The Marriage of Rawness and Classiness

What is honesty? What is authenticity? What is appropriate in our digital age?


 I don’t want my grandchildren to be ashamed of my writings, pictures, and tweets when I am in my old age. I don’t want anyone to be embarrassed by me. I want to be classy. I want to have that feminine mystique. I also want to be raw.


 The marriage of these two… what a messy event! Rawness is asking for a wedding on top of a roof with ten people while wearing a sun dress. Classiness is requesting a traditional church wedding with family, friends, and a dress from a “real store.” Somehow, they shall come together. The wedding may be a beach occasion with the nearest and dearest. However it ends up, it’ll be compromise.


 My life may be a compromise. Maybe my life will look like the marriage of honesty and courtesy. That somehow I can put my hands up in the air and yell, “I don’t have this all together!” while not being a complete hot mess that lets it all hang out to the point of earning the status of “train wreck.” I believe that there is a good ol’ happy medium.


 Have I found it yet? Heck no!
 Will I find it? I think so. Eventually.



My Story in My Hands Ends in Sloppy Crayons


I am a story.
I have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
That end isn’t yet. It may not be a “happy” ending, but it will be beautiful if I let it.
I need to slowly pry those white knuckles from the pen. That death grip isn’t doing me any good.
My story, as I want to write it, is sloppy. It looks like a 4 year old who thinks that he’s spelling, “I love you, RieRie,” when he’s simply carving out hieroglyphics with his crayon in his fist. No one but him can see his purpose and everyone but him can see that his message isn’t getting across.
Yet as I lighten my grip in order to listen to and follow the odd code of, “stick, circle, stick, stick, bubble,” that’s coming through – the message can be seen. “Love,” is spelled out onto the construction paper. I don’t understand how these marks convey so much, but somehow they do.
When it comes to life, I’m a crazed four-year-old who has no idea what she’s getting herself into. I’m weaving the underside of a tapestry, unable to see the bigger picture that’s made by my messy knotts. That’s precisely why I can’t do this alone. I can’t scrawl blindly my life story or it’ll be a mess, only fit to be forgotten because it cannot be read.
Instead, as I take the instructions that make no sense to me from a loving, compassionate God that knows the end from the beginning, my life takes on a beauty and a purpose. It’s one that I don’t really comprehend. It’s one that looks like a foreign language to me and certainly to some that are watching. Yet to the realms of heaven, my story will become something deep, worthwhile, and yes, it will be something beautiful.
Yours will be too. We’ll be a collage of beautiful stories written by the expert story teller. Together.

The Will of God – Known vs Unknown

The will of God. A white board with a line down the middle. On one side – the known. On the other side – the unknown.The unknown beckons in an exciting manner with things like marriage, college, jobs, summer plans, and the future that is thrilling for a starry-eyed girls with a flare for the dramatic. The known seems a bit more dull. It’s all those things that we know. It’s virtues, devotion, purity, and all those things that the Bible tells us should be a part of our lives.

Yet in order to figure out the unknown you have to start with the known.As my future looms before me lying completely in the unknown, I find myself buried under all the college and traveling google searches, day dreaming of who my future man may be, and changing my plans at least twice a week. I find myself asking God a lot about the future. I find myself everytime being told, “it’ll come. Just be faithful now.” That’s not the easiest thing to do.

The future is exciting. Right now takes work. It requires investing in people in my life – praying, talking, spending time with them. It requires me spending daily time with God – something I’m not the best at to be honest. It requires me being diligent in things like my online math course I’m taking over the summer. It requires me serving my family and doing my best at my job. It requires me to work on things like patience and trust.

See, if I want to be in line with God’s big, unknown, unexpected will for my life – I have to be in line with his will for my life right now. My youth group spent a lot of time in Romans 12 this year and that second verse in the chapter strikes a chord.“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As our hearts and minds are transformed to look more and more like that of God’s, we’ll be able to keep walking forward in the will of God. It’s less mysterious when it’s step by step; when it’s the unknown following the known. Maybe that makes sense to you. Maybe it doesn’t. All I know is that for me – my focus needs to change. I need to find my way out of the sea of the unknown to the known, because that’s where I’ll figure this all out.

I Suck at Trust

The hand is stretched out. It’s there. Ready. Waiting.“I’m fine,” I whisper. “I got this on my own.” I keep my eyes from looking at the bruises and scrapes. One on an elbow, another on a knee, all of them proving that I am lying.

“All you have to do is trust. I’ve never failed you before and I never will.” His voice is kind but firm. It’s like when your father tells you that he’s not going to let go of the bike when you are learning to ride a two-wheeler.
“There’s that word again. Trust. I want to, really I do, but… it’s hard.” A sigh comes out with the words, weariness setting in. I’ve never been good with the whole reliance thing. I’ve always been a fierce force of will and independence. Trusting people makes my skin crawl a bit. It’s not like they’ve proven themselves trustworthy in the past.

“It’s not about trusting people.” He said reading my secret thoughts. “It’s trusting me. I know what I’m doing with you and your life. My job isn’t to make everything crystal clear at first glance. Sometimes it’ll be a bit blurry.Don’t worry. Just pry those white fingers away from your heart and let me do what I want with it. It will be beautiful. You will be beautiful. But you have to trust me. Really trust me.”

“But, but, but… I don’t want to. I’m scared.” I’m ashamed that those words ever came out of my lips. People aren’t supposed to know that I am afraid – I’m supposed to be strong.“I know.” The hand covers mine. Not demanding, just there. Comforting me to the depths of what I am. “I gave everything so that I don’t have to fear me. You don’t have to fear your future. I have control and I want what’s good for you. Just surrender and let me hold you up.”

I took a deep breath. The kind of breath that you take right before you jump off of a cliff into a pit of water. You still feel terrified, but it’s a now-or-never moment and you can’t put it off anymore. In you go, terror striking you for a moment before hitting the water. Then you can’t figure out why you were ever so scared. It seems silly.

That’s what it’s been like for me with trusting God. Procrastination – the lunge – the terror – the hindsight. Once again, I’m in the lunge stage. A breath in. A hand out. “I need you,” I whisper; feeling the terror of the air rushing around me. Then, I’m free.

Freed by the truth. Freed by the assurance that I’m going to be fine.Freed by surrender.


The Boy with the Trampoline

“Bounce me Livy-ya!” He squeals with his blue eyes radiating his very soul. So I bounce him. Using my four times his weight to launch him high into the air, stocking clad feet slipping from beneath him as he slips to his bum, a fit of giggles emerging – the kind that’s purely infectious.

When we purchased a trampoline this week – my first reaction was to tease my parents.

My brother and I are twenty-one and sixteen respectively and my parents had us when they were still young and had energy. Well, by the time they survived adopting a beautiful, but crazy Romanian girl who’s changed our lives by bringing the beauty of disability to our home – they got tired. They were considered crazy when three years ago they brought two little boys into our home – 11 months and 2 years. My parents are much more tired than they were when I was young.

Because of that, they’ve got some things that Sam and I never had. Like video games. We were told they’d rot our brains out – so we were content with our imaginary friends (or mops in Sam’s case) and watching Arthur every day. My little brothers are growing up on Mario Kart Wii and Angry Birds. When I was young, I begged for a trampoline. My grandmother’s neighbor girls, who were like cousins growing up, had one and we spent uncountable summer days learning to do flips and playing those endless games of “crack the egg.”

And now my little brothers are growing up with a trampoline. About 70% of the reason is just for my mother’s sanity. Harper – Mr. Blue Eyed Giggle Boy is a four year old “all boy” who’s filled with enough energy to tire out a twenty-year-old mom, let alone an *ahem* age-not-to-be-named *cough* mother. The question of, “how can we find a way for him to release his energy while keeping him safe(ish)?” was asked and a trampoline was the best fit.

The very thing that made my mother cringe when I was eight is now her sanity reliever for her four-year-old wild child who drinks milk from the carton and who we find ourselves saying things like, “you can’t go outside without clothes on!” to. He’s the child that has the nickname of “frat boy” due to his party-hardy toddler years. Sometimes, you look at him and all the energy in your body magically drains out.

He’s a boy that was born to have a trampoline.