Mar 31, 2010

hunker down and read this

A few years ago my cousin Lizzy sent me this book, Redeeming Love. I read it because I love her, not because I actually enjoyed the book. I was, apparently, a literary scholar at that time as was evidenced by my profuse criticism of the book...which continued throughout the years [just ask Erica.] The actual MESSAGE of the book completely missed me. Either that or I was too scared to pay attention. [Cough! Too scared. Cough, cough!]

It is a retelling of the book of Hosea, set in the midst of the California gold rush. I'm not saying you'll find it, 20 years from now, on some snooty best book of the decade list. What I am saying is that I'm reading the book a second time. It's been on my heart to pick it up again for a while, so I have. And it is beautiful. It is exactly what the title says it is, a story of redeeming love. It is the story of God's love for me. Love I can't earn. Love that is never-ending. Love I was created for. Love I yearn for. Love that is so pure it is only satisfied by Love itself.I get trying to avoid that kind of love, not wanting to be drawn into that story. But I am made for that story. I am living that story. I can run all I want, but Love goes before me. Love is behind me. Love runs beside me. Love is waiting for me when I finally stop, exhausted from avoidance, arms open wide, rejoicing at my return.

Mar 25, 2010

thankful on a thursday

As I wrote last week's Thankful on a Thursday post I remember thinking, "next week's will be different. I will look back on this week and my desire to 'pop' and it will seem that months not days have passed."




While the distance I'd hoped for between myself and the pop hasn't grown much, I have found myself examining my desire to pop, the surface of the table, and the shape of my own half rubber ball. The examination is infuriating and liberating. I have realized that a key part of this desire to pop and my frustration at the lack of pop, is based on where I live my life. I am living from my condition rather than my position. I am living as a slave who has yet to be set free, rather than a slave who has already been set free.

What this is is the transition of head knowledge to heart knowledge. So used to being held captive, I am afraid to run forward into freedom. All the shoving and pushing and pulling cannot make this head knowledge become heart knowledge any faster. Trust me, I've tried.

My inability to run, to live from my position, does not negate my position, and for that I am so very thankful.
  1. It is for freedom that I have been set free.
  2. The conversations that happen around our dinner table.
  3. The sound of rain on window panes.
  4. Good music by an almost local band.
  5. Wod. Fam. Choc. Sod.
  6. The "Time and Beyond Time" chapter of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
  7. Tattoos.
  8. The question, "What if?"
  9. Struggling through big theological concepts with friends.
  10. Gift cards.
  11. Lady Gaga.

Mar 19, 2010

kicking and screaming

Can't I just throw myself on the floor and kick and scream and cry until my mascara is everywhere but on my eyelashes and my sweater is covered in snot? Can't I just be overwhelmed by the in-the-middle-ness of life right now? Can't I just sink underneath the waves of frustration and sadness at my inescapably humanness? Can't I just be the clay pot already; do I still really need to be in the refining fire?
    Proverbs 3: 11 & 12
    My [daughter], do not despise the LORD's discipline
    and do not resent his rebuke,
    because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the [daugher] he delights in.
I struggle in this in between place wanting to scream to the heavens, "HAVEN'T I DONE ENOUGH ALREADY?! I'VE BEEN IN THIS PLACE FOR SO LONG AND THERE IS MORE STILL TO BE DONE!?"

There are the quiet whispers, "I am really angry with myself. My frustration is with myself. How long will I continue to hold myself back? Will I fail forever?"

Life is perpetually lived in the in between. So how do I live in the in between, enjoying the brief times of arrival and departure without giving into the discouragement of the overwhelming in between? I just want guaranteed step-by-step instructions. I just want to know I am doing this RIGHT. But that is missing the point. That is religion not relationship. And this relationship is EVERYTHING—or if I am really honest with myself, I WANT it to be EVERYTHING— to me.
    Romans 7: 14-25 [The Message]
    "I can anticipate the response that is coming: 'I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?' Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.

    "But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

    "It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

    "I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

    "The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different."

Mar 18, 2010

thankful on a thursday

You know those little popper things? The ones that are like, half a rubber ball. You turn them inside out and they sit there on the counter...sitting...doing nothing...until all of a sudden *POP!* They flip up in the air and land sitting right side up. I can remember sitting, watching, waiting for that stupid popper to pop. Not wanting to look away for a second cause I'd miss it. Sometimes the urge to nudge the popper would come over me, and every now and again I'd give into that urge. You know what would happen? It would lamely turn right side out without first gracefully flying into the air and flipping over. I quickly learned that waiting for it to pop on its own was worth it.

That is how I feel today. I'm staring at my life, at myself. I am turned inside out. And all I can think is, "POP ALREADY! POP! POP NOW!" And what do I do? I sit. Inside out. There's a hint, here or there, of an edge curling, straining toward the pop. But no actual pop. I fight the urge to force myself to pop, poking at the edges of inside out me, knowing that forcing it defeats the wonder of the pop.

In the midst of this weird, inside out, straining to pop God overwhelms me with His goodness. And you know what? It's hard not to get a little annoyed. Cause really a pity party sounds really good right about now. "Maybe I'll just sit and stare out the window and mope for a second," I think. "Haley, have you noticed how beautifully blue the sky is today?" "Wow...that is really blue—hey! Wait a second, I was supposed to be moping!" "Really Haley? You're going to mope with a sky that looks like that staring back at you?"

As a result of all of this, my list this week is written a bit begrudgingly. Can you be begrudgingly thankful? Watch me try:
  1. Watching the sunrise.
  2. The blue sky outside my office window.
  3. The way the colors yellow and gray go together so perfectly.
  4. Conversations that make me grapple with what exactly it is I believe.
  5. The smell of a newly purchased skein of 100% merino superwash.
  6. The way God knocks at my heart asking me to trust Him.
  7. Youth ministry.
  8. High-quality, honest conversation with friends.
  9. Good, dark, local beer.
  10. The way the wind blows through my hair when I walk outside.
I don't think being begrudgingly thankful suits me. I'll stick with good old fashioned thankful for now.

Mar 17, 2010

love those kids, they need it

I just got an email from Imago's director of youth. Youth group is tonight and at the end of his email he reminded me to "love those kids, they need it." Reading it I was overwhelmed how true it is and how huge this blessing feels.

I can't believe this is what I get to be passionate about. I LOVE it.

Mar 11, 2010





Please to enjoy at Geeks of Doom.

Mar 10, 2010

thankful on a thursday

I realize this might be better if I posted something between my Thankful on a Thursday posts. But this week I didn't. Why? Because I was in LOS ANGELES visting Lizzy, Ashby, Dave, Katie, Drew, and Margie!! Maybe next week will be better. No promises, folks.

So here is this weeks list:
  1. Deep seeded joy.
  2. Laughter.
  3. Geeking out.
  4. New running experiences.
  5. Holding two adorable babies [Ashby and Rowan] in one week.
  6. Catchphrase at youth group.
  7. Mani / pedis with Margie.
  8. Lizzy Canales.
  9. Car rides, runs, and conversations with Katie Henderson.
  10. A hot water bottle warming up cold sheets.
  11. This week's dailymile challenge.
  12. My personal cheerleader and coach, Kathy Simpson.

Mar 4, 2010

thankful on a thursday

Since November I've been a leader with Imago Dei's high school youth group. There are so many reasons I love youth ministry, and every Wednesday night these students and the other leaders refresh and reinvigorate that love and passion God's given me. One of the leaders is a lovely lady called Nish, and Nish has recently started a blog [which you should totally check out!]. In her post today she started a new weekly list called "Thankful on a Thursday." I am, in her words, joining her in speaking words and breathing sighs of thankfulness and God's blessing. Here's my list of [at least] ten things for which I am thankful:
  1. Legs that can and do LOVE to run.
  2. The feel of soft merino wool wound around my fingers as I knit.
  3. The way the sunrise looks from my kitchen table.
  4. The taste and smell of coffee, and the mug I drink it from.
  5. A weekend in LA to visit my beautiful cousinsisterbestfriend and her brand new baby, Ashby.
  6. My cousin Andrew, who used his airline miles so I could get down to LA.
  7. The view from my office window and the way the clouds make their way over the west hills.
  8. A sassy new 'do.
  9. The banjo pickin' goodness of The Avett Brothers.
  10. The season of Lent and the encouragement to pause and reflect.
What are you thankful for?

Mar 2, 2010

a bit more than i intended

I may have cut off a bit more than I intended...