Sing Sing Sing

I've been watching The Voice and loving it. In the beginning rounds the coaches had celebrity advisers and Blake Sheltons was Reba McEntire. We ALL know how much I love country music and all (insert eye roll here) but that piece of the puzzle is important.

I went to bed one night and had a dream....

I dreamt I was shopping at Macy's (which is odd because I never shop at Macy's except maybe to buy Clinique and even then I break into hives just walking into a department store, I really blame all those shopping trips with mom as an awkward adolescent) and I ran into Reba (which is odd because what is Reba doing shopping at Macy's in Cincinnati? What am I doing there for that matter?!)

As we walked around shopping together (which, WHY after running into her did I start shipping WITH her?) and she was lamenting how exhausted she was but she had this concert later that day.
I benignly comment that I'm sorry and I wish there was something I could do to help (I was thinking coffee) and she said, "Great! I'll just have you perform for me!" (uhhh....)
Then, as if that wasn't strange enough I AGREED.

We head back to her dressing room (which interestingly is just through the back of the Macy's dressing rooms) and she promptly lays down on the sofa and goes to sleep.
Her stylists descend on me and start plucking and primping me (one should never be ambush plucked, even in my subconscious it hurt)
I'm staring down at my clothes and I ask them what I should wear on stage. They say, "Oh, you can just slip into something of Reba's"

I glance at teeny tiny itsy bitsy Reba on the sofa and look at the stylists and say, "You think my thigh is going to fit in any of her clothes?!" The stylist said something about how they're all stretchy (there would need to be A LOT of elastic but, whatever)

After being plucked within an inch of my life they lead me to wardrobe and I stare mouth open at racks and racks of track suits, sweat pants and t-shirts. I spin dramatically around and proclaim, "That is not fancy enough!" and take off at a flat run through the store.

In a scene that can only be from the blockbuster 80s movie Mannequin  I start pulling and yanking and trying on clothes from all over Macy's (including oddly enough, the men and children's sections...) and the dream jumps to me stepping on stage in........

The red dress I wore to my senior prom, complete with bee hive french twistish hair.

Then I woke up.

I was a little sad that I couldn't see myself performing songs I didn't even know, but one can't have it all I suppose.



I met the other night with the ladies that are stepping up to lead the next iteration of Washington Project and Ben. As we talked through the transition and some guidelines of what it could/should look like I just sort of sat back and was grateful.
I was so grateful for the opportunity to lead at Four Corners and the way that God showed up throughout the years of Washington Project.
I was grateful for the staff and especially Ben and how they are constantly striving to lead well and allow others to make mistakes (and gracefully recover from them).
I was grateful for the stretching. The sometimes tearing apart of my heart by the people I served and served alongside as I saw just how desperately in need we all are of God's grace and forgiveness in large ways and small.
I was grateful for the moments with people where they realized for the first time that God saw them, really saw them.
For the lady at the car wash that cried because she believed her relationship with her kids was forever broken and we showed up that morning and told her that God loves her so much and cares very much about every single detail of her life.

For the lady at the dry cleaners that wasn't sure her marriage was going to make it and was hiding in the dry cleaners from her husband because she couldn't take one more fight. God set an appointment for Washington Project to show up and tell her that God is with her. That he loves her and is there for her.

For the girl at One Way Farm who made choices with consequences that almost caused her to miss her grandfathers funeral. For the almost year of going and playing silly games and painting nails that led to the moment of being able to tell her about a God that promises us eternity if we follow his Son. For the moment when she asked our regular One Way volunteers to sign her yearbook because she was leaving One Way and wanted to never forget us or the God we were serving ever.

For the couple at the marathon that took some free coffee from us and when we told them it was just a tangible way of saying God loves you and cares about you they cringed a little. But as they walked away realizing there were really no strings attached were heard saying, "that's the kind of God I could believe in, they really didn't try to hit us in the face with the bible".

For so many other moments large and small.

For the moments as a leader when I felt God bringing people in around me to encourage me when I was so defeated and low and I remembered that he cared about me too.

For the moments as a leader when I saw the people on my team light up with the realization that God has called them to such a time as this to lead in such a church as this to proclaim the gospel.

I was just filled with gratitude for it all and a sense of longing for what it to come. Because this chapter is closing, but I know that God is already writing another chapter on my heart and the heart of my awesome church.
I want to thank you
For so many gifts
You gave with love and tenderness
I want to thank you

I want to thank you
For your generosity
The love and the honesty
That you gave me

I want to thank you
Show my gratitude
My love and my respect for you
I want to thank you

I want to...

Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
-Natalie Merchant Kind and Generous



I never quite know where to draw the line. Between being helpful and being enabling and being used.
Because sometimes it doesn't occur to me that I'm being used until someone else points it out. So does that mean I'm being used?
Does the using occur because of the intentions of the user or the usee?

I just don't know.

All I know is I'm feeling dread about a lot of relationships, even those with healthy functioning people that have proven time and time again they are only interested in a 2 way friendship with no harm to either of us.
So it makes it that much harder when delving into building new relationships to know how much of myself to invest.

Because I want to invest.
As I've wandered around hearing people saying "me too" and wondering to God why no one ever says anything I hear him saying..."then why don't you say something?"
I hear him asking me to go first.

But I also am working on setting healthier boundaries and often even I forget where they are at so how can I hold others to them?

I still feel so unsure of myself, but I am sure that this is the place God has placed me for such a time as this.
I don't know what He'll make out of it...but I know it will be for my good and more importantly His glory.


Taking my ball and going home

This isn't my first go at therapy. It's just the first time I was willing to engage in the hard stuff and push through the uncomfortable and painful to get far enough in that there was no turning back.

One of the therapist I had was talking to me and I said something about how I needed to just get over whatever it was I wasn't over because it was clearly done. He replied, "If you're not over it it's not done."
I dismissed him naturally because he didn't realize that I was always wrong and always at fault.

While in theory I realize that forgiveness doesn't always mean reconciliation and that it is for sure not always a one time forgive 'em and you're done deal it's the every day living out of that knowing that is so hard some days.
When you realize that someone is never going to do...whatever it is you're wanting them to do, that's when the hard work starts. Because it can be easy to forgive someone when they're shaping up and walking the line you want them to walk.
But when they don't....when the relationship after the forgiveness either does not or can not exist....you're still called to forgive them. Because forgiveness isn't supposed to be conditional.

Can I be honest? I sort of hate that.
I sort of hate that my agenda and my idea of "how it should be" is not the way that it goes and that forgiving and continuing on in a reconciled relationship with a person hurts sometimes and sometimes you're still let down.

But I also know that when I ask God for forgiveness (which feels like an alarmingly high amount thanks to some spiritual temper tantrums of late) his forgiveness is instantaneous. He keeps no record of wrongs and calls me to do the same.
I also hear him asking me how I can love those I need to forgive well.
So I stomp my feet and I whine and cry and ask him why I need to be the one to love them well. They are the ones that hurt me and wronged me.

Then I hear him whisper..."There it is. There's that seed of bitterness I knew you were fostering in your heart. Can I have that please?"

I'm still stuck in that tension, in the temptation to nurse the bitterness and unforgiveness. I'm tempted to just sit down, cross my arms and pout. But I can feel Him pursuing me even when others won't. I can feel Him whispering to me that He's got this, that I don't have to carry it because He will and already is carrying the burden.
I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited,
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it,
I had hoped you'd see my face,
And that you'd be reminded that for me it isn't over
-Adele Someone Like You


One Word: Help - Halfway Point

At the beginning of the year I picked one word to focus on instead of a resolution.
I decided to ask for help. Even though I hate it and even though asking for it makes me feel weak and vulnerable I decided on help anyway.
Because I was retreating within myself. Slowly but surely I was withdrawing from life and friendships.
Nothing felt safe anymore and I lacked the ability to pull myself out of the hole I was in.
I was ashamed and afraid that asking for help would only give others a platform to reassure me that I in fact meant nothing to them at all.

But I started. I asked friends for help finding a therapist and then I made an appointment and actually went TO the appointment. At first I fought against the validation she gave me when she named the sharp words still sticking like shards out of my heart, but then I realized it was true.

I joined a connecting group at church for the first time in the almost 6 years I've been there. I've found new friendships developing and have observed with wonderment how many nuances there are to forming adult female relationships.

I've shared more of my story in a serious (non-sarcastic) manner with people and have heard them whisper, "me too". I've asked for help by talking about my relational fears and inabilities and asking others what can be done...and then asking them to come alongside me as we do life together.

I'm still not sure where I'm at with relationships in general. I'm still an overly suspicious person and seem to wonder always at the subtext of conversations. But I'm talking about it. I'm asking for help and I'm hearing people I wouldn't have expected step up and say they'll work through it with me.

I'm also hearing from God. I'm hearing him answer my whispers asking for help in the darkest corners of my mind and heart. I hear him steadily and consistently telling me he's still there helping me even when I can't see it through all the tears.
I hear him tell me there is a better way to have relationships (friendship or otherwise) then to give it away in exchange for scraps of affection.
For one of the first time.....I believe him.

I'm enthralled with seeing how the next half of this year of Help will go. I feel so radically different than I did at the beginning of the year, so much more hopeful and grounded then I can remember feeling...ever really.

Thanks for going first, Alece. It helped me be brave and to ask for help when it was the last thing I wanted to do, but the first thing I needed to do.

(also, if you're not reading Alece's blog then you're just missing out on a great read and a wonderful woman who is pursuing the life God is calling her to lead with all it's grit and glory)


You Give Love....A Bad Name

Back when I was young and had no idea what it meant to be in love my "first love" and I broke up.

I didn't know what to do. So I packed up my Sony mini boom box and my Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet tape and headed off to my grandparents house for the weekend.
Several crazy things happened that weekend.

1) My Grandfather had recently purchased a little motorized cart to get around on the farm. It had a basket on the back, I presume to keep his guns. I popped some D batteries in the boom box and decided to ride it around the farm lanes while I cried out to God "WHY!? WHY ME! WHY!?!" I was apparently in the sad and on the brink of death stage of grief. Right before I left the house I ran into my Grandmother. This woman rarely had a kind word to say to me and I'm not certain this counts as kind. But as I staggered sniffling towards the stairs in my red Camp Wanake sweatshirt (which will clarify which boyfriend this was for Nicole) and lugging my boom box loaded with the sweet soothing styling of Bon Jovi she stopped me at the top of the stairs. She rested her hand on my shoulder and said, "I know this seems like the end of the world now. But, Bethany, boys are like tissues. You pull one out, blow them, throw them away and then another one pops up!"
I'm fairly certain she was going for a "There's always more fish in the sea" kind of thing, but even at that age I knew what blow them meant and couldn't believe that conversation just happened.

2) I finally make it onto the motorized cart and I proceeded to drive around the farm for (literally) FOUR HOURS playing and rewinding Never Say Good-Bye until I was all cried out. Then, as I transitioned into the anger portion of my break up weekend I switched it to You Give Love A Bad Name and sang it while sobbing quite dramatically at the top of my lungs. The rainbow trout were quite startled when I drove around the pond that day.

3) When Mom came to pick me up she brought Nicole, who has been around for every break up dramatic or otherwise. Nicole brought me a balloon, I can't remember what it said because I let it go outside and well....as it so happens when you do that to something filled with helium it flies away. As Mom chatted with the grown ups I strapped back on that Wanake sweatshirt and we decided to go on our own dual spin on the motorized cart. With me balanced precariously in the basket and Nicole gunning it for all it was worth we set off. As we were driving down the back lane and chattering away about what a jerk ex boyfriend was and how I was soooooo better off without him she got a little distracted and drove into a deep ditch. I mean DEEP. I mean we couldn't get the cart out of the ditch.
Finally one of had the BRILLIANT idea to put the cart in reverse and gun it while also pushing it up the hill. There was no way that plan could fail. So we did, and we each (at different points) almost ran over ourselves. Scraped and at least one of us (ME) bleeding we finally made it up the side of the ditch and carefully rode the cart back to the house. I walked in with my red sweatpants (yes, I was wearing red sweatpants with a red sweatshirt. Isn't it clear now how my milkshakes brought all the boys to the yard?) torn and Betty had shown up. She sneered, "What did you do?!". I just shrugged and said, they were like this when I put them on this morning and quickly moved into the next room to tell mom I was ready to go.

But the good news is, after all of those adventures, I was almost completely over my heartbreak.


Dem Bones

We had beef ribs on Saturday night. Since they were beef bones we decided to give them to the dogs, Tundra and Faith.

I walked out the door with a plate of bones and they were right up on me begging for them. So I pulled one off the plate for each of them. Tundra took his and as I handed Faith hers he stared hard at it. I could almost see his doggie brain working.
I turned towards their bowls to put the rest of the bones in them while Faith took her bone into the grass and settled down for a nice evening of cleaning and chewing it up. Tundra however immediately dropped the bone I gave him and trotted over to the bowls just sure I was going to put something better in there.
I dropped the bones in and he sniffed and picked one up. He trotted over to his other bone and as I walked back inside I saw that he would chew on one for a minute then see the other one and drop the 1st one to chew on the 2nd one.
Back and forth he went and even went to the bowl for a 3rd bone, surely that one would be the best of them all.

I went inside to tell this funny little story and realized what an analogy to humans it is. How there are some of us that can be content with what we have and others that are constantly striving for what we think is better. Sometimes it is, but sometimes we just flit back and forth between several things and never really allow ourselves to settle in enough to enjoy what's right in front of us.

I don't know where the balance is, but I'm sure trying to figure it out.


Five Minutes: Flirting

Ok, the rule is to type for five minutes and post whatever vomits out of my fingertips. May God be with you all.


I'm going to go ahead and tell you that I am rife with awkwardness when it comes to male/female relationships. I tell boys that turtles breath out of their butts, I race to open the door for myself and laugh super loud at inappropriate times.
But my major issue is this:

I can't tell when someone is just being nice and when they are flirting.
When I think someone is flirting people say, "They're just being nice"
When I think someone is just being nice people say, "Oh no, they're flirting with you!"

I just don't know.
But I'm also going to say that there is someone that is being nice to me and I girlishly think he's a little handsome, kind and fun to talk to. I just can't tell if he's being nice or flirting.
I also refuse to do anything about it because so far I'm still holding (mostly) steady in my no dating on purpose rule.
But then again, it's easy to not date when no one is asking you out.

I don't even know that I want anything to happen, I'm just saying...if dude could hold up a sign that says flirting or nice then it would make things a lot less awkward in my head.

For now, I think I'll just chill and enjoy the conversation.



Prayer in the Desert

(via inCourage)
A friend of mine recently asked me to pray for her.  She expressed how she was in a “dry” place. Unlike so many times before, she couldn’t think of a specific thing that I could pray, but she just felt she needed prayer. Her request made me think back on times in my own life when I felt like I was in the desert or a dry place with the Lord.

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines desert as: 1) arid land with usually sparse vegetation; an area of water apparently devoid of life 2) a wild uninhabited and uncultivated tract 3) a desolate or forbidding area

That definition certainly doesn’t make you want to go book an airline ticket and head off to the desert for your next vacation. As Christians, “desert times” can be stressful, scary, make us question our relationship with God and question God Himself.

Today, I want to look at the desert in a different light and give it a new definition.  If you search for scriptures throughout the book of Exodus you notice that God called His people to: worship me in the desert (Exodus 7:16), journey into the desert (Exodus 3:18), hold a festival to me in the desert (Exodus 5:1). They looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud (Exodus 16:10).

All of these scriptures point out that God is there in the desert!  And if we meet God there with an open mind and a trusting heart we can endure these times.  Often, that is easier said than done. At least for me! But, if God is there with us and we believe that He is who is says He is – will can praise Him in that desert place. On the flip side of that, the desert can be all that Webster’s describes if we lose sight of God and start to grumble as the Israelites did on their well know journey through the desert.  A trip through the desert with God can provide festival, praise, growth and worship or a trip through the desert without Him can bring thirst, defeat and death.

God speaks to us through prayer, the Bible, the church, others He places in our paths and our circumstances.  Let’s not forget the last one.  Our circumstances can bring us to that desert place and if we open our heart to the Lord He can fill it with answers and speak to us in ways we wouldn’t hear or understand if we were not in the desert.

I believe during the “dry times” we learn to seek God daily, ask Him questions, get to know Him more intimately, and remember not to take Him for granted.  He stretches our faith muscles, convicts our hearts, challenges our trust and just like every good workout leaves us a little sore. But in the long run, we are fit for the next challenge. We are stronger than when we started. We realize even more how much we need Him in our daily lives, how much He has to offer and how much we count on Him.
So, let’s redefine desert.

Desert: 1) vast land with that grows that bread of life; an area filled with the living water 2) a wild and exciting area full of opportunities to gain knowledge and grow closer with our Father in Heaven 3) an intimate and pleasant area

Now that’s better!!!

He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas; Psalm 78:15


Wind Chimes

Wind chimes are at once soothing and relaxing to me while also a trigger for fear
I ran out of gas in the power washer the other day and sat down for just a few minutes on the patio. As I leaned my head back I smiled at the noise of the trees blowing in the wind, the wind chime tinkling and the birds cooing and sighed contentedly.

I drifted off to sleep in the way you only can on a warm summer Sunday afternoon outside. But as I was caught somewhere between awake and asleep the wind chimes started changing. They became ominous. In my head I was moved from the blue chair on my patio to the green swing on the porch of their house. The concrete under my feet changed to painted gray wood weathered by a generation of feet.
I could see myself sleeping with a book on my chest on the swing while it swayed back and forth unaware of the footsteps approaching me.

She walked up to the back of the swing.
She leaned over and with the smell of bitterness rotting on her breath she hissed in my ear, "Bethany".

I startled awake in real life. I looked around and didn't see anyone. I rubbed my eyes reminding myself that I'm not there, and I don't have to go there ever again. I rested my head back against the chair again and immediately fell asleep.

I saw myself. Sitting in the grass under a weeping willow tree. Listening to those same wind chimes and the birds in the early evening cooing and calling each other home. I watched through branches to the ground and the windows older than I as they walked around the house. I felt the breeze lifting the hair off the back of my neck as I shivered, knowing I had to go in soon.

I startled awake as the patio door opened. Shouting out my heart pounded as I realized I was no longer small. I was no longer there. I was no longer powerless or at the mercy of angry women.



By the end of the summer I'll be transitioning out of leading Washington Project. I told the rest of the leadership team last night and it went well.
There are some excellent women stepping up to lead Washington Project after me. We'll also be re-evaluating the ministry to see what can be improved what stays the same etc.

No drama llama, it's just something that God has shown me is time to move on from.
I'll be taking a break and then serving in some capacity after the first of the year.

In the last few months since going to therapy the junk in my heart has been shifting and working its way out. I think this is a natural progression of how God is re-shaping my heart.

Should be a fun time. Looking at some other things that have been moving closer to front of my mind as well, I'm excited and more emotionally and mentally healthy then I've been in a long time.


Subtext of the Text

I'm learned in the art of subtext.
To the point of sometimes reading to much into things.
But sometimes words are said in just such a way that I wonder at the meaning beneath them.

So long I've waited with bated breath for words to cut through me and figuring out how to flee when the air crackles with pre-cut tension that I'm not sure how to move through relationships without that fear.

I'm not sure how to believe you when you show me friendship without condition because I know there's condition there somewhere.

So I engage and disengage and try to figure it all out.
I smile and laugh when inside I'm wondering if what you're saying is true or just a plan to lull me into submission for the attack.

I'm wondering if this feeling of subtext is on the way out. Because as I get healthier emotionally and mentally I'm wondering if I will continue to feel stronger and less vulnerable to attack.

I hope so. All this wondering about the subtext of conversations is exhausting.


Five Minutes: One Day

Ok, the rule is to type for five minutes and post whatever vomits out of my fingertips. May God be with you all.


I'm a procrastinator. Sometimes I think that's a fancy way to say lazy.
I always think that one day I'll get to this, one day I'll get to that and then next thing you know I have to rush through and do everything at once because of everything I've put off.

I get overwhelmed easily. My house is a hot mess right now because of the bathroom renovation. My bedroom and bathroom stuff is spread all over the house and it's stressing me out. The back fence is being power washed so when it's nice out we're power washing the fence instead of cleaning up the house and putting last minute touches on the bathroom.
So when I walk inside I'm already tired from power washing and working and I just can't deal with picking up and cleaning stuff in the house.

Because it's just to much.
There's just to much stuff sitting out and around and the places they need to go back to aren't ready for them yet so they sit in the middle of the living room or 2nd & 3rd bedroom and annoy the crap out of me.

Emotionally I do the same thing. I let things build because the little things aren't really a big deal until they are, or until they are added to a myriad of other little things and I'm hacked off and pissed or hurt.

There's a lot of emotional chaos going on in my heart right now. I'm making a big change (that we'll talk about later) and also with therapy and working on building intentional and healthy adult female relationships I'm just overwhelmed. I look at it all and I can hardly think of what small step to take next because there is just so much to be done.

But I just try to do it anyway. One little step at a time. Remembering that Rome wasn't built in a day and my heart will certainly not be repaired in one either. I try to remember it took my mind 31 years to get to the jaded and wounded place it is now and it may take me years to repair it.

But I'm trying anyway.
one day, my relationships won’t carry the stain of abandonment. one day, i won’t fear the Beauty inside – one day the healing will be complete and i’ll be able to take these things i carry and see them for what they really are: scars that reveal i survived.
(via: Elora Nicole)


Black and White Girl

I believe there is truth.
I have opinions and thoughts that I think are correct and true.

But when I share them, which hasn't happened a lot until recently, I try to say it with grace.
I try not to punch someone in the face with a truth rocket peppered with shame grenades.

I don't understand why people feel the need to belittle others with what they believe is the truth.

I'm not perfect at it.
But I'm trying.

I'm trying to be bolder in sharing the truth as I see it with people and being more open and strong in sharing my thoughts and opinions with others.

But then I also think a lot about what other people see as the truth.
Because there seems to be a lot of technicalities out there.
I confess I've been guilty of it before.

Technically I made 1 phone call so if I say, I called the people from my to do list it can sound like I called ALL of them and technically I'm not responsible for other peoples assumptions, even though I know exactly what they'll assume I'm saying.

It's been said to me many times that I'm hard on people in regards to the truth.
That I'm black and white and people are either liars or they tell the truth. They're either saints or sinners.
I know I am in a lot of things, but I still can't understand why people wonder why I'm concerned about their level of honesty and that the trust I have in them is shaky when they lie.

I try to see it from their point of view. I try to believe that they can compartmentalize and only lie about specific things, but no matter how I try it's very unsettling to me.

So I guess now I'm trying to learn how to be better at giving grace.
Because I believe in a redemptive God that showers us with grace, even me.

I'm trying to learn the nuances of adult relationships and realize that other people don't know some secret relational tricks that I don't. We're all just broken people bumping into other broken people trying to find our way.

I'm also learning that I can be a black and white girl at the exact same time as a gray girl.
It's one of the joys of being a study in contradiction.
Someone told me a lie
Someone looked me in the eye
And said time will ease your pain
But behold, when you fall
It's that same old cannonball
Coming back for your heart again
Cannonball -Brandi Carlile


Dirty and Smiling

I was talking to a new friend the other night about how much easier it would be to be *this* instead of *that*. 

To be filthy instead of just a little muddy

To be completely shattered instead of wounded and limping along

To be scared of the outside but still getting up and leaving your house every morning because what else could you do instead of pulling the covers over your head and drifting into oblivion.

This partial brokenness seems to be caught in a limbo of neither redeemed or cast out.
But I don't really understand why.
Because aren't most people caught in that limbo, just putting on a pretty face and dealing with it secretly?

It seems the more I open my mouth and tell people about my damage the more people I see glance around and whisper, "Me too."

I was mad at first. At this legion of people that just never said anything and left me feeling completely alone and adrift.
But then I realized, I hadn't been saying anything of substance either anyway.
I had said things, but they were sarcastic and couched in the, "Oh, well...everyone has something" language.

Now I'm saying, "I don't understand relationships. I would like to have healthier friendships where I don't always feel so less than. This abuse has affected me in a way that infects every relationship and I am incapable of just getting over it and simply not thinking about it every day."

And I hear the whispers of, "me too"

So, maybe we can stop comparing each others brokenness and just get down to the business of helping them pick up the pieces.

Maybe we can face our own demons and trauma and work through them so we can help others along the path to the person God is making them into.
Maybe we can sit with people that aren't rainbows and sunshine happy all the time and just be with them instead of plying them with platitudes and then urging them to just keep silent because the jagged edges scare you.

I'll go first.
I am not an angry girl
but it seems like I've got everyone fooled
every time I say something they find hard to hear
they chalk it up to my anger
and never to their own fear
and imagine you're a girl
just trying to finally come clean
knowing full well they'd prefer you
were dirty and smiling
Ani DiFranco - Pretty Girl



 My immediate response to chipper people is sarcasm and anger
I snarl the left side of my lip and try to figure out what the hell their problem is, who crapped rainbows on their Rice Krispies.

I swing wildly and uncontrollably between moments of heights of Pollyanna optimism and days of snarky judgemental anger.
It's addicting.
This lull of anger and disallusionment.

I don't want to believe when there are possibilities of good things happening because they will probably not and I'll be upset, let down, hurt.

I wonder if anyone really ever gets to do the job they are passionate about.
I doubt they are really passionate about it or if it's all just a front.

Because I don't believe other people, unless they are angry or snarky too. Then I believe every last poisoneous word that drips out of their mouths.

I feel stuck in a rut with glimpses of flat ground, gasping for air and wondering if I'm just meant to be this girl after all.
So tired that I couldn't even sleep
So many secrets I couldn't keep
Promised myself I wouldn't weep
One more promise I couldn't keep

It seems no one can help me now
I'm in too deep
There's no way out
This time I have really led myself astray

Runaway train never going back
Wrong way on a one way track
Seems like I should be getting somewhere
Somehow I'm neither here no there

Can you help me remember how to smile
Make it somehow all seem worthwhile
How on earth did I get so jaded
Life's mystery seems so faded
-Soul Asylum Runaway Train



Sometimes I'm afraid it will never be fixed
More often I wonder if there are some things that are just too broken. Too damaged. Too far gone.

My heart aches.
It aches with a desire to make a difference and hold other people's broken pieces and help them see they are special and important.
It aches to feel someone do that for me without me wondering what it is they want me to do for them, because why else would they be kind for me.

I make it through most days.
Most days I can see the big picture and hang in there.
But some days I get lost in the details.
In all the small shards of brokenness that no matter how far we all come will never be able to be glued back into place.

I'm clinging to the idea that the moments which shatter us the most are the ones which shape us the most; God pieces together who He wants us to become (thanks Bob Goff)


Five Minutes: Forgetting

Ok, the rule is to type for five minutes and post whatever vomits out of my fingertips. May God be with you all.


I remember the oddest things. I remember that when I cracked my chin open in kindergarten that Nathan Mestrey tripped me with the television cord and I was wearing my favorite purple shirt with a bow on the front and that I ruined it because I pulled it off while rushing down the hallway with Mrs. Nye with blood gushing out of my face.
I remember all sorts of details that are useless and unimportant.

Lately in therapy I've been asked to write completely sensory details of instances of abuse or trauma that I've pushed down all these years. She asked me to write about the colors, textures, the smells and everything down to the smallest detail like the wallpaper or the color of the carpet.
I tried really hard to do it but I kept cracking jokes.
After I read it aloud to her she noted that I use the sarcasm as a buffer between me and the trauma.

Um...duh lady.

So I wrote about another occasion. The trigger situation that sent me spiraling back down and drove me to therapy. The straw that broke the camels back as it were.

But this time I just wrote. I wrote like I write here. With the tears pouring from my fingertips without worrying about the sensory part of it. Ten handwritten pages later I found how hurt I still was and how much that wound is still raw even as I'm working through it still. How much easier it is to be mad or hurt about this then about the wounds that were created before I had any say in what my life looked like.

As I read it aloud in the office I heard that even though it still hurts I'm seeing the pattern and ties that connect the trauma I've been sarcastically keeping at bay to the last year of my life.

Because even though I have a great memory I'd forgotten how deeply the cuts run and how pervasive they are because I'd buried them under stories told in just such a way covered with decades of sarcasm.



Bitter and Sweet

Who would have known, how bittersweet this would taste
This righting of wrongs
This standing up of things fallen down

Who could have known the decisions that would be made to survive would be the decisions killing so many years later

My mouth has been flooded with words unspoken for so long my lips have forgotten how to form the syllables
But I speak all the same





I speak out of the deep darkness that was consuming me and the fear that it was all true after all

I taste the salty tears on my lips as I part them to say to you that I need you to love me even when I reject any offering of love you try to give me

I bite down on the bitter and angry tongue that would often rather cut you to the quick then taste the disappointment of plans cancelled and hearts broken from abandonment

I kneel obediently




I clasp my hands together




I taste the bitter

Knowing the sweet will come


Good Things: May

May 1 Fun morning with WP and a lovely afternoon of Netflix and Hulu on the sofa

May 2 Made a HUGE life changing decision. Scary, needed, and well received by lovely friends.

May 3 Lovely girl time with Bobbie talking over pedicures. Love her so much.

May 4 Put the ball in motion for a monthly Girlfriends Night Out after talking to some lovely women who all feel the same disconnect I've been feeling

May 5 Family night, where Matthew gave me the finger guns and wink

May 6 I wore a dress and heels and felt pretty

May 7 Nicole Graduated! For hopefully the last time!

May 8 Day 3 of the dress weekend. Church and lunch with Mom and Dad

May 9 Dogsitting, started a book on the Gospel of Ruth I've been wanting to get to for awhile

May 10 Night at home, no plans and yummy pork chops on the grill thanks to Pete!

May 11 Spontaneous dinner and ice cream at The Dip with roomie, Sharen and Matthew. Matthew ran up to me afterwards and gave me a big hug and whispered "I have a nice time at dinner with you, Aunt Bethany"

May 12 Happy Birthday, Sharen! Red Robin and ice cream cake

May 13 Looooong day but headed north again for Nicole's graduation party

May 14 Full day of prepping for, hanging out/working at and cleaning up from Nicole's graduation party. But so fun to celebrate all her hard work with her!

May 15 Became slightly manic when thinking about everything there is to do in the coming week. Bathroom demo starting and lots to do on top of that.

May 16 Full day, but I survived in mostly a good mood

May 17 First Girlfriends Night Out with Sharen and some other ladies from church. God's been putting the intentional development of adult female relationships on my heart a lot lately and this was a big first step

May 18 Lunch with a friend where when answering the "what's new with you" question I realized that every aspect of my life is under construction/renovation right now. It's interesting to see the changes happening and wonder where God's taking it all

May 19 Got to knock down some dry wall while pretending some customers faces were on it, it felt nice

May 20 Lots of laughing at Geek Games followed by a late night run to Waffle House

May 21 Our Harry Potter Rapture party went of without any of us going to heaven or being left behind. Also, butter beer and strong martini's by Pete

May 22 Finished up the bathroom demo and watched the random May hail storm

May 23 Let the master bath remodel begin!

May 24 Costco-ing after work

May 25 Had some kind things said to me by someone I really admire. And I didn't even interrupt and try to tell him all the ways he was wrong!

May 26 Bought some Klondike bars, ate one. That was pretty awesome

May 27 Straight home from work! Which was good because there is A LOT of cleaning and laundry to do.

May 28 Special day with Shelby means dresses and massages

May 29 Cookout with some fun people

May 30 Hard conversations, but totally worth it.

May 31 I have to be honest, after not posting for a month I was a little relieved to know I was going to start sharing again tomorrow, which is today, which is June 1st, which is...well you get it.