Friday, November 14, 2014


I'm already running late for my class, so I'll make this quick.
It is sometimes unsettling how ironic life can be. With all the stress of my show (that is a whole separate story) and not getting sleep, I completely ignored the most thoughtful day of the year.
Usually, on the first weekend or so of November, I take a day to pray and thank God for my life. I tend to write something on that day as well. I guess this is my belated thoughtful day. 

I have grappled with death for most of my young life. The comfort of it allures me and the endless pressure of being alive exhausts me. A few years ago, near the first weekend of November, I was ready. I was selfish and wanting to be done. But I was stopped. Not by a fire, not by a storm, not by a wind or an earthquake. I was stopped by a gentle whisper. He whispered "Live" and breathed His peace into me.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of putting up an installation centering around the idea of abundance and human reaction to overgrowth. It explored how too much of something and living life trying to be in control often leads to extinguishing joy.  In hindsight, it makes so much sense that would be on my "life-iversary." I tried to control my life and it almost led me straight to death.

I want to encourage you to live with open hands. Receive the love, blessings, and peace that come from knowing Jesus. Life will not be easy to live. However, you will have a hope to hold on to.
And that will make all the difference.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Psalm 42

  As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
  My soul thirsts for God,
for vthe living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
  My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
  These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
fHope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of iHermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
  By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
  I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
  As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
It is strange how cyclical life is.
While making coffee this morning, I listened to a praise song built around Psalm 42 . Suddenly, feelings and memories from 2012 came back to me. That Psalm meant so much to me then. In fact, it was so relevant to my life that I wrote this post. Although I am at such a different place than I was then, the Psalm is still so relevant. I became sad last night thinking about how I'm not going to be a student anymore. I'm by no means terrified of the future or what is to come. I think I grew sad because I am leaving a unique time that has been so littered with beautiful things.

It is a little cliché to compare the academic journey to a storm, but I am. So many times, I felt the "breakers and waves" crash over me with late nights, early mornings, broken sculptures, failed attempts, missing classes, and lots of crying. So many times, professors, classmates, and friends have asked me "where is your God?" The panic has set in and my soul has been cast down.

Even this week, as the shore became nearer, I asked "God, why this storm?"
Psalm 42 told me why today.
My wins and accomplishments have been blessings.
My losses have proved that I am only satisfied in my Lord.

In closing, I want to encourage you. God is not only the director of storms. He is loving on you during the day, and singing to you at night. He remembers you and He saves you. He is with you in the deep.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

thoughts on moving on.

"dear Father, let me look for Your grace in everything. let me want Your love more than anything. and let me hear Your voice above the noise."
-from may 15th.

i remember writing that prayer. it was the beginning of a new habit. it was a turning point in my thinking.

even the short while after school ended and summer began, i felt that it was going to be a hard summer. the reality of me not working at camp and being alone and over-committing myself didn't hit me until halfway through june, but my heart felt it much earlier than that. the healing that came this summer came only through my seeking and God's willingness to be sought out. i have learned repeatedly that He provides. i have learned of my worth as an individual. and i have learned to tune out the cacophony of negativity around me and hear the loving voice of my Father. needless to say, a huge amount of healing has taken place this summer.

as i face this semester and the close of my career as an undergraduate student, i am excited. i'm excited that my life will be moving on so rapidly. i'm excited that david will be back. i'm excited that my classes are all super interesting.

but most of all, i'm excited for this new season of celebration. i feel like a new, rejuvenated person. this new self hardly recognizes the exhausted, lonely, and defeated young woman i was when i wrote that prayer in may. and hallelujah for that!

i'm not one to make predictions, but i have a pretty strong feeling about this semester. i feel that it will be so full of peace. i feel that it will grow David's heart and my heart closer together. i feel that grace will abound.

so i'm dubbing this semester as the semester:
-of love
-of joy
-of yes
-of flourishing
-of sharing
-of new
-of Jesus
-of fearlessness
-of humility
-of strength
-of accepting weaknesses (ones of myself and others)
-of meditation
-of breathing deeply
-of less sad tears and more happy ones
-of picnics
-of camping
-of mountains and bonfires and hammocking etc.
-of newly found healthy life.

so as you and i shed our summer skin, let's lift our heads with courage and celebrate the coming of a new season.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

a response.

in light of Robin Williams's recent suicide, i guess i have some thoughts to throw into the large sea of opinions being shared on social media. i don't have much to say about the actor himself that hasn't been said. he was a brilliant man who played some of my favorite characters in my favorite movies (everyone should watch Good Will Hunting and Dead Poet's Society) (i mean everyone) (really, go do it).
however, as a person who has first hand experience with depression, anxiety, etc. it pains me to read all the misguided remarks about his death. there are people glorifying his suicide and there are people criticizing it. those extreme opinions are equally as troubling to me. the thing we're discussing is not some abstract condition. it is a hunger for death and an abandonment of life that has been in our hearts since the beginning. literally everyone is born with it. it can be eased by medication (maybe) and counseling (usually) but can only be cured by a healer so beyond this world. even that perfect treatment cannot be fully completed on earth. this issue is complicated, nuanced, and as old as man, so i guess it's a little disheartening to read sweeping statements about it.

(i'm really inefficient at making transition imagine this is a witty and smooth introduction to my next thought)

the common mistake people make about Christians is that we are ignorant of the pain this world offers. the media portrays us as happy-go-lucky idiots or angry proselytizers. however, the most genuine believers i've ever met have been deeply in tune with the darkness of this world. the people who say (when reading about people like williams, plath, hemingway, etc.), "I don't understand how someone could do something like that," are commonly people who have turned away from spiritual things. as a Christian, i completely understand "how someone could do something like that"  because i am encouraged by Scripture to live joyfully in light of pain. not in ignorance. God knows the task is daunting, and so He tells humanity repeatedly to "take courage" and "not to fear." He also reminds that the task is worthwhile. we were born empty and with the continuous ache of isolation. we have grown older and have striven for fulfillment only to repeatedly realize that we have been "striving after the wind." if you really do some thinking about the average life of a human, it's a hopeless situation. i truly believe that artists of all kinds are more prone to come face to face the vanity of life because their lives are dedicated to exploring the flawed human experience.
that said, it is so clear that there is hope. whether it is seen through the gorgeousness of words, nature, movement, or emotion-it is so clear that there is hope. God has been telling all of mankind this from the beginning.

if you're not sure about where your heart is with God or if you're not sure He exists or if you're positive He exists but you hate Him or if you're positive He doesn't exist and you hate Him or if you think He might exist but you're too prideful to get to know Him,
stop doing those things and start searching. God is wanting to know you and wanting to be known. the hope that He offers is real, tangible hope. and holy crap it is good. like eating ice cream in july or snowy mountains in winter. except better than that. you are offered the opportunity of an abundant life. you are offered salvation from death. and you are offered the continuous companionship of Christ.

if you're a believer and you think you're sure about where your heart is with God, keep searching and realizing the amazing responsibility you have. isaiah 61 clearly states what we need to do and who we are. some of those tasks include: binding up the broken hearted, freeing the captives, and restoring devastations of previous generations. i mean, we're called to be the sidekick of the Savior of the world's heart (so cool). it's important to note part of binding up the broken-hearted is recognizing the fact that our hearts break. part of freeing the captives is knowing the nature of captivity. part of restoring devastations is observing the wreckage with empathy. we conquer, but we understand.

yes, i am so saddened by Robin's suicide. and yes, i want to do what i can to love others and encourage them (and myself) to turn away from death as the answer.
but really, i'm more interested in the enhancement of lives through the redemption of souls, not just the saving of them.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

(there's probably a better word for this)

it is kind of amazing how proud we can become of the people we love. don't get confused. it's not the sort of pride that puffs up our ego, though. it's the pride that only brings us humility.
(there's probably a better word for this feeling)

it seems like the more we love someone, the more we want to share the joy that we find in their wonderful attributes. if you ask me about my sister, i will smile as i tell of her growth and beauty. if you wanted me to share about what david's up to, i would probably not stop for a breath while telling you how much strength of character he has. if you were to mention my mom, i couldn't begin to tell you all the wonderful things she has done. there are so many other people in my life that i am immensely proud of.

but absolutely none of them compare to my Jesus.

something happened the other day that reminded me of how proud i was of Him. tuesday i was in the gym, sweating and whatnot. these days, i do not have much time for attending church and i do not have many people to fellowship with, so to temporarily (i want to emphasize the fact that this is very very temporary. i believe in the importance of the church and fellowship) replace those things, i listen to sermons/praise music almost constantly. my favorite place to do that is the gym because honestly, who doesn't get a little bored cycling/running/etc? anyway, i was cycling and listening to Travis Jones (if you haven't checked out Silverdale Saturday Nights podcast, you should) and he was sharing a story about his time in Africa. the story was essentially about how a young man came to faith in the midst of a muslim community. at the moment of his conversion, the people around him tried to intervene, but the young man was given the strength and focus to continue with his repentance and prayer. after hearing that story, my eyes began to grow misty.
before i knew it, tears were running slowly down my face. at first i thought i was crying because i was miserably hot and tired...but that wasn't the case. i was crying because i was so proud. as i heard about that young man, i thought to myself my Lord and Savior is astounding. He forgives our sins and enriches our lives. He is worth our suffering and praise and He deserves every single bit of it. at that moment in the gym, if you had seen me, you would have thought i was nuts. i was drenched in sweat, my hair was crazy, tears were on my face, and i was smiling.

i wanted to write about this on here because i am so proud. i am proud of my Redeemer and Friend. He absolutely never lets me down and He always fulfills His promises to me.

the amazing thing is that He is big enough to do that for me, you, and that young man somewhere in Africa.

so yeah, Jesus is King. and i like that.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

noiselessly patient

after a three day weekend (yes, i skipped two classes, i'm not sorry) and the longest nap i've had in a while, i feel like i'm ready to face the week and share a few thoughts.

while working a lot, going to school a lot, being long distance with my best friend (jen) and my boyfriend/bestfriend (david) a lot has been extremely grueling and time-consuming, i really don't feel the need to express my concerns about it. even on the absolute worst dismal days, i know it will pass.
and that's that.

honestly, my biggest concern right now is answering that daunting question "what the (insert word of choice here) am i doing with myself after i graduate?!"

i think how i feel about it can best be illustrated by this nice poem by none other than the unfocused, passionate, free-versing, american classic: walt whitman.

NOISELESS, patient spider, 
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated; 
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding, 
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself; 
Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them.         5
And you, O my Soul, where you stand, 
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space, 
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them; 
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold; 
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.  10

*side note: you need to read this out loud. "filament, filament, filament" and "gossamer" are perhaps the most delicious things to say.

anyway, i'm meeting tomorrow with my sweet, quiet-spirited poetry professor to get some advice on internships etc. i've been thinking about what i'm really wanting to do (post-graduating) all weekend. and well, i just keep coming up empty. i'm like the spider and the soul mentioned. i'm "ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing." it's interesting that my whole life i thought that i would know what's up by now. but man, i am clueless.

that said, i think it's important to be "noiselessly patient" during this time of transition. i think it's okay to be open to whatever may come. it's also important to realize that every decision is a determiner of my future. not only do the big ones matter, but (this part is really nice) because i have a God that is complex as well as caring, the decisions that seem meaningless are intricately integrated into His plan for me. 

this is why i'm making peace with being a noiseless, patient young woman who is casting her gossamer (man, that word) thread while i "explore the vacant, vast surrounding."

and that's that.

Friday, June 20, 2014

on summer,choices, and other things.

i thought this summer was going to be a relaxing summer.

oh how naive i was.

i literally had no idea what i was getting myself into when i started taking summer classes. i thought "oh i'm going to read and learn french and then have the rest of the day to do whatever i want!"...yeah that's not the case.
that especially became evident to me this week when i started at work. i mean, i am beyond happy about having a job (after applying to 30+different places...) it just means that i will have even less free time than before. that said, i think it's a really good summer to learn the value of hard work and cultivate my ability to make choices with my responsibilities and well-being in mind. because i work a morning job, i have to go to sleep earlier than i have in a long time. because i have papers to write, i have to find a place i can focus and get them done quickly (preferably a few days before the procrastinating in the summer). because i have new french homework everyday, i have to make time for it everyday.
consequently, it's been interesting to see what "free time" looks like when you legitimately don't have any. i have begun to value gym time more and i love that after i shower, i have about thirty minutes where i just sit on the porch with the cat and breathe. being alone hasn't been as much as a concern as being healthy/happy. and honestly, i think that's a gift from God.
there's been a lot said about making choices. there have been whole books written about how the wrong choices can destroy your life or whatever. but i guess what i'm getting to see first-hand is how making right choices can bless your life. i really do have free will. i have to make the choice about all the busy aspects of my life. it is my call whether or not i'm going to make the right or wrong one. i am given complete freedom to make mistakes and i know that. but man, when i make the choice to go to bed, run another lap, learn concepts thoroughly, or wake up a little earlier for work so that i can have time with Jesus, the blessings are enough of an incentive to get me to keep going down that straight and narrow way.
so yeah, i guess this summer hasn't been relaxing. it really has been difficult thus far. but it's been peaceful. and that's enough for me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

like a little wind

i am sitting in the willow tree on a tuesday without david. that has not happened in quite a while. 
it is strange to realize that i am entering the very last "summer" of my life. obviously, summer will exist after i graduate. but it will be different. consequently, today i have been mulling over the nature of change. 

john steinbeck has this to say about change:
“men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass."
that is a near-perfect description of change. it is very 'neaky (as my little niece and nephew say). but it is also beautiful. this summer is a change. i am usually preparing to leave for camp right about now. then i spend the whole summer loving on children and sharing the Gospel and not sleeping enough. instead, right now i am working on homework and planning what to get when i go grocery shopping. it is difficult to accept that grocery shopping and homework is just as wonderful as being a camp counselor. but that's a part of why this summer is happening, i think.
i am learning that it is exciting to not be sure what my "task" is. it is exciting to learn that having joy and contentment is a choice that i have to make everyday. it is exciting to have so much predictability this summer. it is exciting to have free time. and it is exciting to be able to have time to process the changes as they become apparent.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

it's all right.

today has already established itself as a "me" day. that sounds/reads a little ridiculous, but it's the truth. i slept in for the second day in a row. i awoke to grey rainy light and the realization that i don't have anything planned today. i did yoga in the den (of the's like a den-ception) and the woman on the video kept saying this "you deserve the love you give others." i kind of dismissed it as mumbo-jumbo, but there is a little bit of truth in that. i proceeded to make a late brunch while listening to sam cooke. it's been a good morning.
today is apart of a bigger event that i have named "the great week of catharsis" because this is an important transition week full of letting go and welcoming. this is the first week david and i are long distance (the first of fourteen), the week before i start summer classes, the week to re-organize my life and finances now that the storm of spring 2014 is over, and the week before the gym opens up again. all of those things shape my life and my schedule. it's nice to set them aside and just focus on releasing the stress and tension this year has accumulated already. i have exercised my body and mind only when i've felt like it, i have been drinking enough water, and i have been spending adequate time with my Savior.
i have complained a lot on here about how i have been defeated and very unloving to myself. my personal construction is not conducive to being easy on myself. i have spent as long as i can remember trying to exceed expectations to the point of tears and illness. this past semester, i tried to let go of a lot of that. i knew i was not doing well in any area of my life, so i thought "forget this" and tried to just coast through school. i worked hard, but i never felt like i was excelling. my mom finally sat me down and said "just get c's and be happy. i'd rather that than you get a's and be miserable." so i kind of took that and ran with it. i still wasn't quite happy, but i skipped class and turned things in when i thought they were finished (even if they really weren't). when i was going to check my final grades on monday, i expected to see at least a few c's and a few b's. it turns out, i got better grades this spring than i have in the last year. i guess the lesson here is sometimes it is so healthy to let yourself go, so to speak.

it seems almost silly to let a thing like grades delegate your feelings, but somethings in my heart and mind shifted when i saw them. it was like Jesus was crooning to me (much like sam cooke):
"It's all right, it's all right, it's all right, honey, it's all right, as long as I know, long as I know that you love Me, baby, it's all right."

i guess that's what i've been learning during this "great week of catharsis" and been mulling over this "me" day.

Friday, April 25, 2014

notes on the notion of being fastened (in love).

i wrote this morning for the first time in months. i typed this out: "this has been the semester of things not working out." and then breathed a sigh.
that's not completely the truth. obviously there have been some joyful moments of smooth sailing and fun times.
but the majority of the time, it has been the case. papers, sculptures, classes, fun plans, seeing my family, and (most recently) wedding showers have just not been able to happen the way that i had hoped. sometimes that has been a good lesson of patience or submission to God's plan. sometimes it's only resulted crushing disappointment. i feel a little beaten at the close of this semester.

that said, a comforting truth has become quite real to me this week.
in the ever-popular hymn "come thou fount of every blessing," the author wrote these words:

praise the mount, i'm fixed upon it / mount of Thy redeeming love

as i said before, this semester-and really this year-has been a real doozy. it has left me spinning, straying, doubting, and pouting. i can openly acknowledge the fact that i have not been seeking Christ as i should. i have not felt His presence or heard His voice. but i am fixed upon the mount of His redeeming love.
the word "fixed" is defined as follows:

1.fastened securely in position.
"a fixed iron ladder down the port side"

i am so wide-eyed and wild in this season. i am frightened and running any way i think is going to bring me peace. i have longed for my Father and have lost faith in the fact He longs for me.
my heart has stopped conversing with my head and my knowledge of His goodness is overshadowed with my own feeling of being abandoned.
and yet.
i am fixed upon a great mountain of mercy, life, and redeeming love.
i am fastened securely in a position that was specially made for me long ago.
i am His and there is nothing in the world that is going to change that.
although i am not in yet in a season of sweet communion with the Father, i am at a new level of peace.
i know for a fact that He cannot turn His back on me. even when i wander and attempt to leave the God i love, i am all the while fastened tightly to His heart.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

april second.

bradford pear blossoms, daffodils, and those bushes with yellow flowers (that i can never remember the name of) hold such nostalgic thoughts within their petals and (in the case of the tree blossoms) musky scents: thoughts of running to my neighbors house, climbing pecan trees in texas, and endless biking trips around the neighborhood.

come april, everyone always writes that uplifting, but slightly trite post about spring. they write about the rebirth of the earth and nature's voice growing stronger. as i sit here, it seems so redundant to write about spring. but then again, there is a reason that there are millions of cliches surrounding that wished/prayed/longed-for season.

this winter, i have found my voice and my ideas waning into whispers and fleeting thoughts. life has been more difficult of a weight to carry and death has appeared like a sweet repose. continually, my eagerness to learn has mutated into a desire to get to graduation. my love for others has been muddied by my gross love of myself. even there, my love for myself has been muddied by lies and has been perverted to a strong dislike. what i'm trying to convey is the bleak darkness that has enveloped me. the snow has been beautiful and the white has appeared clean, but the lingering cold and the absence of sun has caused the happy parts of my life to collect dust.

and then came today. april second. a spring day.

the breeze and the warm sun has done my heart good. hearing nature's voice singing out amongst the trees and with the little birds has done my own voice good, for i want to join her. the vitamin d has done my body good. my thoughts remain quiet and feeble, and writing still is hard. but spring has just begun and little seedlings take so much time to grow.

Monday, March 3, 2014

safety in silence.

i am a buyer of this lie that often crosses my mind:

"there is safety in silence"

it soars to the rafters of my head and wriggles its way down to my heart. this lie that says if i don't speak, write, or express, i will remain unharmed.

so far, this year has been a year of struggling to break the silence. i want so much to write, speak, or express how i felt when i found out my mom was in an emergency room six hours away from me. or how much my heart has been broken over my little sister. or how much i long to hear the still, small Voice. or how all i've been hearing instead are the loud, obnoxious, powerless voices that originate from my heart's deepest fears. this silence has grown like kudzu and wrapped itself around my mind until the words are trapped and lost in the vines.

i feel so ready for those words to "roar" out of me.
to crash onto the page, the paper, the surface, the atmosphere.

there is no safety in silence.
instead, silence is only the over-indulgence of my heart's deceptions and fears.
i know that to be true now.
the real challenge is to know what comes next.
i am so hurt and the prospect of further hurt-the possible coincidence of speaking,writing, expressing what's on my heart-is almost too much for my vulnerable self.

it is a tricky thing to believe silence is best. i feel like i am relearning how to speak.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


i have not written in so long. maybe someday soon i'll be able to tell the story of why.

for now, i just want to talk about snow.
i am sitting in my little den and my fellow foxes are in the kitchen making cookies. there are paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. there is an incredible whiteness all around the trees and bushes outside. there is a candle burning and music playing. school was cancelled and all is well.

snow is such a friendly word. it is the equivalent to comfort and peace in my mind. i want my heart to really be white as snow. it is pure and unfettered in the way it falls. snowflakes don't know where they are going and no one cares. i think that's what i love best about snow. it is unassuming and simple and well-liked (unless you're driving...but that's not my point). i find i can relate to a snowflake right now. i can count on one hand the things i am sure of in this life: the people i love, the God who loves me, and the beautiful hope that gives me.

how i see my present and my future is much like how a snowflake falls. i am unsure one day to the next where i will be, how i will feel, how rested my eyes will look, if i will be sad, or if i'll remember to lock the door when i leave. it's terribly silly on that scale, and no one really minds. but this morning, while listening to a man with a funny voice lecture about abstract expressionism, i realized it is already almost february. i realized i will be twenty one in a few short weeks. i don't know where i'll be (for sure) this summer. i will be graduating within the year.

and i just don't know what i'm doing with all of those things. i am a little snowflake just drifting and it's kind of comforting.