Spare the words, savor the feeling

29 September 2014


The Man is off to work.

Which he knows I love the look of his scrubbed down scruffiness, so he texts me a picture.  (Another thing he's come to know - all picture texts are automatically at risk for online distribution).

I get up and tame my hair.  Then back out of my driveway, also heading off into the working world.  And though I leave my house, my bearings for home follow him.

Upward and onward,

Coming home to someone is many things. It is a literal action, an abstract idea, a physical feeling. It is more than the sound of the key turning in the door and the voice that calls from the porch. It is a choice, a promise, a declaration. It is a return, not as a person to a place, but as oneself to another. It is one individual saying to another: ‘You are the one I choose’.

The Valley of Naps. Wrong, no naps in Napa Valley.

25 September 2014

Well, we did it.  The Ragnar.

Which means I ended my racing season this year with a BANG!  And I took approximately one photo.  (See to the side).  Which doesn't really speak victory.

But okay, you want to know the truth before I tell you the glitz and the glam?  I had forgotten how much I HATE the feeling of being so morbidly exhausted and having to run a ridiculously long time in the middle of the night.

But that's not very classy of me to start my experience with a straight-up complaint, especially since I was team captain and spent months yelling into my phone "join my teeeeeeam! itwillbeSOFUN!!!"  And this is actually my 4th relay race, 2nd time as team captain, and I spent HOURS organizing the team, securing hotels and rental cars and food and race gear, managing all the expenses, and training my body up to a 30 mile distance so the team would have a thigh muscle woman to assist if anyone dropped or needed help completing their runs, preparing with three of my own Ragnar simulations where I'd run intense routes a few times a day, and then wake myself up at the crack of daylight the following morning to run again through my bitter exhaustion.

So was my body ready?  Yes.
Was the team incredible and ready and full of fun?  Yes.
Were we going to have a rip-roaring time?  YES.

And then for some reason I gave the absolute worst pep talk ever on earth just before my whole team departed on Thursday morning to go to California - "Listen, I know I snagged ya'll into this with an exorbitant amount of exclamation marks, but ya'll are going to get diarrhea and be tired like you've never known and be sore for daaaaays and wipe blister mucus from your feet on the ride home, so GET IN THE CARS RIGHT NOW!"  But the race ended up being beyond everyone's dreams and every last one of them, including all those were weren't even runners before, are now converted to this race, and half of them are ALREADY signed off for another one.

But myself.... well, after leaving my house on a Wednesday morning, spending a full day preparing for take-off, gathering the team, packing the vans, driving all the way to San Francisco, racing for 35 hours, sleeping for an hour and a half, crashing at a hotel, feeling the weight of having to accommodate to many people all at once, driving all the way back to Provo, saying goodbye to our teammates long after dark, staying up until 2 am to clean, vacuum, and return the rental vans with Ryan, getting to sleep for 3 seconds and then rushing into work, somehow summoning some sort of alert mental energy for 8 hours before I could FINALLY go to my house that night - well, that was almost a FULL WEEK of living out of my race bag.  And then the very next day I started my period.  So I'm sure one could understand why I wanted to quit everything in my entire life and burrow into an introverted coma blanket hole for fourteen years.  I really don't know if Ragnar will ever make it across my to-do list again.

But back to the run just after that selfie.  That run.  Wow.  THAT is why I run. Hands down the BEST run of my entire life. It was midnight, and I had 6 miles to go.  Already having run two legs that day, totaling 17 miles in one day and plenty more to go the next.  Everyone was sitting in the van in the dark of night, done with their runs, winding down for bed, and I had to wind back up to go outside in the freezing and take the baton from Ryan to keep the race going.

He came cruising through the exchange shoot, passed off the slap bracelet to me, and I took off.  My body really didn't experience any resistance on this race, and I don't say that to hoist myself up, but really, I shredded myself training for this race, so physically, it hardly even touched me.  The battle came from not being able so sleep.  After running a few steps, my body woke up enough to realize the black streets were all mine for the next hour.  So I cranked up my music and went hard.

Everything fell into perfect cadence.  The beat of my music, the heavy breathing of my lungs, the burn of my legs.  And I was flying.  I jumped off the sidewalk despite all the threatening signs to stay on them, and I soared passed people.  Not just a subtle pull in front of them.  FLYING by them.  1, 2, 3 people  8, 9, 10....  14, 15, 16...    20, 21, 22...   35, 36, 37 people down ... one mile to go and I text my team.  Later they tell me everyone was shocked, because I was going so fast that the upcoming runners weren't even near prepared.  Everyone was dashing around to beat me to the finish line, and just barely in time.  I charged into the pass-off, my whole team waiting, and I handed-off the bracelet to Audrey.  Then I walked far into the darkness to take a quiet moment and breathe it out.  Drenched in sweat and body shaking.  And feeling sad that such a magical run was over. 

I've never run so fast in my life.  It was incredible!  And I couldn't stop talking about it for the rest of the night.  It was completely transcendental, and I was queen of the world!  As far as ridiculously sweaty queens go.  Plus, Ryan said he was like, way into me that night because of how intensely I killed it.  So............................................  ;)

So let that be my crowning glory! 


Upward and onward,

Some photos gathered from my teammates.  This was such an awesome team.  These are some of my favorite people.

Image source

Pulling back the shower curtain

Divorce.  Heaven knows I hate it.  And hate is so strong that the only other thing that could also be categorized there - millipedes.  The two go hand in hand.  One billion legs.  One billion pieces to sift through and heal from.

And, well, I enjoy talking about my divorce as much as I enjoy stepping on piles of millipedes with my bare feet.  I don't.  There is a fine balance between allowing myself to move on and live beyond it, with more and more time as a cushion beneath that deep bruise.  But then sometimes, I must sink deeply back into it and feel all those little legs crawl all over me, so I can let go of one more piece. 

And ya know, three years down the road, and I see more and more the power of my journey.  All that I know, all that I've processed, all that I understand and share in regards to heart break, grief, betrayal, the submergence of human experience.  Though I still sometimes find myself in Subway shops with weepy little tears, texting my mom about how much it gosh dang freaking hurts, and my only real option is to put on a black cloak and swear my life away to celibacy.  And well, I don't want to do that.  Because my hair is too pretty to be covered by a robe.  And also, most importantly, I really really, really want to put my trust in a human man again and experience the depth of love and loyalty that I know exists.

And why is this all surfacing now?  Because I'm dating a man who has really captivated me - I'll share about him soon enough.  But walking down that path of romance means that even though I pick up and hold the hand of giddiness, a shadow always comes along too.  I try to breathe in deeply, breathe out wholly.  But really I just choke on the silt and ashes of the looming darkness, and the pain is so overtaking that I ditch the endeavor altogether and go back to shopping for my nun outfit.  Just making sure I'd be the best looking nun while I sing on the hills with children dressed in drapes!!!!

But, it's time for me to stop running and let the pain of being close with someone, allowing the fear and incredibly deep anguish wash through me.  to submerge.  to feel.  to be terrified.  Then open my eyes and see the new security and honest heart before me.  To regenerate my reality.  To build trust.  And feel safe.

Even saying "divorce is painful" holds no relative truth.  One person could walk away as unaware and numb as they walked in.  And the other is jarred and traumatized for years to come.  Some heal in a year.  Some in decades.  Some never heal at all.  And general emotional intelligence is so far undertapped that people say the most inane things.  Which is why I don't care to talk to people about it.  Because I'm mostly like, oh your ideas about divorce are cute.  LET ME MURDER A BUNNY ON MY WAY OUT!  But fortunately, God pulls people into our lives who have breathed the same silt, and will help us unravel all the unanswerable questions, the unjust pains, and the lonely agony.  Tears and black humor.  Come one, come all.  Very grateful for the perfectly timed entrance of my new divorced girlfriends into my life. Most of the time, people like us are warriorlike on our own.  But sometimes, we go to our soft place, and it helps to have people who can go there with you. 

So, some days am I overcome with God's ever-extending arm of mercy?  yeah.  and I'm flooded to the bone with love and forgiveness. 

Most days do I just simply not care and feel liberated altogether?  yeah.  Proper healing for the win. 

And on occasion, do I lay really still and let the remnants bleed through?   ... yes.

I believe in healing.  I believe life sprouts again.  I believe God mends all to a greater level if you allow Him in the journey.  And I believe laughing about it makes it easier to stomach.

Here's to the heroic efforts of holding the fire power of our lives and marching the torch forward.  Also, fire power reminds me of that star on mario kart that gives you invincibility and rapid speed for four seconds.  May ours last longer than that. 

Upward and onward,

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection."

“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” 

Image source

When you come to the knowlege of His Glory

This morning I gave a presentation about my trip to Swasiland.  Which was supposed to happen two and half months ago when I got back from the country.  But I couldn't do it.  The morning I was supposed to present, I cried the whole way to work.  Not glistening angelic tears.  More like mascara waterfall.  Which doesn't happen often, but certainly it was alarming to the mass of morning office commuters.

It's just....

Swasiland holds a piece of the purest part of my heart.  In the same way the Philippines does.  In the way my Sister Nora does.  In the way running does.  In the way so much does because they've all grabbed me and held me in a different way than all the rest.  In a way that tells my soul it's okay, it belongs, it's beautiful.

Swasiland gave me sublime peace.  The voice of external worry, judgment, cynicism, shame, was silent.  Dead silent.  All I experienced everyday was the beauty of the country, and the love and safety of all my friends.  It was whole - more whole and tranquil than I've ever felt any other time in my life.  Feelings were finished in freedom, in joy, in happiness.

So, coming back from Swasiland was abrupt and unwanted and left a huge hole in my heart, like saying goodbye to a dearest friend that I may never get to speak with again.  The peace within me still remained, but I knew it would be fleeting.  Coming home to a world of critical comments and tiny perceptions - such impressionable souls like mine struggle to stay afloat.  So I ran and ran, keeping only to myself for over a month.  And I concentrated on my peace.  On my stark awareness of belonging as a full human - all experiences, all weakness, all pieces, proud of all the beauty, no shame with any of the pain.  But even as I surround myself with as much good as possible, and I find this place of serenity daily, the negative still seeps back in.  Gradually external voices began chipping away at me again - this doesn't belong, this should be hidden, this should here and that there, and suddenly I am no longer my own.  But when I think back to Swasiland, everything was perceived with the grandest lens.  I was mine.

So this morning, I was scheduled again to present on my trip.  I already had my presentation prepared from months ago, so I didn't put much further thought into it until this morning.  And I began by sharing that I sway on the side of speaking too little, but today I'd like to stretch myself in sharing enough.  And then I'd like to end in why my heart leads me on these trips, which I don't share often.

Then I flipped through my slides, talking about the black oppression in Johannesburg.  About the heroic efforts of young children to slide out from white supremacy.  Showing pictures that I sneakily took in the museums with my cell phone.  Then I proceeded to Swasiland.  The location of our home on a nature reserve.  The trees, the animals, the red-dirt roads, the sun.  All the time we spent working on projects at child care facilities - building gardens, doing art projects, connecting with the children,  and my favorite stories of sneaking into the public schools and playing teacher.  Sharing my favorite story of the classroom wildly applauding for me as I shared my pursuit of education, of dream-chasing, of now being in this country and being here with them.  I talked about the people I met.  The friends I made.  The open communities.  Then I finished by showing a clip of an African dance  performed by a group of local school boys.

Then I flipped to Mosiah 4:11 and read it aloud:

And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you. 
And I kept having to breathe really deeply as I spoke because my voice was so shaky.  My heart was so soft and so close to God in that moment.
Then I put a picture back up of me and the children as I finished by sharing why I go on these trips.

We have so many elements to our lives - work, hobbies, family, friends, church - so much pulling at us and rushing us around at a really surface level.  But I believe in deeper meaning and deeper love. I love humanitarian work, because it connects me to a core that is more important than an 8-5 job. I call my time of serving and doing humanitarian as Still the Sun - the sun being God.  When we still the world, pause the pace, and serve people, we see what we couldn't see before.  The sun shines more clearly, and God shines more clearly.  We see HIS children, HIS vision, and HIS purpose, it's far deeper than our own, and it holds our soul in a way that we can never forget.  It is a grander, deeper, more far-reaching lens of compassion, of empathy, of listening, of laughing, of love.  I don't preach from a pulpit - I don't spout what I believe in people's face.  Because of reasons that have hurt me so intimately.  I am only capable of silently stepping away from the crowd and finding forgotten places to live my purpose.  And I LOVE working with people, of every walk, of every place, of every background or past.  And I do all of this because I love my Father in Heaven so much.  SO much.  I know that Man - I know Him greater than I know what's tangibly present around me.  And all of that joy and love surges through me and compels me to get out and connect.  Be with.  Belong with.  Love with.

I am His.  They are His.  And we are all coming home together.

Still the Sun.

Upward and onward,


Snowy Sundays

18 September 2014

The first snow fall of the year. 

Every Sunday, Ryan and I share two pictures our most spiritual moment with each other.  Today we shared ourselves because when you haven't seen each other in 20 hours, there's a likelihood you can't remember what the other person looks like.

And then we had a good discussion about spiritual self-reliance.

Upward and onward,

Snowy Sundays

The first snow fall of the year. 

Every Sunday, Ryan and I share two pictures our most spiritual moment with each other.  Today we shared ourselves because when you haven't seen each other in 20 hours, there's a likelihood you can't remember what the other person looks like.

And then we had a good discussion about spiritual self-reliance.

My compass is steadying still

16 September 2014

can't sleep.  It's hard for me to speak the thoughts in my mind.  So, a midnight freewrite.

It was a break of trust in so many regards.  Extending beyond matters of time, shaking things of eternity.  Breaking the bound.  Ripping every foundation.  Taking all of myself.

No pain has ever matched.  Believe no pain ever will.

Hold to something, and feel what it's like to have it ripped clean free.  The tighter your grip, the deeper the cut, and you hold strong and endless.  But you have no control as it tears agonizingly down to the bone.  Rushing blood beyond the shock.  All grounding reframed.  Love and be hushed.  Fight and be left.  Believe and be shattered.  Inhale and you're nothing.  Stand in your belief of permanence and realize its all a lie.  No institution, no force, no promise - nothing holds.  You're as unsafe and unshielded as the day you were born.  And naked beyond just your body.  Your deepest level of soul.  Exposed.  Ignored.  Mocked.  And this time, you're more alone than alone you've ever known.  Exhale and you have nothing.

Come home and everything is dark.  empty.  Days go by.  No one is around to defend, set right, explain, sift.  Lost in nothing and drowning from it. 

So you pray.  But only to an idea.  Because if a force of Greater can still exist after all of that, well, you hold no skin in the bottom of the game if it turns out it doesn't.

Except Light shines.

It feels and speaks of Value.  On what matters. And that's you.

Put that light away.  that hurts worse.

If you matter, then something very bad has happened.  If you don't matter, then it just stays empty.  Empty is better than to feel.

But every time you test the Light, it comes.  And it's strong enough to be undeniable.  Messages are clear enough that you can't hide.  It really cares.  And says that it sees you.  And values you.  And wants you.  Eternal.  Bound.  Love.


the care. The Permanence.  the peace.  The gears turn, the memories uproot, the new beliefs replace and reset.  So you set your life on Him.  The only Source ever found to reach your deepest self.  To know what no one else ever will, understand what no one else can.  He is present in all the fear.  And He never lets go.  For days, for months, for years.

So you stay with God, and He with you.  Human connection kept just below.  Because only He can fill the holes.  The fill of feeling that you are His.  Deliberately created as His indefinite being, beyond the sight of man, greater than the unbreatheable throbbing of wounds, embraced in a Love so overwhelmingly keeping.

Your compass steadies still.


He allows you to be in front of another person that offers the same light.  He feels and speaks of Value.  On what matters.  And that's you. 

And your mind shoots back.  Darkness.  Alone.  No.   No human can be there to know, to feel, to experience.  The isolation, the pain.  the blind sight of a human.  No safety.  Short of breath.  horror.  Cling to Him tighter.

God, don't leave me.  Don't go away.

He comforts you to loosen your grip.  You can feel such a Light here in this mortal realm with another, just as you can with Him.  Look, He says - Continuation.  Safety.  Permanence. 

Mind shoots back.  Abused.  Hushed.  Naked.  Alone. 

No, God, don't leave me.  Please don't go.

He reassures you He will stay by your side, but that you are okay to let Him keep one hand, while giving your other to another.  Two places of safety.  He says,  Two places that see your infinite value.

No.  put that light away.  that hurts worse.

If you matter, then something very bad happened to you once where you didn't.  Feel seen by one, remember distortion by another.  Feel heard by one, remember being silenced by another.  Be supported by one, remember disappearance by another.  By something being filled, then something must have been emptied.  Surfacing holes.  Punctures to the bone. 

But even with the memories, you step forward at the light anyway.  Something is here.  And it's strong enough to be undeniable.  Messages are clear enough that you can't hide.  the care. The Permanence.  the peace.  The gears turn, the memories uproot, the new beliefs replace and reset.

Permission inside your rumbling heart.  Intoxication piece-by-piece.
Feeling.  allowing. 
Consciously placing hold to the sight of a man.
Greater than.  Safer than.
Embraced in a love more keeping.

It’s a matter of time.
My compass will stand still.

Upward and onward,

Image Source