I read today: “Everything connects…”
I’ll add … “eventually.” This is the overarching metanarrative of redemption our divine author, God, is writing, that we are currently participating with and within. 


Pain and sorrow are a guarantee. But before you buckle in dread. Know that pain will profoundly shape you more than any success you achieve. And it is ultimately our response to that pain that will define us. In fact, lament is beautiful and necessary and artistic and the redemption is: we do NOT get stuck here. Lament brings us to the feet of the divine in search for hope and here is where we will discover that guaranteed redemption.
Look, something bad happened to you and maybe you expect the divine hand of justice to make it right… Well scripture promises that He will, it just might not be on our terms or in our time.
Meanwhile, hiding from pain, denial of pain, numbing of pain and pretending there is nothing wrong is fundamentally devastating to the shaping of our character and significantly limiting our human experience. If you don’t allow yourself to sink to those lowest of lows. To touch them and get waist or even neck deep in them, you will never know how sweet the highest highs can be.
Erwin McManus writes. “There are two kinds of uninteresting people in the world: those who have never known struggle and those who cannot hope beyond their struggle.”
I share Erwin’s words because when I read little quotes on the internet, they make me feel better for a moment. But after that fleeting moment passes, sometimes that quote doesn’t ring true. I could comfort myself in a moment of absurd tragedy or nonsensical acts of evil or senseless words with the idea that “everything connects.” 
But where I believe there is a divine author connecting things, things may not be justified in my lifetime or as I would imagine as righted. So to Erwin’s point, we don’t lose hope and remain in despair. We also don’t deny the depths and live a shallow life.
We can recognize and surrender that sometimes things don’t happen for a reason that makes any sense right now. So we can artfully lament and ultimately choose the beautiful leap of faith to trust that there is hope in connected things in the cosmos. But we don’t get stuck in grief, we find solace in the ink dripping from the pen of God who is writing out a redemptive story to connect all things for the greater purpose of His vast love for us. 
I hope that in the midst of your heartache, this cracks a door into a hallway of light revealing the divine to be nearer than you think and working on your behalf.

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Far Away

It’s been nearly 11 years since I left the home(s) I grew up in. I am a daughter and a sister and now an aunt and these are huge identifiers for me. I am extremely close to my family, but over the last 11 years, I haven’t always been close to them in proximity.
There are many ways to transition from a home or home town, my initial flying of the nest was for college. That was a given step for me and I really didn’t consider any other options after high school. I had applied to schools all over the country and got accepted to all of them so when I had to decide where to land, somewhere near the beach sounded wonderful. After all, my family often vacationed near the shore. So why wouldn’t I park myself in such a wonderful place full time? I drove about 24 hours to my new home and I remember one family friend laughing about the distance; “you’ll be moving back home in a month!” Obviously I didn’t.


Since geographically leaving the places I grew up in, I miss my home tremendously, often. That is my parents and siblings and their now children. I often ask myself the question why I have decided to plant myself in locales other than those nearest to the ones I hold dearest. I think I have been in exploration of the essence that is me. I cherish my childhood in Pennsylvania and I vividly remember mountains and Farms and Mom and pop ice cream shops. I also appreciate my Midwest youth and the people that truly are the salt of the earth. And as an adult my heart breaks to be closer to my parents and yet my bones deny any kind of rooting in those places in this moment.
I often struggle with feeling selfish or rebellious. But today, I can’t honestly define a reason to move home, other than family, but perhaps that is reason enough? It makes me wonder what the traditional narrative of family is. Is living states away normal or do I cause this discomfort unnecessarily? There is not a career or development that draws me home. But there is not a career I hold in another state that could not be found at home.
It’s just that oddly enough in America, states possess these foreign cultures to each other. I can appreciate each and every individual state’s personality. By the place where my family lives does not necessarily welcome me home with familiarity. So in this time I am left to plan trips of reunion, but I cannot leave behind my truth of a geographical home not matching the one where my family resides. This makes me sad with missing but for this time it is my reality.
Does anyone else relate to this? I understand jobs or even youthful dreams draw children away from their parents for a time, but is this selfish, pointless? Is family the determination of where we live? 

When I got caught

  
| day #31 || #33costablues |

This morning I got caught.

I sat there listening to my soul sisters share on Hayley’s big blue cozy couch, candles flickering in the peaking morning light, arms crossed, legs crossed; all folded up, determined to not fall apart. (Hashtag flexing bicep arm emoji). But these are the moments when we are only lying to ourselves. Everyone else around you knows something is off, you are only fooling yourself with those little lies that you aren’t limping, that you’re not leaving a trail of blood, that that chincy smile wasn’t bargained from a cheapskate pawn shop. And then the moment came, like a stick up, eyes shifted to mine, diverted, and I froze. Eyes gazing, looking, knowing, examining, exposing. I’ve been caught… but it’s safe; because these people know me, through and through they know me, for better or worse, so as I fall, they catch me, and I’m caught in all the right ways. A wave of unraveling washes over me and before I know it the salty rains begin to soak my cheeks.
I’ve been running. Away from home, away from mindfulness, away from me. Living in a fantasy, acting out of all the things I know to be true, all the things I believe in. But my rebel heart wilds out sometimes. I toe the line and dance with darkness sometimes, I isolate, stretching distance between myself and those with a deep allowance of love toward me. I play with fire, I live by the moon, I abandon solidarity, listening to the bray of my wayward heart: let’s escape, follow me. 
And when I am lost, I forget where I came from. I forget who I am. So I blindly traipse along in the dark, desperately begging people to tell me. All the wrong people. People who don’t know me. “Tell me I’m beautiful, tell me I’m bright, tell me I’m fun, tell me I’m good and loved and charming and smart and worthy.” But they don’t know me and I’m begging for shots in the arm of faulty validation from strangers. Their empty adoration is toxic in my blood stream, throwing my shriveling heart into cardiac arrest.
My rebel heart has lead me astray, lead me right into a pit of pain.
But pain is a gift. It is information. All emotions are information. They exist for us to touch them and see them, understand them and send them on their way. In my wandering ways, the deepest sorrows have propelled me back into the arms of love and grace.
Be careful with that heart, wild one. Sometimes it neglects truth and finds you stumbling in the dark with other lost ones. Allow your pain to expose you, so you can get caught and embraced by those who want you to rise.

Top Photo C/O @masonrosephoto

  

Leave

I guess what I’m trying to say is… Go.  
Leave, if you must. Answer the call to whatever that thing is that makes your soul hum. That unshakable thought that you just can’t escape. That nagging idea that there must be more than this. It teases you in your sleep, leads your mind to wander on the job and sets off that faint siren resonating within your heart when you know full well you are settling.
Make room and make time for that thing: go, pioneer, champion that cause, don’t put a calling on hold, you must answer it.

  
Because in most cases, everything will be the same when you come back. You won’t miss out on anything. Work and life and people will go on with their regularly scheduled programming- it will actually be YOU that has changed.
And you will feel it, voices sound distant, your car feels foreign, your desk seems small, your bed hugs you differently, even your skin doesn’t quite fit the same. 

You will have that shine in your eye and maybe a grin will grow across your face… Because you know, that now you know.
You can be free.

  

Give my regards to the Pacific

  
We set our sails in Newport Harbor and voyaged the Pacific by way of charted latitude and longitude through the night by the light of the moon and a tail of aircraft lined up to land at LAX. I’ll never forget sailing in that pitch black; silhouettes of my skipper and crew swiftly moving about the boat to steer, adjust lines, take logs, listen to the wind forecast on the radio and maybe even get sick over the side of our boat, the Betty.

  
I just kept thinking about how much we trusted our boat as we dipped through giant ebbing sea swells and the invisible wind propelled us forward. We took turns taking shifts of quick stints of sleep before we were hailed back up on deck. At one point we noticed a giant cruiser loaded with towers of cargo off our port bow, the lights were kind of a nice reminder that we weren’t all alone on the dark water. But we quickly realized that in the rig’s rapid approach we were actually directly in way of its course and most likely in line of a certain shipping lane. In a quick decision course change, we jumped out of the way of this moving city and watched it cruise on. The thought of how small we were in this ominous sea made me think about how few people really ever explore it. It gave me a whole new appreciation and respect for what sailing REALLY entails. 

As we navigated the Ana Cappa passage, giant swells were cresting and curling turning our boat into a giant water sled and churning us all around. There is nothing more comical than trying to make a sandwich or trying to use the bathroom on a moving sailboat, I’ll tell you that right now.

  
As the moon reached the height of the sky, the sun began its chase and the sky bled orange along the horizon. I was at the helm with our destination dead ahead. Relief washed over the crew as we set anchor here at Pelican Bay and I realized, these are the moments we live for.

  

When failure is 100% an optionĀ 

  
Almost exactly two years ago to date, I stepped onto a sail boat for the first time in my life. A group of us girls decided it would be fun to cruise for our friend Amory’s birthday so we set out for the Port of Long Beach. I honestly didn’t really pay attention to much other than that the boat we rented was owned by an African Prince who paid the captain to charter the boat while he wasn’t using it for his exotic California vacations. And our captain, ironically, was a young guy about our age, native to California, pretty attractive too, in that weather beaten captain kinda way. With a free bottle of champagne and playing passenger, I was completely aloof in paying attention to what he was actually doing to captain the boat but he entertained our silly flirtatious questions about his sailing experiences and shared about his most recent return from a 28 day trip he had sailed from Long Beach to Honolulu. That was it for me. That was the moment. Time kinda stood still and voices faded into the background like they do in the movies. That was the day I decided I wanted to sail. This scruffy young captain even talked about how the crew had scouted him out- like your elementary kick ball team, but this was kinda more for a life and death adventure. This crew was critical to surviving the journey and everyone maintained an essential role equipped with crucial skills. There was even a member recruited just to entertain the crew when they all started to lose their wits over the course of the long journey out at sea- someone who could play ukulele and keep them in positive spirits. I thought if nothing else- I could hopefully fill that role!  
Hopes and dreams of cruising the high seas and visions of arriving at the white powdery sand coastline greeted with leis were dancing through my mind. Little did I know what I was actually getting into — there was a lot standing between me and that lei. A few of my friends had also mentioned interest in sailing so after the birthday cruise with captain dreamy, we somehow organized ourselves to enroll in a few classes down at Newport Harbor. I have to admit- sailing did not come naturally to me. I am horribly dyslexic and the concept of starboard and port or bow and stern just moreover confused my need to understand which hand makes the “L” as my right hand. But no matter, each week I was getting to log hours on the ocean, my favorite place to be. On heavy wind days, riding the gusts of wind at 15 knots kept us heeled over felt like we were surfing swells on a giant surfboard. That part was fun. I met some interesting people and saw dolphins, seals and maybe a whale or two. We progressed through the classes and seasons of wind change from the smaller lido boats up to the 32 foot shields. With each class it became obvious that I was a weaker link. My friends were picking up this new sailing language and concept much more easily than me. And as we turned in our final exams to complete our keelboat certification, I barely passed. The reality of that test score turned into a dark cloud of doubt taunting me that the next course was a gamble for me. In fact, I hesitated to enroll back in the school because that taunting cloud seemed to point and laugh at the idea of me passing this next class, much less making it to my big dream of sailing the high seas to an exotic island.

  
Right about now you might be wondering why I am wasting my breath on this story. I am writing about this because I am passionately and deeply in love with the ocean. I also love participating with creation and enjoy being active in this big outdoor playground called the sea. But it is crazy to me how easily I would avoid something that I LOVE because I might, MIGHT, not succeed. How often in life are the things we want the most the very things we shy away from because we aren’t 100% sure of the outcome. We avoid the things we desire and dream about because we can’t visualize the path to get there. Fear, doubt, worry or anxiety cloud our vision so sometimes, sadly, we don’t even try. An incredibly gifted artist struggles to put their art on display for fear of rejection or criticism even though it is their greatest gift to the world. Someone who deeply desires connectedness or community fears going to a party or social gathering alone even though all they want is a new friend. It’s a strange dichotomy. 
   
  So how the rest of this story goes is this; I enrolled. Convincing myself this is my only shot, singing Eminem in the back of my head, I began the Basic Cruising course with three other friends on a 42 foot sailboat called the Betty. Betty is designed as a performance cruiser with a ball bearing mainsheet and a Genoa staysail. Below decks, Betty sleeps eight people in four cabins including a spacious salon and galley for leisure. Basically, she’s a big boat.

  
Being the only girl in these classes is kind of fun but also extremely intimidating. (I have to note I have loved every single instructor I have ever learned under in these classes, a few of them women). Overall, all the guys in all my classes have been nothing but HUGE cheerleaders and encouraging – but feeling a little inferior adds to my self defeat. A few of the classes I was really struggling and beating myself up for not understanding some of the practical skills and the next thing you know- the final exam to this course was right around the corner. I know I am dragging this story out- so I’ll shoot you straight. I studied pretty damn hard and took that exam with plenty of sleep and maybe even some caffeine… but on my freaking birthday- I didn’t pass the written test.
I didn’t pass. I failed. 
A lot of people knew about this exam and on my birthday, every single person I saw, I had to tell them: ‘I didn’t pass.’ This left me with all kinds of disappointment but mainly lots of feelings of unworthiness. That feeling of not just, ‘I failed this exam,’ but also battling the inner dialogue of, ‘I am a failure.’ YUCK.
I was really curious at my reaction to the feeling of failure. I wanted to hide, withdraw, not show up. I had trouble moving forward in other areas of my life that week. But in that failure, I was reminded by some close friends: I am still Kristin, I still love just as hard, I still laugh just as loud, I still work tirelessly to help others, I still belong to the same family, my name is known, my passions are known more and the story doesn’t even end here. I know these are the most obvious statements, but come on- you’ve failed too and felt the same heart-sinking feelings. You’ve been confronted with the same self-doubt- maybe you got laid off, maybe you got dumped, maybe someone you deeply care for offered you some criticism and it cut to the heart. But here is the thing, we are gonna fail. In fact, only the people who dare to fail are going to be the ones who succeed greatly. Only the ones who dare to get on that boat are gonna be the ones to get to the exotic island. The people who think that story is for someone else but not possible for them will be stuck watching from the shore and looking at pictures of those who dared greatly in the newspaper arriving on the shores of paradise with leis. 

   
 And I might not make it to paradise on a 28 day sailing adventure but I’ll tell you this: I failed that test, hung my head and thought – EW failure is not fun – but it ain’t over. So I hit the books hard, asked for help from friends that did pass, I dared to show my face again, I went in there and took that test again and I aced that mother effer. Yep! 96%
So what’s next? In less than two weeks this little lady is setting sail on the Betty for a 5 day trip to the Channel Islands and the next course to check off the list. I still have my sights set on paradise but first let’s conquer the California coast. And for you- what do you desire the most? What keeps you up at night? What story or adventure or accomplishment can you not escape the thought of? I dare you to try- because who knows, you might actually do it.

  
The best sailing crew a girl could ask for. Thank you for these photos Cameron!