beka stays real : my Making Things Happen application

About a year ago I blogged about taking the Making Things Happen Challenge.

(This is different from the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge I’m currently doing. Challenges and me? Apparently we’re tight!)

The Making Things Happen Challenge was to me like spinach was to Popeye. I felt more empowered than ever to take charge of my dreams and conquer fears of all kinds. Ever since then I’ve been praying about being able to attend a Making Things Happen workshop because, well, I can’t think of anything I’d like to attend more. (Packers game at Lambeau notwithstanding.) I’d really love to be able to harness whatever it is that is inside of me to do…and then DO it!

So when I saw the announcement for this year’s tour and the availability of scholarships, I wanted to enter an application immediately. But I decided to wait until I knew what I wanted to say.

Cue the crickets.

I had no idea where to start. It’s hard to describe what you want and why you want it when you want it in such a big, clumsy, just-try-to-define-this-sucker kind of way. I put it on the calendar to do next week, thinking that at least I’d still have a week after that until applications were due in case I was still struggling with dreamer’s block. But then this afternoon, unexpectedly, I just started typing. And this is what came out:

“I just spent 15 minutes trying to photograph the reflection of my earring on my computer screen. And the 30 before that scrubbing dishes from the kitchen explosion that resulted in 5 lunches and 5 dinners, packaged and ready to go for the week. Prior to that you would have found me driving home from church, windows down, belting inspirational song lyrics so enthusiastically you would have thought I was Stella and I’d gotten my groove back.

Lara, Emily, Gina, and Natalie: Even though I’m teetering on the edge of a “bless your heart” moment, I’m telling you all of this because it’s the core of what I want to Make Happen. I don’t specifically want to take pictures of my earrings and spend weekend afternoons up to my elbows in soapsuds and sing Joss Stone songs until the cows come home (or, in today’s case, directly to the cows). But I DO want to live 100% from the depth of what fires me up, from the desires I believe God has put in my heart for a specific purpose.

I don’t have a clear-cut job description to offer you. I’m not looking to go into business as a photographer, a designer, a writer, or a motivational speaker (although I’d like to do elements of all of those things!). I’m not sure what to call what I want to do, although Lord knows I’ve tried to wrangle it into a career category for the past 5 years. But I’d like to attend Making Things Happen (in Chapel Hill, please!) to harness the passions that keep me up at night with butterflies just thinking about their possibilities. I want to utilize the full power of those passions and then LIVE them so that other people can catch a spark from that fire and live out their passions, too. Basically, I want to do what Marianne Williamson so eloquently suggests:

“We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Do I really believe that making ice cream out of frozen bananas and hanging pages from magazines on baker’s twine and gushing endlessly about the beauty of mason jars can make a tangible difference in the world?

Not in and of itself. But I believe with 100% of my being that God can take my full effort, derived from my truest, most sincere desires and abilities, and use me as He sees fit to make as much of a difference in the world as possible.

That’s what I want to Make Happen!”

It was the honest-to-goodness truth. It’s kind of uncoordinated and kind of sappy…but so I am! So I’m really happy with what made the journey from heart to fingers to keyboard. It feels like a step in the right direction of being an exclamation point, not a question mark.

Applications are due by April 1st, so hopefully scholarships will be announced soon after that. I can honestly say that I’ll be praying that right person is chosen for this scholarship. But I can also honestly say that I’ll be praying that I might be that person.

(And if your prayer requests list is looking a little sparse, please feel free to add me to it!)

Guys, if YOU want to Make Things Happen, apply for the scholarship to attend a workshop!!! Or just spend hours soaking up the goodness that is the MTH Tumblr. Or take The Challenge! One way or another, choose to act on the things that have been put in your heart for a reason. I don’t think you’ll ever regret it.

inspired : 2.12.12

i love everything about this blog : petite kitchenesse

these road trip pictures make me miss these days!

we breathe magic when we’re immersed in the things we’re passionate about.

stephanie’s food photography is AMAZING.

a coconut recipe party

individual baked banana french toasts. yes.

crave photography…so beautiful!

i can’t stop thinking about these s’more bars

love this little acronym prayer

choffy…who knew?!

linsanity

so many fun details in this tennessee wedding

oh my goodness…this clip of kristen bell on ellen is hysterical, and so endearing!

pin of the week:

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pinned here via here

beka stays faithful : the aftermath of exclamations

There are quite a few sentiments I could start with today after being fortunate enough to be featured on Tebow’s Eye Black yesterday. Among them:

1. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It kind of takes the whole being the exclamation point thing to a literal level.

2. Posting what I write is harder than posting what I photograph.

This whole exercise was not unlike walking through a haunted house: half terrifying, half exhilarating. I mean, I had no trouble posting what I wrote to the blog because I know everyone who reads the blog and their numbers are not vast. But sending the post out as a submission, then posting it to Twitter and Facebook? Nauseating. The funny thing is that I regularly post to the blog/Facebook/Twitter when I take new pictures, and without a second thought. But I’ve never done it with just a written post before. I found that it’s kind of like standing alone on a big stage with just a microphone as opposed to standing alone on a big stage covered in huge colorful pictures. (I really didn’t have to go too far to muster up that analogy, but there you go.) It’s easier to stand there behind a slew of distractions than it is to stand there and talk about what makes you tick.

3. Posting what I write is infinitely more gratifying than posting what I photograph.

Well…shoot. If I were to confront this fact in earnest we might end up with War and Peace on our hands due to the depth and length of angst it’s bound to cause. Suffice it to say that this was an eye-opening experience and we’ll talk about it more later over lots and lots (and lots) of coffee.

So instead, let’s backtrack a little. Because yesterday I got to cross off one of my Big Projects for 2012 (which I didn’t post in detail, but it was #5: contribute to another blog/website/magazine!) and I’m still a little amazed. So how did this happen?

Here’s what I think may have helped:

1. I started having conversations with God again.

This is not to be confused with, “I started praying again.” God and I were not on the outs prior to yesterday’s post. It’s all good in the hood. But recently I noticed that my prayer life had lost a little of it’s luster, mostly because I was straight up boring. Seriously. I was going through the same old, same old with no emotion or intention. After being convicted about the actual power in the power of prayer, I changed my tune. I’ve recommitted to speaking in earnest – not just having one-sided petition lists that read more like grocery lists – whenever I pray. I’m being bold, praying in faith over specific areas of my life. And shockingly but not shockingly…I’m already starting to see things change. One of the things I’ve been praying is that God would create opportunities, help me to see them, and give me the courage to follow through. He definitely delivered on that one yesterday.

2. I stopped trying to fix the problem.

As I mentioned in the post, I’ve tried to pray away my lack of confidence for the better part of 25 years. But this year I decided that instead of praying it away, I’m going to ask God to use my insecurity for his glory. Without realizing it, I was having a II Corinthians 12 moment:

At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’ Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Hello, Paul. Mind if I grab an oar? Because we’re definitely in the same boat.

3. I leapt.

I had the idea for yesterday’s post on Sunday night. I was about to go to bed. But then I decided to stay up a little longer to hash out some of the ideas running through my head. On Monday morning at 7am I reopened the post, thinking I’d wrap it up nicely in 5 minutes or less since I had planned to do about 18 other things before my closing shift at the juice bar later that day. None of those things consisted of me sitting on the couch still in pajamas at 1pm frantically writing and rewriting and publishing and submitting a crazy post about punctuation…but that’s what happened.

Clearly, I support careful planning and preparation…as per the barrage of 2012 posts last week. I believe that dedicated hard work lays the foundation for future success. But I also believe that most of the big opportunities that come along can not be written into a planner, nor do they present themselves during brainstorming sessions. It’s probably how God keeps us humble. More often than not it seems like opportunity arrives in the midst of slogging through daily disciplines and invites us to take a leap of faith into something unexpected. Most of the time I keep my feet firmly planted in familiar territory. But yesterday, I leapt! Being open to following God’s lead – a lead that left me with plans unhinged and workout undone and teeth unbrushed in exchange for something better – was a game-changer. I’m hoping it’s a lesson I won’t soon forget.

So, as my mom would say, that’s that. I think yesterday was an exclamation point kind of day. Here’s to making today one too!