Why We May Fail

December 7, 2016

Our dreams don’t work unless we do, or so the saying goes.

As much as I love a good quote, I tend to cringe at such clichés, filing them away like a bad Hallmark card. But last week I missed a personal goal-setting deadline.

And then I did it again.

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Now I find this cliché ringing oh so true. So in a night of flurried frustration (followed by binging on UnREAL  followed by promptly canceling my Hulu account so I could force myself to use time wisely, then scrolling through Instagram for an hour… ya feel me? anyone?) I decided to reevaluate what it means to set goals and chase dreams.

Here’s what I am wrestling with now…

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Six Thoughts on Home, Thanksgiving and Faithfulness

December 2, 2016

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I.

They ask me how Thanksgiving was and I say one true word: it was lovely.  Not good or fine or ok– lovely. This place restores my soul like nowhere else can, to simply be surrounded by family and old friends with a dog or two curled up at my feet.

For me, returning home is a moment to come back,  to loosen up the reigns of control I’ve been gripping too tightly, to steadily unwrap any tension coiling in my shoulders, my wrists, to interrupt the patterns of daily life I find myself a slave to.

Returning home can be difficult. It is all too easy to wish to remain there–safe and taken care of with warm meals cooked to the sounds of football games and chatter in the background. Home is where swathes of dog hair cover my pants and I hardly notice. It is where I wrap myself in sweaters smelling of my mother’s closet and take long naps in the armchair by the fire.

The air is dry and cold and my parched body aches for more water, heart hammering in the high altitude–but it is where I am from. Colorado and these four walls are sturdy so I no longer need to be.

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II.

If nostalgia  was a thing it would be a bowl of water in my chest. It rocks steadily above my heart with little threat of spilling over. Sometimes it is warm, it is comforting, a memory of a time or place I can taste again while remaining safely removed. Other times it is cold, overwhelming, reeling with the desire to simply turn back time and tuck myself into that moment once more.

I don’t know if I fully believe we need to be present  all the time. Sure, be here now with the people you love in the places you love, breathe deep in the scent of the air around you and the bite of food on the end of your fork.

But create space to let yourself travel vertically through time–to look back and look forward, to grow in excitement over what is to come while savoring what has happened before.

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III.

This past weekend I decided to be gentle with my body. Instead of doubling up my workouts and planning out spin classes to offset the Thanksgiving meal indulgences, I opted for gentleness. Instead of the heart-pounding music and sweat I found conversations and peace.

This year we walked the Mile High Turkey Trot, four miles of sunshine and blue skies and dogs everywhere.  Janine and Will happened to be in town (yay!) so along with Janine’s bother they joined my mom, sister, dog and me for the four mile trek around Wash Park in Denver. To see the steps pass in laugher and joy rather than striving and calorie counting was refreshing.

Each day more dog walking ensued, accompanied by sisters and best friends from middle school. I closed the week with a Sunday evening candlelight yoga class with my mom, slowly moving my body through the flow, noticing the squeeze and release of my muscles in each pose. The lightness of my shoulders when we left. A brain for once headache-free.

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IV.

Closeness is a funny thing. Relationships are cultivated over time, some quicker and cutting deeper than others. Sometimes they shift and they grow, other times they fizzle out or fade.

Nothing gives me more joy than being back with my sisters. Three of us together, spanning a wide range of skin tones and hair colors, dreams, gifts and passions. We used to fight, a lot. But something changed when we all left the house and scattered across the country. We grew closer, we held tighter. And now when reunited for a day or mere hours, we peel back the layers once more like there was no time apart to begin with. I’m now the truest version of myself when I am with them. Sometimes sloppy and messy and a little bit selfish, but pushed to become kinder, more nurturing, flawed yet whole. Funny even, and weird. I love it.

They make me laugh. They keep me grounded.

V.

Cranberry margaritas. Twenty bodies around long tables throughout the first floor of the home. Faces lit in soft candle glow and stories from years past– it is Thanksgiving again, back with the families we have created and grow in year after year after year.

So much time has passed– but at the same time, none has.

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VI. 

I have a tattoo on the inside of my left forearm. It spans an inch and a half of the delicate skin there, right on top of the blue lines of my veins. It is fake but it lasts three weeks. I reapply when I need a reminder.

It’s a set of geometric lines– God is greater than the highs and lows,  it means. I slide up my sleeve and breathe deep in the promise, the truth there. I talk about recovery a lot. I talk about healing. But there are still moments of darkness when I am reminded just how temporary each season is, how quickly the weather can turn and my stillness be shaken.

But there’s a greater foundation I stand on and like gravity it pulls me back when I begin to float away. Greater than the highs and lows.  He is, he is, he is.

Just Praise

November 23, 2016

Lately church has been giving me ALL the feels.

I’m not sure if its my over-tired body breaking down on a Sunday night or what, but the past few sermons have found me wiping away a tear or two– if not ugly-crying into my hands–during the closing worship.

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Whether it is the words from the message resonating in my heart, difficult decisions bubbling up and tugging at the corners of my being, or feeling generally overwhelmed by it all, everything I push away during the week usually spills over during these quiet moments.

Last Sunday night I was exhausted from the excitement of the weekend while deeply saddened it was over (why do those dang-good nights fly by so fast??). Mentally and physically I was drained, and I found myself nodding off over and over again during what was actually a pretty amazing sermon on transformation.

I sat there after the closing, fighting to stay awake during worship, fighting to find something that resonated, when one of the pastors interrupted the song.

“Sure, we struggle,” he said, “We bring our burdens to the Lord. We can ask him for what we need. But do you know this? It is okay to go to him with just praise.”

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26 Life Lessons – Part 2

November 21, 2016

I rang in my 26th birthday over the course of two days last week. On Wednesday a group of my friends crashed my spin class where we rocked out to beats by The Chainsmokers, Major Lazer, DJ Snake and Skrillex before sipping brews and eating delicious food at Barrelhead near my house.

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Sweaty & fabulous – what a good lookin’ crew I roll with

On Friday we danced our hearts out at the Steve Aoki show–seeing quite possibly my favorite artist live with one stellar group of humans was indescribable. Needless to say, 26 is off to a great start!

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My goal for this year, naturally, was to become established and consider SF home. Community takes a lot of time and investment to grow and develop. So when I looked around at the faces surrounding me on Wednesday and again on Friday, I couldn’t help but be filled with joy– I’m finally at home here.

So here we are– part two of the 26 lessons I’ve been learning across my 26 years:

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26 Lessons Learned Over 26 Years – Part 1

November 16, 2016

Remember that 25-year-plan? Ha. Me neither.

Today I turned 26. I’m not married with a house and a golden retriever like I thought I would be at this age (laughs), and thank the Lord  for that. (Although I would take the dog, yeah, I’d be OK with that.)

Except for the fact I’m no longer on my parents’ health insurance, turning 26 doesn’t make me feel any different, older or wiser. But when I really stop to think about where I’ve come in a year, I’m overwhelmed.

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My 25th birthday found me deep in the muddy trenches of heartbreak and a career change and general confusion. The week before my 25th birthday I made three giant decisions that changed the course of my life. I finally let go of things no longer serving me–a relationship and a toxic job–and decided I needed to move to SF.

I let it all go and then bam, landed in a new city, a new home.

One year later here I am, thriving, because I surrendered to the tug God placed on my heart to trust Him. 

Now that I am rooted in yet another community and founded in a job I truly love, I see full-circle where those past struggles built me a little bit stronger and a lot more badass.

I for sure don’t have it all figured out–I don’t think we are ever supposed to, and those who think they are or appear to be are only faking it. I still have big struggles to walk through. But when I look back and see my little 24-turning-25-year-old self swimming through the mess of heartbreak and uncertainty, I am oh-so-grateful for where those wounds brought me to today.

In a way, I do feel a little bit more grown up. I feel more like Avery, finally confident in the woman I know I was created to be.

Here are a few of the lessons I’ve picked up over this past year that I am carrying with me into the next:

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