Sunday, November 11, 2012


"It’s so easy to fall into the trap of self-judgment and loathing.  It’s so easy to wish for something else, something more, something more beautiful.  Why can’t we all just be content with what we have?  What is it about the human condition that always makes us desire more?  I wish I knew. 

I also wish I knew what it was that makes us so stubborn.  What makes us want something that isn’t good for us, even when all the signs point to/God is showing us in every way that there is something better.  Something different.  The very thing we wanted in the first place."

Blessed Mess

"It is such a great feeling to know that I am so strong and centered in what I want and what I am doing, that when someone comes at me with an “irrestible offer”, I am honestly, confidently able to say, “SORRY, BUT YOU’RE WRONG.  I DON’T NEED THIS, BECAUSE I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I NEED.”

I’ve decided that I’m a blessed mess.  My life may look like it’s all over the place to some, but to me, it’s exactly the pace I need.  It’s the pace I need to find my passion, my purpose, and my destination.  Moreover, it’s the pace I need to be at peace with my journey.  And, I am! I am at peace being in submission to God, and knowing that His plans are what are best.  I am at peace not owning lots of material things.  That is part of who I am. 

While my life may seem overwhelming to others, those looking in from the outside perhaps, I’ve learned that the individuals who truly love me will support me in all I do...I am a lover of humanity.  I don’t have time to waste on earthly things.  I live for love, and I do that in my own way. 

 My life is two things: my church (God), and my job (from God/part of what God has called me to do).  Everything else is not as important. 

While everything I do in my life, I only do if I can make sure I do it in Jesus’ name, my church and my job are first.  (I am single with no children)

Being a blessed mess means being so caught up in what God has for you, that you don’t care what others think of it.  It means being so in love with all the beauty around you, that you don’t have time for the ugly.  It means being so obsessed with serving others, that yeah, sometimes you don’t make enough time for yourself, and your body comes to screeching halt and screams, “HELLLLPPP!!!”.  (Insert a gallon of orange juice and some chicken noodle soup here)

But in the end, you turn out just fine, because you fill your life only with things that grow you toward your purpose.  In my case, I have co-designed this purpose with my Creator. 

This is not complicated.  This is not “all over the place”.  This is grounded. 

It has taken me years to get to this point.  Probably about 12 years, if we’re counting.  I feel like much of the hard work is behind me.  All the moments of crisis, all the panic attacks, feelings of unworthiness or insufficiency, have all led me to this moment in time.  To some that’s complicated.

To me, it’s really very simple. "

I Have Been Broken

November 3, 2012

“Everything happens for a reason.” 

How cliché is that for an opening thought?

 Last night at our women’s mini conference, one of our group discussion questions was “What is something that you think God has allowed you to go through in order for you to help bless someone else?”

I laughed and asked, “You want just one thing?”

The more I stop and think, and the more I pour myself into God’s work and purpose for me, the more I realize how much each and every one of my life experiences, both positive and negative, has truly had an impact on the person I’ve discovered within myself.  (I don’t want to say “the person I’ve become”, because I believe I’ve always been this person; I’ve just taken some detours and back roads to arrive at the place where I can appreciate the scenery.)

I never thought that all my experiences with panic, stress, and anxiety would ever be of help to myself in the future, much less to anyone else. 

Today, when Beth Moore said something about, “…all these people hurting, and just needing someone to say loud and clear ‘I’ve been there! I understand!’”, I felt something in my heart twist and pop.  Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve done a lot of “I’ve been there; I understand.”  I can’t imagine not having experienced the things I have, and still be able to help my friends.  I’ve got a few close people in my life who are truly struggling right now. I would have no idea what to say to them, no idea how to make anything bearable or seem not as daunting, had I not first-hand experienced gut-wrenching depression and low self-esteem myself. 

What’s more, the confidence I have gained in the last several years is nearly beyond measure!  I have come to find peace by experiencing a loss of control.  I was talking to Tina tonight, about how I had to hit rock bottom and relinquish control, to regain any sense of control or order in my life at all.  I relinquished all my control over to God.  But even if there were no God, letting go and letting nature and the world and circumstances do what they are going to do is merely accepting your special role in the universe.  It is not complacency.  It is peace. 

Some people say, “Create the circumstances you want.”  I’ve decided that I am truly over this whole “I am the captain of my soul and fate” thing.  Yes, we have to decide to succeed.  Yes, we have to consciously decide to make positive choices.  Yes, unless we actively decide to participate in, appreciate, or dedicate something, it will not happen.  But we cannot control everything around us.  We can only choose how we respond to everything and everyone around us.  And I choose to respond by knowing that I take each step in the will that God has for me.  I have come to learn that his will is perfect for my life.  I stand firm in that, because it is my only choice.  But this single choice opens up world of endless possibilities for me. 

Choosing to submit to God’s will for your life does not mean confining yourself to a box.  God has numerous gifts for each person, numerous ways he can bless you, and numerous ways he can use you to bless others.  All things are possible for God, and you have no idea how He will use you from one day to the next!  It is refreshing to know that you are in his will, at peace, and prepared to serve. 

Coming to learn that I don’t need anyone else to complete me has been a liberating experience.  Beth Moore said something about, “Once you don’t need other people to fill you up, you become everybody’s favorite person.”

I want to speak on this till my voice fades.  I have felt people drawing close to me lately.  People have been coming to me, seeking advice, seeking knowledge.  I have come from rock bottom to being able to help others find their own voices and stand firm on their rock.  I never thought I’d be able to do that.  I have a ministry.  I, the broken teenager, the downtrodden college sophomore, the insecure girlfriend; I have a ministry.  I know what to say to people to challenge them to find their own identity, plead with them to think before acting, and help them glue the pieces of their life’s puzzle back together.  This is all because I have been broken too, and because I fight against my own brokenness every single day. 

I am no better, no smarter, no more put-together than anyone else.  I do not have a life that anyone should be envious of; I do not wish to parade my possessions for others to admire.  I am merely a part of this great human family, and am on a mission to help as many people as I can figure out their own special part in this family. 




Coffee Buzzed Thinkin'

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

I had a large coffee from Mcdonald’s tonight, between 7 and 8 pm, and I am buzzin’ and ready to take on the world.  It’s 10 pm.  I should be going to bed.  Between the recent time change (fall back), my hormones, my stress, my workout schedule, and my desire to read, damn it, read, and write, write, write, my sleep schedule is interesting, to say the least. 

I know I want to write, but I can’t decide about what.  I keep getting topic ideas during highly inappropriate times (youth group and work training seminars, for example), and then, I can never choose a topic from the topics list. 

Something I’ve been pondering lately is, “How am I gonna write everything out of my memory, and keep up with present stuff at the same time?”  I have to tell myself to take a chill pill.  I get really anxious about it (surprise, surprise), and I want to make sure I get EVERYTHING down.  I get all over the place and then I can’t decide what to write about.  It’s like having a plan hinders me and then I end up going all over the place.  But then I get mad because I didn’t stick to a topic or a plan, and then I feel disorganized, and that stresses me out.

So.  What to write about tonight? 

 Tonight, something sparked me at youth group.  One of our leaders was up speaking about how she does her daily devotional time, and she was telling us about how lately she’s been choosing a blessing from her life to thank God for and talk to Him about.  She told us that today, the blessing she had thanked God for was “not being blind”.  She said, “How bad would that be, to be blind?”  This statement sparked that slightly stubborn, argumentative side of me, the side that’s been like supportive of all people, and finding things to defend everywhere; the philosopher, the instigator. 

I kept thinking, “Well, what if the blind person you see on the street is blessed with gifts that we could not even begin to imagine?  Maybe it’s not so bad being blind.  How rude is it to say that it’s bad to blind?  What, you have to have eyes to see God’s creation and experience the beauty of it?”


(***I'd like to insert here that I have nothing against this particular person who made this statement; she presented some awesome ideas to our youth group!! This one statement she made just got me thinking, is all***)

It gets one thinking: What are our blessings that we take for granted every day?

But then it gets one thinking: What makes me think that my blessings are so awesome?  What makes me think that what I have is so much better than what anyone else has?

Since God works all things together for our good, it is only mature to realize and speculate about the fact that everyone has unique blessings, and unique ways of experiencing the world, and God.  I bet blind people are blessed through the other senses in ways that we are not; and maybe they don’t miss not being able to “see” with their eyes.  Maybe they feel sorry for us, for not being able to hear what they hear, or feel what they feel.  Maybe we’re the ones missing out.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly innovative or radical about my thinking here.  I just think that as human beings, we need to be a little more open-minded.  I wish we could get away from feeling sorry for people, and learn to just see the beauty in everyone as they are.  If we all spent a little more time learning one another’s stories, I think we could all just live in a more peaceful state of mind.  I don’t want to say, “put ourselves in each other’s shoes” because I don’t think that’s what I’m getting at.  And I don’t think we can necessarily do that all the time.  I just think that we need to keep in mind that what we see as a burden, might not be a burden to someone else; it may be their greatest enabler. 

Just because I have all my limbs and physical senses doesn’t mean I’m “complete”, and someone who doesn’t have their limbs, “isn’t”.  There is not just one meaning of complete.  There is not just one way to be whole.  There is not just one way of being human.  There is not just one way of being right.  There is no way of knowing what was “the way people were meant to be”.  The Bible says, “God created man”.  The Bible does not say “God created man with eyes to see and feet to walk”.  I think we need to just get over some things and experience our fellow man more fully.

Blame and Forgiveness

Some self-disclosure here...  what do you blame yourself for in your life?
"In my life...I’ve found it way too easy to blame myself for a lot.  I blame myself probably more than is fair for “messing it up” ... but the common thread is my being too eager to find something wrong with myself to blame ...  I don’t think I like to blame myself, but it just always seems like the easier thing to do.  I have always been my harshest critic; teachers, coaches, and counselors have told me this throughout the years.  They always pointed that out as my greatest weakness, my most debilitating quality.  I have been struggling for years to work with this quality and turn it into a positive, but it always seems to get the best of me and make me feel like the world is crashing down on me. 

I don’t know where the insatiable desire to achieve came from for me.  Lee says that I grew up feeling inadequate, like my mother didn’t love me (since she was never around, and I probably tried to decipher why that was).  I always tried to fill that hole and that need to be loved and appreciated by overachieving in school.  I was taught that perfection was the best way; we must strive to be the best we can.  I do remember Dad being upset once when I got a B instead of an A, but this was never a chronic, abusive environment, just high expectations.  I always knew that I represented my family and my race and that if I messed anything up, it made a lot of people look bad.  I always grew up being told that I had to help Mexicans look good, to change the way Americans thought of Mexicans.  I guess that was a lot of pressure.  And then growing up being the main responsible one in the home was a lot of pressure too.  I even blamed myself when Dad died.  I felt like there was more I could have done, more I should have known, more questions I should have asked, I should have been more involved with the hospital stay.  I’ve just always put so much pressure on myself for everything, like having too high expectations of myself and then letting everything disappoint me when it all went wrong.  "

AZ to KS

October 7, 2012

Today, I write to answer the question: “How did you end up in Kansas?”

I get asked this question a lot.  Not as much now, as I used to get asked in college, of course.  But when people find out I’m from Arizona, they still ask.  It’s an amazing thing to look back now and see exactly how my journey has been presented to me in pieces.  My life and my journey have always belonged to God. 

 I was a high school student like any other in the country, doing my best to be competitive academically, and like other over-achievers, trying hard to cram my resume full of anything that looked like I wanted to be a contributing member of society, worthy of scholarship money of course.

 My sophomore year of high school, my school hosted a “Health Careers Fair”; we had several local professionals come in and talk about their jobs and the education they had to attain to get their careers, etc.  I’m not sure why, but it was during these presentations that I decided that I wanted to end up in the health care field.  I knew in my heart that I wanted to help people, and that I wanted to make a difference.

 My friend Anhel was a close influence, I think.  She was a year older than I was, and was very mature and put-together, and during my junior year, she was a great example of the kind of girl I wanted to be: pure, smart, hard-working, and working towards a degree to eventually become a doctor. 

 By the time my junior year of high school rolled around, I had obviously been signing up for emails and snail-mail from state universities, as well as some universities and colleges in California.  Plus, I was in national databases that sent out my info to colleges everywhere, so I got a lot of mail between my sophomore and junior years.  In the fall of my junior year of high school, the University of Arizona hosted a “Multicultural Junior Day”; this day was designed specifically for high school juniors from minority families.  My mom and I went (my 3 month-old baby sister in tow), spent the night in a hotel room, spent Saturday touring campus and sitting in on mock lectures and interview processes, got lost on the way back to Yuma, took the long way around Gila Bend, and decided I would apply to the U of A.  I did, and, after taking ACT’s and SAT’s, was accepted into their pre-med program by the fall of my senior year.  Because I had spent 3 years of high school taking rigorous science and math classes, I felt prepared.  I had my game plan, and I was ready.  I would finish my senior year, graduate, and attend the U of A in the Fall of 2006. 

 Well, God decided he wanted to throw a monkey wrench in for me.  In about October of my senior year, I received an envelope in the mail from some school in Kansas.  I thought it was a mistake; plus I was already accepted to U of A, so I didn’t need it.  I tore it up (because my mother taught me to never throw an envelope in the trash without ripping it up, to prevent identity theft), and forgot about the envelope. I went on about my life for several weeks, and then got another envelope in the mail; this time, it said something about “Track and Field Program” or “Track and Field Office/scholarships” on it.  I actually opened it this time, and read that the coaching staff would like to talk to me about their program and earning scholarship money.  I briefly mentioned it to my mom, then called the number and began a few-month-long conversation with Coaches Joe Wilkerson and Alan Webb. 

 The more I talked to the coaches, the more interesting it all sounded.  I remember mentioning my talks with the coaches to my teammates and peers; I knew that I appreciated being sought by ANY college for my athletic abilities.  I didn’t ever think that I would go on to participate in athletics at the collegiate level, and so I knew this was probably all coming as a surprise to my high school community.  A little piece of me felt like I was proving everyone wrong, and I liked it.  I remember the first time I brought up the subject of going to Kansas as a serious consideration; my mom freaked out.  She asked, “Kansas?  I thought you already had the plan of going to Tucson (to U of A).”  I said, “I want to set up a campus visit.”

 My mom and I booked airplane tickets with her credit card, and over my spring break my senior year of high school, we flew to Wichita, Kansas to see what this place was all about.  I remember talking to the Coach Webb about specifics before our trip; What would the weather be like? Where would we stay in Wichita? Who would pick us up and drive us the 70 miles north to Lindsborg?  How big was Lindsborg again?

 Well, this trip was only my second time on a plane, and it was my mom’s first.  I remember all the freak-outs; the creepy guy standing up by the lavatory door, who my mom (and I, secretly) was convinced was a murderer or a bomber.  My mom’s reaction to turbulence was quite comical, although I had to keep a straight face to keep her calm throughout the trip.  Once we landed in Wichita, we took a cab or a shuttle, or something, to the hotel; the Regency Inn (to this day, when I drive by it on West Kellogg Avenue, I think of my first night in Kansas).  We walked over to the Walmart that evening, and we ate at Ryan’s buffet place.  I remember the hotel was run by people of Middle Eastern descent.  I don’t remember much else about the stay.  I don’t think either of us had a cell phone, so I’m pretty sure I used a phone card to call Coach Webb and tell him we were in Wichita, and to arrange our pick-up for the next morning.

 Coach Webb himself came and picked us up.  I remember when I got in the car, (I rode in the front, my mom in the back), the most incredible wind I’d ever known forced me to shut my hair in the car door.  That was the first of many, many times that this would happen over the next 6 years.  One of the first things Coach Webb said to me was, “I don’t have that problem” with a laugh.  He is bald.  And he makes lots of jokes about it, all the time, even now, 6 years later. 

 On the drive to Lindsborg, I remember thinking that Kansas was quite pretty.  Everything was pretty green; spring was starting.  Good thing I didn’t visit during the winter months, or I probably would have never come back.  Everything gets really dead and ugly here during the winter, and I don’t like it. 

 When we took the exit to Lindsborg, I remember my heart started fluttering.  I have always been an anxious traveler.  I don’t like not knowing what to expect, and yet here I was, flying to the middle of the country, getting in a car with a man I’d never met before, going to visit only the second college campus I’d ever been on.  What were people in Kansas like?  I was about to find out a whole lot more than the folks at the Regency Inn were able to tell me.

 I remember bits and pieces about the visit, which was about 2 days, I think.  I know I didn’t sit in on any classes, which was weird, now that I look back on it.  I went to practice with the team a couple different times; I remember throwing shot put for Coach Wilkerson for the first time, and him telling me I “wasn’t bad”.  I went in the weightroom with the team once, too.  Now that was nervewrecking.  Lifting weights with some intimidating college athletes.  Yikes.  I remember meeting Nathan, mostly because I thought he was cute, and I remember him cheering me on in the weightroom when I was with the girls.  I stayed in the dorm in Anna’s room, because she was an RA and had a futon I could sleep on.  I didn’t shower in the dorm.  I must have showered at some point because of going to practice, but that must have been on my second afternoon in Lindsborg, and then the second night I stayed with my mom in the hotel before taking back off to the airport. 

 Well, somewhere between the weight room, the cafeteria food, which my mom was a huge fan of, and shot put practice, I also squeezed in a visit with the camp registrar and financial aid office, and put down a $300.00 enrollment fee, and met with the head of the Biology department, Mark McDonald, and registered for my first semester of classes. 

 I remember my mom and I fell in love with the people.  All of the athletes, coaches, and professors we met made us feel immensely comfortable.  We felt like everyone was really helpful and considerate, and wanted us to be a part of the community.  I remember being really nervous about all the college guys who kept asking about me in the cafeteria to Coach Wilkerson ( I actually heard them say, “Who’s that? She fiiiiine.”)  I remember taking my student ID picture. 

 Everything just felt right.  When it came time to register for classes, I didn’t sit and ponder my decision, or pray about it really.  I just had this sense of “go with the flow” type of peace about me the whole time.  I just knew that I was doing what I was meant to do all along, and I was excited.  Now, of course, 6 years later, I know that God was guiding my each and every step.  I know that I was not nervous, because I was falling in line with God’s will for me. 

 I finished my school year, graduated from high school, and then the countdown began for the drive to Kansas.  Oh, as soon as I got back from Kansas, I couldn’t stop talking about it to my friend and teammate Michelle.  We ended up getting her hooked up with the coaches and the scholarship as well, and she never visited; she just registered over the phone.  So, for the entire summer, she and I counted down together until the morning when we would leave for our new lives.

 The preparation for the trip was really stressful.  We knew we would be driving, because there’s no way we could fly with all the things we needed for a college dorm.  We packed up all of our clothes and bedding into my mom’s minivan, and okay, I had already purchased some school supplies (my mom went nuts buying me lined paper; I still have like 6 packages of it, I think).  I remember being so panicked and nervous about being expected to share all my belongings and my things, mostly because my mom kept putting these awful thoughts in my brain about how to “take care of my own stuff” and “not be taken advantage of”.  It’s safe to say I was a wreck on the eve of our trip to Kansas.  My mom wanted Michelle and her mom to sign a piece of paper saying that Michelle would pay for half of the gas the whole way to Kansas; it was ridiculous, and made me feel so awkward.  I remember feeling sick to my stomach for some of the ways my mom was so rude and inconsiderate on this trip (not going out of her way to find cheap hotels; being high maintenance). 

 My mom’s then-boyfriend Oscar drove with us, because my mom didn’t want me driving at all (it was too dangerous, she said...).  We had to replace a windshield wiper on the road, we took back roads in the middle of the night and had to keep our eyes peeled for animals; I kept the atlas of the United States open on my lap for the entirety of the trip once we hit Flagstaff, because then we were entering into unfamiliar territory.  So, I kid you not, I am getting anxious feelings just writing about this trip; ugh it was stressful.  I hope you, reader, are not getting anxious as well.  If you are, I apologize, I’m almost through this part.

 It rained a lot on the drive.  I remember not sleeping at all while we were on the road (because of course, if anything happened while I was sleeping, it would be my fault; read: Anxiety is real, people). 

 We made it to Salina, Kansas late one night; we came in on the North side of Salina.  Now that I go back and think about it, I’m sure we drove through Ellsworth (where I ended up living 4 years later; a topic for another writing session).  We called Coach Webb to tell him we made it.  We got dinner and a hotel (stressful topic; I’m going to avoid it; let’s just say Michelle almost slept in the car.  And I cried.).  And we drove down to Lindsborg the next day.  My mom and I argued about which direction was North or South (I was right; I didn’t know my directions at this point, but I have an impeccable photographic memory).  And my mom and Oscar helped us move all of our stuff into the dorm.  Darcy and Michelle helped us (they were RA’s in Anna Marm, our residence hall), and I hugged my mom for the first time in years.  I remember fighting back some tears of nervousness, but overall being ok.  I don’t remember details about that first night; did I sleep?  Did I dream? 

 I know there were lots of awkward moments; figuring out where to get drinking water (fountain downstairs).  Michelle and I were glued to each other’s sides until classes started.  We had arrived on campus with the fall athletes, so a couple weeks earlier than everyone else.  Our days were filled with practices, meeting teammates, and telling the “We’re from Arizona/we went to high school together” story repeatedly for the first couple weeks. 

 And that, folks, is how this Arizona girl ended up in Kansas.  Or at least, briefly.  I actually feel kind of anxious and nervous sitting here wondering if I want to continue the story, and write about “Fall ‘06”, but I think I’m done reliving the past for now, and want to go think of something soothing and happy, so I will continue the story later.  At least now you kind of see how I got where I am.  Wait, no, that’s a lie.  Cuz there is so much more to the story.