{pray without ceasing}

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there is magic everywhere. in every moment of every day and within each breath.

when you can’t seem to feel it, that’s when you pray for it the hardest. pray to see the beauty. hold your head up high. have faith. know that there is always someone there to hold your hand. you are never alone! you are beautiful. you are loved. you are needed and wanted. look around you, at the people who love you, and remember that. and then pray for magic some more. the magic that helps you see the light and grow even more strong, even more beautiful, even more loving. pray for the magic that helps you dance, helps you sing your loudest, helps you fall to the floor laughing.

there is magic everywhere. close your eyes and feel it. embrace it.

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Cageless Birds.

birds

Standing on the shore of decision,
Looking into the face of adventure.

Desire to abandon all I know.
What pushes me is rooted somewhere between misunderstanding and knowing
Knowing that what I want to understand is not within my reach.

So I ponder my escape, not knowing what lies ahead.
Adventure in theory is full of excitement, bleeds with passion for life.
But adventure in reality is full of breathless moments, silent nights, and wounds that leave scars of memory on the heart.

Can I go the distance?
Can I give all my mind to get what the Messenger is saying?
Can I surrender my knowing?
Will I survive the humility of ignorance to obtain the treasure that earthly gold cannot buy?
Will I ask the question of honesty even if the answer convicts my soul and sends me to the land of repentance?
All of these thoughts flood my mind…

As I stand on the shore of choosing, and in the distance of my wandering I see with clear eyes a flock of wild, beautiful birds, swooping clearly in my direction, as if they see me and are coming for me.
And how strange it is that their eyes are full of clarity, and the melody of their flapping wings sings and says, ‘we are coming for you.’

My song is waking up.

-Melissa Helser, ‘Cageless Birds’

{the battlefield}

struggle

i am not where i was yesterday, and i am sure that i am in a different place than i will be tomorrow. 

i have learned that being human is a very hard thing. one because we are creatures made of substantial emotion, two because our lives ebb and flow, and we are never really sure of when things will be smooth or rocky.

if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you may have the idea that i am working on some heavy things on my heart. heavy things being self-acceptance, the idea of rejection, and confidence. i have found that i am a sensitive being, which means i, most of the time unfortunately, take everything straight to the heart. i have tried to build up my strength over the years and my..how i have grown, but there are some feelings that are harder to fight than others.

the idea of life is not that its going to be easy, but that its going to be worth it…right? i have tried lately to do everything in my power to find happiness in each day. the wonderful weather around here has helped, along with friends who have been loving support on this journey. but there is a point sometimes, like this morning when i rolled out of bed, that i just want the Spirit to hold me. and hold me close. and not let me go. i hunger for that comfort and thirst for the richness that makes my heart full.

these moments come most strongly when there is something that i am resisting. there i am, trying my hardest to hang on, when the key is to just let go. for so long i’ve been sitting here with one hand on a limb and one hand off, when all i need to do is release. jump. dive. and let go of the fear. let go of the past, of the thoughts in my mind of feeling foolish. because nothing in our lives is really foolish. its all a lesson that takes us closer to that next beautiful step in our journey.

sometimes its hard to see the beauty on the battlefield, when everything around you is violent and foggy. how do you drop into that place of comfort when all you’re feeling is displaced? its hard to dream with a broken heart.

Spirit, i pray that you help me in this place. guide me closer to where i need to be and hold me close in Your arms. show me Your way rather than my own, because my human self is so mightily lost and flawed. help me see the beauty in these hard moments, and remind me that this too shall pass. mend and guard my heart. 

{thoughts on peace}

peacesign

 

let it begin with me.

well, friends, its the international day of peace. throw up your peace signs and give out free hugs!

the concept of peace is huge, especially with everything that has happened in our country and our world recently. people throwing out crude words, countries threatening their own people. in a world with so much distress and pain, how do we find peace?

i am always drawn to the words of Pema Chedron. this philosopher seems to really get life. what it means to find joy, what it means to suffer. in her book, When Things Fall Apart, she writes about being servants of peace, and how it would be so nice if instead of boot camps where you learn how to fight, we had boot camps where you learned to be a peacemaker.

that would be nice, right? ideal, really. maybe the counselors would be Nelson Mandela or Mother Theresa. what a different world it would be if we have camps like that.

…okay, im sounding like a hippie, i know. but really!

i think the major point that Pema is making in this chapter is that peace begins within. we cannot grab peace from external places. peace cannot come from our favorite piece of candy. its not something external and definitely isnt something that is concrete. peace is something that we have to dig deep for within, especially in those moments when we are feeling the most angry, frustrated, or upset about a situation. because the way that we deal with things effects everything around us. 

lets take, for example, that you’re having a really bad day. lets say you didnt have time to make your coffee, had to rush out the door because your alarm didnt go off, and walked out to find a ticket on your car.

…yea. lets talk about peace. how do you handle things like that? it seems like a minute situation, right? but one that is common in our lives. the situations can be bigger: trafficking, racism, poverty, abuse. they are all real, and they all create the same kinds of emotions. how do we find peace when we are so upset?

we find peace when we are compassionate. compassionate first with our own selves. forgiving ourselves for our flaws and seeing them as beauty. forgiving ourselves for judging and not standing up for something that we believe in when we should have. i have heard it so much lately…’as soon as you find compassion for yourself, everything else will fall into place’. rather than storming off and getting angry at the person in front of you who seems to be driving 2mph, step back. breathe. create that inner peace and remember that your words, thoughts, and actions effect everything around you. as soon as you lash out at someone when you’re having a bad day, their day automatically turns bad. think about it. its the truth. when we go about our lives in peace and in compassion, things around us start to change.

im saying all of this because we fight for so much peace in our world. and i am on that battlefield with the troops. sometimes its so hard to remember that the peace is again not something that we can find outside of ourselves. we have to navigate it. we have to find it in our big ol’ hearts to live out each day with forgiveness, with compassion, and with peace. it begins with us. let it trickle.

may the peace within our hearts and minds show within the world, and may we continue to encourage light in the darkness. 

{oh, the places you’ll go!}

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so i have this bug.

and for those of you who know me well enough, you know what kind of bug it is..the one that creeps up more often than not, that keeps me from sitting still. the one that drives me to discover new uncharted fields and dares me to do things i never thought i could. that need to see waterfalls, to travel to africa, to snuggle a koala. it’s that wanderlust bug. ever since i was young, i’ve always wondered about what was ‘out there’. out there beyond what i can see right before me. what is left uncovered? what else is there to learn about this world? so much. so very much.

recently the wanderlust bug has been singing quite loud. i suddenly find myself surrounded by the most inspiring friends who aren’t afraid to go and do, and it makes that wanderlust bug sing even louder. ive been out of the country twice in the last three months and i am ready for more. more discovering, more risk taking, more soaking up of the beauty that is this world. i am so ready. so, so ready to explore. shoot, give me a fully equipped backpack and i’ll be walking across the united states in no time! 😉

at the age of 25, i find it quite challenging to be a budget explorer, and i give even bigger props to those friends and acquaintances that i see wandering all around the world. we are quarter life crisis gypsies if you will, traveling to different cities or across the country by motorcycle, not knowing what the final destination will be but really, truly enjoying the journey.

that is the biggest part that i feel like my generation is great at. enjoying the journey rather than the destination. while our elders remind us that careers are important (and they are), we are taking our time reaching the top of that ladder. we are slowly climbing up, looking around at each step, making sure it’s what are our hearts are feeling.

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”

this wild and adventurous journey is not an easy one. it comes with many obstacles. anyone who’s ever traveled before has found it; anyone who has had a successful career have had their share of obstacles, too. making a life rather than making a living takes skill.

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. but mostly they’re darked.
But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”

i am learning that life is about finding that thing that you’re passionate about. that one ‘hobby’ that makes your heart glow. when you glow, you truly have the most room to grow into your true self. life is about taking those risks and those somewhat scary steps. those times when you’re afraid to say yes are opportunities that could open you up to something so much greater than you had ever imagined.

“And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.”

i am learning that sometimes, it is about risk. quite suddenly you could come to that fork in the road. will you take the beaten path, or the one that’s a bit more untraveled, a bit more undiscovered? because there is where you will find liberation, and joy, and something new. how exciting is that!?

i know that my wanderlust bug will never go away. in fact, i do believe that it is growing. and each time i step out to discover new lands, it grows about ten times bigger, and my heart opens up to a whole new world. i cherish the times when this happens and so look forward to the many times that it will happen over and over again. it is something in my spirit that i want to keep alive for years, and something that i wish to share when i one day have a family. it has always been my dream to have a little bunch of explorer children (with binoculars and all) who have eyes that are opened up to the world at large and who know what a blessing is when they see it (because everythings a blessing, really).

i am so thrilled to see what God has in store for me this year. i have this feeling in my heart that big changes are around the corner. that He is about to walk with me on that path that’s a bit more untraveled. one that i will make my very own, and one that He will make so very beautiful.

every step is the way. always remember that. remember that and go. 

“It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air.”

{thoughts on quiet time}

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i have had a lot of quiet time lately.

my to do list is still booming, don’t get me wrong. but i have also found myself with hours of breaktime, something that hasn’t existed in my life in a really long time.

quiet time can be scary sometimes. it can make us feel really alone until we get comfortable in it. as a natural introvert, i enjoy amounts of time alone, but im usually good at stepping back out into the social scene. not so much recently. i have really been in the quiet.

over the past few months, God has challenged me in many ways. often i find myself sitting and looking up at the sky, trying to figure out what’s coming next. and then i realize that it’s not my job to figure that out. its my job to trust and know that something big is up ahead. maybe a significant change of pace, im not sure. but for now its about embracing the quiet, embracing the time that i have to reflect on the things that God has given me, the relationships that He has blessed me with. i have used it as time to pray (my favorite is walking on the beach in the morning because it gives me an opportunity to soak up a beautiful new day and even pray out loud!), a time to dive into my faith and dig deeper into what i believe, to remind myself that all of the feelings that i am feeling at that present time are okay to feel, whether they are great joy or great sadness, a time to pick up some things i have put down, and a time to remember that i am a loved daughter of God.

it is important that we make the most out of these moments of quiet. these moments when we feel ourselves stepping back into the shadows. ive found that its okay to feel a little disconnected. everyone has these times when they have to be in the quiet, because these are the times when we grow the most. this is when we seek. we seek deeper understanding, we seek deeper truth. as seekers we are constantly going in and out of these times of quiet and the times when life seems to be non-stop, filled with social activities that are one after the other. those times help us grow, too.

take some time today to be quiet. sitting in stillness can give you so much insight and gives great time for healing.

*endnote: i left a prayer request on a instragrammers photo the other day. he had asked if anyone needed prayers, etc. i got a response from someone completely different that gave me chills, so i thought i’d share. i hope its relevant! haha. this is what he said: ‘He will never leave you nor forsake you. Your life’s goal is to bring Him glory. “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat?’ But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'” (Luke 17: 7-10) wow…God tells us that we don’t do something for God then expect for Him to serve then reward us by having us kick up our feet and then He’ll make us a meal and serve it to us…No quite the opposite. When we are done with serving Him in one aspect we then begin to serve Him in another aspect. We aren’t paying Him back for what He has done for us (salvation) because we could never pay that back!
its about seeing what we can do for His glory, even in the quiet. even when we feel like we’re walking through the desert, its about How we can serve Him and glorify Him to the best of our hearts abilities.

{thoughts on the Father & his princess}

fatherslovei had an epiphany a few weeks ago.

there was a moment when i realized just how much my dad loves me. i realized just how much he will do for me. when i am in those times of need, my daddy is always there. he has protected me since the day that i was born, and he, more than anyone else, wants whats best for me. i am for sure a daddy’s girl. i so cherish time with my dad.

im not saying that i havent known that my dad loves me until now. he makes it apparent all of the time by the way he takes care of me and my family. but it hit me other week that my dad would literally go to the moon and back for me if he saw that something like that would make my life better.

and then, there was this thought.

“wow…if my earthly father loves me THAT much…just how much more can my heavenly Father love me!?”

….yea guys. talk about a WOAH moment. i can’t even wrap my head around how much God loves me if He loves me more than my daddy!!!! It is abounding, never-changing, unconditional love for my flawed human self. its so hard to comprehend a Love like that, but how thankful i am for it! thankful that He knows my path, that He forgives my sins and those foolish moments, that He’s going to walk me through life with THE best intentions and the most beautiful plan. if my earthly father wants what best for me, then my heavenly Father will promise it.

it is reassuring to have all of these mini revelations. as i spend more time with my daddy, i realize how valuable my relationships are not only with him and my mom, but also with my Lord. spending so much quiet time with Him has continued to help me build trust and know that each step is the way.

there is nothing quite like the bond between the Father and his princess.

{thoughts on worth}

 

i know that i am not alone when i say i am a woman who sometimes forgets my worth. since human life ebbs and flows, it means that we have our good days and our bad. though some days may be magnificent, eye opening days, others can be rough, causing us to really doubt our beauty. it happens especially when we feel those feelings of not being good enough, of never being good enough, of rejection.

ive always been fascinated by the differences in the minds of women and men. we are inherently different. women are such emotional creatures, and we feel all of the words that are spoken to us. when they are kind, comforting words, we feel safe, but when they are sharp, harsh words, we feel those feelings of fear, discomfort, and unworthiness. im not saying that the male gender does not also feel these things, i think they just take it to heart a bit more differently than we do.

there will always be times in our life when we are feeling a bit more down. these are the times when we have to pick ourselves back up and remind ourselves that we are God’s beloved princess, and to remember that everything has its season. when i was having a moment the other day, this video popped up on my Facebook news feed. to say that it gave me extreme chills is to put it really lightly.

if you’re having one of those days, i encourage you to press play on this video and close your eyes. feel the words and their warmth, and know that you are dearly loved.

{thoughts on relationships}

pinkypromise

relationships. ive been doing some heavy thinking on them lately.

it is true that romantic relationships are quite different than your everyday friendships. but you cant deny that each relationship, whether romantic or not, teaches you something new about yourself and the world. our lives are built on relationship and community. can you imagine going at this alone!? i myself would be completely lost. this is not to say that im not comfortable with who i am personally, but rather that the people around me have taught me much more than i could ever figure out alone. no matter where we are with life, whether we’re basking in the sunshine or finding ourselves standing in that desert storm, there is always someone there with us, holding out hand and guiding us through. they might just be there for that period of time, but that amount of time, whether months or years, is significant.

i read in a book somewhere that each person whom we encounter in our lives is a vessel of God’s love. i believe this deeply and see it in each person i meet. for the past 25 years, friends have come and gone, and the ones who have stayed are sure to be in my life permanently. they are such special friends, ones whom i continue to build great memories with. we dream together, laugh together, and cry together. we complain and rejoice about all that is life. they are constant…those friends who i can talk to after many years and feel as if no time has passed.

and then there are the relationships that come and go. and when they go you feel the sting. you feel the loss of that person, no matter how it may have ended. ive had those, too. there is a permanent ache in your heart, one that shows up every so often when a memory is triggered or someone mentions their name. i think these are the ones that you learn the most from, really. especially with the questions ‘why did this have to happen?’ or ‘why did they have to go?’. these relationships force us to seek out how we can become stronger, and they leave us with changed hearts and a different perspective of our worlds and the word ‘love.’

and then there are relationships with mentors. those in your life who feel as if they are more than just friends; they are counselors. these are the ones you can come crying to at 2am and they wont even care. the ones who listen to your struggles and remind you of the light that comes afterwards. these are cherished relationships, too, and they remind us of our self-worth and our beauty.

relationships are such special things. when they are built on trust and love, they can be very strong. when either element is broken, its hard to stand back and watch all of that fall apart. but we must remember that everything happens for a reason, and no matter what, someone will always be there, waiting to take hold of our hand and walk us through whatever might be up ahead.