There’s been a stirring in me for quite some time. A restlessness unable to be transcribed. A rerooting of sorts. A split-second glimpse of part of the finished puzzle comprised of pieces of my life, finally fitting together after years of rolling them around in my hands.

I’ve become unsettled and it is good.

Attending the We Event for iEmpathize a few weeks ago, a dam burst within me… I know I have this immense empathy for people. I know I have a deep-rooted passion. I know I want to make a difference in the lives of others. I know that I want my past to stand for something good, for God, and not as it was intended by man. I know that without a college degree I am significantly limited with my ability to have a “legitimate” voice.

I also know that my motivations have always been wrong. I’ve wanted to change the world and that proposed change was unknowingly limited or viewed from a skewed perspective. I have always led from a place of pain. Focusing and leading others from the pain of my past, instead of from the endless strength of God. I told God where I’d be used and how I would be able to do so. I told God what difference I would make and in what way the people’s lives would change. I was ignorant and clueless. Living off of remnants of my disillusioned upbringing and trying to share that same disillusionment with others.

In the past year, combined with my continued focus on my past and dealing with it, I also read a significant book, Generous Justice. It kind of washed clean the mud and grit that had been distorting my view in the way I interact and view humanity as a whole. This entire process took me far beyond seeing that, when suffering and broken, human beings had a cap on their value and that it was up to me to help get them through this temporary struggle of life so that they could just eat or just get water or just ______. Just to keep them alive… Then I’d move on to others.

What happens after they receive that next meal or that clean water or those shoes or that jacket? What then? What if the cap, that we put on these lives, was infinite? What if the limits of their existence and worth went far beyond the temporary comforts that I (we) may bring? What if I took part (by God’s grace and help) in helping them truly live and love and find joy and beauty in every day and then empowering them to share that all with everyone around them?

Here’s where I stand in my unsettlement: I want to take people from being a victim (which places the power in the perpetrator) and from being just a survivor (which places the power, and keeps it, within the person that was harmed) to being a warrior of love and empowerment. I feel God steering me to lead women out of the pain of their past (and present) into DOING for good. For God.

Jase and I were talking through all of this and he had a great realization. In cases of sexual abuse, the fallout is usually to clam up / brush it under the rug / detach OR the result is to crumble / completely shred the life that was given you. But I want to know where the freaking warriors are. I want to find the women that can link arms with me and become a front-line toward helping those in need and giving them hope that they can rise up and succeed and make a difference in this world. I want to stand on the shit from my past and make it a strong foundation for doing good in Jesus’ name.

I am also tired of being on this island. With all of the women I’ve know in my life (and keeping the stat of *1 out of every 3 or 4 have been sexually abuse* at the forefront) I’ve only known a few to have been sexually abused. Or only a few have ever shared that with me. That is ridiculous to me.. that this kind of travesty can be so drenched in silence. In this silence, we give so much power and authority to those that have abused and they can continue doing so, while we stand idly / apathetically on the side lines.

So, here I am, ready to be a warrior. To fight. To stop listening to the enemy in his quest to smother me and grind me to a pulp. To stand up against the lies that I am nothing, that I am worthless and to start believing and focusing on God’s Truth. I want to make a difference. I want to serve and to lead and to learn and grow and water and shine. I want to stop hiding in fear and I want to share this light. Part of this recent unsettling is that I want to (finally) learn spanish, fluently, and that I want to (finally) take a mechanic class. I “see” myself opening an auto repair shop. For women, by women. I want to overcome my fear of other countries and lead women toward changing lives around them. I want to start by making a big change in the immediate “world” around me.

A few years ago I saw an amazing dress at a thrift store and immediately knew I needed to buy it and wear it in a photo shoot. Jase takes great pictures of nature but I’m usually the one, behind the camera, in pajama pants and t-shirts, taking pictures of people. I knew we’d have a great time doing something like this and he jumped at the chance to share in this experience with me.

I’ve been scouting locations and ideas for this photo, ever since I bought the fifteen dollar dress. I thought an old rundown mine, barn or old factory would be a great location but I changed my mind once I realized those things would take the focus off of the image I had in my head. So… yesterday, after talking it out with Jase, I decided that nature would be the best location. I needed to narrow the list down to what type of nature shot: field, marsh, mountain landscape or forest? Looking at pictures online, I realized that “forest” seemed like the best fit. Now, all we had to do was find the perfect spot. I thought we’d have take a two-three hour drive into the mountains but after cross-referencing Colorado landscape images online with Google Map street views, I realized we had some prime location spots about thirty-forty minutes from us, in Boulder.

Since Malakai and Zoe were at a slumber party and we wouldn’t see them until noon at church the next day, Jase and I decided that we should do the photo shoot in the morning before church. We thought it would be fun to wake up before sunrise but we slept in and getting ready took longer than anticipated. We left the house at eight o’clock and headed into Boulder Canyon.

I didn’t know if my hair should be straight or wavy, up or down but Jase helped in that decision. Although I knew I wanted my eye makeup to be extremely dark and dramatic, I had a hard time figuring out exactly what it should look like. I was online last night for about an hour, just checking out eye makeup images. I started the application process on myself once we were on the road this morning but it ended up looking like Amy Winehouse did it. So Jase, being the artist he is, completed my eyes for me.

Jase and I talked about what we’d need to bring on location for a picture preview, without interrupting the camera, because I’ve had a “vision” of what I wanted it to look like for about three years. Last year, we had his camera hooked up to one of our mini televisions when Jase took pictures in our garage for a headshot I needed. However, lugging around a television while hiking to a forest location did not sound enjoyable to me or Jase. So, Jase decided to bring his laptop for viewing shots and/or dumping his card.

We drove around the Boulder Canyon area for about an hour, stopped off at three or four different areas and made about five different u-turns before finding a great spot with great vehicle access, secluded, away from the public, with a clearing, near the river and with an availability to cross the quick-moving river without getting swept away or completely submerged and while carrying a stool, tripod, laptop, camera, diaper bag, my dress, the under garments, Cali and her stroller. Since Jase only had one pair of shoes, he initially crossed the river and scoped out the location while barefoot. The moss-covered rocks quickly taught him that we’d both have to sacrifice and have soaked shoes if we were going to get this shot. So, Jase went to church barefoot and wearing heavy, wet jeans. The sun was shining once we arrived but the clouds rolled in for perfect lighting and rolled away once we were done.

Jase took over four hundred pictures this morning and we spent over an hour in our exotic location. Cali sat, perfect, in her stroller, the entire time. This experience was so amazing for me and Jase and both of us feel so much more in love after planning and accomplishing this together.

Here’s Mr. Genius (a.k.a. Jase), dumping his card, and Ms. Perfect (a.k.a. Cali), keeping herself occupied with her baby:

Boulder Canyon, 5/31/09

I’m sure Jase will work on some of the pics and make them look awesome, but here are a couple unedited versions, click them to enlarge:

Boulder Canyon, 5/31/09

Boulder Canyon, 5/31/09

And here are several unedited versions without links to enlarge:

Boulder Canyon, 5/31/09

Boulder Canyon, 5/31/09

Boulder Canyon, 5/31/09

Boulder Canyon, 5/31/09

What could be better?

I couldn’t fall asleep tonight because I started thinking that Jase snowboards goofy, which is a mirror to me, and it would be awesome to snowboard down the hill while mirroring each other, holding hands. That would be beautiful.

Then I started thinking about how I love watching Ice Dancing (partners ice skating) and began to wonder if that has started yet with snowboarding.

So, what did I do?

Yes… I googled it.

Sadly, I did not find this idea on Google or YouTube.

Let’s start a trend and get it into the 2010 Olympics!! 😉

While watching me wash and strain some grapes, Malakai asked me, “what is that thing called when you strain the solids before the liquids?” Assuming I heard correctly, I said, “a strainer.” He said, “No, when the solids get strained before the liquids.” Realizing this was a thinking conversation, I put on my thinking cap, “That can’t happen, honey. Because the liquid particles are smaller than the solid particles, they leave the strainer first… Unless, you somehow boil the liquid out and catch the evaporation that then pools into something that can hold the liquids.” To this he replied, “That can’t happen.” Picking my righteous pride up off the ground where Kai just threw it, I said, “Uh-huh. What do you think happens with rain? The water evaporates into the clouds, leaving the solids in the lake behind, and then drops the liquid somewhere else.” Malakai, still barely hearing me, says, “Mommy, you’re messing up my theory. The liquid particles wouldn’t be smaller than the solids because you could just shrink the solids so they’re smaller than the liquids and then the solids strain before the liquids.”

Brilliant. Now to test this theory of his and find a shrink ray somewhere.

My daughter is in kindergarten and they have a system in place for good and bad behavior. A vertical color chart has clips that stay in the green for average behavior, can move up to blue — or higher to purple -— for good behavior, and moves down to yellow — then red — for bad behavior.

My daughter replicated this chart yesterday, including clothespins with the name of every member living under this roof written on it. I thought it was cute but didn’t know it actually served a purpose.

I know. She did NOT get her crafty-creativity from me.

She was sounding sick yesterday and should have gone to bed early last night but when I went out with my mom, I failed to let Jase know this. So, she was up late and woke up with croup. When she woke up, I told her that it was my fault that I didn’t let her dad know to put her to bed early. To which she immediately replied, “I need to move down your clip.” So, I moved into the yellow zone(!). Ten minutes later, out of the blue, she passes me, walks over to the chart and says “you can move back up now”.

Later in the morning, she came downstairs and coughed. Which was immediately followed with her saying, “I came downstairs and coughed because I know Cali is sleeping up there.” I turned to her and said, “Thank you so much Zoe! You are so kind and respectful!” To which she replied, “I’m going to move up!” and moved her clip to the blue zone.

This is fun! 🙂

While on subject of her crafts, here’s a couple of pics of a birdhouse she made out of a Capri Sun box, fastened to an outside metal bracket with her Disneyland hat. I think she’s the next MacGyver.