out of africa

{Hello? Is this thing on? Can you even hear me over the sound of crickets?} Hi. It's been a while, I know. And while I could never do it justice, I'm gonna try to fill you in on the past couple months...

My first week or so in Africa seemed like an emotional roller coaster. Experiencing so many conflicting emotions, sometimes all at the same time, made my heart feel like she had whiplash. I was glad to be back, and yet familiar things brought equal measures of nostalgia and heartache. The acuteness of it all faded with each passing day. I feel like the length of my trip -- though long in every respect -- was a gift in that it gave me enough time for things to become "normal" again. In a way they hadn't felt in a long time.

I hit the ground running and was extremely busy with work. Long, full, tiring days were a distraction for my heart, which was both good and bad at times. And then, right when He knew I'd need it, God forced me to process rather than push it off.

I am a contributing author to a book being published in September. (Crazy, right?!) My portion of the manuscript had been turned in a month or so before I left, causing the editing process to fall smack in the middle of my time in Africa. Ummm... Wow. It was no coincidence that God had me revisit my memoir-style piece about following Him to and eventually from Africa while actually in Africa. It was h-a-r-d. So very hard. But so, so good.

I really enjoyed the whole editing process, though it was strenuous and heart-stretching in every possible way. I am excited about the new direction my writing took because I worked on it on my first trip back to Africa. And I am really thankful for the forced outlet of processing. My heart is stronger for it.

I had an amazing time with Love Botswana and Bridge for Hope. I am beyond grateful that I get to work with these incredible organizations, and I'm already looking forward to my next trip back to Southern Africa at the end of August.

I'm pretty sure my body has no idea what timezone I'm in. I arrived back in Nashville on Thursday. Less than 24 hours later, I hopped a plane to Oregon to surprise my Best Heart's Friend Cathi with a weekend visit. Her awesome husband helped me plan the whole thing so I could be there for their son's first birthday. Lincoln is my godson, and I didn't want to miss his big day! We had a blast of a weekend, filled with couch time and laughter and hugs and cake. What a gift it was to be there and to have my heart filled up with friends.

And now... I am really happy to be home in Nashville. I love to travel and feel crazy blessed that I get to, but I also love having a home to come back to. I'm a roots and wings girl after all.

From Africa to the west coast and now back in Central Time... Here's to the joys of jet lag (and NyQuil)!

Oh! I've been let out of Twitter purgatory! After 30 days -- with 7 support tickets filed and 0 contact from Twitter -- my account was reactivated just as randomly and explanationlessly as it had been suspended. So weird. (Thank you to all of you who implored the powers-that-be on my behalf!)

Well, I've got a suitcase to unpack and laundry to wash and a roommate to catch up on The Voice with. I'll talk to you again soon.

I promise.

keepin' it fresh

Tomorrow is four-minute Friday. That means I start with Go and end with Done, and everything in between is written in four minutes. I typically choose a topic based on whatever's happening at the moment, and then just start typing. I've four-minuted about time zones, nicknames, and cereal. Music, hope, Isaiah 53, and ostriches.

Thanks to an inspiring housewarming gift, I'm gonna mix things up this week. You get to decide the topic of tomorrow's post.

So. What do want me to ramble about for four minutes? Give me as many suggestions as you've got.



My depression seems to have kidnapped my passion.

Right now it feels impossible to dream big or plan ahead. Most of what used to excite me isn't stirring me or making my heart leap anymore. At least not like they used to.

But one passion has remained. It's flickering like a candle near an open window, but it's still there.

I love to write.

Writing helps me process my own thoughts. It's therapeutic. Cathartic. My scribbled notes in my Moleskine, unpolished and unkempt, tell me my heart's still beating. My Gritty thoughts sent out through the cyberwaves remind me I still have something from Him to offer.

Despite the fog that envelops me, I still love to write. And the significance of that isn't lost on me.

Pay attention to dreams that don't die.

I'm trying to pay attention. And keep writing. Even when it's all I'm able to do in a day.

So while I wait for the ransom to be paid on my other passions, I'll guard what He gave me and use it for His glory.

And I'll trust that---somehow---He'll use it for my healing.

upside down

upside downIt's your turn to write for the Grit. WHA?!


I'm gonna leave a comment and you write something that would've gotten that response outta me.

You can say as much or as little as you want. It's entirely up to you.

Just give me something that would make me say---

"I just scooped my jaw off the floor---I can't believe you said that!"

bunkum: gatvol

Man, it's been ages since we've played a game here at the Grit. I think it's time to resume the weekly ritual. Here goes:

  • Post a definition for the made-up word above your comment, or use the word in a sentence.
  • Then leave a made-up word for the next person.
  • Have fun!

Starter word: gatvol (thanks, Anti!)

jabberwacky: medical malpractice

Ready to Jabberwacky?

  • Post the first word or phrase that comes to mind when you read the word above yours.
  • You can challenge a commenter to explain the connection in their brain when they wrote their word. (If you know your word choice won’t make sense to others, please take time to explain it.)
  • I'm writing an extra bullet point of jibberish to see if anyone even bothers to read the instructions anymore!
  • The last word when I close comments will be the starter word next time.

Alrighty then!

Starter phrase: medical malpractice (thanks to Tam)

bunkum: klem

Time for some weekend entertainment. Remember how this works?

  • For the made-up word above yours in the comments, post a definition and/or use the word in a sentence.
  • Then leave a made-up word for the next person. Come back to chime in as often as you’d like!

Starter word: klem (thanks, Heidi!)

jabberwacky: heidi

It's Jabberwacky time! Are you ready?

  • Post the first word or phrase that comes to mind when you read the word above yours.
  • You can challenge a commenter to explain the connection in their brain when they wrote their word. (If you know your word choice won’t make sense to others, please take time to explain it.)
  • The last word when I close comments will be the starter word next time.

Got it? Good. Starter word: Heidi (compliments of The Anti-Blogger)


I've gotten some flak over my blog post about that short-story competition. "C" left a numbered-list comment to point out his/her disdain over the fact that I asked my blogging community to vote. He/she clearly does not like my writing, stating that my story was "terrible," "full of cliches, ambiguities, abstracts," and "does not deserve to win." While harsh, C's remarks made me chuckle ("WWJD?"), and graciously taught me the word carousel.

Some discussion has even arisen in the comments over at the contest itself. "Babygurl69" (dontcha just love that?!) bluntly asks how my story is possibly getting any votes. She again FYI'd me about the word carousel, and pointed out that my "worthless anecdote" is "littered with dialogue ambiguity."

C showed up there as well, rehashing most of the same arguments he/she aired on my blog and soaboxing about the fact that my blog post "received nearly 500 comments". Too bad C didn't actually read those comments; 90% had nothing to do with the contest and everything to do with authenticity in relationships.

Mr. Scocco answered them both, and even seemed to defend both my blog and my writing ability (well, kinda).

The most ironic part is that I've remained in second place since the contest started. All this hoo-ha, and I'm not even winning.

And now here I sit, pondering this whole situation and wondering: What would Jesus do? (I wonder how His response to C would have differed from mine.)

In all honesty (as always), I don't think there's anything wrong with asking my friends to support me in an internet-based writing contest that is open to votes from the general population. I see it like I see American Idol or any of those other reality TV shows whose winners are determined by the voting public. If only seasoned professionals voted, we may very well end up with a different outcome, but that's not how the game works.

What do you think?

voting lines are open

I submitted a former blog post into a short-story contest on DailyWritingTips.com. They're choosing winners based on votes, so... go on over and vote. (You have until Saturday.) Of course, to be fair, I should encourage you to read all the entries (you really only need to read the first one) and vote for the one you think deserves to win (again, you only really need to read the first one). No, I'm serious. I don't want sympathy or obligatory votes (well, I do, but you know...).

That's all folks!

Go vote!

(Pretty please!)