Hallelujah anyway

Hallelujah anyway

Y’all I saw Jen Hatmaker last week on the Moxie Matters Tour, and I just have to say Hallelujah and Amen. She is such a down to earth, genuine human. She showed up sick and tired and persevered through the evening. She is just one of my favorite humans.

The theme of the evening centered around being a good neighbor and what that meant. She used the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37, to illustrate what Jesus taught us about being a good neighbor.

See, Jesus tells the story of a man that is robbed, beaten, stripped and left for dead and how a priest and a holy man not only pass him by when they see him; they move to the other side of the street. The person who stops to help the robbed and beaten man is a Samaritan. Now in biblical times; a Samaritan was someone who was cast off and despised. Yet, this is the person who Jesus uses as the helper and caregiver. (If you want to read the verses yourself check them out here.)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I know, I have a blessed and beautiful life. I get that. But Y’all, we every single one of us, have experienced pain. We have all had some form of beaten down-ness even if it is in the metaphorical sense. Jen shared this, and I wholeheartedly agree. Pain is common ground.

For me it has been this journey to be my whole self out loud; to finally follow my calling to mediumship. Even though I know what I am doing is right, it still seems to strike shame, hurt and fear in me.

See I have been talked down to, told I was the devil, said I speak to demons, that I capitalize on other people’s pain. People who love me have said that the only reason they believe me is because it is me. While that is nice; it still means that what I have been asked to do; called to do, is something vile and wrong in their book; that there is this notion that it is all hooey. That what I do cannot be real.

Even I have doubts; I am human after all, but those doubts don’t come from my soul at all. The shame, fear and hurt all come from human interaction and logic. When I let my soul do the talking, there are no doubts; there is no fear, there is no shame. But when I have to interact with other humans, the lump in my throat stretches, and I can’t seem to get out the words to explain what I do without feeling some shame.

The trick is, I was born this way. Being able to see spirit is as much a part of me as my hazel eyes, bad temper, and the blood that runs through my body. This is me. This is my normal. This isn’t something I created out of thin air. It isn’t even something I can escape. Believe me I have tried. Baptism made it stronger. Hiding didn’t stop what I was seeing it just kept me safe from other humans knowing and their reactions.

I spent most of my life in hiding. Straddling two worlds. Living in them and between them. Being someone different on the inside than on the outside. I know many of you understand this. You get that it sucks big time.

I didn’t want that for my kids. I don’t want that for anyone at all. We should have our inside match our outside. We should be free to be ourselves. We should all love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And for Pete’s sake we should love ourselves.

But it was ironic listening to Jen speak. Listening to her talk about what she felt and how she had dealt with ridicule last year, and I thought; I wonder if you knew who I was, if we were sitting down talking to me, would you accept me? All of me? I didn’t feel like I would be allowed in. OUTCAST. That is how I will forever be branded.

Seeing Jen felt like going to church on a school night. I am not saying it like that is a bad thing. It made me miss a connection to God like that. Now God and I are good. Jesus and I are cool. I think I am okay there, but to have a church and a community that loves God also accept me; those things are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe that there is a church that would welcome all of me with open arms. It stings a little because I feel like that is something missing in my life. Not God or the four walls, but the community of like-minded souls in worship.

I sat in this event thinking I want to be a part of something like this and left feeling like that will never happen. Yes, I know having God love me is enough, but we are all human, and man it would be nice to feel whole and unashamed in a room like that.

It made me think of my event and how the people who have known me all my life, saw proof of things I could not conjure up, research or find out on my own, saw evidence that spirit can speak through me and still somehow wanted more clarification that God was okay with what I do. I can’t give anyone that. It isn’t my place.

I think a part of me felt that if I spoke my truth out loud it would wash away the hurt and the shame and I could be me without feeling wrong somehow. Nope. I will have to defend myself to my dying day.

Dentists, doctors, teachers, stay at home moms, marketers, gardeners, chefs, cashiers they don’t have to hide in shame when they tell people what they do for a living.

Just posting my live event brought out people who thought they could heal me with Bible Speak and damnation. I do not need to be healed. I am already whole. I am a decent person who loves her children, puts time and energy into the community she lives in, has a stable, healthy marriage, is kind to others, and hasn’t ever committed a crime in her life. Okay, okay, I once checked my email on my phone at a stop light; I have a ticket for that, but that is it. And still, I feel like some abomination. It just makes me tired.

I know sometimes it feels like it is only doom and gloom here on the blog, but this is where I can work out my shit. It is in my blog where I can feel all the feels and then get to the other side. I know, some people say you shouldn’t share your story until you are all the way through, but I get stuck in the middle a lot. I get stuck and need to vent to find the light at the end of the tunnel or to see the damn switch on the wall that has been there all along.

Some people told me after seeing me live that they didn’t know I was that funny or they didn’t realize I was that engaging. Well, duh I can’t be myself most places. But there in that room, people bought a ticket to see the real me, and I showed up.

My instinct to hide has been a part of me since I was two years old. I knew I wasn’t like everyone else. I was something different. That is all I have been all my life, something different. I count myself lucky, besides being female, I was able to hide who I was, to escape judgment because my difference is something that couldn’t be seen. And yes, I also know that I chose to speak up, I decided to let this loose. I get it. You can’t have it all.

But I guess because I was straddling both worlds and keeping it secret for so long; I miss my secret hiding place sometimes. I miss a place where I could pretend to feel whole and not have to feel what people think of me.

hallelujah anyway. I choose to stumble forward with as much grace as I can muster and hope for the best.

The good news, I guess, is that I am who I am. I know that my relationship with God is intact. If HE was pissed at me, I am pretty sure I would know it. And if I keep doing what I think is the next right thing that is all I can do. That is all we can ask of anyone. To do the best they can with what they have. So even if I can’t fit in places I would like to, and I might be seen as an evildoer in some circles; I just have to be the best me I can be. That is all I have to offer and at the end of the day that is good enough. So I say, hallelujah anyway. I choose to stumble forward with as much grace as I can muster and hope for the best. I will be a good neighbor and a good human. That is enough and it is okay if I stumble through it. I think moving forward with as much grace as I can muster is A-okay.

All this Hullabaloo over Wholesome

Did you ever read Moby Dick? It was required in my 11th grade English Literature class. I will never forget sitting through class after class as my peers dissected each and every chapter noting any and all biblical references.

Those conversations were always lost on me. I always thought Captain Ahab was just a frustrated sailor who allowed obsession to ruin his life. I am simple like that and I wasn’t looking for there to be something more, on top of something more, on top of something more. I am sure the references to the Bible were there, but I had never read the Bible cover to cover, so I just saw the one simple story.

This same type of feeling has come back to me over the last few weeks as I have read blog after blog and comment after comment about what is wholesome.

You see, lately there has been a great deal of writing, ranting, debating, and well lecturing about what is wholesome. If you have missed it, I am discussing the World Vision U.S. gay-marriage conversation and also the Honey Maid wholesome family commercial.

(For more on the World Vision conversation click here and here.)

(To watch the Honey Maid Commercial and response click here and here.)

For a long time I was steering clear of this topic because WHO AM I to weigh in when there is already so much noise on the subject.

However, the articles that I have read seem to have authors whose backgrounds tend to be of the traditional version of wholesome. I guess that has just rubbed me the wrong way and I feel like it is okay for me to add my voice to the noise. So if you don’t want to read any more on this topic stop now – turn back dear reader and go back to whatever it was that you were doing before and forget you were ever reading this. If not, then I hope you don’t mind me adding my two cents.

First of all, and I know I am going to get slack for this one, but the Bible is a book. It is a collection of human recollections of events that have been translated over time. Just like any other book, movie, piece of art or even human interaction, or witnessed event perception alters interpretation.

For me I don’t rely on a book to dictate how I should feel about something. That just isn’t me. Instead I get really quiet and listen to my heart. I do this because in that quiet I “hear” God’s voice in my heart and in my soul. Those are the pieces of me that are connected to God.

What do I hear in those quiet times?

LOVE

ACCEPTANCE

UNDERSTANDING

COMPASSION

FORGIVENESS

DO YOUR BEST

IT IS ALL GOING TO BE OKAY

YOU ARE ENOUGH

LIFT OTHERS UP – DO NOT PUSH THEM DOWN

Not once have I heard –

THERE IS ONLY ONE RIGHT WAY

JUDGEMENT

CONDEMNATION

COMPARISON

I believe that God let’s us choose our own best way. She created us and all that is around us. She doesn’t judge, condemn or belittle. God knows each soul and she offers…

LOVE, COMPASSION, and UNDERSTANDING

So to me I think wholesome is love. All the kinds of love, not just our own personal acceptable standard of what love is and means. When people stand in the way of other people who are just trying to love one another that is…

JUDGEMENT and CONDEMNATION.

No one is getting hurt by two people who are trying to create a life together out of love. It has never altered the strength of my marriage or relationship. It hasn’t ever made my children think anything negative or disparaging about the world.

I do concede that we all have a right to our own opinions and beliefs, but we are not entitled to impose our way of life or belief systems onto others.

Laws are meant to protect us, to keep us safe, love isn’t hurting anyone or putting anyone’s lives in jeopardy. I think all different kinds of families are wholesome.

I also think LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, and ACCEPTANCE can change the world for the better. Coming together can do so much more than standing apart.

I would like to know that my children will get the opportunity and the freedom to love and marry whomever they chose. To be able to create a family and have that be accepted on equal footing with other human beings.

My two cents worth,

M

 

March Lessons

hi april

Good morning beautiful readers. It is already another month come and gone. This was a productive month in the life lessons department. I am sure you already know most of this stuff, but I share these with you because maybe you are a little like me and you have to relearn these things from time to time – I blame it on the brain cells that I have lost due to motherhood – or maybe like me you are just finally slowing down enough to pay close attention to those things that REALLY matter and making an effort to use these things you notice, in your daily life.

A few of the life altering tid bits that I picked up in March are (some aren’t really life altering, but I thought they were important enough to write down):

1. Sometimes things are good enough the way they are.

Wanting to improve is a daily thing for me. But I am starting to realize that some things are good enough the way they are. For example, my family the way it is right now is good enough, better than good enough, it is just right. When I am talking about how my family is just right; I mean however many video games we did or didn’t play is just right. However many hours of TV we did or didn’t watch is just right. Whatever we accomplished today is just right. My parenting today is good enough just as it is. Sometimes things are okay just as they are and we need to appreciate them as is.

good enough

2. You have to actively practice gratitude and positivity.

This is a tough one for me because sometimes I hit a slump and it takes me a bit to figure out why I am just so darn sad. Usually it is the negativity that others bring to the party that knocks me down. I can’t watch the news anymore because it is just sensationalized awfulness.

Then I realize (or just remember again) it just takes time to focus on those things that are positive and that I am grateful for to become grounded again and find peace.

On my most difficult days I am writing down 3 things that I am grateful for that day. I am also trying to always see the lesson in negative moments and be grateful for the knowledge I gain even when something bad happens.

3. There is such a thing as too much coffee – I learned this through experience – OBVIOUSLY.

I had six cups of coffee the other day before 2:00. That was too much coffee…my hands started shaking and I was talking like a cheerleader. I DO NOT recommend this type of behavior. There is such a thing as too much coffee…I’m just saying it is possible.

too much coffee

4. Acknowledge what you are good at.

Jen Hatmaker over at www.JenHatmaker.com wrote a beautiful blog post this month about how to Run Your Race. She wrote about how you need to humbly acknowledge what you are good at and move forward down that path. I am always belittling my talents and gifts. Well that is something I am going to work on improving. I know I just got done saying somethings are good enough just the way they arethis is not one of those things people…this is an area I need to improve.

photo 1 (4)

5. One day I may not have to relearn everything each month.

But while I have littles it is okay if I have to write it down repeatedly to remember it. Thank you for reading some of it over and over again.

6. I can keep a secret.

I surprised my husband with a trip to Monterey and a new watch.

BA-BAM!

I kept a secret for a whole month without him ever finding out. I did not know that was possible.

Anniversary

 7. No regrets.

I am finally comfortable – after 36 years – with everything that has happened in my life. I used to wonder what if I had done things differently. Now I know everything that has happened was supposed to happen exactly this way and I am on the path in life I am supposed to be on. I used to think I was born a year too late, but now I know everything is happening when it is supposed to happen and I need to just keep plugging along at my dreams.

dreams
-Earl Nightingale

8. Lightning can travel both cloud down and ground up.

I just learned this and thought I would pass this little factoid nugget on to you for your learning pleasure. You might need it for Trivial Pursuit or maybe just to impress your kids one day. You never know when mad facts like this one will come in handy.

9. I need to do a better job of combating society’s gender roles with my own kids.

I was talking the other day about how boys never stop moving and we watched a young boy run and hurdle over the red ball on the walkway outside of Target. Each of the boys in my car said they would totally do that. My daughter answered that there was no way she was doing that and my oldest son answered with, “No of course you wouldn’t. Girls are supposed to just sit around and look pretty.”

Okay, I was totally caught off guard because people I do not just sit around all day and look pretty! Where does this kid get that idea. Also, I have always talked about how personality and the way a person conducts themselves is where you see their beauty. Obviously I need to do some damage control on the ideas my oldest son has about women.

10. Comfy clothes rule.

Really, I don’t know why I thought I had to get up each day and look somewhat put together in regular clothes. I think jeans, a T-Shirt and converse are fine. Or Yoga pants. And yes yoga pants even when you don’t actually go to Yoga, that is completely acceptable regardless of what you might hear elsewhere. Especially if you are like me and running around with toddlers all day. We need workout gear on to keep up with them.

I am seriously rethinking my whole you have to get up and get ready idea. I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I actually got enough sleep the night before I wrote that.

By the way, I love comfy clothes even if your cleaning woman laughs and tells you your shirt is on inside out.

photo 3 (4)
Continue reading “March Lessons”

February Lessons…

Hi-de-ho Neighbors,

It is your friendly blogista here with her February living out loud lessons. If you are new here; each month I write down some lessons I have learned over the past month either from living out loud or just in general that I think are worthy of sharing. Below are February’s lessons. I hope you can relate.

1. Stealing ideas always pays off

Door notes

Now I am not talking about stealing like Zuckerberg, but stealing like taking a Pinterest idea stealing. I found a great Pinterest idea about writing a love note everyday in February and posting it on your kids’ doors. Loved it – thought it was quick, simple and fabulous little pick me up for everyone. I even left notes for my husband on our bedroom door. Everyone loved them – did I get all 28 done? No, but what’s the harm in writing 7 more the first week of March – nothing really.

2. Accepting others for who they are and letting go of what you can’t change

In the past I put a ton of energy into complaining about people who were mean or did things to irritate me. I thought that somebody had to hold them accountable for their actions. And you know what? Well I will tell you what. Doing that is exhausting for you and everyone listening to you. I now put time and energy into treating those people who are mean or drive me crazy like I would want to be treated. I feel so much better about myself and I think everyone else is happier that they don’t have to hear me complain anymore. Plus you can still hold people accountable and let them know how you feel by still treating them like you would like to be treated. Stressing over how other people behave is really not worth your time and the truth is if that person really is a pain in the but other people see it, too and they will crash and burn without you ever having to say a word.

3. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity

Life slows down a bit when you focus on the simple things.

  • being grateful that you get to sit next to your sister on an hour flight home
  • relishing in the giggling of your toddlers while you push them in the swings.
  • getting to see snow – when you haven’t seen snow in years.
  • having your little one hold your hand
  • when your nine-year old kisses you goodnight when you fall asleep on the couch
  • having your friends come over to see you
  • having a friend drop everything to meet you for dinner (Thanks, Rebecca).
  • seeing a rainbow in the Starbucks parking lot (that is a double win by the way because you have your coffee in hand while you are witnessing a little bit of magic in the sky).
Starbucks Rainbow
Starbucks Rainbow

4. So much fun watching my kids hang out

Brothers

I love when my kids all get along. It is tons of fun to watch them all get along and play together. It is also so sweet how much my little ones look up to the older ones. I savor those good moments.

5. I am a fan of jeggings – a big fan – and I don’t care what Jen Hatmaker says or writes in her next book.

So I know some people are so over this jeggings trend, but I have to tell you – I am a super huge fan. They are comfortable and for the most part pretty darn cute. I know, I know you think some people shouldn’t wear them and well when you say crap like that you sound like Laurent Potdevin, former CEO of Lululemon and we all know what that got him.

Plus, the jeggings below were a Valentine’s gift from my parents and they pretty much are the most awesome pants I own. I am not alone either, 63 other happy fans gave them 5 stars!

Bettona Straight Edition Pant
Bettona Straight Edition Pant

6. Consistency is hard

up notification

Consistency is especially hard when even your stupid UP24 app reminds you that you are a lagger. I work at a computer all day – it is really difficult to get those steps in and trying to stick to a routine isn’t in my DNA. That is all – just saying being consistent is hard work.

7. Every job is important

I recently locked myself out of my iPhone. I have an app on my phone for work that requires a password to get into the phone. That way in the event that it is stolen they can protect the data on the phone. Anyway I am the idiot that sets a new password and literally 40 minutes later completely forgets it. But my idiocy doesn’t stop there. Oh no, it gets better. I kept trying to get in convinced that I would remember my password. Epic failure on my part. I locked my phone for 60 minutes. When I called the help desk they had never had anyone lock their phone for that amount of time.

Here is the great thing though, the customer support was fantastic. The guy was from Boston and stayed on the phone with me for quite a while and then made sure that I was able to get back into my phone. He never once made me feel like an idiot and when I thanked him he told me how people have given him a really hard time in the past.

I am always astounded by people who treat others as less than. Every single person is important and every single job is important. We need someone to do those jobs to make the world go round most of the time. We have to remember the Golden Rule – ALWAYS. Seriously people – seriously. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had his help that day to get back into my phone quickly.

8. If you need a little pick me up – Jimmy Fallon is the answer

Okay – pretty much everything this guy says makes me laugh. If I am in a funk I have learned to just YouTube Jimmy Fallon and watch what comes up and before I know it I am in a way better mood.

Check out this #momtexts clip. I was C.L.A.H. – watch and you will know what that means.

#momtexts

9. Last, but not least, having someone believe in your more that you believe in yourself is incredibly flattering.

My dad and I were talking and he said, “You should put that in your book. People will really relate to that.” I haven’t even started my book and I am not sure that I will ever write one, but he is convinced that I will and that is one of the greatest feelings in the world to have someone else believe in me that much.

I wish you all a person who believes in you more than you believe in yourself,

M

I think what I would miss most is the ordinary, day-to-day bustle

“It occurred to me that if I were a ghost, this ambiance was what I’d miss most: the ordinary, day-to-day bustle of the living. Ghosts long, I’m sure, for the stupidest, most unremarkable things.”
Banana Yoshimoto, The Lake

I think we all want to be remembered. It must be written in our subconscious or part of our DNA, but we have a common need to be noticed and remembered.

These days that need has catapulted into something more extravagant; almost everyone wants to be famous. Between social media, reality TV and the news it seems like just about everyone has some claim to fame these days. And if they don’t already have a claim to fame they can quickly get one; or so it seems.

I noticed this in myself on Friday, while I was scrolling down through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a picture on Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook page (if you aren’t familiar with Jen Hatmaker you can check her blog out here). She was standing with other writers; one of which happened to be Glennon Melton Doyle – and if you don’t know who she is check out her blog here. And if you do know who they are; I know you felt like I did. I was knee-deep in envy. I so wanted to be in that picture!

The infamous FB picutre Click it to be taken to its original source
The infamous FB picture
Click it to be taken to its original source
I thought about this a lot since Friday. I started out thinking about how I want so desperately to be a well-known author. But the more I thought it about it, the more silly it seemed to HAVE to be extraordinary. To have to be famous or how much that even counts really. So many things have become so OVER the TOP extraordinary these days that maybe there is something to just being ORDINARY.

For instance, you can’t even get into a four-year college any more without being a 4.2 valedictorian, concert pianist, who also happens to volunteer twice a week at the local convalescent home and lettered in field hockey.

Our young kids are so over scheduled with soccer, guitar, language lessons, extracurricular math programs and robotics camps on top of school in the hopes that they will be extraordinary, they don’t even know what it is like to just play.

I think we have forgotten how extraordinary it is to be ORDINARY; to sit content in the daily hustle and bustle of our average lives and find peace in that. We are so busy trying to be someone famous and special that we have forgotten that we are already special to begin with.

I think I would much rather be the voice of the ordinary, the voice of being content with what we have, the reminder for all of us that we are already extraordinary because we are unique and have our own personalized God Given Gifts than one of the extraordinary that HAS to be famous.

There is so much beauty in our lives already that we don’t have to add fame and flash and paparazzi to make a difference or be remembered. We just have to be ourselves and open our eyes to what we are already doing every day.

To find comfort in the simple beautiful moments of laughter, goodnight kisses, a job well done, a phone call from a friend, fresh-cut flowers, a warm bed and clean sheets to sleep in.

Or for example, letting our little ones pick their own clothes, so they can express their independence…

3 year old fashion
3-year-old fashion
Mike Wazowski
Mike Wazowski
Our remembering that one little love story created something magical…

The ring
The ring
Pumpkin patch maze
Pumpkin patch maze
Daddy and Z with the perfect tree
Daddy and Z with the perfect tree
Or watching the world through a child’s eyes…

photo 2(17)
kite flying in Newport Beach
Thanksgiving bead necklace making
Thanksgiving bead necklace making
A 3 year old created castle
A 3-year-old created castle
Being with your best friend
Being with your best friend
Or just remembering to look at the beauty of the world around us…

Sunset at the beach
Sunset at the beach
The view from the top of my street
The view from the top of my street
A handwritten note from one of my favorite bloggers
A handwritten note from one of my favorite bloggers
My desk
My desk
It is definitely what is in the small stuff that is going to be remembered and cherished. So after much thought; I don’t want to be in that Jen Hatmaker picture any more. I would much rather be the girl I am; whose life is ordinary and filled with small, magical extraordinary moments.

Your ordinary friend,

M