Listening Lessons: Unexpected

This summer has been an absolutely beautiful, unexpected, adventure. I have seen the best, and some of the worst in people. But mostly, the best. In the most, humbling, amazing ways – unexpected.


It’s amazing how we can crawl into a hole, work and work, and work, and think we’re doing everything we should be, only to all of a sudden have the hole fill up with a rainstorm, and us get floated out of the hole. Then, outside, we are scared, confused, and need to learn how to find something else. To see the everything else.

It’s there that we realize that there’s a whole horizon that we’ve never seen. Paths to walk and paths to blaze. And out there, you will meet the greatest people – people you never knew could be the greatest gifts you’d ever have.

Unexpected. I’m learning to expect more good. Thankful for summertime lessons.

I asked Ray what made him what he enjoyed the most about our new non-profit adventure. Without a thought he turned around, smiled, and said, “That you’re happy.”

Oh, and if you haven’t heard, the latest and greatest is here:

…because love wins.


Listening Lesson: Love is the Tuesdays

Currently obsessed with this song.

It takes work to be present in hard times, and it’s fun to be around in the best times. But it’s most valuable to share the most vanilla, basic times of life. It’s the time where the quiet covers the house, we’re exhausted from work, we want to talk but also want to watch YouTube videos. The greatest moments with my love are the Tuesdays.

So, if you’re going to marry someone, keep someone, make best friends with someone…spend a Tuesday with them.

…because love wins.

Listening Lesson: Heaven Knows

Heaven Knows – Matt Hammitt:
(Listen below the text.)

With open hands, open hearts, this is how we got our start;  how we wound up here.
Oh, and seasons change, it’s okay. It doesn’t have to take away from the love we share.

And now I’m standing at a crossroads, knowing that it’s time to let go. To let go.

Heaven knows when a heart needs to go where it’s meant to be.
And it’s hard to walk away from a place you thought you’d never leave.
Oh, but I can hear Jesus calling my name, saying, “Step out onto the sea, come and find what your faith is made of. Come and live what you claim to believe and follow me.”

Oh I’ve been restless, I’ve been weary ’cause I just keep on fighting this feeling that I want to stay where somebody needs me.
But I hear Jesus saying, “Believe me.”

Listening Lesson: Just because you think life is great, good, and full of wonderful things, doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way. Heaven knows, and it’s getting better than you could have ever imagined. 

…because love wins.

Listening Lesson: Footprints

“Things from this old house really mean something now. Like that poem I used to hear hanging ’round everywhere. I used to write it off – just a picture on the wall. Now that I’ve lived some life; been through bitter times, I can understand that one set of footprints in the sand.

Image result for footprints in the sand

Listening Lesson: When you can’t see it, God’s still faithful. He will carry you so you can rest.

…because love wins.

Listening Lesson: Because they’re kind.

This week’s listening lesson is actually from a couple weeks ago. I was coloring with my sweet niece, and was asking her what she liked about school this year. She told me that she was having a great time. I asked, “Do you have a favorite friend right now?” She said, “Yes, I do.” “Why do you like her?” She didn’t skip a beat.

“Because she is kind to everyone, no matter who they are.”

Listening Lesson: Kindness is a major requirement for being a favorite person. Always and in all things. 


Listening Lesson: Being There Says A Lot.

My first love language is quality time, and that’s probably why I am such a big fan of being present in the lives of those around me. I don’t ever mind hours and hours of nice chatting, playing with friends younger than me, or doing projects with my friends and family. I think that the time when we aren’t “accomplishing” anything are the greatest moments to see our humanness. And they are often our greatest time to be feel loved.

kidsThis week I got the opportunity to spend time with a host of people who I adore. Sometimes, when life takes away things that we loved so dearly, it gives us the opportunity to be more present than we ever were before. It’s an interesting thing. Even the best work can not be as great as the power of a one-on-one conversation. 

So, what did I hear this week? I heard that sitting in a room and saying “yes” to going to church with a child means more than one would think. I heard that taking 5 minutes to look into the eyes of a child who is in a new place will impact them in a real way; in a way that will send them home rambling your name and looking forward to the next time. I learned that old friends are always roycethe best kind, even if they involve years of not seeing one another. I heard that lunch dates and facebook chats and late night texts are what keep us uplifted.

I heard that being there says a lot. I’m thankful for each moment with you all, and I’m looking forward to many more moments of being together.

Listening Lesson: Just show up for people. You’ll find the greatest moments life has to offer.  

…because love wins.

Listening Lesson: Speak the heart language.

Well, hello there champs! How have you won this week? I hope in many great ways! I actually owe you all this post from last week, but was on an adventure in Denver with my cute, smart, and charming husband, so didn’t get a chance to sit down and write. But, we’re back now, so here we go.


Last week we got to meet my friend’s son, who just came home from China! She has been working through the adoption process for a year and a half and we’ve been praying and praying for this little man! We are thankful we’ll get to be a part of his life, and are so excited to see how his mom beams over him! Here’s an adorable pic of him! Also, Ray didn’t plan this outfit…just happens that great tastes find each other.

He was my listening lesson last week. He is hard of hearing and also doesn’t know English, so it’s pretty interesting to communicate with him. He was in the hospital a couple days after they came home because he also needs some major help with his kidneys. We got to stop by and play for a while. I’m a talker (shocking) so it was interesting for me to not be able to just use words to communicate with him.

But, it was also magical because we were able to communicate in more meaningful ways. He takes the time to look into the eyes of those around him, and makes sure he is listening by giving his full attention to his mom when she is gesturing things to him. He and I text funny pictures and I sure hope that makes him giggle.

While we were sitting in the hospital room, the adults wanted to figure out some of the Chinese characters that he had written. I looked up what he had written and Google Translate told me that it was the word for bright. I showed him photos of the sun, and lightbulbs and gave him a shrug to say, “Is this right?” He shook his head “no.” I’m sure that was frustrating, but he didn’t show it. I noticed that there was a Chinese word for those characters, and that it happened to match his Chinese name. I shrugged and pointed to him, and the characters, back and forth.

He nodded, and got this adorable little smirk. Just the cutest thing ever. I hope that simple action made him feel loved and understood in a brand new place to him. I hope it made it feel like home.

Listening lesson: Take the time to communicate with your heart. Take the time to learn how someone else will feel loved. Take the time to be present and be a human. Life’s about the “we’re in this together” moments.

…because love wins.

Listening lessons are once weekly posts developed by something heard or experienced in the week before. They offer insight are based in my belief that we need to listen much more than we do in a world full of so much being said. It’s simple. Listen more; learn more.

When a heart breaks.

I am a music lover. In the house, in the car, singing even when my parents finally had to ask me if I could maybe just give it a little break after hours of me doing it. Lyrics are my favorite, as can be evidenced by my quoting them everywhere. But, I believe there’s reason for the effect music has on us. It moves into our hearts and minds in a way that most things cannot. It brings an understanding of our feelings and allows us to accept that when things hurt, or are fun, or are scary, that we aren’t the only ones in the world experiencing that as well. Many times in ways humans cannot. Many times in ways that remind us of what humans have done for us.

Today I was listening to my all time favorite songs on Spotify (there are like…400 of them) while thinking that three years ago this week Ray was planning to propose to me, and it reminded me of the goodness of this man in my life. He is my absolute best friend and makes me laugh more than anyone. He takes care of me and my amputee life in a very unique way, and adventures with me literally anywhere. But, what is most special about him is the moments he is there to see and hold my rare, vulnerable times.

I don’t choose to not be vulnerable most of the time. It’s just that in most parts of life I assume (and enjoy) leadership roles, and don’t like to focus on my own feelings (which has its pros and cons) in those spaces. But in the confines of our homes (or wherever we feel at home) we are all vulnerable, because we need a place to be. All that to say, when tears do come to my eyes, there is usually big reasons for it.

Children with cancer. Some extreme frustration with my prosthetic. When someone is mistreated. Loss of something more valuable to me than my words can speak.

IMG_0821A few times in the past month he’s come home to me sitting silently working and thinking. He has this look that opens my heart up and makes it safe all at once. And with just a hug, there is a place to let my heart break. He knows where I’m coming from, believes in where I’m going, but is silent and steadfast when there is no right thing to say and nowhere specific to be. Sometimes the in-between is the place where we learn the most.

Today, specifically, I am happy he proposed three years ago this week. I am thankful he understands my heart and encourages the quiet parts so well, and I am so thankful that he is there when my heart breaks. I’m thankful someone else also knows what makes my heart break and I’m so thankful it will always be him.

Love you, husband.

Introspective song of the day:

…because love wins.