the process of un-mullet-ing

It’s true – I had a mullet. By choice.

photo cred: Brittany Zeinstra

It looks a bit more like a hipster mullet than anything else in this photo, but it was as mullet as mullet is going to get on my head. And it went from hipster, 80’s-esque mullet to pixie cut, and then perpetual growing out mullet until now, over a year later, my hair has yet to reach my shoulders again.

The process of my un-mullet-ing is legen….wait for it…. DARY! It’s a story of humility, one of courage, and of figuring out what makes me, well, me.

Let’s start with why the heck I cut my hair into a mullet. I worked for this high school ministry my first year out of college, and our big winter retreat theme was “Mullets, Mohawks, and Mustaches.” Aka EPIC. Check out our promo video (awesome, if I do say so myself). Well, I had a conversation with some adorable sixteen year old ladies that were complaining about the theme being too masculine and kind of sexist. I flatly denied any such thing and to my horror, the words “I’m cutting my hair into a mullet” escaped my lips. Wide-eyed, in absolute horror, wishing I could stuff those fatal 7 words back into my mouth, those precious girls started laughing. And so just a few short months later, I did it. I went over to my friend’s house and asked her to give me a mullet. When she was finished  and swept up the loose  strands of my dignity off her floor, as I pulled on my coat she softly said, “Hey, Ali… can you not tell people I cut your hair? I’d really appreciate it.” Continue reading

happy december!

Happy December!! The holiday season is upon us!

Boulder star

Boulder star

And while this includes festively dressed carolers walking down Pearl Street, beautiful Christmas lights around town, the Nutcracker ballet, fresh baked Christmas cookies and piney wreaths, and the Boulder star on Flagstaff being lit for the world to see, it also brings stress.

I see it written on the foreheads of people I interact with – creases of worry and panic hewn into their faces while shoulders hang heavily burdened with the desire for generosity. You can even hear it in their voices – clipped tones of impatient and frantic to-do lists or deep croaks from do-gooders sipping on peppermint mochas that barely coat their sore and winter-scarred throats.

You see it in stores like Target – red shirted and khaki wearing employees exhausted to the bone wear false smiles of cheer and customer service, stocking endless boxes of holiday lights and rearranging holiday wrapping paper displays, driven by the elusive promise of meeting fourth quarter sales goals. You hear it over mall stereos, the repeating and overly familiar refrains of the seasons being retold by various artists with unusual time signatures and in different keys as those listening begin to think, Are there really that many ways to sing “Jingle Bells?” 

Welcome to the holidays… I guess.

Don’t get me wrong – I love this season. I love winter wonderlands (c’mon snow!) and tinseled pine trees and ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ and James Bond marathons on USA and Hanukkah candles and ‘8 Crazy Nights’ and family and togetherness and really, really great food. Continue reading

from the outside

“Why can’t Christians just love people?”

As a secular scholar, a (former) heathen, and having been employed at a church only a few short months ago, I am currently getting dunked face-first into a land that I had previously not really tiptoed into. Let’s just start by saying that I live in Boulder, Colorado, which is fondly referred to as “Nine square miles surrounded by reality.” The dynamic of my hometown is totally strung between the tension of the 30-thousand-something students wandering around CU’s campus and the rest of Boulder, many of whom are the most health conscious, open-minded, and socially responsible people you will ever come across.

You would think that with the level of education floating around here, there would be a pretty high percentage of atheists, but instead it seems that the numbers tend much more in favor of agnostics or towards people who practice more Eastern religious traditions or philosophies. And a huge number of those people will tell you that they grew up in Christian Church, but that they figured it out once they left. Which leads me to my point. Continue reading

painful freedom

Lately, it feels like a wrecking ball has been sent through my life. I’ve been wandering around, picking up bits and pieces, trying to identify what they are and crying out to the heavens about why the heck my life didn’t just need some minor remodeling.

The past nine months the Lord has been doing something different with me. I wrote a post that skimmed the surface awhile ago, but the Lord didn’t stop there.

Continue reading