Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Presence

Presence is important to me. As we become more and more connected on all these various social networking sites and via cell phone, email, etc. it seems that we are everywhere else but right here. I have always been a big fan of people who are able to be present in the moment, keeping with me in place and conversation rather than away in thought or texting land. I feel it’s important to give people the attention they deserve. It’s looking people in the eye. It’s listening. It’s following. It’s interest. I feel like royalty in those moments when someone listens intently, genuinely interested in what I am saying or whatever is happening and all it takes is presence.


It brings me back to a motto our team had in Malawi, “Love the person in front of you”. That’s exactly what presence is. Whoever it is, giving that person your time and attention is an act of love. I think of great leaders I’ve met and spent time with. They were very busy and important people but I wouldn’t have known it from our interactions because they gave me their full attention and their time. It wasn’t a lot of time, but it was valuable because they were present with me.


You never know what difference that might make in someone’s day. For a checker at the grocery store, your presence may brighten their day. For a family member or friend, your presence may reaffirm that you care, that they are worth it. For a homeless person, your presence may bring dignity and respect. For the people in front of you, your presence is infinitely precious.


Be present.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Swell Season

This post is for Derek, who was not pleased with my last music choice, who left a comment and called to tell me so. I feel like I should post some music I think he'll like to keep him as one my five blog readers.

I made Derek watch Once a while back and to my surprise, he actually liked it. When I am a huge fan of something and make an effort to say so, it seems to be a rare case that he will actually like said something. So I'm going to roll with that one and post a couple videos of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the Swell Season.

The first one is pretty and angsty at the same time and one of the best songs I've ever seen performed live. My guess is you'll like it. And the second one is kind of sad but beautiful..

Monday, December 14, 2009

Where The Road Meets the Sun

i am loving these two right now.

I wish I had Katie Herzig's voice.

I also wish I had known that it was Matthew Perryman Jones that came into the dragonfly before I told him he couldn't come in because we were closed. If I had known, I would have invited him in, made him coffee and asked him to sit and chat with me by the Christmas tree.

And lastly, I wish that there was a button or some sort of capitalization button that would go through everything I write and capitalize for me. Most of the time I write everything in lowercase letters but sometimes I think, 'hey maybe I'll write like a normal person and capitalize'. It would be much easier to just hit a button rather than going back and deleting and capitalizing...Gosh, it takes so much effort to do things like everyone else..

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I am my Father's daughter

I’m sitting in my bed feeling the warmth and heaviness of blankets and down. It’s absolutely winter outside and I can hear the icy wind blowing outside my window mixed with the sweet melodies playing from my computer. It’s a mellow evening at home, a night where there are things I could do but I shamelessly choose to do none of them and just sit in the warmth of my thoughts and music. It’s from my bed that I catch my reflection in the mirror and see a face that is like my mother’s in so many ways and still there are a couple features remind me that I am my Father’s daughter, like that widow’s peak of a hair line or the pug face wrinkles that appear on my forehead when I make various expressions.


I found out this week that my Dad’s cancer is gone. The surgery was a success and he is cancer free (!!). Oh what a sweet phone call to receive. To hear my Dad on the other line telling me that he’s in the clear and that we don’t have to worry any longer was the biggest relief. I could finally breathe again.


I’ve spent a lot of time lost in my own thoughts since my Dad found out he had cancer. I traveled down the countless paths that could have been with each diagnosis or treatment and what each would look like in our family and in our relationship. I held my breath as I thought about losing my father without ever really knowing him. There are customers at the Dragonfly that I know better than my own dad. That fact alone makes my heart sink. I want more than that.


That’s enough of a start for me. The fear of losing my dad is enough for me to get my act together and have the sort of relationship with my dad that we never had, the kind where I can call him without any reason but to say hello, to watch football together and actually understand the terms he throws around as easily as I do laughter, to go out for breakfast and feel at ease in conversation and the generous amounts of syrup we pour over everything (Hannon’s have a wicked sweet tooth), and mostly to feel that I haven’t missed out what could be an amazing relationship that has been so close yet so far away all these years.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Sacrament of Letting Go

I was swinging in the park yesterday during my run yesterday. It's true, I went running. And it probably won't happen again for at least a week or two as my quads hurt super bad. That's what I get for working out once every couple months... Anyway, I was looking at this huge mama tree as I was swinging and singing with my ipod and watched a leaf fall to the ground. At first, I just watched it sway back and forth with the wind and the pretty spiral of orange that was the leaf's journey. Then I looked back up at the tree to see the other leaves and they were all gone. I watched this last leaf fall. It was a cool moment to reflect on the loss of that last leaf and the end of a season. Winter is here.

This poem is amazing, by the way...

The Sacrament of Letting Go
by Macrina Wiedekehr

Slowly she celebrated the sacrament of letting go.
First she surrendered her green,
Then the orange, yellow, and red.
Finally she let go of her own brown,
Shedding her last leaf-

She stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky,
She began her vigil of trust.
Shedding her last leaf,
she watched it journey to the ground.

She stood in silence wearing the colors of emptiness,
her branches wondering, "How do you give shade with so much gone?"

And then the sacrament of waiting began.
The sunrise and the sunset watched with tenderness,
Clothing her with silhouettes that kept her hope alive.
They helped her to understand that her vulnerability,
Her dependence and need,
Her emptiness, her readiness to receive,
Were giving her a new kind of Beauty.

Every morning and every evening,
They stood in silence,
And celebrated together the sacrament of Waiting.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

thankful in the midst

The seasons seem to be changing again and I feel as though hard things come around in the winter. I have a hard time thinking of a winter that wasn't tough. The leaves change into glorious colors all vibrant and bright and then they fall leaving everything barren.

As hard as it is, I appreciate the rawness of winter. There are no leaves, less color, gray skies and a season of waiting of anticipating, of advent.

Thanksgiving is next week and though I have an abundance of things to be thankful for, it's hard to be thankful when cancer becomes part of the equation. Walking alongside my Dad as he awaited tests, results and the end result of cancer was and is not an easy path to tread. He is going in for surgery on Monday. My family and the doctors are hoping a surgery will be all that is necessary so please pray with me.
I know I am not ready to even think about where the path might lead. I feel far too young to think about losing my parents. I fear the path ahead but I also have a great hope that a transformation is possible; in the medical outcome and in our relationship. God does his biggest work when we're at our worst and I am holding onto that trust that He will be faithful in the work He has begun. I'm thankful for a lot of things God has done, but I'm hanging onto the gratitude that I'll feel for the work He will do.

a quote from my favorite pastor in Seattle, Richard Dahlstrom,
We think that gratitude is all about remembering the good things God has done for us and giving thanks. Surely this is a piece of gratitude and thanksgiving. If we limit our thanksgiving to recalling the gifts that God has given us, we will miss most of the story, because most of the story is about how God transforms us right in the midst of challenges in this fallen world...
So perhaps this is the year when we'll give thanks, less for what's happening in this present moment (though God knows that there's still plenty of reasons for gratitude if we take even a cursory look around us), and more for what God will do as we collectively walk through these 'very interesting days', as I recently heard them described. I hope and pray that on the far side of these crisis, we who claim to follow Christ will be shaped, liberated, and transformed, so that our lives will overflow with the purity, generosity and joy that is the heart of Jesus.

may we all choose to be thankful in the midst...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

random song and life overlap moments

Last night I was listening to music I got from the library which is my new source for new music. This is mostly because my budget can't keep up with my love of new music and the fact that I have yet to be impressed with a music store in Portland. Anyhow, I was rockin' the Dan in Real Life Soundtrack and listening to the song "let my love open the door", a song I don't think I appreciated enough back in the late 80s early 90s. Anyhow, it was playing as I pulled up to a friend's house and I had just heard the key line 'let my love open the door' when I turned off the car and got out and this little old woman was at the neighbor's house across the street saying "Open the door. Hello? Do you hear me? Open the door... Open the door" in a precious little old woman way, of course.

I giggled to myself for a second before moving on. I think moments like that are funny, when songs and life happen at the same time. Or when I'm reading a book and the dialogue says something random like "If only money grew on trees" and then some guy walks by saying "I wish money grew on trees". I always stop and wonder. Did she hear what song I'm listening to? Did this book just become my life? Anyhow, it happens all the time and it's entertaining and makes me laugh. I love those overlap moments.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

old bloggy blogs

I was just reading through old blogs this morning. it's kind of fun. I've always loved looking back on old journals to see where I was at another stage in life and how I was feeling or what I was doing. And I thought since I don't have anything to write about this morning I would just link a couple of older posts that I thought were fun or interesting.

  • the first is a post from when I was teaching social skills to preschoolers. It's about young-love and heartbreak and Charlie Brown.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ordinary Inbetween

"It's not the big things, but the ordinary in between and maybe this is not the time at all to be waiting for any better reason to be glad that I'm alive at all." -Late Tuesday

For what it's worth, I feel like I've always had an appreciation of the little things. I find joy in the little things. Among these little things are hand written letters, a favorite song on the radio, a familiar voice on the phone, watching coffee pour from the french press, the way the sun sets warmly over the trees and hills, and laughter at any age. I think when I encounter something so small yet so lovely, my heart tells me to stop and acknowledge what is right in front of me. I've learned to make time for these moments in my day and if I don't, I keep going about my day feeling like I missed out. If I see the sun pouring through the window in a certain way and happen to have my camera, but move on without taking the picture, I bum myself out. If I pass a sweet chalk drawing on the sidewalk and just walk by without looking to see what it was, I'll wish I had.

The more I stop for these moments, because they really are just moments, the more joy I find in life. I have a ball tromping through the leaves, taking pictures of things that make me smile, swinging in the park, and just enjoying life in general. It's been fun to bring my camera with me out and about. I've always loved taking pictures, but for years, I was that girl that would always have my camera with me and never use it. It's amazing the difference it makes when I actually use it. Who would have thought? Just having my camera with me makes me look at the world different. I look at everything or everyone as the possibility of a great shot. I look around more. In Seattle, I used to walk twenty or thirty minutes to school with my ipod in and just making sure I wasn't going to trip and hardly making time for random conversation, which has every possibility of being hilarious and a good story later by the way :) I would hardly engage with people I passed on the street. Window face was as far as I got, haha. Now, I look at the world different and look around more, engage more. The more I actually see, the more beauty I find in the people and places I go. I find joy in the ordinary in between and I like that, because life is beautiful in the most extraordinarily ordinary ways.

"I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things...I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind." -Leo Buscaglia


Love note on a love bug?

No one can resist the swings

I can't resist the swings, either.

To the unknown..







Saturday, October 31, 2009

dreams of wild horses

I had a dream last night, where I was walking around on my neighbor’s ranch. Maybe Karyn’s neighbors and they were all gathered on the lawn with the family and it was morning and misty and beautiful. Everyone stood at the base of the mountain looking up the path with expectation. The path led right into the trees, lined with white flowers. They were waiting for a surprise and were happy that I had arrived just in time. I wasn’t sure what they were waiting for but I stood there in awe of the fog over the trees that made everything look softer and the white flowers that looked like snow from afar. Just as I was captivated by the scenery, hundreds of wild horses came running out of the trees. The speed of their sprint and the sound of their bodies captured us all. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. They were beautiful, running at the speed for which they were created, free and fast. I knew this was unique sight, and felt so privileged to see this moment of beauty and freedom and wild. As they raced by us, I stood there and smiled the biggest smile I could because those horses captured just how I felt inside. Free.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

love is risky business

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be rung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies, and little luxuries, avoid all entanglements, lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."-C.S. Lewis


This quote gets me every time. In being pretty much perpetually single, this quote gets me at my core. It reminds me of something my college roommate once told me
. She said that it made her kind of mad that I rarely dated anyone, or not really at all in college. This bewildered me. Why would she be upset that I didn't date? It was my decision, and to me it seemed to be something that I was withholding from myself in a sacrificial way. Not in a spiritual way but the dating pool was just something I pulled myself out of. I was going to sit this game out. I was fine with this decision until she brought it up. She went on to say that when you pull yourself out of the dating pool for however long, it's a selfish decision. In my head, I was shocked. Of all things, I did not think not-dating was a selfish decision. She went on to say that we learn and grow so much from being in relationship with people, especially in dating relationships and that I could grow so much from dating, that I had so much to give to others through relationship. She told me that in a way, I was depriving others from the experience of growth. That got to me. All of a sudden the coin had flipped and it wasn't only about me. Ha, what a realization..the world actually doesn't revolve around me. When she brought this up, it wasn't a huge long discussion. It was more like a brief mention in conversation, but it definitely stuck with me and I find myself coming back to it more and more.

We are created to be in relationship, to be known and to know others. I haven't been single all these years because I don't want that. I've always wanted that and it comes back to the C.S. Lewis quote,
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be rung and possibly broken". Love requires risk and that's the part I'm not so good at.

I'm resting in the Love that casts out all fear
let this soul learn to trust
to know its loved
and feel its worth
let my love be fearless.


Monday, October 19, 2009

big city perspective

It's October and beautiful in Portland. The leaves are changing. The sun is shining and the rains haven't really arrived. As beautiful as the weather is, which is usually enough to keep me or any other Northwesterner content and smiling, I can't deny that my heart feels heavy. When my heart feels heavy I always have to get outside. Heavy thoughts need air to breathe. I just went for a bike ride this afternoon out to St. Johns, mostly because the roads are flat with the exception of one big hill under the bridge (which i made it up-score!). Anyhoo, the ride goes right along the most amazing bluff that overlooks the city and river.

Right now I'm sitting by the guard rail with cars whizzing by behind me (not so relaxing, but the view, it's unbelievable). Mt. Hood is to my left enveloped in clouds at the base, but standing tall atop them. Directly in front of me is the Fremont Bridge in all its glory as it leads into the heart of the city. It's getting to be that perfect time of day. Everything is beginning to take on that heavenly golden hue. From here, with this view of the city, I feel lighter. I can see everything. I have that big picture perspective. And with everything going on right now that hurts to think about, I'm reminded that there is a larger story here. If I could zoom out and look around at past and future I would probably breathe a giant sigh of relief in the knowledge that everything fits into the story in its own perfect way and I would probably say, "Oh, of course that's how things unfolded. I get it now."








Thursday, October 15, 2009

fear

So many thoughts running rampant this morning. I was catching up on blog reading last night and a friend of mine, Becca had written just the words that I needed to read and so beautifully, might I add. She had written,


“Sometimes we are afraid to “want” because it leaves room for disappointment. Sometimes it seems better to stay numb and dead to prevent failure or additional hurt.”

You can read the whole post here.


It got me thinking about fear and how much it has just followed me around my whole life. Fear of disappointment. Maybe it’s because of past disappointments or things that have happened in the past, but parts of me want to program guarantees and happiness into my life. Feeling like I’ve had enough disappointment in my life, so from here on out, it’s happy sailing. And in that thinking, I don’t dare to “want”. There is no risk here. Sure it could be argued that flying half way around the world to stare poverty and sorrow in the face was brave or moving to new cities without knowing a soul, but there’s no arguing this: I am not brave with my heart and I know all too well how to hesitate. More on that, later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

our bodies are still but our minds are having a hay-day

So many dreams to remember from one night.

I finally had a chasing dream. I haven’t had a chasing dream where I was being chased since I was a little girl and my dreams/nightmares consisted of old ladies chasing me through the yard (anyone else?). Back to the chasing, for some reason my friend’s apt (or maybe it was mine) was number 64 way in the boonies as far as apartments go and it was like a construction obstacle course to get there. It involved jumping over gates and then over big gaps over city buildings. No hallways in the apt, if you wanted to get to the kitchen there was just more jumping over high things in open air.


The guy chasing me was a thuggish guy with a baseball cap. He wanted my leftovers, my fast food leftovers. I had a feeling that might happen to me eventually- someone would be chasing me that is. So I push-pinned a 5 dollar bill into a piece of wood. To distract whoever at the hardest part of the obstacle course commute-scaling the unfinished fence. That part takes skill. I’m not sure if the guy ever caught up to me but during the chase I asked him why he wanted my leftovers. We talked about it. I’d like to think that I just handed over the leftovers or that the $5 distraction worked because that’s more value than my leftovers and deep down, I feel like the thuggish chasey guy was good.


-Cantaloupes everywhere. This one girl had a strange little cantaloupe with huge cantaloupe seeds. I helped a girl take them out.


-Oh, after that I dreamed that I went to this place to get my haircut because I heard Kenny Chesney cuts hair there. Turns out he just styles people’s hair at the end, not as cool. But it’s Kenny Chesney.


-Then I dreamed that I was back in school. I went to a social work class on healing and was confused by the fact that I didn’t know anyone or the professor and then I realized that I wasn’t in that class and then I realized that I’m not in school anymore, woops.


-My dad texted me about a Husky football video game but when I replied to the text all of a sudden I was a football player IN the game-and I didn’t even know what to do.


-Ran into someone on the street that was nice and trying to get me a job. Thank you stranger.


This isn't even all of my dreams from last night. I just don't remember the other ones enough. It's crazy how our minds run wild at night. Our bodies are still but our minds are having hay-day.


p.s. What does having a hay-day actually mean? I imagine little children running wild out in a field throwing arm fulls of hay over their heads and laughing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

truth

I'm not sure who said this...

"Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes."

but wow...it's so good.

Monday, September 21, 2009

the view from here

What I love about this morning and the view from our breakfast nook.


-It is a gloriously sunny morning and it just pours into this little room like heaven.


-Over the Rhine is playing in the background (Put your elbows on the table. I will listen long as I am able. There’s no place I’d rather be…)


-Karyn always makes a whole pot of French press which means I can wake up later and have coffee waiting for me.


-My Golden Grahams were starting to get soggy, so I ate them really fast and remembered a funny conversation on the Mallory Porch.


-There’s still a piece of honey oat bread that Jeannie BAKED FROM SCRATCH, what? And for the moment I can breathe enough to taste it. Another piece of heaven right there.


-I see Leisha’s beautiful photo on the LaHash magnet on the fridge and miss her a lot but love that I have friends with passion that move to the other side of the world to do the incredible work they were designed to do. It’s incredible to see the stories God writes with my friends. I’m blown away over and over.


-I look to the chalk board on the wall and see a new note about gratitude and I love it and smile and feel grateful all at once.


-Behind the spice rack is a brainstorm drawing of our plans to surprise john on his birthday and kidnap him with balloons and take him to underground glow in the dark, black light, pirate themed miniature golf. I remembered how the plan was executed perfectly and how fun that was and I smiled again.


-I look on the walls and see the beautiful Painted Hills photo and gush to myself about how stinkin’ beautiful it is and how I want to go there, like right now. Then I look and see the picture of flowers above the brainstorm and love the photo perspective. The flower’s underbelly is my favorite and no one seems to take pictures from that angle.


-I see the empty brownie jar. The jar that had all the fixins for brownies (just add eggs and butter) that I got for Christmas…of 2007. I laugh at how Mike and I attempted to make the brownies anyway. Ok, well not attempted. We did make them. Attempted to eat is more accurate. Turns out making brownies that are a year and a half expired is not a the best idea. Haha. Mike was a trooper though, he ate a piece. A week or so later, we threw it out.


-I look across the street at Bob and Matt’s house and think about how great they are and how they invited us to their housewarming party via a note on a pink piece of paper. And how Karyn and I went and drank Miller High Life and how Bob and Matt are very close-talkers and how they are the sort of neighbors I dreamed about having and how we got cheered for as we left.


-Charlie and Caper are being cuddly dogs this morning and I like it when they are sweet and cuddly and not all barky and bitey. I think they like Over the Rhine, too.


Mondays aren't so bad.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cell phones and People's Choice Awards

A peeve...

As handy as they can be, cell phones are annoying and I think they may be breaking up relationships and friendships all over the globe (as well as forming them, but that's a whole other blog). Aside from cheating and scandals planned via phone and text, they are the start of many arguments in all relationships.

I was reading an article in the New York Times yesterday talking about texting while driving, or while in the back seat. Some were angry that their loved ones got mad when they texted and drove at the same time. Others were angry that their loved one was being unsafe and talking while driving. And then again, others were angry that a loved one would rather talk or text than talk with them while they drove. Interesting situations..

I've always thought it was rude to talk on the phone or text while in the company of others. I realize that sometimes, sometimes it's necessary, but let's be honest, most of the time it can wait.

Ellen Degeneres does a great sketch about phones and call waiting that goes something like this..

Call waiting, it's like the People's Choice Awards these days, except you find out right away who wins and loses....you're on the phone with what you think to be a good friend of yours having a great conversation when you hear the click of call waiting. Your friend says, 'hold on, gotta check this.' So you're holding, you're confident they're going to come back to ya. Then they click back in and say, 'I'm sorry, I gotta take this.' And you know what they just said to the other caller? ..'Hold on, let me get rid of this other call'

How rude. A real time People's Choice Awards. If you can avoid it, do. I feel that the same goes for texting or talking on your phone in the company of others though I feel this may differ in different social situations. The more people in the room, the more acceptable it is to talk/text but I don't want to get into that right now.
It's the People's Choice Awards people...don't make others feel like losers.

Monday, August 31, 2009

say hello, wave goodbye



I’m sitting on the floor in my empty apartment. It’s dark and the fan is blowing strong. I just finished cleaning every nook and cranny and I’m about to turn in my keys. This is just what I did when I first moved in, too. I would come and sit here on the floor in the afternoon sun with my ipod and just sit. I loved that time. I loved the afternoon golden sunlight pouring through the windows. It was mid September and the heat had left for the year leaving perfect northwest evenings for the remainder of the month. Those golden afternoons are just what sold me when I came to look at the apartment for the first time. I wanted it for that perfect hour. I wanted that heavenly lens. I often wish every hour was just as golden as that hour. I’m still hoping for it, maybe in heaven… My days are starting to appear more and more golden and maybe that is something that I have acquired through this year, a renewed perspective.


This year has been filled with joy and heartache and so much movement and work in my soul. It was a tough year to live by myself and experience this year coming home to solitude at the end of every day, but looking back on it I think that was the best way. I had many nights of “cocooning” listening to Shannon music, thinking heavy thoughts, praying big prayers, curled up in a blanket with a warm beverage in hand, and waiting for the hard part to be over.


"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -Anais Nin


It may still be tough at times and doubts and fear still nestle close, but it’s been a year and I feel renewed and restored and redeemed. And here I am, sitting in the same spot on the floor that I sat on a year ago. I’m a different person and perhaps a little more brave and I’m pretty happy about that.


I’m moving into a house with some amazing people and I couldn’t be happier to be living in community again. It makes life more interesting and fun and I can’t wait to see what this year will hold.

Monday, August 24, 2009

photos from mom's visit to pdx


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my mom came to visit a couple weeks back and these are a few of the photos from our portland adventures. i just love her. she's precious and adorable but also a little spitfire. haha.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

thinkin' malawi like thoughts

I brewed a pot of coffee this morning with the intention of some quiet time to write. I spotted my old journals on the bookshelf and thought I would break them open and read into my old self, thoughts born on the other side of the world.


I quickly became absorbed into my own words deeply missing Malawi, the people and the strength of my faith during that time. I wrote constantly when I was in Malawi. I had my journal with me everywhere. I didn’t want a single experience or thought to be lost along the way. Now, I am seeing why I wrote so fervently. I was writing it for myself, for myself while I was there, the self that would read it a few months later, a couple years later, and my self now. I am encouraged in reading my thoughts and reflections from years ago with a million moments filling the space between.


Here are a few entries that touched me today.


“One little girl at the farm is sick, she would fast for days and pray to be healed. Marla told us about this girl and how she wouldn’t eat for days, and at mealtime they would look for her and find her in her room. She would be on her knees praying for God to heal her and make her well. Everyone wanted so bad just to sit her down and tell her she needs to eat, and be nourished, especially with the anti-retrovirals which need nutrients to be absorbed and effective. But they were torn at the same time, wondering who were they to think that God wouldn’t honor her fasting and her prayers for healing, to give her the nutrients her body needs. We often look for our prayers to be answered in the way we want to see them answered and here that is often the physical healing from sickness and hunger. What God did heal is this little girl’s spirit. She is so young but she has experienced a healing of her spirit far greater than any of us will ever know. She has a peace and a joy from the Lord that far surpasses anything we will ever know or will ever understand.”


“I feel so invested already and that desire to walk alongside them to watch them grow into the men and women God created them to be. That connection begins in such a short time. It’s crazy, because I imagine myself here long-term and it doesn’t sound so crazy. People are what get me. I just want to be near them for the rest of my life. I wonder about all my friends and family back home. It kills me that I have no idea how anyone is doing right now. God is constantly teaching me how to let people into my life and how to let people go, to let people go on their way…life just keeps going. I always think back on that book. The Five People You Meet in Heaven and how at the end of this guys’ life he meets five people who influenced or played a huge role in his life and he in theirs. It was just so interesting to think about the people we’ve touched or affected without even knowing it. People that have had to leave our lives for us to be the people we are today. I wouldn’t be who I am today if my dad didn’t leave when I was little. Who even knows what that would look like if he didn’t. God uses those that leave and those who stay to strengthen us and shape us for the better. He didn’t bring those situations upon us but because they happened, he uses them for good…”


“We never know who we are affecting and influencing in the moment. We are coloring the people we connect with. When the team was discouraged about being here and wondering why we were here if the Children of the Nations kids are already being well cared for now. Kara had a good point, she grew up in a family that cared greatly for her. If people looked in and saw that she had a family that loves her and therefore decided not to pour into her, she would not be the person she is today. We are who we are because of those who have spent time with us and poured into us. This is why we can’t love enough on these kids. Sure, many of the COTN kids are in homes and being cared for (because of COTN) and going to school. They are doing well because of the hundreds of people who have cared for them and taken time to love on them, to tell them bedtime stories, to play futbol with them, help them with school, tickle them, hug them. Every little act of love is part of a much grander story. We are a part of a much grander story. Sure, my heart craves the adventure of bringing food to the starving child, the saving a child from sure death, stopping the arm that abused a child, but that is exactly where these kids came from. You can see the traces of their past in the burn marks on there faces, in the scars on their bodies, in the way they avert their eyes, the way they are afraid to raise their voices. These are the kids and just because they aren’t in the thick of it right now doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with the effects of their past still in this day. We should never choose not to love a child or anyone for that matter, because everyone is fighting a battle and we have the opportunity to pour into and shape the lives we interact with every day. Love wastefully.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ain't no sunshine..

seriously? wow.

if i had a washing machine of my own, you can guarantee i would run to the thing right now and try and re-create this magic.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

never did i think that karaoke could bring such joy

I went out for karaoke last night and loooooved it. I am always torn about karaoke. Actually, I am never torn about it. I have always detested the whole karaoke idea-standing up in front of tons of people I don’t know and then singing while they all stare at me is not my idea of a good time. One, I hate being the center of attention. Two, I am in no way a performer. And three, (I know this is the same as number one, but this can’t be said enough) I hate being the center of attention. However, I do love to sing, for myself or with others, but never for others. So, all this to say, it is a bit strange that I had a blast at karaoke.


But I did. I loved it.


I still didn’t like being the center of attention. Though I never was THE center of attention as I only sang duets or trios or whole group songs. Me, sing a solo? pishaw.


Our group wasn’t able to reserve a private room as those booked up quick, so we had to sing in the “community room”. Fear and anxiety took over once I heard that. Yikes. Sing in front of strangers? No way, Jose. We lucked out and there were only two other women in the room singing wonderfully in Chinese and then later moved on to rap and hip hop-but man, they were quite good. Other than those two, it was just our group dominating the microphone and playlist.


Around 10pm, this sweet old man walked in with our server, and she explained to him how karaoke works in the community room. I could not hide the big grin on my face and inside I was squealing over how cute this man was. His name was Suds (best name ever, right?). He walked all the way across town to get to this karaoke spot. He was in shorts that sat high up on his rib cage. He had very little hair minus the sprouts of gray along the side of his head and a very circular and dark brown toupee that just sat atop his head, and he soon after put in his pocket.


Suds jumped right in, holding strong on the mic singing “100 years” by Five For Fighting with karyn, I believe. I was just sitting there watching him sing at the top of his lungs and with such passion.


Half time goes by
Suddenly you’re wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...
I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming...


I just sat there in awe of this old man singing karaoke with a bunch of twenty somethings on a late Tuesday night and everyone was enjoying themselves, singing and laughing and just sharing joy. Again, I have found that music really does bring people together and I love that.


And I guess I kind of love karaoke, too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

holy hot city

I am melting. Portland is so HOT right now, and not in the Zoolander sense. It's five bazillion degrees in my apartment. I think I slept maybe an hour or so last night. A couple friends from out of town crashed my itty bitty studio on the way to Cannon Beach. I felt so awful that they had to lay in the misery of thick air that is my apartment at night. I went through a couple packs of frozen veggies last night, cooling me a tiny bit as they defrosted on my face. I am such a wimp when it comes to heat. My day might have been ruined when I looked up the forecast for the next few days at 3:30am only to see that today is supposed to be 105 and tomorrow a cooler 103 degrees. Ugh.

...

too hot.

i went to the beach last week and in looking at those pictures i want to rewind to the overcast and cloudy misty day that it was, glorious. maybe if i look at them long enough, it will just magically be cooler. here's to wishful thinking...




Tuesday, July 21, 2009

bigger than a building



Quiet. I've been reflecting a lot lately. I've been outside, enjoying Portland, enjoying the trees, enjoying the water. And I'm reminded that I love the outdoors. I see God in the outdoors, more so than in a church building and stained glass windows and I like that. God is bigger than a building. He cannot be contained in a building. He needs something much bigger and wilder than that.






Tuesday, July 14, 2009

love this photo


I love the National Geographic photo of the day. I get it on my google homepage and i get so excited to check it everyday. The anticipation is kind of like Christmas. Well, maybe more like checking my horoscope or the soup du jour. Anyhow, I love this shot. That golden sunshine goodness and the silhouettes and America's favorite pasttime. so good.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

He whispers

"I'm going to make you brave", He whispers to me in the stillness of the breath I'm holding.

I know. I think that's what I'm afraid of.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rose Garden watchings and musings



I’m sitting here at the Rose Garden. Instead of a solitary hike (which my mom deemed, unsafe for a young lady like myself), I opted for pretty scenery and reflective space. I set up camp in the mini amphitheater with my blanket, lil’ buddy (my ipod), book and journal. I read for a few minutes and was quickly drawn into prime people-watching all around me.


I watched the group of kids running across the lawn, running and screaming for as long as their lungs would allow to see who could scream and run the longest in one breath. The oldest girl was the true winner and won time and time again. The younger ones, took several breaths and ended up running out of eyesight every time, but convinced themselves they had won.


I watched a couple young girls put on a talent show on the stage. Performing 10 second performances of break-dancing and singing.


I watched a young boy and girl for a while, following their play and conversation. I watched the little boy jumping down the oversized steps beside me, with his face bright with adventure. His mom calls out, “Jason, what are you doing??”

OOF…OOP…OOF…

With each jump he lets out an OOF…

He looks back with a big grin and yells, “CLIMBING!”

And continues his journey.

A young girl is following after.

He keeps looking behind to make sure she is following.

Oof….oop….oof.

She has the same smile of adventure on her face as she follows where the boy leads. His excitement is brimming when he leads.

She calls out when they reach the bottom, “follow me!”

He stops and sulks into the grass, his face visibly fallen. He slowly gets up walking after her, but with no enthusiasm. It’s clear her doesn’t want to be led. His joy comes in the leading, in the adventure of forging the trail, in knowing that someone is following his lead.


I wonder to myself as I continue to watch them play if I too often default to my own lead- and my own independence. If I should step aside now and then and allow myself to be led.


...And now, the clouds have moved in and I’m sitting in the sprinkle of rain, wondering if I am going to stick it out. It seemed that just when I got comfortable and settled, enjoying the sunshine and warmth-clouds moved overhead. Though it’s still sunny, I am still sitting here in the midst and mist of rain.

I love how metaphorical weather and seasons can be and singers know it.

“it never rains when you want it to”

“for tomorrow may rain, I’ll follow the sun”

Change in weather always throws people off a bit. When it’s 90 degrees for a week straight and then it drops to 65 just like that, people don’t know what to think of it. I’ve noticed that the day the weather changes in any drastic way, first snow, or downpour after a dry spell, first sunshine after weeks of rain- those are the days the coffee house is busy. Not just for beverage needs. People need to discuss the change. They need to know that other people are experiencing and witnessing the change happening around them. Change is easier when you know you’re not alone.


Change is always difficult because it means, well, just that-change. Sometimes it’s welcome change. Other times change happens and we don’t want it one bit. We liked the way things were, settled and comfortable. I'm going to have to go back to change is easier when you know you're not alone and thank goodness we are never alone.