Category Archives: Lifestyle

Pages have expiration dates

Because I love you, I must tell you to turn the page.

pages

 

Life is about so many things. The relationships we hold, the values we believe, the things we dream as we swing our legs off kitchen counters. Our stories are woven over long summer days and countless conversations we have while drinking overpriced coffee.

Like any good story, our lives need several great elements. The characters, the plots, the emotions that come out with every twist and turn. But there is one element that is the hardest to come to terms with in our lives. Timing.

Timing is everything.

And I gotta tell you friend. Sometimes we just don’t get timing. Sometimes we just can’t seem to turn the page.

The paragraphs may be good, exciting and everything you’ve dreamed. What a shame to move on to the rest of the story when this page is so perfect. Moving on would mean loosing this.

Could be that the page is a total failure. Our worst nightmare. The most unimpressive parts of us put down onto the paper. The words we shouldn’t have said and the actions we know we will regret. Temptation is to keep re-reading it. Trying to figure out how to change it. Desperate to find the edit button and fix the mess. Moving on would mean accepting it for what it is. 

But dare I say it? The page has an expiration date.

I’m not sure what it is, but humans have this odd reasoning that if we don’t let something go, then it stays. It doesn’t stay. It moves on with or without us.

Yet we get stuck. We embed ourselves into this one place too afraid to leave. To frustrated to leave. To happy to leave. But life builds. It always builds.

We’ve got to turn the page or we never see how it ends. Where does the dream take us? What does happily ever after look like? How powerful can our redemption actually be?

No matter how great the present is, it will go sour if we don’t let it grow and morph into what it is already becoming. You and I are constantly outgrowing our lives. New days demand new ideas. New ambitions and strategies. Keeping a growing kid in their old toddler clothes doesn’t stop them from growing. It just makes them uncomfortable and awkward. And it ruins the clothes, turning a sweet memory into torn fabric.

Life doesn’t stop for perfection. We don’t have the option for a million edits. The words said at the wrong time, the choice that threw everything off course. It is what it is. Something may happen in the future to salvage it but you have to get there to find out.

Stop reliving yesterday’s happiness and find the courage to seek out today’s.

Stop reliving your failure. You don’t belong there anymore.

Whatever you are stuck on. The good, the bad and the ugly. It’s expired. There is a new thing waiting for you.

Go on. Turn the page friend. It’s about to expire. And the next chapter is oh-so-good.

*** I go great with your morning commute, lunch breaks and bouts of insomnia. Subscribe via email in the sidebar and get posts sent directly to your inbox.***

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Get out of bed, dreamers. It’s time to go.

Somewhere beautiful

 But, really. We never signed up for this.

We never signed up to be taunted by our dreams – to be teased for all that hasn’t happened yet. Peeking out from the covers each morning wondering if this day we will fail just like we have in the long succession of days before. Or maybe, just maybe, today we will be someone great. The kind of someone we crave to be.

Then doubt gives us a fresh dose of  reality and reminds us of all the days we never got where we were going. Best efforts that never quite lifted us out of our ditches. Wheels spinning, flinging dirt all over our hearts and coating us with shame.

We haven’t been enough yet.

Or maybe we go into the world with our shiny new shoes, but the world doesn’t seem to want us. Our freshly unpacked visions and breathtaking ideas – no one has time to see our beauty. So we pack up, go home and crawl into our beds. Under the sheets we go where it is safe and we await the coming of another morning.

This isn’t what we signed up for when we decided we wanted to be dreamers, doers and original gangsters. We didn’t expect to lose or be broken down. We never expected to stop fighting.

And yet , we did. We stopped fighting for the things in us that we want to do and become. We stopped believing that Something Bigger is out there and we are meant to find it.

Each day we dull down our dreams to soften the blow of life. Each day we expect a little less because we can’t stomach the thought of coming up empty again. We sell our dreams for the comfort of our sheets. Where we hide and wait for something to change.

The thing is, I don’t want to be a timid dreamer anymore. I don’t want to stay here in this muted world I’ve created for myself.

I want to break out, have brawls with doubt and lay back with my bloodied nose knowing that I didn’t surrender. I didn’t quit. I fought and I got free.

I’m ditching this joint and I’m inviting you to come.

Remember how good cold rain felt on your face as a kid – when you weren’t worried about it ruining your makeup or your suit? The smell of honeysuckle in the summer and excitement of a new box of crayons? Remember when you expected to make beautiful things? Dreaming of seeing the world – the actual world – instead of just pinning it on your Pinterest board?

Remember when you thought you could do or be anything?

Let’s go back there.

We were meant for something far greater than this, far more grand than we have been told.

Wake up dreamers, doers & original gangsters. It’s time to go. —> click to tweet 

Life will have it’s hard days, and sand will be thrown in your face by people who don’t believe in you enough. Some circumstances won’t change no matter how hard you yell and push on them. But those are the places we simply pass through, not where we have to remain.

Let’s head somewhere beautiful again. To a place where we work hard and make things happen. Where we sit with neighbors on front porches and connect to humanity. Where dreaming makes us smile at the possibility instead of cringe at the defeat.

It may take us awhile to get out of our habits. To crawl out of our beds that we have come to seek comfort from at the start of every morning. We will trip over our own feet more often than we’d like. But, we will get there.

I don’t care how long it takes us. Let’s go somewhere beautiful again.

*** I go great with your morning commute, lunch breaks and bouts of insomnia. Subscribe via email in the sidebar and get posts sent directly to your inbox.***

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It’s like a field trip of sorts – but without the permission slip and sack lunch

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I was gonna be all impressive and grown up, but it just didn’t work out. I’ve known this was coming for weeks and had lined out some posts to automatically publish over the next two weeks so you guys wouldn’t even notice that I was in Africa.

Yea, Africa. Life didn’t quite follow my highly-detailed plan this past week and therefore I didn’t get any posts lined out to publish tonight. I sat down to do it now, but my malaria medicine is making me a smidge loopy so I decided creativity probably isn’t a wise attempt at the moment.

So, I’m gonna get personal and just tell you the truth.  I tend to stay away from talking about the ins-and-outs of my personal life on here since Lark & Bloom isn’t really about me as much as it is about us. And it certainly isn’t an adoption or parenting blog. B I’ll briefly take a moment and fill you in on whats happening with me.

This isn’t news really if you follow me on social media, but I’m going to Africa tomorrow. My husband and I have been in the process of adopting for over four years now. It’s been a long journey – a story for another day – but in November we shifted our plans and began the process of adopting from Burundi. We are hoping to adopt a set of siblings actually. I refer you to my previous post about doing the crazy thing.

If you’ve never heard of Burundi, I suggest you read about itI will be giving my paperwork to the government officials in Bujumbura and be introduced to the amazing country nestled in the heart of Africa.

I went to Africa for the first time when I was 15. I have been back twice since then and am beyond excited to return again.

I am unsure if I will be able to blog from there, so we are gonna do something a bit different. I’ll be posting photos from my trip on Instagram and I’d like to invite you along. Its kinda like a field trip of sorts, but you don’t have to sign a permission slip or bring a sack lunch. It should be fun.

Follow me on Instagram @larkandbloom and come to Africa with me. We were made for adventure.

*** I go great with your morning commute, lunch breaks and bouts of insomnia. Subscribe via email in the sidebar and get posts sent directly to your inbox. ***

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Go ahead, dreamer. Do the crazy thing.

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You know. That ‘thing’.

It never seems to go away. The idea, the dream, the passion, the vision that stays ever before you. The ‘what if’ scenario that resurfaces in your imagination – over and over and over. No matter how you try and rationalize it out of your psyche, it keeps coming back. As if you were made to think it. Born to do it.

Sometimes they are big and busting at the seams with meaning. Others are simple whims that buzz around your head making you smile as you think of them. If only, you think to yourself. If only I had the time, the money, the capacity, the opportunity…If only I could do it.

My gypsy soul has done some crazy things.

I fell in love when I said I wouldn’t. So in love, I married at age 21. The thing I was too young to do.

For years I dreamed of Seattle. Going and living in that vibrant city which sits on the edge of the next-big-thing all the time. When I was 23 I went there to plant a church. And I did. I did the thing that looked impossible.

I have a passion for travel. So, I became a travel agent. The dream job for me in so many ways. I made no money at it and didn’t renew my license. I did the crazy thing that failed…and it wasn’t that bad.

Seattle became a home beyond what I could have imagined. So much of what defined me was there and one day we felt the nudge of God to let it all go. Pack up and move on to the next thing. So, despite many tears…I moved. I did the thing that felt like it would kill me, but it didn’t.

Graduate school has been a passion of mine for years. I decided to study for the GRE…hours I studied and then never took it. I did the thing that never went anywhere but taught me so much anyway.

I have two kids and am adopting two more. I am doing the thing that seems beyond my capacity.

I am trying to write a book. I am doing the thing that intimidates me.

I am pursuing my passion to see an end to human trafficking and work with an organization to see the 27 million slaves in the world set free. I am doing the thing that seems too big for me. The dream that has always felt intangible and distant. The dream that scares me the most.

So many things.

Crazy, beautiful, motivating. Ideas and dreams I couldn’t shake.

Thoughts that didn’t seem to matter to anyone else – they were the thoughts that wouldn’t leave me alone. I do things that seem impressive to others and things that people find trivial. I do things that no one else understand but God and myself. Some I do well and others I fumble. But I do them.

Go ahead. You were made to do the crazy things.

The idea you tinker with in your spare time. Things so crazy no one has done yet. Or things so seemingly ordinary people don’t understand your passion for it. Lives so brave they make the complacent uncomfortable. Focus so wild it intimidates the giants who say it can’t be done. You were made for this.

So go ahead. Do them. Do the crazy things.

*** I go great with your morning commute, lunch breaks and bouts of insomnia. Subscribe via email in the sidebar and get posts sent directly to your inbox.***

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Celebrating the wrong direction and a 3rd Birthday

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photo via

Grab your party hats, your streamers and your beverage of choice! Today is a day of celebration at Lark & Bloom. It is actually a trifecta of celebration to be clear.

It is the end of our Uncomfortable January series, this blog’s third birthday and a day to embrace and enjoy the truth that at times our risks don’t turn out the way we want them too – which is a good thing more times than not.

Three years ago today, I was sitting in a quiet house with my husband out-of-town and my kids sleeping in their rooms down the hallway. Boxes were accumulating with our move from Seattle to California just weeks away. My head was spinning with emotions and tear-shedding was no longer enough relief. I had to get these thoughts out.

I sat down and wrote the very first blog post at Lark & Bloom. I had failed at one blog before – mostly because I only wrote a single entry then never posted again. Another blog? Do I really have anything to say this time?  I decided that I probably didn’t have anything worth saying, but I went ahead and set one up anyway. My friends were scattered around the world, and I was experiencing a massive life transition. Lark and Bloom was created that night as a means of processing out my thoughts so my friends could read them and stay connected to me between sparse phone calls.

Except that isn’t what happened. Very few of my friends actually read my blog, which is totally fine, because you came. You showed up to hear my words and talk with me about the world and all that it could be. We have been able to dream together, grow together and connect through this space.

This blog failed at its original mission, but it has morphed into something far more wonderful. Readers from around the world bring their beautiful stories and dreams that are truly inspiring. This community is something I never knew I needed – something I never imagined.

Had I known the bigness of what I was getting myself into three years ago, I most certainly wouldn’t have ever typed out that initial post. It would have terrified me.

This month I have heard stories of what you guys are doing in response to An Uncomfortable January. You are risky and bold. Living life – big or small – with intention.

And this is what we are celebrating today. Taking risks that lead us to unknown destinations.

When I kicked off this series a few weeks ago, I talked about being risky in 2014.

You have dreams in your heart worth chasing,  goals that are begging to be accomplished, and ideas to create. There is a person worth developing in you and a narrative all your own that deserves applause. That is worth risking on in 2014.

But there are days we will head in the wrong direction – and we celebrate those too. Respecting the fact that we were brave enough to venture off the path in the first place, embracing the lessons to be learned in the process and acknowledging the little victories along the way.

Maybe we didn’t end up where we wanted to or with the people we intended to be with. The full picture is rarely in focus when we start out. Step by step, the journey becomes a little clearer. In the end, we look back and see the meaning in it all. The guidance of a God who knew the whole story before we even began.

Sometimes where we end up is far better than where we were headed. —> click to tweet

There is destiny within us that we aren’t even aware of yet – destinations never dreamed of. Our lives are bigger than we know. That is why we simply start by taking the little risks  – knowing that these baby steps will eventually cover miles.

Years from now, we will gather with our families in our living rooms and share the stories of our adventures. The distant lands we walked upon, the space we created, the humanity we embraced, the feeble love we offered, the careers we built and the relationships we established. Stories that cause little tots eyes to light up and remind all those within earshot that their lives are meant for something bigger.

We may not end up the richest or most famous, but we will be full because we did what we were put on earth to do. Dreamt the dreams, walked the roads and cried the tears.  Cakes will be baked to acknowledge the milestones along the way and friendships will be forged that enable us to cross the distance ahead.

Here’s to the ones who take a chance and the ones who celebrate going the wrong direction. We aren’t afraid to succeed and we aren’t afraid to fail. Cause we’re risky like that in 2014. 

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Your Shoes Are Too Small

January at Lark & Bloom is all about getting uncomfortable and taking risks. An Uncomfortable January has been fantastic so far with posts about the risk of staying, the risk of leaving, the risk of loving to name a few. Today’s post is one I actually wrote several years ago but fits this series so well. So, lets get barefoot and risky people.

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You have probably heard about foot binding. It was an ancient Chinese practice which involved wrapping a young girls feet so tightly that they were prevented from growing. It wasn’t uncommon for the bones in the feet to break when their feet were bound. Often times severe deformities resulted, infections set in and girls even died in the process.

The confines of the shoe and the bandages created a handicap that women had to live with for the rest of their lives.

So, why am I telling you that you shoes are too small? You are most likely not Chinese and there is a 50/50 chance you aren’t a women either. But, I bet your shoes are too small too. How do I know?  Because you have big shoes to fill.

Just like little kids feet, we need room to grow or we get distorted and walk with a limp. Why are your shoes too small? Because your dreams are meant to grow bigger. God’s destiny for your life is meant to increase and the fruit we produce is meant to be abundant. Our destiny is to grow.

If we live in the limitations, fears and comfortable places of a previous stage then we begin to get ingrown. We believe a lie that we don’t have anywhere important to go anyway. So, who cares what shoes we wear? Our dreams press against our capacity and we feel inverted and confused. We need new shoes for new seasons.

I need to be regularly putting on larger shoes. Making sure that I have room to wiggle my toes and grow into them as God increases in my life. After growing and risking for a while, there won’t be room anymore. On with another pair. More room for dreaming and advancing. More capacity to run in roomy shoes.

We bind our own feet to often. We are afraid to get bigger.

“What if I walk this road alone? Id rather just wait in this place and grow into these shoes when I get married.”

” If I walk out no one will follow me. They won’t trust what I bring to the table.”

” I just got comfortable here. I don’t want anything to change.”

or the ever popular

” I’m not gifted. I don’t have anything to grow at all. I’m just meant to watch other people do the cool stuff. I observe, others participate.”

Except a funny thing happens. The tissues and fibers of who we are keep expanding anyway. Even when we try and stay in the same old shoes. It begins to get uncomfortable.  Eventually we just sit down and stop going anywhere. It hurts too bad. The longer we sit the greater our disfunction grows.

And that is where a lot of us are. Sitting on a curb waiting for our feet to stop hurting. Dreams, calling, destiny, capacity… they are all pushing against the boundary begging to be let loose. Risking again on love. Risking again on pain. Risking again to breathe.

And then a fabulous thing happens.

When we are rubbing our stubby toes wondering what happened to our lives, Jesus comes. Tells us to stop being so scared. Stop being so comfortable. Stop thinking we can’t walk any further. He puts these enormous shoes before us. The shoes of Heaven that contain limitless hope and strength. We are terrified to put them on because we know we can’t fill them. Not only that, but our little feet are tiny and tangled.

We forget that Jesus is a healer. He touches deformities and they straighten. The skin and bones go back into places and the painful sores go away. He puts the too-good-to-be-true shoes on. The kind we dreamed of wearing when we were little children.

Maybe your new shoes look like a relationship. Maybe they look like a new business venture. A move to a distant land. The revival of a dream that has nearly expired. Could be letting go of a fear that has held you back and controlled you. Leaving behind an old identity for a new one perhaps.

All of us have new shoes waiting to be worn onto fresh ground. But we have to risk taking off our old shoes, healing the deformities we have and putting on bigger shoes that will support our new dreams. It can be scary, uncomfortable and oh-so insecure. But I think we can do it guys. ‘Cause we are risky like that in 2014.

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The Risk of Staying

I sat at my desk in December with a scrap piece of paper and a red pen. As I began to plan out my blog for An Uncomfortable January this was the post I knew I had to write. 

It isn’t the glamorous one or the post you will have come looking for on your own. If we were in high school, this  post wouldn’t be the dreamy guy all the girls have a crush on or the really funny one that made the rounds at all the parties. Instead this post is the friend you know you need – the one who keeps things balanced and in perspective. Like the friend in high school who talked me out of getting a flower tattooed on my foot when I turned 18. We need those people.

Two years ago my husband and I left our ideal lives on the West Coast to come back to my mid-sized hometown in Texas. It just about killed me. There was no thrill to being here – I knew this place and it knew me. For better or worse. Things weren’t uncharted or fresh and – to be honest – I have a slight addiction to experiencing new things. I could easily spend my life moving on from one thing to the next in the pursuit of adventure.

I missed living in a big city with all of its foodie eateries, endless shops and unique neighborhoods that provided afternoons of exploration. Living in a place that people came to spend their vacations provided a sense of gratification. When I packed up boxes to load on the moving truck it felt like I was packing up every other exciting opportunity and sending it off for someone else to live.

Fast forward two years.

I attended a funeral  several months ago at the church I grew up in. Surrounding me were people I had known since childhood. Memories began to swirl as I looked at the faces around me. Playing barefoot in backyards trying to catch mid-summer fireflies. Late night conversations by the lake dreaming about glittery futures. Airplane rides to foreign lands together. The flood of shared experiences made my lips curl and eventually break into a full-blown smile.

These people and this place. We hold each others secrets and stories. Maybe staying here isn’t so bad after all.

So many of us idolize risk taking as a daring adventure that sets big dreams in motion and launches us to exciting destinations. Hello, didn’t you see Eat, Pray, Love? ( don’t see it. I didn’t like that movie actually )  In my life I have traveled to over twenty countries and have numerous exciting stories to share. I’ve risked big and made a home on many limbs.

Right now though, I am learning a different type of risk. The risk of staying. Don’t be fooled – in many ways it is the most uncomfortable and risky thing I have ever done.

Staying is giving up all the other “what ifs” in order to hold onto what already is. It is choosing to commit and therefore cut off other options. You forfeit the ability to just take off when things don’t go as well as you planned. You risk being bored. Ultimately staying requires the kind of bravery that cultivates instead of fluctuates.

This month some of us need to risk by going further and others need to risk by going deeper. Maybe you need to chase your dreams or maybe you need to plant your dreams. There are times and moments for both.

I love big skylines at night and streets buzzing with tourists. But I also love this place I’m in that is on the brink of something amazing. And I’m gonna stay here a while and help build this city into what I believe it can become. ‘Cause I’m risky like that in 2014.

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