Community is not found but built.

It does not often look like parties, dancing feet and wild laughter (although sometimes it does). Community warms your skin. Like the fading sun on a sweet summer night, it pours gently on the walls of a tiny room, enveloping the few who gather with open ears and honest hearts.

Community sounds of stillness, of gentle tears, shed over raw, scary truths. It sounds like silent cheers and kind permissions, space created so we don’t have to face life alone.

Community is everything we need, and it is everything we fear. It requires us to show up in ways that stretch our souls and expose the truths we work so hard to hide.

And community is grace. It is having grace when grace isn't given. It is showing up, despite humanity, and believing in the power of interlocked fingers and tender hugs.

Community is built, not found.

Brick by Brick

There is a wall in front of me; it stands in the way of my writing, my creative soul. It towers high and casts a frozen spell, no life can grow within its perimeter. The wall does not budge when I push against it, It stands proud, like a bully with a puffed out chest, blocking my way. A fire breathing dragon, the bully spews ugly lies: Stop creating. Stop Writing. You’re unworthy. You lack what it takes. 

I built this wall, with the help of others. The bricks are thick and heavy, made from my doubts and fears, my insecurities. Scattered in are bricks made of rejection, failure, and broken dreams. The borders of the wall were laid by my helpers, the critics—and not the constructive kind.

The wall is too big for me to knock down. I have built it for too long, its foundation is married to the earth. Even with a bulldozer or a thousand men, it will not budge.

To tear it down, I must take the bricks off, one by one. Each stone demands to be removed in the order it was placed. This is painstaking work, as one can imagine. It requires strength and will, persistence and time. For every brick removed, I must climb among my fears and doubts.

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The End is the Beginning

My toes dug deep in the cold sand; my overgrown traveler hair swept carelessly across my naked back. The night was dark, except for in the sky, where the brightest stars I had ever seen brilliantly gleamed above me. I laid back in the sand to observe their dance; behind me, the palm trees towered and swayed. I could hear the waves ripping across the water, slowly crashing in a hypnotic rhythm along the shoreline. I closed my eyes to whisper a prayer of gratitude. I wondered how much of the scene I could bottle up and bury in my soul.

Twelve months earlier my husband and I boarded a plane to Madrid, Spain. Within only a few months’ time we had quit our jobs, sold our house, and packed sixty liter backpacks for a year of travel. 

Drowning is the only analogy I can think of to describe the life we left behind. After marrying young and graduating college, we were building our empire upon cushy jobs and suburbia. We had traded our youth for salaries and our marriage for a kitchen remodel. One by one we were checking off the societal expectation boxes. After four years, we could barely breath. Our world revolved around desk jobs and Netflix. I didn’t recognize my life or my husband, and I certainly didn't recognize myself.

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Life Doesn't Choose Us

The light, it dances. It bursts and flows through the field. The flowers turn their faces towards the sun.

We are free, children dancing in the grove. 

For so long we forgot how to play. Our memories remind us and it feels better than before. We can't help our bursting souls—so we fly. This is heaven, our waking melody.

We learned early on that we are not chosen. Life spins and spins in selfish circles, never asking who we are.

So we pack our bags and sail away. Deep into the night we go, following only stars. Love guides our feet, pulls us along. 

We’re deep now, buried in the woods. Magic swallows us whole. 

With every sunrise and holy night, we age 100 years. Our days have meaning once more. We dance and dance and dance, never afraid to live again. 

Promises from the Sea

The roar of the rip current catches me by surprise; I lose my breath. 

The foamy sea surrounds me, threatening to devour once again. I brace for impact. My limp body is still recovering from the last beating. The drowning sensation, now so familiar to my lungs, creeps in. I’m a rag doll, helpless as the walls close in.

I look up, searching for the light; it’s dark from beneath he waves. My eyes find a sliver of the sun; a faint glow, it is miles away from where I tread. It lures me, begging me to resurface on my own. I have no power here. 

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These Brick Walls

I’m already forgetting. My vision blurs over and my eyes fill with tears as I scroll through the feed of photos. I touch the tiny pictures on the screen, trying to reach through and will myself to that now distant place. I squeeze my eyes shut. What did it feel like—the dirt beneath my boots and my whole life on my back? How did it taste—the language rolling off my tongue and the fresh air kissing my lips? 

I can’t remember anymore.

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Take Me to the Mountains

Life is so full, at times. Coffee, Eat, Work, Sleep, Repeat. It goes on and on, repeating itself. You either run the mill or break out of the cycle. Most keep chugging along like a train destined for no where.

Every time I try to step away, something pulls me back into the dark hole of the grind. It whispers, Keep striving, keep hustling. You are no one unless your name is known. Prove yourself. It sucks me in. I ignore the sirens and red lights, racing past the warning signs. Eager to please; to be heard and known and loved by people I don’t even know.

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