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 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!


"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

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
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

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.