community




In the past two weeks or so I've been spending a lot of time journaling and processing through the end of college. A lot of me wants to grieve for the loss of it, because there are so many precious and wonderful things to treasure about this phase of life. But instead, when my heart grows sad to be losing many of those joys, I am making myself dwell on gratitude for everything I've gained in this time. And without a doubt, the most precious gift I've received in college has been living in community. I've been blessed by living in three different houses with girls who have become my sisters - women who have spurred me on to know Jesus better and as a result, women who have spurred me on to knowing myself better.

I've experienced the type of community in which your roommate crawls up into the top bunk with you so you can weep on her shoulder, in which someone puts your dishes in the dishwasher joyfully when you forget to do it yourself, and where there is an encouraging note on your desk or scripture passages in your text inbox the second you really need it. I've experienced the type of community where your housemates genuinely care about your life and ask you about it the second you step into the room, and where you have 15 e-mail threads going everyday just so everyone stays connected and knows how to be praying for one another. I've lived in the type of community where we have dance parties in the kitchen, fall asleep on the couch watching movies, distract each other while doing homework, and stay up late laughing until our stomachs hurt. They have been places where forgiveness abounds and strength is shared and prayers are given freely the moment they are asked for. They have been places where we strive to be each other's biggest fans. They have been places where my whole soul feels cozy and at home and loved in ways that I do not deserve.

If I only had one piece of advice to give to anyone about to enter college, it would be this - put yourself in community. Invest yourself there and put your roots in deep. Love this community, and learn what it means to let yourself be loved by it in return. There is nothing more wonderful.

So thank you, dear sweet friends, to all the ones who have given me the community I treasure at UVA - for giving me a little taste of what heaven will be like someday.

Frost Diner




One of my favorite comforts when I come home is grabbing late night cups of coffee with my best friends at a little diner that takes one minute to drive to from my house.

There is nothing too remarkable about it - the grilled cheese is lathered in butter just like at any other diner in the nation, the coffee is watered down and the seats are made of that sort of plastic your legs stick to.

There is nothing too remarkable about it, but I treasure that place, where I share my life and lots of laughs at the juke box selections (there is a mini one on every table) with people who have known me since my lip-gloss-crazy-boy-obsessed-snotty-middle-school days through every hope and fear and lesson and joy I've experienced in college.

Life should be about sitting in a tiny diner with the sound of pancakes sizzling behind the counter and dots of traffic lights streaming in the windows and a mug of coffee growing cold in your fingers and sharing yourself with someone else. It should be about choosing to remain there, in places filled with late night conversations and the smell of bacon grease where you can just let people know you, like really know you. And it should be about giving all the time in the world to just sitting and listening.

Because those things, well, they are pretty remarkable.

joy to the world








I hope your day was beautiful and spent with people you love.
Merry Christmas :)

winter reading

one of my very favorite things to do is to stack up all the books I plan on reading (a pile always overly ambitious in size) during my winter break (which, this year, is more like an eternal break from school....unless I go to grad school...in the fall....womp womp). Today I was doing that and thinking about all the books I'm excited for this winter (and the many I have already started because I don't have the will-power to just start and finish one at a time) and at the same moment I started thinking of some of my "greatest hits" from last winter break. Without a doubt, one of my favorites was "Never Let Me Go" by Kazou Ishiguro (fun name, right?). The prose is haunting and so is the story-line.

Coincidentally enough, a few nights ago I stumbled upon a poem I'd written in response to that novel last break. There is this part of the story that I just sort of fell in love with - it was an idea the characters had as children about the county of Norfolk, England. They thought it was this land where everything they ever lost would go. They thought that when they were older, they could travel to Norfolk and find what they'd been missing for so long. It is such a beautiful idea, isn't it? That there is some magic place where everything you lose washes up on shore.

So I wrote this poem last winter, sort of in the voice of Kathy, the narrator/protagonist, about Norfolk. I just couldn't get it off my mind!

maybe this will intrigue you to read the book if you haven't already :)

and p.s. always looking for more great book recommendations! so holler if you've got 'em!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Norfolk

"What was important to us, as Ruth said...was that 'when we lost something precious, and we'd looked and looked and still couldn't find it, then we didn't have to be completely heartbroken. We still had that last bit of comfort, thinking one day, when we were grown up...we could always go and find it again in Norfolk," (66)


Everything I need is there:
the feeling that my skin is real,
blood coursing through
the body that I can keep there,
through a heart I can keep, built
for me and my soul -
my soul is there.

There are seagulls also,
a misty heavy air
you can taste
and so many people
walking somewhere
all knowing they own
themselves.

They wear funny hats.
We'll window-shop-watch-them,
not caring if they care.

Everything I need is there.

You are there

and when I shout Tommy across
the field you'll move
like paint shifting
and deepening
from the brush
until you're standing
and smiling in the salt air.

We'll set up blankets
right against the shore,
making a picnic lunch
next to the water
so we can explore what
washes up:
house keys,
teddy bears,
a hidden stare I gave
you that you lost once.
You can take it back there.

And when the wind is
sharp and tries to undo
us we'll shout no,
we're staying
and show them
if we care.

We'll press
our shoulders
together
like an accident.

I'll hold your chin
in my palm
and hum to you
all afternoon.

We'll talk
and lose everything
by choice this time,
and not too soon.

Sometime later,
I'll try to pray
to lose
the memory of
losing you,

of that afternoon,
and discoveries,
and of the warm salty air -

I'll leave it in Norfolk,
and lose it once
so that it stays
right there.




because I'll be done with college at noon tomorrow

I think I'll walk to class singing this song:


(personal favorite part: 1:39)

oh, just a typical finals assignment

video

just me doing an ASL translation of some Avril for extra-credit.
oh my life.

your dose of good poetry for the day

Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.


~ Derek Walcott ~



ps. this font is the worst thing and is making my eyeballs bleed but I can't figure out how to change it. sorry.

"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace"

I read that prayer from St. Francis some time in the infancy and newness of my relationship with the Lord, and that opening line, "...make me an instrument" stuck with me immediately. I remember typing it out on some colorful sheet of paper and sticking it in my high school locker alongside pictures of Orlando Bloom and my class schedule. I was obsessed with the loveliness of the idea I could not fathom even one bit - of being an instrument, capable of sowing love, pardon, light, and joy. I prayed it earnestly again and again each time I saw it, without knowing why or what it meant. It hummed in me like an echo during those years of after-school sports and college-applications and homecoming dances. And I thought it was the most beautiful desire I had ever heard - someone longing to be an instrument of peace. I found my heart wanting it also, without realizing it, by praying it without understanding what it was I was even asking. That prayer started turning my innocent, ignorant, empty words into ones with power and meaning - my weak repetition of someone else's hopes began transforming me. Funny, how prayer might be the only medium through which something like that is possible.

I was in church last sunday and we started singing "Come Thou Fount", which is a beautiful hymn, but one I hear so often that I find myself dull to it most days. But not this sunday. Suddenly, that old hum of St. Francis' words started to fill me up. Out of my mouth, I heard myself singing the line, "tune my heart to sing thy praise," and I found that I couldn't go on. I couldn't stop thinking about the powerful implication of what I had just said.

Tune my heart. I am the instrument.

Me. This girl who always says the wrong things or feels the wrong things or falls upstairs or breaks things or gets lost on the highway or snorts when she laughs. Me, whose life certainly must be the strangest cacophony of sound imaginable - I am an instrument, tuned by a perfect God.

And if my heart can already by tuned, I am already the instrument. In my present moment. Not in the circumstances I dream and wish and long myself into, with all the power of my imagination - I am an instrument being utilized and tuned in my present reality. I have been situated to play exactly this note, at exactly this moment. And I don't have to do anything to make myself a member of this kingdom orchestra. By the very nature of my creator, I am already the instrument.

Already.

It's funny - that after all these years of praying to become an instrument, usable by God, with a strange longing I could not place - I have been praying what has been true of me all along. And in those words, I have been and will continue to be tuned until I am singing with perfect beauty and rhythm and pitch.

and so how can I refuse Him praise? How can I fail to shout with joy every day of my existence? Because when I am silent from fear or feelings of sadness and doubt, I am denying the essence of my creation - as someone made for sound and usefulness and beauty.

I am an instrument, tuned by the Lord.

That is such a glorious thing.

I hope I never get over it.



gratitude

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. - James 1:17


How can I not be thankful when I know who you are, Lord? When I think of your constancy, the kind I cannot return? Or of your extravagant love, of which I am undeserving? And when I think that I am lacking nothing because of you - not any good thing - how can I do anything but rejoice with the deepest love I possess, and praise you all the days of my life? Because of you, not even the Heavens have been denied to my name.
what a thing to be thankful for.

instructions for a solo-DP

the solo-DP: aka, a solo dance-party, aka blasting music in your room and dancing like an idiot all by yourself. It's one of my favorite things in the world. Sometimes you just need to dance it out, you know? Here's a little tutorial.

1) have a crazy week. as in, submit your first application to a grad school (which leaves you on the verge of a panic attack because it makes you feel so old and unprepared for the "real world"), spend nearly 48 hours writing essays (literally. just write for a whole weekend straight and then see what happens to your mental sanity), finish two novels for class, fit in all your regular commitments around that, etc.

2) finish all of your crazy-week work (nothing like the feeling of release as your teacher grabs that paper out of your hands, all fresh and stapled and DONEzo)

3) GET YOUR GROOVE ON

song suggestions:

1) Passion Pit - Little Secrets (my classic go-to "freak out in celebration" song since the end of first year)

2) Flo Rida Ft. Katy Perry - Good Feeling (Last Friday) (because you need a fun mash-up)

3) Ke$ha - Blow (no DP is complete if K-dollar sign -ha is missing. I don't think I could show my face in public ever again if anyone knew my play count on this song)

4) Pitbull - Give me Everything (I luv Pitbull. No shame)

5) Kelly Clarkson - Mr. Know it All (because every good solo-DP involves screaming Kelly Clarkson at the top of your lungs as if you are actually Kelly Clarkson)

should be writing papers. wrote this instead. whoops.

Wounded

My brother and I once found
a small baby bird
beneath a tree in the yard.

It had fallen too early,
broken the little parts
of its body, and we didn't
know what to do except
put it inside a box,

sit at the base
of the tree and watch
our hurt little treasure
speak in wounded
bird cries, shake with fear.

I don't think we knew,
for many moments
at least, that it would never
fly again, or that its mother
had been off looking
for worms, or that we would
watch her come back
and make flying sweeps
to search for him,
or that she would cry
in the tones of grief -
something we could, even then
understand the meaning of.

When my brother got bored
I sat there at the tree base
with the wounded thing,
and I loved it with a strength
bigger than my age,
loved every part of its brokenness
and I think I believed,
truly, and with depth,
that I loved it so much that it would
rise up from the box
and fly.

I still believe,
with a deepness,
that love,
at its greatest moments,
dreams.

everything about this song. perfect.



can't wait until her new CD is released on Jan 24th!

Puffy Vest Syndrome

I have this issue.

So you see, physical touch is pretty high up there on my love languages/ways I show that I care.

And as the winter months have been slowly but surely making their presence known, I've also been noticing that the puffy vest is making more of an appearance. And each time I see someone wearing one, all I want to do is run at them full speed, open my arms wide, and give them the biggest most snuggly bear hug possible.

...which might be weird.

but REALLY, people - have you ever hugged someone wearing a puffy vest? It's incredible. I dare you to try it next to you see a person in one...complete stranger? Go for it. It will be worth it.

So with the knowledge that puffy vests instantly transform you into the most cuddle-worthy person ever, I've been on the hunt for one.
and oh they are just so mmmcuteandadorableandsnugglyfantastic!! anyone have any suggestions for where to buy a colorful one??
happy winter-hugging season! :)
------------------------------------------------------



dear boys, when you wear a puffy vest, you get 80 extra adorbs points.


this one is for babies. BONUS CUTENESS!


Happy Veterans Day!

this brought tears to my eyes.
so. sweet.

skillz

sometimes I think about my talents. I think, "Emily, what cool things are you good at?" and usually the answer is "hmm, does smiling a lot count?". but really. I bet if you thought about it long and hard, you could come up with an extensive list of sweet talents you possess. I just came up with a list of random things I'm practically professional at. Not to make you jealous, but I'm looking at it and thinking "wow. pretty impressive..." Watch out, self-esteem!


Emily's list of talents and skillz:
1) touching the tip of my nose with my tongue (only 2% of the population can do it. it is possible that I just made that percentage up. but it was an educated guess)
2) making educated guesses (trust me.)
2) ending words with the letter "z"
3) typo-extraordinaire


4) squealing (in a tone audible to only dogs. I've gotten so good that even I can barely hear it anymore)

5) breaking guitar strings (twice in the middle of YL club within the past month. just because I'm such a rock star)

6) rapping that Luda part in Baby.

7) drinking out of straws (no one drinks out of straws as much as I do. I think that counts as a talent)

8) having scars that all originated from Razor scooter accidents (the sidewalk neighborhood was a battlefield)

9) disliking most types of cake (I think that makes me unique. and if I went on a game-show called "Who Wants this Cake?" which tempted contestants with cake and the point was to see which contestant had the most willpower to not eat any, I'd probably win. which would then classify it as a talent)
10) humming while brushing my teeth (it's like, that's HARD, right?)
11) knowing how to dance the foxtrot really well (...but nothing else. Thanks, Cotillion!)
12) being the person who tweets Justin Bieber the most in all of Twitter (HAHA JUST KIDDING! who would tweet Justin Bieber? definitely not me. never ever. I'd never try to tweet justin bieber all the time wishing that he would just FREAKING TWEET ME BACK and make my life complete and make me the happiest person in the whole wide universe....yeah, never.)
13) ability to communicate with animals (I didn't say they understand me)
14) winning at Apples to Apples (I never lose)
15) being hysterical (hence why I win at apples to apples)
16) being humble (hence why I'm awesome)








what strange talents do you have?

burning like a million stars

"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.."
-Psyche (Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold, C.S. Lewis)

The Lord is so good. Sometimes I'm just overwhelmed thinking about who He is - how beautiful everything He makes is, how beautiful His promises are, how unshakable His love is. I can't wait until the day when I get to go to Heaven and squeal and jump and run with all my might into His presence (sidenote: my housemates and I had a pretty great conversation about this actually, involving us reenacting a dramatic rom-com-like moment of throwing our hands out and screaming as highly pitched as possible at our first sight of Jesus. It was kind of funny. I bet God chuckled).

I've been learning to pray something simple but transformational. And I like to pray it in the small moments, like when I'm walking to class, or eating lunch, or about to make a phone call. I pray, "Lord, grant me the increasing desire to be near to you." Because as I've prayed that in the small moments, I find that in the larger ones, when I am hurting or frustrated or unable to care about people or anxious, there is this longing that overpowers my circumstance. It is the longing to be with our loving, Almighty Father.

And nearness to Him means nearness to what is true. It means the certainty of love. It means the comfort that I am taken care of. It means freedom from oppression. It means the ability to interact with compassion. It means strength to walk forward. It means joy in abundance.

And I desire all of those things...more and more of them, too. Don't you?

Happy Dia de los Muertos!

(best. episode. ever.)

poem to the earthquake

our August-earthquake has been fodder for creative thought. This is the fourth poem I've written that concerns itself with it.

-----------

The Memory of the Earthquake

It is not just my mind shuddering.
It is the earth also,
shaking in the night
at the memory of the thing
that moved it and changed it
only hours before.

It is an echo moving and remembering

and pulsing through my shins
as the floorboards shimmy themselves
against the house foundation.

The Washington Monument
suffered a crack along the west-side,
and several smaller ones along
the corners and bases. So it is also
sitting, and if the aftershock
reaches that far, it is remembering, too

how quickly the dizziness came to that site.

In 200,000 dollars it will be sound,
ready to move on with its life.

This night I am unsound,
having woken up to the settling down,
and cannot comprehend
the vastness of all this -
the world is always opening up
and making things new,
isn't it?

In the morning I will wake
to find picture frames shifted
slightly out of place, maybe even
a few things fallen off the mantle.

It will be brand-new-ground,
slanted, having surrendered position
where I walk, where I try to listen to the memory
of the quake, fragile,
like everything around.

happy halloween!

I wish there were words to describe my utter bliss

and happiness and joy and exhilaration and ecstasy that THE NEW COLDPLAY ALBUM HAS ARRIVED. IT IS IN MY ITUNES WAITING TO BE PLAYED A MILLION TIMES ON REPEAT.
PRAISE JESUS.

Seriously, I'm nostalgic about this. I started college after a summer of constant Viva La Vida playing and now I'm ending college with this album. It's like the parentheses of my college career. ahhh. I can barely type that without some tears!!

obviously there will be updates once I listen to the whole thing and decide on favorite songs/lyrics. but for now all I want to do is snuggle up in bed with this lulling my to sleep. so that's what I'm going to do right now :)

Happy Coldplay Day!

The Peace of Wild Things

I've been enjoying Wendell Berry poems lately, specifically his Sabbath poems, which are occasioned from his walks on his days of rest (which is a beautiful way to birth a poem, if you ask me).

And I love this one. The last line of this absolutely pounds against me - because it is true and I'm challenged to remember that.

I hope you enjoy this one too....click here to hear him read it. (Also the last section of this one is astonishing)
--------------------------------------------------------------

The Peace of Wild Things - Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

a late-night poetry editing session

and the heart-ache to be in Nica that I experienced today led me to this poem. I wrote this one two summers ago and am thinking of ways to improve it now. But I like the memory of it.
----------
thunderstorm in Cedro Galan

Everything is falling into puddles.

It’s the rain that drops so heavy

on the these tin roofs that I fear

the skyline eroding,

or imagine it being torn

like a cat’s claws through curtains,

strings of it collapsing

into the carpet of dirt

and then trampled

and then buried.

The storm has brought

the power down

the way the mothers make dinner here,

some mighty force behind their hands

grinding, transforming things

into what they weren’t before.

Flattened tortilla shells,

black beans,

avocado soup

materializes like the darkness –

abundant and from nothing.

around me, small fingers

are threading themselves into moonlight,

like they could pull themselves up into it

even with everything falling down.

This is what I love:

how my skin is melting from my bones

with the weight of this country, how I can

touch Nicaragua’s spine, sharp and naked,

how I can rest in bed at night,

sweat lacing the insides of my knees

and weep to the sound of rain,

sad and synchronistic.

and what I love is that even among

this groaning there are the little ones

who will braid my hair, who hold my hand

with sticky-mango-juice-coated-moonlight-moth fingers.

They will sit on my lap while the rain pounds

and hum little songs in Spanish.

Their mothers will watch them squirm,

craving to be playing soccer,

and look up at me with their familiar eyes

brown and so dark that I have the sensation

of even my veins swelling up like the river

behind their neighborhood, too full.

worn as if it had been a shell

I just read this nine times in a row. and think it is lovely and heartfelt and beautiful. (via Picker)

from “Adam’s Curse” by W.B. Yeats

terrifying tunes

I love Halloween season! I've always been fascinated by all things spooky slash supernatural slash magical (I know, sort of weird...) and so I think this time of year is super fun.

Here are four not-so-scary songs whose titles remind me of the holiday that is upon us.

1) Haunted by Leagues (LOVE this song...this band opened for Mat Kearney and I got to chat with them after the show. they rock)


2) Ghost by Parachute (my favorite song about stalking. so catchy)


3) Haunted by Taylor Swift (because a playlist isn't complete without Tswizzle)


4) Walking with a Ghost by Tegan & Sara (takes me back to my high school days. so punky and high energy)

a person-poem

yesterday I was doing work at my favorite little coffee shop and then this elderly couple came in. I was struck by how beautiful their interaction was that I stopped working and took out a piece of paper and sketched out this poem.

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

He leads her in, through a maze

of off-colored couches and armchairs

to a table near the register,

and sits her down in a seat

and maneuvers her feet flat against the floor

and rubs her arm and says,

I’ll be right there. I’ll be right back.


She sits dead-still like a tree

which moves in small bits at the touch

of wind – the rustle of an arm,

a small flinch of eyelid as the window a/c shushes

air across the still pockets of age

that settle on her cheeks,

and on all the corners of her body.


He orders a chocolate milkshake and slice

of cake, sits it down in front of her

and spins the straw around the frosted glass

while she stares the same stare,

and he wraps his creased fingers around hers

and moves her hands in his as though

they were the same branch, the same tree.


She opens her mouth with the sound

like fabric rustling, and lips moving with

effort, a stale repose laying still

across her face. There you go, there you go,

that’s a good bite, there he says and shuffles

the fork to her lips, smiles with all the effort

of wind, a gust or breeze that settles just so.


He wipes crumbs from her face, he lifts her

from her place and thanks the woman

At the register who calls them by name,

And who watches them leave, the same

Way - an arm beneath her elbow, a hand

Against her back, a pause to open the door

and there you go, just like that.


She’ll settle into the car seat

and watch trees, hum quietly at the radio

While they pass the streets she used to know,

And they’ll turn toward home and she will

Not know to thank him for anything when

They get inside, or to ask him questions

When he tells her his thoughts.


He’ll love her with the endurance

Of pulling up her socks

every morning, and she’ll be a tree –

rooted in the same, unchanging season

where the wind rustles the bloom,

her memory, and shades the ground the tree’s in:

of two roots promising not to move.

girl power

here are some of my favorite female-as-the-lead-singer-songs of the moment:


(thanks for this one, Eric!)

possibly our house-theme song of the moment....


GRE words of wisdom, as complied by an expert GRE-taker

1) do not drink a huge cup of coffee before the GRE. This will make you have to pee when you are only half-way through section one of the test.

2) study more than I studied

3) for stress relief during your ten minute break, go to the bathroom and dance the macarena. It works.

4) don't listen to this song before your GRE, because as you are writing your essays, it will not stop running through your head and you'll be likely to start typing, "grab somebody sexy tell 'em hey"

5) do not release a burst of laughter upon reaching a math question that makes such little sense it's funny....the test administrator lady will give you the LOOK.

6) schedule to take your test in a city where afterwards you can hang out with one of your best buds and together you two can shop at Whole Foods, eat cheeseburgers in a renovated fire station, and get caught in a thunderstorm so torrential that it looks like you both jumped into a pool.

7) study more than I studied

Dear GRE's,

you are stupid.
but reviewing for taking you on Tuesday (yeah, this isn't cramming AT ALL) has taught me all sorts of fun things. Like the word ersatz.

ten points if anyone can tell me what that means without dictionary.com'ing it.

Dear future,
I'm glad that you aren't simply determined by the score I get on a standardized test. (because you aren't, right?)

Dear movie my house mates are watching while I study,
I hope you are really boring.

sincerely,
Emily "I hate reviewing high school math" Thompson

monday

yesterday was monday. which is totally my excuse for the events of my morning.

I was in the kitchen eating some breakfast and heard the doorbell ring. which is weird, because no one ever rings our doorbell (nearly everyone in the universe already knows the code to get in the front door). but I was still in fuzzy-morning mood, and didn't go to see what it was, and, within a span of a few brief minutes, forgot that the doorbell ever rang at all.

and when I was running out the front door, semi-late for class, with tea in my hand, my ipod in the other, I also forgot to look at the ground in front of me.

Turns out, UPS likes to deliver humongus packages to your house and likes to put them exactly right in front of the door, in the same space where one might be likely to attempt walking.

and down I went.

Like, face-plant on the sidewalk, ipod and tea and legs sprawling everywhere because I had walked into this box that was about the size of a baby elephant.

And that was only my first step into the outside world yesterday.

Not five minutes later, while I'm still soothing my bruised ego, I'm passing beta bridge and run full on into a girl who is cutting up from behind it. Like walk straight into her. I think my travel mug hit her in the nose.

My reaction? A big burst of laughter. I couldn't even apologize before she walked away most likely thinking that I'm a freak and a half. Because life is just too funny. and Monday's (ok, or every other day of the week in my life) are so full of mishaps and falling down and ridiculous things happening that you don't expect that it's all sort of humorous in the end, isn't it?

here's to hoping you can stand on your own two feet this week. but also that you stumble upon some good laughs.

ps. the only misfortune to befell me today is that I spilled earl gray all over my seat in class this morning. so things are looking up.

Lord, protect my joy

in the deepest caverns of my heart. Hide it there, away from any gust of wind, any whisper of rain. Make it echo through my bones, make it sing louder than any other sound. Let it be my greatest treasure, the light that makes me beautiful, and the gift I most adore. Let me keep it and wear it also, at the same time. Let it be my coat. Let me give it away and never run out. Let it seek me though the deepness of pain, the deepness of regret, the deepness of shame. Build it into castles to explore. And let me reach the heights of it, where everything is shades of gorgeous, and laugh out loud, in the prettiest tones, because it is too much to hold in.

Lord, protect my joy.
keep it as the peace of my soul. So during storms, when the night is deep and the waters high, with eyes on you I can walk on the ocean, run into your arms, laugh and sing because you love me.

NEW NEW NEW

I'm going to seriously FREAK MY FREAK on October 24th when Coldplay releases their new album....seriously. FREAKING OUT TO THE MAX.

They have a few singles released from it already. This one is the most recent, and it's incredible. Of course.

I love poems about insomnia

and I love this one.
as in read-it-over-20-times-today love.
and think that last stanza is killer & heartbreaking & just so freaking good that it makes me almost not want to sleep. except for not really, because it is only 11:30 and I'm such a grandma that I'm already in bed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Insomnia - by Elizabeth Bishop

The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she's a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she'd tell it to go to hell,
and she'd find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me.

and I'm home

I'm learning to play this sweet song for Young Life club per the request of my teammate...it's a good one.

jesus, lover of my soul





just thought some of my favorite pictures (all by ellen picker) should meet my current favorite hymn. you can listen to it by clicking right here.

stitched up

Do you know those days when you feel like you are made of glass?

it's those moments when you think that if the world throws one more thing at you, you will shatter into pieces. it's when you get bad news. it's when you have to add yet another commitment to your calendar. it's when the future suddenly looms at you, gray and uncertain. it's when you let someone down. it's when sadness is heavier than joy.

it's when you feel fragile and on the verge of breaking. and you are not sure of what it will take for you to just keep it together.

I felt that even tonight, after a house meeting when a roommate and I talked about that overwhelming feeling we're experiencing, of the busyness of school attacking us and life coming at full speed. It makes you feel in want of composure, or stability, or something just to glue you up and keep you from dissolving.

And of course, as I've been thinking these things, the Lord decided it would be good to comfort me with his word. I guess he's dependable that way.

This morning I got stuck on a verse in Colossians 1, v17 that says: He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Most times that I've read that, I think of Jesus as uniting the Church of believers. And that is true. He does. But today, all I can think about is that little phrase, in him all things hold together.

And I couldn't stop thinking - he's talking about me, too.

He's talking about holding together my life. He's talking about fortifying my spirit. He's talking about being the one thing I can rely on to stitch me back together again when I feel broken by the world. He is stabilizing me. He is threading love for me throughout my body, that I might be made whole because of him. That I might be safe and complete and all put into place.

It is such a beautiful image and truth to sit with for awhile - that Jesus is holding it together for you when you can't.

I'm not ready for it


but fourth-year has come for me anyway.

It is a pain in my stomach each time I think that I already signed up for my last semester of classes at UVA (which, to look at it, is obviously the schedule of a fourth-year english major who is graduating in December....my classes are about Jane Austen, discovering poetic voice, and hand drumming). It is enough to take my breath away, the thought that my life a year from this day is utterly foreign to me. What will I be doing? Where will I be? Both of those questions are complete unknowns.

I'm the overly-sentimental type. I grieve at the end of television episodes. You can only imagine how I'll be grieving to end this college section of my life. I feel underprepared for it. As soon as I got the hang of this thing, it's being taken from me.

But you know that saying that college is the best four years of your life? I don't think that's true. Sure, it's a unique and incredible time. You live with your best friends. You can do incredibly dumb things and get away with them. You don't have many of the concerns "real" adults have. But I like to be optimistic and think that there could be even bigger and better times out there for me. Even though I can't really imagine them at the moment.

So for now I will hold on to the joy of living with nine girls. and of drinking coffee at midnight to stay up writing a paper. and of all the other small things that come with being a college girl. and then, once college ends and the world opens up to me, I get to go and be anything that I could ever dream of being. Or that God could dream of me being. and that's an even bigger and more colorful thing to imagine.

back when I was a little first-year and enjoyed going to football games. and picking my nose.

kenny introduced me to this

and on our road trip to richmond this afternoon, we couldn't get enough of it.
you're gonna love it.

again and again and again

This morning, the ocean outside my window was as calm as glass. It was smooth and soft looking, so much so that I wished I could dive from my porch right into it and float parallel to the clouds.

And after a walk (during which three dolphins seemed to follow me step for step) and a quick swim, I'm sitting here on the porch with a cup of coffee and staring at it still - this vast sea that has never failed to haunt and delight me. Not once.

I could ask myself why that is a million times over. I could write stanza after stanza of verse to try to explain it, the complexities of the water or why I love it so much. But I think what I come back to time and again is the easiest answer and the one that holds the most truth.

It is beautiful because it is the Lord.

I've learned a lot about the Lord's love from the sea. Or maybe, I should say that I've learned a lot about the mystery of that love. I've learned that it is utterly beyond my capacity to grasp at the height and depth of it. I've learned that it reaches into the far corners of my heart, the places I dare not explore. I've learned to simply marvel at it, everything I can't understand about it, and to just be glad that it exists and that it is beautiful beyond measure.

More recently, I've been learning that it is consistent. Where my faithfulness fails, and when my own capacity for love is tossed back and forth with each gust of wind, His love for me endures. It is strong and powerful and steady and eternal. I was snuggled in bed last night listening to the waves and the thought came into my head - "it never stops, does it?". And His love doesn't. It's the steady rhythm of the waves, and it is for me.

Sometimes we move our hearts into cities far from the shore, and cover up the roar of sea with traffic and blaring radios and the chatter of our busy lives, and we forget that it is consistent. We forget that it is there on the horizon of our souls - an ocean screaming with love. And it falls down upon us. Again and again and again.

And again.


Hallelujah.

5 songs I dig today





(I <3 rap covers. and this chick can RAP)

cooking is not hard



Kitchens have always scared me. I don't know why. Maybe because I never took much interest in cooking growing up, and my mom would just make delicious meals appear like magic on our table every night. So I just assumed everything cooking-wise must be very hard and difficult and beyond my abilities.

and what I'm discovering is, it's not that bad.

It's actually... really fun
and, depending on what I'm cooking, really easy.

Another thing I love about it is that it's the chance to MAKE something. Not out of words or cut up pictures or magazine clippings or from a musical instrument, or any of the things I typically get creative with. But it's a chance to be creative with flavor, with strange collaborations of tastes, with presentation, with things that are fresh from the earth - and you get to create them into something new. It's like a little art-project, cooking is.

Last night I made my most domestic meal yet - meatloaf (which tasted just like Mom's - a little burst of excitement there!) with mashed potatoes (not instant, thank you very much).

This afternoon, my friend Hannah and I wanted a fun summer lunch. So we made a strawberry-onion-spinach leaf-poppyseed dressing-salad with pesto pasta that was topped with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes. It was YUM and ridiculously easy.

so if anyone wants to have a cooking date with me/offer up some of their favorite recipes, I'm all for that!



writing poems a lot instead of blog posts.

such is life.

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

when you think things in the city

When I am adjacent to

the Brooklyn Bridge

my body skyline

is shoulder – collarbone-

neck base –

collarbone – shoulder.

A Puerto Rican band nets

small catches of Spanish

words between hollow

gaps of my bones.

Once, I was convinced

of a million things.

Now, I imagine

that if I press my body

snug against the sky,

I’d lay a labryinth

of colors-

all the things I loved:

milk foam, lavendar smell,

crap pop songs,

the works.

When my fingers are

dripping against my leg

to the follow of a song,

the sun is past the stage,

and that’s exactly where

I find them:

The setting of every

gorgeous thing I tried

to describe,

or own -

but couldn't.