a blog hiatus

Hello dear sweet blog readers,

you guys are the best. thanks for reading this all the time even when it's boring or always about poetry or just weird etc. etc.
just wanted to inform you that I'm taking a tiny break from blogging. I just haven't been inspired to blog lately, and I don't want it to be half-hearted :) And also, I have a lot of writing I want spend my time doing that isn't at all blog-stuff, SO, I'm giving up blogging for a month. I think it'll be a fun little experiment for me. I'll be back after that.

so much love!

10 places I'd like to take a nap

reason number 875032 that I love being an English major

cashier ringing me up at the bookstore: oh wow, you're the first person we've had in here who is buying books just for pleasure reading this week!

oh, these are actually all for my classes...

this might be mean, but you know it's the truth

the conversation that happened late late last night as Kendall and I were watching "The Last Song" -->

Kendall: wait...is Miley Cyrus wearing retainers?
Me: no, she just always sounds like that.

happy birthday, Ellen Picker!

it's ellen picker's birthday - and she is TWENTY ONE!
(here's to hoping it's a good year of crafts, racquetball games & every other wonderful thing, my sweet friend! much much love)

in an effort to record more of my interesting dreams in some form or fashion

an account of a dream - 7th day of december, 2011

it's a mute pond:
no crickets, cicadas, frog gulps.
no whisper of the water
my hand splashes in
and I can move through it noiselessly,
without a single noise,
or the thought of noise,
or even the memory of what noise
sounds like.

the woods around here
aren't familiar,
nor the shape of the banks outlining,
nor the trees, so high and bent,
bark like speckled stone.
but the night is.

the stars are the same ones
that hung around months ago
over Zoe's dock, nights before
we all went back to school.
they are the ones we watched
reflections of against the mirror
of water, our hair hanging
over the dock edge,
eyes upside-down.

I can't drown
in the dream-pond,
because water is like air
but it's heavier and feels warm
like blankets.
the funny thing is that down inside it
there is sound.

it's some song I heard
on the radio once,
I can't remember when but I know
the melody is off, sort of stretched
and distorted, but loud. it's like
plugging headphones in
when you slip underneath.

When I come up
I find a buzzing on my lips
and the buzz becomes a hum
which becomes a sound
which becomes a phantom of light,
the spirit of the song that existed,
and the ghost-hum shifts itself into a burning yellow,
multiplying like fireflies across the stretch of pond.

I press my lips together, another hum
which makes the lights broaden
until they look more like cannons of flame,
miniature-burning suns haunting
above the water and
shifting shifting shifting
until they go out.

awake with ghost-songs on my lips.

Walking on Water

For all the reading I do, I rarely recommend books on this blog. But today I'm doing that. and maybe I'll start doing it more often.

First of all, a hearty THANK YOU to my friend Lauren for recommending this book to me. Honestly. I think it will remain a very very dear thing to me for the rest of my life, which is an intense thing to say about a book that I only just started reading this morning and am only pages away from finishing (and it says something that I'm so excited by it that I can't even wait until the last page is done to talk about it on here and encourage others to read it too).

Really though - if you are at all interested in the power of the imagination, in art, in creating, in the Creator God, in philosophy, in child-like faith, or in the miraculous-impossible-universe-expanding love of Jesus, then you NEED to read this book. not should. NEED. I feel blessed to have read "Walking on Water" as someone interested in writing and interested in learning how to know God more through my work.

L'Engle reflects on a million different things in her book, but her perspective about the reality of our imagination is fresh (yes, I truly believe that, even for a thirty-year-old book) and glorifying. I've dog-earred countless pages in this book, highlighted so many things....(future blog posts will surely arise from some of this stuff). My brain is reeling from this book. L'Engle continually looks at the art of story telling and its massive importance in Christianity. Why is it that we "grow up" and are told not to believe in stories, when Jesus relies so heavily on them? When dreams are so present in the Bible? When angels are so gorgeous and important and terrifying and real? The pages of this book are bathed in the most beautiful expressions and pleas not to ignore our imagination, but to let it spur us into creative beings - that is who God made us to be.

I could post a zillion different incredible things from this book, but here is a neat little excerpt that has stuck with me about the role of the artist as a servant:

If the work comes to the artist and says, "Here I am, serve me," then the job of the artist, great or small, is to serve. The amount of the artist's talent is not what it is about. Jean Rhys said to an interviewer in the Paris Review, "Listen to me. All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake."
(page 23)

less, not more.

"The God of Israel will be your reward."
-Isaiah 52:12

Tonight I was fortunate enough to enjoy one of the things I love more than anything on this earth - a room full of good people and the conversation that brings. Our Young Life group here in Warrenton is a pretty stellar community. Even after being removed from the "YL kid" side of things for several years, I still find myself blessed time and again by the ministry that is continually blooming in my hometown. I get to come home to a group of people who love me and know me, who have not ceased in challenging and encouraging my relationship with the Lord, and who still want to be in my life. It's pretty rare, I think, and I am (literally) eternally grateful for it. All that said, tonight we had a little alumni gathering and it was a gift - this time the gift of insight from some people I've known the longest about how to handle a new year that will be (I can only imagine) full of surprises from the Lord.

Have you thought about that yet? That we can make a million zillion resolutions, tons of plans, list our goals until our fingers cramp up and yet all of it might fall to pieces before our eyes. "Life" and "surprise" should be synonymous, I think. Actually, if I could foresee all the things the Lord has in store for my year, then I don't think I would be following a very creative God. So believing in the inevitability of His surprises is both exciting and utterly terrifying. Crazy, challenging, unexpected things are coming for me...and what's the response?

It is pretty normal to look ahead in your life and imagine yourself in that hazy-future space as someone who has accumulated more. More money, friends, clothes, patience, romance, wit, wisdom, beauty, furniture - you name it. They are not bad things most of the time. We just look ahead of ourselves and plan to be living a life that is constantly building itself up into bigger things. Our goals are set up that way during the New Year, and we vow these things to ourselves and to strangers at parties - this year I'm going to be more sincere around my friends, I'm going to read more books, I'm going to travel more. And yet, as I pray to commit this coming year to the Lord and seek Him in my goals and expectations, He is telling me not to pray for more, but to pray for less.

My ever wise (and consistently inappropriate) leader and friend Bob Wells said tonight that if we do anything in 2011, it should be to keep seeking new places to go where we will need the Lord -where we will need Him because we recognize our lack, and that this lack would lead us humbly to our God, where joy comes from. It's a scary prayer, to say "Lord, I don't want more of anything unless it is You. Don't give me a single thing but Yourself, because everything else is not made for me to have."

It is entirely possible that I will finish this year having accumulated a lot of things - more refined talents, more money, more clothes, more knowledge, more friends - but my prayer is that the "more" in my life will be merely the result of 365 days spent knowing more of who my God is. My prayer is that things I gain would become periphery blessings in my mindset, but that being shaped and shifted into a person who more closely trusts the Lord would be the sole hope for my year, my only resolution, the only thing I crave and seek. That is no easy wish. And, to be honest - it scares me and the "things" I want look pretty good and achievable sometimes in comparison.

But that little prayer - the more of You, God, less of me - that is the one I imagine is going to bring some pretty interesting surprises to 2011. I'll wait and see.

my enrique obsession continues (don't judge me)