I hate waiting rooms

Waiting rooms have got to be some of the strangest places. These usually poorly decorated spaces filled with people all experiencing various levels of anxiety, all awaiting some sign or signal that there has been a shift… good, bad, or indifferent.

Whether it’s the arrival of a new child to a family, or the progress during a loved one’s operation, a diagnosis being delivered, or the cost of damage at the mechanic, there can be an extreme amount of intensity in that space of waiting. The tension lies in the unknown. With no definitives on timelines, the wait can be excruciating, even when we know the outcome to be positive. Have you ever spent any time with a pregnant woman nearing the end of her last trimester? Due dates mean little while she waits to hold her child outside of her body.

The same can be said as we await the arrival of our “promise.”

I find myself in waiting. But I don’t exactly know what it is I’m waiting for and perhaps that’s where my restlessness lies.

Waiting is a part of every day life. Like waiting for the next cool front to make an appearance here in South Florida, or dinner to be delivered. But this feels so much more uncertain and in the uncertainty I am growing frustrated. I can’t be the only one.

Yes, there are the tangible intangibles if you will, like my life companion, or the dream job. But this feels far less palpable. It’s an underlying discontent and the mounting pressure for SHIFT to happen.

There’s a level of helplessness that plagues this current season of waiting for me. The overwhelming need for me to be in control or in proximity to control has been a stumbling block to me a time or two and probably most of the reason I am still single, lol.

Helplessness feels so victimizing. But to those who navigate waiting well, there is a simple but albeit intimidating word that is far more empowering…surrender. It can be beautiful. What makes it beautiful is that it is your choice to raise the white flag or to keep fighting.

I don’t mean to over spiritualize any of this. But I am tired of fighting and I am choosing to embrace surrender. I am tired of fighting for approval, tired of putting up a front, tired of comparison. I am tired of proving my worth and tired of settling for less. I am choosing to find rest in the waiting. But before you get cozy, this restful waiting is not passive.

It’s a pro-active act. Positioning and preparing myself to receive said “promise.” And with my hands (so to speak) raised in surrender I am better positioned to hold on to it once it arrives. And if I know anything to be true, it’s that if I’ve waited this long, it has got to be worth it.

So in the waiting, I’m not waiting.



American Dreamer

I wrote this piece some time ago, processing the disappointment and frustration I felt/feel with my country of origin. Don’t get me wrong I love my country, but love and like are two very different things.  And the beauty in living in the land of the free and the brave is that I am free to voice my opinion but only if I am brave enough to withstand the verbal artilery from the “other side.”

I have never been a fan of elephants and donkeys. I would rather pet a dog. And red and blue are honestly two of my least favorite colors, I much prefer neutrals. But in this heightened political climate, where every one is an expert and the person that wins is not the one that is right but the one that is loud, there is no neutral.

So, today on America’s 241st Birthday, I am declaring my independence from societal norms. Because love, and peace, and justice are no longer “normal.”  Division and exclusion are foul words and a language I do not want to speak. Today I will hold a hotdog and not a picket sign. It’s true, we have not always done things well. Our history at times as a nation has been mired by violence and hatred, and possession of what wasn’t ours.

But what is ours is the hopeful but all too unfamiliar possibility that this can be a nation with liberty and justice for all, not just some.

May I remind you, it is US that makes the USA.

American Dreamer

American dreaming has gotten me no closer to

Antiquated fantasies of white picket fences.

Dollars signs and extra zeros got me fixed

On what’s incoming….

More costly, worth-less.

Walls built by brick and mortar are not what keep us divided.

No matter the color of the card in your pocket,

You still bleed red…

And so do i.

American dreamer…

Privilege should not solely be possessed by those who live in white house(s)

Love doesn’t know it’s right from its left.

The fact is love knows no alternative.

Don’t wake me up,

Cause where i dream, hope is not just a mirage.

it is woven in the street corner conversations and

stoop sitting whispers of a desire for more.

It’s the thread that ties me to those whose reflections in mirrors will never match mine.  

American dreamer…

Make room in your heart for the tired and poor,

Send these huddled masses yearning.

Hope is the light in my lamp lifted beside once golden doors.

Let freedom wring… your American dream.

Dark Day #14

Death you are a b*tch.

You leave your sting wherever you go.

You are mindless and hurtful and we are never ready for your arrival no matter how long we have expected you to show up.

You work your magic when we least expect it. And we are silenced by the grip you hold on us.

You have left a trail of broken hearts in your wake…I should’ve known you would have the same effect on me.

You are foreign and yet familiar….and THAT I hate.

You changed my story and for that I will never let you live it down.

There are a long list of October 22nd’s in my life…..

Jan 26th….Nov 2….March 28th….Feb 21st…..the list is longer than I care to note.

I hate you.

And yet there have been moments in my history that I have longed for you.

You have taken too many, too soon…it is always too soon.

You taunt and deceive. You have a way of making us feel invincible to your power until the moments where you show up without notice and we are forcefully shaken back to a reality that says the opposite.

But hear this-

I am no longer making room for you to taint my day to day. You no longer get to cast the shadow from my past on the moments of my presence.

Dark days are now being brought to light.

I will not throw away the memories of those you have taken with the wreck-less abandon in which you choose to operate.

Although I cannot forget, I make a deliberate choice to remember-

…the goodness in which I have been shown, the faithfulness I have clung to,  and the hope that I hold closer than the memories you try and haunt me with.

To death I say:

You and I will meet again. This is a fact that doesn’t stir up fear. But I will not make room for you before it’s time. I will not hold back from loving and giving because I fear forming bonds that you may inevitably break.

Hear this: You will be defeated, well before you defeat me.


Before you read any further, consider this a disclaimer:

If you do not appreciate vulnerability, if you are unable to read someone talking frankly about their struggles then please do you (and me) a favor and go back to trolling Facebook. If you haven’t been scared off… carry on but no one gets a gold star for making it through to the end of this blog (I mean if you wanted to get me a gold star you can, being vulnerable is not my strong suit). 

As I write this I am already deeply regretting my decision to do so but I’m hoping by the end of this it will accomplish something in me that has been a long time coming. I’m most definitely in over my head on this one (insert terrified emoji face here).

Here’s my confession:

I have been ruled and ravaged by this one thing for as long as I can remember. It has stolen from me opportunity, and relationships, the ability to dream, and many a night of sleep. It has wreaked havoc on me…mind, soul, and body.

What is this deep dark secret I possess.

Ready for it?

I am insecure. Deeply and irrefutably insecure.

I have created a false illusion of confidence and security, all the while crumbling on the inside with every comparison I force myself to try and live up to. Comparison….it’s such an ugly word, but it is a language I speak fluently.

I feel like my battle with insecurity is not the final straw in my personal development but it’s a darn big one, that’s for sure.

While my insecurity starts with my physicality, it doesn’t stop there.

The damage that others have done to me pales in comparison to the harm I have done to myself…physically and mentally. Yes, I am overweight this comes to me as no surprise. I struggled my whole life. The cause of my weight comes from the security that I unconsciously thought it provided me. If I looked unappealing to men, they could not hurt me again, neither could anyone else for that matter. I will use my appearance as a weapon before you can. But I don’t want to keep people away anymore, or better the one person that may come into my life on purpose to love me past the barriers I have built.

It has been the comedy of my life to consider myself, “The safe girl.” Meaning, that I am not a threat to any chick if I get close to her guy. Meaning that dudes can be friends with me and know that I won’t make it weird. That I will not use manipulation or my body to get what I want from them in any given moment. Safe… as in never an option.

And while there is safety in being “safe” there is also a broken and wounded woman who has never allowed herself to live beyond that well-earned label.

I have learned to manipulate circumstances and scenarios with my humor and quick wit as to keep up the facade that I am a confident woman…hear me roar.

But I don’t just pick a part my appearance, I judge my every action. Have I loved hard enough, have I served well enough, did I give big enough? This cycle of living has left me depleted and still no closer to abiding in the security that I desperately crave. My greatest fear in life is being alone but I let no one in because if they get too close the facade will crumble. What irony, right?

My writing has served as a mirror for me, one that is easier for me to look in at the moment then the one hanging on my bedroom wall.

I do not like what I see…but I will. Not when I’m smaller, or smarter, or fit some other type of mold I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to fit in to.

Letting people get close has always been scary to me, probably the reason that I have been unable to finish Donald Miller’s book “Scary Close” for the better part of a year.


While I want to be noticed, I am terrified of being seen. Truly seen, which leads to being known, which means that people have the choice not to choose you.

And that is the very thing I want, someone to choose me, yet I have not made that same decision…to choose ME.

I won’t be for everyone but I will be for someone.

I’m afraid of not being enough,and yet of being too much.

My love is fierce and wild and good. I am…good (that was harder to write than I imagined).

I am capable of letting people in, like really in. Into the heart spaces and hard places.

Yes, you are safe with me but I warn you I am dangerous because I know I can survive.

While I feel like a before in a world full of afters, I know my story is still being written, but not without my permission.

This is my life and I belong here.

This is me fighting to be free. Making the jump. Going first because, as my best friend Elisabeth Willard says (maybe quoting Jon Acuff), “Going first gives others the gift of going second.”

Here’s to living [in]security but not as slaves to insecurity.

I was made for Family


Family…one word… a multiplicity of emotions.

I have longed for one. The safety of being known, loved, and supported. To be in “it”(the trenches; good, bad and ugly ones) with those who love unconditionally.

I long to be a wife. To care and to serve, not because I am a woman but because I am a lover. To tend to the needs of someone with whom I feel completely safe.

To be fought for. To be protected. To be cherished.

I long to be cherished. And to cherish.

He feels like a mystery, that in one divinely ordained moment I will solve.

I do not know his face, but in the depths of me, I feel as if I know his heart.

Motherhood terrifies me but I know I was made for it. To nurture this tiny, helpless, fully dependent life into a human that feels, and thinks, and influences.

There is an ache deep within me to give myself over fully, mind, soul, spirit and body.

To become one.

One force that will change history. That will change MY history.

I have no fallacies about fairy tales and make believe stories of white picket fences. I’ve lived too long for idealism. But what I do have is hope.

Not a hope for fulfillment because that will come with no man. But hope to fulfill…the dreams in my heart, His heart. To create, and grow, and coincide in this intimate reality that is called covenant.

To be family.

She would have been 54…


Fireworks, apple pies, and sun-kissed cheeks…

Neighborhood barbecues, smoke-filled skies and sparkling eyes gazing with wonder.

Signs of liberty and life to you.

A bitter sweet reminder that her’s ended.

She would have been 54.

14 birthdays we didn’t get to celebrate.

Questions I didn’t get to ask.

Wisdom I haven’t been able to glean.

Dreams she will never see fulfilled.

It’s familiar but still not normal, this sense of loss. The companionship of grief is one I no longer desire. He’s unpredictable. He rides on the backs of songs, and smells, and places…triggering the ever present memories of the past. And while the tears no longer stream, the sting is just as real.

And while the bangs and fizzles of colors fill the skies wishing this great nation of ours yet another year of independence…

my heart whispers, “Happy Birthday Momma.”

Mental Health, Minimalism, and Black Coffee.


There are lessons that you learn because you want to and there are lessons that you learn because you need to. I’m currently dwelling in the tension of needing to but not fully wanting to…and it’s uncomfortable to say the least.

I’ve had some extra time to think this last week and that is due mostly to the fact that the engine in my car decided it no longer wanted to be a team player. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on the day) that meant that my temporary mode of transportation to and from work has been my God-given one….walking. I live about 2 miles away so it’s not a bad deal. These walks have almost felt cleansing to me,which may or may not be tied to the copious amounts of sweating I’ve been doing while on those walks in what can best be described as outer rims of hell hot. But cleansing none the less.

You see, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a mental fog, perhaps even a depression over the last little bit. And I just didn’t know how to get out of it. No amount of self-talk seemed to lift the weight of what I was feeling. There have been moments where happiness and contentment just seemed so far removed from the realm of possibility. And I wouldn’t dare say anything to anyone for fear that these thoughts and feelings could potentially have unvalidated any of what I have accomplished. But after a rather ugly semi-mental breakdown I knew I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

My mind and life for that matter felt cluttered. There was just too much stuff for me to wade through. The what-if’s, the could’ve beens, the maybe someday’s were stealing from me and taking up precious space that I so desperately needed hopes and dreams to occupy once again. I felt stuck…confused…trapped.

And then I found myself stuck…confused…trapped….quite literally as my good old faithful rav4 decided that it wanted to drop the “faithful” in the middle of a major intersection during morning rush hour.  My car breaking down didn’t cause the depression but it sure didn’t help.

After some emotion-filled conversation with myself, a hand full of trusted others, and Him… I came to the conclusion that the only way to walk out from the beneath the weight of this looming darkness is to get rid of the junk, literally and metaphorically.

I live in a tiny home, not all my drawers are filled, there’s not stuff spilling out of every crevice but even at that, I have realized that I have held on to a ton of stuff that adds little to no value to my life. And if it doesn’t add value then really what’s the point?  This is a lesson that I never really wanted to learn but navigating through this mental fog has proven to me that this is one that I very much so needed to learn.

Who would’ve known that a broke down car could lead to so much revelation???

This idea of evaluating value goes beyond just stuff. I’m applying it to almost every aspect of my life…places, things, even people.  That may sound harsh but it’s where I’m at and it’s brought such freedom to me. I’m not sure how far this idea of minimalism will take me but as I strip away all that has become unnecessary there’s so much more room for life to flourish. I’ve long believed there are spiritual implications from some of the most practical actions that we take. Who would’ve known that walking to work would get me thinking so deeply? If I had, I would’ve ditched the car a long time ago.

Minimalism hasn’t been/ and won’t be a cure all for my mental health but this process has been liberating and I’m sure that it will continue to be. When life is stripped down and simplified you’re able to see the beauty in the small moments of wonder where you once missed them because the mindset of consumerism did just that, consume.

There’s a couple of guys that have been mentors to me in some regard in this process. They are writers/speakers/coffee enthusiasts who have been living this lifestyle of minimalism for some time and have gained some profound insight.

In their essay, “Life is an Acquired Taste” they make this parallel…

“Black coffee is a synecdoche for life: when you eliminate the excess—when you deliberately avoid life’s empty calories—what remains is exponentially more delicious, more enjoyable, more worthwhile. It might be a bitter shock at first; but, much like coffee, a meaningful life is an acquired taste. Sip slowly and enjoy.”

So here’s to sipping slowly, adding value, and hopefully finding shade while walking.

You can read the full essay here .



It’s okay to not be okay.

I don’t know about you but sometimes life just down right sucks. And for a long time I would not have admitted that, at least not out loud. Perhaps it’s my pride, or my absolute contempt for pity but I very rarely, if ever admit that I am not okay.

Anyone find themselves there?

Sometimes things happen that knock the wind out of our proverbial sails. My natural tendency is to try to piece things back together, to keep moving, to stay standing and never admit that I am tired, frustrated, hurt…defeated.

Now before all of you go throwing some sort of overly spiritual tantrum, me saying that life sucks is in no way me saying that God isn’t good. Yes, God IS good and He DOES good but not everything that we walk through is.

In recent months I’ve come to realize that- it is okay to not be okay.

My eternity is not at stake when I admit my weakness. That in the very moments when I am on the edge of surrender, about to give in to whatever chaos is currently blowing through, there are and have been people to stand with me and in most cases stand FOR me. That relief only comes in when I invite it. Sometimes that invitation comes in the form of tears that I cannot hold back, or days worth of unanswered texts…but that’s the beauty of doing life in community. They know me, well enough in fact to know how “not okay” I am, often before I have the courage to voice it.

Just because I’m not okay right now doesn’t mean I won’t be.

Here’s a spoiler alert…It will be okay, maybe not today, or tomorrow, but one day it will be okay. You will be okay. I will be okay.

And it’s okay when you’re not cause those are the very moments we get to surround you and remind you that it will be.


Who am I?

That is a question I have asked myself a lot as of recent.

The past few months have been a whirlwind of growth, heart ache, and infinite amounts of self-realization.  Through it all what I’ve concluded is that I did not know who I was or perhaps I had just forgotten. I mean it’s been years but maybe I was just due for an existential crisis. Regardless, this by far has been the most interesting part of my journey to date.

My first instinct when asked “Who are you?”  is to start mindlessly listing all the stuff that I do. Cool. You do some neat stuff Shan, but who are you outside of what you do?

I don’t think I had ever come to a point where I was faced with having to answer that until the “stuff I do” drastically changed when my employment status did. I was thrust into a deep well of the unknown and it sent me spiraling into the abyss of what seemed to be a potentially purpose-less existence. In all honesty, I would rather cease to exist than to live outside of my purpose. Because really, what’s the point?

That thought alone was sobering. It sent me on a journey of getting to know ME, which for all of you supremely emotionally healthy and stable individuals may sound kind of strange.

As in any relationship, the “getting to know you” process can be incredibly awkward. There have been plenty of times through out this most recent journey of self-discovery where the only word to adequately describe it would be awkward and just down right uncomfortable.

But I’ve given myself permission to grow…to change…to be.

I read this recently and the words have resonated with my soul:

The shifts.

The seasons.

The vulnerability of being- it’s all uncomfortable.

And uncomfortable is not a bad thing.

The stretching, the expanding,

the shedding of stories + stepping into something new-

this is where your life is.

Create a habit of leaning into the uneasiness, a habit of existing

just outside of your own skin, magic awaits you.


So here I am in the “Great Be” as I have fondly referred to this season.

And here is what I am being:

  • bold
  • vulnerable
  • sensitive
  • aware
  • known
  • ME.


If I may, I’d like to challenge you with the same question.Who are you? Aside from titles and position and tasks lists and accomplishments, at the heart of it all, what makes you… you?



Here’s to Hoping for a Sweet ’16

Well would you look at that…another year has come and gone. And I can’t say that I will miss it. From the start, 2015 became somewhat of a “problem child” of years.

Each year I ask the Lord for a theme. Some years it’s been the direction He would be guiding my growth, or the target I was to aim for, and in other’s it was the way I was to direct my time and attention. This year’s was different. Upon hearing from Him, I immediately asked for a re-do. All I heard from Him was the story of Jesus asleep on the boat during the storm {You can read it here}. I tried to take “supernatural ability to nap” as my takeaway but alas, I knew that was not what He was saying.

I would be in for quite a ride. Yet, I would not be moved.

Almost immediately I hit a few bumps in the road. Some of which I was able to find humor in…

Like my car dying in the middle of the car pick up line while nannying.

And then others just felt way too personal…

Like losing my Grandfather.

This year has brought me the most intense challenges I’ve faced in ministry to date, intense enough where honestly I deeply considered calling it quits. Multiple moves (that were not planned or wanted), family conflict, personal sacrifices, and plenty of instability and shift to go around.

But the Lord was clear, no matter the storm, I would keep my peace.

It has been a year of discomfort, self-evaluation, lots of tears. It has been a year of stretching, taking captive thoughts, being brutally honest with myself and those in community around me. It has been a year where I was forced to be more vulnerable then I would ever be willing to be outside of all the storms I was determined to “sleep” through.

And now here a stand. In 2016. A new year. A new theme. And I hope this one’s sweet.

“If it’s not good, it’s not the end.”