Patiently and Confidently

The conspicuously loud crunch of the cracker snapped me back to attention. I’d been absorbed in the lyrics I was singing, although I hardly had to think about them – that’s how familiar these songs have become. With the lights dimmed, I felt my husband James’ hand press lightly against the small of my back as we walked down the aisle toward the station where communion was set up.

“Oh! precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

I sang these words quietly as we moved forward in the line, this weekly ritual so familiar that it was almost rote. In the darkness, I reached for a piece of broken cracker and dipped it in the little metal bowl filled with grape juice. As I lifted the cracker to my lips, I saw it was a bit larger than I expected and not quite saturated with juice, so instead of being soft and nearly dissolving on my tongue, the cracker snapped and crunched under my teeth. Continue reading

Worrying Away the Disappointment

Months have passed since I’ve written. Even now, I struggle to pick up my pen because 1) inertia, and 2) I’m wary of what I’ll find as words fills the pages of my notebook. I don’t dare pull out my laptop to type up something more formal and lasting. All I can do is sit here on this porch and let the words flow out of me, like a river, showing me the direction I should go.

I’m curled up in a rocking chair like a cat, soaking up the morning sun, letting it reinvigorate my tired bones. My knees are tucked up close to my chest, and my strong coffee rests on the table next to me. Twelve of my closest friends are still sleeping inside the large house here in the central valley in California. A few others have already snuck downstairs for coffee and eggs or have found their own silent spaces around the grounds to enjoy the morning before this afternoon’s festivities. Continue reading

Why It’s Okay to Drop the Ball

I woke with a splitting headache and deep dark circles beneath my eyes. Tugging the sleep mask back over my eyes, I longed to bury myself in the sheets and blankets and not come out for a good long while. But the pounding of my head forced me to seek out water. And coffee. And some Ibuprofen. Stat.

I had all the classic symptoms of a hangover. But too much bourbon wasn’t to blame. No, instead I had an emotional hangover.

My body was completing depleted – emotionally and physically – from crying for the better part of the previous evening. I’d alternated between sobbing into my husband’s shoulder and choking out a few words while he stroked my hair and tried to encourage me.

Unfortunately, this scenario wasn’t exactly a new experience for us. Since moving to LA, I’ve had plenty of sad moments. I’ve felt lost and lonely more days than I care to count. But this evening was different. Continue reading

When The Answer Is “Wait”

“Some days I actually feel okay.” My friend’s voice perked up on the other end of the line. “I feel like I’m going to get over him soon, and I’m happy, and it’s not so bad…” Her voice trailed off a bit. “And the next day, it just feels so hopeless, and I wonder, ‘What if this doesn’t get better for a long time?’”

I reassured her that her up-and-down thoughts were completely normal. In fact, she was expressing my current reality pretty darn perfectly. Except, instead of a breakup, I’ve been rocked by loss of a different kind: job, home, familiarity.

Life transitions have a way of shaking up your equilibrium like that, don’t they? They can make you feel like someone has suddenly cut the rope that tied your anchor down, and now you’re on a boat that you don’t know how to operate. The seas are having their way with you, and you feel like you’re at the mercy of whatever that day – that minute – has in store. Continue reading

6 Things I’ve Learned In Our First Month of Marriage

I’ve learned a few things in my first month of marriage.

I know, I know. One month hardly seems like enough time for two newlyweds to come to any major conclusions about marriage. At least, not compared to couples like my parents who are coming up on 33 years of marriage this May (so grateful for them and their beautiful example of love!).

And yet, that paradox is part of what’s struck me this month: Marriage is at once a marathon and a sprint. It’s long – thank goodness, because we’re going to need all the time we can get to strengthen and enjoy these beautiful bonds that are forming – and it’s fast – so much has changed in such a short period of time. Continue reading

Looking for the Light & Learning to Trust Again

Tonight I watched the sunset from my bed. Curled up with my blue blanket and a mug of cinnamon tea, I was struck by how fast the colors changed and how quickly the dark clouds moved as they swept past the hills.

It’s been remarkably stormy here in California. And while we need the rain after years of drought, it’s been devastating for some. Day after day, the rain has pounded on the roof of the little yellow house I call home in San Francisco…home for two more weeks before James and I tie the knot and move to Los Angeles.

The rain certainly hasn’t made this transition easy. As we’ve made Target runs for bubble wrap and packing tape and dashes to the car with boxes of Goodwill donations in tow, we’ve gotten more than just a little bit sprinkled on.

But the annoyance of having to manage moving logistics in the midst of one of the biggest storms we’ve seen in years is only part of my issue with this rain. The worst part is the darkness.

 

Continue reading

The Best Gift I’ve Received This Christmas Season

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

We say that a lot around the office. Probably because we’re all a bunch of perfectionists brought together (strategically) for the common goal of creating something great. And we’re all constantly battling the desire to make something perfect – instead of just making something great.

Even with that statement, my bias reveals itself. Like so many others, I frequently buy into the idea that “great” is just that: great, but not perfect. And wouldn’t perfect be so much better?

Most companies are looking for people who won’t settle for less than the absolute best and who will work tirelessly to achieve greatness – both for the organization and for their own careers. And most people (if they’re honest) would really like perfect. Perfect is what many of us tell ourselves we should be.

And yet, perfection is an illusion because there’s always something more we can do, something better. We can never reach perfection, but we keep driving toward it, and that keeps us endlessly spinning and pushing and running. Continue reading

Thankful for the Thorns

No one imagined our Thanksgiving table talk would end in tears. As we went around the table sharing what we were each thankful for, we couldn’t have anticipated my sister and I would soon be standing in the kitchen, sobbing, holding each other close.

And yet, that’s exactly how this year’s Thanksgiving meal ended. With only scraps of turkey and stuffing and lingering bits of glazed carrots and mashed potatoes left on our plates, we all went around the table sharing the things, the people, the moments we were most grateful for.

We all had similar sentiments. We were grateful for family, for each other, for the new baby sleeping peacefully by my sister’s side – my beautiful nephew. And, in some ways, we were even grateful for the pain that had brought us this beauty. We recognized that the discomfort of the unknown was also bringing us exciting new challenges and opportunities we hadn’t even discovered yet. Continue reading

Ready or Not: Embracing the Changing Seasons

For the past couple weeks, I’ve stepped out of my apartment onto the streets of the Inner Sunset, and it looks like fall.

Even in the midst of our heat wave – in San Francisco, where no one has A/C, 85 degrees feels sweltering – it was still clear that summer was gone and fall was coming.

It’s something about the light. The sun casts longer shadows across the ground, and the sunsets are tinged with a distinctly pink and gold hue, causing the clouds to look like great big puffs of cotton candy. One last hurrah for the season that’s behind us.

At the farmer’s market, stone fruits are slowly being replaced by apples and figs and pomegranates, and the berries have lost their peak-of-summer sweetness.

PSL’s are popping up at every coffee shop, and Trader Joe’s is well-stocked with all things pumpkin.

Fall is normally my favorite season. And yet, this year, I didn’t feel ready. I wasn’t rushing to my closet for sweaters and boots. Partly because we wear them year-round in the city, but also because I didn’t want the seasons to change. Not yet. Continue reading

Getting Back to the Foundation

It was far too crowded on the train today. Between the hours of 5 and 6PM, Montgomery station is a mass of people, and today was exceptionally packed. As the N pulled up to the platform, I let the flow of the crowd carry me on to the train. I didn’t really have anywhere to be. I just wanted to get home. So, I thought skinny thoughts and squeezed myself between one very tall man and a shorter woman and her oversized bag.

I couldn’t reach one of the poles to hang onto, but there was no need. We were all so smashed together that no one was moving anyway. We just leaned against each other as the car continued on down the tunnel, jostling us and forcing us to get uncomfortably familiar with each others’ bodies.

An Invitation

When we finally came up for air and exited the tunnel, the dog park came into view. The same one I pass every day on my commute back and forth from downtown San Francisco. But this time, I heard an invitation. Continue reading