March 15, 2016

it runs deep

first of all, i can't take an ounce of credit for this post. i was going through my blog doing a little spring cleaning and i found this in my drafts from eons ago. and by eons, i mean 5 years ago. i meant to post this way back when, but nothing has changed so i figure there's no time like the present.

my fellow tar heel athlete pal phabienne wrote a blog in march of 2011 that said all the things my tar heel heart wants to say on the regular. so instead of re-inventing the wheel, i'm just going to share what she said because i would say the exact same thing. every single word. (except that we aren't both living in branson anymore. we migrated to the motherland and are both within striking distance of our beloved chapel hill.)

according to phabienne...

I have been conditioned.
I am a product of my environment, and I am not ashamed about it.
For four years I inhaled, ate, heard, watched, smelled, touched, embraced, and loved everything there was to love about my alma mater, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and I know I didn't even get to everything that beautiful town has to offer.
For four years I wore Carolina blue to practice, to class, to meets, to bed, to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I saved hats, posters, newspapers, shirts, cups, and pom poms from games.
I watched the Tar Heels on TV, in Kenan Stadium, on the track, in Carmichael gym, in the Dean Dome, on Fetzer field, on the turf, and on the diamond.
In the four years my red blood turned Carolina Blue, my heart became hard-wired to anything having to do with Carolina, my emotions inextricably linked to the wins and losses, my breathing conditioned by last second plays, and my stomach tightened into knots during fierce rivalries.
I make no apologies for it.
I am a Tar Heel.
I am Carolina way over here in Branson, MO.
So, believe me when I say, it runs deep.
I yell, jump, scream, fist pump, clap, shout, pace, rock, and hold my breath when I watch the Tar Heels from the Midwest.
And during March Madness, it only intensifies.
I have been conditioned that for every positive reaction, there is not an equal but a greater opposite reaction for anything related to dook.
I am a Tar Heel.

i couldn't agree more. here's to our heels dancing their way to another national championship.


[original post from phabienne]

live unashamedly :: laugh uncontrollably :: love unconditionally

January 1, 2016

word of the year

for the last several years, i've chosen a word of the year. it becomes my focus. some years it's been out of necessity to keep going and other years it's been something i want to keep as my focus and work on throughout the year.

i'm betting most of you are familiar with this idea because it's become a trendy-ish thing to do in the christian community. i'm usually against joining trendy things, but this is one i love because of the intentionality behind it. i'm sure you could randomly choose a word and hope for the best, but that defeats the purpose in my mind. i start chewing on what my word might be around thanksgiving and usually have my verdict by mid-december.

once i've decided what my word will be, i start thinking of fun ways to remind myself throughout the year. my inner crafty nerd loves this phase. recent years have ended up like this...

2013 & 2014
2013 was a year of crisis and heartbreaking news. hope was the only way to wade through the muck and come out on the other side.
2014 was a year of continuing to wrestle with the ripple effects of such deep sadness coupled with the desire to move forward.

2015 was the year i walked in freedom and chose to be fully known and fully loved. i tattooed libete, which means freedom in creole, on my foot because haiti is where the rumblings for freedom first began.

[it's harder to read in this pic, but i love it because i'm sitting on my friend's rooftop overlooking the village of minoterie in haiti.]

2016 is the year i'm purposing to rest in the knowledge that i'm chosen by God. i am loved more than i will ever know.

each year has a significance of it's own and the current year is always my favorite. if you want to join me in this yearly adventure, this will help you pick your word. if you pick a word, comment below and share it with me. i'd love to encourage you throughout the year.


live unashamedly :: laugh uncontrollably :: love unconditionally

December 24, 2015

just a...

it's crazy to me how the things we casually utter become what we believe, especially about ourselves. or, maybe it's the other way around and the things we believe about ourselves casually slip out our mouths without much thought.

the phrase just a became that for me. i've been an admin of sorts for my entire "big girl job" life. granted that's only 7 years, but it's all i've known. and since it's all i've known, the temptation is there to believe the lies that...

i don't have the skills to qualify for a better or higher-paying job

anyone could do my job because there's no special training needed to do it

i'm the bottom of the totem pole, the freshman on the team so to speak

i should work my way up into a more qualified position of some kind and build a career

but those things simply aren't true. what's true is...

i have the skills and natural gifts to thrive at this job

anyone could do my job, but i do it with efficiency and excellence

i am a valuable part of the team because i set others up for success and care for details

this is where the Lord gifted and called me, so why add unnecessary pressure to be something i'm not or pursue something i'm not called to pursue?

it's not easy choosing to replace those lies with truth, and sometimes it sounds downright arrogant to say that i'm really good at my job. i've been in conversations recently and almost winced as i told people that i'm content where i am because i'm really good at what i do and it's the right fit for me. it's hard to claim my strengths and stand with confidence, but there's no reason to shy away from it. i'm a work in progress, but i'm getting better at it.

the phrase just a has no place in our vocabulary...whether it's about yourself or someone else. no one is just a mom, teacher, admin, bus driver, waitress, janitor, or whatever else it may be. every single one of us has a unique set of gifts and things that bring us joy. there's no room for shame or apologies over what we do when we operate out of our God-given gifts for the good of those around us. the smallest of tasks that go unnoticed by the masses can bring Him much glory.

so charge on, my friends. you are not just a________.


[p.s. this post hit me square between the eyes as i was wrestling through this and i resonated with it. you might too.]

live unashamedly :: laugh uncontrollably :: love unconditionally

December 1, 2015

"grandpa" jim

well "grandpa" jim,

words are hard right now, but i want you to know that you are missed. with every bit of my being. with all of my heart.

i hear your laugh and see your big grin in my mind throughout the day and i can't help but smile. but then my heart sinks because you're gone and i can't pick up the phone to call you. i won't see your name pop up on my phone after anymore carolina losses or wolfpack wins.

you've only been gone a week, but my heart misses you in the biggest of ways. you were one of my best fans. you stood in my corner. you prayed for me. you teased me. and you cheered me on in each new adventure. you loved me well with that big 'ol heart of yours. you told the best stories and i loved the way you paused to make sure everyone was listening for the punch line even though we'd heard the story a hundred times. you were joy, delight, grace, kindness, welcome, belonging, gentleness, honesty, integrity, and love in human form. you made your little piece of this earth a better place and your presence is so very missed.

i know where you are now and i know all the things to say to make myself feel better about you being gone, but frankly it still sucks. it just hurts. i want one more hug and kiss from you. it was all so sudden. i didn't get a chance to say goodbye. i didn't know my birthday was the last time we'd be together. if so, i would've kept you there for a just a few more stories and laughs.

what i want is for you to whip open your jacket with your big goofy grin to reveal a wolfpack pin or the trusty red gel pen you always kept in your pocket. i want you to thank me for my "missionary work" at UNC. no one teased me quite as lovingly as you and my sundays in asheville just won't be the same without you there. on that note, i think you'd be proud of me for not yelling "go heels" during your memorial service on sunday. i mustered every bit of self-control i could and managed to sit quietly amidst all the wolfpack talk.

all that to say, i'll be okay. it's just going to hurt (a lot) for a while because of how much you meant to me. i dared to love deeply and as a result i'm going to hurt deeply. it was worth it, but that doesn't make it any easier. a friend of mine posted this phrase recently and it is oh so true...

sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks

i love you "grandpa" jim and i'll see you again one day. until then, i'll do my best to make you proud and cheer my tar heels on to more victories than your wolfpack.


live unashamedly :: laugh uncontrollably :: love unconditionally

November 12, 2015

a haitian never forgets

if y'all keep tabs on social media and stalk me even the slightest bit, you already know that i returned to haiti a month ago. this was my third trip and, oh my stars, it was so different from my first two.

let me back up for a second.

this summer was hard for me. i came into the fall empty. drained. weary. feeling as though i had nothing left. my week in haiti changed that. i came home better. lighter. restored. i'm a little more whole. full. a better version of me. i rested. i was restored. i was refreshed. i sat with Jesus and He was pleased with me. not to say the trip wasn't challenging (it was), but a piece of me felt a little more whole while i was there because haiti has become part of who i am.

while i was there, one thing that repeatedly struck me was a phrase i heard myself casually utter several times before it finally stuck...

a haitian never forgets

you see, there is such comfort in being known. loved. seen. i've purposed for several years to love the people around me well, whoever they may be, in whatever way the Lord shows me. the Holy Spirit as my daily guide. i don't do it perfectly and i certainly have days when selfishness and personal comfort win. those are the days i'm reminded of his glorious grace and i try again the next day.

but recently, i have purposed to see people for who they truly are. to make sure they know they aren't invisible. to know their name and their story. to remember them. i am the worst at remembering names (i somehow missed getting that gene from pops). my years as a kanakuk counselor taught me that a person's name is the sweetest word in the english language and there is such truth in that. so, i have made a better effort to know and remember names. faces. stories. i still have a long way to go but i am making a conscious effort.

and i think that's why i was stopped in my tracks and flooded with all the feels when i stepped foot inside the door of 3 Cords on that thursday morning.


she remembered me from a year ago. y'all, an entire year with no contact and she remembered me. her face lit up. her eyes were full of kindness. her smile was as big as her heart. she welcomed me with a tight hug. she brought me into her space and let me sit a while. she pulled up a chair and i spent the day with her. she signed to the interpreter that i was her friend and she was so happy i was there to see her again. my heart melted as her hospitality overwhelmed me.

sweet adeline.

i have learned so much from my haitian friends. but there is still much to learn. i am a better me because of the time i spend with them and my heart is anxious to return. part of my soul feels home when i'm in haiti and for that i am forever grateful.


live unashamedly :: laugh uncontrollably :: love unconditionally