Thursday, September 24, 2015

lingering leftovers {guest post for The Mudroom}

The little lines appeared on the stick in January.
I think hers did too, just twenty years prior.
She, my first daughter, was born in September. A week to the day before my twenty-first birthday. A week to the day before the twenty-one year anniversary of the day I met the woman who birthed me. And my parents. 

At the same time.

{I'm over at The Mudroom today discussing my adoption, fitting for the day after my 25th birthday. I hope you'll join me there for the rest of the story.}

Friday, September 4, 2015

yes...and no {five minute Friday}

I'm back.

and I think five minutes just might do for a perfect start.

because right around five weeks ago, I had another baby. and it was a long road, not five minutes, but seventeen days of groaning and laboring and prayers of sweet Jesus, please, let it end, bring her here, let it end. 

but we got our Shiloh. 7 lbs, 2 oz. we got our "one the whom the holiness is promised." and she is perfect and big sister is in love and so am I and so is my husband.

{I'll blog her birth story soon, I promise}

but then I was no longer pregnant. so the voices started clamoring. it didn't take long, and I'm not sure how many of them were in my head vs. actually shouting in the real world. part of it was the hyperemesis and the inability to do just about anything for so long, and then the prodromal labor, which took away the rest of my strength.

and it sounded tempting, these invitations.

come do this.
be this. 
do this. 
be this.
come back now be with us now come do everything you have been doing and haven't been doing. 

{photo via Unsplash}
and I started saying yes. louder and quicker than I should have.

and it got dangerous.

my physical health was important, of course, but that wasn't the biggest worry. the biggest worry was my mind, my heart, the breakdown that comes when we take on too much, say yes too quick and too loud and realize that we just aren't ready for the yes-ing to start. not yet.

so I'm saying quieter yes and remembering to speak no a little louder and a little firmer.

I just got back to my life, and it's different now. we have two little dove daughters, our wildflower girls. one turning three in a matter of weeks, my Marian with her big blue eyes and wild curls and a vocabulary that terrifies even talkative me. and then little tiny dark haired LoLo with her coos and wide awake watchful eyes and her gentle infant nursing sounds all night long.

yes and no.

both important. both beautiful.

both in their time.

Five Minute Friday
I haven't done five minute Fridays in a very long time. I haven't really blogged in a long time but that isn't the point. the point is: I'm back and it feels good. and starting here, one of the places where my blogging got its start, feels fitting and beautiful and like a returning to myself again. so join us here, write in five minutes, and find the beautiful again.

I've missed you all :: I look forward to getting to know all of you again. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

in which I'm {not} sorry

I haven't blogged since March, since I figured out that keeping up a habit of prolific writing is difficult when you can't stop throwing up long enough to type a full sentence.

Over the past month, I've been thinking about my space here, wondering if I was ever going to come back and write another word here. The last post I wrote fell on seemingly deaf ears. No one commented, no one shared. I was going to come back with an apology post.

The irony of that will hit you in a minute.


Women apologize a lot. For bumping into someone, for not seeing past the over-full endcap at the grocery store, for standing in the spot where someone might possibly want to stand in the next few minutes.

I'm sorry. Oops, sorry about that. 

Whoops, sorry. 

Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

I'm sorry. 

The idea was posed to me today via a local radio host that perhaps women are incapable of a sincere apology. I have to admit, he might be close to right. Because when you repeat the same words, over and over again, simple letters for just standing there, just existing, just wearing this or saying that or exhaling in the wrong they lose their meaning?

It's that overuse that we've come to understand as prevalent in a country where the primary language is complicated in the small things but too simplified in the bigger things. Greek has three words for love. Sanskrit has ninety-six. English has one.

And then we come back to "I'm sorry" and the way that maybe it doesn't mean what it should. And it's not because we don't mean it when we say it, because we do. But it's repeated so often that it has lost meaning. It sounds funny to our ears.


It even looks funny when I type it now. 


I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy with our second daughter. Our second girl. Our second future woman.

There is more to this discussion. There has to be, for my girls' sake. For my sister's sake. For my daughters' daughter's sake. For my own sake.

Because it was Jill who memorized the Signs. It was Lucy who saw Aslan on the cliff. It was Jael who hammered the tent peg through Sisera's temple. It was Mary who saw Him first.

And none of them were apologizing between roars.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

today you are seen {for International Woman's Day}

Dear woman,

You are seen.

Today is a day, one of three hundred sixty-five, that has been ordained for you. I find that funny, strange even, that we have to pick one day to acknowledge women around the world. Because without women, without you, without me, there wouldn't be a world.

{via Unsplash}
So dear woman, today, on this one day. This day of womanhood. I want you to know that you are exactly the right kind of woman.

You are strong even when you taste dirt on your tongue from your face pressed against the ground one more time, yes, one more time because standing became too much.

You are valiant even when the world has decided that you don't fit the Joan of Arc model because of this or that or the other thing. Warrior isn't defined by the sword you lift but the way you wield what is placed in your hand.

You are royal even when your throne room is the inner most parts of the bathroom, tucked behind frosted glass while you hum and moan and groan contractions of physical birth and soul-rushes alike.

You are woman. Wild fighter weeping on the battlefield, blood-soaked between your legs as you pour out life month after month after month. Your body is a warzone, the kind that leaves you gasping and reeling and realizing that fertile ground is so often watered by tears and blood, ploughed by fingers gouging rich soil.

Boardroom to kitchen to backyard garden to podium. You are Malala and Mary Magdalene and Jael and Lady Liberty. You are lioness, re-born and re-birthed and re-breathed with breath that only comes from one place. Because words echo across time: little girl, Arise. And rise she did, little girl dead to woman alive, with her fingers against the palm that would one day pit deep with marks made for the love of her.

For women.

Because He loved women. When He rose, Hell left bleeding in His wake, it was woman that saw Him first. It was woman who understood the moment He said her name. Because she was worth those four letters on His tongue. First she was woman, then she was Mary.

So woman, today, you are seen. Be you standing strong with hammer and nail for nation-saving or crouching low beside a desert scrub, you are seen.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

it smells like everything but smoke.

{via Unsplash}
2015 showed up without warning. One minute, it was the year of precipice -- the year of death and life, the year my book was born, the year my marriage passed the five year mark, the year our daughter turned two, the year we found out that we were adding a fourth member to our family.

The year that turned me inside out and rubbed salt on my skin.

And then I blinked. And 2015 arrived.

My year of burning. 

Every year, I pick a word. Or rather, the word picks me. It finds me in the snow, in the dark, between the clinking of dirty dishes and the noise that my vacuum makes when it sucks up a sock by mistake. It slips into my soul the way water slides around stones. It doesn't move them, it just makes itself at home in the spaces.

And this year of burning // it's already started. It started when I dared to speak the release date for the second book to my writing coach, and she smiled through Facebook chat and said,  HOLLA. Just like that, all in caps. From anyone else, it would have made me smile and I would have moved on. From her? It's a tattoo on my heart-walls.

Holla. You got this. You do this.

It started when our entire plan for birthing this second child was turned on its ear by a cowardly stranger, leaving me scrambling for plans B, C, and D...and maybe even E. It all went down between rushed footsteps to the bathroom and a smell-sensitive husband standing outside the bathroom door with a water bottle and a hairband and a soft apology. It happened in my weakest moments, leaving me feeling even weaker in the process.

2015, you're already burning shit away. And I mean that literally figuratively. All the crap, all the stuff that I came into this year carrying? It's burning away. And it stinks and it's making me gag and feel weak and empty in the moment. But then I feel lighter, better, when I walk away.

It's the kind of year where I stop apologizing for making metaphors out of morning-afternoon-evening-all-the-time sickness. It's the kind of year where I acknowledge mistakes and dig my hands in deeper until the mud creeps up to my elbows, the kind that smells fresh and earthy and full of growth potential.

I can't help but wrap my entire body around the story of the three men in the fire that turned into four, because Glory was made perfect in flames and they were never alone. And they came out without even the smell of smoke on them, because they were wrapped up in Lion's breath -- flame retardant from He who would eventually fight a path through hell all for my soul.

Burning is beautiful. Burning is deadly. I'm okay with both.

So basically, this is where I leave you. Or begin with you. I'm not entirely sure which is more appropriate, but both apply ::

2015 is a year of burning. Of birth. Of rings of fire, physical and mental and spiritual. I can anticipate the raw that will be in this place. Less censored, more jagged.

Less talking, more words.

And a hell of a lot more burning.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

savoring the book {Portals of Water and Wine}

{photo by Emily + Joel}
you have the ability. I push you because I know you can. so go and do. you don't have an excuse. 

I was sixteen, perched in an uncomfortable metal folding chair, my too-heavy backpack leaning against my calves while Jane Austen nestled on the table in front of me. all the other students had left. it was just me and my Literature teacher, her black dress severe as a Bronte sister and her eyes piercing with knowledge.

you don't have an excuse. she tapped the paper in front of me, covered in scrawling red pen. rewrite this. I won't even grade this one. you can do better. so much better. 

and so I did. I wrote. I wrote papers until midnight the day they were due. I read books and underlined and highlighted sections and fiddled with weirdly thick paper from the Barnes and Noble "Classics" section.

I never stopped. even after school was long over and those books were tucked away into the first, and then the second, batch of moving boxes, I never stopped.

and then I wrote a book of my own.

{you can find the paperback version here and Goodreads here}

:: :: :: 

Naya lives in chaos. Her family is shredded, with only bare threads of her long-dead mother and her absent father still lingering in her house. And then she hears the name -- Alonthiel -- spoken as a promise of freedom and escape, if only for one fleeting summer. 
And so she goes, hand in hand with her two best friends, allowing herself to slip into a new world of ancient origins, magical and sacred. 
Inside the gates of the hidden Fae city, Naya finds more than she could have ever dreamed. So much is waiting for her: magic, strength, and answers to the secrets kept from her since the death of her mother -- all lingering mere miles from her doorstep.
 But when a dark force threatens to raze her newfound home, leaving only rivers of blood in its wake, she must harness her fire -- or watch Alonthiel fall.
{photo by Emily + Joel}

:: :: :: 

it's been out for eleven days now. honestly, I've been buried in the swirl of book sales and the tummy-lurches of pregnancy's first trimester. that's part of the reason that I haven't shared about the book in these past days since release. 

the other reason? I've been carrying it all in my heart, savoring and treasuring it like Mary did as her growing Son changed her paradigm on a daily basis. 

I wrote a book. I never had any excuses. 

{all the photos in this post were taken at my release party. we were able to record the Google Hangout where I did a short reading/Q&A from the book, which you can watch for yourself right here.}

Monday, November 17, 2014

the synchronicity of birthing

{via pinterest
when I started 2014, He gave me a word :: precipice. and I knew it was a scary word, a big word, a word that held a lot of power and shivering potential. and it might not all be good. because weather high-up can be harsher than the weather close to the ground. when the word found its home inside me, I literally shook and sobbed and begged for another. because I knew :: big things, heavy things. and I was afraid.

I had no idea.

I lost another grandmother, the second in twelve months. upheaval became the name of the game. there was emotional turmoil, loss and brokenness in a community that I thought was solid ground. my family groaned under the weight of ache after broken-hearted ache.

and in the moments between the weeping, I wrote a book. words became sentences became paragraphs became pages became chapters because an entire volume. and yesterday, I finished it. officially. the proofing is done, the uploads are complete, the cover is the correct size. and then I clicked the button and ordered fifty copies. thirty-nine copies are already spoken for, which is overwhelming and more than I ever expected.

but on Friday, two days before, we got more news.

our family is growing. 
another tiny pair of feet are forming beneath my skin. 

and again comes the feelings of unworthiness, like last time. but this time, there is something more. there is something powerful that drowns out all the whispers of fears and cries of "too much too soon all at once." 

there is hope. there is a breath of restorative life. there is an echo of synchronicity that I've been waiting for...finally. it's been forever. 

this year, this precipice year, it has been a year of "He takes, blessed be. He takes, blessed be. oh, again, He takes. blessed be..." and the words have started to falter on my tongue, quivering as though I might not believe them as much as I did the first time. my lips ache from the wind-burn of being so extended on this precipice, and my fingers are bleeding from the grip against the stone.

and then I remember that He makes the stone crack. that death starts working backwards.

this year has been heavy. but now there is life. 

life on paper, words from my own soul escaping into the world. 
and life under skin, growing to be birthed into the world when the appointed time comes. 

abundant, He promised.