I'm Just Saying

Palace Views

14375342_1898733117020628_440956483_oA year ago today, I set foot in London, England for the first time. And realized I was home.

I went to England for three weeks on a study abroad tour with the English department at my university. We spent the first several days in London, and continued from there. Each Sunday that we were there we attended church. On the last Sunday I remember sitting in the meeting and weeping. I remember silently praying, talking to God about a lot of different things.

I remember praying, “How can I do it? How can I leave here? I’ve never felt such a sense of belonging in my life. How can I leave, Father? How?”

Then I prayed, “And you’re probably so tired of hearing about my problems. You’re probably so done hearing about the same concern over and over again. Even though I’m here in England I’ve still been praying about it and I’m sorry.”

More tears just came pouring out of my eyes. I thought the woman next to me was going to have to pull out her umbrella. “Please,” I finished, “I can’t leave. I don’t know how to leave this behind.”

The thing was, even as I was caught up in this sorrow, I felt a peace I’d never experiencedPhone Pictures 707 before. To be honest, this peace settled over my heart the instant I arrived in England and never left the whole time I was there. But in this moment, I felt so much genuine sadness. I was so grateful to be there. So, so incredibly grateful. I had known that I would feel that way. In fact, much of my life my parents had been reluctant about letting me travel to England because, as my mother once said, “You’ll go there and realize it’s your home. And then you’ll never come back.”

She was right. Because a part of me is still there, and it’s never coming back.

But as I spoke this prayer, and felt this peace, I also heard something. Very distinctly.

“I’ll never get tired of hearing you speak to me about anything. I don’t care if you say the same prayer all day every day if that’s the prayer of your heart. And I know you’re sad. I know it’s hard. And I’m right here with you. Don’t worry. This isn’t the end.”

Phone Pictures 927My time in England was the happiest time of my life up to that point. It was so much more for me than just seeing things I’d always wanted to see. It was so much more than a great thing I got to experience.

It was the very first time in my life where I saw dreams coming true. It was the very first time in my life where I wasn’t just waiting for my turn. (What can I say, I grew up in a big family. Waiting my turn has always been and will always be the story of my life.) It was the very first time when something completely spectacular, something beautiful, something so, so incredibly good that fed my soul, happened to me.

It was the first time that I realized good things could actually happen to me. And not just to everyone else. I think that the combination of me being number 8 of 10 children and also a writer has doomed me to a life of observation. I have always just been a watcher. I’ve watched things happen to other people my whole life, with me just standing on the fringes.

My deepest held desire has always been that one day it would be my turn.

You see, when your time finally comes, it is so much more than just seeing the sights. It is about dreams you’ve had your whole life coming true. It is about prayers you’ve whispered through tears finally being answered. It is about finally inhabiting a place in the universe you’ve only seen others step into. It is about joy so pure and full that you think your heart will burst. Joy you’ve waited your turn for your entire life.

This last year has been a year of it finally being my turn for a lot of things.

And it all started with England. England welcoming my soul home. England teaching mePhone Pictures 843 that it is about so much more than just the surface of what’s happening to you. England teaching me that it is actually about dreams coming true, prayers being answered, long awaited joy bursting your heart. England letting me go in a very painful moment, but whispering that it wouldn’t be for long.

I remember standing in Hampton Court Palace, only a few days into the trip, looking around me in complete awe. My heart was so full, my head buzzing. I couldn’t get enough of the view.

Just Writing

Taper

taper

in the window of a cottage
burns a taper
bright and dancing
the flame never dies

breezes blow across the floor
drafts threaten the flame
but it burns on
the taper never dies

it shines through the glass
and down the dirt road
for miles it shines
it never dies

across the valley it can be seen
a lone flame
in the upstairs window
it never dies

through dark and light
summer and winter
it burns
the flame never dies

the taper is burning
the light is flickering
casting shadows and dancers
they are alive

they tell a story
the orange dancers
illuminating shadows
they are alive

they dance into corners
and back again
laughing they gesture
brilliantly alive

the dancers talk about the flame
and all it means
what it represents
how it is alive

the flame is love
and life and grief
it is eternity
it is alive

the flame is happiness
and joy and sadness
it is life
it will never die

the flame will never die
sitting in the window
shining over the valley
it is love

I'm Just Saying

Just Remember…

When I blog, I feel tremendously wise. I’m always blogging about things that I feel very deeply, things I want to believe, things I want to remind myself. I love writing because I think that once you get something written down, it makes it permanent in a very special way. Blogging has always been a very therapeutic thing for me because of that. It is a way that I can put everything that’s tangled and confused in my brain into an orderly fashion. It’s a way I can realize what is true and what isn’t.

For this blog, I want to remind myself to remember.

  • Remember the answers I’ve received, and stop worrying about how.
  • Remember the joy I’ve experienced recently, and how it has changed me.
  • Remember to keep a new perspective.
  • Remember to stay hopeful.
  • Remember to see myself the way I should.
  • Remember that there is good in everything.
  • Remember that everything will always work out.
  • Remember that there is a tremendous amount of joy to be had.
  • Remember that love is an abundant and healing thing.
  • Remember that I am more than my worries.

Just remember.

I'm Just Saying

This Week on Jordan’s Life…

rough weekJust in case none of you were aware, today is Friday.

This being the case, I’ve been thinking back over this week I’ve experienced and wondering a little. I work with a young man named Cam, he is about 17 and the best person on the planet. Seriously. Every time he sees me, he gives me an award winning smile and says, “Hey you! How’s your week been?”

Unfortunately, today when he asked me that I had to answer him honestly. You see, I’ve built this “honest” reputation and now everybody at my place of business always expects me to tell the 100% truth. Sometimes it isn’t the best. Like today, when I had to look back on my week and tell Cam very seriously that overall, it hasn’t been great.

But here is what makes this not-so-great week different from other not-so-great weeks: there really isn’t any reason that it shouldn’t have been great. I’ve had time with friends and family this week, I’ve done quite well in school.

Have you ever had just one of THOSE weeks? When you feel weird and you act weird and everything seems just a little…weird? That has been my week this week. Just weird.

And guess what, people? I got a new nephew this week! My older sister Jessie had a little boy two days ago, whom they named Augustus Ira. Not only is this the best name ever, but I’m so grateful that he made it here safely and that all went well. It has been a huge bright spot in my life. Being an aunt is probably my favorite thing to be. It brings me a lot of joy.

There has just been SO MUCH going on that I don’t know where to put my head. I’ve been pulled in at least 100 different directions, and I can’t seem to make my mind up about shake it offanything. Which is frustrating, because at the end of the day I’m a pretty straightforward person and I don’t like things to be more difficult than they have to be. (This is why I find math not only a waste of happiness but a waste of time. Just saying. Like, look at a painting or read a book or something. Work on your heart before all those numbers explode your head…this was a tangent I didn’t see coming. I might have to write an entire post about it later.)

Anyway, I guess what all of this boils down to is we have weeks like this one. Weeks where everything just feels off and we can’t seem to figure out why and all we really need is soda and a hug. And then Frank Sinatra music and movies. Because that is an absolutely perfect equation for fixing just about anything.

I'm Just Saying

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

I make a lot of statements on this blog. But rarely are my statements ever incredibly strong, controversial, rude, or bossy. cold outsideToday? I’ve got something I need to say. I’m calling it. I’m about to lay my cards out on the table and take all the chips. So if you decided to scroll past this post, please come back. If you never read my blog, read it today. If you remember one thing about my blog ever in it’s history or future, remember this.

I want to talk about the holiday season. And what I want to say about it is pretty black and white and makes a lot of sense to me, so I’m not going to draw it out.

We are entering the holidays, and I’m so giddy that I can hardly stand it. That’s right, I’m 20 years old and STILL cannot wait for Christmas morning. Many of you will remember how passionately I feel about Christmas. I listen to Christmas music all year long and start planning gifts in June. We’re about to put lights on the house and the trees aren’t far away. It’s serious. (So, yes, this will not be last time this year you read about Christmas on this blog of mine.)

But what really gets at me is the War on Christmas. There is a war on Christmas, it’s a very real thing and seems to have started early this year. And guess who the commander-in-chief is?

Thanksgiving.

Like I said, I’m going to try not to draw this out. So here is what I want to say about this whole thing:

Thanksgiving and Christmas are not separate things for me. I’m not interested in the “celebrate being thankful before celebrating getting everything” mentality. Because for me, Thanksgiving Day does not end my season of Thanksgiving. It really kicks it into full swing. Christmas is the most humbling, wonderful, and grateful day of my entire year. I may be surrounded with gifts and find my lost toddler niece buried in the wrapping paper, but all I can do is sit and look at my family, hear their laughter, and wonder how we can be so infinitely blessed.

I believe in being grateful, and that doesn’t have to only be at Thanksgiving. I do not believe that Christmas takes away from Thanksgiving because I believe that they are the same, they bring us the same joy and perspective. As a Christian I celebrate Christmas as the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ. I celebrate that He came into this world to give His life for us. If that celebration isn’t an expression of gratitude for the greatest gift of all, then what is?

One of my top three favorite Christmas albums holds one of my all time favorite songs. It is a song about being Thankful. On a Christmas album. Do you see what I’m getting at here?

let us adore himI believe that at Christmas, we give gifts as acts of love. The number of presents does not equal love, the lack thereof does not equal love. We can get lost in both sides. We give gifts at Christmas because God gave us the gift of His Son. We get the unique opportunity to find something that will bring another person joy and give it to them selflessly and wonderfully.

On the receiving end, we really learn more of what it means to come unto Christ. We do so humbly, because He asks it of us. He stands with open arms, ready to receive us and all we have to do is be ready to receive Him. Christmas teaches us about true gratitude and what it really means to give and receive. Thanksgiving is a wonderful, glorious moment that begins this joyous season of gratitude and giving.

The war on Christmas was begun by the very things that it professes to fight. In telling others not to celebrate Christmas prior to Thanksgiving, are we telling them not to celebrate Christ, to not receive what we are given in love, and to not give to others in love? In focusing on gratitude only at Thanksgiving, we take away the very reason we have Christmas. In fighting about the “true meaning of Christmas” and plastering it everywhere in angry words, we lose the true meaning of Christmas.

I believe in Thanksgiving and Christmas. I believe in the whole holiday season as a time to be grateful, celebrate Jesus Christ, receive in love, and give selflessly. Don’t wait to celebrate.

I'm Just Saying

Safe And Sound

What an absolutely insane week it has been! And not only here on Call Me Incorrigible, but just in my life as well! I’ve had so many adventures and insights this week that I really want to share with you this evening. I’m not even sure where to start!

safteHave you ever just had a really, really, really BAD day?  That happened to me yesterday. I had this experience where somebody did something that really, really upset me. You see, with me there are a couple of ground rules and if they get broken…it’s not the best day.

One of those rules is this: If I ask you not to do something, do not do it. Another one is this: if I say “Stop” once, then stop. There is no gray area with these rules. You follow them or you do not. Because of some really traumatic events that have occurred in my life, these two rules are very important to me. Well, yesterday the first rule got broken, and I was not a very happy person. Some emotions that are still very raw came forward, and I didn’t like it.

For me, it’s all about safety. I have this incredible need to feel safe. Safe in every way. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, you name it. Feeling safe is a huge, huge priority for me. I’m constantly wanting to say, and feel, “I am safe.” Trust is another thing. I’ve talked a lot about how this last year and a half has been the hardest one in my life, and I’ve come to realize that safety and trust are major things for me.

I didn’t realize this until I started going through my own intense healing process, but I feel like healing can almost be more difficult than the experiences themselves. Or at least that’s how it’s been for me. When all of the hard things were happening, my sole focus was to keep my head above water. But when you heal, you dive beneath all that water. You find the source of that water, and you try and stop the flow. And in the process you get really wet again, immersed in all the pain again. You relive it a thousand times over, and feel it more deeply than perhaps you did when it was happening.

I will be the first to stand up and say that you don’t dive alone, you don’t get wet alone. You can’t. Healing requires more Watersthan just yourself. I know that in the midst of the pain God was there beside me, as well as many, many other people, and it has been the same with the healing process. And while I feel I’ve come very far, there are times when I look around me, very, very deep in all that water and wonder how long I’ll feel so broken.

But God taught me something very, very important this morning:

His ways are higher than our own.

It is hard to understand, trust me, I know. But I have to believe that God has given me certain challenges, and placed me on a certain path because He wants what is best for me and what will make me a better person. I don’t understand all of the hardships, I don’t understand why I felt a mountain of very negative emotions and couldn’t think even one remotely pleasant thought about myself.

But what if all of the tears and hardships are incredible blessings that we just cannot see yet?  We can have no way of knowing how things “might have” or “would have” turned out. But I believe that God’s ways are infinitely higher than our own, and in the process of molding us into something incredible He will bring us to mountains we do not understand. But that will not last forever. We are more than that. There is more than that. His ways are higher than our own. And because He loves us, He will not ever choose to leave us alone.

mountainA few days ago I went on a spontaneous trip to my old college town. My earlier followers will remember my posts from college life. Wow. Looking back now, those days are so precious to me. Thursday I had the day off, and so I decided to drive three hours and go visit my old roommate. It was so incredible! It was amazing to be at my old school, in a place that I love, and feel that peace. We mostly just talked about old memories and had a good time. It made me so, so grateful for good friends, good times, beautiful sunsets, and great ice cream.

A conclusion that I’ve come to is that, as humans, we are all searching for relevance. And that is why we do any of the things that we do. We are looking for relevance in our life. We want to mean something, to matter. We want to last. Relevance. We search, we fight, we push for relevance. But I think that when all is said and done we have more relevance and power and potential than we will ever know.

And that feels safe.

I'm Just Saying

Something Real

We live in a world of complexities and paradoxes. Of opposites. There is right, and there is wrong. So often these days I think that the line between the two is immensely blurry. And we get all of these things thrown into our faces about being “real” and what it means to be “real”.

reall areSocial media runs everything we do. This world has turned into a place where we are worthless without technology. It’s necessary for me to say to myself, “Take away the technology, the social media, all of that. Take it away. Do you still know who you are?”

I think most of us have this genuine need for privacy. Because of that, we get this skewed perception of what everybody’s life is like. We look on social media and see the happy faces. Then we get uncomfortable when we see the occasional midnight rant or revealing post from somebody whose life isn’t going very well and they decide to publicize it.

I’ve been going through this strange phase in my life where I am having a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is not. Let me explain. I am pulled one way by somebody’s opinion of what they think life is and what it should be, and then another way by somebody else, and then another way by somebody else. And so at the end of the day I look at all of these things and compare them to my own thoughts on life, and I just end up confused.

Sometimes I wish that I could just stand somewhere and yell for everybody to hear, “There is so much about what you’re doing that doesn’t matter! Family and faith are what truly matter. What are you doing? Where are you going? What is truly important here?”

But then I find that I’m guilty of it, too. I’m stuck in the same problem that I see. I want something real. I want to have a life light woundthat is open and honest. I want to be known as a noble person, who will always defend what she believes in and rely on what she knows to be true. But I find that, all too easily, I get caught in this whirlpool of lies and deceit, things that the world tells you that aren’t true at all.

I can post a cute picture of my nephews and I on social media, but that doesn’t really communicate that I cried myself to sleep the night before or that my life has ended up in a place I’d never even imagined. I can write a funny blog post, but that speaks nothing about feeling unwanted, labeled, and taken advantage of.

But we can’t just go around throwing our problems in everybody’s faces, either. Because the truth is that we are all struggling, we are all fighting some type of battle. Can you imagine how horrible that would be? Good grief, I’m almost crying just thinking about it. Talk about depression and negativity running rampant! Bleh…that doesn’t sound appealing at all. So what do we do?

One of my very favorite passages of scripture reads, “The truth shall make you free.” And another also says, “Men are that they might have joy.” If we combine these two very powerful ideas, something beautiful happens. We are here to be happy, and we are free to be happy when we embrace truth.

commandmentsI believe in truth. I believe that there are eternal truths that will never change, regardless of whether or not we believe in them. I think of it this way: the Law of Gravity would not cease to exist just because we all decided we’d rather float. Truth is truth, no matter what. Truth is real. Love and light are real. Darkness is also real, but darkness is not a force. It does not move. It is simply the absence of light.

There is nothing wrong with walking through darkness. We have all done it, are doing it, and will continue to face darkness throughout our lives. It is the way God intended life to be. There is so much to learn, and how else are we to learn it if not through experience? But just because we find a shadow in our path does not mean that we are unable to turn on a light and bring it forward as we walk. Perhaps even the light will be dim, it may flicker. It may even go out. But there is always a way to turn it back on.

The last year and a half of my life has been harder than any I’ve ever experienced. And I don’t think that this particular time of struggle is yet over. But the last several weeks, especially since returning home, have been astonishing. I’ve been able to find so much love and light along my path. Though I believe it is a lesson that takes a lifetime to master (perhaps longer) I’ve tasted what it is like to find joy along with the sorrow. I’ve learned a lot about myself, about life, and about God.

So maybe that is the secret. We can choose to spread darkness, or we can choose to spread light. We can choose to time is valueacknowledge that there is darkness, but focus on the happiness instead. We can choose to be thankful, no matter what. We are a race of warriors. We fight for life and love and happiness. At the end of the day, we fight for what is real. There has to be opposition, or there would be no point. Without opposition, there would be no books, movies, or music. There would be no life. Hard things happen all the time. That’s just the way it is. It can be crippling. I know. But here are are a few other things I know without a doubt: the sun will rise again, God is always there, and there is always hope. What sort of wonderful being is God shaping you into? What spectacular things await you if you will but believe and endure?

That is real.

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