Yesterday, I took a class from The Coteirie lead by Elora Ramierz, about writing authentically. Elora is a wonderful teacher with crazy awesome insights, like “often the story we’re meant to tell is the one wrapped tight with fear” and “it’s hard to be jealous of someone you invite into collaboration” and my favorite, “Look for synchronicity; when you start to hear the same things from different places, that’s an indicator that you have a story tell.” Have you ever experienced that? Like you hear a song on the radio about trusting God, then you talk with a girlfriend over coffee and she tells you a Scripture she’s been encouraged by is “trust in the Lord with all your heart” and then you turn on a TedTalk and the speaker is emphasizing the importance of trust, and THEN your favorite pastor’s sermon that week is about…yep…you got it TRUST! That’s called synchronicity. If you were to ask me what my specific synchronicity this summer would be, I would say, “letting others in; asking for help”. Help from little things like asking where’s the best grocery store, to help with the kids when I need a break, to even asking a girlfriend to pray for today, my birthday because I miss my friends so deeply and wish I could celebrate with them. Asking for help, relying on others is INCREDIBLY uncomfortable for me, but maybe that’s why all July, “ask, seek, knock,” and “embrace humility” have been the words I sense when I pray. So, this month’s “What I’m Into” is all about how God’s inviting me into trusting him as I trust the community he’s built around me.
Starting with Amanda Palmer and her crazy, beautiful, bold asking
This is one book you should LISTEN to. Being a musician, Amanda weaves in her music to the story in a winsome way. Beautifully written, beautifully read, and appropriately edgy, I can tell this will be a yearly “read” for me. The best books invite you into a world so different than yours but helps you see the threads of similarity between, humanizes the differences, welcomes you in with open arms. This is the “Art of Asking; it’s one part motivation for the creative, two parts memoir, and ONE BIG HELPING of vision-casting of a world where we invite each other into our vulnerability by asking for help.
In all honesty, I would have never reached out to you, my readers and my friends for help getting to Allume without this book. It’s a shot of confidence and a loving kick in the pants to take the gifts you have and the potential to make lives better with it seriously enough to ask for help.
“If We’re Honest” by Francesca Battistelli
I came across this album when I was working on my fundraising video last week. I needed a cute song towards the end when I reveal the thank you gifts for helping me get to Allume, and the song, “Write Your Story” popped in in Spotify. I love that song, but my favorite was one I heard this morning after my quiet time by the pool, “If We’re Honest”
Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
If we’re hones
It would change our lives
It would set us free
It’s what we need to be
Oh my goodness, I needed that reminder. Sometimes, I’m so afraid of not seeming put together. Pride makes me want to hide my brokenness, but it’s there’s anything I’ve learned about God’s Shalom, about becoming a whole woman, it’s that transparency is vital to the healing process. What I also loved so much about this album is on Spotify, there’s an accompanying commentary album, so I made a playlist that merges the two, so I can hear the stories behind the song as I’m listening to the album. Hearing the stories, makes the songs more accessible.
So You Think You Can Dance.
So…synchronicity…it happens in the most unlikely places like WHILE YOU’RE WATCHING SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!
Last Tuesday, I turned on Hulu while folding laundry to catch up on SYTYCD (since we got rid of cable when we moved to LA). Mind you, all month, I’ve had Amanda Palmer, and Francesca Battistelli, and…well…Jesus, pressing me to let go of my “put togetherness” and ask for help when I need it, then I saw this Team Stage dance choreographed by Jaci Royal. In the treatment she says, “We’re doing a contemporary piece about when you need the help of other people to overcome obstacles,” and I was like, “Really, God?!? really?” No matter what I did last month, I couldn’t get away from the truth that helping and asking for help are important fixtures in God’s economy. The easiest and most impactful way to practice Shalom is to be a generous giver and a humble receiver.
It was like God choreographed that dance for that specific moment for me. Throughout the performance, scriptures about helping and bearing one another’s burden kept popping in my head.
Truth: Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
*This one was so poignant for me, when I saw the dancers in this pose after a series of sharp contractions and poses, I was arrested. I could relate to this aversion to asking for help– arms out, moving away from the vulnerability, letting pride lead your response. Yep, I’ve been there.
And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Seven times, I’ve watched that dance, y’all. Seven time and each one I notice a new seen, or have a new insight, or just sit in amazement of what our bodies can do.
Projects I’m Into
Fund the Nation:
If you’re raising money for any cause, I highly suggest Fund the Nation to help you. Fund the Nation is a Christian t-shirt design company that uses their gifts to create custom Tshirt for you to sell to your community to raise money. They specialize in mission trips, adoption fundraisers, youth groups and many more important Kingdom causes. I first heard about them in a Jamie Ivey podcast and tucked their name in the back of my mind for when we decide to adopt, but then I mentioned to a friend that someday I wanted to make Tshirts for my blog and I remembered Fund the Nation. I sent in a request for more info and when I explained that I wanted to create a shirt for my readers to help me get to a bloggers conference my coordinator, Andrew (who was da bomb!) jumped right in and helped me come up with these four designs. I love them so much and I’m planning on wearing one each day of the conference when I go (hopefully) in Oct.
A percentage of every shirt purchased will go towards getting me to Allume this Oct.
It’s been a hard weekend. I cried yesterday because I miss my friends, especially today on my birthday. I almost always meet up with friends for brunch on my birthday and then dinner with another set. I created a tradition of walking on the Charles with my birthday latte from Starbucks and reflecting on my past year. Today, I’m working at the church and then grabbing lunch downtown with a new friend. I’m excited, but really sad too. Yesterday, when TC came home from getting the kids’ hair cut, he saw my tear-stained face, sighed, and pulled me in for a hug. While in his arms, I got a text from a acquaintance from MOPS asking if I wanted to meet up at Starbucks to look at her Jamberry wraps and catch up. At first I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to spend any money, especially since I’m asking for help to get to a bloggers conference in two months, but I also knew that TC was just encouraging me that God sees, knows, and responds to our sadness, so I wrote back, “Yes. I’m leaving now.” It started out awkward. I was all indecisive and she was gracious. I started with the greens and a peacock and quickly decided they were too joyful for me. I wanted to wallow in all the things I don’t have. I apologized way too much and even said something like, “I’m a mess today”. Then my friend said, “Look! I’m here to help. This is fun for me…sitting with you and going through these wraps. Take your time.” And so I took my time and found these wraps with good, true words and realized that help was coming from the Lord- in the form of beauty, and words which I love so much, in the form of validating my calling to be a writer, and an authentic bid for friendship. So, I chose the “words to the wise” wraps and wrote her a check . Then she sat with me and we talked about my sadness and how connecting here in LA takes time, and how I’m not alone. At one point she made me look her in the eye and promise to call her if I ever have another sad day. She was probably the best birthday gift ever. She was the hands of Jesus as she took mine in her own. She was the voice of Jesus when she told me that I’m not alone. She was generosity of Jesus when she opened up her own stash of wraps, her “addiction” as she playfully calls it and suggested we do an accent on my ring finger.
When I look at these nails, I’m reminded of the bedrock truth when it comes to helping. That God sees our needs and he responds in spectacular, unexpected ways.
I’m praying for you today, dear reader. That you see God coming alongside you to help in delightful specific ways. I’m praying for you to see beauty, be captured by art, feel settled by nature. I’m praying for you to have courage to give when it seems you have nothing left to give and hope to see a world where giving, receiving, and helping are as natural as breathing. This is the way of the Kingdom, and I hope one day I can live into it without fear.
Seeing the Shalom of asking for help when I need it,
Update on fundraiser: We’re 1/4 of the way there. Enough to buy my conference pass, but not enough for my plane ticket or hotel. If you could help me get to Allume with a gift of $25 or more, that would be amazing and if you do so today, then I’ll call you to thank you.
Here’s the gofund me page, again.