January Jewels

This month is coming to a close, but me oh my, have I learned quite a bit about where I’ve been. Slowly yet surely, I can see where I’m going, and it’s oddly bright and filled with singing. Here’s what I learned:

1. Don’t put anyone on a pedestal.

2. You are never alone.

3. Aaron Burr was wrong. Talk more. Laugh loud.

4. Be less about “I” and “me” and more about “us” and “we”.

5. Get over it.

6. Change. You’re too young to be so rigid.

7. Fun is a thing you have. It cannot be calculated or analyzed.

8. Get to know who you are first.

9. Who cares what they think!

10. Do not respond to every reaction.

11. Give yourself room to be angry.

12. Change requires a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

13. Good friendships are hard to come by. Apply 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 to a new one.

14. Dude, just sing. You sing all day every day. The song ain’t end cause you’re in public.

15. Never again will you dull your shine, intelligence, affection, honesty, or loudness because someone else is uncomfortable.

16. Every day is a gift.

17. Love is revolutionary, and it comes in all forms–laughs, shared experiences, songs, dances, smiles, correction, and acceptance.

18. You don’t have to be good at something to love it.

19. Put. Your. Shoes. On. And. Go. RUN!

20. Joy is something that remains. Choose happiness.

21. Give people room to be who they are.

22. Fight for your students and their education.

23. Take a new perspective that doesn’t begin with I or me.

24. You have not cause you ask not.

25. If you say no now, you won’t have to apologize later.

26. Some people just care. They just meet you and love you, and I know it weirds you out, but please let them love you.

27. You teach people how to respond to you.

28. It’s okay to laugh guilt-free again, Esh.

29. You’re a hugger, and everyone knows it.

30. You can’t be right all the time. Take the criticism cause it’s coming from a loving place.

31. Grow up, bebe.


A Poem for Papa

I’m no poet, and I know it, but when I started to know God, I would read Him my favorite poems. I was convinced that every love poem and love song was about Him. One of my favorites is ee cummings, “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart).” The last time I recited it back to Him was when I was leaving Bethlehem, Ga. Something clicked that night. There was a truth that I discovered then. It was that He is in all good things, in all honorable and true things. Between Bethlehem and now, I stopped reading. I stopped reciting. Maybe because I’ve been running.

I’ve been running fast from every giant in my life. It’s like the Jason movies. No matter how far or fast I run, there they are lurking in a dark corner. In the moments where I find a shelter of quiet, I sleep. I’m exhausted, yet my feet keep running.

I’ve heard somewhere that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. I always run to the same places, looking for the same people, and asking for the same kind of help. Insanity.

I’m reading this book by Louie Giglio titled Goliath Must Fall. I encourage you to read it. It is so good! Giglio discusses strongholds that people have on their lives and how to be free from them. As I’m reading, I’m making a list of all the things that I’m running from, and there’s so many. Things I dare not say out loud, things I suffer with every single day, a few that are common like pride, approval, control, and abandonment. There’s so many, but I believe they all come from one giant.

Today, I find myself tired of temporary sleeping spots. I want rest. I’m tired of temporary refuge. I want peace. I’m tired of running, and with that there God is. There He is to love me, protect me, and honor me. There He is because He wants me. He wants me more than words can express. So, today, I have a poem for my forever expanding, infinite God who gives me permanent rest.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear

no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

A Friend Loves at All Times

My friend, A, who is very near and dear to my heart, recently unveiled some things about me that I hadn’t realized I did. What I thought was me simply arranging words out of my mouth was actually victimization or putting myself below other people. Now, as much as I adore A’s straightforwardness, it stung. It stings a bit every single time she points something out. When she gently says something, I react with a defensive response. Being on the defense is what I know, so I fall back on it often.

Yesterday I met with her, and she said, “I’m gonna stop telling you things cause I don’t think you can handle it.”

And in an instant I said, “I’m doing my best!”

“There you go being on the defense again.”

By that time, I was a little less than irked. I went home, took a nap, and when I woke up I was screaming about war veterans.

“It’s like when someone has been in a war and they get home and realize that some of the things they’re doing aren’t normal, but it takes some time to adjust. I’ve been fighting a battle for 20 years! I need some time to adjust!” I felt justified, yet I was still wrong.

It finally clicked after I spent 90 minutes tutoring a 3rd grader who refused to speak to me because I told him he needed to focus more and study or we’d have to discuss if I would return. He listened to what I said. He silenced all his hyperactivity to reach the expectation I had of him. He thought about every problem we went over, and he responded exceptionally well for someone who was not speaking. That’s when I got it. A just wants me to do better, to be better, to grow up.

I’d been walking through this life for a long time believing that my trauma was on my face, but my trauma does not determine how someone responds to me. My trauma does not justify impartiality, victimization, or defensiveness. It explains it, sure, but it is not a resting point for projecting my life off of.

My 3 year old nephew’s Bible memorization phrase a couple of weeks ago was Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times.” A Friend sure does, but sometimes, that love comes in the form of a gentle rebuke that begins with, “I love you, but you’re incorrect.”

It only took a drop…

and now I’m running over on all sides of my cup. Today, Papa isn’t just Papa. He is my family. He is my best friend. He is my husband. He is my everything. He is my God. My King. My LORD. He is every desire I have ever had fulfilled times 1000. He is the Love of all Loves. He is the heart of my world. Today, I got a quick flash of everything He is, and it left me speechless, mesmerized, giddy, and overwhelmed. My God.


Psalm 33

“Sing joyfully to the LORD, you


it is fitting for the upright to

praise him.

Praise the LORD with the harp;

make music to him on the

ten-stringed lyre.

Sing to him a new song;

play skillfully, and shout for joy.

For the word of the LORD is right

and true;

he is faithful in all he does.

The LORD loves righteousness and


the earth is full of his unfailing


By the word of the LORD were the

heavens made,

their starry host by the breath of

his mouth.

He gathers the waters of the sea

into jars;

he puts the deep into


Let all the earth fear the LORD;

let all the people of the world

revere him.

For he spoke, and it came to be;

he commanded, and it stood


The LORD foils the plans of the


he thwarts the purposes of the


But the plans of the LORD stand

firm forever,

the purposes of his heart through

all generations.

Blessed is the nation whose God is

the LORD,

the people he chose for his


From heaven the LORD looks down

and sees all mankind;

from his dwelling place he watches

all who live on earth—

he who forms the hearts of all,

who considers everything they


No king is saved by the size of his


no warrior escapes by his great


A horse is a vain hope for


despite all its great strength it

cannot save.

But the eyes of the LORD are on

those who fear him,

on those whose hope is in his

unfailing love,

to deliver them from death

and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the LORD;

he is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust in his holy name.

May your unfailing love be with

us, O LORD,

even as we put our hope in you.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭33:1-22‬ ‭NIV‬‬