Friday, October 26, 2012

Journey junkie, i guess that's me.

I know I need to write more. And I know I have said that multiple times before. There are days I dream about writing and blogging, creating a blog that has a set focus. You know like all those incredible people out there who have one focus (gardening, parenting, body building, religion, travel, food) the list goes on and on and on. Those creative writers have their one sole focus and they stay on task, they rarely sway from their "about me" and from their blog's title, and yet they still blog twice, thrice a week. if not more.

And here I am. I can't stay on task, I can't stay focused. I'm in my 3rd job in less than year, I'm taking classes at my 5th college, I've been single and mingling for well over 22 of my soon to be 24 years. I still change clothes threes times a day. Yesterday I had one of those "I want to run, I want to leave all these commitments and I want to be in Iceland, right now" - what?? .... I want to run from my commitment of my dog and online classes and awesome roommates, all of which I have had for less than 5 months. What do I want to run from? Or rather do I just want to run from myself because I'm becoming settled again (and 'settled' has a very stretched definition in my world and it tends to look much different than the rest of society's)

So I decided instead of wasting more time, trying to think of a single topic I can focus on and write about day after day. I will just embrace my current title "journey junkie". This journey I am currently on, whatever that is. This journey of a 20-something-year old trying to find herself, her God; the things she desires and the things she detests. I am trying to become the person I want to be, the right person; while it seems like everyone else around me is looking for that right person. So, maybe I am on a selfish journey, maybe I am on an immature one looking for maturity, or a journey trying to avoid adulthood with all I can. It's a journey I guess; always has been and always will be.

And here I am a junkie. every day, every single day, I'm a junkie. I have compulsive habits and these obsessive dependencies on the most ridiculous of things. I'm addicted to changing, growing, moving. I'm dependent on relationships and my independency. My habits are every where from popping my knuckles, to profanity, from face masks and sleeping in fields. To drinking tea every night before bed, to splurging on sugar every time I'm stressed. I'm addicted to living life fully, to loving people with my whole being, to desiring to be an emotional wreck just to feel. (even though the tears have had a hard time coming lately)

So here I am. A junkie on a journey. An addict on an adventure. A pilgrim on a path. However you want to look at it. I'm broken and I tend to be an ugly mess, I have permanent bruises, physically and emotionally. And I am going, constantly and consistently, going to try to become a better woman, to try and become the lady, the friend, the leader, the achiever, the servant, the lover, I've always wanted to be.

So read along with me or not. Thats ok. One conclusion my twenties have finally brought about, I am writing not for those reading, but for my spilling soul to reach a resolving reconciliation with itself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I traveled back to the mid-west this weekend. For a wedding, a very precious, lovely wedding. And Doug asked me to write about it… now he’s been asking me to write for some time now, and I haven’t written in a long time. So now is as good as ever, to get my fingertips back in shape, to start typing, to start dreaming, to begin once again pouring my heart out into words.

Arriving on a late Thursday night, in the dark, in the humidity, I arrived in Springfield Missouri. With Lacey to fetch me from the airport we drove back to a home of mine, Carthage, Missouri.

I say a home of mine, because it isn’t my 2nd home, nor original home; although Nebraska will always be my place of birth I have a lot of “homes” now tied for the running of first place. And honestly I don’t believe a first place will ever appear.

Nebraska, South Africa, Joplin, Flagstaff – they have all taken a piece of my heart, they have all stamped my soul with the memories I created there and the relationships I built. So let me elaborate for you, let me explain to you the stamping Missouri did on me.

Missouri became my home in a lot of ways, through Joplin, through Ozark Christian College, through friendships and schools and churches and jobs. But the cowboys from Carthage definitely branded me in their own unique way.

We sat Friday night; all together after the rehearsal and dinner, with our tummies full we sat near to one another. With the open country sky above us, the stars and the galaxy looking like a perfect covering sheet over our heads, it was dark for miles – except for the twinkling lights that hung around the wooden dance floor. The boys in their cowboy hats and the girls in their dresses we had all come together to celebrate a union through marriage.

I sat there, gazing at the stars above, feeling loved and warm despite the rare chilly August breeze. I was in a nostalgic haze the entire weekend. Remembering what it was like growing up in the middle of Nebraska, remembering all of the rodeos we traveled too, I remembered the early mornings of black coffee by the potbelly stove. It wrapped my heart like a Pendleton blanket and it warmed my soul like hot cider; I felt like this is home, this is where my feet touch the soil and my heart sings harmoniously.

I remembered all the wisdom that was poured into me in the Aldridge living room, when Georgia would love on me and wipe my tears, when Doug would challenge me and when Jack and Dougie would wrestle and cuddle with me. I recall the woman I became in that Missourian rodeo abode, the way I learned what lifestyle I longed for and what responsibility means. The way I learned a new form of family, the way I learned I a different way to be me.

I’m not saying I learned how to get a belt buckle, or how to rope the fast-lane; I learned from cowboys a code of honor, an intense work ethic, compassion and respect. I learned a cowboy doesn’t make apologies and is always prepared. I was taught (by my Nebraskan parents as well as my Missouri kin) to be humble, to have quiet strength and to possess courage. 

I fled that rodeo scene years ago, to venture off to South African seas and then ran straight to the desert mountains of Arizona. Changing scenery, changing environments  - quickly meandering through cowboys, city slickers, surfers, hikers and hippies; the vastness of my “home” these past few years has constantly changed dramatically. My pillow has changed too many times to count, my zip code too many times for the post to keep up.

But here I sit, after a visit to a home. Knowing full well this August day that Arizona is where I am meant to be, to learn a little more, to develop a little more. But the wisdom I learned from the cowboy circuit branded deep into my heart, deep enough to change me, deep enough to help form who I am today.

Maybe I’ll end up there again, maybe I’ll find the rodeo circuit through marriage, maybe I’ll find my own 10acres down in Australia where I’ll work the land and livestock, like those mid-west boys. Who knows where this trail will lead, but I do know; I’m walking this trail with chaps and spurs in tune. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Danish Dame

Right now I should be cleaning, or running. Granted I feel as if this need of being productive is a hovering cloud that never decides to leave my presence. So instead of doing something good for my flat, or good for my body - I'm going to write... then again, writing is good for my soul.

Although, there is nothing particular to write about today.

One of my favorite quotes, which comes from the women of Denmark is "Coffee is for the body, what the Word of the Lord is for the soul" And O my do I believe that deep into the depths of this weary heart of mine.

These past couple weeks have been tiring, o' so tiring. Thankful for things that did not come to be, for I would not have had the heart to deal with them, with those relationships & those opportunities - I would have had to run away in order to face these circumstances that have greeted me these past days. I will be honest I thought when I left South Africa I would come back to America - get some rest, have life a little easier. Life has been so much harder here than it was on that Southern shore line.

I don't like putting expectations on things - and I try extremely hard not to place expectations on things - but obviously I thought America would be good for my soul. And I do earnestly believe Flagstaff will be good for me in the end - but today I feel as if someone is taking a chisel relentlessly to these last few fibers that make up my heart. Which is why I do as those Danish dames; I drink a lot of coffee and I stay in the Word - because those two things will keep me going, they will help me to carry on, carry on as I do.

I'm not a graceful type of person, nor a subtle type. I try to be a Sunday morning or a sunset, but most of the time I am a Tuesday morning at 2am. I fall from elegance with a dull thud, apologizing for my awkwardness - trying as hard as I can for Swedish suave, to only tumble into the port as the sailor who has only interacted with the stars and the fish. Trying to calm the storm that has become my sea. You don't see the lightning within me, you only hear the echoes.

I know I'm adventurous, I'm rebellious and I'm independent too - a risk taker and a suffer in silence type, a strong-willed wench, and a free-spirit. And I live in a circuitousness through each of those idiosyncrasies.

I'm not exactly sure of why I do this, live like this - why I have always chosen to meander the long way around - it has made life hard, it has made me come face front with challenges a lot of people never imagine.

So as I sit here, a hot mess of self-destructive strengths that have actually become my own worst enemy, but that have always given me fulfillment and have always guided my heart back to the foot of the cross - with God bringing his glory out of my habitual oddities, Redeeming my ridiculousness. I sit and I know in order to continue pushing on, feeding my soul is more important than anything else.

So I'm off to make a cup of coffee - and to ponder the Words of the Way...

I have finally succumbed to this sentimental heart
That has been created through these vagary days
I have no choice but to change - for I've seen the face of God and Love
The Spirit is the Life of me
Flowing only through the Death of me
Endlessly, like a river, it all never seems to cease
But this river does not fear in becoming the sea
So flowing it will stay,
Some days as a trickle - other days as an engulfing cascade
I'm too infatuated and captivated with the adventures of the soul
Too simple stand still

Monday, February 27, 2012

no time for reservations

Today has been a long day - actually the last week has been ridiculously long. I look at my life (almost everyday) and I wonder to myself, "How in the world did I get so busy so fast, this is absurd." For it truly is. Now everyone who knows me, or sees my life from the outside would say I am just that type of person - I've always been Go,Go,Go and put one (okay 5) too many things on my plate - I try to achieve and accomplish more than a person should, more than is possible in 24 hours. So I don't know if it is the South African in me now, or the hell I went through that last week of college as I found myself in an ER room, but something has shifted (well obviously only internally because externally it all still looks the same) but something did shift. I no longer need, nor desire that fast-paced, overly hectic, overly filled life style - I like to play. a lot. I just want to chill and enjoy the moment in the day, I no longer find myself rushed (or even the fulfillment in being rushed and busy). So... after all these busy days and overly packed hours due to EMT courses, YMCA supervisor responsibilities, relationships, responsibilities and more I decided to still write and write a little more on the light hearted side of me....

Somethings you should learn about me....
1. I make AWESOME playlists 2. I have AWESOME dance moves.

I know, most of you are super jealous that I have these two incredible skills inside of me just bursting forth, but it has indeed become a hinderance in my life!
Example 1: I workout at the YMCA, I cannot tell you how many times I have had the most ridiculous facial expression - most other worker-outers probably assume I am working out really hard, or that I need to use the lou. But honestly its because I'm doing everything I can to not bust a move on that elliptical. (yes, sometimes I have to take my ear buds out because I just can't handle the marvelous music seducing me to shake it) (and yes, sometimes I just go ahead and bust a little move out)

Example 2: I was snowboarding the other day. And of course had an awesome playlist playing away in my ears. This song specifically was just so rad that it boosted my confidence (and adrenaline) above my skill level. ... In other words I bashed my jaw, jammed my neck and my bum is still bruised.

So those are two just simple examples, I won't get into the rest of them.
But the other day, I went for a run, an early morning run on the Mesa Campbell Trails on the outer eastern side of Flagstaff. There wasn't a soul in sight for my 7 mile rugged trailed loop. And let me tell you I let it LOOSE. Yes that's right, in between running strides I shook it like it was nobody's business.

Now I probably shouldn't have told you that. (please don't judge me) (and please stop picturing me flailing about in your head) I told you this because it felt flipp'n awesome. And you know what I suggest?...that you go do the same - the freedom in busting a move to soul-enlivening music with no reserves what so ever, well let's just say - It makes you smile mega big and gives you a freedom that even an American does not know.

So go. Find a song with a beat that will make you bump your bum and shake your limbs.
and Enjoy.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

::Carving Waves::

Today my face is red from a wind/sun-burn. My calves are sore, as well as other body bits of mine. But it truly is a great feeling and it is caused from being on the mountain yesterday, on my board. Yesterday I got to go snowboarding, I never played in the snow in South Africa, so Saturday was my first time back in over a year.

Took me one run to get myself comfortable again. But that second run was so sweet to taste. The second half of the run, you drop down a steep incline, carving down the bank I mainly stayed on a straight path, picking up my speed, gliding effortlessly in my turquoise snow-pants and purple beanie. With the Ponderosa Pines on both sides and the sun shining directly on the revealed skin under my goggles, I had fun carving hard up and down the steep banks on the outer edges due to our lack of snow. You come right, it curves left into the bend and turns back dumping you out right, so you make an S formation. Coming out of the bend, with reggae in my ears, I was on my heels, riding the back side of my board cutting straight left. move my feet –barely – the board goes parallel to the snow, move my feet – barely – all my weight on the balls of my feet, the board cuts deep on the toe edge, able to curve smoothly, sharply – with my whole body leaning into the land, I’m able to swipe a hand against the hard, cold snow before popping back up – gliding the edge that falls 15 feet into powder and ponderosas, and back to heel edge, back to carving this ice, that Flagstaff people call snow.

The thought that came to my mind while I was doing one of my runs was, “I wish I could feel this on a surf board.” It’s almost as if my snowboarding got better as I went away from it for a year, while my surfing is still at a stand-still, such a mediocre level of wave-catching. I would love to carve the waters, the way I carve the snow. So I spent my time on the chair lift thinking of the science behind boarding these two different elements – coming only to the conclusion that a board on a wave gives you a type of feeling that snow never will (the closest you could get would be riding an avalanche).

The flat I lived in, in J-bay was below a family – Roy the father of that family and my boss for CSA always blessed me with rad talks, whether about life, ministry, visions, or relationships – but honestly majority of our conversations were during Fuel TV and they were about surfing. I remember Roy describing to me the way he sees the waves, describing to me the addiction it creates because you are a moving energy riding a moving energy. And that’s why carving on snow will never give me the sensation of carving a wave – the snow stays, even powder doesn't create the energy like the amplitude of the sea.

So obviously – I related this to us…

There’s a lot of definitions for a wave – a lot of science behind it: To move freely, back and forth, up and down, a swell moving along a surface dependent on tension, a surge, a rush, a rise in activity or intensity, a succession of mass movement.

So a wave – a lot like emotions. Moves up and down, back and forth, changing form due to the environment around it. I’ve struggled with emotions my whole life, the acceptance of them, finding maturity in them, finding Godliness in them. But after 23 years, I’ve come the acceptance of them and am able to see emotions as something beautiful – as an incredible movement within a person’s soul, giving one the opportunity to express him or herself a little; the ability to bring a little more of you on the inside, outside.

Emotions, that warmth of feeling burning inside to respond to something; passion, compassion, joy, sorrow, misery, anger, love. You are a wave of emotions (although you need to look at the undulating you allow in your wave – are you even a wave? Or have you shut your emotions off to the world and God?)

One definition of a wave is: motion defined as the movement of a distortion of a material, where the individual parts or elements only move back-and-forth, up-and-down, or in a cyclical pattern. It appears as if something is actually moving along the material, but in reality it is just the distortion moving, where one part influences the next.

Are you that type of wave? You look like a wave of great amplitude from the outside, but in reality all you are doing is moving matter – whether that’s people, visions of just other emotions – your not actually doing anything. All your doing is moving ‘things’ in an aimless motion. For example, ocean waves ceaselessly arrive at the shore without piling up infinite amounts of water. The wave arrives, but the water doesn't. Is that you?

Because I must be honest with you friend, as honest as I am with myself, you cannot be that type of wave. We are not called to be waves that move material in a meaningless motion. We are called to be true waves. A wave is the progressive disturbance propagated from point to point without progress from the points themselves; the moving of energy not the moving of matter.

That means we are called to be moved, only because we are being moved by an energy outside of ourselves (the Holy Spirit) and we are not called to be a wave of emotions stirring the sand up within the sea – but we are called to move and sway as an energy of emotions in tune with our Father’s emotions so that he is the force sweeping the bottom of the sea, and kissing the shore.

So, as I sat on that chair lift, 40 feet above the ground, snowboard dangling, the Phoenix valley to my back and the Grand Canyon to the west. I had to ask myself – what type of wave are you? What energy is controlling your emotions, your movements, your actions – is it you? Or is it the Holy Spirit? … Look at the shoreline, because the residue you leave behind is your answer.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A dedication for Lincoln (for Larson)

Today is Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, who successfully led this country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserved the Union, ended slavery, and promoted economic and financial modernization. Reared in a poor family in a log cabin, Lincoln was self-educated, but naturally talented in business, military and political dimensions. He was a natural radical, seeking to reunify the nation. And with obscure opinions bestowed upon him, he accomplished his aspiration and changed America.

One of my favorite stories of Abe is when people refer to how he was "strong enough to intimidate any rival." At his first speech, when he saw a supporter in the crowd being attacked, Lincoln grabbed the assailant by his "neck and the seat of his trousers" and threw him!

And aside from his physical strength he had an oral strength not only as a speaker but as a writer. Lincoln was a superb writer, with the magic of his own pen in his beautiful hand-written-font he would scribble words like "the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

My fascination in Abraham Lincoln began as a mere interest because of my grandad. My grandpa, Donald James Larson, may have very well been Abe's biggest fan. I remember hearing about him and constantly seeing his pictures and books all over my grandparents Swedish tainted home in Nebraska. And maybe that was the very reason I fell into admiration for Abe, not necessarily because my grandpa respected him, but because Abe reminds me so much of Don.

Standing at 6'4" you read articles about Lincoln's tall, skinny frame and the honest fact that he just had an ugly face. My grandpa himself stood at that same 6'4" lanky frame, and although I found him a handsome man he always joked that his nickname from friends had always been the 'Big Ugly Swede.'

I see the comparisons in these two men so much, Abe a lawyer and my Don a doctor - they both were beyond studious, extremely disciplined and independent. Often absent but always affectionate, they were men of few words. Most of my memories of my grandpa are him sitting there silently looking over us but when he spoke we all listened because we knew it was wisdom. I've read over a dozen articles that speak of Abraham's sense of humor, love for jokes and tendency to speak in riddles for his own laughter but for the lessons of others.
And the quote that went to the grave with my grandpa was "shut up and dig" as he always had a sly smirk around his long face when he said, as all of us grand-kids knew he was referring to the time his own father said it to him, and that we were talking to much and needed to get on with business.

I can tell you how many people respected Abraham, because you can read it in the articles and the history pages, you know it by the way he worked himself to the presidency without formal education, powerful relationships or money - he accomplished all he did as a lawyer, as a military man, as a congress man, a father and a husband and president because people respected him. but I can't tell you how many people respected my grandfather, to this day I am still blessed by my grandma telling about one more person who adored my grandpa - you can see it in the way the hospital reacted to his retirement or the way my family acted in his presence, or the way the entire community responded to his death. My grandpa was an extremely, deeply respected man - a man who was adored and admired and made an impact on every soul he came into contact with.

My giant grandpa, the tall, lanky Swede that stood for what he believed in, that was never swayed by the world or by the opinions of others will never be forgotten by my family - his steadfastness, his faithfulness, his love and compassion, his courage and his immeasurable character, marked hearts and made indentions in numerous lives.

Just like that of Honest Abe - the 16th president who stood for what he believed in, in front of a nation, in front of those who opposed him - he never swayed from the truth that lived in his heart and because of him our nation found a new freedom.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Polarize yourself

I was reading just last night as I stumbled across Acts 17:6 – this is a verse I’ve read more than a handful of times. I even took Acts class in Bible College, I mean I had a test over this exact verse. But it happened to be this Wednesday night when 8 words specifically grabbed me by the cheeks and shook my soul for a still moment. Maybe I never noticed it before because this night I was meandering through the New King James version. Acts 17:6 “But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”

This verse is referring to one of Paul’s many escapades. “THESE WHO HAVE TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN” I’ve always acclaimed Paul for being the leader he was, the independent, adventurer always on the move. Which made me think of another leader I’ve always admired with great respect, who ventured to the bottom of this world, Sir Ernest Henry Shackelton.

Ok now the reason I bring Shackelton up right now in comparison to Paul is because he trekked to Antartica, where Iceberg B15 sits. B15 is the world’s largest recorded iceberg. This iceberg contains so much water within its frosted barrier that it could actually flow through the Jordan River for over 1,000 years.

I believe we all have put up a certain amount of walls, some icy barriers that have created a shield that we exist in, inside these freezing waters called culture and society. But its not those frozen, defensive walls that I care to see in you.

You see because just like that iceberg, inside of you exists enough water to flow a river for a 1,000 years.

God hasn’t called us, you nor I, to sit stagnant. But to fully flow and ebb with the movements of his current. He has called us to “turn the world upside down.”

There is this pilgrimage that must begin, a movement that seems so contradictory to our current status – it is not one of building up walls, but one of melting the glacier that has formed. It is not a movement north or to the top, but a movement to the polar-side of this world, to the other side.

So quickly and briefly I leave you with this thought that has been flirting with my mind and heart...

What inequities have been placed upon your life, in which you responded to in a way this world expects and wants you too? … because I beg of you, re-approach those injustices with a heart placed in the Lord (full of mercy and ragamuffin like grace, full of acceptance and true love) and melt your soul in a polar direction – melting in the direction not of the world but of the Word.

Because once we melt our souls and turn ourselves ‘upside down’ only then can we come together and turn the ‘world upside down.’