You can read them right here!
The middle place is
where the old self has died
and lies cold
staring up at you with empty eyes.
The middle place is
where the new self has not yet
ready to roam the earth.
The middle place is
where the ghost of you
floats unseen with nowhere to go.
The middle place is
where transformation can
only happen in solitude
because the isolation of death
propels you forward,
deparate to pursue new life.
Something agitated has quieted within me.
Life can rip you up
and leave you with ribbons that don’t
the right way.
But there is no right,
I don’t think.
They just ache to be together.
So I let the ribbons fall down
wherever they wanted to.
Then the churning turmoil
soothed and cooled.
Being good and being nice are not the same.
One enacts and pursues, the other performs.
Being a peacemaker and being a peacekeeper are not the same.
One stirs up and creates, the other lies still.
Who is it that you think you are?
You don’t have to return
to the hands that broke your bones
or to the words that manipulated your mind
to fear for your next breath
or to the people who dripped poison
to rot your heart.
You don’t have to make nice
or pay your respects
or explain yourself
or justify your existence
to be whole.
If you love your body,
mind, and heart
the way they didn’t
then your soul is whole
in and of itself.
My 30th birthday is on Saturday, and a lot of people share 30 things they’ve learned at 30. But instead, I am celebrating my 30 years of life and all of the things I am proud of myself for.
- I was the first in my family to go to college.
- I earned 2 masters’ degrees.
- I have navigated myself out abusive situations.
- My husband and I have lived in 4 states, adjusting and thriving together.
- I wanted to publish at least one book by 30; I have published 2 books, 2 articles, and 7 poems.
- I have traveled out of the country. I am not as well-traveled as many of my other peers, but growing up I could not afford to travel. I am seeing the world based on my own ambition.
- I have learned how to say “no.” But I still need a reminder once in a while.
- I have developed healthy coping mechanisms for depression and anxiety. Sometimes I stumble and fall. Sometimes I don’t cope well and do unhealthy things when I am hurting. Healing and coping is an ongoing journey.
- I had a 6 year career in ministry, and then made a career change.
- I have survived what has felt like unsurvivable situations.
- I have lived through situations that changed me to the core, but I worked hard to rebuild and become a person that I like and am proud of.
- I have forgiven people who have hurt me. I still have others to forgive, and that might take some time.
- I am learning how to celebrate myself.
- I am learning how to advocate for myself.
- I have rediscovered important parts of who I am and reincorporated them into my adult life.
- I am intuitive and empathetic.
- I can change and grow. I am not stuck.
- I do the damn work.
- The friendships that I have maintained from past lifetimes are quality people.
- I still have some hope that the world can get better. Most days, at least.
- I am brave.
- I always want to learn.
- I always want to improve and be a better human to other humans.
- I fight to be here, because I know I deserve to be here.
- I know who I am. I have a strong sense of self.
- I am a problem solver.
- If I don’t know how to do something, then I learn how. I ask questions. I am open to being taught.
- I am more than happy to share whatever knowledge I have with others to make the journey easier for them as well.
- I believe our well-being is tied to each other. I want us all to succeed. I want us all to be equal. I want us all to be cared for.
- I am happy with how I am using my time on earth. I want to make the most out of whatever time I have here and have lots of stories to tell. I have not wasted my years. I have continually used them to grow and learn. I rest when I need to rest, I sprint when I need to sprint, and I stroll when I need to stroll.
What are you proud of? Even if you just make a list of 5 things, please affirm yourself today! Our lists don’t have to look the same. My list is messy and full of pain. But I also celebrate the journey. Be proud of yourself, where you have been, where you are, and where you’re going.
Here’s to a new decade of life!
It’s an exciting time when all this quiet, lonely writing finally gets some traction and sees the light of day! On November 30 I will have 4 poems appearing on the “Academy of the Heart and Mind.” I will post a link when it goes live!
Also, my book is here! Breath for the Breathless has finally been published after I wrote it 2 years ago. Here’s what I posted about it on Facebook:
Clergy friends, I wrote this for you. I wrote this book of liturgy 2 years ago when my life was beginning to unravel. Writing this book was a lifeline for me. I hope it is a lifeline for you too! “Breath for the Breathless: Liturgy for Life’s Difficult Seasons” is the book you want on your shelf when a natural disaster happens, when violence strikes, when you need a prayer regarding mental health struggles or child loss. There are prayers and entire worship services written in here (with hymn suggestions) so that when disaster strikes, you can focus more on pastoral care and less on worship planning. If you’re struggling to find the words to say, my hope is that this book helps.
I am so excited to have gotten several publishing opportunities over the past couple years! Here’s to many more.
The Saturday Disney movie marathon. The too early fall baking and decor. Rereading your favorite childhood books. Playing video games all afternoon. Extra cheese on your pizza. Whatever it is you’re splurging on to help you cope and get through the day, just enjoy it. If no one’s getting hurt, it’s fine. Don’t worry about people judging you for harmless indulgences.
Don’t disappear too long. The world still needs you. But turn it all off and rest for a minute.
I have had a few publishing wins this year with my writing. But I don’t often post about my rejections. I knew going into writing that I would get way more rejections than acceptances. Just this month I have received 8 rejections, and we’re not even to the halfway point of the month! I spent over a calendar year trying to get my upcoming book published. I thought it wasn’t going to happen!
Writing, like any of the arts, is subjective of course. And we’ve all been told that just because you get rejected doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. It can get discouraging, especially when you get so many rejections back to back. You might start to think your wins were just flukes and your success might be short-lived. But we don’t advertise this on social media! We don’t want others to see our more vulnerable moments.
I am sharing this because it’s important for people to know that rejection and discouragement are part of any process, especially when you are pursuing the arts. That is reality, and we aren’t entitled to anything more than that.
We believe in ourselves and our craft. We keep working and persevere. We learn and improve.
Celebrate every win, no matter how small, especially when your losses have been getting you down.
I think we know now, more than ever, that our time in this life is limited and tomorrow is not guaranteed. I think we also have a new appreciation for the things we have taken for granted like going to concerts and seeing movies.I know many people are itching to get out of the house and have fun. I also know that without many options of fun things to do, it is tempting to stay inside and stream movies all day. But when we have some extra time given to us, it is a gift we shouldn’t take lightly.
I have been fortunate enough to have Fridays off during the month of August. I was both excited and sad about this, excited to have time off from work but sad that during a pandemic I couldn’t do all the things I would like to do. (I know some people have traveled to beaches where they can practice social distancing while also vacationing, but I personally haven’t felt comfortable with sleeping somewhere like a motel where other people are staying because of the possibility of spreading coronavirus.)
I wasn’t sure what to do with my days off, but I knew that I didn’t want to waste them. So each Friday in August I picked a different park within 30 minutes driving distance to explore and take pictures. I am not a photographer, but it is a fun hobby to take pictures that costs little to nothing (depending on what you are wanting to invest in.) Not only was it healing and peaceful to spend some time by myself in nature, it was wonderful to be out of my house and seeing people (at a distance.) And I got some good exercise. I saw frogs, turtles, geese, great blue herons, and sasquatch! (Well, a large cut-out of sasquatch leaning on some trees.) I was also amazed to see how much natural beauty was within a short drive of my home!
If you find yourself with some time on your hands, I highly suggest taking 2 or 3 hours and exploring the outdoors near you. How well do you know the area you live in? You might be surprised at what you discover!
Whatever we find ourselves doing in this pandemic, let’s make good use of our time. It is fleeting, and even a year as terrible as this one shouldn’t be wasted. Just make sure you are responsibly taking precautions to protect yourself and others!
(These are not my personal photos, I plan on uploading and editng my own pictures soon!)