seedlings

“You’ve changed.”

It’s an accusation coming from their lips.

But I take it. Swallow it. It’s true. I have changed.

So many fundamental things are in flux. And at first I panicked. Now I’m floating, trusting it’ll work itself out, doing my best to survive and navigate.

My current beliefs and doubts and struggles were always there, little seeds fermenting in the dark soil of my soul. They were growing under the harsh sun of my certainty, the lies I told myself and the world for a long time. I had such confidence.

Well now my plants of sprouted. And no one seems to like the little plants. Perhaps they wanted flowers where I was growing a cactus. It might not be pretty, but I am pleased. At least it’s alive. It’s real and it’s tough and can survive the arid dessert of doubt and fear and all the other shit life has tossed at me.

I don’t pray anymore. I fling pleas to heaven now. “Please be there. Please …” that is all I can bring myself to say.

And I keep trudging on. I keep tending my cactus. It’s mine, and it’s alive.

That’s something.

Coming Out: Stop Hating the LGBT+ community

In the United States right now, it is legal to murder a certain type of person.

Did you know that if you murder a trans person, you will not be convicted of murder? I’m sorry but this sickens me. And if you are a Christian reading this, it needs to sicken you. If it doesn’t, you have lost what Jesus intended for humans.

This post is really me coming out as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. An open ally because I have met some beautiful people through work and other ventures and despite the noise from the church that these precious people who were created in God’s image are “disgusting” and “vulgar” and generally less-than, I’ve found that they are actually creative, kind, beautiful – and grossly oppressed.

Many of you will unfriend me over this and many of you will hate me. I’m sure you’ll tell me, O Christians, that I’m going to hell for this. That I’m in error.

And quite frankly that’s okay. Because I’ve read the Bible. I’ve studied and listened. And homosexuality isn’t mentioned all that often. In fact, one frequently quoted passage against is now held as not to be against homosexuality, but against complete lack of sexual restraint – sexual gluttony as it were.

But in all honesty, I am not asking you to debate whether or not it’s a sin. I’m asking you to stand with and love these people.

No qualifications.

Not with rubber gloves.

No “buts.”

Just love.

After all, isn’t this what Jesus called us to do?

In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said that the most important thing – all laws which includes shellfish and sexual laws and cleanliness and what we eat and Sabbath – all hang on how we love each other.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

And then again in Galations 3:28, he states that we not to see each other differently, that Christ’s blood erases boundaries that to humans may seem inseparable.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Emphasis mine).

On a personal note, I’ll add that if you’ve ever truly known me, this will not surprise you. I’ve always had a heart for those outcast, those trodden down by oppression and oppressive attitudes, the outsiders, the ones who walk boldly to their own drums. And I’ve been silent long enough. I’ve listened and cringed as you who are called to love boldly as no one has loved before spit out slurs and write off two people kissing as “icky” and “perverted” and “gross.”

They’re people. They’re your neighbors. They’re your coworkers. And they’re listening. And hurting – often in silence.

It’s worth noting that Christians of old used similar language against people of color and other ethnicities back in the day – especially black people. We loved them but wouldn’t let them in our bathrooms lest they infect us with their “exotic disease.” Their men were seen as perverted animals. Their women as seductive tramps.

Thankfully we’ve (mostly) moved away from that. But now we treat the LGBT community the same way.

And so this is me, standing in the gap and saying enough. Saying this isn’t Christian. This isn’t loving. And these people are hurting.

Aren’t we here to help the hurting?

Can’t you let God do the judging and just actually get to know people without making rude, frequent comments about how you “don’t agree with your lifestyle?”

That’s what I’m doing.

Feel free to write me off, unfriend me, cut me out of your life. If that is what it costs to radically and genuinely love people, I am totally cool with that.

And I think Jesus would be too.

Fus out.

Lost Update and NanoWrimo

the working title for my current novel is Lost.

And the first draft of the manuscript just got back to me from my very first beta reader! The review was overwhelmingly positive, which was a huge encouragement.

However there is still a lot of work to do before I can send my manuscript off to agents and hopefully, into the world. There are plot holes to patch up, side stories to cut, superfluous words to tighten.

Also, it’s November. For most of the writing world, this means Nanowrimo – or National Novel Writing Month where people the around the world to write 50,000 word novels in 30 days.

As it stands, Lost is 115, 709 words. So instead of writing a new novel, I’m going to utilize this month as a time to polish and revise my work in progress. I’ll be giving sneak peaks and updates as the month goes on.

I’m so excited to see what this month brings!

Time

Time is an insistent river

Currents never slowing

Impervious to

The people and things it’s bearing

Towards a future yet unseen

But I

am caught beneath the surface

Floundering and spinning

Trying to survive

Popping up for air and gasping

And miles from where I went in

glass song

Wet fingertip
Idling in circles
Caressing glass mouth
Stretched wide
Round and round and round
Coaxing that deep song
Warbling at first
Then steady, confident
Spinning drowned woes
Into songs of hope

Five Minute Friday: Exhale

{Five Minute Friday is a brilliant blog exercise started by the lovely and eloquent Lisa-Jo Baker. The idea is that, the world over, we gather together and write completely unedited for five minutes. We turn off that inner critic, the one who says we have nothing to say. That our stories and words are too small. No one will listen. And we take a deep breath, set the timer, and let it out.

Today’s prompt is Exhale.}

Exhale. 

It is finished. My soul work. My soul distilled into over 10,000 words of fiction. 

Pain and hope crafted and forged into words and story that hopefully will reach beyond me and touch others. 

And now I let it rest. I put this soul work aside for a month before I revisit it. 

And sit back. And wait. And watch. Entering into this season of exhalation is difficult. Oh, this, this waiting, this resting of the mind and hands, I am not good at it. 

It’s frightening. 

it’s not where I want to be, if I’m quiet honest with myself. 

Because i want this, this thing that I’ve poured so much of myself into, to be right and perfect and good. It’s nakedness and hope and fear and joy. It’s me. Or at least, it’s a part of me. 

And I’m far more comfortable working feverishly, fingers outyping the shadows that nip at my heels day in and day out. 

But there is a time for fast typing and crafting. And there’s a time for waiting. 

Exhale. 

It’ll be okay. 

Exhale. 

Breathe, baby girl, breathe. 

This is my daily refrain. this is what I say when I wake up and when I do dishes and comfort baby-cries and husband sighs and then lay myself down to rest. Exhale. Don’t hold it in till you explode. 

Waiting is the hardest part sometimes. 

But it is also healing and necessary. The exhalation releases the toxins, it releases the tension. 

Besides, if I never exhale, I’ll never again get to inhale. 

Casting Off the Bowlines…

Today is the day that I cast off the bowlines. 

I have finally created my authorial blog. 

Why, you may ask, an authorial blog considering that I am not published and that there are many floating about on the internet? 

First of all, it’s because I finished draft one of my novel. It is now simmering in the recesses of my computer and in the meantime, lacking a project, I will write nonfiction on this blog. 

Second of all, I’m serious about being a writer. This is an important decision in every writer’s life, if they’re going to make it. You either write no matter what or you don’t. And I’d die without writing. Perhaps not physically, but it’d be a soul-death, a shriveling up of everything that is in me. 

And so here, in Ink Sea, words will have free reign. I’ll explore what makes story compelling, what it is about a story that makes a person come back. And here, all story is open for question – everything from Disney’s Tangled to Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Because in all honestly, no matter how the story is shared, at the heart, good stories, great stories, will grab us in the gut and not let go. Why do certain novels or movies or songs stay with me, curling in the back of my mind for years? That’s what I want to examine here. 

Here all are welcome to share about story. Your favorite stories, your least favorite stories, what works and what doesn’t.

Stories, after all, are life distilled.

Stories are how we deal with life. In story, we see truths that otherwise might be difficult for the human soul to digest. Stories encapsulate truth and beauty and pain and infuses it gently into our souls.

And so. I am casting of the bowlines and sailing deep into a sea of ink and ideas and stories.

I hope that you’ll join me.

It’s bound to be a beautiful, crazy ride.