just calm down.

i have been struggling to write a blog for weeks.  in fact, i’ve started about eight different ones with the exact same sentiment.  they are still sitting on my desktop, half started.  i don’t why it’s been so difficult for me, lately.  i’ll blame it on the dreary weather.  it’s been dark and rainy.  but, the sun is trying to shine through today.  amidst the clouds, it’s peeking out.  so, despite the fact that i feel like i have so much to say and  nothing all at the same time – something is getting posted.  for all six of you to read.

we’re in another season of transition down here.  i’m beginning to wonder how long a season can really last – or if at some point, that’s just the way things are.  either way, things have changed and continue to do so.  for me, when there is a positional shift in a place, it naturally makes me wonder how it will affect the relationships i cherish.  i don’t really have answers to that question.  but i’m more confident in this community that i belong to then i ever have been.  i’m confident that we’re all in this together; good and bad, messy and put together.  we’re all here.  in the spirit, we’re knit together in a weird, supernatural way.  i used to be really afraid of these kinds of relationships because i was afraid they might go away someday.  my fear of what may or not happen on the back end of something kept me from blessings at the onset.  i’m not so afraid, anymore.  i wonder, sometimes.  but i think i can wonder without being afraid.

i’m doing a lot of pondering these days.  which can be both healthy and dangerous for me.  it’s easy to get excited about things, begin to dream up new ideas and possibilities.  it’s also really easy for me to look at the enormity that is life and get all super serious, contemplating the deep things of how the world works, why i’m on it, how there can be both good and evil, sorrow and joy.  it’s all very important to ponder.  but i go into debbie downer mode pretty quick, convinced that the world is, in fact, going to hell in a hand basket.  my insides get all dramatic and the voice-over guy in my head comes on.  oh, you don’t have a guy that does voice-overs in your life?  i do.  he probably works part time as a radio-show host.  he gets super dramatic on me with life lessons and how i need ot find significance in the flower petal that just fell to the ground.  it’s like life goes into slow motion until i slap myself.

but then i slap myself out of it.  stand on some furniture to, one more time, remind myself that god is good.  always.  that’s usually the cycle of my pondering.

my sweet friend caroline gave a really great word on monday at church.  yes, i go to church on monday.  there’s a chance we meet in a restaurant.  okay, fine. it’s a bar.  well, it has a bar.  and yes, women preach at my church.  young women.  and do you know what?  it’s the best church i’ve ever been to.  the worship is incredible, the teaching solid, and the people life-giving, honorable, and sincere.  i love my church in a bar.  whew.  now that that’s all out in the open….

so, caroline preached on how we need to rest.  about how when we find a deep place of rest and assurance in who God is the circumstances around us don’t really matter.  we can stop spinning and spinning and spinning and just stand with solidarity.  what i heard the lord saying through her was, “just calm down.”  so, i’m working on that.  calming down, knowing that it’s all under control.  the lord has it in his hand.  all of it.  remembering that can be hard.  especially in the midst of change, in the midst of watching people hurt, in the middle of confusion and chaos.  my thoughts and emotions go all haywire.  i get really riled up.  and right now, in the middle of it, the lord [and probably some of the people around me] are saying, “just calm down.  it’s all going to be okay.”

so, i’ll just be over here.  tea in hand, calming down.

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a sunday stream of consciousness.

it’s been awhile since i’ve just sat down to write.  write about what’s going on – what i’m thinking and feeling.  i sometimes think about it and then i start thinking about how i have to make it sound good.  i’d have to whip out the thesaurus so i sound smart on the interwebs.  i think about how i need to gather my thoughts and formulate adult opinions on things before my words will mean anything.  i think about how i shouldn’t waste my time filling people in on my little life but instead should probably write about thought-provoking global issues that are affecting our society and humanity as a whole.  or something.

but i don’t want to write that way.  it’s just not my forte.  [no, i did not use the thesaurus for that one].

i’d rather just let my thoughts a’flow.

coming off of catalyst last week,  we hit the ground running.  things are changing [again] in marketing world.  we’re facing yet another transition and the tension that comes with it.  in a meeting with one of our fearless leaders the other day he said, “the option is to just keep going.”  it’s comforting to know i’m not doing transition alone and that even though there could be much frustration and anxiety in the midst of the unknown, i’m really so much at peace.  the lord has been good to me in that way lately.  i’m just peaceful and stable.  which is still new territory for me, but it’s becoming more familiar as the days go by.

i leave for guatemala in the morning.  of course i haven’t packed or really thought much about it.  i’ll only be gone for four days [unless i accidentally get stuck for a few extra].  i’m heading down there to help do a mid-point debrief for our passport team.  it’s been fifteen months since i’ve left the country.  wowzas. it’s about time.  it’s a good thing for me, in so many ways.  i need to travel – even for just a few days – but i also need to start exercising my voice in new ways.  i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t at least a little nervous.  the whole field support, participant thing isn’t something i’m usually involved with.  but i need it. i need to be uncomfortable and be forced to do the thing i’m called to.  i need to be forced to prophesy and pour life into these students and leaders.  i need to, once again, be placed in a position where i have to hear God’s voice in order to move.  even if it’s just for a few days.  it feels good to be trusted with something so important.  it feels good to be a part of people’s development.  and it really, really feels good to have my passport out of the box it’s normally kept in.

i ate cinnamon rolls two days in a row this weekend.  i also stayed in my pajamas for long periods of time, enjoyed four hours around the dinner table with friends, went to a movie, journeyed to the library and purchased travel-sized shampoos.  i love simple weekends.  simple weekends make me feel blessed.

then i come home and read stuff like this.  or watch videos like this.  and i have to wrestle with the blessings again.  i have to reevaluate why i have it so good and other people are suffering so much.  gah.  i hate that internal fight.  i still can’t always reconcile the things i’ve seen and the life i live.  i have to remind myself that in my own way, i am actively choosing to be a part of a solution that is bringing hope to a world.  but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough.

and with that weighty question i guess it’s a good place to end this blog?  sometimes i have trouble ending things.  so i just keep talking and repeating myself and coming up with new things to say.  conclusions have never been my strong point.  maybe it’s because i struggle to find resolve.  maybe i should take bob newharts advice and just stop it.

embedded residue. i’ve been home one year.

well.  it’s official.  i can no longer start a sentence with “last year on the world race…”  i’ve been on american soil for three hundred and sixty five days. [minus the week-long stint in ireland last fall].  whoa.  deep breath.

i landed in lax sometime in the afternoon a year ago.  the lady looked at my passport and said “you’ve been gone for quite some time.  welcome home.” to which i offered a fake smile as i fought back tears.  then i stood in customs for three hours before finally walking out into american civilization.  i spent the evening with my world race bff’s before hopping on a red-eye back to missouri.

i walked off of a plane in springfield and hugged my family.  we drove home.  the first thing i did was try on an old pair of jeans to make sure they still fit.  then i took a nap.  we ate lasagna for dinner.  and normal life just kind of began again.

countless times over the last year when i have thought back to my time on the world race i’ve  felt like it was nothing more than a dream.  a crazy adventure that just kind of happened but it wasn’t real.  except that it was real.  so real, in fact, that the residue is still on me.  not the africa dirt and asia smell.  but the residue of the things i saw.  the prayers i prayed and people i met.  the residue of feelings i felt and dreams i dared to dream.  it’s still on me, the glory of it all.

in fact, it’s just being embedded deeper and deeper into who i am.

i spent three weeks at home.  mostly i tried to catch up with the friends and family i had missed for eleven months.  i ate a lot of food and drank a lot of coffee.  i packed up my life and drove to georgia, where i’ve spent the last eleven months on a brand new adventure and at the same time discovering a new kind of normal.

my first few months in georgia were mostly spent in tears.  i cried because i was lonely.  i cried because i missed being on the field.  i missed holding babies and praying for sick people.  i cried because i had no plan.  i cried because i had absolutely no idea how to do my job.  sometimes i cried because it was the only thing i knew to do in the midst of trying to process and re-enter to so many things.  but, over the months, slowly but surely the tears have become fewer and farther between.  i promise.  ask allison.

i’ve become somewhat settled.  in gainesville, yes.  but mostly in my spirit.  i’ve got a bit of handle on why i’m here.  i’m not so lonely anymore. and i’ve figured some things out about my job.  i feel like i’ve processed the things i’ve seen; even though i still miss the african babies.  i guess i don’t really have a plan.  but i don’t feel like i really need one right now, so that’s refreshing.

anyways.  a lot has happened in the last year.  a lot of good things and a lot of hard things.  some broken places have been exposed and some other broken places have been healed.  i’m more whole than i was a year ago.  i’m more confident and hopeful than i was a year ago.  i’m definitely more free than i was year ago. and i am so much more thankful thank i was a year ago.

i’m thankful for the journey of the world race.  i’m thankful for the journey the last eleven months in georgia have been.  as thankful as i am for the past, i want to be the kind of person who looks ahead to the future with hope and great expectation.  there’s really no telling what’s in store for the next three hundred and sixty five days.  but my prayer is that the residue of my past journeys would become more deeply embedded as i set my eyes and heart towards the journey ahead.

with that.  enjoy the video i made of our world race journey.

happy home-one-year-aversary k-squad.

twenty four[th] year.

well, it’s that time again.  twenty four-years ago i came into the world on easter sunday.  last year i found myself in thailand getting tatted.  and this year.  well, this year i’m sitting at my desk in gainesville, georgia.  i’m sending emails and making powerpoints.  i’m getting birthday hugs and looking forward to dinner out with friends tonight.  i’m blessed.  really, really blessed.

i decided to make a list of twenty four things i want to do in my twenty fourth year.  i was working on it last night and kept getting stuck.  so i did what anyone would do.  i googled.  i googled all the things i should do in my twenties, 101 things to do before you die.  normal google-ing things.  i found a few good ideas.  but for the most part i just realized how much i really have done in my life.  like, i’ve had some incredible and amazing opportunities.  and i was browsing the world wide web last night, clicking from link to link to link i was overwhelmed with how very thankful i really am.

really, i am.

anyways.  i came up with some things i’d still like to do in my twenty-fourth year.

so, without further ado :

. make an adult purchase.  i’ve decided i want a hope chest.
. buy and wear nice pajamas.
. learn to make sushi and order good wine.
. save money.
. read some classics.  [huckleberry finn, catcher and the rye, little women]
. leave the country.  at least once.
. spend a weekend in isolation.  with jesus.
. sing karaoke.
. read poetry. write poetry.  let people read my poetry.
. get my etsy shop up and running. and sell at least ten things on it.
. memorize all of romans chapter eight.
. become an excellent coupon-er.
. learn basic phrases in greek.  you know, for when i go back.
. pick five recipes and learn to cook them from memory.
. play in the rain.
. sew a quilt.
. lead someone to jesus in america.
. send more random, just-because-i-love-you mail to my supporters, friends, and family.
. visit a new state for the weekend.
. take a dance class.
. deliver a prophetic word to a group of people.  a small group of people.
. grow professionally.
. document the things i’m thankful for.  send lots of thank you notes.
. compete in something.
so.  those are my things.  whatdayathink?
[also. i’ve been praying for a very specific birthday present from jesus.]
i’ll let you know if i get it or not.

big coats.

growing up i used to always dress up in my mom’s clothes.  i’d wear her t-shirts as night gowns and her night gowns as if i was getting ready to make some grand entrance into a fancy ball.  the shoes were too big, the belts never had enough holes, and pants weren’t even an option because you couldn’t get them to stay up.

and i remember looking at myself in the mirror in my get-up.  i’d strut myself into the bathroom ready to see my new, re-made beautiful self…

and i would laugh.

not like a giggle.  but like a deep, from the belly, “this is the most ridiculous thing i’ve ever seen” laugh.

i feel like all little kids probably go through this same cycle.  you adorn yourself in clothes that you believe will make you look like an adult.  and then you go to check yourself out and you have no other choice but to you laugh at yourself.  because the outfit is just absurd.  even children instinctively know that the clothes is too big and they shouldn’t be wearing it.  it doesn’t make sense.  it just doesn’t fit.

and, well.  that’s where i feel like i’m at.

because i’ve been putting on some bigger coats lately.  and it’s good and exciting and it makes me feel a little bit more like a grown up.  but at the same time, it makes me laugh when i stand in front of the mirror. because the coats don’t fit.  they don’t fit at all.  they’re gigantic. and it doesn’t make any sense why i should be wearing it.  i can feel the weight of the strong cloth resting on my body.  the coat’s so big it almost swallows me.  it’s heavy and fun and new and scary and exciting.  and overwhelming.

mostly overwhelming.

i’m overwhelmed in lots of different ways these days.  overwhelmed with gratitude for the chance to put on a new coat.  overwhelmed with curiosity as to how this whole transition is actually going to play out. overwhelmed with insecurity and restlessness.  because as much as i really want to, i’m just not fully confident in my abilities to rock the new choice in wardrobe.  i’ve been overwhelmed with excitement and hope for what’s on the horizon.  and at the same time overwhelmed at the thought of all of the hopelessness thats operating in the world right now.  i’ve been overwhelmed with thinking too far ahead.  but also overwhelmed by grace to just enjoy right now.

so.  yep.  that’s about it.  no big resolve this time around.  i’m just wearing some coats that are way too big.  i’m sure i’ll grow into them in time.  and then as soon as i grow into one it will be time for a costume change and i’ll get another.  and then i’ll stand in front of the mirror and laugh at the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

my hope, i guess, is that someday the coats i’m putting on now won’t feel so overwhelmingly awkward and heavy.  but that they will be coats that just kind of rest on me softly.  coats that fit to my form and my stature.  coats that i can in fact rock.  coats that makes sense on me.  coats that fit well.  because even though it took me a lot of growing in to, they look good.  they look damn good.

thingamahiggs. a new beginning.

here we are at the beginning of a new year.  2011.  the year of transition, i am told.

i’ve got some goals and some different things i’m working on.  not the least of which is starting a new blog. i’ve been blogging on my world race blog for over two years now, and will continue to do so.  but it was time for a change.  time for an expansion.  this new blog offers much more versatility and creativity in terms of what i want to post and where i’d like to go in the blog-o-sphere.  whoa. blog-o-sphere?  nerd alert.

so.  here i am.  redefining my blog.  thingamahiggs.  i wasn’t crazy about the name at first.  my good friend lindsay came up with for my new etsy shop, another new endeavor. but, it’s growing on me. thingamahiggs. you know, instead of thingamajigs. just making sure you’re with me.

i like it.  there’s no going back now, folks.  so i might as well embrace it.

thingamahiggs.  a new place for my things and my thoughts.

so, as i sit on my couch; alone for the first time in days, i’ll raise my glass [of water] to a new year and a new endeavor.  a new idea and a new goal.  i’ll raise it to transitions and change and to the excitement ensuing.  yes, i will embrace what is in front of me even if i can’t define it.  i’ll find contentment in the now instead of worrying about the not yets and whats to comes.

here’s to you, 2011.  here’s to you, thingamahiggs.  godspeed.