an indie-take on Christian music

Ok, I'll be real. I don't love Christian least the stereotype of what Christian music is. But I've recently been introduced to a few new Jesus-loving musical groups that are fabulous and I can't help but share :) a few favorites are posted below!

creepy critters

Halloween is quickly approaching and I LOVE it. Seriously. I have this strange, unexplainable obsession with all things supernatural. Give me a good ghost story, a horror film, anything magical/bizarre, zombies, or Sabrina the Teenage Witch and I am a happy girl.

As much as I adore scary things, there is something that truly terrifies me.


yeah. really.

Last year around this time, a squirrel stepped on my boot. Not I stepped on a squirrel - a SQUIRREL stepped ON ME. It was one of the top five most terrifying things to ever happen to me. I was just walking along, minding my business, and that thing came out of nowhere at me. Ever since then, I've had an all-consuming fear of those little critters.

Just to list a few, here are some things that scare me most about squirrels:

1) you just never know where they are going to run. Are they about to dart in front of your car? Are they going to climb that tree when you pass them on the sidewalk, or are they going to rocket with full force at your face?

2) They are plotting against me. I'm convinced of it. Sometimes when I'm sitting in the living room, I can hear them out in the driveway snickering to themselves and making strange squirrel-noises. They are probably whittling weapons out of sticks and acorns and making strategic plans to break into my room and murder me in my sleep.

3) They've got that sketchy-squirrel look. Their eyes are all buggy and dart all over the place, and I hate when they stand up on their back legs and they almost look human or possessed. SUPER creepy.

4) Squirrels spread the Black Death in Europe back in the day. (That is just a stone-cold fact)

5) Squirrels are the cause of nuclear warfare, global warming, and economic turmoil around the world. (Those might not be stone-cold facts, but they are probably true)

So on that note, happy halloween!
hope the squirrels don't get you.

notes from 8am History of Literature discussion

yeah, these are really going to help me on the exam

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

engl 381-discusion-oct26
  • Wyatt poems:
  • - in the “Whoso list to hunt”, we get the Latin phrase Noli me tangere, which is calling the reader to consider when Jesus tells Mary M. not to touch him because he is not yet ascended to the father
  • - yay jesus. I like him
  • - what is the significance of the speaker not being able to touch Caesar’s “dear” (deer)?
  • - opps. I missed the answer to that question.
  • - now to the next poem. it’s called “My Galley”….I think it’s about a boat
  • - poet likes oceans. he likes talking about oars. he likes talking about stars.and storms.
  • - Ellen picker is playing with her bangs. Hi, Ellen Picker.
  • - TA saying something about how we need to take a theory class….don’t even know what that is.
  • - in line 9, the poet talks about the “cloud ‘of disdain”, which is where his tears come from
  • - ohh, rain = tears. clever.
  • - I think girl-next-to-me-who-talks-a lot is looking at my computer screen. hey girl, stop looking. tap your foot if you are reading this right now.
  • - the “stars that led me to this pain” = his lover’s eyes.
  • - he’s kind of emo
  • - professor parker talked in class about how each of these poems has three people in them….the speaker, the lover, and the beloved. beats me what the difference is between the lover and the beloved. ?
  • - she hasn’t tapped her foot. but I probably wouldn’t tap my foot either. I’d want to be sneaky. I’m still on to you, girl.
  • - oh poop. I just spilled coffee on my jeans.
  • - Wyatt as poet wasn’t super interested in allegory
  • - oh, TA just mentioned the sea-monster Scylla from the Odyssey. I dressed up as Scylla once.
  • - in “my galley”, the idea of wanting a beloved is almost as good as getting her (? that doesn’t seem as good to me, but ok)
  • - dang, wish I still had that Scylla costume
  • - new poem. “They Flee From Me”. Here’s what happens in this poem: this dude loves this girl but then the girl is like “sike, I don’t like you” so he’s like “ok, I just like the idea of being in love”
  • - I wonder if professor parker is married
  • - oh no, she’s handing papers back. dum dum dummmmm
  • - hey girl next to me, I’m still watching you

I get excited to see the daily messages painted on the entrance of the Corner parking lot

a poem, first draft

literally all I've done all week is write. I've been working on a short story about a boy with nightmares, a close-reading paper about the use of Grendel's mother to criticize a society obsessed with wealth in "Beowulf", a poem about invisibility, and as always, a lot of e-mails. It's funny though, when you get into a routine of writing a lot of things and then you just keep wanting to write a lot more things because your creative juices get flowing and it's like there is no off button (please tell me that I'm not the only one who experiences this). So this morning, instead of taking a break from writing, I felt inspired to start another poem. It's in the very beginning stages of birth, but here it is so far! YAY ENGLISH-NERDINESS! :)

Mr. Karpan couldn’t hear, but he liked to blast loud
rock music through the radio of his red Crossfire
to feel the drum solos and touch the sound.
There was the story once of his tire,
the flat he tried to fix and a man
stopped to help and loudly asked “can you read?”,
so on a piece of scrap paper, Mr. Karpan
wrote “No, and I can’t write either” to make him leave.

He taught me the shape of my name,
how to form the letters on my fingers and make them one
single thing. He’d tell us to practice and gain
stillness, and show us to run
the letters into rhythm without a distracting jar
of up-down motion. We’d hold our wrists and try,
and move our arms in the space with far
reaching fingers to tell stories, no words and by

the middle of the year we were signing in hallways.
Then Mr. Karpan came to class
with his eyes red and swollen, said most days
the teachers here wouldn’t wave when he passed,
and he had to find the computer lab on his own,
and even the principal, in passing, stared at his shoes.
Also, the tendons in his wrist were breaking down
somehow, he needed surgery, it hurt to -

Watch, when we sat in our seats, we watched the death
of his silence and it sounded wrong, in his frenzy, the gasps
of guttural speech to escape him like that, like breath
that couldn’t be held in. Something between us passed
that no one else could understand because it wasn’t spoken.
Mr. Karpan finished and left the room, and no one asked
what to do, but we sat with our own broken

ideas of the differences between Anger and Silence,
and How Facial Expression and Body Language are Necessities of Grammar.


What makes you weep?

What makes your heart crumble into little pieces? What do you find to be so beautiful that you loose yourself for a moment, literally can't keep it together, melt into a teary-gorgeous-mess when you think of it? What rips you apart? What makes you angry to the point of sobs? What can you not even bear to look at? What buries deep into your spirit and fills you so full that you have to let it out in tears because you are past the brim?

Have you thought about it?

Tears are not rare, let me tell you. I am an easy cry; it usually just takes a sappy chick-flick or a good book. But real soul-wrenching-I'm-sobbing-my-heart-out-tears, those are the precious ones and those just don't happen often enough.

One of my dearest friends, Anna, came to visit this weekend and shared something she read recently. It was something along the lines of "pay close attention to what makes you weep, because that is when you are closest to the Lord's heart, and at the same time it's when you're discovering what's in your own."

And that isn't talking about "oh, I just stubbed my toe and now I'm crying", or "sad, a dog just died" sort of tears. There are times when we are so moved by an injustice, or we so intimately experience a moment, or we fall so deeply in love we can't control it, or we ache to do something or change something or run toward something, that we just weep. Has it happened to you? Have you felt your soul cry out for one reason or another? And have you paid attention?

I think I've come to the conclusion that if what you're doing doesn't make you break down in tears sometimes, than maybe you shouldn't be doing it. What I love is how the Lord loves so specifically, and how He can surprise you suddenly with an overwhelming desire, a hurt, a passion you never saw coming, a beautiful thing that moves you when you least expected it to.

My fear for living in the type of world we do is that we aren't encouraged to weep, and we aren't encouraged to ache for things. We are told to remain in places where we can live easily and experience things shallowly. We are told that tears are for the weak, even though Jesus wept, and wept even for us.

And so I'll pray for the ability to live with a vulnerable heart that is listening to the Lord, and that I would be unafraid to ache how He aches, and then to act on that.

Lord, break me down into pieces. Make me long for your justice and your mercy, and tear me up with sobbing when I see darkness, because I so desperately desire light to be there instead. Precious Father, reveal to me your glory, and make me cry then, too - tears rich and abundant because my soul simply cannot contain the beauty of experiencing it.

the sound of my growing-up

One of my younglife teammates, whose identity I will conceal (but whose name rhymes with "Barter"), did not know until a song came on the radio yesterday who James Taylor was. SERIOUSLY. JAMES FREAKIN' TAYLOR. holy cow. (Caroline, I know this probably just made you cringe. And the fact that you've already posted about JT makes me so glad we're friends :)

James Taylor was my very first concert. At seven, I was absolutely the youngest fan in the crowd. I still remember being awestruck at how magical live music was, which is something that's never faded for me. As a little kid, I remember begging my mom to replay her live James Taylor CD over and over again during car rides. I remember daydreaming about slow-dancing to "You Can Close your Eyes", and dancing around my bedroom to "Mexico" while all my beanie babies watched. I remember thinking it was silly and fun to sing the word "damn" around my parents when we'd listen to "Traffic Jam" together. And as I got older, I remember squealing with a friend in middle school when her crush made her a mix CD that had a James Taylor song on it, and we talked about what good musical taste he had (and ps. they are together today...note to boys: girls dig JT). And I remember stealing the line "sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground" from the song "Fire and Rain" to use as an epigraph to a poem I wrote several years ago. The sound of a James Taylor song is like magic to me - something sweet and wonderful, a good memory.

(One of my favorite songs to put on repeat when I was younger was "Shower the People", specifically the live version. At 3:17, there is this AWESOME solo by one of the back-up singers and it continues to give me goosebumps. Take a listen)

it's fun to write a poem at the beach

There was a wedding on the beach
as I was walking to the point. I saw the bride
approach the aisle, step toward the sea.

When she walked, the hem of her dress smoothed
the sand & the ocean roared at her progress while
everyone sat in their white chairs & watched.

I found myself in an audience
uninvited, like the three men with rounded
bellies & fishing poles cast shallowly

out into the water. Twangy voices
spewed from the radio at their feet, sour
like the beer they sipped as they watched her & elbowed

each other & thought of looking at their wives
for the first time & again & again with familiar
smiles, a sort of happy remembering. At the same time

several children were building kingdoms by the shoreline,
their skin coated from the work while they watched
truisms emerge from their make-believe,

the white of her dress exploding in their dreams
against the falling sunlight when she reached
him & saw hands clasp & the waves applaud.


What I love about here is how love can only
be thought of like persistence –
how the water marries the earth again &

again & again & how it says
“I want you” & you can’t hear anything else,
you can’t even pretend it is whispering.

What I love is when you walk & suddenly
the waves splash up against you, or how
that small bird I passed on my way

was startled to see me coming, & he
flew away & was consumed by some thought of
where he needed to be. & I love when my skin

is tight as salt dries into it & nothing near
is silent - love like a surprise, like being
beckoned into some sort of roaring kingdom, suddenly.

tires cannot defeat me

Fact: a few weeks ago, I had a flat tire and needed to put a spare on to drive it to the shop. Everyone said "oh, Emily, you definitely need to call some boys to help you out with this." But you know what I said? "I am a strong, independent woman and I am capable of changing this tire all on my own, thank you very much!" Actually, no I didn't say that...I went to get my phone to call boys ASAP, but then a thought occurred to me. If I could change a tire, a task utterly foreign to me, I could probably do anything. And so, after channeling my inner Beyonce, I decided to make it happen.

This is not a make-believe story. This is real. I got the spare out of my trunk. I read directions in my car pamphlet (yeah, weird). I jacked the car up BY MYSELF. I took the flat tire off and put the spare on. And I did it without any help from males (or any help in general). And then I drove it to the car place and practically gushed to the male mechanic about how awesome I was that I changed the tire all on my own. It made me feel pretty invincible. Now when I think to myself that I'm incapable of doing something, all I have to remember is the flat tire and then I'm reminded that I'm practically a superhero.

Take that, boys.

photographic proof: (credit to LAP for snapping this evidence)

the flat

me with an iron tool thingy that turns those tight knob whatcha-ma-callits on the tire

in action

p.s. whenever I think of this story, I think of myself saying "tires cannot defeat me", which makes me think of that Dane Cook joke where he says that and he talks about someone getting hit in the face with a tire at a race and it is know what I'm talking about?

I could write a million songs about the way you say my name


these t-shirts are pretty tight and I want them.

This one
is designed by the band The National and you can get it from Yellow Bird Project, which is this cool site where "indie" bands design shirts you can purchase and the proceeds are given to a charity of the band's choice. There are a lot of fun musicians and sweet organizations featured...I recommend a browse.

I ADORE Out of Print's shirts. For every shirt you buy, a book is donated to a community in need through a partner-organization called Books for Africa. My favorites include: 1984 and Walden.

Some fun designs and stories of t-shirts helping everyday people on Rosa Loves....I like this and this.

Celebrities are rockin' these Buy Life tees to raise money to support those in Africa suffering from HIV/AIDS. But here's the crazy part....the shirts have a bar-code on them you can SCAN (yes, literally scan) with an iPhone or smartphone app and then directly donate to the charity or purchase your own shirt off of someone else. How nuts is that? Technology blows my mind.

happy tuesday!