Dec 1, 2011

twelve causes for christmas: day two

Kicking off day two of the Twelve Causes for Christmas is Elizabeth Esther. Her cause is the sanctity of life. You'll have to read her post to find out all about Mary's Shelter, but I will tell you my favorite part of EE's post: "I believe an important part of being pro-life means providing actual care and tangible support for young women."

Whether you take with a pro-life stance or not, there are young women without resources who want to bring their babies into this world. Mary's Shelter, located in Southern California, is helping young women, ages 12-17 do just that.

Nov 30, 2011

twelve causes for christmas: day one

Over the last year or so I have developed—or rather God has developed in me— a love for His Bride, the Church. I've tended to be someone who distinguishes myself from those Christians, but God has been showing me more and more that those Christians are just like me—or rather I am just like those Christians.

When Joy pitched the idea of Twelve Causes for Christmas to the Deeper Story crew, emphasizing that she wanted people to see that organizations are not in competition with one another for the lost, I knew that even though I couldn't write an individual post, I could most certainly point, and blog, and tweet about what as going on.

There were many emails sent back and forth in a very short amount of time as troops and causes were rallied, spreadsheets were organized, and all of a sudden the twelve causes were ready to roll out. Each of these organizations is out there doing Kingdom work, and it's not about whether you sponsor a child through Compassion or World Vision. It's about whether you are being Jesus to the least of these.

Joy wrote the first post for the Twelve Causes for Christmas. You can read all about the radical love for the homeless that is going on right here in my hometown, Portland, Oregon in Joy's post. Joy highlights the amazing work with and advocacy for the homeless being done by Knowing Me Ministries.

Nov 11, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—all the single ladies

This is the greatest cover of "Single Ladies" in existence. EVER. You cannot convince me of a better one. It's even better than this one.

I'm sorry. I'm stubborn. God and I are working on it. Until such a time as a change of heart comes about, maybe you should just watch this and realize that I am, in fact correct.

Nov 5, 2011

autumn, soup, and friday nights

I love autumn, so much so that I call it autumn rather than fall. I love it that it's dark by 5:30, and that if I want to go for a run after work I have to wear my geeky reflective vest. I love that the trees around portland look like they are on fire as their leaves change from green to gold, yellow, and orange. I love falling asleep to the sound of the rain, and the way autumn smells different than winter, spring, or summer.

I love seeing the piles of different oddly shaped winter squash at the grocery store, the way look like something out of a cartoon rather than a garden. I love the way the chill in the autumn air makes me want to come home and cook savory meals full of roasted vegetables and warm liquids simmered on the stove.

And Fridays, I love Fridays. Yes, it is the start of the weekend, and who doesn't love a weekend? But they are also nights where I can take my time. I don't have to rush to the gym, I get there, but I'm not racing from work, racing through my workout, and racing home to cram in dinner and studying. Instead, I get to enjoy each piece of the evening without wondering if I will have enough time for what I still have planned.

Last night I did just that. I came home from work, a roasted acorn and butternut squash soup recipe forming itself as I walked up the stairs into my apartment. A trip to the grocery store, admiring those wonky looking winter squash and imagining the soup they would become later that evening. A killer crossfit workout, followed by several hours of peeling, slicing, roasting, chopping, simmering, and pureeing, it was a wonderful autumn evening. And may I just say that, while I love to cook, I think I have yet to post a recipe because usually my recipes involve me going, "um...a little [pause to sniff what ever I'm making] coriander I think, and [pause to sniff again] maybe some...agave nectar." It's not that this recipe doesn't involve some of that, it's just that it's too good to forget. Therefore I will post it here, so that I can make it again, and you, if you want, can make it as well.

Roasted Acorn and Butternut Squash Soup*
Roasting the squash adds depth to the soup, so you don't need to add cream like a lot of squash soups call for.
  • 1 Medium acorn squash
  • 1 Medium butternut squash
  • 1 Purple onion
  • 1/2 A yellow onion
  • 2 T Olive oil, plus more for roasting the squash
  • 4–6 C Vegetable stock
  • 5 or 6 Cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 t Fresh thyme [if you don't have fresh, dried thyme is fine, but start with 1/4 t and add more if you need it]
  • 1/4 t Ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t Ground cinnamon
  • A dash of chili flakes [more if you want it spicy]
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Halve and peel butternut squash, scoop out seeds. Cut into quarter inch thick slices. Place in glass baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Halve the acorn squash and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side up in a glass baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for about an hour, or until it's easily pierced with a fork. [My butternut squash was done before my acorn squash was, so I just took the butternut out and left the acorn in to finish. Don't worry about it getting cold, it warms back up when it gets thrown into the soup pot.]
  3. While the squash is roasting, chop the onions and mince the garlic. Saute in olive oil on medium low heat until onions are translucent. You don't want them to brown or burn, especially the garlic, that makes it bitter.
  4. When the squash is done, chop the butternut up into chunks, about an inch to and inch and a half in size, and scoop out the acorn squash. Put them in the pot with the onions and add four cups of vegetable stock.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a high simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, adding the thyme, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and chili flakes. I used nutmeg cloves and grated it into the soup using my microplane grater rather than using ground nutmeg, though both would work just fine.
  6. Remove soup from heat and allow it to cool. Confession, I didn't do this. I never do. Even though every soup recipe tells you to. I'm sure there's something about it burning you, or melting your food processor or something that makes this a logical thing to do. So, if you want, allow your soup to cool a bit, and then puree the heck out of it, in batches. Obviously, if you like a chunkier soup then don't puree the heck out of it for quite so long.
  7. Return soup to stove, and add more veggie stock if you want a slightly thinner soup. I thinned mine out with two more cups of stock, and it's still pretty thick. Taste your soup, and adjust the spices as needed.
  8. Light some candles, wrap yourself up in a blanket on the couch, and enjoy.
*Don't get scared, but this soup is totally vegan. I know, who knew vegan soup could be so good?**

**I did. Vegan food is good, and you probably eat a lot of it without even knowing it. So stop thinking vegans*** are weird, and consider that not every soup has to be made with chicken stock.

***No, I'm not vegan, and you're right, some of them are a little weird.

Nov 4, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—summer forgets me

Deas Vail. I listened to them ALL DAY yesterday. At work and at home. It was, well, it was music to my ears. They, like Farewell Flight, who were featured on my not so regular because, y'all, life is crazy semi-regular FFVG post back in September are on the Mono Vs Stereo label. Pretty much they're delightful, and so is this video*.

*Also enjoyable, this lyrics video for their song "Sixteen."

Oct 24, 2011


It is Sunday. I am seated on a magenta colored pew, several rows from the front of the sanctuary. The pastor up front giving the announcements asks us to all scoot to the center of our rows, to make room for more people.

Six years, one month and twenty-four days earlier I was asked the same thing by a different pastor of the same church. The same question in a different building, with different people, though some of them might remember that Sunday in July when we gathered inside white stucco in a building not our own. Hot skin stuck to wooden pews and to those on either side without prejudice, and still we were asked to scoot closer, to make room. Standing room only in the back, both then and now.

I'm over at Deeper Story today, writing about perspective. Will you join me there?

Oct 19, 2011

longer later, but for now...

Oh man, there is so much more to this than what I am about to write, but that is a longer post for a later day. So for now I will just say this:

I have been accepted to, and will enroll at Multnomah Biblical Seminary!!

these mornings

There are these mornings, these mornings, like this morning, when I manage to get up when my alarm goes off. Mornings when I do not wrestle with my enemy, Snooze Button, but roll out of bed, no more awake than other mornings, but my resistance to stay inside myself is weak and my desire for more than myself, for Peace that exists outside of a head on pillows with eyes closed, is somehow forefront.

There are mornings when Snooze wins, sometimes ten sometimes forty-five minutes of my time. Those mornings are never restful. They are marked by hurry and a slightly panicked feeling of having to cram it all in before I have to rush off to work. In this hurry and this rushing there is the underlying desire for slow. There is an understanding that the extra minutes have not granted me extra peace.

Peace is found in sleepy eyes that strain open as the smell of ground coffee and the sound of a kettle on its way to boiling mark the start of more. Peace is found as the kettle boils, water saturates coffee, and four minutes pass quickly. Peace is found at a small wooden table next to windows that are full of sky changing from navy to morning, a table that requires layers in the winter and open windows in the summer.

On these mornings I cannot bring myself to turn on a light. These mornings I light candles and wrap myself in the comfort of the slowly waking, and of the Peace that exists even before I sit and open the Word.

Oct 14, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—bryan john appleby

There's this band I really like, called Hey Marseilles. I see them almost every time they come to Portland. They're coming to Portland in November, and they've got this guy who's opening for them, called Bryan John Appleby. I looked him up, and then I listened to his album for an entire day, maybe two. I tend to do that. He's from Santa Cruz, and now lives in Seattle.

There was a great migration of Santa Cruz musicians back in 2008 to Seattle. By great I mean these guys who were in this band called Caravel that no longer exists moved to Seattle. All that to say, maybe that's what brought him to Seattle. Regardless of what brought him to Seattle, his music is delicious and perfect for the kind of autumn day I WISH we were having in Portland. Have a look and a listen at his Doe Bay Session, and if you just can't get enough, head over to his bandcamp page and buy the album. Your ears will love you for it.

worth reading—10.14.11

How did I miss ALL of September?? Wow.

The lack of these bi-weekly lists says a lot more about my time management skills and the number of things I'm trying to cram into each day than it does about the quality of posts out there. Because friends, let me tell you, there is some GOOD STUFF being published.
  • My friend Mike gave the call to worship at church on September 11. It was beautiful. This man has a way with words, and I was so excited to find out that he posted a written version of what he shared in church. I hope you love it, I know I do.
  • I have only recently learned about Sharideth and her awesome blog. She posted a few weeks ago about Christian deal breakers in dating relationships. It's awesome. She writes with levity and truth. Please do enjoy.
  • This post by Laura Parker ROCKED me. She and her husband and their kids recently moved to Thailand. She wrote over at Deeper Story this week about struggling through what it looks like to help and love the least of these. Her writing at Deeper Story led me to check out her blog, and to read a post she linked to on human trafficking. It was sobering to say the least.
  • Have you read Nish's post about how we Christians treat Mormons? Have you read the amazing discussions going on in the comments section? I think things have slowed down a bit since she published it last week, but holy smokes did she do an incredible job both with the initial post and in her response to the comments. Apparently the post went a bit viral amidst the LDS community.
  • So, there's this blog that I stumbled upon earlier this week thanks to a few tweets. It's fiction, and it's awesome. If it's your first time visiting the blog, make sure to click the start here link, so you can start at the beginning of the story.
  • Lastly, Joy wrote an incredible response to the sermon Rick preached a few weeks ago. I do hope you'll take some time and read it.
  • Then there was Max's post on sin and what happens when we give sin more weight than God's grace. There's plenty of superfluous stuff I could say about it, but really you should just go read it for yourself.

Oct 8, 2011

the LORD knows what you need before you need it

The last time I owned a car, it looked a little something like this:

Well, not exactly like that. That's what it looked like after the Junior High ministry team at my old church got ahold of it. What's underneath all those lovely layers of people and spray paint is a brown, 1979 Volvo 244-DL named Patrice. She was a good car, somewhat of a tank, really. A four speed, and she was the only car I owned from age 17 to 26. I drove her up and down the mountain those years I worked as a snowboarding instructor. I almost got her stuck in a snowbank on the way back from Mt. Hood with Kathy. My mom and I drove her from Vancouver, Washington to Santa Cruz, California in 90 degree weather with no air conditioning when I moved down there to teach outdoor science school. I spent two days wiping, scrubbing, vacuuming, and shampooing her after a wet winter and two months of not using my car turned her into a petri dish. Every Friday morning, after leaving my friend Hannah's house, Patrice and I would drive along West Cliff and Seabright and East Cliff instead of taking the freeway, just so we could take in that beautiful coastline.

And all too soon it was time to leave Santa Cruz. Patrice stayed behind so the junior highers could have their fun and raise some money for Snow Camp by breaking her windows and denting her doors. Me? I traveled northward to Portland, to family, to rainy winters and gorgeous green summers, and awesome public transportation.

For three and a half years Tri-Met and I have been good friends. I've ridden busses to Hillsboro in search of the perfect sock yarn. I've taken the MAX to the airport on trips to visit the family I still miss in Santa Cruz. I met my friend and roommate for the last two and a half years getting off the number 9 on our way to church. I've ridden it to Beaverton and Vancouver, and back and forth to work almost everyday for the last three years. I've lugged huge shopping bags full from a morning at Ikea, and more grocery bags than I could ever hope to count. I've started and finished books on the bus. I've knit Christmas gifts, birthday presents, hats and booties and blankets for newborn lovelies, and seven pairs of felted slippers, all while riding the bus. Tri-Met and I, we've had a good run.

I've borrowed cars when I've needed them. Trips to the cabin, a weekend in Seattle, trips to Ikea that wouldn't fit inside a bus. I've carpooled to youth group with other leaders, which is basically a nice way of saying I've bummed a ride from several of my friends every Wednesday for the last two years.

Then Lauren and Max came into town as Max's cross country road trip slowed to a halt upon his meeting, wooing, and proposing to the woman of his dreams. They drove into town in the middle of August. Hot and tired from a long day of driving. They shoved clothes and shoes and books and power cords out of the way as I folded myself into the back of Max's car [which a friend gave him a week before Max was supposed to embark on this faith adventure] and drove to my house, where they camped out for two weeks before a brief trip to Columbus, Ohio and Boulder, Colorado [where they got married on a mountain top, nbd]. When I dropped them off at the airport, Max encouraged me to use the Red Dragon as I needed and reminded me not to roll the driver's side window down because it does not roll back up.

They've been back in Portland since the beginning of September, but Max kept telling me they didn't need two cars just yet. They were too busy looking for a place in Portland to call home, and it was one less thing they had to worry about. I was happy to take care of the Red Dragon, especially after I cleaned seven months of road dust and dirt off all the surfaces that could be reached with a sponge, towel, hose, or vacuum.

On Monday I was in the middle of a Skype sesh with a friend of mine when Lauren, who'd dropped by with Max to pick up some mail and, "get something from the car," said they had something for me. I looked up from my computer, and Max handed me a piece of paper. "Here," he said. I looked down at the paper, and then at Lauren, and then back at Max. The look on my face conveyed my confusion fairly clearly because Max clarified saying, "it's the title for the Red Dragon. I'm giving you my car."

There was a lot of hugging, and a lot of me choking back tears. And even now, after passing the air quality tests, and filling out the paperwork, and holding the brand new Oregon license plates in my hands, I still can't really believe it.

The thing is, this isn't about a car. I mean, it is, but it isn't. Not at all. This is about the fact that the Lord knows what I need before I need it. This is about the truth that the Lord knows what YOU need before you know that you need it.

"I need a husband," I cry, wondering where he is and why he's not here yet.

No, I don't. If I did, he would be here.

"I need an iPhone!" I exclaim as I wonder how I'll possibly accomplish everything I'm trying to do in the few short hours between the end of the workday and the time my head hits the pillow each night.

No, I don't. I want an iPhone, but I can get all those things done with a little help from my friend time management.

The Bible says that the Lord knows what we need before we do. I have a few ideas about why I might need the Red Dragon in the near future, but that is another story for a different day. Today, I will trust that God is able to do immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine, today I will live in the truth that the enormous gift of this car is not even the tip of the iceberg where God is concerned.

Sep 28, 2011

forty-three characters

The phone beeps.

A reminder.

Words, one hundred and sixty characters, max, waiting to be read.

Words from her.

Words I have waited for.

Words I have been afraid to read.

They arrive.

Unexpected, but anticipated all the more with each passing day.

The characters that arrive spell out love and relationship.

The words I read make my heart quicken and pour drops of peace into the anxiety that has filled this body.

The phone beeps, and I do not check the message.

The beeping, every fifteen minutes, reminds me that there is hope and love for this relationship, conveyed in only forty-three characters.

Including spaces.

I know what it says.

I read it when it arrived.

But I let the phone continue to beep.

Reminding me every fifteen minutes that, though there is space between us, there is love and there is hope.

Sep 23, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—old hymns, new voices

I love a good hymn. As the congregation's collective voice fills the sanctuary, room, campsite, I am reminded of how we have gathered for centuries, millennia even, to raise our voices in songs of praise. While this song may not have been around for thousands of years, the concept of breaking bread together as believers has.

Sep 22, 2011

a pile of stones

I'm writing over at Deeper Story today on judgement, something that I am far to quick to pass. Here's a bit of what I've written...

A pile of stones at my feet. The accused are lined up before me.

I feel the pores of the rock against my palm. It is heavy in my hand. Weighty.

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone.”

I grip the rock tighter, running through a mental checklist of the sins of the accused.

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone.”

“They need to learn,” I think, words ripping through my brain as the sweat from my palms seeps into the crevices of the rock. “How else will they know they can never measure up?”

Read the rest of this post over at Deeper Story.

Sep 16, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—harmony called me

Every time I watch this video, I think, "I HAVE to use this for my next Friday video post." And then I forget about it.

Not this time. NOT THIS TIME.

The videography is amazing. The song is so lovely, it makes me want to waltz and marry a man in uniform...or at least a man who sings to a half eaten apple which then becomes a microphone. You'll get it when you watch the video.

Sep 9, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—waiting

Well received and much needed encouragement.

Perhaps, like many you've already seen this.
< br /> Or, perhaps, like me, this was brand new.

Either way, I hope you enjoy the beautiful way truth pours from this woman's mouth.

worth reading 09.09.11

It is that time, time to share the words that have hit me hard, drawn me close, and taught me much. As I cut and paste links into what will eventually become this post, each week I am baffled by and grateful for the amazing people I have come to know. Some in person, and some just through the honest sharing of their hearts through the words they type and send out into this thing we call the internet.

Here are some of those people, pouring their thoughts and hearts onto the world wide web.
  • My ridiculously wise friend, Joy, most often shares relationship advice, and every once and awhile she shares something else. This post is one of the something elses, and it is beautiful, just like her heart that beats so passionately for our generation
  • Ally has set off on an adventure, and as she's done so, she has been so wonderfully transparent. Upon leaving for Minneapolis, she posted some excellent dating related advice. It is simple. It is practical. It is worth reading and rereading because I know I needed the reminders, so maybe you do too.
  • Joy, a different from the one earlier in the list, wrote about how being different from her husband is part of what makes their marriage so good. It was a new perspective for me, as I spend a decent amount of my thinking about my future husband time imagining all the ways we will be the same. It was a necessary reminder that different is good.
  • What is your name? Not just the name people call you, but who are you? Upon wedding Max Dubinsky and changing her name, Lauren delved into the complicated subject of identity over at Deeper Story. As usual, her words are lovely and full of truth.
  • I found myself wrestling with, well, myself, my seemingly inescapable humanness, this week. Just as I was putting the final touches on this list, Preston posted his Friday post. Rather than his usual week in review, he posted a beautiful poem entitled "Why is there this ache, O God?" It captured beautifully the ache I have felt this week, and the longing for my Christ.
  • **LIST UPDATE** I'm adding one more because it is too beautiful not to share. The ever hilarious Julianne Gulu posted over at Make it MAD this week. In honor of her brother's recent wedding, she posted the toast she shared at their wedding. Get your kleenex kids, this is awesome.

Sep 2, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—farewell flight

Um...I love this song. The video is cute enough that if you're not paying attention you'll miss how great the lyrics are. These guys are on the label Mono Vs Stereo, which is Relient K's record label.

Also this: tattoos, mustaches, striped shirts, and baseball tees.

Also this lesson: ladies, if cute bro with a mustache walks up all friendly and not creepy and wants to chat, be nice. It's gotta be hard to walk up to a smart, beautiful woman like you and say, "hey."

worth reading 09.02.11

I'll have a longer post next Friday, but today I want to recommend one post in particular. A dear friend of mine, Nish, wrote a powerful post over at Deeper Story yesterday. She wrote about words, and the way we use them, often times without considering the further reaching impacts those same words have in other areas of our lives. Nish's post has ignited deep thought and thoughtful conversation in my life in just the past twenty-four hours, and I know its impact has not yet run its full course. There is an incredible discussion going on in the comment section, which I encourage you to join after you read her post.

Aug 26, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness: the david video

Rather than a music video, today I have a thought provoking, beautiful video.

After watching, take a second to read about the making of the video and visit the illustrator, Annie Ludes's blog.

worth reading 08.26.11

It's been a busy few weeks, friends. Lauren and Max were in town for two weeks of exploring the city that will become their home. Just three days into their visit, I left town for five days of hot, river soaked days in southern Oregon with my high schoolers. I'm back, and Lauren and Max have left. The house is almost back to normal, although I can't help but notice how much quieter it is without them here. It was two weeks marked by laughter and running back and forth from room to room sharing thoughts and stories and [more than] a few TWSS.*

So, that's a wee life update. Somehow during the wonderful craziness of their visit and my time on the river with all my lovely high schoolers, I managed to find time to read. Here is a far less than comprehensive list of posts I have enjoyed over the last two weeks.
  1. I love that I can always tell when Sara's posted on Deeper Story. She has a beautiful way with words, weaving poetry into the every day. Her admonition that we, as Christ-followers, be careful with our words, found me nodding fervently in agreement as I read along.
  2. How do our views of modesty shape our identity as men and women? How does modesty influence the development and understanding of our sexuality? Matthew Paul Turner, writing for Relevant Magazine, shared his thoughts on modesty arguing that, "the church is guilty of the same sin as the porn industry."
  3. It is easy to sit back and pray God's grace into messy situations, all the while making sure we are a respectable distance from that mess. Alece's reminder that grace doesn't run from evil, it runs towards it hit me hard. Where would we be if Jesus pinched his nose and kept us and our messes at arm's length? What do we communicate about His love and grace if WE pinch our noses, keeping others at arm's length?
  4. A reminder for you when life is heavy and threatens to crush, for when you have forgotten who you are and the way your Creator knows you and calls you His own.
  5. Your best life, my best life is not now. It is yet to come. Thank you, Max for this reminder.
  6. Preston's admission that he may be the very worst theologian is handsomely written. I would argue that he is not, in fact, the very worst theologian. His desire to discover Truth while being comfortable with the ebb and flow of the process is lovely and inspiring.
  7. Let me once again celebrate the risk taking and the joy of new relationships. This guy read a post by this girl and after emails, phone calls, and skyping, he decided he needed to meet her. So he bought her a plane ticket and she's going to meet him!
Who am I missing? Who made it on your must read list this week?

*That's what she said.

Aug 25, 2011

what is enough?

Twenty-nine students, seven leaders, sleeping bags, pillows, sleeping pads, and tents for all, plus food, games, and firewood. All crammed into five cars and one small U-Haul trailer. Seasoned graduated seniors stood in a group sharing playlists and games they’d brought for the car ride. Incoming freshmen scampered back and forth between parents, each other, and leaders asking various forms of the same question, “when are we leaving?”

Fully packed and ready to go, I went back and forth between church buildings and the car I would drive all week. Shoes and sandals, shorts, sunscreen, bathing suit, more shorts, a sweatshirt, and more sunscreen? Check. My Bible, my journal, a pen, my pillow, and my sleeping pad? Check. Snacks, a water bottle, and directions to the campground? Check.

Feeling one hundred percent prepared as we sat around the campfire that first night my friend, mentor, and the pastor to students looked at each of us and asked, “What is the point? Why are you here?”

I'm posting over at Deeper Story today, and you can read the rest of the post there.

Aug 19, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness: everyday i'm shufflin'

As tends to happen on these retreats, there tends to be a theme song. The theme songs seem to be chosen during long car rides as a result of impromptu dance parties. This year we had two theme songs. I can only find a video for one of them. Please to enjoy.

Everyday I'm shufflin'.

Aug 12, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness: wata wata

There is always a song or two that becomes the theme song for my family's annual girls beach trip. This year it was my adorable niece Ashby who picked our theme song. We'd all be enjoying dinner, or hanging out watching the sun set, or on the back deck laying out in the sunshine. She would pad up to you with her tiny, tan bare feet and look up at you and ask, "wata?" No matter how warm the sun was, or how pretty the sunset, no matter how good dinner was or how many dishes still needed to be washed, we would stop what we were doing and have a dance party. Her request was "wata" which is Ashby for "Waka Waka." But really she was asking to hear two songs, both of which happen to be World Cup theme songs. So, in honor of CB11 and my sweet little niece, here are two fun videos. Do me, yourself, and little Ashby a favor and have yourself a little dance party while you're listening to them.

worth reading 08.12.11

Amid the whirlwind of returning from vacation, preparing to leave for our annual high school youth group rafting trip, catching up with friends, and running around like a chicken with her head cut off because I get to give Lauren a REAL hug TODAY, I managed to read through some of the blogs I missed while on vacation. People may say that summer is a time full of lazy days, but I think the authors on this week's list missed the memo about taking it easy. Holy smokes...
  1. A few of the bloggers whose words I read and hearts I love had the opportunity to go to Bolivia with World Vision. Their posts have been amazing. Nish's re-entry post hit me hard as I imagined her in the supermarket in southern Oregon overwhelmed by choice, seeing the world through a new filter. I watched tearfully through Joy's eyes as she learned Wilfrem's story and the difference his World Vision sponsor made in his life and the life of his family. And my heart echos Elizabeth Esther's cries, Father forgive me for I did not know.
  2. I have the privilege of being friends with AND doing ministry with this first amazing woman. She has a beautiful, honest heart for the Lord, and isn't afraid of loving big in the midst of mess. Her thoughts on grace are lovely and soul soothing. As an added bonus, Lindsay is also a major threat on the ultimate frisbee field.
  3. I read Jon Acuff's Serious Wednesday Post on the the search for joy. His words have me considering what things I have used / am using as joy props. "Because I already have a savior. That role has been filled."
  4. As I've been packing for five days in hot, sunny, beautiful southern Oregon, I come back to the question of the appropriateness of what I'll be wearing. I loved the conversation Ally started earlier this week, and her follow up post. It is a hard topic, and one that both frustrates and challenges me. Read what she has to say, and add your thoughts to the discussion.
  5. Alright. Preston Yancey is killing it. Again. Dude's bombing around the UK and still finds time to speak truth into darkness. He wrote a guest post for the Good Women Project about what a woman's role is in a man's fight against porn. My dear sisters, be encouraged, because "pornography has nothing to do with the real, present woman in the equation." My dear brothers you "have a Savior. The only way a man overcomes pornography is by wrestling through it with Jesus." Be encouraged, your Savior fights for you.
  6. After months of traveling and a love that has taken her across the country, Lauren processes her Los Angeles induced identity crisis. More than who you think you should be, more than who you think you are, who does God say you are?
  7. Holy. Smokes. This post ROCKED ME. As I cut and paste the link into this post I am sitting at my desk asking myself, and really asking God, why I don't have certain things. "The question is: how can I glorify God with what I do have? Not, how can I get what I want, but how can I enhance God's reputation as a great king by what I do with what he gave me?" Lord, let this be my heart.
  8. Forgiveness. Not for myself, but for others. This post of Joy's spoke hard Truth to my heart this week. "When I can forgive my persecutors and desire for God to forgive them without giving them their due…then I have truly forgiven." WHAT? Fo' realz this is good stuff.
  9. While Joy was gallivanting about England, her friend Erin put together a guest post for her. As I read it I thought, "oh my heart, I know exactly how you feel," while I was reminded that TRUST is what He asks of me, and He is worthy of my trust. All the time. Always.

Aug 11, 2011

more faithful than the morning

The sky burned red and gold, clear and fuzzy all at once. Maybe it was my early morning eyes. Maybe it was Him whispering, “Good morning, beloved.”

It’s been so cold here this summer. Empty hands and quiet houses full of only the noises I make.

I’ve spent the summer missing other noises and familiar hands.

I’ve spent the summer longing for different noises and new hands.

But this morning, when the sky was on fire and it seemed like He and I were the only two awake, I felt His faithfulness wrap me up, pull me closer.

This morning when the sun shone bright, shades of spun honey and molten lava all at once, I remembered that I am the one who changes, that I am the one who is inconsistent.

He stands steadfast, ever faithful.

More faithful than the morning.

Jul 29, 2011

worth reading 07.29.11

Here it is, your fortnightly dose of things I think are worth the read. This edition feels a bit light, but it's summer time. We should all be outside in the sunshine, not glued to glowing computer screens, right?

  1. Oh Max Dubinsky, your writing never ceases to challenge me. As his journey across the country ends, Max shares beautiful, heart-searching reflections about his time on the road.
  2. A new favorite of mine, though no stranger to this biweekly blog post, Preston, wrote earlier this week about pornography. His insight that, "about dissatisfaction in a man’s heart and his desire to feel affirmed without the responsibility of being a man worth affirming," blew me over. I don't care if you're male or female, struggle with porn or have never looked at it. READ. THIS. POST.
  3. A little less on the spiritual side of things [at least on the surface, don't get me started on how I think it's part of God's kingdom come here on earth to take care of this beautiful planet we've been given], Ryan reflected earlier this week on parenting. In the midst of that reflection he posted a video about an as yet untitled GMO Food Film. Did you know that Monsanto sent over 475 tons of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds to Haiti shortly after the earthquake? Do you know what the Haitians did with those seeds? They BURNED them, and after watching that short introduction to the film project, I think I would have helped.
  4. Though she may be out and about having high tea and getting locked in the Tower of London, Joy still had time for this incredible interview with 4Word Women. She offers poignant reflections on the goodness of God and how that impacts our desires for marriage, as well as her thoughts on our generation.
  5. Last, but not least, it's not so much a "worth the read" as it is PLAIN FREAKING AWESOME. Lauren and Max are GETTING MARRIED! A love story like this, brought about by our awesome and infinitely wise God must be celebrated. Won't you join me in offering thanks to Him and sharing a little love with the happy couple?

Jul 27, 2011

looking up

It's a little later than I like to wake up in the morning, but I can't seem to stop hitting snooze. I know there's ground coffee waiting for boiling water in the french press, and dark wooden table beckoning me to come and sit. I choose five more minutes, and as I close my eyes I think, "but you were going to actually get up and read this morning."

My eyes open, my feet on the old wooden floors beneath me, I shuffle to the kitchen, boiling water, setting lunch out, returning to my room to check Facebook and my email. My eyes land on the stack of books by my bed as I pull the covers up and arrange the pillows, "you're up, why aren't you reading?"

Coffee pressed, preheated mug full of hot french press, I climb onto my bed pulling my Bible and a small devotional into my lap. Turning to today's date, I read the first sentence and I see my Father running out to meet me after what feels like such a long absence.

"Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven. This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you. I never leave your side, and I never let go of your hand. But without the cord of hope your head may slump and your feet may shuffle as you journey uphill with me." [Jesus Calling]

"Father," I think, tears stinging my eyes, "how did you know?" Of course He knows, He has walked each shuffled step as I have taken my eyes of the destination and focused instead on the difficult terrain beneath my feet. With the reminder of hope fresh in my ears, I breath deeply, and choose to look up, choose to engage with hope, even though it feels a bit foolish. Because I am tired of looking down. Because I am tired of trying to avoid His ever present hope. Because I am called to hope, and I have the best reason to hope. Because I am promised that He came to give me to live life to the full.

Jul 15, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—the temper trap

Good music.

Running in the rain.

Puddle jumping.

Please to enjoy.

Jul 13, 2011

worth reading 07.15.11

Oh man. So many great things on the internets this week y'all*. This week's list reminds me of Jeopardy's Potpourri category—topically unrelated, but still worth buzzing in to see if you have the correct answer in the form of a question. Okay that analogy broke down after "topically unrelated" but you get the idea.

Here's this week's list of posts from around the internet that I think are worth reading.

  1. I always look forward to Sara's posts on Deeper Story. She is a poet, and her words never fail to stir my heart and point me back to my Creator. Her post for July,"Give Me Things That Won't Get Lost" is no exception.
  2. Over at Make it Mad this week Max's post, The Truth Still Wrecks is amazing. He contrasts the things we tell ourselves with the Truth of the Lord's word, and it is powerful.
  3. Oh my goodness. Ally Spotts. Her post this week on whether or not men really have to pursue women is great. She asks for her readers' opinions, and the comment section is FULL of food for thought.
  4. Also on Ally's blog this week was a guest post by Preston Yancey on how to reject a man. I hear plenty of complaints about, and I complain about, not being asked out. But what about when a guy does, and you just not interested, how do you handle that situation? Preston's got some A+ suggestions.
  5. My friend Mike found out that his job was ending AND that he had eight days of paid vacation to use. So obviously he decided to go to Haiti. His post makes this list for a few reasons:
    • Because it's awesome that he chose to use his vacation days that way.
    • Because his recap of his time there is humorous, heartfelt, and I love a good recap.
    • Because I am responsible for the lovely yellow headers you see in his post, and it was QUITE THE ORDEAL to make and then keep them that color.
  6. It's no shocker that I'm a huge fan of Joy's. She handles difficult questions about relationships, or a lack thereof, with grace and wisdom beyond her years. And then there are the "special questions," which she handles with her fantastic sense of humor. Because sometimes, let's be honest, bitches be crazy.
Like I said, it's a potpourri of posts [high five for alliteration], some serious, some a little less so, but all still worth the read.

*Every time I say y'all I smile and think of Lindsay. It's just such a gender-neutral, wonderful way of including everyone.

Jul 7, 2011

that's my bride you're talking about

“I mean I believe in Jesus, but I don’t really like the term Christian.” I say, distancing myself verbally from what I’ve come to see as a broken institution. Trying to distance myself in my own mind from the Christians I disagree with as much as I am trying to get the person I am talking with to understand that I am not like THOSE Christians.

Afraid of what others will think when they hear that I am a Christian…will they even listen, or just politely nod their heads? Will I be lumped in with some stereotype? Will they remember churches they’ve attended and then left because they felt rejected, judged, or manipulated and think of me?

You can read the rest of "That's My Bride You're Talking About" over at Deeper Story.

Jul 1, 2011

worth reading 07.01.11

There's a lot of mindless crap out there, kids. Sometimes it's hilarious. Sometimes it's the perfect distraction after a long day of trying to pack up an entire office and move it across town. And sometimes it's just crap.

Fortunately there are also some really good things* to be found on this world wide web. Here's my list of words I think are worth the read.

  1. My dear friend Nish is going to Bolivia at the end of July with World Vision. Her post on the currency of human contact is beautifully written, and I cannot wait to read her words while she is immersed in the lives of the Bolivian people.
  2. Okay. Pretty much ANYTHING you read on Love and Respect NOW is worth your time. Joy Eggerichs has the most beautiful heart for our generation. Seriously. Stop reading this post, go over to Love and Respect NOW, read a few posts [like this series or this one or this series], and if you feel like it you can come back here and read the rest of this list.
  3. Have you heard of Max Dubinsky? Well educate yourself. Dude has got skillz and he loves Jesus. His post this week on What Men Really Want rocked my world in both a "dude, that was totes the most awesome" AND in a "that knocked me off my feet" sort of way. Ladies especially, please do this. I promise that it is not what you expect.
  4. Forever a presence on these lists, I loved the way Lauren tackled the "but he's so nice / why don't you date him / it's not like you have to marry him" issue. She lays down truth about how we are created and how we value [or don't value] ourselves with the choices we make.

*Most of the people I list each week will be repeats because I find them to be fairly consistent sources of well-written, Truth laden writings. If that bores you, or if you think I'm missing someone, let me know.

Jun 10, 2011

worth reading 06.10.11

People ask me why I tweet, and while there are a lot of different reasons, one of the main ones is because of all the different blogs and bloggers I've discovered. There is plenty of junk on the internet, and there are plenty of ways to waste my time. But there are also places worth stopping by on a regular basis because the truth that lives there is inspiring.

Here are a few of the posts that have inspired me this week. If you have a second [c'mon, you know you do], check out any one of these. And if you have more than a second, check them all out.

  1. I loved Joy's fresh perspective on what it means for us to guard our hearts. As a person who loves to love big, it's been a concept I've struggled with. I think she unpacks it with grace, truth, and humor. As per usual.
  2. One of my favorite people, first on Twitter, then on Tumblr, then as a blogger, and now as a dear friend is Lauren. Her friendship is a treasure, and her wisdom blows me away on a regular basis. Her post on pre-marital sex is FANTASTIC. Please, please, please, man or woman, married or single, please read it.
  3. I also loved Lauren's post on rest. It is simple, and it is true.
  4. I was drying my hair this morning, praying about my own relationship history. I asked God for help understanding what healing looks like and what it looks like to honor Him within romantic relationships. And then I found this post by John Piper, entitled "No More Scarlet Letters." I love the way God answers prayer.
  5. And last, but certainly not least, there is Miss Ally Spotts. She is delightful and insightful. Her post on how to deal with a difficult break up was full of wisdom.
So there you have them: my must reads of the past few weeks. I hope they encourage and challenge you as they have done to me.

Jun 9, 2011

thankful on a thursday—good giver of gifts

Okay. I get that part of the point of engaging in this weekly exercise of listing things I am thankful for is to remind me of how many reasons I have to be thankful. Since I've been a bit ridiculously absent on this blog for the last month or so, I haven't been engaging in this as much.

Then I was at home community on Sunday, and as we were going around sharing how our weeks went, what we wanted prayer for, and the ways God's been answering our prayers, I was bowled over by how faithful the Lord is. As we went around the room each person's words reflected God's work in our lives. It was incredibly encouraging.

And friends, I needed that.

So much.

I know that He is faithful. But sometimes my faith falters and I need more than just the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of what I do not see. I got that on Sunday in heaps and piles.

Five days later I am still reveling in His provision.
  1. The people in my home community.
  2. Running.
  3. FOUR new leaders for the high school group. Such a HUGE answer to prayer. Seriously.
  4. Watching my high schoolers graduate. I am so proud of the young women they are.
  5. Summer in Portland.
  6. Friends who remind me of what is best for me, even when it is hard.
  7. A new crew of eighth graders moving up into the high school group. I cannot wait to discover who they are.
  8. Better relationships with my coworkers. Some of these have been a very long time coming.
  9. My friends. Seriously. How on earth did I get so blessed?
  10. The truth that my value comes from being loved by a God as faithful and unchanging as Yahweh.

Jun 7, 2011

you are valuable

It is a process, this becoming. Becoming what. Becoming who. Becoming all we were ever intended to be. Becoming whole. Shedding layers of falsehood in order to pair down and simply yourself.

Be yourself as you were always intended to be. No worldly bells and whistles. Just you.

Head over to A Deeper Story to read the rest of this post.

May 23, 2011

beautiful girl

You know those moments when you stumble upon a song and it's just absolutely perfect? That happened to me this morning.

Apr 29, 2011

st andrews + lady gaga

Okay. I love St Andrews. As you may or may not know, I studied abroad there for my junior year of uni*.

Also as you may or may not know I kind of like Lady Gaga**.

You can then imagine HOW FREAKING STOKED I was when I found this little gem of a video. It combines the beautiful setting of St Andrews with the melodic delights of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance". Oh. AND. It's a cappella***.

*That's short for university kids. It's British. Deal with it.

**That is an understatement.

***TOTAL nerd for some good a cappella. Isn't that right Lizzy?

Apr 22, 2011

guest post: good friday

I'm posting today over on my church's women's ministry blog, Imago Dei Women. It is a reflection on the separation between Jesus and God that we enter into on Good Friday. It has been interesting, even after writing it, to take time and consider that separation and what that sacrifice means for me, for us, as Christ followers.

Apr 21, 2011

thankful on a thursday

I am foregoing the introduction of today's Thankful on a Thursday because friends, I am exhausted. My entire body aches not just for sleep, but for rest. So here is my wee list of gratitude, although this week I feel I have failed miserably to share just how very thankful I am because this week has been full of His goodness in more ways than I can count.
  1. A week full of sunshine.
  2. My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There is nothing my God cannot do.
  3. I have the very best friends. I don't know what I would do without them.
  4. Deer Hunter. Not the movie, but the game we played at youth group.
  5. A high school production of Aida. The awkward ways those kids with only one line deliver that one line and the AMAZING voice of the girl who played Aida. Wow.
  6. How could you not be thankful when movies like this exist?
  7. The overwhelming sense of His faithfulness and His goodness, even in the midst of trial, that I have had all week long.
  8. Dinner with mom at Mother's.
  9. Johnny Cash. You sir were exactly what these ears needed to hear.*
  10. Holy Week and the anticipation of the resurrection.
  11. Honesty. Even when it is hard.

Two fantastic things about this song. First, we sang this in church on Sunday. Second, that's Scott and Seth Avett you hear playing the banjo and stomp their feet in the background.

prone to wander—a deeper story

I'm posting over at A Deeper Story today, wrestling through adultery...or at least attempting to.

As a single, Christian woman it would be false to say I do not spend time thinking about marriage, both the overarching concept of the sacred union and the specifics of daily life marked by private rituals that would go unnoticed by anyone but the husband and wife. And as that same single, Christian woman, it would be false to say that I do not spend time thinking about adultery.

Not committing it, but about its prevalence. About how it doesn’t discriminate. About how it. is. everywhere. Stories shared by women on blogs I read. Conversations across small tables in coffee shops and living rooms. And once in a tattoo parlor while my skin bled with words of do not worry, her skin bled the name of another woman’s husband.

Read the rest over at A Deeper Story.

Apr 18, 2011

psalm 27:13–14

I am still confident of this: that I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Apr 11, 2011

He is so good

We sang this song in church yesterday. I love it.


There are some big changes* going on around here folks. And I am finding myself wanting to write more, and also discovering that I have less and less time to do so. Part of that is because I've been blessed with the opportunity to participate in the community over at Deeper Story. Writing there has me thinking all month long about what my next post will be. Sometimes those posts are written sooner and they show up here. Other times they stew and simmer, much like April's post has been doing, and are served up, usually posting minutes before the midnight publish deadline, over at Deeper Story.

Point being, I feel a little like I'm neglecting my blog. I don't want to, and I don't want to write out of obligation. I write, and have always written, because I love it. Because it brings me joy and because of all the ways God's given me to express myself, I think He has gifted me most in my ability to express myself through words, both written and spoken.

I am hopeful that as these life changes become a little less fresh I will find more time to write. Thank you for stopping by and to read the words I do find the time to write. I am humbled that you want to read the crazy mess of thoughts that tumble from my head and out my fingers up onto this screen.

*One of the smallest of those changes will be a new look for this place I call my writing home. I AM STOKED.

Apr 9, 2011


I'm meeting with Ben, the youth pastor and one overseeing my internship at church, tomorrow and I'm supposed to have a paper for him on a book I just finished reading. The book, Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, is fantastic. I loved it. It has changed the way I interact with my students and the way I think about high school ministry. But for the life of me I cannot sit down and write about it. Old procrastination habits die hard. Good thing I've still got that desire whole pleasing people thing to motivate me. And it's a good thing I've given up Facebook and Twitter.

Alright, alright, it's time to get down to it. Although come to think of it my room could used a good clean...

Apr 8, 2011

just thankful

I get this reminder every Wednesday afternoon that it's time to write my Thankful on a Thursday post. But here's the deal: I feel guilty just putting up a list of things I'm thankful for. I feel like I should be writing some sort of introduction, some preface to gratitude. Today I say, "No more!" I would rather put up a list, even if it lack explanation, and enter into the exercise of being thankful than skip it altogether.

From here on there will be a list, and sometimes maybe a little more.

With no further adieu...
  1. Homemade scrabble tiles, the wonderful man who made them with me, and his indulgence of my obsession with speed scrabble.
  2. My first homemade layer cake, a practice for my friend's birthday party next week.
  3. Spring cleaning with my roommate.
  4. An unbelievably gorgeous, sunny day that necessitated SUNGLASSES on my walk to work this morning.
  5. A chance to meet with, and be encouraged by, other leaders at my church.
  6. Friendships. The new ones and the old ones. How on earth did I get so blessed?
  7. A job that pays me even when I am home sick.
  8. The new life my friends are bringing into this world.
  9. A weekend at the coast with my high schoolers. I never cease to be amazed at how much joy they bring into my life.
  10. Sharing Sleepy Monk Coffee with my high schoolers and two of my favorite leaders.
  11. The INCREDIBLE way my God answers prayer. He knows just what we need, when we need it, and exactly how to answer us.

Apr 5, 2011

blogging over at dailymile

Today I'm blogging over at dailymile. I wrote a post for their "This is How We Succeed" series. It looks at how the dailymile community has helped people overcome obstacles in life and in training. My post is all about my experience training for and running the Portland Marathon.

Ch-ch-ch-check it out.

Apr 1, 2011

shameless promotion of awesomeness

Alright. I don't know if you know this, but April Fool's Day is one of my favorite days as far is the internet is concerned. There are all these fantastic jokes going on on all your favorite websites. It's pretty great. And a terrible day to be productive.

And to make it even more challenging for you to be productive, I'm going to shamelessly promote The Mustachioed Woodsman's talents*. He's been designing the graphics for Urban Airship's April Fool's Day prank for the last few months, and I'm not going to lie, it's pretty awesome.** So if you're bored and looking for something to do today, or if you're just looking for something to do today, check out Urban Airship's website. Spacebar shoots, and your arrows do just what you think they do.***

*8-bit video game graphics are just the tip of the artistic iceberg.

**I may be a bit biased.

***Move you up, down, left and right.

Mar 31, 2011

guest post: is this friendship?

My dear friend Kathy and I were talking the other day about forgiveness. She shared a situation with me that she was working through and asked if she could do a guest post for my blog. Without hesitation I answered, "yes!" I hope you enjoy her honest words as she struggles through one of the hardest situations we encounter in friendship: broken trust.


"I was but a child then, although I didn't know it yet. I suspect I'm still a child now. Although we grow in intellect, we're learning that we must reflect on the mistakes that we have made. Though we make them again and again. And as time goes by, it seems in fact the more we question why, the less the world has interest to reply.

We're always grabbing hold of things, pretending that we're knowing things that none of us has power to command. Well I knew that I loved you once, and what good did that bring to us? As time goes by, it seems in fact the more we question why, the less the world has interest to reply.

What of all my questions then, are they a form of insolence? For I am but a baby in my mother's ancient arms. And if the more I question why, the less the world will give me in reply, and I'll learn to stop my questions by and by."

Do you know what it's like to lose a friend? I do. People say it's like a break up, but it's not. It's much worse. To me, a friend is someone I love, respect, admire, and am excited about. I want to share everything with my friend because I want to know what sort of genius answers she'll have in response. I trust her with my troubles, and I share my stories with her. I listen to her, and I keep her secrets. We protect each other.

When you lose a friend, you lose some ability to see the good in people, and to trust them. Breaking up with a boyfriend, that's easy. It's OK to blame everything on him. Lost your keys? Blame the ex. Stubbed your toe? Blame the ex. Gain a couple LBs? Blame it on the ex! It's easy and, let's face it, it feels Good with a capital "G"!

When you lose a friend there's a part of you that is reluctant to trust the next friend. The instinctual urge to protect yourself kicks into high gear. There are feelings of betrayal mixed with shame, distrust, confusion, sadness, and it hurts. You start to question the motives of your other friends and whether or not they're capable of hurting you in the same way. You wonder if there's a way for you to work it out, maybe even build up a stronger foundation, but you're still too tired from the energy you're using to hate her that it doesn't seem like an option.

Recently I had a friend betray me in one of the worst ways. She told stories about me behind my back; bad ones, filled with lies, secrets, and all the things in between that I thought friends weren't capable of saying about each other.

So today I'm struggling with the question of whether or not to forgive her. I know that forgiveness is a fool's game, and there's potential for her to hurt me in more extreme ways in the future. At this point, I don't know if I want to be a fool, but I do know that my life (at least for the time being) is much happier without her in it.

Mar 29, 2011

Mar 10, 2011

remember you are dust

The sound of rain is heavy on the roof as my pastor reads thoughts on life and death. I sit in the increasingly familiar magenta pew, sandwiched between my students, wishing I didn’t feel so fragile. Wishing I hadn’t spent the past day and a half wrestling with deep, old wounds that have resurfaced. Open and sore, rather than the shiny pink I would have assured you they were two days ago.

I look up from my lap, straining to hear the words read from the front. Thinking that if I just listen hard enough maybe I can wade through this issue and focus on my return to dust and dirt instead of the rawness of my wound...

You can find the rest of this post at A Deeper Story.

Mar 3, 2011

strangers & pilgrims

I am listening to the Strangers & Pilgrims album today. And it is rocking my world.*

I cannot get over their song "Marvel." So much so that I typed out the lyrics. Here you go:

Over me, over me
I’m your soul too
You’re over me
Over me, over me
So speak your word and
Heal the pain
You’re coming with
Seal of faith
I believe, I believe
And you marvel over me
Maker of the galaxy, marveling
Overcome, overcome
All my enemies are overrun
I believe , I believe
And you marvel over me
Maker of the galaxy, marveling
Oh, I believe, I believe
And you marvel over me
Maker of the galaxy, marveling
A father to the fatherless
Defender of the loneliness
You rescue my soul
You lifted your own
Solidarity to family
Unbinding those in prosperity
You water my soul
You poured out your own
I believe, I believe
And you marvel over me
Maker of the galaxy, marveling
Oh I believe, I believe
And you marvel over me
Maker of the galaxy, marveling

More proof that they are awesome: you can download their album for FREE. You're welcome.

*I did consider listening to Emery today, and I'm sure they would have rocked my world as well. But in a different way.

Feb 28, 2011

fabulous friday monday video goodness—hey marseilles

I was tucked away in a snowy paradise all weekend, and didn't get a chance to share any of this loveliness with you, so I am sharing today. Hey Marseilles is a wonderful band from Seattle. They never fail to put on a fantastic show. Here is an acoustic version of what is usually a very upbeat song that involves some audience participation. I love the soulfulness of this. It gives the song a whole new feel.

Feb 24, 2011

thankful on a thursday—unzipped

If you asked me about the past three years I would tell you about pain, process, healing and redemption. I would show you my kitchen table, and the two chairs that sit there. I would tell you about gut wrenching sobs, tears spilling onto my lap, cheeks that burned with shame and embarrassment, and the exhaustion that would set in night after night. I would tell you about my roommate, a woman with more patience and the incredible gift of walking alongside you RIGHT, EXACTLY where you are without fear or judgment. I would tell you about anger, fear, resentment and jealousy. I would unzip the center of my chest and show you the scars on my heart.

This one is from June 2009. It took all of June some of July, to heal. If you look closely you can see it's really a series of smaller scars that melded into one.

This one was from a night in October. It was a old wound that had to be reopened so it could heal properly. It took me so long to admit that it needed to heal differently.

This one that seems as though it should have severed my heart in two? That's an old one, that's a daddy one. I think at one time my heart may have actually been in two separate pieces, but it is back together now, and beating stronger than ever.

I would tell you about healing. I would tell you the freedom of collapsing on the floor in tears crying out to Jesus, knowing that there is NOTHING in this life that I need more than I need Him. I would tell you about nights when tears were cried in joy and celebration. I would tell you about the lightness and laughter after the healing power of the Holy Spirit washed over me. I would tell you about the time in the shower I couldn't stop laughing because of the joke God told me.

I would tell you that these last three years have been some of the most painful, most challenging, most beautiful, most incredible years of my life. I would tell you that I have never felt more like myself and that I have never loved myself more. Not because I am better, but because I am broken and made new. I would zip myself up, look you in the eye and say, "I'm so thankful I don't have to hide these scars from you."

I am so thankful...
  1. Brokenness and the way He enters into every corner of it, shining His healing light and love.
  2. Friendships forged in times of trial.
  3. Snow, even if only for the morning.
  4. Snowboarding for the first time in THREE YEARS.
  5. First rail slides and my incredible cheerleader, The Mustachioed Woodsman, who high fived me each time I did one.
  6. A snowy weekend away with the youth group leaders in Glenwood.
  7. All day at the cabin with just The Mustachioed Woodsman, his dog and me.
  8. A new friendship full of love, joy and truth.
  9. The process of making pie crust.
  10. Laughter.
  11. An outdoor fireplace and a cup of french press.
  12. The same God who placed the stars in the heavens knows MY name, and knows exactly how to love me, and LOVES me.

Feb 14, 2011


They stood there, tall enough that I had to stand on my tip toes to see over them. Four walls of brick and mortar, built with my own hands. Built to keep me safe, built to keep him out, built for the purpose of protection.

Inside these walls that were supposed to offer safety, all I felt was alone. I could hear the emptiness fill this place, just big enough for me and no one else. “It’s better this way, just me. I’m safer without anyone else in here,” I told myself as I poured water into the powder that would become the mortar that held these walls together. “Not too big,” I thought as I laid out the footprint of the box that would become my home. “I don’t want people thinking they can come and stay.”

I'm writing at A Deeper Story today. You can read the rest of the post there.

Feb 8, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—too good to wait until friday

Okay. This is awesome. JUST found his site* and it's pretty freaking good. And this video, and the specific blog entry it comes from are SO GOOD**. Because the way he describes sex and vulnerability, I think that's what we're all looking for. That's what we hope for. It's what Hollywood tries to sell, and fails because they're selling a cheap knockoff and calling it Prada. And maybe it wears like Prada for awhile, but sooner or later those polyurethane handles on your not so real leather bag are going to start peeling at the edges. And that imitation Prada doesn't hold together quite the way you hoped it would.

I could keep writing about this, but maybe you should just watch it.

*Found the site via one of my new faves, Lauren Nicole.

**He borrows from and expands on some ideas from Rob Bell's book Sex God [which is one of my favorites, beeteedubs].

Feb 7, 2011

it's kind of nice, talking

My lips are tight, and I cannot smile. Not a real smile, not a Haley smile. Just to the left of center on my lower lip, pulling the skin taught, cracked and aching, and the other almost perfectly centered between the corner of my mouth and the middle of my upper lip, five days closer to healed, a dull ache. I don’t know where you’ve come from or how you got here. There is nothing to do but wait.

Each time I try to smile, each time he makes me laugh, each time I start to speak, they pull. Serving as physical reminders of what I fear. You’re only pretty on the outside. You are ugly inside, and now everyone can see it. This isn't real. He won’t want you if you don’t have something to offer him physically.

But last night, last night I spoke the light of truth into that darkness. Confessed fear and insecurity. And was met with listening ears and more light. “It’s kind of nice, talking,” he smiled, glancing up at me while he diced tomatoes.

Feb 4, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—welcome to fabulous las vegas

Brandon Flowers. I cannot get enough of him. I already liked The Killers. This is his solo project. I realized something last night as I was listening to Flamingo, his solo album, I LOVE it when bands to side projects. LOVE it.

Dustin Kensrue.

The Almost.

Seth Avett as Darling*.

And most recently Brandon Flowers.

This song especially is lovely, but the entire album is incredible. Also I am going to Las Vegas this weekend to visit Dad. I'm pretty sure I'll listen to this song up until they tell me I need to stow my personal electronic devices.

Please to enjoy...


thankful on a thursday friday—short & sweet

Okay. I had plans, y'all. I had plans to write a TOAT post yesterday. But here's the deal. I'm still a child when it comes to paying for internet [translation: I've been using someone's unprotected wireless for eighteen months awhile, and that little signal has disappeared. Lack of internet signal plus homemade pasta making with roommie plus laundry plus packing for a weekend in Vegas equals no timely TOAT post. Lo siento mis amigos. So here's my post, a day late.

This Thursday Friday I am so very thankful...

  1. For a weekend in Vegas with my Dad.
  2. For lunch in the park with good friends.
  3. For the way He can redeem ANYTHING.
  4. For new friends who desire to speak truth.
  5. For this post and for the truth of her words, "the more your heart breaks, the more of it becomes God's heart."
  6. For the way we are created to live in authentic community, that it is written into our DNA.
  7. For the way He knows me more intimately than anyone, and knows just how I am best loved, disciplined and refined.
  8. For breakfast with my parents and The Mustachioed Woodsman.
  9. For this community He's given me. I don't know how I ended up here, but I am so thankful for His placing me here.
  10. For a day in the kitchen baking love into pie for dear friends.

Jan 28, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—saint joseph's

More Avett Brothers. Because they're just that good. Also they're crammed into a gondola at Jackson Hole. Which is awesome.

Bonus: this song makes me all mushy inside.

Jan 27, 2011

thankful on a thursday—people

A father daughter date. That's what it was. We sat across from each other at a little cafe, my latte warming my hands, his green tea still too hot to drink. "I feel like I'm in a rut," I say, "like I've gotten into this routine and I don't know how to get out. It's comfortable and safe, but what I want is adventure." It is freeing to say these words. It is healing to confess them to him, to one of the fathers I've been blessed with, to have him listen, to have him offer words of kind intention. "What about teaching English somewhere?" He asks, "you said you'd always wanted to see Japan."

I consider his words, consider uprooting myself from this place–from these people, and it hurts. "I don't think moving is the answer," I reply. "It would feel like running, and there is nothing here I want to run from."

Weeks later I am on the phone with a friend, recounting this conversation to her. "You can run or you can dig in," she says, "those are the two ways to get out of a rut." Her words are true, and they confirm the direction I have chosen to go. Not that it was a hard decision.

I choose to stay. I choose to dig in. I choose to invest in the people, in the relationships that seem to multiply weekly. How did I get here? How am I suddenly surrounded by so many incredible people? Though if I consider consider the road I've walked, these people have not appeared so suddenly. Looking back I see how many different intersections I've crossed, the ways our paths have joined and continued on in the same direction. I wonder if this is how Paul felt when he would sit down to write his letters to the churches, thanking God for them and for their faithfulness. What a gift it is to be surrounded by these people, to love and be loved by these people, to serve with these people, to simply encounter them, even if only briefly.

This week, I am so very thankful...
  1. For the high school leaders and the way they love the students.
  2. For the high school students, for their beautiful hearts and the ways they struggle to love and serve the Lord.
  3. For friends, new and old.
  4. For a run with Sarah around a beautiful lake, and for all the conversations we had.
  5. For an upcoming visit to see my Dad.
  6. For how different my relationship with my Dad is only a year later.
  7. For all the different fathers my Father has blessed me with.
  8. For a place to share my stories and my mess.
  9. For getting a card in the mail from Kath.
  10. For the most wonderful weekend with Erica, and all the subsequent phone calls, emails and texts.
  11. For the way he holds my hand.

Jan 21, 2011

fabulous friday video goodness—the weight of lies

My love of The Avett Brothers should not really be a surprise anymore. [Unless you're new here, and in that case, hi, my name is Haley and I LOVE the Avett Brothers.] They posted this the other day and I just about lost it.

Seth and Scott on their family farm in North Carolina singing the weight of lies. As someone who's struggled to speak truth [both to myself and to others] this song is one I really love.

Please to enjoy.


We sit in her car outside my house, the engine still running to keep out the chill of the December evening. We discuss the words I will write, the stories I will tell.

The words catch in my throat as I examine the dashboard instead of her face. “I feel like there’s something wrong with me because I’m not married,” I say. “Like if God were really at work in my life, were really transforming me and healing me, then I would be married by now.”

The beginnings of my very first post at A Deeper Story. I am beyond amazed at this community of women, and still a little shocked to be among their writing ranks. To read the rest of the post, click over to A Deeper Story.

Jan 12, 2011

expelling thoughts

I'm so used to sitting down and just cranking out my thoughts. I wait until they're seconds away from overwhelming me, and then quickly expel them on the page or screen in front of me.

But not now. Not with this. It is a combination of intimidation, a desire to take this seriously, fear of failure, and fear of engaging in real conversations.

So I sit and stare at screens and pages. A smattering of semi-connected thoughts, waiting for me to do something with them, to elaborate, to connect the dots.

I know my story. I know what I want to tell you. It's just never been this hard before.