Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It’s hard to write this. I don’t really want to, but I think I need to. The words have been given and are pushing out. I fear being honest and open, and I don’t want to be brave. I don’t want to bare my heart and soul. What will you people think of me? 

Will you think me silly and shallow? I don't know...but I’m going to push all that aside and tell the story regardless.

I wouldn't change a single line of my story...not a single line.

I would not erase a single strand of heartache or pain, because I wouldn't be who I am today. 

It was a Wednesday in May last year and it was perfect outside. I had gone on a run on the winding roads behind my house and I could feel heaven bending down low. The sky was deep blue, it was a gorgeous spring day and I felt amazing. I was praying, thanking God for everything in my life...and that’s when I made the mistake of praying and asking for one of the dumbest things in the world. I stopped in the middle of the road, threw my hands up in the air, did a half spin, and said with an easy smile and a laugh, “God, do whatever you need to do to me so I grow, I want to be close to you.” 

“I don’t love you anymore.” It was the following Friday and those words fell like a hammer on my heart and I reeled. My boyfriend of over four years stood looking at me and I sat down hard in the chair and something like, “Why?” fell from my lips. He gave a very final if unsatisfactory answer, “I don’t know, I don’t love you anymore. And I know love is a choice but I simply don’t want to make it anymore. I want to be free.” I sat stunned for a moment as I felt the beginning of cracks in my heart. He dropped me off at home and I couldn't see past the pain that was in front of my face like a suffocating blanket and it hurt to breathe. It felt like my heart was being torn and cut into pieces, how could this possibly be alright? How can be God be good when it hurts so much?

What do you do when you pour out all the love you have and invest so much time into a person, then they look at all you are, what you have given, and still decide to walk away regardless...What do you do?

Can I give thanks for the pain as well as the joy? Can I drink deeply from the cup of life even when it holds bitterness? 

Normally I am pretty positive person that tries to see the bright side of things, but this stretched me to a breaking point and for 1.6 days I drowned in despair…

Is God still good even when life hurts? When people walk away? When babies die, suicides happen and when death closes it's gaping jaws and life seeps away? Sometimes pain in one area has a tendency to release the demons in all the areas of your life. 

And the only answer I had to these questions was this, we see through a glass darkly and the curtain is so thick sometimes and all I know is we aren't home yet.

I am here sitting on a red couch typing these words and I know with every fiber of my being that He is good, I believe that He is good. I am grateful for it all and I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't change a single line of my story...not a single line.

I would not erase a single strand of heartache or pain because I wouldn't be who I am today. 

The moment that he walked away, was by far and away one of the best things that could have happened to me and even if though it hurt like the dickens at the time, I am so incredibly thankful that God loved me enough to not give me what I thought I wanted.

I stand before you all today and can say with conviction that, I am grateful for every person I have encountered, every moment I have tasted and passed by; for they have all led me to this place where I am right now. The sadness and the joy, the pain and pleasure, the mistakes and hurt and heartache.

There is nothing I would change, nothing I would forget, for if I altered His plan I would only ruin it.

I don't know if there is something that is suffocating you right now, I don't know if the pain hurts so much that it's hard to breathe sometimes, I don't know if you fight to smile when you want to cry. 

But I know the Author of this story is weaving this all together for good and even though right now we can only see the one sentence we are trapped in, one day we shall read the whole epic and I believe laughter will escape our lips as we see how all the pieces fit perfectly together.

So give thanks for it all, be grateful for every glorious moment we have been given.

"As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.
Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God." 
-Henri Nouwen

And this may/probably will be deleted in a couple hours, cause I am a fraidy cat.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I sat, perched on the cool, green, tile counter top in the bathroom, with one foot planted in the sink and a knee tucked under my chin as I studied my face in the mirror.

I was thirteen, and to say I was awkward would have been the understatement of the year. Looking back at me from the mirror a decade ago, was a girl with a smile that looked like she'd gotten beaten up, legs too long and lanky, brown eyes behind wire rimmed glasses, and hair that was stick straight and terribly unruly. I was quiet, analytical, and nearly text book introvert. I wondered what it would be like to be graceful instead of gangly, cool instead of nerdy.

I grimaced, furrowed my brow and wondered. I realized that beauty was subjective and was only skin deep but still...like Anne Shirley I realized that I was shallow but thought nonetheless it would be nice for once to simply be beautiful.


Peel me back a little bit and you'll still find remnants of that little thirteen year old's insecurity hiding in places, I have come along way, but perfection is a while off. Maybe I am alone in this, maybe it is just me. But I have a sneaking suspicion that those insecurities are hiding somewhere in all of us.

Some of us bury them deep, hoping that if we pretend they aren't there it will fix everything, like a child hoping that if we just dive beneath the blankets we will escape the monster. Some of us run, looking for things to distract us from all the insecurities that plague us, hoping to evade their grasp, and others embrace them wholeheartedly, allowing their insecurities to be the tenor of this life chipping away at all they hold dear.

I don't want to bury, run, and I certainly don't want to embrace...so the only other option seems to be to turn and face forward. To stand looking at my faults, failures, insecurities and short comings full in the face and simply say, "I am loved and because I am loved, I am more. I will fall and I will get back up, over and over and over again. And you will never win, because love never fails."

So stop burying, stop running, stop embracing and just give up and know that the price has been paid and you're enough. Fight lies and cling to this truth, you're enough, because He was enough and you can never add or take away from that and you are loved right now, just as you are, and not as you should be, for here we will never be what we should be.

Alright my people, that's all I've got, love you all. I'm shutting up now, because it's way to late and I'm becoming delusional. 
I watched that video and my heart ached, it ached for all the girls that believe the lie that their appearance is what defines them and garner their worth from how much attention those of the opposite gender give to them.

They build their self-esteem on the the shifty sands of outward "beauty" and the decimation comes all too quickly.

I ache because I have believed this lie before, and I still struggle to believe that I am more than what I don't see that I am in the mirror.

I fight the perfect and fake pictures that surround me trying to tell me that I am not enough. I wrestle with a culture that tells me that if I were just two sizes smaller, had a nicer figure, whiter teeth, a flatter stomach, smaller pores and better hair that then, then I would be truly happy.

I ache, because it's such a hard fight, because although I know beauty is much more than my world's definition, it is so hard to remember sometimes.

There but for the grace of God go I...there but for grace I would go.

Because ladies and gentleman, I am more than what I look like on the outside. I'd rather have a solid character and be ignored, than have a perfect figure and have attention.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

“Do you mean to say," asked Caspian, "that you three come from a round world (round like a ball) and you've never told me! It's really too bad for you. Because we have fairy-tales in which there are round worlds and I have always loved them … Have you ever been to the parts where people walk about upside-down?"
Edmund shook his head. "And it isn't like that," he added. "There's nothing particularly exciting about a round world when you're there.”
-The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

There's nothing particularly exciting about any world when you're born there, but crack open your soul, rip through the scales and peak through the veil, see with new eyes, and know that this world is what composes the very best fairy tales.

This is why I love children, children see the world with new eyes. Eyes that aren't jaded and hard. Eyes that see the world for the gift that it is and stare wide-eyed in wonder. Watch a child marvel over a dandelion, stare at snow, taste ice-cream for the first time, or squeal with delight as a puppy licks their hand, I promise it will be good for your soul.

As adults its harder to remember that we live in a world that contains animals with stretched out necks and others with noses so long they look like tails. Platypus lay eggs, llamas spit, fish breath underwater, caterpillars really turn into butterflies, and bats hang upside down. The Yeti Crab exists, as to zebras, narwhals, and panda ants. Whattttttttt.!

We stand, sit, and sleep on a ball that spins through space around another burning sphere at thousands of miles an hour and we yawn.

The dusty moon encircles us, pulling at the salty water and then yields as the earth pulls it back. Go to the beach and watch their tug-of-war.

Go outside, look up into the sky, bend down to watch an ant march, become friends with trees and get to know all the different moods of the wind. God is good and there is grace.

“Fairy tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.”
― G.K. Chesterton

(That's right I just used a quote at the top and the bottom, forgive me, I couldn't pick one.)

I hope you all have a perfectly, lovely Saturday.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

She drove home under a moon that was a single slice away from full and listened to notes from a violin that sung like a prophet, calling her to remember, to remember that she was loved much.


I had a conversation with a friend this afternoon about how I've always feared failure and not being able to live up to people's expectations of me. I cringe at the thought of letting anyone down.

I want to be brave, however, bravery for me isn't tossing my head and saying, "To hell with what people think about me! I don't care." Instead it's cracking open the heart of who I am and offering it on trembling hands, even it means that I will be rejected. Bravery isn't the absence of fear but pushing through despite the fear, so I cast out these words hoping and praying they catch hold somewhere.

For my dear people know this, I am a textbook and introverted first born and I've always been told since I was a child that I have old soul. I'm overly analytical and self criticizing. I strive to please people, I like to fix things, I hold myself to an impossible standard, and I don't feel as though grace can reach far enough down to touch me when I fall.

I just want to be perfect, gosh darn it.

Instead I have holes in my character, gaps in my life, and scars on my heart.

However, those faults, holes, gaps, and scars are what make me who I am and I'm slowly learning that if I will only be brave enough to shed the mask and drop the facade, then...and only then will I be able to run and dive into the deep oceans of grace to swim as the beautifully complex character I was created to be; instead of wading around in the shallow end as the one dimensional, glossy, fake and superficial smiling character that I'm told I should be.

I want to immerge from that ocean so soaked and drenched in grace that I drip it all over everyone I come in contact with and that means I have to go diving in it, not wading. And diving means going deep.

For I am one badly broken, but redeemed, soiled but made clean. I have stood on mountains and I have walked through dark valleys.

And I wouldn't have it any. other. way. For I have never walked alone.

"But the grace of art is that it thrives in broken soil. " -Jennifer Trafton Peterson

Goodnight world, love to all you brave ones. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Truth: No person or circumstance is responsible for my lack of satisfaction or misery. I am responsible for my choice to choose misery or joy. I can either sit in the rubble of life, cry and give up, or I can bend down and search for the beauty in the mess; seek roses in the densest thicket.

Even in the deepest valleys there are lilies hiding.

No, I don't do this perfectly. I probably post more often than a healthy person should, but it's all part of a grasping for me. A reaching for the beauty that I know is there but I have to bend down to see.

When life throw its curve balls and monkey wrenches stop the smooth turning of cogs-reach for it. Grace is there waiting to fall into open and empty hands. Joy comes running behind gratitude. So look up at the sky, peer down at the ground, and see the countless gifts we have been given.

This is what I think about while I sit in a booth at Chic-fil-a waiting for friends caught in traffic. These are the times that make me think I am not quite normal. Thankful my friends like me anyways. 
I feel like a poser most times, if I am being honest. I am a wannabe writer, for I am the child who wants to be an artist, drawing with his brow furrowed and his tongue out, in an attempt to perfect his stick figure. I write with haste and am a horrible proof reader when I am in a hurry. Words tumble out of my head, through my fingers and I piece them like a crooked strand of garland. I am sorry.

This is my public apology and disclaimer for all my grammatical and spelling errors. Thanks for being friends with me in-spite of this.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This is one of those times where maybe I am being too honest. Maybe I should only portray my best angles, hide my flaws, and apply makeup to my life and personality so no one can really see who I am. Maybe, maybe I should shuffle and sweep my fears and weaknesses under the rug and pray a wind doesn't come and blow them out all across the room.

But...we all have problems, we all have fears, we all have feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, and at the end of the day if you think that I am too real and hot to handle then we probably wouldn't get along very well in the long run anyways 

For know this my dear people, I have lied in an effort to save my skin and I have hurt the people closest to me because I am selfish and I think I know best. I am easily intimidated and am just now learning how to fail and fall well.

I have been the prodigal son who runs from the all that is good to something that is broken and I am also the older son who stands out in the field with his arms crossed and tears of hot indignance running down his cheeks leaving salty trails of bitterness down his face, refusing to join in the party inside the house, because he started to believe that grace should have limits.

I am a hypocrite sometimes, my words telling a bigger tale than my life can live up to. I let words fall from my lips like daggers wounding instead of healing people. I am impatient and I doubt a God who is nothing but good.

For my friends, I am Moses, saying that God picked the wrong person.
David, wishing for things that are not mine.
Lot's wife, looking behind instead of looking ahead.
Thomas, doubting everything I should know to be true.
Peter, making grand statements of faith only to fall flat on my face when a cock crows for the third time.
I am Job, demanding answers because I think I am owed something by the very Author who breathed me to life.
And I like the fallen angel believe that I could write this story better than God.

I do wrong things and I do right things for wrong reasons.

Lest you have an inflated opinion of me, know this I will fall off any pedestal I am placed on, because I am human and I will fail.

Love me or think I'm crazy. It is what it is, I'm Ming and I am not perfect. But I am loved and I'm learning.

Monday, August 19, 2013

While grapping lunch with people, cleaning, and running errands...after reading the story in John 9 this morning this is what has been rolling around in my head:

Could it be that Jesus uses the mud in our lives to heal our blindness? Could the dirt in our lives be the very thing that in the end will make us see?

Because...maybe God loves us enough to let our hearts break if that is what it will take to heal us, maybe pain and suffering have a purpose, and maybe He will lean down squish mud and spit in our blind eyes in order that we will be able to finally see.

Maybe there is a redemption that is coming and I just can't see it because I only see this page and the ones that I have already flipped through. I cannot see the future and how the rest of this epic tale will play out.

Maybe it's actually true, this mad impossibility that no matter what is happening right now in this chapter life at the end it will be swept up into a good that is coming and when we all arrive home, maybe just maybe, there will be shrieks of joyful laughter as we see how the whole time He was working it all together for good.

So keep your ideas of a mindless universe where this whole grand world is simply here by chance and there is no reason for us to be here. Believe in a world born of gloop and I will believe in a world sung, woven, and spun. You have permission to call me a mindless baby because I believe in what you think to be only wistful fairy tale of a story, but just know my story in the end will beat your painting of chaos every time and for a mindless baby...that's kind of sad if you think about it. 
I was driving home last night from a friends house thinking about life, the good and the bad, the situations that driven me to my knees and at times infuriated me to the point that I would rise shaking my fists at the heavens with the empty question of, "Why," stinging on my lips, for I see only a sliver of the story and when I stare at the sliver it makes no sense.

This faith that doesn't make sense, this deep furious love, and this wild, raging God who refuses to climb into my safe little box that I long to squish Him into...it all scares me at times.

This idea that God is working everything together for the good of those who love Him seems so maddeningly impossible when I absorb the shadowy horrors that run rampant in me and all around me. When I look at the world through my foggy mortal eyes, despair finds cracks in my heart to cling to. Scales at times have climbed and threatened to cover my eyes and my soul entirely and in those times the curtain seems so thick that sometimes it threatens to smother me.

What can I do? I am not a person with a wide influence, for I am small and the world is large. What chance do I have of making any kind of difference--why try?

So I run, sprinting back to Truth. I run, tripping over my own two feet out of the shadowy darkness, back to the stories that begin to send light filtering through the cracks between the scales that have crept over my eyes.

For my Jesus doesn't care about how wide my influence is, how much money I make or don't make. He loves me just as I and not as I should be. And if it means that I get to see Him smile I will I toss my last two mites of life into the treasury over and over and over again.

And as Andrew Peterson put it, I will run back to the old roads. When storm clouds sweep in, I will lash my heart to strong ancient mast that has weathered the worst storms. And I will walk that ancient path that has been worn smooth by many pilgrims, for I know it leads the way home.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I have to fight to believe truth.
I know the truth with my head.

In theory I know that I am loved and for the most part people like me. I can make a difference and life is worth living well. In theory I know that it's alright to make mistakes because I am human and that there is grace that surrounds me for such times.

But most of the time my heart doesn't buy it.

Sometimes I believe this truth with every fiber of my being, I can feel the life humming within me but without fail I will come tumbling down and landing in a heap right on top of the pile of my fears.

I feel as though I am forgotten and cast aside, I read rejection and disdain in the eyes of all the characters on the scene, and feel as though no matter how small the offence: if I deviate from perfection I will be hung out to dry. Despair makes me I feel as small as I am and as though my life will never even make the smallest of ripples in this ocean of time.

This is why I write, this is why I read, and bathe my soul in beautiful music. Words are the flaming sword that I use to battle these demons of insecurity and perfectionism that have plagued me for as long as I can remember. Because somehow when I name these nightmares and fears they weaken a little bit, their grip loosens for a moment and I am able to slip free and finally go skipping out into the sunshine with laughter slipping from my lips and for a moment I don't care what you people think about me at all because I am myself and I am Ming and if you don't like me it's okay because I am loved.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The more years I keep tacking on to this race, the more I am discovering that that life is less about having everything figured out and holding every answer to all of life's questions... and is more about always being kind and showing love while being humble about how much you really don't know.

It is as easy to cast judgments as it is to pick up a rock, it costs nothing and you can toss it while you gripe pride tightly in the other hand.

It's harder to love, for love can't be tossed, it must be given. Love stoops, reaches, bends down, and binds up. And it will cost you something.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I sat outside Starbucks yesterday while waiting for a friend and I saw a man walk by who blew smoke out of his nostrils like a pouting dragon, a man with a tattoo on his bicep and kind eyes pounding away at his laptop as if he needed to be vindicated, and a sparrow landed on the ground to my right to pick up a crumb.

Today I drove to a friends house and watched thunderheads roil and heave, felt rain in the air as a wind came dancing through my car, and laughed because it felt good to be alive.
We all turn to things when life swirls. When the act of living kicks up dust it can be hard to see and remember truth, and during those times sometimes simply breathing is incredibly difficult. We all run to something to prevent insanity. Some people turn to music, they ask their questions and pour their pain out though notes by letting their fingers run up and down a keyboard or plucking the strings of a guitar. Others use art, painting, sketching - placing a pencil on paper and letting the questions find their way out though lines that twist, curl, and at times run straight. Still others actually run, letting their feet hit the asphalt like a steady metronome, beating their demons by pounding them into the pavement.

As for myself, I run to words. I turn to beautiful lyrics, books, and the words that fall out of my heart and soul leaking their way out through my finger tips into the world; for although I am not a musician, artist, and most of my running turns into long meandering walks - I can play with words. I can string them together in a weak attempt to capture the things that I think, feel and see. How do I fight my demons that haunt me? I find ways to name them.

Friday a chaplain laid her hand on my shoulder and asked how I was going to take care of myself and how I deal with stress...at that moment I wanted to name a completely dysfunctional coping strategy, however, instead I looked up at her and with sheepish smile I answered, "I'll probably go home to read and write."

Friday, August 9, 2013

I am loved enough to be allowed to hurt. I am loved enough that pain, suffering, and trials are allowed to enter into my story so I can be shaped into something better. I have tasted joy and I have tasted salty sorrow.

This is a world full of sunrises and sunsets, bright days and long dark nights. Babies are buried here, fathers never make it home, tragedy enters the scene, hearts are shattered, and we scream as pain carves scars into our souls.

I am alive, my heart pounds, my lungs take in breath and this means that while I see life, I will also see death. I will see the curse played out again and again and again. And when I see the curse: I will run. I will run hard and fast back to Truth, and I will lash my heart to the ancient mast and I will not give up.

I will live and pour out as much of my little life as I can. I will love to the best of my ability, I will hold onto hope, and I will grip with hands full of grief to the knowledge that this not the end of the story. I will run this race with vigor because I know that there is an end.

Pain, tragedy, and death will not have the final say. One day I will wake up across the shores of that river that we all must cross, my tears will be wiped away never to be seen again and everything that is ugly will have been burned away like the dross that it is.

Good is coming.

I don't care what any of you tell me. I am not home yet.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I want to fight the darkness in the world but sometimes to fight the darkness is to fight myself. I feel as though I am Eustace wrapped in a dragon's skin fearing the pain it will take to shed it.

There are times I wish for a safer God, one that isn't so unruly and unpredictable. A God that was less dangerous and more tame. A God less wild, less...box breaking. For I would tell a different story, I would weave a different tale. But then for a moment I catch a glimpse of Him in the blazing sunrise that burns away the morning mist and I remember, I remember that although I am a forgetful lover I am still loved. I remember Jesus. Jesus who wrapped himself into mortal flesh to save his Eve, who walked with dust covered feet, sawdust clinging to his beard, children caught up in his arms, and loving in a way the world had never seen before. And I remember that I am loved and that is enough for me.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

People ask why I love words and the books that contain them so much. And this is why.... I love books because of the magic that are contained in and between the black marks within them. There is power in story. Stories have shaped and molded me into the person I am today. The countless books I bury my little nose into stay with me far longer than when I close the back cover.

Characters have taught me to value love, friendship, faith, courage and kindness. They've shown me there is more to life than obtaining wealth, power and selfish, greedy, cowardly, small souled individuals were not to be admired or emulated.

And while I've learned all this while flipping through pages, I have also had the time of my life...

I've buried my hands in Aslan's mane and heard the roar that broke winters back, I've passed through the emerald Shire, had my breath stolen away when I glimpsed Rivendell and Lothlorien, I've stood on the edge of a windowsill while Peter beckoned me to follow him to the second star to the right and straight on 'til morning, I have curled up in a little cabin listening to Pa tell stories in those big woods, I've stood on the edge of cliffs and stared across the Dark Sea of Darkness, I've frolicked in the meadows that surrounded Green Gables and fallen in love with Avonlea, I've laughingly given Christmas breakfast away with the March girls, I have sat on the back of a wild midnight colored stallion with my hands buried deep in his ebony mane racing the wind, I've passed through the dark misty land of Shiloh with pain in my heart, I have squeezed through a hundred cupboards fighting an ancient evil with Henry York, I've practiced my archery skills with the Merry Men and knew that I would follow Robin anywhere, I've sailed the high seas and seen the wild red hair of Fin button, climbed over mountains into the Heart of the Rockies, and been on a thousand other adventures.

Read. Books.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hands that made the blind see and the lame walk also reached down to wash feet and wipe tears from a broken and used woman.

Arms overthrew tables and used a whip to drive out the ones who would have us believe that God's favor and love can be bought and earned. He flipped everything upside down while loving in a way that made the world stand still and watch.

The Creator stooped low and all of heaven leaned in closer.

He wrapped himself into our frail mortal flesh to save us from the battle we could never win and walked across this worn broken earth with dust on his sandaled feet, all the way to a violent death with arms open wide to rescue us and pay the price we never could.

Death will come but it will not have the final say, for my dear friends Redemption and Grace are the orders of the day.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's all grace.
Every messy minute, every brushstroke, every crawling ant and every towering mountain, every glimmering firefly, every creaking elderly person and every giggling baby, every streaking tear and every glowing smile, every twinkling star, every song that is woven and every story that is spun, and maybe every breath that is inhaled and exhaled is all scandalous grace.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

“[Models] have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes, and they're the most physically insecure women probably on the planet.” -Cameron Russell

Ladies, you will never be able to become thin enough, beautiful enough, popular enough, smart enough, or good enough to silence and kill the insecurities that chase after you. Your eyes will always find imperfections and emptiness in the mirror and in your life, no matter how hard you strive to meet your own impossible expectations.

But here is the good news.

You are enough and you are loved. Right now. You are loved in this moment just as you are and not as you should be.

Open your tightly clenched fists that are trying so hard to hold on and accept this beautiful gift as it falls into open hands.

Revel in the love and rest. Then go out love the world and do good. Not because you're trying to earn love and favor, but because you are already have it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don't begrudge that the best of times slip away and cannot be frozen. Do not try in vain clutch them in your fists attempting to hoard what you cannot keep. Instead lift your hands in praise that the moments are given in such an exorbitant way. Moment after moment. Grace, upon grace, upon grace.

The daily recurrence of it all...the sheer number of moments we get everyday makes it hard to remember and be grateful for the gift that each one is. I forget to open my hands and be grateful for it all.

...sunrise after sunrise, laugh after laugh, a million fireflies that twinkle, each breath that enters and escapes these worn lungs, my dear comrades, a billion blades of grass that wave like a laughing green sea, the mist that hangs around the trees like a wispy cloak just before sunrise, smiles that start in the soul, all the flavors of the wind, and the love that makes the world turn round. every. single. moment.

They are each a beautiful gift. Look forward, backwards, and all around you, look and see that all...all is grace.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The doubts and demons swirled a week ago; and their claws crept into my heart and mind. The questions bore down on my soul and I could not get out from under them. Music, books, writing nothing helped the despair that started wrapping it's life draining roots around my heart and the scales began to run with abandon over my eyes.

Sometime I bemoan and fight against the twisted road that life takes me along. I just want to get to the destination and the seemingly insignificant detours and the sharp turns that I come upon, at times frustrate me to no end. But maybe, maybe the journey is just as important as the destination.

Maybe that dream job you didn't get? The school you didn't get into? That person who walked away from you? The rut you seem to be stuck in, the turn coming up in your life that you can't see past, the pain that threatens to swallow you whole, the despair that wraps her roots around your heart, the loneliness that leaves your whole body aching, and the doubts that chase after you relentlessly...maybe it is all important. We just can't see it yet.

The road you are walking, may not be the one you would have chosen or even wanted--but maybe you're here for a reason. And you're there because your story needs to intersect with another person's story. On this side of heaven we will never see the glory and the how incredibly epic this story on earth is. We see through a glass that is so dark and broken and no matter how badly we want to we can't see past the curtain.

Maybe even the mistakes that we make are being redeemed even now and the broken is being made whole. Maybe there is a purpose in it all.

And maybe this is the best possible thing. Maybe it's better to be more than
innocent, but broken and then redeemed by love.

Maybe life and even death are awfully big adventures.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Yesterday I was checking my favorite patient's blood pressure, I was perched on the edge of a chair talking and laughing with him. He suddenly caught me by the eye, his expression told me to listen closely and then he said, "Little woman, if you remember anything about me, remember me telling this to you. Never try to be anyone but yourself, trying to be someone else may seem like a safer option than taking the risk of being fully you, but in reality it's the surest way to fail. If people don't love you for being you then you don't need to worry about them. Love, friendship, and trust can't be bought only earned. So don't try and buy friends and make sure someone earns your love and trust before you hand it over." 

I looked him intently and told him I would remember. And then I thought to myself how does this little elderly gentleman knew me so well lol

Friday, July 5, 2013

Lady at the blood bank: So where you born in the States?
Me: No, Savannah, Georgia.
Lady: I was gonna say you got good English no accent or nothing! Your parents have to be from like China though.
Me: My Dad is from Hong Kong...
Lady: I be wanting to go there! I saw Karate Kid. There is some wall there. 
Me: The Great Wall? 
Lady: Yeah! You is really tall too! I've never seen no tall Chinese person. Those ladies that do my nails are always straining their neck to look up at me. Dang you're dropping some blood you bled fast
Me: Haha, well thats good, and yeah I don't fit the stereotype.

Lol, I love people.

Objective today: Go on an adventure, then find and capture beauty.
Objective: Accomplished.
(If you were on the back roads of Concord in the country and saw a silver Toyota Camry on the side of the road with a girl in an ankle length teal dress standing or crouching taking pictures. That would be me.)

Saturday, June 29, 2013


This morning I padded through my house to find the door that lead outside, sat on the small brick front porch and drank in beauty.

I stretch out my legs, crossed them at the ankles, began to read and then set my book down to look, no actually see the world around me.

The ants crawling up and down the corner of the square pillar forming a moving black line, the dew that is drying up on the blades of grass, the birds and cicadas that sing, and the glorious sunshine.

Wonder can be found anywhere and everywhere, if only, if only I could open up my true eyes.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I am feeling and being quite the sentimental girl this evening...lol, oh well.

Tomorrow's my last day with my post surgical people and I am incredibly indebted to everyone over there. I am a better person because of the people I have met and words aren't enough to convey how much I have enjoyed meeting all my people.

I'm going to miss my orthopedic, neurosurgery, and plastic surgeons, PAs, and NPs so much. I worked for two years, and not a single one ever got angry with me or yelled at me, EVER. (even when I asked 3243 questions) I was only ever treated with patience, kindness and that does not reflect at all on me but only on the character and grace they all have. They make me want to become a better healthcare provider and person.

I am going to miss the nurses and care partners who invested their lives into me, taught me so much, and made me laugh without fail everyday.

I'm going to miss my PACU people who are always awesome, everyone's favorite pharmacist James and the rest of the OR pharmacy team (who also never yelled even when I called them 3243 times a day), my house keeping people, and I'm going to miss seeing Amy who always smiles and all the rest of my room service people.

Lol, I act as if I am moving to the other end of the world, when really I am only going to the other end of the hospital. But I am going to miss seeing these people everyday.

I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know all the people that I have. One of the doctors gave me a huge hug today and told me that he was going to miss me and he was thankful that I got to take care of his patients, a PA called me just to tell me that they were sad I was leaving, to let them know if I ever needed anything, and that she was going to miss me, and Ms. Linda who is one of the best room cleaners there is told me that she loved working with me and would miss me -- all those meant the world and a half to me and I wanted to cry. Because I am so lucky, I am so incredibly thankful that my life got to intersect with such a fantastic group of individuals. Thank you all.

The end.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Religion is easier than a relationship, rules are more quantifiable than faith, chains and cages seems safer than freedom, and a small god that holds my opinion as the ultimate authority seems tamer...safer than the wild, mysterious Creator that demands all. But deep down don't we all long for something more than safe? More than comfortable? Don't we long and ache for Good?

And in the words of the wise Mr. Beaver...

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


God spoke words, real, heavy words. Word that had the power to create. Words that had mass, flavor, grace and love infused into them. 

A light pierced through the darkness and as the words tumbled from a benevolent Father and a world was born. A wet planet emerged with pieces of land springing up to break up the endless oceans, and then the Father began to create poetry. And from the poem rich green grass began to sweep over the empty plains, giant trees broke through the earth heavily laden with sweet fruits and lilies appeared with their snowy white petals. 

And the Father smiled and began to sing and as the song began, a flaming orb of fire was born with a small dusty sphere to reflect and soften its blazing light, then galaxies  began their spinning waltz, stars blazed to life, and the Father was pleased. 

The song continued and dolphins began to leap from the depths of the sea, giant squid lurked in the bottom, and shimmering microscopic creatures lay on the surface of the waters. 

A new line was started and the sparrows hopped across the ground, an albatross glided through the air, and an eagle soared in the heavens. 

With the final verse elephants began trumpeting their praise, wolves howled, and otters began to play their games. 

Then the Father paused and began a story. Dust leaped to attention and began to twist and swirl. Bones took shape; the framework that muscles began to bind to along with tendons, sinew, eyes unseeing were formed, hands fashioned with love, feet to carry the weight, a heart was carefully woven, a mind with the potential to create set just above the eyes, and silent lungs lay unmoving. And the Father smiled, leaned in close and breathed. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Here is the bad news: I am imperfect. I lie sometimes, to both myself and others. I am inpatient and unkind far more often than I would prefer. I worry about the future instead of remembering all I have is the present. My heart wanders and my faith is shaky at best. I love myself more than others. I often forget truth and then I believe lies over and over again. And to top it all off I cast judgments out as if I am the ultimate authority and I lean towards self-righteous often.
I was dead and now I'm alive, but I often forget that...

However all is not lost for here is the good news: Jesus loves me and is awfully fond of me despite my foibles and failures, mess ups and mistakes. And here is the incredible thing, when amidst sobs I gave up trying to be good, finally shed the mask of trying to appear like I had it all together, and just started running after Him who loved me no matter what... much to my amazement I got better anyways.

Grace, is not a past tense verb for me. Yes, amazing grace saved me, but the astonishing truth is that grace is saving me still. I was blind and I do now see, but only in part because daily I wake up and see new things hidden in plain sight all around me.

Hourly, I have to remind myself to peel back the old, cynical, adult scales that cover my eyes, rip and slash through the cynical hide that threatens to cloak my heart and see the glory that surrounds me. And then I notice the way sunlight plays on the water like a hundred impish frolicking fairies, the way the trees bend in the wind like they are just longing for the freedom to chase after it, I can revel in the resplendent sunshine that warms my soul as well as my skin, see the dandelions as the pieces of sunshine that they are, lay down in the thick cool shade of a towering oak to rest and remember that I am a child who is greatly loved and I often I take myself much too seriously, and then, then I smile.

Us and Them

Why must it always be 'Them' or 'Us', 'Either', 'Or', and never both?

I am a both girl.

I enjoy wearing pretty clothes, wearing make-up occasionally but I also revel in donning basketball shorts and ginormous t-shirts. I enjoy the laughter and fellowship with my people but I also covet my alone time spent curled up in the corner of the couch. I appreciate walking into houses that are nicely kept but I also enjoy walking into houses that have so much life that it's caused some chaos that takes the form of spilled juice on the counter and toys strewn about the floor.

I love warm sunshine but I also love cold, clear nights when the stars seem to lean in just a little bit closer. Clear blue skies make me happy, however, furious raging thunder heads fill me with wonder as well. Eating the colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables is delightful but warm cinnamon rolls and cheesecake also remind me of grace.

There is wonder to be found everywhere my dear friends. There is glory all around if we could just take a moment and pray for the eyes to see it. Ever person is important, from the well dressed business man to the man who tries to fill his empty place with alcohol--we all long for something to fill us up. We all long for rest, affirmation and love.

And He sings, "You are enough, you can stop trying so hard. Why? Because you are loved."


This is what sand looks like up close, really, really close up. 

That coarse, irritating, and mundane sand holds a beauty that can simply not be seen with the naked eye.

And this is where my head when I as I contemplated this picture:

Many sermon analogies and life lessons have told us to consider the oyster. The oyster who, when a piece of sand find it's way past it's hard shell sets to work creating a beautiful pearl. Those messages encourage us to be like an oyster and turn our bad circumstance into something of beauty.

But looking at this picture, it seems to be that even the irritating, mundane, and even painful pieces of sand hold their own beauty. It is just we are too big and they are too small for us to see the glory without the help of a powerful microscope. 

Could it be that this is indicative our of lives? That even the painful things have a beauty that is hidden from our blind eyes? Even the mess, confusion, chaos, and ashes hold a potential for glory that is hidden by the foggy glass from which we view the world? 

Perhaps in heaven I will lean down to examine the story of the world with my Father and then in a moment I will see. Really see for the first time. See the beauty and the glory. When I am able to finally see behind the curtain majesty will overwhelm me. Completely.

Good news

Here is the bad news: I am imperfect. I lie sometimes, to both myself and others. I am inpatient and unkind far more often than I would like. My heart wanders and my faith is shaky at best. I love myself more than others. I often forget truth and then I believe lies over and over again. And to top it all off I cast judgements out as if I am the ultimate authority and I lean towards self-righteous often. I was dead and now I'm alive, but I often forget that...

However all is not lost for here is the good news: Jesus loves me and is awfully fond of me despite my foibles and failures, mess ups and mistakes. And here is the incredible thing, when admits sobs I gave up trying to be good, finally shed the mask of trying to appear like I had it all together, and just started running after Him who loved me no matter what... much to my amazement I got better anyways.

Grace, is not a past tense verb for me. Yes, amazing grace saved me, but the astonishing truth is that grace is saving me still. I was blind and I do now see, but only in part because daily I wake up and see new things hidden in plain sight all around me.

Hourly, I have to remind myself to peel back the old, cynical, adult scales that cover my eyes, rip and slash through the cynical hide that threatens to cloak my heart and see the glory that surrounds me. And then I notice the way sunlight plays on the water like a hundred impish frolicking fairies, the way the trees bend in the wind like they are just longing for the freedom to chase after it, I can revel in the resplendent sunshine that warms my soul as well as my skin, see the dandelions as the pieces of sunshine that they are, lay down in the thick cool shade of a towering oak to rest and remember that I am a child who is greatly loved and I far too often I take myself much too seriously.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I think I'm going to throw up

This is me being honest.

I decide to match donations to Cure up to $3,000 for my birthday. And while people thought I had faith--I honestly didn't really. I figured that I could come up with half and I knew my parents would probably donate a huge chunk at the end. I calculated and figured it out.

And then I'm sitting at work yesterday and I feel like I'm suppose to donate $10,000 dollars. I write up a thing, and then convince myself out of it.

Tonight talk with my mom and decide I'm going to do it--but feel like I should give $3,000 to four different organizations and so I figure out, CURE, Rise up, Children's Hunger Fund, and Show Hope. And then, I remember Casa de Gozo. And I try and figure out how I can divide up $12,000 by five and I hear a whisper, "I want it all..." And I hesitate for a moment because 15,000 is all I have in the bank. It gives me no margin. It's all the money that I have and I wanted to keep some, because I feel as if it is mine. "I earned it-I worked hard for it, it's mine" the little person inside me whispers.

But this God I love, He is jealous for me and He wants my whole heart. He is not safe for He is raging and wild, terrible and beautiful, holy and laughing, box breaking and earth shattering, but oh He's good. My Jesus, He's so so good.

And I want Him so bad, I can feel it aching in my bones.

And forget the fact I'm not promised tomorrow, I'm not promised the next moment. I could die right here. My heart could beat for a last time, my hands stop this clicking of keys, and I could exhale for the final time.

And I don't want treasure here.

I haven't done this sooner because honestly I was scared. Terrified.

I like plans. Safe plans. Comfortable plans. Plans that involve retirement and having a nicely padded savings account. Plans that wrap me in a wonderfully soft blanket of false security.

Fear of the unknown sinks her talons deep within my soul whispering that I can't do this, it's irresponsible and stupid.

These demons that hunt and stalk me--they know my weaknesses.

They know how much I covet and cherish people's opinion and they whisper until the fear paralyzes me.

"They will laugh at me, they will think I'm stupid, they will think I'm being ridiculous and crazy and then...", and my thoughts spiral out of control and I am incapacitated and am unable to do anything.

I cling to the things I know to be true, like a man in the middle of a furious rolling ocean clings to a raft.

And these are the things I know to be true.

I am loved and this is worth it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

There are days that I want my life to always be bright and sunshiny; kind of like Normal Rockwell painting. Yet, I know deep down in my soul that there is glory to be had in the struggle and there is beauty in redemption.

I love the conflict in a story, the happily ever after is sweeter after the tragedies, light shines the brightest in the darkest of times, and the tale that is being spun here on this small blue planet, well, it is the most breathtaking story of all.

Lovely would still be lovely even if ugly didn't exist and good would still be good if depravity had never entered the scene...but there is something that resonates in the spinning a beauty that born from ashes.

Life is a gift. My life is a gift. Every breath that enters my lungs, every beat of my heart, and every cell in my body that obeys a voice I can't hear - it's all a gift.

(Side note: I am sorry that I post everyday. But I can't help myself - I think an inordinate amount and you all have to pay the price.)


All night this thought was perculating in my head, "I am the sum of failing and of grace" 

It's starting to sink into my stiff heart, that thought. The heart that secretly likes to believe the lie that my culture whispers to the likes of me. "You are what you are and where you are in life because of you." "You worked hard, you made a few good, responsible, mature decisions and this is why life is working out."

This pull yourself up by your bootstraps thought process and God only helps those that help themselves mentality is woven into my very being-and severing it is painful.

All I am is a gift. I am where I am has nothing to do with me. NOTHING.

Did I have a hand in being born? Did I decided that I wanted to be born into the richest country in history of this world? Did I choose my gifts? Did I have any part in choosing to be born into the family I am in? Did I decide what sequence my DNA would take? Did I conclude that I was not to be born with any physical disabilities?
The answer that echos through my heart and reverberates on my soul is a resounding, "No."
I had no part in the story that was woven that has brought me to this point.
I could have been born in a landfill in Lema, Peru, I could have been born to parents who abandon me simply because I am a girl, I could have been born with AIDS on to the red dirt in Africa.
Life is a gift. Every breath that enters my lungs, every beat of my heart, it's all a gift.
I twist the ring on my finger and I am angry and I ache.
I ache because I so easily forget this. I often get angry at the apathy and indifference that pervades this America brand of Christianity, but the truth is, I am apathetic and indifferent. I love my comfort more than I love Christ most of the time. The materlism that I hate, I also love. I want my life here to be safe and comfortable. I yearn for security and acceptance. I want don't want people to hate me. I'd rather have the applause of my peers than of the heavens.
I want to fight the darkness in the world but I find the darkness is in me. To fight the darkness is to fight myself. I am Eustace clothed in a dragon's skin fearing the pain it will take to shed it.
Even writing this I wonder if I'll ever publicly post it because lets just be honest, I'd rather look like I always have it together. I don't want to admit that my family has real problems; that I have real problems.
I want my life to look as bright and sunshiney as a Normal Rockwell painting. Yet I know deep down in my soul that there is glory in the struggle. There is a beauty in redemption. I love the conflict in a story, the happily ever after is sweeter after the fight. Lovely would still be lovely even if ugly didn't exist, but there is something that resonates about beauty born from ashes.
Yet, I balk when the conflict enters my life. I'd rather erase all the dark lines I don't understand and all the seemingly needless pain and heartache that exists in the world. I see through a glass darkly and I don't like it. I long for home and it's not here yet and it makes me ache.

Monday, June 17, 2013

This may be me being too honest

Brant posed this question the other day,  "While I'm thankful for friends who are 'concerned' about my singleness, if someone tells me _________ one more time, my head may explode." and I was thinking about it.

Most people feel the need to reassure me that I am not going to be single forever. "Oh, don't worry you'll get married.", "I can't wait to see God write your love story.", and the ever popular "I can't understand why are you are still single."

And all those comments just bother me.

I think I could get a boyfriend, if all I wanted was some guy I thought was cute and would hold my hand during scary movies--but I want more than that. Tim Keller put it this way, “Falling in love in a Christian way is to say,'I am excited about your future and I want to be part of getting you there. I'm signing up for the journey with you. Would you sign up for the journey to my true self with me? It's going to be hard but I want to get there.” And that is what I want. The last six months of my life have just been crazy, one crazy story after another and I've never had more joy and I've never felt more alive--and if I am going to be in a "relationship" it's got to be with some guy who wants adventure, life, joy, and love too.

Here is the down low people-I am enjoying life, right where I am at this moment in time.

Because I have a promise. It's not a promise that guarantees that I will ever get married. It's not a promise that I will not have pain. It's not a promise that I will never suffer or walk through valleys filled with shadows all around me. It's not a promise that I will never be lonely.

It's so much better than all of that.

It's a promise that no matter what happens, no matter how I feel--I will never be alone. It's a promise that each breath I take into my lungs actually matters. It's a promise that assures me that a life full of adventure waits on the other side of my fear.

And sorry kids, but I don't need a boy for my life to complete.

And God is writing my love story-the love story is that a Prince left his Kingdom to find me, nothing could stop His great love, and He has captured my heart. It may not happen in this life but one day I will be at a feast and a wedding :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

God is Love.

I was thinking yesterday about how we like to categorize everything. ...how I like to categorize everything. And how that bleeds into how I view Jesus. I grew up learning beautiful truths like, "God is love." And I immediately start to pour all of my preconceived notions about what love is, into how and what I think God should be.

And I've been learning ever so slowly that God most certainly is love. But love is much bigger and broader and wider and fuller and better than I ever began to imagine.

 Jesus is the love fully realized. And I think we like to tame Him down a little bit, we picture a Him sitting on a stone with children surrounding him and healing the blind and the lame, but if we stop there we are missing it. He is also the man that tore into the temple flipping tables and cracking a whip. And He is love incarnate. He is wild and free and dangerous but He is good. Oh, He is so good.

I can never box Him up or understand Him completely but oh, I love Him.

This day for Fathers.

Happy Fathers Day to one of the best dad's around.
I am incredibly thankful for the time, energy, and love he has invested into me over the past twenty-two years. We've clashed a little in years past because we are vastly different and yet very much the same but I wouldn't change a thing. Here is to growing up and finding out you're more like your father than you ever realized :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013


After mowing the lawn and grabbing a much needed shower I ran to my car and went to the bank.

Holy shiza batman. Everyone was in an incredibly sour mood. The patrons mind you, not the staff.

The staff were incredibly kind and gracious attempting to explain why they had to do things a certain way but  two people literally stormed out of the bank huffing and puffing because they were cranky and impatient. The bewildered and tired faces of the tellers made me sad. And I was sad for the people who were so rude and colored the very beginning of their day with such ugly colors.

I was wearing my tank top from Sevenly that says, "Someone is Praying for the Things You Take for Granted" and that helped give me some perspective. The sun is shining, I am breathing, I am alive, and the world is still turning around. I have a vehicle that I was able to drive to the bank and I have money in the bank. I am rich and blessed in a million different ways.

When my turn comes I walk up to the teller, toss an easy smile at her, ask if she wouldn't mind helping me withdraw some money and thank her for being at the bank on a Saturday. A real smile creeps up on her face and she says she would love to.

Be the character you would admire in a story.

Consider the Dandelion

I awoke early on this Saturday morning to mow the lawn. I cut short the lives of the many sunny yellow heads that were scattered profusely in the yard.

And as salty beads of sweat collected on my eyelashes I considered the dandelion.

I could learn a lot from this small, hardy, piece of sunshine. No matter how many times I come with roaring metal blades to sever what little beauty this plant holds as it's own--it never gives up. It doesn't give in to hopelessness and just acquiesce to the pain. No, the dandelion digs it's roots deep into the soil and with sunshine and water works on creating beauty once again.

And when the time comes for it to pass on and it's bright gold turns to soft gray...well then it scatters it's life into the wind. And in dying the dandelion multiplies the amount of sunshine that we see scattered throughout the world.