Cuter than a bucket full of baby chicks.

I’m writing again.

Like, no.

I’m writing with the purpose of publishing my work and achieving my dreams.

This is insanity when you think about it.

I had a short stint of blogging and getting somewhat popular with the whole blog thing and publishing a book with a publishing company and being a small time big star on the interwebs.

But mostly in my head.

So where do I get off thinking I can do this again and turn it into something bigger than before?

Well, you know, God and what not.

STORY TIME!!!!

There was once a girl named Ericka who was as cute as a baby squirrel born in a basket of daffodils and she was given the ability to write. From whom? No one because she didn’t believe in God and was convinced the afterlife was nothing more than a cold dead existence sitting still in a cinder block room for hours on end.

Adorable.

Ericka lived a life that was mildly entertaining and posted about it on the internets. People came from all over: their lackluster Facebook profiles, that article about how skim milk can give you acne, that Reddit thread where that one guy keeps spelling “their” incorrectly… And they laughed and clapped and screamed “Dance, monkey dance!” when reading one of her posts or watching her videos and Ericka did just that. She danced on her two legs that were cuter than a baby deer who’s just opened its eyes for the very first time.

But then sadness: unforeseen circumstances, sleepless nights, sleep paralysis, extreme depression all came at her at once and sucked out her small woodlandesque creature cuteness until she became kind of like Meredith from The Office.

But one night she prayed and told Jesus she’d trust him and promptly remove her head from her backside. The next night? Pure, unadulterated sleep.

She started listening to God. She took a real office job that hurt every ounce of her creative being but knew this is what Jesus was calling her to do. She stood up for her employees, garnered friendships, led by example and watched quite a few regain their love of Jesus.

And then that part of her journey was over and the next call was to come home and homeschool her daughter which has not yet ended in the house being set on fire.

Miraculous.

The voice is calling again and Ericka is listening. It says “Ask and you shall receive.” It’s telling her that her faithfulness will be rewarded and she has a gut deep inkling that this will result in a real writing career, some way some how.

Because God doesn’t disappoint. The world does and sometimes He asks very hard things of people. But these things are the very best things.

If only because they help you regain the gorgeousness of a doughy-limbed bunny frolicking through the first winter snow.

The End.

First steps have been taken. I’ve entered my poetry manuscript into a contest, and I have an eerily good feeling about it.

I know that writing is the way I bring people to Jesus. I know God has plans for me (and you, too, by the by). So I’ve decided to stop getting in my own way, to stop getting down that I’m not where I want to be right this very moment.

Because I feel the path beneath my feet, and I know it will get me exactly where God needs me.

Even if that means turning into a round-eyed kitten lovingly embracing her puppy best friend.

I’ll sacrifice if I have to.

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Beyond skin deep.

My skin is rebelling.

This is not what my skin does.

Remember my other organs? How beautifully I’ve been crafted by God that even the medical community has frequently commented on it in the past? (Matt stop rolling your eyes.)

Well, my skin has jumped ship recently.

It’s my fault. As the only child of a woman who is the skin care queen (my mother looks like my slightly older baby sitter. And I’m sure when we’re out, fellow store patrons are relieved knowing someone is keeping an on me), I was given a solid diet of Paula’s Choice products since I was ten.

This is probably why for the longest time waiters were mad at me for ordering so much alcohol. Or maybe it was because I like to order through interpretative dance. Either way.

Ava recently received her first Paula’s Choice skin care kit from my mother this year as well so you can understand that this isn’t a gift given in passing. This is a serious family tradition that marks the beginning of a life characterized by angry waiters and gluing your ID to your forehead.

And I’ve been failing horribly.

I think somewhere down the line I just assumed I had naturally beautiful skin as a consolation prize for telling time making me so mad/sad.

And I’m kind of cheap. And if the Internet tells me slathering a tub of butter on my skin will turn me into a glorious baby deer, I’m gonna do it.

So for weeks, I was poring through articles and firsthand accounts about how certain incredibly cheap DIY skin care routines were the bomb diggity (shout out to sixth grade Ericka, represent!). Ahem.

I tried everything from slathering honey on my face (I was so delicious) to rubbing powdered turmeric into my cheeks for a healthy glow (jaundice is a kind of healthy…right?).

All along I was denying the very thing that kept my skin healthy and my photo on the wall of every bar in the tri-state area.

Faith, like good skincare, can often be neglected. Or maybe it’s never been tapped in the first place.

I’ve been there. I went from Catholic, to “maybe there’s a God,” to “there’s no god but long live Gloria Steinem,” to “anyone going to eat the rest of this guacamole?” to “I’ve been up three nights in a row with night terrors and who peed on the kitchen floor?” (Fortunately, it was dog pee. You can stop holding your breath now.)

My life has never been linear, at least not in my head. I have a knack for cutting people out of it like trying to win a Japanese game show and if you meet me in person after reading my blog posts, you might find me incredibly dull, if not adorably kid-sister like. I’ve already built the fort so…

But God is forever reaching out to me. I know that. And what’s weird you guys is that I FEEL it. Like Justin Beiber once randomly sang on Instagram:

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

(Yeah, he’s gone super Jesus. So…Armageddon soon. Just a friendly warning.)

God would do anything to get me back on track and fully enveloped in His love. Even when I’m off dazed and wandering in the forest, terrorizing a bee hive so I can slather its honey on my face.

My skin is healing now. My mother actually emergency called the Paula Choice’s customer service line to map out a custom plan for my skin and the products should be arriving soon (Some mothers bake cookies… Okay, mine bakes cookies, too. She just looks twenty while doing it).

In her words: “There is NOTHING. I mean NOTHING I need in this world other than my skin care products. Not all my purses, not all my shoes…okay wait, Jesus. Jesus first…then my skincare products.” And if you’ve ever seen that woman’s closet, this is saying something. I’d really like to vacation there one day.

Moral? 

Don’t forget what makes your soul clean and heart healthy. God will never forsake you, so pay him back the favor, mmmkay?

Now let’s go order margaritas and get yelled at. 

Bibles and blazers, oh my.

The closest I ever got to reading the Bible growing up was the Bible as Fiction class I took in college.

Wait. Scratch that.

I did have a religion class I took in high school. (Think Catholic. All Girls. Blazers. A sobering realization later in life that not everyone gets a brand new car on their sixteenth birthday. Yeah.)

I remember having to tab those really thin, practically see through pages and either accidentally sticking the pages together or ripping them apart.

So I easily equated the Bible with equal parts frustration and anger over the years.

Plus it’s antiquated, right? I mean look at us now. All evolved and emotionally sensitive to each others’ needs.

I’m sorry. I just fell out of my chair from all the laughing. And the idea of me wearing a blazer.

Okay, so what if it’s not antiquated? What if it applies even if socially things have changed a bit over the years? How does this book reflect our lives and more importantly, how does this book guide each individual human being on the planet to become the living embodiment of Christ’s love on earth?

That’s a pretty big ask in my book. And I know what wearing polyester on a daily basis feels like.

So, where do we begin?

I always like to begin at the beginning if only to live my life like a Lewis Carroll novel. And I find that beginnings are easier when you have back up.

Enter the Bible Project.

The Bible Project is a series on YouTube that breaks down what exactly the Bible is, how to read it, and how it connects with Jesus in ways that’s hard to fathom for us simple plebeians who are still lamenting the fact that Hanson is no longer played on the radio. 

Above is their What is the Bible? video. Every video of theirs is beautifully animated, well-researched, and put into understandable terms that WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.

Take that super annoying and not at all useful Bible tabs.

But because these guys have built such an amazing ministry and have a heart for truly spreading the Good News to others, they also have a website where you can download written materials that take studying the Bible to the next level.

And I don’t know if you know anything about me but studying is how I like to get my party on. They don’t call me Party Pants Clay for no reason. And by “they” I mean me. And my dog. She’s half-chihuahua so you know she’s legit.

The Bible Project crew offers study notes on various topics, but I’m linking their How to Read the Bible study notes here.

“But Ericka, I don’t even own a Bible and don’t have the magnificent shoulders necessary to pull of a blazer like you do.” 

I know, you guys. I know.

But then here’s this brilliance: Tim and Jon, the co-founders of The Bible Project, already knew that and developed an easily accessible Bible app like the glorious wizards they are.

It’s called the Read Scripture app and breaks down the Bible into digestible chunks and even sprinkles their informative videos and meditative/prayer opportunities throughout.

And again, no tabbing required.

I cannot stress that enough.

I’m creating a resources page on my site that will have this type of info handy for you all.

I know what it’s like to live in the darkness. And there will be plenty of opportunity to get into the nitty gritty of my past life. But just know, it only seems like the end because the end is whispering hard in your ear.

But so is God.

It’s up to you to decide who you’re going to listen to. And the Bible can help you do just that.

No blazer required. Fortunately.

Let go, let God.

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I deleted all my previous posts.

How’s that for minimalism?

But it’s been something that’s been playing on my heart and in my head for awhile now.

I’m not who I used to be.

I look the same. Ish. And I’m just as brilliant and incredibly humble about it.

You’re welcome.

But fundamentally there’s been a change. I’ve let the hand go of the old me, and every day I attempt to hold tight onto Christ’s.

That’s a big transformation for someone who’s no stranger to dancing on bar tops.

But I guess my feet got tired. And my daughter needed dinner. And my husband loved me too much for me to keep hating myself.

And God loved me, too.

So I took the leap and let go of everything, and I’m finally free.

And now it’s time to write about what I want to write about. What I really think God would like me to talk about.

Let go. Let God.

I’m doing that on an intense level. On a very real physical level that’s manifested itself into me clawing through cabinets and drawers, ridding our lives of the “maybe one days” and the “you never knows.”

Here’s the thing: you don’t know. You just have yourself, this moment, and God’s path for you. And that’s what the Bible keeps telling us.

And I think that living a simpler life is part of that path for me.

I’m not saying having things is inherently bad because it isn’t. But humor me for a second: what if those were the very things that were keeping us from the journey we’re supposed to be taking?

Let go. Let God.

Okay. So what does that look like? Like with anything else, it’s going to be tailored to you and to what God wants for you. So my first suggestion is my first suggestion for anything: pray.

And here are the words you say:

Lord, please lead me on the path you’ve chosen for me. Please help me to remove any obstacles that have impeded my progress towards knowing you fully and completely so that I can become the person you intended me to be.

Or something equally brilliant. Get creative.

So me? What have I been doing? Here’s a quick list that we’ll delve into for future posts as things progress:

  • I’ve freed my brain from Facebook and Instagram. It gets way more oxygen that way.
  • A complete overhaul of our stuff. Goodbye junk. I never liked you anyways.
  • Clean eating to balance my hormones and feel better.
  • Working out to balance my body.
  • More books. Always.
  • Reading the Bible and writing a poetry compilation as I interpret what I read. You know. Girl stuff.
  • Knitting. And wondering why yarn is the devil.
  • Homeschooling my daughter and learning more about her and myself, really.
  • Slowly taking the natural route as far as home care, face care and body care products.
  • Talking to God like I used to talk to myself.
  • Breathing. Again, girl stuff.

I’m growing, learning, changing. And so are you. There’s no perfect recipe for anything. Only a perfect God.

And as I continue to find my way, seeking Him. I’d like to write about it in the process.

Brilliantly, of course.