{DangerDoes} Blue & the future

I like to dye my hair. It’s been black, purple, blonde, green, & most recently blue. Now you can imagine the reaction that I get to these vast changes in hair color. I mean, abnormally colored hair is usually judged immediately, since it’s a very obvious physical attribute. Everyone sees your hair. Some judge it well & others aren’t a fan. I mean usually people are polite or critical in a polite way, depending on tone, “Oh, wow, you’re hair is blue. How nice.” can mean so many things. But most people I know usually support me in my hair escapades. & of course, I have blue hair, so I don’t necessarily care very much about the opinions thrown at me but I do always appreciate the support when it’s found. People can be the greatest & the worst (a good topic for another day.)

But, to steer the conversation back, I feel like for me, it’s not really about what others think. There will almost always be spectators to the 6 foot tall girl with blue hair. But what scares me is the future. Oh! I get it now…that’s why the title is “Blue & the future.” Foreshadowing. Gosh–Ok, on track again– But see it makes sense…One day, in the near future, I will probably have normal hair that is a natural color. & as petty & unimportant as it sounds, when that day comes I’ll be sad. I don’t look forward to the day when I’m considered a professional. When I’m considered “too old” for “fun hair.” Now, I’m not saying that you can’t rock a sassy hairdo of any color as a professional or as a older person, I just mean for me, in pursuit of some sort of career in Law, it’s probably not going to be an option. I mean, I’ll do my best to be a blue-haired lawyer, but I don’t know how that will work out for me. I will let you know as soon as I figure it out. I’ll get back to you in a few years. But blue hair has taught me that some things are meant for seasons, & that after a while all things dye–er, I mean die.

If you, like me, tend to overthink the little things, like what your hair color will be in the future, then maybe you need this reminder just like I did. Life is meant for new things. New colors. Blue hair. But if I had blue hair forever, it might lose it’s charm. That new normal might become boring. As new & exciting as blue hair is now, maybe future me will look back & laugh at me at 21. But knowing myself, I’ll probably have my awesome professional hair & look back at photos & think about how exciting it was to go out on a whim & buy the wondrously named “Electric Teal” hair die. I’ll remember going home to put it on only to end up going to see the Tarzan movie with my dad. I’ll remember him talking too loudly in the theater during the movie, saying something funny or pointing out a plot error with the books & how I wasn’t embarrassed anymore when he decided to have loud mid-movie conversations with me cause who the heck cares anyways. I’ll remember driving back home & taking our new family dog, Amelia, out to the yard with my dad & laughing at the way she’s not good at fetch yet. I’ll remember cracking the hair dye seal at 11 p.m. & not finishing the dye job ’til 2 in the morning. Blue-haired, blue-handed, & ready to sleep. I’ll remember the days I haven’t lived yet, but I’ll look back to this season of life, to the love I feel for so many, to the songs I liked, the movies I loved, the people I share life with near & far, & I guarantee that somewhat normal colored hair me will say, “I’m glad for the blue hair days. Here’s to the *insert color here* hair days to come.”

 

Life will most definitely be just as exciting in the future, even without the blue hair. I guess blue hair really isn’t the issue. It’s just been the catalyst to teach me that this time in my life won’t necessarily be the place I need to be in in the future & I’m grateful. Things will change, thank God for the promise of newness & the mystery of what life has yet to bring me. I’ll miss blue hair & be sad the day it changes, but life will continue to move on & new things will gain importance & significance to me. I’ll live my edgy blue haired days now, enjoying the things I’m experiencing with it now, learning who I am & doing the most with this one wild & precious life*. I can now look forward, with the lessons life is teaching me now, to the day my hair will be “normal”, without regrets or fear. For whatever color my hair is then, I bet that in the future–life, work, friends, family, love, Jesus, & all the joys along with the sorrows that will be experienced now will be felt just as deeply & beautifully as I experienced them in the blue hair era of my life.

Here’s to all the hair eras I’ve had & have yet to experience–no matter the color–it’s good to learn that things in their season & in their time are meaning full & that there is joy in the beginning, ending, & even in the unknown.

Live like your hair is blue, whatever that means.

-{DD}

 

*Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”

{DangerDoes} Cymbals & Restrooms

Ever feel like you’re making a lot of noise, but you aren’t making music? That’s where I am. It’s like this:

Are my actions ringing louder than my words? I’ve been extremely guilty of saying & not doing. Where do my words meet my walk? Where does my love become evident?

I say this all because, recently, I’ve realized the enormous following that bitterness & hate have in the world we live in. See presidential candidates, hate rhetoric, boycotts of stores over acceptance of people, hate over mixed couples in ads, kids shot in the streets, & the way people talk about people who sin differently than they do.

Doesn’t that put it in perspective?

But my disconnect happens because I see in His word where God has called us to love Him & love others like He loves us. Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. Love. In the verse about love, 1 Corinthians 13 says:

 “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Is that me? Am I speaking yet shouting out something that can’t be heard? Am I getting so lost in the idea of who to love, when to love, how to love. In this world…exactly who do I choose to love?

In a recent conversation with a friend, I was talking about mercy & grace & was continually reminded by him that my mercy & grace isn’t what God’s is. In many stories, over & over again, I see Jesus not only loving people, but understanding their need to be loved. The woman about to be stoned, the woman at the well, Zacchaeus, Saul turned Paul, the thief on the cross. God did things that made other people uncomfortable. He accepted people. He loved the Gentiles. He healed the lepers. He forgave prostitutes. He saved adulterous women. He died for me. God’s sweet love story isn’t about telling others they are wrong. It’s about realizing our wrong & righting it & then loving other broken people into His arms. Why do we try to fix people when we are the broken too? Why are we not letting God work by continually trying to use our own human ways to fix what we cannot fix? All the great things we try to do, if not done in love, only hinder the love story of God. It sounds like the loud banging, chaotic noise of crashing cymbals that convince people that the story of love we are shouting at them isn’t one that convinces them that God died for them too. Because we build ourselves up. We say our sin isn’t as bad. We say what we think under the guise that it’s ok for truth to be offensive & to hurt because it’s facts so just deal with it. That’s abrasive, manipulative, angry, aggressive, & wrong. Truth is truth because it’s facts, & saying it in love makes it a much more convincing argument. That’s why grace & mercy are so important. Because God’s message is that what we say matters. How we say it matters. How we love others matters. When we stop trying to make our way the only way, we give God room to show up & prove that His way, that love is, the only way.

When we choose to say that someone else’s sin is worse than ours, when we try to dictate what God says–we start making noise that to hurting people sounds like clanging cymbals. It sounds like hypocrisy. It sounds like anger, bitterness, & rejection.

Make love your highest goal. Not because it makes sense. Not because you choose to. But because love, love is what God gives us abundantly, without limit, without expectation. Because His action–it speaks louder than our chaotic noise. It speaks louder than our attempts to sort out who we should accept or not accept.

In the end, don’t you think it’s better to love like Christ loved us, than to turn our backs on the people standing right beside us that are hurting & dying to be loved?

If you try to tell me that I’m the only sinner that Jesus died for then I can’t believe that. If someone hurts you, love them like Jesus. Do we really get that? Do we understand the magnitude of what that command means? Love others like I love you. Jesus loved us so much, so greatly, that His love manifested itself & led Him to death on a cross. That’s love. Dying for people that hate you, work against you, shouted for your death, are different from you, that sin against you, & those that want to kill you.

Yet we struggle to love those we see at different. Well, I don’t want that to be me. I don’t want to look at others and forget that the first person I’m responsible for is me. I see the way that I break every single one of God’s commandments. I think bad thoughts. I murder people with my looks. I lie. I break God’s heart, & just because my wrong is different, does not make Jesus any less capable.

Jesus loved. It was crazy. He loved His betrayer Judas & He loved His beloved John. He loved & He didn’t stop because it wasn’t convenient for Him. He didn’t think about it & then come down off the cross. So how about we follow suit. How about instead of wild statements about who is going to hell or who God doesn’t love or accept, how about we make a wild statement through our actions by loving people the way God said to. Why try to enforce our own take on Christ’s word & why not actually try being the hands & feet of Christ. Because the Christ I read about, the one I sing to, the one I worship, didn’t die for only my sin. But for it all. Find me a verse that says He didn’t die for it all, & I’ll be convinced. Show me the way Jesus’ example said to stop loving when it’s not convenient & I’ll stop. But until then, I’m gonna believe what God said. At that’s that He came for it all & He died for it all & He rose again for it all.

Stop not loving people because it’s not convenient for you. Because Jesus died on the cross for you & for the transgender person using the Target bathroom. & if you think Jesus stops loving & stops forgiving, then I hope you stay out of Target, because I’m trying to love God & find a cute craft to do without being told that someone doesn’t deserve the love that by that standard I don’t deserve either.

Keep your words & your loud noisy cymbals away from the everliving, powerful truth of God. Because the cymbals of your actions & the cymbals of your words are distracting from the life changing, life giving words & love of God.

Unconditional, no exceptions Love.

God calls us to that kind of love. So forgive. Pray. Be used to love others.

Are you going to? Or is this generation’s legacy going to be that we couldn’t love like Jesus because we were too busy making our own judgements about Christ’s words?

If we don’t love one another the word of God will never be truly heard. Love has the power to change people’s lives. As a Christian, you experience that grace & love everyday. If we really want Him to be great, if we want to be known as Christians then please,

let go of your cymbals & start letting God’s love be louder than you.

 

-{DD}

{DangerDoes} “So, what do you want to do after college?”

For the first time, I think I kinda honestly answered the dreaded question, “So, what do you want to do after college?”

THE question that lurches me into think about the future & past & present & all things at once & it’s terrifying, but I think I answered it.

Now this answer sprang from my mind in kind of an uncontrolled & unthoughtout manner. So, bear with me as I analyze & try to think about how what I have heard recently has influenced what I believe I wanna do after college. It came from other’s words spoken this past week & the desire to truly tell someone I respected what was on my heart for my right now & my future. As you can tell, it’s been an incredible couple of weeks of listening to Godly people speaking some good things about their own lives & hearing what God had to say about my life in those words.

Over a week ago a beautiful lover of Christ, a friend, & recent graduate of my university came back & did chapel Monday morning & I heard about wild obedience. “You’re a bondservant to Christ”, the radical idea that my freedom purchased by Christ also binds me to Him, & how that gloriously means that the steps I’m taking & will be taking are wrapped up in His wonderful grace, love, & good intent for my life. With God, I can confidently, with an uncertain & human heart, walk forth in faith, knowing that if I’m recklessly abandoned in following what Jesus loves, that that will put me in the center of where He wants me, today & in the future. I also heard a MUCH needed truth about being intentional & present in the right now instead of always thinking about where my future is. My heart heard, “Be so sure of Jesus that fill in the blank doesn’t scare you.” Not the future, not tomorrow, not politics, not other people. & I soaked in the fact that God was calling me. Not “future” me, but me. Today, right now. On the daily, I am called to wake up & say, “What is Your calling for today God” YES. Today. Not in 2017 when I graduate. Not when I get a job. Not when I start a family. But right now, student, unemployed, & single as a pringle me. I’m gonna think about the future, it’s not about abandoning thinking ahead, but it’s about abandoning the idea of the supremacy of “what will future you do” & making “what is right now me doing & am I following Jesus’ call on my life daily” more of a priority. I needed to think & hear about these things & realize & be intentional about being daily called by Jesus, so that where I’m going is where He’s leading, not where I or anyone else is pushing or pulling me to.

It sprang from my summer trip to Africa & my desire to go back, as I watch my beloved Uganda go through political upheaval as they have elections. I think of those I met & I think of my desire to drop everything & leave it all, knowing that I need to be here at school doing this, because God has led me here. I’ve found so much good here & have grown to listen closer & have many that mentor me to listen to God better & to follow His calling on my life & I know leaving it all behind is more of a “I don’t want to be stressed out anymore, or responsible anymore, or take Anatomy & Physiology anymore, & I’m done with tests, quizzes, & education” than it is about doing what Jesus says. The good thing though about realizing I’m in the right place is that I firmly believe God took me from high school & picked me up & put me here for right now where I am. I’m not throwing away my Africa desire & dreams, I’m finishing what God said first. I’m making ready for whatever this place He brought me to is preparing me for. I pray & long to see Africa again, & my desire to go back is becoming an ever echoing call in my heart. It’s not forgotten. It’s not for right now though, & coming to terms with that is a fight, but walking in Jesus’ will daily dictates that I have to listen & have wild obedience to Him. It’s not easy, it takes patience. Sometimes tears of sorrow & heartache pour out of me for the friends I left in Africa. But right here, I’m learning that what I do now is God-filled & purposeful & when I’m back in Africa,  if I’m back in Africa, it’ll be when God says, “It’s time, go back.” Then all bets are off & I’m going.

The answer came from listening about parables tonight. If you’re like me, you’ve heard them for your whole life, but tonight I heard them in a different way & from a different perspective. Parables are for adults, not just fun & comforting stories for children. The facts suggest that actually, unlike the way I was taught & thought about it before, parables are supposed to move us to action & move us to not only listen to what God says, but do it & be active about being the child of God that we should be. I want to be an active voice for myself & others. I want to listen to people & stories from the Bible & be able to see the many different ways that Jesus is speaking to me, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I wanna see the direction, the humor, & the divine love that God pours out in His word. & that’s not always comfortable. The prophet Nathan didn’t tell King David a parable about two shepherds & their sheep to comfort him, but to tell him that he, like a greedy & dishonest shepherd, was wrong for having taken Bathsheba & for having killed her husband. I’m positive David wasn’t feeling too comfortable when he realized the “shepherd” that deserved to die for taking what wasn’t his wasn’t just a fanciful story, but a word from God about David killing another man after sleeping with his wife. & I’m sure King David was also broken by the grace that God heaped upon him. No, he wasn’t exempt from sorrow or consequences, but God calling out David & Bathsheba wasn’t a place of comfort. It wasn’t PG rated. It wasn’t a story just for children. It was, like so many other parables, a lesson that isn’t a complete story. Details are left out. We are left with pieces of stories, like the parables of the Good Samaritan & the Prodigal Son. We have the opportunity to read, listen, hear, think, & digest the story, hearing what God is saying to us in our circumstance. The lecturer I was listening to, Amy Jill Levine, a phenomenal professor from the Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences, changed my whole perspective by introducing new ones & saying so very many life changing things for me, but one  specifically that stuck out to me was the idea that confirmed the previous idea of being free in Christ & bound to obedience in what I did, read, thought, & said. How I need to listen instead of taking control. How sometimes what is making me uncomfortable is a bold flashing sign that means stop doing that & start listening. The idea that being in a place of hearing something or hearing God that doesn’t make me wanna be better, do better, & step out in faith is the place I should be afraid of becoming complacent in. As Amy Jill Levine said so perfectly & succinctly, God’s parables & words aren’t all about one interpretation or one idea. They aren’t just nice little stories. They’re told with many purposes & namely to call us out of our position of apathy & into a position where we think & say, what am I doing, how am I thinking of this, what is the history, what made this this way, & how do I be the child of God that I was made to be?

Oh, you wanna know the answer? I guess that’s fair. I said, “I don’t know. I think I want to pursue law & help people. At least that’s what I’m pursuing for right now. I have a passion to help people. I want to help those I would call my own as well as strangers & the world. I wanna be a voice. I wanna be an active part of change. I wanna stand up for men, women, any race, any creed, any religion. I want to be a voice of grace, love, generosity, & support. I want to help broken people. Maybe as a lawyer, I don’t know, but I feel called to a vocation that lets me grasp & use a broken system/systems to help people that feel like they don’t count & are broken themselves.” & I really meant that & I meant more & there are things I feel that I can’t even voice yet. The answer rushed forth in a moment & maybe that’s why I am labeling it like this. I wasn’t trying to convince my professor or myself. I have a passion to help broken people because God changed me & what He’s done in my life has taken me from a purposeless, broken person to a intentional, loved, and purpose-filled woman who wants to heal up other’s hurts, physical & emotional, mental & spiritual by using the voice God gave her to FIGHT for others. & being born into the opportunities I have, I don’t want to waste my love of people & my love of God chasing only financial gain. I don’t want or desire destitution, but I don’t desire something as temporary as dust gathering wealth. I want to provide for myself by providing something better for others & simultaneously share that the God of infinite love & care, even in whatever has happened, in pain & brokenness & uncertainty, lifts us up out of what we are in or where we are & provides for us.

I want to do what God purposes me for, & He’s given me a love for history, politics, loud arguing, & people. His people. All people.

I want to USE all that. I wanna be me. I want to go back to Africa & help people. I wanna go outside my dorm, in my own town, in my own nation & help people. I want to be present for my friends & family. I want to always be becoming a better person & running after God & find the person that is also pursuing God with as much uncertainty & faith as I am. I want to be intentional about my todays so that I am secure in the fact that Jesus is leading & because I don’t have control, I can step forward & say “right now, I’m following Jesus & He’s got me where I am. & tomorrow I’m following Jesus, & He’ll get me there. & forever & in the future days that keep beginning & ending, I’m following Jesus, because being His is my only certainty, & I’ve come this far with Him & you better believe that wild obedience to Him is the best freedom I’ve found.”

I am grace covered & I want to show others the One who gave grace to me. I want to chase God, find my vocation, & live a life where I love Jesus & do whatever I want, knowing that from listening & doing what Jesus has been saying that doing “whatever I want” means going where He says to go. & in that place I’ll know I’m going the right way with what I’m choosing because I chose to stop, listen, & follow Jesus first. It’s all about this giving up of control of MY life & MY ways, knowing I don’t know better than the One that created me. Because I want others to see beyond whatever I am, whatever that is, & see that I’d be wrong, lost, & broken if I stopped listening & pursuing what God has for me. All in all, I’m saying that stories from the Bible, the idea of being free but wildly obedient, & the faith that I can’t explain led me to say, “I don’t know” but that sure as heck doesn’t mean I have to worry. Because guess what? I’ve decided that intentionally choosing Jesus daily is what is going to lead me to pursuing a vocation where I am exactly where God wants me, doing exactly what He wants me doing.

& that might not be exact or cement or even stable in the eyes of many, but seriously, what is there in life that can be 100% certain anyways?
If I can say anything with certainty, it’s that I’d rather be reckless in the eyes of many by putting my todays & tomorrow’s in the hands of Jesus, who is far more than just capable. & I want to trust His plan for me rather than my narrow-minded & often selfish plans for myself. Because it’s not about me being in control, in the end, it’s about being obedient to the call that says, “are you willing to believe that giving up your plans means that you give in to Mine?” I’m ready for wild obedience because I’m ready to live my day to day out in full freedom to & in Christ. I know, it might not seem to make sense, but what kind of faith is faith that makes total & utter sense?

I’m just so glad to be safe in the arms of the One who’s goal is to love me in the direction of loving others–no matter where that kind of future leads me or what I’m doing or who I’m with, I’m ready for the future because my future is with Jesus. No matter what or where that leads me to, I’m gonna leave it up to someone who actually knows. That’s what I’m gonna do in college, after college, & for the rest of my days.

-{DD}

 

{DangerDoes} nonfactual childhood thoughts about how my life should be now

I thought that once I was technically an adult, life would all gradually line up into place & things like the present & future would become clear. Reality has hit me square in the face & I now realize that that magical thing we imagine as adulthood is not as it seems to childhood us. I used to think that people who were in their twenties had things figured out. Big news here–no one does. I would love to have the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with eleven year old me & drop some truth on younger me. No one has anything figured out, & here’s the thing, it’s not mandatory that we do. When I was eleven-ish year old me I guess I just figured that adults had the answer. & no one, can you believe this, no one told me any different. I looked with unrealistic expectation to the time that I would be 18 & an adult & carefree. JUST KIDDING. No one told me that as the years accumulated more & more that the things I was responsible for & cared for would increase, questions would still be there & multiply & even be unaswerable, & things would be less figured out than ever. I mean, people even gave me what seemed like a handy guideline. Be a kid, stay in school, graduate high school, get a job to learn responsibility, do the right things, see the right people, get into college, go to college, have a career, have a family, have a hunky dory life that seems super simple all boiled down into a nifty litle time line. Well, thing is, life isn’t a string of years sown together as much as it happens to be many things along with being a series of events, actions, choices, & decisions that lead us each moment to moment. Apparently one just doesn’t grow up & figure things out.

Good news lies amongst my sarcastic comments & hollow ideas of what I thought growing up would be like. Being older doesn’t have to equal having it all figured out. Isn’t that a glorious realization though? That no matter how many books, movies, tv shows & the like end with tidy little endings with nary a hardship, that’s not how life is. I don’t have to have perfect start or ending, a “one true love”, or anyone pushing along my story line other than me (& Jesus, not leaving Him out, actually He’s about to make a huge entrance into this post. Spoilers.) No neat, tidy bow needed. For so long I thought that at one moment or another some life altering thing would happen or some dramatic turn would point me to the right way or thing to do. But turns out that the human experience is trying, failing, trying, failing, & repeating this cycle until we succeed & move forward. We aren’t defined by our past loves, or our past mistakes…we aren’t held to an unrealistic standard or goal. My life isn’t a line stretched out with important dates picked out. It’s not the bad choices I’ve made, the people I’ve left in my past, or the people I’ve chosen to stick with. What defines me right now hasn’t & won’t always. & even in this place where I don’t know myself, my plans, my life, & my future, I have hope. The stuff I didn’t choose, whether that be a person, going somewhere, or personal decisions–get this–that’s the past. That’s something I can’t change. & the past has been where I was choosing to remain. If I would have done this, maybe chosen this person over this person, done this better, had the best attitude, been the smartest, known what I needed to do… I could be doing something. I could even be pursuing my dreams. That “dream” within a dream. The thing I was meant to do. The person I was meant to be.

Let’s put on the brakes here though, because I’ve recently come to understand that I am that person. I am running after my passions & I don’t have to be looking back at all the things I could’ve, or should’ve, or might’ve done. Because in the end, looking back won’t change anything. I’m finally learning a vital point of information about myself–I am not, never have been, & never will be the one in control. I’m finding myself in the present, no longer concerned about what I could’ve changed. I am learning, living, making mistakes, stressing about things that won’t matter in five seconds, & about 99.9% of the time I’m clueless about my future at the same time that I’m worried about what to eat for lunch today. BUT, crazy thing, that’s where God comes in. Let’s start at the very beginning, just for emphasis & fun. He made Adam & Eve the very first humans & He continued to love them when they strayed & chose disobedience. He created Abraham, who sold idols in a foreign land, to be a part of His plan & God chose him knowing each misstep that would happen along the way & He still blessed him over & over. He created Moses to be raised up in the house of his peoples’ oppressors & to lead his people out of Egypt & God knew his failings before Moses knew to whom his heart belonged. He created Esther to be a bride & to be a warrior of prayer & a brave woman in a time where she wasn’t supposed to be. He made John to be a man after His own heart, but that didn’t make John perfect. He created Peter, & He knew that Peter would deny Him, but His love didn’t end. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, lady, we get it, what is your point?) I could go on endlessly giving out examples of imperfect people that God loved & used & knew, even though at times in their lives they were lost, hopeless, unfaithful, disbelieving, critics, liars, cheaters, lovers of man instead of God…I hope the point is received. Because the point is in each one of those people, & many others, I see me. I’m Adam, eating fruit I’m forbidden to eat. I’m Abraham when God tells me to believe that He will be a faithful fulfiller of His promise, yet I choose to do my own things. I’m Peter, denying, questioning, not understanding. & I can’t even begin to explain, but like God’s word points out in extravagant ways, even though He didn’t have to, He loves me. That’s why He says no, don’t. Obey my laws. & yet, even when I fail, He is still faithful to me & to my future. Even when I take others as my love, He faithfully fulfills His never ending, perfect vow to me to love & provide even in my disbelief & foolishness. I am blessed though I fail. Not by my own ability. But by One that surpasses me so vastly I can’t explain. Though I don’t know what is in store, I can faithfully cling to the fact that the One who created me– He created the world. He created Abraham, Esther, Job, John, & all those in between, & He cares in an unfathomable way about every step I’m making & that no matter what the future holds, it isn’t dependent on me.

Happily, it is dependent on my Abba Father, one whose decision confound me, but that I follow because I believe He loves me much more than I love myself. He redeems me time & again, beyond times that I deserve & He continually shows me in my life & the lives of those around me, that He won’t ever give up, even when I do. In my complete failure, my life is to ever praise & point to God. Maybe my idea of how my life should be doesn’t look like I imagine because my plan is way off. & I’d rather my course be directed by God than for the reins of my life to be given to me. “Me” can’t do this & even when “me” tries to take control, I can rest safe in the fact that when I let go, God doesn’t. I have proof. Look at Eve. Look at David. Look at Rahab. Look at Mary. Look at Paul. Then,

look at me.

Maybe now I can stop looking back to the things I thought my life would be like. These nonfactual, childhood thoughts that I conceived about how my life would be like don’t begin to define who I am, where I should be, or what’s in store. Learning contentment in the unknown & in the One I know & trust above all is not an easy task or even enjoyable. It’s rough. It’s hectic. But it’s perfect, because He is perfect. Wherever I go, I don’t want to say, “This is how it should be.” I want to say, “How should this be Lord?” I want to let go of the false, I want to let go of the past. I want to let go of the future & caste my worries in the direction of my Creator who knows exactly when I inhale & exhale. I want to let go of now, because it’s not about where others are. It’s not about what peers say, what my family wants, or even what my own self says I need to do or be. Telling my heart to not go after what it selfishly wants now is hard. But I’d rather have truth, joy, rightness, goodness, & faith than to have the old, childish lies I continually find myself relying on & believing. What He has planned for me is a better plan than “me” could ever plan for me. & this year, more than ever, I need to let go of control of my life. It’s not mine & it’s not what I think it needs to be. It’s His. So here’s to an adventure where I never know, but one where I hear His voice, feel His leading, & say, “I don’t know God, but You do. So let’s go.”

Here’s to the hardest (but best) year coming. Here’s to God’s thoughts, ways, will, & life plan for us all. Look back at all those in Bible & realize He didn’t just help & lead then & that He doesn’t just have interest in me either. When you read that “look at me”, read it about yourself. Because right where you are, or right where you’ve been–that’s where God meets you & heals you & directs you into a love relationship with Him that not only changes you but changes your whole entire life. He’s got a plan & a purpose for each of us, & they start with love & truth. Not the nonfactual childhood thoughts about how we thought life would be right now. Walk forward in His truth & watch your life become His & watch how it becomes one more beautiful than you could ever have imagined.

Take that eleven-ish year old me.

-{DD}

 

 

{DangerDoes) The Fearlessly Me Year

Each year, instead of resolutions, I try to compile a list of things to do. This isn’t a crazy long list or very in depth & it doesn’t encompass everything I want for the new year. Some of it is silly like to see Adele in concert, ride in a hot air balloon, or dye my hair. It has serious life goals in there too, mostly relating to the future & figuring that out, but as a whole, it is a list to remind me to go & do good & it motivates me throughout the year to not become stagnant. As I reflect on 2015, I see the ways that God moved me past the mundane & ushered in His glory & I also see a year where many sorrows & joys mixed together. It was a year of trusting without knowing & a year where things began & ended.

So in 2016, I’m making what has ended into beginnings & waiting & watching for the much much more that God has planned. I’m declaring that this year is the year that I am fearlessly me. So watch out, because I’ve decided that this year is about who the Father created me to be & to run after His plans for me. So I’ve coined, as usual, a catchy cute phrase I can claim as my own personal mantra of the year, of sorts. 2016 is officially #thefearlesslymeyear. Why fearlessly? Because I let things scare me, hinder me, or stop me from being me & God’s plan for me is so much more than fear. So this year is a year of focusing, endeavoring to find my support in Christ, to live bravely, & to live intentionally.

Last year, I took out time to specifically go over the previous year, the people, & the events, but for 2016 I want to simply state that I’m expectant of what the new year holds & four days in, I think it is going to be a year of good & new things. Here’s to the hard days, the unforeseen circumstances, & the happy moments waiting. I don’t want to focus on the good or the bad, but I want to make sure that I am intentional in words, actions, & with how I live & love. I want to be me,

fearlessly.

Happy 2016.

-{DD}

{DangerDoes} Jinja,Uganda

[subtitled//Mundane: Not Enough]

Mundane:

mun·dane /mənˈdān/ of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one: “the boundaries of the mundane world.”

 Africa is just a continent. I say that because I had originally started this whole mess of words with, “Africa changed my life.” But it didn’t. Really, what changed me was not 36 hours of travel to another continent. The change that happened was because of the life I got to experience with people–looking out a window to see poverty & walking through it, having conversations that let me in to just a little bit of the incredible life stories of some truly hopeful people, & yes, in some ways the location was a part of change–but seeing others live life a different way–it confronted me with that fact that their living differently would change the way I would continue to live once I was back in my time zone. I’ve realized many things, but I think most importantly I realized how I lived in the mundane & by the end of this trip, I realized that my thoughts & my heart had made a radical change. The scope of my vision was broken wide open & my life encountered the overwhelming love of Christ in the last place I expected it to–my expectations were shattered in the most different & amazing experience of my life thus far.
That’s it, in one paragraph, about how I now feel now. I’ve been back for over a month & I am just beginning to completely understand what transpired. It has taken lots of quietness to realize that I have been totally wrecked by going to Uganda, but in the best way possible. So I’ve kinda already put the ending at the beginning, so we will keep working backwards.

Not in a lifetime of years had I ever consciously thought that I would go to Africa. But on May 31, I had the opportunity to go to Uganda, Africa for 14 days. I started what I affectionately have called my “journey to Jinja” & today I think was the day it finally hit me in full. All the things I had previously thought Africa would be like have been replaced with the actual experience. & that itself is the crazy thing. I went to Africa. It has been gradual, the processing of each & every moment that I experienced & so the whole time back has been this roller coaster ride of emotions–sadness, happiness, & total love for a place that was so unfamiliar but felt so much like home. It was not only a life changing experience but a lifestyle changing experience. It was one of those life experiences that went straight through my eyes, to my mind to be remembered & then settled right in my heart, where until now, it has remained quiet & reflective. Jinja, Uganda isn’t just in my heart though. It’s dust is still on my sandals, it’s people are in my heart & in my messages as we continue to keep in touch, & I think most importantly for my own life & heart–Africa was a giant spotlight, a huge finger, a neon sign, a giant booming voice that made it very evident to me exactly where I fail to acknowledge how much I have, how much has been provided, & how extremely privileged I am, even when I physically give in to the way of thinking that I need more things to be happy & fulfilled. It gave me awareness of things I had never been conscious of in my life & in the life of others. I would characterize myself as a middle class, educated, independent, young, white woman. Never, never have I ever been so aware of my skin color, gender, affluence, & opportunity as I finally did while standing in red dirt surrounded by people, very few who had EVER experienced what it meant to have enough. I keep thinking of this word awareness & wondering how I ever lived 20 years without thinking of others in the way I do now? How was I able to waste 20 years in the wrong mindset, the one where I thought I was in the middle of my own solar system?  I have to say, that all too often, I give in to the idea that I don’t have enough. Which is ridiculous because I’m so blessed with family, education, health, & a home. Simple things that I have a newfound joy in. I find myself all too often putting myself into the attitude of “not enough.” Was I ever broken & ashamed when I walked around in Uganda–with shoes on my feet, clothes on my body, clean hair that had been shampooed & conditioned, with contacts that a doctor had prescribed me, with vaccines against yellow fever & medicine to fight malaria, & with a place to sleep at night,–with so many everyday things that I take for granted because I’m too busy focusing on the idea that I don’t or won’t ever have enough. I was ashamed to realize what a selfish person I am. Thinking that I don’t have enough was a thought definitely put into perspective when the house next to where you are staying has no roof. I realized that what I thought was necessary, wasn’t actually a necessity because I saw people living without it. That made me so aware of how I needed to come back & reprioritize the way I think & do things. I realized these things about myself: I am selfish, spoiled, & demanding–often wrongly confusing my wants for needs. I am given so many luxuries, that had I been asked about a month ago, I would not have categorized as “luxuries.” There were so many things that I undervalued & I made a few lists to put things into perspective for myself, & while they might not encompass everything, it’s a start & it reminds me that my reality isn’t the only reality that people live in.

Things I don’t actually need to physically live another day, but I have:
a phone
a laptop
education
constant media/social media involvement
air conditioning
hair products
electricity
transportation
a house with a roof
a bed
shoes
clean clothes

Things that better my life|Things I take for granted:
health/medical care
education
clean, running water
money
food
a place to sleep

Things I have & can do that I had not consciously appreciated before & need to daily:
I can express myself freely through wearing whatever I want (i.e. pants).
Variety in Food–choices to eat whatever I want & whatever I feel like.
I can, as a woman, go places by myself where I live, & not feel out of place or have to take a man.
A country where I can travel freely wherever I want in all 50 states.
clean water
Parents
paved roads
a clean kitchen with a refrigerator
water pressure
vacuums
clean everything
walls that keep out insects, animals, & noise

I think there were so many things that I had never realized I had & took for granted. I knew I had food, but until I ate rice & beans for two solid weeks for lunch & dinner I never knew how thankful I should be for such variety. I never knew that water pressure makes your shower actually feel like it is making you clean. I never knew a lot of things & I let that make me demanding & selfish in my heart. Another thing I am very grateful for is family. Until I held orphans, not just little ones but ones my age, I wasn’t aware what I take for granted. I met many who were full of hope because even though they didn’t have earthly parents, their Abba Father was going to & had provided for them in miraculous ways. It wasn’t a partial trust in Him, it was an all in, everything, total attitude of– “I’m not going to make it to the next day, wouldn’t have made it until right now without You” faith in God. They live in the presence of God continually. They’re desperate for God.  It was a lesson I could only completely learn when I fully understood & saw what it really meant to have God as the only one I could depend on & hope in. I needed to be taught that I rely on myself & too many people before I rely on God. I make it an afterthought while some live their life continually running after God because He is their past/present/future & their only hope. They put their faith in the Father because they KNOW that He is good & He is there & He provides. They run after God out of a place of brokenness because they know who it is that is going to make them whole. Instead, I’m guilty of trying to find other loves in my life that won’t fill that void–why do I insist on trying to be dependent on so many other things before running to God for what I know He will provide? I need that kind of dependence on my Creator. I needed that lesson. I needed the lesson that it can’t be a little bit of my heart or my life that I give to God. It’s an all or nothing kind of thing, & it’s so much more beautiful to be totally all in, no matter what.
I definitely feel guilty because of the freedoms I have had each & every day of my life. I have never had to experience the degree of religious persecution or live with the ramifications of a terrorizing & dictatorial government. I feel spoiled for having paved roads, because the overwhelming dust isn’t all over me & I don’t have to inhale it or feel it stuck to every exposed area of me. I feel extravagant to have clean water that doesn’t come from a bottle. For a million more little things, I feel so overwhelmed. I know there is no need to feel guilty, but still it’s there. By seeing those that didn’t have, it caused my heart to want to know why I thought I had to have more. Why does my heart want to live in that attitude of entitlement when I don’t deserve or give thanks for all that I do have? I definitely felt deep sorrow because where I have so much some have so little. So many sacrifice what I deem necessity just to make it to tomorrow & they are still faithful, hopeful, & thankful. But you know what the crazy thing is. I’ve talked about not enough, guilt, & sorrow–& the crazy thing is that the people I met, they don’t live their lives out of those places. I have so much & have to fight my own thoughts of not enough. But my African family, while they of course desire more, live out of a place of having enough & contentment. They are not weak, they help each other & they rely on Jesus. They worship Jesus, despite persecution that would’ve deterred lesser people from following Christ.They already live in a place where they believe God has & will provide, in His time & in His way. They are strong even though they should be weak. They don’t look at life with a grim outlook. They see the reality of what is around them & they fight to better it, but they also have this huge faith in the fact that God will provide. Such a foreign concept to America, in our instant gratification & fast paced way of life. We don’t wait. But I watched so many faithfully waiting, still waiting after years, on the provision of the Lord. Through it all they’ve learned something that took me being in another country & two more weeks to grasp–contentment & unabandoned belief in the provision of God. In a place surrounded with extreme poverty, outdated medical practices, & hopelessness, the incredible people I spent two weeks with poured into me. The church I was at fed me & the 28 others on my team & 200 pastors from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, & Kenya 2 times a day. They loved me, gave what they had, prayed for me, & poured into my life spending time with me & helping me understand them as I tried to explain myself. Each day I learned to appreciate a new thing. It might have seemed small to them, but what they did, said, & lived out spoke louder than many Western world experience I have had so far. They gave even when it probably hurt & they gave with joy. You hear so much about that, but I truly experienced it. It’s beautiful & life changing.

So welcome to my journey to Africa. There it was.

I had so many favorite moments on this trip that I’m gonna go ahead & categorize those 14 days as one huge God moment in my life that I never want to forget & I never want to slow fade back into the way I used to live my life. It’s been difficult, & I’d have to say I struggle everyday to keep the change going because I’m aware of what I used to do & what my old habits & attitutdes were. I fight against my old self. But I know I’m not going to give in and file this away as a good little trip I went on when I was 20. I’m making it an every day fight to realize that I can’t fall back & depend on things, but that I need to depend on One much greater than all the physical possessions I could ever own. I’m aware now. I’m glad to be home, I’m glad for a new experience that will make my life be full of better, bolder, God experiences. Because I firmly believe that sometimes we foolishly throw away the things God has for us & waste our time pursuing what the world offers, & as Frederick Buechner puts it, “we are fools if we do not live life as fully & bravely & beautifully as we can.” I wanna live a bold, brave, & beautiful life living out what God has for me.I don’t ever want to think again “This is not enough.” Because that’s a lie I allow myself to believe. What I want is the same desire to follow God when I don’t have enough, because I’m refusing to allow the mindset of my culture guide my heart. I don’t have my wants, but that’s ok, because I have what I need. The difference between wants & needs is clearer than ever now. I don’t want to slowly become used to my little piece of reality here in America, because my reality is much wider now & it involves many many people that I met in a small church on the edge of Lake Victoria, & I’m not forgetting what they taught me.

“All I require for life, God has given me, I know who I am,

I know who God says I am, What He says I am, Where He says I’m at, I know who I am. I live a life of favor because I know who I am. Take a look at me, I’m a wonder, 

It doesn’t matter what you see now, Can you see His glory? Because I know who I am”

Imagine a group of people, Americans, Ugandans, Rwandans, Kenyans, and  Burundians singing this song. I can’t explain adequately how beautiful it was to experience the revelation of so many people, some who have nothing, sing about how God sees them. Because in life, no one sees them as important. No one sees them as worthy. No one takes the time to love them with a Father’s love. I can’t explain what all Africa meant to me, but I’ll tell you this, I got to see beyond the physical–beyond clothes, beyond skin, beyond physical lack & see the body of Jesus worship like it was made to. Imagine looking & seeing what God sees. That’s what I want to see now. Because I know who I am, & who I am isn’t defined by my gender, my color of skin, my education, my abilities, or my failures. Because who I am is a beloved child of the greatest Father there is. & I’m so blessed to have the greatest, most beautiful people from half way across the world who taught me what it means to be fully abandoned in my walk with the Lord. It’s scary, it’s intimidating, it shakes you to the core, it changes the way you live. It’s sadness, illness, death, poverty, real life issues, & it may mean hardships beyond what you can imagine but that doesn’t outweigh the faithfulness of God. HOW CRAZY IS THAT? God’s faithfulness to them isn’t optional or just one day a week to them, it’s reality & it’s life, & they live in the presence of God, with only themselves to offer, & it’s such a picture of Heaven. It doesn’t change Him, circumstances have never changed Him, but it changes you. It changed me.

It was the best kind of different [to steal a phrase from my mother] to experience the more than enough, the beyond mundane of Jesus, & that’s what happened in Jinja, Uganda on the edge of Lake Victoria, in a simply built church with genuine people, I experienced the overwhelming love of God that wasn’t based on me or what I had to offer, because what I have or any of us have doesn’t matter to Him. It wasn’t in my comfort zone. It wasn’t even in my hemisphere, my time zone, or my country. It wasn’t about what I had or where I was. Where I was or where I’m at isn’t ever a boundary that has to be overcome. It was in God’s timing in God’s place. I experienced Jesus with my family, biological & spiritual, in Africa & it clicked for me. It’s not about right now. It’s not what I have. It’s not about me. It’s about stepping forward & saying “I think I need to go to Africa” & then letting God encounter you in the most awesome experiences of your whole life. I’m broken. & you know what? That’s ok–because I needed fixing & still do. I’m awestruck by the love of God, because it’s not just for me. It’s for everyone, regardless of age, regardless of who they have followed before, regardless of what they’ve put in their lives other than Jesus, or what they long for, or the worldly things they run after. Because I saw Muslims turning their lives over to Jesus even though it would mean being thrown out by their family, I saw God supernaturally provide for windows & their children when they had nothing & nowhere to go, I saw Him become the Father of orphans, release prisoners from their physical & spiritual captivity, I saw Jesus break down barriers & plant seeds & I saw love fix the brokenness of people, of me, & of this world. I needed that. I’m thankful for that. & I’m desperate for that. I was taught so much when I meant to be the one teaching. & it truly was an experience where I went to give & I feel like I received abundantly more. I prayed for people, & it made me aware of my heart issues. I held children & realized that I was so loved. I was friends with people for 14 days & it felt like family. I entered in as a stranger & left as a sister & daughter. I am not even capable of writing it all here, but believe me, it was good. It was a God thing, from beginning to end & beyond the end.

May I never stop being a lover of His presence & may I never fall back into that feeling of not enough–because I have more than enough in the One who is more than I will ever need. The God of Africa & America & of all the world has changed my life with His people & His love–what more could I hope to long for than a better & deeper understanding of Him? This is a journey that has just begun. I hope & pray that one day, God leads me back to Africa, because I gained a new part of myself there. It was a lost part that I needed, & a part that showed me it wasn’t about how much I could do, but how much God has already done & how much He is still gonna do. I’m so thankful. & I know God’s not done yet, because I wasn’t even fully aware of His beginning as He slowly pushed me to go on a trip I hadn’t even planned on going on.

Africa was only the beginning of a whole new God moment in my life, in my family’s life, & in the rest of our lives as we come back to our normal that seems not so normal anymore. I am again experiencing the everyday mundane that seems so different now & I’m trying to keep what I experienced 7,000 miles away not only in my heart & head but out in my day to day life, words, & actions. I’m living like I’m in Africa, because it broke me & changed my life. I’ve never been so happy to be so broken.  I’m glad for Africa & for gaining a dear new friends & family. I’m thankful God provided for me & let my path cross with so many exceptional people who love Him with incredible passion & faith that leads them to the unknown, where all they have is Jesus. I’m grateful for the mundane things that highlight the heavenly things & thrust me into an unknown & new life as I consider what I am going do & where I am to go. I hope that one day I’ll go back, but for now my heart is forever impressed with the life moments I had in Jinja, Uganda & my life is never ever going to be the same, ever.

The mundane is no longer enough.

-{DD}

{DangerDoes} Being Herself

In a world where I am surrounded by people telling me who I should be, what I’m worth, what grades I deserve, how I should live…etc–I am constantly being told things I may or may not want or need to hear. All that to say, it’s hard to truly be myself in a world where so many thoughts are thrown at me. I know so many different people & each of them have different expectations from & for me. It’s hard to not want to live up to the expectations that others place on me. It’s hard to not live up to the expectations I put on myself. Sometimes, what I want from myself is much more of a burden than any put on me by others. But it’s hard to live in a world where strangers, family, & friends {& even me} judge what I say or do, & without meaning to, hurt my feelings or belittle who I truly am. It’s definitely hard to live in a world where I get so busy & distracted by other’s opinions of myself that I let myself be scared & frantic & busy & I forget to rest.

& I don’t mean a nap {though I love those}, but I mean rest–mental, physical, emotional, & spiritual rest. Where I put aside what is racing in my mind, what I am busily writing or trying to study for in time for a deadline, what I am trying to physically push myself to do, & where I ignore God & resting in Him to get these things done. Of course, God cannot be ignored. Most of the time I figure that out the hard way by pushing myself to the extreme before I realize that I need to stop & rest from the chaos in my life. The chaos doesn’t always seem chaotic though. It could be Netflix or reading a book or a really difficult time or it could be studying for finals so I can go home for the summer. Whatever it is physically, sometimes the things I place so much importance on in this world aren’t the things that they should be. I put off things, like rest. Maybe it’s because sometimes rest seems tedious & unproductive. “I have so many things to do, I don’t have time for rest.” Maybe, though, rest itself isn’t what we hate. Maybe it’s that when we rest, we begin to think of the things we have missed or cast aside in pursuit of more trivial things. Now, I’m not saying studying to pass my finals is wrong and I’m not saying that all life stuff is trivial. When I rest, it is just that these things come to my mind & I actually have time to think–I’m saying I’ve spent countless hours of my life wasting time thinking/worrying about things. & that time could’ve been spent better–like the amount of worth & value I place on making good grades won’t ever actually make me worth more. The actual act of making good grades isn’t the bad thing–it’s the unrest that I’ve caused myself in my life by thinking that I’ll be worth less if I don’t get A’s. I can’t be defined as a better or more worthy person because I make A’s & someone else makes B’s. They are just as valuable as me.Though making good grades might show that I’m responsible & have a good work ethic & am prone to learning well– maybe I am placing too much of my value in them while abandoning the fact the I have so much worth in something permenant– in Christ. & that is worth that I want. That should be the measure of myself that I long for. Of course I measure myself by more things than just my schoolwork & grades– things like money, friends, fashion, intelligence, or anything & everything that influences how I look at myself. But this list that goes on & on often doesn’t adequately cover the important things that actually makes people “worth” something as people. We are worth so much more than the physical, temporary things we use to measure ourselves & others. You are a life full of thoughts & songs & words & actions & talents that make you up & make you–you. Define yourself by the things that you are–

“You are not your age,
Nor the size of the clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the color of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak,
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You are the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried,
You’re the songs you sing so loudly when you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places you’ve been too,
And the one that you call home,
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of,
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.” -e.h.

We alone don’t get to decide what we are worth. Because often we assign ourselves or let others assign us the wrong worth. Is it because we don’t like ourselves? Probably not. It’s more likely that we more commonly see what is wrong with ourselves while God sees us in our entirety. He sees us as worthy. Forgiven. Loved. Valuable. Beautiful. Filled with a purpose. Made with a specific design. He sees us in & covered by grace. Sometimes I become so overwhelmed, that I let small things define me. At the end of everything, I guess I need to give it a rest. Maybe by giving myself a chance to rest, I can give myself grace. Maybe that grace will lead me to love myself & then branch out & let me love others like I should. Maybe this rest that I take from myself & my own judgements & my busy mind will help me gradually become who I really am. As I shed the less important things in my life–like my own ideas of what I’m worth–maybe I’ll give myself a way to see myself like God does.

Maybe rest is what will eventually change my life & the lives of those I’m blessed to know, influence, & live life with. Only time & rest in Him will tell. & maybe after I’ve let myself take a break from overanalyzing & overthinking–maybe I will realize I’m worth more than my grades, judgements of others, my fears, my doubts–maybe the things that scare me & bring me down are the things that will make me stronger, help me love deeper & lead me to trust more in the Creator who can already see me as me. May I never stop looking for that view of myself, for I long to see who I truly am–I seek to see myself the way God does. I long for Him to give me my true face. Through the chaos of my life–where I put value in the wrong things & where I make mistakes–He truly sees my face & calls me by my name. May I take time to rest & listen.

& you too. I hope you rest & listen too. May you never stop looking either–

Be your{true}self & rest.

-{DD}

{DangerDoes} Designs

https://www.facebook.com/dangerdoesdesigns/?fref=ts

I’ve started a tiny art business lately. No big.
But really–here’s how that process went:
[pan to black screen, small words come up & you start to read–this story is a true story. It is based on the five month journey of Danger & how she decided to design things. No one’s name has been changed to protect identities & if the persons in this story resembles someone it’s because everyone mentioned is real so if there are similarities to real people it’s because they really exist. Artsy transition.] 

November 2014- Decide to think about making an online art shop.

December 2014-Build it. Create logo. Create art. Take photos. Arrange website, purchase name, & put items up for sale.

January 2015-Make it live & online. IT’S OFFICIAL. oh.my.

February 2015-Share it with people I know other than my mom. (i.e. friends, family, strangers, the world…etc)

March 19,2015- Finally get around to putting it up on here.

[Artsy and deep ending where we all feel warm & cuddly & have learned an important lesson about life and learning and art. We all feel inspired as we leave the movie theater & ponder what we are doing with our lives. Then we go eat some pizza & go finish our homework because it’s due tomorrow. Pan to black screen. The End]

It’s been a five month process, but it’s been so encouraging to get to do something I’m passionate about & I love it SO much.

So, now I’ve shared with you guys on my blog–another place I love.

DangerDoesDesigns is also on Instagram @dangerdoesdesigns. So there’s that–do with it what you must. With great knowledge comes great responsibility so remember that when you actually learn something more important than my design’s Instagram name.

Thanks for being here & for sharing in new things again.

–{DD}

{DangerDoes} Four & Fourteen Months

{A poem of my heart thoughts over two dear people who passed four mouths & fourteen months ago}

 

Constant sorrow is my friend
Even when I tell it to go away it comes back again
& I find it impossible to turn a blind eye
From the way it speaks & the way it sighs
life wont give me a break
from this constant deep chest ache
Clinging and hoping I barely see the light
Knowing and believing seem so far apart
Winter oppresses and no birds are in flight
I try to think and sometimes, almost never
I go to that porch and sit by your window
and the sorrow seems forever–
Forever seems infinite and incomplete like walking forward into the past week after week
But life isnt bleak
it just seems dull
The sun shines and the birds harmonize
in the world you loved
finally turning back to green.
Life isn’t over it has just begun

but sorrow wont leave
it clings to this heart
but one day it wont seem so constant
or tear me apart

{DangerDoes}Unprepared

So I’ve never been the most prepared person. Especially not on trips. It’s actually strange, I’m a notorious over packer on trips, but I always forget something–a toothbrush or pajamas–inevitably I forget something I really need.
Just this weekend I traveled for a quick weekend retreat in Buladean, NC with a group from school. We had a peaceful weekend, but I wasn’t prepared.
You see, out of the eleven people there, seven people decided to hike up the side of a mountain. I would’ve counted myself in the bunch that went hiking, but halfway up this “ninety degrees angled up” side of a mountain my shoes would no longer stick to the ground. I packed from school & the only outdoor shoes I had were a pair of sturdy tennis shoes, & the snow packed into the soles & refused to grip the ground. I tried & tried to keep going up, but after hitting my knees three times I decided the mountain had beaten me, & I’d go back. I’d wanted to go, but I wasn’t prepared. I felt defeated, but nonetheless, started the treacherous turnaround. Once I slid back to the bottom of the mountain, I was alone. It was snowing in the mountains & I decided to walk wherever I could.
I mean, walking wherever I could was a dangerous feat in & of itself. I only knew where I was going based on the footprints left there twenty minutes earlier by our previous trek the other way. I followed the footsteps, looking for the others who had decided to stay & not hike, but aimlessly, I couldn’t find them. So I stopped trying to find them & headed out by myself. I walked around in the falling & fallen snow trying to imagine the last time I’d truly been completely alone. Because, I was alone. In a world of white, freezing yet bundled up, walking around in a place where you truly couldn’t see anything but the color white. I had a marvelous time, I enjoyed the solitude. No one was around, there were no animals, there was no noise but the wind, the crunch of my shoes in the snow, & God. This was kind of the theme of this little retreat, a Sacred Journey. We were focusing on a Frederick Buechner book by that name & it seemed that I had stumbled upon my own tiny sacred journey. In his book, Buechner {pronounced BEEK-ner} talks about our journeys & how God speaks to us through every moment of our days. It was almost obvious that we struggled to accept that. Isn’t it crazy to believe that? That in what we do & in what we see that God is taking time to impress something upon our hearts? We tried to talk about how that could be possible, that everyday acts of simple coincidence could coincide with the plans & ways of God & in the majority I think we came to the same conclusion. I at least decided that even though it sounded crazy, that God could use things of this world to speak to me. I think that is possible. It reminded me that God isn’t as limited as we like to make Him. He used a whale to change the course of Jonah’s life…can’t God use a beautiful song or a word quietly & unsuspiciously hanging from the ceiling, like a small sign that said “believe” where we were staying, to speak to us just like He spoke to so many others in old stories we know by heart? I believe small things—things we look past & look over can definitely be Christ whispering into our lives. As we talked in our weekend cabin, someone made the point of it being crazy to believe either way. When you see something you can either assume it’s a coincidence or believe that it’s a grand design & masterful plan. Either choice requires substantial faith. I’d much rather be the person believing in something than the person who believes only enough to shrug it off as a coincidence.
“there are places and times, inner ones and outer ones, where something like peace happens, love happens, light happens… And when they happen, we should hold on to them for dear life, because of course they are dear life. They are glimpses and whispers from afar: that peace, light, love are where life ultimately comes from, that deeper down than madness and lostness they are what at its heart life is. By faith we know this, and I think only by faith because there is no other way to know it.”
Faith may be insane–but I believe. I’d rather believe in a purpose & a plan. I stand tall because I believe when no one else did. I wanna believe despite of circumstances–regardless, I wanna be known as someone who believed. Faith is believing–that’s why it’s insane & that’s why it’s difficult. Seeing,touching, feeling, knowing–it’s all so much easier. I’m unprepared. I want life to be easy. It’d be simpler if I only believed in what I could hear & see & feel–because the physical is far easier to understand than having faith. Yet I’d rather have faith. One day, I want to be prepared. I want to see Christ in my world. On my walks, in my talks, in my life–God is there & I steadfastly believe. So I listen & I prepare for what I don’t know & what I can’t see because I have to listen to my life. Frederick Buechner says it artfully & more beautifully than I when he beckons us to listen…“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

Life is grace. Life is listening to all the moments & hearing the beautiful melody that they make when put together. What sounds terrible by itself is a part of something when mixed & mushed with all it’s counterparts. When the melody & the harmony come together, we hear the final product & we revel in the whole piece. We revel in the prepared & finished. It all comes together & becomes beautiful in the end. When I look back–it will all make perfect sense.

I want to strive to make what is unprepared,–my life, my thoughts, my actions, my heart–prepared.

-{DD}