Tag Archives: life

He died. And we all came to his party.

I never really knew a tragedy and a party could go together until now.

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I remember being a little girl and laying in bed at my friend Kaleigh’s house. Spending the night at a friends still had all the magic. Being dropped off. Eating food that isn’t a part of your normal menu. Playing with other people’s siblings. Getting ready for bed away from home always made me feel so grown up.

The nights I spent in that house are countless. It is funny what you remember about those times. Kaleigh’s mom always told me not to pop my knuckles or I would regret it when I was older. She was right. Once her dad let us stay up till about ten to finish Pippi Longstocking. And for a second grader that was basically winning the lottery.  As we got older, he watched us practicing the Macarena and told us we looked great. We didn’t.

This past week Kaleigh’s dad, Chris, passed away.

Last night was the visitation and I had to park at another building because the funeral home parking lot was maxed out. I waited quite some time to even get in the door. Finally it was my time to hug the family and say what little I could to communicate how sad I was and how sorry. Those are the times where words can’t really communicate what you have to say. And so you stand shoulder to shoulder in the crowd with your presence doing the talking.

Scanning the room it was filled – literally filled – with people that took me right back to my childhood. The families who all went to the church I grew up in. Teens I was in youth group with who had turned into full fledged adults with wedding rings and mortgages. So many people.

I was talking to a woman named Marsha who was a constant figure in my younger days. Homegroups, mission trips, her kids in the youth group with me. A lot of life connected us even though it had been years since I’ve seen her.

We talked about how Chris passed way too soon. We marveled at the crowd who showed up. And then she said it.

“He threw a party. And we all came.”

All the magic I had been feeling about the night, Marsha summed up in two sentences. Chris threw a party and we all came. Out of the woodworks crawled people from decades ago. Faces I haven’t seen since church picnics when I was a kid. People traveled from far and wide. Because this was Chris’s party and we wouldn’t miss celebrating him for the world.

Walking to my car, those words just ricocheted against all my thoughts.

I want to live a life that breeds these kinds of parties.  Throw the glitter and spread the dip. It is time for me to throw some serious soirees. Not just to celebrate life when it is over but in the thick of it. Where people line up just to get their feet in the door. ‘Cause they know that what is inside will be spectacular. It will be full of love, full of inspiration and full of life.

What I am about to say is the stuff of overdone graduation speeches. I know that. But I also know that it is true and that no matter how many times we have heard it before – we need to hear it again.

This is the time.

The time to feel all the feelings and love till our hearts bleed out onto the people around us. Soaking up every conversation knowing that it probably won’t be our last, but that doesn’t make it any less special. I want to hug my kids more because I can. And life is good. It may be hard and broken down at times. But it is good.

Those ideas that  are so risky they send comfort zones screaming? I want to do those. And I want to nail them. I know I probably won’t. In fact,  I will fail at many of them. But I will have done them and there will be scars that tell of my adventures into the daring world of possibilities. And I will throw my scars a party because being brave is worth celebrating.

However, some of the things I just might get right. And when I do? I’ll throw a party. Because I can. Because this is life – my one life – and I don’t want to put it off.

But mostly? Mostly I want to dare to open my heart up to people in the boldest of ways.

To love without any catches or qualifiers. The kind of love that is generous even when I feel like my own heart is surviving on bread crumbs. Believing that God will sustain me. The fierce kind of love that makes others uncomfortable with it’s intentional pursuit. I wanna be that girl.

And you?

You should fall in love more. Send out the resume for the dream job. Build a treehouse if for no other reason than it was a weekend of nice weather. Read books in homemade forts with friends because honestly, who wouldn’t love that? Pulling out the destiny in others even when your own seems overlooked. And love Jesus with everything you’ve got.

Because this is life. Welcome to the party.

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Say Something Meaningful

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It wasn’t until his death that I realized just what a significant impact he had on me. This past Saturday I found myself sitting in a crowd of  80 people who had gathered together for a memorial service to honor Dr. Loring.

To say that I knew him well would be misleading. I knew Dr. Loring from a distance. I couldn’t have told you where he was born, the hobbies that filled up his empty time or what his final days were like. All I knew is what he meant to me and what I saw that day.

I scanned the room and found some familiar faces while waiting for the service to start. By the end of that next hour, my life would have been deeply impacted by the people sitting next to me. The pastor got up and shared briefly about Dr. Loring’s early life. Talked about his marriage, family and the years he spent pastoring churches in Oklahoma and Texas.

A significant part of Dr. Lorings adult life was spent working with the homeless population in Dallas, TX.  It was compassion,  not pity drove him. A genuine care, not obligatory or with a savior-complex. Dr. Loring loved people.

About halfway through the memorial service, a strange thing happened. The event turned into an open-mic where those attending could share their thoughts. I kind of moaned to myself at first. This is going to be boring and take forever. It wasn’t boring, and I wish it took forever.

One by one, people stood up and shared the ways they were impacted by his life. A politician told of the evenings spent with Dr. Loring and all the wisdom he offered. A homeless man shared about how Dr. Loring had changed his life while he was on the streets in Dallas. Story after story from friends and family.

By about the tenth person I clued into a pattern. Each person mentioned a specific thing they remembered Dr. Loring telling them. His words stayed with them. Words that created a sense of identity or purpose. Words that comforted a broken place.

These were not simply antidotes or greeting-card phrases. Dr. Loring took the time to see people, recognize who they were & speak to that area. What he spoke everyone remembered. I remembered.

It was either the spring or summer of 2005 and I was at a conference outside of Dallas. My husband and I were gearing up to leave that fall and start a church in Seattle. Dr. Loring was there and came over to chat with me before one of the sessions started.

Chit chat and a few thought provoking questions met with my half-thought answers. The room was buzzing with people grabbing their last minute coffee before taking their seats, but Dr. Loring kept our conversation going.

I’ll never forget what he said at the end of our conversation. “You, you are lionhearted.” 

That was the end of our conversation, but I kept replaying that line over and over. I tried to breathe it in and hold onto it. Those words spoke to a huge question mark that always seemed to linger over me.

I wanted to believe that I was brave. I desperately hoped that I would have the courage to live the life I wanted. All the insecurities of my early 20s seemed to try and convince me otherwise, but those words nailed identity into me.

Over the years I have pulled on those words. When things felt too big, too heavy or I was acutely aware of my shortcomings, I would remember. No. I can do this because I am lionhearted. 

I owe much of what I have accomplished in the past 8 years to that one conversation. And that is why I was there that day to celebrate Dr. Loring’s life. It is why we were all there.

His words brought us together.

You know that kind of introspection that leaves you overwhelmed and nearly paralyzed? That is what I experienced on my drive home. I mulled over the things people had shared about the ways Dr. Loring’s words had marked them.

Lots of people say nice, kind and friendly things. But his were deeply meaningful and spoken with a level of intention and thought I’ve rarely seen. Those statements have given courage to many and provided a foundation for amazing things. I realied that I wanted to say things worth standing on.

I am mildly intentional about what I say. Is that a bad thing for a writer to admit? I want to say things like Dr. Loring did. I want to say something that has an eternal purpose in it. Something that will be the foundation for strong relationships, charity, faith and dreams.

Words hold eternal opportunities. Say something meaningful. —> click to tweet.

Don’t worry,  I’m not going to turn into some guru who tries to be impressive and profound all the time. But, I am going to take opportunities to speak life to people.

Words should be constructive not destructive. They should dispel insecurity and impart courage. Our words should make a difference.

Take the time to say something meaningful. Your words might be your legacy.

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The Dirty Gospel : no fairy tales here

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( To read the entire Dirty Gospel series click here )

When I was growing up,  fairy tales were the stories of choice for me. (Well, fairy tales and Ramona Quimby books) I’m guessing you had a thing for them too. Maybe you loved the hero, the adventure, a villan’s defeat, or the princess who is discovered in an ordinary girl. Personally I liked the talking animals.

This week is the final post in The Dirty Gospel series. I’m only 31 years old, but experience has already taught me that real life reads nothing like a fairy tale. The storylines twist and turn until we are nauseous with fear and anxiety. The battles we face leave us broken, bruised and weary. It doesn’t always end with “they lived happily ever after”.

Obviously Heaven is the happiest ending one could have, but our life here on earth is messy. That is why this Gospel is so dirty. Worn down by the tears of distraught saints and lonely martyrs. Clung to by the addict’s knuckles that are white with fear in hopes that there is indeed One who can see into this darkness and find him.

The cross secured victory for every battle we could face – internal or external.

Jesus didn’t come so that we could have “happy”. He came so that we could have Him. —> click to tweet.

The Gospel is culminated in this one phrase : It Is Finished.

The shame that mocks you. It’s finished.

Hate towards our enemies. Finished.

Fear that keeps you from dreaming. Finished.

Striving for a perfect version of you. Finished. 

Cycles of depression that rob your days. Finished.

Lies that you have a deficit of worth. Those lies are finished.

Death itself? That is finished too.

So many of you responded to Bethany’s story a few weeks ago. The PET scan results came back for her husband this week. The cancer has spread and the tumors have gotten bigger. Real life, real pain. Shootings, suicides, famine, poverty, slavery…so much is broken in this world of ours.

We don’t need a fairy god mother to give us a new dress. We need a Savior who is knee deep in our battles. One who holds us tight when we kick, bite and smell of our vices. A God who talks us down from our ledges and out of our pits.

We may not have our “happily ever after” on earth. Some may die sooner than we would like. Spouses may not show up despite our most bitter and desperate tears. Hope may be deferred and life may not seem fair. There are moments it feels like all Hell breaks loose around us.

But our days are anchored. Securely fastened to a Truth that has survived every pain. Our Gospel is more than living days of isolated happiness. It is an eternal thread that links a heritage more colorful and vast than we can imagine.

The Dirty Gospel hinges on the most powerful sentence ever said. It is finished. And it is.

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10 things you should know about me

I did this a few years ago, but it is time again. Here are ten things you should know about me…image

I started this blog two years ago for my friends to read after I moved. Turns out that none of them read my blog, but you do! You guys are from places like Belize, the Netherlands, Germany, Thailand & Poland to name a few.

I figured we should be friends so it won’t be so weird when I ask you if I can come and stay with you in your cool apartment in Moscow for my next vacation.

So,  here are ten things about me that will help us get to know each other!

1. I may not look the same whenever you see me next. Long, short, bangs, no bangs, blonde, red, brown and everywhere in between. I get bored with my hair very easily. OR maybe I am a spy. You pick.

2. I really love Subway sandwiches. They are truly a delight to me.

3. I won’t buy food from superstores. In my mind there is something fundamentally wrong with buying groceries from non-grocery stores. Wal-Mart  will never get me to buy food from them. Purchasing oranges at the same place I can buy tires is just unnatural.

4. I am a Type-A/Bohemian hybrid. Very driven. Constantly thinking. But with a whimsical spontaneity to it. You will find me trying to figure out a plan for how to run an AIDS clinic while swaying to Frank Sinatra with my hair up in an Italian scarf. It can really throw people off.

5. I have figured out how to stop global warming. No, I didn’t get any help from Al Gore on this. I came up with it myself. Simply cutting out this one thing will end it.

6. It took me 2 years to learn to cook a baked potato. Simple, you may think, but it wasn’t! Literally 2 years. I will save you the time and toil that I spent. Put the potato in an 350 degree oven for 2 hours. Now you can use your two years on something else.

7. I believe monkeys can be pets. When I was little I created a plan to convince my parents that we could, in fact, have monkeys as pets. I calculated how much they needed to eat, what it would cost, sketched a diagram of the monkey house I would build in the back yard, planned out their vaccinations…They didn’t go for it. I guess my parents are not quite as visionary as I am.

8. When I type, I hear my voice saying the words out loud. Just like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. I’d like to think that I don’t smirk and smile thoughtfully into the distance like she did while typing, but it is very likely that I do.

9. I wear sunscreen every day. Seriously, people. I have a soapbox about skin care. It’s not hard. Just put it on. When I lived in Seattle it would be 50 degrees and raining. This lady still put it on. Make fun if you will. Dermatologists love me.

10. I think I would enjoy gardening if it didn’t involve dirt. And bending over so much. But, I do love gardens. Particularly wild English gardens. I could sit in those for days. As long as I didn’t have to do any gardening.

See, wasn’t that nice? Are we friends yet? Honestly though, I wish I could sit and chat with each of you. Hear your stories and see pictures of where you are from.

Are you on Instagram? Twitter? Do you have a blog? I’d love to see you other places online. Let me know in the comments!

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Designing My Life

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I am currently a part of my first book club. Ever. My friend Kat is facilitating it and I really do love being a part. Even if I had to read 8 chapters in one sitting because I was so behind. We are reading John C. Maxwell’s 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. 

My favorite chapter is one where he discusses designing your life. This quote is how he starts off the chapter.

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn

John Maxwell shares his tradition that every December he reviews the past year. He pulls out his calendar and goes through all the events and activities of the past year and then evaluates the way he spent his time. He actually goes hour by hour through the previous year’s agenda.

I’m following his lead. No, not hour by hour. More looking at the blocks of time I spend on different activities , commitments and hobbies. DId I get a good return on my time both personally and professionally? What do I want to do more or less of in this coming year?

I am at the very beginning, but the one thing I am sure of is that I want to create more in 2013. In fact, I want to make it a point to create something everyday. Whether it is blogging, design, art projects with my kids…creating refreshes me.

What should you do more or less of in 2013?

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December 10, 2012 · 7:02 pm

Things I Should Do Today

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Right. Do something today that I will thank myself for. I guess I should :

– stop eating this pizza in my hand

– workout

– get down to one cup of coffee per day

– call old friends that I value more than my phone log shows

– take a few hours to catch up on my kids memory books. Too many things I don’t want to forget.

– start saving for a fun trip. Even if it is quarters I am closer to a girls getaway than I was this morning.

– spend more time with Jesus. Never heard anyone regretting that.

– dream more. dream bold. dream even if it feels silly.

– stop wasting time worrying about things that might happen & prepare for things I want to happen.

What should you do today?

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