30 November 2010

100 things



100 simple things in the world I love:

1. this recording of river by the forever lovely joni mitchell.
2. leaves crunching underneath my feet.
3. swing sets.
4. a good laugh right from the belly.
5. compassion.
6. lonely trees.
7. freshly baked bread. or cookies. or anything really.
8. mix tapes.
9. being read to.
10. funfetti frosting. on funfetti cake mix.
11. lake tahoe sunsets.
12. generosity.
13. chocolate soy milk.
14. forts made out of couch cushions.
15. words.
16. the mountains.
17. the beech house.
18. sun-dried tomato hummus.
19. tulips.
20. cherries.
21. library books.
22. avocados
23. origami cranes.
24. flying kites.
25. white string lights.
26. lavender soap.
27. accordions.
28. college-ruled notebook paper.
29. open fields.
30. blowing bubbles.
31. friends who come to visit.
32. grilled onions.
33. nailpolish in fun colors. especially of the purple variety.
34. consistency.
35. proud dads.
36. colorful fine-point sharpies.
37. genuine smiles.
38. snowmen.
39. hugs.
40. tea light candles.
41. dancing.
42. nativity scenes.
43. polaroids.
44. old childrens books. especially peter pan.
45. water.
46. waking up to the sun instead of an alarm clock.
47. oversized coffee mugs.
48. flowers. especially of the wild variety.
49. the perfume I have worn since high school.
50. sparklers.
51. wedding photos.
52. dangly earrings.
53. the sound of cars driving in the rain.
54. meltaway mints.
55. secret passageways.
56. collages.
57. mini oranges. especially of the clementine variety.
58. clean sheets.
59. face lotion with sunscreen already in it.
60. limes
61. stuffing. especially of the thanksgiving variety.
62. coloring books.
63. rain.
64. sunlight.
65. nutmeg.
66. road trips.
67. clouds outside airplane windows.
68. foreign films.
69. sno-cones.
70. crocheted blankets.
71. sugar cubes.
72. black and white movies. especially of the cary grant and grace kelly variety.
73. blackest black mascara.
74. walking.
75. jackets.
76. accent walls.
77. mini candy canes.
78. vacuuming.
79. sail boats.
80. wine.
81. thesauruses.
82. going to the movies in the middle of the day.
83. paper lanterns.
84. silly faces.
85. apple picking.
86. tree climbing.
87. cherry chapstick.
88. making (and eating) dinner with friends.
89. small adventures.
90. words that rhyme.
91. unexpected smiles.
92. passion.
93. lists (natch)
94. advent calendars.
95. bright striped beach balls.
96. bicycles.
97. learning new things.
98. re-reading childrens books.
99. thrift stores.
100. fountains.

what do you love?

29 November 2010

5 reasons

(as this is the last week of nablopomo I have decided to go back to my favorite sort of blog to write. get ready for lots of lists!)

I know lots of people probably feel this way lately, but I just can't help but fall more in love with for emma, forever ago every time I listen to it. so for anyone who doesn't yet love bon iver - and for the few of you who read this - here are...

5 reasons I am in love with the wisconsin woods (and a certain man from them):

(also, listen to this while you read)


1. wonderful food for my introverted soul. sustains my peace in chaos. calms my wandering, worrying, wondering spirit.

2. justin vernon (who ostensibly is bon iver) went thoreau on us and recorded almost the entirety of for emma in a remote cabin in the woods (this one was in wisconsin, not massachusetts, though). the result, much like walden in some strange way, is a piece of art that is completely stripped down and simplified to only what is necessary.

3. the lyrics…oh, the lyrics. honest and raw. simple and complex. lovely. painful. lonely. the images that his words evoke are concrete yet completely baffling at the same time. they are bitter at some parts, but completely open and vulnerable in all. they are so beautifully heart-broken that they make me cry without even knowing why…and I think I am okay with that.

4. due to the whole "recording in the middle of the woods" thing, the music that accompanies the lyrics perfectly matches their rawness. for most of the tracks the music is simple and broken down to only what is needed. the album’s sound is (surprisingly) like nothing I have ever heard. even those tracks that have more than the basics – the ones with horn intros and overlapping vocals and percussion that sounds like someone threw a drum set across the room – only serve to enhance a sense of stripped down aloneness. and the cacophony of noise at some points is so overwhelming and comforting at the same time.

5. it reminds me that to be introverted and maybe a little isolated is okay. to be sad is okay. to be lonely is okay. because sometimes to be isolated does not paralyze, but inspires and comforts. and because in all of it, I am learning the intricacies of who I am.

Please go listen to the rest of the album. It may not change your life, but it sure is pretty.

28 November 2010

your hand in mine

because I can't really have a wordless weekend without some explosions.

27 November 2010

winter in st. mortiz

I love this song because it is raspy and pretty beautiful in its simplicity. and really, who doesn't love panda bear?

26 November 2010

wild things

for the most auspicious of holidays - black friday. when I miss home and its hiking and cross-country skiing and general lack of malls and traffic.

the peace of wild things - wendell berry

when despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world,
and am free.

25 November 2010

let me paint



welcome morning - anne sexton


there is joy in all:
in the hair I brush each morning.
in the cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning.
in the chapel of eggs I cook each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee each morning,
in the spoon and the chair that cry
"hello there, anne" each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver plate, cup upon each morning.

all this is God,
right here in my pea-green house each morning
and I mean
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

so while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God,
this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

the joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.


whenever I think about being thankful I come back to this poem. it reminds me to be thankful for everything. every detail. and lately I have just been floored with how awesome and cool and amazing God is. and that reminds me to be thankful. because he works all things for good. and to his glory. and there are one in the same. and I cannot comprehend how he does it. so all I can be is thankful.

in my grand tradition of painting a thank-you on my palm here are five things I am thankful for - one for each of my fingers - with the hope that I can share my joy before it "dies young."

pinkie: I am thankful for details. I love seeing the little aspects of life that I miss if I don’t look hard enough. lately people watching has been a big thing for me. and dc has proved to be a very useful place to practice. watching the way people interact on the train. watching the way they walk down the street. watching the way the kids in youth group are a family. the way they hug each other and love each other in a way that truly mirrors how Christ loves us. watching the way the rainclouds move slowly in. and then watching the raindrops fall as people in umbrellas run through the rain looking for shelter.

ring: I am thankful for my morning walk to the train. let's be honest, most of the time I hate commuting. but on the mornings when it is nice enough weather (and I am not running late for work) the mile-long walk to the metro station is refreshing. it is such a nice way to wake up and be thankful for the day that has been given to me. to see the blue sky and feel the cold morning air mix with the rising sun on my skin. to walk in time with music and remind myself that God is good. all the time.

middle: I am thankful for people who smile for no reason. every once in a while I will catch someone smiling just because. sometimes, on the train, they're reading and find something funny that no one else can see. sometimes I think they just remember something and it reminds them that life is really great. sometimes - and this is always the best - they will smile at me for no apparent reason too. and that just makes me happy. because people around here don't smile too often. they are much too serious for that. but every once in a while - when they look up from the street or the newspaper or their phone and smile - well that just makes me so thankful to be a human being.

pointer: I am thankful for flowers. this is an easy one because, let's face it, flowers are a must in winter. when things are cold and dreary I try to have a continuous flow of flowers reminding me that life is just so very beautiful and worth all the hard stuff that we go through. reminding me that growth and sanctification are hard but always produce that which is beautiful to God.

thumb: I am thankful for friends. I know this seems cliche to say in the thanksgiving season, but lately it's been more true than ever. as I have begun to finally connect with people in dc and as I have had such wonderful friends visit me and call me and care for me well from 3,000 miles away, I have been astounded by how awesome community is. for a long time I used it as a crutch to rely on other people instead of God. but lately I have been learning how community is necessary not because it replaces God - but because it is a reflection of the perfect community we will one day have with him. and when I realized that everything about my friendships changed. the way I love people. the way I receive love from them. every aspect of my relationships should glorify God. and when I stop making my relationships about how they satisfy my desires and insecurities and start making sure they are pleasing to God - well that just makes me so much more thankful to know the amazing people that I do.

the joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

24 November 2010

lately.

lately I have been learning and finding and seeing a lot of details that remind me of one thing: God is freaking awesome.



hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.
you wait and watch and work; you don't give up.
- anne lamott

23 November 2010

stories

what is the story that you are writing with your life?
is your life a testimony of your faith?

lately I feel like questions regarding the kind of life I want to live have been popping up all over the place. and it has been more than the typical question of a recent college graduate of what I want to do with my life. it is more holistic. what is the story that I am writing with my life? in every situation. in every action. in every attitude.

I came to dc with an idealistic all you need is love approach to changing the world and quickly learned that often times, love is not nearly enough. you need truth. and strategy. and money doesn't hurt either. since then, the past year has been a lesson in standing firm in the truth. and it has been invaluable to learn how I can live in truth despite the relativistic world that surrounds me. but now, I find I have begun to forget what it looks like to love people. I have spent so much time and energy learning how to speak the truth, but in many ways, I have forgot that truth must always be spoken in love. yes, I need to stand firm and speak the truth. but what I know to be true should have no ultimate bearing on how well I love people. no ultimate bearing on how I am called to live in community with them.

and that line is so hard to walk. how do I speak the truth and yet not allow it to affect the fact that I am called to love people who may not know the truth? how do I love people no matter what? with no strings attached. and I mean really love people. it is easy to say, yes we must speak the truth in love. but I think a lot of the time we forget that saying it is not enough. we don't love people with our words. we love people with our actions. faith without deeds is dead. truth without love is nothing.

let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. the commandments...are summed up in this one command: "love your neighbor as yourself."

especially in the last year, I think I have gotten used to living in a polarized, categorized, black-and-white world where it seems impossible to love someone with no strings attached while still speaking of the absolute Truth that is Christ. where we constantly say we must speak the truth in love but rarely remember what it looks like to love someone well. we forget that loving someone well is not about us. it is about them. it is about listening and understanding another point of view and not dismissing it (even if we know it is wrong). because to love someone well we need to understand how they best receive love. and the world is not black-and-white so much of the time. it is messy. and broken. and Jesus ate dinner with prostitutes and tax-collectors. he did not sit above them preaching the truth. he was truth. and he was love.

so I have to actually live my story, not just write it. I have to love people and I have to stand in the truth. and this principle seems simple enough. and it is easy to do this with my words. but just so much harder with my actions. I will let you know how it goes.

22 November 2010

one art. elizabeth bishop.

how much do I love this poem? a whole lot.

the art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

lose something every day. accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
the art of losing isn't hard to master.

then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. none of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. and look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
the art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. and, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. it's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (write it!) like disaster.

21 November 2010

lo boob oscillator

I know. technically this is not wordless. but the fact that I need a translator to understand the words makes it count. plus stereolab is just wonderful. and this song is just about perfect. it is for when I need air and sunlight and every good thing. and it reminds me of good friends. and today I realized that I have a lot of them. in california. and in portland. and even in virginia. and I am so very grateful.

20 November 2010

crayon

today is all about caribou. oh man, this song makes me feel like I am eight years old again. and I just love it.


19 November 2010

this morning



casual friday means jeans. brown boots. favorite jacket with the big brown buttons. chunky scarf the color of red wine. bangs pinned back leaving my face uncluttered. leaving my sight clear. feelings of confidence. grace. contentedness. knowing that no matter what happens today God will still know who I am.

deciding to miss the bus means a walk through this crisp fall air. just cold enough to see my breath. hands bunched in pockets. earbuds firmly in place. andrew bird fluttering through my mind like the trees above me. his voice like mint meltaways in my mouth. my steps fall in time with the beat. perfect polaroid blue sky. sun low enough to be blocked by the trees. slivers of light peeking through like shards of glass. the feeling of sunlight mixed with the bite of morning air as it gently slaps my cheeks.

the gray of the sidewalk suddenly gives way to fallen leaves yet to be raked and bagged and disposed of. piled high enough to cover the top of my feet. my steps slow down. dead leaves rustle around my steps and crunch under my feet. one of my most favorite non-musical sounds. the sound of a life at its end - content with the journey to this point. content knowing that a purpose has been fulfilled. a smile pulls at the corners of my mouth. this is the adult equivalent to the jumping of huge piles of raked leaves. moments of pure elation that punctuated my childhood. there is the house with the abandoned bird bath. no other lawn ornaments around it. just a solitary bird bath painted royal blue. a leaf floats in the discarded water that will soon freeze. maybe this one leaf will remain, crystallized until spring comes again.

a truck advertising lawn care and leaf removal pulls me back. cars speed past in their hurry to start the day. my pace quickens, no longer in time with the music. now keeping time with the people walking around and past in their hurry to catch the approaching train. but my mind stays back at the bird bath, with the fallen leaves underfoot. my heart stays at rest, knowing that despite how things change, my place as one who belongs to one so much greater will always remain.

18 November 2010

fear and trembling

I just finished reading fear and trembling by soren kierkegaard. full disclosure: I understood about half of it. maybe less. but one part I think I got was when he was talking about what a great life looks like and what it takes to make a great life happen. it takes a lot of effort to live in a way that is working with God to build an awesomely beautiful end scene. and I cannot skip to the end. I cannot steal the lesson or somehow buy greatness. if I really want to learn something and learn how to live, I must begin at the beginning. I cannot expect to know the outcome first, "for one knows the result only when the whole thing is over." God has saved me and bought me and, for no other reason than his grace, I will get to spend eternity with him. but I still have to do the work to make my story great while I am in this present reality. when everything is said and done, and God asks me what I did with this body and mind and heart that he entrusted to me for a little while, I want to have something interesting to tell him.

in his book, kierkegaard wrote that our lives become great, "not, by being relieved of the distress, the agony, and the paradox, but because of these." and I think I am starting to understand that part more and more. that the tests and the trials and the struggles that I live through only make my story better. that if I want to live a great story, I have to do the work to make it happen. that joy costs pain and greatness takes a lot of risk and a whole lot of work. I think I have finally come to a peace with this. but the part that has proven to be harder for me to grasp is how my actions must speak louder than my circumstances. kierkegaard wrote, "it is not what happens to me that makes me great, but what I do." put another way, in one of my most favorite books, donald miller says, "the only way to know the truth is to make choices under pressure, to take one action or another in the pursuit of desire…the idea that a character is what he does remains the hardest to actually live." it seems so simple. if I want my story - my life - to be great, it is not just that I need to be able to deal with hard things. I need to be able to act differently in the face of them. I need to be able to love people well despite how I feel. I need to be able to live so that my words are not void. that is a whole lot harder than it seems. and I don't have a lot of answers at the moment. maybe tomorrow.

17 November 2010

today



and this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ. philippians 1:9-10

(thanks for the picture, rach)

16 November 2010

silver and gold

what fun it is to have best friends who come and visit. what fun it is to make wonderful, genuine, amazingly cool new friends. what fun it is to see this city with fresh eyes and a much more positive attitude. what fun it is to laugh and talk and pray and peacefully sit with people who do not need more than for you to just be here now.

this weekend was full of:

eating lunch on the steps of the portrait gallery.


seeing old things with new eyes. I think this may be my new lunch spot.


exploring secret passage ways at the national cathedral.


wondering what is at the top of all those stairs.


eating cupcakes next to a hot pink bicycle.


taking illegal pictures. the whirring of the sx-70 is so not conducive to my picture thievery.




sitting on the floor of bartleby's reading vintage children's books.

15 November 2010

how he loves



saturday, november 13. the lamb center.

I think I will be processing this one for a long time. but here is the first attempt to understand how God continues to blow my expectations out of the water and show me his love and grace in the most unlikely of situations.

just as bible study was about to begin, her mother tapped me on the shoulder. "would you mind sliding over a little bit more? we like to sit on the end." as I stood up to make room at the table, I saw mia. a little girl so deformed it made me gasp for breath. her skull was folded in on itself, almost looking like an egg on its side. her hands and feet were curled into balls. her body was shrunken to half its size. she had her name written in sharpie on each of her socks. her mother, a petite woman not older than 40, slowly lifted mia out of her wheelchair and placed her in her lap. "well good morning, miss mia." the table echoed with greetings from old friends. a most unlikely community surrounding this little girl and her mother. "you are looking so beautiful this morning!"

bible study moved forward. we spoke of the gospel of luke and the grace of our Creator who enters into the mess of life with us. who walks alongside us and somehow works all things for good. and these people believe this with all their heart. in their homelessness and in their struggles beyond anything I can ever imagine. they believe that God works all things for good. and mia's mother believes this. she sleeps in her car and she has a daughter who needs constant and meticulous care. and she loves her so beautifully. as I listened to the people around me talk of God's grace and his love for us as we are broken and beyond repair, I watched mia's mother stroke her hair and kiss her protruding forehead. her love for her daughter was beyond any words I can think of except to say that it was the most perfect picture of unconditional love that I have ever seen. or will ever see. and in her love for mia I saw God and how he loves us. how he picks up our broken bodies and places us in his lap. how he kisses our deformities and our scars and covers us with his perfect and unfailing love. and although mia could not smile or even move on her own I knew that she feels that love. she knows it is there. she has a peace and a joy that shines through her brokenness.

and here's the thing. my life is easy compared to 99% of the people in the room that day. even though my house is a little bit old, I don't sleep in my car. even though my job is a little bit frustrating, I have found work that not only provides for my life, but is actually satisfying. even though my budget is a little bit tight, I can still spend money on polaroid film and vintage children's books in georgetown. but so much of the time, I live in a way that takes for granted the life God has given me. in one of my most favorite books, donald miller writes "life is staggering and we're just used to it. we are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we're given." and I think that's true. I take the beauty of life for granted. I take God's unconditional love for granted. but mia doesn't. and her mom doesn't. and the people I talked to on saturday don't. they could be real angry at God. they could choose to hate him. or not belive in him. instead, they live in the truth that their life is a gift. and they live in the truth that God is good. all the time. no matter what.

14 November 2010

la redécouverte

this is what I wish my childhood sounded like. and why I love accordions.

13 November 2010

comptine d'un autre été: l'après-midi

it's a wordless weekend again. and I am still processing this day I just had (details to come). today I am exhausted and a little bit burnt out. but also grateful. and thankful. and so blessed.

given that the world sometimes knocks me off my feet with how it overflows with beauty and grace I thought this song - my most favorite song - was only fitting.

12 November 2010

impeccable timing



I am often amazed with the impeccable timing of God. how his hand is in every single situation and thought and action. how he guides me even when I think I am walking my own way. how he gives me exactly what I need when I need it - without me asking for it - or even knowing I need it. how he is good. always. and until the end.



but I am like the olive tree flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.
I will praise you for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
- psalm 52:8-9

11 November 2010

for now...

there's a lot to say about the past two days of rachel and stacy and all the fun we had. but for now I leave you with some mumford and sons. because let's be honest it's pretty hard to get tired of them.


10 November 2010

transformation



transformation: to make a thorough or dramatic change in the form or character of. more intense than change, transformation is to not only a change in appearance or outward image, it is an entire shift from one nature and character to a new perspective of how the world works and how we function within it. we change everyday: from our clothes to our appearance to our opinion. but transformation is much more rare. change may be inevitable, but transformation is based on how much we allow ourselves to be altered from the inside, out. and when we let this happen, transformation can be explosive and life altering.

when we stop trying to figure out who we are within the context of the world, and we begin to live with an understanding of who we are in relation to the kingdom of God instead, we begin to slowly be transformed. and when we decide to let God transform our lives, he doesn't just change our mindset, he answers the deepest questions of our soul and the strongest desires of our heart. through this transformation alone, will we truly learn how to live authentically in the calling he has placed upon our lives.

but when God transforms us and reveals his vision and purpose to us, it is not only meant to affect our own lives. just as an electrical transformer transfers energy from one circuit to another, when god transforms us, he is transferring his purpose and love through us, so we can begin to transform a broken world.

09 November 2010

rachel



rachel is here and I am so happy. I feel like I can breathe. I feel like I myself. our talking has not stopped since she got here and I cannot believe I have even made it this long without her. she is just good for my soul on so many levels.

08 November 2010

light and space.



I drive through neighborhoods of houses that are so big I wonder if they house the von trapp family. I drive through neighborhoods with gated entrances that give way to circular driveways. I drive through houses that look like castles but are really only part-time homes for diplomats or politicians. I drive until the houses give way to the natural world I am winding through roads that are lined with trees the color of fire and light. the sun is setting and I am blinded by the light that will soon turn to dusk and then to darkness. the leaves grasp unto the branches that have been their home and then finally give up, falling down to earth, spiraling and floating as they try to decide where to land. they fall like confetti out of the cards my grandmother used to send me for birthdays and just to say hello. the weather is quickly turning cold, but I roll my window down. crisp air hits my face and I feel my cheeks turn pink. the album leaf plays soft and slow, willing me to slow down and remember that even in the midst of the busiest place in america, there can always be moments of light and stillness and peace.

I drive under the canopy of trees and try to catch a leaf as it floats down. they rejoice in the crisp air just as much as I do. my car creeps up a hill, trying to keep up with the sun that is setting quickly. up. up. up I go like a roller coaster that continues its ascent long after you are sure is safe. I reach the top of hill and for a split second I am convinced that I will not stop going. that I will simply keep moving through the sky and into the clouds. for that fleeting moment at the top of that hill all I see is light and space. and then I dip back down and my stomach lunges a bit trying to stay in the light - where it knows it cannot. I am covered in dusk and shadow. but the shadow only reminds me of the sunlight. and I do not forget the light and stillness and peace.

07 November 2010

3055

wordless weekends are good for my soul. here's one reason why.

06 November 2010

ljósið

thank goodness for wordless weekends over at nablopomo. this weekend (and every other day) I am obsessed with ólafur arnalds.

05 November 2010

rahab.

joshua 2; hebrews 11; matthew 1

in my faithfulness, God is beginning to teach me how faithful he is. he is faithful to use me despite my circumstances, my mistakes, and my lack of understanding. he does not need me and yet he uses my weakness to affect the world. he chooses me for the same reason he chose the israelites; not because they were particularly strong or smart or great, but simply because through them (and me), he is able to reveal his glory and his love for a broken world. (in fact, the israelites were slaves who were broken and beaten and weak.) it is not my qualifications or skills or talents that earn me the right to be used by him…it is simply the faithfulness I am able to have by his grace. just as rahab was rewarded for her faith, so God will rejoice in my broken, messed-up life calling out to him. rahab was the lowest of the low. she was a woman, she was canaanite, and she was a prostitute. but she was faithful despite her status and God not only rescued her when the wall of jericho fell, he rejoiced in her. he celebrated her life as part of the genealogy of king david, and later, jesus. he rejoiced in her faithfulness in hebrews 11 when it talks of the most faithful people unto God.

I am learning the magnitude of what it means to love a God who allows me to co-author the story of creation with him. the God of heaven, creator of the universe, allows me to stumble alongside him and change the world. he walks beside me and he carries me when I am weak…all so I have the chance to be a pivotal part of his plan for the world. through my faith that seems so insignificant in the scheme of the world, he does amazing, awesome things.

I will step out beyond what I can see and I will believe that he will use me in some ridiculous, miraculous way.

04 November 2010

views from the road

in the past 2 days I have traveled through half the country, spent about 6 hours in one airport or another, and slept approximately 4 hours. so in order to stay true to this whole nablopomo thing I am posting. but I must admit, it is wholly half-hearted and half-asleep.

two good things about spending over 14 hours of the past 36 in the sky or somewhere near it:


catching up on reading (everything from the times to in style to fear and trembling)


marveling at the wonder of flight and God's grace to let us do it

03 November 2010

houston we have a problem.

it is 11:41 in houston, texas. which means although I would have missed my daily blogging deadline if I were an hour ahead in dc, I still have 19 minutes here. so in honor of the 19 (well, now 17) minutes left here is what my day has consisted of (and what many days in the coming months will consist of - with a few changes in location, of course):

7:00 am - flight out of national at 7:00am (which meant airport arrival of 6:00. which meant metro arrival at 5:15.)
8:30 am - land in charlotte, nc at 8:30. walk by awesome white rocking chairs on my way to next flight (completely forfeiting actual breakfast)
11:11 am - land in houston, tx. drink pumpkin spice soy latte and answer work emails while waiting for coworkers to arrive and 1:12.
1:30 pm - pick up rental car. get lost on the way back to terminal. get lost on the way to hotel.
2:00 pm - check in at hotel. go directly to lunch - making my first meal at 2:30 pm.
3:30 pm - run back to hotel. throw on gray dress, black cardigan, and (to my horror) black nylons. grab heels but refuse to put them on until absolutely necessary.
4:15 pm - arrive at venue. set up registration table/book table. give instructions to catering people/audio people/myself. rest for five minutes in the calm before the storm.
6:00 pm - check in and meet 110 people. spend no time lamenting the fact that I do not get to touch the wine and fancy hors d'oeuvres I excitedly picked two weeks ago.
7:00 pm - listen to tidbits of the most amazing speaker and scholar of dietrich bonhoeffer (and chief author of veggie tales) I have ever heard.
8:30 pm - try to keep breathing while selling books, organizing an author signing, managing new membership sign-ups, and wrangling one president, three hosts and one speaker.
10:30 pm - impromptu (but somehow mandatory) dinner. actively forgoing my "no food after 8 pm" rule - with mexican food.
11:37 - arrive back at hotel. bust out a blog.

on the plus side, I successfully planned and executed an event with 113 people and raised over $1000 dollars.

on the plus side, I get to fly back to dc tomorrow.

on the plus side, I am getting this blog done at 11:58 pm. mission accomplished.

02 November 2010

it's hard to do

here's the thing: community is hard. it combines all the things we are bad at – all the things that don’t come naturally – and it forces us to try those things out. vulnerability. trust. honesty. lack of judgment. accountability. all these words I say that I want to practice, but when it comes down to it – well, it’s just really freaking hard. and it’s so much work. if I could have anything it would be a small group of friends who are fiercely committed to practicing authentic community together. but then again. that takes a whole lot of effort.

here’s another thing: this place is notoriously bad at community. we have networks. we have business lunches that we plan four weeks in advance. we know lots of people. but not in a way that translates into actually living life with one another. we work tirelessly to make the world a better place, but sometimes we forget to stop working and actually spend unadulterated time making each other better too.

here’s one more thing: community is absolutely necessary. without it we go through life having no idea who we are. having no idea who God is. because let’s face it – everything we have that is good is simply a reflection of the gospel. the love we have for one another reflects the love of a creator who made us perfect and still loves us after we have messed ourselves up. the promises and business deals we hold one another accountable to reflect an absolutely perfect covenant that we often fail to meet but that God never does. and the community we practice (however imperfectly) reflects – in the smallest way – the perfect community we will one day have with him again.

so to recap: community is seriously hard. this place is notoriously bad at community. community is absolutely necessary. how is this supposed to work? I learn how to find community with my creator first. I learn to see others (and myself) through his eyes. I learn to love what he loves. I learn to force myself to rest in him (paradox?) when I am lonely. or self-conscious. or doubting. I practice peace and patience. and I learn how to be present in every scene of my life, remembering that it is only by his grace that I am able to live it. and then I live.

01 November 2010

october. apple picking playlist.



this time last year I was frantically trying to keep pace with my second month in DC and completely forgot to notice how awesome fall on the east coast is. but not this year. this year I am drinking pumpkin spice lattes and hiking through fallen leaves and carving pumpkins and eating butternut squash soup like it is going out of style. this year I am going to rejoice in the best season of all the seasons, in, what very well could be, the best month of all the months. and I am going to construct my perfect apple picking (among other fall festivities) playlist. october is tragically under rated.

(also, the theme over at nablopomo for november is...nothing! this lack of theme means that I might actually have a shot at posting once a day for a full month. here's hoping.)

1. myriad harbour - the new pornographers (for when things need to be loud)

2. vito's ordination song - sufjan stevens (for when things need to be quiet)

3. brother sport - animal collective (for when I am steeped in wonder)

4. portland is leaving - rocky votolato (for when I am steeped in melancholy)

5. one of these things first - nick drake (for tree climbing)

6. heartbeats - josé gonzález (for leaves falling and crunching)

7. changing colours - great lake swimmers (for when everything is changing)

8. service bell - grizzly bear and feist (for when everything is staying the same)

9. always like this - bombay bicycle club (for traveling)

10. all my days - alexi murdoch (for staying home)