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My Canvas

Lately my life feels a little like watching one of those cool artists who paints during seminars and conferences. The guy sets this huge canvas up on the stage and puts on cool music and starts throwing paint up there. It's a mess. But he is working so dramatically, and the colors are so vibrant, you keep watching. And at some point it begins to take shape. And then all at once you realize...there was a plan all along, and the scattered spots and swipes of paint take shape to make a beautiful image. And everyone gasps and begins cheering and we all ask each other: why couldn't we see it earlier? Here's an example if you've never seen it before:


Powerful Speed Painting of Jesus Will Leave You in Awe from inspiredfaith on GodTube.


I'm not gonna lie; the last couple of years have been rough. I've struggled with clinical depression and worked through some tough personal things. I couldn't really see where God was going with all of it. It felt messy, and pointles…

Renee's Heart

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My friend Renee suffered an excruciating and sudden tragedy last week. Those of us who know her are painfully aware this isn't her first time swimming through crashing waves of heartache and loss. I sat down this morning to write her something that would bring her comfort; something to soothe the cracks in her heart. I can't. That's the god-awful truth of the thing. We all know it.

You see, nothing is going to make this okay.

Doug and Renee's teenage daughter went to bed --- and woke up in heaven. No warning. Just like that. Gone.

Who am I to offer any kind of comfort to a family who is starting a new week without their girl? Let's be honest; even if God himself came down and gave them an explanation, it wouldn't be good enough. Lindsey is gone, and they didn't get to tell her goodbye or whisper love into her ear before she slipped away. It's not fair.

But here's the thing; even in the midst of her suffering, Renee sees light. Even in the dark craw…

Embrace Your Hike

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In May of 2016, my friend Alicia and I drove to the bay area for an Anne Lamott writing workshop. Listening to Anne Lamott speak is like eating a giant platter of noodles. Some are undercooked, some are mushy, some are all tangled up. But underneath piles of noodles are the most amazing meatballs I've ever tasted. And when I get a bite of perfectly cooked pasta with a savory, mouthwatering meatball...I just close my eyes and fall backwards straight into bliss.

Anne dished up a few meatballs during the workshop. Many of her words were about writing. But some of them were about life. A quote I wrote down in my journal was this:

"If you have a phone in your pocket, it's a whole different kind of hike."
Stop.

It reminded me of this picture. Just take 30 seconds and stare at it. Don't keep scrolling.



My phone keeps me connected with everyone I love and issues I care about. Some of my favorite memories are recorded in my phone. My parents are skilled in the emoji arts. …

Just get your caboose out there

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I started training for a 5k. WHAT?!




YEP.

One dark, rainy night I downloaded an app on my phone and followed the optimistic, slightly grating female computer voice who told me when to briskly walk and when to jog. For 31 excruciating minutes. I didn't stop, and I didn't die.

Huh.That's weird.

You see, I've told myself my whole life:

I'm just not athletic.I hate running.Runners are crazy.I look ridiculous when I run.I'm going to hurt myself and then die a slow, painful death.
But the truth is, I thought I couldn't do it. So I made fun of running. I made fun of myself.

A couple of weeks back, the Lumberjack and I sat down to plan our year. I said I wanted to do some tough things. I wanted to set some goals that have a small chance of being met; I didn't want to just pick things I KNEW I could do. I wanted to write down some things I probably wouldn't be able to do, but chasing them would make me grow.

When I said I wanted to be healthier, I tried to t…

SAYING NOTHING

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I sit across from her in a crowded restaurant, listening, watching.

There's a decision to be made today;
not an earth shattering, life-altering decision, but an important decision about stepping into a new position of leadership.

I listen to her recite pro's and con's, and while she lists them I imagine how every fact and detail is written carefully at home in a notebook on her kitchen counter. She gets to the end of her list and takes a sip of her water.

I say nothing. I say nothing for a really. long. time.

She finally clunks her water down on the table and looks at me with tears in her eyes. I know of the grief she is walking through right now. I know that right now it's hard for her to get out of bed; hard to feel anything, hope for anything, see anything but the last few months.

Cancer is a thief, and it stole her Momma. Her young, vibrant, active Momma. 60 days from diagnosis to goodbye.

60 days.

And now my friend is desperate to stumble into something, anything,…

MY DECISION

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Many times the unpublished drafts of this blog are like a private journal; I can see unfinished thoughts and words and lists scattered throughout the past several years and it's like a timeline of my life.

I came across an unpublished draft today that stopped me in my tracks. It was from November of 2012.

My Decision
I will not let awkwardness or fear drive my decisions. I will learn how to love urgently, extravagantly and invisibly.

That was it. I'm not sure why I wrote those words when I did, but I'm pretty sure it was after an epic failure of some sort. I'm feeling a little goosebumpy as I read them again today because somehow after I wrote them, I began to say them to myself and pray them and live them. I don't remember even writing them down, but I know I wanted to live more like Jesus and this was the best way I knew how.

Have you ever written down a goal list or a life statement or something important you wanted to accomplish? Like, really written it down and…

ROMANTIC NOTIONS AND PUKE ON MY CARPET

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It was a romantic notion, really; this jumping off into a place with no borders. When I decided to follow Jesus and leave behind beige living, I pictured myself doing something in vibrant color: I would be moving to a third world country, or starting a ground breaking non-profit, or maybe even becoming a famous writer. I would learn about fair trade and I would type my manuscripts on a vintage typewriter and I would take my vacations in Iceland or Uruguay, all while saving orphans and freeing slaves from a life of suffering. Oh, and I would have awesome abs. Because duh.So I started doing things that scared me and I called it 'Jumping Into Awkward' because I thought that sounded compelling and super cool and even a bit risky.Awkward was a nod to my misfit self; that part of me that doesn't really like to walk into conflict or tension of any kind. I should probably tell you that I'm married to a guy who pulls on his rubber boots and strides boldly into the center of co…