somewhere only we know

I kind of hate Glee this season, but last episode they covered one of my all-time favorite songs in the world.

a mini-poetry collection

I just spent some time listening to a few "This I Believe" essays on NPR's website. I LOVE the series, and I'm sort of bummed that I just started enjoying it only to find out that it is no longer continuing. But anyway, I just wrote three poems based on three I enjoyed a lot, so here they are :) I recommend a browse through the project if you have time...very thought provoking.


“Do you know that Godzilla’s suit weighs 188lbs?”

after listening to an NPR “I Believe” essay by Joshua Yuchasz, entitled “We’re All Different in Our Own Ways”

Kids at Oak Valley make fun of me for liking

what I like the most, but we’re different,

and I can tell this to Bubba, my red-tailed

boa constrictor, and he’d understand it.

but other people don’t understand it,

the same way I didn’t understand what Asperger’s was

until I asked my mom, until she told me I wouldn’t die,

until she told me it was like I had blinders on,

except for all the time, not just occasionally.

If there was a Jeopardy category about Godzilla,

I’d win it, too, and no one would laugh at that,

or laugh when I become a gene engineer,

create the real Godzilla, one as tall as the first,

or maybe even better, that could tear down buildings,

but maybe this one wouldn’t…

I can dream, can’t I?

(listen to this one by clicking here)

“When times are tough, I look to the Catalinas”

after listening to an NPR “I Believe” essay by Connie Spittler, entitled “Pink Moments”

It was sometime before he got cancer

that my husband and I took the trip to Ojai,

where we learned that the art of stopping everything

at the first moment of sunset came from Himalayan inhabitants.

It was sometime during the middle of my childhood

that I first fell for the Pink Moments, as the people of that town

call them, the moments when shards of color make their way to sky,

when the day starts exhaling in paint, the palate I first discovered

while hating doing the dishes – the love I discovered for time fading.

And it was sometime I can’t recall when I started accumulating

all of my life in terms of those mountains outside my window

in Tuscon, Arizona, when I started pulling strength from them,

when I started to realize they could handle the weight of pain,

and that they liked to listen,

and that I could color myself the same shade of light they took on,

and became certain that it would take a lot of tears to wear down a mountain.

(listen to this one by clicking here)

“I travel to see friends, even—or especially—those I’ve never met”

after listening to an NPR “I Believe” essay by Jim Haynes, entitled “Inviting the World to Dinner”

Marriage and babies have come from my dinner table,

the place where booksellers from Atlanta and Dutch political

cartoonists break bread together, and where I exercise

my freedoms as a citizen of the globe, roots all over the world.

I call it my Sunday salon, and anyone is welcome as long

as they call ahead, and the first 50 or 60 can come,

except when it’s nice outside and another twenty can spill

to the patio, and then we’ll all talk and make friends,

laugh about the way the whole wide world is one thread.

I have a good memory, so if you come, I’ll know your name

and remember it, and in the library of my head

I will add you to my collection of biographies,

and I’ll dream about the history in that, which includes you,

and dream of no more strangers any longer,

of no more hatred because we don’t understand…

because If I had my way, I would introduce everyone in the whole world to each other.

(listen to this one by clicking here)

why we love the things we love

is sort of funny, isn't it? Why do some people love running around and throwing balls at each other and being competitive? I just will never understand. But then again, why do some people love words and making them into art like I do? I guess I just don't really know either.

because sometimes we love things beyond explanation. We love them beyond what words can say, simply because, well, we just DO. We just love them. It's like we were hard-wired to. And it's love, for sure, that makes me certain God must exist. Because I shouldn't love cheddar cheese or poetry or every shade of purple or even any person on this world with the love that I have. It simply isn't practical. There are so many strange things I adore, and the most I can say in terms of an explanation for it is just to describe everything I adore about those things....which is not really an explanation at all.

For example - why do I love the sound of water against the shore so much? It does nothing for me. It doesn't give me anything, and I can't order it around or ask it questions or seek wisdom from it, and I don't have to love it...but I do. My ears just love it. They just do. Isn't that the craziest thing?

Isn't it crazy when you love snuggling up in freshly-laundered sheets, or you love that teacher who told you a funny joke once, or you love that song when it comes on the radio, or you love pesto sauce or love one pencil over another one, all of it for no reason at all.....think of what you love, and I bet it's the strangest list.

We love and we don't know why and I just love love love that, don't you?

Easter, poetry, biblical creativity, prayer simplicity

What I love about the Easter season is Jesus.

maybe that sounds silly, because that is exactly what Easter is about - Jesus dying for us and then overcoming death, offering us life, loving us enough to do that - die and come back.
But this Easter season in particular, I've been thinking JUST about him. I've been reading through Psalms a lot lately and am struck by the way that I pray for a lot of things, but not often enough do I pray just for more of Jesus in my life. I'm not prone to those simple prayers - just that I would know him better, the one who died for me, offered me life, loved me enough to die and come back.

And yet, as I have started to pray those prayers, I have discovered how my heart longs simply just for him. I long for more of his presence, more knowledge of who he is, more gratitude for the way in which he loves me -enough to die and come back. And as I pray for him, I am becoming more in awe of his glory, and I just want to see more and more of it, more of the Son of God.

So this morning I wrote this little poem. I guess it's inspired by a lot of things I've been thinking of lately. Primarily, it focuses on the gorgeous scene of Isaiah's vision of the Lord in Isaiah chapter 6 (great sermon on this by Tim Keller...thanks to Doogie for sharing it!) and on a few psalms I've been reading through.

Happy Easter weekend! I hope it comes with more Jesus in your life, too :)

Burning Ones

"as a deer longs for springs of water, so my soul longs for you..." - psalm 42:1

"full" is the word-
fabric from his train spills down
from where he sits in the temple,
a multi-colored thing spilling,
and I'm afraid I'll touch it.

and it fills the space,
totally full,
like water, not fabric-
or air.

the Burning Ones are standing above,
the ones I inhale with my eyes,
or wish I could run from,
or wish I had their wings
to shadow myself away.

But they look at each other
so closely it is as though the one
was looking at himself,
the other the same,
and somehow also at me when
they sing back and forth:
holy. holy. holy.

With each call
across the space
of the temple I feel embers
at my toes,
feel them move inside my stomach,
until I am full of flame.

How long?
How long, O Lord,
will I stand before you,

As I feel the shift of my body
to ashes, a Burning One
comes to me,
and touching my lips, says:
he is taking it all away--
there now. Do you feel that?
he is taking it all away,
all away --
he is taking it all away
and now it's done.

Before I can sing, or weep
I notice the train,
continually filling the temple
like smoke, but not smoke-
like breath.

full, full, full of
voice I sing along
with the Burning Ones,
so together we are trying
to say what will never
be sung enough.

dear guy who was just looking at me strangely when I was listening to this in the library,

I really just don't even care what you think.
J.Biebs for life.

Tank is her pillow pet

oh wow
get a pillow pet and you can have double dates with me and tank

bueno es Dios siempre

God is really good. Did you know that?
Just good good good.

Our UVA Nicaraguan Orphan Fund is in the midst of organizing our second-annual Barefoot 5k/Barefoot Week fundraiser, and I'm sitting here re-reading an e-mail my friend Kirsty sent out that literally gave me chills. It says that the NOF has already raised about double what we did last year. Already. DOUBLE.

God is good. Isn't it obvious?

Isn't it obvious that God is good when I get to see Banessa (that beautiful little girl I'm holding in the picture above) for the third time in a year? When I get to walk into a classroom in La Chureca, play with the kids we're raising money for, and know that God is in the process of redeeming their lives? Of orchestrating their beautiful futures? My heart is singing to think of that. To think of that money as more than just some cash some relatives and friends forked over, but to think of it as the step toward transformation. God's hand is moving. He's at work. He's good. He cares about His kids. His glory is all over this thing, this crazy Barefoot extravaganza.

Here's what I'll ask you to do - join in on this. It's exciting.

Sign-up for the Barefoot 5K if you're going to be in Charlottesville on April 23rd. (click right here)

or you can even sponsor me as I walk barefoot for a week and help those incredible kids of Chureca! (click here)

at the very least, check out our wildly amazing Barefoot website (click here)...exciting things are under foot! (get it? foot?)

and it's really just because God is good.

so so good.


just listening to the song that gave my pretty guitar her name. You should listen to it. It's mmmmmmmsogoooooooood.

about traffic, writing, criticism

I had a really bad workshop of a story I wrote in one of my classes last week.

I mean like left-wanting-to-change-my-name-and-move-to-another-state/cried-in-the-shower-afterwards/thought-about-igniting-all-existing-copies-of-my-story-in-flames bad. I just left feeling like I was potentially the worst writer ever, and wondered what I was doing with my life, and was overwhelmed and.....pathetic. Yes, re-read this first paragraph and if you didn't get it the first time - I was being absurdly pathetic.

Here is what I've learned about myself in the past year. I'm super awful at taking criticism. Because instead of using it like directions of where to go from there, I treat it like a roadblock.

And, because I am a cheesy, metaphor-obsessed poetry nerd, I was thinking about this today as I got stuck at a stoplight, and it seemed appropriate. Because criticism (of the constructive sort) is kind of like that, you know? Or should be. It should be a red flag (or, traffic light) telling you that you've got something to learn and improve on. And you should have to pause there for a little bit. You should have to sit in your car and pump the breaks impatiently and be irritated and upset and just think about it for awhile. You should get to know that spot you're sitting at, all its surroundings, how it feels to be there when you want to be somewhere else. And then, when the light turns green and you've gotten all you can from it, you just gotta go. Move on. Try not to circle around back to that same light. Try a better way. But keep driving. Think of your mistakes as a thing of the past, but an important part of the trip.

So this past week, after reading and re-reading and marinating on a particularly nasty comment sheet from my story, I decided the light was green and I needed to just get going.

I put down those critical comments and I mustered up some courage to look at the remaining notes my class gave me, and you know what? A lot of them were good. A lot of them said things like "this is really lovely" and "I adored this" and "congratulations on writing such a patient and beautiful story". And you know what's funny? Those comments were there all along, but I wasn't letting myself reach them. I got too stuck in the potholes (alright - metaphor getting out of hand) of criticism to reach anything good.

I'm thinking it's probably pretty darn likely that I'll face criticism again. If it isn't about my writing it'll be about something else. I can't avoid it. It'd be like trying to avoid red lights in Charlottesville - just not going to happen. The only thing I can change is how I react, and what direction I head afterwards.

And guess what? When I'm a super famous (HA) and rich (double HA) poet, I'll look back at those critical comments and say "Hey, thanks Criticism - glad you didn't hold me up too long."

@dear-twitter, #here'sthething

I just simply do not understand you.

seriously. How does this work? It's like there's strange symbols everywhere that remind me of math, and then my head gets confused and I forget how to use the mouse.

Within the past 48 hours, everyone on the planet has jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. I know that's actually been a growing trend for some time now, but a wave has just infected a large handful of my friends. All I ever hear now is how great Twitter is, and oh-get-a-twitter-you'll-love-it, or have to listen to laughy inside jokes at something someone tweeted blah blah blah.

here's my major complaint about twitter. if I get a twitter, I'll be all over the internet. I mean, I already write on facebook pretty frequently, update my gchat statuses on the reg, AND have a blog. what else do I have to say on any other sort of networking site? And I like to ramble (have you noticed?) loooooooong drawn out thoughts that are never concise. And that is impossible on Twitter. I could never survive.


...and all I know is, one time I DID make a Twitter account, tweeted Justin Bieber, and he never tweeted me back.

which, in light of the resulting emotional distress, makes my distancing from Twitter totally understandable.

one thing I'm sort of obsessed with

is expression.

just every little thing about it. isn't it beautiful? the way we have these innate abilities as humans to say something meaningful in so many different ways? I think that is why I study english here, or why I get chills over good short stories or cry over poems or gasp at street art or close my eyes and smile sometimes when I listen to music.

and so I've really been enjoying what we've been talking about in my American Sign Language class lately - ASL translation of songs. Just another really sweet form of expression.

Here's one I'm a particular fan of:

Happy birthday to one of the coolest people I know

Today is Ginny "Gib" Steven's 20th birthday.
The world is a lot more hilarious place because she's in it.