Casas Por Cristo

Happy Friday everyone!  Just a little update that I am planning to take a missions trip this July to the Dominican Republic.  If you would like to learn more and/or support me go ahead and click here.  Or if you would like you can read one of my very first blogs about a similar trip I took to Mexico here.

Hopefully coming soon will be a blog about why I want to go on this trip, but until then thanks for stopping by!

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Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

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The Strength in Her Bones

 

There is strength in your bones.

It is etched into the very fibers of your DNA.

It trickles through the blood which flows through your veins.

It is pushed through your body with every heart beat.

It is made stronger by every rift and tear.

There is strength in your bones my dear, don’t you dare doubt it.

 

There is strength in your hips and there is strength in your lips.

There is strength with every move that you make.

There is strength with every word that you speak.

So walk proudly and speak boldly.

Live passionately and fight fervently.

There is strength in your bones my dear, don’t you dare forget it.

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Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

 

The Great Unknown of 2017

Change is scary.  Change is uncertain.   Fear of change is what keeps us clinging to past mistakes and bad habits simply because they are familiar.  Fears paralyzes us to stay where we are at, instead of moving forward into the unknown.  Because it is the unknown and not change that we are truly afraid of.  Change is only the vessel with which we are forced to face the unknown.  The unknown is this place where we fill inadequate and unprepared, and maybe worst of all – powerless to control our own destiny.

So we stay.  We avoid the unknown, because here may not be great, but at least we know what to expect.  Here we are prepared; we are in control.  Here is comfortable; it is safe.

I don’t think we ever truly conquer our fears.  I don’t think  we are suppose to.  Fear is there for a reason, and it isn’t going to go away.  No, we will never truly conquer fear, but we can become more comfortable with it.  We can learn to embrace it instead of run from it.  We can learn to stop letting our fear get in the way of our own happiness.

In the last five years, I have done many things that I would have never believed myself capable of.  I was certain that there was no way that I could do something that bold or that brave.  But I did.  I was scared at every step, but I slowly started to learn that maybe I had no idea my limits of what I could do.

My great unknowns still scare me.  However, I am learning that my great unknowns hold some of the best experiences of my life.  They are just waiting there, waiting for me to have the courage to reach out and live them.

The last year has been pretty comfortable for me.  That isn’t too say that it wasn’t hard, simply that I felt the most settled I have ever felt in life.  But I can’t stay here.  I was not made to stay here.  2016 is gone, and 2017 is likely to look much different.  2017 involves me quitting my job, putting a couple more stamps on my passport, and starting law school.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit I was scared.  That is my great unknown, and it is daunting.  I am not going to run from that fear.  I am going to embrace it, and pull myself closer to being the person I want to be.

Whatever your 2017 holds, whatever your great unknown is,  I hope you embrace it.  I hope you learn that you are strong, capable, and brave.  I hope you have moments in which you find yourself pulling closer to the person you know yourself to be.  I hope you learn that your limits are far wider than you ever thought they could be.

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over.”

“We can’t, we MUST not loose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

– The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

Tissues

Tissues pushed up against my eyes to stop the tears before they can start.

A lump in my throat that can’t seem to be swallowed.

A dread in my gut that tells me what I am too afraid to admit.

The rational part of my brain that tries to tell me everything will be okay.

The irrational part of my brain that wins out by silencing its opponent.

Leaky eyes and leaky hearts.

Tears that can’t be stopped by tissues pushed up against my eyes.

A mouth that can’t say the words out loud, for fear they will become true.

Silenced rationality and silenced words.

A trash can of tissues that still haven’t stopped the tears.

This is my today, but hopefully it will not be my tomorrow.

A resilient soul.

Battered and worn, but resilient.

A lingering hope whispering that tomorrow will be better than today.

One more tissue.

Maybe one more tissue and the tears will finally stop.

One more tissue.

One more.

Brilliant:

Photo Credit: Unknown

 

On Being Small

Some days I feel small.  The truth is I think I have always felt a bit small.  I was a shy timid child who never really felt like I had much of a voice.  Growing up I knew that I felt like I had a part of my that was buried, the part of me that was fierce, the part of me that was brave, the part of me that was not afraid of my own voice.

Slowly I began to find that girl.  I kept pulling her out, until one day she began to feel like she belonged to me.  Suddenly my own voice didn’t scare me anymore.  I began to believe that the things I had to say mattered.  Maybe not everything mattered to everyone, but it all mattered to me.  And that is what truly mattered, learning to stand up for myself, learning to speak up.

Some days my voice still scares me.  Some days it doesn’t feel like it belongs to me, because some days I still feel small.  I like to think that even some of the most important people in the world feel that way too.  It can be hard to find your voice when it feels like no one wants to listen to it.  Some days it can feel like everyone is against you.  Some days it can feel like all you are trying to do is breath hope and love into the world, and all you get is hate in return.

But my voice matters.

Your voice matters.

You matter.  And you playing small doesn’t help anyone, including yourself.  Because the truth is, the really hard truth is that if you don’t believe your voice matters, no one else will believe it either.

Some days you will feel small.  You will feel like your voice doesn’t matter and that you can’t even inspire yourself.  That’s okay.  I wish I could give you a magic fix all, but I don’t have one.  I can tell you that just because you don’t feel like your voice matters, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter.  Because I can promise you that someone out there is feeling small too, and that someone needs to hear the exact words that you have to say.  So find your voice, big or small.  Find your voice, and never be afraid of it.

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Just Me

It’s just me.

Just me sitting here another day, wanting something more.

Just me wondering why I am so scared to chase what I want.

Wishing I could be more than a Just.

Only I have no idea how.

I am nothing but a Just.

 

But its not just you.

Just you is a presence that cannot be shaken.

Just you does more than some people ever dream.

You are more than a Just.  So much more.

Only you have no idea.

There is nothing Just about you.

 

It’s just me, and it’s just you.

It’s just us, and what a wonderful Just that would be.

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Photo Credit: Unknown

I am Done

For when I blamed myself because I thought it was my fault.

For when I felt powerless to control my own body.

For when I felt ashamed of my own body.

 

On the nights I wanted to feel safe but I couldn’t.

On the nights that I stayed up crying.

On the nights that I felt small, silent, powerless.

 

To those I should have been able to trust.

To those that should have taught me to be proud.

To those that make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

 

I am done.

I am done playing nice.

I am done playing scared.

I am done playing by the rules.

 

I am done.

I am done with your expectations.

I am done with your disappointments.

I am done with your judgments.

 

I am done.

I am done being ashamed.

I am done being uncomfortable.

I am done being silent.

 

I am done.

I am no longer giving you the power to affect me.

I am no longer giving you the power to make me feel small.

I am no longer giving you the power to shame me.

 

I am done.

 

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Photo Credit: Jake Olson 

Aspirations of Justice

I have worked in a law office for almost two years now.  I have no preconceived notions of glory that will happen when I am a lawyer.  I know that clients will be needy and rarely ever grateful.  I know that clients will sometimes be their own worst enemy.  I know that even when they aren’t, there are plenty of other enemies out there wanting to pounce.  I know that you will go from being busy to having fifteen things that need to get done in the next fifteen minutes.

I know that you will never feel like you are caught up on your work, and you will always feel like you are forgetting to do something important.  I know that this work is exhausting, it is emotional draining, it is mental taxing, and some days it will break you.  But I also know that this work is important, because at its foundations is justice and fairness for all.  It is work that is worth aspiring to.

We as Americans tend to have an idealized idea of how our justice system works.  We like to think that we have the great leveler of justice right at our finger tips.  A place where the truth will also prevail and good will always win.  This is the courtroom of America that we put on a pedestal.  But I see a different courtroom.  I see a place where the innocent go to prison and the guilty go free.  I see a place where the victims are often victimized a second time by the justice system.

I see a broken justice system.

You may wonder why if I have lost so much faith in our justice system, why oh why am I so eager to jump in with the throws of attorneys and join it.  I will tell you why.  Because it breaks my heart to watch it happen, and I am sick of sitting on the sidelines.  I am sick of being the girl that complains about our justice system instead of being part of the solution.

I know that I can’t fix an entire broken system, but maybe if I can just fix it for one person, maybe that will be enough.  I know that truth and justice are unattainable aspirations, but that does not mean that we should aspire for them any less.  

My boss once told me that visibility brings change.   Meaning that if the common person in America knew what really went on behind closed doors, there is no way they would not demand change.

We fool ourselves into believing that we don’t have a voice, or that our voice doesn’t matter.  We don’t believe that we have any power to change anything at all.  Change will not come by us playing small.  Stop playing small.  Stop playing scared.  Stop pretending you voice doesn’t matter.  Stop sitting there telling yourself that this is just how life is, and stand up and demand change.  Get angry.  Get vocal.  Not in a way that we are fighting with against each other, but in a way that we are fighting with each other.  Demand visibility.  Demand change.  Because until we demand change, change will not come.   

Philly

Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

 

 

New Beginnings and Changing Seasons

Spring is coming.  With it it brought the promise of new beginnings.  The thrum of the frozen ground as beats into new life.  A chance to start fresh.  To slough off old disappointments and breathe in the hope of something better.

I know you never thought you would make it here, but you did.  Here you are.  You survived the harsh winter, the broken hearts, and the nights you cried yourself to sleep.  You had to take time to heal and that is okay because you did heal.  You picked yourself up with a resilience that you should be proud of. It takes more than a broken heart to break your spirit.

Its been a year now.  You try to forgot the way the snowflakes stuck to his eyelashes or the way he smiled at you as you ran away from the rest of the world.  You try to forget, but you also try to remember.  The memories don’t sting as much.  In fact they have a beautiful element to them, because even though it came to a bitter end, in those moments you felt hopeful and in love.  You need to hold on to that feeling.

Spring is coming.

A breathe of fresh air after a long desolate winter. Spring is coming and bringing the promise of something new, something good and full of hope.  And you can’t help but hope that maybe things will be different this time around.

Spring is here, and so are you.  You with your gentle heart and your old soul.  So strange how life keeps moving and seasons keep changing without barely a notice.  How interesting that you should notice now.

Summer is coming.

The promise of freedom and adventure, as new beginnings turn into late night stories.  The world is alive under your toes and at the tips of your fingers, and you can’t help but to feel alive as well.  You can’t help but feel like nothing can hold you back.

Summer is here and you are sitting on a fence watching the sun set over the rolling country hills.  Your skin had that feeling it gets when it has been immersed in sun and water all day.   You are sitting there in silence, watching the sun go down and the stars come out.  The misquotes had come out hungry and angry, sticking to the tears that were gliding down your face.

Sticky summer tears that came with no explanation.

But You knew.  You didn’t want to admit it, but you knew.  Healing is a funny thing.  It never happens as quickly or completely as you think it should.  You think you are fine, but then pain sticks its thorny hands back into your heart and rips open the scabs.  So you cry about strangers who become friends only to become strangers once more.  And just sit on a fence alone with the misquotes and your thoughts.

It can be easy to play the victim.  To stay here and cry.  To get angry and wonder why life can be so cruel.  It can be easy to sit here and feel sorry for yourself, all while missing everything that is right in front of you.  But you won’t let yourself give up that easily.  So you fight back, and you refuse to play the victim.

It’s okay to stop running.  In fact it is time.

Hold your breathe and jump in feet first.  Sink or swim – the nervous anticipation as you wait to see which one it will be.  Before long you know that cold desolate winter will be here once again.

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Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

A Bold Bandana

That Crooked Nook

I was driving home from Indiana last weekend with my boyfriend’s mom when suddenly, two vehicles ahead, a car veered a sharp right and zoomed off the road.

It plowed down the ditch, up the ditch and across a plain of grass until it smashed into a tree.

In just seconds, the car had reached its final destination, yet the wheels were still spinning.

A young woman, a middle-aged man–they jumped out of their vehicles and sprinted through the ditch and across the grass. They tried to yank open the car door, but it was locked. They pounded on the windows, again and again, fists hitting glass hopelessly.

No one answered, but the tires kept circling, around and around and around.

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It’s late on a rainy Monday night, and I should be going to bed.

Instead, my mind is living in that fantastical (and absolutely crazy) third-eye place, where it narrates my thoughts as though I were…

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