Category Archives: Uncategorized

bending toward the sun

Don’t tell my mom, but I like to garden now.
And entering the 4th year of being an ‘urban gardener’ I decided now would be a great time to try my hand at seed starting.

One evening, while chopping up mini peppers to roast for the week ahead, I decided that this would be the year I would save the seeds and propagate them. I was going to get my money’s worth from my local grocery store’s mini snack pepper purchase.

I dried out the seeds, planted them in a seed starter, and voila – plants!

After a couple of weeks, tiny seedlings started to poke out. Having these tiny shoots in the Light House has been such a fun addition. To see them, care for them, anticipate them going into the ground and eventually producing fruit…what a delight.

What caught my attention a few days ago, though, is how they are bent. The massive window in my living room area lets in so much light, as previously mentioned here.

I said out loud to no one, “Huh…they’re bending toward the light. How ’bout that.”

And in bending toward their energy source, they receive what they need to thrive. Without this light, without facing what they need, they are left without a chance to grow.

You see where I’m going, right?

These tiny seedlings pointing me toward a deeper, richer, more rooted truth – I need to bend toward the Son.

What I love about gardening is the process. It’s slow and methodical and tender. No gardener reaps a harvest in a day. Effort and care and patience is required.

And that’s how it is in my relationship with Jesus. Effort and care and patience.

And like these seedlings, a small turn toward the sun/Son gives me enough to continue growing. And as I continue growing, I continue to soak up more of the sun/Son because my leaves are bigger, my roots are stronger, and my stem is more grounded.

But none of this happens if I don’t bend toward the Son.

It’s a slight bend. A small turning toward for effect to happen.

And that’s all it takes for me with Jesus – a small turning toward, gazing at His Love, for effect to happen.

I can confidently say that every day I have spent with Jesus has changed me.

I haven’t spent every day with Him, but the ones I have, have mattered. They have grown me. They have changed me on a molecular level.

So as I look at these plants for the next few weeks before they get put into the soil of The Gard, I hope they remind me to bend toward the Son as my source of nourishment and care.

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walk slowly

Have you ever gone on a walk with a toddler? I have. And it’s definitely one of my top 10 favorite things. I can say this because I’m not the parent and I don’t have to go on these walks all of the time.

On my most recent toddler walk we went at sub-sloth pace. Every leaf that got in our way was met with a tiny, “Hey!” Every stick, “Ooo stick!” as it was piled up next to a tree.

As others were already at our destination and my adult FOMO started to kick in, I realized this pace was worth paying attention to. I would have much rather picked the toddler up, walked at a faster pace, and gotten to the park in a ‘timely’ manner.

Instead, every step had intention.

We looked around.
We noticed the sticks.
We got annoyed with the leafs.
We spent time together.

And we walked at a pace that made me pay attention.

I believe God is big enough to connect with us in ways that our hearts need connection. Sure, there are spiritual rhythms and disciplines and structures set up for us to commune with the Lord, but He also knows us better than we know ourselves and gives us what we need when we need it.

I need God with flesh on. I need connection with His people. Not too many at one time though (#introvert).

And on a walk to a park on a sunny afternoon, His connection was a toddler with a slower than molasses pace. A pace that helped me to that connecting and communing with Him was as ‘simple’* as slowing down and looking around. Noticing the leaves on the ground, the fresh air, the love from friends, the fresh pizza dough waiting to be baked, the tiny hand holding mine, the hawk in the tree,





But I don’t notice these things if I don’t walk slowly.

So, on this, the first of February in the year of our Lord two-thousand-twenty-three, my hope is to walk at a little bit of a slower pace. To notice the things that bring me joy and frustration. To notice the things that get in my way and say, “Hey!” before kicking them off the path. To bring myself fully in to the moment I am in, take a deep breath, and sigh out a tiny prayer of gratitude for the life I never imagined I would be able to live.

*I say ‘simple’ because slowing down is the most simple, yet complicated, thing we can do. I’d rather have coffee or an adult beverage to hash out my thoughts than write about them right now.

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hopes & dreams

I had a birthday recently. Obviously, if you pay attention to the picture above, you know how old I am. I think I’m going to call this my triple-threat year.

One of my favorite birthday traditions with myself is to make some space for reflection over where I’ve seen God move and work in the days since my last birthday, and to dream dreams with Him about what we want to see happen between now and the next.

I’m not naturally prone to gratitude. If anything, I remind myself often of the lack – where I’ve missed the mark, where I could’ve done better, the gaps that I failed to fill. I threat forecast. I see where things have gone wrong, and I try to prevent those things from happening in the future. So, the practice of gratitude, well…needless to say, it can be life or death for me sometimes.

This past year has been the hardest.
Yet, the bravest.
The driest, yet, the most abundant.
The loneliest, yet, full of more love and community than I could have ever imagined.

It has felt…pivotal.

So many things were brought to the surface.
So many things took deep, deep root in the soil of my heart.

So as I entered in to my hopes and dreams for the coming year of my life, it was a tricky process.

How do I hope, when I’ve been hoping and nothing has changed?
How do I dream when my dreams seem foolish and unattainable?
How do I step into the unknown of year 33 with joy and gladness and faith and trust?

The short answer is – I don’t know.

I don’t know how to move forward on my own.
I don’t know how to navigate being a human in 2022 at the age of 33.

But what I do know is that God is present.
I’m not moving forward on my own, I’m moving forward with the Author and Perfecter of my faith.
I’m moving forward with a great cloud of witnesses surrounding me, sitting with me in my hopes and my dreams, in my losses and my letdowns.
I’m navigating being a human with other humans who know how hard it is to be human, but how infinitely full it is to be human together, and with Christ.

So, my hopes and dreams for 33 are basically this:
Remain with Jesus.
Remain with His people.
Trust the kindness of God to get me to 34.

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the light house

I like to name things. My first car, a 1996 Chevy Monte Carlo, was appropriately named Bernice by my high school friends and every car since has been blessed by a name that most certainly fits her personality. Yes, they’re all ladies. ‘Cause who run the world? Girls. Duh.

And I like to name the places I’ve lived that have not been owned by my parents or universities.

We’ve had 67 David, the Thrifty Apartment, and the House on Winona.

I’ve been in my current living space for over 3 years and have never been able to land on a name that felt right, until recently.

I give you, The Light House.

I took this picture one morning while sipping on my coffee. I’ve sat in this exact spot many times over the last 38 months, but it wasn’t until month 37 when someone else called out the light pouring in that I began to realize just how much light truly pours in.

If there’s one thing that’s not a secret about me, it’s that I deeply value my friendships. I don’t know how to live life alone. Which is a good thing, because I can often slip into the lie that I am, indeed, living life alone. It’s easy for the enemy to gently remind me that at the end of the day I fall asleep by myself. I make meals for myself. There isn’t a spouse/roommate/sibling/etc around to casually have eyes on me in the mundane space of life to make sure I’m okay. Taken at face value, it makes sense that I would feel alone. That things would feel dark, bleak, and well, sad.

But that’s where the Light shows up.

I got this image tattooed on my body – where one gets tattoos – at the end of a really weird and hard season:

It’s a form of prayer called visio divina – divine seeing. The artist, Scott Erickson, has this caption on his Instagram: “May I be gifted with loved ones who remember who I am when I forget; because I will forget.”

And that’s what the enemy forgets about. The father of lies forgets about the Father of Truth. He forgets about the people of God that come in with the Light of Christ to reignite my truer identity.

The identity of friend.
Of sister.
Of Beloved.

Month 37 in the previously unnamed Light House, my friend sat on my couch as I unleashed scenarios that were ripping at my core, trying their best to dim the Light. As she prayed, she said, “God, I’m just now noticing the light that is pouring into this place…”

And that’s when I began to realize that all these months, all these years, all these days spent confused and muddling around have actually been time spent of Light just pouring into this place.

God has been in the business of exposing darkness.
Of literally and figuratively pouring out His Light into the space that I inhabit.

It really hit me the next morning when I woke up and noticed His actual sunlight pouring over the list of prayers I had written out for 2022, hanging in my bedroom:

It’s not lost on me that a tattoo I got a year and a half ago is literally a bunch of candles re-lighting the center candle.
It’s not lost on me that no matter what time of day, rays of sunshine can be seen illuminating my home.
It’s not lost on me that the ones who remind me who I am when I forget are anchored into the true source of Light – Jesus – and are unwilling to let me forget that my anchor holds strong in Him as well.

John 8:12 says, “Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.'”

This is all I have.


Darkness has done it’s finest work to try to snuff it out, but no matter what, the sun rises and light pours in.

And also Light pours in.

So, this is The Light House.

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bear the burden

I’ve been thinking a lot about burdens this year. 2020 itself has been one of the biggest burdens most of us have faced in our lifetimes. I’ve been thinking about how we are so quick to do everything we can to alleviate all burdens, to throw off everything that is hard and painful and takes some work to deal with.

The word “burden” as defined by the internet mean: “a load, typically a heavy one.”

So, by using context clues, we can arrive at the conclusion that burdens are not fun.

Everyone has burdens. Sickness, loneliness, financial stress, a job they don’t like, a bad piece of meat that gave them stomach cramps…you get it. Anything that we can say is hard or heavy is a burden.

Burden is also, apparently, a movie released in 2018 starring Usher. You’re welcome, I think?

And typically, we work really hard at skirting the burden. At the first sign of something heavy, we run in the opposite direction, often (for me) using coping mechanisms that I think will take the burden away.

We accumulate wealth to ease the burden of financial want.
We drink to ease the pain of another night alone.
We numb out on any form of entertainment to disengage from the world around us.

And the funny thing is, those things just become another burden.
We cannot live a life burden-free.

I’ve been reading through the Gospels this summer on a loop and I can’t help but notice that as Jesus is introducing the Kingdom of God, He isn’t introducing a Kingdom of absence. He is introducing a Kingdom of abundance, yet that requires some work.

He says in Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT), “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Did you catch that? Jesus isn’t removing every burden. He is giving me His burden.

A light one.
A burden that – rather than being heavy – actually gives me deep, soul rest.

Too often when things get heavy I keep the yoke of my own burden on my shoulders. And, even though I’ve got those solid outfielders shoulder-arms, the weight becomes too much. My soul gives out, falls over, and can’t go on.

But when I intentionally take upon my shoulders the burden of Jesus – the burden that declares the work is done, the penalty of sin is taken care of, and the grace for each moment of my life is freely given with no strings attached – when I put that burden on my shoulders, it is light.

It is easy.
It is good.
Because it’s from Jesus.

Don’t eliminate the burden.
Bear the burden of Jesus.

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