Why you should schedule rest

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One of my favorite French phrases borrowed from the English language is le week-end. In French, “week” is semaine and “end” is dernier. I guess the French allowed week-end to slip through the typically impenetrable fortress of the French language to make it just a little easier to reference those glorious two days at the end of every work week.

In theory,  we rest and recuperate on Saturday and Sunday. Le probleme is that the French- and many other cultures- do le week-end so much better than most Americans do. When we do have “time off”- which is often rare- we have the tendency to fill those extra hours with more scheduled time. Grocery store runs, hours at the gym, and quick coffee dates with friends end up dominating days off, or hours after work. Continue reading

When fulfilling your dream takes longer than you think it should

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When it’s possible to run a business out of your purse, learn a foreign language on your phone, or become famous overnight on YouTube, the future seems like a menu of possibilities for those of a certain generation. As children, many of us were told to follow our dreams, which, as it turns out is both terrifying and wonderful. It can leave us paralyzed with indecision, or- in the best case scenario- it can motivate us to move forward and actually do it: venture into an intersection where faith meets action; where uncertainty about our abilities is eclipsed by a jolt of confidence that we can and will achieve what we want to.

Whether it’s starting a business, making a big move, or just giving up a conventional career to make your side gig your full-time gig, making the big leap into pursuing your passion at the expense of security can be scary. But there’s a greater challenge ahead on the Oregon trail of your following your dream: and that is remaining on the path, even when it begins to be an uphill climb, there’s a river bypass, your horses die, or your wagon wheels break. Your business may fail, you may run out of money, your submissions and auditions rejected. Challenges are almost always inevitable, especially if we want to do something great. Continue reading

Resolutions for 2017

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1. Dream More.

In 2017, I want to dwell in all the possibilities of what could be. Backpacking around New Zealand, micro-financing small businesses for women in third-world countries, learning to surf, heck, buying a really nice car. My dreams may go poof and disappear, or they may materialize in front of me. Regardless, I’m going there—and I’m not allowing “what if’s” or “but’s” to stand in my way. Continue reading

With plenty or little: Christmas across the continents

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lap-top coconut: lunch in Mozambique

It’s December, and here in LA, we are in full swing of the season- holiday music jingles across the airwaves, I’m offered tiny mugs of cider and cookies at every turn (church, the shopping mall, Whole Foods), red, green and tinsel everything, and I’m feeling cozy, oddly romantic (I’m single), emotional (abnormal for me), and like I need to shop. Every. single. day. I’m wearing sparkly earrings, looking forward to the next Christmas party (one about every 48 hours), and planning a batch of spicy-sweet popcorn brittle, and browsing recipes for paleo eggnog. I’m watching Christmas movies, buying gifts for family (and let’s be real, me), and dreading the post-holiday abyss that is January while sipping my Starbucks peppermint mocha. It feels wonderfully chaotic, and also terribly and yet appealingly commercial. I’m overwhelmed, joy-filled, and stuffed. Explanation? It’s my first Christmas season in America in half a decade.
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Learn to dream again

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If you were a healthy, fairly well-adjusted child, you probably had lots of dreams for the future. You might have dreamed of being a professional athlete, or an actress, or a movie producer. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a mansion, an indoor swimming pool and a crew of servants (scary, I know). As you got a little older, your dreams may have evolved, and you may have had callings or goals more sophisticated or specific; maybe you wanted to be an entrepreneur, or a photojournalist, or move to a foreign country. By the time I was 12 or 13, I dreamed of being a writer.

But somewhere along the way, for many of us, disappointment, discouragement and distraction happen (by the way,”dis-” means “reversing force”). We lose sight of our dreams, and maybe we even lose the ability to dream. By the time I was 18 or 19, I decided writing was unrealistic and impractical, and I had college, boys and a number of other things on my mind. I didn’t have time to dream. Continue reading

Step out of your comfort zone

A couple weeks go, I felt myself go into a funk. After a long and crazy summer of international travel and reconnecting with old friends, I began settling into a routine with new job responsibilities in a new location. And with that came a certain amount of uncertainty about myself and about my future.

Life shifts are exciting, but they carry with them the pressure to re-establish ourselves. You may be coming from a place where you are known to a place where you are newIn the midst of insecurity, two things can happen: a) your confidence can droop as you struggle to prove your identity, or b) you can take the opportunity to remake yourself: not to lose your identity but to reconsider parts of yourself you thought were immovable.

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Germany part 2: hope in the face of horror

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It seems like the world is going crazy. Terrorism, political crises, gun violence, fear and paranoia pepper the news, and it can feel increasingly like we’re in a world ruled by chaos and not control. I’m one country over from France, where a truck driver plowed into a crowd of hundreds on Thursday night, killing 84 people. I’m living in Germany, where one-fifth of the population is from Turkey, a nation where an attempted coup for power unraveled only this weekend. On Sunday afternoon, I ate lunch with a Yazidi family from Iraq, forced to leave their country because of Isis. Certain crises feel a little more immediate this side of the Atlantic, although tragedy is striking the U.S. too. Regardless, I am struck again and again by the seeming impossibility of maintaining one thing in the face of horror: hope. Continue reading

Jesus is dependable, not predictable.

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If I’ve learned anything in the past seven years of following Jesus, it’s that He is dependable. Many, many times, I’ve been in fear about my health, anxious about a situation regarding work, or uncertain of how it’s all going to turn out. And every time He has come through for me by healing me, or giving me peace, or just working out those practical circumstances, I know His presence is something I can depend on for the rest of my life. And there’s no peace like knowing that this Man, who’s this faithful, will be at my side forever.

Jesus is dependable, but He is not predictable. When I first began to follow Jesus, I wanted to cram everything I knew about Him into formulas. And sometimes, formulas work. Example: if I don’t pray in the morning, I usually feel discouraged and grumpy by about 2 p.m. Another example: if I begin to thank Him for what He’s done, instead of complaining about a difficult circumstance, my whole mindset shifts. But I have found that when you follow a God who may have a will apart from your own and who knows you better than you know yourself, life can’t be planned the way you thought. And formulas aren’t going to work the way you thought. Continue reading