A Wow Girl

“Wow.”

Have you ever seen someone walk in a room and you just look at them and say, “Wow” ?

My mom calls these people “wow girls” or “wow boys.”

I call my mom several times a day, and yesterday was no different. I called to tell her a funny story about me seeing a guy I used to date come in to the coffee shop with a girl as I was in there having coffee and doing homework. I just had to call her because I knew she would listen and find it funny.

During the conversation, she said, “You’re just a wow girl and you need someone that is a wow boy.” I said, “Mom, a wow girl? What is that?”

Her reply: “When you walk in a room, people say ‘Wow, she’s really pretty.’ You just make people say wow. You’re going to find a wow boy to match.”

I laughed it off and told her that she had to think I was pretty, but I don’t think my  mom knows what that meant to me or how deeply I analyzed it.

I began to think of people that make me say wow. Now, if you know me, you know I say ‘wow’ a lot. It’s my word. But I’m talking about people that really make me say wow–people that do or say things that amaze me and make me fall in love with who they are. Those kind of people are rare, but they’re beautiful.

My mom is a “wow girl.” When she walks in a room, everyone says ‘wow,’ but beyond that she is wow to me. She loves her people a lot, and I am really glad I am one of those people. She loves everyone she meets and makes them feel great about themselves. But I’ll be selfish for a minute and just talk about why she is wow to me.

After we talked on the phone, I thought about how sometimes I feel like people might get annoyed by me or not care about stories about things that happened during my day or just not listen. I never ever think that when I talk to my mom.

I started tearing up because it is such a wonderful feeling and such a relief that I don’t have to worry about my mom talking bad about me or making me feel stupid or ignoring my stories. She is just always there to listen and make me feel beautiful and make me feel like my life means something, and that is just wow.

My mom cares more about me more than she does about herself. She loves me, not because she’s my mom, but because she’s my friend. She is truly my person, my best friend. She told me I was a “wow girl,” but what she didn’t realize is that she really is the most “wow girl” I’ve ever known.

A Forever Person

Some people, some thoughts, some memories….they’re meant to last forever. 

Nothing lasts forever. It’s an age old truth.

But maybe it isn’t a truth.

Maybe some people are “forever people.” Some people come into your life and never really go away.

Today at my dear friend and mentor, Dr. Larry Nelson’s funeral, Brother Henry called him a “forever person” because his memory will be here forever. Larry never met a stranger and shared the love of Christ with everyone he met. He instilled truth in them that would literally last forever. He gave them love and, when love is real, it really does last forever.

Our favorite memories stay with us forever. Thoughts we have–words written–are engraved in our minds to always dwell on. When something really moves us or changes us, it’s forever.

Shouldn’t we all try to be forever? I hope I’m forever to everyone I meet, just like Larry. Jesus’ love is forever, and we are to model our love after the love of Christ. If we do that, we will be forever people.

Having a forever person in your life is the greatest gift and biggest blessing in the world. When forever people die, they don’t die. Because they served God, lived for others, and loved every single person they met, they live on forever. They live on in our hearts, in our thoughts, in our memories, and in our lives.

Live each day striving to be a forever person. If you want to live forever, die to yourself. Die to your wants and live for others and their needs. Think of a way to make each moment count and become a forever memory.

So it’s not true that nothing lasts forever. The best things– the best people–last forever.

Don’t be a “for a good time” or “for a long time” person. Be a “forever person.”

Dedicated to Dr. Larry Nelson 

Sarcastic Love

I love him but I don’t have to like him…

You have to love your neighbors, but you don’t have to like them, right? Well is that really love at all?

Okay so I’ll paint this picture for you. A small studio room downtown. No lights on. Only the sound of the guitar and voices singing praise to God are audible. People sitting in chairs, on a couch, and in the floor. Every once in a while, between songs, someone would speak.

A boy I had never seen started talking. “We’ve always heard that we have to love people, but we don’t have to like them. God loves us AND likes us. So how can we say that we don’t like people, but we love them. I guess you could call that…well…sarcastic love.”

A light bulb went off in my head. I had done that my whole life without meaning to. People that were mean to me or made me feel bad about myself–I loved them because I had to, because I was commanded to, not because I really loved them. And that is sarcastic love. Loving them almost as a joke. Loving them to make yourself look like a good person. Love is only real when you truly find something about that person that you admire and adore. Everyone has SOMETHING to love, so find it and like it.

Sarcastic love boy talked about the construction workers he worked with. He said some of them were “rough guys that would curse you out when you messed up.” He said, “I said I loved them but I didn’t like being around them. So, I learned to really love them and love to be around them because what comes out of them won’t rub off one me, what comes out of me will rub off on them. My light will shine on them when I truly do love them.”

What he said changed my life forever. Now, when the girl that gives me dirty looks walks by, instead of pretending to love her, I will make an effort to find something to love and show her my love. Sarcastic love is not God and God IS love. He loves us AND likes us and that is very cool. We have to do the same in order to love like He does.

Sarcastic love boy at the impromptu worship service, thank you. Thank you for changing my life and my heart. Sarcastic love will be no more. After all, isn’t there truth in sarcasm sometimes? I’ll find the truth in any of the sarcastic love I’ve ever poured out so I can turn it into compassionate, genuine love.

Hopeless Romantic With an Emphasis on Hopeless

Hopeless romance can be the best or worst thing depending on your outcome…

Girls age 5 to 85 are all hopeless romantics. Even the ones that say, “I hate Valentine’s Day and lovey dovey anything,” are really hopeless romantics. We were made from love so we are all after the one thing that will make us complete. But even with all the romance novels, movies, quotes, books…it just seems really hopeless.

I see Instagram posts at least once a week from new engagement. I see Pinterest boards full of fairytales. I read endless quotes about finding true love. But that’s as far as it goes. My romance begins and ends with blog posts and tweets. It all just seems hopeless. The chance of romance seems hopeless to me. I have a hunch that I’m not the only twenty-something that feels that way. 

We walk around waiting to meet the love of our life. Hoping he will walk into the coffee shop. Hoping to bump into him on the street. Praying he will fall out of the sky and into your life. But then it doesn’t happen. Or it does and ends up being terrible. Either way, where is the romance? Where are the fireworks?

I am always such a hopeful person, but I am beginning to really put the hopeless in hopeless romantic. Like underline, bold, and italicize the word because I am just hopeless. Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe when I get completely, hopelessly hopeless, he will come around and spark the romance in my life. We invest so much into movies and shows that spew with romance. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have become household shows that set us up for relationships filled with extravagant dates and roses galore. While that is a lot to expect from someone, I still dream that my prince charming will come along unexpectedly with a dozen daisies and a picnic basket. In reality, we need to know that love doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be simple. Simple is good. Simple is beautiful. When all of the extravagance is taken aways, love is simple. All of these expectations we have just fuel our hopelessness. 

While I’m becoming more and more of a hopeless hopeless romantic, I think that maybe there is still just a little bit of hope. Maybe there are a few good men that seek the love of God and use that to love women. Maybe there are a few guys that want to show a woman the beautiful simplicity of love. Maybe not all hope is lost for us hopeless romantics.  

Small Talk

After all, it’s the small things that mean the most.

Everyone claims to hate small talk. Chatting it up with the barista while she makes your coffee or listening to the cashier’s life story while she rings your groceries up seem like nuisances and wastes of time. But what would the world be without small talk?

Without small talk, we would never have big talk. Every relationship with anyone you ever meet will inevitably begin with small talk. Even your relationship with your mom starts as small talk.  Sometimes a good dose of small talk turns into something wonderful. Small talking with the right person in line for coffee might jumpstart your career. Small talk with your dentist as he drills on your mouth could lead to big talk with his attractive son. You just never know when small talk can change your life, so why not pour your soul into those five-minute conversations? Sometimes the person that starts the small talk needs it more than you could ever imagine. Small talk can change a day and a changed day can change a life.

Small talk it up. You might learn to love it. My grandpa is paralyzed  in a wheel chair and doesn’t get to leave his house much. His favorite thing in the world is now small talk. I bet he would give anything to stand in line at Wal-Mart and talk to a total stranger. When you look back on your life, won’t the little things mean the most? Next time you get annoyed by small talk, remember what it might lead to.  All the best love stories began with a little case of small talk.

The Quicker The Better

And it ended as quickly and unexpectedly as it began. 

All the best things in life come and go when we least expect it. It’s rare that you sit back and reflect on something you plan and say, “That was the best thing that ever happened to me,” but we say it so often about completely spontaneous things that happen. Isn’t that beautiful that God surprises us all the time? You don’t plan to meet the love of your life; it just happens. You don’t wake up and say, “I’m probably going to meet my husband today,” but one day you unexpectedly meet him out of nowhere and it happens so fast. At least I think it does, and I hope it does. The quicker something happens the more you grasp on to it and hold on tight. It’s so ironic and beautiful that the best things happen in the blink of an eye. Reflecting on the best days of your life seem like they happened in seconds. Our worst moments seem to drag on for decades, but the good times sprint by.

On the other hand, on a sadder note, the best things seem to end just as quickly as they began. It’s out of nowhere. You get broken up with and never expect it. All of a sudden, the guy that fell out of the sky into your life completely vanishes. It seems like it all lasted for only a week, and now the best thing that ever happened to you quickly shifted to the worst. It doesn’t make sense at the time, but then it makes more than perfect sense. And then you realize that the quicker it ends, the better. They always say, “It’s better to rip the bandaid off quickly,” and I think that is more than true. Life ends so quickly too, doesn’t it? We never know when it will end. I think that is so beautiful and so orchestrated by God. He wants us to live like it might all come to a screeching halt at any moment. I think that’s how we should treat every little thing: a day with your best friend, a vacation with your family, a relationship, a semester in school. Everything should be given life, and therefore, everything should be treated like it might just end any second. That way, when we blink and it’s over, we know it was so fast because it was so fulfilling.

Things come full circle. Sometimes things end where they began and how they began. It seems strange, but it’s such a beautiful thing that happens. You might completely fall in love with someone in an ice cream parlor after talking for hours on end, and a few months later talk for another three hours for the last time ever. It seems sad, it seems unreal, it seems too quick, but it might be just right and it might just be perfect to begin and end at the same place. Life can be like that. We begin life with such innocence, and it might just be perfect if we end it the same.