Pictures on My Wall

It has taken me four months to write this. Not for lack of trying, but out of a refusal to let the words come. They were still to painful to admit. The words are still painful, but they are finally ready to be said.

Every morning when I wake up, I am greeted by a wall of pictures. These pictures represent the best people and the best moments of my life. The pictures remind me that I have a full and beautiful life. But four months ago, that wall of pictures became a little less full when a dear friend of mine died in a tragic skiing accident. It breaks my heart to look at those pictures, but I can’t bear the thought of taking them down.

I am grasping at straws to hold on to what pieces I have left, because the thought that we will never make more memories together is unbearable.

Nothing can prepare you for the grief that death brings in its wake. The unanswered questions. The regret of words unsaid. The fleetingness of hope. The pain of loss.

It wasn’t just losing someone who was the very best of us. It wasn’t just losing a dear friend. It wasn’t just losing someone who had been so influential in my life during the most formational years. It was all three of those combined. That enormity of that loss crashes through you like a fucking freight train.

I think people come into our lives for a reason.  A deeper reason than  just our human need for relationship.  People are sent in certain times of our lives to teach us and to inspire us.  People are sent into our lives to show us there is someone in us worth believing in, and that we have a future that is worth fighting for.

Some people are meant to be in our lives for a long time, maybe even for our whole lives.  I am blessed to have a large group of people who have been in my life for the long haul.  There are always there in my corner pushing me forward.

There are others for that are only meant to be in our lives for just a moment.  Those people should not be easily discounted.   Sometimes they can be the most influential people we met.  I can’t explain it, only that it seems that life only gives us a few moments together so we fill it like a lifetime.

The hard part is when that time expires. When we must say goodbye to someone who has taught us so much. When we must move on because life is moving on.  When we must let someone out of our arms and they never return.

I have learned that no matter how hard a goodbyes can be, it is still better than never knowing that person.

To my dear friend Billy, saying goodbye to you has been the hardest part of my 27 years. It has been my immense pleasure to have spent so many of those 27 years as your friend. You were the first person who believed in me, and you were the first person who pushed me to chase my dreams. You were the wind in my sails. What a fierce and strong wind you were. I can say with full certainty that I would not have made it this far in life without your support. My life will forever be changed because you were in it.

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More Than This

You were made for more.

You were made to struggle, to explore, to rebel, and to thrive.  You were made to live – in every definition that one can live.  You were made to laugh, and to go off on adventures.  You were made to take chances, and yes even to fail sometimes.  Stop trying so hard to survive that you miss the reason you are alive.  This life holds so much for you if you only stopped to notice, if you only believed you could have it.

I want you to do great things,  I want you to believe in great things, and I want you to fight for great things.  I want you to see the world as a beautiful place, and to see yourself as a beautiful person.  Life is too short to let you insecurities silence you. Find your voice, big or small.  Find your voice, and never be afraid of it.

There will be tough days.  Days that challenge you.  Days that make you want to hide and cry.  But on those days you will learn what you are truly made of.  You will push back because you are resilient.  You will not let the bad days ruin the good days.

There will also be good days.  Days that you laugh so hard you cry.  Days when you will make memories you cherish forever.  Days when you are brave.  Days when you are kind.  Days when you fall madly in love.  Those are the best days – the days that makes us glad to be alive.  On those days never believe that you are not deserving of this much happiness.  You are every bit deserving.

Life won’t be everything you have dreamt it to be, but if you let it, life will be more than you expected it to be.  Stop molding your life to everyone else’s expectations and go chase your life.

Find your own shoes, and walk proudly in them. You will never truly succeed in life when you are walking in someone else’s shoes.

Feet.jpgPhoto Credit: Lori Rensink

 

What My Mother Taught Me

Be kind to plants, and even kinder to humans,

Both are more fragile than you think.

Tend to your garden, but also tend to your heart,

Weeds and unforgiveness are suffocating.

Lessons from my Mother’s garden.

 

You are never too old to be silly,

You are never too young to be wise,

You are never too small to matter, and

You are never too big to care for others.

Lessons from my Mother’s Kitchen.

 

We don’t need money to have fun,

We make our own fun.

No amount of money will ever matter.

What matters is those you surrounded yourself with.

Lessons from my Mother’s heart.

 

Happy birthday mama. Thank you for everything you taught me.

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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

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