Desert Bloom

The desert has become my happy place. I love everything about it.

But in all honesty, I’m learning to love everything about every place. I’m finding that the more aware of Presence that I am, I’m in the best place that I could ever be.

Things have been moving and shifting for me in ways that I never expected.

I started this blog five years ago…at a turning point, one in which I described as a decision to “truly pursue Him”.

But today, I would say that I was more surrendered than ever before to allow Him to pursue me.

I would tell you that I was not truly following Him in times past, which is why I made so many poor decisions and why things turned out the way they did.

But today, I would say that following Him was irrelevant, because Love is unconditional. And He is Love and Love is always loving me.

Love is what I was created for.

So while the desert is blooming right now, I’m sweetly reminded of Love by the wildflowers all along the way and at every turn.

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During other seasons, I seldom take notice of the bushes that surround me. But they are there whether I realize it or not.

And He is the Way that I am always traveling, a Way marked by so much Grace and Peace.

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And Grace and Peace blooms in the sideways and byways, too.  In these hard places, I’ve found joy and vulnerability have been the soil for them to blossom.

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What a comfort to be reminded that I can never escape His Presence.

To know that I don’t have to search anymore.

I was found long before I started searching, and Love never stops pursuing me.

My date at 38

Sooo…big news. After six years of not having a date, it happened. I had one and it was great!!!
But not because it was love at first sight and I was swept off my feet by Mr. Right.
Hardly the case.
In fact, I just texted Mr. Not Right yesterday to let him know that I didn’t feel a connection to go on a second date.
Crazy, right? Well, let me explain.
Back in January, when I turned 38, it seemed so fitting to wish for a date. So I did. I didn’t need to worry about if this was the year that I would FINALLY meet my husband…but instead, how about a wish for just a date?
Now back track to a little over a month ago, I was in my sweet spot worshipping Jesus at a women’s conference. Hands lifted high, I was overcome by His love and delight over me that my heart’s immediate response was,
“I’m good. I. Am Good. I’m good being single for as long I will be. I’m good with just You and me.”
Now hear me, I’ve said this before and when I have it did not flow freely. All the times before were simply me “crying uncle.” You know, like forced into submission.
But this time was soooooo different. And different because when I was saying, “I am good,” I was truly aligning with the truth that I am good, and rejecting the lie that because I’m still single, something must be wrong with me. So since then, I’ve felt the shift in my heart. He has entered that space and I have no doubt is sustaining me for whatever the time it will be. There is no more pain to be felt in this area, only the hope of the promise He has for me.
So with that, two weeks ago, without much thought, and honestly, because I had taken a break from Facebook and since I don’t have television, was a little bored, I downloaded the Tinder app.
So downloaded out of boredom and I guess, just to see…see what’s out there. I’m not sure I thought a date would come out of it since I tried it for all of 24 hours about a year prior and it scared me a bit so I quickly deleted it.
So being that my Father is who He is and I’ve learned that His love knows no limits and He likes to surprise me, I began to get excited over the possibilities.
And so after some swiping, some connections were made and a few messages were exchanged…and I had a date scheduled!!
Truly, I knew next to nothing about this guy other than his first name, age and the assumption that he had served in the armed forces based on a picture he posted. And of course, I met him in a very public place.
And it ended up being the best date I could ever ask for after a six year hiatus.
God showered His love on me from start to finish. After parking and heading for the place we set to meet, I walked right past the very shop I had just been to a few months before while a close friend shopped for wedding dresses and I found myself full of so much hope as I doted over her as she did.
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My date and I met at a brewery that served kombucha on tap which I’d never had before and it was amazing!
Then I was surprised by my date’s suggestion that we move on to dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant…say what?? Korean BBQ? I was just talking to my sister recently about finding a place in Phoenix because I LOVE Korean BBQ. Not to mention the last time I had Korean BBQ in a restaurant setting was in Seoul, Korea!!
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And then rewind to the night before the date, when I went into panic mode thinking I had nothing cute to wear for my first date in six years!!
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So if there was still any doubt, upon walking into the Korean BBQ restaurant, the hostess exclaims,
“You have THE BEST outfit on!”
I died. I knew that was God’s specific way of showing me just how much He sees me, and that He was in this with me.
And if that wasn’t enough, after our check was paid and we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, the hostess came over to our table and said to me,
“You have THE BEST laugh ever…I have so enjoyed hearing you and watching you have a great time over here…”
And with only 500 characters allowed, this is part of what I wrote about myself on my Tinder profile:
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I won’t go into all the details of the conversation with my date but I’ll summarize by saying we covered so much ground, and it was rich and deep…which I would have it no other way. The shallow waters are painstakingly difficult for me.

So I had the opportunity for deep, meaningful conversation which I got to be transparently me.
And honestly, I’m not so sure I’m going to abide by the cultural norms of what you shouldn’t talk about on a first date moving forward. Because I’m so grateful we talked about all we did.
There was some heatedness over taboo topics, but in then end, it was all discussed with maturity and respect. And what more could I ask for?
Not to mention, go me for speaking my voice and stating my opinion!! That’s a big win!!
So all this said, it was clear to me that our difference in opinion and values helped make me realize that there was no potential for a second date. And how awesome to be able to recognize that and respond in the healthiest and most gracious of ways?
So thank you, Jesus. This was more than I could have ever asked for on my date at 38..of course, not what I imagined…but as always, so much better!
And to recognize the presence of my Good Good Father in the midst of this epic night and experience His deep love for me is all that matters when all is said and done.
If you’re wondering, I’m still on Tinder and in my short time, I’ve had some negative experiences, including a horrible and offensive conversation with one guy. And another guy who I was super excited to meet and was super bummed when he cancelled and has yet to reschedule…but through it all, I’m learning and growing.  It’s a constant journey of replacing the bad with the good of my Father who cares for me.
And being true to my word, I’m believeing more and more that I’m good in the depths of me. I am so good just as I am. My Father’s delight and care for me is all I ever need.
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
        reflecting our nature…”
God looked over everything he had made;
        it was so good, so very good! Genesis 1:26-31 The Message

The Tale of Olaf George

There once lived three sisters whose parents decided it was time to call it quits. So they did what they always said they would do and called it an early retirement moving back to the land from which they came…which happened to be a tiny island a 24+ hour trip via plane and boat away.

During this time, the oldest sister lived in NYC, the middle called Phoenix home…and the little was in a small town in Ohio.

Growing up the three sisters had to always rely on each other because Dad’s work would take them all over the place. Transition was the norm and friends would come and go with each move, but they always had each other.

So when their parents left, they decided to do what they only knew to do during big transitions, stick together.

They met up in Ohio, and proceeded on to the long road trip across the country with a shady motel thrown in for good measure along the way.

From the Midwest to the Southwest, they would settle into a beautiful home in sunny Scottsdale.

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A month after buying their humble abode, they did the next natural thing by adding the sweetest addition to their family. They adopted a Golden Retriever named Olaf…and based on his curious nature, he was endearingly given the middle name of George.

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Nine months or so later, the big sister would realize Scottsdale wasn’t a good fit and move on to L.A.

Olaf George would make visits to see her there.

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And go everywhere he could…LGO was his favorite hot spot.

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After seven years, they would sell their cozy home and the two sisters that remained would go separate ways…and Olaf would reside with the middle sister…only for the three to be together again a year later.

And then, the middle sister would move to Colorado with the plan to get settled and come back for Olaf. So as heart-wrenching as the good-bye was, she knew they’d be back together again…

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But instead, a year and a half later, Olaf and the little sister were seeing the middle sister off as she hopped on a plan to move to Japan indefinitely…
IMG_4126So FaceTime became the greatest thing…IMG_4913And on a visit home from afar, Olaf would be the first one ready and waiting to greet the middle sister upon her arrival…IMG_7643What a gift technology was to allow for the middle sister to be a part of moments like this upon returning to Japan…IMG_9274

The middle sister knew Olaf was getting old in age and would pray to not bear the weight of his loss while abroad…and much to her surprise, she returned to the desert.

Nearly four years later and just three months ago, the middle, little and Olaf  were reunited under one roof again…and within two months, Olaf moved on…

Words escape me to fully articulate what a gift Olaf was. I’m so grateful for his presence and love in my life all these years. I’m so grateful for how he became a precious bond between three sisters.

I asked God to let me be alongside him in his final days and they were really good days together…so for this I’m especially grateful.

Yet, loss is hard. I’ve wept more than I can handle. And when I can’t handle it, potato chips, chocolate, and endless scrolling through Facebook and Instagram help me cope.

I know there is so much grace in the grief.

I also know that the loss is causing unresolved grief to surface, and the emptiness felt is also attaching itself to other things, namely my singleness.

But it’s all good because it’s all part of the process. And I’m in it wholeheartedly like never before.

Last night, I spent four hours and a few glasses of wine in a most beautiful conversation with my best friend chatting about everything under the sun in our crazy, wild, beautiful and painful lives as we know them.

I pleaded with Jesus on behalf of her, and she pleaded for me…with full hearts, we expressed our gratitude and with the same breath, our confusion…

When life is not your own, it’s beautiful but it can definitely be confusing. And I’m learning more and more to be good with that…I don’t want it all figured out…

His ways are so much higher. I mean seriously, who am I to know the ways of the Creator of the Universe?

And while I may not understand His ways and strive to stop trying to…I know His Heart and it is good. It’s so so good. 

In my confusion, He meets me and covers me with His Love. I know that without a shadow of doubt because I experience it over and over and over again.

His Love is everything to me.

For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. Isaiah 61:7