life

Your Story Is Unique. Embrace It.

Every decade of your life has a theme. I’ve come to the conclusion that the theme for my twenties is probably actually my life theme. Which is this: Your Story is Unique. Embrace it.

If you’re like me, every once in awhile you get in these “funks”. Where you think everyone around you is progressing in life and you are “lagging” behind. A couple summers ago I got really into running. Every night I had a date with the pavement. I treasured them because I always had life revelations. Usually I went running by myself because it was good thinking- I could run as long as I wanted without worrying about anyone. However, being the extrovert that I am one night I invited a friend to go running with me. The whole run we kept a similar pace, at points I’d be in the lead and then at other points she’d take the lead. I remember distinctly at one point in my run my friend was a couple paces a head of me– and I heard that still soft voice say “Your life is unique. Embrace It. Don’t look at where you are at in life and compare it to where someone else is at. Everyone’s journey is different.” The night’s run was an analogy for life. Just like that night’s run where there were times my friend was “ahead” of me or I was “ahead” of her  – we are two different people with different strengths and abilities. While the hill we encountered was a breeze for me, I watched her take a little bit longer to conquer it. Though we ran the same course- we were two different people who were having two completely different experiences during that run.

The same is for life. Yes, we are all on this earth together but each of us have different experiences. That’s what makes life so beautiful. Call it human nature or whatever you want, but for some reason we as humans sometimes get in the mindset that life is a race and treat it like competition. We get in the comparison game so easily. On the outside looking in we see someone’s life “taking off” and we wonder why ours seem so “stagnant”. Ever been there?

Lord knows I have. Living in Tulsa, Oklahoma for seven years it was easy to play that game. I’d see my friends leave Tulsa and head for big cities across the world and I’d wonder why on earth the Lord wasn’t re-locating me to some extravagant place like New York City. Often times, especially at the beginning and end of my time in Tulsa I questioned if God knew what He was doing. I’d question why I was “waisting” my time there. If you think about it– it’s kinda funny. I mean, I was questioning the creator of the Universe.

Time for a little Biblical side note:

I love the conversation that the Lord has with Job it completely applies to this.

Ready? This is what the Lord says:

“Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on it’s size? Certainly you’ll know that. Who came up with the blueprints and measurements? How was its foundation poured, and who set the cornerstone while the morning stars sang in chorus and all the angels shouted praise? And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from a womb? That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds, and tucked it in safely at night. Have you ordered every Morning, ‘Get up!’ told Dawn, ‘Get to work!’ Do you know where Light comes from and where Darkness lives so you can take them by the hand and lead them home when they get lost? Are you the one who gave the hours his prowess and adorned him with a shimmering mane? Did you create him to prance proudly and strike terror with his royal snorts? Was to through your know-how that the hawk learned to fly, soaring effortless on thermal updrafts? Did you command the eagle’s flight, and teach her to build her nest in the heights, perfectly at home on the high cliff face? I am in charge of all this – I run this universe!”

[Job 38-41]

Major conviction, right? We question God as if we know better, yet He is the one who came up with the blueprints for the world we live in. Lord knows, if Leonardo Da Vince were still on this earth I would never try to tell him how to create a masterpiece. art was his area of expertise. In the same way, God’s forte is intricately weaving all the details of our lives together in order to create a beautiful masterpiece.

So here is my challenge to not only myself but to you as well:

Let us begin embracing where we are in our lives. Let’s not miss out or discount our stories by comparing our lives to others. Let’s experience life to the fullest by embracing the fact that our stories are unique and trusting that our God, creator for the Universe, is working out every detail of our lives into a brilliant masterpiece.

Be Inspired + Create

Small Beginnings

Take me to Barnes & Noble and beyond a shadow of a doubt you can guarantee that within seconds I’ll be in my favorite section: The Self -Help section. That’s right. Don’t ask me why, my only guess is that it’s due to the fact that my degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. My last trip to B&N I stumbled upon a book full of wisdom. I read that successful people write down their accomplishments and put them where they can see them.

My thought: Brilliant.

Naturally, I decided that I too must write down my accomplishments.

Weeks ago I had bought a huge piece of plywood with no rhyme or reason for it. Luckily for the plywood it finally found purpose: It’d be my board of accomplishments. A couple of coats of chalk paint later and it was transformed into a blank canvas waiting to hold the things that I was proud of.

As I started sifting through my memories trying to think of my accomplishments throughout life I realized why people who write down their accomplishments are successful. They are motivated by the fact that they have already have accomplishments on their record to be proud of, knowing that there is still a whole life in front of them waiting for them to accomplish things far greater than what they’ve already done.

On the verge of turning twenty-five I have a whole to do list for my life of things that I want to accomplish. I’ll be honest, some days it’s a little overwhelming and the thought crosses through my head “Am I really ever going do this?”

I mean my list has some pretty big things on it including:
Start a magazine.
Own a coffee shop.
Write a book (or two).
Throw a benefit concert in the middle of Central Park.
Host a national conference.
Start a non-profit that rescues women out of sex trafficking.

The list continues.

After filling my blank canvas with some of my accomplishments, I suddenly felt empowered. I’ve lived a quarter of life and I have quite a few things I can say I’m proud of.

I’ve learned to play the piano. I got my real estate license. I threw my first benefit concert in college and raised $500 for the She Rescue Home. I learned Photoshop. I planned Orphan for a Night a nation wide event that raised thousands of dollars for orphan projects. I’ve graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. The list goes on.

My mother always says, “The best is yet to come.” So, with that said, the things on our list of accomplishments is only the beginning. The best is still on its ways because we are constantly growing and changing. As we get older: we obtain more wisdom, add and sharpen our skill sets, fail a time or two and learn from our mistakes, overcome obstacles and gain strength, and gain experience.

Whoever you are: you’re human. [Genius statement: I know.] Which means this: You have dreams, goals, and visions. And if you are normal, you have a desire to be successful.

So let me break down my new theory for you:
Instead of getting overwhelmed by the vagueness of the future, find confidence in the fact that you’ve already accomplished great things [whether big or small].

Life, take it one day at time, one step at a time. You still have your whole life a head of you to cross things off your life to do list.

My dad always tells me: “Lindsey, don’t despise small beginnings.” Small beginnings is how we get to greatness.

I leave you with this: Take time to recognize your accomplishments. Write them down. Be motivated and encourage by what you’ve done, knowing that those accomplishments are the ones that are going to propel you to do bigger and greater things in the future.

Believe in yourself. Remember your accomplishments. [And] Dream on.

Be confident in this: That he who began a good work in you will carry it on to the completion. [Philippians 1.6]

Be Inspired + Create

Resolve to Risk

Airports.

They always get to me. Some type of “deep” revelation always comes when I’m sitting in airports. I suppose it’s all the free time I have to just think, people watch, read, and be alone.

Yesterday as I was flying back to my humble abode in the middle of somewhere [aka Tulsa, Oklahoma] I realized something: I’m a dreamer, I’m a fighter, I chase after life and adventure. Yet lately, I’ve been rolling with proverbial punches. I’ve allowed the  hustle and bustle of life to overwhelm me.

I wake up before dawn to get to work in the morning, grab a quick coffee somewhere around 2:08 pm, at the point, I’ll find a quaint little place to work for the non-profit [Go International.tv for those of you who were wondering!]. Usually around 6:30 or so I decide that it’s time to get some actual substance in my body, so I order take out, and then go back to working away.

I feel as if this the American way. We work and we work hard.

We get in a routine and somewhere along the line, we start rolling with the punches. We start letting circumstances take precedence over our hopes and dreams.

As I was flying home, I realized that I had gotten stuck in a routine and I wasn’t take anymore risks. I wasn’t dreaming and wasn’t fighting for what I wanted anymore. I was letting circumstances determine my life instead of CREATING the life that I’ve dreamt of. I got caught up in the “American way” that I stopped chasing adventure and life. Somewhere in the mix of all this, I became somewhat unsatisfied with life.

The root of my problem: I stopped daring to take risks.

I’m sure if I did some nation-wide study, I’d find that the majority of Americans haven’t been going after life and taking risks. And with that said, I’m sure that we’d find that most people were not enjoying their life to the fullest potential.

So here’s my proposal.
Twenty- Twelve: Let it be the year of taking risks.
Let’s stop going through a routine and walking through life mundanely.
Let’s stop waiting for life to find us- but let’s chase after life & adventure.
Let’s not be held back by fear, our current circumstance, or what society tells us is possible.
Let us be propelled to dream bigger and take chances by the fact that God is faithful to do all that he has promised. The dreams that you have; the ones that you go to bed dreaming about and the ones you just can’t seem to shake no matter what- I believe that those have been woven into us by our Creator. He wants those dreams to come to pass even more than we do. Why? Because people’s destinies are attached to those dreams.

So Twenty-Twelve:
Let it be the year we throw ourselves headlong into the arms of God (Ps. 13) adorning ourselves by putting our hope in God (1 Peter 3.5) and not ourselves or current circumstances.
Let it be the year the we learn to keep calm, not be afraid or loose heart (Is. 7.4).
Let it be the year that we believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that our God can conquer the impossible; standing firm in believing that what He says He will do that He will bring about (Is. 46.11/ Ez. 12.28/ Romans 4.16-24).
Let it be the year that we take a few risks, go on adventures, and stop waiting for life to come, but chase after it.
And lastly, let it be the year we begin to speak LIFE into our heart’s desires.

I leave you with this:
“The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead” (Romans 8.18-21).

Cheers to Twenty- Twelve. The year we all resolve to take a few risks and watch our dreams become reality.

Be Inspired + Create

Life in Teale.

One of the Third Story Apartment’s favorite colors is indeed: Teale. Life is simply grand in Teale. It’s elegant, vintage, and sophisticated.

Love  Love Love. A favorite part in this room aside from the Teale walls– is the frames hanging by ribbon. [Via Tudorks]

This dining room is divine. The mixture of yellow with teale is perfection. It’s bright, yet sophisticated. [Via: Tudorks]

What a dream! Waking up in this room every mornings has to be simply delightful. [Design by: Kendal Wilkinson]

And now for a little Teale at the office. I’ve been wanting a chalkboard for who knows how long. However, none that I stumbled upon seemed to have that “it” factor. It wasn’t long before I thought to myself, “I’ll just make one”… So a couple coats of paint later I have one of my favorite things. [Made by: Third Story Apartment]

Storage. Storage. Storage. It seems like you never have enough room for all the books and miscellaneous. My office space was getting pretty cluttered. I decided it was time to take action. So I got some drawers worked some magic and created cabinets out of drawers. Needless to say, they are now a favorite of mine, cute and functional. [Made by: Third Story Apartment]

So I wanted to create a little life in my office space. I found these cute little jars at Walmart and decided to fill them with Bubbles and chocolates. And of course… one must always have flower on their desk. My love for creme soda came in to play, as I used the old soda bottle as a vase. Viola! Life in Teale. [Made by: Third Story Apartment]

Be Inspired + Create.

Life is a Story.

I’ve been exploring a thought lately: that life is a story. We are all characters in one grand story, but each of us have stories of our own as well. We work alongside the Master Storyteller, playing a role in His story and creating our own. Each day we are presented choices, opportunity, and perhaps even conflict that carry our story on. While I could expand on the thoughts and theories of life as a story, I believe that it comes down to this:

We exist to live out a beautiful story.

I trust that we work alongside the Master Storyteller to co-write our story. Although some may think that only the story teller moves the story along, I’d like to think that the character also  has a vital part to play in moving the story along. You see, the character has a personality and therefore has the ability to make choices.

I am a character in my story. With the ability to shape my story. With that in mind, I want my story to be one of breathing life. I desire for my character to bring a piece of heaven to earth and to move with purpose.

So let the story begin.

January 2009 I boarded a plane with no idea where I was headed. I was a first year intern with Go International, getting ready to take part in one of the biggest adventures: The Mystery Trip. I suppose one could say its Missions meets The Amazing Race. For all I knew I was going to be heading to the land down under, Australia. In fact, I’ll be honest with you, I was wishing on the stars that Australia would be my final destination. After all, it is the dream land.

Our team landed in Seoul, Korea and a few of us interns were determined that we’d be hopping on the next plane headed for Sydney. I’d say I was secretly hoping that Sydney was our destination, but I’m not so sure I really kept it a secret. Through a series of questions and answers, Cambodia was revealed as our final destination.

Silence struck. My heart sank. Cambodia was not the vision.

I mustered up as much “excitement” as possible as I cheered with the rest of the interns that we were going to Cambodia.

As we took the next plane to Phnom Phen, Cambodia I wrestled with the thought of being in Asia. To be honest, I’ve never had the desire to go to Asia. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

What happened next was definitely NOT expected. I fell in love with the nation of Cambodia. All it took was one little orphan girl who held my hand and tugged on my heart. Her smile was contagious. Her beauty was captivating.

Everyday our team would go to the orphanage where this little beauty lived. And without fail, she would come and find me. It wasn’t long before I taught her how to take photos. She was a mini me. A mini shutter bug. She would get her friends to pose, position them, count “1 2 3”, then snap a photo. Her face would light up as she and I looked at the photo she took, and the most beautiful smile would appear on her face. She was learning how to tell a story through photography and in the meantime she was impacting MY story.

Not a day goes by that I do not think of this little beauty. She is only one. One of 163 million orphans in the world. 100,000 children in Cambodia have the same reality as this little beauty. Out of those 100,000 children many of them will go to sleep on the streets and are at risk of being exploited for sex trafficking. This reality breaks my heart.

My heart burns with this desire: “To do right! Seek Justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). This June, I will be heading back with Go International to the nation that captured my heart, Cambodia. Not only do I hope to find the little beauty who impacted my story, but I will have the opportunity to create change in the stories and realities of orphans like the little beauty’s.

While in Cambodia, we will be working alongside the local government to rescue orphans off the streets and place them in an orphanage. Our team, will also be building a farm that will sustain the orphans that are rescued. This farm will provide the orphans with 3 meals a day, and create revenue in order to provide for clothing, housing, and an education. Our team will also be hosting a Night of Refuge, working with girls who are exploited for sex trafficking.

Every great story has several things in common. They all have a character who wants something, but must face some sort of conflict to achieve their goal. This story is no exception.

I am a character in a story. My desire is to change the realities of orphans and victims of sex trafficking. However, alongside this desire comes the obstacle: a price tag of $2,700.

I am asking you as my friends and family to come along side me and be apart of this beautiful story of changing the realities of the people of Cambodia.

This story is to be continued.

 

*If you would like to sponsor me on this journey back to Cambodia- Please make checks payable to Go International. *For more information on how to join me in Cambodia- message me or visit GoInternational.tv

Mail to: Lindsey Clark 5356 E. 81st Street #1338 Tulsa, Ok 74137