Saturday, March 31, 2012


to you, from me.
to you,
thank you.
and to those little dear things that have made life real,
thank you.
to the friends and the letters and the laughs and the talks long and little,
thank you.
to the nights, oh those blessed nights, spent in tears on the phone or alone
-always in my room or in the woods around me,
thank you.
and to the people I could hold in my arms forever
and love
and love
and love,
thank you.
to the Greatest Maker and the Sun both solar and heavenly and to the Ghost that haunts my heart and makes me new,
thank you.
a small thank you from my mouth, from my mind through this arm and onto this page.
for the writing of it is to whisper it.
thank you.
I hope to live that.
for the living of it is to shout it from the mountain, sing it in the valley, and burst into tears because only these little oceans can serve as the lenses into the darkest deeps of my heart.
thank you for saving me.
gratitude is pumped through my veins.
my eyes see with it, my lungs breath it in and out.
to you, thank you is all I can whisper, write, and live.
I was once a rickety railing on a shaking, quaking bridge
-protecting no one and nearly crashing into the river myself.
to those things and the Thing that saved me,
thank you.
from me.

Friday, March 30, 2012


something worth reading:
To Write Love On Her Arms
Pedro the Lion is loud in the speakers, and the city waits just outside our open windows. She sits and sings, legs crossed in the passenger seat, her pretty voice hiding in the volume. Music is a safe place and Pedro is her favorite. It hits me that she won't see this skyline for several weeks, and we will be without her. I lean forward, knowing this will be written, and I ask what she'd say if her story had an audience. She smiles. "Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars."

I would rather write her a song, because songs don't wait to resolve, and because songs mean so much to her. Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness. These words, like most words, will be written next to midnight, between hurricane and harbor, as both claim to save her.

Renee is 19. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasn't slept in 36 hours and she won't for another 24. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol. She has agreed to meet us, to listen and to let us pray. We ask Renee to come with us, to leave this broken night. She says she'll go to rehab tomorrow, but she isn't ready now. It is too great a change. We pray and say goodbye and it is hard to leave without her.

She has known such great pain; haunted dreams as a child, the near-constant presence of evil ever since. She has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds. Six hours after I meet her, she is feeling trapped, two groups of "friends" offering opposite ideas. Everyone is asleep. The sun is rising. She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write "FUCK UP" large across her left forearm.

The nurse at the treatment center finds the wound several hours later. The center has no detox, names her too great a risk, and does not accept her. For the next five days, she is ours to love. We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her church, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms.

She is full of contrast, more alive and closer to death than anyone I've known, like a Johnny Cash song or some theatre star. She owns attitude and humor beyond her 19 years, and when she tells me her story, she is humble and quiet and kind, shaped by the pain of a hundred lifetimes. I sit privileged but breaking as she shares. Her life has been so dark yet there is some soft hope in her words, and on consecutive evenings, I watch the prettiest girls in the room tell her that she's beautiful. I think it's God reminding her.

I've never walked this road, but I decide that if we're going to run a five-day rehab, it is going to be the coolest in the country. It is going to be rock and roll. We start with the basics; lots of fun, too much Starbucks and way too many cigarettes

Thursday night she is in the balcony for Band Marino, Orlando's finest. They are indie-folk-fabulous, a movement disguised as a circus. She loves them and she smiles when I point out the A&R man from Atlantic Europe, in town from London just to catch this show.

She is in good seats when the Magic beat the Sonics the next night, screaming like a lifelong fan with every Dwight Howard dunk. On the way home, we stop for more coffee and books, Blue Like Jazz and (Anne Lamott's) Traveling Mercies.

On Saturday, the Taste of Chaos tour is in town and I'm not even sure we can get in, but doors do open and minutes after parking, we are on stage for Thrice, one of her favorite bands. She stands ten feet from the drummer, smiling constantly. It is a bright moment there in the music, as light and rain collide above the stage. It feels like healing. It is certainly hope.

Sunday night is church and many gather after the service to pray for Renee, this her last night before entering rehab. Some are strangers but all are friends tonight. The prayers move from broken to bold, all encouraging. We're talking to God but I think as much, we're talking to her, telling her she's loved, saying she does not go alone. One among us knows her best. Ryan sits in the corner strumming an acoustic guitar, singing songs she's inspired.

After church our house fills with friends, there for a few more moments before goodbye. Everyone has some gift for her, some note or hug or piece of encouragement. She pulls me aside and tells me she would like to give me something. I smile surprised, wondering what it could be. We walk through the crowded living room, to the garage and her stuff.

She hands me her last razor blade, tells me it is the one she used to cut her arm and her last lines of cocaine five nights before. She's had it with her ever since, shares that tonight will be the hardest night and she shouldn't have it. I hold it carefully, thank her and know instantly that this moment, this gift, will stay with me. It hits me to wonder if this great feeling is what Christ knows when we surrender our broken hearts, when we trade death for life.

As we arrive at the treatment center, she finishes: "The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope."

I have watched life come back to her, and it has been a privilege. When our time with her began, someone suggested shifts but that is the language of business. Love is something better. I have been challenged and changed, reminded that love is that simple answer to so many of our hardest questions. Don Miller says we're called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly.

We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she's known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true.

We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home.

I have learned so much in one week with one brave girl. She is alive now, in the patience and safety of rehab, covered in marks of madness but choosing to believe that God makes things new, that He meant hope and healing in the stars. She would ask you to remember.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

some writings

two poems I found on my computer today from a while ago when I was trying to learn how to write properly.
The first one is in iambic pentameter.
the second one is all wrong but I like it anyway.

"Hymn to the Sun"
A small breeze came and went and came again.
We three had laughs along with our three meals.
The Sun shone bright, as gold as the King’s mane.
Today earth’s greens and blues know how life feels.
They sing along with us about the Sun,
“How much we love the bright You bring to earth.
Oh Light that has no start or end, just come,
And fill us with Your gold, infect our youth.
Please make us bright like You so we shine too.
Then we can spread the Sun to those around.
Great thanks to You, the Sun so wild and true,
For the joy, life, hope, and love we have found.”
Our song flew fast, away with the swift wind,
Our praise to His gleam with no start or end.

"Little He and She"
A soft breath falls from two small, hushed, rose lips.

Two blue eyes are shut tight from the round world.

A little he dreams of seas and gold and old ships.
While a little she dreams of past queens that twirled.
The house stays shushed and hushed and warm and still.
While the sun sleeps soft and the moon hangs high.

Until the birds sing songs so loud and shrill,
And with the sun they rise into the sky.
The little he and she then jump from their beds,
And race around the house to greet the day.
They brush their teeth and the hair on their heads,
Pack their lunch, kiss their mom, and go to play.
The little he is a rogue who sails the high seas.
The little she is one of the best known queens.

I'm planning on doing some scanning and such, so check back soon if you're interested in new pictures.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


for micah cox.

I looked at the sky last night and guessed which star was you.

you left us all behind yesterday the minute you flew to your father’s arms.

I didn’t know you well.

but I saw you.

I saw you walking and laughing and living. 

then I heard.
I heard that you would walk and laugh and live no more.
my heart broke a bit for those you loved most, for I’m sure that they love you.

I wept because of death and the terrible sadness it brings.

I didn’t weep for you, though.
no you are a bright star, a heavenly thing now.
you are safe.
quite safe from harm.
and you are home.
oh star you will be missed here on earth but ever remembered and admired.
when we see you in the sky.

I want to live a good life.
I want to care so much for others it hurts. (because it will)
I want to love people so much it kills me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Project Praedicare Veritatem

In spite of the directionally-challenged sentiments I expressed in the previous post, I actually do have a few things in my life I'm sure of.
One is this: I was made to proclaim truth.
Another is this: I like making things and writing things.
So why not start a life long project?
I mean, I may be young, but that hasn't stopped a lot of people. Besides, I don't have anything to lose at this point in time.

All this to say, I am launching Project "Praedicare Veritatem" (proclaim truth). This sounds so fancy, but all it really means is I'm going to begin putting my work for sale to fund things that I think are worth while and write about the causes I'm supporting. My ultimate goal is to start some sort of an online/printed magazine that sheds light on global issues in a way that helps the oppressed help themselves. Rather than giving handouts, I would like to give the Gospel. (Don't get me wrong, if that means donating money for food and such, I would do it. But remember, "teach a man to fish..." ) That's my "mission statement" as of now. Maybe sometime when I get a little more sleep, I'll revise it into something a bit more inspiring.

My first cause sounds pretty silly, because it's myself.
I'm going to Haiti in the sumer for a week and I could use all the financial help I can get. I am open to doing anything regarding the arts, household projects, or childcare.

Besides simply raising support for good causes, I would really like to partner with other artists/bloggers/writers/graphic designers/whoevers out there and make this little something grow. If you are interested at all in this concept or having me do things for money for Haiti, please email/facebook me. I want suggestions and help and prayer.

John 8:32
"and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

praedicare veritatem!
Facebook: Mary Emily Vatt

Thursday, March 15, 2012

sinister kid

it's astounding to me how okay I am with my own sin.
do I hate my sin?
why yes, I do.
do I want to let go of my sin?
absolutely not.
it's ridiculous.

I've been mulling over something my mother said to me today. We were having one of our many discussions about college and she said something that completely took me by surprise.
She told me I needed to move far away for school.
If you know my mom, you know she dislikes change and loves having her kiddos all around her and loves being at home. If there's anything in the world that I do that she despises-it's galavanting all over. Let me stress that again-she loves having me home. (not that I'm incredible or anything-because I'm not-it's just something she wants for all of her children)

So when she said that I was thrown for quite a loop. (I think that's a saying)
She told me that I was in "a rut" and needed to get out and go.
I told her that I'm pretty content right now and blablabla excuse after excuse.
I even got a little offended that she would presume to say that I'm not the most joyful person on the planet. ha.
Later on, some things hit me:
a. my mother knows what she's talking about.
b. I'm in a rut. I've been in a rut. I've known that, but I haven't done anything real to get out of that rut.

It's true. Last semester was awful and I've been very reactionary with this semester. More than anything, I don't want to be in the same place emotionally, spiritually, or mentally as last semester. But I'm still in the same place, physically. I mean, I still live here, in Chattanooga, and go to Chatt State.
how have I dealt with that?
well, the little sinister kid inside me has reverted to a selfish sort of "escapism". I've skipped class more than ever this semester. Not always (but sometimes) because I'm sick. Just because class is awful and I don't want to go. I've been lazy with my relationships. I've quit trying because it's hard and last semester was hard and I don't want this semester to be hard. (follow my logic?) The result of this whole thing is me just feeling like I'm in a rut and doing superfluous things to get out of that rut. I rationalized all of these things to myself by saying I was "keeping life adventurous" or "taking time for myself". but really, all I've been is selfish. I've dug myself a hole with my selfishness. And, instead of starting to build a ladder to get out of it, I just keep digging.

This isn't a post full of revelations like "and everything is now changed!" or promises like "so from now on, I'm going to be incredibly selfless and sell everything I own and join a convent (that's a bit overkill...)" I don't know what's going to happen. I just know that I'm forgiven, loved, and my mother is wise and I should open my ears more to what she has to say.

Sorry this is so long.
The End.

p.s. the title comes from this song-which actually played a huge part of today and these thoughts and so on.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


.bradford pear memories.
-i am young and eager to run with the others. there is a stump in my yard with holes and hallways for little things to live in.
-it is spring and the sun is beginning to burn my skin. it turns pink and little freckles appear on my face and arms and shoulders. my body begins to turn leather brown in preparation for the season ahead. but for now, it is spring.
-the harsh smell of the dainty white flowers above my eyes and hair and head envelops my street as i walk to my neighbor's house to play and giggle about all the secrets that we have.
-we laugh because we are young we play because we it is spring we live for the sun and the flowering branches.

Monday, March 12, 2012

ten/journal entries

snippets from my journaling from the road trip I took over spring break.
nothing monumental.
just memories.

day one:
we went to work out at walmart and ate fro yo on the quaint streets of old city Franklin. we ignored the monotone voice telling us to "wait" at the light-over and over again and walked whenever we wanted, because afterall, we're liberated.

day two:
today was marvelous, I can't help but forget my chronic melancholy on an adventure such as this. I love these girls, I loved the treehouse (so astounding) I loved getting to see Jacob, I love this mountain, I love the rain (ish), and I love camping. I so enjoy feeling so in tune with the earth. There's nothing like a good, cold, wet night to make you feel like a weathered explorer.

day three:
-Sweet hikers named Trina and Jerry lent us their nifty little can opener. Trina's soft voice was delightfully accented and matched her feather-like eyebrows and red hair.
-We were going to howl at the moon like little lady wolves, but- we cannot see the moon!
such a tragedy!

day four:
"I'm tired out!"-Bethany while standing in a pile of tires. We went to the recycling center as the golden sun sunk below the urban landscape that surrounded us. Shadows danced on the cylinders of waste all covered in bright colors.

day five:
the word mountain is mentioned in the Bible 175 times.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


1) Kony 2012. look it up. there's a lot of hype about it-but this issue deserves every facebook share and twitter post.
2) Tallest man on earth. Especially "Honey Won't You Let me In?"
3) Packing for an adventure.
4) dried mango
5) mountains.
6) Oscar Wilde
7) Empty memory cards and new film. just waiting.
8) four-strand braids
9) Grace. unshaken, overwhelming, beautiful grace. The type that washes over me like a tsunami.
10) being able to see clearly. hooray for new contacts.

praedicare veritatem.

Monday, March 5, 2012

happy birthday Jessica

once there was a girl and her friend.
coffee they drank a lot, the end.
except they haven't ended the story yet, for real.
there are still two hearts in kayaks for them to steal.
it all began in their hammocks so fine.
they were laying in the sun and wasting away time.

then what to their wondering eyes did appear?
two young boys with hearts (one had a thick beard!)
as the strapping young lads from their car did emerge
a feeling of true love in the girl's heart did surge.
then the boys took off their shirts and the girls giggled and rolled.
then the boys unloaded their kayaks and paddles to hold.

one was tall with wild, curly locks.
to prepare for adventure, he shed his thick socks.
the other wore a flat-bill as green as the trees.
the way they readied for the river made the girls weak in the knees.

the girls packed up their hammocks and turned to go
-hoping that soon alongside the boys (in kayaks) they would row.
the boys spotted the girls and it was love at first sight.
so they paddled off together in the afternoon light.

I would tell you how it all ended, but I'm sorry, I just won't.
because the girls in this story are liberated women and they do what they want.

the end.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


something from my "streams of consciousness" or whatever it is I write all the time.

I thought I'd share before the spring.

I've always loved winter.
I used to like it because that's when Christmas is and I was a selfish little kid who wanted to fill myself with sweets and get lots of presents. When I got older I liked winter because it meant seeing family and no school and laughing a lot. When I hit high school, I liked it because I thought it was cool and a little bit edgy- because, I mean, who really likes winter anyway?
Although time has passed and I've gotten a little bit older, I still love winter.
It's still my favorite.
I love it because it's a reflection of where I am in life- really it's a reflection of where all of humankind is(andhasbeen) in life.
Winter is cold.
Winter is bare.
Underneath the beautiful clothing of soft white snow and grey days is a deep sort of ugliness. It has all the potential to be stunning-it just depends on the viewer.
The most common thread between winter and man is that they are both waiting, longing, hoping, dreaming about Spring.
Spring-when life begins.
Spring-when earth and men are how they should be- lovely and blooming.
But the dead silence of winter and of man has to happen before the life of Spring and eternity.
The heart has to be completely cold before it can be warmed with light and live.
So that's why I love winter.
It is the only season I can empathize with.

praedicare veritatem.
proclaim truth.