March 04, 2013

Beautiful Hoodie

Before this entry can be fully enjoyed as intended, one thing must be known of me. I love hooded sweatshirts. I always knew this about myself, but I had no idea how deep my tender feelings for this specific piece of clothing went until I purged my closet last night. I unmercifully threw out t-shirts, pants and shoes. But I started the process with seven hooded sweatshirts and I currently have seven hooded sweatshirts stacked in our closet. This does not even count those I have of the zipper variety (six). Alright, with that established we can move on.

I've been longing lately. This should come as no surprise to me as I looked through my NUMEROUS entries (I think this one makes 17 in 2 years) and found one of them entitled, "Nostalgia". But still. I have been. For past places, friends, experiences. And oddly, as I sat at Rattle Snake Lake today I discovered that I am longing for myself. In the midst of this ever changing life we live, I find myself longing for who I was. Or at least for who I think I was. This lake has been a sacred space for me. Not only is it where we got engaged, and where I spent time with beautiful friends, it's also where I have spent hours of time with God over the past 7 or 8 years. I have a lot of memories here of a lot of heartfelt conversations with God. 

I have also had a lot of time to think lately, too much time. When I have too much time to think, I can only seem to get to negative conclusions. Today though my thinking time led to more of a nondescript memory of pulling on an old hoodie and driving out here. Of being comfortable with just my soul and the Holy Spirit to keep me company. It was a memory of knowing I was beautiful without having anyone to tell me so but knowing it assuredly anyways because God thought so. I was comfortable in my own skin. With changes abound, it's time to step forward. 

With so many tests, comparisons, professors, and changes I have felt that it has been necessary to put on my skinny jeans every day ( not an actual pair- I look absurd in them. I mean my metaphorical skinny jeans- We all have them). I have felt the overwhelming need to impress. To be a hipster. To appear like I've got it all together and the flats to go with it ( I don't wear flats either because my feet sweat). "I can do this!" I screamed. "I'm worth it! I've got it together!" And all the while I was screaming to others- to teachers, to friends, to family and even church members...the skinny jeans were getting tighter and pinching my mid section. They have become utterly uncomfortable and exhausting to wiggle into day in and day out.

So it's time. Not just to let go of who I was but to step into who God wants me to be now. Not in 2006. But in 2013. It's like He's beckoning me to re-ground myself in Him. And when I was finally still today at the lake and took time to truly listen, I heard Him say it. "Take off those absurd pants!" That's all I needed to hear. And so I will- one day at a time. I'm putting on my beautiful hooded sweatshirt. It's comfortable, it's unassuming. It' 

October 21, 2012

Snow Topped

The tops of the mountains have officially welcomed their first snowflakes of the season.  When the morning fog finally dissipated yesterday afternoon, we noticed there was indeed snow on Mt. Si. A lovely back drop for pumpkin patching as it turns out.

 It feels like ages and at the same time just days since our last snow fall which was coincidentally the last time I wrote anything of note.  Reflecting on the past year has brought to light the necessity of time. Our first year of marriage flew by in every wonderful way. The last year of graduate school has crept along and it seems like eons ago since my classmates and I said our official goodbyes at our “End of the classroom, on to internships” graduation party this past June. I feel like I have lived in North Bend for awhile now and yet at the same time feel brand new. Like I just started living in this town, just beginning to think of this church as my own. Just starting to understand which fork of the river goes where. People can welcome you and invite you and accept you, but when you still have memories of the old people welcoming and inviting and accepting, it’s difficult to jump in; to start over and be present fully. And yet at the same time I wouldn't want to just forget the past- when I was known by so many and felt like I had the honor of knowing so many stories. It’s a complicated balance, starting over with one story and continuing on with another and trying to blend them all together. Some say we are limited by time as if this is a negative thing, but I think the limitation is what makes time special. We only have so much of it. We never have an excess. And nothing can ever replace it. There’s no duplicate of time, so we're to be patient with it. Let God use time to His limitless advantage while all the while finding that precarious balance between waiting on Him and taking action in Him. Today though, since it’s a Sunday, I’m okay being patient. Just to sit and watch the snow line creep closer to town, closer to the river, closer to home. 

January 16, 2012

fresh snow, fresh starts.

Friends. Hello. It's been roughly a year and a half. And after spending the past 3 months debating on whether to continue with this blog or start anew, here I am on good ol' efforts to love anyways. 
I had thoughts of dedicating an entirely new and wonderful blog to my "new" life- a master's student, married, a pastor's wife. But as I glanced at this little guy, I realized that though a year and a half has gone and I have gone through some changes, my main goal is still the same. I looked at the title, efforts to love anyways, and thought, "yep." That's still me. Sentiments of a girl walking with her father- "Mmmm. That's lovely. I need to do that more." So though I do not want to understate the fact that I am now in graduate school, married, and currently living in a snow globe- I'm going to have to. Just for now. I've got other things that need processing.
Holy smokes. 
 First thing on the radar? Are you ready? This is truly unique. I'm trying to process the snow. Like everyone else in Seattle. We get 1 and 1/2 inches and we're all leaving work early and wondering if school will be cancelled. In public I play it cool. Living in a mountain town now I especially try to play my cards right. "Oh is it snowing? Huh," I say nonchalantly at the church. Little do these innocent church members know, I spent the majority of Saturday night checking the weather channel app and opening up the front door to check outside. Our little home is so small that every time I opened the front door the heater kicked on. Eventually my dear husband explained to me the whole "can't watch a pot boil" thing and told me to take a break from playing weather girl. I didn't. 

Why the panic? Why the joy? Why the lack of snow plows in Seattle? I have come up with an answer: Grace. We all need it, yearn for it even if we don't always recognize the need as such. I pulled over on the side of the road today and found this: 

Isn't it beautiful? Pure, white, lovely grace. This river looks different with every season and I can't help but grieve when it's not as its best. When I see cans of Red Bull and cigarettes and an old t-shirt lining its edges. And then this snow comes, an entity we can't control and its just all covered up. I know it is still there and will need to be dealt with. But what a nice break for the river. To be beautiful again, just as it was created with no rough edges and no flaws. My favorite thing about snow? When it dumps. It dumps right on you and breaks your original plans and stops everything and evens the playing field. And grace dumps. It dumps right on us and should startle us into making changes and living in the light and  seeing things as they were meant to be. Seeing ourselves as hopeful, beautiful, covered beings. Covered by His love and fresh starts. 

August 29, 2010


My sweet Nostalgia,

I've been wanting to write to you for awhile now, but haven't been able to find the time I need to find the words I want. You have been such a rich part of my life- how do I thank you for bringing me joy simply by being a memory? How to thank you for bringing me comfort just by being a specific scent? How to express my gratitude for the way you remind me of my sweet friends just by being the right song at the right time? . The way a certain type of sunlight and scent in the air outside can transport me to my very own sanctuary is a gift that I can receive from none other than you; a place where I can be safe, loved, and comforted without every leaving my present circumstance. I have heard some people say recently that I should let go of you. That you hold me back. That you keep me from progressing towards future goals. But if I were to reach these achievements in life and didn't have you around, I can't help but think I would be lonely. I would be in a place of success, knowing who I am, but never looking back to who I was or who I once wanted to be.

I'll admit sometimes you are a burden. When I pause to think about whatever you're reminding me of , sometimes I do pause too long. I want that very moment back so badly, I spend my time and energy grieving the finished memory rather than creating a new one. Sometimes one of your songs or smells make me miss something, someone, or some time so much that it literally aches. I would pay money to be back at that dinner table with those friends, sitting on that log by that campfire with my God, worshiping at the Inn with those sweet roommates. And yet, you never give it back to me. I pause and beg of you to return those moments to me, and yet they just stay memories. Memories that started out bringing me warmth and comfort, but leave me lonely and sometimes without as much hope. It's at these times that I think maybe they're right. Maybe I should leave you in the past. Ignore the way the sun looks in the evening of a perfect fall day, disregard the smell of the campfire as I drive down a wooded road, pretend that there are no Late Tuesday songs that have ever been given to me by a friend who couldn't find the words herself and so gave lyrics instead. Completely skip over those notes and pictures I carry in my Bible that remind me of the sweet souls placed in my life.. ...

But, Nostalgia, despite all of your downfalls, I want you to know that you're worth keeping around. You remind me that God is very much in my past- living and redeeming His way through my muck and past regrets, and turning what should be dark and painful memories into ones that bring me light and hope. Of course I don't like the way you make me want to go back in the past. But I love the way you remind me of the beautiful life God has given me. You make the ugly of past years something worth remembering. Dark times in my life that were so painful, I wanted them completely erased from memory, you somehow make encouraging. You are an every day reminder that God is writing His own story and I am just one of the characters. A girl who is loud, stubborn, and very, very well loved.

I hope you're in- it- to- win- it Nostalgia. I plan on being your friend for a very long time. There are large gaps in our lives that come between past sacred moments and future anticipated ones. It will be in these gaps that I'll put in a certain CD, re-read a specific card, and breathe in deep thinking to myself that as messy and complex and winding my road has been, the sweet moments that make it worth wandering will not be forgotten.


August 24, 2010

bus stops

I had something all started and ready to be elaborated on from last night. Thoughts about my past week and how if I had a camera crew following me around from the 13th of August until the morning of the 23rd, I'm confident I would be retiring early. I had written out four different segments about four different chunks of my life. Work, faith, friendships, and boys. All which have brought me to a very real and clear limit in the last 10 days. In these short stories, I had included some particularly sweet nuggets such as my physics final and the bird that somehow defied physics entirely and managed to poop inside my car after it, being a bridesmaid in my 6th and 7th weddings respectfully, and bringing a grown man close to tears while he watched mine fall on 62nd street in West Seattle. And this is definitely the short list of happenings I had originally written out. I have had ideas brewing for a week about how I would go about writing each circumstance and what themes were being woven between all of them and about sitting in the absurdity that my life has seemed recently. The seedlings of these stories were comedic, genuine, and very honestly simply my life.

But this morning I had a change of heart.

I took 3 pages of thoughts and deleted them with one foul ctrl A, delete swoop.

Though my end goal would have certainly been to glorify God, and I think I would have wandered my way to that point eventually, I decided to skip straight to the glorifying part this time around.

I had a rough week. Who hasn't? I felt lonely at times? Who doesn't? I haven't been so overwhelmed with so many complicated situations in a very long time; I am certain that being 26, much more difficult situations await me. And so do more decisions and choices and overwhelming things. But there is still that ONE choice that is always there waiting to be made every morning, every night and virtually every moment in between. It is the most simply difficult decision I've ever made or will make. It's been so present in my life this past year, I think I'm finally catching on to something. To choose His peace. To choose His joy. To choose to rest in His plan for me. And spewing and vomiting all my past week's mishaps would be comical, sarcastic, personable and in this particular case, absolutely unnecessary.

I am living a wonderfully free spirited life. It's not perfect because I am not. It's not consistently smooth because my path has yet to be completely paved, it's not what other people would want and at times, not even remotely close to what I want for myself. But my life is gloriously, beautifully and wonderfully, not my own. It's on lease to me by my very kind and very funny Dad.

My friend wrote this little tidbit on my facebook wall after one of my wedding appearances on the dance floor; “”

Tim, you are absolutely right. I am freely and lovingly out of control.

Philippians 4:8-9
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

July 23, 2010

Mona Lisa

Sometimes my mind gets so filled with thoughts, I feel like the only way to calm my spirit is to either go for a quick walk around the block or a long walk up a mountain. It's 12:12 AM, so this will do for now.

A quote sent to me by a friend of mine (and excellent physics tutor might I add), has been intriguing me and my mind's been reeling trying to figure out why ever since. He shared the quote with me and we exchanged thoughts through the personally intimate form of "google chat". Don't pretend you're above it. I've dropped out his name....just in case :) Some of it has been pasted below:

wise boy @ anyway there was this one passage that really stuck out to me. it's from a chapter called "You Need a Commitment Strategy Not an Exit Strategy"
me: ohh cool hmmm. i like it.
wise boy @ "Would you go into a relationship planning the breakup? Would you write the prenup on a first date? Would you meet with a divorce lawyer the morning of your wedding? That would be ridiculous, right?
You need a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy. You should be thinking about how to make your project grow and succeed, not how you’re going to jump ship. If your whole strategy is based on leaving, chances are you won’t get far in the first place.
…Don’t be that guy. If you do manage to get a good thing going, keep it going. Good things don’t come around that often. Don’t let your business be the one that got away."

(side note: of course we both automatically apply the above advice to relationships. this is because we are both in our mid-twenties and thus the topic is incessantly talked about, laughed over, cried for, analyzed too much and has been frequently prayed for to just go away)

me: awwww i love it. you should post it as your status. its a good word
wise boy @ that's a long status
me: i think sometimes boys forget to hold on with both hands. and then girls get insecure and think the boys don't care when they're only holding on with one. so then we let go of the other hand to protect ourselves. and then theres no more hand holding
wise boy @ oh wow, what a nice illustration
me: thanks
wise boy @ I like it
me: you can add that to your status as well ;)
wise boy @ ha ok we'll see
me: or ill blog about it
wise boy @ you should blog about it
me: :)

and we here we are.

This is not to dog men. At all. Or women. Quite the opposite. In fact I think both sexes are quite lovely. And if people have been figuring out how to make relationships work for the past thousands of years, then we here in 2010 will probably be ok. I just realized that the girl who lets go is me. And, yes some of my friends. Maybe all women, but I don't know all of them, so I'm not going to make that generalization.

My bottom line(s) is (are) this (these). Boy meets girl. Girl and said Boy like each other. They hold hands. Boy gets distracted/thinks girl knows how much he cares/takes time to figure himself out/has other crazy things in life going on. Boy lets go just with one hand. Just for a quick second to get things figured out. Girl notices IMMEDIATELY. Girl tries to play it cool- this lasts about 3 seconds. Girl is insecure and automatically assumes boy never has nor ever will care about her. Girl lets go of Boy's hand to protect Girl's heart. Boy comes back and is bewildered (? maybe. I'm not a boy, so I don't know).

Boy and Girl both learn. Boy tells girl he's going to let go, for just a bit, just with the one hand. Girl trusts Boy and also trusts that God made her something worth being held on to.

Mid- twenties relationship dramas find themselves extinct and decide to settle down nicely in the 7th grade with their cohorts "acne drama' and "I hate my (fill in the blank) drama".

The End.

July 20, 2010

found it

I've had beautiful on the mind lately. I think it started to stick with me as a concept when waiting to wash my hands in the bathroom of a West Seattle bar. I stood "in line" behind the one sink while I watched a woman apply and reapply her lipstick. We were the only two women in the bathroom and to say the silence was awkward would be a severe understatement. Often in these situations, I find myself making small chat just to bring down the level of discomfort in the situation. But not this time. I just watched. Impatiently. Though I found it top priority to sanitize, this lady had puckering up at the top of her list. I stood there for about 3 hours (45 seconds really). Is that sexy?, I thought. Hot, pretty, or attractive, to have lipstick on. Is it beautiful? Would she be embarrassed to go back out there without it on? Who does she have waiting for her that really cares? Does she have multiple shades for different events? Will it matter she has it on once she's taken the first sip of her drink?

She finally stepped out of my way without making eye contact- I was ready to have a stare down. My image was revealed in the mirror. After spending the better part of the afternoon and evening at Alki my hair is up in its usual pony tail, wind whipped and starting to curl from the moisture in the air. I have on a sweat shirt that reeks gloriously of bon fire. The shorts I was wearing were actually jeans last year until a 100+ day requested me to grab a pair of scissors and cut them off. I can't remember if I put on mascara that morning though I'm assuming I did because I have not yet been carded at the bar. Is this at all sexy? Hot, pretty, attractive. It's undoubtedly genuine. But is it beautiful?

I think we throw around this word "beautiful" like Steve Pool throws around the term "sun break". It always sounds nice, but do we ever actually see it? Know what it is? What it feels like? I think
deep down in our souls all these questions are answered with a resounding YES! What about more towards the surface of our souls? Do we see beauty there? Feel it? Know what it is? Do we believe it's as projected on to other people as our friends tell us it is. Do we scoff when people tell us we look nice? That we're attractive? Gorgeous? Worth a Savior?

Not a single answer tonight. Nothing profound is coming to mind ( not to say that profound is my "norm"). And hey not to dog on lipstick here either, if I had the pucker upper's who knows what color tints I'd be sporting. Just thinking things through. Because when I opened up my laptop tonight I saw this picture on my desk top. Ahhhh. There it is.

Certain Beauty.