Wednesday, November 5, 2014

There's somethin' about country music

Ok folks.

Ok peeps.

Ok... y'all!

The CMA's are currently being shown at the local G House and we're loving every minute of it. I just got up and danced in the living room to Keith Urban's "Somewhere in my car". No really, I did! And I LOVED it!! Seriously, that song gets one's foot tapping and makes me want to learn all things line dancing and the 2 step.

Then there's Miranda Lambert's "Automatic". Oh my goodness if that is not the story of my life I don't know what is.

Or I guess, Tim McGraw's "Meanwhile back at Mama's" is another fan favorite that I feel is another story, or longing of my life. Oh my word it's so stinking good!

And then, and THEN there's Eric Church's "Give me back my Hometown". Good gracious, these songs just pull at the heart strings.

But the one that holds my heart, that makes me go pitter patter in so many ways is Dierks Bentley's "I Hold On". And not only because it's a great song (it really is!). It's also not only because it reminds me that good men do exist (my hubby is one of them!) but also reminds me of the love of my sweet Jesus and how he holds on above and beyond what anything on this earth shows, His love Endures. It does people. :-)

I guess what all this chatting is about is the fact that county music makes me long for the country. I long for space, a ranch, a cabin in the woods. Somewhere that feeds the soul. Away from the hustle and bustle. Away from the daily grind. And more into Southern Hospitality that I've always so loved. A place where you know your neighbors and you bake them a cake just because. A place where community is a part of life. A place where rest lives, love grows, and boundless freedom lies.

And in case you have no clue of the greatness I've talked about in this post, please take it upon yourselves to take a visit to the local youtube videos tagged below. You're welcome.

Somewhere with you


Meanwhile back at Mama's

Give me back my Hometown

I Hold On

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Well, the good news is I'm all grown up (at least I think so?).

The bad news is I have NO idea what I'm doing.

Ever feel that way?

As I child I remember looking up to my parents, their friends, and other adults thinking "man, they have it together, they know what they're doing! I want to be just like them when I grow up."

And the fantastic news? THEY HAD NO CLUE WHAT THEY WERE DOING EITHER. Seriously. Finding someone living their passion is so few and far between in this world it's depressing.

But the fact of the matter is that each and every one of us has the ability to live within our giftings, within our passions, and to live the life we've always dreamed of.

Now don't get me wrong, there are days, my friends. There are days...and today was one of them, where everything in me is full of shame, frustration, stagnation, irritation, and just overall defeat.

You see, I failed a test. A big test... like a becoming a licensed individual kind of national exam. That kind of test. And this isn't the first time I've failed one of these. And quite often, post test, I beat myself up over it literally thinking that I'm the worst or dumbest human in the world because I can't pass a damn test. The depths of despair kind of thoughts...

And then I get to the end of the day and re-assess things. God's got it. For some odd reason He doesn't want me to be licensed at this time, or who knows, maybe it's a never thing. But I do know this - He has placed me where I am for a reason and I will work heartily in it to bring Him the glory.

Quite honestly, today was a horrible, no good, very bad day for me. I was holding back tears all day long in my own little pity party. But I have this mentality of "stay strong so no one can see". And that just sucks... vulnerability is gone today.

While I'm on the subject (I know I'm all over the place here) - the lack of safety and vulnerability today makes for some very shameful feelings in people. It's like it's this pent up tension that never really goes away. It's just beneath the surface and it hurts... it sucks. It literally drains one's energy.

So I tell you what... let's find people, trusted, respected friends to SHARE with. And let's be the type of friend who actually hears the tears that lie beneath the surface of our nearest and dearest. Let's empathize. Let's encourage. Let's bring things to the light that need to be brought to the light. Let's just bring back vulnerability. It's KEY. It's so key. I cannot tell you enough how key it is to a successful, joy filled, FREE life.

Can I get an amen?

And back to the passions subject - I see so many of us frustrated or feeling like we're not going anywhere because our job is  not our passion. Or whatever it is that we're doing in life at this moment is not bringing us joy. But I've got news my friends... you can still live your passion, you just need to make it a priority.

So what, you may have to be a CPA to pay the bills, but you LOVE singing.

Why not use your after hours or your weekends to write your songs or record them?

You love writing?

Then write!

Love cooking or baking?

Then bake! And give away the treats to your neighbors and those you love.

Love crafting or painting or creating things?

Take time to do it!

Your heart comes alive when you're doing what you love. Don't push it off... embrace it and do it!!

Man do I feel better after jotting all this down.

Thanks for listening!!! :-) :-) :-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'm Norwegian and I know it!

Ok, random post here...

You know those heart flutter, goosebump moments in life?
I just had one when I was reminded of the travels of my great-grandparents from a small town called Skudeneshavn, Norway to Staten Island, NY. They were in search of a better land and home. They came for the American Dream. And thus, the Slattebrek embarked on life's great adventure (maybe this is why I get this bug to adventure so often?).
Once here, their name, Slattebrek, was Americanized to what's now known as Slater. And that's where the goosebumps set in. There's something about knowing your history, your name, where you came from, where your family once was to where they are now.
I bet my great-grandpa Ole would be amazed to learn that his family has finally settled halfway around the world from his original home. And I bet he'd be so proud of the lives we've made for ourselves, just by his decision to leave the home and the land he knew and loved.
Astonishing really how one choice can completely catapult us in a new direction - for GENERATIONS! I know I wouldn't be where I am today if he hadn't have made that bold move. I'd probably still be bundled up in the frigid North, touring fjords and the like.
And now? I have the travel bug... I want to go see where my ancestors came from. My aunt tells me it was a small town in mid-Norway called Skudeneshavn. Say that 3 times fast!
Norway - here I come!
Eventually... :-)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Turn the other cheek

It's with me biting my tongue that I share today's thoughts...

Friday night, my husband, some friends, and I were at a local outdoor shopping mall talking, sharing wine, and eventually moving to a local attraction. With that said, we had a wonderful time together and were super excited to be at this particular establishment.

Now, mind you, this place is like a grown up Chucky Cheese, and the boys of our group got into their competitive modes and were stoked on all the fun this place had to offer. My husband was no exception to this rule, and he was soon passionately playing one of the games when his tickets got stuck in the machine, and being the inventive man he is, he started toying around with the machine to de-clog said tickets.

This is where the whole debacle of later embarrassment started... this lady comes up to my husband and tell him to leave the machine alone and that he doesn't know what he's doing. To which, my husband responds, "it's none of your business". The lady clearly did not like this answer, so I told my husband to gather his stuff and let it slide.

Here's where it gets juicy, and Tenacious' frustration, or better yet, anger, comes into play. As we finished for the night, we walked out of said establishment and were waiting for our friends to finish their game. There was a bubble maker outside, which to my own childhood joy, I started popping the bubbles as they floated by. It's at this point that I hear the lady from inside the place (with her two children under the age of 10, mind you) start yelling at my husband and calling him a "dumb a**hole".

Ok people, prepare yourselves!

NO ONE calls my friends, family, or any person I'm with an a-hole and gets away with it. Something in me snapped and I responded with "well that's unnecessary and unkind". This did not make the lady happy, so she comes right up to me and starts yelling at me and calling me a little b****. I'm FLOORED at this point. Internally I'm thinking, "is this woman for real right now?! She's got 2 kids right there and she's cussing me out for defending my husband?"

My very wise husband then steps between this woman and me and asks her to kindly leave us alone and go on with her night. She would have none of this and then, THEN, she literally SHOVES my husband with all her might... TWICE!

OOOOO.... then the anger showed up. And this is something I am not proud of, and completely was un-called for. (I admit this to you, dear readers, for the sake of making it known and asking for forgiveness, in a way - I really feel bad for what I said to this woman and wish I had the opportunity to apologize).

Anyway, I told her to take her hands off my husband whom I honor and respect and that she has NO place whatsoever to lay her hands on anyone. And then I asked her to leave us alone.

She then by-passes my husband and walks straight up to me and says she'll punch me in the face (like RIGHT up in my face) and I say (not my wisest moment) "go ahead... because if you do I'll charge you for assault. You've already assaulted my husband, so feel free.".


However, this tactic seemed to work as she turned and walked away. And that's the end of my confrontation story.

I really should not have even said a word to this woman and let what she said about my husband roll off my back. This would have completely defused the situation and we would not be here having this conversation. But we're all sinners, we all fall short, and we all have our moments.

And I take this as a lesson about myself. I'm fiercely protective of those I love. Don't mess with me and my people, lest you want to get a whole ear full from me. I do not accept people calling those I cherish names, defiling them in some way, or just being plain rude. We're grown ups here, at least I think we are. But I clearly need to learn the lesson that our sweet Lord teaches us of  "turn the other cheek".

Should have, could have, would have... my second lesson is that I hold onto this stuff and take it very personally for DAYS, WEEKS, and sometimes - YEARS. I often replay these things in my mind... and it only holds me back from being a better woman today.

I've asked forgiveness and now it's time to let go and move on... that's the only way to gain healing, even in something as trivial as this.

Praise God that He is so merciful and would have us learn as we're here... because those life lessons are what make us better, if we let them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Winter...

Let me preface this post with the fact that I love Southern California for the life it's given me, the friends it's brought, and the husband I met along the journey. I would not be the woman I am today if I did not make the decision nearly 5 years ago to pack up and go on life's great adventure with nothing but a car full of stuff, a childhood teddy bear named Ellie, and the Lord by my side.

However, there's a part deep within my soul that yearns for the Pacific Northwest. For home. In every land there are pros and cons. Here in California it's always sunny and beautiful - I can hike, bike, and run year round outside - and I LOVE that. However, I also live in what feels like this never ending, claustrophobic, concrete jungle. It's like the Tim McGraw song, "Where the green grass grows":

There's concrete growin' in the city park
I don't know who my neighbors are
There's bars on the corners and bars on my heart

Oh my gosh! This is totally me - in California. There never seems to be a true "change" in season, unless we're having some randomly ridiculous rain storm that lasts for months (which actually happened the 1st year I was here, and never once since).

And that's where I find myself today...

I miss the changing seasons, the colors of the fall leaves and the frosted branches of winter. I miss the slower pace, the cuddling up and staying in to watch Christmas movies. I miss the stillness of a winter's night and the silence of snowfall.

And quite honestly, I miss wearing leggings, knee highs, boots, and a big ol' cozy sweater, made complete by a beanie.

Those types of things don't happen here. There's no slowing down. There's no real change in seasons (ok, so it gets to be 50 degrees at night, it's still 70 degrees during the day people and that is NOT boots and sweaters weather!).

It's like a part of me is missing when seasons don't happen, and it's Biblical too! Good ol' Ecclesiastes tells us there's a time and place for everything, a season for everything under the sun. I'm taking that literally here!

I want slow. I want silence. I want o build a fire and cuddle up with a good book. I want to bake cookies and deliver them. I want to have snow, because the city sleeps when it snows and everyone shuts down their electronics and comes out to play.

There's something magical, healing really, about a change in season. There's a time for busyness and harvesting and spring, but there's also a time that EVERY body needs of rest, relaxation, and silence that only the winter can provide.

So here's to having a winter, somehow, in Southern California!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Misrepresenting me

"You have to get to the place where you don't say things you don't mean. You don't lie. You don't misrepresent things. It doesn't mean being rude, it's just that you have to get to the point that you believe what you say... learn to be who you are, what you stand for. You've got to do this in your relationship with God and with others." - Andrew Wommack

As I've spent the last few months or so really sitting with the Lord and a few close family members on all things life, my calling, and what makes me, me, I've realized that MUCH of my life over the past 4 years has been a misrepresentation of me.

Yup. I said it. I've misrepresented myself. What does that mean? Well, I guess you could say that I've been too concerned with making friends that I have left myself by the wayside and pretty much done what I thought would make others like me. And you know what? It's a miserable existence. Keeping up with appearances and trying to be "that girl" all the time is exhausting. Devastating really. And if I'm really honest - depressing.

When I moved to California I quickly noticed that there was a LOT of "Christian-ese" spoken here. So to fit in, I learned the "lay of the land" and started doing the same thing. I made note of what others would say, experience, and do so that I could do and say the same things. I didn't want to rock the boat, so I just became a chameleon of whatever those around me believed and did. At first it was refreshing, amazing really. I suddenly felt accepted, and I loved it.

Fast forward 4 years and I sit, very uncomfortably, in my own skin. After the fallout with some friends over a year ago, and the realization that they were never really, true friends to me to begin with, the whole "Who am I?" question began. And over the last year it's resurfaced over and over again. Finally, bringing me to the breaking point of me going "Holy mother, I have completely lost sight of the calling laid on my life, my passions, and my giftings. I've become a chameleon of everyone around me."

So here I sit, having to now face the friends that I've made and lost these last years, whom  I pushed away for fear of disappointing them or getting a lecture, or just losing them altogether. But it seems I've already done that in my own self fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

The woman that I am called to be is a lover of God first and foremost, and a lover of His image bearers - both lost and found. She is gracious, kind, generous, and hard working. She is hospitable in every way. She loves meeting new people and hearing their stories; she craves it. She desires to bring people together for dinner, for parties, anything really and to make them feel loved and cared for in the process. She is cheerful, optimistic, and relentless when it comes to getting things done. She's athletic, a health nut, and a fitness guru in the making. She's an encourager who loves to do "little things' for those she loves. She's the doer that gets ideas to become realities. She loves to laugh, to spend time with others, to adventure, and to be in the peaceful beauty that is nature. She hates the "same 'ol grind" and looks forward to getting out of it. She loves being girly, taking showers everyday, and looks forward to dressing up and wearing her heels. She enjoys down time, days of rest and staying in bed all day. She appreciates dinners out and getting to know the waitresses and bartenders that serve her. She is invigorated by conversation with others. She's a planner who can go with the flow. She's a dreamer of BIG things and works hard to make them a reality. She trusts the Lord with the details of life and finds His peace and love her constant companion. She likes order and cleanliness, though her life is sometimes chaos. She imagines often of a home and a lifetime of love and generosity shared with her dear, sweet husband.

This is me. The real me. I have opinions though I often don't voice them. I'm afraid of rocking the boat, so I often keep my mouth shut though I disagree with others. I'm realizing that I'm more liberal in my faith than others. I believe Grace and Love are the biggest callings the Lord gives us. I don't like Calvinism. I'm more Weslyan in my approach to faith. I'm not here to judge, I leave that up to the one the Lord has appointed to do so. I believe that my God is big enough to do anything and I know He will answer my prayers - whether it's yes, no, or not yet. I believe you have to ask to receive and dare to believe that God will give you exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. And I believe the Gospel is simple - and my calling on this earth, too. But all too often it's complicated through the opinions of centuries of theologians. I believe there's a lot more gray than black and white (yup, I said that too). We're too harsh and bitter towards others... and all too often there's not enough grace.

No more misrepresentation. I will stand for who I am and what I believe. No more complacency. No more chameleon. I will be me, period.

I commit to write more, call more, reach out more, pray more, give more, and love more.

"If God tells you to do something, you do it. Just do it. You say what you mean and you mean what you say. You're either a person of integrity, a person who sticks to his/her word, or you're not. Which will you choose?"

Who do you say I am?

"But what about you?" Jesus asked, "Who do you say I am?"

Peter answered, "You are the Messiah" - Matthew 16:15-16

Controversial topic? Yes. Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah to some, a prophet to others. The miracle worker, the healer, the friend of foes. And some would dare say, the rebel of His time, going against deeply rooted rituals of "religion". The one who dares relationship and forgiveness, over ritual and show.

This, my friends, is the Jesus I know and love. Just a few descriptors of who this Man has become in my own life...

Simply put, what Jesus came to accomplish could only be accomplished by Him. He came to seek and save the lost. To be a ransom for the sins of each of us. He came so that you and I may be free and made new amidst the chaos and evil of this world today.

Jesus is ever loving, ever gracious, ever tender, and forever in pursuit of you, his sweet child. He came to love and to die for you, his prized son/daughter. He came so that you may have life.  True, fulfilling, satisfying LIFE!

Jesus is one to be completely honest and "real" with. Maybe the only someone one can fully trust with every detail of life. He's not in the business of being condescending. He's in the business of grace. He's not dismissisive. No, he's responsive. He will not ridicule you but will build you up. He is not judgmental. He's merciful. And oh does His love abound! His love is pure, unconditional. There is nothing you can or cannot do to earn His love, His grace, and His mercy. And it NEVER changes. Ever, never, ever, period. It's perfect.

And perfect love casts out fear. Think of the things that you're most afraid of: Being alone for the rest of your life, running out of money, losing a family member, losing your job, losing your beauty, losing your success, becoming ill, etc.. Now imagine a life without fear of those very things. Is that even possible? To be relieved from the pressure, the stress, anxiety, the fear that overwhelms us?

How freeing would that be? Will that allow you to do more in your life? Would that allow you to be happy for once? Would it allow you to feel free and at peace with the rest of your life? The great news is that freedom from fear is available to you. And as silly as it sounds it's in the name of Jesus. It's His love that casts out fear. It's His love it takes all anxious thoughts all the stress all the fear and separates it as far as the east is from the west. His incredible, unending love is perfect and in Him all things are possible. He loves you. Cares for you. Desires relationship with you. And no matter who you are or what you've done - that cannot separate you from Him. He's there. Always.