This is a story of a girl finding her way.
Originally from S. Louisiana, I’m happy to call myself a Floridian, for almost two decades, who knows how to make a good “roux” (Don’t know what that is? Google it.).
I am an author, blogger, wanna-be artist, speaker, preacher and teacher.
I am married to Ray who is the most perfectly practical man I know, who keeps me from floating away into my dreamy clouds. He lets me be me–in all my glorious determination and will. Our marriage, together in this messy world, has changed me, challenged me, shaped me, maddened me and makes me work hard to love him well. As he loves me.
We have two remarkable kids, who are the best thing that has ever happened to me and they are excellent teachers.
I have been doing lots of “ministry” work over the past decade.
In 2008, I did what most Christians do when they feel “called to ministry”; I went to seminary. I graduated from seminary in 2012, dangerously equipped with all sorts of knowledge. I was called a “nerd” in seminary so you can just imagine the “know it all” I was.
I jumped head first into the United Methodist Church to become an ordained elder. I served for four years as the Youth Director at Indian River City UMC , in Titusville, Florida, and will forever have a soul-link with that phenomenal community of people.
In a longer story than I will tell here, I hit a wall–call it an emotional breakdown–in my ordination process in the first weeks of 2015. And thus began the unraveling of my “plan”, “agenda”, and the major “control issues” I have sparred with for all my life. In short, it was a breakdown. There are plenty of blog posts about that deconstruction.
Partnered with a great spiritual director, a remarkably intuitive therapist (who sees through my crap), and my desperate clinging to Jesus, I came out on the other side. And what do you know? I’m still a control-freak. But I’m learning to navigate life, knowing that, and learning about myself.
So falling apart is how I began embracing real, messy life.
In the process, I became an episcopalian. With the loving help of many Methodist friends and clergy. I transitioned into a new position at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church as the Director of The Forge Youth Center. An intentional effort to unite youth groups in our community, as well as work together with social networks in the local community, to better reach students in our area with opportunities, tutoring, mentoring, family support, and of course a place to have fun and hang out. I write about all of this in my blog. The ups, the downs, the spiraling valleys and the upward climbs.
I love people.
I used to just observe people. I don’t know if it was judgmental or not. I just watched them. It was less risky that way, you know? I didn’t let them into my circle tho! That’s my space. Uh-Uh! Perhaps it was just too intimate. I had been hurt enough by people I cared for growing up; so I had just had a way of coping. I observed people. Now, I just am being with people. There’s a difference you know. I’m with people, learning how to feel, to handle my control issues, to manage kindness, to lean into self control. It’s wonderful and horrible. I love people. And I love writing stories about loving people.
I love to preach.
It is one of my favorite, most difficult, things to do. It is humbling and with every sermon manuscript I write I always leave a little bit of my own blood on it. Writing sermons is dangerous work; delivering them is equally so. I write alot about my writing. I post my sermons, as some seem to think they are OK enough to post. I think they are excellent teachers a few months later when I read what I wrote! (Sometimes frightening actually!)
I am unapologetically spiritual.
I believe God is in the messiness of living life. There are these little “glimpses” of redemption, of hope, of love, of “real living”. Sometimes my life is more about my need for control, than authentic living where genuine love is.
Real life is what Jesus talks about when church-people quote him offering us “life in abundance”. Abundance, in that statement, doesn’t necessarily mean “prosperous” as some have taught.
Real living is the real me showing up with real vulnerability and courage, with my people–who have real pain, real grief, real hurt, real anxiety, real depression, real emotion–and just being human together.
Jesus showing up on planet earth as a human, ya’ll. That’s incarnational madness. And it happened. In real life.
To show me, to show us, how to live–real. Because in those dangerous, risky places of vulnerability we stand on the threshold of abundance–rich, overflowing cups of life live for real. Right…there….to…..grab.
I speak often enough in our small little town. I don’t make headlines. I might write a book. I might not. I just show up in the places where Jesus has led me. I listen. I write.
I read the scriptures as they are my very oxygen.
And I shut my mouth more when I pray.
I want to love my family, be with my family. I write a lot about that.
I write on personal growth & spiritual growth, and have built a program (process) of sorts based on three phases:
- On “looking”, I think there are times when I needed, and still need, to go on an adventure. And just look around at where I was. Not “do anything” (I need NO help there! I am addicting to “doing”). Just “look”. And when I start looking deeply, I begin to notice things I didn’t before.
- On “leaning”, there are times when I am moving past just “looking” at where I am at in life (relationships, marriage, raising kids, being a friend, being a pastor) and it’s time to “lean in”. Often when I look at something, I may see a problem but either I am not ready to engage it, I don’t know how to, or I just am avoiding it. Leaning in is when I sense it’s time to engage and I trust God to guide me through (and my awesome therapist!). Leaning in is scary and painful. But the outcome–oh my, there are no words. I think it’s a personal thing though, so I just share my experiences. And would love to hear yours! (Brene Brown has been a no-nonsense, tell it to me straight guide. One day I hope to offer her a fist-bump. )
- On “living”, is moving forward with courage. It requires more of me than I ever imagined. More time. More space. More patience. More energy (transformation is exhausting sometimes). It just requires more of me participating in my own journey. I need to make time to write. To reflect. To read scripture. To listen to my kids. To be present with my best friends. To love my husband–in his awesomeness and not so awesomeness. It just requires more. So “living” posts may lead to scripture reflections, or even a sermon. (Alot of what I write here often ends up somewhere in a sermon manuscript.)
So this blog has a purpose, like a safe place to land, to listen, to sit awhile. No expectations. No categories. No confessions required. Stories are told here. Some are mine. Some dear ones have asked me to share their story.
So Welcome. I’m really, really glad you’re here. Take a look around. You never know what you might find along the way.
You’re Invited to walk with me along the way to experiencing life more authentically. Wanna come?