April 27, 2013

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Lovely bloggers,
Wonderful followers,
Faithful friends (and foes!)
I have a new blog. 
This one has served me faithfully for years now, but I have felt that itchy, not-to-be-denied push to move on.
My new blog is a Wordpress,
(Don't dare call me a traitor!)
And can be found here
If you love me, continue to follow me.
If not, I still love you anyway.
This certainly isn't goodbye,
It's more of a "see-you-later!"
*

April 5, 2013

The One With The Candles

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*
This is it;
One more candle in the cake,
One more digit in my age.
Today is the day I try to forget,
The day I'd rather forgo.
I'm not entirely certain when my birthday became a dreaded event, but it did, and it is. 
Somewhere between the noise, the packages wrapped in bright colours, and the smoke that lingers after you've blown the fire out
(Who decided it was a necessary celebratory tradition to light a cake on fire, anyway?)
It has turned into a day of unwanted attention and bad memories. 
Couldn't I just spend the day encased in a cocoon of peace?
Music, a book, some tea, and perhaps, if the evening is clear,
(It is April, you know)
Some time to gaze at stars through the eye of a telescope...
But these aren't on the list of traditional party games and celebratory activities, so they are to be relegated to other days, and the cake and the hugs 
(Scratch that: hugs are always welcome) 
Are my inevitable fate every April 5. 
I think what I like least about my birthday is how ridiculously young I feel.
Twenty candles in a cake and I feel about as wise as the child that has only two. 
What's the point in having lived two decades if I have learned so little? 
I dislike my birthday because I'm ashamed to have seen a little more each year, 
But have so little
-Little learned, little direction, little wit, little growth-
To show for it. 
But I was rebuked today for this mindset.
"When you deny us the chance to celebrate your birthday, you deny us the chance to celebrate your life, the fact that we know you and have you, and that is selfish..." said a friend. 
So here I am,
Posting rather begrudgingly and with an admittedly bad attitude,
Twenty years old, 
And with perhaps more to show for it than I think.
After all, I am not here to measure my life and worth in years and stubs of melting wax,
I am here to measure my life as Christ's, and I most certainly am His.
As long as this is true
(And it is an eternal truth)
I suppose I have something worth celebrating after all.
*

March 19, 2013

Spring Interruption

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*
Spring break (or, as my drama prof calls it, "Spring Interruption") is upon us, and my gypsy feet
(As seen above clad in my favourite burlap Toms. Which are awesome. Just sayin')
Have taken me to Zionsville, Indiana with Wyatt ("The Tall One"), Hillary ("Radish"), and- by proxy- Ruthie ("Rutabaga").
"What does one do over Spring Break?" You might ask...
Well, the answer is obvious.
You sleep.
A lot.
And when you wake up, you check your phone and Facebook, turn over, and sleep some more.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
Of course, you can't sleep all day (or at least I haven't figured out a way to do so without heavy medication stimulants), so in those short, horrific bouts of cognitive awareness that come during in-between-nap-times, you go on adventures about Downtown Zionsville.
This town has so much quaint-ish charm.
*
 *
I love the colour-combinations of this building. As if red and yellow weren't already the happiest of hues, when you throw in brick, wrought-iron fences, and green-shuttered white windows, the effect is pure, visual joy.
*
 *
*
 *
I really wish I knew how to take good photos. Instead I take these elementary little snaps that give me headaches of frustration. Someday I shall own a nifty SLR camera and photoshop. And at some point after that, I shall posses the know-how to actually operate both. And then...and then my elementary snaps shall be slightly-better photographs. I also expect that, by the time I can afford a nice SLR camera (Canon Rebel, anyone?), I shall also have a large mansion, life-size of replicas of the Tardis and a Dalek, and a team of private genetic zoologists and scientists working on creating a real unicorn. Until then, I choose to dream.
*
 *
Of course we ended up at a yarn shop.
*
*
Ruthie ("Rutabaga"), and Hillary ("Radish") lurking in the background.
And when we're not adventuring, we're making pizza...
*
*
...Having tea parties...
*
*
...practicing my lines for "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"...
*
*
...And having thrifty adventures.
We are three-peas-in-a-pod, the bee's-knees.
Or, in this case, our knees.
*
 *
*
*
And then I found this most amazing, niftiest-of-nifty mugs that has a tea bag pocket on the side.
I feel like this is a sign that my life is somehow complete (even if I didn't get that unicorn, mansion, camera, or spare-home in Europe), and I can now die in peace.
Tomorrow we're to pop off to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and I will partake of Chipotle for the first time. I'm not entirely certain which I'm more excited about. Probably the IMA. Probably.
In the mean time, I'm off to go teach The Rutabaga how to knit socks, and then (you guessed it), more sleep.
Cheerio!
*

March 11, 2013

Pins and Needles

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{Via Pinterest}
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Perhaps...
Perhaps Winter here would be infinitely easier to handle if I weren't feeling so utterly overwhelmed,
So unbelievably tired,
So...
Spent.
I feel like a hypocrite, or a traitor.
I love the snow;
I love the chill in the air that is more razor bite than sharp nip, the enchantment that is falling snowflakes, the joy of coming in from outdoors with numb fingers and toes, and how the kiss of the cold air turns my nose and ears a jolly colour of pink.
And yet...
And yet I can't wait for Spring.
I can't wait to see life, and to feel growth in the air, underneath my feet.
Spring break is almost here- just a few days away- and yet the season itself seems a million miles away. 
She was almost here last week, it seemed like she would crest the hill and come any moment...
But when I woke up to heavy snowfall and biting winds, it all seemed like something I dreamed during the few hours of sleep I managed to catch.
And so I try to find comfort, meaning, reprieve in the things that I love and miss most;
Things like baking with a friend,
Pots of tea,
Knitting gifts for others,
Mozart, Vivaldi, Debussy, and a good book.
But there's only so much time I can devote to these side-projects,
These diversions of delight,
Before I must plunge back into the world of assignments to be finished, speeches to be given, papers to write, exams to take.
I have to remind myself, often, how much of a blessing it is that I am even here, attending a University, and drawing closer to God.
It still doesn't temper the anxiety with which I wait for the warmth of a new season.
Come soon, Spring:
I'm waiting.
*
{Via Pinterest}
*

March 8, 2013

Friday's Things

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*
It's that time of the week again:
Everyone's favourite day!
You can feel the excitement like a current running across the campus,
See it in the smiles of the students as they head to their final classes for the week.
"We've reached the weekend once again, and made it out alive!"
They seem to say.
And the gestures,
How everyone's hands are connected in some strange way to their hearts and souls,
Are wider, broader, more relaxed.
The silhouettes cut out against the sun-lit windows of the dining hall hold an easier pose.
Thank heaven it's Friday.
*
*
I'm constantly embarrassed by my unfailing ability to say "I'll work on that project in a few minutes, I'm just going to read a few pages of this book first," followed by my glancing at the clock soon after to find that an hour has passed.
I'm not embarrassed enough to change, though.
*turns page*
*
*
#nowplaying: Life's A Happy Song from The Muppets
"Life's a happy song
When there's someone by your side to sing along."
*
*
This verse has been running through my head, and becoming a bit of a theme.
I find it so easy to worry about the things that may or may not be in the future, and it encroaches on the joy of the present as well as keeps me from trusting the Lord.
*
I hope you all have the loveliest of Fridays!

March 6, 2013

Emancipation

*
*
A not-so-silent night,
Broken by the steady crash of waves on an ever-restless sea, growing more fervent by the minute,
and the light clank of chains and manacles that grip the wrists, necks, and ankles of a ship full of living bodies crammed belowdecks.
The captain, asleep in his cabin, snores fiercely away, yet his many crew  members can- and will- keep an eye on the ship and the slaves, poking and prodding The Chained viciously as they continue to row the heavy craft into the night.
The ship itself is a huge double-masted, pot-bellied beast, lined about with cannons created for the sole purpose of destroying other vessels and herding their inhabitants across the waves.
The dense fog and high breaking waves that crash through the oar ports onto the slaves does nothing to quench their thirst or stamp out the overpowering stench of blood and sweat. On the contrary, it seems to only worsen it as those shackled to the oars cry out in agony, steam rising from their fevered backs, the skin being rubbed painfully away under their shackles, on their blistered hands, by the frigid salty water that courses over them. The crew members, hardly more than slaves themselves, stride down the rows, cruel smiles pasted across their ragged features creating a demonic picture of destruction as they flog, heedlessly, the bodies around them. The slaves continue in their endless rhythm of push-forward, pull-back...push forward, pull back...push forward, pull back...
They have been chained to these oars for as long as they can remember, and they have no hope of ever doing otherwise. 
They never imagine a life of freedom and comfort, for they have no notion of what either is.
They are chained, broken, to these splintered oars,
In this terrible ship,
On a perpetually stormy sea,
For a hopeless eternity.
*
I was on that ship.
I was chained,
Whipped,
Tossed, 
And hopeless.
I purchased that position willingly with my sins.
I ran away from an infinitely loving Father to do so.
I deserved to be there. 
But I have been set free. 
My soul has been emancipated by the innocent,
Blameless,
Perfect Son of God who smuggled me out under cover of night.
He knew that to set me free, He had to sit in my place instead.
He chained Himself to my oar, and rowed in my place.
But those chains have been broken, and now He waits,
Patiently,
To set the other slaves on that ship free too.
He wants to set you free,
You who sat beside, behind, before me, chained to your own oar.
He wants to disengage you from the manacles and the misery of everything that ship is,
He wants you to call out His name through that small window through which you've always seen the world.
Take a moment and imagine what true freedom might feel and look like.
It looks like nail-pierced hands,
It feels like a burdened body, chained and forlorn, given peace at last.
Aren't you ready to be emancipated?
*
I am linking up with Emily Wierenga for Imperfect Prose.

February 28, 2013

Coveting Contentment

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*
if the eyes are the window to the soul,
then isn't what we choose to put in front of our eyes
the adornment of our souls?
if our souls were houses,
and our eyes the windows,
then the images and things we fix them on become the interior decorations.
what do you covet?
simple things like
articles of clothing,
the latest ipad,
a new car,
books,
money,
all of the stereotypical things that the pastor lists during his sunday sermon.
"beware covetousness,"
he says
"happiness cannot be found in money,
or cars,
or apple products,
or labels."
but what do you covet
-truly covet-
that's not on that list?
what about true love,
happily-ever-after?
what about that life you dream of?
what about a home on the beach?
i covet daily,
hourly,
moment-by-moment.
my desires are so tainted.
i covet a different personality;
one more alert,
friendly
lovable,
funny,
giving,
talented,
attractive,
witty...
the list is endless.
i covet that perfect body.
the ones pasted in the ads,
and advertised on pinterest
followed by the tips to achieve it.
i covet the perfect hair of the girl down the hall,
how it falls in soft waves,
my roommate's hands,
long elegant fingers.
i covet the smile of a passerby,
and the sunny, sweet disposition of a friend.
i spend all of my time desiring things i don't have.
no.
i spend all of my time unhappy with what god has given me.
no.
i spend all of my time telling god that what he has given me
isn't good enough.
yes.
we are called to labour for perfect things using imperfect vessels.
but these vessels are imperfect for a reason.
do you really think for one moment that god needs us in order for him to complete his work?
no.
he delights to use us
our mistakes,
our shortcomings,
our endless weaknesses and sins,
to show his calm mercy,
indelible love,
and perfect strength.
god made me imperfect for a reason.
he made me covetous so that i could learn how satisfied i am in him.
do you know what i covet most of all?
i covet contentment.
i covet being able to say
"i am here,
i have this,
i face this
and that's okay."
i covet being able to embrace my imperfections so that i might be able to realize,
more deeply,
my dependence on christ.
most days it's hard
-almost undeniably so-
to convince myself that i do not covet that pinterest-perfect body,
and all of the acceptance and joy that i seem to feel comes with it,
so much that i am willing to starve,
beat,
and eventually kill myself to achieve it.
("nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" says kate moss)
but i covet freedom and recovery more.
i covet my flaws
because it's through them that i covet christ's faultlessness.

February 27, 2013

The Intangible Truths of Beauty

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*
yeah.
right.
sure.
you betcha.
what is beauty, anyway?
that tangible
yet undefinable thing.
we use it as a noun,
an adjective,
a compliment,
an aspiration;
but do any of us truly know what it is?
i know how i treat it.
i treat it like it's something to be obtained,
yet i distinctly remember a time when it was,
instead,
something to be appreciated.
beauty used to be the way sand felt running through my fingers,
the delight of words that rhymed,
the sun sliding into the sea,
drowned again for the night
(but it always resurrects again in the morning).
misty mornings were lovely,
and diving into the cool embrace of a lake was enchantment.
when did it ever become something else?
when did it become the equivalent of acceptance.
when did it become a name,
a number,
a look?
when did i decide to exchange the simple joy of experimental observation
for attempts to claim a false translation of an undefinable lie?
and what is beauty, 
anyway?
beauty is...
hands
worn from long hours of sun-scorched labor,
creased with the marks of repeated use,
callused by rope and primitive tools
-a carpenter's hands-
pierced through with nails
and pinned against wood.
beauty is...
eyes.
eyes that have known compassion,
anger, 
temptation,
exhaustion;
have seen the sick healed,
the dead raised to life,
the bowed head of a woman,
weeping in shame,
as she washes his feet with her hair
(am i at all unlike that woman?)
seeking their forgiveness.
beauty is...
the creator of beauty,
the one who fashioned this world with his hands,
invented colour,
created the stars that hang just out of reach,
tempting in their grand display and cloaks of mystery.
beauty is...
the king of the smallest ant and the largest mountain
and me.
i have been made in the image of beauty,
fearfully and wonderfully made.
i am bound with the marks of love,
freed by the sacrifice of grace,
 and living under the law of mercy.
i am not beautiful because i make myself beautiful
or because i have any ounce of lovely in me.
i am all filthy rags and sin-stained standards.
no.
i am beautiful because i bear the image of god,
and the spirit of christ.
that...
is beauty.
*

February 26, 2013

Blame

i am a blame-shifter.
i try to pretend that i'm not,
to tell myself that i most certainly do take the blame for my mistakes,
or for when things go wrong
or even when they don't go according to plan.
but it's a lie.
i am a blame-shifter.
i like to find a way to shift the weight onto situations or circumstances or people
instead of having to acknowledge that i may have messed up,
or that it's my fault.
i like to blame others and their words.
word have always had a sort of romantic interest for me.
they are lovely
powerful
drenched in meaning
and full of potential.
but words can be cruel
in the mouths of those who do not understand how to use them.
they turned me into a girl who hid under the bathroom sink,
climbed a tree she wasn't supposed to,
burrowed away into books,
confused and hurt,
in an attempt to balance what she thought and what she was being told.
the chief action of blame is to reciprocate the hurt placed on you by others back onto their shoulders.
blame is a silent killer.
blame becomes anger becomes hate.
(i can feel my inner star wars fan that sits not-too-far below the surface smiling as i type those words.)
i turned to my bible in hopes of posting a verse of pertinence, 
but instead i find there are so many verses that i feel indirectly confirm and rebuke all that i'm saying and experiencing, it's impossible to list them all.
james, hebrews, philippians, romans all speak words of truth and love and forgiveness.
how can i claim the forgiveness of christ and yet not offer it to those who i feel may have wronged me?
how can i say 
"i know the truth!"
and yet let myself believe lies.
when jesus hung on the cross,
a perfectly sinless incarnation of god himself,
he bore the countless sins
transgressions past, present, and yet-to-come,
of an entire world.
he didn't say "i didn't do this!"
he said "father forgive them."
*
i've spent a significant amount of time blaming my problems on people and their words.
and i woke up this week realizing that i still do.
not all of this is my fault,
but some of it is.
i am a sinful human being and when i decide,
however involunatry a choice it may seem,
to give in to the persuasions of an eating disorder,
i choose to try to fix and heal things myself,
instead of asking god to fix and heal them for me.
i choose to provide a bad example of what a christian is and does to the world.
these are the times when it's no one's fault but mine.
i will shift blame no longer.

February 25, 2013

A Gesture & a Pose

i carry weights that i cannot bear.
i foster all of the wrong words at all of the wrong times.
i cannot turn the images in my mind that sit like reflections in a puddle into 18000 word-long research papers,
and the biblical testimony speech i've typed, erased, retyped doesn't want to fall into place.
i hate all lower case letters,
how they look like mistakes and laziness.
but there aren't enough capital Is and perfectly place semicolons in the world to save me.
there's no amount of trying to be perfect that will bring me joy and happiness.
i carry weights that i cannot bear.
i harbor a frightened little girl in my heart,
one that stares out,
wistfully catches sight of beauty,
but can't seem to grasp a hold of it.
she's afraid of dark corners
and of being alone.
she makes herself seem feisty
because she cannot be brave
and she knows that very few can actually tell the difference.
i carry weights that i cannot bear.
i hold impossibly high standards for myself.
i believe that if i cannot be perfect then i may as well not try.
mistakes can only be made out of sight of others,
and all practice must be done in private so no one sees,
no one knows,
no one realizes that i have to try.
but it doesn't really matter,
does it?
because i'll still never be good enough anyway,
and all i have to do is look in a mirror to remind myself of the many reasons why.
i carry weights that i cannot bear.
i live in a hall of mirrors.
i can feel a hundred-thousand eyes watching,
scrutinizing,
judging me.
i live in fear of these scathing, ceaseless stares,
how they seem to know my body and my soul,
and all of the flaws they must see.
i carry weights that i cannot bear.
and i will never get rid of them myself.
but i don't have to.
these words that i hold,
like a fistful of rain,
have been gifted to me,
can be poured out in a million different ways.
i will write in lowercase letters to remind myself that i cannot be perfect 
because only god is.
that little girl has a father who has adopted her;
every time she runs away,
he always goes after her and brings her home.
each of my impossible standards
do not have to be reached.
and every time that i fail
i learn to fall off the ladder with a little more grace
and find the arms of mercy that always wait underneath.
that sea of watching eyes belong only to me,
eyes that are reflected in a three-sixty-degree hall of looking glasses,
fun-house concoctions that display me in every way but what i am.
i have spent the past several weeks experiencing new and greater depths of the love of god.
i have been wrapped in protection and a love that grieves for all of the hurt
each one of the burdens,
and all of the expectations i needlessly place on myself.
i am not saved because of my obedience and goodness,
i am saved because of the obedience and goodness of jesus.
*
i am writing these words for a cause.
this week is NEDA (national eating disorder awareness week),
and i plan on living and posting daily with the purpose of displaying transparency
promoting hope,
and pointing to a light far greater than one this world can fabricate.
because what can i gain if i try to hold on to my facades? 
rather, what will i lose if i choose not to?
"i would have lost a gesture and a pose"
(english 102 teaches me that i should cite t.s. eiliot and a page number here).
this year's NEDA week for me is less about posting statistics and the pushing the reality of a disorder:
there aren't enough numbers to represent what this struggle is,
and i live this disorder daily;
whether or not you choose to believe it is up to you. 
this year, i choose to make mistakes,
struggle,
and claim hope. 
-join me.-
*
*


February 15, 2013

A Handful of Dust

*
I wish I could write a Wisconsin Winter Symphony.
We would hear the hum of voices in the dining hall,
The chink of fork-on-plate,
Ice-in-glass.
The percussion of the class bell would wind throughout
With a steady crunch of feet on snow-covered sidewalks,
Amidst the crackle and dim roar of a blazing fire.
Laughter, 
Heard across the blank spaces of the campus, 
The lull of voices singing songs of praise.
And,
Throughout,
The gentle rush of a cold wind.
*
*
"There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect."
-G.K. Chesterton- 
Perhaps this is why we can find beauty in even the most derelict of things.
*
Words are merely simple syllables and sounds
Strung together
And perfectly juxtaposed
To create,
Imitate,
And instigate
A world of thoughts and emotions.
The perfect words are the ones that show us God.
Here is some perfection.

"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, 
Because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For the Lord God is an everlasting rock."
-Isaiah 26:3-4-

"Those who look to the Lord are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." 
-Psalm 34:5-

"...we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, 
But one who
In every respect
Has been tempted as we are,
Yet without sin.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
That we may receive mercy
And find grace to help in time of need."
-Hebrews 4:15-16-
*
*
Frost flowers on the Arctic Ocean.
I like to imagine that this is what penguins and polar bears give to their loved ones on Valentine's day and anniversaries.
*
"Forgive me my nonsense,
As I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense."
-Robert Frost-
*

*
A handful of sand as seen through a microscope.
This is,
Perhaps,
How God sees us.
It certainly changes how I see God.
*
"Forever is composed of nows."
-Emily Dickinson-
Happy Friday my friends.

February 10, 2013

Spirit-Filled

*
Background:
I am Lucy in the university's production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown."
Our director has requested that we get and stay in shape this semester 
(For the sake of being able to sustain steady breath support for simultaneous singing and choreography).
*
Setting the Scene:
Workout room, Ladies' Dorm, about 8:30 PM.
Ashley, the Dorm Supervisor, enters as I stretch after my workout.
*
Me: Hullo, Ashley! How are you?
Ashley: I'm doing well, how are you?
Me: I'm doing fine! (*Gesturing widely to exercise material*) Our director has us on a diet for the musical.
Ashley, turning to me and quite intently: Be careful about that. Just be certain that it's Spirit-filled.
Exit stage left. 
*
What just happened?
I know that diets 
(Even the suggestion of one) 
And I don't necessarily get along very well;
It's only a matter of days before I've run wild with it, 
Have stopped eating anything at all,
And am sliding down the slippery slope again, 
Back to that dark place of lonely, insecure torture.
But that's not it.
No.
"Just be certain it's spirit-filled "
A diet?
I wasn't entirely sure I knew to what she was referring.
So I sat down with my Bible and my Best Friend and thought about it.
What was momentarily confusing has, quite quickly, become sharply understood.
How often do we consider the Spirit of God as it touches even the most mundane things in our lives?
Things like
Interactions
Relationships
Use of time
Dieting.
Now I know that the latter is more of an emphasized point for me personally,
But the Bible has so many things to be said about the Spirit.
(You know, that thing that indwells us as born-again Christians,
Connecting us to our Heavenly Father?)
The particular verse I'm dwelling on tonight is Galatians 5:16
"Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not gratify the desires of the flesh."
If I am walking in the Spirit,
If what I am doing is Spirit-filled,
Then I, by matter of course, am not giving in to Satan.
Perhaps I'm rambling: let me try and explain this.
If something like a "normal" diet done "normally" sends me into Eating Disorder Mode
-A mindset, habits, and an illness that is merely one of the many ways Satan draws me away from Christ-
Then if it is Spirit-filled,
Spirit-led,
Spirit-focused,
 I cannot fall down that slippery slope.
If I am consulting and following the Lord in what I do, 
I cannot be consulting and following myself.
And it is when I consult myself that I begin to fall
And truly begin to fail.
So my question
(And proposition)
Is this:
Are you making the choice to trust and walk in the Spirit in all of the areas
-Minuscule and otherwise-
That you face in life?
And what will it take for you to start?

January 3, 2013

All Good Things To Those Who Wait

It is so very good to be home. 
It is good to spend the Holidays with friends and loved ones.
*
*
It is good to see friends get married 
(Even better: to each other).
*
*
{Photo courtesy of Leanna Hull}
It is good to work again,
To have something you need to do,
Something you enjoy,
And do it.
It is good to have new hair.
I haven't had it cut since Juneish of 2011, and it's heavenly having that freshly-styled feel crowning one's head .
*
*
It is good to spend time,
Off-campus,
With a certain boy.
*
*
It is good to face a new year,
A new start,
New opportunities,
And new hope.
It is good to be home.
*
*
To do all of the mundane things of life
-Yoga,
Knitting,
Drinking tea,
Reading books,
Going to the market-
In a familiar place of comfort. 
It makes the mundane things into activities to be appreciated,
Valued,
Loved.
It is simply,
Wonderfully,
Beautifully
Good to be home.
*
*