Tuesday, September 19, 2017

from yesterday

I was born longing for days like these. Days when the autumn wind comes rushing in, and the tips of my toes are cold against the floor, even through my socks. When gold-corduroy jackets and soft button-downs are called for, and rain begins half-way through the morning. Days when I look just right without eye-makeup, and dress in cozy grays for the coffee-shop morning. When geese periodically honk overhead all throughout the day, and I notice the nearby treetops are burnished orange and impending crimson.

I was born with longings too deep to describe... for beauty, for change like leaves, for sky and hope, for love and family and feasting, and for more that cannot be explained or quantified. I long for God, more every year. And I'm beginning to ask for more of him when I long for all those glorious things that he likes to give me anyway.

Like today, when I get to spend hours of the afternoon making food for the week: chicken and veggies in the oven, fried rice on the stove; hot cider-tea for The Hobbit movie night tonight. A fresh pot of tea, and some positively joyous internet-perusals. Motherdy passed along the link to this gem. I look forward to her blogging of course, but check out the link to her Pinterest boards! --to die for. An aesthetic kindred, right down to hobbit-holes and narrowboats. I also read a bit from Lanier, and scrolled through a bit of homeyness a la Susan Branch.

Friday, September 8, 2017

It's September for real

I like to think of my birthday as a beginning. A first. September makes that easy. The brisk days are beginning. It is time to start wearing my goldenrod-colored jackets again. The change of tone in sky and barometer bring on a depth of poetic soul that I crave, and that only resinates just so with the timbre of autumn. Tea and cider are in fashion again, along with the he-who-must-not-be-named of coffee: I'm not actually anti-pumpkin-spice (nor in league for the suppression of eggs) but one must brace oneself. I must admit, though I must have made hundreds, I've never actually drunk one, not being fond of the effect sugar and dairy have on me.

It is time to think about soup again; a good time to start a new Bible-reading schedule, get back into daily yoga, perhaps blogging. A good time to find solitude among trees and ache for civilization in the falling of leaves.
Every time is a time to search around for the best playlist, or create a new one to suite the mood. Just around the corner are the days for Vince Guaraldi... I thought I smelled gingersnaps while I was balancing in tree earlier.
I found an enamel-covered cast-iron dutch-oven (whew, what hyphenation!) at the Salvation Army, which made me nearly giddy with joy.
More cleaning and decorating is on the docket... Who knows when I'll get to those. No matter.

This year, September began with more than the usual amount of excitement and ceremony. Some dear friends got married last week (already it seems quite an age ago) and so the days surrounding were busy with preparation and with all the many, very dear people who rallied round for the big day. Those were unforgettable days, filled with laughter and hard work, prayer, soccer, and dancing. I was blessed to be a part of that time.
The ceremony was magically beauteous, held among drooping trees and beside running water, saluted from above by v's of geese headed south.

My birthday was nestled in there among the festivities, unforgotten. I wore my happiest dress, and when I opened my door in the morning I was met by a stair-well full of roommates ready to wake me up. There were pancakes with candles, pounds of bacon, coffee....😍 and early morning conversation, which is a favorite of mine.

As I embark on my twenty-fourth year of life, I contemplate the world before me with not a little amount of amusement, excitement, and peace. I am ready to be surprised; planning to be amazed. This last year has been harder and better than many I have known. My scope for what God can and will do, for what he loves to do, and for what he does that I love, has continued to expand. My world gets bigger, and more beautiful; the rock I stand on is more solid than physicality could make it. I may be unsure of many things, but I am certain that I will see the goodness of the Lord. And I will continue to praise him whom my soul longs for. And that the One who cannot lie has declared me whiter than snow.

There is no better news than that.

And these days I'm quite exhausted. I find myself napping most days, falling asleep in random places: chairs, the car (not while driving... usually), during movies of course, the bath. Worry not, should soon be more or less caught up. But weeks of festivity can wear you out! While still in recovery mode, I've been enjoying NCIS LA which finally came through my library. And the last couple of days I have so enjoyed Adriene's Shakti practice, and yoga for the spine.

And this video is amazing and crazy inspiring. Listen to Sam Dancer and see if he doesn't make your list of coolest humans:

Shout out to my brother Will who's competing at the Granite Games this weekend!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

when you just need a laugh

i do not apologize for how much i enjoy Psych
For further hilarity, there is the Nickname Montage, the Don't be a...s, and just a whole lot of Shawn

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cosmic Dance

"What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as "play" is perhaps what he Himself takes most seriously. At any rate, the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash--at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.

For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.

Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance."

- Thomas Merton, new seeds of contemplation

Monday, July 31, 2017

Day 365

I can't believe it's only been one year! Our #letsmovetominneapolis adventure; the roommate experiment; my Year in the City that has involved so many people, so much laughter; work, responsibilities, decisions, bills, accidents, roadblocks; family, nature, art, beauty, difficulty, darkness, greater light, joy.
I am a different person....  as often happens.
I don't have the words to say just how. To remember all the places friends have pressed in to my life, to explain the new liberties I've found, to express how utterly surrounded, rooted, and gripped I have been by the love of God. It's hard to explain the combination my life holds, of work--busy, automatic, multi-tasking, training--; and the intensely engaged fellowship and conversations at home and in groups; sports and all manner of taking-advantage-of SUNshine; art, books, reading, writing, cooking, (often squeezed in around the edges); the exhausted napping that happens regularly... I have a beautiful life, a crazy one, and unusual. Brimming with the loving care of God, and new things to learn about his heart and his living words, and his beauty.

I recently got to spend a few days away from work and the city. A little time with Mama and Dad. Time for musing, writing, reading:  (finished) Notes from the Tilt a Whirl, (read) 100 Cupboards, Death and the Joyful Woman, (plus a few short story rereads), (started) Death by Living, Clouds of Witness, Dandelion Fire. All but one of those were rereads, but so refreshing, edifying, inspiring, and uplifting.

Last night I got a chance to do some watercoloring. Something I need to take more time for, it's delightful!

Have I mentioned how much I love Jack Johnson's music? It's about my favorite thing right now.

And have you heard Can't Live Without You by Owl City? Still loving it.

I've been watching some Hawaii 5-0, writing letters, catching some sun, waiting for my next book to be available, playing around with rhymes and lilts and chords. Work; exhausted naps on dripping hot afternoons with fans blowing and turning. Making pancakes.
I'm craving green beans again.

Anyway, there's a little glimpse into my days recently. I wish I were a little better at posting on here, especially since I'm off most other social media, but days fill up. And often, the things I would share are too hard to explain, or too personal to rush, or not quite my story to tell. We'll see how this looks as God continues to show me my story in the unfolding of each day around me.

Thanks for coming on this journey with me, of my Year in the City!
Here's to Year No. 2 and the stories that lie ahead! 
Find something to laugh about today. Live like a story, say what you would want your character to say, walk with your arms swinging free like a Narnian. We walk in the liberty of the spirit of God, the work and righteousness of Christ, and a love uncontainable.
My spirit is cartwheeling into this new year~

Saturday, June 24, 2017

In honor of summer

written a few days ago

Yesterday was a long work day, and not very warm; so I'm celebrating the Beginning of Summer today instead. I've spread out my sunning blanket (cool fabric, light and fluffy, and I don't mind getting tanning oil on it) and a beach towel, and grabbed my water bottle, notebooks, and laptop. I even began cutting up the watermelon, but haven't brought it outside yet, for fear I'll eat the entire thing.

This year has been long. And short. Tight-packed with all manner of lessons and growths, fellowship and friends, ministry, food, hard moments, breakthroughs, and many stretching experiences. I realize I haven't done very well on the posting-every-day which I started out trying to do. But over all, this whole Year-In-The-City thing has been a great success. And I hope you weren't expecting to get rid of me, Big City, 'cause I'm sticking around for a while.

Thoroughly enjoyed this article this morning.

And while we're on the topic of childhood... my seven year old nephew's birthday has renewed my love of planes, as I search high and low for awesome ones like I grew up with. I forget periodically how nerdy I am about WWII aircraft. And how much airplanes just get me, every time. I've been wearing my prop earrings the last couple of days (that I got at the Air and Space museum--love you Smithsonian!). You know they have the Wright brother's actual plane?

And while we're on the subject of nephews, I just got another one! Rejoicing all around. I get to see him soon, and spend some time with the precious (not as) littles!

Learning every day more of who I am in Christ. Spirit, heart, voice. Thank you to all who are journeying with me.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

fill your lungs and run

I dance in wonder
At scattered stars across the sky
My eyes shine with joy in reflection of the glory I see every day:
A swallow’s flight, a footprint’s depth
the sound of water ripples
and birdsong pervading the morning
the scent of tea
and the breath of God in the rise and fall of wind
The taste of buttered toast, and ocean spray on your lips

I fill my lungs with air and my heart overflows

Profusions of dandelions growing in the roughest spots
destined and determined to find the light
death and resurrection stitched on their existence
in colors of the sun 

Every shimmer and lullaby of trees, a song for me
Every light and shadow telling a story:
sorrow and hope
grit and glory
the grave and the conqueror 
death for a moment
life for eternity

Each line of song from Chris Rice, Adam Young, John Mayer
That struck a chord to my heart’s depth
Every book, every word that recalled the one true story resounding in every corner of the universe…
They play together in my spirit, daily.
Truth. Hope. Longing.
Harmonizing with Aslan’s story for years and years to come

As my feet pelt the earth beneath me——ordinary dirt, teeming with life, supporting every footfall for centuries——my eyes lift up to the expanse of sky: moon, sun, galaxy on galaxy, wealth of wonder and unknown,
(all that I may learn some day or never need to know), 
I look beyond the mountains and horizons to the Maker beyond our time and space

With my eyes fixed higher, I hope to see new wonders every day; to see clearer what I’ve known.

And I confidently wait to see a charger, to see my promised returning in more light than I can see.

Pour out your love upon the ground
And see Him returning on the clouds

Fill your heart with the scent of roses and thunderstorms,
with big hugs, long stories, campfires, starry skies, and old jokes
This beauty, love, and laughter is more armor than your enemy can penetrate
You are ready for war
You are an artist of peace
Joy is your strength
You are a cup overflowing

Invited to the biggest wedding feast earth and heaven have ever seen…

As the bride

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Safe like a lion

Are you afraid to go somewhere with God, to explore different aspects of God, because you're not sure you can justify it to someone you respect?
Here’s the thing: God isn’t concerned about whether you can justify the way he works to someone else

He’s not concerned that you get it all right
He didn’t die so that now, you could get it right.
He knows in fact, that you can’t get it right
He says, that’s kinda the point
He says, follow me
He says, believe that I love you

Let down your walls of fear and preconceived notions
Let all the truths that you know, that you’ve known and believed all your life…
Let them rush from your head to your heart:
God is not only capable of doing far more than you ask or think
He wants to help, to find, to rescue… 
To fulfill the deepest desires of your heart
It makes Him happy

God will speak

Every love and every joy tells the story that His love is that for you and more, that his joy in you and for you, is bigger than that
You cannot imagine it too great

When we are open to the floodgates of the love of the living God, there’s no room left for fear
Love and fear are like light and dark
They can’t coexist
And living without fear strips our enemy of his greatest weapon

When we open ourselves to God and to love, we open ourselves to people, we open ourselves to pain
The inconceivable goodness and power of God will break us
We can’t hold it
But he makes us new
We begin to see people the way God sees them
To love and be loved by them in bigger proportions than we thought possible… 
Even open ourselves up to their pain
And when we open ourselves to pain, to people, to God, within the safety of the love of Christ, what is there to fear?
Nothing can sneak in over the wall, batter down the gates, see through our camouflage,
Because we’re not hiding anymore

We are beloved of the father
Seen and known
Understood and accepted
Redeemed and made new

And when we live in the freedom and authority that that brings
Our lives are light
Our love is like fire
Condemnation is a lie
Fear has no place
And walking in the spirit looks an awful lot like following your heart

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Literary whirligigs

I think it must have been the lighting of early April days, because Friday morning was filled with brief moments of de ja vu. Mostly fictional and nostalgic, as if the angles of sunlight reminded me of certain days--childhood days filled with books. I was contemplating black sesame seeds and was suddenly in the world of Wodehouse: reminiscing, laughing to myself, and planning to grab one from the library and relive all that humor. As I stretched out in yoga, chilling in supta baddha konasana, hands behind my head, I inexplicably thought of the Melendys, and was transported to Then There Were Five; not reliving a certain memory, or even replaying book-scenes in my head (which I am perfectly capable of doing), but more, I was just enveloped in the atmosphere of it for a moment. And then it was gone. There was another that I wanted to share, but it seems to have slipped my mind for the moment. Perhaps it will return.
Also, I suddenly recalled the name of someone who gave a boring speech about ten years ago. Where do these nuggets of information hide? And why can't I delete them and make room for some present material? Or the geography of the earth for instance?

Also I found an excuse to wax (in)eloquently about Lorna Doone on Thursday. Any excuse is a good one, when it comes to John Ridd.

I've been reading in all the corners of days, Louise Penny and Ellis Peters. Cadfael especially restores and inspires and deepens my mind in a way that few books can. I look forward to getting back into Lewis and Chesterton as well, and I have several books on hold through the library that are brand new and haven't even arrived at the libraries yet. The second installment of N.D. Wilson's Outlaws of Time, as well as Wilson's prequel to the 100 cupboards series 😱, and Meghan Whalen Turner's fifth book in the Queen's Thief series!!

Driving through the country last week, I wrote a sort of poem, using the voice memos on my phone. So it's a little rough, but the joy of springtime must out. The glory of this season of Easter pervades these days, pouring sunshine through curtains and lifting our hearts.

Fingers of light across the sky
Misty billows hung clear-shadowed against the blue
Young hawks find freedom and fly
Robins and chickadees sing from every branch. Their song is true.
Joy brushes across my shoulder and crinkles the corner of my eyes
As sunshine opens up the day, creating light and space, like love
Purveyor of change, in beauty undisguised
April's touch in dancing sunlight on my cheeks. It is enough.
The kiss of spring to melt each heart
And comfort every bone inside your chest, awakening a thaw to every marrow
Breathe in and refresh every part
Open your arms to the brightness ahead and laugh for tomorrow

Spring rises now, laying aside his winter garments
And wrapping hope around his waist
Lingering at your feet to bathe, cleanse,
And wipe away fear with hope

And speaking of poetry, here is Malcolm Guite's sonnet for Palm Sunday

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturdays are for...


There is something very special about days-off falling on Saturday. As a barista, this is often not the case for me. But when it happens, there is a child-like, sabbath-quality to that rest. The grey-skied March weather is very conducive to this sort of day. Not the assertive and outwardly-productive kind of day. But the kind that is refreshing, peaceful, and rejuvenating to mind, heart, and body.
I started off the day looking at airbnb's in London, just because. Because I was curious, and because I love London, and entirely plan to visit someday. Perhaps sooner than later. And yes, I'm definitely going that route when I visit. Who wouldn't want a little slice of a real London home, along with a handy local to ask where the nearest tube entrance is, and which curry is their favorite?

I went on to watch a couple of documentaries I found on youtube. Brilliant ones on bridges, which I found utterly fascinating. I got a complete history and science lesson, not to mention engineering--I learned how a suspension bridge actually works. Mind blown! Here they are if you are at all inclined:
Bridges of New York City
Construction of the World's Tallest Bridge: the Millau Viaduct

Saturdays are also for crossfit. Every day is my yoga day, but Saturdays, especially if I don't work, are the perfect time for a WOD. I'm starting very small. I don't want to give up on this, so we're not going big right away, and for now I don't have much equipment. But I'm using the crossfit style and mindset (and my bro is kindly writing workouts for me). So here we go! Lifestyle of health, fitness, strength, mobility #bemorehuman

Then I tackled all the bookmarks on my laptop, edited and organized them all, deleting a large percentage of them. What a refreshing reboot to my electronic world. And I found some things that I'd forgotten about: this great music, this totally tear-worthy youtube of Amy Pond clips, and so on.

I came downstairs to find Will tuning the piano. I made curry and a pot of tea, and hung out with the familiar 'ting, Ting, TING' of tuning sounds. I ate food, called my other bro, waxed eloquent to Will about bridges and my day in general, looked up Jenna Coleman hairstyles (I need a trim), and now I'm writing this.

Soon I'll clean the kitchen, and do yoga before bed. Maybe start another book. I finished Louise Penny's Bury Your Dead last night. Absolutely brilliant. I also found my copy of Mere Christianity finally, right where it ought to be...

There's so much going on in my life that is new and beautiful, and crazy and full of the goodness and bigness and surprisingness of God. I can't relay it all now; but it's really cool. New ministry opportunities, commitment to community--some expanding, some focusing. Pouring hearts out into speaking life and living love, and living in the truth of the power of prayer. The eye-opening and mind-blowing glory in the every day.

Did you hear the robins? I've known they were back but I just saw my first one the other day, singing his heart out in the tree outside work. It made my day, let me tell you. And the mud is spreading, and some days the sunshine is truly warm! I refuse to wear a coat most days now.

Yes, I'm sorry I haven't gotten to write more on my blog here, but I wouldn't trade the active, social, and very present life I've been living instead. I'm learning to juggle the bookworm in me with the people-person in me. My heart for chatting over coffee, and laughing over pizza, for trading of ideas and sharing of days... with my art, yoga, reading, writing, and thinking soul.

Life is just crazy, you know? I'm all lists and plans one moment, and spontaneity and freedom the next. I always think I'll figure it out one day. Or not, you know. Life is glorious anyway, its heights and depths. Sometimes I just need days like this to step back, explore the city of my mind, and see this beautiful, spinning world as a curious, blinding whole. Like a scout climbing the highest tree to look out over the canopy, I come down grinning, to tell the others 'It is good'.

Monday, March 6, 2017

i want to know if you can see the stars tonight

I write today from the peaceful and inconvenient bonds of convalescence. Having quite abandoned decent self-care in the form of healthy sleeping and eating habits over the weekend, I have come down with a thorough cold and flu that's been making the rounds.

I consider it to be my own fault, with no bitterness. I don't know whether I shall ever become that one kind of responsible figure I know myself capable of being: who wears flannel about her throat during all inclement weather, and turns down a dance for a nap that would do her health good.

For now I am content that I know how to be "good" and employ this knowledge in good earnest on days like these. Since I came down with the wretched thing yesterday, I have dutifully cancelled engagements, taken naps and vitamins; made soup and porridge, and drunk honey-lemon water in quantity.

I have occupied my time, when not sleeping, with Dorothy Sayers' magnificent volume Busman's Honeymoon, which I needn't tell you is delightful in every regard. Last night as well, I enjoyed 'You've Got Mail' at the brilliant suggestion of my roommate Amy. I'd forgotten how visually beautiful everything was, especially Kathleen's flat. And I about died with joy over the streets of New York City, as usual. And I think we can all agree the soundtrack does the heart good.

Today the March sky remains cloudy, and birds can be seen tossed about as they try to fly against the wind. But the mercury is in the lower sixties and the air entirely agreeable. I was able to avail myself of the weather momentarily as I ambled out to administer brief ablution to my car in the form of pine sol and ground coffee.... one doesn't want spilled chili to languish in one's principle mode of transportation.

Having finished there, one's thoughts naturally stray to the long and hot bath. But I was able to stop off at the mat for today's yoga, not wishing to make one concession where others might follow. And I was able to move carefully and with awareness (which is, after all, the point) so as not to over-tax the body while still moving breath and muscle.

But now, yes, I am ensconced in a bath, doused liberally with four-thieves oil. That hot and fragrant steam doing wonders for the head. Very necessary too, as I have already employed pseudoephed in minimizing the pain to my spine induced by sinus pressure. I'm now contemplating soothing suppers and an evening movie.

As for my appalling lack of blogposts of late, I can only say that as days stream busy by, it can be increasingly difficult to write about them, or to find time to write about anything else. And the more heart-filled and full of glorious moments they are, the more I don't want to belittle that swirl of living, by one quick line of a post, attempting to sum up what a week has held. Impossible.

So I shan't try. Little bits that make it in here--like Tuesday morning drives to work when the ducks are flying over in pairs and you know spring is on it's way in: the ducks are back! And looking for nests (Wednesday morning it was geese)--when little bits make it in here, you know that there are a hundred other moments it would be impossible to share here. Inspiring quotes, and enlightening conversations; words of wisdom, love shared, fellowship over food. Fears and joys, and giving to God. Ministry opportunities, and prayers answered; and nights when your head hits the pillow and you have no idea how you're going to face tomorrow.
And then the sun rises
and the birds are singing to you
and people smile
and music moves you
and God is closer than your breath
and suddenly all you want to do is live and love well.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


I haven't been posting much again... Difficult to find what I want to share sometimes. Busy days, swirling thoughts, dancing feet, learning heart, tired eyes, moving fingers, coffee and tea and a thermos of soup. Books and movies, friends and conversation, catching up with Mom, chasing children. Birthdays, sickness, work and exercise.
The cold is back. I'm dreaming of summer in good earnest now.
I'm still here; finding here; finding stillness.
Missing my brothers and friends who are away; wishing them the best there is to enjoy, but also wanting them to come back and share this space, and talk with me about life and hearts and things that matter.
Excited for the days ahead and what they will hold and bring and teach. What I can see, notice, appreciate; light to bask in. I want to speak life and love well.

I'm back here just to share a thing or two...

A spring poem by CS Lewis  on a favorite blog of mine... someday I'll see Addison's walk at Magdalen myself. Until then...

"still everything happens for a reason is no reason not to ask yourself: am i living it right?" - John Mayer