12.07.2014

is all we are // lost causes?

is all we are to you just near lost causes?

do you see the things that are happening? or is the compounded cries of the suffering so heavy that you turned away your face from us?

have you given up on your plan of redemption?

is there even a way to restore things this broken? is there anything that can heal a mind and heart so shattered they are not living, not even surviving; only existing because the medical profession took a pledge to do no harm and is therefore committed to keeping one alive?

what are we to do when the mind is sick, when it cannot be healed by medicine or therapy? didn't you promise to be our healer? didn't you die and rise and take on our demons to set us free from them?

// hope is believing in things unseen // the Lord is near to the brokenhearted & He restores the broken // He is making all things new // even the creation groans in waiting for restoration to appear // over those in great darkness, a light has dawned // I came to set the captive free // He desires that none should perish // why do you seem far off, O Lord? // under His wings you will find refuge // He upholds the cause of the oppressed // salvation is on the way & righteousness will never fail // a bruised reed He will not break //

we are of infinite worth

we are not lost causes--nor wildcards, nor good causes; we are so. much. more. than a cause

You work outside of time and space. Your intelligence and compassion are equally infinite.

not a soul is too far gone. no person is beyond Your reach. no mind is shattered beyond Your repair.

oh God, show Yourself strong. be the mighty healer. stop the mouths that say we are living in a world of make believe. stop the oppressors, end the violence against the weak, the innocent, the simple.

rescue the lost causes. make them the triumphant princes and queens of Your kingdom. restore their inherit dignity that this world strips from them. show them what a treasure they are.
please.

11.28.2014

thanksgiving + grief + surprise joy






the first thanksgiving without Nana.
1) i've been doing she reads truth, & thanksgiving i went back to this devo b/c it so richly and beautifully freed me to be authentic yet hopeful. 
2) little man shared my quiet space {heart melt}
3) chasing "auntie b" and "auntie m"
4) Nana's thanksgiving plates --in the words of grandpa "she would be just tickled to see them used!"
5) Isaiah 9:2

i was dreading this day. ya know, the kind of dread that sits in your stomach like nausea. the kind of headache that comes from refusing to be human & cry. last thanksgiving was strange enough...we had a smaller feast at her house, even though she was too sick to eat anything. because that's what she wanted. there was an ache behind all of it--but also a gratitude for every moment spent with her. for every breath without pain, every wakeful moment of memories & jokes & the many ways we found to say "i love you".
this year was going to just. suck. raw & miserable & forced cheer & eye makeup to prevent bathroom meltdowns. that's what i thought, anyway. i've been around this track 4 times now. lot of practice with faking-happy-holidays.

and somehow, the first holiday season after losing somebody dear is always a reminder of how permanently finally horrid death feels.

i didn't want to fake it. i woke up that morning deciding it was ok if i couldn't stomach all the gratefulness for little things that seem trite when people you love are forever missing from the photos. i was ok with just being thankful that death is NOT permanent.
but that isn't how it happened. joy snuck in and gratitude followed, creating a warmth i want to hold close in the fading light to come.
we had invited some family friends over who were also having a tough holiday season. their daughter (and my dear friend) went into labor thanksgiving morning. we were given the gift of her littles for the day--turning it into a delight! having a 5 and 3 year old with us lightened the entire atmosphere. they gave us all something outside ourselves to focus on. real reasons to smile, laughter that wasn't forced. they were a breath of fresh air--living, sparkling, abounding-with-energy air. so different from the stale, heavy, draining air of grief. even my grandfather laughed at their antics.
these children probably won't remember much about the thanksgiving they spent with us. but i will. it gave me something to be truly grateful for. it was a gift from my Father, in a season where any hope has been meager and hard-won.

this thanksgiving, i am grateful for life. toddlers. hope in unexpected places. God giving us a brief reprieve, a reminder that He *does* see, He *does* know our needs.

((also, this blog post about grief + thanksgiving is wonderfully real and beautiful))

10.16.2014

somewhere between sure and i don't know, maybe



Where the fence is low
And the water is rising
And the fire comes down
And the dark fills the skies in
One foot on the ledge
And I'm feeling for safety
Somewhere between sure
And I don't know, maybe

I'm off on my rope here
I'm off on my own here
And I find my hope here
I find my own here
I'm off on my rope here
Where the fence is low

Each shadow I walk
To the ends of the forest
And the shape of the hands
That break the ground for us
The fear that contains
That binds like a blessing
I've been here before
Then again I'm guessing

where the fence is low / lights {Siberia acoustic} 

10.12.2014

free writing

"so, where is she?"
the voice drew her out of her head, up and out of memories tinged sepia. ones with the dust of years around the edges, locked for so long in a box she thought had been destroyed.
she couldn't remember where the conversation had been when she left it.
"what girl?"
"the one who stood up for justice. the one who pushed back, who said how she was being treated was wrong. the one who would have called it injustice if she saw it happening to anybody else. where is she?"
"15" the answer came immediately. startled, she stopped to think for a moment and realized this was true. it's a funny thing, memories. awaken one and a whole series comes to life. it turns out she was good at hiding things from herself. after six-ish weeks of not really knowing, of being blurry there was clarity too surprising to be painful. at first.
"she's 15, locked in a closet somewhere. duct tape over her mouth. because how else would she be quiet so long?" she grinned sheepishly, a little embarrassed at how dramatic this analogy was. a little surprised at how honesty jumped out of her lips before her armor could stop it. she expected him to grin back, to believe her quick recovery that it wasn't nearly as dark as she painted it to be.
he didn't. 
"eleven years is a really long time." 
quietly. she wished he would look somewhere else. she wished he wouldn't be so patient about silences. she wished he would let her believe her denial.
"that says a lot. this girl who's been locked away for eleven years...she needs to come out."
damn his straightforward honesty! something about gentleness gave her no room for denial. she wanted him to allow her back her pretenses. her version, the one she built over years and years of not-quite-lying but not-really-telling-the-whole-truth either. where things weren't that bad. the one where she was just a little dramatic and weak for having baggage. the one where words like "abuse" and "survivor" didn't apply to her story. if he wouldn't look at her, she might be able to cling to that smudged, penciled, much-erased story.
but he just waited for her to react. waited for her to breathe, giving her space. and his silence let the truth seep out of her heart.


9.16.2014

thank you, Mr. Einuadi

(Nuvole Bianchi by Ludovico Einaudi)


I have a minor obsession with the classical composer Ludovico Enaudi. If famous Italian pianists came to my state, I would pay a lot of money to see him. He writes brilliance & depth & beauty. Certain albums are study music, other albums help me battle insomnia. Certain songs ("Melodia Africana III", "Divenire", "I Giorni") are songs I put on when I desperately need to be still, when it's a struggle to stop and breathe. Others ("Fly", "Una Mattina") make my imagination come alive. I wonder what did he see when he wrote them? Are there stories, colors, moments that inspired them? I see fantastic things when I listen to them, they transport me to my own Narnia.

My favorite will always be Nuvole Bianchi. It's the first song I ever heard of his, years ago (which prompted me to find his music asap) It was played by a fellow student at my sister's piano recital. The entire room stilled as this kid played his heart and soul in front of us, telling a story in emotion instead of plot. I teared up. Yeah, the queen of not feeling...I can't say exactly why.
There is something deep in these notes that strikes a chord in my own heart. For me, it speaks of hope. The kind that comes after deep darkness. Not hope that resounds with victory but the kind that flickers faintly. The kind that is most precious, a hope you shelter in the valley of the shadow of death. Idk here I go rambling...

All I know is I'm so so so grateful for music. For a language that speaks without words. It makes living beautiful.

9.15.2014

letter from my future self

dear current (panicky, feeling-like-a-spastic-failure) me,
fight the overwhelm! a year from now-- actually 5 weeks from now when you finish med-surg rotation-- you’ll look back & laugh at all the times (aka now) you thought you couldn't make it. you’ll also laugh at what you thought was difficult. this is the easy part, kiddo. so hang in there. don’t give up on me k? cause I’m excited about psych rotation. I really want to make it there with good grades & good clinical reports intact. we can’t get there if you waste time being scared. so make yet another glass of iced coffee, get those tunes louder, & hit it like it's an adventure.
that’s all.
your future self
((ps. know how people always surprise you by thinking you're strong? maybe you've a little more grit than you can see right now))

9.10.2014



 I never meant to wither

I wanted to be tall
Like a fool left the river
And watched my branches fall
Old and thirsty, I longed for the flood
To come back around
To the cactus in the valley
That's about to crumble down



And wipe the mark of sadness from my face
Show me that your love will never change
If my yesterday is a disgrace
Tell me that you still recall my name



So, the storm finally found me
And left me in the dark
In the cloud around me
I don't know where you are
If this whole world goes up in arms
All I can do is stand
And I won't fight for anyone
Until you move my hand



And wipe the mark of madness from my face
Show me that your love will never change
If my yesterday is a disgrace
Tell me that you still recall my name



Oh, here
In the shadow
Here I am
And I need someone by my side
It becomes so
Hard to stand
And I keep trying to dry my eyes
Come and find me
In the valley


cactus in the valley// LIGHTS. 
theme song of the day. 

cause some days are overwhelming, and sometimes you're just dry; and it's ok. it's healthy to look for beauty, it's healthy to find things to be grateful for. but it's not healthy to equate "sad" with "depression" like our culture so often does. it's not human to deny the full spectrum of emotions. sometimes, life is hard & mundane all at once. sometimes our friends are picking up pieces after a shattering. and we share in their grief. it's healthy to admit sadness is part of the fall and part of this earth and not deny it or fake happy. (choosing joy & "happy" are vastly different things ya'll) it's real. our hearts & minds? they're complicated. after all, look at our physical bodies & all the complexity God designed them with...we're created in the image of a mighty, wondrousinfinite God. God--how can we expect our minds & hearts to be simple?  


8.04.2014

how we do battle.

because sometimes the best thing for the soul is skipping church to have one on one Jesus time at the ocean. sometimes my eyes need to see the expanse. my heart needs a physical vastness to truly believe how big. deep. wide. God's love. grace. mercy is.

grateful i live in a state with a coastline.
grateful for the sea.
grateful for the best friend, the comrade in arms being home for a season from across the pond.
grateful for the maturity & wisdom & deepening of her spirit that God has done.
grateful He offers the same for me.

grateful that all is  b e i n g  set to right. maybe not completely set to rights here. but there is constant motion in that direction. there is not a day God forgets about His promise of Kingdom Come.

7.10.2014

the power of story

this isn't some intelligent exploratory essay mind you. just some ramblish to fill that empty space that lingers after finishing a good book.
yep, I am one of those people...I devour books. I don't just read them, I tend to enter them like most people enter a different room. (maybe that is how people who love movies watch films? personally I find it takes a lot to get truly lost & involved in a movie)
I get involved in what I'm reading. not all to the same extant, but it takes shallow writing + pretty lame plot for me to not care at all or --horrors, the very worst books get the unforgivable sin of not being finished. [*cough* twilight] the ones that captures my intellect and my heart? they're like magic, firing up my imagination something fierce! those ones are rare, and dangerous. I'm more dead to my surroundings than when I'm sleeping! it's as if I actually transport into the book...sometimes it's superb writing AND plot [book thief, ] sometimes it's amazing essence of story despite average writing [watership down]. sometimes I'm not transported by the story but the writing has superb moments so I keep reading as a treasure hunt, looking for random sentences & phrases that stand out to me. [the cellist of sarajevo--though the plot is grand too!] Even if it is poorly written, not my favorite, or one I'd never read again [ahem hunger games]; I'll still insert myself in some measure. Even if it's not the extant of walking around with my head in that world, arguing bits of plot or disagreeing with authors when I feel they've written something out-of-character for a specific character. (yes I fall in love with characters...moving on).

sometimes I'm glad to leave. not all stories are as inviting as others. there are more books I read just to finish or for intellectual or learning purposes than I do for joy. and some I start and can't finish because they are so poorly written or lamely plotted or disgusting...uugh.  

every once in a while, a story comes along that grips me so powerfully it's as if I travel and live in that world. Characters take on distinct personalities, they become like friends. (this sounds like I have a mental disorder)
I hate finishing those books. the last page is like a final goodbye, an exit that leaves me a little melancholy. because no matter how well the story ends for them? my part is done. even if I re-read books, the magic of that first introduction isn't quite the same. some are rich enough, (to kill a mockingbird, narnia) to invite me back. they are such old friends that I find comfort in the familiarity; yet still find new reasons to appreciate them every time I re-enter. I'm still silly enough to be sad when I shut those ones. I want to keep going.

I wish I were a master storyteller. they know how to weave words into vehicles for sorrow, joy, loss. the best stories have a depth, a richness that hints at history or things untold behind the plot. I wish I could create characters with such realistic flaws & hearts that they awaken empathy in readers. I wish I had a magical capability to invent a world strange enough to invite exploration, yet familiar enough to feel real. oh well. I'd probably walk around lost in my own worlds all the time. 

6.19.2014

365 for t w e n t y - s i x

so i started a 365 project a last week. not because my life is super fantastic and i have all the time in the world. not because i’m a skilled photographer. but because my canon has a lot of dust. & because my creative side needs an outlet. i love science, but i also love colour. i find studying the human body to be elegant and beautiful. it combines my logic with my artistic side nicely... but it doesn't initiate creativity so i still feel a little starved.
but mostly because i forget how beautiful my life is. & because i want to become aware of how  r i c h  the outrageous  g r a c e that covers my life truly is.




6.05.2014


{Kiev, Ukraine. 2012}
I don’t remember the name of the cathedral where I took this crooked picture. I was on a twisty stone staircase & stuck my canon out the window slot hoping it would focus decently in 15 seconds.
I do remember the 25 minute walk south back to my apartment. & the Ukrainians, strangers to me but friends of my companion, who joined us. Especially Serge. He jumped into the deep end and began a conversation about culture & its impact on identity. I remember grasping some and wondering how much was lost in translation: he saying that Ukrainians are a giant slightly-fractured family, connected by language & history; me explaining how regions and states greatly influence our identities as Americans & how strange it feels to be from such a young country. I remember sweat making my sandals slippery. I remember statues of men who made history before my nation’s continent was even discovered. I remember passing a former KGB building, a testimony to the suffering these people have risen from. I remember twisting alleys, tiny balconies with red geraniums, a specific shade of blue in the sky. The clash of European / Soviet architecture that tells Ukraine’s history in letters of stone. Kvas that somehow tasted better shared from a plastic liter than it had from a glass pint. I remember trying to bury the culture shock in a corner of my mind. Fighting to be _present_; to put off processing. Not a shock of shifting from the states to an Eastern European culture —by then I was so immersed it was strange to hear English. This culture shock was more from abrupt circumstantial shift. The waves of overwhelm that came from finding myself suddenly in a nation’s capital city after ten days spent at a very off the grid & impoverished orphanage.
I remember getting to know streets and customs. Soaking up every little glimpse into Ukraine thought processes & culture. The bakery where my best friend and I were addressed in Ukrainian, and how psyched out of our minds we were when they were surprised we weren’t locals. The green grass of the park behind our apartment. Sitting on the windowsill of our kitchen drinking tea. Watching dogs & kids play 4 stories below us. I remember eating lemon & chocolate “marojina” from a street vendor & aching to take some back to littles with dirty faces and hungry hearts. I remember Kiev becoming my city. I remember thinking how insane it was: that this country girl from the south would navigate her first big city & learn metro survival in a city where her native language was barely spoken. I remember enjoying it all. But mostly aching to get back to work at orphan camp. I remember all the moments my heart fell in love with Ukraine on its first trip. And how much harder it fell the next. 
i remember where my heart is. And where I’m supposed to be. 

5.19.2014

oh the cheese

today's theme song.

because i know what it is to be loved even on my bad days. because sometimes i'm pitching a fit like a three year old, and other times i have legitimate heartache that i try to ignore instead of dealing with, and today is both.

because no matter what day it is, i belong to Christ. & i know it's cheesy overdone (& sometimes horrid theological implications) to make love songs about one's relationship with God...but yet. if all love comes from God. and if the steadiest love of all _is_ the love Jesus has for his people...well. i feel like i can steal this. after all, if God sings over me than He might be declaring i'm still His girl.
oh the cheese.
((covering face in hands))

5.15.2014

homesick but (home)





my thought are as wild as a sea before hurricanes, but much less cohesive. 

i ache for Ukraine. 

so many thoughts & fears for their future. can't believe I won't be going this summer. that's where I belong, how can I stay here when everybody else is? don't i need to go NOW more than ever?! i want to prove my loyalty & love for these fierce beautiful people. but I shouldn't need too. it's not about me. it's about serving & spreading Gospel. God doesn't need me to do that. HFO doesn't need me; I know. but I feel...I need to be there. 
I want to be there.
I want precious stinky orphan hugs. I want to play games that break language barriers. I want to be surrounded in Ukrainian & Russian until even my own voice speaks broken English. I want to see my dear Liliya, hug her & take care of her & talk all night. i want to absorb Nicoli's patience & peace, Jenya's vision, Dana's self-sacrifice, Yulia's energy, Masha's wisdom, Yulia's bravery, Sasha's kindness, Ura's thirst for truth, Serge's passion, Anna's joy, Liliya + Taras' servant hearts & meet their baby. i even miss arguing in two separate languages with Ruslan! 
want to smell sunflowers baking in their fields, relief from the nauseas stench of orphanage kitchens. be surprised at the damp coolness of heat slipping with the sun behind hills. i want to remember how grand a freezing shower feels after 5 days without. I want to taste borscht & marogina & buckwheat & spicy ketchup & sausage-cheese sandwiches at midnight & Квас (but not orphanage mystery meat!) I want to use a sharpie to scarf peanut butter bc it's all i can find in 30 sec & "day 3" has me stealing Jif as comfort to keep from hiding under my bed. I want to hear life stories of children who know more of reality than some adult Americans. i want to keep my mouth shut & observe. to memorize Ukrainian words. to be laughed at for my southern american accent when i try to use them in conversation. I want the ridiculous giddiness of blending in on the metro. 

i want to be terrified at the depth of my inadequacy. & energized by the knowledge God--not I--will rescue the downtrodden. & amazed that He works through my brokenness. want to see children who dwell in harshness come into contact with warm loving gentleness. to watch the caution give way to acceptance over a few days. I want to see dark eyes, hopeless on a level I can't fathom lighten with new hope. I want to bring Jesus & have Him fill me with grace & joy--in Ukraine there's a fullness I rarely carry here. I want to be pushed past all my limits & then some. I want to be _s p e n t_ in all capacities. heart-wrenched. fiercely angry at injustice--then filled to overflowing love for sweet stubborn kids on the same day. I want the "alive" ness. the intensity of living, of being; it's fullest when I'm in Ukraine. my heart country

God help me get there again. in your timing. give me vision to train here this summer. shape me for future missions. let it be more to give than receive the next time i stand on ukraine soil. let me be more about others than myself. 

4.06.2014

hope doesn't stop the bleeding, it just makes it non-lethal


"brother, forgive me
we both know I'm the one to blame

when I saw my demons

I knew them well and welcomed them


but I'll come around

someday


father, have mercy

I know that I have gone astray
when I saw my reflection
it was a stranger beneath my face



but I'l come around

someday


when I touch the water

they tell me I could be set free


so I'll come around 
someday"
((the lament of eustace scrubb::oh hello's))

[theme song]




i had feels the first song in church this morning. f i r s t song people?! this is not the girl of 2012. i'm no longer a mentally unstable emotional wreck with no warning. but the back of my throat was tight and my heart was constricting. so caught off guard. i didn't know i was sad. oh geez. hidden hormones apparently, how awkward.

but it wasn't.

outta nowhere my heart was lifting up a lament to her Savior, one her mind had no idea was hiding in its depths. revealing, rather startling. but freeing. i have a reason, now, for heaviness that sometimes falls when i can't sleep. for the way certain scriptures about hope grab at my eyes. for why i have to remind myself i'm not in any sort of even hint of trial, so why do i keep wanting to focus on my "don't give up He's faithful" standbys? why am i so hungry for reassurance that "now" is _not_ forever? now is beautiful:
i love my family.
i'm making progress towards my goals.
i still have a kind-of job, even if all my income goes to gasoline.
i am well loved.
my best friends are still connected to me via technology and the loveliest of letters they send.
nobody relies on me for vital support
no relationship dictates my time or energy, i don't have the stresses and confusion of dating right now.

but.

there are still things to grieve. there are good-byes that haven't fully repaired yet. the grieving of other hearts near and dear to me sometimes breathes out of them, when they don't know i'm paying attention. when they think their mask is on good and tight, but it slips a little. my heart aches for theirs too. i want to make it all better. i want to be part of the healing. i want to put my hands on the crimson pouring out of their hearts; stop it, to absorb all their pain. but i can't, my own hands are shaking too much. 
and that's ok. it's ok that my heart loves fiercely. it's ok that death slices to the very center of me. it's possible to have hope--to be grateful and rejoice in Jesus' defeat of death for the future--and still bear the emotional blow with a physical pain. the kind that leaves my sternum feeling as bruised as it did after a car accident. there is no shame if i take a long time to mend the fabric of my soul when it is rent. after all, these threads had been being knit together twenty-five years. 

God does not despise me for hurting. He understands temporary bereavement looks a lot bigger to those who have never tasted eternity. He is gracious. and healing. and if He works slow, why should i try to rush?

4.03.2014

Finian the plant. (i'm picking up the habits of an elderly woman at 25)

this is Finian. aka the shamrock plant i came home to one day after school, the week before st patrick i think. mum knows how obsessed i am with all things Irish. (also how i secretly want to be a gardener, because i like dirt and color and fresh air and hard work) i named him because he's lived somehow for almost a month now. i thought an irish name was fitting, yeah? it brings me a smallish smile in my heart to see greenery and life in my bedroom every day. its a reminder that i'm still growing. that God is still in the business of planting, watering, feeding, renewing souls.
it's also a spark of distracting thought trains that never reach a logical conclusion. sometimes i get lost in thinking about aerobic respiration and what's going on in the miniscule cells of that little plant; not unlike (yet so different) what's going in on my own miniscule cells. but i have God's breath of life that creates (soul). pretty much the biggest difference in the definition of "life". then there's the whole "what about the mind and human cognition as opposed to animal's cognition" & wisps of mostly-forgotten philosophy from Kant, Bavinck, Kierkegaard getting confused in my mind...anyway. where was i?

today, life is beautiful because of:

*Finian.

 *how the sunlight plays in and out of the bush i should trim back from my window. it flirts with the handmade curtains, turning cream to gold. i picked the fabric because it reminds me of a bazaar in some exotic country, Turkey or Morocco. not that i've ever seen one. but i've been picturing it since dad brought me a wooden camel from Morocco, the year my first little brother learned to walk. maybe i was 5, or 6.

now i'm rambling...sometimes i think if i can write ramblish about what i see it will kick-start the writing that needs to happen about things i can't. not sure creative introspective writing leads into argumentative essays on hippotherapy though...

 *Ludovico Einaudi. i'm obsessed. this Italian piano composer's songs are just...full. there's a depth and richness in them. some of his songs evoke specific scenes in my head, stories written in the melodies and notes. takes my imagination to fantastic places. some day, i want to write a short story inspired by some of his songs. thank God for the gift of talented musicians.

 *three more weeks of school. i can make it. i have to make it. only one more killer paper and Comp I is over F O R E V E R

 *awareness of human trafficking is growing. but it's not just becoming fad to 'support' the cause. there are more people dedicating their lives to the fight. more people following Wilberforce's footsteps. more of an outcry being raised, the beginnings of real change perhaps? it'll be a long, hard, mundane, exhausting fight. but perhaps our generation will pass on enough headway for the next to deal the death blow. as much as that is possible, at least.


i think my brain is stuck on "spastic shuffle"!!

3.15.2014

thursday beautiful


first time for everything: I skipped two of my three classes Thursday. the first was an accident of sleeping through my alarm. this led to a spontaneous beach trip with my best friend & her bf who are down from va. it's probably why I got so many concepts messed up on my A&P II exam. but guess what?

I'm so ok with that. 

I needed time with my best friend since age 5. she who truly deeply  _knows_ me. there are so few who do physically present in my life these days.

I needed blue expanses. their space for my eyes. needed the wildness of a cold violent sea. needed the salty air in its March state of continual frenzy, stinging my skin with sand and somehow scrubbing my soul as well. 



thank you Jesus for the ocean, for 20 year friendships, for personal freedom, for mental health breaks. 

3.06.2014

knots



rained all day. drizzling damp or fierce drenching, water fell from the sky like a proper Irish thursday. I made soda bread, as if the rubbing & kneading of the dough could smooth out my tightness.

but knots of the soul are not so easily released. 

should have, could have, why-didn't-I's, & only-if-I-had's dance around the edge of my consciousness. I can't let them in. I'm already as tense as a rubber band stretched much too tight. snappish & harsh to the unfortunate innocents who bump into me. it's not that i'm angry. don't mean to lash out but this knotted-ness from deep down spills forth. tense heart leads to tense tone, tense body & a person miserable. can't say why exactly. don't really want to know why or i would've sorted it out already. 

g r a c e.

allows me to slam the door on regrets & if-onlys. says its never too late to start fresh. even if there's 45 minutes left in a day. maybe that can't be redeemed, words & deeds can't be undone. but my heart can be renewed. my mind can be restored. tomorrow can be free. tomorrow is a new day; yet mercies are new _right now_ if i only ask for them. grace says let go. lay it down, release.

sweet grace.

2.26.2014

always near


"...for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." (deut 31.6b)

i feel like an orphan so often. i don't even realize it, how i live as if i'm on my own. but i'm adopted. yours. and when you took me into your family, my adoption papers came with pages of promises. i am firmly grafted into all the benefits of the children of God. the promise made to Joshua if he would follow you? same for me.

"I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken." (ps 37.25)
"For the Lord will not forsake His people; He will not abandon His heritage..." (ps 94.14)
"the Lord is gracious and merciful...He remembers His covenant forever." (ps 111.4b-5a)

i am not abandoned. i am not forsaken, not left alone, not forgotten. Christ was forsaken on my behalf. the day He bore all my sins and wrath; was the same day He made separation from God impossible. i cannot see, i cannot feel. the tangible closeness fades away and i assume i am left. alone.
no child.
always near. He_ is_ always_ | near |. even now. lingering, waiting. loving me fiercely. protecting me from dangers i never even know to fear. preventing me from self-destruction.

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (mat 28.20)
"I give them eternal life...and no one will snatch them out of my hand." (john 10.28)
"for He has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you' . So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?' " (heb 13.5-60

promises, love. rock_solid_promises. whisper them into the darkness. it is not empty. don't forget My words, child; I keep my promises. I have never and will never leave you.

"Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God himself will dwell with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more..." revelation 21:3-4a

2.19.2014

i see fire


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooiwXyo4N9s 

oh my dear Ukraine. my heart is breaking as Kyev burns. i know Independence Square well, I've walked those streets and sat on the curb exhausted with coffee from Coffee House in my hand. I've been in St Michael's. how i love this country... if i had any medical training i would be on a plane to Kyev now. literally,  i'd be on my way: here .

i'm ashamed at the way our government has let others maneuver the political field in this situation, how we have not made any counter offers or helped negotiations move toward the people being heard. i never thought i would see the day when we only cared for a "democracy" of name only, when it was in our own interests. how can we the free not help those who know what it's like to live oppressed? God forgive us.

this is my theme song today, shared with me by a good friend who loves Ukraine as well. (i see fire by ed sheeran)

2.12.2014

#789-799

photo by beks. abi me & lizzy, Cape Canaveral, 2013

life is beautiful:

chocolate almond milk + leftover coffee + ice = healthier motivator

roof over my head on this cold & rainy night

my bed that i don't see much of (complaining about having only 1 set of sheets & how hard that makes it to wash em when i realized one of my friends is sleeping on her floor bc she can't afford a bed.)

spotify

so many gifted musicians who appreciate beauty & depth, who combine courage & vulnerability and write themselves into music-lyrics. my life is so much richer by good honest music.

skype & viber & imessage & VK. which make thousands of miles bearable

Jesus delights in me _period_ even when i don't feel worth delighting in, even when i'm not acting very delightful

my friends seriously rock the world. literally.

i'm 25 and i still get to live with my famjam.  which is often a source of whining and shame for me, but it shouldn't be. i love them. i want to treasure this time so badly & make memories & really love them selflessly and say screw how others judge me. i won't be here for the majority of my life (probably) because

i still have most of my life ahead of me (God willing)

wow. beautiful thought! i have time. time to grow & learn & mature

A & P II is the best. class. ever. even if i just failed the first exam.

2.10.2014

pray for Ukraine

Kiev from a hill above Independence Square, taken in 2012
I found this article from an Israeli paper to give refreshing a non-american, non-bbc (read: not afraid to take a strong stand on the side of an argument) view on the protests in Kiev.

You can find it here:   http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.573142


i want to DO something for my heart country, but i cannot. i'm powerless. all i can do is pray pray pray and talk to my friends in Kiev. please join me in praying for their safety.  also pray for this resilient nation that has already suffered oppression and violence under other nations for longer than we as Americans can fathom. pray for peace, pray that democracy will win, pray against civil war and against Ukraine becoming a pawn on the stage of international politics.



2.05.2014

_s p a c e


i'm fascinated by space. it terrifies me. but i always wanted to experience it
at least once. it's constant, logical, beautiful. vaster and deeper than i can fathom. a burning stillness.

tonight it's comforting (not "comfort" for when one is sad, more like cozy & enjoyable to dwell on). stars & galaxies & planets all spinning through the still ink of our universe...

constant. yet always changing. stars die, things shift & alter, planet systems break down. | yet | not one.single.atom fails to an extant that would disrupt the fragile balance of earth. our solar system remains stable. it is continually being upheld by Christ. no matter what happens in my small world, the "real" world is safe. Jesus maintains the world of matter with all its laws & orderly mathematic precision so it can remain unshaken. steady. 
hearts and minds falter. nations fail. moments of felt (or actual) weakness is a sure common experience across the entirety of humanity. past present future. every person who ever lived has failed. but the universe has not {yet}. it keeps rotating around the sun. the stars cross the sky. the moon created the tides. all because Jesus never has & never will fail. Christ's words will NEVER fail to sustain. 

even when the solid scientific world finally does. at the end of all time as we know it, when the earth shows it's frailty at last...all will collapse. but Christ will remain. His power will bring about the dawning of a new time. 

Life is beautiful because Jesus is solid, steady, stable. the Sustainer of all life who also happens to be Holy, Just, Good, Mighty, Gracious, truly Loving like none other. 

[sing praises to your King, oh my soul! how can you be troubled in light of His majesty?]

1.28.2014

different kinds of lovely


I had a realization while in Wyoming. i saw my heart in the land, and it gave fresh perspective. My writing skills are rusty as hey. but i'ma try to write it down at least for myself. it's been a few weeks, & I need to remember. 

the day before the funeral was freezing--literally, around 17f-- but I needed physical space to work my mental knots out. so Nate & I went for a walk in my aunt & uncle's neighborhood. it's the kind you'd expect to find on a prairie outside Cheyenne, Wyoming. no streetlights. no sidewalks. long driveways. acres of land between houses, usually with a barn & or round pens. the street signs seem out of place. as if the houses are there by permission of the prairie, but the street signs are intrusive. the land can be inhabited; but street signs bring a sense of taming & ownership that can never be truly believed. the prairie is not tame-able. that tangent probably doesn't make sense to anybody but me (which is why I'm not a writer). the point is, the land feels like an entity out there. real & vast & alive. fairly recent snowfall drifted about (everything in Wyoming is windswept within 15 minutes). 

{{I should probably add the disclaimer that I was there for my nana's funeral & therefore my emotions were heightened. it was very much a farewell, end of an era. & the start of the year. also I have a romanticization problem with the prairie...I even crave it at times.}}

there we were. I was trying to mentally let go, say my goodbyes to nana *before* the service so i wouldn't be an emotional wreck in front of people. that was a level my heart wasn't willing to get on. & I finally have up. & just...looked. enjoyed my brother's adventurousness. & breathed. I was simply ___there___. in the midst of this barren landscape. with wind stinging our faces & everything dead & looking as if it might always be. but there was delight of real snow & cold & vastness for our eyes...


the beauty of it surprised me. how barren a real winter looks! the wildness of the prairie in winter is empty, savage, lonely. its fascinating & intimidating. it feels feral, even with snow. but there's a loveliness. 

it just hit me. even a frozen wasteland has a lovely all it's own. so does mine. my own wilderness of spirit or whatever it might be, this seeming void that I just want to fast-forward my life through has a lovely to it. I've just given up. I haven't been looking so I haven't seen. My perspective has died. its like "wake me up when I feel again" "or things actually have a purpose" "or something that doesn't require faith to be seen as good happens". 
but God has beauty for me here. there's an expectation of change. there's wild & empty & barren; & the cold is a little frightening. it doesn't shout "full of possibility!" like a landscape. but it still is. there are delights I can't taste in other seasons of abundance & easy joy. {probably}
anyway. that's really all it was. the desert is lovely. or can be, if I'll let myself accept it & see it as such.