Watt's Well

Room to Be, Space to Create

A call to connect and celebrate

We spoke Egypt living and Turkey adventures as we drove the highway connecting the two influential cities.  We could taste the tantalizing foods of the middle east.  Fresh juicy fruits, just baked warm bread, peppers with just enough kick, and tomato stuffed eggplant.  While we sat in our steel carriage, in our minds we traveled the other streets filled with familiar sounds and people.  Colors and trials alike filled our mind’s eye.

Then we halted in the present as we pulled up to the Mosque.  It stood out like a sore thumb in all its beauty among the shiny structured towers.  We covered our glory and removed our shoes as we entered into a room full of Pakistani friends and family of the beautiful bride who was sitting in the middle of the room.  Her eye was ahead on her groom in the other room as she recited her vows. She was stunning in her baby pink Sari.  Only after the ceremony were we allowed to intermingle with the men in the stunning artfully constructed area of the mosque.

Later that night we dolled ourselves up, mascara lining our eyes and legs showing modestly.  We entered a room full of lively colors in celebration of the new couple.  Some women dressed in the most bright of Saris and smiles, happiness emanating from their hearts and faces.  The table where I sat added a touch of white and black to the sea of brown.

After a grand meal with spices that illuminated the senses, we danced the night away to lyrics without interpretation.  I made eye contact with several people I never had spoken to but we were speaking the same language as we danced for the same reason.  We did not have a need to speak formalities, for that moment in time we were family.

At midnight while I was jumping up and down waving my hands in the air and laughing at who knows what, a joyful American friend hugged me and shouted, “Merry Christmas”.  I had forgotten it was Christmas Eve when we started our adventure.

What a way to spend Christmas being a minority, in the midst of the rich community of my Pakistani brothers and sisters.  For Jesus came into a world on the fringes as a babe, humbly.  Id gladly give up my tradition again to experience another’s tradition.  He came as the greatest gift the world has ever known and not realized.  He came to be the link, the networker, the connector.  He reconciled us to the Father.  His death birthed life giving connection between Heaven and earth.

What a way to end 2016 dancing those nights away to honor and celebrate a lifetime friend.  But even more what a great beginning to the new year.  This is the reason Jesus came to connect, to engage, to celebrate.  But how often do I just dance it out, sing it out, celebrate with no agenda?

Photo by Jerrika Morrell (click photo for more info)

Here’s to more unconventional moments in 2017.  May you not think you have to have the right moves, or shoes.  Enjoy the barefoot random dance in your kitchen, in your living room, in your yard.

Life is worth celebrating, abundance is worth experiencing through the One who came to connect us to a Kingdom beyond our own.  May we dance and celebrate more this year than any previous year.

Books I read in 2016

If you dream of a huge library with a sliding ladder and singing at the top of your lungs as you ….oh wait that is a different scene.

As the year comes to a close, I am enjoying seeing what others have read this year.  And as I read other’s lists of books they read in 2016, I am secretly hoping to find another gem.

8 best books I adventured through in 2016:

The Hobbit by J. R. Tolkien.

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

My two cents: Yes, I have made it this long in life without reading this book. No judging.  What an adventure to go on! Definite good read for fantasy fanatics.  Goblins, elves, and huge eagles, oh my! The transformation of the main character, dear Bilbo, is written wonderfully.

Ex-Muslim by Naeem Fazal.

Genre: Memoir

My two cents: I love this book for many reasons.  Firstly I enjoy the author very much.  I remember a very simple interaction with him and his wife in a very trying time in my life.   This book is unforgettable and sincere just like my interaction with them.  Naeem’s story of coming to faith is unique and has impacted many.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.

Genre: Memoir

My two cents: This book was so engaging that I plan to re-listen to this in the new year.  Yes, I said listen.  Shonda reads her own audio book.  She makes excellent car company.  I feel like she was rallying me to march to my own beat, unashamedly and creatively.  For every woman who has many dreams and goals, but needs a friend to honestly propel her forward, this is for you.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman.

Genre: Spiritual Growth

My two cents: Emily has inspired me for four years now through her authentic and life giving writing on her blog.  In this book, she invites me to sit on the bench and pay attention to the small moments, the moments where life happens.  This book is truly a breath of fresh air.

Birthing the Miraculous by Dr. Heidi Baker.

Genre: Spiritual Growth

My two cents: Baker encourages us to carry our promises to fruition, no matter how hard, crazy, or unbelievable the promise may seem.  She shares personal stories that stir up faith to trust in the Lord and to lean on him daily. I love her stories that show that faith is much more than a bunch of talk.  Faith requires action.

Portraits of Devotion by Beth Moore.

Genre: Spiritual Growth/Devotional

My two cents: This is a devotional book following much of Jesus, David, John, and Paul’s life.  I love the structure of the readings each day.  And the journey through 1 Samuel was rich. It’s an easy read before the day begins, or for a lunch break.

Rising Strong by Dr. Brené Brown.

Genre: Self-Help/Badassery 😉

My two cents: Here is another fantastic audio book read by Brené herself.  I highly recommend the hardback copy as well.  This reading is meaty and soul searching.  You will be called to courage, and I will bet you will even start to crave a brave lifestyle even in the midst of struggle.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany.

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

My two cents: I grew up with the Harry Potter series.  I went to the midnight showings of almost all the movies.  So of course I had to read this book.  It is a quick read that you will not want to put down.  And I absolutely love the character of Scorpius.

 

I am already compiling my list for books to read in 2017.  This year I will have more clinical books to read for school, but that won’t stop me from adventuring through my list.

What are some of your good reads of 2016?  And what are some on your list for 2017? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.

Sunday’s (X-mas) Loop

This is the week folks…

The week is the reason for so many houses being adorned with red and green and shimmering white.  Christmas is upon us in America.

It is also the week that the grocery stores are crazy busy.  Stores are jam packed.  And Starbucks employees are quite tired. Kids are set free from classrooms.  And delicious foods are yet to be prepared.

On that note, as we launch into christmas week here are a couple of things that might help to keep you sane—I mean in good spirits and in the festive mood.

  1. Johnnyswim’s sweet Christmas album:
  2. Niki Hardy gives us all a most needed friendly reminder that we don’t have to do it all this season.  Hope her writing helps to lighten the load that may be in your soul.
    You can find her post here
  3. This new original by the talented artists at Seacoast Church:
  4. Though not all celebrate the church season of advent, I find the mere definition of the word “advent” to be powerfully revelatory of the season.
    Advent- the arrival of a notable person, event, or thing.

May we take note this week of the one who has already came and who comes near even when we do not notice.

Blessings as you begin your week.

Candles upon cake

He does not manage us, to-do list us, or bullet-point us. He loves us. Is with us. And believing him feels impossible, until we do, like a miracle, like lukewarm water turning merlot red right there in the cup. And hope sprouts new, because God doesn’t give us a list. He invites us into the story.

-Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways

This one has felt unusual, like a comma connecting two different ideas.  It doesn’t feel monumental nor extravagant.  But it feels like a pause, a gearing up for another long stride.

It is my birthday.  My personal New Year’s day.

This morning I sat cozily under my nap blanket with a piping hot mug fitting just right in my hands.  I read the quote above by my favorite blogger.  It grabbed me and pulled me in to listen closer.

I tend to look back over my life and compartmentalize seasons.  I shove 2-3 years in a cubby, as those years threaten to come bursting out onto the floor.  Labels hang above each square, generalizing its contents.

Its a system that fails me often, as pieces do not always stay in their proper place.

In a moment of silence this morning, with coffee as my witness.  Thankfulness sprang out of my heart and washed over my head and down to my feet.  Not the kind of washing that comes from emotional hormones or warm fuzzies, yet a washing that comes from the Spirit.

And in a brief moment all of my personal history was strung together in one note.  In one sentence. And this here, this day, feels like one glorious small comma leaving room for what is yet to be written.

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Oils blend, smearing into one another, causing art to appeal to the senses.

Last year I wondered and I desired for what was to come.  All I knew was that change was coming. But this? Different job, pursuing another degree, and regaining old ground in a new way.

Yea, you can’t make this stuff up.

I hadn’t a clue. But He had laid the colors. He took his thumb rubbed it across the canvas and smeared the scene into place.

We live one continuous journey.  All our stories worth telling.

What is He creating in your life?  And are you willing to let Him blend the pieces together in His perfect way?

He is

Me?

I am not self made.  I am uniquely designed, one of a kind.

I am who I am.

Moving from glory to glory.  Oh please, Amen! Amen!

I want to smell of Love and for that there is a cost.

I will gladly take the purging by fire.  Bring it on!  For I was built to withstand!

I will emerge even brighter, ever purer.

I am who I am because he is the great I am.

I am not self made, he brought me forth as his.

Breathed life into these working limbs.  Dreams knitted in this beating heart.

I am because he is I AM.

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Sunday’s Loop

Here we are looping back to Monday again! Who’s ready?!

Some of us are returning from a turkey stuffed vacation and others of us are continuing the norm.  Some of us are reassessing goals for the week, and reseting, hoping those goals do not get lost in hustle.

So from my life to yours…here’s a few fun things for your wind down tonight, before your wind up tomorrow.

  • My Sunday evenings are spent shamelessly eagerly awaiting 8p.  I will gladly admit I am a “oncer”. That’s right I dig my “Once upon a time”.  Heroes, villains, redemption, magic, sappy moments that sometimes make me cry. Not to mention Jennifer Morrison is a total bad ass as a savior.  You can find it from the beginning on Netflix.
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photo credits: abc

  • Audiobook (did I mention this grad school girl is loving the wonderful innovation of audiobooks) of this week and next week: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes.I do not watch Grey’s nor any of her other shows.  But this book has got me hooked.  She is a fresh captivating writer and storyteller.  She reads the audio version and it has had me dying laughing on more than one occasion.  We might not have the same perspectives, but man I am learning a thing or two. Here is a taste through her TED talk:

  • Experiments with old things becoming new and well…just new things.  Its rare moments when I actually put down the work and books and create something out of thin air.
    I experimented for the first time with chalk and charcoal and I am digging the feel of it and how messy my fingers look after.img_2317-copy

This week, may you kick defeat in the teeth as you choose to be a hero, a good guy, a light giver.

May you dream, but may you ‘do’ in order to achieve your dreams.  After all as Shonda says dreamers end up living in other people’s basements.

May you give your self the liberty to experiment with at least one thing this week. A recipe, a dance, an art medium, or a way you spend time with your kids…doesn’t have to be elaborate, just some form of “mixing it up”. Who knows you might enjoy it.

Peace to you!

31 That’s a wrap!

Whew! I took up the challenge to write 31 days.  By no means did I blog each day for those 31 days.  However, I choose to not quit.

This week’s silence has much to do with the unexpected stressors of life. But in a still moment this weekend, I realize that this gives me life.

This space shared with you is a wonderful adventure.

This empty canvas to paint upon is where my heart is free to express.

If there is one thing I have learned through this challenge it is that I am wired to write.  Some days I would sigh looking at the academic paper I knew I had to write before I allowed myself to write in this place.  Why?

Because my heart was yearning to share with you. It was desiring to create something authentic.

We must feed the artist within, otherwise he slumbers and dies with lost potential.  Between the work hours, the obligations, the housework, the meetings, the school work we must fight to keep the artist alive in us.

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There is a message stored up in each of us.  And listening ears are waiting to hear.  Seeing eyes are waiting to gaze upon the beautiful expression.

What is the message you carry?  What is the artful expression about to explode out of you?

May your unique expression stir so violently in you that you cannot ignore it any longer.  May we be brave to let loose the artist within. And may we take the time to encourage others to not look like anyone but who they were meant to be.

May we reflect the image engraved on our hearts.

Day 28-29:: Simply impactful

I said with obligation, “Hey. How’s it going?”

-Hesitation- And no true answer.

“You’re doing alright?” I say, as if to cue him.

He gives me an honest answer. And I sympathize.

I do not feel much like talking.  Honestly I am only an inch above defeated.  I feel discouraged, not bubbly.

As Benjamin is scanning my grocery items he looks up, “Sorry if this sounds weird, but you seem like a cool person.”

What?! Me?! Does he know who he is talking to?  I had a million reasons up until that point I felt incredibly uncool.  In fact I was feeling lonely and burned out.

Totally uncool like I questioned, “what do you mean? Like calm?” People tell me I am calm all the time.  So if he tells me oh yea that is what I meant, then I have permission to go back to my hole of discouraging thinking.

“No. Cool.”

I was speechless.  Permission denied.  He was so sure.

I walked out of the store, after also not so cool-like asking for the stream of coupons he had behind the counter.  I wanted to cry as soon as the night air hit my face.

He made my night and he’ll never know it.

I had no more reason to wallow in woe-is-me’s because his words pulled me up by my bootstraps in the most unusual of ways.

I was deemed cool.  But it was not that which made tears come to my eyes.  It was because I was seen and encouraged in a moment when I felt unseen and discouraged.

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This happened over a few weeks ago, but it has stuck with me.  His words popped my bubble of stinking thinking.  And for that I was very grateful.

May we choose to rethink how we are thinking this week.  And may we challenge other people to do the same by saying “weird sounding” encouraging statements.  May we reach out, going beyond the norm and hug people with our words.

Day 26-27:: Fiery boots

Summer seems to be in a war with fall to gain a few more minutes of glory here in the South.  Being a warm sun loving babe, I do not mind one bit.

Well, except for the fact that I am ready for bonfires and boots.

Bonfires means an excuse to get together with others. For some reason, fire makes conversation easier.  There is not so much focus on what to discuss, but rather all those gathered can focus on being in the moment around the warmth.  Wine. Fire. S’mores. Its common place where we can be at ease.

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And well as for boots, they just make you feel powerful.  Well at least for me.  I feel like I stand taller and more confident.  I am ready to conquer whatever the day may bring.  I have something to offer, and here I go putting it out there for the world to see.

To be more open.  To be more sure.  A fire.  Some boots.

Its funny how we associate things with some of our inner desires.

As you begin this week, may you find the time to be self-aware of what it is you are desiring.  Then with confidence and openness may you pull on your boots to take up the challenge to go after those things you desire, want, or need.

Maybe the first step is simply acknowledging your need or your desire.

May we all find the courage this week to partner with a Good Father who desires to give us good gifts and provide for those things we need.

 

 

Days 23-25:: Prayer from the table

Traveling sometimes makes writing a bigger challenge.  I find that I do more thinking and less writing.  The writing comes after the journey.

The traveling is more about the experience.  But it is good to get sweet small moments to write in the midst of the travels.

The first part of my journey had a few of these small moments.  These were rich moments but simple.  I truly believe we need those moments to refresh our souls from the hustle.

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Here is a prayer I jotted down one morning.  I modified it just for you in case it would be a place in which you may let out a sigh and take a small moment to reflect and refresh.

Maybe you feel like there is not enough to go around.  You are worn and feel like your basket is empty.  Or maybe you are scared, scared you have nothing to give. Possibly your hungry, starving even, for more than just crumbs.

He is not a frugal God. May your heart be pleasantly surprised this weekend.

Bring me up, Lord, to where you are calling.  Put a song in me to sing.  A harmony so sweet, where you and I can meet.

Grant me today my daily bread.  Let me not forget to feed the hungry and those in need. You will supply me for the day for my needs, and the needs of others.  Help me to give away what you have entrusted to me.  Show me the truly hungry. And teach me to give how you gave.  When you gave and all was said and done there was more than enough.

May it still be true of you through me.

Amen

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