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I’ve been so busy today that I actually had to schedule an emotional breakdown. It lasted a whole 3-4 minutes, but I was extremely grateful to have a much-needed moment to release some tears. Epic stuff happening in my world.

As many of you know, I’ve sort of re-injured my knee recently, which has been a major setback. I haven’t been able to exercise much beyond physical therapy, and my body is seriously missing those endorphins. This weekend I decided to push through the pain and do an “easy” hike and play my first volleyball game of the summer league. My knee is sore, but it felt amazing to get back out there. I felt ALIVE for the first time in awhile. That, on top of what I’m calling my current “spiritual bootcamp,” is doing wonders for my soul.

This morning I went to my second knee doctor for a follow-up. Unlike my first doc (who was all about doing an extreme surgery), this one thinks that, for my condition (severe chondromalacia patella) surgery should be postponed as long as possible. He wants to try a series of all-natural injections, which have a 60% success rate. We’re waiting to see if my health insurance will authorize it. If not, it would be a very expensive long shot (not unlike surgery in that way, but much less life-altering).

As I was leaving the doctor’s office, I got a message about my Papa. He’s in the hospital again. He was initially admitted for dizziness and dehydration, but after running more tests, it appears as though the cancer has spread even faster than we thought. He has at least two sizable tumors, and due to his health, he’s not really a candidate for treatment. Doctors have given him less than 6 months to live, and have suggested hospice. I don’t think I’ve fully processed this information.  I mean, I don’t know how to process the idea that the most important man in my life is slipping away. No matter how much “time” I’ll have with him on this earth – I’ll never really be ready. Meanwhile, my sweet grandma has gone almost completely blind, and is severely depressed. She can’t imagine living one day without the man who is her eyes and holds her heart.

On top of all this, I work about 12 hours straight everyday, and we’re still in the middle of relocating to our new offices. So…no time for emotional breakdowns.

I can get through the day by going through the motions, but that’s not how I want to operate. I know I’m broken. My Papa’s broken. We’re all broken in some way, and in need of grace. I happen to need a lot of it right now. I count it a blessing that I know the One who gives it without measure.

Donate your cell, help a soldier call home!

When people give you career advice they usually tell you to “do what you love.” That is complicated for me, because I love a lot of things.

When I was younger, I used to love to dance and choreograph. In fact, I loved it more than I loved any other activity in the world. For me, dancing came almost as naturally as breathing. Even though I didn’t have a lot of professional or technical training, I was good at it. By Junior year I was already captain of my high school drill team. I went to state conventions and competitions, and later took my team to nationals at Disney World, where we won first place (and I won my cherished “Best Choreography” award). I thought I had found my calling; I was on the road to becoming a professional dancer and choreographer.

Everything changed the summer before my senior year of high school. I injured my knee at dance camp and had arthroscopic surgery to remove the damaged cartilage. The recovery was rough. I eventually went back to dancing and choreographing, but within a year my “good knee” turned into another bad knee, and I had yet another surgery. At that point my surgeon implored me to stop dancing. I was crushed. Soon after, I moved across the country to start college and hopefully find a new dream.

I spent my first few years of college as an undeclared major. I never lacked ambition or drive, but I still didn’t know what I wanted to do or where to focus all my energy. But then…(drum roll)…I found the Comm Dept. Oh glorious media! Writing, photography, theater – all things I enjoyed! Thanks to the promptings of my lovely professors Jan Pletcher and Donna Downs, I became a Communications major. I rocked my journalism classes and my articles were published in local newspapers and magazines. I took a semester of acting class and found myself starring in a school play. I interned in our university’s PR department and edited publications. Somewhat unrelated to the department (but still enjoyable), I found a niche in our annual airband competition and choreographed and performed several dance numbers for the stage. I still didn’t find that “one thing,” I was passionate about, but I was having a blast.

In the course of my studies I read a lot about how media – namely film and television – had a powerful impact on culture. I spent my final semester of school at a “semester in LA” film  program, where I interned at a dance & choreography agency and took classes in Hollywood. During that semester my professors encouraged me to view Hollywood as a “mission field” with a huge and powerful impact. I was sold. I didn’t like my internship, and I had no idea where I fit in the greater scheme of things, but I knew that I wanted to work “in the industry.”

I’ve been living and working in Hollywood for four and a half years now, and I still don’t know where I fit in the greater scheme of things. I can tell you, however, that I’ve been through some really hard times. I had my quarter life crisis before I ever hit 25 (appropriately so, as most people don’t live to be 100). I’ve worked grunt jobs, mindless jobs, thankless jobs, temp jobs, 70+ hour production weeks, and I’ve done on-set manual labor. I’ve interviewed for countless positions. I’ve produced an independent DVD. And I still haven’t found anything that’s given me the same amount joy that I felt when I was dancing.

Even though the economy has tanked, I’ve been blessed with a long-term temp job from 9:00-6:00 everyday. Working a mere 40-hour week (yes, this is the mentality you get in Hollywood, a 40-hour week is a walk in the park) has opened several hours in my day that I now use for gym time, Life Group, movie screenings and events, line dancing, and other fun non-work activities. I have been embracing this time in my life as a season that allows me to…dare I say it…have fun and do what I love outside of work. Maybe I’ll never have just one thing that I love, but I do know that I already have two: writing and dance (hopefully the non-knee destroying kind).

I still haven’t let myself off the hook to figure out what I want to do for pay (afterall, it would be a welcome change to actually be stimulated by my paying job), but perhaps this is the time to rediscover and nurture those things that make me happy in life. I want to be present in whatever season I find myself, so that I can welcome the next season of my life with open (happy) arms.

Today my friends and I volunteered at the Children’s Hunger Fund headquarters in Pacioma. It was a really good experience. In four short hours, we packed over 1600 boxes of food for children in Peru.


For me, this is just part of what God is teaching me about giving lately. More on that topic soon…

I’ve had a few angels in my life who are carrying me through some stressful decision making. This is a shout to:

Tyler Smith (for ALL your help)
Amanda Morehead (for being there at a moment’s notice and lending me a car!)
Aaron Long (for being my nerdy little pocket loan calculator)
Patrick McNeely (who I haven’t even met in person yet!)
My lifegroup at Rocky Peak
Mom & Don
Ed, my generous mechanic (for babysitting my car while I make a decision)

And “Happy Giving Birth To Me Day” to my Momma!

For the last several years I’ve made it a point to call her and tell her that. This year, she said, “well, I can’t say I had a good day that day [January 30, 1982], but it’s been good ever since!” Ha! She definitely did not have an easy labor; I’m sure she was a very distraught 19-year-old that day. But I am so happy that God picked her to be my mother (and my friend). And I’m grateful for the great Midwestern blizzard of 1982 that kept us snowed into the hospital just long enough for her to fall in love with me and decide that there was no way she could even consider giving up her baby girl, regardless of how young or ill-equipped she felt at the time.* And I am so thankful for “the village” that came up alongside her to love and support the both of us. My cup runneth over when I think about how everything worked itself out.

My birthday is always a great time to reflect on the circumstances of that day, and how God is faithful in the big and small things in my life.


Only 4 more hours til the official birthday celebration begins!

*This might be the only time you will hear me say I’m grateful for snowy/incliment weather.

As we approach January 30th, I’ve been thinking about my birthday wishes. While this is not an all-encompassing list, here are a few things that might make my 27th year (ahem, I mean 25+) a little more enjoyable. I will probably end up buying and/or giving most of these to myself, as I only expect about three people to give me a birthday gift (and all three are related to me) :). I don’t really expect gifts from anyone else. Merrymaking and celebrating will suffice.

  1. Good pedometer (Real Simple suggests Accusplit AL 1540 or Acumen 10K Stepper).
  2. New running/walking shoes from my fav place, Phidippides in Encino.
  3. Entry into Bay to Breakers in May.
  4. Bare Minerals Powder – although I am already buying this for myself.
  5. Netflix subscription.
  6. A de-cluttered bedroom (will take a lot of time / work / purging on my part).
  7. A full-sized bed (& bedding) to reward myself for de-cluttering. (I’m going to be 27, it’s time to upgrade from a twin. Yes my room is TINY, but I think I can make it work.)
  8. Cornhole game pieces (although I’d have nowhere to store them).
  9. An Orchid, although I’m afriad I will kill it; I’ve already killed 3 “lucky” bamboo plants.
  10. A lucky bamboo plant. Hey, I’m an optimist.

What an amazing 3-day weekend. It wasn’t amazing because of any one thing in particular (although the 70-80 degree weather did help); I think it was so amazing because I had the good fortune of spending time with so many cool people in just 3 1/2 days. 

On Friday night April and I went to Borderlines. We ended up meeting some crazy fun people on the dance floor, and together we closed the place down. It was NUTS. I taught everyone on the dance floor how to tush push, and we danced our hearts out. The band even thought we were the coolest girls there; they came and talked to us for awhile. In fact, we ended up with quite a few adoring fans that night…

On Saturday I hiked the Santa Monica mountains with a bunch of new friends from my “life group” at church. It was a three hour hike, so we had plenty of time to chat and get to know each other. After the hike, a few of us picniced at Zuma beach. Within an hour we fell asleep in the sand. It was LOVELY. After we woke up, we went to our Saturday evening church in our sandy hiking clothes. I love that 1) my church is laid back like that (it is Southern California), and 2) I had people with me (I had been going alone). After the service I met a friend of a friend for drinks. He and I actually grew up in neighboring towns in Texas. Small world, for sure! It’s nice to have a Texan guy (who is normal & nice) to hang out with in LA. (Don’t even get me started on LA guys…UGH). 

On Sunday morning April and I did our usual 3-5 mile walk, and during our walk we decided we would start training for Bay to Breakers. It’s a 7+ mile run/walk UPHILL in San Fran in May. We want to join two of our friends and enter the race as 90’s spandex speed-walkers. It will, of course, be awesome. Anyhow, after our walk, one of my friends had a last minute fondue/PJ/wine/Step Up “party” at her apartment. Yeah, my friends are creative like that.

Today (Monday) I had the day off work in honor of MLK. I slept late and made myself the best batch of banana walnut chocolate chip pancakes that I’ve made IN MY LIFE. I also speed-walked 4.2 miles. That was pretty tiring, and that wasn’t even UPHILL or 7+ miles. It’s nice to have a goal for which to “train.” Hopefully my knees will hold up…

Wow, this was a total journal entry. At least I left out the boring parts, like grocery shopping and getting gas…

I walked into the kitchen and saw a bowl of lemons (freshly picked from a co-workers tree). I immediately started making fresh squeezed lemonade.

A coworker walked in while I was shaking up my concoction.

“Look! Someone brought lemons! Now we can make lemonade!” I chirped.

“Well…that’s the spirit. I like your outlook…” she replied, dryly.

Oh…um…yeah. I guess am literally a “make lemonade” person even when I don’t realize I’m a WALKING CLICHE. Underneath this red hair, I am still a blonde. A “make the best of what life gives you” bubbly blonde. Ugh. Makes me want to go brood somewhere and listen to emo music…KIDDING!  “Happy Happy Country Country” anyone?

I stopped vomitting long enough to take a quick boat ride with Dad and do a little fishing before I left sunny, warm SW Florida for overcast, not terribly cold Texas.

I still can’t eat much of anything, but am grateful to be up and about.

I hope you all are having a lovely Christmas!