Artist Living

Do You Ever Feel Like the Most Unlikely Character?

Me Ra Koh

With Christmas a couple days away, it’s time for me to sign off for the year.  I’ve debated taking a few days off from the blog, or taking all of next week off too.  What should I do?  I take a moment to be still and listen to my heart.  The answer is clear. Ladies, I’m going to take all of next week off too and meet you on the other side of the New Year.  Some call it going dark, I’m calling it rest.  🙂  Therefore, I hope you don’t mind that this post is a little longer than normal since it’s my last of the year.

Pascaline’s had the stomach flu this week.  When she was throwing up yesterday, she said that this was the first time she’s thrown up since we had Dengue Fever in Thailand.  Dengue Fever, ugh.  There’s no question, this year has given us extreme highs and extreme lows.  Somehow we have made it this far, and even more amazing, our family is closer–stronger–than it’s ever been (my dad and I especially–amazing).

And then there was and is The Nate Berkus Show–definitely one of the BIGGEST gifts this year–but the challenge of having ALL my insecurities challenged at MAXIMUM equals scary, thrilling, hard, rewarding work all wrapped in one.  Just remembering that feeling of walking through the curtain the first time–it will always be unforgettable and so special–such a turning point in much more to come.

Just yesterday, Brian described our life as completely thrilling and terrifying at the same time.  I wouldn’t want it any other way, but terrifying often has a capital T if you know what I mean?  I could do with that lowercase t any time now.

In it all ladies, I wonder if you connect with this.  I think that all the challenges the year has shown me that I’m much stronger than I realize.  And even though many tears were shed, I know in my heart that I’m a strong woman–I know it on a much deeper level than I’ve ever been able to embrace before.

The truth is I often feel like the most “unlikely” character of my own story.  Does anyone relate?  I think that’s why I love Christmas so much.  If you are feeling unsure, alone, or afraid, this is the most comforting holiday of all.  In some ways, it can feel the opposite because of all the holiday hype surrounding us.  But even counselors say this is their busiest time of year.  I’m deeply thankful that under the holiday hype is a story that changed the world.

Whether Jesus’ life is your belief, a prophet or incredible story, His story offers inspiration to us all.  The fact that a baby, born in a stable, would grow into a legacy that we would recall two thousand years later is simply amazing.  Talk about unlikely beginnings.  Do you ever feel like your future dreams are impossible because of your unlikely beginnings?  For example, isn’t a great photographer born with a passion for photography, rather than a mom who discovers a camera in the midst of motherhood?  Oh sisters, we could talk all day about unlikely beginnings.

But that is why I love the Bible–if I might add.  It’s a big collection of unlikely characters whose stories come to hold greater meaning than they could ever imagine.  Whether it’s St. Peter’s hot temper in his early days to later become a model of perseverance and patience admist overwhelming trials.  The transformation of his life alone gives me hope.  He is the very man who would cry “I believe.  Help my unbelief.”  Or Doubting Thomas who was the only one brave enough to say something to the affect of, I need to touch the scars in your hands and feet to really believe you have risen from the dead.  And the ever so gentle and loving response Jesus gave him.  Doubting Thomas’ honesty and Jesus’ gentle response will always remind me that God is not disappointed with my constant need to see proof of His love for me–and even better–this need is not the end of my story.  And Mary, how often I’ve thought of Mary this month.

Mary is the woman who would ride a donkey for days on end in her last hours of pregnancy.  I wonder if she ever hit a place of such exhaustion that her desire to no longer be pregnant overshadowed anything that tomorrow held.  How often I have been pregnant with visions and dreams that seem to keep me in what feels like an “overdue” state of pregnancy, wondering if the time for their birth will ever come.  And then to go even lower in my faith–to go to a place of losing passion for the dream because all I really want is to be done being pregnant.

When the angel came and told Mary she would give birth to Jesus, her first reaction was unbelief.  Thank you Lord.  Thank you for showing me that it’s okay to have unbelief first.  But then to hear the angel comfort her and say “Nothing is impossible with God.”  Thank you Lord.  Thank you for the impossible being possible whether I am full of belief or suffocating with fear.

If you ever felt like an unlikely character in your own story, may you be comforted this Christmas by a history of unlikely characters.  A collection of misfits.  It seems that over and over again, every character became known for their incredible strength–but it is their humble beginnings of great weakness that give me hope. What is your biggest weakness?  Can you imagine being known someday for that weakness being your biggest strength?  A strength that your loved ones could stand on?  May this holiday cast a vision of your impossibles being possible.  After all, nothing is impossible with God.  (I believe, help my unbelief.)

May you and your family have the most wonderful holidays.  May your next ten days bring you pockets of sweet rest.  May unexpected moments of joy refresh your spirit.  May you feel beautiful and know you are worthy of love–so much love.  May your heart reveal what you have gained among the losses you endured this year, and may these truths be a strength that guides you into the New Year!

I will see you there!



p.s.  SOAR! Amazon GC Winners!  Miranda Queener is a QUEEN!  She earned the most points for all the many ways she spread the word about SOAR!  Thank you so much Miranda!  A $50 GC to Amazon is being emailed to YOU!  And the winner of the drawing for $100 GC to Amazon is Laurie Phan!  Laurie, we appreciate your help so much.  I want extend a big thank you to every one for supporting the SOAR! Scholarship launch this year.  In 2011, all the seeds you’ve sewn will bloom–and wow, what a sight it’s going to be!

When the holiday bustle gets too crazy, grab a cup of tea and sit down with your sisters, the 2010 SOAR! Entries, these ladies will lift your heart in unexpected ways.

All my love.



  1. Samantha says:

    Good for you for taking a break, and for modeling that to all of your devoted readers. And thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts about Christmas. I wish you and your family peace and happiness.

  2. MeRa – Peace and rejuvenation in the coming days.
    Ever, ever grateful for you,

  3. Sara says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post, and for reminding me again of the hope that is so important to us all. I’ve been fighting a “bah humbug” spirit, as trying to negotiate with bickering family members over the holidays has left me spent. Thanks for helping me refocus on what is really important.

    And enjoy your break–may you enjoy some time with your family, peace and rejuvenation.

  4. Kasia Mowny says:

    MeRa – reading your posts, you always manage to give me goosebumbps in one way or another. We will miss you and are looking forward seeing you back recharged and ready for new blessings in the New Year.

    Now get some rest, you truly, truly deserve it.
    Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays!

  5. kara says:

    Beautifully articulated! This comes at an especially good time when our city has just seen devastation that hit way too close to home. Literally. I am especially grateful for my husband this Christmas, for my family and for our lives. No matter how good or bad, we will rejoice! There are way too many uncertainties in life, don’t take it for granted. I am standing on His word and His truth, and the comfort that Jesus brings.
    Merry Christmas to your family, and to the Soar Sisters and their families..
    ~ Kara S.

  6. kara says:

    Beautifully articulated! This comes at an especially good time when our city has just seen devastation that hit way too close to home. Literally. I am especially grateful for my husband this Christmas, for my family and for our lives. No matter how good or bad, we will rejoice! There are way too many uncertainties in life, don’t take it for granted. I am standing on His word and His truth, and the comfort that Jesus brings.
    Merry Christmas to your family, and to the Soar Sisters and their families..
    ~ Kara S.

  7. Beautiful post, MeRa! I pray that your family experiences Peace as you continue to reflect on the creator of the universe coming to us as a newborn baby…

  8. I, too, found out how strong of a woman I really am…even when I don’t think so. My mind doubts my strength sometimes, but my actions always follow up with an, “Oh, yeah? Watch this!” Although part of me is fearful of exploring new things, change, and all other Terrifying things (with a capital T), the other part of me embraces it all and keeps moving forward. I seriously don’t know how I do it sometimes, but I do know that I definitely don’t do it alone. This year, I saw just how much support I have from my family, friends and even people I don’t even know. And that support has given me the freedom to step outside my self-doubt and truly go for anything and everything I have ever dreamed possible. There’s a long way to go to fully realizing those dreams, but the journey and hard work is so fulfilling…and even those curve balls contain good lessons worth learning.

    Much holiday joy to you this season! Thank you for all you have given and continue to give. It’s been amazing year journeying with you. See you on the other side!

    ~ Jen

  9. jeramy says:

    hey mera…great wrap up! i couldn’t agree more…2010 has been a year i will never forget. life changing. i’ve thought about writing a wrap up many times in the last couple of weeks, and i don’t know if i’ll be able to. but as i spoke with a dear friend yesterday i was reminded that life is precious and short and i definitely want to make the most of it. i know you do too.

    love from us to you all. merry christmas…

    bring on 2011!

  10. Thanks so much for this post today! As I think back on starting my photog biz (an adventurous move inspired by YOU & my fellow Soar Ladies!) and deciding to adopt our preemie baby girl (which meant having to live out of state while we waited on her to be discharged from the NICU & my husband being back home every other week), I think of how I could not have predicted the surprises along the way…working with my first photography clients…holding the tiniest dream of a baby & being in awe at how God has drawn us together as a family….watching my son continue to thrive…well, these delights make the financial challenges & paperwork challenges & stress & lack of fancy photog equipment seem so very unimportant…In the big picture, I know that God will keep helping me to follow my dreams & passions I believe He has planted in my heart & I can trust Him to help me brave the uncharted territory of 2011 as well.

  11. Holly says:

    Beautiful! Thanks so much for this thoughtful post. May you have a blessed, peaceful Christmas.

  12. Carey says:

    There’s a song by Sara Groves…. “In your heart, you hope it’s true, though you hollow expectations. In the deepest part of you, there’s an open hesitation. But it’s TRUE! Kingdoms & crowns… A God who came down to find YOU!” Your post today reminded me of that song and I’m smiling with you today! song: It’s True, featuring Toby Groves (her little boy reads some… SO adorable! go buy it!)

  13. All I can say is Wow! MeRa, I love this post. You could not have told a more beautiful story of faith, belief, unbelief and back to belief. I too pray with you…Lord, help my unbelief in my own life. Thank you for a wonderful year of inspiring posts. You warm my heart with your words on many days. And, you certainly warmed my spirit to day. Merry Christmas sweet lady. Enjoy your Holiday and Happy New Year.

  14. lora says:

    Thank you Mera!! I love this post! I love the picture of your family. Blessings to you all this season, and can’t wait to see what 2011 holds for you all! 🙂

  15. Lynda says:

    “How often I have been pregnant with visions and dreams that seem to keep me in what feels like an “overdue” state of pregnancy, wondering if the time for their birth will ever come. And then to go even lower in my faith–to go to a place of losing passion for the dream because all I really want is to be done being pregnant.”

    Mera, wow, thanks for putting words to the feelings and yet staying in faith to believe for the “the dream” … love you girl! So thankful for you!

    Wishes & prayers that you & your precious family is blessed beyond measure!

  16. Erin O Brant says:

    Though often with a bit of hesitation first, I believe. I believe, I believe! Thank you for the reminder that the impossible is only impossible if you let it be so. Thank you for the beautiful gift of encouragement and sharing that you give to so many. Wishing you and your family a beautiful holiday season!

  17. Rhonda says:

    I was looking back in my Bible this week and was reading in Numbers when the Israelites were afraid to go into the promised land, Canaan, because of the Giants that were there. I want to share a little of what the devotional said…”Are you facing an seemingly insurmountable problem today – your own private “Canaan,” full of giants and walled cities? Remember, in times like this it’s the size of your God – not the size of your giants – that counts…
    Courage is the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared.

    God has used this year to show you just how big He is compared to your giants. And you have found courage.

    He has done the same for me and it sounds like many ladies here on this blog.
    2011 will have its new growth and challenges, joys and surprises. I’m grateful God will be there by my side through every step of it. And I’m grateful He gives me an amazing support system, many of whom can be found right here.
    Love you my friend. I pray you have an AMAZING week full of joy and rest.

  18. Natasha says:

    Have a wonderful Christmas and may 2011 be full of joy,good health and many blessings,
    much love,
    Natasha xxx

  19. Christen says:

    This post resonates with the depths of my heart, as I have found, time and time again, that in my weakness God is soooo strong. The moments when I feel I have absolutely nothing to give or nothing to ‘be’ is when God has the most room to be glorified and do mighty things in me anyways. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of the unlikeliness that God would allow us to step into His greater story… even when we don’t see all the different characters and subplots and how they all fit together. I think the very fact that I live in Los Angeles is evidence of how much of a misfit I am (Midwestern girl navigating the LA culture)… and how much my identity and worth come from the God who created me and how I belong to God alone.

    Merry Christmas,


  20. Mika says:

    I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog throughout the year. Thanks for all your effort you make to put up fun and informative posts! Your blog was recommended to me by a friend, when I had no blogs in my reader a long time ago! It has been an amazing year, to follow you through your ups (wow! what a year!!) and the downs (heartbreaking, but you came through them with such grace) has been such a privilege.

  21. andrea J says:

    Thank you for yet another beautiful post. Me Ra. I’m glad you’ve decided to take a well-deserved break. Many blessings to you and your family.

  22. Gina says:

    I love this post so much! You are one encouraging and wonderful soul. Thank you for the biblical stories and unlikely hero references. I needed this so much. Looking forward with faith and love for the new year! Can’t wait to hear the results of the SOAR! Scholarship! I am on pins and needles just like last year! Hugs of support to you and your amazing team!

  23. denise karis says:

    good for you….ive been taking a break from blogs and websites as well- but i did think of you over christmas and hope that you all had a wonderful holiday. happy new year! xoxoxoxo

  24. J.P. says:

    Thanks so much for this beautiful post, Me Ra. I hope you, Brian, and the kids have a wonderful new year!

  25. Carol says:

    Just now reading this post…thanks so much for helping us see anew some of what God wants us to see through His word! Hope and Happy New Year!