Your Presence has Made My Life So Beautiful…


Your presence has made my life so beautiful. 

It was part of my Facebook status update after my birthday.   And since then, I’ve really started thinking about it…. 

How amazing is it that we need others in order to live?  

I know I could throw in this whole ‘No man is an island’ thing and just go on and on.  But I literally would not be the person I am today without every single person around me.  I’ve learned things from every person in my life, and at every turn, my friends and family and office-mates (who quickly become both friends & family!) have inspired me with their own stories and determination to create.  

My heart is so full today.  It feels heavy… not in a Things are bad kind of way, but in the way that beautiful sculpture  is heavy.  Here is a thing of weight, of quality.  It feels present and beautifully permanent. It will make its way through time, while everything else is fading away – it will keep right on shining.  I’ve carried your voices and encouragement and hopes and dreams all this time.  You’ve made me feel grounded and completely free all at once. 

We’ve all come through battlefields together – and some of us have actual physical scars from all we’ve seen and heard.  We’ve made our way through celebrations and shattered glass, through tears and blood on the ground.  We’ve made our way through staring out across a huge ocean and feeling so infinitesimal and utterly present all at once, through laughing so hard we’re crying, through getting thrown in the pool at 2 in the morning, through looking around and thinking – This is the moment I want to live in forever. Endless glasses of wine, bowls of soup, cake for breakfast, and more cups of coffee than I can count. 

She taught me to be fearless because she was fearless.  He taught me to not take myself so seriously, that I needed to laugh and zen out every once in a while.  I watched her live life and discovered that maybe the thing I was so afraid of wasn’t really that scary at all.  I read his novel and her script and knew that the bar had been set wildly high for my own writing. I want to be her when I grow up.  I have so much to learn.

I am not a self-made woman, not by a long shot.  I am becoming this beautiful, crazy, how-on-earth-does-this-work mix up of everyone who’s been so amazing to share their life and experiences with me.  They’ve all somehow sharpened me and fought with me to become the person i was made to be… And I am so brilliantly grateful. I owe you all my entire life!  

There are so many more adventures coming for us all.  

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Saving Innocence Gala

Tonight was the 1st Annual Saving Innocence Gala!  And it was!  Seriously.  I am surrounded by the most awesome people in my life.  

Kim Biddle may be one of my new heroes.

So here’s the details – because I think the whole world should know.  

Saving Innocence works with local law enforcement, social services, schools and other parts of the community to help bring a permanent end to sex trafficking of children in Los Angeles.  They also work to restore the cultural values of innocence and human worth.  

Hell, yes.  

I am so excited to see where this amazing non-profit is going to go over this next year…  2012 was such a phenomenal start for them – and they’re just getting started. They are on the absolute leading edge of creating hope and dignity in these girls’ lives, helping these abused girls to know that their abuse does not define them going forward. They are not trapped or permanently destroyed. They have life ahead of them.  They have stories.  Their hope is going to spill out of those stories.  And the world needs their voices.   Because one day, maybe we’ll live in a world where sex trafficking is no more.  How amazing would that be?

It’s so funny – in the last several months, my life keeps coming around to this same idea over and over – being a voice for the voiceless with the stories I write.  LA. Cape Town. Back to LA.  And it’s really making me wonder – what’s coming next for me?  What are the next stories I’m going to tell? 

Saving Innocence creates relationships and community here in LA where those desperate voices finally have a chance to be heard and valued. Because even the quietest, most overlooked girls deserve to have a hopeful future.  

Can you imagine being 15 years old and constantly hearing that your value is strictly in being a sex object?  That your life and future plans and family are totally irrelevant?   

And then – can you imagine being rescued out of that?  Told that you have value and a voice, that you’re safe, and that tomorrow, you get to go to school and pursue your dreams?  

Come on now…. how awesome is that?  I’m so excited that I can support them, even in my tiny little ways.  

                                                                                                                                          +                Kim and Kellan, rocking it out!  Love them.  ——————————————>

And just for fun… 


                                   My fancy husband and I in our night out on the town.  He’s the best ever.                       

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Thanksgiving Comes But Once a Year…



I can’t even believe that it’s Thanksgiving already!  How on earth did that happen?  

I hope you are warmly ensconced with family and friends, living it up and loving life.  There are so many things to be so very thankful for this year, and I have SO much to share with you over the next few days.  I am so excited! 

You’ve all made my life so wonderful. 

With love, 


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In That Moment, I Swear We Were Infinite…

I’m sitting in my car, typing this out all thumbs, just out of the theater, at the Americana at Brand. And the night is cold and beautiful, and though this is LA so we can’t actually see stars, I like to imagine they’re twinkling far above me.

I miss the stars sometimes.

Sometimes I forget they’re actually there – except the North Star and maybe Orion or the Big Dipper. I remember when I was, still in our first house, and Mom looked up into the sky and said, “Look, there’s Orion’s Belt.”

And me, being the incredibly grounded, literal, tell-me-how-the-world-works kid that I was, I started looking on the ground for an actual, literal, made-from-brown-leather belt on the sidewalk. And my mom kind of laughed, and pointed up to the sky. “No, the stars.”

And that’s the first time I really remember looking at the stars, and the first time I remember feeling so infinitesimally small.

And the world cracked open around me.  

Suddenly I wasn’t a little kid in this tiny, crushing world anymore.

I was alive and free and the feel of the breeze on my skin and my mom standing next to me looking up at the stars and it was beautiful. The world was dangerous –

and I was nothing but a speck.

Any dangers that the universe could throw at me were going to be exponentially larger than anything I could dream up, and more likely than not, I was going to get swept out to the deepest parts of the ocean and drown. And there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing.

But in that moment, I felt so safe. Like the world was so full and so big and if I held my breath and tried to think every thought in the world, for one tiny second, I could grasp a hint of what it all was. And then it would fade , because my heart wasn’t big enough yet.

I think that was the last moment I was ever tied to the earth.

It was like the moment I thought there might be a God out there somewhere, and that if everything all these people had said was true, and if I was really truly lucky, that maybe he knew my name. And it felt like the first time I thought about living forever, and I had this one perfect moment where I just understood.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Perks of Being a WallflowerRead the book.  Watch the film.  Stephen Chbosky, you are incredible. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller are Charlie, Sam and Patrick, like they’ve always been the characters and we just now noticed.

I was a lot like Charlie in high school. And a little like Sam. I thought no one ever noticed me.

But oh, my friends.  They made me the luckiest girl in the world.

The moments I remember most are so small, a tiny breath of a second.  Standing on stage for the first time as part of an actual rock band.  I was 14 and just starting my freshman year in high school, and everyone else was 17, 18 and 20.  I was terrified and safe all at the same time, and I just knew that they knew how stupid I felt, how much I was so afraid they were going to play some progression I had no idea how to play.

And yet, my fingers found their way across the keyboard at the right moments, and I managed to stay conscious the whole time.  Everything lined up perfectly.

Years later, and in another band, I was driving with friends through the mountains of Colorado.  I think we were heading for Arizona for a show.  In the middle of the night, we made it from my parents front door to the Eisenhower Tunnel in 45 minutes (a ridiculous feat of sheer belief that we were completely invincible – and in that moment, we were.)  It was so cold with the mountain air – and for a few minutes, I curled up in the front seat and closed my eyes.  I could have fallen asleep, because I was so at peace.

We got much further into the mountains, and pulled off to the side of the road.  We turned off the car, and all the lights and just stood there looking up at the Milky Way through the trees.  And the silence went all the way to our souls, and I knew for the rest of my life, I was going to be able to find these guys and tell them anything.  I saw our lives stretching out, and I knew that we’d go off in all these different directions.  We’d all find our One, and get married and have babies.  Maybe we’d move away from Colorado, maybe we’d stop seeing each other every single week. Maybe weeks and months would go by.

It made it sharper and sweeter and I knew that I was holding a bubble about to pop.  Nothing is forever.  But it was in that moment, I found a piece of God I’d never found before.   We turned on the song “Stars” and turned it up as loud as our stereo would go.

It was perfect. 

I understand what Charlie means.  In this moment, I swear we are infinite.

And maybe in a strange way, that moment was infinite.  It’s still reaching forward in time, as full and alive and beautiful as it was in that initial infinite second. It was a second bigger than itself, bigger than the rest of my life all put together.

It was over so fast, and yet sometimes I still live there. 

I know what it’s like to look and only see pain everywhere.  I know what it’s like to want desperately to rescue friends from everything they’ve created as their reality, where you just want to shake them and say, “No!  You deserve so much more!”  I know what it feels like to be invisible.  I know what it feels like to realize I am not alone.  I know how it feels.

And I think our lives are that full of those infinite moments that lap ahead and push us into the future and make us the people we long to be.

Those moments of praying at the ceiling and finally hearing an answer in your soul.  Those moments you know you’re going to remember the rest of your life.  The feeling of leaning against friends on the gym floor at Carr Street.  The feeling of looking out at the moon, your fingers twisted together with the one your heart loves.  That perfect harmony in the middle of a show.  The moment you know you’re surrounded by the ones you’d die for. The way my grandparents’ house smelled when my grandma was cooking meatloaf and smashed potatoes. Those moments of another glass of wine and an indie movie and waking up on your friend’s couch at six in the morning and eating breakfast together at seven with reheated coffee and fresh scrambled eggs.  And laughing.  There is always laughing.

Standing at the ocean, arms outstretched, when every stress falls away for just a second. Where you forget the time that you cut yourself. You forget the look on his face when he told you No.  Not today.  Not ever.  When you forget the words No one wants to hear about you. When you forget the moments you gave up.  The moments where you were so afraid that you missed out on what was really important.  You forget the feel of the bruise. You forget the doctor’s face when you start to cry.  You forget that you ever cried at all.

Now is not the moment to hold onto everything.

Now is the moment to be free. 

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Before They Flare and Fade

– I think it might be a bit of circular logic to use a sci-fi quote to explain exactly why I write the stories I love.  I don’t write for the escapism (though escapism can be amazingly fun!) I don’t write to run away from the world around me.  

I write stories to understand the world. There’s so much to see in this beautiful place we call home. So much to hope for. So much to dream about.

There are so many wonderful, creative people I’ve been so lucky to call friends & colleagues.  It is so worth being on this adventure with them. 

The stories are a part of why I do what I do.  I love them.  But it’s the people I’m surrounded by that make this whole crazy adventure worth it.  And we have this moment to seize the day… 

I’ve never heard it put better…. 

I’m not running away. But this is one corner… of one country, in one continent, on one planet that’s a corner of a galaxy that’s a corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and destroying, and never remaining the same for a single millisecond. And there is so much, so much to see, Amy. Because it goes so fast. I’m not running away from things, I am running to them. Before they flare and fade forever.

– The Doctor, “The Power of Three” – Doctor Who

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Where No One Has Gone Before…

                                     Space Shuttle!

Hey – LA friends!  Did you know the Space Shuttle flew overhead today??? 

I kid. I kid.  For hours today, my facebook, twitter and instagram feeds were filled with amazing shots of the Endeavor piggybacking on a 747.  (The picture above was taken by my friend Jason, whose book you really should read.) 

Between Endeavor overhead today, NASA announcing that warp drive might actually be possible after all earlier this week, and the sheer awesomeness that is the Mars rover – I feel the need to break out an old episode of TNG and listen to Picard’s great “Space – the final frontier… (Our) continuing mission… To boldly go where no one has gone before.” speech.  

Admit it. You totally read that line with a British accent in your head. It’s ok. We all do. 

There’s something strangely comforting in people from all across a city, all across a country banding together in celebration of an event.  Maybe it’s part of why I love the holidays.  Or voting day. Even Leap Year.  It’s why I loved seeing all of the Harry Potter movies on opening night.  Why we watch the Oscars and Emmys and Tonys together with friends.  It’s why we celebrate birthdays together.  It’s why one of my favorite moments with my family was when we all gathered after my great grandmother passed away.  We missed her deeply, and yet she filled the world with such joy that we could only laugh in that moment. We were together.

We all come together around our common stories. 

There’s something innately beautiful and instinctively lovely about this bonkers drive we have to see the universe.  We are curious creatures, and we’re never content to just sit back and shrug our shoulders.  We always want to know why & how & when.  And I love it! 

Today, California took a break from daily life, and we all went outside, said hello to the sun and waited for magic to pass by.  The space shuttle isn’t just some hunk of metal being retired.  It’s not even a plane or a transport system.  It was in space. 


It’s the dreams and blood and sweat and tears of scientists, philosophers, mathematicians & storytellers mixed with the raw wide-eyed bluster of a little kid who thinks knows he can climb that faraway mountain if only he packs enough sandwiches and shoelaces for the journey.  

And for a few hours today, we were all reminded of why we dream.  

Sometimes I seriously hate reading the news – especially right now, when everything seems to be such a total mess.  But today – reading the news reminded me that we live in a pretty amazing time.  

I’d be stupid to close my eyes to shut out the bad, because I’d so easily miss all the good. 

I think this is part of what’s drawn me to writing so much sci-fi in the last several years.  Geek girl persona aside, there’s something brilliantly fun about writing worlds so much bigger than our own.  I get to reach for inspiration, for crazy outside-the-box ideas, for the chance to discover or create something new.  It’s a bigger canvas.  More colors.  A chance to say, “And I could tell the story with time travel!”  


And it all starts with a space shuttle and a robot and a footprint on the moon. 

It all begins here. 

Whatever will tomorrow bring? 

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It Was All of You

– Friends!  

I wish I could share the whole story – because, believe me, my dear friend’s story is worth celebrating and shouting from the rooftops*…  But out of total respect for everything she’s been through and everyone else surrounding her, the story has to be distilled to this –

Last night, I celebrated a friend’s one year of sobriety. 

It was beautiful, and I am SO proud of her.  

I was struck last night by how open and honest and vulnerable everyone was.  To say it was refreshing doesn’t quite cover it, honestly.  There’s this tendency so often to cover up the parts of ourselves we don’t really like.  We are modern, educated humanity, and of course we can make it on our own! 

Try standing up in front of a room full of people and announcing your biggest fears and greatest weaknesses.  

There is so much I have to learn still.  

One of the central tenets of AA is that you can’t make it alone.  No man is an island and all of that.  You rely on God. On others.  On anything bigger and stronger than yourself, because otherwise you are never getting out of the mess you’ve created. Vulnerability is your middle name. 

And healing begins.  

You don’t ever get to say, “Look at everything I’ve accomplished!  Look at how great I am!” 

You simply stand in the middle of your community and celebrate.  ”It was all of you who got me here too.  I could never have survived without you.” 

I’m going this weekend to listen to Brene Brown speak.  Her TED talk (embedded below for you – seriously, it’s so worth listening to) on the power of vulnerability was one of the most encouraging, challenging and inspiring talks I’d heard in a long time. 

The trick is to jump off that cliff and take a risk.  Share your soul.  And be a safe place for others to do the same!  

*I ran this blog past her before posting… Of course! 🙂

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– Our world is full of traditions of rest. In every culture, in every century, there have always been traditions of withdrawing from the world for short periods of time to refresh and reflect.  

Now, let’s just be honest.  I always hated it.  

It always felt so fake. 

Life always felt so much bigger than sitting in a Sunday school classroom, dressed up and eating goldfish crackers out of a little Dixie cup. This was the rest I was supposed to aspire to? There was no running, no jumping. No laughing.  No scuffing up your shoes. Today was God’s day, and it was boring.

There was this big beautiful world out there, and somehow I was just supposed to sit through this day and… I don’t know. Wait for Monday?  Who likes waiting for Mondays? There were things to do and people to see and dreams to plan for… It felt like such an enormous risk with absolutely no reward. What if the world moved on without you while you were wasting the day? 

But there was always something more. Something slipping in around the edges, something dancing around the margins, inviting. Dreaming. Whispering. There was more.

What if I’ve got the whole thing wrong? 

What if this resting thing everyone keeps talking about actually looks like this? 

What if that day of rest – any day of the week, really – meant that your soul was deeply rested and deeply satisfied? What if a day of rest really meant a day of fun? A day of taking one tiny step closer to joy? Though they weren’t perfect, what if those days of goldfish crackers and shiny shoes actually had something to them? There were moments with friends. Moments of learning something new about God’s profound love for our weird little hearts. Moments where we laughed anyway.

What if God’s heart for rest was much closer to those moments when you’re surrounded by your close friends, laughing over dinner and a glass of really good wine? Or a perfectly timed phone call from a faraway best friend? What if rest looked like the moment when a baby falls asleep in your arms?   

That’s a wildly alive moment. Peaceful. Restful. I could certainly live there. 

It suddenly seems like a risk worth taking. 

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* reblogged for Basileia here

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