A Letter to YOLO

by Christina

Dates on the calendar are such a strange thing.

A joyful event occurs on a certain date and you remember that date forever. A tragedy falls on a day and you never forget and dread its anniversary remembering anew that things will never be the same again. And meanwhile, we cross hundreds of days off our calendars, one by one, with routine and regularity, like the ding of a noon church bell. Days pass. Even on the best or worst days, they contain the same number of seconds.

What makes a day feel eternally long?

How is it that a day can fly by?

And how much of our lives do we spend looking back at golden memory days or regretting that a certain day came?

Heck, we even talk about how some days aren’t even important (I’m talking to you, Arbor Day). We can dismiss whole days with relief or disgust. But I think there’s something more to consider here like:

What if time is irrelevant?

Seems hard to believe, actually. Time is relevant to me on a micro-level. If I really treated time as if it were irrelevant, my daughter would STILL be waiting for me to pick her up at school, my wet laundry would be sour, I’d miss my flight, we’d never meet for coffee, and it wouldn’t matter how quickly I ran the 50 yard dash in the 3rd grade.

My dad died this year. He died 7 days after a cancer diagnosis. He didn’t feel great for a few weeks and then, wow, suddenly we knew things were dire. But I still had no idea in all this earth that we would only be able to be in his presence for another week. So I became a new member of the club; the club of people who dread that a day came and that its anniversary is on the horizon. What a crappy club.

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 tells me that there are seasons for lots of things like planting, healing, breaking down, building up, laughing, crying, even for dancing (maybe that one’s not for all of us *white man’s overbite*). There’s time for all of that between being born and dying.

But James 4 feels a little more my speed (read: realist) when it essentially says for all ya’ll who make your to-do lists and set your calendar reminders on your phones for tasks you deem important, you’ve got no clue. You’re pretty much like a one hit wonder when it comes to all that God put here. Try this: Think about the fact that time doesn’t add up to a hill of beans. If I live today, I live today (and I’ll try to remember to pick up my kid). That’s it. God’s timepiece is the one to reference when you get outta bed each day.

YOLO, baby. You only live once and concocting a slew of plans and assuming they’re super important is super silly. By the way, I know you’re impressed that I am on the back edge of the hip hop, party-like-you-mean-it, carpe diem craze.

But I think YOLO gets at why we started this blog. We keep hemming and hawing about whether it’s the right thing. We hedge our bets and, seeing other people’s success, we back off the idea. But if we have literally no way to know how long we are on this big round ball of gravity-ville, why wouldn’t we try doing something we love? Why wouldn’t we just take a step without looking far ahead?

And so our happy “blog birthday” is October 1st, 2014. And even though we only live once because we’re YOLO’ers, celebrating the anniversary of that day will be a bright spot amongst hundreds of days that are, well, regular days. I am so thankful for the regular days. And I have to say that I am thankful for the hard days but I’m still most thankful for this day.


A Letter to My 11 Year Old Daughter

You got home from school the other day, pulled out your school photo (the one with the stock elephant gray background) and observed, “Oh! I look so pretty…”

My head swiveled from whatever nonsense distracted me at that moment and I breathed in the air of self-confidence you had just deposited in the room.  You actually used the word “pretty.”  Not “weird” or “ugly” or “awkward” or even “okay,” but “pretty.”

I mean, yes. Just yes! This is it. I wondered how I could freeze the moment and sear that casual, authentic, unabashed self-confidence into your heart and mind for all time.  (Come on. There must be an app for that!)

Your youthful eyes are so clear and pure.  You care little for embellishements like make-up or hairspray.  The media’s portrayal of long-legged, buxomy, perfectly symmetrical, photo-shopped women as the standard for beauty has not infiltrated your belief system.  I pray it never does.

However, chances are, if you’re anything like me or so many other women in this world, a curtain of self-doubt will cloud your grown up eyes at some point.

Smack in the middle of your 11th year of life, you straddle the fine line between being a child and becoming a young lady.  You relentlessly beg me to let you read The Fault in Our Stars because “EVERYONE else has read it,” yet you are still able to spend hours dressing dolls with your little sister.  You cuddle up on the couch with me while we watch TV, yet your stare can be cold as ice if you feel I’ve unfairly judged you in some way.

I know some of those harder moments are rites of passage into adolescence.  I don’t love them, but I love you.  Honestly, I remember reacting the same way to my mom back in the day.  But even on my best day, I’m not sure I ever looked at a picture of myself and declared myself pretty.

You could care less what boys think of you right now.  And you don’t try to garner attention by becoming something you’re not.  What can we do to preserve this wonderful outlook on life?

As I age I can’t help but wonder where all these crows feet came from.  I let out a heavy sigh of defeat when I can no longer button my “skinny jeans.”  I’ve been known to drop a dollar (or fifty!) on the latest “lose weight fast” technique.  I crop photos to sit at just the right angle.

And, why do I do this?  For whom do I do this?

I honestly don’t know.  I’m pretty sure my friends don’t care what my bathroom scale reads.  Dad doesn’t seem to mind either.  In fact, I’m fairly certain he thinks confidence is just about the sexiest thing I can put on!

Thank you for that carefree response to your school picture.  Those few words have bolstered my resolve to stand strong in the face of cultural messages about beauty.  Perhaps that is one way we can tackle this counterfeit message together – head on.

I am your mom, the one who is supposed to be modeling such things for you and yet, you, my dear, have inspired me.

A Letter to Christian Cliches

I am not one to quibble about little phrases overused in society (yep. I am, actually) but one I see with regularity is “God showed up.”


  • “You should have seen that car accident! God showed up and the onlooker was able to pull the man out of the burning truck.”
  • “Last night at the worship fest God really showed up. I couldn’t believe how many people made decisions for Christ.”
  • “I was so stressed about the meeting this morning but God showed up big time and the meeting went really great!

So I picture here God writing in his Day-Timer that he’s to show up at 7 pm for the worship concert and really wave his arms with vigor over the whole place. I envision God hearing the crash of the car and jogging over to the scene to give the onlooker the idea to help the man in the burning vehicle. I see God shifting his gaze just as the stressful meeting begins and orchestrating harmony all of the sudden since he just remembered your meeting.


  • Do we really believe God is sometimes with us and at other times busy?
  • Do we think that there are some events worthy of God showing up and other events where He forgot or simply decided not to attend?
  • When we say “God showed up,” do we understand the implications of when we don’t say that or don’t believe He was there or present?
  • What do we truly mean when we use the phrase “God showed up?”

In the Old Testament I see in 2 Chronicles 6 and 7 that Solomon finishes building the temple and invites God to dwell in it. Even in this time before we were given the Holy Spirit that dwells in us, Solomon claims this earth cannot contain the almighty God. He then refers to God’s dwelling place as heaven. Solomon would not have then said,”Ya’ll should have seen it, God showed up.”

Ananias and Sapphira find themselves not being entirely transparent about a business deal and are being held accountable for their duplicity. It’s a subtle moment really; being struck dead by the Lord as a result of their misdealing (read Acts 5 for the whole story). Did God show up? Oh yes He did. Interestingly, I don’t recall this phrase ever being used in a “you-felt-the consequences-of-your-actions” kind of way. I mostly (read always) hear it used in a way that is akin to Santa showing up…a happy gift to brighten the day.

And so, English Language, what about Shekinah?

Exodus 13 shows us a picture of God showing up for quite a while in the form of fire during the night and a cloud by day. Exodus 33 tells us that to literally see God is impossible. Moses was given strict instructions to hide behind a rock while God was present so that he would not die as a result. These are examples of what the Hebrews called Shekinah glory – a situation where God was present or indwelling.

Is that what we are talking about when we say God showed up to your meeting? Shekinah glory?

Take me to task; what does “God showed up” mean to you? Could we use another phrase? One that describes His I-am-everywhere-all-the-time nature a little better? Am I being too picky about words? Tell me what you think – God’s gonna show up for this comment thread (big time), I just know it.