Dear 2015, Thanks for being Ridiculous


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As I slide past the 2015 finish line, I feel a bit like that girl in the corner clutching a beat-up, dog-eared, tattered and mud stained notebook while everyone else is cracking open bright new shiny pages in their 2016 composition books. Complete with cute etsy designs on the front cover.

If you can relate, read on as I pay a brief tribute to a hard, messy, and sometimes flat out ridiculous year. 2015, you will always remind me that weird is the new normal.

  1. Remembering Cupageddon

You guys, remember cupageddon?

Those red cups. The hashtags. Embarassing Christians

people who use Christ as an excuse to be petty

people who talk about people who use Christ as an excuse to be petty.

We made it. We will go on. We will hold our heads high as did the who’s of who-ville now that the coffee-company-who-stole-Christmas has been exposed.

Actually, in honor of cupageddon, I fed $6.95 into the Starbucks machine and got back this shiny red cup ornament.

IMG_0066It’s stamped “2015”, so I can always remember the year that was ridiculous. It will hang on our tree (yes yes, a pagan symbol in our Christian home) as a reminder to me about the War on Christmas, because it is very real. And very over. Thus the whole “good news to men and peace on earth” bit. When I see this red cup, I will hear the angels whose trumpet song was a cosmic call to arms because Death was about to be defeated as the greatest secret weapon of all time had just been born: God in the flesh.

Cupageddon, thanks for the reminder.

  1. Hoverboards Boards with wheels and our Presidential “candidates”.

Umm, yeah.

  1. Syria. And Paris. And San Bernardino. And Prayers.

I mean, really, the collective aches that echoed around the world this year left us all with bigger questions than answers. And 2016 will probably bring more crISIS. All while we keep manufacturing and wearing adult diapers. It’s too much, you guys. It’s really, honestly, too much. We are living in unprecedented times fighting an unprecedented enemy. You better believe that these things are gonna keep knocking me to my knees in prayer, where I believe we do our best battle.

  1. Life from Loss.

You guys, finding Life from Loss is one of the hardest, bravest things we can decide to do. Digging through loss to find the life, even though every fiber in your being wants to run the other way, means you will get even messier. And Loss is everywhere. All around us. This year has cemented for me that loss forces us to our knees, but that’s where we do our best digging in the dirt. 2015 knocked me flat in so many ways. My heart broke and ached more ways than I can count. But 2015 also brought rainbows and sunsets and snuggles with my best guy. I found wide open spaces, and realized my siblings are some of my best friends and favorite people on this planet.


I spent money on counseling and started embracing self-care, not as a trend, but as a necessity. I left toxic places and people and breathed deep of healthier skies. I learned am learning to be inefficient. Friday’s Rain came out this year and my muddy hands got to hold others as we dug in and declared together that loss doesn’t have the last word. Life does.

  1. Go Mermaid hunting.

As a sister of the girl who farts rainbows, I guess it’s only fitting that I would be invited on a mermaid hunt this year. I learned a lot about mermaids as my niece told me what to watch for. The full moon was out (the only time they show themselves), and it was the time of night when the sea is the same color as the sky – something I’d never noticed before but now vigilantly pay attention to. And the sign, the way you know if you’ve seen them and they’ve seen you: a thumbs up. So now I call this the mermaid emoticon.



While as a general rule I don’t associate with mythical creatures, I realized I could probably find more magic if I was watching for it. Mermaids are rare creatures. And sometimes I think we forget – I forget – the value of being rare. I forget to watch for it. I forget to appreciate it. In myself and in others. And let’s be honest, being rare can be exhausting, costly, and even dangerous. But someone somewhere thinks you are worth searching the horizon for. So be you. It’s actually more rare than a mermaid sighting.



So, thanks 2015, for being Ridiculous. And helping me be just a bit more, too. I’ll be holding onto these tattered pages and keep drawing on them in the new year, because somehow I think they’ll be better teachers than bright and crisp new pages with 8 ways to be a better me in 13 minutes and 27 pounds lighter.

What about you? Is this a year you’re eagerly opening crisp new pages (don’t worry, we can still be friends if you are – you might even inspire me), or dragging mud-stained lessons across the finish line?


We won’t fix this.


I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been making my way through my newsfeed much as I go past “that aisle” at Costco. I hunch my shoulders, lean closer to the things I’ve chosen, and casually avert my eyes.

But I know it’s there. I know it’s real. I know it’s uncomfortable. And I know that it may become a part of my story someday.

The adult-diaper aisle.

You guys, they sell. them. in. bulk. You’re welcome.

They offer features like “barely there” and “all day comfort”. On my last trip to Costco I realized with horror: someday my friends and I are going to give each other advice about the best-barely-there-diaper-we’ve-found. Have mercy. I quickly silenced the voice in my head that reminded me of what already happens when I laugh too hard, cough too loud, or even think about one hop on a trampoline.

And just like that dang aisle, my newsfeed is filled with so many uncomfortable things. That I know are there. That I know are real. That I know may become a part of my story someday.

And on Thursday they came to my backyard. When terror came to San Bernardino, my home county. Our world is experiencing crISIS all over the place. Whether this specific shooting is ever officially credited to them or not, I think that ISIS and their ideology is my generation’s Nazis. And I have absolutely no idea what to do. I don’t know how to fix it.

I know that’s not what I’m supposed to say. I’m supposed to have an opinion. I’m supposed to take a stand on something “more practical than prayer.” We live in the world of polarizing beliefs and insta-convictions, creating both insta-saints and insta-assholes everywhere. And it’s unacceptable for me not to have formed a solid conviction within 24 hours of the latest horror and posted it all over social media. Or waiting a respectable 48 hours and then posting snarky quips about everyone else’s position.

Well, here’s a feeling I have and you’re welcome to share, tweet, or repost to your heart’s content: I have absolutely no idea what to do. What to think. Or what to feel. So I’m hitting my knees.

I know it’s not popular, this idea of real prayer to a real Jesus in response to real crisis.


I get it. The people who wrote that headline probably think that God is either nonexistent or a total bastard that flung the stars into the universe and hasn’t been involved since. And I also get that they were making a political point not a religious one.

Still, in just about every crisis, God’s name is invoked one way or another. It’s a natural response to crisis, to wonder where the heck He is, who the heck He is, and maybe even IF He is.

And sometimes we back down. Those of us who believe in Him. Because we’ve seen lots of things He didn’t “fix.” We’ve had prayers go unanswered. And their shouts of denial fuel our hidden sense of doubt. So we tag along with moments of silence and positive thoughts and walking eggshells around what we say we believe.

But that’s exhausting. I’d far rather stand on my two feet of belief and have you do the same on two feet of thinking-I’m-a-wackadoo, than both wobble around on peg-legs because we’re afraid of offending one another.

So if you don’t think God will fix this, say it. And I’ll say that I think He’s the only one who can.

Nine years ago I got to go to Bangladesh. It’s a tiny, green, fierce country. (True confession, before I went, I really didn’t know anything about the country except that my Banana Republic jeans were made there.) But their people taught me. We lived with a Muslim family and volunteered each day with a Christian family. It was fascinating to see life there through both lenses. They both spoke with equal pride of their country and what they had survived and overcome. They told us of the war their generation had waged with Pakistan. It was a horrible, ugly, devastating war as Bangli citizens sought (and ultimately won) their independence. But at great great cost. I had no idea. Now I’ll never forget.

One day, we were being toured through an independence museum. Think concrete building riddled with bullet holes, more like walking through someone’s house, but with pictures and war relics on display inside. Now take away all ideas of censorship or filters in choosing what to display. Yeah, it was graphic. My guide was a sweet young girl, and we chatted as we wandered. I asked her bluntly “Where do you place your faith?”, and she answered quickly, “I believe in humanity.”

It’s a nice sentiment. I’ve heard it plenty of times over a Starbucks drink, but I’d never heard it while standing where she and I were. In front of us was a large poster, nearly life-size, of a woman in the streets of Dhaka during the war. She was naked. And her limbs sprawled at wrong angles. It was clear she’d been raped. Probably repeatedly. Her eyes were open. Her throat was slit. It was the ultimate picture of what humanity can do to humanity.

Yet it’s where she was placing her faith. And it’s where thousands millions are placing their faith today, too. It’s a very popular view, and sometimes I want it to be true too. I know we all want to fix it. I love that we want to. I want to believe that we could. But we are kidding ourselves if we think we will. If we think we can.

We won’t fix this.

Because the problem – the “this” to fix – isn’t gun control or refugee policies or even ISIS. To think that people kill like this because guns are available is like saying people pee on themselves because diapers are available. The logic is inherently flawed. It addresses the symptom only, when really the problem goes much deeper.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t respond with ideas and protective measures, because we should. We need to take care of each other as best as we’re able. I am saying we are missing the big picture if we think those will fix the problem – they will respond to the symptom, not the cause.

People don’t kill, ISIS doesn’t declare jihad, because guns are available. But because evil is available. All ideologies recognize evil and depravity. Where we part ways is the “fixing” of it.

This is actually the good news of the Christmas story. See, all the generations of the Old Testament, had tried to “fix this.” Had tried to make sense of the world. Had tried to redeem evil. Isaiah says all their efforts were like adult diapers (my paraphrase of Isaiah 64:6).

The good news of that babe showing up in that manger was God saying “I’m here. I’ll fix this.”

I wish just like you that it had meant an instant end to evil, but it didn’t. Not yet. Because we all want Him to go after symptoms, and He goes after causes – He goes after hearts. Even in ISIS camps. Last night I saw this comment on Instagram: “I wish I knew the cure for evil. I wish I could soothe the heartache of my fellow man.” I believe Jesus is both of those things. Not in a hide-from-the-world bit of nonsense, not in an excused-from-making-decisions-about-laws kind of way, not in a bury-your-head-in-the-sand-because-heaven-sounds-nice-and-warm-and-fuzzy-and-we-all-want-to-go-there but BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT IS TRUE, and because I believe He is the only one who can actually cure what ails us. Prayer may sound like a weak response, but I dare say it’s the bravest one of all.

We make adult diapers, you guys. And we sell them at Costco. We aren’t the fixers of the world.