutes, ready and yelling "LET'S PLAY BALL!!!"

I was almost upset that it worked so well. Touche'.

Mom: 1 Jordan: 0

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Writing for the sake of writing

So, I bet after you all read that last post you expected more frequent blog posts didn't ya? Yup, I did too. Unfortunately, after the grand Declaration of Life Plans, I have had squat for ideas to write about. Like, diddly squat. I've been writing a little in journals and such but nothing exciting. But, as I try to follow the advice of other published writers, I am going to write, just to write. So, without further ado, here's an update on whats been going on in my life. Be warned: it's incredibly enthralling.

(no it's not)

Like most humans, I am on a constant journey to better myself. Both spiritually and physically. I signed up for a bible study over Ephesians and Hebrews at my church that will be starting soon, and am trying to keep a prayer journal and read the bible more. I'm not unhappy about the way I look, but I remember how great it felt to be in good shape when I was in high school. In an effort to return to this state, I've been running and swimming for some time now. My sister, Sydnie, is an avid runner and stole all of the athletic, endurance, and competitive genes and has completed a full marathon and several other running feats. I, on the other hand am especially proficient at things like reading for a whole day, having an exceptionally comfortable wardrobe, and declaring things without a whole lot of follow up. Proud of it, too. Anyway, she has been saying for a year that she would like to come down and "run" a "race" "together". (The quotation marks are because 1. I use the term running very loosely. 2. I'm not racing anyone but the event's time limit. I just try not to notice all the moms pushing multiple toddlers in strollers passing me. 3. She's trying to beat a previous time. I'm trying not to require life support.) After badgering me for 12 months encouraging me to think about it she tricked convinced me into committing to the Country Music Half Marathon in April. She also deceived me advised me in my training. She said that in order to fully train for an event you must pay more money than should be legally allowed to run an event of equal ungodly length prior to the actual event. So, I will also be running a half marathon in September. In 29 days, actually. I am pretty excited about conquering something I never thought I would be able to do. I plodded about 10 miles today in OPPRESSIVE heat, and then naturally had fast food for dinner. Still ironing out the kinks.

One super positive aspect of my training is some new motivation! About 6 weeks ago I signed up to be a runner on a site called I Run For Michael. This nonprofit organization was started by a runner named Tim who's friend Michael has a hip condition that prevents him from being able to run. Michael also has Down Syndrome. Tim started this organization that pairs runners up with kids with special needs all over the country. The runners then run for their match, and post greetings and share photos on a Facebook group. It's kind of amazing. After waiting what seemed like forever I received my match on Monday! I am paired with a sweet two year old boy from Utah. I have been getting to know him and his family through his awesome mom and their family blog. Running for them makes running exciting again!

I have been getting a little better on the financial aspect of life. I still don't have any money but I did open my budget again for the second time since I created it...Progress! I worked with it long enough to plan to buy a little TV and DVD player for my room. It took me about a month to save up all the money and buy it responsibly. It felt really good! This was followed the next week by upgrading my bedding for the first time since I was 14. This was not planned, or budgeted for, and was wildly expensive and for that I will not be buying groceries this week.Totally worth it, my bed is really pretty, you guys.

Well, I'm really trying to down play the excitement and glamour of my life but I think that about covers the whole summer. Oh! I forgot, I have to get glasses, and my bottom left wisdom tooth might be coming in. I know, it really is hard to be this lively. I was once asked by a former co-worker how exciting my life was. I think I explained it well when I said, "It's like telling your significant other you love them for the first time, and then they say 'thanks'."

Until next time!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dreams of a TwentySomething

My very first post on this blog was almost 2 years ago. I wish I could say something like, "7 published works, 2 speaking tours, and a billion dollars later, here we are!" But sadly, I cannot. The real story includes three states, four jobs, and $42,000 in debt. What a life, right? While all that stuff in the first scenario would be great, I'm pretty sure it's against some sort of law to have that much success by 23. I'm not bitter, I just understand life takes time to figure out, but it does make me think.

When I was 5, I thought I would be a grandma by 23. Then at 16, I saw myself married with my first kid by 23. When I was 20, I pictured myself in a beautiful, kid-free life traveling the world with a job and salary that paid for it all. Reality says at 23 I find myself waiting, willing something to happen that will show me which path my life will take. Three years into "the best years of my life", I'm ready to get going, and make these years as good as everyone said they would be.

My second post began, "I like how in college, people say, I am a... and then state their major." In college, your major was a huge part of your identity. They didn't tell us if we didn't land a job right after graduation, we'd lose that security of having a publicly approved identity that stated we knew what we were doing with our lives and had a plan to get there. After graduation I completed my internship at a site that wasn't hiring, moved 750 miles away and became a nanny. While I have no regrets, I found through the move and a year in Nashville, I don't identify with a Therapeutic Recreation major anymore. I still love it, of course I do it cost $40,000, but I'm having problems finding a career in it that I can see myself doing for decades to come. In the wake of that credit score devastation, I have begun to seriously rekindle a flame of passion I've had since I was seven.

I want to be a writer.

The dream is obviously Saturday Night Live, but I'd have to start watching the news and I'm pretty sure our more-basic-than-basic cable package doesn't include a single news channel. In the event that SNL doesn't think I'm funny, I love to explore other facets of the writing world. I really don't have any direction as to what type of writing I want to do or major plans regarding timeline or genre, other than making a career or of it.

Armed with a dream, a wide open future, and nothing but time, I'm ready to commit. A great writer I recently discovered said she doesn't use the term "aspiring writer" because you are what you do. So without further delay..

I am a writer.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Yesterday I went out for a run at Percy Warner Park. I chose this particular 5.8 mile course because it is known to be one of the hilliest and best training courses for runners in middle Tennessee. As I am training for a couple very hilly half marathons, I believed this to to be a "good idea". Also, it's paved road winding through miles of gorgeous forest makes for a pretty awesome view. Anyway, being a trail run through miles of forest, I was a little nervous about getting lost, so I used an app on my phone to guide me through the twists and turns. This barely helped as I still proceeded to make a wrong turn and my 5.8 challenging hill run turned into a 8.3 mile quest for life support. Needless to say, I'm taking it easy today.

When I hit the  6 mile mark and saw the distance I still needed to cover to get back to my car I realized I had made a mistake along the way and I was no where near finished, completely exhausted, and the discouragement was setting in. I was disappointed about how much of the run I had actually walked, about my unfamiliarity of the terrain and the fact that my phone's battery life was dwindling. After a short pity party I sorted out my route and ran consistently for about a half mile when my phone beeped, flashed and vibrated to announce that the battery was very low. This is where I really began to doubt my decisions about taking this challenge alone. If my phone died, I had no idea how to get back to my car without GPS, I was completely bored with running and my legs felt like jello. I fiddled with  the power saving options and was about to turn off my music when I decided that a couple more songs would help me get my pace back and get me closer to the finish. When I felt like again I needed to stop and walk I just got angry. How did I miss a turn when I am literally following a little blip around a map and it's telling me where to go? What the heck was I going to do when I still had a mile left and my phone died, I hadn't seen another person in about 40 minutes. I was just about to turn off my playlist, but heard the familiar opening tones to one of of favorite songs, Phillip Phillips' "Home".

"Hold on to me as we go.
As we roll down this unfamiliar road.
And as this wave is stringing us along,
Just know you're not alone. Cause I'm gonna make this place your Home.

Settle down, it'll all be clear.
Don't pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear.
The trouble it might drag you down
if you get lost you can always be found.

Just know you're not alone. Cause I'm gonna make this place your home."

In that moment I wasn't hearing the love song as Phillips intended it. I was instead hearing it as God intended it. He was saying, (and I'm paraphrasing, God is hard to quote after 7 miles of hills), "Jordan, chill out. You're not alone. Yes, you don't know where you are, but I do. You doubt your choices and your abilities but I put you right here. Hold onto me as we go down a road that is new to you, but not to me. This place of uncertainty right now is temporary in this situation but I'm going to make it your home. And spoiler alert! I have a better GPS than your phone!" I began thinking about all the questions I currently have. I began sounding out all my feelings based on my life at that moment, five days before my 23rd birthday. They all rounded out into one giant ball of uncertainty. What am I doing in Nashville? What was my purpose to move 700 miles away to become a nanny? Where in the world was the money I made every two weeks? How is it ALWAYS gone? Why hasn't my career begun? One by one, as I ran I felt answers coming to those questions. What am I doing in Nashville? Learning. What was my purpose to become a nanny? A job that I enjoy, with a family I adore and time to process. Why is my money always gone? Because the last time I consulted my budget, was the day I made it. ( I didn't need divine help with that one). My career? It's not time to find it yet; write more. I felt like he was saying he was going to take that of uncertainty, and was going to make it my home. What does that mean? I don't know. I do know that something is coming, I can feel it. I do know that change is coming soon. I don't know what it is but I guess then I've never really known my next step until it smacks me in the face. When God makes the feeling of uncertainty your home when you've been uncertain for the majority of your adult life, you don't question it, because actually it already feels like home.

I put too much stress on myself to be doing the exact right thing I am supposed to be doing at the exact right time. As a person who is habitually late, this is not the best fit for a lifestyle choice. Yes, I believe our futures are a memory of God's and that he has a plan for our lives but he never intended us to stress about it. He intended us to ask about it. The day before I was to drive back to Tennessee after going home to get rid of mono, we went to church and I was feeling doubtful about my decisions, even though I told everyone I couldn't wait to get back. One of my moms good friends and a very wise and witty lady, Joani, prayed for me. She said something that helped immensely on my transition back to Nashville and that came flooding back to me full force on my run. She prayed that I would be able to hear the directions I was being given to find the life that God has planned for me. But, that while I waited for those directions to know that any work I find, when done to glorify Him, is always on his plan for me, and makes him smile. That certainly takes the pressure off, doesn't it? It's his plan, not mine. I'm the passenger, not the driver. About the same time I came to these familiar realizations I looked up and focused on my surroundings, I could see my car. I held tight to him that last mile on an unfamiliar road. I ignored all the demons that left me afraid. I settled down, and it did become clear, he didn't promise that I would always feel certain but he took my uncertainty and he led me home. 


Sunday, June 9, 2013


**For those of you who have expressed concern: I was never in any imminent danger through this ridiculousness, there were tons of people who probably would have stepped in if anything got out of hand, and the police officer was very professional in his handling of the situation. Would you have believed me without photo evidence? :) **

In the midst of my mundane routine, I often find myself in the weirdest situations. I have no idea how or why but inevitably, it always happens. I even started a hashtag on Twitter #FailingWithJordan, they are so frequent. Here is the latest of those situations.

One way homeless people find work is to sell newspapers at intersections all over the city. Having just bought a new car (with WORKING windows) I was happy and somewhat excited to be able to help out. I pulled up to the intersection (with inappropriately long red lights) smiled and waved, holding some cash to indicate my intentions. The transaction absolutely did not go as planned. 

The man selling papers walked up to my car and leaned heavily against the door. Instantly, I smelled the liquor on his breath and wanted to get this over with. What I said very clearly through the four inch opening of my window was, "Hi, I don't want a paper but here's a donation to use as you need it. Have a great night." What the man heard was something that led him to believe I was looking for a new pal. When I ignored his suggestions on "fun places where we could dance" he took matters into his own hands and proceeded to SIT on the HOOD of my BRAND NEW used car. Obviously, I did the only thing I could think of which was panic and repeat the word 'why' over and over out loud. To make matters more fun, cars around me TOOK PICTURES and honked their horns. A gesture, while I'm sure heartfelt, was just not at all helpful. I thought if I drove forward very slowly, the man would get off and end his protest. Unfortunately, he did not until I had inched  all the way through the red light and he spotted a police officer. As he slid off and ran away I was being pulled over for running a red light. (What happened to chivalry?)

The officer came up to my car and asked if I knew the light was red. My exact reply was, "Yes, Sir, I did know. I'm very sorry I ran that light....but there was a homeless man on my hood and I didn't know what else to do." The officer stopped, looked at me very sternly, and asked me to step out of my vehicle. I'm pretty sure he thought I had hit this man with my car. I explained the situation, and he told me to stay put.  After he inspected my car for evidence of vehicular homicide,  ran my license, he gave me a well spoken lecture about making up nonsense just to get out of a ticket. Thankfully as he was writing out an incredibly expensive ticket for my "outlandish excuses" one of the cars that had witnessed the whole thing pulled up and showed the police officer the photo on his cell phone, (after first asking for immunity for having his cell phone out while driving). Thankfully the police officer had a sense of humor, and let me go ticket free with an apology through laughing tears while wiping the grease mark left by the homeless man's clothes off my hood. The homeless man was pursued for public intoxication. Probably a good idea.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My views on Same Sex Marriage

"Our culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate."-Rick Warren
With all the attention this issue is getting, this topic has been on my mind for a while, and I've been trying to decide if I wanted to address it or not. My hesitance does not stem from fear, or social judgement but because politically, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Politics give me a headache and bore me to tears. But, due to actions from some of my very bold friends, I have decided to write about my support for same sex marriage.  Upon reading that sentence, I would be willing to bet that at least 70% of you readers now have your shields up and are not very happy with me. I bet right now you're thinking, "OMG is she, GAY?!"

Let me address that thought.

First of all, that's rude, and I'm not going to answer that question right now. Not because the accusation of being gay is anywhere near an insult, but because of the way you thought it. That thought came from a place of ignorance and intolerance. I don't believe that is a question that anyone has the right to ask. When my friends came out to me, I was deeply honored that they trusted me and knew my character enough to know that that piece of them was safe with me. That I was not going to judge them or end our friendship because of one part of who they are. Each person has the right to choose when, how, to whom, and if they are going to share that information with you. Gay or straight.

Secondly, like I said earlier that thought came from a place of ignorance and intolerance, and unless you are willing to open your heart and your mind to the person behind the information, you don't deserve to know the answer. One thing I've learned about this life is that we are put in the paths of people who we are supposed to share impact with. If you want it to be a positive experience and receive the blessing that they are, you're going to have to accept them for who they are. Gay or straight.

Third, I am not a theologian. I have not read the whole bible and I'll be honest, I don't know everything about what it says about same sex marriage. I do know two things however: first, we can make the bible say pretty much anything we want it to when we take Jesus' words out of context and secondly, my God teaches love.  I believe everything in the bible is true and from what I've read, the most important thing to Jesus was making sure we all know how madly and passionately he loves us ALL. So instead of spreading hate through condemnation, I choose to spread love through acceptance. Gay or straight.

My fourth point is on the sanctity of marriage. Nobody has come even close to convincing me that same sex marriage is ruining the sanctity of marriage. I'm pretty sure straight people have been doing a fine job of that for decades. The mere fact that I know Britney Spears was married for 55 hours proves that. And Vegas? C'mon guys. With this said, I am not saying all straight couples are ruining marriage, or that all same sex couples are preserving it. What I'm saying is, this point is crap.

I have also been confronted because when I talk about not using the R-word I ask people to refrain from using gay in a derogatory way as well, as if "I'm saying that gay people are retarded." (Several people have actually said this to me). Let me make myself clear. I typically talk about both words together not because I think being gay was caused by trauma, or a  genetic development, but because it is a real part of a person that makes them the unique blessing full of promise that they are (I know how cheesy that sounds but it's true). Just as you, Reader, were born with freckles and a love for animals, you wouldn't be you without every single attribute. Again, acceptance of a person as a person. Not as a gay person, or a special needs person, or as a different person. As a person. Gay or straight.

The last thing this world needs is more intolerance and more judgement. If we were all able to open our hearts and our minds to the the people around us regardless of their label, I think we would see that this world isn't the ugly place it seems to be. Because of that I CHOOSE to share with you that I am straight. I am an ally to the gay community and I'm freaking proud of it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Catching a Glimpse

Have you ever been driving home from work when the sun is setting and you manage to catch a glimpse of it in a break in the trees? You can see the blue sky above you beginning to give way to those beautiful colors, everything has that awesome golden glow from the low sun. You drive a bit further and the sunset is obstructed by trees, and houses, or buildings, but then there it is again! A break in the buildings showed you another quick look at it and you just know it's going to be a good one. Finally, maybe the highway goes through a rural area where the land is flat and farmed or you've driven around a corner and are now driving straight into it, but there..there it is. Everything is bathed in golden light; the sun is a warm bright reddish- orange, just beginning to sink in to the earth. The sky, which at this point makes you understand why it's called the heavens, is red, pink, purple, orange, yellow and blue. How is it possible that this same sky, that brings rain, and storms, and tornadoes can also bring this breath taking display of beauty? It makes you want to pull over and sit on the hood of your car and just soak in the warm gold covering the earth.

At the church I recently began attending, we are just finishing up a study of Luke that started about two years ago. Today, the pastor talked about the very last paragraph, The Ascension of Christ. I have always wondered why Christ chose to go back up into heaven (not that I blame Him) and how the disciples felt about him leaving, so I was pleased to find this was the topic of the teaching. Essentially, Jesus was taken back up into heaven so that we could be closer to him because with him in his physical body on Earth, he could only be with the people who shared his geographical location. But, because he was taken back into heaven into his rightful position as the King, he was able to send the Holy Spirit who continued to do his work in those who loved him. The beauty of Jesus' absence, is that it made way for his deep spiritual presence. He didn't leave as I previously felt and thought, he did the opposite and became more available. It says in Luke 50-53, "When he led them out to the edge of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them,  he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God." What struck me about this passage was that when Jesus leaves, no one grieves. Instead, they are completely filled with joy. The pastor teaching today talked about this and said it was because for the first time, the disciples were seeing Jesus for who he really was. The preparation, the teaching, everything was over. The man who was to be the Son of God had come, did everything he said he would do and more, and now they watched him ascend to heaven. It's like they spent all that time during their walk with him catching glimpses of who Jesus said he was, only to lose the view. Then, they finally turned a corner and broke out of the buildings and there he was, in all of his glorious display, Jesus. Exactly who he  always said he was going to be but now,their eyes and hearts were completely open and he was blessing them. I bet the moment Jesus rose up felt like they had spent all day in a blazing sun. They knew that when the day was over and the sun set, they would have relief. It takes so long, but when the sun finally begins to fall and the sky transforms  nobody remembers how uncomfortable the sun was. All they can do is stop, look at the beauty, and be joyful in the moment.

I feel like this is kind of how my walk with Jesus is. Not that I've had the honor of having my eyes fully opened to exactly who He is but more in the glimpses part. I go through life and things are good, but then I catch a glimpse and a whole new realm of 'good' is found. I walk through life and things are tough, times when no matter how hard I try, I can't get my footing, and even if I could I wouldn't know what to do with it. But then, inevitably -because God's promise to us is true- I catch a glimpse and the struggles grow dim in the light of his hope. I find my footing and even though I still probably don't know what to do with it, I take the next step with a renewed confidence, a joyful heart and know that I'm on his path.

Living life between the glimpses can be hard. When times are good I think we find we lean more on our own understanding and think that we know what were doing, so by the time we catch a glimpse, we've gotten so far off track talking about all our blessings on Facebook, we realize that without the glimpse we would  have soon found ourselves lost. And, in the hard times, we can get so beaten down with anxiety, debt, and struggle that we lose hope that we may ever catch another glimpse at all. These times are when we pray for direction and when a glimpse is everything we need, (I know I've had such low times where I would feel like I caught a glimpse purely because my debit card wasn't rejected). The fact is, is that no matter where we are in our lives or what season we're going/suffering through, He's there. He will always show up and give us a glimpse to give us direction, or hope, or those amazing blessings at the perfect time that not only renews our hearts, but gives us enough insight to keep going.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Comfort vs. Courage

It's important to have a little background information about me for this post to fully make sense.When I was little, I would dream of traveling to and living in far off places. I wanted to go to school in a different state, study abroad in a different culture. I wanted to join the Peace Corps and live this exciting, adventurous life. But, the reality of it was that as much as I wanted to do these things, I could barely spend the night at a friend's house across the street without getting homesick. I remember on one night in third or fourth grade I "spent the night" at my friend Deanna's house. (Keep in mind that I knew this family as well as I knew my own, and I walked to this sleepover.) We had a great time playing and being weird as we always are, but at nine o'clock when it was time to start winding down, I was overwhelmed with an unnecessary anxiety and could not imagine spending another second away from home. This resulted in me calling my mom in tears and going home. This routine of having a great time and then going home at bedtime continued far longer than it should have. Eventually by middle school, I was able to successfully stay the night at a friends house not without thoughts of home lulling me to sleep. But, I didn't go college in a different state nor did I study abroad. I never stopped wanting to but in all honesty, the thought of these things brought back feelings of that old anxiety and I just didn't have the courage. Throughout college, the opportunities for travel and leaving the Cedar Valley increased and I felt more and more compelled to take them. I began feeling that not only did I want to take these opportunities, I felt that I needed to take them. It took a sharp jab in the ribs from God and His incessant repeating of "move, move, move" to finally do it. I moved an hour and a half away to work at Camp Courageous, then five hours away for my internship in Aurora, Illinois, now I live eleven hours away in Nashville. I hope to one day move to India and work with Loving His Lambs ministry. But even as I type this, I wouldn't be being honest if I didn't mention that pretty much everyday I think about moving back home.

I have been working at a job as a nanny for a four and a two year old both with special needs. While I have now become comfortable with their demanding schedules, medical needs and the overall responsibilities of part-time parenting, in the beginning I was worried I wasn't going to be able to handle it. On the morning of my first day God woke me up forty-five minutes early from a basically sleepless, anxious night and led me to Ephesians. As I was reading this book I felt love of Christ washing over me again and again and again. I finished the book, and spent some time praying until my alarm went off and got up filled with courage, hope, and reassurance that I'm in the right place. About two weeks later I was filled with homesickness again and was still semi uncomfortable with my job. That night I spoke with a great friend who shared my feelings of homesickness. The next morning, God woke me up early again this time leading me to the story of Esther. As  I read this story I was thinking, this girl, probably younger than me at the time, left her home without any questions. Then when all the lives of her people were threatened, she risked her life to save them. And she did it. There is a verse in Esther 4:14 that has become one of my new favorites,  "If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows? Perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

"Who knows? Perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this"

When I read this, all I could think of was that Sonic commercial where the bald guy talks about having his mind blown, because my mind was seriously blown (and because I have some issues staying focused).  My mind was completely blown. Esther left her life, her culture, her family to live in a strangers palace and make a complete lifestyle change. She left her comfort to be courageous. Then when she had adjusted to the life of luxury she was given the opportunity to again forgo comfort and be even more courageous and risk her life to save her people.  She didn't have to do any of it. She could have told Mordecai in the beginning that she wasn't chosen to go to the palace and stayed home in the life that she knew, but she didn't.

In an attempt to link the first paragraph with the rest of the story, living a life of comfort is great. It doesn't have to be a palace, but just being around family makes you feel richer and more comfortable than Bill Gates. But, it's not always what we are called to do. Mordecai tells Esther that if she doesn't make the decision to try to save her people, with time, someone else will and they will be victorious, but look at the situation, you are here now! You, a Jewish  woman have been made queen exactly when we are in need of a person of power to stand for us. Maybe this is what you are meant to do! Sometimes we are called to leave what makes us comfortable and choose to be courageous. I have felt that I am meant to go places and do things since I was a little girl. Until the last couple years, I have chosen to stay comfortable driven by anxiety, worry, and doubt.What I failed to grasp is that God loves me. If you haven't read Ephesians, read it and then when you've finished, read it again. While my future is a mystery to me, it is a lovingly crafted memory to Him. I don't have to let anxiety, worry, and doubt drive my life because with Him, I can be courageous. When I choose to allow Christ to fill me up and wash over me, I can do exactly what He has called me to do because I'm not driving my life anymore, He is. This doesn't mean I don't struggle everyday with it, but it does mean that at the end of the day, I choose to trust He knows what He's doing. He allows the little girl me to be proud of the adult me. Who knows when our choices to be courageous will lead us to exactly the moment that makes us who He made us to be.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Things I've learned While Being a Nanny.

I have recently started working as a nanny in a town outside Nashville. I am starting this post to share some of the things I learn while caring for the sweetest little four year old boy and an almost two year old little girl who has Down Syndrome who already has me wrapped around her finger...

1A. To mine and all the other mom's out there: What you do on a 24/7 365 day basis is extraordinary. I get to go to my quiet, kid-free home at 5:30. Thanks for everything.
1B. I won't be having kids anytime soon. I love them to pieces, but I also love sending them home.
2.The preschool pick up lane is serious business. Beginners not advised. 
3. You never get used to a 4 year old who reads at a second grade level. Especially when he asks to play  Angry Birds on your phone and instead decides to go through your email.
4. Trying to explain that Iowa is just another state in the United States and not a planet in outer space is darn near impossible, especially when the 4 year old asking the questions reeeaalllyy wants his new nanny to be an alien. It's also even more impossible not to go along with it. Whenever he asked a question about Iowa started the sentence with, "Back on your home planet..."
5. Nap time is gold.
6. Laundry isn't so bad when the clothes are smaller than your face. (And the parents buy the kids clothes with impeccable style.)
7. 4 year old logic is the best logic. Example: "I am so brave because I can hang on the first monkey bar. I only hang on this one because it is the monkey bar that protects me when I am sleeping at night. But, I can't hang on the others because we haven't been introduced yet."
8. Focapontas is waaaay better than Pocahontas. And, Pocahontas is a little bit hard to say.
9. January 31st is bubble wrap appreciation day. (It was on a calendar he brought home from preschool)
10. Singing "Itsy bitsy spider" 37 million times is kind of worth it when a little girl squeals and laughs while signing "out came the sun..."
11. They're always hungry....unless it's lunch time.
12. Routine is used in a hazy context.
13. Brushing our teeth is a new and terrifying concept every single morning.
14. There needs to be a Rosetta Stone for reasons kids are crying.