The Joys of Berry-Picking & Other Discoveries from My Week in Oregon

1. Front porches should be a thing everywhere.

I’ve been to several cities where front porches rule the day: Columbus, Charlotte, Portland. California – at least, the Bay Area – is seriously missing out.

I long for a good front porch – it seems like the perfect place to both relax and get some good alone time and also be available to spontaneous chats with friends and passersby.

I don’t know that everyone takes advantage of their front-yard space, but I’m telling you: if I had a front porch, I would be out there almost every night. I love sitting out with tea or a glass of wine, chatting with friends, and saying hi to the neighbors. If the Lord ever sees to bless me with a house with a front porch, I promise to put it to good use.

2. Church is everywhere God’s people are gathered. As my pastor in San Francisco has often said, “We’re the body gathered and scattered.”

While I completely believe in the importance of regular gatherings with other believers – for accountability, teaching, and inter-generational wisdom – I don’t think that church is limited to Sunday mornings.

I saw this truth play out over and over again during my week in Oregon. Whether we’re talking over coffee or during a long car ride, conversations with dear friends is one of the primary ways I connect with God. I love learning other people’s stories, asking hard questions about our struggles, and “spurring one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

There’s a reason God gave us each other; he knew we’d need each other to be a full and complete body – with all our vital limbs and organs – able to live out his love in the world. Continue reading

Leaving a Legacy of Love: Alonzo Richardson, 1917-2015

My grandfather was a truly amazing man and a masterful storyteller. I must get my love of stories from him, and I’m so grateful for the legacy he left during his 98 years on this earth.

Over the past couple weeks, I’d been preparing for what I would say at his memorial service yesterday. Thankfully, I had nearly 30 years of my own memories to reflect on, a treasure trove of memorabilia to inspire me, and so many stories.

Up until the very end, Grandpa refused to live anywhere aside from the home he and Grandma had lived in since 1960. “I’m going from here to heaven,” he would say. And he was right. Continue reading

Life on the Inside: Finding the Connection We Crave

Woman in rainHave you ever felt like you were on the outside of a group looking in? Whether you were just on the sidelines of a party or trying hard to integrate with a new group of friends, it’s easy to feel like everyone else shares a secret that you don’t know. Or like they speak a language you don’t understand.

That’s the way I felt frequently throughout my growing up years. A little shy, a little uncertain, I didn’t fit in with the louder, funnier girls with their fashionable Gap jeans and pristine white Keds. I couldn’t keep up with their jokes and their knowledge of pop culture. I didn’t know who JTT was, I didn’t watch Friends, and I didn’t listen to No Doubt – unless I snuck in some secret CD time at a friend’s house. It was hard to fit in with the “in” crowd.

While I wasn’t often the center of attention, and I didn’t have an expansive circle of friends, I had a few very good ones. And to be honest, that suited me then and still suits me now. But as an impressionable, vulnerable girl, the fear of being left on the outside shaped me.

I learned to “armor up” and earn affection by making myself who I thought people wanted me to be – the good girl that my parents would praise, the perfect student that teachers loved, the Sunday school kid with all the right answers.

That “good girl” image sustained me through high school. I built my life upon it. I found my identity in it. It helped me feel like I fit in somewhere. But I soon found a more powerful draw than being admired for being good – the thrill of guys’ attention. Continue reading

What Are Your Cravings Telling You?

If I didn’t have writing, I think I’d weigh a thousand pounds. Rather than eating my feelings all the time – which, let’s be honest, I still sometimes do – writing is a much healthier environment for processing my thoughts and emotions than a bag of sweet potato chips or a bar of dark chocolate.

When the craving to snack strikes, that typically means I need to write. If I’m not hungry but I’m salivating over salted almonds, there’s probably something behind that.

If I want to pour myself a glass of bourbon, first I need to pause to appraise my feelings. In my more clear-headed moments, I ask myself:

  1. Why do I want it? 
  2. Should I write or go for a walk or do anything else instead?

(If you’re wondering, the answers to those questions are usually “because it tastes good and I like it and maybe I just want to soften the edges this hard day a bit.” And “yes, I should probably do any of those things before sitting down with a glass of bourbon – alone.”)Ginger lemon tea

Bourbon in good company is great. Bourbon alone requires discernment.

I don’t just ignore my cravings, though. That rarely works. If I try to stuff them in a drawer, they become like little gremlins, banging and shouting to be let out. They make a mess. In my mind, in my heart. It’s not pretty. And usually, I just end up frustrated and caving in and having that handful of almonds or that third cookie that I don’t really need but just want for the crunch. Continue reading

The Uncomfortable Gift of Stillness

Sabbatical is awkward. Rest and stillness feels foreign. Nearly one week in, and I feel like I’m still trying to settle into this slower pace of life.

Part of this may be due to the fact that I’m no longer at home – I’m traveling, living out of a suitcase, sleeping in a new place. But I think it has much more to do with the state of my mind and heart.

Even while I’m writing about being enough and not finding your worth in your productivity or performance, I’m still fighting the urge to make the most of every minute and operate under a tight schedule. Must get to barre class at 8:30. Must be writing in coffee shop by 10. Must draft first chapter today. So many must’s that I’m trying to muster the strength and energy to complete. The irony is not lost on me.

But I hold onto the hope that God is teaching me through my discomfort and he’s using this internal battle to reveal more of himself to me. In this process, I’m trying to give myself grace as I break in these new shoes of Sabbath, silence, and slowness.

That’s the journey of enough – it’s a continuous cycle of shedding old habits and trying on new ways of thinking and being.

Continue reading

One Word That Will Change You Forever

I’m so excited to reveal the concept and working title for my first book…

To everyone who took the time to fill out the survey a couple weeks ago…thank you!! Not only did you help solidify the direction I felt called to go, but you also provided me with much needed encouragement and confirmation that this is the book I need to write at this time. This concept of “enough” is where the story starts.

The Power of “Enough”

“Enough” has the power to change us and transform our relationships. It’s where strivings cease and peace takes over. It’s about operating out of a cycle of grace and acceptance instead of fear and performance. It’s about believing that God is enough, we are enough, and we have enough to sustain us in this messy, beautiful life.

These are some of the concepts I’ll be exploring in my book. By sharing my story with as much raw honesty and vulnerability as I can, I hope you’ll see yourself in the book and recognize that you are so not alone. We’re all moving toward the place of “enough,” and my hope is to come alongside you on your journey and offer up some of the practices and truths that have helped change the rhythm of my life.

In addition to learning to rest and release control, I’ve found that perfectionists like me need tangible, practical tools for shifting their patterns of thinking and living. That’s what I’m aiming to provide in “Enough.” I joke that this book has cost me hundreds of dollars in professional counseling. And as much as I joke about it, it’s true. I’ve learned so much through the hard work of self-discovery, re-training my mind, and introducing new practices into my daily life. And I’m so excited to share this knowledge with you.

Progress, Not Perfection

My story is not done, and I find such reassurance in that. While I’m more comfortable in my own skin than ever before, I’m glad to know that I’ll be even more at ease at 60 than I am today. When we’re in pursuit of God and allow his perfect love to come in and transform us, our thoughts and behaviors are guaranteed to change. That’s a promise you can count on.

We’re aiming for progress, not perfection.

That’s the point of “enough.” It’s enough that you’re reading this right now. It’s enough that you want to change, to release control, to recover from perfectionism. We all start somewhere – you come to the table with all your burdens and joys and the mix of your past and your present. You come with the belief that things can be different, that we can be more peaceful, that we don’t have to hustle for our self-worth, that we can slow down, and that there just might be a bigger plan that’s worth trusting.

I hope the truths, rhythms, and practices I cover in my book will help you on your journey from performance to peace and fear to faith. I hope you come to believe what I know is true: “you are enough.” Let’s keep figuring out this beautiful, messy life together. I’m so glad you’re here.

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Get Early Access & Insider Updates on My Book!

Yesterday I did not go to work. No, I wasn’t playing hooky. And I wasn’t sick. Instead, I’m incredibly grateful and excited to say that yesterday marked the first day of my four-week sabbatical.

This month is dedicated to kick-starting my book writing process – something I’ve been so enjoying sharing with you. Throughout this journey, I will continue to invite you in to give you sneak peeks at what’s coming and to receive your feedback. To get early access and updates I only send over email, sign up here. No spam. Just love.

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I first started talking about this sabbatical a year ago. My company, One Medical Group, has this crazy awesome perk of offering a sabbatical after five years at the organization. I’m a year behind in taking mine as April marked the start of my seventh year at One Medical – time is flying! But I know the Lord’s timing was perfect. Continue reading