Browsing Category: Relationships

Making Honesty Contagious

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It was about a year after I moved to Nashville. A friend tweeted me about a friend of his moving to Nashville. Just a few weeks later that girl & I were enjoying breakfast at The Perch on a beautiful Saturday morning & one of those “I feel like I’ve known you my whole life” conversations. 

Over the next couple of years, our friendship meandered down life’s path, as many do.  Then, one day last November, my dear friend Ashley asked if we could catch up for coffee. And she shared a dream. One of those “Oh crap, I just said that out loud, now what?!” kind of dreams.

Since that day, the manifestation of her dream has evolved. It has been refined & reshaped. And her passion in it has been tested & established.

That dream now has a name: The Known Project.

And it’s not just a dream. It’s a calling. I can’t quite articulate the joy that comes from walking with anyone, let alone a dear friend, through such a journey. From naming to logo to capturing video to the first event. Getting the opportunity to offer whatever small bit you can in helping another bring their dream to life as they live out their calling is a sacred gift.

The mission of The Known Project is simple: create a safe place for honesty in order to provide people a chance to be known, not just seen. It is a place where secrets whisper hope.

And I don’t know about you, but in a world where identities & self worth & purpose are lost everyday to hopelessness, I think we could use a little hope.

I would love for you to join us at a special event in November for The Known Project. It’s going to be a fabulous fall evening under the stars with live music, apple cider, yummy fall treats, & a community of people committed to making honesty contagious.

You can find more information here.

Those Things We Call Friendships

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“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest of courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but rather the solidest things we know.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We toss the word “friendship” around loosely these days and in doing so we’ve cheapened it’s meaning. A lot of what we call friendships are merely connections.

Connections are those people whom you say you’ll get together with…and you do…six months later. They’re the people you probably won’t hear from unless you reach out to them or bump into them around town. Most of what they know about your life comes from Facebook and Instagram, and when someone asks them about you they’re response will likely be centered around what you do for a living.

Connections aren’t bad but I’m learning it’s dangerous to call them friendships. 

Friendships are those people for whom you rearrange your calendar. They’re the ones who text or call just to share a funny or exciting story from their day. They’re the ones you text or call for the same reasons. They’re the ones who give you a hard time if they find out about a significant life event of yours on social media before hearing it from you directly, the ones who know the details of your life that are too sacred for social media. When someone asks them about you, they proudly share details about who you are and what you mean to them, not just what you do.

Friendships are hard to find. And they’re not so much waiting to be found as they are waiting to be built. 

As I get older, I become more convinced that true friendships are relationships almost as sacred as a marriage and almost as hard to come by. Now, I’m not married and it’s a different kind of intimacy, but I know that any true relationship requires vulnerability and vulnerability in any context is hard work.

With the wisdom of hindsight, I realize that many relationships I thought were friendships were merely connections. Again, those connections aren’t bad but believing they were friendships left me failing to understand the value of actual friendships. Oftentimes, while I enjoyed the company of those connections, I felt like something was missing. That missing feeling left me hesitant to place too much value on friendship at all.

As my understanding of what friendship truly is deepens, I can honestly say that I have some of the first true friendships of my life now at the age of 29. Some of those friendships are a few years old now, and the older a friendship gets the more valuable and treasured it becomes. I can also say that for the first time in my life I understand the responsibility and gift of being a friend to others. It is not a role to be taken lightly.

I agreed to meet a couple of friends for lunch. We had discussed a 12pm-ish meeting time so I left my apartment accordingly. Halfway to the destination I received a text that is was going to be 12:30. Okay, I’ll go to the nearby park and knock out some emails on my phone. 12:30 came and went. 12:45 rolled around and one friend said she was almost there. So, I headed to the restaurant. Fifteen minutes later that friend actually showed up. And the other friend another 10 minutes after that. Can I tell you I was upset? I was not a happy camper and my friend could tell. She straight up told me I was unpleasant and almost cancelled lunch because of it. In the moment that made me more upset. But, we pushed through it and lunch was more than enjoyable.

As ugly as those interactions seem in the moment, in hindsight they are some of the most treasured & beautiful because they are moments when friendship is handled with the roughest of courage. In those moments we are reminded that true friends are safe, and that we are loved not in spite of our flaws but as our whole selves – flaws and all.

Oh how I treasure those relationships that I can treat with the roughest of courage. Even when I think the ground has been shaken, my friends quickly show me that our friendship is rock solid. It is grace and love in the flesh.

And Guest

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I pulled the invitation out of the mailbox and I immediately had that “I don’t like how this feels” feeling in my gut.

“…and guest”

The site of those two little words immediately made my heart sink just a little.

Last they knew I was dating someone…seriously enough that I was posting pictures on Facebook…which was the only reason they knew because I don’t talk to my family often let alone about my dating life. But they knew about him and they were insistent he come with me on my next visit. In July. For the wedding.

The invitation has arrived. But he is no longer in my life. And no one has filled his spot. When I saw the words “and guest” I immediately felt the shame and pain of that void. The sadness of the loss came rushing back.

And not just shame. But the difficult admission to myself that I really want someone to be in his place. I want a name to put in the guest line. Not having a name to put there is lonely. Isolating. It can cause me to feel like I’m not enough if I’m not careful.

Six months ago…for that matter six days ago…I would never have let myself seriously consider posting a blog that had anything to do with relationships. But, here’s to living life a little more vulnerably & letting go of trying to control people’s perceptions of me.

It’s amazing the flood of feelings & thoughts that can be started by two little words, isn’t it? But I’m learning to pay attention to those little feelings & thoughts because I’m beginning to think my truest self lives in those gut instinct reactions, the ones I all too often miss.

Revising Life

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A mutual friend encouraged Renee to reach out to me about my work. We finally connected for coffee after a missed connection. Expecting a business conversation, I asked Renee to tell me about what she did. What followed was one of those sacred moments of connection.

Renee had found herself in an unexpected circumstance recently after a myriad of things didn’t go as she planned. But, instead of sitting by & complaining about it, she had a different idea. Renee proceeded to tell me about her plan to change her story in 30 days. Sounds ambitious, doesn’t it? Well I LOVE people with ambitious, out-of-the-box ideas.

I think those lyrics are true – “life without revision will silence our souls.” But, the courage to make revisions isn’t easy to come by. That’s exactly why stories like Renee’s are inspiring to me.

In her words, she “doesn’t want to get old without changing some things.” She’s sharing her “30 days to change her story” journey with you on a blog.

When was the last time you revised your story? 

Can I Tell You a Story about STORY?

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People ask me often how DirtyWork got started. And no matter where I start the story or how I tell it, it always involves a conversation in which Ben Arment told me I needed to start a company & call it DirtyWork because that’s what I do for people.

The only reason I know Ben is because of STORY. After hearing him share the vision for STORY briefly in a keynote at another conference in July 2009, I knew I wanted to attend the inaugural event that September.

I did. And afterward I gave Ben my card & offered to help keep STORY going in any way that I could. It had made an impact on my life, far greater than I even knew at that point, & I wanted others to have the opportunity for a similar experience.

By the following September I found myself fully involved as part of the STORY team helping coordinate our Sponsor relationships & all things operations for the event. I had also quit my job at the church & was just a few weeks into a new life in Nashville.

We all have things that mark the passing of our lives. When we’re young it’s usually the start of the school year or perhaps an annual family vacation. STORY has become one of those experiences by which I mark the passing of my life. I can’t imagine a September without it at this point.

More than that, STORY reminds me why I love what I do. There is no greater joy for me than being a part of something so much greater than myself; a vision that inspires hundreds and impacts thousands. STORY is one of those visions. It’s a labor-of-love dream like few I’ve seen. And for me, it’s more than a vision – it’s become my tribe. 

 “Each year that passes, the more I find myself in search of people who give a #%$. About ideas. About excellence. About stories. About craftsmanship. About the tactile. About dreams. And about leaving a mark on the world. There aren’t many of those people around, but the ones I know gather at STORY.” – Ben Arment, STORY Director

If you thrive on the impossible & the unconventional; if you are always searching for a better way or even just a different way; if you are inspired by dreamers, by storytellers, by artists, will you join us in September? You are part of the STORY tribe & we’d love for you to experience this year’s event with us. 

 You can find more info about this year’s event here.

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.