Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blessing, not burying: a new commitment

I'm not certain that anyone will see this ever, no less any time soon. We've all sort of abandoned this form of communication and we're all to blame, so I won't be the slightest bit surprised or even hurt if none of you lovelies reads this. But I need to get it out and make a promise to myself if to no one else.

At youth group on Wednesday night, our youth pastor Brady talked about the story of the talents. He told the kids it was really about potential. Each man who received the ten talents was being given potential and was able to choose what he did with it. Two men were considered "good and faithful servants" for multiplying their potential, using the abilities and things their master had given them. But the last man was accused of laziness and even wickedness. Why? He buried his potential and left it forever, no turning back. Now it is often the case that I feel Brady speaks more to me than to anyone else in the room, and Wednesday was just such a night. I felt guiltier than a dog who pooped on the carpet. Because I have intentionally buried a whole big chunk of potential for the last year or so: my music. Now that it is clear that I will be finishing my masters and getting a grown up job, I have completely buried my musical dreams. Some of that I think is ok. I'm more than happy to let go of the thought of touring and writing full time. Frankly, I have no desire to do that. But I knew in my heart on Wednesday that burying my gifts and talents altogether is shameful. I do not have to be a professional to use the musical potential I possess. I do not have to make albums to bless people. I do not have to win Grammy's to go on writing. Over the last year or so though, I have subconsciously decided that if music will not be my career, it will not be my anything. And frankly my friends, that lie came straight from the ugly and putrid devil. It's just this whole time, I didn't think it was a lie. I thought I was just one more girl who had a dream that went away and that was that. But that's the thing. That is not that. And it had better not be if I want to avoid the same lazy wickedness of a fool with a shovel. 

So as I played my still-favorite of my written songs tonight, "I Won't Hide", and cried over the irony at singing such a song after the last year, I prayed for the guts and wisdom not to take my ten talents and stick them in the ground. And I believe God answered. It is nothing glamorous or original, but if I do not write it down I fear I will never follow through with anything else either. Here is what I have decided to do: I am going to make a youtube channel of me singing the stuff I've written that I think God gave me for a reason. This channel will in no way be intended to gain any sort of following or to gain any sort of attention. It will be solely for the purpose of blessing my friends and family who might still want to hear what God is speaking to me through song. If they feel someone else could benefit from a particular song, they are welcome to pass it on. The main purpose is just to bless people in any small way by at least keeping my "talents" in the daylight rather than beneath the ground. I think it's just about the least I can do. 

I am no longer an aspiring singer/songwriter, but that doesn't give me the right to hide my voice, hide my songs, from the world. Songs from an un-famous friend can still be as powerful as those from a famous stranger. So friends, if you have any song requests of years and years past, anything that touched your heart at any point, let me know. Otherwise I am going to one by one post what I think is worth posting and pray that this is one step toward burying my shovel. 

You are each a blessing to me. Can I bless you?


P.S. Please hold me to this. I am not the best at following through, especially when it means putting my heart on the line. Friends have elbows for a reason. Feel free to nudge. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


A new vlog for you to enjoy. Recovering from gum surgery...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Me, the Hypocrite with the Closed Purse

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" - Matthew 25:37-40

I am overwhelmed with guilt. Today I had the chance to serve "the least of these brothers and sisters of mine," and I failed. When I was out on an errand for work downtown, I was approached by an elderly African American woman with ragged clothes and a limp who asked if I had a dollar to spare. One dollar. I said "sorry," turned away, and walked into my place of work (that's right, at a rescue mission).

Ever since I turned away, I have felt a strong sense of shame and embarrassment. I can't believe I didn't stop, open my purse, and check to see if I actually had cash (which I did, by the way). How could I just keep walking like that without even thinking twice? Homelessness and poverty are my passions. I can get on my soapbox and talk for hours about how important social services are, and how the church needs to be doing more to help the poor, but when I'm actually faced with the issue directly, I become a hypocrite. I'm so embarrassed.

So now I'm wondering: why did I do that? Why is it my instinct to turn away or ignore someone who approaches me on the street and asks for a dollar? It's clearly not how I want to respond. It's definitely not how Christ would respond. I absolutely have a dollar to spare for someone in need. Heck, I have a dollar to spare for a millionaire. So why did I turn and run?

Let me be honest. I grew up in the suburban Midwest. I participated in church from AWANA to youth group, attended Christian college in a cornfield, and almost all of my friends have similar backgrounds to this. My personal experience in the inner city is very limited, even though I'd like to pretend that's not true. I grew up being taught that homeless people and those who beg on the streets are most likely on drugs. Or if not, then maybe they deserve it somehow. So is that why I can't open my purse?

I've spent the last three years reading about homelessness, working firsthand with mentally ill people in poverty, and learning about the barriers that poor people face that are completely out of their control. I know that not all homeless people are on drugs. I know it. This is what is driving me crazy.

And even if this woman was a drug addict, does that mean that Jesus would have just walked away from her? Absolutely NOT. Duh. I bet he would have put his arm around her, given her a bus pass, and treated her to McDonald's. Why can't I be like that? I struggle so much with knowing how to interact directly with homeless people when I'm not somehow "on duty." Dear God, please show me how to love people like you do!

Basically ever since the interaction this afternoon, I have been asking God to give me another chance to boldly show His love to a homeless person. And that is why I decided to write this blog. I want everyone to know my shame so I will be held accountable to act differently next time. I hope you find some encouragement in this post. If you don't ever interact with homeless people, then maybe you need to put yourself in a situation where you will. See what happens. And if you're someone who already opens your purse every time, God bless you. I sincerely pray that one day that will be me.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully I will be able to write a more positive story soon.



Monday, January 23, 2012

Dirty Laundry

Happy Monday!
I've been thinking about blogging for a few days now, and I finally worked up the motivation, so here I am. I'm working from home today because we had a big snowfall and the roads are super icy, but I have already put in over 6 productive hours of work, and I think I deserve a break. Of course, I could be doing these piles of laundry that have been sitting on our floor since yesterday, but what's the fun in that?

Let's see, what's new in my life? Well, you 3 already know this, but I went to the eye doctor last week and learned that I officially need glasses. Apparently, I am farsighted, and also one of my eyes naturally looks slightly outward rather than straight ahead, so I have to strain my eyes to focus on things up close. That's right, I have a crazy eye. This is not really news to me considering I've always had my little eye - I just know he's the culprit. I won't need to wear them all the time, pretty much just at work and when I'm reading. But, still! I'm sad.

Toby and I went to our first small group activity at our new church last week. We are checking out a group for newlywed couples called The Honeymooners. So far, so good. This week, I have my work "Christmas party" (oh, the joys of working at an organization that actually gets busier at Christmas time), so we can't go to the group, but we'll try again next week. We're still searching for more kindred couple friends...why can't it just be easy to meet a couple we both like?! Seriously, I am sick of moving and changing friends every few years (elementary, middle, high school, college, post-college, married, etc). Are you sure none of you want to move to Minnesota? :P

On a more serious note, there is something I'd like some prayer for. In the last few months, I have come to the realization/conviction that I have a lot of anxiety. I keep it inside for the most part, but it definitely comes out at Toby's expense and it is stressing out both of us. I think I might seriously have mild OCD, because the anxiety is mostly about cleanliness and organization. I've always been a neat-freak, but I feel like I'm starting to have more of an emotional reaction when things are out of place or dirty -- and that is different than how it's been in the past. I feel like it's a spiritual issue too, because I'm living with a lot of fear and not trusting God to take care of things. I would really appreciate prayer, because my biggest goal right now is to start turning my anxiety and fear over to God.

Okay, back to work. I love you ladies a ton! Have a great week!

Heather Grace

Friday, December 2, 2011

Just for laughs

I am not the story teller in this small group of friends. Usually we turn to Hannah to get our bladders bursting as we howl at her ridiculous life stories. But I had such a Michael Scott encounter at work the other day, I had to share.

So my boss' boss is a man I affectionately refer to as CEC (text me if you wanna know what the initials stand for--don't want to get in trouble or anything). CEC and I have spoken a total of five times now, I believe, over the last 3 years. Quite the involved man. So you can imagine my surprise when he came to my desk the other day and said, "Hey... [long pause as he obviously searches for my name until he stops trying because he can't remember...Head to the conference room." I go to the conference room to find every woman from the radio station. I think, "Is this someone's birthday? Is it sexual harassment training?" I'll find out soon enough. CEC enters the conference room along with my coworker, R. (I'm quite the encoder, eh?) Everyone sits down except for R, another co-worker S, and me. CEC begins to speak, "Now it's come to my attention that we have a problem here at the station. And apparently, there was an incident in which a man used the women's bathroom." Hold the phone. Now first off, so many men use the "women's" bathroom, I honestly thought they were unisex. This is already an enlightening meeting for me. CEC goes on, "Now people come to me with this issue every once in a while and I just need to tell you. There are some men in this office ages 60-65 [there are two men in this age range, immediately singling out to us who CEC could be speaking of] who have prostate trouble. When one has to go, he JUST. HAS. TO. GO." At this point, I look at the ground. I can't keep a straight face. Who in their right mind thinks it's appropriate to tell the whole female staff about a man's prostate problems. It gets worse. "Now, let's just call it what it is. ____[Insert staff member's name here] has a prostate problem, and it's hard for him to go." Seriously? He just told us who has a prostate problem? "And you know what? We just need to have a little respect. If it's an emergency, he has to go! So look people, if Satan is going to tear down this organization, it is going to be from the IN.SIDE.OUT!" CEC pauses and honestly, I think he might cry. He is flustered and I'm about to laugh. Satan? Mixed in with a conversation about a bathroom problem? Which we could all care less about since men use our bathroom all the time? But wait. There IS someone who cares. Now said person chimes in, "But CEC, this is a serious problem! We have ALL had to wait in line for the bathroom and it's just ridiculous! Men can't go in there and use the facility. We need a new bathroom." CEC is now extremely flustered. "A new bathroom is $3000-$4000! I mean...that's with a shower and everything... But look! I just don't know what to do!! What do you want me to DO?! [Near tears and now shouting] I talked to E [who's in charge of employee relations] to ask her how to handle this because I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! People come ask me about the bathroom TWO TO THREE TIMES A YEAR and I just can't handle it! This is over my head. It's OVER my HEAD!" I stare at the floor and bite my lip. I can't look at R or else I'll bust a gut while CEC is about to cry. My eyes wander instead to CEC, who I notice is wearing dress shoes with no socks, a shirt and tie and a sweatshirt over said get-up. As if he read my mind, CEC goes on, "So we just need to respect the people with these problems. If there's an emergency, use whatever bathroom is close by. But [prostate man] has a problem, ok?! And we need to respect that, because we ALL have problems. Take me for instance--I almost got fired a few years ago because they didn't think I 'dressed the part'. They didn't like that I wore no socks and that I never wore a tie. [Seriously, he said this. I later found out that it wasn't the socks they were mad about--he also used to not wear shoes to work. Seriously. And this is the headiest head of my work.] So we all have problems alright! So we need to just learn from Paul and ENCOURAGE one another, ok???" Silence for a few seconds. Then a woman chimes in, "So...are you saying the bathrooms are unisex?" CEC has had it. "I don't--I can't handle this! Take your questions to E! I just can't deal with this bathroom issue anymore! I just CAN'T!!!" End of meeting. 25 minutes to say what he could've done in 2 and what only one of us actually cared about. That is what I call efficiency.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


First of all: I must be honest. I have pretty much forgotten that this blog exists. Until this very moment. I'm sitting at the desk at work, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only soul awake in this building of around 130 people, and I was thinking, "Gosh, this seems like as good a time as any to write musings and release them so that anyone in the world could read them. If only there were some way for me to just do that. Some sort of log that I could release to the web. A weblog if, you will." Oh wait, Kate. Welcome to the 21st century.
So, I wrote a lot this month. A LOT. I did not finish my novel, and at this point, it seems unrealistic to think that I will before November is up. But, I wrote about 35,000 words, which is over 60 pages, single spaced, and that's more than I've written in one word document, I think ever. And I spent the month getting to know these fictional characters as they took shape in my head, and I wrote about everything from their hair, to the things they cooked, to the things they cried about. It was kind of bizarre, honestly. At first, it was tempting to create characters that were all versions of the person I wish I were. But Don Miller's voice (from his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years) kept creeping into my head and reminding me that for stories to be interesting there has to be conflict and people have to struggle. And so my people struggled. And they weren't completely beautiful, or entirely cool. And I like them better that way. But now that the month is up, and I've realized that I'm not going to finish, I'm slowing down. I think I will finish eventually, but not right now. It feels like maybe I should take a break from that fictional world and process some of the really hard things that are going on in my own life.
I feel like my life might not make a very good book, because the hard things that are happening seem comparitively small. And the really good things that are happening are small too. But nonetheless, I feel as if my own life, right now, is undeniably good. Not good as in easy, but good as in this is how it's meant to be. This might sound cheesy, but if my life right now were a book, God would be a main character. Because I've had these really intense conversations with him on I-71 South where I basically yell at him for something that he did, or beg him for something, or just tell him how amazed I am at what he's doing. And it's like He's walking around the halls of Laura's Home and actually changing lives. And all of us on the staff keep marveling at how good God is at his job, because we are so in awe of the impact that He is having on people.
The other day, this lady showed up here in a taxi, and the taxi had been sitting out front for about 20 minutes when my coworker decided to go out and see what was going on. It turns out that she had ridden in the cab from the East side, racked up a $50 bill, and then tried to charge it on a maxed out Credit Card. She insisted that she didn't know her card would be denied. He decided to call the police. The police wouldn't come (Cleveland police, quite frankly, have bigger fish to fry) so the guy put her in the cab to drive her to the station, which I'm pretty sure is illegal. When he pulled out, my coworker and I stopped to pray, because Lord only knows if he was really going to take her to the station, or if he was going to ask her for some other form of payment....
She returned a few hours later, seemingly unscathed, and she only stayed one night. Long enough to get a meal, a shower, a fresh set of clothes, and a chapel service. I have no idea where she is, but I feel a little like God brought her back safely just to show us that he was listening to our prayers and had answered them.
My job is hard. We don't always get to see if our prayers are answered. People who seem fine attempt suicide, and people who seem like a lost cause transform before our very eyes. But as I sit here, awake in this big building, I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I can get cussed out, and people can try to push my buttons (and sometimes succeed) and yet, I can so clearly see how God brought me here and how he is using me to encourage others, and how he is shaping me.
After all, the hard stuff is what makes us us. This month has been my first hard month at work, and it's only the 3rd month. But I told myself before I started this job that I needed to be sure of my calling, so that when things got hard, I wouldn't doubt the validity of the decision that I made. And now that things are getting hard, not only do I not doubt that decision, I see that the decision wasn't mine at all. And the same God who has told me over and over again that my decisions are not his decisions, and who has moved in big ways to change the path of my life, is the God who brought me here to this place for a reason. And that makes it exciting to get out of bed in the morning (or in today's case, at 1pm). I can't wait to see what he has in store for me next. But I know it's gonna be good.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Melancholy musings make for alliteration

Dear lovelies,

I am more than slightly overwhelmed. (Yes, I will be complaining for the first bit of this blog, so settle in.) We are currently looking for a car, an apartment, and some other life things I won't mention on this blog but you all know about. I have been feeling immensely over-worked at work. I've been easily irritable--a quality I do not like in anyone else, and therefore should probably not be exhibiting myself. In short, I'm burnt out. At the same time, I've been reading "unChristian," and enjoying (I use that word loosely) a sermon series on the 7 churches of Revelation at our church.

Both of these Christ-related things piled atop the bitterness I feel more often than not at life as of late have been a slow but painful smack in the face that I am not in fact as Christ-like as I thought. Boy, do I have a lot of growing to do. Ever feel like you're going backwards in your faith? I feel in a lot of ways like a Christian zombie, acting lifelike but in an eerie way that everyone knows is not real living. (Wow. This is depressing. Ha, sorry.) I'm realizing how months after asking for contentedness I have not only stopped asking, but have stopped wanting it. I feel content with feeling sorry for myself. How pathetic is that? I'll tell you how pathetic that is. Pathetic enough to make me a jerk to people I love for no reason, to not enjoy the things that should bring me joy, and to forget altogether what it means to have a relationship with the Lord.
I don't know why I'm putting this out to the masses on the internet. Probably not a great idea on my part, but you all know me--I have to talk things through to figure out what I'm feeling. And frankly, these feelings are easier to write about than say out loud. Because I know that as a wealthy American I have no right to be so dejected, and yet I feel as though I can't help it. Why is that?

I want to see you all very badly. I can't wait for Thanksgiving, where (pray for me on this) I will try to just forget about the other woes of life and just ENJOY for once! What a concept. ;) It was wonderful to have Kate here for a few days, although it was altogether too short. Great to just have at least one night of long conversation though. Thanks for that, friend. :) Hannah and Heathie, I trust you had a fun stay together. I sure hope so.

Also, we need to plan our second annual (or I suppose it could be 3rd or 4th depending on what previous dates you count) Beady Beaday. We are so overdue. (Ok, we're not, but it feels like it.)

Anyway, thanks for letting me use this blog to think. I'm in a weird, not so great funk lately, and could use prayers if you think of it. I miss enjoying life, as I only seem to really do when I'm close to the Lord.

Now I want to leave you ladies with some song lyrics I'm writing. They're not hopeful yet, but I want to make them a little hopeful... Any suggestions? :)

Once I was a child
I could laugh
I could smile
I'd lay my head to sleep
I could dream happily
Maybe it never should've grown harder
But I've grown old

Once I did believe
I had faith
I had peace
______ (I don't remember this line, haha)
I could speak to God freely
Baby, I never should've grown harder
But I've grown cold

And I'm told
that my own
is your average American story
You grow old
You grow cold
You forget the things that used to be your glory

My current hopeful lyric idea is finishing the bridge with something like "Yet I have this memory/of somebody saying/Just maybe I'm worthy.../Could I be?" Something along that vein. Love you all.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Well HELLLOOOO therrrre!

Ohhhh wow beadies. I feel…ridiculous that I have not posted on our beloved blog in SUCH a long time now. I miss all of you very much, and just had a great time hanging out and havin a sleepover with Katesters. : ) I dyed her hair, hence the video, and we just hung out laughing. After waking up we had a good conversation about the future. haha That sounded like I'm about to say that she proposed or something. lol. I was telling Katie about the fact that I'm a little bit scared of the future. And all at the same time I have this vision for my life, I just have no idea how to get close to it.
My mom came in my room today and told me to take the test online this week before friday to be a police officer. One of her good friends is the chief of Police of Avon Lake, so he is always pushing me to go into that field. I mean, I guess I could kind offf picture doing that as far as "conventional jobs" go, but at the same time…it just doesn't seem like…me. I totally understand why they're pushing me towards it because of the pay and the obvious benefits, and I respect that, but that's one of my biggest fears. I'm afraid of settling. I always have been so afraid of settling in life, in any facet, and just ending up unhappy and lost.
In all honesty, I don't like the idea of changing myself or having to disguise parts of myself in order to fit into a job. I can't even picture it. That's why I so much want to work with small individual film productions. Obviously I am not planning on getting a film degree, I don't want that. However, I think becoming involved at least with other people's projects is a very realistic goal. Just by researching and making connections and putting myself out there, you know? For right now though, I am very content. I can't really remember the last time I was content in life. I am loving working down town at Starbucks and love every one I work with. I have never experienced that before. It's so much fun walking into work and not feeling like you are. It seriously just feels like I'm meeting up with my friends to serve people coffee. haha. For this year, I am content being here and have actually been really enjoying Cleveland.
Also, on the news front, Kristin Wilkinson and I are still in our apartment search! I am SO excited to be doing this, and know that she will be an awesome room mate. We're gonna have a blast. We are looking in Lakewood. It's a very central location to everything that both of us do and, especially for me, is the hub of all public transportation! yayyy! So, hopefully it all works out for the best. : ) And Heather, kwilks and I are soooo excited to be coming to visit you at the end of this month. It's going to be AWWESOMME. So get ready for us. Beadies, I love you all and thanks so much for always puttin up with me and my, at times, crazy life.

Hannah Grace

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just like the good ole days!

I think this video pretty much speaks for itself. Wish the other beadies were here in the AL. You guys can move back anytime ;)

With love,
Hannah Grace and Kate

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Article sharing, my husband would be so proud

I read this article today and found it to be a good reminder! Just thought I would share it with you all.

Good without God?