you say

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Unexpected.

A theme I’ve been living out for the last 7 years of my life.

Just when I think things are “calming down” or “settling in”, I find change and growth just on the other side of the same breath.

Since moving to California 3 years ago, I’ve found myself creating roots. Roots deeper than I’ve experienced in my adult life. I made the big move, walked through months of adjustments, and settled into a life and job that from the outside, stood in line with where I “should be” in life.

I had the 9-5 job.
I was working in the field I went to school for.
I had benefits and a steady income.

And I was miserable.

Now, I will 100% admit that I learned more in that season than I ever expected. I learned a lot about myself, about management styles, about persevering when you feel like throwing in the towel. I never want to disvalue the time I invested, the relationships I built, or the skills I learned (personally and professionally). But, when push came to shove, I knew it was time to move on.

So, I did what any rational, calculated millennial would do – I quit without knowing where I would land next.

It’s that feeling deep in your gut, in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, that you are making the right decision. No matter what other people think. What they expect. What they believe is “right”. By all means, let people speak  wisdom and encouragement into your situation, but at the end of the day trust what you know and stick to it. As hard as that can be.

That was 8 months ago.

And I don’t regret my decision for a second.

By the world’s standards, I’ve stepped outside of my experience, and moved “backwards”. But in reality, I’m happier and more content than I’ve ever been. Even in the midst of growth and discomfort.

It’s funny, when people ask me where I’m working, I automatically feel the need to rationalize why I’m working where I am. As if I somehow have to validate my decision to step away from what I’ve known for the last 7 years of my life. As if my worth and success rests in their hands, in their opinions. And let’s be clear, most people don’t expect that explanation, or need reasoning for my decisions. It’s something I feel as though I need to offer to them, to “explain myself”.

We are so good at living into what others expect of us. Or rather, what we think they expect of us. We try to be what others want us to be, instead of what we are meant to be. Who we are meant to be.

I need to be reminded daily that my worth is not in what I do, how well I perform my job, or what milestones I’m meeting. My worth is in who I was created to be. 

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
– You Say by Lauren Daigle
So, here’s to being enough. To fighting the voices in our minds that somehow convince us that we aren’t enough. To believing we are strong and loved, worthy of belonging. Let us work hard and strive for greatness, but remember that we are worthy even if we fall short.
Unexpected. 
Lean into the unexpected. You never know what joy you’ll find in the journey.
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27 for 27

To continue, here is the flip side – 27 things I’m looking forward to and/or am aiming for in the coming year. Here’s a recap:

We’re on to year three of yearly lessons and goals. It’s been a fun practice to reflect on the past year and look forward with anticipation at the coming months.

For those tuning in for the first time, for the last two years I’ve made a list (as long as my age) with simple goals, lessons, facts, and other randomness that I have experienced and am looking forward to. It ranges from serious to ridiculous, while covering everything in between.

Here’s to 2018 and a year of 27:

  1. Continue rooting myself in my community and my reliance on Him. Each and every year.
  2. PISTOL SQUATS. I will be doing them by June. #goals
  3. Trying more local restaurants. I’m a creature of habit and need to step out of the box.
  4. Travel: Northern California, PNW, Utah, Nashville, North Carolina, Texas…the list goes on.
  5. Is it redundant to mention coffee yet again?
  6. Be more consistent with daily habits/routines. I often let life get in the way of things that are truly important.
  7. Go to more sports games. Hockey, football, baseball – all of it.
  8. Complain less. There’s so much beauty within the hard and mundane.
  9. Send more snail mail.
  10. Be more intentional. With words, with actions, with relationships.
  11. Whole30 – at least two rounds. AT LEAST. Round one starts Monday. Bless.
  12. Cook more. Meal prep more. Use that InstantPot. #gamechanger
  13. Somehow I’m not even halfway through this list.
  14. Serve. Serve often. Serve willinging. Serve others. Serve.
  15. Make fewer excuses. About everything.
  16. Find new and challenging workouts. It helps with motivation.
  17. Start playing a sport again. I miss that.
  18. Watch less TV. Read more.
  19. Gather more books. I’m okay with owning a full library.
  20. Go skating more often. You brought those skates all way the way from Canada – USE THEM.
  21. Listen to more podcasts.
  22. Watch new movies (I know, I said to read more. Whatever). Stop watching the same ones over and over again (or at least throw in a new one here and there).
  23. Go to the beach more. Swim in the ocean more often. It’s good for you.
  24. Use your planner. ALL year.
  25. Slow down. Notice the little things. Find something to be thankful for in every circumstance.
  26. Is it too much to list coffee twice? Yes? Oops.
  27. Dream big. Work hard. Kick 2018 in the teeth.

26 from 26

We’re on to year three of yearly lessons and goals. It’s been a fun practice to reflect on the past year and look forward with anticipation at the coming months.

For those tuning in for the first time, for the last two years I’ve made a list (as long as my age) with simple goals, lessons, facts, and other randomness that I have experienced and am looking forward to in the next year. It ranges from serious to ridiculous, while also covering everything in between.

2017 was a year of progress and learning and rooting myself in the community I’ve cultivated here and more importantly in Him. It’s been a wild ride that makes me excited for the year to come.

Here are 26 things I learned/experienced in 2017:

  1. Canada is really cold. San Diego’s sunshine and warm temperatures are taken for granted. Never again.
  2. A lot can change in a year. Wow.
  3. Sometimes distance and boundaries are the necessary solution. And sometimes that leads to more redemption than you ever thought possible.
  4. Coffee is still one of my love languages.
  5. So is sarcasm. Although, it may be worse now than ever.
  6. I still crave travel and discovering new places, but I’m just as content being here in the place that I love.
  7. There’s just something about those Friday night lights above a football field that makes you nostalgic all over again.
  8. Watching people do what they love is the best feeling in the world.
  9. The ocean isn’t as intimidating as I once thought. But let’s be honest, it’s still a little terrifying.
  10. Speaking of, I swam in the Pacific Ocean for the first time this year. There’s no going back.
  11. Grounding yourself with a walk in the sand is just about the best medicine for anything and everything.
  12. Friends you can laugh hysterically with (even if you’re laughing at yourself) are the best friends you could dream of having.
  13. You’ll even learn to forgive those friends for introducing you as “the Canadian” before ever sharing your name.
  14. But you’ll still roll your eyes and pop them in the arm. Everytime.
  15. The best conversations still happen in the kitchen or the car.
  16. I never IN MY LIFE thought I would want a dog as much as I do right now.
  17. But Ralphie will work just fine for now. Is it possible to miss him even though I saw him 12 hours ago?
  18. Burgers. I think they’ll always be my favorite food.
  19. Also tequila. Because duh.
  20. A list of 26 things is really long.
  21. Fresh off the vine passionfruit is THE BEST thing ever. I can’t even begin to count how many I ate. Is it passionfruit season yet?
  22. Keeping routines new and exciting is necessary for survival. Boredom = laziness.
  23. The Bachelor/Bachelorette is still just as entertaining 15 years later.
  24. Learning to be content in the moment is an ever-evolving lesson that I’m still trying to conquer.
  25. How many books is too many books? 5 million? Perfect. I’m not there yet.
  26. San Diego is home. And I’m so thankful for that.

12 Days of Love Letters

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Words are powerful.

They convey emotion, empathy, compassion – or just the opposite. They allow us to communicate across countries and continents. They hold the power to tear others down, or build them up to the highest of heights.

Words have become an outlet for me. Whether it’s been a big move, a hard day, or a lesson learned – words have helped me process and share the good, the bad, the hard, and the beautiful throughout the last several years. Words have been my escape.

Words written on paper seem to hold more meaning and worth than anything else. These electronic letters have their place, but could never fully replace the sentiment displayed by the time and effort it takes to physical pen a letter or note. That’s just one of the reasons why I was captivated by the mission behind More Love Letters.

“The World Needs More Love Letters is a global organization using the power behind social media to write and mail letters to strangers all over the world. Not-for-profit and completely mission-driven, [they] let anyone nominate someone in need of a love letter bundle. [They] pick stories that resonate. You get the chance to write a letter and mail it in.

The task is small, but the impact is greater than you can imagine.”

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From December 4-15, The World Needs More Love Letters is rolling out its biggest, grandest, most festive love letter writing campaign of the year!

For the last six years, they’ve been putting a bow on the holiday season by rolling out 12 letter requests over a span of 12 days. That’s no joke… 12 days, 12 letter requests, and a whole lot of holiday loving. The 12 Days of Love Letter Writing is a perfect way for you to show up this season and help people in need around the world. Grab your friends or classmates, kids or students, and rally together to bring some goodwill into the world this December. All you need is some stationery and a few stamps.

Each day, they will publish a new letter request to the More Love Letters blog. Write one letter or submit a note to all 12 bundles! The choice is yours! All letters should be postmarked by December 20, 2017. Your love letters will be bundled up with other letters from across the world and delivered by the new year!

I want to introduce you to Lacey.

Many individuals face tragic + difficult circumstances in life, and Lacey is no stranger to those types of circumstances. Her friend shared with us:

“Lacey is an incredible individual; she’s like a lightning bolt of energy, love, and encouragement. I met Lacey a few years ago and learned that she had been diagnosed with not just one, but four incurable brain, neurological, and spinal conditions. It’s been a long road for Lacey and her husband, as they’ve journeyed together through her three brain surgeries, consecutive recoveries, and day to day life.

Lacey has been a force to be reckoned with and continues to be a source of positivity and joy to those around her. This fall she began school again, to earn her doctorate in medical anthropology in hopes of helping others who have experienced similar life-changing diagnoses. There are still rough days for Lacey, both physically and emotionally, and I want to show her that she won’t be defined by her medical history, but the future she chooses for herself.”

Please join us as we send that same encouragement + love to Lacey that she so readily spreads!

PLEASE MAIL ALL LOVE LETTERS BY DECEMBER 20 TO:

Lacey’s bundle

℅ Beeta L.

519 S. Anaheim Blvd

Anaheim, CA 92805 

USA

Words are powerful. They have the ability to build people up, to make them feel heard, to make them feel understood. Encouragement in the form of written words might be one of the most powerful gifts. Will you join me in writing (a letter, a card, or a short note) for Lacey?

So pour some hot cocoa, pull out your most festive cards, and join us on social media for a letter writing marathon!

*For more information, check out their FAQs and make sure you keep up with More Love Letters on Instagram & Twitter as they post letter requests year round.

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current location

Some friendships can transcend time and continents. This week was the first time I saw Lindsey stateside and not half a world away in Uganda. We originally bonded over pumpkin scones and chili, and were known to meet fairly very regularly for espresso milkshakes and spicy fries. I’m so thankful for a friendship that can pick up after years apart and one that is never short on laugher and eye-rolls.

This was Lindsey’s first time on the west coast, and I was determined to show her as much as I could in a few short days. While we didn’t make a big dent into the list, we did dip our toes (or our Converse shoes) in the ocean, drank lots of coffee, and ate enough sugar to last a lifetime. Come back soon, please. The best coast is [not so patiently] waiting :)

Also, can we just talk about the iPhone 7+ Portrait Mode? I think I’m in love.

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After the Storm – Published on Deeply Rooted

A blog I wrote back during my time in Uganda, After the Storm, was recently published on Deeply Rooted Magazine‘s online blog. I’m so honored for them to choose these words to share, in hopes they will resonate with someone the way they did with me.

These words were not easy to write. I was in the midst of one of the hardest seasons of my life, and this blog was my attempt at digging into the hope I knew was somewhere in front of my feet. It felt like I couldn’t escape the feelings I was trapped by, but alas, He is good – through it all.


Fear and anxiety. I can finally put words to it.

I spent years and years with feelings I couldn’t place, I couldn’t name. I couldn’t understand these emotions I was experiencing more often than I’d like to admit.

It wasn’t until I moved overseas and struggled on a more consistent basis that I was able to name what I was feeling. Living in a developing country brings out both rational and irrational fears in the best of people, not to mention someone who has an overactive imagination and desires safety more than most. (I was also introduced to the Enneagram and my #6 personality type.) Being there gave me permission, in some way, to validate what I was experiencing in not only a physical sense, but on an emotional and spiritual level as well. Suddenly, I was able to admit what I was feeling, to myself and those closest to me— the hardest and most humbling step of all.

Continue reading on Deeply Rooted Magazine’s blog here…

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at the table

Growing up in a family that was very intentional about sitting down at the table together each night, the transition away from home and into a space without a common table of my own was challenging. While there were often still people gathered around the table, I didn’t have a space of my own to start my own traditions as I was used to doing. At the time, this never specifically struck me as odd or disappointing. While I didn’t have my own table to cultivate community around, there were other ways this manifested throughout those years. And while I still don’t have a table, one practice remains the same.

Coffee.

Steaming cups, frothy milk, perfectly [or not so perfectly] pulled espresso shots, and a table. Not a table placed in the center of a dining room in a beautifully decorated home, but a table, in the middle of a coffee shop, used as a common place for people to meet – to gather around.

In fact, at this moment, I sit at a coffee shop in the Brussels airport, watching people gather together. Some, you can tell, are in a hurry, while others have stopped to linger, making the most of their international layover. But even in moments of the hustle and bustle of airport life, people still sit around a table – sharing words and coffees and moments together. *NOTE: I started writing this blog almost two years ago and I am, in fact, not sitting in the Brussels airport. Unfortunately.*

Community around the table can look different in various seasons and stages of life. But for me, in this season, “the table” is the corner comfy chair with the little wooden coffee table in front of it. It’s gathering and connecting over our commonalities, even if the only thing we have in common is the steaming drink that sits in front of us.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve showed up at a coffee shop, normally earlier than planned, meeting someone for the first time. Though to some this may seem intimidating (and honestly, I still feel this way sometimes), there is something beautiful and life giving about hearing someone’s story, coffees being sipped, and nothing known in common other than the mugs in our hands.

Common ground. That’s what coffee is. It’s the leveling of expectations – stripping down our preconceptions and our fears – creating a space that allows us to get down to the basics. Whether conversation comes easily or if it takes work to get things moving, the vulnerability and courage displayed by simply showing up permeates through the noise around you.

I’ve always said the best conversations happen while sitting on the kitchen floor or driving on a road trip. But after the last few years, I may have one more to add to the list. Honestly, I think some of the best conversations I’ve had, either first meetings or with the oldest of friends, were experienced with mugs in hand. The steam somehow breaks down the barriers put up by unknown expectations or anticipation; removing the walls that so easily place themselves between words and meaningful conversations.

I know for myself, fear creeps into every aspect of life it can. The big and small things alike are all permeated with some level of fear or the anticipation that accompanies it. As it’s something that has been more present in the last few years, I’ve also been much more aware of fear’s ability to impact my life in significant ways. So, you would think the thought of meeting someone I don’t know, in a coffee shop I may not have been to before, to probably make some sort of small talk (which I often dread), would terrify me; to the point that I would use any and every excuse to avoid such event. And to be honest, often times it does. But you know what, acknowledging that, yet stepping out anyway is not only empowering, but rewarding beyond measure.

There’s something about that table, in that random coffee shop, with that piping hot coffee in your hands that screams out “bold” – on both sides of the table. Because let’s be honest, the person sitting across from you is most likely feeling just about the same thing you are. But you know what, you both showed up. You both took bold steps forward – risking vulnerability and possible rejection, all for the sake of relationship and community. And suddenly, you’re both on the same page, at the same starting line, with the same goal in mind.

Relationship.

People going beyond the surface, the exterior, the façade, to truly engage with another human being on a level that is beautiful and God honoring. So many times, we place a big emphasis on “community”, as it’s something we all strive to have in our lives on multiple levels. However, I believe relationship with others, seeking and chasing after The Creator – individually and together – will naturally become “community”. It’s not something that needs to be accomplished, but instead becomes something we are able to experience because we are relentlessly pursuing the Lord together. And it may start with something as simple as boldly saying yes to the unknown waiting for you in that corner coffee shop.

So, whether or not you have a table in your home to gather people around, whether or not you feel as though you’re in a place to invite people in to your space, or whether your “table” is outside of the four walls you consider home, know that the place you find yourself is significant. Even if this is simply the coffee shop around the corner with the person God has placed in front of you, for such a time as this.

Rest in the fact that no matter where you find yourself, boldly stepping out to walk alongside someone else, pursing the Lord together, your “table” will meet you where you are. All you have to do is say yes – and order the coffee.

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