are you the favorite person of anybody?

Have you ever heard the term "splagchnizomai"? (according to many sources plus google, this is the way you spell it) You probably haven't. It's an ancient Greek phrase that means something like "love", although there's not a good English word that can adequately translate it.

This term means loving so much that you are willing to bear the weight of another's life. It means a willingness to enter in amongst all the problems, to settle down there, to take them as your own. It is a love beyond empathy - it is a love of transformation. You are the one you love - you rejoice with them, and you are willing to hurt with them.

Would you believe me if I said that you have been splagchnizomai-ed?

I've thought a lot about splagchnizomai-ing this past weekend at a leader retreat for younglife. I was convicted of this: each day that I let myself believe that I'm no one's favorite person is a day that I've forgotten the heart of God - because the heart of God is for ME. It's for YOU. Entirely. All of you. The parts of you that you hate. The parts no one knows about. The you who is desperate for affection and who loves so hard because you're hoping it'll be returned and who is running empty because the world isn't loving back - That's the YOU who God loves. He's settling in there. He's splagchnizomai-ing you. Even now. You're His favorite person.

Those are hard words to believe, and yet, I'm learning to. Maybe you aren't. Maybe you already have. Maybe you don't want to. But I'll just say that I think it's the truth. I think that God loves us and wants to love us, as simple and great as that sounds. It's that simple. It's that great.

I know that the idea of God loving us is foundational for Christians. People can say that and I sometimes want to say "duh". But I rarely live like this thought is a rooted truth in me. If I did, I wouldn't crave affirmation, encouragement, and affection from everyone around me as much as a I do - I would know that I have those things already, and that I have them in abundance. God's love is gorgeous in terms that I cannot fathom, but that I want to spend my whole life responding to.

We watched
this video one night this weekend and it struck me. Take a peek if you have the chance. I watched it and thought "yeah, of course I want to believe fully that I am the favorite person of somebody." Do you want that, too?

my Negative Nancy Thursday

Some days, all you want to do is throw on some Bob Dylan and listen to "Lay Lady Lay" while you're all curled up and toasty in your bed. Today was like that.

I only slept for four hours last night because I drank caffeine too late. I spent a large chunk of the day thinking it was Tuesday for some reason. I forgot where I was going as I was walking to Shakespeare class. Every free second I've had has been spent writing a paper about a gross poem I don't even like or reading King Lear, which makes me sad because everyone is mean in that play. I thought I lost my student ID but then I found it. In my wallet. Where it always is. I feel like I am about to loose my voice. I didn't even laugh when I saw a kid run after a bus while wearing a bookbag this afternoon. I doodled rain clouds all over my notes.

I obviously need a weekend.
and Bob. pronto.

everyone wants a pretty flying thing

an fun, intriguing little gem from Sunshine monologue
happy it's-going-to-be-Thursday-in-ten-minutes :)

why you gotta be so cute, Justin Long?

You know how you can make fun of your sibling to no end, but then if someone else tries it, you're all "Hey! that's my brother you're talking about, you jerk!"? Well, that's kind of how I feel about my computer. I have an HP, and it's a very love-hate sort of relationship.

Mostly though, it's hate. Truly, I am grateful to have a computer. Plenty of people in the world do not, so I know that it's a blessing and a luxury. But honestly, HP - why do you have such a big stinkin' battery on the back that weighs 800 pounds? And why do you overheat all the time and practically scorch my legs and then have that loud annoying fan that goes WHIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR right when I'm about to write something really good, but then WHIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR and I can't remember what I wanted to say? Like right now, I can't even remember how I want to end this paragraph.

Mostly though, I think the reason that I sometimes complain about my computer is only because it isn't a Mac. Heck, I'll admit it - the top reason that I want a Mac is that I want to be cool. And all you Mac owners - I know that's why you got one. Don't lie.

The funny thing is, though, that I rarely admit this desire to be a Mac-person. I keep it pretty hidden. Sometimes I'll say something like "Geez, this computer is so freakin' heavy!" to a friend who will reply "Yeah, gosh it looks like it!" as they type on their fancy Macbook Air. And then I get all defensive and say something like "Yeah, well have fun typing on your flimsy trying-to-be-hipster stupid....stupid,..thing." because I can't even think of how to degrade their computer in an attempt to mask my boiling jealousy.

But seriously. Sometimes I just want garage band. I want that cute "bop bop" noise when you change the volume. I want that photo booth thing where you can take funny pictures. I want to have Justin Long be my spokesperson. I want to feel like I'm not from an alien planet when I take my laptop out in a coffee shop where I am surrounded by little light-up apples.

We PC-owners have a hard life. But the important thing is for us to stick together and learn to laugh at ourselves. Or plan some intervention where we kidnap Justin Bieber (I mean, if we can't have Justin Long....) and force him to star in commercials proclaiming that we are cool. I think that could totally work.

from a journal I kept first-year, this entry titled "a stream of consciousness writing break- history papers suck"

Where are you?
in how I answer, everything is false:
Two feet against the ocean,
sky wide.
Head lifting up – my eyes are closed.

Really, I’m two sneakers against some
old gray tile, Alderman stacks 2M
and no windows – my eyes are closed.

I love the thought of being somewhere
and then being somewhere else

There was a man in line for coffee
behind me,
an hour ago.
now he is home or walking his dog-
we were together then
and now it’s later.

How much here makes up a daydream?
Only the want of space plus lack of space,
not actual space.
Only the wishes for things
and not the things themselves.

The things I want for answers:

a big yellow sun and quiet
seagull sounds,
my salty skin
and pores made for leaking love-
the dripping water from your palm,
hands cupped.

it's always good to be welcomed home by a best friend

the real me

Sometimes people say to me, "Oh Emily, you are just so nice!" Little do they know that I secretly spend a vast amount of time finding Youtube videos of people making fools of themselves and then laugh my head off at them. (OK, maybe that is a not-so-secretive personality quirk of mine, but I do fear that my occasionally dark sense of humor might imply that I am a big jerk) I promise that I will do my best to live up to my nice-person image, but I can't help it that sometimes people just deserve to be laughed at.

Point of that preface - please try not to judge me for thinking the following video is ha-larious.

I like when people wear pants

Dear girls-who-wear-leggings-24/7,

Hi. So I realize that I am one of the last people to talk about fashion with any sense of authority, but let's be honest with each other. Why do you feel the need to wear leggings every day, even though we know you aren't all going to the gym or preparing to take part in an 80's-exercise-video after you leave Spanish class? If it's cold enough outside to need something to cover your legs, maybe you should do something unconventional and, I don't know, wear pants?

Here is a valuable lesson that they don't teach you in school. LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. Really. They aren't. They seem like pants. You certainly wear them as if they are pants. But the cold hard truth of the matter is they they just don't pass the test. Sorry.

I'm not going to lie, I've definitely done it before. You know, thrown on a big baggy t-shirt or a long flannel and just thought "ah, what the heck. I'll just toss on some leggings because they are comfy." Here's the thing though -after I leave my house looking like this, all I can think about all day is "oh hey. I'm not wearing pants right now." And that thought always leaves me feeling rather uncomfortable.

It's really nothing personal. It's not like leggings look all that bad. It's just something that irrationally bugs me, the same way I hate that cartoon Pinky & the Brain for no good reason, or how I want to punch people in the eye when they complain about how "gross" mayonnaise is. So, I'm sorry for taking out some rage on you. You don't really deserve it. I just wish you would wear pants sometimes.



20 things I like to look at

because this is going to be a year of beautiful stuff.

is this love is this love is this love is this love that I'm feelin'?

My best friend Zoe took this picture during a sunrise on Andros Island. I have a copy of it hanging on my wall and it is one of my favorite shots ever. Some of the most peaceful moments I have ever experienced occurred on that beach, on the mornings when we would get up for the sunrise, look at that ocean with our toes in the sand and watch stray dogs running in and out of the surf.

Today, as I was walking to class at 8 in the morning, it was snowing. And really, really cold. And I slipped on ice and a rather loud profanity escaped my mouth and I was thinking about how this winter weather better end soon because I might go insane. I realize that this post is in complete contradiction to the one I posted a few days ago. Believe me, I still like snow, and sledding and snowball fights have been a blast. However, I have finally reached the point where I am kind of over winter. An ocean or at least some sunshine needs to get into my life - pronto.

you are a light

light of the world - stop motion from Glenn Saggers on Vimeo.

today was a fairytale

Sometimes I spontaneously remember that my phone can take pictures. This happened as I was walking to Newcomb tonight, so here are a few pics I snapped as the sun was fading on a day of sledding, snowball fights, trekking for miles through the blizzard, and just soaking in lots of snowy-goodness.

I'm going to change my name to something more Jane Smith

There is an Emily in my Racquetball class. There is an Emily in my fiction-writing class. There is an Emily in my Shakespeare discussion. There are probably 800 Emily's in my ENGL 382 lecture. I love my name, but I hate the fact that I share it with practically every other girl in the universe.

I think there are two perspectives I can take on this matter:
1) feel doomed to everlasting failure due to never being remembered or thought unique in any regard
2) get really excited about forming a secret society with every other Emily in which we stealthily undermine every person who doesn't share our name on our quest to achieve world domination

I get kind of nervous about having such a popular name. Think about it. Most people who are famous go by really awesome things. Bjork. Ringo Starr. Even Beyonce...we all know that she is only popular because she has such a killer name. It's not like she's talented or anything.

Seriously though, what is up with my life? Not only do I share a birthday (I have a twin brother) but I also share the same full name as 766 other Americans. (according to That is so lame. Also, there is another Emily Morgan Thompson at UVa who is my year and also from northern Virginia. Go figure. I have yet to meet her, but I hope we are clones of each other or something. At least that would make my life interesting.

I guess I shouldn't wallow in self-pity. Really, the person I feel bad for is my first-born daughter because I will probably name her something like Moonbeam Joy-Flower just to be original.

a story

Maybe it was a famous person who said this, or maybe it is something I just made up, but I think writing is a lot like spinning in a circle really fast. Half of the time, I am overwhelmed, have no idea what I am doing, read back through what I wrote and am left feeling like vomiting. But occasionally, I have the time of my life and I feel really alive and the world becomes this new, colorful place.
This is the first year that I've ever really dedicated time to exploring writing. It is exciting being so on the edge of it. I still don't know what my "creative process" is, what kind of writing I like best, what inspires me the most, if I even have potential, etc. etc. But I realized that I just have to get up in the morning and do it (advice I've stolen from Anne Lamott) and take it from there.
So in that spirit, I am trying to spend an hour everyday this week just writing. That is a bigger challenge for me than it seems. I think I have this fear that everything has to be perfect the first time around. I am learning, however, that writing is really more of a purifying process than anything else. Fear of awful first-drafts shouldn't be something that stops me- they are probably supposed to be awful. I think I just need to write, get all the "bleh" and "ick" out there on the page and then sift through it for something good that's hiding. So that's what I'm doing this week.
I am in an introductory fiction writing workshop and our assignment for next week is to write a story in the second-person perspective. Today, during my hour of learning dedication, I started writing about a random character I've been thinking about in the second-person voice. Some of what I wrote today is below.

You are sitting where the janitors usually pile the wrestling mats, the corner of the gym that fosters dust and bacterial diseases. Occupy space. Ty to melt away from space. Here you have your very own window on the social planet of fourth period: a world of running in circles and eyeballs freely rolling and everything smells like sweat and piss.

Outside, rain is drumming like the chubby kid’s fingers in history class, his pink, pudgy hands always banging out some rhythm on the cover of a textbook that could be titled “America: We are Awesome and You Better Believe It.” This morning, during oatmeal-with-bananas-on-top, your grandmother had the news on and Susan Withthe Weather said to bring an umbrella. You didn’t. You stared at her the same way you stare at the back of chubby kid’s neck, ready to snap his fingers off one-by-one before realizing that you are not violent. You are just afraid and that doesn’t leave room for being much else.

Prison probably feels a lot like too many high school kids in a too-small gym, just maybe without the dodgeballs. Something screams inside you to run out to the track (where you would be if Susan hadn’t cursed the day to hell) to wash away that feeling. But no, you can’t. You were told once that emotions shouldn’t be treated like wet clothes to be thrown out on a whim. You aren’t sure if that’s true.

Today was crowded hallways, lunch in the library, movies playing in two of your classes, and now, you are here, forced to socialize and so you don’t socialize. You watch her. In this too-small gym, she is so close and the shampoo smell of her hair is a miracle. She makes you feel happy and sad, like the violin of that Damien Rice song you play in your room every night, loud. Sometimes you are a boy, and sometimes you are a sad violin, and sometimes, both.

Now you have sneakers squeaking and rain instead of an Irish folk-artist playing in your ear, but you are still sentimental. You think about your life, which you hope hasn’t really started yet. Maybe you’ll move somewhere cliché, like New York, and then you’ll join a grunge punk band and live off of Chinese take-out. Maybe she will love you and carry that clean shampoo smell into your life and you won’t sit here anymore, making friends with staph infections and dust bunnies.

The most hopeful thing you know about is gravity, because sometimes you feel like jumping off the rounded horizon of this weird planet. It wouldn’t work. Something is pushing you back down and that something is sometimes the only thing that really, truly wants you to be here.

A bell is ringing. Get up. Occupy space. Your face-arms-legs-crotch feel over-exposed in the gym suits they give you so that everyone looks the same. She walks to the far hallway, giggling with her friends as they enter the locker room, and you head in the opposite direction. You are always moving away from the things you want.