Time to Move Mountains – Rise Up Women of the U.S.A


I grew up in a passionately Republican family; one that was racist, homophobic and expressed bigotry on a regular basis. Does this represent all Republicans? No. I am simply telling my story.

Needless to say, this morning when I rolled out of bed to the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I didn’t have to “imagine” how people could have voted for Trump. I knew from 18 years of first-hand experience. The power of fear should not be underestimated.

That being said, of course, I was upset with the outcome. As a woman, and a person of color, how could I not be? The next four years are going to be challenging in ways I’ve never had to experience in my lifetime. But whether we want to admit it or not, hate racism and bigotry have all been in the Whitehouse, before.

Women of the United States of America, it’s time for us to rise up.

This post isn’t about right or left or red or blue. It’s about what’s next for us.

I currently live in a city that’s more liberal than most. We try (although, we have work to do) to understand equality and promote it among the people living here. We try. We’re not perfect, and we are on a journey, but we try. I realize that other parts of the country are not this way. Perhaps this election was, if nothing else, a beacon to shine a light on that fact. We are a broken people. We are a broken nation. We are a nation who has been taken in by the false god of fear.

This morning, as I stared at a map filled with red colored states, I tried to wrap my mind around the numbers, the statistics and how exactly this happened. I love analytics. But this was different. Something didn’t feel right. How did the statistics for women voting slide so strongly toward a man who embodies everything we fight so hard against?

Perhaps this is another lesson: the gaps in American equality are not just a problem created by men.

Over the course of the past months we have seen our President-elect slander women again and again. The list of offenses is egregious. Regardless of your stance, the facts are that he’s currently facing, and has formerly been accused of, rape charges.

So why did we, as women, vote for him?

To be honest, I don’t have an answer, but I do know what this points to — a culture where we, as women, are hurting.

A stroll through any history book will show you that existence has never been easy for women. We’ve been raped, defaced, tortured, slandered and brutally killed in our journey for equal rights. And while perhaps not as prevalent in certain parts of the world, these treatments are not just something from the past. And for those of us in the “free” world: Our ballots are our testimonies.

What can we even do to move forward?
You probably already know what I’m going to say.

1-john-418Ladies, it’s time for us to rise up.

It is time for us to speak life, encouragement and power over the next generation, and the generations who came before us. It’s time to embrace a culture that lifts women up, rather than tearing each other down. It’s time for us to introduce ourselves to our neighbors; to hug and care for those who are grieving or in pain.

This is not about politics, I don’t care what side of the “fence” you are, or have been, on. This election is showing us the very real truth behind what airbrushed magazine covers and bright Hollywood lights have done to us. Our nation is crying out for justice. We are hurting. We are stumbling. We are searching for anything to heal our brokenness — even if that means destroying ourselves in the process.

Ladies, it is time for us to rise up.

The next four years will not be easy. Probably for all of us, but it will most certainly be harder for some.

To my sisters who are getting ready for the storm — I stand with you. I will love you. I will protect you. I will speak for you. I will defend you.

Because you are worthy. You are wonderfully made. You are beautifully whole. You are an inspiration. You are valid. You are strong. You are brilliant. You are made for great things. You are powerful. You are so much more than any title.

And we? Together we are immovable, unbreakable and our story will live as long as the stars shine.

Rise up.


Fear Not, For I Am With You

The tattoo I have on my left arm I got done months ago. It says “I will face my fear. Only I will remain” in French.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” 

― Frank HerbertDune

Before I moved to France, the number one thing people said to me was, “Wow, you’re so brave.” I’ve always thought this was funny, because I would never use that word to describe myself. I was scared as shit to move to France. And even now that I’m living here, I’m terrified of so many things. I’m scared of going to the post office, of buying bread and not knowing how to respond in perfect French when the lady asks me how I’m doing. I’m scared of getting lost when I go on walks, not making any friends, or being in a situation where no one can understand my need for help because they don’t speak English. 

These are real fears. But they are also all futuristic and somewhat ridiculous (even though I’m convinced the lady at the bakery is out to get me). Each one of them has the potential of stopping me from thriving while I live in France. They are barriers to happiness. But they are also motivators to making this experience something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. See, each time one of these fears surfaces, I remember what I have overcome to get here. 

A year ago I was afraid to breathe. I was unsure who I was, what I was supposed to do with my life, and why it didn’t seem like anything was worth living for, anymore. My heart was broken, two members of my family had been diagnosed with breast cancer within months of each other, and I was floundering in my job and relationships.

There’s a reason they say fear is “crippling.” It doesn’t kill you. It leaves you to fight yourself, daily, in some kind of one sided torture. You feel trapped, isolated and like there’s no one else in the world that could possibly understand. But what’s worse, is that you try to talk yourself out of it. You try again and again to fix it, ignore it, numb it until something – anything takes away the pain of admitting that you need help.

But, we weren’t made to fix ourselves. The broken hearts, the self depreciation, the voices in our heads that tell us it’s impossible to get past this, “There is no future, so why even look forward?”

Instead of moving forward, fear holds us back. It can do more damage to us than any other person ever will. Fear of being alone, of being unwanted or of being unable to achieve the standards we’ve set for ourselves. It paralyzes us, sets us on paths to destroy ourselves through whatever means we use to get rid of it. 

I know this, because a year ago this was me. I did everything to try to subdue, freeze, isolate, cover up, conceal and dilute the fear that I felt. Fear that stretched back to childhood. Fears of inadequacy, fear of being unloved – or unworthy of being loved. Fears of never achieving anything. Of the people who had told my mom that for whatever reason (race, gender, socioeconomic standing) I would never amount to anything, being right.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Last year I took a two week long backpacking trip around the UK.

Two weeks is no great pilgrimage. There wasn’t a great cathedral that I would find waiting for me at the end of my journey, and there weren’t any saints to welcome me. But before I left, I decided to take these two weeks to do something crazy – to live in the moment.

You see, fear is of the future, not the present. Danger is in the present, and is very real, but fear? Fear is a manmade, demon of a reality, that will probably never even happen.  When we stop worshiping the future, we drain fear of its power. 

See, as a Christian, I serve a God of the present, who tells me not to worry about the future, because he’s got it covered (Matt 6:34). Which is awesome, because that gives me so much more creativity, ambition and energy to sow into the present – seeds which will grow and produce a more beautiful future, in the end. 

I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been thinking about fear a lot, and remembering what it took for me to overcome my own demons. I tried and I tried and I tried to fix myself, but it wasn’t until I let go and let God start working that I saw any kind of healing happen. Only after I realized it was ok to be broken, could I begin the process of being mended. 

Overcoming fear is as simple and as terrifyingly difficult as acknowledging that it exists. Until you do that, there really is no way of overcoming it. We all have our own unique terrors, each one changing as we grow and evolve as people. But today I’m reminded that where there is brokenness, there are also opportunities for a healing so intensely refreshing, and in some ways, simultaneously painful, that it can do nothing but refine us into a version of ourselves that would otherwise be inaccessible. 

So here’s to taking life one moment at a time, and allowing ourselves to grow and transform into the people we are meant to be. It doesn’t happen over night, it’s a daily chore. But it’s in those little moments, when we decide to conquer the now, that we find the strength, over time, to claim the victory we have won. 

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The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis


Isaiah 40: 31

Mais ceux qui espèrent dans le Seigneur renouvellent leur force. Ils montent sur ​​des ailes comme des aigles, ils courent, et ne se lassent, ils marcheront et ne pas être faible.

(But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. )

J’étais un étranger, et vous m’avez invité dans votre maison.


Missoula, MT
Missoula, MT

By every standard of normality, *Couchsurfers are insane.

I can say this because I’ve Couchsurfed before and, if you know me, you know I only believe in insulting things you’ve tried. Honestly, the  potential negatives of couch surfing are pretty transparent; all primal instincts scream that finding a complete stranger over the internet and staying with them/letting them stay with you is ridiculous. And, in a way, they’re right. But ridiculous is not always a bad thing.

The first time I Couchsurfed, I had approximately everyone tell me I was going to die/be abducted. After all, how DO  you avoid ending up on the “Missing Persons” page of the Times? Or, better yet, how on earth do you sleep soundly curled up on the couch of a complete stranger?!? Well, beyond the logical safety measures (3 C’s: Communication, Comments, and Contact) I would say it comes down to one thing – trust.

Reality: everyone you’re friends with now was once a stranger. Maybe you met them at work, in high school, or maybe your parents semi-forced you to be friends by having playdates every weekend of your childhood. But regardless, there was a time when you knew absolutely nothing about them. And whatever the circumstances, you had to start from nothing and build trust with that person.

Or, if you want to get more cozy – let’s talk dating. Because everybody likes blog posts about dating. When you first start dating someone, how much do you know about that person? If they were a friend before you started dating,  probably more than most. But, more than likely, you met at some kind of event/location and then ended up going out with this complete stranger until the two of you either decided to get more serious or one/both of you bolted.

By these standards, Couchsurfing is actually an upgrade. You get to look at reviews, talk with the person beforehand (via Skype, email or text), you see pictures of the place you’ll be staying, read bios and gather information. AND THEN, and only then, do you choose to stay with them – or continue to peruse the thousands of other profiles. If you’ve done your research (which was practically laid out in front of you) then you’re more than likely  in the clear.

For me, when I first started Couchsurfing, I did it because I needed a place to stay, wanted to explore and didn’t want money (or, rather, the lack thereof) to be a reason I couldn’t visit a place I wanted to (the other half of the reason is because I absolutely love shocking people).

My first trip I didn’t really know what to expect. I was picked up at the Greyhound bus station by my host and her pug and driven to her house, which was not too far away. I didn’t really know what the protocol was, so I just decided to act like we’d known each other for forever and were just meeting up again after not seeing each other in ages (#storyteller).

This, as it turns out, was actually one of the best things I could have done. That, and bringing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I had baked the night before. After munching and searching through the newspaper for things to do, I quickly decided that she and I were going to be friends. Anyone who offers to teach me how to make books, and has a giant ginger cat, is fine by me. During my time there (Montana), we ate, we danced and we laid out under the November night sky for hours looking for shooting stars. It was sublime.

After that trip I knew I had to Couchsurf again, and every time I do I walk away with new friends and beautiful stories. I’ve gone line, Cuban salsa, and traditional Scottish dancing and I’ve loved every minute. I’ve eaten sheep intestines, seen Les Miserables in London, stared at originals by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Monet and had cooking lessons on how to properly make a “raw”/vegan meal.

I feel so enriched by all of my experiences as a Couchsurfer, because throughout them all, there is the overwhelming sense of (get ready for the cheese) love. As a Christian, I’m told to love my neighbor as myself, but it wasn’t until I showed up on the doorstep of a complete stranger, and she insisted on me taking her bed, while she slept on the couch, that I understood why.

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” Matt. 25:35

When we place others before ourselves, it’s not just an act of courtesy. It literally changes a little piece of that person and with them, the world. It makes others feel valued, loved and accepted when they might not, otherwise. And, my favorite part, it allows them to then take that love and pass it on.

You might not have the means to make huge gestures for changing the world around you. You might feel stuck where you live, or not know exactly how to make a positive impact.

But, here’s a tip from one friend to another – value a stranger. Let them hang out on your couch. Listen to their stories and show them around your town. It might seem small, like a mustard seed, but sometimes that’s all it takes to plant a tree of hope, and change the life of a stranger.

*N O T E: Couchsurfing.org : Travel like a local, stay in someone’s home; fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect, and experiencing the world in a way money can’t buy.


Missoula, MT
Missoula, MT
Missoula, MT
Missoula, MT