Friday, May 27, 2016

A dream of mine....

The poem that you're about to read is a piece that I wrote about three years ago. At the time I had never performed my poetry for anyone and had only read a few selections for my friends. It was such a desire of my heart to share my poetry and words with others but I was too nervous. Fast forward to 2014 and I had the opportunity in one six month span to perform three of my poems for the cast of Up with People.

At the time it didn't seem like such a big deal because I was so used to being a part of the program but now looking back and rereading this poem I realize that it really was a dream come true.I went from only close friends hearing my words to a room full of 110 people from 19 different countries listening too and enjoying my pieces. Today it's a reminder for me to never take an opportunity for granted because what feels normal today may in retrospect be an extraordinary moment, a dream coming true.

'A dream of mine'

I want to perform one of my poems in a room full of people
A room filled to the brim with my peers

I want to write words that will chase them
and trace the outlines of their ears
before it fills them.

I want to plant a seed that grows into the biggest sunflower.

A flower that shines so bright that it's named after the strongest light in the sky.

I want to whisper logic.
Words that are so highly valued that the room grows eerily silent as all ears ache for my thoughts.

I want the words that took hours to write
and days to perfect
to fall out of my mouth in minutes.

Spilling into the laps of onlookers

Hoping that their expectant glances won't soon turn into disappointed frowns.

A dream of mine

Would be to shake a few powerful hands with the fingerprints of my ideas. To hand them a problem and beg them to find it's solution.

To mix my passions with theirs and guide them to brighter concepts.

A poem that's more than just words on a page. More than just the ideas of a lost, hopeless romantic soul.

But instead the thoughts of someone overwhelmed with passion.Caught in a naive bubble of a sugar filled world.

Yes...a dream of mine would be to share myself with that room.

Ask them to cup their hands around their ears to make sure no words would slip by.

I'd cry before going on stage knowing that this was it, a dream come true.

A moment where the future was meeting the present and I was caught in the whirlwind.

I'd tell them to close their eyes at the end. So we all felt it.

The love and loss of a dream fulfilled.

My work.

Their ears.

The end.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sunshine, or something like it.

 In 2009, I started a blog called 'Sunshine or something like it.' I was 19 years old and it was the beginning of my sophomore year in college. It's safe to say that at the time I had lots of feelings buzzing through my body, sometimes more than I knew what to do with. So I thought that it would be a great idea to write about them. Except, instead of buying a journal that I would keep to myself I  decided to start a blog.

The other day I was reading through some of the posts from the very first year and it beyond blows my mind at how different I am. It's crazy how my life evolved, how my friendships developed and overall just the kind of person that I've become.

As I was reading through the posts I was almost embarrassed by how direct they are. Sunshine, or something like it, was definitely not a blog that I started with the intention of only sharing bits and pieces of my life. The posts are so open and honest and some of them are so detailed that they take me right back to that moment and time.

Here's an exert from one of my posts "Sometimes I cry at night because the thought of not living out all of my dreams literally terrifies me. I pray to God begging him to let me become the person that I've always dreamed of being. I don't want to spend my life searching for something but not quite knowing what I want."

In a way I admire 19 year old me. I admire the way that she was open with God about her fears and her desires and her dream of living a life that was great. That was only 7 years ago and even though it's a pretty short amount of time I feel like I've lost some of that openness. Back then it didn't take much for me to completely spill my heart at the feet of the father and now sometimes it take a little bit of him nudging and convincing me, reminding me that it's safe.

It's crazy how the world can harden us.

Some of the things I would write back then were naive and misdirected but other things, other things like my poetry, were raw and real and unguarded. I miss being unguarded. I miss being unapologetic with my emotions and how I expressed them and wrapped them with words. I miss not being haunted by followers and readers and the desire to be heard. I miss when I wrote with no intention of anyone ever reading it.

With all of that being said, I am without a shadow of a doubt very grateful for where I am now. I love that I have people who read and comment and give me feedback on what I write. I love the sense of accountability that social media has and the routine I've created of posting regularly each week. I love the idea that someone's life could be impacted or their perspective changed or their day made by reading what the Lord put's on my heart to write.

Someone said to me today, "the only thing certain about life is that it changes," and that's so true. I may not be as naive or doe eyed as 19 year old me but I promise to make an effort to be more open. I promise to write poetry that is raw and transparent and regardless of how uncomfortable it makes me feel, I promise to do my best to be unguarded.

Here's to trying to be the kind of person that 19 year old me would be proud of!

Until next time folks. Xoxo.

Friday, May 13, 2016

And the greatest of these is love.

I've always been drawn to darkness. Not in a scary demonic way but rather in the sense that I can find comfort in sadness, peace in a dark room and love in a graveyard.

With that being said, there are times when darkness seems to come uninvited. Moments when desired quiet time turns into a season of extreme loneliness and the joy of being in a new city transitions into the depression of being away from family.

I've found that even what seems like the safest of spaces can become a dungeon when not guarded correctly.

I fall in love easily. I yearn for connection, as we all do and that leads to me getting lost in a smile, drowning in sweet words and losing myself in eyes. I'll love you until you're gone and even then I'll love your memory.

The way I love is something about myself that I really enjoy. The fact that I can meet someone once and be impacted by them and have a fondness grow in my heart towards them is important for me, it's unique and worth keeping.

But like I mentioned earlier when guarded incorrectly sometimes safe places become dungeons.

There was a season in my life where I began to grow bitter towards love and the way that it's not always returned. I began to approach love with the mindset that no matter how tight I tried to hold on to it, that it would always leave me. Instead of exploring those feelings and figuring out why I felt that way, I pursued love harder and more destructively than ever. Dead end after dead end I came up empty handed and even more bruised and broken than before.

A little less than a year ago, I made a decision that changed my life. I remember the day like it was yesterday, I was covered in shame and guilt. I was the most lost and hurt I'd ever been in my life. I had just come home from my last world tour with Up with People, a program that had defined me for the last three years and I felt so worthless. I would look in the mirror and instead of seeing light in my eyes and joy in my smile I saw pain, so much pain.

That weekend I went to church with my parents and I encountered the Father for the first time in a real and tangible way. I came to God with my guilt, with my pain and with my shame. I told him that if he could take these feelings away from me that I'd follow him for the rest of my life. I was on my knees in the front of the church and I remember feeling a weight lift off of my shoulders and all of the shame and the guilt was washed away. I stood up and for the first time in weeks I felt loved, valued and worthy of life.

That day I was forever changed.

God's love is the most powerful and inviting force I've ever encountered. That day I gave not only my life back to Christ but I gave him my heart as well. You see, in my hands my heart wasn't safe, it wasn't guarded and it was constantly being bruised and broken. When I put my heart in the hands of the father it was finally protected and cherished.

God didn't call me back to him and tell me to stop loving people. Rather, he healed my scars and my wounds and equipped me with the tools to love others from a full heart instead of an empty well. It's been said that you can't pour into others from an empty glass and that's so true, I would add that you can't truly love others from a broken heart either.

As my relationship with The Father continues to grow each day I'm learning more and more about love and what it really looks like. I'm learning that all those moments where I thought I had finally found it, that those encounters truly pale in comparison to the real thing. I feel like the Lord is holding my heart and unpacking all of the baggage, expectations and scars and replacing them with light, hope and the realities of real love.

There's not a thing that we can do that God won't forgive and not a person on this earth that he doesn't long to shower in his love.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it does not keep record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

Until next time gang, Xoxo

Friday, May 6, 2016

On the corner with Kevin.

Eight months ago, I was driving home from church and I met a man named Kevin. Kevin was homeless,on the side of the road and he needed help. Since the light was red I rolled down my window and started to talk to him. I asked him what his name was and how he was doing and he asked me if I had any spare change. I looked in my wallet hoping to see a few bucks but all I had with me was a $20.

I thought to myself "Man, that's a lot of money to just give away," and I heard an almost instant response, I think from God, that I easily had the means to immediately after go to the ATM and replace the $20 that I was going to give him. I gave the money to Kevin and when he realized that I had given him a $20 he started to uncontrollably sob and then the light turned green.

As I drove away my vision began to get blurry and my chest tight as I thought about my selfishness. There I was, driving a car that my host family let me use, free of charge. At the time I was living in their home rent free and eating dinner with them every evening. I was surviving in Colorado, at that point, solely because of the kindness of a family that was at one point strangers to me and I struggled to extend kindness to Kevin.

I think at times it's human nature to hold on to what we have with a closed fist. To be skeptical of the homeless, to wonder how they got there, what addiction they're struggling with and more. At times I feel like judgement comes quicker than solutions when we're looking at the people that we think somehow turned their American dream into a nightmare.

The day that I met Kevin, something inside of me changed. I drove away and I sat in a parking lot and I just cried and cried. I cried because I knew that $20 meant SO much more to Kevin than it would ever mean to me. I cried because if that were me, if that was one of my brothers, if that was my dad, my sister or my mom I would want someone to help them, to help me.

After I met Kevin a strong affection for the homeless began to grow in my heart. I would find myself turning around and pulling over to talk to someone on the street. Not because I necessarily had any money or even food to give them but rather because I wanted them to know that I saw them, that I love them, that they're important and that they have so much value.

I can honestly say that the people I give food or money too are just as grateful and happy as the people that I can only sit and talk with or hug and pray for.

Meeting Kevin reminded me of the love of Christ. Jesus didn't walk this earth with a closed fist wondering if he had enough to meet the needs of those around him, instead he extended himself and constantly went out of his way. Whether you're a believer or not, reading about the life of Jesus is a beautiful and eye opening experience. Christ is such an example of how eyes of sympathy are never enough but rather we must be filled with, moved by and continually motivated by compassion.

I heard someone say last week in a sermon that sympathy will stand by and say "that's so sad" where as compassion will not only think someones situation is sad but also come up with a plan to make it better.

I used to pray to God and ask why I was so moved and so hurt by the sight of the homeless it was through those prayer's that I began to learn more about Christ and it started to make sense. God is defined by his love for us, a love that not only loves but goes a billion steps further and saves. So those things that are in our hearts, the hurt, the pain, the weight of other people's lives, we don't feel them by accident it's no coincidence at all instead it's us being the hands and feet of Christ on earth.

God is not and will never be sympathy, he'll never stop there and neither will I. I want to forever be saturated in a Christ like compassion that compels me to act.

I wonder where Kevin is today. I drove by that street week in and week out after meeting him and I never saw him again. Wherever he is I hope that he knows that he's loved, that he's valued and that he's not invisible.

I think that I have yet to see the full extent of what my meeting Kevin will mean to my world. My heart hasn't been the same and my eyes see fresh. Where I once saw a bum on the corner I now see someone who's name I long to know and who's story I can't wait to hear.

I dare you to extend yourself, to step out of your comfort zone in a dramatic way for something that matters. I dare you to step into compassion and leave the tired and old useless story of sympathy in your past. Whether your cause is the homeless, the poor, global warming or whatever your heart is drawn towards....step out of your box and allow intentional and driven love to guide you to impact the lives of those around you that are in need.

If you find yourself working with a great program or if you have an awesome testimony from helping someone in need I would love to hear it! Feel free to comment below and share your story or send me an email at and I'll share a few of the beautiful testimonies and stories that I receive.

Until next time gang! Xoxo