Keep our Christmas merry

The Holiday season is a perfect time to recognize, appreciate, and love the people around us. Especially the ones we do not know. So many hearts across the globe are without companionship this Holiday season. Not only are we blessed to have more material things than we truly need we are also blessed to have people to share our lives with. Blessed to be a blessing.

Heap on the wood!
The wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We'll keep our Christmas merry still.

a poem I love by Sir Walter Scott


The A21 Campaign - Be Her Freedom

Two blogs in one hour. I'm on a roll.
Actually Ben just sent me this video. We are hoping to gather some items and put together some boxes to send to women that have been rescued from human trafficking. This is an issue close to both Ben's heart and my own-- we feel strongly about being a part of the solution to the extreme issue of human trafficking. So strongly that both of us are working toward careers to be a part of the lives of victims to this painful and damaging crime. I've been slowly familiarizing myself with organizations in our area, and both fortunately and unfortunately there are a number to choose from. IJM, A21, RJI, World Hope, VA coalition against trafficking, Polaris Project, the list continues. A21 is not as local as the others but Ben's church supports their shelter efforts in Greece. This is a video they recently released. Please Watch. Educate yourself in this issue.. it is not a distant, over-seas problem. Women from all over the world fall victim to this disgusting trade. Including our own literal backyard. Women in the United States are kidnapped, forced, coerced, and manipulated into trafficking every day. Young, poor, wealthy, educated, loved, neglected, tall, thick, skinny, living, breathing women. There is no stereotype of the victims. It truly can be anyone, anywhere.

Fat Cat

On my break today at work I was reading this article on stress in Allure magazine. It was quite interesting - witty too - I really enjoyed the content. There was one thought in particular that made me laugh out loud.
Robert L. Leahy, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in NYC points out: "Animals don't have the capacity to worry about anything that might happen more than 30 seconds from now. 'Consider that cat' he says. 'No cat has ever wondered, Did I offend that other cat? or Is my cat ass getting fat?'" I'm pretty sure I literally pictured a cat looking in the mirror thinking is my ass fat? ha!

The main thing I took from the article is the real importance of relaxation. I'm talking about relaxation beyond sleeping or napping. Taking time for yourself to decompress and not feel pressed by life's worries. Reading, doing nothing, listening to music, doing art, working out, whatever releases tension. I've been working myself to bits lately, and while my body functions best at high intensity, my sanity has been suffering. I'm happy the holidays are approaching so I have some time to get away, sleep in, and just do nothing! I'm not sure how well that will work out, but I'm looking forward to it none the less. I'm especially looking forward to my flights. Being on a plane gives me an excuse to zone out to my ipod or read about the Kardashians without knowing there is something far more productive I could be doing. If only I were flying over seas...


Like the Wheel

I'm not sure I love anyone more than Tallest Man on Earth right now. Enjoy.


morning reminder

"You may feel you need His healing touch while He may decide to reveal His peace in the midst of your ailing body. You may think you need His financial provision, and He may decide you need to learn dependence. He knows what's best and will reveal the attributes we need in His timing. "



In recent months, I've ben pushed to face and overcome some real tribulations. In slowly giving up control, the path seems to be getting rougher. I think some things just never stop trying to hold us down. As believers we have a choice: allow the cycle of lies to continue or trust that as new creations God has cleansed us. The fallen world encourages lies of all kinds to poison us and inhibit individual growth and healing. It's hard to feel whole when you look at yourself and see something worthless. But the name above all names does not create junk, He creates masterpieces. Even though its a bit painful, He wants to purify us into something more precious that gold; the only way for that to happen is to trust and step into the fire.

Watch this short video:
God’s Chisel « Videos « The Skit Guys


Christmas Lights

The Holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is a thing of the past and Christmas is on it's way. What better way to get in the spirit than a beautiful serenade by Chris Martin?


Teach me to Love

Oh, where has the time gone? These last couple of weeks have been exciting, challenging, my-feet-really-hurt-tiring, and fulfilling all at the same time. I started a second job... Sales at Banana Republic. I thought it might be nice to get some extra cash during the holidays and take advantage of a sweet discount while I'm at it. Although I must admit: working retail is SO BORING. I don't know how I forgot, but I did.

I love my job at the museum. I thoroughly enjoy having a purpose, a job description, tasks, artists and students to build relationships with, projects to take on, and things to make my own. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes when you do something you know and enjoy. I wake up and am excited by my to-do lists and upcoming events. I feel blessed.

I'm slowly finding community here as well. Did I mention the process is particularly slow? Yes, it is moving at snail speed. Its a struggle and unfortunately its not happening at the mega-church I had hoped to call my home. It's not to say that this could change, I have connected with a couple of very wonderful women; overall it is not a place I feel safe or comfortable. I have been raking my mind trying to pinpoint what it is-if it is any one particular thing. My conclusion: the community is severely lacking in comparison to other church experiences. The church is great. The preaching is challenging. I don't have anything theologically to disagree with. So why not just grin and bear it, wait it out, and make it home? I ask myself that too... Which made me ask myself, why do I go to church? Aside from being fed spiritually and having the opportunity to connect with God in a communal setting, why do I go to church? What makes a church home?

I don't think there is a formula for the perfect church. Part of me grieves over the way Western culture has created a church that strives to fits our needs rather than the church being an actual foundation of the physical community that people live in. We "church shop" to find a place that has what we are looking for. Theology. Music. People. Outreach. A vision. Biblical teaching. The list goes on and on. We all are guilty of it. There are so many churches now, it almost seems necessary. But to begin answering my question, my main and obvious criteria is to be in a church that preaches Biblically and has sound theology. The bible holds Truth and the instructions we need for life to be full. I need it to be the foundation of the teaching. So then what?

People. Community.

This is the kicker. Do I feel welcomed? What is the community like? What kind of lifestyle do the leaders lead? Where is the focus of the congregation? Does the congregation live the vision of the church? Is there a genuine quality to the people? Words like real. raw. honest. genuine. flawed. embracing.welcoming. loving. uplifting. family. are the kinds of words I want to think when I'm describing the community at my church. I want to see hurting people embraced. Struggling people lifted up. Spiritual people challenged. Troubled people forgiven. The body reaching outside the walls of the church. And most of all, I want to connect with people on a brotherly level so we can do life together and carry each others burdens (and so fulfill the law).

Gal. 6:2 "Carry one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

Hebrews 10:24-25 "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (One of my favorites)

1 Thess. 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

Matt 22:37-40 "And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'"

I don't want to spend time with my fellow brothers and sisters only inside the church walls and within church functions and within our comfort and safety of each other. I want to do life with them. Step out into the world with them. I want to invest in them. I want to encounter God more through our interactions. I don't want to be a christian confined to my specific lifestyle maintaining superficial relationships and encounters - I want to go deeper. In ALL of my relationships, but especially those with fellow believers.

I could really dive into this topic, but I will leave it where it is for now. God has stirred my heart for more and I am determined to find it, create it, be it, do whatever He calls me to do to be immersed in the kind of community He aches for us to be in.

Lord teach me how to love.


Whip My Hair

For Your Viewing Pleasure:

[she is 9 years old]



After 2 years of debate, experience, and a fickle mind, I am fairly confident I have figured out my grad school path. [!] I began 2 years ago set on studying Arts Administration, quickly re-decided on Non-Profit management, which slowly changed to Counseling Psychology, then morphed to Art Therapy, then back to Arts Administration but with a minor in Psychology, then shifted entirely to Social Work, and again back to one of the prior options. I have requested information and searched the programs of schools all over the country. I've worked in environments that I was "so sure" were where I wanted to go in furthering my career. Now, finally, through much analyzation and prayer I have decided on one program. More specifically a dual degree.... possibly with an added certification. :/ oops.

Masters in Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University with a concentration in
Gender Violence Intervention and certification in Non-profit Management.

Quite a mouthful huh?

The concentration in Gender Violence Intervention is a collaborative effort between the Department of Sociology and other departments and programs at VCU, as well as community advocates working in the area of sexual and domestic violence. And through a cooperative arrangement with the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, M.S.W. students pursuing Social Work may simultaneously earn the graduate certificate in nonprofit management offered by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

Assuming everything goes smoothly, I'm applying for admission for fall of 2011 along with any and every scholarship and opportunity for financial aid VCU offers. My financial standing (and weather or not I get in, of course) will determine my start date. By Fall of 2012 I WILL be in grad school though. I would prefer to be enrolled for 2011, but will wait another year if the opportunity to save/earn/receive more money comes along with the time.

I feel really really wonderful about this development. VCU's program is #14 in the nation for Graduate Social Work programs and one of 3 that have any kind of sexual or gender violence intervention concentration. I feel like this program paired with my undergrad in art, my passion for women, my experience working/volunteering with community organizations, and my experience working for national and international non profits will really shine on my resume and equip me for the many future plans God has been developing in me.

I'm nervous about finances and also being back in academia. I'm not the most academically inclined person in the world.
If I have learned anything about God, I have certainly learned He always always always provides. I also know this is a step toward the plans He has for my life and by focusing on Him and staying in His will I can never fail.



'Dance Dance Dance'

I've seen a lot of shows since my first concert (Weezer & Jimmy Eat World @ age 14) Especially with living in Nashville where there is show after show after show for so cheap... I lost count after 43. Of everyone I've seen Bon Iver remains at the top of my list of favorite live acts. I was brought to tears the first time I saw him (now 'them' with his band) play. I just love Justin Vernon. Here is a video of Bon Iver playing with Swedish indie singer Lykke Li. This girl is sort of excentric but has amazing talent none the less, especially for being 24. This is her and the guys singing "dance dance dance" - It's so awesome to see musicians having fun like this! I'm green with envy.

Back in the saddle again.

Today I am enjoying an entire day off. It is insanely hot in VA for being October. The high today is 88 degrees. So again, I am sitting by the pool listening to "The Album Leaf" soaking up every last ray of sun and thanking our God immensely for it all.

Yesterday I had a pretty relaxing day too. It was the first time in the last couple weeks of craziness I was able to evaluate myself, where I am now, and where I want to be in the future. I write down goals I have for every area of my life periodically and yesterday was a much-needed day of inventory. I think the main area that I have lacked in is my health. I was reading this article in Glamour Magazine written by one of their bloggers that did an experiment of eating only foods she saw advertised on TV for a week. Applebees, Chilis, Jimmy Dean's, Burger King, Yo-plait, Kellogg's. Some very very unhealthy, some you would think were not. It was interesting the effects she, a normal organic-whole foods eater, experienced. I connected to some of the feelings she was having after just 5 days of eating not so healthy:
"I wake up feeling foggy...normal tasks like making a phone call were suddenly making me off the charts anxious... no coordination.." Ugh. It's not hard to understand that diets overly saturated in fat, sodium, and refined sugars have serious negative effects on the body and the brain. But this article pinpointed exactly what happens. The fat, sugar, and salt, overstimulate the release of the brain chemicals dopamine (responsible for euphoria) and norepinephrine (involved in mental activity). So when any of those levels of refined sugar, fat and/or salt are increased and then take a nosedive- we feel uncoordinated, anxious, unfocused, tired, etc. And the worst part is that these changes can happen after ONE MEAL. On top of that, your mood is negatively affected too (that whole euphoria thing is unbalanced.) This explains my recent hatred of the human race.

My downfall: sugar. I don't normally crave fatty, salty snacks or processed foods like a lot of people do. I crave sugar. Not baked goods (ok..sometimes bread) but candy. Dark chocolate, which has positive benefits in moderation, gummy bears, sour patch, fun dip, shock tarts, sweet tarts, laffy taffy, jelly bellys... Willy Wonka is my hero. Sugar is my health's kryptonite. I'm addicted. Last week I made the addiction far more extreme with my 3 days of crappy lunch choices followed by a binge of pixy-stix. Why I thought this was a good idea, I will never know.

All of this to say, I related to some of the side effects this woman was having. I have been feeling almost ill the last couple of weeks and it's because I'm not taking the time to focus on my diet and health like I normally do. So in my goal re-evaluation that was the #1 thing I need to get back on track with. I am tired of feeling like I'm not with it and have zero energy.

I also am registering for the Virginia Beach Surf n' Santa! It's a 10mile run in December. At first I was thinking "oh no... long runs in the snow again?!" (I experienced a LOT of deep snow runs last winter in my failed training for the Country Music Half.) Then I realized, I live in Virginia Beach... I don't even need my yack trax! It's not going to snow enough for that. If I can run 8 miles in the Michigan snow I can run 10 miles in the Virginia cold.
I have 53 days to train.

Here's to healthy living!



During certain periods of my life, God brings verses specific to the season I am in. I may have mentioned this before. I posted the verse that has been coming back to me over and over again since I came to Virginia Beach a few months ago. 1thess 5:16-24 (this time in NASB):

Rejoice always;pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

Recently the subject of alcohol has been fleshing itself out in my mind. I come from a family that struggles to overcome alcoholism. I have lived a crazy life, I've struggled with many addictions, but in my eyes alcohol has never really been one that was hard for me to say no to or use in moderation (when I made the choice to do so!). I have friends that drink, friends that don't, friends that won't, and friends that shouldn't.
Personally, I am a long time lover of wine and always always always appreciate the discovery of new and local brews. A good dirty martini is essential from time to time as well. I genuinely appreciate the taste and enjoy savoring a delicious meal with a drink to compliment or relaxing with friends and a cold beer.
If anyone ever asked me "Do you think alcohol has any control in your life?" I would respond "no" with zero hesitation.

"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;abstain from every form of evil."
"Test everything; Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."

This subject has become a known struggle with a loved one in my life recently. Again, I am aware of the hold it can have on people. I've witnessed it with both family and friends in the past and am all too familiar with the process of discovering the problem and the struggle to overcome. It's painful to witness again. It has caused me to really examine what it means to "test everything", to "avoid every kind of evil" as well as what it really means to "carry each other's burdens" (Gal 6:2). I've been asking myself "does drinking have any kind of hold over me? Any?" and the answer may be that it does. I often think just because I've never had a serious issue with drinking heavily, I do drink frequently and allow myself the indulgence of a glass of wine to relax or a beer to calm my nerves in a new social situation.

I am testing and carefully examining my heart and intentions with having a drink. or two. or three. I am deciding that it's not necessary and want to really truly see where my dependence lies in those situations where I desire rest or comfort or just an easy conversation. I want my dependence to be on God if it needs to be anywhere at all.
I also want to live out Galatians 6:2 and support the people I love in making positive life choices.

Honestly, I feel great about it. I just hope this is a decision that the people around me support and encourage.


cut it out

To cut or not to cut. That is the question. This month's issue of Vogue features the amazing Carey Mulligan. She is uber adorable and a fabulous couture model.

[She also has amazing hair.] Ugh decisions.


Birthday Suit

So, today is my birthday. Twenty-four years!!
What a journey so far, I am so extremely blessed. Even though I am far away from a large majority of my loved ones, I've already received cards and presents and love from some of my friends and family. I love getting calls from my family. I've talked to my dad a lot this week about flights and whatnot yet he still calls and songs a little "well happpyyyyy biiirthday" and my mother always has some embarrassing or obnoxious song for me or my voicemail.
Tonight Ben and I have an exciting evening planned with the art crawl, dinner, and some "small surprises". I can't wait! We've both been really busy the last week with work and him with school so it will be wonderful to have a night out with just my man. Yesterday I spent the afternoon waiting out a heavy portion of the "tropical disturbance" and took a break from detouring flood zones at the mall. Birthday shopping. A few of my favorite buys (and received presents so far):

Perfect herringbone jacket from Gap.
I'm one of the few women lucky enough to get one- this was only available for a limited time.

Love this blouse from Banana! Its perfect with a skinny belt, under a jacket, a cardi, whatever.

I fell in love with the skirt the minute I laid eyes on it today. Thanks mom :)
These wedges are extremely comfy and taupe goes with everything.

The essential long cardigan

I LOVE these cords. I'm so glad colored pants are in again ha. Considering the majority of my wardrobe is earth tones and grays, bright pants pair perfectly.

My last stop of the day... Aveda. For my favorite skin care product and a hand massage. My hands are still soft and smell amazing.

In addition to all of this: a trip to Grand Rapids (!) which is hands down my favorite gift of this far.

Can't wait for tonight!



Its Tuesday. Its rainy. Its dreary. Its cold. Its get-your-ish-together-Tuesday.

My co-worker dubbed that the label for today. Every day has a theme depending on the events and mood of the office. Me-want-more-chocolate-Monday. Fart-machine-Friday. Thankfully-Thursday. It's the little things in life that make one happy, haha.

Virginia Beach is slowly allowing Fall to creep in. It's fantastic. With fall comes nostaliga. I have so many fond memories from this season! It's also my birthday soon.. maybe that is why I love it so much.
Last night was cell group night with some phenominal ladies from church. I've yet to truly connect with any one, but I take advantage of any opportunity to be surrounded by solid girls that I can. Every other Monday is my favorite night of the week.

Here is some healthy perspective:
[John 3:30] "He must become Greater, I must become less."
*What would it look like in your life for Jesus to become greater and you to become less?

#1. Get over what other people think because what God thinks matters more. [Gal 1:10]
#2 Get over what other people see because what God sees matters more. [Matt 14:25-31]
#3 Get over what you did because what Jesus did matters more. [Gal 3:2-3]

What would it look like to live in the power of the cross every day??

*slap* Thats real talk. We know we all struggle with these things. We waste so much time worrying about what others see and hear and dwelling on the things that we've done; good or bad. We are obsessed with ourselves, for lack of better words. Its quite disappointing when I think about how much energy I have poured into myself rather into the world around me. [It's time to get my ish together.]
On a brighter note. Enjoy this picture. I cannot stop laughing at it for some reason.


Mumford and Sons

Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

If you don't listen to them, you must. You must, you must, you must. They are amazing.
Their lyrics are so passionate, bold, and emotional. You won't be able to get enough.
Their newest album is "sign no more" and every song is brilliant. Worth every penny.


friends and family

I've been in VA for about a month and a half... ish. Adjusting is difficult. In my many moves I've found the first few weeks are hard, then you settle in a little bit, then there is a second wave of discomfort usually worse than the first round. I'm almost to the first calm. The eye of the storm I call it. Luckily 'this too shall pass'.

But I am learning a lot about family. The Brooks are amazing. So full of love and hospitality. They are taking care of me and want so much to give me a safe place to call 'home' and I am forever indebted to them because of it. I live in an environment that is so completely foreign to me. People come over all the time, sometimes just walk in the door, rummage through the fridge. Someone at the house always has something to give another in need, it's the body truly working together. It's wonderful. I am blessed just to witness it, much less be a part of it!! I miss my friends still. I have yet to make an actual friend here. I've interacted with a few girls, had coffee, a couple good conversations. But I still feel on the outside. I feel unaccepted, misunderstood.

So this is what I cling to:

"Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. For this is God's will for you in Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies w/contempt. Test everything. Hold onto the good. Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thess. 5:16-24

sidenote: today marks 6 very amazing and blessing months for Ben and I <3



I have been spending an extremely large amount of time in the car lately. 80% of me doesn't mind this at all, 20% is pretty tired of it. Travels thus far:

Jan. (move to...) Grand Rapids, MI from Nashville, TN (9 hours)
Feb. Cincinnati, OH (6 hours)
Mar. Washington, D.C./VA (I flew this one.. I guess it doesn't really count as a road trip)
April. Chicago, IL (3 hours)
May. Virginia Beach, VA (15 hours)
May. (move to..) Virginia Beach, VA (15 hours)
June. Grand Rapids, MI (15 hours)
June. Indianapolis, IN (12 hours)

aaaaaand to come before summer is done:
Aug. Long Beach, NC (8 hours) and Sept. Nashville, TN (10 hours)

Needless to say I may not be visiting the hottest destinations on earth, but each of these locations hold the dearest people to my heart. As much as I wish at times that my friends and family lived in CA and OR and NY... I'm glad for the sake of my bank account and my car that they are a bit closer. I also love road trips (or..traveling in general) and I've been lucky enough to have Ben accompanying me on the majority of these drive so they've been lovely and adventurous.


Shel Silverstein

June 8th was an amazing release day for poetry and music fans all over.
A musical tribute to the songs of Shel Silverstein: "Twistable Turnable Man" with covers by Andrew Bird, Dr. Dog, some of the Pixies, My Morning Jacket, John Prine (one of my favs), and others. Here is the list:

Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein Tracklist:
01. Lullabys, Legends and Lies – My Morning Jacket
02. The Twistable, Turnable Man Returns – Andrew Bird
03. This Guitar is for Sale – John Prine
04. The Unicorn – Dr. Dog
05. The Winner – Kris Kristofferson
06. Queen of the Silver Dollar – Sarah Jarosz w/ Black Prairie
07. Daddy What if – Bobby Bare, Jr. w/ Isabella Bare
08. The Cover of the Rolling Stone – Black Francis w/ Joey Santiago
09. Sylvia’s Mother – The Boxmasters
10. Me and Jimmy Rodgers – Ray Price
11. A Boy Named Sue – Todd Snider
12. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan – Lucinda Williams
13. The Living Legend – Bobby Bare, Sr.
14. The Giving Tree – Nanci Griffith
15. 26 Second Song – My Morning Jacket

Buy it. Listen to it. LOVE IT. It's amazing :)


On The Move....

Since 2004 I have moved 12 times within 2 countries, 3 states, 7 cities, and 1o houses.
As of May 31st we can change that to 13 times within 2 countries, 4 states and 11 houses.
I got the job with the American Cancer Society.... I'm moving to Virginia Beach, VA.
This is quite a leap of faith. I'm trusting God all the way. He brought me to GR which has been amazing and honestly it will be hard to leave... but I have to trust Him in this the same way. This is the word He gave me to ease my fear and unease:

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."


fashionista surfer

In my wonderful stay here in Grand Rapids, I have to say I have re-discovered my appreciation for a more classy fashion. It's funny that GR has a very distinct fashion aura to it. Much much different from Nashville. I think i would like to merge the two together. We shall see. I also have more time to scour the Internet for new music and random stuff. Now days bloggers post all kinds of things they would like to share on their blogs - so I would hope that in writing on this silly thing (if anyone reads or even cares) that I could keep up with the blogger trends. So. Here are some things I love that I religiously look at weekly (ok ok... daily) Enjoy.

#1 The Sartorialist. I've been loving on this blog for almost 2 years now. I love looking at it as a photographer, artist, and a girl longing for the ability to own designer gear. *sigh*

#2 Garance Dore. Amazing artist and fashionista... dating the sartorialist. Thank you Stef for introducing this to me!

#3 The Cut.. New York's Magazine's fashion blog. more high fashion but sometimes have some really cool things!

#4 Of course, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie and J.Crew. No one can go wrong with these.

#5 Apartment Therapy. Like decorating and design?? Check this out.

#6 Lomography for all of my creative and abstract photographic inspiration and needs

#7 NPR music. LOVE THIS SO MUCH! I have always loved npr. But last year I discovered NPR music, where they have songs from new albums and interviews with musicians. It's amazing.

#8 Pitchfork. This is nothing new, any music enthusiast is obviously in the know with pitchfork. I'm not a hipster, I can enjoy things that are mainstream.

I could do this all day, I have a list about 50 websites long of wonderful inspiration and information. but I'll spare you and just supply these few for now :)

Happy Internet Surfing.


Battles of the heart.

I used to think that when you began to deal with things that were "baggage" it was a healthy process. That you could enter a tunnel, struggle through it, see the light at the end, and exit.
Apparently it's more accurate that you walk through the tunnel again and again and again.
I'm currently reading the book "redeeming love". This book was recommended to me 3 years ago and I never picked it up because I've always been REALLY against girly christian novels. (cheeeeeeeezy.) Then I had a stirring in my heart. Suddenly it was a book I just had to read. I pick it up every day and cry at least once, if not many times, at the words on each page.
Quick synopsis: The main character of the book is struggling with some serious hurt. She was an illegitimate child unwanted by her wealthy father. Her mother passed and she was sold into a brothel at 8, had part of her ripped out - literally - so she could never bear children, fled to safety only to be picked up and cast into another brothel (because of her amazing beauty). She lived for years as the highest priced prostitute before Michael Hosea (making a connection?) was instructed by God to go after her and marry her. Sounds crazy... but he did and the rest of the book describes her aches of accepting, recieving, and giving love. This character is a woman that never let anyone in emotionally. She is hard. She has walls around her 4 feet thick and hundreds of miles tall that no one can climb- much less tear down.
At one point in the story she interacts with a family that interacts and exists as a healthy family should and as she sits and observes she is completely blown away at how the family functions. These people reach out to her, to know her, and she has no idea what to do with it because she was an outcast for 10 of her 18 years of life.
Sometimes I cry because it makes me ache to read the thoughts of this fictional character's mind. Sometimes I cry because I know exactly how she feels.
My scars are not as deep nor as many as this character. But they are there and they affect me, on a smaller scale, the same as her. But to see it from the outside.. I wonder if people saw through me the way they see through her. See her hurt written all over her. It makes me wonder what I was like.. what I'm still like. How am I perceived? Do I look cold and dead at the times I feel that? Do I look like I'm fighting myself in my head at the moments that I am? Or can I play it off like I've always thought I could...
I've processed my past of abuse many times. Every time it's a little different. Sometimes it's with a counselor, a friend, a mentor. Most of the time its alone. I always feel like I come to the end, a resting point in the journey. But eventually something tells me I have to get up and keep walking. Every time I walk I'm dragging myself through thorns and mud and nastiness.
I'm wondering what will end up coming of my life. What will it look like as these aches and pains are used for Him? How will I help people? What are these "big" things I'm destined to do? I'm excited and full of anticipation. I finally feel like I have something to give, rather than feeling like everything has been sucked out of me. Thats gotta be a good step right?
This is part of what I read today.

Psalm 37 v 3-6
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

4 Take delight in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Verse 3 was especially encouraging. Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture... PLEASE!
Safety... I still struggle to feel safe. Not that I think I'm going to get attacked when I walk down the street, but I never feel safe to be completely myself. That is what a lot of safety is in my mind. Me being free to be me. The me I am without the abuse, the hurt, the anger, the walls. There are two places I have felt that I was that person. Grand Haven and Virginia Beach. Both beach towns... ironic. In grand haven, I felt that for a couple of months. In Virginia only for a week. It was enough that I think about certain moments from those two places a lot. People noticed something different about me. Sometime softer maybe? Something free, relaxed, joyful.

I am now trusting the Lord... hoping for provision and a chance to dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture, to receive the desires of my heart.


time and time again

I refuse to start this entry with "It's been a while since I last wrote..." Because it's just obvious that it HAS been a while.
I will make no attempt to catch you up to speed. "You" being whoever it is that reads this thing. So Jamee and Ben :) haha. I feel this sense of guilt when I come back from a hiatus and don't have a synopsis of the time lapse. Strange. I feel like I owe something to the world wide web.

I am very sore... My chiropractor has been hurting/helping me. I'm not sure what to do better... but I'm hoping that this begins to make me feel right again. At least physically.
Today was actually a wonderful day. I went to the UICA (Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts) where my amazing internship is and ate some cake for a co-worker's birthday. Pretended I had lots to do as the Arts Administration Intern (although I was quite bored...) and then left to go babysit and sat outside reading and spending time with God most of the 3 hours I was there. I left feeling well, had an encouraging conversation with Ben and I went grocery shopping and came home and prepared food for the week. Seems normal.

Then suddenly I just felt heavy. Sore. Annoyed. Angry. Frustrated. Everything all at once. My room mate came home and I was flooded with negativity. Flooded. I didn't know what to do about it, I tried to fight it off. I cleaned. I did laundry. I read. nothing... So I ran (literally.) I went running at 11pm. It seemed like the smartest idea, and all in all it was. I felt somewhat better when I got back. But while I ran, I felt myself wishing I could run from the place I am now. Which, mind you, is not even a bad place. Literally OR figuratively. I feel at peace with where I am, but at that moment of running all I could do was cry and wish I could run anywhere else.
I feel lonely. Too many transitions. Someday I will stay in one place... and on top of that I really enjoyed living with my sister. It was crazy there, kind of stressful 98% of the time, but nice. I miss living with her, and kind of feel sad things played out how they did with living situations. Leave it to a legitimately crazy guy to complicate her/our lives.

I don't really have a lot to say right now... I guess I just felt that I needed to write and see if anything helpful came out of it. Writing is therapeutic. It feels good most of the time. So much has been going on the last few months... it's a whirlwind. I hope to get back into the swing of things and write more about nothing and also about everything.