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 ILikeGiving.com 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