When I think about heaven.

I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven lately.

Not in a morbid way or anything, I don’t think. In the way that I think it’s good to be prepared and I like to daydream kind of way, I guess.

I’m excited about the whole thing. Really I am. I think Jesus is going to be real cool. He came up with that whole salvation thing. And the angels are sure going to sound sweet. And God, well, am just so thrilled to experience that kind of love in person. Not in person, but in spirit? Not sure what the appropriate expression is there.

I sit here thinking about heaven at 4 a.m. A train is rolling by my window. It’s about a mile away but the window still shakes, I believe a product of it being the middle of the night and there not being much else around to compete in the way of making noise. I don’t always notice the train, but I try to — trains are one of my favorite joys in life. They make me think of my Pappaw. He collected ’em and so I always think they’re his way saying hello — so this train at 4 a.m. while I’m thinking about heaven sounds real nice.

I hope I get to remember people in heaven. I know I’ll probably be preoccupied, what with the angels singin’ and Jesus being cooler than cool and God being the actual definition of love and such. But I hope I get to see Pappaw and Granny again. I sure miss them, and a heaven where I never see their faces again or get one of those big hugs makes me want to cry. I suppose the idea of it actually is making me cry.

I wonder what heaven feels like? In mine I really do get to sleep on clouds and float through the stars. Do we each get our own heaven? I know, heaven is more than my little human brain can handle. It really is — eternity is bigger that I can comprehend most days and spends a lot of time scaring me, really. But this little human brain of mine has always wanted to see a star up close and sit on a cloud and maybe hear angels sing gospel hymns and I have a hard time believing God would let me have that daydream is I wasn’t ever going to get to experience all those things.

I think about heaven in the way I know it’s coming. It’s something I’m excited about, most assuredly, but I get kind of sad when I see or hear people skipping out on their human lives while they think about heaven all the time.

I’m sure excited, too, but this little life and body I’ve been given sure is great, and I’d hate to miss out on it because I was too busy getting ahead of myself. I’m real good at that most of the time, but I try to watch out for it.

Because this little life of mine – as cliche as it sounds – sure is a lovely little gift, and gifts should be appreciated.

So I’m going to do my best to appreciate this lucky little hand I have. I suppose I feel like that’s the point of this whole thing — to feel loved and share as much as I can and say thanks when I remember, while knowing that’s never enough, but that’s okay anyway.

And I’ll keep thinking about heaven. But not too much.


I’m in a hurry and don’t know why…

It’s sometimes a bit baffling to me how our memories work, until a seemingly arbitrary memory hits me like a ton of bricks.

“Don’t change this song. I like it,” I said. Alabama’s “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)” was playing I was seven or eight, and listening from the backseat. My mom and brother were in the front. My mom has never really liked country music and she wasn’t particularly thrilled about Alabama that night. Somehow I won, and they didn’t change the channel. I enjoyed my song all the way home. A song about being in such a hurry a person is forgetting to live. But as a kid, I loved it.

I tell this story fairly often, mostly because I’m sometimes told I’m a bit quirky and this illustrates that pretty well. But it also explains my personality pretty well – I’m constantly trying to find way to fit more things in my schedule and worrying about not getting it all done.

I’ve been in a hurry as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be older – I wanted a car and a job, then my own responsibilities and bills. After that, I craved adventure and the freedom of making my own decisions. Lately I often wonder when I get to have my own family and a stable job that I enjoy. I don’t ever feel like I’m particularly unhappy with what I have, I’m just excited about what’s next. Patience has never quite been my strength.

I thought about that story this afternoon while I did chores around the house. I started to feel anxious around five o’clock when I hadn’t started making dinner yet, clothes were still in the washing machine and I wondered whether I should make cookies – something I enjoy – because what if that meant I didn’t clean the bathroom counter or vacuum the ceiling fan. I suppose this sounds fairly arbitrary, and I suppose it all was, but it was a very real level of anxious. I began to mentally plan out the next five hours of my day – what needed to be done and the multitasking I would need to do so I could cross each item off my mental checklist for the day.

And then it hit me – or I could slow down and do the things I wanted. I could enjoy my afternoon. I could bake cookies and go on a longer walk with the dog and not frantically be scrubbing the bathtub while planning how to fold laundry and clean the bathroom mirror at the same time so I wouldn’t run out of time and not fit it all in.

So I did that. And I left some things unchecked. I still feel anxious about it, but the dog got to go a long walk and I ate cookies before and after dinner. The bathroom isn’t spotless and my closet isn’t organized. But the after- sunset sky looked amazing during our walk. I didn’t get any work done this weekend. But my soul feels ready for a Monday.

And I’m working in slowing down – and feeling okay about if.

I fall down sometimes, but I don’t ever give up.

I’ve been trying to run away from my life for most of my life, really. I can’t remember a time when my thoughts weren’t occupied by the deep creases of my imagination, wondering what life could be if it wasn’t this one I have. I don’t mean for that to imply that I dislike my life – I don’t really. I’ve just always been curious – what if it was different?

I’ve been trying to get away from Texas for as long as I can remember. Not because it’s bad, really. I’m just pretty restless. And there’s so much to see – why stay in one place? Life is so short, and there’s little time to spend places that don’t feel like joy.

All of that sounds wonderful, but the truth is – even the best places sometimes don’t feel like happiness. They aren’t bursting with joy. Some days my heart feels full of a dull ache – the kind that makes the rest of life feel uncomfortable. It seems to overflow with anxious energy, which fills my veins and makes life feel difficult.

So, what then? I’ve learned running away from my thoughts doesn’t work, as much as I wish it did. The uncomfortable energy that spills into each part of my consciousness doesn’t go away, no matter how many miles between any of the causes. And I guess the only answer I have is, that’s life. And running only allows more time to think.


I’m not ever sure how I feel about Sundays. There are a lot of things that confuse me – and my feelings. There’s the disconnect of it being the end of one week and the beginning of another – it leaves my mind unsure how to move forward, how to process the events of the day. Am I ending my week on a good note? Am I starting fresh? Am I closing the chapter on something that, quite frankly, needs to be finished? Is this actually a terrible precursor to how the next six days will be? I never know, and that makes me anxious.

My Sundays are fairly typical. They start early and are usually a bit hurried if I’m planning on church, but the good kind of hurry. The fast pace of looking forward to something. I’ve found a church I love here – it’s small and everything inside it is loud – it’s full of community and hymns. It’s full to the brim of pleasantries and peace. It makes me happy and I never mind the rush of getting there.

But something strange always follows – a very real loneliness. Perhaps it’s the stark contrast of a quiet apartment after a building filled with so much joy. It’s always a bit jarring – why do I feel so incomplete after previously feeling so whole – so part of something bigger than me?

It happens. Every time.

The day continues on – I get ready for my week. I tidy my small space. I make lunches to make the week less hectic. I bake to try and find the peace I believe Sundays should provide.

They always end similarly, too. I collapse in bed. I spend many of my nights thinking about the complexities of the universe. Everyone does. But Sundays, I mostly think about myself. I wonder how I measure up. I feel suffocated by palpable loneliness sometimes. Other times – even a few minutes later – I feel so overwhelmed with joy. For this life I have and the people whom I love.

Sundays are different, and I guess that’s what they’re designed to be. Different. The end of something and the beginning of another. It all makes sense, for all the reasons it doesn’t. God would do something like this – make it all one thing and so completely another.

I’m thankful for all of the things I don’t understand about this day. I feel grateful for the ability to see the big picture of what it means and why we have it. I am overwhelmed by the intricacies of such a thing.

And I mostly just feel blessed. To have things I don’t understand. To be able to experience so much in so little time.

Sundays are my favorite.

It’s getting late, that’s the way it is.

I joke often that I’m a bit like a toddler when it comes to sleeping. I love it, but I fight it almost every night in some form or another.

It’s no secret that the moments before drifting off to dreams are filled with some of our most tumultuous thoughts – worries for loved ones, hopes for the day ahead, memories of ex-lovers. It’s a mix of all things we don’t bother with during the day. There are always tasks to complete, places to go, people to see. So they just get forgotten, some of the most precious thoughts we have, exiled to the moment before we lose sight of this little world we live in.

I don’t really dream much while I’m sleeping – well, I don’t have the kind of dreams I remember – probably because I spend so much time daydreaming before I sleep. It’s hard to really control what a brain does when it’s that tired, so I let it run free. I think of my hopes for the future in whatever capacity that looks like for the evening – dreams of a family, careers I might have, places I might see, exotic locals I might meet. I worry about my family and friends and all of my deepest fears about each of their lives. I think about the reasons I love myself and why I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I scold myself for bad decisions and often wonder what the right answer should have been. I thank God for all of the things I didn’t deserve. I praise him for the grace he gives me so freely.

And all of these emotions – this love and fear for life and hopes for the future and fears for the same. This wonder at the beauty of what I’ve been blessed with and anguish for things I don’t understand. This resentment for things I’ve done wrong and hurt I’ve felt and caused. The peace that comes with unconditional love and a complete lack of understanding of such things, and thankfulness in the same moment.

It all culminates in the 30 seconds before my eyes close. This sense of peace I’ll never quite understand completely.

It makes up for the tiredness I’ll feel tomorrow.

You can find me at the lost and found.

and you’ll be surprised, you’ll be surprised if you just look around. 

When this year started, I had grand expectations – as I suppose most people did. I wanted to change the world, as I do almost every year. Because what good are resolutions if you’re not trying to do something big with them? Instead of wanting to change the universe, though – I just wanted to change my world.

I was already well on my way. In October I moved across the country. I knew a handful of people when I moved here, but none all that well. I walked away from my best friends who have spent countless nights comforting me as my life fell apart – they watched over the years as those reasons went from absurdly dramatic to slightly dramatic and loved me anyway. And listened to every moment of it without judgment – except when I needed it, of course.

I’ve spent the past six months missing them terribly.

I moved away from a salaried job with a 401K, good benefits and stability into waitressing and living off tips, picking up shifts and prayers that my tables were feeling generous – I am a planner by nature, and the idea of not having the stability I spent years creating was terrifying.

But I survived. And I guess I started a trend – for myself, at least.

I started this year wanting to do pretty much anything and everything that I found frightening. But I didn’t really make a list. I suppose I mentally assumed I’d just know when I found things scary enough to make myself attempt them. I’m the kind of crazy person who likes to force myself into situations I don’t want to be in simply to say I overcame them. Because I guess I like torturing myself or something.

These were my grand expectations – do a whole bunch of shit this year that terrifies the hell out of you.

And then about a month ago I started thinking – what exactly have I accomplished in terms of changing my world? Have I forced myself out of my comfort zone and into this wonderful being who simply walks around saying, “Ha, I’m roaring like a lion. Listen, world!” Well, no. Not exactly. Not really at all.

I felt like I spent the last few months being a bit of a hermit. I missed my friends and family and wasn’t really sure if I would ever find those same kind of relationships here. I barely spent any time with the handful of people I did know when I moved here, and the new friends I made seemed like wonderful people, but I wasn’t sure how well they actually liked me.

I felt bad. Like I let myself down. But people forget resolutions all the time, right? What’s the big deal?

I turned 25 this year; my one and only 25 year. The only first quarter century I’ll ever get. And I wanted to make it epic. Why? Because everyone around me seemed to be doing big things. They were engaged, married, having babies, making career moves – sometimes all at once.

And all I had done was move to a new city where I felt pretty lonely. So I wanted to change that, because life is too short not to at least try to change the things you hate.

But when I thought about it, I hadn’t actually tried very hard to change anything. It didn’t feel like it anyway.

Then yesterday happened. It forced me to think about the past four months.

And I mostly thought, “Wait, what?”

I’ve changed everything in my world in four months. I’ve moved, started a new job, lined up another job, made new friends, found a church and totaled a car.

And I thought about how thankful I am that I was able to accept all of those things without too much discomfort. That I didn’t realize how much changed in those months. That by the grace of God I was so used to discontinuity that I didn’t hold up my hands and scream, “No more,” – at least not too loud.

I thought about how much I’ve changed in those months, in regards to handling my surroundings, mostly.

I feel confident for the first time in my life. And not the kind of confidence that comes from attention or affection – the kind of confidence where I do actually feel like walking around and saying, “Hey, listen, I’ve got this roar thing down, y’all.” Not because I’m great at everything or even good at most things, but I feel good in my skin.

And I feel like enough.

But I don’t feel like enough, really. I know I’m enough.

I feel a new kind of peace that I’ve never felt before. The kind that comes from knowing you’re where you’re supposed to be. The kind that comes from being still spiritually – the hardest thing for me – and listening. I’ve been trying so hard to listen. I still fail, but I feel okay about it. I know that’s where this peace is coming from.

And as I look at the past four months, I think about how terrifying things don’t always have to mean hanging out in a lion’s cage or hiking across the desert. Sometimes scary things are just part of life – and they take many different forms.

I’m glad to have faced a few of them. I’m thankful for the grace that reminded me of that this evening.

Jesus said, “Mother I couldn’t stay another day longer.”

Faith is harder when life is going well, I think.

When things are at their lowest, it’s pretty easy to remember. Truthfully, when you’re at the bottom, it’s hard to think of anything other than hope.

But when things are going well, it’s so easy to forget. It seems second nature to latch onto this idea that we have anything to do with our successes and the good will we experience. It’s easy to say it was hard work; we tried our best. Things fell into place because we tried with every little bit of our being.

Try as hard as you might, you’re never going to make anything happen that wasn’t supposed to.

And that’s where I get caught up.

I forget that good will and the ability to work hard are a blessing.

I’m learning that bad days are also a blessing. God has this amazing set of checks and balances where he reminds me that I did none of this, I screw up regularly and shit happens.

I had a hard time with Easter this year. I don’t really know why; on paper, it should have been a grand celebration – one of the best Easters of my life. I’m more active in a church than I’ve ever been – active in a way that isn’t for show and is because I actually believe in what I’m doing. My life is in a good place. My soul feels energized and my heart feels pretty whole.

But it wasn’t. I spent the morning in the nursery at church; anyone who knows me well knows that’s one of the first places I should find joy. I went on a hike for a few hours through the woods and contemplated grace. I thought about it for hours, and just couldn’t make a connection. It was a good day, but nothing special. Not really.

Then the past 12 hours happened – 12 hours that have tested my faith completely in every way possible. Twelve mentally, spiritually, emotionally taxing hours.

And it’s been more of a celebration than I could have ever expected.

The truth about faith – the reason we celebrate Easter in the first place – is because faith and grace and hope and the whole thing is just so beautiful. And big. So much bigger than anything else.

Because it has nothing to do with any of us, really. Because it has everything to do with us, also. Because it shows up when we need it, regardless of how much I’ve forgotten about it previously.

These days are the ones that make life worth living just as much as the overwhelmingly wonderful ones. They remind me that I’m human, but I’m alive. And this whole thing is just beautiful, for all the twists and turns it may throw my way.

And sometimes that reminder is everything I could ever need.