and we're off

>> 11.05.2008

Well...I'm not sure how to start off.
I think I'm partly excited, and mostly scared.
Big changes (like presidents) do that to me.

I remember the last election, when I was fifteen and couldn't do much other than watch the tv screen and color in the states on the map that mom had printed out for us. I was so passionate then, so fiery for the right thing, even though I didn't have a say.
This time around, it's almost just "who is the lesser of two evils?" I was never whole-heartedly for either one, but I did have my preference.

So, I guess, here is how I see things now:
America needs a change. That much is obvious. You look around you at the failing economy, the people being kicked out of their homes, the other places in the world that are doing just as badly or worse, and you realize that something has got to give.
I supported McCain almost solely on the fact that he was pro-life, and that is one of the only black and white things that scripture talks about- you shall not murder. For me, that was pretty clear cut. But as far as economic policies, foreign relations, etc, I think I almost lean slightly more towards Obama. Not completely, as I don't think you can ever agree fully with anyone, but he certainly has ideas and fire about things that need to change and how to change them.
Also, he will be my president, and I will respect him as such. He may have to win my support, but he gains my respect simply by being another human being that has passion and dedication for something. Especially if that something is my country.

I guess this isn't really going anywhere, other than the fact that I had thoughts about all of this election stuff and I just needed to sort them out.
I can't say I'm gung-ho for either candidate. I can't say I fully disagree or agree with either.
But what it comes down to is the fact that God is sovereign and He completely allowed Barack Obama to be elected the next president. I trust Him enough to step in and change something that shouldn't happen. You know?

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."
-Romans 13: 1-7


you want to be...who?

>> 9.08.2008

Failure is on your hands and the world is spinning.
The coffee is to sweetly fragrant and I feel so much older than this.
So above and beyond, but still trapped in the 'what-ifs' and 'has beens'.
Where do we go from here?

There are moments of clarity where it all seems so simple, like I should just be able to reach out and grasp it. Then life steps in and reminds me that nothing is like I thought it was and I'm just going to have to make do with the nonsense.

I don't care if it's rough and ugly and unsychronized.
Shoot me.
You're just a mean old person that likes to hear themselves talk. You don't care about the rest of us. You have no idea about any of this, about passion and paranoia, about something that keeps your heart beating when simple air won't do the trick.
Just go on. Leave us alone.


name the ways

>> 8.13.2008

There are so many thoughts swirling around that I am having a difficult time picking them out individually and processing them
Sometimes it's like the mind-load just keeps getting more and more dumped on before I can even begin to sort through what was there before.
Sometimes I feel about my mind like I feel about my house- it has to be organized and semi clean before I can even begin to accomplish something.
The only problem is that I can't just grab a vacuum and suck the nasties out of my brain...I can only sort through them and relegate them to their proper place. But even this can't happen if other stuff just keeps piling in.
See what I mean?

I had to tell you about my brain problems before I could even begin to write about what the problems inside of the brain problems are!

How do you tell someone that you care about so much that they are breaking your heart every day?
(No, I am not talking about my husband. Dispel your fears. We are doing wonderfully).
My heart aches watching them live life like they are. The hardest part is knowing that absolutely nothing I say will make them change their mind. It's out of my hands- I have no control.
Desperation creeps into all my prayers for them and I literally pour my heart- and tears- out to God.
I don't know what else to do.

I wonder if parents ever feel this way about their children...watching, and knowing that they have no control over their decisions.
Goodness. I am scared for my children already.

In part two of Cami's messy mind: Inferiority.
Will this ever not be a part of my life?
Will there ever come a day where I will continuously be able to say that someone does not make me feel inconsequential and unsubstantial? (Ooooo. Big words).
I know that it's an empty pursuit.
It will end from a lack of money, lack of concentration, and mostly from failure.
"If I was a rich girl..." would it make it any better?

I already know all the answers.
And if that's the case, then why am I still asking the questions?


truly, madly, deeply

>> 8.06.2008

Well, my muscles definitely noticed the workout yesterday.
It's a good kind of ache though, the one that reminds you that your body could be and do so many things, just as long as you keep doing what your doing.
It's almost a reward, like you're muscles are saying, "Congratulations! All that work you did yesterday really did have an keep it up!"
Maybe I'm just crazy. I think it's the lack of exercise for two weeks that has me so excited about this.

I actually cooked dinner last night, even though Husband was working until midnight and it was just me in the apartment. It was fantastic and tasted so good- the only problem is that I was the only one around to marvel at it. The kicker is that I made sure that there were leftovers for him to have tonight (He's working until midnight again), he thought it was marinating and just left it there. Which probably means that I'll go home from work, get the chicken, and come all the way back, just to give it to him. Oh well. Not like I have much else going on at the moment.
What a problem my fantastic chicken created.

I'm just tired, somewhat content and debating whether or not I would be happier back in bed, or if I really am doing alright sitting here at this desk. I think I'm just hungry and it's clouding my vision.
I have a radio meeting today, after I get off work and I am brainstorming my brains out to try and come up with ideas for this semester. I enjoy this job, but it takes a lot of thought time. That and I'm such a perfectionist that I refuse to settle for events that are just sub-par. I want to change things, shake them up, and make a difference. The only problem is that I have NO idea how to accomplish that.
We'll see how it goes.

This is such a pointless rambling on about nothing. I thought about something to post on here while staring at myself in the mirror this morning, but I seem to have forgotten what exactly I was thinking. Apparently it wasn't that earth shattering.
Maybe it'll come back and I can remedy this meaningless jumble of words.


don't look back in anger

>> 8.05.2008

I ran through the rain last night, got more wet than if I had jumped into a swimming pool, and I loved it.
My umbrella wrapped up around my face, my husband and I screamed every time thunder crashed, and I felt very, very alive.

I'm ready to be student again. Ready to learn what I came here to learn and bank up more knowledge about the God that saved my life and gave me my heart back.
Husband has a theory that as soon as school starts, we're going to want the summer back.
Could be, but I just can't stop myself from learning and loving it. Darn homeschooling. ; )

My hundred-book list is waiting for me to dig in, and I'm pushing pushing pushing to finish the books I have checked out at the moment. God blessed me immensely when he moved me to a city with one of the largest book collections I have ever seen, and a train that has a specific "Library" stop. Did I mention that I love Chicago?

I am overwhelmed with life, yet I struggle to stay this way. It is so easy for me to become a self-defeatist and focus on the parts of myself that I cannot stand. My mind races with, "If I just do this, then this." What is "this" and "then"? And how do I know when I've gotten there?
I've been asking God to take me back to the minimums and remind me why He loves me.
I'm still waiting for my heart to change.

Ah, peace. Come quickly.

"The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace."
-Numbers 6:24-26


run the race

>> 8.01.2008

It's been two weeks since I ran the first mile of my training and ended up with tendonitis on the whole outside of my foot and knee.
Two weeks of hobbling around, convincing myself that I'll be better soon and can probably train tomorrow. Two weeks of convincing myself not to just try and run through the pain, because that will just make everything worse.

It's now eight weeks until the race and I'm beginning to think that I might not make this run after all. Eight weeks of training should be enough, except that the sports-induced asthma I have prevents my lungs from building as quickly as other people. This affects the whole cardio-distance-endurance thing and it takes me twice as long to get to a certain "fitness level".
I guess I just keep wondering why God won't just fix it so that I can get on with it. This race was so that I could prove to myself that I could, especially because I have spent my entire life telling myself that I can't.
Except that now I really can't, at the risk of injuring myself further and costing my husband and I loads of money on expensive doctor bills. I've already had my free doctor consultation, so I'm a bit stuck with myself at the moment.

Okay. I know there are worse things out there. I know that there are people in more pain than I am, with life-threatening situations, and I'm sitting here moaning about not being able to complete a voluntary race.
Gets me every time.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
-1 Corinthians 9:24-27



Usually I don't broach the topic of politics, which is kind of odd, considering that at one point in time I was thinking about interning on Capitol Hill with a senator.
Anyway. This presidential election will be the first one that I have participated in, and I probably haven't paid as much attention as I should have (I've forgotten a lot since that Political Science class I took...).
Because I live in Chicago, I am obviously surrounded by Obama supporters, but because I also attend a Christian college, I am surrounded by McCain supporters as well (go figure). So, the debate goes on hotly around me, and I just kind of block it out since I have so many other things to think about. But I think that now is the time for me to start paying attention and doing my research. It also brings up the question of, what is important in a president? Am I more concerned about the personal beliefs of the man, or the actions of the man concerning my country? Am I more concerned about supporting a man who personally believes what I believe, or am I more concerned about supporting a man who says he will act on these beliefs I hold? These are not simple questions, and they do not have simple answers.
I am still undecided in many ways about this. I'm not sure that my decision will ever be a black and white one. I also don't want to make this decision based on propoganda around me. I want to come to a conclusion based on the first truth, not the fourth and fifth truth that has been passed down to me from newspapers, magazines, and voices of people I know.
So, all of this to say that I saw this posted on the blog of a friend of mine and was really challenged by it. It's the keynote address by Sen. Obama given at the Call to Renewal conference. You should definitely read through it if you have the time...

"Good morning. I appreciate the opportunity to speak here at the Call to Renewal's Building a Covenant for a New America conference. I've had the opportunity to take a look at your Covenant for a New America. It is filled with outstanding policies and prescriptions for much of what ails this country. So I'd like to congratulate you all on the thoughtful presentations you've given so far about poverty and justice in America, and for putting fire under the feet of the political leadership here in Washington.

But today I'd like to talk about the connection between religion and politics and perhaps offer some thoughts about how we can sort through some of the often bitter arguments that we've been seeing over the last several years.

I do so because, as you all know, we can affirm the importance of poverty in the Bible; and we can raise up and pass out this Covenant for a New America. We can talk to the press, and we can discuss the religious call to address poverty and environmental stewardship all we want, but it won't have an impact unless we tackle head-on the mutual suspicion that sometimes exists between religious America and secular America.

I want to give you an example that I think illustrates this fact. As some of you know, during the 2004 U.S. Senate General Election I ran against a gentleman named Alan Keyes. Mr. Keyes is well-versed in the Jerry Falwell-Pat Robertson style of rhetoric that often labels progressives as both immoral and godless.

Indeed, Mr. Keyes announced towards the end of the campaign that, "Jesus Christ would not vote for Barack Obama. Christ would not vote for Barack Obama because Barack Obama has behaved in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved."

Jesus Christ would not vote for Barack Obama.

Now, I was urged by some of my liberal supporters not to take this statement seriously, to essentially ignore it. To them, Mr. Keyes was an extremist, and his arguments not worth entertaining. And since at the time, I was up 40 points in the polls, it probably wasn't a bad piece of strategic advice.

But what they didn't understand, however, was that I had to take Mr. Keyes seriously, for he claimed to speak for my religion, and my God. He claimed knowledge of certain truths.

Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, he was saying, and yet he supports a lifestyle that the Bible calls an abomination.

Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, but supports the destruction of innocent and sacred life.

And so what would my supporters have me say? How should I respond? Should I say that a literalist reading of the Bible was folly? Should I say that Mr. Keyes, who is a Roman Catholic, should ignore the teachings of the Pope?

Unwilling to go there, I answered with what has come to be the typically liberal response in such debates - namely, I said that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can't impose my own religious views on another, that I was running to be the U.S. Senator of Illinois and not the Minister of Illinois.

But Mr. Keyes's implicit accusation that I was not a true Christian nagged at me, and I was also aware that my answer did not adequately address the role my faith has in guiding my own values and my own beliefs.

Now, my dilemma was by no means unique. In a way, it reflected the broader debate we've been having in this country for the last thirty years over the role of religion in politics.

For some time now, there has been plenty of talk among pundits and pollsters that the political divide in this country has fallen sharply along religious lines. Indeed, the single biggest "gap" in party affiliation among white Americans today is not between men and women, or those who reside in so-called Red States and those who reside in Blue, but between those who attend church regularly and those who don't.

Conservative leaders have been all too happy to exploit this gap, consistently reminding evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their Church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage; school prayer and intelligent design.

Democrats, for the most part, have taken the bait. At best, we may try to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful of offending anyone and claiming that - regardless of our personal beliefs - constitutional principles tie our hands. At worst, there are some liberals who dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word "Christian" describes one's political opponents, not people of faith.

Now, such strategies of avoidance may work for progressives when our opponent is Alan Keyes. But over the long haul, I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in people's lives -- in the lives of the American people -- and I think it's time that we join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy.

And if we're going to do that then we first need to understand that Americans are a religious people. 90 percent of us believe in God, 70 percent affiliate themselves with an organized religion, 38 percent call themselves committed Christians, and substantially more people in America believe in angels than they do in evolution.

This religious tendency is not simply the result of successful marketing by skilled preachers or the draw of popular mega-churches. In fact, it speaks to a hunger that's deeper than that - a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause.

Each day, it seems, thousands of Americans are going about their daily rounds - dropping off the kids at school, driving to the office, flying to a business meeting, shopping at the mall, trying to stay on their diets - and they're coming to the realization that something is missing. They are deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer busyness, is not enough.

They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives. They're looking to relieve a chronic loneliness, a feeling supported by a recent study that shows Americans have fewer close friends and confidants than ever before. And so they need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them - that they are not just destined to travel down that long highway towards nothingness.

And I speak with some experience on this matter. I was not raised in a particularly religious household, as undoubtedly many in the audience were. My father, who returned to Kenya when I was just two, was born Muslim but as an adult became an atheist. My mother, whose parents were non-practicing Baptists and Methodists, was probably one of the most spiritual and kindest people I've ever known, but grew up with a healthy skepticism of organized religion herself. As a consequence, so did I.

It wasn't until after college, when I went to Chicago to work as a community organizer for a group of Christian churches, that I confronted my own spiritual dilemma.

I was working with churches, and the Christians who I worked with recognized themselves in me. They saw that I knew their Book and that I shared their values and sang their songs. But they sensed that a part of me that remained removed, detached, that I was an observer in their midst.

And in time, I came to realize that something was missing as well -- that without a vessel for my beliefs, without a commitment to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain apart, and alone.

And if it weren't for the particular attributes of the historically black church, I may have accepted this fate. But as the months passed in Chicago, I found myself drawn - not just to work with the church, but to be in the church.

For one thing, I believed and still believe in the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change, a power made real by some of the leaders here today. Because of its past, the black church understands in an intimate way the Biblical call to feed the hungry and cloth the naked and challenge powers and principalities. And in its historical struggles for freedom and the rights of man, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world. As a source of hope.

And perhaps it was out of this intimate knowledge of hardship -- the grounding of faith in struggle -- that the church offered me a second insight, one that I think is important to emphasize today.

Faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts.

You need to come to church in the first place precisely because you are first of this world, not apart from it. You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away - because you are human and need an ally in this difficult journey.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.

That's a path that has been shared by millions upon millions of Americans - evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims alike; some since birth, others at certain turning points in their lives. It is not something they set apart from the rest of their beliefs and values. In fact, it is often what drives their beliefs and their values.

And that is why that, if we truly hope to speak to people where they're at - to communicate our hopes and values in a way that's relevant to their own - then as progressives, we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse

Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome - others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.

In other words, if we don't reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, then the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons and Alan Keyeses will continue to hold sway.

More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. Some of the problem here is rhetorical - if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice.

Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address without reference to "the judgments of the Lord." Or King's I Have a Dream speech without references to "all of God's children." Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible, and move the nation to embrace a common destiny.

Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical, though. Our fear of getting "preachy" may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems.

After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness - in the imperfections of man.

Solving these problems will require changes in government policy, but it will also require changes in hearts and a change in minds. I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manufacturers' lobby - but I also believe that when a gang-banger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels somebody disrespected him, we've got a moral problem. There's a hole in that young man's heart - a hole that the government alone cannot fix.

I believe in vigorous enforcement of our non-discrimination laws. But I also believe that a transformation of conscience and a genuine commitment to diversity on the part of the nation's CEOs could bring about quicker results than a battalion of lawyers. They have more lawyers than us anyway.

I think that we should put more of our tax dollars into educating poor girls and boys. I think that the work that Marian Wright Edelman has done all her life is absolutely how we should prioritize our resources in the wealthiest nation on earth. I also think that we should give them the information about contraception that can prevent unwanted pregnancies, lower abortion rates, and help assure that that every child is loved and cherished.

But, you know, my Bible tells me that if we train a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not turn from it. So I think faith and guidance can help fortify a young woman's sense of self, a young man's sense of responsibility, and a sense of reverence that all young people should have for the act of sexual intimacy.

I am not suggesting that every progressive suddenly latch on to religious terminology - that can be dangerous. Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith. As Jim has mentioned, some politicians come and clap -- off rhythm -- to the choir. We don't need that.

In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they're something they're not. They don't need to do that. None of us need to do that.

But what I am suggesting is this - secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country. We might recognize that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms of "thou" and not just "I," resonates in religious congregations all across the country. And we might realize that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of American renewal.

Some of this is already beginning to happen. Pastors, friends of mine like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes are wielding their enormous influences to confront AIDS, Third World debt relief, and the genocide in Darfur. Religious thinkers and activists like our good friend Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo are lifting up the Biblical injunction to help the poor as a means of mobilizing Christians against budget cuts to social programs and growing inequality.

And by the way, we need Christians on Capitol Hill, Jews on Capitol Hill and Muslims on Capitol Hill talking about the estate tax. When you've got an estate tax debate that proposes a trillion dollars being taken out of social programs to go to a handful of folks who don't need and weren't even asking for it, you know that we need an injection of morality in our political debate.

Across the country, individual churches like my own and your own are sponsoring day care programs, building senior centers, helping ex-offenders reclaim their lives, and rebuilding our gulf coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

So the question is, how do we build on these still-tentative partnerships between religious and secular people of good will? It's going to take more work, a lot more work than we've done so far. The tensions and the suspicions on each side of the religious divide will have to be squarely addressed. And each side will need to accept some ground rules for collaboration.

While I've already laid out some of the work that progressive leaders need to do, I want to talk a little bit about what conservative leaders need to do -- some truths they need to acknowledge.

For one, they need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice. Folks tend to forget that during our founding, it wasn't the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of the First Amendment. It was the persecuted minorities, it was Baptists like John Leland who didn't want the established churches to impose their views on folks who were getting happy out in the fields and teaching the scripture to slaves. It was the forbearers of the evangelicals who were the most adamant about not mingling government with religious, because they did not want state-sponsored religion hindering their ability to practice their faith as they understood it.

Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading their bibles.

This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what's possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It's the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing. And if you doubt that, let me give you an example.

We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his only son, and without argument, he takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to an altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded.

Of course, in the end God sends down an angel to intercede at the very last minute, and Abraham passes God's test of devotion.

But it's fair to say that if any of us leaving this church saw Abraham on a roof of a building raising his knife, we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. We would do so because we do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that we all see, and that we all hear, be it common laws or basic reason.

Finally, any reconciliation between faith and democratic pluralism requires some sense of proportion.

This goes for both sides

Even those who claim the Bible's inerrancy make distinctions between Scriptural edicts, sensing that some passages - the Ten Commandments, say, or a belief in Christ's divinity - are central to Christian faith, while others are more culturally specific and may be modified to accommodate modern life.

The American people intuitively understand this, which is why the majority of Catholics practice birth control and some of those opposed to gay marriage nevertheless are opposed to a Constitutional amendment to ban it. Religious leadership need not accept such wisdom in counseling their flocks, but they should recognize this wisdom in their politics.

But a sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state. Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation - context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase "under God." I didn't. Having voluntary student prayer groups use school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats. And one can envision certain faith-based programs - targeting ex-offenders or substance abusers - that offer a uniquely powerful way of solving problems

So we all have some work to do here. But I am hopeful that we can bridge the gaps that exist and overcome the prejudices each of us bring to this debate. And I have faith that millions of believing Americans want that to happen. No matter how religious they may or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool of attack. They don't want faith used to belittle or to divide. They're tired of hearing folks deliver more screed than sermon. Because in the end, that's not how they think about faith in their own lives

So let me end with just one other interaction I had during my campaign. A few days after I won the Democratic nomination in my U.S. Senate race, I received an email from a doctor at the University of Chicago Medical School that said the following:

"Congratulations on your overwhelming and inspiring primary win. I was happy to vote for you, and I will tell you that I am seriously considering voting for you in the general election. I write to express my concerns that may, in the end, prevent me from supporting you."

The doctor described himself as a Christian who understood his commitments to be "totalizing." His faith led him to a strong opposition to abortion and gay marriage, although he said that his faith also led him to question the idolatry of the free market and quick resort to militarism that seemed to characterize much of the Republican agenda.

But the reason the doctor was considering not voting for me was not simply my position on abortion. Rather, he had read an entry that my campaign had posted on my website, which suggested that I would fight "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose." The doctor went on to write:

"I sense that you have a strong sense of justice...and I also sense that you are a fair minded person with a high regard for reason...Whatever your convictions, if you truly believe that those who oppose abortion are all ideologues driven by perverse desires to inflict suffering on women, then you, in my judgment, are not fair-minded....You know that we enter times that are fraught with possibilities for good and for harm, times when we are struggling to make sense of a common polity in the context of plurality, when we are unsure of what grounds we have for making any claims that involve others...I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words."

Fair-minded words.

So I looked at my website and found the offending words. In fairness to them, my staff had written them using standard Democratic boilerplate language to summarize my pro-choice position during the Democratic primary, at a time when some of my opponents were questioning my commitment to protect Roe v. Wade.

Re-reading the doctor's letter, though, I felt a pang of shame. It is people like him who are looking for a deeper, fuller conversation about religion in this country. They may not change their positions, but they are willing to listen and learn from those who are willing to speak in fair-minded words. Those who know of the central and awesome place that God holds in the lives of so many, and who refuse to treat faith as simply another political issue with which to score points.

So I wrote back to the doctor, and I thanked him for his advice. The next day, I circulated the email to my staff and changed the language on my website to state in clear but simple terms my pro-choice position. And that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own - a prayer that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me.

And that night, before I went to bed I said a prayer of my own. It's a prayer I think I share with a lot of Americans. A hope that we can live with one another in a way that reconciles the beliefs of each with the good of all. It's a prayer worth praying, and a conversation worth having in this country in the months and years to come. Thank you."

'Call to Renewal' Keynote Address
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."
-Romans 13: 1-7

Thoughts, if anyone made it this far?


mirror, mirror

>> 7.31.2008

Oh, what I wouldn't give for a vacation.
Even if it was just a weekend in an empty house away from the noise and the stress.
But we're young and we're strong and we can handle anything that gets thrown at us.
This is a two month celebration of life, love, and goodness in the midst of trial.

I desperately need to break out. I don't want to be stuck in complacency anymore...God knew, so He shook things up. Why is leaving a comfort zone so uncomfortable?
Like a rock is stuck in your shoe and you absolutely cannot get it out.
It's okay, it's okay. It's not over yet, please stay.

The 'thing' is sneaking around and nibbling on my confidence. Mean, mean Mr. Mustard.
Can't you just back off for awhile? Let me have my unsecured confidence and a little faithless hope. We'll talk from there, okay?

Mmmmm. Muffin.



>> 7.24.2008

oh, sunshine.

I need depth.

I have nothing to say. But I have everything to tell.

I am a walking contradiction that limps along with a smile and a wicked mind.
Vague. Vogue.
Irony? Perhaps.

Bring the freedom.


all the wild horses

>> 7.19.2008

Thought of the day:

"I'm not trying to tell you," he said, "that only educated and scholarly men are able to contribute something valuable to the world. It's not so. But I do say that educated and scholarly men, if they're brilliant and creative to begin with-which, unfortunately, is rarely the case-tend to leave infinitely more valuable records behind them then men do who are merely brilliant and creative. They tend to express themselves more clearly, and they usually have a passion for following their thoughts through to the end. And-most important-nine times out of ten they have more humility than the unscholarly thinker."
- Mr. Antolini, The Catcher in the Rye

I just finished this book today. I think I've tried to read it about four times, and each time have only gotten about halfway. It just never held my attention, I guess. I think the problem was that it was such a revolutionary in it's time, that every serious or questioning book after it followed some sort of the same pattern. And I read them in the wrong order. Instead of starting with the original, I read the copy cats, so that by the time I got to the original it didn't seem to be so much anymore. In fact, the only really memorable quote I could pull from it, is the one I wrote above. And to me, that's what makes a book special and unique. When you read a line and it feels like something you should have written, or it was a thought that you are sure you had once. When you can identify so closely with a book that it is like reading your own mind, that is when you know it's worth something. Although, I suppose this would vary with different people , so maybe my theory's not worth so much anymore.
I slept too late today and didn't get enough done. I was supposed to do laundry and go to the grocery store. However, neither of these things happened. I did clean the house, but even that doesn't feel like much.
No one tells you that being a wife is very, very tiring.

It's rainy today and I got to sleep in with my husband holding me and listening to Jack Johnson. It was everything I had always imagined when I thought about what the perfect moment in our married life would be. I'm not sure I've ever been much happier than I was at 10:30 this morning.

I miss writing. I miss thinking that my writing was brilliant and smart and that it had the power to change the world. I feel like it's a dangerous thing to base your future on something so fleeting, like brilliance or creativity. I feel like this ability is something that slips through your fingers, just like sand, and why on earth would I count on it to make my future what I want it to be? I think I am afraid of failing. I've taken the plunge and assumed that I am good enough at it to focus on it all through college and to pursue a field in it when I graduate. But that scares me. What if I'm not? What if I'm making it up and it's all wishful thinking? Sometimes I read things that other people I know have written and I feel like never in my wildest dreams could I measure up to that. I remember writing classes that I took before I came to college and how torn up I got through it all. I remember declaring that I liked writing because it had no rules and you could do whatever you liked and call it perfection.
I am just now figuring out that is not true. There are rules, and they are secrets that everyone knows, but no one will voice.
There are standards that you are held to, and if you do not meet them, you will not make it.
Originality is not really real, it is simply a facade that is held up to conceal the fact that if you do not meet the rules, you do not meet success.

I want to make it.
I want it so badly it hurts. But sometimes I am just too scared to try and so instead of trying to perfect my craft, I just take it for granted that it will always be there and hope that when the time comes, I won't let myself down.
I think that I am trying to learn how to write intelligently now that I am sane and stable.
I have to relearn what to base everything off of. Before, it was my illness. But now I am better, and I need to base things off of the truth and what is real.
Except I don't know how to do that and I'm worried it won't come out very well.

This is so long, and I am sure that no one has read to the end. Except that it doesn't bother me, because I just realized that it was all for myself anyways.


'get hot now'

>> 7.03.2008

summer workout update
Week 1:
workouts: 4/4 (friday I don't work, which means no gym. But that's okay.)
calories: 1680. roughly.
time: 2 hours and 20 minutes.

feeling: Not bad. Pretty darn proud of myself for working out 4 days in a row. Let's hope it sticks. : )



Today my goal is to be a woman at peace.
Somehow, that desire slipped out for awhile and I turned right back into the anxious, self-criticizing person that could eat herself alive.
I need God to give me peace and settle me with the fact that I am doing the best I can, and that is enough for Him. I don't need to compare myself or any extension of my life to anyone/thing else because there is no point. What God has designed for me is unique, so why wish I had something that wouldn't fit me anyway?

This is just wandering until I can gather my wits about me to keep on trucking for awhile.
It's been a quiet morning...kind of nice.
Wheat muffin (surprisingly tasty) and a mug of coffee.
Workout in two hours, then going home with Husband once work is over.
Fireworks and couple friends tonight...this could work.

God, I need some more inspiration.



>> 6.27.2008


"Use me God...No, I don't have any change. Sorry."
A crowded train, elbow-to-elbow with a mass of unfamiliar people, and wondering what to make for dinner tonight.
Work. Home. Husband. School. Repeat.

I wish I could deny it all. But I can't.
Since when did learning about life become the focus instead of actually living?

I shouldn't look at people and scorn them for who they are. I should look at them and love them for who they are.
If I have the answer to the depravity in their eyes, and the lack of hope in their voice, then why am I keeping silent? Why does it make my stomach shake and my voice dry up when I think about saying hello and asking them how they really are?
The man on the corner in the red shirt and wheelchair, asking for money to stay at the YMCA.
The hobo under the train tracks, rattling his change in his cup and singing a song as people pass.
The woman in the clearance shirt from Wal-Mart, holding her daughter's back pack, while picking her up from school and trying to force a smile.
The man in the movie store, blaring his music so loud it is heard from three aisles away, all the while staring at the shelf intently.

What a coward I am.

"But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."
-Jeremiah 20:9

Please God.



>> 6.19.2008



And I love it.
My life is wonderful.
The wedding went fantastically, no hitches or anything (which I am told is rare...)
My honeymoon was bliss.
10 days in Cancun...I'm not sure you could ask for anything better than that.
My apartment is so cute and homey. I love it.
I cannot wait to get back to it after work at night.
My husband and I are suuuuper in love with each other, and it gets better every day.

I feel like, for the first time in a long time, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and God is first priority.
This is what it's supposed to be like.



>> 5.06.2008

The city is so alive.
Step outside of yourself and begin to see that live keeps flowing all around you. You're a rock in the middle of a stream of people, but it all just keeps moving.

Skyscrapers have become my stars and pavement my green grass.
Iced lattes are my teddy bear and the homeless man in the corner is my Jesus reminder.
The scenery may change, but you will never touch my heart.
It's all the same in so many different and inexplicable ways.

Just don't forget who you are and where you came from, kid. You may become a native, but a homeland can't ever be replaced.

It's good to sit and think and stare at words on a screen for awhile. I'm eating blueberry muffins again, but it's different this time.
Once again, you can take the girl out of the place, but you can't take the heart out of the girl.
I love the ironic of my life.


something determined

>> 5.05.2008

I think I have figured something out.
Men and women were designed to be best friends with each other.
However, this was/is to make marriage function properly and fully.
That's why those brother-like/sister-like friendships always end with someone developing an intense crush on the other one: because it's supposed to happen that way.
I think God made it so that friendships between men and women would slowly delve into emotional closeness that would then evolve into romantic/physical/marry-me attraction.
That's also why I think that friendships with men and women need to be treated so carefully. To me, it's like holding an egg and warming it up and feeding it (or however that happens) and then asking it not to hatch. Obviously, it's going to crack open sooner or later. You can choose to only nurse it a little so that the time for it to hatch never comes. But that also involves choosing lines or creating boundaries so that you don't accidentally open your little egg of romance.

I'm sure that there are many out there that think I am a co-dependent woman for thinking like this, but my reasoning really isn't that far off. Obviously God gave us friendships with other women (and men with other men) for sanity and things like facials and chick-flicks and chocolate. I need my girls. My fiance needs his boys. It's how we were designed. But I also think that God designed the closest friendship in a human-being's life to occur with their spouse. My fiance is my best friend, and because of that I trust him more than I trust anyone else in my life- even my girl friends. He knows things about me and pieces of my mind that no one else knows because we have started to tap that level of emotional closeness that only comes with a male-female bond. (I'm staring to sound like some scary Christian relationship therapist. Ew. I just wanted to sort my thoughts out on this is all.)

I think that's why it's such a cautionary thing for me when I see people in relationships having close friendships with people other than their spouse (or fiance or whatever). You're walking a line and you're gonna fall off somewhere unless you rope yourself in. To be honest, I'm not really comfortable doing something or going somewhere alone with another guy that is not my fiance. I have other guy friends...but that's just weird to me. Why would I do that? What's the point? I don't need to go out for coffee to maintain a good friendship with a guy friend of mine. I also don't think my fiance needs to go out for dinner with one of his girl friends without me. Why can't I come? What would they be talking about that I shouldn't be able to listen to?

Am I way off the mark here? Am I co-dependent and suffocating?
I don't think so...these are just observations that I've gathered while watching other people fall apart over things like this. Sometimes I think some things are just so RIGHT THERE, but the whole world can't seem to see them.
Enough psycho-therapy for a night.
(I've kind of grossed myself out a bit, to be honest.)


a diamond is forever

I watched it and I understood.
More than I should have. More than I wanted to.
The questions don't have any answers, any more than the answers are valid.
And they were right- it's not about death. It's about love.

In so many more ways than one.


sarcasticly cynical

>> 5.04.2008

I feel like I am drowning to death in a sea of macaroni and cheese.
I just want to go outside and breathe.


just because

>> 5.03.2008

I'm getting married doesn't mean that I automatically have the mindset or physical tenacity of a thirty-five year old.
I am nineteen years old and I am living in Chicago.
I still want to go hang out at 11:30, even if that just means sitting at a coffee shop with a bunch of friends.

This is ridiculously out of control.


a bowl of mac and cheese

>> 5.02.2008

Does profound come over this?
It feels like it ought to.
But maybe that's my problem.
Feel has been my primary vocabulary word for the past few days:
"My mouth feels okay."
"My teeth feel like they're shouting at me."
"The pasta is getting caught on my stitches and it makes me feel like I want to cry!"


I don't do this suffering thing well. For the first few days I had the Anne of Green Gables attitude, you know, thinking about how great it was that I could sleep and do homework without any other commitments.
Then the time came where a commitment came up (to another person, so I couldn't just not do it) and I turned myself inside out.
I am now back to hurting and telling people about it.

Some thoughts:
Sometimes God brings blessings in extremely odd-looking packages (aka a $2300 tooth removal and general anesthetic) but they look like inconveniences or even things that are going to make your life fall apart. However, it's all about where you're at with God and where you're at in life that makes it possible for you to delineate between the two.

Sometimes it is okay to spend days on your own in your room just reading and discussing how much you dislike sitting in your room by yourself with God. This generally leads to things that are going on beneath the surface that you and God probably wouldn't have covered had you walked out the door in preparation to see someone else and put your "together" look on your face.

Sometimes you have to love people regardless of when they take your advice to such an extreme that they turn into a scary monster and you're not really sure who they are, but you're almost ready for them to go back to pretending. But then, you cannot EVER tell them this and you just have to support them through their time of self-exploration and reminding them that you love them no matter what (or who) they turn into.

Sometimes it is okay to sit in your sweatpants at 6:30 on a friday night and not want to wash your face or change your clothes and just be a loser for awhile. Especially if you have four tooth cavities stitched over in your mouth.

Oh, and drinking juice every day really clears up your complexion.



>> 4.30.2008

That's what life is about.
It's learning to look past the hard parts and see the good things underneath the dirt.
It's learning to take God as He is, no less, and trusting that He sees the good parts of you, and understands everything you need.
It's learning to be free, and be who you are, even if it seems outrageous sometimes.
It's learning to consider yourself blessed, even if it all comes in a disguise.
It's learning to trust people you are afraid of, simply because they are people too.
It's learning to forgive when people let you down and hurt your heart, simply because they are sinful people- just like you.
It's learning to stop. and. breathe.
It's learning to smile at the sunrise instead of climbing back into bed and waiting for afternoon sunshine.
It's learning to cry at things that hurt, simply because they hurt.
It's learning to allow yourself to feel EVERYTHING, then to keep going, because God is bigger than all of that emotion.
It's learning to be satisfied right where you are, with who you are, and what you are.
And that is the hardest one of them all.

But we're learning, aren't we?


i am

>> 4.27.2008

getting married in almost a month...




Ten years ago I was sitting in my room, wondering how on earth I was going to make it in college without my family. Homesickness was the bane of my existence, and four years without my parents was my doom. Fast forward to right now- I've got a sparkly ring on my left finger, Chicago high-rise buildings out my window and furniture for my new apartment on order.
Five years ago I was laying on my floor, spread-eagled on the carpet and wondering how on earth I was going to get out of this place called Utah. My biggest goal in life was to be able to drive a car and pull in a regular paycheck while looking fantastic in the midst of it all. Four years away didn't scare me nearly as much, but if you had asked me in the middle of the night, I would have just shuttered and pulled the covers tighter. Now it's a semi-sanitized bubble that can still be shattered by a dingy looking black boy shouting obscenities and throwing rocks as you walk down the sidewalk. Pristine dreams are rocked as reality starts to creep back in-
this brings with it the question, what am I doing here?
Sometimes I feel so cloistered in my own life that when the blinds come off and my peripheral vision is back, I'm shattered by that question- what am I doing here?
What sort of a difference am I making?

Take a breath, and maybe the answers will start to flow through again.



>> 4.21.2008

I'm starting to wonder if God has given Satan the go-ahead to start causing me pain.
I feel like my mouth is one giant hole of hurt.



>> 4.20.2008

Well, it's not like I exactly had anything in mind, but sometimes the words just decide to come out when I give them the opportunity. This usually happens when emotions have been running pretty high and I've made some difficult decisions in my life. Thus, opportunity and words:

My wedding is coming closer and closer. This brings moments of terror and then moments of extreme joy. In 41 days I will be a married woman, and an offical adult. I will put on my white dress, walk down the aisle, and tell a man that I love him more than anyone else on this earth and that I promise to stand by him for the rest of our days. I will then kiss him and become his wife.
I cannot wait.
(I hope everything goes like it's supposed too.)

The end of my third semester at Moody is fast approaching as well. Big, scary papers are beginning to nibble at my brain and my caffeine tolerance has increased dramatically due to the fact that I drink it more than water. I feel like my brain is just a blanket full of holes and that all the knowledge is slipping out like sand, but then I look back on it all and realize that I've learned quite a lot more than I thought. Very often I wonder what I am doing here, but then the thought of working in a field I absolutely love comes to mind and I remind myself that this is the gateway to getting there. A few different job/practicum opportunites have popped up and I am so unbelievably excited. I'm not sure that I've ever had a passion for work like I do for this. It's the only field I can picture myself working in for the rest of my life and not feel like it was all pointless. It's actually something that sparks a fire in I'm going after it.

We get the keys to our apartment in three days so that we can start moving in. My mind has been overwhelmed with planning and decorating schemes. Who knew that themes could play such an important role in picking out furniture? At the end of the day, I've decided to try and recreate Paris. I love Europe, Paris especially, and I want my house to be a place I feel like I actually belong in- thus the other-side-of-the-world theme. I may have only been there for a few weeks, but Europe felt more like home than any other place. I can't wait to go back...I sincerely hope that God has plans to put my husband and I there long-term.

I've cut off ties that needed to be cut, and pulled out of a lot of things that weren't doing me any good. I feel like my heart has been pruned a bit, and although it is incredibly painful I have seen the benefit almost immediately. I feel like a more honest, genuine person that is honestly going after Christ, not just talking about it. I've begun to stop judging people on the outside and try to see the inside before I make any character calls. I've also realized that very often it is not about the actions, but about the person mixed up in those actions. This is a lot to explain, and something that I am just now figuring out, so let's just suffice it to say that I'm growing up a lot and I'm realizing just how incredible I am.
It's a nice feeling to know that I am a precious commodity and that my worth can't change. I like being secure, and this is about as secure as you can get.

So that's it.
The words came out, and now I can think straight for a little while longer.



>> 4.16.2008

I've just got to get this out so that I can move on and get things accomplished with my life. So here we go:

This whole wedding-moving-work-school deal is impossible. I cannot do it. And I know those are probably in the wrong order, but to be honest with you, that's probably pretty accurate of my level of concern for them all. I can't help it, and my life is freaking out.

I can't be in my room without falling asleep, waking up 2-5 hours later and kicking myself for even laying down in the first place. Although I know that it's what my body needs, right now my schedule does not allow for it, thus it was a mistake and I am extremely irritated. (In case you cannot tell, I have just experienced this feeling).

I don't want to work out, and I don't want to eat anymore fruit. I HATE keeping track of my calories and making sure that I burn at least 250 at every work out. I am making all this effort and I see no progress- please inform me why I need to keep going?? I hate being hungry all the time and worrying that by eleven o'clock I will have eaten all my calorie allowances for the day and I'm going to go to bed feeling like I have no stomach because it's digested itself.

I miss my fiance and I am tired of not being able to have a real conversation with him because we both have so much to do. We make every effort to see each other and say "hiiloveyoubye" when we can, but that is no substitute for being able to sit next to each other and really listen to what is going on inside the other's heart. This is no way to have a relationship and I am confident that if we weren't already as strong as we are, this semester would be ten times more hellish (aka, last semester).

Not really. Because I don't quit things, and because I won't quit this.
But I am damn well ready to pack my bags and head for anywhere else.



>> 4.10.2008

It's been awhile since I wrote anything seemingly positive, so here it is:

I am utterly in love and I love it.

The man that I gave my heart to is so above and beyond anything I ever expected. Don't get me wrong, he's got his flaws. We all do. But the honesty we've got and the connections we've created are so mind-blowingly amazing that I think it gets so hard for me to comprehend that I just gloss it over. Really though. Our love is a miracle. That's all there is to it.

Secondly, the way my God loves me is pretty miraculous as well. Even though I only comprehend this about 0.01% of the time, the fact that it still exists just shocks me. When I look at the way my fiance loves me, it reminds me of the way that God loves me. Except for the fact that God's love is so much better than human love- I literally cannot take this in, accept it, own it. It's too big and magnificent. I can only hope that one day I will love like that: that patient, that understanding, that accepting, that trusting, that vulnerable.

Love is such a powerful force. It's no wonder it is the only thing that can take the universe by storm. There's nothing else that can stand up to the hell that Satan tries to throw at us. In fact...since God is love, wouldn't it make sense that this is the only thing that can beat evil? Love is an extension of God, therefore it is greater than the devil and all of his "qualities". So that's it.
That's the answer, the solution, the silver bullet.
Love is the only thing strong enough to conquer the world.


falling back into the sun

>> 4.07.2008


I don't know, okay?
Things are moving's time, but it's scary. It's scary in a delicious, this-is-my-life way.
Who could have told me this is where I'd be and that's where I'm going?
I'm ready, but I need Your hand to hold as I jump off, okay?
I've always been nervous right before the punch.

I realize that you have no idea, and you're probably making a whole bunch of assumptions right now, but don't worry.
I'm going to make it again.
This is just a tiny glimpse of a picture too big for me to even see the whole thing.
And some day, when I find my owner's manual and can begin to explain myself, I'll paint you a picture and you'll look at it with me and realize that it was all so much more than we had even begun to think.
Dream big, sweetheart.


flat on your back [a view from the floor]

>> 4.02.2008

They say loneliness is the key to a phase of transition.
What they don't tell you is that once you find yourself completely alone, you're expected to build yourself back up again.
Also, no matter who you are and where you go and who you meet, people can't fill you up like that.
I guess I'm back on the ground staring up at the sky...
just a whisper.

"Even the encourager needs to be encouraged."
Sometimes I wish that these realizations would come a bit sooner.
I also wish that regrets would settle quickly and people would mend their wrongs instead of sweeping them under the table.
*Don't worry...this is probably not even about you.
**Even if it was, I'd never tell you.

I'm just here and I'm still waiting for someone to come home.
My heart seems a bit empty without You.
Maybe one day I'll learn how to do this.
Or not do this.
And maybe that's the key.


over the sea

>> 3.27.2008

Dear self,
You're doing a fantastic job.
Please keep going.


Sometimes I wish letters like this would just come in the mail every time you needed one.
Unfortunately, it seems that we can't read our own minds and our powers of prediction are severely lacking. I don't know what you want, and I'm not quite sure how to read you.
It's like a big giant knot, made up of a thread that is fifty different colors and I'm just trying to untangle it so that I have a little bit more room to breathe.

Give me a break, Frederick.
You don't know.



>> 3.07.2008

...cause I talked too long.

-Apartments. I want my own house.
-Chocolate muffins. Mmm mmm, breakfast.
-Midterms. Two surprise and one in three hours that I have NOT studied for.
-Medicine. Stupid American insurance.
-Europe. I'm going in 9 hours!
-Wedding. Sister-in-law and my own. 85 days!
-Marriage. I wish I was already...
-Thoughts. Too many. No wonder I need help sorting them out.
-Words. Why can't I shape them any better?
-Post-it notes. The blue squares are taking over my desk.
-Sunshine. finally.

-love love.


door(s) problem(s)

>> 3.03.2008

The problem with doors is that they always make you wonder what is behind them. What kind of a person would paint a door such a vivid red and then hide behind it? Who lives there, and what do they eat for breakfast?

Maybe they're rich, and they simply wanted to draw attention the fact that they live downtown in a huge city where rent is sky high and gas prices are even higher. Maybe they go out to glamorous parties every night, and in the early morning hours they need the brightness of that door to get them home.
Maybe I'm just crazy, and need to live a bit outside of myself right now.

I'm just tired and it just keeps raining
and raining
and r a i n i n g.

Things are piling up, but it's not even like they're the big things. They're just the little nagging things that get stuck at the base of your brain and BOTHER YOU until you fix them.
Things like laundry
and dishes
and class schedules
and money
and a place to live
and wedding invitations
[big piles of homework]

Sometimes I would like to run away and forget about longings to come back.


happy times

>> 2.25.2008

Things are good.
-and I like being able to say that.

Granted, nothing is perfect. Rarely anything ever is. There is still pain and frustration and anger and friction, but we deal with it and get on in our lives.
What other choice do we have?

In a moment of re-living things today, I recounted the whole ordeal that pushed me to come to school here in front of a classroom full of twenty people, and then proceeded to act out that same emotion in a different situation. By the time I got done I thought I was going to pass out with exhaustion. I was shaking and my mind was racing- it felt like everything had happened a week ago, not a year. And in the midst of all of it, all I could do was stand there and thank God for pulling me out of such an intense situation. As I was talking, I was watching the looks on people's faces go from boredom, to concentration, to shock, to horror. It was like having a room full of life-size dolls, and I could make their expression into whatever I wanted.
It scared me a little bit, the fact that pieces of my life caused that look on someone's face- was it really that terrible of a situation? I didn't even need to ask...just look around you, kid.
I guess this rocked me in a way I didn't expect. I mean, I know my life has had it's rough spots. Whose hasn't? But to have someone look at you like that, almost in awe that you're still here and you're still sane...well, I guess it just threw me a little bit. Maybe it even made me a bit proud of myself. Like I had conquered some big mountain that most people never even got a glance of.

Although, maybe I'm just looking for strength.

I miss making magic with my words.



>> 2.21.2008

This realization just came to me, and it about made me break down in tears.
I remember back when I was living at home, if I had an issue against my integrity or someone didn't get along with me, my dad was always the first one to express faith in me and who I was. My father believed in my character and would have defended me against anything.

I don't think someone would be able to do that for me anymore.


v day.

>> 2.14.2008

Red roses.
Heart-shaped boxes.
Delicate cards.

This is what comes to mind when Feb. 14 is talked about.

However...Shouldn't it be more about Love than anything else?
Don't get me wrong- all of the aforementioned items are wonderful, and receiving them makes me giggle like a three year-old.
But...without love there would be no point for any of this anyway.
And without God there'd be no love for us to give, or receive.

So I guess the point I'm trying to make, is that before the chocolate and the flowers, and after the tears and the pint of ice cream, God is the whole reason we can celebrate (or not) this whole day centered on Love.

Granted, it's a pretty commercial holiday, but let's be honest here. Shouldn't God's Love for us be the first thing that enters our minds when we think about something like this?

Call me crazy, or overly-spiritual.
It was just something I was thinking I would hope that if I did not have the wonderful fiance that I do, I wouldn't sit in my room all day and wallow in my self-pity. I hope that I would decide to turn this around for all of the people that don't have anything, and that I would praise God for loving me so completely.
I'm not sure that I would...but it's something that I hope for myself.

So for now, I'll smell my roses and pray that God will give extra amounts of Love to the people that need it today.


the quest continues

>> 2.02.2008

Somehow this has turned out to be an account of my journey into being the woman after God's own heart. Or maybe that's all it's been from the beginning.

It seems incredible to me how deep self-hatred can run. Even when I think that I have myself tamed, it comes and strikes me in the throat as I stare at myself in the mirror. It whispers twisted truths in my ears through the voices of the people that I love. It points out flaws that seem to be impossible to improve upon. And at the end of the day, it reminds me how deeply I've fallen and bades me to look at how badly I've failed.

I've got a knight in shining armor now, and he fights for me harder than I've ever seen anyone fight for me before. He battles my mind and strangles the lies. He trumps the flaws with the strengths and shows me how I've succeeded. And at the end of the day, he still loves me more than the day before.

Above all of this, there is a God. The God. The only God.
He put me together, placed the hairs exactly right, sprinkled the freckles and tinted the eyes. He hand-mixed the personality, poured it in, and sealed my heart with His hands, all the while leaving His own print on it.
He has been fighting for me from the dawn of time, and will continue to battle on long after the world has gone dark. He saved me before I fell, and held me before I cried.

His name is Jesus, and He is the only Truth that I want whispered in my ear.


peace and a storm

>> 2.01.2008

Snow flurries are outside my window, and I'm so calm that it's a little surreal.
Aqualung is crooning out of the old speakers, my waterbottle is half empty, and I'm extremely warm in this sweater.
I had a chocolate muffin and a nonfat caramel latte for breakfast (which is my favorite breakfast ever) and I talked to the love of my life for five minutes before he rushed off to classes.
Professors are canceling classes left and right (although none of mine yet) and things are very, very good.

Who would have known that peace would find me in a place like this, at a time like this?

I'm not sure why I'm so surprised, considering it's something I've been praying about for the past week.
"God give me patience and peace and help me to be the quiet woman that is continually striving after You."

After a long bout of silence, maybe He's finally shaping me up again. Either that, or I've finally cracked off the hard bits of my heart that were keeping Him out.

Whatever the case, it's nice to be here in the middle of the storm.



>> 1.27.2008

"Beauty will save the world."
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In spending some alone time with God this morning, I came across these passages in the current book I am reading, Captivating.
Take them as you will.

"A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy or enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that He finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in Him, she is enough."

"A woman who is unveiling her beauty is inviting others to life. She risks being vulnerable: exposing her true heart and inviting others to share theirs. She is not demanding, but she is hopeful...You see, ultimately a woman invites us to know God. To experience through her that God is merciful. That He is tender and kind. That God longs for us- to be known by us and to know us. She invites us to experience that God is good, deep, lovely, alluring. Captivating."

"To possess true beauty, we must be willing to suffer...Yet, if Christ Himself was perfected through His sufferings, why would I believe God would not do the same with me? Women who are stunningly beautiful are women who have had their hearts enlarged by suffering. By saying, "Yes" when the world says, "No." By paying the high price of loving truly and honestly without demanding that they be loved in return. And by refusing to numb their pain in the myriad of ways available. They have come to know that when everyone and everything has left them, God is there. They have learned, along with David, that those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs (Ps. 84:6)."

"God does not always rescue us out of a painful season. You know that He does not always give to us what we so desperately want when we want it. He is after something much more valuable than our happiness. Much more substantive that our health. He is restoring and growing in us an eternal weight of glory. And hurts."

"Abiding in Christ means paying attention to the voice of God within, nourishing our own hearts and nourishing our relationship with Him. Over time."

My prayer today was simply that God would make me a settled woman, a woman of peace. I don't want to strive anymore. I'd rather be calmly walking in the middle of chaos. I want to invite people to know God simply through my character, and not through my many, many words. Youth is fleeting, but true beauty never fades.

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