Sunday, July 31, 2011

What defines me?

I was going to write this blog three weeks ago. But I stewed and simmered on my feelings and it never happened. The subject matter has been lurking on the edges of my mind. I suppose life has convenient and subtle ways of keeping us from confronting those issues that would define us. You may call "life" what you will- busyness, distractions, Satan, doing the "good" while sacrificing the "best"...there are a lot of definitions. But they add up to the same place for us all- stopping us from changing the world.

Three weeks ago on a Sunday I had one of those defining days- I could move forward same as before but I wouldn't be the same person because of the experiences and knowledge learned. I'd like to tell you about it.

Every Sunday afternoon our church has a food bank ministry that distributes food bags to the needy and homeless at a school off Colfax in Denver. I'm sure I didn't get the description exactly right, but you get the idea. This has been going on for years now. The ministry is called The Net and there is a big truck to haul all the food. If you live on this side of town you might have seen the truck before. Lots of people work each week to make this happen. There is a message given and the kids sing, color and do crafts. The recipients of the food also get an opportunity to talk to team members about their lives, their needs and concerns that go beyond the physical need for food.

I have wanted to help with this ministry in the past. I'd even gotten really close to going a few times. But I let life get in the way. Sometimes I get migraines on Sundays. Other times the third Sunday, the day our friends help out, would sneak up on me and we would have a million other plans. But let's be honest here- there is a lazy and vile mentality whispering in our minds telling us someone else will help or there will be always be another day to show up. Sad truth is those whisperings were probably the biggest factor keeping me away for so long.

But on that Sunday, everything fell into place and I couldn't say no. Well, of course I could have, but Maise and Ainsley wanted to help, and what parent in their right mind would tell their kid, "No you can't go help needy people because Mommmy wants to go home and take a Sunday afternoon nap." Ouch. But my excuses from all the weeks past really sounded that heartless and stupid in that moment. So we went.

I felt very clumsy at first. I didn't know the routine and kept dropping things. There was an efficiency and beauty about it all that did not include me yet- I was the outsider. My girls picked it right up. I finally found a rhythm that didn't embarrass me and actually got the bags filled without squishing anything.

There is a lot more I could share from that afternoon, but some moments are meant to be cherished and kept close to the heart, even for a writer. I found an organization that connected with my heart though, and I will be back. I believe love should be lived out as tangible acts and I feel helping those around us is vital- as much for us as for those we are helping. It sets us free from the selfishness and materialism that would consume us whole. I know I have failed miserably at this in the past.

I feel my writing is heavy and clunky today. This is tough subject matter. I feel shame for all those wasted moments when my selfishness and apathy have kept me from helping those around me. I have hope for making wiser choices in the future. But I fear the cares and concerns of life...and selfishness...will choke my good intentions for the future. I realize the struggle will always be there for all of us to put ourselves first. We must fight against this.

Something else happened that Sunday. But I will share that in my next blog. This is enough intensity for today.

Thank you for reading dear reader. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making up words and wanting to change the world...

Just wrote four paragraphs and balled them up and threw them in the "recycle bin". They were crap. The stuff I write when I want to write but don't know how to be real with my feelings. I would feel worse about cutting them if they had been hard-won. They were easy fluffy patheticness. Just like that last word I think I made up.

Truth- sometimes I feel I must write but know I do not have anything earth-shatteringly important to say. So I throw down trivial words until the urge passes. I do not give real effort. And I will usually toss the writing out as quickly as possible after the fact.

Do you ever do that?

Not with writing perhaps, but do you have times when you feel there is something you must do...exercise, reach out to that person who hurts you, go for that job promotion, save orphans, whatever...and you find yourself only giving half effort or maybe even giving 1% effort?

I just googled the phrase, "famous lazy people" because I really wanted that last sentence to end with an appropriate and witty example of an instantly recognizable historic slacker. I learned that Hitler was said to have been very lazy. With all the horrors he inflicted, I am very glad he never achieved his full productive potential. But the number one quote I saw on my Google search was "You don't become famous by being lazy."

Wow! Pow! Kaboom!

(Sorry, I am re-reading Stephen King's On Writing and I couldn't resist.)

That's a pretty hardcore quote though. And seriously true. I don't know that I want to become famous. Although I guess if I did then perhaps it would mean I am a good writer and I do want to be one of those. Regardless of the answer to the famous part, I do want to make a difference. We all do, yes? Where does that start? It begins at the fluffy patheticness. That is an inception.

You feel you must show up. So you do. You give your one percent. The process is under way. Pat yourself on the back for the small first step. Then push harder. Do not let yourself be okay with that crappy minuscule effort. Do more. It is only by each day's bit of work that we will change the world. Who's gonna change with world if we don't? The lazy Hitlers will.

In case you missed this gigantic glaring point during reading, it is me I am talking to here. Keep writing crap Val. But stop settling with putting down words just to get them down. Make the words beautiful and be resolute in being real. I know my calling. I encourage you with pumped fists to step out into yours. You know what it is already. Almost all of you do anyway. Give your 1% tomorrow if that is all you can muster. But give 20 the next day. Do this with me. And tell me about it please. Comment and tell me what you are going to do. Let's push each other, okay? Can't wait to see what is going to come of this.

Peace dear readers. Sleep deep.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Afterthoughts. Afterglow.

Sitting here chillin with some John Mark McMillan tunes, courtesy of youtube, and a Vitamin water, tropical citrus energy flavor because I had to take a Zyrtec earlier and it makes me super drowsy. So I am half-awake and musing on the past few days. I want a nap. But I want to write more. Get my thoughts and heart out there. Out here, to be exact.

In a lot of ways I feel twelve again. Spiritually, that is. The kids running around remind me I am almost 35. But inside, in the deepest parts of my soul, I feel like a child again. In wonder. New. Hopeful in a way only an unscathed child can conjure the world in her imagination. Freedom is settling in my heart, a child's freedom of expression and love and joy. I haven't felt this alive in years. I am realizing who I am. The details are still a little fuzzy in parts, but the clarity of what I can see is breath-taking. What am I seeing? My beauty, purpose, abilities, the causes that move my heart to tears and action, and what matters to me. The list of things that matter becomes shockingly simple when you know who you are. That confidence might be the biggest surprise of all.

Getting distracted by the music because it's so good...

Back to task. What do I want to really say here?

Perhaps John Mark McMillan wrote it best:

"If grace is an ocean, I am sinking."

Drown me whole God. Only in You is there life. The only kind of life I want anyway.

However, just like other amazing experiences, the afterglow will wear off. I realize that. But there is something about spending days with the Lover of your soul that changes a person. It changes human hearts in human love relationships, and it changes souls in God relationships.

These are easy words to write. They are my heart. But there is vulnerability in laying my soul's thoughts and longings bare on my blog. I have no idea how this is going to be received. This is where I want to assure all my readers I am not becoming some kind of freak. I am NOT becoming...

Well. Maybe I should wait before finishing that sentence. I have no idea what I am becoming. I only know it is more ME than I have ever been.

Peace and passion. The contentment in my heart is so intense I feel it is going to burst out of my skin. And that is not afterglow, that is real.

Peace out dear readers. I'm gonna go run around in the rain when it gets here.

Monday, July 11, 2011


You won't relent until You have it all...
my heart is Yours.

That is all. good night.