Tuesday, July 9, 2013

posting over here now...come take a look and follow along. xx

100 miles.

Friday, June 28, 2013

ran 4 miles today
and hit
100 miles
since april.


I'm so so so excited / happy / can't-stop-smiling / sweaty (well, yeah) / sore / glad.

the stats:
12 miles in april
38 in may
50 in june

personal records:
fastest average pace - 8:45/mi
longest duration - 40:13 (consecutively. sometimes I got for another run a day ;))
most miles ran in a day - 5

when I started running, I could barely run 2 minutes straight. seriously.
I was huffing. and puffing. but I wasn't the little engine that could.
more like, I was barely able to breathe and my lungs were aching and my legs alternated between jello and bricks that threatened to melt or fall off.
and I really really really wanted to quit.

but slowly.
and surely.
and most definitely slowly.
let me emphasize slowly.
I started to get better.
I started to push myself (and not die in the process)
and my body started listening to me
and I could breathe again (sorta)
and I hit mini milestones and thought,
"hey, I can do this."

and I still have a long way to go.
I'm not training for any marathons and don't see any in the future.
I love running for the sake that it makes me strong.
my goal is to be fit and strong and healthy.
not necessarily a marathoner. ;)
I like short runs and quick runs and under 5 miles a day.
especially since my knees / ankles are so messed up from ballet, that's what I feel comfortable sticking with.

that doesn't mean that I won't someday go crazy and run 26.2 miles consecutively.
because I might!

but I like short runs.
I like 3-4 miles a day.
I like running 15-20 miles a week.
and that's what works for me.

so I'm focusing on endurance. building up to 4 miles straight
(right now I run for three, walk for 2 1/2 minutes, and run the rest of the way),
and a 5 mile run at least once a week.
I'm excited to set new goals and keep pushing forward.

but right now...
I'm happy. and content. and proud of myself.
because hey jack (in my best uncle si voice),
I ran 100 miles.
and that's pretty exciting. :)

we are surprised ;

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

we are surprised ; by
by and by, joy seeps in our

we are surprised ; honey
trails on the counter
rivers for ants. we are

surprised ; there
is no question leaving
doesn't press into our

day wears the
questions: on, in, around,
(eyes) my we

are cracked ; there is
room, by and by, rivers and lakes,
for light.

scurry along, home to
where the ;
questions aren't for

don't demand
a word)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

You tell me

you count your freckles

so do I

your favorite smells is grass after rain

mine too

you can't bear to write in books

same here

you don't stop missing people

we are the same

you only drink coffee black

pass me a cup

your dream home is here.


/// wild mulberry.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'm eating strawberries like candy and my mornings consist of drinking the rain up in swallows of sky and sometimes think I have stars in my lungs, flowers growing in the spaces between my fingers and all this to say, do you miss me? Everything I touch is stained pink and smells like raspberries in the summer, and everything I breathe tastes like walking into Home Depot, with the wood growing old and damp and musty in shavings swept in scattered piles on the floor. I used to walk into the store and flip through the catalogues of color like each shade was a hue I could name, and I wanted to buy the paint swatches for not only the colors, but the name. I dreamt of taping them to my walls and waking up to a kaleidoscope of onomatopoeias, colors shifting slowly from deepest of blues to the softest of peaches, made up of words like winter surf, manhattan mist, wild mulberry. On the right side of my bed, I would plaster a whole sheet of yellows for days when the rain was my only rhythm, and next to the window I'd tape a sample called pollen grain, and I swear I'd be able to taste the sticky dust of it like I had blossoms scattered on the floor. Do you know that there's a color sample called Star Dust and it's the softest yellow, like an Easter egg dipped too briefly to be more than an echo? I imagine walking hand in hand to show you my walls and when you opened your eyes, you would laugh.

You are the color of Irish Mist and you smell like dried salt from the sea and I painted a picture in shades of grey and green like the cold coast, just for you, and everyone who sees it asks why the sea is butter yellow, not blue. I tell them that there are different colors for missing people and lately, everything is shot through with gold and it seeps and trickles into all that I do and what I want to say is,

I still hate the rain (and I love you).


"There is still something to be said for painting portraits of the people we have loved, for trying to express those moments that seem so inexpressibly beautiful, the ones that change us and deepen us." — Anne Lamott - Bird by Bird

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"The point is the Lord has called us to a lifestyle, it's not a lifestyle simply for the sake of successful ministry, so that we can see miracles. That's part of it, but that's a the fruit of what we are being summoned for. We are being summoned because we are people made in His image, who represent an aspect of His nature, that unless it is expressed in the earth, there is an aspect of God's person that people will never see. And you and I each carry uniqueness in design and person and gifting.

We've been stating a lot lately that when a person discovers who God designed them to be, they would never want to be anyone else. There's another layer to that. When a person discovers who God designed them to be, truly sees it, they will never compromise their life for inferior things. Because the significance of God's design is so great that everything else pales in life by comparison, everything else is simply counterfeit.

And so the Lord is summoning us into, first of all, a quest, the quest for more. The quest that sometimes wakes up in the night, that quest, the cry where we say, "Lord, we want you to do something deeper in us." And we learn to live in that place of abiding presence." - Bill Johnson

Wrecked tonight.

louder yes.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"If somebody is walking in greater authority and power in Jesus than you, it’s not because they’re more annointed than you, it’s not because God loves them more than you… it’s because their yes is louder than yours." — Reinhard Bonnke

the peace of wild things.

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

Monday, May 27, 2013

instructions for living a life.
pay attention.
be astonished.
tell about it.
- mary oliver

this is what you shall do.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"This is what you shall do;
Love the earth and sun and the animals,
despise riches, give alms to every one that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others,
hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families,
read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life,
re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book,
dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency
not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between
the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."
― Walt Whitman


for you I wish.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

for you I wish
cups of coffee clinking
weekly maybe daily, but only
with a friend.
type that understands
your reasons for
refusing sugar, refusing cream, drinking

for you I wish
days when the marrow
of life sprouts flowers,
little green things that
insist on growing.
smelling wet under gray
skies split at the

for you I wish
slowness, the ability to sit
watching birds, sunsets,
the lulling strands of
conversation. promises of stillness on
warm spring evenings,
your soul leaps, fits breathes, over
what is

hannah nicole

just life and stuff.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

a few bits and pieces...
+ last week, I went to Maryland to visit ellie & go to kristen's storytime workshop. some of the best eight days ever. more (so much more) later.
+ I launched my new website & blog! eek eek eek EEEEEEEK. been on my heart for such a long time. so bittersweet to say goodbye to aspire / hannah nicole, my original blog, finally, but good to have a new beginning and I'll say it and be cliche, a new chapter. letting go and learning it's a good thing.
+ that being said, excited to have this little space for personal stuff. having clearly defined professional & personal blogs is already so good for me.
+ I almost stopped blogging but just couldn't give up this place and small space. blogging for me is going to look differently for a bit and again, I'm learning that's okay. I'm not a blogger but I am a storyteller and artist and photographer and writer who has a blog, so I'm not going to try to fit myself into what a blogger "should" look like or "should" do. I'm content with who I am and realizing that while I love it, blogging is not as big a part of my life anymore and it's a bittersweet but good realization.
+ the 85mm has replaced the 35mm in my bag and I am so okay with that.
+ also, thinking of summer projects and I keep coming back to writing and I'm trying to figure out what that means / what I'd like to do, but a book has been on my heart (okay, I have a lot of things on my heart) and I don't know if that would happen or what that would mean but it's something I'm thinking about. (that being said...well...there's a lot that I've been dreaming about lately)
+ I bought a curling wand and it's pretty much the best thing to happen to me since black coffee.
+ I had an incredible engagement shoot last night with two of the sweetest / funniest / down-right-wonderful people ever and it was just incredible for my soul. deep down in my bones, know that this is where I'm supposed to be and I am so grateful.
+ it's sunny and warm and beautiful outside and my heart is about to burst.
have a rich & wonderful Sunday!
xo h

Monday, April 22, 2013

I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking.
C.S. Lewis


I bought plum blossoms
more for the name
than for the color;
I buy lipstick that way, too.
In other words,
if it sounds like a poem,
I’ll take it.
— Dorothea Grossman, “Untitled”


Sunday, April 21, 2013

you stand in the middle of the kitchen
because your mother said it was easier,
said it was lighter without the weight of
a braid thick as the bread your
grandma used to knead back and forth
on her wooden table. your grandpa
made that table when your mother
still ran around in long
hair tangled with weeds she still
believed were flowers. there
were five chairs then, she tells you they
were crooked.
misshapen like the scar on your arm
from falling off the willow the
seventh summer you lived. the branches
pulled the sky to the earth,
dirt cracked your wrist, but
you were lucky. you were lucky,
your daddy said
to only have the breath stolen from
your lungs for a moment. that
moment of grasping for
air never left you, still, and
stand in the middle of the kitchen
crying as, in one snip, the past your
waist strands of your hair swish.
near your bare feet and she's wrong
it's not
you finger the sudden cut and peek
in the chipped mirror, you look older.
and now
it's too late to pretend you won't
ever grow up, too
late to still call dandelions

if there were words.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Be Good To You
Be yourself, truthfully
Accept yourself, gratefully
Value yourself, joyfully
Forgive yourself, completely
Treat yourself, generously
Balance yourself, harmoniously
Bless yourself, abundantly
Trust yourself, wholeheartedly
Empower yourself, prayerfully
Give yourself, enthusiastically
Express yourself, radiantly
-Tracey Steffy

learning to do just that.

photo from last summer by the always talented and ever dear & lovely allix.

coffee shop.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I am alone but not lonely. tell me,
how can i be? i am a part
of the passing glances of strangers, grabbing
coffee cups in four sizes for fifty eight
kinds of heartbreak, (number three:
a sun setting suddenly on familiar
red wind fields come autumn, the
same, every year, the difference, every year.
number eighteen and a half: the first laugh of your baby,
the last word before a goodbye. inexplicably
intertwined with how your face feels creases)
every hello, i manage to slip
my hand into, i find a way to whisper
my name into lapses of conversation, if
only to say, "I am
the door opens and closes for people,
friends, lovers, strangers, all
saying good day, and i am somewhere
no where, now here, a part
of the dust in the air from
boots treading dirty roads, a single
fluttering breath in these
minute exchanges meaning
everything and yet nothing at once.
this, you spill accidentally, not unlike,
the stains leaving rings in your journal,
still bitter when the smell leaves your
fingers. i stay long
after the doors have shut, and always
choose the oldest leather chair
to unravel my worries into, spilling
them alongside sips of
a lattee foamed with milk. is
there anything lovelier? my name is written
in sharpie on the side. i read between
the lines of every letter and write
a poem for each barista that
scribbles the h in my name with a swoop,
for the ones who scrawl the letters tightly,
a love song. there are white pages
before me bound in the third journal
i've used in two years. look, do you see the
blue sky, washed clean after rain?
outside. if you wait, it will ring gold and
how can i (you) be lonely, when you
sit next to a window?

justified freely.

Friday, April 12, 2013

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." - Romans 3:23-24

He gives freely that which we could never earn nor deserve.
Not because we are good or righteous in and of ourselves.
But because He is good and righteous -- and we are His.


an empty net.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

when you're seven you
spend a week fishing for
crayfish in the harbor.
it's the promise of boiling them
later, in butter that keeps
you lying on the hot wood
of the dock. "I got one!" your
cousins cry and you jump
from your stomach, breaking
the rule of not-running near
the boats just this once, to see.
in bare feet, you're more likely to catch
splinters than your net a
swimmer, but you keep scooping
the mesh in and out of the
murky water. the day slips
past, darting from the sun's travel
like the minnows hiding in
the shadows and you spend half
of it trying to avoid tripping
the rest of the cabiners. they go out to
catch a fish perpetually growing
from spinning lines, a story
more tangled than the poles sitting
on the side of grandma's cabin.
when you're seven you eat crayfish with
your fingers and collect
freckles like lucky stones from
sprawling in the sun all day, and
promise yourself each summer
will stay the same.

the brothers.

Monday, April 8, 2013

"We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done." - Theodore Roosevelt

listen carefully.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?
or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends?
or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked,
or the hush of a country road at night,
or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak,
or, most beautiful of all,
the moment after the door closes
and you’re alone in the whole house?
each one is different, you know,
and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.
- norton juster


Saturday, April 6, 2013

is there anything
that sits better
on your skin than
the feeling after
a good run?
it's contradictory
to what vogue
says, yes, but
i alway feel
beautiful after
finishing one.

and even now.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

the morning air barely crept from the
dew and i thought, how early it
must be, little did i know what a
secret pleasure to be awake
before the rest of the world decides dreaming
is not enough.

i slipped from my house
and forgot to leave a note,
i forgot to say where i was going,
because when you are young
enough to forget, you are young enough
to not worry about leaving.

we went for a walk,
together and i was happy, maybe
more so than i can remember.
one foot in front of the
other, and deep breaths in summer
woods, my grandparents and

once, i drank ginger ale
and i accidentally sliced my finger on the tab,
it was just a small cut barely worth
mentioning, but
i cried as my grandma and
aunt and i, crammed into
the bathroom to get the antiseptics
and i cried as they dabbed
it on my finger.

it shouldn't have happened
but that does little to change
things, besides, i was a big girl,
even then.

now i find myself
watching the sunset and watching the sunrise
almost simultaneously.
now i find myself crying
over spilled milk more than
i should and do you know,
i can't drink
ginger ale without tasting the
sky from that afternoon.

i remember the trees
spread their green canopy
blocking out the sky and my
feet were dirty from running
barefoot all summer.

and even now,
i still love
long walks by myself more
than i should.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth." - Ephesians 1:7 MSG

He is risen indeed.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Still and quiet.
Taking the weekend off social media to reflect, to be present, and to be intentional and purposeful -- to embrace and enjoy life, without my phone in hand or laptop on the table.
Celebrating Easter with my family -- celebrating that He is risen!
(My God is not dead, He's surely alive!)
Happy early Easter to all of you. :)


if a photo is worth 1000 words : story 4

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

She is quiet and breathes in.

in out in out in out

The rhythm is a pendulum in her brain, always the ticking pounding sound of beats cascading into melodies. One two three tendu is not so different than arabesque penchée five six seven eight. Sometimes, she sees the world in steps and terms. The skyscraper is en pointe, that tree is a brise, the movement in the park, simply the chords. It's only the sky that never fits her catalogue of terms. Perhaps, it is the music or perhaps it is the crowd or maybe it doesn't matter.

She shakes off the thought and slowly pulls pins from her bun, closing her eyes as her hair crinkles, sweaty and dry from the tight formation. It settles in a cloud of frizz and split ends around her shoulders and she pulls it back loosely into a pony tail, settling for something, anything, to keep it from her face. White chalk is her skin, blue eyes like the sky she can never settle on. Staring at her reflection in the dimly lit mirror in the near empty dressing room, she gets the impression that they are all china dolls.

Pink cheeks washed off from makeup and brought on by the stage, the group of dancers dwindle until it is only her sitting under the fluorescent lights, gently rubbing off the character she played that night. First go the eyelashes, gently tugged from her lids. The glue sticks and she places the false lashes back in their case carefully. Next, she wipes the color from her lips, and slowly massages the shades and black from her eyes. Finally, she washes her face, vigorously, until her cheeks are flushed from scrubbing and her skin taut, but there is no hint of the performance save the dull throbbing in her muscles. When the makeup is gone, she is almost unrecognizable and she wonders if her mother would remember the daughter she kissed the night she sent her off.

It is an honor, she said, squeezing her daughter tight and brushing her hair from her face.

It always is.

She picks up her bag, sweaty from discarded tights and heavy with half broken pointe shoes and makeup, and slings it over her thin shoulders. Summer is warm in the city but there is always a chill at night, a nip in the air that whispers of loneliness. The subway is almost empty and she stares out the window at the darkening city. It is never completely black, there is always the glow of a streetlight or the warm yellow candle of a window lit by friends.

So it is with life.

She checks the station and, yes, a moment of impulse, gets off. Central Park can be dangerous at night but she is drunk on youth and strong with being on her own and outside, the sun still chases the moon. There is a crowd of people walking through the park, a trail of voices dispersing into their own little lives and she slowly slips though the crowd, floating on the heavy air of summertime like only a dancer could. A little girl points at her bag and her mother hushes her.

She walks to the edge, walks out of the park, back into the swallowing green light of the Subway station, back into the quiet that makes up tired people hurrying home. A man snores next to her and across from her, a woman turns the pages of the book she is reading loudly, peering with furrowed brow at the wrinkled words. She smiles. If I had my pencils...But no. She has no pencils anymore. Only a cramped apartment and broken shanks from shoes made to break feet.

And that's how it is.

The light is waning, waxing, and the sun just beginning to fade into the blue light between night and day when she hurries out of the subway and into the air smelling like movement. Over there, the lopsided flag twirling in the brief gusts of wind, a fouette. The line of steps leading upwards, a développé. She hurries on.

The railing leads into the sea, or so it seems, and she leans against it, breathing in the salt that smells like home. It is near dusk and still, it feels like dawn, feels like the beginning of another day, because the city never sleeps and as a dancer, she is awake for all of it. She wakes with the hurried bustle in the morning, the roasted smell of nuts and coffee and the shouts of yellow cars. She wakes with the streams of light trailing in the ever moving streets, the flickering of restaurants and the shouts of conversation under a moonlight sky.

The water pulls against the stone and she drops her bag, sinks to the ground, pulls a broken pair of shoes from their ribbons. Mostly, the people ignore her. As she wants them to. She zips up her bag, carefully.

Not for pay.

The city falls asleep and the city wakes up and she lifts into an arabesque, eyes closed, breathing hard. There is stone underneath and a slate grey sky above and if she tries hard enough, the taste of rain in the air. A tremble in her ankle and she opens her eyes, sees a snap of a taxi door shut, and she plies into an entrechat. Another. Then a glissade, pas jeté, grande jate, again and again.

It's only after she unlaces her shoes and slips her bruised feet from their ribbons that she realizes she is crying. And even more than that, she falls asleep that night to the hum of her radiator and an open window and her last thought is,

I am happy.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good." - Romans 8:28 MSG

I know who Goes before me.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side."

— Whom Shall I Fear, Chris Tomlin.
sang this in Church tonight.

the roof resounded and the room rang and the Holy Spirit moved.

to be able to help lead worship is such a blessing.
Praise Jesus for who He is.
Praise Him for what He has done.
Thanking Him that we can gather with believers to have fellowship and lift up His name.

That's something I take far too lightly. Living in America, it's just what I've known. Grateful to have grown up in a home and family of believers. Grateful to have been able to worship in freedom. Grateful that we can seek His name because of who He is.

He is a friend of mine.
How my heart sings and my whole being rejoices to say that.

we walk into winter's daybreak.

we walk into winter’s daybreak.

and it's these simple things that i will miss
though i hold them close in hands already
forgetting how to let go.
(i’m a conundrum) a riddle caught;
in the joy of the chase and the trap,
the home of a heart steeped too far in nostalgia.

i will not go bitter into the day because of
moments no longer mine.
i will not crouch in fear on my step, for
lack of familiarity. how much longer will
we live in togetherness not really seeing, to
simply be in the understanding of what
we need is

four hundred and forty eight days, i pretend
not to count on my fingers but i am
too slow to hide. please don’t mistake this
for happiness, because i am
tangled tangled tangled in what is to
come. direction is different than destination and
there are roads
and paths
and places in between yet, my head hurts
because i cannot find the roadmarks to home
on any map.

these days are the songs i could
never sing of birds i could never keep and already
autumn has ended. composed of what i will miss
the most, no matter how hard i try,
i can only play broken notes on a piano too
old to stay properly in tune.

it will be the same,
it's easy to say, but a packed suitcase and a
room no longer called my own
put me as a traveler.

in the end,
birds are meant
to leave their nests and spring
does not hide her face forever though
it is changed,
each time.

five things.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

five things.

i. what you don't understand and maybe never will is that i keep chasing these city lights like they'll lead me home, i would say if i craved pavements and a small cranny in a town easy to be swallowed up by. but i don't. i am undone by the snap of apples from trees and dusty backroads, brought to pieces and fragmented by the many ways of morning on fields finding autumn. you need the city, yes, but i need a place far from those black tar roads.

ii. eggs in the morning and bare feet in the grass. tell me i am a symphony that will last longer than the sustained note. sooner or later, the piano will fall mute, but does that make us deaf? you can find me in the daybreak and i will be singing in these plains like they are my own.

iii. let me be your last goodbye and you can be my only hello. i still cry at firsts and i still cry at lasts even though sometimes i can't tell the difference.

iv. in the summer it slowed and we danced. i will write that someday with hands wrinkled by a life of holding close and in my hands i will let go let go let go so that others may hold on. passing down traditions like family heirlooms is more than telling. it takes a lifetime to learn how to let go and not lose it, how to give and keep.

v. and one day, you will understand that this was your life. there will be a knock at the door or the deepest of breaths or one last laugh cry word. i hope you remember each sunrise and i hope that you can name all the colors that were your favorite and i hope there are memories intertwined with each shade. mostly, i hope you will breathe out joy because this world is too heavy and you're going home. (yes)

missing you.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

they talk about missing people as if it's something they only feel, like the scratching and melting of pulling on old sweater, or the hollow shudder winter leaves in your bones. but it's less like only feeling and more like living with an ache that becomes as much a part of you as your fingers or how your eyes disappear when you laugh or the freckles that find your face in the summer.

with features, you can pinpoint each one, and so it is with missing. monday morning and I am missing you, tuesday afternoon and I am missing you, wednesday all day and I am still missing you. you carry the culmination of the moments, in small and simple ways, and in the end it didn't matter if they were good or bad, just that they were and for once, that was enough.

characterized by when : when he played with your hair, when your favorite smell of was lemon and wood, when you listened to the same album seventy times and swore you'd never get tired of it. marked by how : you picked blueberries almost every morning that summer, you biked to the sleepy town with him and skinned your knee, you lived in his sweatshirt smelling like rain. and more often than not, it's by what it's missing : cheap pizza by candlelight, a hand to hold, someone to understand your movie references, a way to say I love you without any words.


just a personal writing piece
(fiction, i may add :)

maybe today.

maybe someday you will stop worrying about having everything in focus and maybe someday you will stop slipping similes behind and between metaphors and maybe someday when someone asks what your favorite color is, you will tell them and know for certain. but that someday doesn't know that you like your coffee black or you sing along to music with no words or you dream of cities you've never been to yet claimed as your own. tell the somedays and maybes and might have beens about today and how the sky is white frost over blue silk. there is a world of snow and a city of people running around with flushed hearts and beating cheeks and there is a murmur under the earth that it's beginning to awake. learn to keep your feet on the ground and your eyes to the sky and remember to keep your eyes clear and your heart full.

today is calling.
let's go.

we were made for so much more.

Friday, March 1, 2013

"We really were made for something so much wilder and ‘real-er’ and more radically extraordinary than entertaining ourselves with movies/TV series, having thin and toned bodies, marrying someone amazing, volunteering in church programs, getting well-paying jobs, building successful businesses, taking fun vacations, being nice people, owning homes, having solid friendships, traveling the world, getting famous, or raising well-behaved children. These are all pleasant things. But we were not made for ‘pleasant.’ we were made for God. He is the One beautiful and consuming Fire that will set our hearts to burn as they were created to burn. We were made to live real and radical and revolutionary lives of purpose, thrill, and absolute freedom. Don’t choose to live 15% alive. The Fiercely tender Love of God is TOO OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD FOR THAT. Jesus is worth your everything. Wake up, oh my soul, to the thrill of Your God - His Love is better than life."
— Emily Timmer

hallelujah cover

Thursday, February 28, 2013

just a work in progress.
rough and only the beginning, but oh.
this song.

just some words.

and when they talked about being born with a word on your tongue, you were the one who came to mind. you must have swallowed stardust from all the nights under the skies and sometimes there is evidence in the way you shatter, piece by piece, when the morning awakes. you have secrets too deep for dawn and a soul too rich for afternoon, when everything is pale blue shadows and pastel like easter eggs dipped too briefly.

tell me about the summer, you say, and I tell you of freckles and a butter yellow sun and the way my hair smells of salt. no. there is a shake of your head and your eyes are melting, freezing, melting in this shifting snow and sun of february. tell me about what it is, not what it has. there is an easiness to you that helps loosen my tongue and I am quick to spill words and spread my cards over the table, carefully, explaining each move. see! this is my hand. somewhere between the story about how I almost fell in the lake and to how I cried flying home last summer, you found the cracks in me I patched haphazardly from cataloguing every sunrise.

is that where home is, you ask, again, and for a minute, I am grateful that you have seen all the raw parts of me and are not afraid. the words find my tongue, it was, but I swallow them. I am content with sunsets and sand on my skin and cheap coffee to keep me driving, white knuckled at two in the morning. one thing you will never learn is that halfway home is no place at all and I cannot trade the blue blue sky stretched tight for the shadows of starlight, no matter how much they shimmer.

gardens and weeds and a garland of grace.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

it's easy to be overwhelmed with joy when your circumstances are ideal.
it's difficult to be overwhelmed with joy when your circumstances are less than ideal, or far from ideal.

this afternoon, like a prodigal daughter, I wrote, "so overwhelmed by God's faithfulness and provision! He cares for the sparrow - such rest and joy for my heart." and yes. it is true. He is faithful. He provides. He cares for the sparrow and much more so for me. That is a constant truth and a never-ending comfort.

yet, as the day went on, those seeds, so carefully planted, were plucked. choked. snatched. somehow, between a headache and ruined plans and sudden expenses and my own selfishness and bitterness. why is it so easy for me to live less out of joy and peace and more out of discontent, hurt, irritation, stress, worry, bitterness? instead of being overwhelmed with joy I become overwhelmed with life. happiness is based on circumstances, joy is deep seated. yet, I chase happiness and seek it like it's the race I was made to run, instead of resting and finding my joy in Him and Him alone.

My heart is so fickle.
Yes, God, I will praise you when life is good.

But what does my heart look like when life seems less so?
It's so much easier for me to think of all that He "hasn't" done instead of reflecting on all that He has. so much easier for me to dwell on a lie rather than meditate on the truth. so much easier for me to be swayed by reality instead of living in His truth.

I need to remember that He is always faithful.
Indeed, His mercy is new every morning and His faithfulness is never-ending.

I'm in a season of learning of His faithfulness. Seeing His work in my heart. It's so fitting that outside, winter is in full force.
Brokenness. Barenness. Stripped of all imprecations, masks, and pretensions.
My heart very much feels like winter.
I am learning of my own brokenness and seeing my own sin.
It's ugly.
I'm learning that there are weeds that I planted. Me.
And it hurts to have to pull them up.
I am a terrible gardener, but I try. I get my hands dirty and tug tug tug at the roots of weeds that go down deep. C. S. Lewis' words from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as he writes about Eustace's transformation from dragon to human by Aslan, sum it up much nicer than I could.
"The very first tear he made was so deep and I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you've ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away."
It's embarrassing and uncomfortable and painful. Seeing my own sinful heart makes me want to pretend that I am all good, all right, I need no grace. The lie is, I don't need grace. The truth is, I don't deserve grace. The reality is…I am given grace.

That alone should never fail to make me weep.
I am underserving and could never achieve it on my own, yet, He gives more grace.
And it is in Him that I find my rest and joy.
Not in circumstances, situations, possessions, achievements, talents, or people.
But at the feet of Jesus alone.
"But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" - James 4:6
I am so proud.
Proud of my own "goodness."
Look! I write about my heart and struggles! I am such a good Christian. I can own up to my mistakes and write about what's on my heart -- that makes me a better disciple, right? I'm brave enough to cry out. So look at how good my heart is!
My heart is so fickle. And yet, it is willing but my flesh is weak.
I am seeing so much brokenness in my own heart. So many things that stem from my sinfulness and the seeds that I planted. By His grace and goodness, I have sowed good things. Joys. Good relationships. New adventures. But I have also planted bad seeds and am reaping them now. Bitterness. Envy. Fear. Entitlement. Pride.

And so, I am in a season of waiting and learning and sowing.
Plucking up the weeds and pulling planting good seeds.
Praise God that with all my failed efforts and messy attempts, it is He who gives the growth.

A garland of grace in a garden of weeds.
I dance barefeet on earth waiting to be sown with good seeds.
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.

a good word.

Monday, February 25, 2013

"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." - 1 John 4:9

make a careful exploration of who you are.

Friday, February 22, 2013

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." - Galations 1:10

I'll be honest. A lot of the time I slip into that scary place of Sunday morning Christianity (or really, Sunday evening because our Church rents a building that another Church owns, so we have Church at night...but that's besides the point). Or the place of Youth-retreat Christianity. Everyone knows that place. Everyone loves that place where your heart's only cry is for Jesus and Jesus alone. But then. Of course. It's hard to live in Sunday morning Christianity when you have to deal with Monday morning reality. Or is it?

I feel like we as Christians have slipped into an apathetic realization of who we are as the body. I'm not trying to generalize more than I ought and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone (or, if I am pointing fingers, I'm speaking about myself). It's as if we've traded core values for piecemail theology that pleases us at the moment -- splicing and dicing the Bible in order to make our own interpretation of it.

I care about the poor...sometimes.
I donate to charities...sometimes.
Someone else will care for the orphans.
I deserve this new ____.
God didn't call me to here (wherever that may be).

Newsflash. Because we're His, we're called.
God didn't say, you will be witnesses, He said, you are.

And when you're something, you can't be just content to be. You have to do. I wish that that was a duh moment for myself, but so often I find myself needing to continually be reminded of that truth. Otherwise it's like calling yourself a photographer and taking no photos, calling yourself a writer and writing no words, calling yourself a musician and playing no piano, etc...and so on. You get my drift. If we call ourselves followers of Christ yet nothing in our lives point to Christ in us, then we're living out half-hearted Christianity at best.

At the heart of my struggles to totally follow Christ, the fear of others opinions is one of the largest stumbling blocks. What will others think of me. What will others say. What if I come across this way? What if I lose friends / followers / business? What if people don't take me seriously? What if I face persecution?

And then. If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Oof. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around it. But are you sure, Lord...? Really, all of it? Can't I just care a little? If I bought this new dress, I'd be trendy! And if I don't post today, then I'll look like a bad blogger. Or, what if I don't network -- what if people don't like me? And silly things like that. I get so wrapped up in this material world around us and caught into the never-ending cycle of trying to please man, even if it's unconscious, that I lose sight of what truly matters and WHO matters more than anything else. Especially in our current culture, where everything is out there and anything can be shared in two seconds, there's an overwhelming pressure to appear to have it all. And what that looks like is different to some people. Maybe it's having it all together. Maybe it's wearing what's trendy. Maybe it's having a lot of business and shooting everyday. Maybe it's traveling to fancy places or eating green or owning half of Anthroplogie for your home.

And I'm not saying those are bad things in and of themselves. But when the need to impress others and to appear like we have it all replace our need for Jesus and our desire to be more like Him, then it's time to step back. If I am still trying to please man, I am not a servant of Christ. Putting it into present tense makes it all the more real.

I do know this. Doing or not doing things because we're afraid of receiving (or not receiving) others approval is only a waste of our time. Not only that, but it quenches our gifts, nudges us away from total abandonment, and keeps us from complete pursuit.

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." - Galatians 6:4-5

Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others.
If I am still trying to impress man.

It hits home.

Right now, no easy way to wrap this post up. It's all a bit messy, and that's okay. Still mulling these things over and wondering about them. Meditating on His words. I'd love to hear what's on your heart.

this was today.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

i love this lens.
so excited to finally add it to my bag.
been praying about it and saving for it and waiting.

i am learning to love waiting. it's so good for my heart.
it's hard in the moment but so good afterwards.
and i love seeing what God does in me during seasons of waiting.

today was a very good day.

things that say a lot about people:

the way in which they treat the waiter/waitress
how they feel about the weather
whether they dog ear pages or highlight in books
and hands in general
their preferred creative outlet
how much they dread/enjoy talking on the phone
whether or not they drink coffee
if they ever forget to eat
how honest they are with themselves (and others)
if they correct your grammar
and whether or not they get nervous before haircuts.

i. i leave notes like pieces of a map to find me at every restaurant i go. hello and thank you and the food was good and perhaps a hastily drawn sketch. i haven't painted in awhile and i was never good at art like my grandpa, but something is better than nothing. in the end, they'll stick somewhere, whether in memory or the bottom of a cup. it's better to be kind. you don't know what the day was like.

ii. can you love the cloudy sky and still adore sun? is there a way to balance the dichotomy of winter's chill and summer's warmth? i am a living breathing opposite and i crave gray skies as much as i need blue, i wait for rainy days and taste wind in my teeth, i go barefoot in the grass and feel snow in my bones.


put down the net.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meditating on this scripture...

"And Simon answering said unto him, 'Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.'" - Luke 5:5

They worked and saw no fruit. all night, trying in vain to do what was what they did for a living and -- nothing. Yet. Nevertheless, Luke said, "at your word, I will lay down the net."

I wonder how many times He has asked me to lay down the net and I have refused. Been afraid. Not trusted Him. Worried. Cried, "it's not possible!" but if I trust Him. Believe Him -- not only that He is who He says He is but that He DOES what He says He does, BECAUSE of who He is -- then that is where true life is and total trust is found. Saying, "Lord, I don't know how, but as you say, so I will do." (I believe, help my unbelief)

I hope and pray to have that sort of faith. A life brimming with joyful expectancy of what He will do and a heart steadfast in the truth that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus. What a joy!

Life may say one thing.
But, I want to listen to Him. What He says.
And not only listen, but do.
Put down the net.

Learning, by His wonderful grace, to do just that, today, and everyday.

at the moment.

this is just to say
that i am the happiest
i have been for a long long long time
life is busy but so blessed
soul chats with dear friends are the best
and God is so unspeakably good (always).

i like today.
and i'm learning to love
tomorrow, too.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself." — C.S. Lewis

mhmmm YES.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

"I love you, God— you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout." - Psalm 18:1-2 MSG

I Like Car

I Like Car from on Vimeo.

"We don't give in order to receive, we give because it's the nature of Jesus Christ."

Wow. This is beautiful.

if a photo is worth 1000 words : story 3

Friday, February 1, 2013

It was her first Thanksgiving alone and she asked everyone to bring a dish. It didn't have to be homemade, though she hoped that somehow the sweet potatoes would taste like her mother's and that a miracle would occur and the turkey skin would crackle saltily like her grandpa's. But that was wishful thinking and she tucked the memories away next to the few letters she kept hidden in her sock drawer. You have to grow up. Her mother had said. She had grabbed her shoulders, made her look her in the face. You hear me? You can't keep pretending that anything will change. Nan, stop making believe, please. Well, she had grown up alright. Grown up just enough for high heels and lipstick so red it had made her grandmother blush. That's what everyone wears now, gramma. She had laughed and added another swipe, peering in the mirror scrubbed clean. Her grandmother had shook her head. Oh, Nan. When did you grow up?

She set the table, smoothing the white cloth thinly over the enormous wooden table she had miraculously managed to fit in her apartment. It was ridiculous in size compared to her kitchen, especially with the extra leaves in, but she needed wood in a city of metal and stone. She placed her plates, vintage look-alikes, carefully in their places. Forks found spots next to spoons and she placed a small name tag in front of each seat. Molly. Peter. James. Georgia. Harrison. Jonathan. Elisa. Carolyn. Isaac. and lastly, Nan.

The timer beeped again and she pulled out a pumpkin pie, hardly daring to look until it sat on the counter. She had whipped the cream earlier and with a satisfied sigh, placed the lopsided pie on the table next to the stuffing she had made. The little space, cramped and crowded and painted that awful cream, looked happy and even festive with the table made up and a string of lights around the room. She hesitated for just a moment, then hurried back into the kitchen. After rummaging through the cabinet, two shakers, a salt and pepper in the shape of pilgrims, found a spot at the center of the table. She would have wanted you to have them, her grandpa had said sadly as they packed up her grandma's things. It had felt bittersweet to take them and somehow in owning them, she knew that her grandma was truly gone. I'll put them out every year. She had kissed his cheek and said goodbye before he could cry.

She stepped back to survey the room and breathed deeply of the beginning scents of the season. Outside, it was snowing, which only reminded her of Thanksgiving Day at her grandparents. She peered out the window, secretly praying for more than a few inches and pulled the shades open wide. This was no time for a room bathed in shadows. Music. She needed music. Was there even Thanksgiving music? Her laptop was still on the counter and while the rolls finished cooking, she searched for a Thanksgiving playlist. It ended up being solely Vince Guaraldi and she wasn't sure if that was a good or bad thing. The timer beeped, again, and the crescent rolls were soon sitting on the near empty table. If her mother could have seen her with boxed rolls, well...

A heavy knock filled the room and she smoothed her skirt, brushed her hair back. She threw open the door and ushered in people with hellos and happy thanksgiving!'s, making the dance between greetings and bringing their plates to the table. Soon, the small apartment smelled like November in the country and the space glowed. The last friends arrived and they all sat down at the table, in a sense reverent at the first Thanksgiving alone. It only felt right to say grace, and even though she didn't know what many of them believed, there was no discomfort at the few words of thanks they each uttered before breathing in the smells of the dinner. Yes, the turkey was a little dry, and maybe the potatoes were from a box, but all together, the food tasted like memories and that enough was home.

What are you thankful for? She asked, in between bites of turkey and cranberries, when she really wanted to ask, What do you miss most about Thanksgiving at home? The group of friends swapped answers and questions across the table and Nan found herself shaking off the melancholy of the morning. Laughter racked her stomach and she passed dishes to the other end of the table, gripping tightly to this small group of friends who had found each other. It was not the same as last year, no, but the quiet of the day was swiftly turning into the bustle of the evening and the room flickered from candles.

More pie? Peter asked, holding her own pumpkin. I really shouldn't...she started, and shook her head, adding a second piece to her plate. Forks littered the plates holding nothing but crumbs and they all lingered at the table, taking a few more bites of pie or sipping a second cup of coffee. Happy Thanksgiving! Carolyn raised her glass of bubbly and they all cheered. The echoes of the sentiment rang in the apartment until January.

What are those? Molly asked, laughing at the funny figurines on the table. Nan smiled and shook her head. Happy Thanksgiving. She cheered again, quieter now.

Outside, it was still snowing.


the only people for me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live,
mad to talk,
mad to be saved,
desirous of everything at the same time,
the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing,
but burn, burn, burn,
like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

- jack kerouac

i have left my heart in so many places.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

i. One, the shores of Lake Superior. I lost it while looking for rocks. It may have fell from my fingers when my feet touched the chill of the water. I know it slipped from my chest and was lost in the sand that is more stone than dirt.

ii. Two, the starlit sky of Bemidji. We swam in the chilly darkness lit only by the weak light from the boat. Our towels were still damp from earlier and so we jumped, again and again, from the side of the boat, into the dark warm waters. My heart found a place in the sky, in that moment of shivery breath before you hit the water, when the stars are all you can taste.

iii. Three, the airport in Texas. It may have been strange, but my hands were full of bags and it was easy to leave behind. My heart is somewhere nestled in the seat on row nine.

iv. Four, somewhere across the midwest. Halfway between Texas and home, I lost my heart in the sky (always) and the quiet of the plane over the earth miles and miles below. I wished for sunset and drank ginger ale and let it slip from my hands when the land became green again.

v. Five, Woodland. Language is never enough for this place. And I wonder, when did I leave my heart there for the first time? Was it running from cabin to cabin the first day? Maybe I let go of a piece of my heart when I reeled in my first fish? Somehow, it's pressed between damp life jackets and sandy flip-flops and waking up to the smell of the lake in my hair and freckles from Woodland sun on my skin. I may have lost my heart all together, or maybe I've been losing it slowly, bit by bit, until coming there, I realized I was home.

vi. Six, Duluth. Like so many memories, the best are moments we recognize as important, even in their momentary seemingly insignificance. I left my heart in the visitor's center and found it on the beaches, the city, the roads between places, and the traditions that forever found a place in my summers. I have never been a tourist in that city in my life.

vii. Seven, my grandpa and grandma Maxson's home. I left my heart there, hook line and sinker, from the first moment I came and I've been finding myself there ever since. (two things I've realized: my story smells like apples and looks an awful lot like lying under blankets in their backyard watching northern lights)

viii. Eight, my grandpa and grandma Martin's home. I played under the tall trees and picked wild boysenberries from the little tree and adventured in the steps leading to their small porch like it was my own. I scattered pieces of my heart on the trail from their door to mine, like Hansel and Gretel, but unlike them, I've always known the road to home.

ix. Nine, Door County. I see the sunset and the rocks we stacked high on the beaches of stone. I skinned my knee in the circular driveway when my grandpa taught me to ride a bike and I stuck close to my dad when we went into the restaurant with goats on the roof. And it has been so long, but the thing with leaving is that you always know where to go back to be found.

x. Ten, California. It was in the long stretches of beach and the tide pools we dug out of the sand. We laid in the hollowed holes and let the water wash into them, along with gifts from the ocean, and I left some of my heart there in return. I couldn't help loving it. It's hard not to, spending days with feet sandy from the beach and hair salty from the sea.

xi. Eleven, Colorado. I lost my heart in the trees that pulled the sky to earth and the walls of rock leading into Denver. I sat up from my pillow and road trip sleep and marveled at a place where the tips of the world touched another.

xii. Twelve, New Zealand. My heart is so firmly cemented in a place I have yet to put my handprint. Sometimes we look for places but other times, they find us.

xiii. Thirteen, Minnesota. Growing up in places thick with green and deep with snow. There is no way I cannot love this place, cannot call it my home. I left my heart here in the beginning and am just now remembering why.

// seek Him.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Don’t pray that God would teach you how to love like He loves; pray that He would fill you with Himself and that He would love in and through you. Don’t pray that He would teach you to have joy; pray that the living God full of joy would enter into you. Don’t pray that He would teach you how to be peaceful; ask for the God of peace, the Prince of peace to infill you. Because if you try to imitate in your own strength, you will be a miserable replica. But if you allow the impartation of Jesus Christ to overtake you, suddenly it all works because it is Him imitating Himself, and He is very good at being God." — Eric Ludy

a quiet yes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. - James 4:10 MSG

if a photo is worth 1000 words : story 2

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Source: via Hannah on Pinterest

The man's hands were wrinkled and white under the leathery veins crisscrossing his knuckles. His bones creaked and the wrinkles in his face lay heavy, sagging in lines etched from his temples. He was the kind of person to have been born with a secret that it took an entire lifetime to understand. He woke early, before the sun flushed pale yellow flowers on the land, before the fishermen arose to head to the deep, before the peddlers gathered their wares for the market. He liked it that way. There was a kind of quiet you couldn't find unless you stole it from the first snatches of day, when all that was noise was the small gasps of breathing, in and out, in and out. If he was lucky, he arose before the birds. That was when all was truly right, when he watched the world turn and the stars shatter on the horizon embarrassed that it was yet again light.

He knew intrinsically when to wake up. It was not an alarm except for the one in his head. It woke him every morning, half past four, and he slowly pulled himself out of the rickety bed he shared with his wife. She never complained of his snoring, though he knew he kept her up at night because she worried about his breathing. I'm an old man. He would laugh in protest, but his chuckle broke into a cough that ached in his lungs all day. Her eyes were sad. Yes, and I want you to stay that way. She rustled in the thin sheets and he smiled sadly at the outline of her sleeping form. He could not look at her without some pain, because in her, he saw his own inadequacy, his own failure to provide.

The night before, they had sat at the little cheap cafe on the corner until late into the evening. The air was chilly and she breathed in deep of the smell of earth crumbling in preparation for winter. I'm sorry, he had said. She asked what for and he tried to find a way to say, because I was a failure. because I couldn't provide. because no matter how I tried, I wasn't who you saw I could be. But his tongue stuck in his throat and he only managed to cough, brusquely in shame, that I couldn't give you more.

Nonsense. She said, patting his cheek fondly. We have lived a good life.

Yes, but it could have been a great one. He spoke in the twilight, aware that the very world around him seemed to be listening to the hum of conversations flitting from table to table. It was the sort of night that demanded fireflies, but the only bugs around he swatted as they settled onto his sagging arms. Mosquitoes he spat, if only to say something to bring light away from his words, still glowing as they sat on the table between him. Somehow, she understood.

Soon it will be winter. Her words settled softly.

Now it was morning and as he crept from their bedroom, through the kitchen (taking care to not step on the knitting needles she had left on the floor), and opened the door to the creaky balcony overlooking the river, he recalled her words. With the bitterness and nostalgia that grows thick from old age, he thought back to all that wasn't said and nursed his heartache. It was a different sort of pain than what he had felt when he stubbed his toe, or when the last of their garden died, or when they lost their first child. All pain was different and some he felt hard in his lungs, some in streaks of pain in his heart, others behind his eyes, so white and sharp he thought he would go blind.

This pain though, this pain was all the more fierce and lasting, a dull ache in his bones that persisted despite the ointments doctors prescribed him or the medicines they gave him to ease the throbbing. Death was out of his control, yet his his life was in his own hands and he had failed to do what he had wanted to do. They had been happy, yes. He had worked his fingers to the bone and they had spent nights dreaming of what was to come. There had been joy and there had been pain, but that was not unexpected. All life is filled with the dizzying dance between tears and laughter, feet being careful not to spin into complacency or bitterness. But he reflected in the morning, what more could it have been?

If only. He whispered to the air, bitter in his throat. The sun was just beginning to leak across the horizon, spilling upwards as if in defiance of the laws of nature. He rocked back and forth on a chair his grandfather had made, barely held together by frequent patch up jobs. It groaned under his strain, though he was slight, and he leaned forward, his elbows digging into his bony knees and his protruding chin held in his shaking hands.

He sat there until dawn finally broke over the land, watched the spreading light across the city, crammed and crowded yet home. His legs were numb from the cold and he felt as if his fingers would fall off, but the beauty of the quiet morning and the thrill of being awake before anyone else was one of the joys he treasured. There was a creak and the scrape of wood on wood and he turned to find the door open and his wife standing on the small, metal balcony beside him. Breakfast? She asked and her voice was a smile that could never stay sad. All melancholy was wiped from his mind and he stood, gripping the railing to steady the tremors that came with old age. He beamed at her and felt that in all his age, she had never been more beautiful.

How can you not be happy with a view like that? he whispered shyly, gesturing at the whole of the tangled landscape seen from their small iron balcony. She gripped his arm and helped him indoors. You silly old man. Each word was a kiss. How I love you.

They went in for breakfast yet kept the door open, letting the sun in.