Cultivator of wholehearted astonishment with a cup-full of spirited adventure.
I grew up listening to smooth sounds of jazz in Denton, Texas and found myself drawn to form friendship and community with other misfits like me. My faith upbringing was primarily in a United Methodist church that openly affirmed all sexualities. I stumbled into spiritual companionship after my father died, which led me to seek out a space where I could ask hard questions about faith, death, and my personal experience as a caregiver. Later I sought out training as a companion when I realized I was failing to be fully present with the homeless neighbors I was forming friendships with outside my house. I live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with my spouse, Kristina, our fluffy dog, Macrina, and soon to be first child, fondly referred to as “Baby Noodle.” Oh! And my latest adventure is starting a gluten free bakery with Kristina.
Vitality – Where do I look/go/turn when I’m seeking Vitality?
I often find vitality flowing in spaces of laughter, playfulness, and joy. Perhaps this is the reason why I love cartoons so much! There is something about the power of delight, how it breaks down barriers and reminds us just how human beings are interconnected to each other. I believe we were all created with original goodness and we really have to start there when we are tapping into vitality. I often need that solid ground and foundation to center my spirit and remind me why I started doing something in the first place when I am in the thick of a challenge. I find when I am able to connect with the flow of vitality in these way, I am able to encounter the world with greater clarity, empathy, and love.
Mystery – What language do I use when talking about Mystery?
As someone who was raised in multiple theological traditions in my faith formation and then trained to appreciate the wisdom of the major spiritual traditions, I have always considered myself a bit of a spiritual mutt. Practically this has meant that my personal language and spirituality around Mystery has always been fluid. I have seldom, if ever, felt the need to confine my own language about God solely to one theological, denominational, or spiritual tradition. I use the language that is helpful for me during a season of life, but I have no problem if that language changes over time. Because of this more fluid posture, I feel comfortable sitting with nearly any language that someone uses for Mystery and I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to explore how Mystery is leading someone to expand their language.
Presence – In what practices do I engage to nurture Presence in my life?
When my father passed away in my early twenties, I inherited his old film camera. I began a practice of taking a photo with that camera anytime I felt astonishment as a way to honor him and to help with my grief. To this day, I still use the intentionality and slowness of this practice with the film camera to cultivate Presence in my life. Over the years, I have found applying the slowness of the film camera practice to other aspects of my life helps me to resist fear driven anxiety or hustle culture efficiency. I find I am able to listen better, feel more centered, and be a healthier version of myself every time I lean back into this simple practice of astonishment through a lens. I am also a super intentional nap taker because if I am not well rested, my mind tends to wander off.
Moxie – How does my Moxie manifest itself (my specific passions and gifts)?
I would say my moxie often manifests itself in a mischievous way. It isn’t hard for me to say “yes” to an adventure with someone. Whether it is sleeping out on the streets with a homeless friend, saying yes to being an attendant for a disabled friend on a cross country road trip, or committing to a workplace protest to ask for better pay, I am someone who gets down deep in the trenches with people. I think this is especially true when I encounter a matter of injustice that affects people I love. I believe when I am at my best, I have a real gift for creating space so people feel truly seen and heard. Another passion of mine is enlivening spaces that have felt stuck or stagnant. I have a knack for doing quirky things, and I think this helps give others the permission to embrace something a bit different or try doing slightly off the wall.