New Year… New life

I’ve been silent dear readers.  Why? I’ve been finding my new life.  Truly.  I moved back to North America from Africa in October.  Spent a month in Toronto with family helping with my late grandmother’s estate, then moved into Mom & Dad’s in November to contemplate what my life would look like since the big change in August.  Well, the waiting is over – here are some details of my new life…

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My sunny spot

New Home – a sweet and cozy little one bedroom apartment in a sleepy South-Central Massachusetts hamlet.  I’m trying to find where everything belongs and in the mean-time I’m living with the boxes…

New Job – I’m refocusing my organizational passions in the medium of radio.  I’m the Office Manager for The Q 90.1 FM.  We went on the air in early December 2012, and I came on board in mid-January.  I’m excited about the possibilities of sharing a message of hope in this region.  I still get to use all my knowledge of social media, organization, and meeting and sharing life with people.

New Life – so with a new home and a new job, is this really a new life?  Not exactly.  You see, with all the things that have changed me over the last couple of years, it is now the intention to have a renewed focus on being true to my God-given identity.  What is that?  As I put on my instagram bio “Girl. Jesus-follower. Wanna-be world changer”

You see, we are created by God with a destiny.  Not only that, but we are given the passion to pursue His purpose for us if we will be honest with ourselves and connect with our Creator.  If I’ve learned anything from the grief process, it’s that in the end, it’s not the things (new home) or paycheck (new job) which give merit to our lives, for in reality our physical selves will decay and become dust.

What truly matters is the impact we make on people.  The lives that have influenced us, the hearts we have loved, the souls that we touch as each of us passionately pursue our divine purpose

Not Fair!

“No fair! No fair! No fair!” my inner crimson-cheeked, tear-stained inner preschool wails and throws a fit. “This isn’t FAIR!”

And the truth is – it isn’t fair that plans get cancelled and dreams don’t always come true.  It’s not fair that I’m no longer planning a wedding, pinning my dreams on Pinterest, preparing for a marriage and family.  It’s not fair – but it is life.

Life is not fair as our mothers oft told us in our younger days.  It is not fair, balanced, and organized.  Rather, I believe instead, it is more like managed chaos with moments of crises and excitement thrown in just to keep it interesting.  So I can either choose to sulk and pout and pitch a fit about the unfairness of it all OR I can suck it up, put on my big girl pants, and look for the new opportunities that are in front of me now.

It is never too late to start over as my friends The Afters keep blaring in my earbuds.  Consequently I will – even at the old advanced mature age of 35. The possibilities before me are quite varied – and hard to believe – God trusts me to hear Him and choose.

SO – anyone want to hire a 35 year old administrative, organizational aspiring writer who likes to travel, enjoys new experiences, and wants to make a difference in the world?

Seriously – if you know of something, email me.  Thanks!

The landscape has changed

barren landscapeLife is a journey.

Have you ever been on a long road trip, taken a nap while another person was driving, and you were totally disoriented when you woke up because the landscape around you had changed and you were now in unfamiliar territory?

When this happens in life what do you do?  Suddenly, the future before you has changed.  You’re not sure what to do.  What had seemed a certainty is now gone, instead of a few possible choices, anything is a possibility. While choice is great, too many choices are overwhelming.

Having a game-plan doesn’t ensure success.

Personally, I’m the type who prefers to always have a game-plan, and usually with a few back-up plans just in case Plan A falls apart.  Unfortunately, sometimes my plans turn into an epic fail.  And even though I’ve said I’d rather take the risk to either succeed spectacularly or fail epically, its really no fun to feel like you’ve failed.  Success is always preferred.

Right now my heart hurts, my brain is on overload, and my emotions are all over the map.  How do I make sense of this? Where is God in all of this?  Did I miss something? Where did I go wrong? Is my judgement really that off? How could I have possibly messed this up so badly? Can I really trust myself again? These are the thoughts that plague me in the quietness of the night hours. Nothing makes sense to me anymore. Even listening to my iTunes can be dangerous if the wrong song plays in the shuffle.

What’s a girl to do?

“Be still and know that I am God.” Still.  Do I know how to be still?  Not very well.  In fact out culture pretty much shuns stillness.  Between books, internet and social media, television, movies, smartphones, and tablet devices we have an multitude variety of things to keep our minds and brains so entertained that we forget how to be still and just listen.  Sometimes we’re afraid of our own thoughts – but are those really what we need to be listening to?  I’ve heard it said that to get to true stillness we need to:

Quiet our actions so we can hear our voice

Quiet our voice so we can hear our thoughts

Quiet our thoughts so we can hear our breathing

Quiet our breathing so we can hear our heartbeat

Quiet our heartbeat so we can hear our soul

Quiet our soul so we can hear the Voice of God (paraphrased)

The landscape has changed.

So, here in this new place, which seems so barren, I’m allowing myself to be still. To be okay with being in the ‘in-between’.  And  while I’m being still and quiet He will heal me and then He will whisper to me which way I’m supposed to go.

I’m okay with that.

if its scary quote

Thoughts on a year – part 1

cupcake & candles

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand, Six hundred minutes, How do you measure, measure a year?” ~ Seasons of Love, from RENT

I’m rapidly approaching my one-year anniversary of living in Nairobi, Kenya.  A few friends have been asking me about this past year and what are some of the highlights and lessons I’ve learned.  And seeing as I’ve been wondering about what to write about, now that I’m running out of things about what I do, I figured this is as good an idea as any.

Highlight #1 – Finding my sweet spot

I listened to a podcast of a message by Pastor Steven Furtick (Elevation Church) a couple weeks ago that really helped me to cement this in my heart.  The message was entitled “The Prodigy in Me: The Paradox of Prodigy pt. 4 (you can get it on iTunes) and one of the points was that fact that when we are using the spiritual gifts that God has given us for the purposes He created us for then we are in our sweet spot.  However as much as He uses us in our “sweet spot” He will not leave us in our comfort zone.  Too often we confuse the two.  His call in our lives is always in our sweet spot and always beyond our comfort zone.

dart & bullseye

The sweet spot is the place that lies in between the safety of our comfort zone (the place we believe we have the ability) and the place of false expectation (where others may believe we can do it, or what we wish we could do).

So, how is this a highlight for my year in Kenya?  God has shown me that even though many times I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, somehow He gives me the grace and strength to get it done.  I’m able to use the talents and gifts He’s given me to make a difference to people and ministries here that are affecting nations and increasing the Kingdom of God.  Wow!  He’s using me to do that.  And that’s a really sweet feeling.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10

Change… again

Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender who you are for what you could become – unknown


Why does inspiration hit at the late-night / early morning hours?  What is it about these hours between midnight and daylight that cause introspection and soul-searching?  Maybe its the tiredness that keeps the inhibitions to a minimum so that I can actually get out all the things that are deep inside.
I feel like I’m standing on a precipice – right there on the edge of the cliff.  Before me are lots of new opportunities and possibilities, behind me all the familiar things – the safe things.  Those comfortable roles that I’ve lived out for so long that call to me to stay here, stay with what you know.  The roles that everyone expects of me, remembering to use ‘my indoor voice.’  Yet within I’m tired and bored by the safe and familiar and I want to shout out loud when I want.  My old comfortable shoes make my feet hurt now, they don’t fit right anymore.  As I told my dad on the phone the other day, “the American dream holds nothing for me”.  To seek after that would be to settle for a beige life.   
Who really likes beige?  Its the color you choose when you want to sell the house and don’t want to have too much personality on the walls.  Its what you pick when you want to blend in and not stand out.  I am NOT beige, so I am refusing to settle for a beige life.  I find it rather fascinating when people find my life to be glamourous exotic compelling.  Yes it can make for interesting conversation over a meal or an occasional blogpost, but then what?  Perhaps my life is a bit more colorful than some, but I right now its only pastels and I want more.  
A friend posted on Facebook that she hates the unknown.  I don’t hate it, I like change, yet there is still this part of me that appreciates the security of the familiar. Jumping off the cliff is a scary prospect.  Will I fly or will I fall?  If I fall, who will be there to help pick up the mess?  If I fly, where will I end up and when will I land? How long can I just stand here with my indecision?  Can I live in the “in-between”? What happens if… There are too many questions to answer, do I have to answer them all or will they paralyze me?  Maybe just sometimes you have to just act – ready, fire, aim as it were.
Can I do that? Really, me? Life as I know it is about to change… again.

 

Paradigm, schmaradigm

Have you ever had God rock your world so hard it takes a few weeks to stop wobbling? I’ve pretty much been there for the past few weeks… New Year’s hit me hard this year. I REFUSE to allow 2011 to be the same as the past. I want ALL of what God has for me this year, and that means I have to change. All of my behaviors stem from my thinking which comes from what my heart holds as truth.

I feel like I’ve been living Romans 12:1&2 – not just believing it, but experiencing the gut-wrenching, heart rending truth of it. I don’t want my thoughts, ideologies, and worldview be just what I’ve learned and been taught by the world and the culture around me. I want them to reflect what I know to be truth – the Word of God.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts from trusted pastors/teachers, reading books, reading the Word, and not doing a whole lot of talking (sorry for the blog silence). God certainly isn’t through with me yet, and I have no idea where the process is leading, I just know its somewhere new, somewhere better, somewhere closer to Jesus.

A truth I realized this morning as I was reading was this: true biblical repentance is transformation. Its not just being sorry, its not just feeling bad, its not just changing behaviors… it is changing how we think and perceive the world around us. Biblical repentance is 2 Cor 10:5 and Romans 12:1 & 2 all wrapped up together. We bring our thoughts under submission to Christ and then allow Him to transform them into His thoughts – which of course are higher than our own (Isaiah 55: 8 & 9) I want my ways and thoughts to be like His, not like mine…

So, that’s where I am; a little wobbly and unsteady, but on a better path than before.

Now, in case its a while before I get back here, here’s some links to what I’ve been listening & reading:

Perry Noble: NewSpring Church podcasts, leadership podcasts, and blog

Rich Dunn: Lighthouse Christian Center podcasts

Rick Rocco: Frontline Christian Church podcasts

Darrow Miller: Discipling Nations

YouVersion: New thru 30 (check out #NTx12 for all the details)

Randy Bohlender: twitter, facebook, blog

Hope all of these encourage you!

New Year…

*disclaimer – this blog is a bit philosophical, it is not meant to be a “downer” but perhaps thought provoking. If you only like happy “up” blogs, you may not want to continue reading. end of disclaimer*

New Years…

As a friend of mine wrote on her blog, I’m starting this year in a sober state of mine. I’m not depressed, according to the thesaurus I’m “serious, solemn, sensible, thoughtful, grave, somber, staid, levelheaded, businesslike, down-to-earth, commonsensical, pragmatic, conservative; unemotional, dispassionate, objective, matter-of-fact, no-nonsense, rational, logical, straightforward.”

After spending New Year’s Eve at church and returning home at 6am. I spent most of New Year’s Day in dreamland (try that if you’re married & have kids!) After getting up, I read for a while, and then went outside and sat on the lawn & thought deep thoughts like:

What do I want to accomplish in 2011?

What does God want me to accomplish in 2011?

Is there more to my life than I’m living right now?

Do I need to change my dreams because they’ll never happen?

What is fun? Why don’t I seem to have very much of it in my life?

How have I gotten to this place? Have I slept-walked through my life?

What does “Auld Lang Syne” really mean? (okay this one isn’t so deep, but if you wonder too, you can find the answer on this blog)

These and similar thoughts have been going through my mind ever since. Because of that, and other things, I’m slowly coming to the realization that indeed I am a grown-up and I’m not so sure I’m a fan of that. Mostly because it doesn’t measure up to my childhood dreams. Problem is, I can’t make those dreams happen, and so I have to live the life I have. But what does that mean?

I sure as heck don’t know. Thus my sober musings and my dilemma. I do have some goals for this year like:

  • write my book & see if I can get it published
  • complete my first term in Kenya
  • have more speaking engagements
  • read the New Testament every month (#NTx12)
  • blog more consistently

2011 hopefully will be a year of accomplishments – in myself, in my job, and in my spiritual walk. Hopefully when I write a blogpost at the beginning of 2012, I’ll be rejoicing in completed goals, looking forward to the future, settled in myself, closer to Jesus.

May this year bring all to you that you are hoping for!