Wednesday, December 26, 2007


you know the feeling when you realize you're lost? the sickening waves of slight panic that rise up and the semi-weightless feeling in your stomach like when you descend a rollercoaster...the inexplicable untamed fear that threatens to destroy all peace. it has become my companion for a week now and today i realized, i'm a sheep.

that sheep that Jesus said He would leave to other 99 to find. the one that decided to find its own path and got stuck in the briars, bleating in a terrified voice. the stubborn one that tries to run away when He comes near, trying to bring her back into the fold. i'm that sheep.

charles spurgeon [] has a good deal to say about the sheep going astray...and i must confess i fit the lot. i NEED a care above myself, yet i pretend and expect that i should do it on my own. i frantically plan and search and push, trying to make it fit. i have been doing this every moment since i found out what i thought i knew about peace corps was incorrect.

the office of medical services should not have told me i would be leaving in February should i make med clearance by december 21st. because it wasn't true. i don't know where i am going to live. i don't know where i am going to work. i don't even know for sure what city i will be in. every time i make a move, it shakes and i'm unsure.

so here i am, bleating away, trying to figure out a plan and a purpose and feeling hopelessly snagged. the imagery of Hosea fills my mind...the hemming in of His beloved.

no i don't have an answer. but i do have this promise: He is with me and He will lead me by His Spirit.

"ten thousand angels will light your pathway until the day breaks from in the east. and they will surround you and make your way straight, cus Love has come, Love has come, for you." -Caedmon's Call Ten Thousand Angels

Father, be merciful to me! open my eyes, allow me the patience and grace to wait upon You. to trust and believe beyond all this reality attempts to erode. praise to You, lover of my soul. i WILL wait.

Monday, December 17, 2007


went to bed at 9:30 last night. woke up today at 1:00 pm. i am feeling much better.

free week in wichita....i hope to spend a lot of time reading and studying before i leave.

if i leave. i still haven't heard from D.C. and it's coming upon the deadline for them to let me know. i'm still planning on it, but it makes me feel a bit nervous.

i'll be in kc the next two weekends (hopefully) and then manhattan after that. i cannot wait.

seattle pics and what-not to come.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

ice cream?

as i pen this note to you, i'm eating cheesy potato soup in the memphis airport, jazzed up on two benadryl and awaiting my rescheduled 3:05 flight. all this to say, i'm delirious from only 1.5 hours of sleep thus far, one hour caught crammed between my sister and an armrail on a delayed 737 and the other half on a bench in the airport while my sister went outside to get her nicotine fix and stop her fit.

can i just take a moment to say i dislike strenuous travel? no, more specifically, strenuous travel with an extremely angry, tired and feening 18 year old.

i love my sister. i really do. but it is in these moments that everything bubbles to the surface, both in you and the people around you. on my first flight, leaving seattle at 10 pm, we had the pleasure of a stuffed plane, a chatty cathy and a coked out crazy man who made me more nervous than anyone should be on an aircraft. he kept getting up and down, talking loudly and touching strangers' faces. threats of arrest could not calm him down and he proceeded to ask me, could i believe those stewardesses? what, were they just going to shove him out of the airplane? gosh, they were getting mad at him for just sitting in his seat! imagine!

finally, i said well, it's midnight and you keep bothering people. they just want you to calm down. damn my forward and confrontational ways!

to this he replied, oh, well you can just shut up. what, is this your first time flying? can't deal with being around people? how about you fly to the midwest or something? to which i just laughed and said, umm, that's where i'm going. i live there?...

in the midst of all of this is my firecracker sister calling him every name in the book from two rows back and all of us are getting uncomfortable. a few more "discussions" with the flight attendants, and he finally shut up. all of this in the 2 hours in, with 2 hours left. sleep did not come to me on that flight.

arrive in blizzard-y detroit at 5:04 am their time, 2:04 my time, 4:04 wichita time. got on the connection...only to sit on it for TWO HOURS, because no one came to work because of the snow, so no one could load our bags or push us away from the terminal. and then there was the de-icer.

at 8:23 detroit time, 7:23 wichita time, 5:23 my time, i took two benadryl in hopes of sleeping once airborne. success! for at least an hour until we began to descend and i had to put myself into an upright and locked position.

arrive in memphis at 9:39 detroit time, missing our 9:20 flight home and waiting in line to be told that the next flight would be at 3:05 pm. i will arrive in wichita at 4:45 pm their time, 5:45 detroit time and 2:45 my body's time. and here i am.

there is something ridiculous about airplane travel. it never fails to make you feel out of joint and uncomfortable. maybe its the odd bonds you make with complete strangers as you watch them sleep or discuss their lives during the awkward taxiing stage. or maybe you are just very aware of the emotional and mental states of those around you, which can be rather draining at such close proximities.

and bless you if you even read that far. hey, at least this 8 dollar bowl of soup is free because NWA is "sincerely apologetic" for the inconveniences i have experienced today and thus gave me a $10 voucher. to be used one time only, with no change. life is good.

ps: please forgive this gruffer and more sarcastic version of myself...sleep and a shower will wash away this crust soon, i promise.

pps: this story is only made more entertaining if you know my airplane story last december with NWA. here's a ticket this time was free because of last year. here's to road trippin'.

love love

Monday, December 10, 2007

i see

tomorrow is the beginning of a fun seattle adventure...provided we can fly out despite the forecasted inch of ice shrouding all surfaces. as of right now, our flight is canceled and shifted to a 5:25pm flight...but i'm doubting that one being able to leave also. chalk it up to reason number 72 that i am excited to live in south america.

it's funny how quickly your surroundings and circumstances can shape and change your experience. one week ago, i was up at 5, drinking coffee and lesson planning, laughing with sixth graders and crying over their pain, and teaching math in spanish. this week i wore pjs until 1 as i drove my carless brother around, ate leftover soup twice, spoke in baby talk to my adorable niece as we surfed the net together and walked around with no makeup and a blanket all day. bizarre. i miss my kc life. this life feels overwhelming and unpredictable and emotionally explosive. and in all of it, i found layers and layers of more desire to control, more need to change the things around me, to "fix" it. psalm 55:22. matt 7.

the best part in all of it, is that as i lose it, as i unravel even more than i already have, i find myself growing in the awareness that He has me firmly in His loving grip. that He has me, is right there with me, and will always be. above all else, He desires mercy and not sacrifice...what would it look like for my life to reflect that kind of heart posture? i'm still seeking it out.

so stay warm people...drink hot chocolate or yerba mate and snuggle up with that fleece sweatshirt and downy blanket. i'm praying that He provides warmth and protection for all those being turned away from shelters across the city.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"ah crap"

i can't tell you how many times i've uttered that this evening. try baking 82 star sugar cookies, writing 18 thank you cards, buying 1 calla lily, moving out of 1 bedroom/bathroom/kitchen and grading 22 cell city projects/reading assessments. yep. i didn't get it all done. thankfully, the only thing remaining is the grading...which can be done tomorrow. yep...procrastinating even beyond college.

graduation saturday. party sunday. unpack monday. fly to seattle tuesday. breathe (maybe) wednesday. it's all been about letting go, so let's see if i pass the test.

in the midst of it all are some really lovely people....sara, who has been my sidekick all semester and especially these last two days just helping me with whatever...decorating cookies, buying veggies, carrying yaffa blocks through the snow...has been a particularly bright light in all of this. tony comes by too, and helps me move out at 900 tonight only to go to work right after. lauren who helped me relax as we traipsed down on the plaza. my mama who called me choked up to wish me well on my last day of "college". and then there He is. so patient and kind and quiet, even though He and I both know its been months since we've really spent quality time together. i just can't explain that kinda grace.

"just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly" - anonymous on the rockin' card sara got me

PS: all paperwork has cleared through P.C....just waiting on that postal system.

"...and at the core, there is this gut wrenching sob that says i don't wanna go!"

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


i love how the light makes these stone structures appear inconsequential. as if their girth was melted away by the luminescence of the bulbs.

i'm intrigued by how light 'lightens', both in weight and darkness. i find much weight in the darkness i see in my it sin or wounds or grief or whatever. yet i think about the great divorce by C.S. Lewis, how the 'realness' of the grass in eternity hurt the feet of mortal souls...this idea that the reality of His kingdom is much more substantial than anything i'll find here. is it really true, that t
he light is more powerful, more real, more consequential, than the dark? YES. but do i believe it? maybe.

i'm waiting for this truth to soak into the soil of my faith with my family...why is it i can believe something about God in one situation yet doubt that very same attribute in another? my belief in His goodness has shriveled when it comes to my family....and it makes my heart ache.

without hope in His light, His goodness, His home is dark. my prayer for december is that i would see His light shine in the darkness and lo, it is not overcome! i do not want to give in to despair or doubt...i want to see Him illuminate the dark places, breaking the chains that have rusted shut over my family's hearts.

tonight was lovely....cinnamon coffee from scooter's, plaza lights in the brisk but comfortable night air, snapshots of other's journeys read on the floor of b&n, and a dear friend. for a couple hours, i slipped away from all the lists and demands that come with closing a chapter of your life...and it was good. i am going miss kc.

three days until i'm finished...honestly, i'm not looking forward to friday. it is going to be hard to leave rosehill, and to leave kc. do you ever feel that yearning, like if you just had a little more time...if you could just stay. if you could just more minute...then it would somehow be satisfied. but. i will go and i will trust. and i am EXCITED to go to south america....just waiting on that "official" letter. i hope it comes sooner than later. [or latter, if my students were trying to be fancy incorrectly...since latter is "how rich people say later"]

welp. here we go.


Sunday, November 25, 2007


we all began the same way. tiny seeds in sturdy pots, with just the right mixture of soil and water. some pots were larger than others depending on the expectations of the nursery attendants.all of the pots reflected the seed within, a window into what kind of plant they may become. some grew wildly, breaking out of their pots and demanding rich, boundless soil. others lifted their limbs slowly towards the sky, eventually requiring a more ample space. but some of us grew into our pots, wrapping our thin fingers into the crevices of stone and wood, clinging to that which we knew. rather than commit to this or that orchard, we preferred to maintain our pots. we compared pots and boasted our pots and even scoffed at those planted firmly in their orchards. we were "progressive". mobile and clearly a cut above those other trees that chose to be rooted. i liked my mobility, my self-contained soil that allowed me to be in control of what i took in.

but then came the thirst. the wilt in my leaves and the weakness of my branches betrayed my foolishness, my cowardice in clinging to my pot. those strong and graceful oaks planted side by side rose majestically above my feeble attempts to blend in and "offer" something to whichever orchard i happened to be at. i begged the gardener to finally pull me out of my pot, to plant me alongside these other trees. so he did....but my roots were so compacted, making my transition excruciatingly painful. he did not allow me to stay in one orchard for very long....long enough to stimulate growth and loosen up my roots, but never long enough to dig in deep and intertwine with the roots of my fellow trees. i began to get restless as my roots spread out and dug into the earth. i knew what i needed...definitely not this continual uprooting. i mourned the loss of each new orchard i had to leave, and my whole being ached to be planted, firmly, finally. this most recent move has been the worst of all. i found him hovering me over the open earth, my roots pressing towards the ground but unable to secure themselves into anything. i loved this orchard and became convinced that this would be a resting place for once, a place to be still and soak up the sunshine, strengthen up these branches. yet i knew the gardener was already planning my next move. even still, i found myself hoping that this orchard would be it. i see him walk by me everyday, sitting with me and nourishing me. but i am frantic to grow, to be established. i tell him this, each time he passes. i writhe into the dirt and try to find another's root system to intertwine with, anything to show him i can do it here. i can make it.

today he said to me, be still. stop trying to be what you are not. you are not the gardener. you are not able to grow your roots or your branches or your own blossoms. yes, this orchard is lovely and good. and for this time, it is what you need to prepare for this next transplant. but it is not the place to be rooted just yet. trust me. i have tended you before you pushed your green stem through the soil. believe me. i know what you need. i know how you grow and what type of tree you are to become. wait for me. don't stop living, don't stop being the beautiful maple i created....but trust me to set your ground. you are going to foreign soil..a hard and rocky soil. but i am the creator of all living and growing things. and i will not allow you to perish. this season of transplanting i have taken you into, the many orchards we have entered and left since you gave up your pot, have all been preparing you for this upcoming place. it is barren and not many grow. but you, my dear one, you will be planted there. and i will be your caretaker, your faithful provider. you will grow and you will provide a place for the impoverished to rest their head in your shade and food for the empty bellies of strangers. you will fertilize and till the ground with your roots and your fruit. you will draw in things that are needed to cause a renewal in that place. and all of this you will do when your roots are placed down by me, trusting me to fulfill your needs. trust me.

so with my roots exposed, some cracking from weariness and thirst, i will wait. i will not fear the vulnerability of this season, the potential for damage to my precious roots, nor will i covet the rich soil i see so many rooted into right now. i know my gardener and i know that he is good. i will wait for him.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


it means waiting...and hope...beautiful, yea?

there are these moments where all the junk falls away and you remember what the hell you were doing in the first place. and WHY. and in this moment, there is this sweet breath you take in, the refreshment in the simplicity and clarity.

oh please Jesus, please help my heart stay upon You. i get so lost when it's not there.

i have 12 days left with my students. i'm not ready. for anything. but i will be there, in each moment, reminding them that they are loved. that they have purpose. that they are not forgotten or lost or broken beyond repair or ignored. they are not alone.

"The sustaining power of the Beloved Presence has through the ages made the sickbed sweet and the graveside triumphant;transformed broken hearts and relations; brought glory to drudger, poverty and old age; and turned the martyr's stake or noose into a place of coronation." -Dallas Willard, Hearing God

Friday, November 16, 2007


it's funny how sometimes the one thing you need to do and "desire" to do is not actually what you really want. i've wanted to slow down all semester, to catch up. and here i am, head cold and hoarse, and all i want to do is NOT be still. because in this stillness, there is nothing to hide the fears that have been bubbling under the surface. there is nothing to distract me from the doubts that i have. and i don't really like facing these things, yet here is Jesus. holding my hand and saying do not be afraid. I am with you. these things are not going to master you nor are they a deciding factor in your life. trust Me.

and though they are still there, prowling just beyond my heart...i will look to Him. i will fear no evil, remember? i will not be anxious, because He is the sustainer and giver of life, of all good things. i do not have to have it all together. sometimes these truths are harder to believe than their false counterparts.

in some ways, though....i'm glad to be at the end of my rope. i can't really explain why, but i am thankful for that tiny seed of gratitude.

"The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or something in between, this earth ain't no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless-just workin our way toward home." -Denver Moore, Same Kind of Different as Me

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

soul harmonies

this song is lovely...reminds me of quiet afternoons in the arms of sunshine and breeze.

Iron & Wine "My Lady's House"
there is light in my lady's house

and there's none but some falling rain
this like a spoken word
she is more than her thousand names

no hands are half as gentle
or firm as they like to be
thank God you see me the way you do
strange as you are to me

it is good in my lady's house
every shape that her body makes
love is a fragile word
in the air on the length we lay

no hands are half as gentle
or firm as they like to be
thank God you see me the way you do
strange as you are to me

running in brookside. smoothies & honesty. no more portfolio! peace in the midst of storms. He is better to me than i deserve...why then does the ache remain?

"happy birthday miss ternes because you own it!" - one of my ELL sixth grader's cards...i think she meant earned :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

colossians 3:15

to God my deepest heart,
to God my deepest heart,
to God my deepest heart,
You have all my heart.

to God my deepest love,
to God my deepest love,
to God my deepest love,
You have all my love....

all my love, all my love, God, You have all my love

such simple words and yet dug deep in the well of my soul. thanks to Jesus for Jon Shirley and my brothers and sisters at the gathering.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

i sat beside you and became myself

i saw it before i actually touched it. the rich textures and glossy cover. the soft, weathered leather stitched in perfectly arranged patchwork. supple thickness and just the right line width. the invitation to travel and accompany one another through the upcoming season. and then there was this pause, as if i was wondering whether i could justify the purchase of this lovely journal without the peace corps. i really had to stop, because the immediate answer [no] was what bothered me. what? like life isn't going to be worth recording or living if i don't do peace corps? not worth reflecting on or wrestling through? not worth telling? you and i both know such is not the case. yet here i was, pretending like it was. i think this was a particularly interesting vein of thought because a seed has taken root in my heart...a seed of desire to remain, while the rest wishes to go. i've been avoiding that seed, refusing to water it but also refraining from digging it up...because i honestly have no clue where i'm SUPPOSED to be next year. and i'm not really certain that i should know. all i'm asking is that He would speak and that i would listen. because only then can i really be confident in the path...and i'm beginning to find that regardless of path i choose, He remains with me. it's not like path A is the only one that He is in....that presence comes from abiding in Him, from His grace and love...all of which have little to do with location or vocation.'s a bit like claustrophobia. it's gonna have to be really clear if i'm supposed to stay. and it's gonna have to be really clear if i'm supposed to go. and it can't be driven by fear. or false hope.

trust seems to be the only option. and no, i didn't yet buy that it cost about 45 bucks. but at least i can say confidently that it was out of financial not faith lack.

"el amor no es un sentimiento. es un habilidad" -marty, dan in real life.

once upon a time...

i had one of these. and i can't for the life of me remember any of the login here we have another one. i really like writing, and this lovely electronic format doesn't require the effort that selecting a new journal does. Not that you'll get everything the journal gets, but still, this saves me from a couple hours in borders.

can i just say that i am beginning to enjoy being present? i have fought it so hard this semester, as He has stripped away my defenses and abilities and sense of bring me here. In this place where i could spend hours with friends chatting and never once look at the clock. just soaking it up, listening and sharing and learning. trying to grasp His hands.

belated birthday celebration with the fam, loose park, good coffee and buca di beppos. awesome.