A poem for your Monday

img_1603Last year I used to post a poem of mine every once in a while. I was in a class that forced us to write poetry, but since it ended I haven’t written much of my own accord…and I intend to remedy that! Here is a poem I scribbled down quickly last night during a rainstorm.

One Evening

The rains came heavy from the north
In their little boats with tiny oars
barreling fast towards Earth.
But I stand still.
From the doorway I watch the trees sway,
A coffee in my hands,
as the drops make their way lazily down to the river
And out to some far off ocean somewhere.

And just then I think about my girlhood by the Pacific
Drenched in summer salt and more than a few tears, my slender shoulders browning up like batter, scared of the waves that threatened to soak my suit.

None of our clan lives by the sea now, we are scattered in the violent wind
like the rain that slants sideways into my new home.

And before long I notice water running
in swift rivulets down my cold, silent face.

 

P.s. Photo I took of the Malibu pier on Saturday night!

25 Things I’m Grateful For

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  1. Sunshine streaming through my window in the morning
  2. Cappuccinos
  3. Photography
  4. Intentional friends
  5. Birthday parties
  6. The ability and means to travel
  7. My university education
  8. Music
  9. My guitar
  10. The German language
  11. My little brother’s kind heart
  12. Hospitable people
  13. Netflix
  14. Little kid’s joy and curiosity
  15. Long, slow walks
  16. The beach
  17. Good books
  18. Religion
  19. My polaroid camera
  20. My car
  21. A soft bed
  22. California
  23. Siblings
  24. Cousins
  25. Holiday traditions

P.s. This photo is absolutely random and unrelated. But gosh do I love Bob Dylan.

A Poem for your Weekend

85b5aec2-aecd-466a-9011-fdbaadd05a9b.jpgHere’s a random little poem I’ve been working on for my class to kick off your weekend. Have a good one friends!

Camouflage Soul

I was always a curious girl
with no where to lie my head at night,
making my home in other people.
No settled personality
Just an inner uncertainty as vast and as limitless as the heavens.
You see, the conscience in my head is broken,
My compass no longer points Due North,
A charlatan soul that seeks something 
in places and things and people.

It was the winter of my life
And the people I communed with were my only summer.
It’s no use trying to tell those who have a steady soul,
They can never understand
My camouflaged soul.99304fc6-8b48-4e3d-b023-7e54e208c400.jpg

Inspiration Owes You Nothing

vsco-photo-9.jpgI’ve been sitting in front of my computer screen for the past two days, racking my brain for post ideas. I kept hoping inspiration would strike in time to meet my self-imposed deadline, and that the perfect words would simply flow from my fingers like magic. After staring at the blank page for long enough to admit defeat, I decided to listen to one of my favorite podcasts, The Lively Show, in hopes that it might spark my creativity. The guest being interviewed was Elizabeth Gilbert, acclaimed author of Eat Pray Love, among many other titles. She said something that plucked at my heart strings and really forced me to think. She said:

“Inspiration owes you absolutely nothing, other than the pleasure of its company. Honor your creativity so much and love your creativity so much that you do not place upon it the demand to provide for your entire life. That is too much of a burden to put on such an ephemeral thing…keep this thing sacrosanct. And make sure you are diligently paying attention to unfolding your creativity however and wherever you can.”

I do not always pay my creativity the respect it deserves. Instead, I often bully it into a corner and force it to do things it simply doesn’t want to. Elizabeth goes on to talk about how she didn’t quit her day job until after she’d published her fourth best-selling book. Even when it looked world like she was obviously successful by the world’s standards, she didn’t want to destroy her creativity by insisting it provide.
My generation seems to think we need to strike out on our own to follow our passion, or else we’re not really living up to our full potential. Everyone and their mom is becoming an entrepreneur, struggling to make their hobby pay the bills! Don’t chase the statement Do what you love so hard and fast that you let your work become anxiety producing.

Elizabeth comments on the countless artists she’s watched destroy their creativity because they insist it isn’t real unless it makes ends meet. And when it doesn’t, they become enraged and embittered, and eventually quit their creativity all together. Putting your entire heart and soul into something doesn’t mean you have to risk ruining everything else in the process.

Freshman year of college, I was a Fine Art major. I’ve always enjoyed making art, so naturally I thought I should study it. But eighteen year old Micah didn’t realize that making art for fun and making art for a living are two entirely different things. Of course you should study something you enjoy to an extent, but make sure that enjoyment can withstand the harsh reality of hard work and criticism. In other words, are you okay if a little bit of your enjoyment might be sacrificed in the process to arrive at the final result? For me, being a successful artist wasn’t worth it if it meant my genuine love of art even slightly diminished along the way. I decided to keep art as a sacred hobby, something that can certainly influence my other endeavors, but isn’t relied upon to earn an A in class!

This is not to say deadlines and structure are unimportant- they certainly are! Nothing would ever get done if we didn’t just power through once in a while. Just remember to keep some perspective when you feel frustrated, and allow yourself to pursue other things you enjoy, even if they aren’t traditionally labeled ‘creative’. Who knows, perhaps inspiration is lying silently in wait, ready to pounce when you least expect it. As much as we’d like it to, creativity doesn’t always perform on cue. It is a precious gift that graces us with its presence every so often. This podcast was a much needed reminder to protect my creativity like I would my own child, even if that means only publishing a blog post twice a week instead of three times. I am blessed with ample amounts of creativity, so it’s my job to live a life that cultivates and cares for it!

Question of the Day
Have you ever put so much pressure on one of your creative outlets that it no longer brought you pleasure?

A Poem For Your Wednesday

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You and I both know this place is haunted
You and I both know the ghost is me
Haunting you, haunting myself
Finding a home in other people
Nowhere to rest my head at night
Wandering, waiting, missing
Half asleep, half awake
Caught in between the light and the darkness
Never quite sure which way to go
You see, the conscience in my head is broken
My moral compass no longer points due North
The ghost is my own
My memories of you won’t die
They linger on, reappearing when I least expect them
Ghosts to me

Everyone knowns love is like ghosts
Never really alive, yet unable to die
Sometime I see you in the moonlight
Dancing, laughing, shimmering
No language can convey your spirit
Slipping from my mind before I can grasp it
Unattainable, but more real than anything I’ve every experienced
Can’t you see them? Go on now, just beyond your finger tips
Ghosts to me

Attempting my hand at poetry these days. What did you think?

Magnifications: Dying to Live

IMG_8990.JPGHey there friends, are you managing to stay cool? It is mighty hot in this part of the world, and we don’t have air conditioning, so It. Is. A. Struggle. But I really can’t complain about the one or two weeks of bad weather a year in California, now can I?! Today I thought I’d share with you a piece I wrote for the site Magnifications, a blog that publishes theoretical reflections written by women from the Church of Christ. My piece is a reflection on my time abroad, and how it ties in with the message in John chapter 12. Keep reading below to read the whole thing or click here to view it on the site!IMG_9019.JPGEven now, three months later, I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I stood at the entrance to my flight departure gate at LAX airport, backpack slung over my shoulder, passport in hand. I waved goodbye to my parents and turned around, just in time to hide the tears forming in my eyes. They weren’t tears of sadness as much as tears of change. I knew I’d made the right decision, and was confident God would take care of me, but I also knew this moment marked a drastic change in my life. I say so because this moment signaled the death of my old life in this world and the start of my new life in Christ. And here’s why.

The plane I boarded was bound for Hildesheim, Germany, where I would spend three months working as a youth intern for a Church of Christ. My job responsibilities included investing in the middle school and high school aged youth group members, planning events, attending summer camp, and helping fill any of the church’s needs. And while I felt extremely fulfilled and content with my work, I also felt extremely uncomfortable at times. Living in another country is a lot of things, but comfortable is certainly not one of them.

Going into the experience, I spoke hardly any German, was unfamiliar with the cultural subtleties, and knew a total of two people. The first few weeks were full of doubts, fears and frustration. I constantly found myself in awkward situations, such as accidentally buying sour creme instead of whipped creme, or calling someone pregnant instead of beautiful! In my defense, the words sound incredibly similar.

But slowly God began the process of melting me down and reforming me to be stronger than ever. He led me outside my comfort zone and used my discomfort to shape and retrain me to be fully reliant on Him. I often fought the process kicking and screaming, as I tried to lean on my own understanding and failed. Previously trivial tasks like grocery shopping or holding a conversation with someone in German, became huge victories that I had no choice but to give God the credit for. In this reshaping process, God also revealed to me that I have a serious lack of self confidence, and showed me that the only lasting source of self confidence I will ever find flows from the cross.

With time, I started to notice that the further outside my comfort zone He led me, the more confident I felt. He blessed me with deep friendships, wise female mentors, and travel experiences I will never forget. He showed me how capable and worthy I am to do the work laid before me.

Jesus too had to die to this world in order to live again. In John chapter 12, he enters Jerusalem on a donkey to celebrate passover, and is greeted triumphantly with palm branches and praises from the adoring crowd. A short while later, Jesus predicts his fast approaching death and ultimate glorification in front of the people, saying, “The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My father will honor the one who serves me” (verse 23-26).

Before my experience abroad, I was only a single seed, serving no one but myself. I had to fall to the ground by saying goodbye to my southern California life and everything I knew, in order to produce more seeds. The conversations I’ve had with the youth group members here are not more than seeds at this point, but I’m confident they will one day grow and bloom into beautiful plants.

If we claim to follow Jesus, then we are obliged to actually follow Him, whether that be to another country or right next door. The statement, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be” has never rung truer. I was called to follow Him half way across the globe because, contrary to what I sometimes believe, Jesus is not American. He is universal, and is actively working in every heart, in every country.

Friends, I encourage you to examine your life today. Is Jesus calling you to follow Him in some new direction? Does it make you uncomfortable? Thats probably a good sign you’re headed down the right path! Jesus does his best work when you are completely and totally reliant on Him. Maybe that looks like asking someone you usually don’t converse with out to coffee, or signing up for that mission trip you’ve been thinking about. Perhaps you need to die to part of yourself in order to bring glory to Christ, and that death is precisely the place you will find new life.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

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Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Micah. She was your typical little girl- silly, energetic, curious. One day, someone asked her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Smiling up at them, she replied without hesitation, “A Princess, of course!” The person laughed and patted her on the head. “Don’t we all,” they chuckled. In that moment, Micah’s dream of being a professional princess was shattered. Perhaps she would have to find something else to do when she grew up. But what?

As she grew older, her peers began letting go of their “princess dreams” and striving for new ones. Some wanted to be doctors, others teachers, lawyers, therapists. And while Micah eventually realized she too must relinquish her princess dream and replace it with a realistic career, she had no idea which one fit her.

Fast forward to high school graduation. Waiting in line before the ceremony processional, Micah hears fellow classmates chat excitedly about their plans: pre-med, art school, theater programs. Everyone seemed to have their major and corresponding career path figured out. In fear of being asked, what are your plans?, Micah hides under her over-sized graduation cap.

And now’s the part where I switch to first person. If you haven’t guessed, this story is about me! During my time here in Germany, I’ve often found myself thinking about my next two years of college and the future beyond. And while I am a notorious worrier, my recent thoughts on the subject have not been worries so much as questions. 

I’m almost grown up, but I still don’t know exactly what I want to be…what does that say about me?

I think it says a few things. First, the fact that I could never envision myself with a typical job title like doctor, teacher, or lawyer means I don’t want an already established career. I want a job title with multiple words, something that takes a bit of explanation, something like, “Creative Director of Content and Photography” or “Editor of Written Communication.” What the what do those even mean? Exactly.

Second, titles like that aren’t attained through a traditional career path. I see myself following a circuitous path, full of twists and turns and trial and errors. Some people love following a step by step path to their future career- first college, then graduate school, then training of some sort, and then work. But I’ve always been okay with uncertainty where my career is concerned. I like not knowing what my post-graduation plans. It is strangely liberating and exciting! It allows me space to be my creative, unique, crazy self.

Lastly, I don’t want to mold myself to fit a career. Sometime people change themselves to fit into the ‘doctor mold,’ for example, adjusting to what they think a doctor should be. But I want to be myself, and mold my career to fit me. Now I know that’s not always possible, or at least not right away. I will undoubtedly have to go through a few jobs that don’t quite fit until I reach the job that fits me like a glove. Sometime you have to figure out what you don’t want to do first before you can figure out what you do want to do. I’ve already checked quite a few options off the list, and continue narrowing it down with each new experience.

So, in conclusion to this ridiculously long post, I want to offer a few words of wisdom to my past self. Little Micah, it’s perfectly okay to have no idea what you want to do. You will likely spend the rest of your life figuring it out. But chances are, you won’t become a professional princess. That’s too conventional for you anyways.

Thanks for reading friends, have a great week!