Wednesday, February 17, 2016

emotionz.

I get all emotional after I speak in front of groups like I did this morning at a MOPS thing. "Lord help me not to cry," I pray. And then there I go. Being humbled in the sight of the Lord. "Just let me look profesh, Lord." And God is all, "Ohhhh Kay! *wink wink. Get up there, Lady!"

Silly guy. But man, his grace makes those water works.

I will tell you what I love about the whole emotional process: the part where I cry in front of everyone while I tell the story of how God brought me real low to bring me real near. I don't cry because I am hurt by my husband. Truth talk: I used to cry about that lots. In front of others and in my bed at night. But now when I cry, it's because I'm talking about his mercy on me. His kindness to me in suffering.

Everybody hates suffering, but Jesus is in the dark places. I know I can't convince anyone to go there, you must be dragged there by grief. But I miss that place a lot, the spooning with Jesus in the cold bed. And when I tell people that story of how he made my marriage new, it's kind of like I get to go back there to that near place-- and for about 3 seconds, in front of everyone, I feel his overwhelming presence. Gosh, see. I'm crying again.

His nearness is good. I think the psalmist knew some things about the shadows of death.

When you've walked in those shadows, you know the great comfort. He did it for me then and he'll do it for me again in the situation I am up against today. Because the truth is,  the hard things never stop coming. They can't stop, because it's all messed up now, the world and the people in it. And I think they keep coming for us so we'll get lost again and need to remember there is a shepherd who is seeing and coming after us again. It's kind of beautiful to get lost and found all the dang time.

Anyway, it makes me weepy. And now I need a nap and a gentle beverage. What? Can I say that when it's 3pm on a weekday?

What I wanted to say really…in a million words… But I'm over at Jamie Ivey's blog writing about parenting and how I know all the things. And tips and rules. And I just know, we these 10 tips, you'll really go far. Jay Kay. I talk about how we do things mostly now that the gospel has gotten deep in our bones.
(here I am with jamie ivey and jessica thompson. after day drinking in austin)

Later.
Jami




Thursday, January 14, 2016

Laughing at the Future.

I don't know if I have to say this, but I guess you've noticed by now that words are important to me. I need to see them and put them down and hear them. Songs are like a buttoned up essay, prints on a wall talk to me all day, books too-when I can sit down for long enough- are the best conversations. The drawn out ones that need to be had.

I have this area of my office that is my official "vision board". I guess I thought this idea was really teenager-esque and rather Oprah-ish, so I ignored it. Even though I am visually stimulated and it makes my heart so happy. I resisted. Because I was too cool, as you have read about in previous posts.

Now that I am learning to untangle cynicism wrapped all over my heart, I decided to make one. As a visual person, as a words person, I need to see these things. It's a goals board for the type F (Far away from A) and so it just makes sense for me.

When I saw this print at Maker + Ink, I think I gasped.  She looks at the future and laughs. It is what I have been feeling in my heart about what is to come for this year. And all the years. I have been so fearful before, so protective. I have done things out of obligation and approval of others than because I am operating in my gifts. Not always, but a lot. I can only see this now looking back. Whoever can know exactly how tangled their heart is while in the midst? The heart is just so cavernous, so many hidden corners to hide in.


A little retrospection is good in this way. But it's not the disappointed kind of looking back. I am having a lot more compassion for the old me these days. The younger me. The less experienced me. Ah yes, one day she will see how harmful her cynicism is.  She is protecting. God will bring this out in her when she is ready. 

I just feel ready. I feel ready to really feel excited for something. I know this is gift, the feeling of expecting and hope. I thought that I missed it over Advent because I had a cloud of grief over me--not a  big one, but it was just there. And I wasn't feeling expectant or hopeful. Yet, God still came.

But now the hope is here, another kind of Advent, a post season expecting that God will show up like he said he would.  (And, hey, I know that everyone is in different places and so I hope you don't take this as how you should feel too. Please don't do that. We are walking different paths, with different obstacles and different timelines.) All that to say, this season I am in feels awkward but good. Like a first date with your future spouse. You are sweating a lot but you can't stop smiling.

I read a verse the other day in my study in Psalm 1. It said, "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields fruit in its season. And its leaf doesn't wither. "
In its season. In its season. 
I roll this phrase around in my head over and over. All throughout the day. I ask it questions: Shouldn't the tree ALWAYS be bearing fruit? I answer myself. No that doesn't make sense. The apple tree bears fruit in one part of the year.  But even when it loses its leaves, it's still alive and still growing. It's still alive and thriving always. But the fruit comes in one part of the season. 

All day I talk to myself about fruit. What does that mean for me, God? Is this my fruit season? Is this the year when all the hard things, those storms, the droughts, the pruning, make way for the harvest? 
And I have butterflies in my stomach.

I am expectant that it is. It might just be. I like the idea of it and I sit here smiling, sometimes laughing as I stare into 2016. Feeling alive again is tremendous for a soul that has been weary for some years. I'm gulping it up and playing in it until it leaves me, whenever that next season ushers me away from this one.

So If you are wanting this print, or a couple of them, We're giving away a $100 credit!!… I mean, I can't even tell you how many good ones there are over at Maker + Ink,  ENTER HERE! And if If you want to order a couple of magical things, use code TRUTH15 for 15% off your order. 
(This one is in the girls room. It's sally lloyd-jones quote: God loves you with Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.)


Monday, January 4, 2016

Get behind me, Self.

Oh hey. I am writing here again. This is fun and weird. Do you even know how to handle it? Has someone taken over Jami's account? This is like, you know, how she used to write when she was a "blogger". 

Yes. Well.
January woke me up. And I'm not sure what to attribute to the change except getting out of the way of myself. This makes no sense when I explain it that way. But hear me out.

I was feeling like I really wanted to change in some areas.
But you're not good at follow through. 
But you haven't changed in that area for 5 years. 
But you're really better at making fun of the people that actually try.

My self talk is horrendous. And guess what, I want to be kinder to myself this year. It's a resolution! Judge me.  (Because guess what? Your judging or non judging has no pull on whether I get my task done or not! I somehow forgot this tasty morsel of truth.)  But After reading Brene's new book, Rising Strong, she called me out on the Ugly self talk. When you fail, talk to yourself like you would a friend who failed. YOUCH.

Here's the deal, I really love the freedom in grace to not measure up. I basked in it for quite some years and needed to.  I actually don't think that's one bit bad, in fact, it was healing. But can I learn something new of her? Is there only one side of the coin or is Grace always lending itself to be seen in immeasurable ways, like God?  I vote immeasurable!

It's only been 4 days into January and I have been finding such joy in not being a cynic again. So much so that it has freed me to simply do things. I'm free to do something without passing judgement on myself or the thing I have a desire to do.  It's sort of been a cloud over me that blocks vision. And I mean that literally and figuratively. It's hard to see, people. REALLY see them when you think they are just doing that thing because they are self-interested ass holes. Sure, those are strong words but I'm feeling ok to make peace with my past judgmental self by calling it what it was. Why do I have to be on the high seat and judge everyone's motives and if what they are doing is "ok"? It's really exhausting and it's not a joyful way to live.  I don't remember cynicism being apart of my childhood thoughts. I do, however, remember being excited about new ideas and taking others at their word pretty easily. I was happy. I was less worried. I was way less stressed.

So when I look back at my adult life, I think my biggest hinderance was me. Me getting in the way of myself.  Me as the bully to myself. Me as the deterrent. There's only a certain amount of effort I was willing to put into a task or a secret goal because… failure lurks! I wrote about that in my last post.
I want to do XYZ. 
Well ...but I feel like I need to be at this point before I even step towards that. 
Plus, I'm not good at what XYZ really requires.
And remember that one time I sort of did XYZ? 

No wonder I had no energy to do XYZ. I had already exhausted myself emotionally before I could even take one step forward. And so I did nothing. I was squandering my talents that were given specific to me, to use in my sphere of influence for this very time. It's just that plain and simple. I do know that God will work my non-doing for good. So as gracious grace would have it, I don't feel guilt about it. And Yet I'm spurred to change.

And so now, If I wanted to get back into yoga. I just do the yoga video. So what if it was just for today? Did I lose anything? NO! I feel stretched. And I actually want to do it again tomorrow .
I wanted to be Open my bible today. I put my study out by my computer. No ugly self talk about slacking in this area, no outlines to read the bible in a year. I just read it before I started working today. Did I lose anything by trying with no expectations? NO! And it filled my soul up. I want to do it again tomorrow.
Trying to do whole 30. I want the cheetos. But I talk to myself like I would a friend. You can do this! not, You have failed at this point 40 times! 
This sort of thing over and over again. I am waking up to God in me.

Get behind me, Self. I am ready to start living again.



Friday, January 1, 2016

getting up off the mat.

I remember reading this post card at the Storyline Conference I was at a couple of months ago and scoffing at it.  I went to be with people that I liked and was getting to know and why the hell not! This is a special year for me and I'm going to do things, like traveling to visit new friends, even when it is not the thing I would normally make time to do.
So as I was sitting there in my chair, I looked down and it was on the binder and on the cute canvas bag. This phrase: It's not crazy to chase your dreams. And I thought, "I really wish they would have put a different mantra on these because the branding is really good."  It was that silent moment of awful judgment where my heart was grabbed. I think I felt a whisper or something sitting on the scratchy tweed. A pleasant draft hit my cheek as someone got up and rushed past me. You know what I'm talking about. It's their perfume + the air and sometimes, when the smell is docile enough, it's sort of nice that other people smell good.  Maybe it was more the feeling of hope swirling around my face. "Could that really be true?". 

I get all weird about people chasing passions and dreams because I know that it will lead to emptiness. You know, getting the dream job, or having the baby, or traveling like you wanted to. You will get there and it won't touch your satisfaction meter but for 10 days max before you find something else you need to chase. So I just don't chase them. I stay. I'm a stayer. It's been a good skill for me to learn not to chase everything that passes by, to be quiet, to sit. But then, somewhere in my staying, I forgot how to get back up again when it was time. 

There is a time for staying and a time for going. I think I know this? Nothing ever stays the same for us, because we don't even stay the same. If you ask me who I was last year at this time, I will smile the knowing smile and tell you that I'm so different. By the grace of God, I'm so different than I was last year. I'm softer in body and the lines around my eyes but also softer in my soul. In my judgements--although they are still there and sometimes very loud and annoying. But I'm not as hard as I used to be About the way you do what you do. Because maybe it's time for me to sit and for you to go. Maybe it's time for you to rally the cause while I rest. Maybe it's time for me to go to battle while you make sure the home stays kept. "It's really ok to all be at different  places, last year self," I would say with my hands up around my last year's cheeks. 

And maybe it's time for me to get up off of my mat and no longer be paralyzed by cynicism. The draftiness of hope dances on these cheeks and asks me to dream. It's a smiling God with soft hands asking me to come with him and I'm not sure where I'm going except that it's with him. The chasing will be with him. I can always expect that, because although I always change, He didin't. This whole time. The same God that asked me to stay put all these years is asking me to get up now and run with expectation. 

I feel breathy and awkward. Like when you run with someone while holding hands and you can't quite get your gait. But I'm laughing too hard to even care to stop, even though the destination ahead is whited out with a sunny glare. I guess I don't have to know the place up ahead. 
The reward, as I have always said to myself, is not the destination but the withness with God. He is the prize, not the thing we're trying to grab with our grabby hands. As I have mulled this around in my head for weeks and weeks tied together on a string to make months, I am really starting to believe that it's ok to chase my dreams. After all, I didn't come up with them anyway.  Not for the dreams sake, but for the hand-holding, awkward, breathy run across the sun-glared field. The sweaty palms, the ache in my side, how he turns back to look at me laughing. It's this that I was made for. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Look all around, there's nothin' but blue skies. #royals

The thing about sports is that I don't much follow them. In middle school and high school, I played in the C minus teams, and even then, I was likely on the bench.  I was the bottom of the bottom.  I'm not sure why they kept letting me on the team, except that maybe I was good at cheering.  In that way, I guess I was a valuable on some level?   So while many people out in the blogosphere know a lot more about what the World Series win means by strategy and statistics, I can only tell you what it means for a person who's grown up in this city while being terrible at most sporting endeavors, save cheering.

To understand the Royals win this year, you have to understand how bad we sucked for 29 years. Particularly, the last 10 years (with the exception of last year in which we were so close, but still lost).  The stadium was never full, the tickets were always cheap, and the hot dog races were pretty consistently won by the favorite, "ketchup".  But Kansas Citians and baseball players alike, kept showing up. Because while it may not look like much, at least we had each other.

(image: Kansas City Star)

I grew up going to the baseball games with my Uncle, who's health is now failing. He had box seats right next to the glass covered media section. When it rained, I loved the methodical, almost militaryesque, nature of the tarp being placed on the field.  And now when I hear Johnny Nash's 1970's hit , I can see clearly now, the rain is gone… I'm an 11 year old at the stadium with my uncle in good health, and the media guys are handing my little brother the foul ball they just caught.  For a kid who grew up with nothing,  I always felt special going up to those seats, watching our team.  I had no idea what was going on in the game, but regardless of the endless rules and confusing numbers on the scoreboard,  I could read the crowd.   Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves with the expectation that, likely, we would lose again.  But unlike crowd politics anywhere else, at the end of these games people would reassure each other with slaps on the back and a "Maybe next year!".

There's something about loss, the kind of loss that happens consistently over a long period of time, to rip entitlement right out of the soul.  This has been the Kansas City we've lived in for 29 years.  We have learned to love our players regardless of performance and to celebrate their strengths amidst weakness. We've learned to show up when we know it's likely not going to be a win. We've learned to keep hoping amidst loss, and keep saying, this isn't the end of us.

You could see that plainly as Volquez pitched these last couple of games with the weight of losing his father all over that jersey.  He went to the funeral and came back to pitch one of the biggest games of his life. Maybe he pitched for his dad, maybe for the City, maybe for everyone who understands loss in one area doesn't have to keep us from a win somewhere else .  Kansas City rooted for Volquez because we understand what it means to lose.
(credit: KC Star)


And I think that's the best way to describe the Royals this year. We have all been feeling this thing of losses and wins and skinny years together as a team.  We didn't expect to take the crown, but, dammit, we got it!  The whole city put differences of politics, race, religion, and opinions to the side and rallied around our Boys in Blue.   And as Ibeanez said last night, "The best player on the team is the team."  Or as I would dare say,  MVP goes to Kansas City.


Monday, August 31, 2015

The Theory of Everything. Indeed.

I know i'm late to the game on this one. The Theory of Everything was up for many awards last year and, as you might recall, Eddie Redmayne won the Academy Award for Best Actor.  Rightly so, I was moved to tears several times by his portrayal of Steven Hawking. 

If you haven't seen the movie, please go watch it and then come back to this. Because I'm going to spoil it as I talk through some of the themes which I found disturbing.  Not in a gory sense. In a soul-punching sense, I guess. 

The movie is portrayed through the lens of his wife Jane, who would painstakingly believe in her husband through much of the film--truly against the odds-- and care for him as his diseased progressed. They had children throughout, which felt redeeming in the midst of disease. I found it painfully beautiful, if I can simplify it greatly. To see one human care for another human through a disease is, perhaps to see the face of God. To see children come out of hardship felt like good gifts from a good Father. And I liked this part in an odd sense. I think it's what we all wish for, to have the marriage that can withstand those kinds of hits.

But then it turned into a place I didn't see coming.

As Jane becomes tired from caring for her husband (and of course she becomes tired beyond exhaustion), she finds relief in another man who helps her with the daily care of Steven and the 3 children. They have an affair. 
I hate that it was a part of the story, because it's part of my story, but mostly because everyone is thinking, Well of course she had an affair… I mean, who wouldn't in that situation. 
I found myself thinking it and cringed. When is having an affair ever ok? 

It didn't satisfy her.  And it didn't satisfy the audience either. We all knew it promised freedom and brought shackles of guilt as Steven becomes ill and goes into a coma.  He went into the hospital that night and she went into another man's tent, quite literally, at a campout. It was brutal. We all wanted her by Steven's side. We all wanted it to be a forever love like it seemed at the beginning when she saw the disease and still chose him. 

Even when she ends her affair and comes back to Steven, everything is tainted. I got the sense that Steven always knew of her affections to the other man, and said nothing. Because perhaps he thought the same thing as everyone watching, she deserves to be happy now after all this.  Then, in a twist of events, Steven and his new caregiver fall in love over the span of time and eventually, he and Jane, that marriage that had been through so much, ends. Quite abruptly. 

I cried. I cried because I wanted to believe that because they had been through so many hard things, and managed to come out on the other side, they would make it forever.  It shook me in my soul. I think because deep, down in there, I believe that because of the hard things we've been through in or own marriage, it's a guarantee for us. That we'll always make it. 

And it's just not how things are. Like Jane, I tend to put my hope in a man, in the children we've made, and sometimes in an institution, like marriage.  It is sinking sand.  There is no guarantee that even with much self sacrifice, I get a free pass to a good marriage that goes on until we are released by death. 
There's only one place where my hopes will not be disappointed-- and that is in the person of Christ. God, I know these words.  But the light of this movie shined somewhere in a dark corner of my heart involving hope placed somewhere it should not be. 

At the end of the movie, Steven Hawking never makes peace with God, unfortunately. Although he is looking for it throughout the movie, at the end, he gives some sort of feel good answer about the universe and never giving up-- as if he made it past his 2 years to live death sentence on his own accord.  He was searching for one simple equation to explain the universe, The theory of Everything. And although it is presented several times plainly throughout the movie, He rejects the idea that God is the great Answer.  He would rather search, than see. And so he keeps searching, in the form of women, or formula's, or accolades, or ideas, or his children. 


It was utterly depressing. 
And Exposing, more so.  I don't know what else to say, but I have thought about it all morning.  For the bright light shined in my heart,  I am thankful. So no, I don't have a tidy bow for this post. Only that we might all ask God to expose the places in our hearts where we are looking for salvation outside of Him. And that we might repent and turn away so that we are spared ultimate disappointment in the form never knowing that Christ is the answer to our deepest question and deepest disease.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blame the English teachers.

Ah, yes. Blogging. There you are. Always waiting and so trusty. Blogging is different than instagram and facebook and, certainly different than twitter.  These are where words are penned to figurative paper.  I think ideas are made and kept here and so that's why I won't stop blogging, probably ever. Even though a younger generation doesn't understand why these blogs really exist.  I'll tell you a secret: Because Ideas are more than a picture of yourself asking for likes, young chickens.

I digress. As you may notice, I am using capital letters, and for that, we can mark the ending of an era. I have had to practice to make capitals at the beginning of my sentences because, apparently, when you write a book, people like it to be grammatically correct and proper so they can know what's going on in your brain. The order is soothing and comfortable and as much as I've pushed back on it, I can see why some of it is necessary.  This is a previous English teacher speaking, so don't tell anyone I cared more about the kid's ideas and flow more than I cared about their capitals and proper spelling.  Getting an idea across in a relatable, convincing manner is something that has been lost.  Just look at your Facebook and you'll understand. People unable to communicate civilly and logically--which I attribute directly to their high school English teachers, who teach "Communication Arts" or the Art of communication?  But really slam punctuation and grammar down throats without teaching simultaneously that thoughtfully(i.e. convincingly) communicating ideas, and while listening intently to other's ideas (thus forming an educated opinion), is the number one human skill ever in the universe times infinity.

Unlike the Pythagorean theorem, in which I can not spell correctly for the life of me(prayer emoji hands for spellcheck), communicating ideas is a life skill that will actually be helpful, say, at the coffee shop or on snap chat. Wait. But you get the point.

I keep digressing. However, I haven't been on here for in forevs, so I have a lot of words all cooped up.
(But you just used the words FOREVS and you sound stupid! To that, I say, Your mom sounds stupid. )

So I'm changing. Like I have done lots of times on this blog.  You will have, by now, seen me flutter between different ideas and thoughts and styles of writing and clothing. If you've stayed with me for any number years, you've watched me grow up on this blog.  A lot can happen between 7 or so years. I am happy to say that I am not the same person I was those years back and I can look forward and predict that I will continue this trajectory of change.  I like having a soft heart, unlike my previous self. I don't know if it comes from the gospel or if it comes from age--or perhaps it is the beauty of the gospel in aging. Both in body and Spirit. I have made peace with myself physically in many regards(I will admit freely that more work needs to happen in this department) and congruently, I don't need to have all the answers anymore. I don't need to change people's hearts.  Oh the freedom there. For writers and mothers and wives and teachers and neighbors and sisters and co-workers.  I can simply, enjoy you and your crazy idea without taking it personally and wanting to send hate emojis to your inbox.
(here is a picture of me being 33)

The 30's have been good to me in this way.  Sure, my body is fluffy and saggy in many-a-place. My mind is sharper than it's ever been though, and I'm even using capital letters in writing!(sarcastic exclamatory, by the way). I guess none of it matters though when your identity arrows tell you not to find value in those items, which surely all go away in some regard as one ages.  Again, there's a lot of freedom in that. To live out today and try and Glorify Christ and Enjoy Him Forever --as we tell each other catechism style in this house, on the daily. Some days I robotically say it and other days it throws me into waves of grace changing me and freeing me to do such things as overuse parenthetical remarks in a blog post. Or being kind to people. Both have value.

I don't know why I came here to say all that, but I needed to start writing here again. Just casually, with no pressure of a topic and I figured you guys would get that. I mean, if you're here still, then you are considered a friend that has some "seen some things" but doesn't let it keep us from our internet friendship. Made myself laugh…sounds all craigslist.

And with that, I'll talk to you all soon.

Jami