When I rooted in my faith, and became intentional about loving others (and myself) as we are called to do, my life began to progress and flourish. The work of moving through our trauma and damage and into our belovedness is incredibly difficult and requires mindful intention every moment of every day. The hard work is worth the earned freedom. I am not my “damage” and am worthwhile and beloved. You are not your “damage”, you are worthwhile and beloved. Our lives, even in their brokenness, have meaning. Claim your belovedness.Read More
Lent is not a season to invoke suffering. It is more so an opportunity to grow in our relationship with the Divine so we may be confident in how beloved we are and the boundless grace that is bestowed on us. It is a season to reflect on the life of Christ and the radical nature of living out His teachings.Read More
I like to think George was God’s way of creeping into my life to teach me how to love myself and others again when my anger, illness, and traumas prevented me from desiring a relationship with God. George was a light that kept me going until I was eventually able to cultivate my own light again and was ready to become reacquainted with and then fully submit to devoting my life to following Jesus.Read More
This ring symbolizes a great deal for me. It reminds me that our dearly departed really aren't that far from us, perhaps in another dimension as close as pages in a book. It reminds me that every irritant in life, no matter how painful or devastating, provides the opportunity to develop something beautiful from it. Every day presents an opportunity to choose where to focus the energy in your life; the irritant or the developing pearl.Read More
"Accept what you cannot change and courage to change the things you can." I learned the Serenity Prayer as a child and this deliberative practice that is centered around perspective, acceptance, and choice remains to be one of my most effective tools for maintaining a healthy and balanced life. It has empowered me to develop the resiliency to endure chronic illness, grief, and trauma. More importantly, it has allowed me to have healthier relationships. Some days, I excel at this practice and other days require tremendous effort. I'm grateful for my God who freely gives grace and love to us so I may offer both to myself and others. As grace and love are both within personal control, even on the bad days. I wrote the reflection below after a bad day in our CO-OP outreach in 2015. Although life has significantly changed since then, the practice remains the same.Read More
The night before my surgery, I spent the evening with my eight-month-old niece who continues to be the splitting image of my sister. We had a wonder filled evening together and she even crawled for the first time with me. At one point, she sat in my lap as we faced each other and I was in awe of this precious child and the beauty of genetics and creation. Three tears fell down my face as my heart processed what would never be for my future. This precious eight month old responded by reaching up, wiping a tear from my face and falling into my chest for an embrace. At that moment, we belonged to each other.Read More
Yesterday was a celebratory milestone. I preached without notes for the first time in my homiletics class. More importantly, I spoke in public and recited memorization for the first time since I had my brain injuries and started my journey with seizures almost a decade ago. My speech and memory are the aspects in my life that were most affected by the brain trauma and this has been a devastating and long road for someone who spent my youth in the theater. I also did it after a rough month getting over pneumonia and it took a lot of effort to get to class yesterday. But I had to show up. I had to break through this wall.Read More
On Saturday, I spoke on a panel titled "Youth Ministry 101" at a youth ministry symposium. The focus topic of the symposium was the church's role in honoring and educating teens about sexuality, sex education, and gender; necessary work I am excited about. The panel went extremely well and I received compliments and appreciation from the attendees and organizers for what I shared. I came home exhausted, proud of myself, but still self conscious about what I brought to the table and lamented on the many faults I found in myself and as a youth minister. Then I identified my self defeating thoughts and grew frustrated how easily I feel into that. That's what many of us do, right? Even on days when we are celebrated, asked to share wisdom, or acknowledged for our efforts, we unnecessarily beat ourselves up and think we are not "enough".Read More
Through my practice of non-attachment, I have learned that who I am as a person is defined by my love for God, how this agape is reflected in my relationship with myself and others, and through my behaviors towards myself and others. I've learned that the only constant factors that are guaranteed to us in this life is God's abounding love for us and the grace that is graciously provided through living in Christ's kingdom. This journey has played a large part in answering my call to serve in the Episcopal Church.Read More
Grief is brutal and relentless. It presents a new normal mourning a life changing loss or circumstance that has the potential to destroy a person. I'm presently working through the enhanced grief in the anniversaries of losing my sister and one of our good friends. Grief for my loved ones and friends working through the own heartache. Grief for our chaotic and divided nation. Grief over the limitations from my health. It is a struggle to resist being overwhelmed and succumbing to isolation but you have to fight like hell to climb out of the darkness and into the light.
Today, I have an important meeting with the Commission on Ministry to determine whether or not I proceed in the ordination process. Tonight, I came across this card and message from Amy that I forgot existed. It was just the reassurance that I needed.
In honor of Amy, I picked the most funky and delicate variety he had, a Fourth of July Rose. Each blossom has a different color pattern of her favorites, reds and whites, and bees are attracted to it. I think Amy would adore this plant.
Amy's rose bush reminds me of one of my most favorite novels, The Little Prince. Our hero Prince is obsessed with a beautiful single rose on an isolated planet and the task of keeping her alive and thriving. When visiting other planets, he tells others that "the stars are beautiful because of a flower that you don't see."Read More