Turn Off the Light

I still remember the teddy bear lamp that served as my night light when for far longer than it probably should have as a child. I was deeply afraid of the dark & refused to sleep without it.

As I got older my mom would often tell me that I needed to learn to sleep in the dark so I would get better rest. Something about the light keeping my brainwaves functioning more even while I was sleeping. As an adult I think she may have been on to something – I get better rest in the dark than in the light.

Many of us, even as we grow up, are afraid of the dark. Not the physical darkness of the night but the darkness of our world, our hearts & souls. We want to stay in the light where it’s safe & comfortable with very little mystery.

But what was true for my physical rest as a child is true for my soul’s rest as an adult. The darkness, though uncomfortable & at times even painful, is a place of necessary rest. Because in the darkness I am forced to admit that I don’t have the answers, that I’m not strong enough to find my way out on my own.

That point of surrender creates a stillness that only comes in the dark. The key is learning not to fight it trusting that from that place will come a brighter, otherwise unavailable, light.

The next time you find yourself in what feels like a starless night, welcome it as a necessary rest for your soul. Give your heart the gift of resting in it a moment holding onto the hope that it too will end.

This post was inspired by the Luminous Project. Luminous is a creative spiritual event in Nashville May 1-3, 2013. To find out more, check out luminousproject.com. You can use the promo code ‘BRINGitHERE’ to get 35% off the registration price.


Somehow it All Belongs

I used to think it was about balancing all the opposites within me, but slowly I have learned that it is actually “holding” things unreconciled that teaches us – leaving them partly unresolved and without perfect closure or explanation. – Richard Rohr

I love this photo. My cousins & I are on the steps of my great-grandmother’s house. I have no idea what we’re eating, what caught my attention was what I’m wearing. A skirt, dirt marks on my legs, tennis shoes that appear to be a bit muddy, & a necklace to top it off.

I spent much of my life trying to rid myself of paradoxes like that one. To be one way or the other. To fit into this label or that box. But I’ve discovered the freedom that comes from embracing the paradoxes; the grace to be unconventional. 

The very name of this blog is a paradox. Cautious & creative aren’t exactly friends.
But they’re both a part of me.
A northern girl who has found a “long lost,” “meant to be born here” home in the South.
A country girl who comes alive in the bustle of the city.
A grounded girl with a rebellious spirit.
A spreadsheet loving organization junkie with an artist’s heart.
A planner whose soul is a dreamer.
A Type A who thrives on the spontaneous.
Quiet wallflower in a crowd who can talk for hours.
Lover of silence always listening to music.
A “slow life” savoring workaholic.
A homesick lover of travel.
A control freak who loves adventure.

I feel like I live with one foot on the gas & one foot on the brake at all times. But I’m learning that life isn’t about “achieving balance” but about learning to maneuver the tight rope. It’s about leaning into the tension of the paradox knowing that in the Creator’s eyes the opposites belong. 

We may not understand it today…or ever. But some how, in some way, it all belongs.

Where Dreams Flourish

Home. That’s always been somewhat of an abstract, whimsical…almost fairytale-like concept for me. Something that deep down I think I longed for but didn’t ever believe I would have.

Growing up with divorced parents was a life of multiple addresses. I added another to that list when I moved away from home to go to high school. And yet another for college. At one point I think my checking account had one address, my driver’s license another, my car registration a different one yet…and none of them were the actual address of where I was living. (You might be understanding why “home” didn’t seem like a very concrete idea.)

Then I visited Nashville. 72 hours later back in Wisconsin I was homesick for this city – for the spirit of this city.

Most days this place feels so much like home I hardly know what to do with it. I can’t believe I haven’t lived here all of my life. There are days I still awake waiting to violently wake up from a dream. Life today far exceeds anything I could have ever dreamed up because it is outside the box of anything I knew for so long.

I’ve discovered in this process, that something happens to our dreams when not only our hearts but our feet find a place that feels like home – they flourish. They flourish because we’re no longer putting our hope in them to “get us somewhere.”

When we come home our dreams are free to follow. They may hand us a map but we’re free to lead them in the direction we want to go. That’s hard to do when you’re wandering around lost looking for home as you drive in circles.

Has your heart found a place that feels like home? A word to the wise – community has more to do with that than location. It’s about cultivating relationships to surround yourself with a spirit that encourages the unconventional & champions dreamers. 


My Hope for You in 2013

In 2013,
I hope you laugh louder.
That you cry harder.
Smile longer.
I hope you discover more freedom.
That you act more bravely.
Dream bigger.
Seek adventure.
Risk greater.
Fear a bit less.
I hope that you see a little deeper.
That you believe stronger.
Fight longer.
Trust easier.
Love harder.
I hope you are seen more deeply.
That you welcome the awkward.
Speak more honestly.
Practice courage.
Compromise less.
I hope you live wide awake.
That you are more fully present.
Be more.
Do less.
Imagine wildly.
I hope you live more than you exist.
Because life is too short for average.