12.16.2009

The Happy List



1. 501 Arthur Restaurant- Restaurant owners who make an effort to help the people in the community where their business is located. (P.S. I licked my plate last night because the food was so good and the owner and his family saw me and thought it was hilarious. ..haha oops)
2. The song "You don't know me" -Ben Folds ft. Regina Spektor
3. Plum Pudding scented candles
4. Winning concert tickets on the Radio
5. Modpodge and old book pages
6. The lime-fig perfume at Bliss
7. Empty frames from the Salvage Yard
8. Going to Remedy to get a muffin and a glass of milk
9. Freckled Faces
10. Hot Chocolate and Baileys
11. Anne of Green Gables

12.04.2009

Nice to meet you, heart of mine.

It is a strange thing to be awakened to one's own heart.
I thought I knew it all along.

Everyone says the heart is deceiving but I never realized to what magnitude.

Sometimes it is incredibly hard to get to know oneself.
I can't exactly go get coffee with my mind and ask it what it thinks of things.
I can't call my mind on the phone and coerce it into spilling it's philosophies, its feelings, it's emotions.

So I am faced with the opportunity, the privilege (considering the fact that I believe myself to be made in the likeness of The Lord), of getting re-aquainted with myself, without the faintest idea of how to go about it.

Anyone care to shed any light?

11.13.2009

I am a walking garbage can....caution: hold your nose


This week I have had an influx of self discovery.
1. I am filthy. A sinner to the core. And I don't deserve grace.
2. It's okay that I don't have it all together.
3. Trying to be/look like a "good Christian" is futile.
4. It's not okay to generalize my sin and hide behind grace.
5. My pride and arrogance could easily be the death of me if they are not kept in check.

The good news is.....my Redeemer lives.

10.22.2009

Balance


Show me where.
Show me when.
Show me who.
Show me what.

When all things around me are amidst change where do I turn for the constant?
"I will turn to the mountains...for you are there. I will turn toward the valleys for there you reside. I will turn to the oceans for there your power is. I will turn to the skies for there is your majesty. I will turn to the Lord for he is my refuge."

I hate that change makes me question everything. I know questions are healthy but I hate confusion. Confusion is not of the Lord. God give me peace of mind about the places you want me to go, the people you want me around, and the things you want me involved in. You never change. You remain the same.

9.29.2009

Mmmmhmmm

Oh thank you GOD for wind and chill and fall. Thank you God for bike rides that make your legs turn to mush. Thank you God for the smell of coffee and yes.. the smell of gasoline too. Thank you God for hot chocolate and kaluah. Thank you God for friends, vulnerability, canceled classes, happy tears, rye bread, and old buildings.

Thank you...just...Thank you.

9.23.2009

Orange, Yellow, Brown, Leaves, Bonfires, Crackle, Rain, Wind, Ahhh


I am so excited about Fall that I could just JUMP OUT OF MY SKIN.
And I'm not gonna lie, I kind of like the rain.

9.14.2009

These encounters that I have...


There is something strange about the Kroger on Broadway, slightly unnerving, but exciting at the same time. It's a little gritty, a little bizarre, and always good for a story.

I was putting groceries for a dinner in the back of the VMC van with one of my supervisors this afternoon when we were approached by a woman.
Let me first describe the scenario.
We drive a dinky, old, and very big Bearden United Methodist Van that was donated a while back.
In front of the Kroger an old, rough looking car is parked that has a big logo saying something along the lines of "Flaming Fire Ministries" on it's side. A large, semi beat up trailer is hitched to the back of the car and the trailer is covered in hand written /painted quotes like "Jesus loves the sinner, hates the sin", "HELL'S FIRES ARE HOT-CONVERT TODAY" etc....(pretty much any bumper sticker/southern billboard slogan that makes you cringe)

Back to the story...
As we are loading the van a woman steps out of the "Flaming FIre" car and walks over to us asking if we are ministers (hence the church van) and we explain that it was donated and that we work with a non-profit. She proceeds to ask pointed questions about services in the area, where she can receive her mail and where she can get food-she interrupts my boss multiple times finishing her sentences and saying she already knows about the services. At this point, a little old man walks up from the other side of the parking lot and tells me that my lisence plate says "TCD". My response was, "Oh really, that's interesting." (all the while wondering what the heck the significance of the letters is) He comes back with "It stands for 'Terrific, Caring, Driver'" I laughed and said "Maybe so" He then asked if I liked music and upon my nod he pulls a harmonica out of his back pocket and plays me a medly of "Jesus Loves Me",and "When the Saints" along with some song i didn't recognize. I clap for him when he finishes and he turns and walks away. Meanwhile the "Flaming Fire" lady is still standing there asking us for money and for chips. After being denied she walks away to talk to her friend who has been making the rounds asking for donations in the parking lot.

We get in the van and start to pull away when my boss see's a Kroger employee and decides to honk to get his attention so that she can make him aware of the solicitation going on in the parking lot. "Flaming Fire" lady hears the honk and makes a mad dash for our van and gets right up to my window as the employee walks up.

Dialogue as follows-
Flaming Fire Lady: "Thank you for the directions ladies, GOODBYE!"
My Boss: (smiles at the lady) "Good-bye"
(FF lady continues to stand at our window, hands on hips with a scowl on her face)
Boss: "You can go, I just need to talk to this employee"
FFlady: "No I think I will stay right here"
Boss to employee: "Well, sir I was just going to let you know..."
FF Lady: "Don't believe anything they tell you sir, they are crazy and messed up and they are trying to ruin my life"
Employee: (looks completely confused)
Boss: "Actually sir I was just going to let you know that this woman is soliciting in your parking lot"
FF Lady: " SHE IS LYING! SHE CAME UP TO ME!"
(she grips the window sill, and gets in my face to scream)
"WHORES! THEY WERE TRAMPING IN YOUR PARKING LOT" "A BUNCH- UH WHORESSSSS!"

First of all let me just say that I was infuriated..not about what she said but about the fact that she was driving a car with the name of Jesus on it and then acting out of something that very clearly was not rooted in truth or goodness or Jesus for that matter.

I leaned out my window as my boss began to pull away and said, "You do know you have a quote on your truck that says 'God is love' right? " and waved.

(Really I much rather would have screamed in her face) I was so unnerved I was almost shaking.

Then I realized that although it may not be as blatantly obvious in my own life, I misrepresent Jesus everytime I treat someone with disrespect and out of the selfish desires of my heart. ...




Ohhhh God, teach me to love.

9.04.2009

I found love in a waiting room and an elevator.



As of late, the most unlikely of people have brought me the most joy.
I have developed an appreciation and all around love for completely crazy people...and yes I mean seriously, medically, diagnosed crazy people.

I first discovered this last week when an older woman in the waiting room at the Doctors office sat down beside me and asked me if she could sing me a song. Of course I was just thrilled and said yes. With absolutely no regard for propriety or normalcy she stood and sang a completely off tune and rhythmless song called "Beulah Land". I think it was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. ...And of course I started crying.
There is something truly enchanting about someone singing without shame about heaven.

My sudden love was awakened again today in an elevator in a Public Housing Apartment. A little old man walked into the elevator after me with a goofy grin in tow. His eyes were slightly crossed and it was apparent that he had taken great care in ironing his clothes and slicking down his sparse hair. A woman on the elevator looked at him and commented, "Well you're looking happy today!" Naturally, he responded by bobbing up and down and saying, "I'm a chipper young grasshopper!" (This was the instant that I realized I just loved this little man) The woman replied, "Don't hop too high". With that, he immediately began singing an old "prairie song" in a high pitched voice, smiling to himself and clicking his heels. As we filed out of the elevator on the ground floor he remained in the elevator smiling to himself, continuing his song to his exiting audience....and the doors closed.

Joyful people just make my day...especially when they sing.

8.24.2009

I have a crush on Colors

Don't fret.
Things are looking up my friend.

8.17.2009

2 days left of summer


My how time flies!
A friend said something last night that more or less was a punch in the stomach.
She said, "There is no in between time, no pure transition...every season is a step...not just an in between."
It would be safe to say that I have been wallowing in what I called transition for the majority of the summer...waiting, not knowing what for, and essentially disregarding the fact that this time in my life is just as important as any other. Life isn't about getting to a certain point and finally making it. Life is the process. In the back of my mind I am fairly confident that I have in fact blogged about and been fully aware of this fact before (not too long ago actually) and yet it seems as though I am learning it afresh. Why it takes me a million times to learn anything, I will never know.

Anyway,
Things are picking up. I'm settled in the new house. I adore my roomates. I am more open to change than I have been in a long long time. I have a joy that comes naturally. I'm in love with life and people and places. Sometimes I feel like the Lord just spoils me rotten.

8.03.2009

where am i going?


Lately it seems as though I am in constant transition..
such is life.
I am in a place where I can see where I have come from but I'm really unsure of where I am going.
I guess that makes sense....you never see what's around the corner until you get there.
I am being stretched...learning that with age and maturity comes more responsibility...more discipline is needed.
Realizing that I have much to receive is humbling and incredibly exciting.

A new posture would be in line.

7.19.2009

God-breathed but tarnished by human hands

I realized today that every book I have read this summer has made me cry.
Crying is such a strange thing.
It can happen when you are overwhelmed,
when you are deeply saddened,
when you are frustrated,
when you are completely happy,
and when you are really tired.

Most of the books I have read this summer have depicted a facet of love that I don't completely understand, but one that very readily evokes emotion in my heart. In the particular books I have read, the love has been one between friends, or between family (father and son) (sisters) etc. It didn't occur to me until just now that awhile back I asked God to show me how to love. In the books I read, the circumstances amplified the love between characters to a magnitude that is hard for me to fully comprehend. I am learning that seeing and observing love between others and receiving love from God is preparation for the love that I am learning to give. I am selfish to the core of my humanity but seeing and feeling selfless love is so humbling. It's that element of beauty amidst the filth and tragedy that is our man-made society; God-breathed but tarnished by human hands. God is good. I have faith that redemption is ever occurring- just give me eyes to see it.

It's time to start a new journal.

7.17.2009

Speak


Last night a stranger told me that my dreams have been blessed.
That all I have to do is trust the Lord and take hold of the destiny he has prepared for me.
He said that whatever it is that I love and that I dream of doing...the Lord wants me to do.. He will make it happen.


I love that the Lord can use the most unlikely of people to speak.

7.16.2009

Questions that Need to be Asked and Answered

(I hate to start with an apology but I will anyway...I have noticed lately that my blogging structure, grammar, and lay out is sooooo awful. I don't really care though, I just like having typed out memories even if they aren't A+ work.)

I called my lovely mom on the phone today just to catch up on life and she told me that she had had an interesting conversation with my dad.
She said that a few days ago she had really been re-evaluating her life and simplifying, cutting back and starting to really think about how she wants to spend the rest of her life. She came up with a "Bucket-List" of sorts... you know, things that she wants to do before she dies- a life list. My mom is only in her mid 50's so she fully expects to live for awhile longer but I guess you could call this her mid-life crisis. I think my favorite thing she said today was "I am not married to this house, this neighborhood, or this lifestyle". How true! Sometimes as humans we can convince ourselves unconsciously that things are unchangeable. Moving along...
I am super into challenging my parents to live outside of the box and to take risks and push boundaries and my mom is usually fairly open minded and excited about those things, it's my dad who struggles more with thinking "hypothetically".
I have had many conversations with my dad in which I have asked him what he loves to do, what he would do if he could do anything in the world, or what his dreams are...He always has such a hard time thinking beyond what he knows and what he has been doing for the past 30 years.
My dad is very good at what he does. Fortunately, he has loved his job for many many years but recently it has become much more of a chore and a burden. I think that happens for many people and somewhere along the line our brains tell us that we have to suck it up and live in a miserable job forever...DUhh duhhh duhhhhhh.
I whole heartedly disagree. I have felt and prayed for my dad's job for about 2 years now and I want so badly for him to take a step back and risk making changes.
My dad is very practical and I understand that bills must be paid, mouths must be fed etc. but there is something in me that absolutely knows he has more to live for. I want to see my dad live in productivity that not only pays bills but ignites life in him, that makes him rely more on the Lord, that rejuvenates his soul.

SO back to the original thought... my mom started asking my dad these questions the other day. She wanted to know what his dreams were.. what he wanted to do that he wasn't already doing, what he no longer wants to spend time doing. (I am starting to realize from second hand observation that it is easy to forget to ask those questions when you have been married for 25 years and things become routine. I am so thankful that my mom still asks those things) My dad was exhausted from a hard day at work and didn't give her much of an answer except to say... "Caroline always asks me that."
When I talked to mom today she told me that she was praying that he would come up with somethings to tell her this weekend.

My parents are having a date weekend because my sister is going out of town.. They are going hiking and to lunch on Saturday and I told her that she should take my dad to go see the movie "Up" that night... I feel like it would be a good seg-way back into that conversation.

I love my parents and I want to see them walk together and as individuals in abundant and fulfilling life in Christ.

I'm not going to lie.. I can't wait to hear his answers!
(I think that when he really takes time to think about it and talk about it he will realize that he can't put off those dreams anymore)

7.08.2009

Hazy shades of summer

Beige plaster walls and a big green chair circa 1970 with wooden accents.
A water-filled Arizona Tea bottle rests on the coffee table stuffed lavishly with bright yellow wild flowers pulled from the side of the road somewhere in Townsend TN.
There is a pie in the oven.
My Wednesday afternoon has become an experiment.
I have learned today that my plans have little follow through and that
traffic and road rage have made monsters out of the kindest of people.

7.01.2009

A contending for your eyes

Day 1 of your life on earth.
You are in a contending for your eyes.
If your eyes are good, your whole body is good.
What you look at is what you become.
Fight for your eyes.

Day 6,741...Your eyes are awakened to the living God.
Your eyes are opened.
Your spirit is opened.
You must unlearn the flaws of your past and learn to follow a guide.

Day 7,121 ...You are still in a contending for your eyes.
Today the word of God burns inside of you.
You are made to FEEL the word.
You must fight with your life to stay awake.
You are prone to falling asleep.

Day 7710... Pray for him to awaken you afresh.
You are here today ...may be gone tomorrow.
Put your focus on the age to come.
Leave a legacy,
leave more than money for your children.
Leave a spiritual heritage.
Give them a reality.
Sew into the age to come.

Day in the future... Run from the American dream and perfect life.
It is made to be imperfect to point us to the age to come.
See God.
Know God.
Pray for vision.
Release the spirit of Revelation.

6.18.2009

Yes Please

Brooke Waggoner "Young Friend" from Paper Beats Rock on Vimeo.

Should I eat the peaches?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept of trust.
I remember a sermon I heard in high school on a passage that I can not seem to find at the moment that talked of not being skeptical but instead being trusting.
How sad that we live in a world where we almost have to be skeptical to avoid getting ripped off or cheated.

I was leaving class this morning and walking to my car which I had strategically parked in the Walgreen's parking lot on the strip to avoid getting ticketed since I refuse to buy a $200 parking pass for the summer. As I was getting into my car I heard a woman's voice say "excuse me" pretty loudly from behind me. I turned around to see a middle aged woman holding a grocery sack.
As she walked over to my car I immediately thought of an email my mom had sent me a few weeks ago about people asking you things when you are getting in your car so they can grab your purse. (just for the record.. I hate those precaution emails... I know I need to be safe but I feel like it's a huge conspiracy of anxious and worry wart-old ladies who type those up)
To be honest, I am not a cautious person by any means... I have a bad habit of running towards danger and ending up in the wrong places at the wrong times....but for some reason my red flags went up today.
The lady reached into her bag and pulled out four perfectly colored peaches and handed them to me (imagine me looking confused, one foot in the car -one on the pavement, dropping my keys and phone on the ground). She explained that she was leaving for Florida and the peaches from her garden would be spoiled when she got home and that she couldn't possibly eat them all. I said thank you and got in and left.

On my way home as I processed what had happened and began asking myself if eating peaches from a stranger was a sketchy idea, I realized something about myself.

I am more skeptical of people who do nice things for me for no reason than of disheveled people, wreaking of alcohol who ask me for money on the streets.

What is wrong with this picture?

6.11.2009

When Conviction becomes beautiful

I know this is heavy but it really resonates with me. There is something about conviction that is almost beautiful. I guess we could call that "Redemption." There is a song we sing at my church on occasion in an act of repentance and it humbles me more than any other. I often convince myself that I have come so far and that I am living so "obediently" only to be moved to tears at the arrogance and selfish nature of my human heart.


"Father of the nations, You who bless the poor-
We're servants of the endless want and drive for more.
We've made our greed a virtue, while the children starve.
Come change our joy to sorrow, till our lives reflect Your heart."

6.08.2009

Pursuit

So I changed the Title of my Blog.
I hope that rather than being a fish in a bowl, maybe I can start to chip away at this face that I so pridefully show the world and get to the grit of who I really am and more importantly the truth that dwells within me.

Father of all that is good and righteous,
Grant me the strength to push through complacency and comfort into complete and utter trust.
Burn away my impurities and my selfish ambitions.
Ignite in me a flame that burns consistently for you: my maker.
May my very life be ablaze- radiant with light and emotion that pours from you: the source of my Spirit.
May I find relief only in you.
May I delight solely in your will.
May my eyes be forever glued to yours, my ears forever tuned to hear your whispers, and my mouth forever tasting your words.

5.30.2009

Praying



by: Mary Oliver
It doesn't have to be the blue iris,
it could be
weeds in a vacant lot,
or a few
small stones;
just
pay attention, then patch a few words together
and don't try
to make them elaborate,
this isn't
a contest but the doorway into thanks,
and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

5.29.2009

Throwing the Atlas out the window

There is something ever so blissful about getting lost with people you love.
Some mix of adventure, spontaneity, and desperation.
You begin to realize that it doesn't really matter what time it is, how much gas you're using, or how long it will take to get back home.
You are lost, you have company, and you have no control over where you end up.
I think some of the best times I have ever had have been spent getting lost.

5.25.2009

Things to ask yourself


In the movie "The Family Man"
there is a scene in a gas station.
A girl is purchasing something for 99 cents.
She hands the attendant 1 dollar.
The attendant takes nine dollars out of the register and counts it out to the girl, giving her way too much change.
The girl doesn't correct him.
She sees that he is handing her way too much money- change for a ten- yet she picks it up and puts it in her pocket without saying anything. As she walks to the door the attendant stops her to give her another chance. He asks her if there is anything else she needs. She shakes her head no and walks out.
The attendant looks to the next client (Nicholas Cage) and says, "Did you see that? She was willing to sell her character for nine dollars. Nine dollars!"

5.12.2009

The heard and loved lately's


1. "Our society does not know how to grieve well"... We have forgotten that it is okay to cry, it is okay to mourn, it is okay to feel.
2. All things lead to relationship.
3. The Lord cares more for who we become, not what we accomplish.
4. "Becoming aware of what is true and false about ourselves is essential for spiritual growth, and is not always comfortable."
5. Knowing about someone is not the same as knowing who they are.
6. Sarcasm can kill a persons spirit.
7. I don't have to let my personality define me.
8. Resting does not come naturally, I must consciously decide to make it happen.
9. "It's not enough to assume that every relationship is a triangle (2 people and the Lord) rather than a line (2 people), because assumptions go by the way side. You must consciously choose to put him there on a moment by moment basis."
10. Organic Chai Tea mix does not taste good when it is over a year old.

5.08.2009

This makes me cry every time I listen to it

Lord I have a heavy burden of all I've seen and know
It's more than I can handle
But your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones
and I cannot let it go

And when I'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

Lord it's all that I can't carry and cannot leave behind
it often overwhelms me
but when I think of all who've gone before and lived the faithful life
their courage compells me
And when I'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

I see the shepherd Moses in the Pharohs court
I hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord

And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

I see the long quiet walk along the Underground Railroad
I see the slave awakening to the value of her soul

I see the young missionary and the angry spear
I see his family returning with no trace of fear

I see the long hard shadows of Calcutta nights
I see the sisters standing by the dying man's side

I see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
I see the man with a passion come and kicking down the door

I see the man of sorrows and his long troubled road
I see the world on his shoulders and my easy load

And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
and when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
I want to be one of them
I want to be one of them
I want to be one of them

5.05.2009

♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫


Today has been a breath of fresh air.
God has been blessing me lately with a lot of immediate positive responses.
I have been a lot more careful about what I ask for when I am in prayer and if I am counting right, he has given or granted me the past 5 things I have asked for within 24 hours or less of asking.
I know that God doesn't work that way all the time... but I won't lie... I love it when he does!!!
Today was full of wonder, appreciation, great conversations, beautiful and wonderful people.
I am so thankful for my friends.
I am so thankful for my roomate.
I am so thankful for honesty.
I am so thankful for vulnerability.
I am so thankful.

Thank you God.

5.04.2009

quite the find


Before I rush into this blog let me preface a few things.
1. I am not in any hurry to get married.
2. Even if I was in a hurry, that wouldn't change anything because I have no idea who in the world I will end up with.
3. Despite the fact that I have not put a whole lot of thought into what I want my wedding (when the time comes) to look like, I have always had a thing for rings.

OKAY

Here's the dealio...
For quite some time now I have been very disenchanted with diamonds in general. I would love to have a ring that is unique, special, and thought through.
My only exception to this desire I have, is a family ring. I would be totally happy with a ring that has been passed down, I just don't see the point of and would never want someone to go and buy me a "new" diamond ring.
Here is my reasoning... Diamonds are not worth anything. They are stockpiled and over priced. (Watch 'Blood Diamond' if you haven't) Everybody else has a diamond etc.
I know, I know, "Diamonds are forever, Diamonds are a girls best friend" blah blah blah

No thank you.

Anyway, today a friend of mine was looking at jewelry online and I happened to see this ring.
I know it's probably not intended to be a wedding ring.. but I kind of think it's fantastic. (I know it has diamonds in it... but it is unique enough to where I can look past that. :)

(http://www.thisisauto.com/detail/3,5,26/)

5.01.2009

The coming of light


by
Mark Strand

Even this late it happens: the coming of love, the coming of light. You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves, stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows, sending up warm bouquets of air. Even this late the bones of the body shine and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.


Ever have those mornings where you wake up and you feel like you never actually went to sleep...like yesterday kind of rolled into today and you don't know how to separate the two in your mind?

4.27.2009

I pray for you who I know not

To whom it may concern:
Patience is a virtue.
Patience is a virtue.
Patience is a virtue.
Patience is a virtue.
etc.

4.23.2009

At this very moment...



"Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
[Jalaluddin Rumi]

4.20.2009

"now I lay me down to sleep"



"Justice is what love looks like in public"
Where do you see, hear and feel God the most?
-Go to those places, Serve in those places, love the people in those places.

When the day is over and I can finally lay my head down on my pillow,
there are many unresolved questions, many worries, many fleeting thoughts,
wishes, regrets, dreams...but there
are a few things I am sure of.
Regardless of the fact that I don't have the job I desire...
Regardless of whether or not I know where I will live next year...
Despite the fact that I have 1 year left until I graduate and I'm still not sure if what I want to do has a job title that corresponds with it...
Although there are many tainted relationships, gaping wounds in my soul, and unsurities (apparently unsurities isn't a real word) floating around in my mind...

I know that I serve a God who is inevitably good.
I know and believe that he has my best in mind and great things in store for me.
I feel loved and can rest assured in the fact that He has all of the control that I so badly try to manage in moments of weakness.

I can turn all my lights off, shut my eyes and sleep- covered in the light of a God that had mercy on me, gave me grace, has called me to leave all behind and follow (blindly at times) Him one step at a time and to trust that my future is in His hands and not my own.

Goodnight

4.18.2009

On a napkin in a pizza restaurant


One day last year I was eating in a pizza shop in Charleston and written on a napkin, I found this poem.

" I know the moon is disturbing
to stand beneath the shower of its brilliance
and have absolutely nothing in your pocket
except maybe pocket lint or the few pennies you've managed to collect off the cold concrete,
hoping because they are heads up,
something about your life might change irreversibly,
and how enough of those pennies might buy you something,
or nothing,
an air conditioned bus ride into the next town where men and women pass you by while pressing their coats against their bodies,
as if you were nothing more than a cold breeze:
How if you stood beneath the moon,
it might convince you there's just not enough beauty in the world to go around."

While I find the poem beautifully written, image provoking and visually tasteful, I must disagree with its content.
I must plead that in fact the world in its entirety is beautiful. How each fleck of dust when caught in the right light can sparkle on its own. How every child has the beautiful mark of its maker. How each day begins and ends with the flame of a medium sized star we call the sun. Life is what you allow it to be. I can decide to burn like a sparkler or dim like a half lit stick of incense.

4.17.2009

Cracks in the sidewalk


"The only people for me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live,
mad to talk,
mad to be saved,
desirous of everything at the same time,
the ones who never yawn or say a common place thing,
but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see a blue center-light pop and everyone goes, "Awwww!"
[Jack Kerouac]

"Of life's two chief prizes, beauty and truth, I found the first in a loving heart and the second in a laborers hands."
[Kahlil Gibran]

4.12.2009

"Put down your 'New York Times' and your 'Gone with the Wind' and come outside with me, the sun is delicious today"


Things I am learning:
1. It is okay to ask for advice.
2. It is not okay to let other people make decisions for you.
3. Discernment is learned not accomplished over night.
4. Friendships are way more complicated than I ever knew. When you invest in some one, it is your friendly obligation to hold them to the standards they set for themselves. Accountability is hard.
5. Being distant and vague is much easier than letting people know you and getting to know other people... but it is never fulfilling.
6. I am more and more like my mom every time I go home.
7. Frustration is amplified when you allow it to be visible.
8. All things are a process.. Life takes time.
9. Being pursued is way more fun than being a pursuer.
10. I have no idea how in the world I should go about living out what I am called to do and I am totally fine with that.
11. God uses me for my weaknesses not my strengths
12. This body and personality of mine are but dust and to dust they will return.
13. America makes it incredibly hard to be yourself. (errr 'sin' rather than America. )
14. I love to cook for other people.
15. I am really excited to see what tomorrow holds.
[I can't wait to cook for my husband and my children. I can't wait to sing in the kitchen. I can't wait to learn to love selflessly. I can't wait to yell "honey I'm home" every time I walk in the door. I can't wait to convince my husband and kids that sleeping in sleeping bags in the backyard every once in a while is a great idea. I can't wait to have a consistent job. I can't wait to graduate. I can't wait to see my friends fall in love. I can't wait until I'm a mom. I can't wait until I meet another broken but mended soul to spend the rest of my life with. I can't wait to act like a child even when I am old and gray.]

4.07.2009

How many times today?





Today I was told by a professor that children laugh approximately 300 times a day.
Then came the startling statistic that adults laugh approximately 17 times a day.

What happens in the transitions of life that make us lose our sense of fascination?
It's as if we are born with this tremendous sense of humor, and then within a matter of years, we lose it.
Has my imagination really depleted that much?
I wish I still thought it was hilarious to throw tennis balls on the roof of the house.
I wish I still laughed at my parents old school jokes.
I wish I still chuckled when I said words over and over and over until they didn't sound like English anymore.
I wish it was still appropriate to coat my sisters face in lipstick and send her around to all the neighbors houses asking for rash irritation ointment.
Am I allowed to refuse to grow up?

I think I will start praying for more laughter.
I for one will not let laughter evaporate from my adult life.

4.06.2009

The Sun Never Says


by: Hafiz
translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Even
After
All this time
The sun never says to the earth,

“You owe
Me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the
Whole
Sky.

4.05.2009

Untitled

Sometimes, in the event of disaster,
there comes a break in the clouds,
-A lull in the wind,
an unsettling silence that hushes the world from within.

I am standing in that abyss.
Nothing moves, things just...Are.
I can hear the far off whistle of a moving train
and the color of life brightens to an unearthly hue.

At the sight of it I have to tell my lungs to consume air.

(I am bad at titles... )

4.02.2009

Psycho Mike


There is a homeless man in downtown Knoxville who is known on the streets as Mike the Psycho. I talk to him on occasion and tonight we were talking about the Ark of the Covenant. The first time I met him he pulled out a piece of paper with numbers and fractions written all over it. He told me that it was a coded map to the site where the Ark of the Covenant is buried.
When I saw him last night I asked him if he had finished working in his map. He told me that he had to burn it because it was too dangerous to keep it with him. In the middle of our conversation he started speaking in tongues. After he stopped I asked him what it meant and he said, "The eyes of the Lord are upon you. You are righteous in the eyes of the Lord."
Things like that remind me that everything...EVERYTHING is spiritual.
The people on the streets humble me more every day.

4.01.2009

"This world is where I breathe -may I never call it home."



Sometimes when God teaches me something new...
when he alters my character, I go through an extreme phase.
Over the past few months God has been teaching my little passive self to be mega-confrontational.
To be completely honest... I feel like I have been such a Bitch the past few weeks.

I don't mean in a rude, uncaring sort of way, more in a brutally honest kind of way. It's a weird kind of paradoxical feeling though because I feel entirely in the will of God... and I don't think God has called me to be a royal bitch* (sorry for the language... but seriously)

One of my friends mentioned that when God teaches us things, or corrects flaws in our character, we tend to see the extreme's of it in the beginning so that we really get it and THEN we begin to find a medium.

So here I am, in the extreme stages of learning confrontation. I'm trying not to be too anxious about finding a medium because I really do value the act of confrontation and want to fully learn it.

So I guess I am not apologizing for the way I am handling things...(things that I would typically be way too scared to ever say or address) I'm just asking you to bear with me... I'm learning.

(side note- I was thinking today, and sometimes my "titles" have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of an entry)

3.31.2009

God, give me the courage...


"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can."

Courage is one of those virtues that everyone lists... and it's many times number 1. If you think about it, all the other virtues (kindness, honesty, generosity, humility, tolerance, forgiveness etc) require courage to be put into practice.

How can I change myself?
God says, "You are yourself, you can no more change yourself than you can walk away from your own feet."

So it's a lost cause? There's nothing I can do?
God says, " You can understand and accept this truth."

But how will I change if I accept myself?
and God replies, "How will you change if you don't?"

"Healing and beauty can come from the most destructive forces our world has ever faced."

3.28.2009

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it'."


"The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from the darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair."
Isaiah 61:1-3

WOW!
That really fires me up. Every time I read those verses I hear God speaking a calling over my life.
I know what he is calling me to.
At the same time, I have no idea what that will look like, but I know that whatever it is, it is good. Those ancient words resonate deep within my soul in a way that is utterly unexplainable.
All I know is that a calling doesn't happen over night. I must walk that path today, and tomorrow, and every day that follows.

3.26.2009

Sobriety

I have been reading "Broken" - a novel about the life of a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. It's very interesting and is really helping me understand more what the women I work with at Serenity Shelter are going through. So, on that note, I love anything that has to do with sobriety and hope.. for example... the following quote...


"I would fain keep sober always... I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man; wine is not so noble a liquor... Of all ebriosity, who does not prefer to be intoxicated by the air he breathes?" - Henry David Thoreau

3.24.2009

The current wrestling match


I have been thinking a lot for the past two days about vision.
About calling.
About the Will of God.

I have noticed that I seem to get highly frustrated with the people in my life who are Christians and don't seem to be walking down the road into the destiny that God wants for them.
On one hand, who am I to know what God has called them to?
On the other hand, what kind of friend am I if I kick back and keep my mouth shut.
I have a really hard time with the concept of judgement. In the Bible it talks about not judging non-Christians because they are not held to the same values as Christians are. I feel like I have no problem accepting the people who don't claim Jesus as a way of life.

Our world is screaming 'DON'T judge me'! and for the world as a secular entity, I feel like I do a good job of not judging those that don't claim grace. If you don't claim to follow Christ then I understand why your life may look very different than mine... you would have no reason to follow a bunch of "rules" that you don't even believe in.

However, Jesus calls us to hold our brothers and sisters accountable. A friend pointed out today that accountability is a form of judgement that is righteous- God wants us to do that as long as we first hold our selves to the same measure and as long as our motives are rooted in love.
Let me just tell you... I am not a fan of confrontation. I don't like stepping on toes. I don't like hurting feelings. I am a people pleaser to the MAX.
But God tells us to call each other out in love.
I have a lot to learn about how to lovingly call out.
My past (for all of my long lasting friends who have seen my tainted humanity take over) reflects many good motives, a few not so good motives, and generally- terrible attempts to lovingly call people out.
I am still learning.. and will be for the rest of my life.
But here is the thing.... for so long I told myself, "Caroline, don't judge, don't judge" and it became a very bad thought process.
I saw myself turn into a passive and overly accepting person. I was tolerating things that were clearly not what God had in mind.
I'm still wrestling with the fact that I feel God pulling my heart strings telling me to be bold in love and out of love to call things out.

I know for the most part my motives are in line. I have been given a heart that mourns for other people. I have taken it as a burden for so long and I am realizing that God wants to use it for good. I look at some of the people I know and see gifts that I envy, potential that I crave to see used for the Kingdom, etc... and when it goes unused, I mourn, I GRIEVE! It would probably destroy me if I let it. I don't want to carry around all this baggage and stress myself out over what people are or aren't doing because it really is not up to me to fix anything or anyone. It just gets ever so complicated when I feel God pushing me to encourage people.

And that is the thing... encouragement is actually a form of loving accountability.
I want to speak life into people. I want to utter words of the Spirit that urge people to turn around and run hard and fast after the things God has placed in front of them.
I'm studying to be a social worker for crying out loud... I am wired in a way that makes me want to empower people.

Anyway,
that is what I am wrestling with at the moment.. encouragement that breeds change for the better. I want to see my Christian friends walk into everything that God has for them... it literally makes me sick to watch people walk around blind to half of their potential.
I feel like I sound bitter and that really isn't the case at all.. It's just a hard concept to grasp... loving people enough to say things that might hurt.

3.23.2009

good moods make me incurably appreciative of the little things


This is a sad little cupcake... dropping a cup cake has got to be incredibly depressing.
Today... I indulged. And I didn't drop my cupcake :)
Thank you God for cupcakes and sprinkles and the ability to eat a cupcake without dropping it.

3.22.2009

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.


Someone once told me never to dilute myself... never to hide a single part of who I am.
I feel like that is so much easier said than done.

I don't want to be a diluted, watered down version of myself at all.. unfortunately I am pretty good at hiding behind a comfortable version of myself when I am around people I don't know well.

I was talking with the same friend a few days ago about how important it is that the person you marry naturally just fuels you to be more freely yourself and vice versa.
I hope I am the type of girl that makes people feel completely comfortable in their own skin.
On the same note- I definitely do not mean that you should depend on the person you marry to make you comfortable with yourself.. I don't think it would be healthy to even consider marriage if you weren't at peace with who you are on your own.

3.18.2009

When...


"when that man comes along
& tells you that you are like poetry
that in your eyes are all the things he ever imagined
ever wanted
ever needed
never/never mind what you're gonna wear
just dance with him into forever"
[e.miller]

3.16.2009

my new favorite instrument is the triangle


I just have so much to say tonight...
Ready??
set....
GO

SO....
I went to the Vetiver concert tonight. EXCELLENT!
They are one of those groups that really embodies what live music should be like. The kind of folks who could easily sing you to sleep (and I mean that in a good way) but the type that would totally wake you up the moment they stopped playing. Make sense?
Anyway, I love them 1. because their vocals are good enough to listen to without music, 2. Their music is good enough to listen to without the vocals... therefore the combination of the two is just blissful.
I really really love guy/girl harmony... there is something so lovable about it.. when I was in a performance group in high school, it was always hard not to fall in love (okay not literally)with whoever the guy was that I happened to be singing with. There's something just great about two voices combined well.
Anywho,
on to my next point.
[again I apologize for the structure of this entry, I have lots on the brain and no patience to write well]

I walked out of the square room and ran smack into my long lost friend Vernon. I honestly don't think I have been that excited to see anyone.. maybe ever.
(He is one of my homeless friends) But I hadn't seen him since before I had left for Christmas break and I had been asking people if they had seen him and no one had and I was just so worried about him and there was nothing I could do and no way to find him. Anyway, after I hugged him about 20 million times I asked him how he had been and we talked for a little bit and then I had to go but GOSH that really really was the cherry to my -sundae of a night.

Last thing.
here's a funny.. but oh so typical Caroline story
So I was at Nama a few nights ago with a friend and was reaching for my chopsticks.. and only looking at them out of the corner of my eye.. and ended up grabbing a handful of soy sauce... apparently I over compensated the distance to my sticks.. anyway, I lifted my hand out of the saucer and stared at my dripping fingers... shook my head.. mmm just another day in the neighborhood.

k its past my bed time.

3.13.2009

Slab City


This summer I want to go to Slab city and go talk to the man that built Salvation mountain.
I bet he has a story or two.
Anyone want to come with me?

"I'm going to paraphrase Thoreau here... rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness... give me truth."


3.12.2009

Found


Found poem: is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions.

[All italicized lines are borrowed]

And he sir had a touch of class
with his pocket watch made out of brass
and I loved the way he smelled like clean clothes left on the shelf.

He a complexion of gold, curious smile and a quick wit
carried on the conversations of kings.
I sat- picked at my fingernails
and wondered if he liked his coffee dark.
He opened his mouth and the words that poured out turned heads and emptied pockets.
I stood in the corner, jaw dropped and moved to tears.
He, a gentle soul with the talent of the famous
made me smile to myself while I stirred condensed soup on my old stove top.
Oh I am a dreamer but I'll deny it til' the day I die.
I cast hopes on stars, never told my birthday wishes-
pretended my brain read like a text book.
He, an orchestrated Italian Aria encompassed the ups and downs of a full symphony.
I liked to think that my mind ran clockwise,
but watched my soul jump from noon to sunrise.
He said, beat on the walls and on the ground- to hear the floor and feel the sound.
I tasted the wind and ate the rain
found that the body breaks and the body bends.
He seemed to see me with a fresh pair of eyes
right to the core and past my handsome disguise.
I will ask for the things I lack in heart
learn to love the boy with the calloused fingers and the love of art.

3.10.2009

on my mind lately


"My biggest regret was working too hard and thinking too much about my work to go on long walks, or learn to grow roses, or watch the sun set, or spend time with good friends. There are some things the loss of which success doesn't compensate for, and one of them is just the accumulating joy of being with someone you love and in awe of life itself."
[Broken by William Cope Moyers]


"I wanna live life and never be cruel.
I wanna live life and be good to you.

I wanna live life and always be true.
I wanna live life and be good to you.

So I wanna live in a wooden house,
where making more friends would be easy.

Oh, and I don´t have a soul to save.
Yes, and I sin every single day.

We never change, do we?
We never learn, do we?

I wanna live where the sun comes out ..."
[we never change excerpts]

3.09.2009

Adventure


"The Uses of Sorrow"
Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift."

There are some things in life that come at you fast.
Others, that come so slowly, that you can't even see the progression.
It appears that I am in a slow moving time, which usually would make me anxious, frustrated, and highly antsy.
However, my attitude is remarkably different this time around.
I have always been really good at manipulating and controlling situations. Consequently, all of the things that I have tried to or even successfully controlled, have not worked out.
Not to say that I didn't learn anything or grow from those times, but inevitably they ended....and all for the better. I am in a place now of waiting. And I am coming to find that waiting is a form of action. And because I am such a hands on, always wanting to DO something kind of person, this realization, of "waiting as an action" has in a way, revolutionized for me, the idea of patience in general.
When I step back and see that I don't have to make things happen, "be in the right place at the right time", or make myself super available, I am able to rest assured that God has it taken care of. In all honesty, we can live....and that's about it. Outcomes are not our perogative, they belong to the Lord. After having spent many years thinking I had to "make things work" and finally realizing that the burden isn't mine to carry, I have stepped into a freedom and a peace that I didn't even know existed or was available to me on this earth.
So with that being said,
Thank you God for allowing me to see past my "I want it now" mindset and helping me begin to learn how to let go of my plans and my timing.


3.06.2009

Ode to Childhood


I was babysitting tonight and started thinking about the fact that I may very well be married and might even have children in the next 5 years.
That blows my mind.

I was reading a book to the little girl before she went to sleep. We were reading "Goodnight moon" which was one of my favorite's when I was little.
There is one line that is repeated in the book that says, "And a little old lady was saying, 'hush'."
The little girl is probably one years old and is just learning to talk and didn't say a word the entire time until we came to that line.. and when I would read it, she would whisper "hush".
There was something so great about it.
So after I turned her light out and prayed for her, I went and read with her brother and tucked him in and went to the living room.
I was sitting there thinking about my own mom and dad and how life was when I was that age and got all emotional out of no where.
So I started making a list of all my favorite memories of growing up, funny things that happened, random things I remember my parents saying, things that they might not even remember but were for some reason important to me.
I wrote three pages of things and I can still think of a million more.. but to refrain from boring you with things you won't understand without a story, I will only list my absolute favorites.

in no order...
1. Sunday Lunches, reading the paper and laughing
2. My sister, mom, and I singing at the top of our lungs at the dinner table and my dad getting so annoyed (God seriously blessed my dad with a tremendous amount of patience :)
3. Family rounds of "Sardines" if you don't know how to play, please learn!!
4. Hopping the fence and going exploring with my dad
5. Going to the peanut shop downtown with daddy
6. Having tea parties with mom
7. THE POOL!!!! the 2 best things about the pool were 1. the cook out night- Dad would come!!! and 2. When mom would agree to .....GET HER HAIR WET!!! (this was such a big deal!) and have under water tea parties
8. Making massive tents/forts with dad and leaving them up for weeks, much to mom's disapproval.
9. Sneaking into Jane's room in the middle of the night to listen to (Y107... for all you Nashvillians that remember that station from back in the day... I can remember the first time I ever heard of Madonna.... SCANDALOUS!) and to jump on the beds pretending to be famous gymnasts.
10. Practicing saying the Greek alphabet with dad (He just thought it was hilarious for a 5 year old to know that)
11. Putting rocks in mom's pockets when she wasn't paying attention and thinking it was the most hilarious prank ever.
12. Going to Sonic with dad on Saturday's and listening to the oldies station ("big girls don't cry")
13. Convincing Jane to dress like a clown, ring everyone on the streets doorbell, and preform a dance for them (while I hid in the bushes laughing hysterically).

3.05.2009

[Call Me Crazy]


It's an interesting thing; perception.
I was noticing today how differently, different people think.
One person may see a deranged man and think it's devastating and terrible.
I tend to look at him and see unconscious bliss...constant worship and praise. Yes, pure craziness, but not necessarily in a bad sense.
I think God communicates in a really special way with the mentally disabled.
Sometimes I think people who seem "crazy" have a better understanding of God and of humanity than I do.. and I'm supposedly in my right mind.
I wonder if it is even possible to be completely unaware of what anyone thinks of you if you are sane?

In a twisted way, I long to be some crazy old woman who sits in the middle of Market Square dancing to music that only I can hear, singing songs that only make sense to me, and feeling like it's just Me and God when in actuality there are hundreds of people walking past me muttering annoyances about my behavior.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if in the middle of a dancing trance, a crazy person suddenly snapped out of it and realized what they were doing...they were suddenly conscious of the so called "indecency" of their behavior. When you know you have already been seen and labeled as a "crazy" do you just keep going at that point?? Or do you suddenly turn bright red and run away in embarrassment? ...But honestly... why is that even embarrassing in the first place?



3.04.2009

Spring Cleaning

I might not be the most creative person to grace the earth
but I like to create.
I may never win a beauty contest
but I think my freckles are pretty darn cute.
It's possible that I will never be a straight A student
But I crave knowledge.
Half the battle of life is learning to like yourself but not priding yourself in it.


I was realizing today how different I act around certain people. It's really strange but it's the people that seem to really be able to read me that make me the most nervous. Sometimes people I have only hung out with a few times make me feel embarrassingly vulnerable. And as a result I tend to shut down really quickly and revert to this awkward, vague, barely talking disposition. I wonder why I do that. I would really love to figure out how to change that. I was also noticing that I have this huge problem with admitting that things hurt me. When I think about my past I just remember feeling like I couldn't be visibly upset about things people said or did to me or it showed that I was weak. I have no idea how I came to believe that. And when I really think about it, I know that it's ludicrous. What is strange about it is that I have no problem talking about my personal struggles, when I am having a terrible day, feel really alone, or am frustrated.. because they are all things that don't necessarily involve other people. I think maybe it's just this fear of admitting that my emotions are indeed swayed by others, that I'm not as in control as I would like to be...which I hate admitting. I would love to think that I don't care what people think about me at all.. but the reality of it is that I have to unlearn some really prideful habits and accept a large dose of humility.


"I guess I'm slave to the spirit
Of needing to create and give birth"
-Brooke Waggoner

These Precious Things

Things like feeling the sheets covering your entire body... really feeling them.
Things like hearing a song that was written to your soul.
Things like smiling at a stranger and feeling as though you know and love them.
Things like dancing in the street without giving a second thought to how you may be perceived.
Things like finally being honest enough to cry.
Things like loving the brutality of the cold.
Things like being alone in a literal sense but feeling more complete than ever before.
Things like feeling raw emotions.
Things like being okay with the fact that you just simply don't mesh with some people well.
Things like forgiving yourself for being human.
Things like reading words that are put together in ways that make you tremble.
Things like learning to just Be.

2.28.2009

"Avant Garde"


A few days ago a homeless man walked up to me at lost sheep and said "Avant Garde" and turned around to walk away. Then he turned back and said, "Do you know what that means?" and I knew it was some kind of military command but I just said.. "No" and he said..."perfection". .. And then he left.
Hahaha
Clearly, he has been misinformed but I did some research (with the help of a wordy friend of mine :p) and found out that it actually has a very relevant meaning.

The adjective form is used in English, to refer to people or works that are
experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art,culture, and politics.

Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted
as the norm or the
status quo, primarily in the
cultural realm.

innovative and ahead of the majority

a small troop of highly skilled soldiers, explores the terrain ahead of a large advancing army
and plots a course for the army to follow. This concept is applied to
the work done by small collectives of intellectuals and artist as they open pathways through new
cultural or political terrain for society to follow.

The term also refers to the promotion of radical social reforms.

PLEASE God let me be that!

2.26.2009

The Prophet



"Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy"

[from Joy and Sorrow by Khalil Gibron]

2.24.2009

I like the little things


Someday, when I have a house that I plan on staying in for awhile, I want a few things...

I would actually prefer a small house, there is less to keep up with, and I work better with small spaces.
I would love to live downtown or near downtown or in some area where I don't have to get in my car and drive to the needy, I want to live among them.
I would be in heaven if I had a little yellow kitchen. (See picture above)... I feel like I would always be in a great mood in that kitchen.
And last but not least, in all honesty, I could care less what my house looks like on the outside, but I just absolutely must have a fabulous yard.. even if its just 2 feet of grass on each side, those little grass patches better be BRIGHT GREEN with wild flowers alllll over them.

And that... is about all I could ask for.