Watt's Well

Room to Be, Space to Create

Tag: new year

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.

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?

Leaving 15, Entering 16

The general feeling I have leaving 2015 and entering into 2016 is that of leaving the city streets and getting on the highway. There is a feeling of slowly increasing speed to join the accelerated pace of the three laned traffic.

Sitting outside just a couple winter nights ago, huddled around a fire with three other women, we spoke of things on our hearts. We even sang songs that would not escape our minds. As we sat there one of them spoke up saying that for so many 2015 was a hard year, but 2014 wasn’t much better. She spoke of how ’16 held so much more promise for many. She said that she had been encouraged that ’15 was a buffer year between the turmoil of ’14 and the promise of ’16. My spirit leapt at this! Yes, yes!

We need buffers. We need acceleration lanes. We need fall in order to transition from summer to winter. We need engagement before marriage. I think there is something to be said for the period between. Psychologically we do not do well with drastic sudden change as humans. Many traumas people are faced with overcoming come from an instance of drastic life altering sudden change. Not to say sudden change is horrific but there is something to be valued in transition or in the processing.

What grace there was in ’15 for me personally. The year before was rough. I had found myself partially numb, disoriented, struggling, and feeling unloved. Im sure I walked around with bags under my eyes most days, with a feeble attempt of searching for some relief. Tormented by discouragement and a nagging feeling of being sidetracked filled my everyday. I had been joyfully riding a train at full speed, only to then find myself on the side of the tracks walking as if a hobo with no home. 

I had a wake up call at some point realizing I had completely lost myself. I did not know how to dream anymore. I did not even know what I stood for. And there in that epiphanic moment is when it was birthed. Desire came to life in me again. Desire to find myself again. I broke away from what held me hostage and…I felt very alone.

  Enter year ’15. Slow learning of how I should be treated again. I should be loved, treasured. I was beautiful…who knew? I wasn’t disqualified. I was a leader. I had dreams. Taking care of myself was not selfish. I was a daughter close to home again. People wanted to be my friend when I had none. I was an artist. I was an adventurer. I was heartbroken and in need of a healer. I could feel again. I possibly had purpose again.

 And for sure I saw I served a very jealous God with a destiny built for me to fit in and create. ’15 was a rebuilding and a detoxing time for me. I found grace to bookend my failures. And hope to start a new chapter.

Here I am at the beginning of ’16, knowing I needed ’15 to carry me away from ’14. I feel back on the tracks. Though now I know what it is to be a hobo wandering along, having lost sight of almost everything. But let me tell you if you are in that place, do not sweat it.  Cry, fight, wrestle, and pray. Pray simply “God, help because I just don’t know”.  God is not worried. He has more than enough grace to carry you back to your path where you were dancing in joy and purpose. Nothing is ever wasted. And most times we need to have a transition time to prepare us for the promise to come. So may your journey be sweet no matter what and may you been given the grace to not give up.

Cheers to what this year holds!

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