Open Hands


"you cannot hold onto anything that wants to go. Do you understand what I'm sayin'? You just got to love it while you got it, and that's that." (Gloria Dump from Because of Winn Dixie)



"All that we can know about those we have loved and lost," Thornton Wilder wrote, "is that they would wish us to remember them with a more intensified realization of their reality. What is essential does not die but clarifies. The highest tribute is not grief but gratitude."

(picture by: Cari Ann Wayman)


8 reasons why I am real excited about spring

1. Wildflowers are everywhere- which means my house will soon be filled with them.
2. I can eat breakfast on the porch.
3. I can walk around barefoot
5. My utility bill will decrease by about 70%
6. Fresh Produce!!
7. Farmers Market
8. I can wear skirts every day



Dear Spring,
   Would you mind showing your face and sticking around for awhile? I really miss you and your inconsistancy doesn't do anything to help a girl out.

Dear Rhythm and Blooms Organizer,
   Could you please email Kate back so that I can get a volunteer pass and listen to great music for free?

Dear Bank Account,
    Could you please miraculously birth $8,000 so that I can keep working after May.

Dear Construction Workers outside my window,
     Would it be alright for you all to only use the jack hammer after 9am? I know you have tons of work to do but my brain would really appreciate it.

Dear Knoxville,
    Thank you so much for being so unique and inviting. I can't believe we have been friends and neighbors for 4.5 years now. This is the longest lasting relationship I've ever had. I'm glad we were able to work through our conflicts that first year and a half. I'm sorry I misjudged you in the beginning.

Dear United Health Insurance Webteam,
    Could you please make your website easier to use? I can't figure out which dentists in town accept your services and it's time to get a teeth check up.

Dear Prudence,
    I'm sorry I couldn't let you out during my lunch break yesterday. I'm sorry that Joe locks you in your cage all day long- I know he wants so badly to be a stay at home dad but duty calls. Hopefully he makes it up to you on the weekends.

Dear House that I will live in next year,
     I would really love to meet you. Can you please be inexpensive and really really cute. I look forward to many hours, days and nights spent together. Could you also please be located in Old North or Parkridge? That would be really convenient.


Sufjan Cover Album

 Today the Sufjan-approved cover album of Seven Swans came out. Let me just say that it does not disappoint. I did have to listen to it as if it was a compilation of originals because there really is no way to compare anyone to Sufjan. That being said, they are all really great pieces and have very original flavor in each of them. Bonus points if you buy the songs because the proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Listen to it here.
My 5 favorites are listed below...
3. In the devils territory- Derek Webb
4. To be alone with you- Joshua James
8. A good man is hard to find- DM Stith
11. The Transfiguration- David Crowder
13. Waste of what your kids won't have- Shannon Stevens with Gregory Paul


False Humility

 I shuffled into a conference room last Wednesday night with 100 members of my very extended Knoxville family.
We sang a few songs together, all verbally recognized our inferiority and our need for redemption, and received a cross of ashes on our heads. "I am but dust, and to dust I will return."
There is something really powerful about corporate confession.

I had been praying about what Lent should look like for me this year and had this whole great idea of what I could deprive myself of and what I could instead focus on.

Thursday night I realized two things.
1. I had already broken my fast. totally on accident
2. I had done a great job of picking a fast that meant nothing to me and would require self discipline in a way that would test my will power-it wouldn't give me any reason to rely on the Lord.

So, sitting in Nora's living room squeezed between two friends on the couch I said "Ummm what I just told all of you that I am doing for lent.... well, all of that is totally wrong. I need to go home and ask the Lord what he really wants me to do."

Nora had asked Aunt Linda how you know what to do for lent. Linda said, "When you get still, when all is quiet, what does your mind wander towards first?"

For me it's work. What am I going to do with this client? How can I solve their problem? How do I get them to open up about the root issues? What do they need? I am constantly anxious and thinking about the homeless and how I can help them. It's a problem.

So, I'm fasting from work outside of my 8-5 hours.
This should be interesting.

It's incredibly hard to take captive thoughts when they seem productive. I'm learning that productive thinking does not always equal godly thinking.

I'm trying to think more of the Lord and less of myself. Being an introspective person, it gets really hard to not be self absorbed all of the time. And kind of like my initial lent project...it is false humility you are reading about by my admittance of struggle. One day I hope I can learn what true humility looks like. Until then, I will just continue to point out where I'm prideful. Lord help me.


Quote of the Week

For the sake of confidentiality let's say I am having a conversation with a homeless man named Donald.

The premise: Donald is an older gentleman who believes that he was in the band "Earth Wind and Fire". Donald loves The Temptations- we listen to them every time we meet and he sings along.
On this particular day- I am asking Donald several questions about his past housing experiences.

The Dialogue:
Caroline: Donald do you remember the address of the last place you lived?
Donald: Yah. Of course!
Caroline: What is it?
Donald: Oh... ya know.. 100, 200, 300, 400.
Caroline: (thinking- uhhh what?) Ok... hmm, do you remember the street name?
Donald: Yeah yeah... uh.. ya know... North, South, East, West.

I love what I do. :)


February 17th

Nobility: superiority of character

Far too few people seek to be noble in this day and age. We have glorified breaking the rules, bending morality, and being excessive.
Today, if you abide by Biblical morals you are a "prude", if you abide by the rules then you are too submissive, and if you are wealthy then you should be respected (no questions asked).

Nobility used to be one of the most coveted titles of all men.

When did it become "uncool" to act justly, extend mercy, and walk humbly?
When did grace become passivity and selfless love become accommodating ?


February 11th

Do something that makes you nervous. It will get your heart rate up...it'll be good for you.


learn to love it now

"So if the work you are creating demands completion before you can find fulfillment, it’s doubtful the creation will be finished, and perhaps more doubtful it will be any good when it’s done. You’ll labor through it, pushing it up a hill like a broken cart. But if you can love the actual work, not the finished product, you’re on to something. If you have a rhythm, if you get up every morning and work for a few hours, and you like the getting up and the work, and you don’t think about how great it will be when it’s done, but rather how great it is every day that you get to get up and do the work, your creation will be tremendous. Don’t think about the finished product. Stop rewarding yourself with something that doesn’t exist, and may never exist. Instead, think about how delightful it is you get to do this, you get to make this, and how delightful it will be to get up and do it again tomorrow." -Donald Miller


truth in craziness

"It is nearly impossible for man to live alone and survive."

(Written by a schizophrenic homeless man that I have been working with)



Today, I cried with a client. We cried about how hopeless the streets are, how selfish we can all become, how people often settle for less than they can achieve, how frustrating the social systems are, and how good our God is.

I really really see The Lord when I look at and talk to this older gentleman. I see pain and suffering, but I also see a heart that has been redeemed. All of the verses about the Lord being with the poor make so much more sense after encountering the poor. The humble heart of a man who has been homeless for 45 years made me cry today. It was a good kind of cry.. the kind where you catch a glimpse of holiness in a fallen human. 

If you think about it, pray for him. That the sadness of a life full of darkness can be replaced with a few years of glory. Pray for miracles, pray for his dependence in the Lord, pray for his addictions, and pray that he knows the depth of the Love Christ has for him.


A New Years List

So this year I decided to make a list of things I want to accomplish. One thing for each year that I have been alive. Not anything drastic, no impossible goals, simply a few things to do this year that will motivate bigger changes in the future.

#1 Get my piano tuned
#2 Get my bike fixed at this Cool place
#3 Open up a savings account
#4 Create a budget
#5 Finish calling everyone on my potential donor list for support raising
#6 Write monthly news letters
#7 Plant something (Flowers,Veggies, fruits etc)
#8 Start using more natural products
#9 Cut back on hydrogenated oils and trans fats
#10 Get a planner
#11 Paint my coat rack
#12 Join a fitness class
#13 Call an out of town friend once a week
#14 Obtain a 3 hole punch
#15 Buy an external hard drive
#16 Cook more often
#17 Sign up for a city recycling bin
#18 Shop locally
#19 Invite new people over for dinner
#20 Craft once a month
#21 Blog once a week
#22 Have more intentional conversations; ask more questions
#23 Organize support group for my homeless project