This is a place of ME. This is a place where I will let the walls down and be honest. Joys and stories or tears and heartbreaks, they will all be here. Devotionals to poems, my heart is open to you. I will love well. I will love you and honor you by allowing you into my brokenness and the truth that God has reviled to me. This is a place of Me.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Journal #8

Prompt: For your journal this week, you will be looking at the “Grow your Mindset” prompts at the end of chapter 6. Pick one of the prompts from page 171-172 and answer it providing 2-3 links to the material we’ve been covering from Gardner (Multiple Intelligence's), Winch (Emotional First Aid), and any of our earlier material from class. Growth Mindset Question: After Rejection, do you feel judged, bitter, and vengeful? Or do you feel hurt, but hopeful of forgiving, learning and moving on? Think of the worst rejection you ever had. Get in touch with all the feelings and see of you can view it from a growth mindset. What did you learn from it? Did it teach you something about what you want and what you don’t want in your life? Did it teach you some positive things about your relationships? Can you forgive the person and with them well? Can you let go of the bitterness? (Mindset, 174-175)


We all experience rejection at some point in our lives. My earliest moments of rejection are early on when “friends” didn’t want me to join in, or the girls in elementary school would laugh at me behind my back, but rejection has followed me through life and continues to be something I face daily. I guess this is because I’m human. Try as I might to be fully accepting and loving, I know I have caused the pain of rejection in more than one person’s life. In moments of rejection I can often feel hurt and bitter, but after time and processing out loud I can often get to a place of forgiveness and hope for a better future. It has taken me a long time to learn that this doesn’t mean I have to be best friends or even continue a relationship with the person who rejected me, but that I can come to a place of understanding and forgiveness. One of the first times that I had to truly process deep rejection was because of…. Yep, a boy.


At 18 I was fresh out of high school and attending cosmetology school. I had reconnected with a guy that I knew when I was younger. He was fun, kind, loved Jesus, and cared deeply for his friends and family. The more we talked the more I liked him. Eventually we started to officially date. As our relationship grew I tried to learn how to balance friends, family, work, school, and my new boyfriend. As an introvert he preferred to be at home or out just the two of us, while I was used to being around lots of people all the time. However, due to my demanding schedule I quickly came to enjoy the peace that came from less people and more quiet time. His family was going through an unimaginably hard time and I was a homeschooler (though not as sheltered as most) who was experiencing the drastically different world of cosmetology school as well as dealing with some expensive and never-ending health problems. He and I walked through hell together. When our relationship ended I was heartbroken. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that my (little r)eality crashed into a million pieces.


The night we broke up the picture of the future that I had in my head was ripped away. All of the imagined interactions that I had played over and over in my head of a wedding, family, and forever disappeared. The decision to end our relationship was a semi-mutual decision but was spurred on by a growing relationship with one of his female co-workers. She was a cute, fun, introvert who captured his heart in ways that I couldn’t. A couple months after our relationship ended, theirs began.


The rejection felt when they started dating was deeper than I care to remember. Bitter, worthless, and full of shame are just a few of the words to describe how I showed up in those months. They say time heals all wounds, and to some extent this has proved true for me. I allowed myself time to just be hurt and angry, but eventually I started to rebuild. I tried to reconnect with friends and family, and look for the lessons to be learned through the rejection. I found how much I missed my extroverted side, learned how strong I am, and started searching for my worth in Jesus rather than other humans. This was a time of growth that I will forever be grateful for. When he and I ran into each other a couple years later, him married to the girl from work and me to my husband David, I came to the realization that we really weren’t right for each other. God had other partners planned for each of us that would complement and pull out the people we were each designed to be.


At times, I find myself praying for him, his kids, and wife. I truly hope that they are in a great place and loving each other through this crazy thing called life. Though our marriage isn’t perfect, because that’s impossible, David sees me, supports me, and loves me in ways I didn’t think were possible and I know he feels the same way about me. God has called me to a crazy roller-coaster of a life and I wouldn’t want to go on with anyone else. I will forever be grateful for that sting of rejection because it gave me the opportunity to rebuild my self-worth, identity, and led me to the man I am lucky enough to call my husband.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Journal #7

Prompt:For your journal this week, I’d like you to (AGAIN) look back over your “epiphanies” journal from last week and pick ONE to write an evocative autoethnographic account of. This one must be different than the one you wrote in week 6. Remember to take the reader into the experience of the epiphany, and offer analysis/links to at least 2 concepts from our course in the narrative. This is meant to give you a another chance to attempt writing something using autoethnography that you can use later in your final paper!

When I was a little girl, about 7 years old, I desperately wanted a doll house. My friend Joanna had a big beautiful wooden doll house that I tried not to be jealous of every time I went to her house. My family couldn’t afford even a small simple dollhouse, so I was saving up my birthday money. I cherished every penny as it got me closer to a beautiful dollhouse like Joanna had. One day sitting in church dressed up and desperately trying to sit still and pretend to understand what the pastor was talking about, something caught my attention. The pastor was telling a story. A story of someone in need and asking for an offering. I don’t remember exactly what it was for, but I know it was to help someone who needed it more than I did. My little heart started to beat faster, my palms began to sweat, and I knew that this is where I should put my money. Nothing else mattered as much as helping people that needed it, not even my doll house. I took out all the money I had in my little pink purse and put it in the gold and red-velvet offering plate as it went past. That afternoon driving home from church I watched all the houses flash past and knew I did the right thing. I understood that the doll house I wanted was even further out of reach and that made me sad, but I also knew I would give up a million doll houses if it meant I could help someone who needed it. I was content.

That night as my brothers and I were playing outside I saw something AMAZING. It happened to be the week of the big trash pick-up day that happens a couple times a year, and in one of the piles at the top of our cul-de-sac was a pink and white treasure waiting for me: A beautiful doll house. I ran inside heart racing once again, and my dad helped me carry it to our house and give it a good scrub down in the shower.

The moment I saw that doll house sitting there waiting for me on the same day that I listened to the voice inside of me that told me to help others, I felt like it was God saying, “Trust me, I will always take care of you.” Little did I know that that image of the white and pink doll house poking out of the trash pile would represent such a deeply needed promise from God. This image would carry me through eviction notices on our door growing up, bankruptcy for our family when I was in high school, and the struggle after David and I got married causing us to move 8 times in 4 years before finding a place we could call home. In moments of feeling worthless, less than, and undeserving, I don’t always know if I believed the words of that promise. Even in the moments of doubt, God always gently reminded me that He will always take care of me. I can trust Him. Weather it’s something as simple as a doll house, or as big as signing the papers buying our first home, He cares.


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Journal #6

Prompt:For your journal this week, I’d like you to look back over your “epiphanies” journal from last week and pick ONE to write an evocative autoethnographic account of. Remember to take the reader into the experience of the epiphany, and offer analysis/links to at least 2 concepts from our course in the narrative. This is meant to give you a chance to attempt writing something using autoethnography that you can use later in your final paper!

Growing up as the oldest of four kids, in the homeschool community, and in a low income family, I quickly learned how to help people. I was the Vice Mom, Go To Person if someone needed support, and provider in many ways. There are so many beautiful things about loving people well and knowing how to help them and actually make a difference. However, the older I got the more unhealthy this became. I would give and give until one day I felt like my worth was all wrapped up in what I could do for other people. The line between myself and others was burred so much that I lost sight of where I ended and others begin. I slowly realized that this was a problem, but it wasn’t until I was 22 and married that I decided to do something about it. I began going to counseling, attended a weekend designed to peel back the layers to reveal who you were created to be, and I joined a group of women healing from the curve balls of life and running after Jesus. Little by little I began to pull back the layers of people pleasing, finding my value in what I could do for others, and began to rearrange unhealthy relationships that kept me in an unhealthy pattern. I would repeat over and over things like, “I am enough just as I am. I am loved for just being me. I am worthy of being fully known,” trying to move these new truths from my head to my heart. But something still wasn’t sticking. My husband is amazing and loves me well, but somehow in the depths of my heart I believed that if I wasn’t able to do enough for him, he wouldn’t stick around. If I worked hard and kept him happy he would stick around because it was convenient, but nothing more. My head knew this wasn’t true, but my heart still couldn’t quite believe that he loved ME.

Last fall, we went on a humanitarian work trip to Mexico. We were helping with construction for a retreat center. David and I were working on a project together and having a great time, but the 3rd night I got REALLY sick. I was up all night unable to keep any liquids down. Finally, early the next afternoon I was able to keep some water and Dramamine down, but I was far too weak to do anything except sleep. I remember the guilt I felt lying in bed listening to the sounds of construction right outside my window. Thanks to the Dramamine and water, I was able to sleep. I awoke to what I thought was David shaking the bed to wake me up. It took me only a few more seconds to realize that more than just the bed was shaking. It was an earthquake. I remembered from a conversation the night before that the thing to do was to get out of the house. I stumbled out of bed with the floor waving under me so dizzy, nauseous, and drowsy that I could hardly stand and fell into the door frame. I had to make it down a flight of winding stairs before I could make it outside to safety. I remember running down the stairs, unable to see straight watching the stairs moving and praying that God would make my feet and the stairs match just for a moment. I stumbled to the bottom of the stairs into the arms of our host and my husband. They came back for me. We all made it outside and I just sat shaking in David’s arms as the ground moved, trees bent, and the house rocked back and forth. As things began to still, the realization dawned. When I was at my absolute worst… smelly, sick, and unable to help anyone else… my husband ran back into a potentially crumbling building for me. He risked his life coming back in the house, not because I had earned it or was useful in that moment, but because he saw my value even at my worst.

I can’t say that I don’t still tie my worth and usefulness together. I think this will be a life long journey, but something shifted in me that day so now I can trust that my husband will be there no matter what, even when I am completely useless. This new level of trust has brought peace and understanding as I apply the same concept to how my family sees me, my boss, but most importantly… how God sees me. He chose to create me, and he loves his creation. He has chosen me to do some amazing things for Him, but His love and my worth are not based on how well I do things; His love is unconditional. Living out of this place of trust changes my everyday life and allows me to live out of a place of joy. It just took a 7.1 earthquake to show me that.

I know that this was a moment where my worldview shifted, beliefs took root, and from that moment on I was different. I still struggle with believing that I am loved for just being me, but this earth-shaking moment gives me something to hold onto, and every day I get closer to fully owning who I am outside of what I can do for others. Slowly, with the help of other people, self-talk, and holding on to God’s Truths, I’m rediscovering where I end, and others begin.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Journal #5

Prompt:
Begin to think about epiphanies you’ve had in your life that you might want to examine and analyze further as we move forward in this class. You might want to look back at the “experiences” journal from week 3 to get the ball rolling.
For this journal, come up with a list of possible epiphanies to examine, and offer a blurb/description for each one.

As I have processed my life and the moments of illumination and change, they didn’t fall from the sky and change life in a moment, they were born out of much personal reflection and intentional growth. Each of these moments required action on my part in a moment, or over a long period of time. Maybe that’s all an epiphany really is. There are moments in life that we forever look back on realizing that they changed our view point, beliefs, or how we see ourselves and the world. What really matters is how our lives change after these moments happen. On either side of this realization there is an action: how we got there and what we do after the moment. As I examine moments in my life that changed something, I want to focus on the before and after of the epiphany.

When I was a little girl, probably about 7 years old, I desperately wanted a doll house. My family couldn’t afford one, so I was saving up my birthday money. One day we were sitting in church and the pastor asked for offering. I don’t remember exactly what it was for, but I know it was to help someone. I felt in my heart that this is where I should put my money. Nothing else mattered as much as helping people that needed it. I took out all the money I had with me and put it in the offering plate as it went past. That afternoon going home from church I knew I did the right thing. I understood that the doll house I wanted was even further out of reach and that made me sad, but I also knew I would give up a million doll houses if it meant I could help someone else. That night as my brothers and I were playing outside I saw something AMAZING. It was the week of the big trash pick-up day that happens a couple times a year, and in one of the piles at the top of our cul-de-sac was a beautiful doll house. I ran inside so excited, and my dad helped me carry it to our house and get it all cleaned up. The moment I saw that doll house sitting there waiting for me on the same day that I listened to the voice inside of me that told me to help others, I felt like it was God saying, “I will always take care of you.” Little did I know that that image of the doll house with the promise would carry me through eviction notices on our door growing up, bankruptcy for our family when I was in high school, and the struggle after David and I got married causing us to move 8 times in 4 years before finding a place we could call home. I don’t always know if I believed those words, but even in those moments, God always gently reminded me that He will always take care of me. Weather it’s something as simple as a doll house, or as big as signing the papers buying our first home, He cares.

That little girl who gave away her money when she wanted a doll house she desperately wanted in order to help people grew up, and that desire to help got stronger. The older I got the more unhealthy this became. I would give and give until one day I felt like my worth was all wrapped up in what I could do for other people. I slowly realized that this was a problem, but it wasn’t until I was 22 and married that I decided to do something about it. I began going to counseling, attended a weekend designed to peel back the layers to reveal who you were created to be, and joined a group of women healing from the curve balls of life and running after Jesus. Little by little I began to pull back the layers of people pleasing, finding my value in what I could do for others, and began to rearrange unhealthy relationships that kept me in an unhealthy pattern. I would repeat over and over things like, “I am enough just as I am. I am loved for just being me. I am worthy of being fully known,” trying to move these new truths from my head to my heart. But something still wasn’t sticking. My husband is amazing and loves me well, but somehow in the depths of my heart I believed that if I wasn’t able to do enough for him, he wouldn’t stick around. If I worked hard and kept him happy he would stick around because it was convenient, but nothing more. My head knew this wasn’t true, but my heart still couldn’t quite believe that he loved ME.

Last fall, we went on a humanitarian work trip to Mexico. We were helping with construction for a retreat center. David and I were working on a project together and having a great time, but the 3rd night I got REALLY sick. I was up all night unable to keep any liquids down. Finally, early the next afternoon I was able to keep some water and Dramamine down, but I was far too weak to do anything except sleep. I remember the guilt I felt lying in bed listening to the sounds of construction right outside my window. Thanks to the Dramamine and water, I was able to sleep. I awoke to what I thought was David shaking the bed to wake me up. It took me only a few more seconds to realize that more than just the bed was shaking. It was an earthquake. I remembered from a conversation the night before that the thing to do was to get out of the house. I stumbled out of bed with the floor waving under me so dizzy, nauseous, and drowsy that I could hardly stand and fell into the door frame. I had to make it down a flight of winding stairs before I could make it outside to safety. I remember running down the stairs, unable to see straight watching the stairs moving and praying that God would make my feet and the stairs match just for a moment. I stumbled to the bottom of the stairs into the arms of our host and my husband. They came back for me. We all made it outside and I just sat shaking in David’s arms as the ground moved, trees bent, and the house rocked back and forth. As things began to still, the realization dawned. When I was at my absolute worst… smelly, sick, and unable to help anyone else… my husband ran back into a potentially crumbling building for me. He risked his life coming back in the house, not because I had earned it or was useful in that moment, but because he saw my value even at my worst.
I can’t say that I don’t still tie my worth and usefulness together. I think this will be a life long journey, but something shifted in me that day so now I can trust that my husband will be there no matter what, even when I am completely useless. This new level of trust has brought peace and understanding as I apply the same concept to how my family sees me, my boss, but most importantly… how God sees me. He chose to create me, and he loves his creation. He has chosen me to do some amazing things for Him, but His love and my worth are not based on how well I do things; His love is unconditional. Living out of this place of trust changes my everyday life and allows me to live out of a place of joy. It just took a 7.1 earthquake to show me that.

Looking back on both of these epiphanies, I know that these were moments where my worldview shifted, beliefs took root, and from that moment on I was different. I still struggle with believing that God will always take care of me, and that I am loved for just being me, but these moments give me something to hold onto, and every day I get closer to fully owning these truths. They may not be little moments that changed everything, but they are moments that brought the pieces together to shift my perspective for the better.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Journal #4

Prompt: Week 4 Journal Entry: Exploring Retroactive Imagined Interactions
For your only journal this week, you need to examine one of your Imagined Interactions from this week, a recurring Imagined Interaction that you have, or an Imagined Interaction that you mull/ruminate/brood on and answer the following questions for this journal:
" Which II did you choose? Is it a one-time II, or is it a recurring II? Describe the imagined interaction.
" How does/did the II play out? It is overall a positive II or a negative II?
" How do you portray yourself in this II? For example: Are you bolder in the II than in real life? Why do you portray yourself this way in the II?
" How is the II different than you in real life? How is it the same?
" Do you see evidence of your mindset in this imagined interaction?


One of my recurring Imagined Interactions is of the next time I get to see my friends in Afghanistan. I have been trying to learn Dari so that I can more easily communicate with my friends there, but also with the families and kids I come in contact with there. Language is not something I have a gift for. I've been over the material almost twice now and still struggle to make it stick, so I am nervous to try it out with native speakers I respect. On one hand I know that they will love me and appreciate the effort, but on the other, I would hate to offend them by saying something silly like, "Your grandma is an elephant who eats spaghetti" when I'm really trying to say, "It's so nice to see you!"


In this II, I arrive at the guest house where my Afghan friends are waiting. I walk in and we great each other with an embrace and kisses on the cheeks. We continue to hold hands (very normal in this culture) and look into each other's eyes, most likely getting emotional because it has been so so long since we have seen each other (I started to cry, just thinking about it as I write this). My heart has missed them so deeply and for a moment we just stand there so grateful to be together again, then I venture my first statement, "Salam, chetor hastin? (Hi, how are you?)." At this my friend's eyes brighten both with appreciation and humor, since this is my II and I'm sure I've miss pronounced something. They respond in Dari asking when I learned to speak the language I tell them in a mixture of English and Dari that David and I have been working on it for a while now and reiterating multiple times that I only know a very little bit of Dari, but I hope they will help me learn more. The II takes many turns from there and I try my skills bartering in a store, or with a child I'm working with, the kids I talk to are always much more forgiving than the store keeper when I mess something up.


Even though I feel some shame and embarrassment only knowing a few phrases, stumbling over words, and having to say "mebakhshen, nafamidam" (Excuse me, I don't understand) over and over again, this over all a positive II. I am defiantly bolder in the II than I expect to be in real life with my friends right off the bat and especially the shop keeper. I think I'm more willing to take risks in my II because I feel safe in my own head and I can control the other's responses to my fumbling's. I tend to be decently bold and willing to take risks in real life, but often in my II's I take that to a whole new level of cool confidence and willingness to put myself out there. I think in many ways I feel like if I practice in my head enough times I will somehow have that same confidence in real life. This points to the growth part of my mindset unlike many of my II's. I chose this one because it's reoccurring, and it is positive unlike so many II's that are negative and point to the fixed-mindset I can so often be in. The willingness to work to learn a new language in the first place points to the growth-mindset, but also the willingness to take a risk to communicate for the first time with native speakers who I respect also points to the growth-mindset. I also chose this II because I am actively trying to shift my mindset into the growth-mindset as the primary mindset. My hope in this is to focus on things that show me that I can actually grow and change and improve. In this II my motivation is to be able to better understand a people and culture I love, and to be able to hear their stories and share my own to continue to bridge the language and cultural gap. In doing this I want us all to realize more and more that we are all people who desire hope, security, and connection. I'm starting to think that finding more things that motivate me like this, while utilizing more Imagined Interactions in my processing, will help me shift more into the growth mindset.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Whirlwind of Life (written in 2017)

Hope and bitterness,
Strength and fear,
Wisdom and pain,
Trust and hurt.

Why can't emotions be logical?
Can't the story emotions tell be true?
Why is it one or the other?
Can't it just be what it is?

Spinning and clarity,
Hopelessness and peace,
Anger and joy,
Control and abandon.

Where is the grace in this truth?
Will I ever truly be safe?
Where will the tornado drop me?
Will I ever truly find hope in love?

Warm and numb,
Rooted and lost,
Souring and crashing,
Living and disappearing.

When will it all make sense?
How will the pieces fit together?
When will I feel strong again?
How will I continue to trust?

War and adventure,
Empty and fulfilled,
Afraid and safe,
Confused and solid.

None of this is logical.
None of this is approved.
None of this is easy.
None of this is loveable.

I need warmth.
I need acceptance.
I need support.
I need love.

I'm left out here on my own.
No one cares to understand.
I just need to figure it out.
Let it go.

Easy for you to say.
Nearly impossible for me to do.

Dancing and paralyzed,
Progress and stagnation,
Right and left,
Up and down.

Who cares to hold my heart?
What does unconditional look like?
Who wants me for me?
What does it mean to clean up this mess?

Body and heart,
Shame and confidante,
Broken and playful,
Shackled and free.

This is where I will sit,
At war with the logic and emotions.
Waiting for understanding,
Waiting for peace.

Journal #3

Which mindset do you have? Answer these questions about intelligence. Read each statement and decide whether you mostly agree with it or disagree with it:
1. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can't change very much. Mostly Disagree
2. You can learn new things, but you can't really change how intelligent you are. Mostly Disagree
3. No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a lot. Mostly Agree
4. You can always substantially change how intelligent you are. Mostly agree
Also answer these questions about personality using the same "mostly agree" or "mostly disagree" answers:
1. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that. Mostly Disagree
2. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially. Mostly Agree
3. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can't really be changed. Mostly Disagree
4. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are. Mostly Agree
(Re-read the short explanations of what your answers mean on pages 12-13 in the book)
Now that you've answered each of these questions about your intelligence and personality, take some time to reflect by answering the following prompt for this journal:
Which mindset do your answers to these questions point to? Do you have a fixed or a growth mindset? How do you feel about this? What evidence of your mindset do you see in your intrapersonal communication? How can you take what we're learning about intrapersonal communication to either change or maintain your mindset long-term?

My answers to these questions point mostly to a growth mindset. For the most part I agree with this assessment. If I didn't think hard and intentional work would change anything I would have stopped when life got hard and accepted my "intelligence" for what it was. Instead, I pushed through the hard things, the things that told me I was not good enough or stupid and found a way to overcome those obstacles. I am proud of myself for this mindset. I can often be very hard on myself, but this mindset has given me hope even when I feel like a failure because it means that I can improve. I do struggle to fully agree with the more drastic statements like, "You can always substantially change how intelligent you are." I look at my husband who is literally a genius and I feel like everything just comes so much easier to him. I work so hard to get good grades, he goofs off and does things last minute and rarely gets anything but an A. I work hard learning a new language going over the material multiple times, and he has it nearly mastered in the same amount of time. Things like this I struggle not to chalk up to our intelligence levels being drastically different. The fact of the matter is, that I can learn anything I put my mind to, it just might take me a bit longer.

I have also learned to look at intelligence differently than our culture. The culture tells me that David is highly intelligent, and I am not. The book does a very good job of explaining intelligence in a way that honors its intent, not what it has been shaped into. It talks about the IQ test, it wasn't designed to test our fixed intelligence, but to test if the way schools were teaching was effective for that particular student. If a student scored low on the IQ test, it simply meant that they weren't learning in the same way they were being taught. (Mindset, p. 5)
As I continue to learn in this class about how each of us process information (both internally and externally) it has given me hope. Even though I can so easily get caught up in moments of frustration and feeling stupid when I'm not learning something as quickly as those around me, I'm hopeful that I can continue to grow and learn. I am lucky to have parents who told me I could do anything, be anything I wanted if I was willing to work hard. I knew their love wasn't conditional on my success (even though there were many days I forgot that truth), because they stood beside me in success and failure. I want to figure out how to take that mindset and truth into my self-talk. If at the end of this class I can figure out how to encourage myself, not determine my value by success or failure, and give myself the unconditional love that I show others, day to day life will look very different. Thinking that I can improve is one thing, but there is something about the science behind the theories in this book that help me be more confidant in my growth-abilities. Knowing that I actually can change is very different than trying hard and hoping it works. I feel hopeful that as I shift my self-talk and my mindset that I will be able to allow myself to grow and change without trying so hard all the time.