weekly gratitude

thank you boots for warmth and snow-stomping abilities

This has been an incredible week.

Two weeks into a new year (are we all sick of hearing that phrase "new year" yet?) and I think I should be keeping some sort of daily list of all there is to be thankful for because really, I kid you not, it borders on overwhelming at times (in the best way possible) and I fear I might lose track. 

Little by little I am getting back to being that person who can be so happy she feels as though she might bust. I used to walk around that way, in a state of such incredible elation that I barely knew what to do with it all (kind of like how I walk around think of all the cheese in my fridge now, except I know exactly what I have planned for that...). And now I can admit that I haven't felt that constant happiness for nine months now (gracious, it's been nine months?). But as I feel it all coming back I know it's going to mean even more when I do feel that way again. 

What I'm getting at is that when I feel that way now it may not last into infinity, but it's a more powerful happiness. A more soul-stirring, anything-is-possible-and-I-have-proof kind of happiness.

And the hope that springs from that?

That hope is worth all the months of unhappiness.

That is worth it all.


1. Thank you for mini-breaks to nearby wonderlands! Sunday we all went to the coast (though I didn't touch on it last week because technically I wrote that one Saturday night because I knew it'd be to late Sunday when we got home - I just broke some sort of illusion, didn't I? I swear that's the only feigned WG timeframe) and had a spectacular day in our natural paradise that is Oregon (photos to come!). It was so much fun to adventure out with a group of nomads (for once Robin, representing the great state of Indiana, was outnumbered by Californians 4 to 1 - the exact ratio usually in the Hoosiers' favor over my lone California upbringing)! Then Tuesday Robin and I hopped in the car and drove north to Seattle (with one incredibly entertaining detour of sorts which I will post about soon!) where we feasted on baked goods, Turkish coffee, cajun food and fresh salty air. And took more photos than was decent. We win!

2. Thank you for video chat dates with Brigette! Monday night was the scene of an impromptu (and may I add long overdue) conversation spanning everything from boys, to work, to cheese, to "please-don't-fear-me-for-pulling-half-my-hair-over-my-eyes-and-making-this-face-at-you-through-my-bangs" faces. I miss that little wombat and drinking champagne on the couch, scaring people with how we can read each other's thoughts and spending nights watching WillGrace (you are aware that Jack & Karen are the heart and soul of that show, right? I know you are, that's why we can still be friends). 

3. Thank you CROCK POT! I'm obsessed. Jodi, we should start a club. 

4. *this is going to be a long one, consider this fair warning!* Thank you for an incredible experience at church this morning. Now just bear with me if I sound a little "churchy" here, but this was just an amazing experience - that just happened to occur while I was at church this morning.

John Mark has a book coming out at the end of this month and so he started a series this morning about anxiety and depression (something he has struggled with for over a decade). He opened up to us about how he can remember driving home from work over the I-5 bridge spanning the Willamette River and just thinking how easy it would be to crank the wheel to the right and be done with it - end the pain, end the sadness, end the anxious enigma he had become (for the record: this is the first time I've heard a church leader talk about having suicidal thoughts and admitting how he himself struggles with the very things he's teaching - for me, this just authenticated every word he preaches because he knows how it is on the dark side and how it is possible to come out on the other side - he's no bullshitter). He spoke to us about how, strangely and incredibly, it's often in that darkest hour Jesus can find us because it is in that moment we are often the most honest about how we feel. Anyway, as the sermon went on I was continually touched by what he was saying - how we may start off feeling strong ("Dammit, I'm going to conquer this! I will!") but how when things don't clear up as quickly as we'd like, we can let it bog us down, and let that discouragement sink in and realize we're maybe not handling things as well as we'd like to admit. We get to that point where we need help. Most importantly, he reminded us that we're not alone in that feeling. The greatest prophets, leaders and hell, Christ Himself had such doubt and such anxiety about His life that He wept openly, begged God to take the burden from Him, had such anxiety knowing He was on the way to the cross that He was sweating blood (true story, it's an actual thing, kinda gross really). Suddenly it seems like it might be okay to feel that way sometimes. 

John Mark made it so clear that hey, guess what, no one is immune to sadness and anxiety. We're human. Anyway, not getting into the full sermon, but here's the thing: as he finished his lesson he told us that we were just going to take a minute. Take a minute to be there for one another,  pray for each other,  let whoever it might be around us who could be struggling with something know that they aren't alone, that they don't have to bear the weight of sadness, or pain, or anxiety, or guilt, or whatever else all by themselves. Sure, God is going to be there for you, but so are we. Because what it comes down to is that humans need other humans to survive and that's why we're all here, in this together! And so space was created to stand up - literally. Not to make a big show of it, but just to stand there at your seat if you wanted to take a step and confront what is troubling you.

So many people stood up.

I was amazed. I was filled with respect for them. I don't know that I could have been that brave.

Old, young, men, women... These people were taking a chance and bearing their souls and asking for support and love. Without fear of being judged or looked at as "broken" - they were the most honest people in that room today.

John Mark then asked the rest of us to stand, look around and see if anyone near us had been among the first to stand up and ask for help, and then just simply turn to them and be there for them. Extend a hand, extend a heart, extend a prayer - whatever felt right.

I had spoken with the girl sitting next to me, Jessica, when we arrived that morning and it was her who I noticed turn around to a gentleman behind us who had stood when John Mark first opened the floor. He was probably in his early 60s, dark curly hair, well put together and there alone. I'd heard him singing behind me during worship - loud and proud. Jessica and I turned to him, as did the couple sitting to his left and the woman behind him. Very simply, and without a big to-do, the five of us sort of circled around this man, bowed our heads and tried our best to let him know someone cared about him, and what he was going through. The man to his left began a simple prayer for healing, and guidance for this gentleman, Jessica did the same. They had both extended a hand to this gentleman's shoulder and left arm, the woman behind him lending hers to his right shoulder. And without really realizing it, I reached out and put my hand on his right forearm (I have never done that; never been so moved to reach out - literally! - to a total stranger like that before). And the man began to cry. His head bowed as well, hands clasped in front of him, his whole body began to shake with sobs as he allowed himself to receive whatever it was we were offering.

I honestly don't know how I could ever describe, and do adequate justice, to what that moment was like. Again, I can only tell you this based on the faith I'm coming from (and it may sound silly, but hey, so do a lot of things we believe in), in that moment I very clearly believed this: Jesus is back from the dead and we are living proof. And with that, ANYTHING is possible. Even coming out of the darkest pit you can imagine.

I know. I sound like a nutter. I'm okay with that. I'm just being honest.

But seriously, that was not just a "Jesus experience" for me - that was a HUMAN experience. Because when it comes down to it, we were just half a dozen people standing together trying to help our fellow man. I don't believe you need God to do that, but in this particular case it certainly made it possible for us. Even if you don't believe in a god per se, it's hard to deny when there is a certain "energy". And this was that energy.

So thank you. Thank you Whoever for allowing me to be a part of that experience and, I hope, pay back some of that karmic debt I owe for all those time in the past nine months my friends, family and yes, even total strangers at church, have been there for me when I felt there was no where else to go.

This, among many other reasons, is why I believe in this stuff.

 5. And before I forget (or before I lose you entirely after my loquacious outburst there), thank you SNOW!!!!! It snowed here last night and has been serving up little flurries all day and I LOVE IT. Robin thinks I'm a crazy person (read: recovering Californian) but to that I say "old news!" because you can pretty much bank on my sanity void by the way I go on about watching "Crazy, Stupid, Love" five times in a week (I've only watched it once this week, just for the record).


Wow. If you've made it this far - shoot, son. You are amazing. Thank you.

Here's some snow for you...

"I'll keep it here for you."


  1. What a moving post. I love when church hits my heart too. I am so glad you were there to hold that elderly man. Religion definitely has a way of brining people together. Hubby and I were both cradle catholics, but since making the sacrement of marriage and then having kids and wanting to raise them in the way of forgiveness, humility and kindess, we cant help but we drawn to church every week. Glad you had a touching weekend!

  2. I love this. I love that your church is allowing everyone to be transparent and open about who they are and how much they need Jesus. If we never feel allowed to admit the brokenness, it just festers there in the darkness of our souls, because there is no light to dispel it. I am so thankful that you have found a place where you are encouraged to let light in, and let healing begin, and know that you won't be judged. Thanks for this great reminder of love and what happens when we actively try to be a part of the messy lives of those around us. Love love love.

  3. Cassia: Thank you! It's a pretty cool place (kinda reminds me of HTB there in London, did you ever go?). And you hit the nail on the head: it's about being active in each other's worlds and doing life together - "love, love, love" indeed!

    Hope you and Brad are doing well (and staying warm out there)!