roots // state of thankfulness: day three

Rich colors weave together bunching at my elbows as I push the plaid folds to release my hands to type. Warm flannel, more than we need in Southern California. It’s for comfort. The flannel found in urban outfitters can also be found up the stairs in my Dad’s closet. Most likely purchased before the last decade past.

I sift through a pile of items placed on my childhood bed. Things to toss, file or keep. Things from long ago. I’m thankful. I don’t know how much longer it will be like this. How much longer I will be able to come home and have “my room.” Intact. Together. Here. I’m blessed that at 26, it is so. Everything isn’t perfect or idyllic, but tonight, I’m thankful for the present.

The cat that follows me from room to room. The flannel from my father’s closet. Carpet beneath my feet. I’m thankful for my roots. The ones that have been torn up and the ones that are still deep in soil.

Being thankful tonight is being thankful for where I am now. Who I am today. How I have been shaped. And for being in a place that feels like home.

Accepting the present for what it is and loving the parts that have appropriately and lovingly changed. And for the parts that are harsh or unfamiliar.

Like the stump of a tree, there are circular lines on my heart telling a story of age, hardship and joy. Without one of those lines, it wouldn’t be today. It wouldn’t be present.

I’m thankful for tonight. While the family recipe brioche rolls rise in the kitchen. Thoughts of Thanksgivings spent in other places and family members no longer here. Rememberance of my roots and the loveliness it is to be home, a familiar place, where I can reach into another’s closet for comfort and rest my feet on the coffee table. I’m thankful to be here, now and present. Being thankful for the present means resting in peace.

What are you thankful for tonight, now?

*Photo taken on a trip in Carmel.


full // state of thankfulness: day two

If thankfulness truly seeps into my bones, muscle and tissue, it will guide my heart and body to the core of my being, home to truth, love and grace. A home known as God, center and rock. Full. 

I can’t help, but reflect on the middle three letters in “thank-ful-ness.” To wonder if when we say thank you, are in a state of thankfulness, that we may feel full.

Isn’t that what we so often seek? To be filled. With good, or bad. We immerse ourselves in what makes us feel whole — the internet, eating, volunteering, sex, marriage, academics …

The holes within our souls grow deeper and wider and our passage through life slowly brings them to light despite our efforts to fill and hide.

And when that light reveals our wounds, insecurities and faults, it’s like an overhead spotlight on our deepest, darkest places — the ones you wish never existed and hoped to God would never see the light of day. But there they are. Gaping, staring, revealing. Too big to fill. We grab our shovels and desperately move dirt into those places that seem six feet under. Or fatigued, we curl up on the floor.

Sometimes, we continue in these patterns for quite some time. Years even. However, eventually I believe God swoops in, swiftly or slowly, and brings us to grace. Leading, guiding or carrying … and we begin to see those holes lessen and learn to live newly.

He brings us to fullness. We begin to open to fullness.

I don’t believe saying one or two thank yous will fill ourselves to the point of healing. Or rid the act of wanting to hide our deep, dark places. However, I do believe that one or two thank yous with a little reflection can be the start of recognizing a new way of being. A way to open and be thankful, grateful, and possibly a little bit more full.

I’m convinced that many split second thank yous and greater moments of reflection will bring us to a fuller sense of our state of thankfulness and begin to open us to a greater sense of fullness in Christ.

We will begin to be truly thankful.

Could reflecting on thankfulness open you to more fullness in Christ?

*Photo taken at Hilltop Retreat Center in Fall 2011.


state of thankfulness: day one

Merci. Danke sehr. Grazie. Gracias. Thank you.

It’s simple, really. Few syllables. Easy to say. Often ends with a curl of the sides of my mouth into a slight smile.

Joy. It does something. Saying that simple grateful phrase does a work in me.

Amidst a day that's completely gone wrong, my arrogant sense of importance or a bad attitude, saying thank you lets in goodness ... it lets in hope. Altering my perspective, even if for a moment, being grateful creates a pause. It makes me take a second … reflecting on the interaction that may have occurred or will occur. We are thankful for the past or the future. It’s as if we are thankful for the ability to say those words.

Really, being thankful is a state of being.

Sure, we say thank you to the grocer who bagged our items on our way out or quickly take change from the man in the green apron behind the counter at Starbucks. We say thanks to a co-worker when they help us on deadline or breathe, “thank you, Jesus” when we find just what we need in the nick of time.

It’s quick, fleeting, seemingly meaningless. Especially amidst our rush, suffering or busyness. But I come back to this: I take the time to say those few words. They are not forgotten. They take mere seconds to mouth out, but took a realization that they needed to be said. And generally, even if my moment of gratefulness is fleeting, momentary or secondary to what I’m doing — it brings me back to center. It reminds me that I am in a place to say thank you. And for a split second, thankfulness becomes first.

For me, saying thank you reminds me of whom I am. It reminds me of the person I want to be. It reminds me of my center. Thankfulness allows me to be present.

Being thankful is a state of being. My hope is that my state of being would be more and more centered on gratefulness this week and of course, beyond. That those seconds will become moments and those moments will become minutes and those minutes, hours. I hope that myself and this world may become more present in this state of being, of being thankful, that we may mirror a gratefulness to each other so great, we bring each other back to center — that we may remind one another to pause and reflect for what we do have to be thankful. And ultimately, that we may lead one another back to the cross that gives us life, for which gives us the opportunity to be thankful in the first place.

This week, I challenge my state of being. I challenge myself to be in a more consistent state of gratefulness, allowing space and time to be grateful — allowing thankfulness to be my state of being.  And therefore, allowing more joy, grace and love to seep into my bones. To continue to bring myself and others back to center.

For what were you thankful today? And in this moment, what are you thankful for?

In hope, I will be posting a new reflection on thankfulness each day this week.

*Photo taken at my home last fall.


one frame: lorelai

A first look from my photo shoot with the lovely Lorelai Hibbard.


when you can't let go

“I don’t know what to do. I’ve been holding on to this all afternoon and I just can’t seem to let it go.”

Her voice heavily laced with emotion, my ears caught that one sentence and I understood.

My heart nodded. As if to say, “I get that.”

My chest rose and fell. I really get that. The pain in which you‘ve attempted to give something over to God, to want to forget desperately, but like fly paper, it keeps sticking to your shoe, traveling with you everywhere and nearly impossible to unstick.

The point at which you want to scream and shove it away and finally yell, “That’s not mine!” But sadly, it has become yours.

Situations. Emotions. Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment.

Broken pieces of your heart …

Pieces you didn’t know you had. Pieces you’ve been covering up. Pieces that have been hiding in a deep corner of your body.

And then, they rear their ugly head, and won’t go away. I want to hide under the covers, sweep it under the rug and cover my face in make-up. I want to make it go away. I want to be put together.

But it’s not working. It’s permeated my body, my thoughts, my face.

It’s checked in and decided to stay for a while whether it’s paying rent or not.

Those broken pieces run us into the ground. Sometimes we run ourselves into the ground.

In all this talk, we focus on one thing — letting go. We express that we’re holding onto something and someone in good nature says, “You just need to let it go.” Or we’re tired and the word failure creeps in as if we’re not letting go well enough.

There are times we need to ask God for supernatural intervention to release our heart of something. But sometimes, just perhaps, we need to steer our focus in another direction. Make an about-face and look back at what we’re letting go of. We harp on ourselves for not being able to think about something else. We grow weary.

But what if we took a step back.

What if we asked God for new eyes. And gave ourselves permission to not let go.

Sometimes, we need to hold on. Sometimes, it’s necessary and good that we do. We need to sit with what we feel “we aren’t letting go of” for a bit longer. Perhaps God is telling us something. Perhaps he is reminding us that the deep things of our soul take time.

Maybe, He is inviting us to grace.

And that feeling of not being able to let go? Perhaps, that was Him calling you back.

Back to a table set for two. Back to Him. He pulls out your chair, offers cozy slippers and lights a candle or two. A warm meal placed in front of you, He asks you to join Him.

Would you come and sit in grace tonight?

*Photo taken at Hilltop Retreat Center in Fall 2011.

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