Posts filed under this-here blog

because i'm into you, september

September 1—I took this picture because it  felt  like a jungle outside. Dumb humidity. But yay pretty trees.

September 1—I took this picture because it felt like a jungle outside. Dumb humidity. But yay pretty trees.

September blew in like a workhorse—the air so stalwart you could slice a knife through the humidity. Three days past my release date for Every Shattered Thing, I felt all sorts of possibility before me. And it was so fun those few days watching my books climb the charts and land almost in the three-digits. I nearly reached my goal of selling 500 books [although not in the first week like I tossed out to the sky] and signed with an incredible agent who believes in this story and my writing. 

Then my sister got married, walking down the aisle in our mama's dress, a flower in her hair and butterflies skittering about the lawn. She was beautiful and the whole ceremony I was singing Lumineers in my head [when I wasn't snotting because hi, emotions—welcome. It's been awhile. Like a few minutes]. 

After the wedding, it was a few days in bed thanks to the cold-from-Hades and then packing my bags again for a retreat that healed me in all sorts of unexpected ways. From there, we met with friends who are more like family and spent the weekend talking over Human Care. 

It was a whirlwind, but beautiful. I didn't get much done, but I think my heart needed that—a break of doing and just time and space to listen.

books read ::  

Origin - not my favorite in the series. Entertaining, sure. But not my favorite. ::shrugs:: 

Keeping Her -- a fun read but a lot shorter than I anticipated, even for a novella. 

In This Moment -  a total surprise that is now on my favorites for the year. Indie, well written, authentic—everything I love in a good story.

Vain -  My publicist told me early in the month you need to read Vain. And so I one-clicked it and read it in 24 hours. Fisher Amelie did a fantastic job with this one and I'm so intrigued about her Seven Deadly Sins series. [I'll have a post about book two, Greed, later in October]. 

Thrashing About With God - An incredible memoir. Mandy Steward takes the chaos and messiness of "thrashing" and weaves it perfectly with the coming into one's own. It's not sequential or even necessarily organized, but really there's no other way for her to have spilled her words. Full of a poetry of hope and longing and wonder, the reader is left with a longing to abandon normalcy and spend some time in the wilderness. 

books still reading ::  

Remember how this month kind of blew up all over the place? Well I'm still reading a lot of books because of it. #sorrynotsorry

remembered rapture, bell hooks

Penguins and Golden Calves, Madeleine L'Engle

The True Secret of Writing, Natalie Goldberg

Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey

Book Thief, Marcus Zusack

Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. 

for the love of poetry ::  

Lord: it is time. The summer was immense. 
Lay your shadow on the sundials
and let loose the wind in the fields.

Bid the last fruits to be full;
give them another two more southerly days;
press them to ripeness, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house will not
build one anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so
for a long time,
will stay up, read, write long letters,
and wander the avenues, up and down,
restlessly, while the leaves are
blowing.

- Rilke

television ::  

I may have watched the entire second season of Girls within two days. It's fine.  Also? THE VOICE. It's back. 

music :: 

I've started brainstorming with Every Shattered Thing 's companion novella and so with that, I created a playlist I've been listening to a lot. It seems to have worked, because driving down to my sister's bachelorette party the character starting yelling in my head. 

Other than that, I've been listening to tons of my 2013 playlist.  

  on beauty ::

Mirenesse Glossy Kiss - so, my love affair with really good lipstick only started about six months ago. But y'all. This stuff is amazing. It doesn't dry out my lips, it's so easy to apply, and I don't have to worry about those bothersome smudges I get with the super glossy lipstick. One of my favorites for sure.  

Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo - basically, I've never felt my hair softer. I promise you. The first time I used this with the Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner I kept petting myself. Not awkward at all, you know? This is some of the best stuff out there, though. And I've tried a lot of shampoos. I'm kind of obsessed with hair products. It's fine.

Both of these products are from Birchbox—basically one of my favorite things. Use this link if you want to sign up and I'll get some referral points. #wink

Ro's Argan Body Conditioner - if you know me, you know my affinity for LUSH products. Like I pretty much want to buy out the entire store when we go for just one thing. It's a problem. [But I mean...a good one.] Ro's Argan is divine. Every time I use it I fall in love with the scent all over again. And it makes my skin feel almost as smooth as my hair with Davines Shampoo  . Win! 

everything else :: 

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  • Seeing my book climb and ALMOST reach the three digits
  • Facebook messages that make me whisper what is my life?  
  • Running around Randall's with Russ and Preston and watching them throw together something magnificent. 
  • Walking through the woods at night and seeing the moon against the blue-dark sky, the clouds cotton-bellied and grey. 
  • Lisa Loeb sing-a-longs
  • Holding my nephew
  • Finding out I'll be an aunt again
  • The surprise gift of new-friends grabbing my knees and hands to pray over [and with] me
  • Looking into the eyes and hugging the necks of behind-the-screen-friends
  • #breadandwine
  • Blackberry gin&tonic with friends
  • Watching the sunrise in the middle of Texas hill country

What about you? What's made your September magnificent?  

:: Linking up with the amazing Leigh Kramer for her What I'm Into posts ::  

Posted on September 30, 2013 and filed under this-here blog.

for this, I will write.

For close to a year, I resisted beginning the adoption process because I feared losing myself as a person.

At the time, I worked 60+ hour weeks and locked myself in a closet in order to finish editing Come Alive and rarely showed myself in public because therapy had me in emotional lockdown and I didn't know what it meant to socialize and work through trauma.

Even in the fall, when it looked as if we'd be expecting a baby girl come November, I hesitated to find the excitement because holy cow a tiny human. In my arms. In less than a few months.

And when it fell through, I did lose myself for a little while. For months I'd looked toward motherhood as my next big task. I'd launched my book, I found my groove with my blog, and I was 10,000+ words with a new manuscript. So who was I if my next step ended up being a mirage?

[enter Story Unfolding]

There's an article I use in my Story101 course that talks of breakthroughs coming with a fever. Whatever your "breakthrough" may be, it typically follows some type of emotional or physical upheaval. Whether it be a dream deferred, financial crisis, a failed adoption or the flu, for whatever reason creative people often find clarity in the midst of these difficult situations. For me, my clarity came after copious amounts of Gossip Girl episodes and side eye glances toward my laptop. I couldn't imagine finding creativity again. I couldn't picture what it meant to dream because what I thought was my dream, just being a mother who wrote and published books, it all fell through my grasp so easily.

I don't know anything about what it means to take over responsibility of a tiny human. I do know it's a lot of work.

I also know those months of disappointment following our failed adoption in the fall served as a special sort of refinement for my dreams and who I wanted to be as a woman and mother.

I want to be a mother who pursues her dreams

I want our son to wake up in his rocker sitting next to me or in the carrier resting on me and see me typing away on my laptop because it's what I love to do. I want him to know we are a family who breathes life into dreams and doesn't give up because of a shift in schedule or an unexpected wrench in our plans. 

I want to be a woman who doesn't lose her creativity with the birth of her child, but finds a deeper well because of the love and inspiration flowing through her veins as she watches her son discover his hands. I want to capture the delight of hearing his first laugh, or experiencing that first slobbery kiss, or watching him run to greet his dad at the end of the day. 

Here's what I believe: I'm not losing my life when our son comes home. I'm gaining a whole other dimension. And while my schedule may seem a little whacked out and while I've allowed time and space for margins those first few weeks, I have every intention to continue to pursue this creativity that pulses through my soul because I have to and because I know in the deepest parts of me that it will make me a better mother. 

So. Starting today, I'll be posting my thoughts on creativity+motherhood every Saturday. With exception for June, where I have a few friends on the docket for some guest posts that first month with our son, I'll be wading in these waters of what it means for me as a new mom who needs writing as an outlet. I'll wrestle through priorities, schedules, rhythms...maybe share some lessons learned and new things I'm trying. All of them will be bent toward encouragement and reminders that no one is perfect and we're all in this messy pursuit together. 

In the fall, I viewed motherhood as a task. A job. I assumed it would take up every.single.second. leaving me with no breathing room for other things.

I'm realizing now it's a both/and. It will take up every second of my day. It will leave me with what seems to be no breathing room at times. But that will leave me breathless and inspired by the absolute magic of it all. Motherhood is not a task or a project or a job. It's love in action. It's life in motion. It's tripping and stumbling and swinging and flying and soaring and careening toward a single hope that this soul now in our care will know one day just how much we loved, just how much we prayed, just how much we waited for him to come home before his name was even a thought or a whisper on someone's lips. 

It's Beauty and Risk and Authenticity and Freedom and Healing. 

And for this, I will write.

Posted on May 11, 2013 and filed under this-here blog, creativity & motherhood.

an invitation to the table.

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Unless we are brave enough to become vulnerable, we commit others to the same fate. The self-preservation that once helped us cope, now only breeds death. Once, your voice was stolen. But now you are silencing voices--sealing others in a similar tomb. We are broken people. We are hurtful and hurting. We are messy and beautiful. A paradox existing in one skin.

Sarah Drinka

Terry Tempest Williams tells me that for a woman to find her voice she must commit a betrayal. It makes sense, right? When I read the words, my chest tightened and my throat constricted. When I shared them with the women in my eCourse, there was a collective gasp.

It's an idea we recognize immediately to be true because for so long our stories have rendered us silent. 

And while there are plenty of people who I feel I must betray in order to share my story completely, the person standing in the way right now is me. This is why I curled up under my covers and was on the brink of tears for close to three days after publishing how I struggle with sex in marriage. For those of you who commented or sent me emails and texts about my bravery - know I was always this close to unpublishing that sucker whenever another person shared it. I didn't publish that post out of bravery, but necessity.

Hear me, ladies: we've been silent too long. 

I remember sitting in a coffee shop this past summer with my best friend. We were wrestling through the most recent controversy and googling words like complementarian and egalitarian. The whole time, I kept thinking that we were missing the boat. All of this fighting, all of this pointing fingers and blaming the church, it wasn't going to do anything.

The real issue - the one haunting me and keeping me awake at night - were the stories.

I couldn't get away from them and I couldn't understand why no one was talking about it. Stories of women asked to publicly forgive their rapists, stories of emotional abuse, stories of my sisters dealing with what it means to have someone else's hand covering your mouth. The more I looked around, the more I realized we were a movement of walking wounded, invisible to those around us because we spend our lives invisible to the darkest parts of our story. We walk around half alive, attempting to avoid attention because attention is what got us hurt in the first place.

And I'm done.

A few weeks ago, a friend tweeted about the French troops liberating Timbuktu. She said women were leaving their houses and ripping off their head coverings. I read articles where twelve year old girls started dancing in the streets and dug through their closets to find their earrings.

This is what I want for us, church. I want women to feel as if they can rip off that which binds them, even if it's a story sucking the air out of their lungs. 

So for you who know - I told you before that your story belongs at the table. This is your invitation. Sister, if you've been hurt - if you've been silenced - if you've been begging for a chance to share the story that runs electric through your veins - I want to hear it. Write it out and send it to me. Or we can skype and cry together. If you're local, let's meet for coffee.

Every week, I'll share a different story here, written out as best as it can be told. All will be anonymous to protect those who share. Some will be bare bones and others combined in a form of fiction if necessary. My prayer is that for every post published, someone else will find freedom.

Freedom to share. Freedom to believe. Freedom to heal.

It's time to rebel against the silence - will you join me?

*image source

Posted on February 24, 2013 and filed under the rebel diaries, this-here blog.

bartering art for fame.

215111_10152335480090004_650543507_n On a good day, about 100 people will visit this site.

And regardless of how much of my insides I spill forth onto these pages, I understand the likelihood of me reaching a larger audience are slim. Why?

I refuse to barter my art for fame.

This past summer, I stood in my best friend's bathroom and composed a poet-line with magnet words :: girl, we writers howl and heal porcelain bone. I pieced these words together because if anything, this is what I want from my writing. I want you to hear me howl. I want you to experience the healing of broken words. I want you to come away feeling a little more whole - not because of what I said, but because of what you felt. I pray you feel a little of the holy in my words - that I've stepped aside long enough to let Him in to those spaces between reality and magic.

So here's the thing :: this here blog? I howl here. And well, if you take a look at some of the more popular blogs focused on writing and getting your voice heard, there's not much howling going on - there's a lot of repeats. A lot of mimicking.

A lot of bartering art for fame.

I won't do it.

I've been studying trends lately. Watching the bestseller lists, quietly observing what it is people want to read. And I see it - they want escape.

And I get this. I do. But I can't offer it - not in the way they're wanting me to give it. I realize this with a bit of trepidation because I know what this means.

So, I'll take you 100 readers. I'll continue to howl and weep and claw at this debris around me in order to find some beauty. I'll hold the mirror up so you can look in it and see the purpose built inside your bones. I'll dance and celebrate and point to life's rhythm pulsing in the rustling of trees and the gentle steps of babies.

But I will not barter. I won't.

I'd rather peel back the veil on what it means to write dangerously and with intention - holding close this purpose of beauty within pain - even if it means I won't ever see fame.

Posted on December 20, 2012 and filed under remembering art, this-here blog.

blogging for rescue.

About six months ago, I said yes to a trip across the world. Just the thought of it made my heart race :: human trafficking awareness in schools, working with survivors, teaching basic elements of art journaling. And, given that the trip would be to Moldova, I was almost guaranteed to see snow.

Then, in August we were placed with a birth mom and I canceled my spot on the trip.

A few months later, when everything seemed to be falling apart with our adoption, I questioned the timing of it all. But, as I've been shown time and time again, God doesn't work on our timeline.

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Recently I stumbled upon an initiative through an organization started by a dear friend. The Exodus Road, a coalition of investigators working toward the abolition of trafficking, started looking for bloggers to lend their words for the cause of these men who go into brothels and battle the front lines.

My answer was swift.

During this season, it's not feasible for me to pack my bags and travel the world. However, I have a computer and I have words and I have the unmitigated passion to see human trafficking end in my lifetime.

And so I blog for rescue.

I'll blog for Sarah, a girl considered "fresh" by her pimps who was sold as a virgin for 600 dollars. When investigators went to visit her, she scribbled a note and handed it to them.

"Please rescue me," it said.

And at the time, the investigators were forced to leave without her. Raids are tricky and knee-jerk reactions are harmful at best. It takes time and money and planning to execute a successful rescue.

But early this fall, Sarah's story changed. A team of investigators funded by the Exodus Road were able to pull of a raid at Sarah's brothel.

It took the partnership of several NGO's, two of which are involved with Exodus Road, several government and police agencies and three days but it was professional and resulted in the discovery of eight underage victims as well as the arrests of the brothel owners.

From Exodus Road ::

And while it did require more time, money, and manpower than first assumed, the team pursued Sarah’s freedom with a tenacity that inspires us every time we read the investigative report. They remind us that there are brave men and women on the front lines who live the belief that child slavery is unacceptable.

And Sarah’s life will never be the same because of it.

And because of Exodus Road's new initiative, you can be involved in bringing others like Sarah out of slavery. A team of bloggers have been working hard trying to spread the word. We've only started a few weeks ago and already have funded multiple missions. Rescue is coming and you can be a part. Donate today?

Posted on December 12, 2012 and filed under this-here blog.