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: 500px.com 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.

skinny love cover.

Monday, January 21, 2013

learning to be brave with my art even in all its imperfections.
my heart for this year is to not categorize myself in a certain box, but to just be an artist.
i wasn't going to originally share this, because it's rather rough right now.
i can pick out all the mistakes (cracks in my voice, missed keys, moments of hesitation). but :
I love this song so much and I've had several people ask.
so in all it's messy beauty...here it is. :)

xx h

a monday micropoem / haiku

                              i feel like a pine.
                              watercolor white branches.
                              again dreaming of leaves.

sunday night thoughts.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

and here's something I'm wondering.

who says that we can't adore imperfections?

because :

the cowlick that is every bit of its name in the part of my hair is my favorite.
it's messy and bothersome sometimes, yes.
but i've had it since i was little,
and that is enough to be proud of it, because i've carried it from six into sixteen.

would you be embarrassed if i told you i check for laugh lines by my eyes?
i look in mirrors and give my best red carpet grin and pretend there are creases that say i laugh.
 most people don't want crows feet.
but i'm not most people.

that bump on the ridge of my nose?
i secretly love it.
i read somewhere that almost every woman hates her nose. i used to.
but there's something about hearing, "you have the maxson nose!"
that makes me feel like i'm home.

if this was chocolate mousse, i'd be swirling my spoon in the empty glass.
I can't get enough of freckles.
i count the ones on my nose and wait until summertime when they're as thick as paint splatters
i love finding them on my cheeks. would you laugh if i said that they're sun kisses?
(i'll wax poetic anyways and learn to say it in ten different languages, because freckles are my fav)

what's the deal with perfection anyways?
i know this : it's vastly overrated.

stop running.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

We chase pretty like it's something you can buy. Redder lips, bigger eyes, smaller thighs, a trendier haircut, the new outfit you'd sell your fav pair of shoes for. It becomes part of a marathon we run all our lives, going round and round the track instead of sprinting. We circle. We gain ground and fall back. And we're passerbys in other's races, other's runs. We spur them on. We tear them down. We get left behind with broken laces and aching feet. We get shin splints and finally break in our shoes and trip and fall and waste our energy chasing something that doesn't matter. We have the wrong finish line for our destination. There is no ribbon fluttering triumphant red to break through, because we were never supposed to chase these mile markers in the first place.

What is pretty?

Pretty is reading one more book to a three year old who sits, sticky fingers and messy hair in your lap. Pretty is waking up at three in the morning because your best friend's heart is breaking and she needs to talk, and if her soul aches, yours does too. Pretty is making breakfast for your family before you go, loading the dishes just because, brewing another cup of coffee for your mom. Pretty is telling people they are beautiful and meaning it, pretty is listening and not interrupting, pretty is laughing because you can. Pretty is giving grace and loving deeply even when it doesn't help you and pretty is allowing yourself to dream even though your heart has been broken. Pretty is buying lunch for a friend and sending little gifts to cheer others up, pretty is remembering details about people and investing in their lives. Pretty is dressing with grace for yourself not dictated by the culture. Pretty is knowing that even when you're in the middle of a bad hair day, breakout, day when you feel less than lovely, that you are beautiful. Pretty is seeing the good in other people and helping to bring it out. Pretty is adventuring and saying no to things and saying yes to better things. Pretty is making the daily mundane into small adventures and finding good in the ordinary moments. Pretty is lending a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. Pretty is doing what you love and being nice to people, pretty is taking time to breathe, pretty is a joyful spirit and a thankful heart. Pretty is remembering how to play and pretty is living a life of whimsy and pretty is taking risks and being bold with your life. Pretty is being honest and brave with your story and pretty is being confident in who you are and loving yourself and forgiving yourself. Pretty is not a nose job, ankle tuck, mascara swipe, or new pair of jeans. Pretty is who you are.

Stop running a race to chase something that is an echo.
You were made to dance.

if a photo is worth 1000 words : story 1

Friday, January 18, 2013

Source: mezzaluna.me via Sarah on Pinterest

The island was cold come october, but she couldn't bring herself to wear a coat. You'll catch cold and be laid in bed for months, her mother fretted. Nonsense, she would insist. The island air does me good. I like tasting the sea when I breath. Her mother would simply shake her head and head to the kitchen to put in the roast, sit in the parlor to finish her knitting, or generally just disappear. The ways of her daughter not only worried her, but perplexed her. Their connection was frail, thin as blue milk and fragile as the last moment of a dream.

Her father was of the island and the stories he told were her history. He understood her, could not help not, as their roots went deep into the earth, rich dirt smelling like spring. It gets in your blood, he used to say. We breathe the salt, in and out, and pretty soon, we're as much a part of the island as the water surrounding it. She was very little when he was still around, but she carried the words with her and pulled them out to remember, daily. It was at the dock that she remembered him most. His favorite place in the world, yes. Her mother hated it and all it stood for, yet there was no money to leave.

Above her, the sky was pulled taught, gray like the stones making up the harborer's island. There was always the threat of rain, not the rain that mainlanders were used to, but the hard sheets nearly ice. Her mother made her promise to take shelter as soon as the sky broke and that was one promise she needed no trouble to keep. While catching cold wasn't ideal, the chill from the rain was dangerous. In nearly every case, the dampness that settled in the bones and burned in the lungs of those taken with it ended in death, despite the poor island doctor's best attempts. It was the dampness that took her father six years ago and daily, her mother worried it would be her next.

"Hello Posy!" A fisherman called, going over his boat for that night. She waved back. Soon, he finished tucking away the nets, closing the hatches, and making sure the boat was settled for the night, and joined her where she sat. He was one of the youngest of those who went out to brave the shale waters, and up until a few years ago, had been friends with Posy. As usually happens, the age difference between boys and girls in the later years of young adulthood stretched into eons, and their friendship crumbled under the strain. It wasn't proper to be running around with a young man, anyways, her mother continually reminded her.

"Hello Teo." She inched over on the slab of rock on which she sat and smiled shyly at him. He had the ruddy skin that came from being out under sky and on the sea daily and his skin was freckled like the speckled eggs her chicken gave. But he had kind eyes that melted when he was particularly happy and she secretly loved the ridge on his nose from he had broken it.

"A good catch?" Posy asked, looping her fingers together.

He shook his head. "I wish. At this rate, we'll be in for a hard winter."

"It's always a hard winter." The words slipped out involuntarily and she flushed, shook her head. "I'm sorry."

Teo nodded, "No. I understand. It would be." That was all he said and yet it was enough to make the ache for her father rise to her throat. It had been six years and she should have been over his passing by now, should have been able to let go. Her granddad found her crying a month ago and gave her a stern talking to. Island folk tasted death and knew that life was short. She should not be still grieving over someone who was gone.

The silence between them stretched into awkward breaths. Posy waited for him to speak, found a word on her tongue and watched it tumble out just as his did.

"What are you --"
"Did you--"

They laughed and the tension eased for a moment. Beside them, the sea lapped the rocks with increasing urgency and Posy shivered from the chill in the air. Wintertime was never dry, but eternally damp and cold. She dreaded the long winter months by the fireside, watching the dimness of the world outside melt into black on the snow.

"Did you need anything?" Teo finished his sentence. The words crumbled in Posy's open hands. She tasted the wish baited in the air and tried to catch her thoughts.

"I --" Posy started and looked away, embarrassed. "Thank you." She finally said, staring at her hands in her lap. "It's very -- generous -- of you to offer. But -- I can't -- we can't accept." She bit her lip. "You know my mother." Even saying that felt like a betrayal. You know my mother. It was worse than gossip, because anyone can try hard enough and pick out the dishonesty in false talk, but with saying that he knew, she was admitting the truth.

He ran a hand through his hair. Squinted. "Yeah." He stared at her, gave her a shy smile. "You take care of yourself, then, you hear?"

She nodded. Gratefulness spilled from her face. "I will. Thank you, Teo, I truly do appreciate it. It means -- a great deal." She finally managed and blushed under the transparency of her words. With her red hair and white dress, she looked every bit like the island girl she was. He had never seen her lovelier.

Impulsively, he grabbed her hand, gave it a squeeze, and she did not let go. He glanced at the sky. "Will you make it home before the rain?"

"I think so." Posy started.

"Do you have a place you can stay if it starts up?" He phrased his question carefully. Rules of conversation were strict, and it was easy to say something to offend, even without intention.

"Yes." She lied. If it began to rain, she would run. She stood, letting his hand fall from hers, and brushed her dress. "But I better be off then. It was good to see you, Teo." Even there, she was saying to much, but his hand holding hers had given her boldness. And her mother, nor anyone worth twopence in gossip, was there to see.

"I'll be seeing you, then." He waved as she set off.

It started raining before she was halfway home.


taking the old cliche literally. I'm going to attempt to write 52 short stories weekly this year, all from various images, all around 1000 words. this is partially because I dream of writing a novel, partially because I need a challenge to give myself a push, and partially because there are so many images that inspire me. so, number one done, fifty one to go.

my life as a poem.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

inspired by the lovely abby

I am the dripping faucet.
I am the leaking boat.
I am the dropping gauntlet.
I am the faded coat.

I am the deepening twilight.
I am the sky pulled blue.
I am the first wide-eyed sight.
I am the beauty of the new.

I am the tangled hair.
I am the days of dreams.
I am the wind in air.
I am the soft split seams.

I am the longing morning.
I am the quiet night.
I am the gentle warning.
I am the heavy fight.

I am the ink touched fingers.
I am the paint brushed dry.
I am the hello that lingers.
I am the hush of a lullaby.

I am the singing sparrow.
I am the light of evening.
I am the whistling arrow.
I am the blue of leaving.

I am the unclosed front door.
I am the bare feet come spring.
I am the whistling of the moor.
I am the quiet winters bring.

I am the long adventure.
I am the break of dawn.
I am the brave new venture.
I am the beginning of a song.

I am the nerves backstage.
I am the hands that knead.
I am the smell of sage.
I am the rubbed clay bead.

I am the wild wood berry.
I am the shivery night sky stars.
I am the breathless song danced merry.
I am the first strum of guitars.

I am the late night lazy.
I am the campfire smoke.
I am the morning mist hazy.
I am the heart no longer broke.

I am the mountains grown tall.
I am the last poem you ever loved.
I am the photo on the wall.
I am the kiss of those beloved.

I am the filled journal pages.
I am the golden afternoon.
I am the stories told for ages.
I am the first day of june.

I am the hills of purple heather.
I am the dirt under your nails.
I am the seas stormy weather.
I am the forgotten lonely trails.

I am the sound of a shutter.
I am the smell of home.
I am the words you'd never utter.
I am the traveler, alone.

this is for the mornings.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This is for the mornings when you drag yourself out of bed, eyes deep with sleep and hair messy in the tangles of dreaming. When the alarm clock isn't turned off the first time and outside it's gray, gray like the shale of pencil lead smudged across your hands during first grade. Math problems were never easy, but the heartbreak of five a. m. alone is worse than long division and calculus. It's cold in your apartment, and alone, and the floor feels like ice under your bare toes, already numb. You're questioning why you decided to put in wood anyways -- and where's a decent throw rug? The fridge is bare save seven day old cottage cheese and half a piece of pizza from a few days before when you couldn't take the expense or stress of just eating greens and caved to the little restaurant down the corner. The next morning, your abdomen looked pudgy and you sighed at your hips but the restaurant was quiet and you sat in the corner, alone at a table lit barely by candlelight, and you savored the loneliness like a rich chocolate, a fine dessert. Learning to be alone is a skill, loving being alone is an art. You've become a maestro at holding in words you've wanted to say and pretending that going to bed on the right side of your king size mattress is fine, that it doesn't matter there is no one to hold you on the left when you wake up at two, sweaty and flushed from a nightmare.

And so, you walk through the chilled kitchen and scrounge around in your cramped apartment for change, deciding to buy a bagel on thirty-first and west. You glance at the clock and suddenly it's five fifteen and if you want to be on time, you'll have to skip a shower. The grime of yesterday feels sticky on you and you glance longingly toward the shower. Finally, another look at the clock, and you head to the bathroom. There's no hot water again and it's the faster shower you've ever taken. Once you get out, you're shivering in a thin towel that was really meant for the beach but was all you could afford. Your pants are stiff and your socks feel lumpy and it's five thirty nine before you're halfway to presentable, but you can't leave any later than five forty five, so you swipe on some mascara as your eyelashes clump and twist your dripping hair into a bun. Messy buns are in, right? You sigh at the reflection in the mirror, the dim yellow light of the bathroom flickering. Am I really that pale? You wonder. Yes.

This is for the mornings when you ask yourself if you are really that pale. Yes. You really are. And it doesn't matter. Your beauty isn't defined by the line of tan on your skin or the freckles across your nose or the swipe of red on your cheeks when you blush. Embrace that dimple, that petite chin, the curvy line of your hips that says you are a woman. Embrace the red lipstick on days when you feel less than pretty and embrace the little black dress even when you feel too round to make it work. You can always make it work. A little black dress is an ambiguous trick to make you feel beautiful, but it's not cheap and it doesn't lie. Allow yourself to believe that you're beautiful, and not only believe it, but say it. Say it loudly to the quiet of your apartment, to the smudged bathroom mirror, to the man on the subway, to anyone who's listening. When you get breakfast at Dunn Brothers, picking up your steaming black roasted coffee and bagel swashed in cream cheese, and the man behind the counter with the smile like a question asks how you are, tell him you are beautiful and life is good. And if he smiles and laughs, embarrassed, let him go. Shake it off like a bad dance, like a bad dream, like a memory of your middle school self at a school dance. Eat your bagel by the window and write in your journal in big black letters that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, as many times as you need to before you believe it. Someday, when you step outdoors in your heels or flats or boots, it won't be a word that you have to ink onto your hands to remember, but it will be a truth that you believe fully, wholly, completely. There is a confidence and bravery in seeing yourself for who you are and still believing you're beautiful. Someday, you will have mastered that grace and when people wonder who that pretty lady is, it will be you. Not because you lost the last ten pounds or wore a smoky eye, but because you'll be exuding the confidence of a woman who knows who she is. Hold onto that thought, that dream, and when the scale seems to suggest you're less than you truly are, let it go. Numbers are no determiner of beauty.

This is for the mornings when you decide to take three scoops of sugar in your coffee instead of two and feel bad because you're not trendy having it black, and you should be eating less sugar, and those last five pounds won't just disappear. Ignore it. Sink yourself into the richness of the morning brew and savor the taste of the roasted beans on your tongue, the sweetness of the sugar rounding the milky brown goodness into a drink that could have been made in France, Spain, Rome, anywhere but here. Close your eyes a moment and allow yourself the luxury of pretending that you're at a little cafe and the sun has just decided to peak over the horizon in the smudges of red from a crayon. And you are watching it all from your small table outside, a little chilly for want of light, but then the first flush of the sun rays hits the streets and you sip your drink and feel marvelous. Allow yourself that dream, for just a moment, for there is no shame in the pretend and the wanting. Let yourself want things, deeply. Don't forget how to love and how to lose and how to do them both gracefully and painfully at the same time. There's a difference between letting go and giving up, like the difference between true white and yellowed paper. Don't be the copy, the cop-out, the cheaper way because your heart can't bear the hurt that letting go will mean. Keep going. Your heart is strong and you will survive. Keep going even if it means saying no to things, saying goodbye to things, throwing out the TV and buying a bookcase that you will someday fill with penciled in, crumpled, stained books from second hand shops and thrift stores that will become your someday children's legacy.

This is for the mornings when the jeans fit a little too tight, when you look in the mirror and can't stand what you see, when you have no time to fit in a run and honestly, can't stand the thought of your feet pounding the treadmill next to strangers for three hours just for the sake of beauty. Shake it off, let it go, and tell yourself you're beautiful. Walk to the office and enjoy the taste of the world on your tongue, breathe deep of the crispness of possibilities. Look at the people on the street and smile, because not only is it your best asset, there is a kind of bravery in choosing to be happy when you feel anything but. Don't let the world rid you of your joy, don't let it rob you of the quiet voice in you that says there's good and beauty in those hard moments, those crying at the foot of your bed because you have no strength left to climb into it moments, those sitting at your cubicle at work with your head in your hands moments, those moments of feeling not good enough or not worth it. You are good enough and you are worth it and someday you'll find a man who will believe those truths more than you. And he will pursue you and love you a protect you and encourage you to take risks and send you flowers just because. Don't give in and don't give up, wait for the one who you click with, who you love deeper than blood and thicker than the skies come sunrise. There's a richness to the soupy sky much like romance between you and the one who is yours. Wait for the one who has a word on his tongue that when he speaks, you find it's the same as yours.

This is for the mornings when the quiet of your apartment rings in your ears and you no matter loudly you play your music, you can't drown out the break break break of your heart pounding from your chest. When the sky is blue but it feels grey and your lungs are heavy with loneliness, when you stare longingly at photos of your family plastered on the wall and secretly check plane tickets to find a cheap one, trying to convince yourself missing a couple days of work won't matter. Stop and let yourself be sad. Let yourself miss your family. Call your mother and tell her you miss her (because she worries about you, all alone) and tell her that you're sad. She will understand. And if she doesn't have words to give, the hum of listening to her speak on the phone is enough. Ask her what the sky looks like where she is and hold the image close to her heart all day. Let yourself remember summers in the country and swimming under the stars and that one time lying in the fields all day, watching the sky. If you have that afternoon alone, go explore. Pack yourself a picnic lunch of food you like to eat, even if that means just eating mast brothers chocolate and freshly baked french bread, and set yourself on a flat rock, doing nothing but staring up. It's not silly to still be picking out shapes in the clouds and you don't have to allow yourself to feel childish for crying from homesickness. Picture the sky at home and allow yourself to be sad, to be homesick, to be lonely in the city you love. Someday, your loneliness will be a badge of courage you wore when you were trying to get by. Was it worth it? They will ask, and you will say yes, because you will have learned to be lonely and to let go.

This is for the mornings when you feel like it's all too much.

Take a deep breath.

And keep going.

750 words this morning turned into 1823. but it felt good to write again.

the quiet world.

Monday, January 14, 2013

In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.
Jeffrey McDaniel

this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.
printing it and framing it.


i dream of
having a tiny cabin tucked into the woods
adventuring with my man and littles
spending summers listening to the hum of a VW bus and watching the stars
living in a house in the country, trees tall as the sky is full
honey-mooning in New Zealand, year after year

i believe in
red lipstick for every girl
eating good food
dancing in the rain, sun, or snow
losing sleep and staying up late
listening to people, not just hearing
piano playing and song singing until you are out of words

i stand firm that
raspberries are better than chocolate
tucked white snow demands ugly sweaters
cheesy chick flicks are meant to be watched at two in the morning
pie counts as breakfast, dessert, and dinner
you are never too busy to read a book to a little
people and the stories they tell matter

i wish
people took more walks
we had the community of towns in the 1880's
cell phones weren't allowed at gatherings
society didn't measure beauty by the size of your waist
gas station food didn't exist
plane tickets were cheap

i know that
suffering is often linked with joy
the sky is meant to be thick with stars
once upon a time's are better than cheap romance novels
I love you is meant to be said often and meant always
vegetables you've grown taste the best
each day is a chance to love and give and live with all you have

winter's gathering.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I'll bring the sun across the snow
the sweeping light from down below
the swoop of a bird across the sky
the dancing dust of winter's eye

a cup to clink and tea to brew
the warmth for hands burned blue
I'll bring laughter, you bring cheer
I'll bring coming, you bring here

and in the swiftly darkening night
I'll bring the candle's yellow light
while under the stars soft, looping lusk
the moon paints the world deep with dusk.

some winter poetry.
(lusk means lazy, just so you know :) )

pretty words / simple words / just twenty six letters

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again." - Anaïs Nin

"I think we all speak a different kind of language than each other, but you sound a whole lot like coffee on a Sunday morning and the rain is falling bitter against the windowpane and your elbows are making holes in the countertops, and I only want to tell you that I wish I was as close as the threads of your t-shirt, and if I can't be that, then I'll be content with drinking my drink beside you, with the rain sloppy open mouth kissing the roof, trying to dismantle the etymology of a conversation that falls out of the realm of words." - Shinji Moon

"One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple." - Jack Kerouac

"Hang in there. It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen." - Frances Hodgson Burnett

"I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." - Agatha Christie

"she said she usually cried at least once a day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short." - Brian Andreas

"Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It's all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary." - Chuck Palahniuk

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." - Robert Frost
I wouldn't ever get a tattoo but
these are the kinds of words
I want to tattoo onto my hands
so that everything my fingers hold
all the giving and the letting go
would be touched by the grace and truth
of a twenty six letters well placed
a kind of symphony in ink.

oooh. how I love them.

if they feel the pull of the ocean.

Friday, January 11, 2013

"You can learn a lot about people from the stories they tell, but you can also know them from the way they sing along, whether they like the windows up or down, if they live by the map or by the world, if they feel the pull of the ocean." - David Levithan

not a fan of the book (I didn't read it) but this is beautiful.

can't fit in a run?

because...I want to be healthy.
this is something I put together last spring.
good by itself or before a run.
x2 reps if you're daring!
xo h

there is a day.

there is a day
when the road neither
comes nor goes, and the way
is not a way but a place.
- wendell berry

awaiting this day.
what joy.

so if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it.

I'm a traveling soul on this earth.
I cannot wait to go home.

lists + a call to health.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

ah, 2013. inevitably with resolutions, they boil down to a few left simmering year after year. get healthy. work out. lose weight. stop eating out so much. sign up for a yoga class. eat greens / raw / vegan. and so on. and while I won't deny the triteness and redundancy of proposing such promises year after year, I will stand firmly that despite their overuse, they're still important.

for health. I am not unhealthy. I am not overweight. I am not inactive (unless you count the last few weeks because of sickness). I am not at risk. In all accounts, I'm good.


I could eat greener.
I could eat leaner.
I could exercise more.
I could go to bed earlier.
I could drink more water.
I could stop eating junk.
I could eat smaller portions.
I could be more active.
I could be healthier.

and so, this is not just another resolution. I am resolved to put forth this call to action to be healthier. not just for january until the excitement of new things wears off, and not just for 2013 as the year drags on and flies swiftly at the same time. but for life. a proposition for healthiness? I accept.

a call to health.
otherwise known as small statements that make up one resolution.
+ drink at least 6 cups of water daily.
+ get at least 8 hours of sleep.
+ drink ACV water (2+ teaspoons with water daily).
+ listen to my body.
+ 80 / 20 rule for food.
+ try to stop eating after 7pm.
+ be mindful with what I put in body.
+ chew my food longer (gross, I know. but healthier & helps you to feel when your body is full faster).
+ use palm portion sizes.
+ exercise for at least 30 minutes 3-5 times a week.
+ stretch / do yoga daily (in the morning & at night).
+ eat when I'm hungry, not when I'm bored / sad / angry / upset / etc...
+ eat / snack on more fruits & veggies.
+ stop looking at the scale & starting looking at my body.
+ tell myself I am beautiful (& believe it).

I recognize that change is not always sudden.
it's the gradual switches in thinking and living that lead up to a total lifestyle change.
but I have been implementing a few of these for the past few weeks (ACV, 80 / 20, mindful eating, etc...) and have noticed a difference.
my skin is clearer. I feel better. I have more energy. and I love eating well.
I'm proud of how far I've come already & excited to see where I'll be as this year wraps up.

I'll try to update with my progress + thoughts + challenges / goals throughout the year. I've talked about all of these health decisions / statements many times with my family, specifically my parents, doctors, and friends. I, of course, am not a doctor, so if you decide to do any of the above, make sure you consult a physician or at least talk to your parents or those who have more knowledge than you. :)

white hot & passionate.

"I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be."— Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors and people. I would like to have walked and talked in an apple orchard with him (partially because of Danny the Champion of the World), or sat on the seashore skipping stones for just an hour. His life is brilliant and sad and full and fascinating and his words feel like home. They are some of the biggest pieces of my childhood and some of the reasons I love writing and words and stories so much today.

learning & letting go.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

& so this is your life, are you who you want to be?

learning to bridge the gap.

learning what it means to let go. learning what it means to hold on. learning the difference to the two. learning that letting go sometimes doesn't mean giving up or giving in, but holding out for what is better, what is coming.

learning that I am made uniquely and wonderfully and beautifully, to be who I am.

& mostly. learning to let go of the things I cling so tightly to that do not define me.

a list : 
thick ankles
the idea of a perfect body
society's definition of beauty
a cookie cutter life
pursuit of perfection
unwillingness to seek

& i will be bold. i will be brave with my life & story so others can be brave with theirs. i will be honest. i will be steadfast. & i will be who I am & live my life to the width & depth & breadth. & i will seek Jesus & I will praise His name & I will let my life be my song to glorify Him.

He has given me words to speak & a story to live.
& i will live it.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

my heart.

fixed in direction.
firm in purpose.
unwavering in resolution.

"My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody." - Psalm 57:7

"Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you." - Hosea 10:12

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." - 1 Corinthians 15:58

"If indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister." - Colossians 1:23

"[ Fight the Good Fight of Faith ] But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness." - 1 Timothy 6:11

"For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." - James 1:3-4

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." - James 1:12

waiting & seeking

I'm in a really cool place in my life where there are so many crazy dreams coming to reality and I'm clinging to promises of God.

& at the same time, I'm surrendering other dreams and finding myself content to put them away, simply because I'm not ready for them yet. and I recognize that. a lot of what I wanted to do this year, back when I was dreaming about 2013 in july of 2012, I now see that it isn't the right place for me to be at. the doors that God closed are closed because I'm not at a place where I would get the most out of them. simply put, some things I wanted to do, I'm content to wait for God's timing with them, because I see that now isn't the right time.

realizing that it's not the right time and being content with that is something I've struggled with for so long. I'm not a patient person (but praise God that He's working in me!). but now, I feel so at peace. I'm content. I know that God has good things coming and some things are for this season and others for another. which is fine by me -- in fact, it's great & wonderful & the best because I trust God and His timing. I know He has the best for me and has an abundance of blessings and good things for my life. learning to be grateful for this season here and to understand that some doors are closed for a reason.

AH. I just can't get enough of God. He is blowing me away and rocking my world and knocking my socks off. He's given me a hunger for His word and a fire for His people. I'm learning about my calling. I have been anointed by Jesus! & I'm so excited to see all that He continues to do in my heart and life this year. "He who promised is FAITHFUL!" He is faithful to complete the good work He began in me and my life, and that alone is cause to rejoice.

waiting & seeking & tasting of His goodness & seeing crazy things happen in my life.

it's a really cool place and I'm just blown away by all that God has done in my heart.

praise Jesus for who He is! grateful for this season of life that I'm in.

A future in God.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

“So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.” - 1 Peter 1:13 ( MSG )

on the giving of grace and names that are our own.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

and isn't it funny that what names us is often the thing we struggle with most? threaded in strands of gold and what I pretend is glitter but is just twine, my name means grace. grace, palms open and head up in ways that you remember to breathe. like the sky is for stars and rain tastes better than sun on my skin, we are called to live in grace and yet I trip and stumble and end up in puddles of saltwater painted black with the thickness of stars. I always wanted to walk the ocean side and write my name in the shoreline with sea foam but I ended up with seaweed clutched hard in my hands. I could never find a way to skip rocks so I threw stones into the the deep and they sunk to the bottom with a thud like the last word I never had.

grace. to give grace. to not only others, but myself.

grace for the days spent on the couch, cough drops in hand and cups of lukewarm water, teabags marking rings on the bottom, like freckles painting my face. grace for the times I've cried and compared myself in the mirror, "it isn't enough," but what is enough isn't me and never was and will be (in my weakness, He is perfect strength). grace for the times I've slept in too late and walked through the days with sleep in my eyes like a catalogue of the dreams I wanted to hang onto just a little longer. grace for the long nights working with only the dull glow of my screen to keep me up, a pandora station playing the strains of love songs and goodbyes wrapped together with the sound of banjos.

grace for the empty sketchbooks I couldn't bear to finish and the cakes that turned out flat and the stories I tried not to write but found myself penciling in graphite on napkins holding crumbs from that one pastry I loved and ordered everytime I bought coffee like I was pretending I was in a big city and not this small town. to be truthful, me and my red lipstick stick out like a sore thumb in this farmers country but I can't bear to give up the early mornings with the fields outside burnt into the sky, mornings painted the color of autumn. and so there is grace for not loving the cities, for loving the quiet of the country. there is grace that is gold and richer than the hay bales stacked to keep out the coming frost that says here.

we walk, head up and eyes open but not seeing, in heels that fit too small, holding onto our ideas of what should be and who we could be. bagels are carbs and I'll take my coffee black, in the city that I never wanted to live, because that's how we run through our days of life, chasing other people's dreams and dropping stones into sea foam painted green like the sky. I was never good at acrylics but I have a drawer full of watercolor paints that were gifts when I dreamed of being nothing more than an artist. paint stains on your shirt are frowned on and my fingerprints always left smudges of blue or red or green because the colors I dabbed onto brushes always found my fingers, so I washed my hands and put away canvases and pretended to love what everyone else liked.

and there is grace for that. grace for the days spent pretending to be someone you're not, but sooner or later the mask slips and it was only paper-maiche that never truly dried. I'll pull the tearing paper from my freckles and throw off my heels and run barefoot, because there's nothing sweeter than the feel of fresh earth and grass underfoot, and there's nothing wrong with food and who cares about the city lights when you have the stars in the sky, like a patchwork quilt poked with fairy lights. I wrote my name in the dirt with a twig and somehow, found that grace isn't just in giving, but it's in being, and that there is a beauty to being who I am.

I ate fresh raspberries and held grace in open palms and realized that to give grace, I have to start with me.

some personal thoughts and rambly prose from being sick.
there is grace even in these moments.
learning to see it and to give it and to live it.