Category: Coffee & Conversation

Advent

dan-kiefer-467645-unsplash.jpg

“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting” ― Andy Warhol
The other night a dinner conversation turned to religion. Listen, I know the rule and theory behind political and religious discussions. But this group of friends is the exception to everything. They’re what we need more of in the world, which is open-mindedness, kindness, and genuine enthusiasm for one another.
Talking about religion is natural for me. Born and raised Catholic, now Presbyterian, I am a faith-based explorer and overt believer. I find strength and solace in faith-based discussions. But there’s something challenging to convey, which is the crux of all religious discussion, and it lies within the application of beliefs, customs, and interpretations.
Our faith is deeply personal so it makes sense that it might not be easily understood or universal. Yet I find in discovery discussions that it’s natural to dismiss, label, or refute. I’m guilty of this. There’s freedom within acknowledgment. And while I’ll save specific confessions for the Almighty Himself, I do want to own this truth for myself and others.
At one point the other night I echoed the famous phrase given to me by my mother. I never get it perfect but it goes something like this, “I give you religion. You find faith.” It was her message to me from a young age.  Essentially she wanted me to understand that faith is personal and an independent component to religious commitment. It was her didactic promise of choice.

This time of year our faith is on prominent display. Aside from its preparatory appeal, I associate Advent with reflection. I’ve decided we need glimpses to understand the bigger picture. So glimpse with me. The Advent fika I’m proposing offers no chocolates behind doors, elves on shelves, or visits from the North Pole. Make no mistake, these things are a part of my traditions, just not my faith.  Let’s faith fika with a daily glimpse. Sign up here and comment “Advent.”

Advertisements

Fear

 

alexandra-gorn-471463-unsplash.jpg

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

This post has been in draft mode for days. With a twist of irony, I ignored it out of fear.

I am a collector of quotes. I carry them with me, memorize them, recite them upon request, and/or call upon them in the most desperate and dramatic circumstances.

Williamson’s words haunt me.

I think somewhere along the adventures of adulthood I stepped off the pavement of self-promotion. It felt awkward. But as a writer, I’m constantly called to pitch. And since I’m not too into self-promotion, the pitch can be extremely exhausting and self-deprecating.  In a world of selfies and stature, I worried about over-saturation. But I now see the value of appropriate exposure.

Furthermore, I see the necessity in shining and inspiring others to do the same. In a world where the latest headlines are full of tragedies, controversies, and endless debates, we’d need to stop “playing it small” and emphasize liberation.

Our fears of failures, judgments, and inadequacies do not necessarily diminish in age. In fact, too often experience jades us or robs us of risk.  But we need to remember that there is fun in fear. Specifically, defying fear or focusing on fearlessness. If it propels instead of punishes then it’s alluring and all-powerful.

We gain in comfort when we show our vulnerability. We grow in confidence when we push through walls to showcase strength and spirit.

Which leads me to a fika on the following: what are you doing that’s fearlessly focused on sharing more and igniting inspiration for others?

Let’s Get Real: Vanderpump Rules Is My Writing Inspiration. Seriously.

jovaughn-stephens-559086-unsplash.jpg

I have an addiction to reality t.v. Basically, anything Bravo is gold. While the Real Housewives brand is the epitome of recognizable, I save my salivating for New York, Beverly Hills, and Potomac. But I’m most surprised by my obsession with Vanderpump Rules. I didn’t see it coming. I am straight up with Stassi obsessed with the drama. <–See what I did there?

Seriously, where else is it acceptable and attractive to be a starving artist these days?

Take out all of Jax’s cheating, Scheana’s entire storyline, and most of the Vegas trips, and I can relate to these people.

It feels genuinely good to see people my age all over the place.

I live for Tom Sandoval’s musical ventures. More trumpet, Tom. Buba, can you hear me? Katie and Schwartz, underneath the drama your love is palpable. Keep on sending each other Mariachi bands throughout the years. Lala, I have no words. Seriously, no words. Stassi, let’s drink together. We’ll recreate some NOLA vibes in your LA landscape and podcast our asses off. Ariana, make me a drink and let’s party like it’s your birthday. Brittany, talk Kentucky to me and then tell me all your secrets. Doute, you’ve grown on me. Here’s to your evolution. And Mr. James Kennedy, you’re a hot mess and I love every second of it.

If you have no clue who these people are or what this show is about then everything up until now doesn’t matter. And while I label them starving artists, the reality is their ‘realities’ earn them six figures. So I guess the reality t.v. avenue is like most things these days, artificial and acutely absent of total truth.

But I still love these wild creatures for their ability to be imperfect inquisitors. See, they’re seekers. These people seek out everything and everyone. From drama to paid promotions, they seek.

And I can get down with seekers. After all, some of us sit and consume while others chase and create.

Who knew reality t.v. could render me some epic fika material? Vanderpump Rules, you’re the gift that keeps on giving.

 

 

Wander

kyle-glenn-602592-unsplash

“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.” ― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

I am a wanderer.

Too often we think of wandering solely in a physical capacity.

My mind goes a million places. My heart follows or ferociously finds a place to wander as well.

I have spent the past month wandering. I’ve let wild thoughts appear and multiply, delightful dreams dance throughout my imagination, and dangerous but determined emotional escapades unfold. Seriously, it’s so good to wander.

This adulthood thing can be serious. The world is for sure insane. So living and wandering in a world created by and through my heart is fun and encouraging. Every now and then, it’s good to escape.

But alas I’ve returned. So here’s to all of the things I found on the unpaved paths in my head and heart. And here’s to everything to come. Operation occupy the opportunity starts now.

Blank Pages

ana-tavares-598934-unsplash

Blank pages are my favorite.

After a crazy September, I cleared the plate. In the spirit of transparency, the plate is still full but in manageable ways. I cleared it of things that didn’t sustain me or entice me.

I have been feeling like I’m on the brink of something for awhile. I made the mistake of calling it a total transformation, but I don’t think that’s what it is or what I want it to be for myself. Instead, I’m completely comfortable saying that I’m in a state of discovery.

One of the biggest challenges we face in today’s society is the pursuit and portrayal of perfection. Crops, filters, and various apps allow us to present ourselves in our most polished forms. But much of it isn’t real or doesn’t capture the chaos.

Chaos gets a bad reputation. In the moments before preschool departure when my house is in disarray, my coffee cold, and my list long, I’m still able to see the specialness of it all. The mess and mayhem are big players in the magical circus known as childhood. And my struggle to find and maintain balance is shared with my peers and friends. My longing for a career that gifts me flexibility and financial freedom isn’t unique. My desire to make dreams possible and successful for others isn’t original.

But these things, this chaos, the stuff I discover in the adventure, it’s mine.  I claim it proudly and without fear of judgment. I am discovering who I am at 36. Up until now, I wasn’t comfortable or confident with the imperfections or ambiguities within me. But these are the biggest and proudest parts of me.

The struggle has become the motivation. The motivation has launched the next chapter. The pages are blank and the pen is poised to produce.

This Sunday I’m all about the blank pages and the possibilities that exist to fill them.

Get Excited

chinh-le-duc-496818-unsplash.jpg

“I like it when somebody gets excited about something.”  ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye 

I am an enthusiastic person. I get it from my mama.

My little ones demand incredible amounts of attention and I find they easily excite me about all things past, present, and future. There’s something about tiny humans and their capacity to dream big and love freely that enchants and engages me.

My daughters have reawakened the need for excitement in life. Small, big, and unexpected exciting endeavors add joy and meaning to my stories. But in the depths of discovery, I can fully admit that I’m at odds with excitability these days. It seems to me that many people lack a zest for their daily grind. The woes are rampant and the affirmations scarce.

I love watching excitement unfold. It’s a slice of heaven to see someone pinpoint their passion. Moreover, it’s euphoric to see the passion grow and touch and inspire others. There’s something about sharing excitement that adds and grows to an occasion or milestone.

So here are some things that excite me…

  • Old people. I legit love older generations. I’m on the hunt to talk to the greatest generation. Give me your old people.
  • Mommies. I’m in a stage of life where I’m surrounded by mommies within my circles. This mom life cultivates an energy and sisterhood that can’t be replicated or imitated.
  • This Is Us writers and actors. I am experimenting with a course on the subject.
  • College. Give me a crowded lecture hall and the chance to talk.
  • Fika. DUH. Guys, there’s so much exciting stuff to come.

What’s your spark for excitement lately?

The Fire of Friendships

court-prather-588082-unsplash

I’ve got this friend who is the Christina Yang to my Meredith Grey. Or maybe I’m her Christina. Honestly, I don’t care about the titles or the roles because it’s what the relationship stands for that is the fire behind all things. She’s my person.

I met her at 18. I was fresh out of Buffalo and alone. Right before homesickness got the best of me, she stepped in. She became my Garden State guru. She welcomed me into her home, got me to go beyond my comfort zone, and made me recognize that the best friendships give us something we’re missing and desperately desire. We call ourselves twins. But not because we’re alike. We are different. We’re Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito. 

I’m convinced she’s proof of divine intervention. She entered my life exactly where and when I needed her and I’ve kept her close since our earliest introduction. She’s about to go someplace else and it’s scary. For her, it represents a complete shift from everything she’s ever known. For me, it’s something similar. What it boils down to is this: I’ve never known New Jersey without her.

In a weird way, I’m convinced this needed to happen. Because the thing is that scary change is the fire of friendships. It’s what shows us what we add, what we lack, what we give, and how we grow.

And while this might feel a little Oprah and Gayle, it’s actually just us. To my first college friend, one of the best I’ve ever known, I say this: you are fire. Thank you, friend.