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

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.

 

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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

Why We Need to Wake Up to Injustice

For years, I’ve avoided the news. I grew up in a home where the news was on multiple times a day. There was the morning report with the all-important weather and traffic segments, the 5 o’clock broadcast which (before the days of DVR and Apple TV) took precedence over anything else you might be watching at the time, and more in-depth shows like 20/20 and 60 Minutes that revealed stories of injustice – the telltale ticking sound in the opening credits was there to tell me that I wouldn’t be watching Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel anytime soon.

As a child, the news was boring to me. As an adult, it simply saddens me. In the years that I’ve been on my own, I’ve been able to choose to not watch the news, to not read the paper, to avoid the grisly images and disheartening stories that seem to permeate this medium.

But I’m coming to realize that my choice to not watch the news and to avoid talking about politics or current events might just be New York Timesa sign that something is wrong. Perhaps, my ability to turn off the news points to an imbalance. I can shut it off because I feel like it doesn’t affect me as much. But what if the person I saw on the news was my sister, or my dad, or someone else that felt really close to me? What if the issues presented in the political arena seemed more critical to my day-to-day life?

It’s not as though I think politics aren’t important or that the news is totally irrelevant. On the contrary, I know it matters. But I’m starting to see that it should matter more to me – that I have an obligation to listen to and engage in these stories. Because these stories? They’re the narratives of people. People with souls. People with brothers and sisters and moms and dads. People created and loved by God. Continue reading

10 Life-Changing Effects of Yoga (Part 2)

This Part 2 in a two-part series on what practicing yoga has taught me. If you missed it, catch Part 1 here.


6. Let go. Being present on the mat requires letting go of anything outside of your mat for that hour. Your posture is not one of control and striving, but rather openness and malleability.

So often, I find myself having a breakthrough during class. My mind relaxes, and I receive an answer to a question I’ve been pondering or a conflict I’ve been working through.

Isn’t this so often how God works? When we let go of our preconceived notions of what He can do – or what we can do with Him – we allow Him to enter the spaces where we feel most weak and strengthen us. He always surprises me with His goodness.

But this first requires opening up to Him. Continue reading

10 Life-Changing Effects of Yoga (Part 1)

Friends, I’m writing a book on what I’ve learned while recovering from perfectionism. If you’d like to join in on the journey, subscribe here for sneak peeks and personal encouragement I only share over email.


Back when I was working for RELEVANT Magazine, I wrote a piece about how yoga had helped me become more comfortable in my own skin. How it had helped me embrace my body’s strength instead of hyper-focusing on the bits I wished I could change – the chicken pox scars, the stretch marks, the knobby knees.

The article resonated with other people who saw themselves in my story. They were on their own journeys toward self-acceptance, and they appreciated that I was offering an honest look into my struggles. But here’s the thing about being vulnerable – especially in a public forum – it opens you up to scrutiny and often to resulting criticism. On this particular piece, a handful of critics posted strongly-worded comments – mostly expressing dismay at my references to yoga.

They claimed that yoga is “the devil’s tool.” That it’s the equivalent of witchcraft.

On the one hand, I can see where these people are coming from. Anything can be destructive if it takes God’s place as the Ultimate Provider, Savior, Comforter, and Redeemer of our lives. Anything can be the “devil’s tool” – even really good things like food and music and marriage and family and, yes, yoga.

But those things can also be really really good – as long as they play a supporting role in our lives. They’re good gifts from a good father, not The Gift (James 1:17).

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