Tuesday, December 25, 2007


12:21 AM.
It is, officially, Christmas.
I cannot sleep.
This is not the anticipatory sleeplessness I remember.
But it is sleeplessness.
This is the first Christmas of the new season of our lives.
Right now, Kat is in my mom's bed upstairs.
Olivia, Abby, and a broken-limbed Mama are downstairs on mattresses on the floor.
Zoe, Molly, and Henry are in their crates.
Arthur just got done trying to climb up the chimney.
Dad left about two hours ago.

The presents are under the tree already, but I have no desire to peek.
I fell asleep on the couch earlier, by a pile of dryer-warm clothes, listening to Sarah McLachlan.
But it is quiet now.
Except for the ticking of the clock.
It is Christmas again.

Another year has gone by.
So much has happened.
We've all grown so much.
Sitting here in the silence, I find my heart at peace.

Still, my heart is crying for progress.
For growth.
To take your hand and move forward.
I came to the realization long ago that I could not do this alone.
Happiness is to be shared with others.
Even though life may change, and Christmases from here on out may never look the same, my heart is at peace with that.

And we will wake up in the morning.
Five Vaughan women.
Three dogs and a cat.
We'll brew coffee, wrap up in blankets, and watch bits and pieces of Christmas movies.
Until Larry walks through the door.

I still can't sleep.
But it is Christmas.
So, Merry Christmas to all.
My heart is with you, especially, tonight.

Christmas Love

We had Christmas with our "little family" last Monday.
An experience I won't even attempt to put into words.
As we all got ready to leave, putting on scarves and pulling out keys, Kat grabbed me and hugged me.
"Life is good," she whispered in my ear.
Life is good.
And I left the basement that night, with the deep feeling and realization, that I may have just spent Christmas with the people I'd spend the rest of my life with. A family of seven. My heart goes out to you.
I am afraid I don't express my joy enough. That I don't let those I love know just how much I actually do love them. I feel like I should apologize for my picking and my sarcasm and my complaining. I appreciate you all more than I've ever let you know. I need you more than I would ever admit. I want to keep you.I've already had a beautiful Christmas. Between tea and ring pops and pictures and Charlie Brown and the mistletoe that is sitting on my microwave...
And then walking into my new apartment on Thursday with wrapping paper in my arms, opening the door to a hyper kitten, the smell of chicken, and the sound of Alison Krauss playing in the CD player. Coming home.
I am full of joy. I want you to know I love you. My family, my friends. You are what has made my Christmas beautiful.
Merry Christmas.


This Christmas season has been one I will never forget.
I will probably not tell this story well. Nor will I do the actions and character of other's justice. I'm in a hurry. And the dogs are running around like crazy. And voices are being raised. Someone just asked the 100th question of the night... and I am tired.
But I need to do this.
So here it goes.
Christmas was going to be weird this year anyway. We had set ourselves up for that. Planning for Christmas morning without Dad in bed next to Mom.
I tried to weasle my way out of spending Christmas Eve night in Winchester.
I am not a good weasle.
We had made plans to go to Eastern Kentucky and maybe even Northern Kentucky the weekend before Christmas. Maternal grandparents. Curvy roads. Dark living rooms and cigarette smoke and lots of greasy food. I would be moving on the 15th of December. My car had just broken down (hitting the dashboard no longer worked its magic). Finals in the midst of it all.
And then on Sunday, December 9th, things got a little weirder.

Kat and I had just finished with Togethership. It was raining. We were wet, frustrated, having emptied my bank account on gas for a car that was not mine (a gas hog oldsmobile). So Kat and I had changed into comfortable clothes and we playing with Arthur in her basement when we got a phone call.
My mother had fallen at my grandparents house. Decided it was a good idea to suck up the pain, get in the car, and drive from Nicholasville Road to Todds Road with her left foot. But she would need our help getting from the car to the basement.
So we waited.
Surely she was overreacting. No.
She got to the house and her ankle was swollen like someone had slipped a softball under her sock. Abby freaked out. Olivia and Kat helped Mom down the stairs while I kept Henry (the puppy) from eating Arthur (the cat). We got the insurance card, made my mother calm down, put a call in to my dad, made Abby stop crying, argued with my mom some more, swapped car keys...
And we took my Mom to the ER.
A broken fibula. Cast for three months. No driving. Lots of drugs. Wheelchair for a while. Then a walking boot and crutches.
We could handle that.
We'd put my mom on some calcium, get her better tennis shoes (with more tread), and draw to our heart's content on her cast.
So we thought.
Until Thursday.
As Howard left my house I got a call from my sister. Mom's fallen.
"I think you need to come to Winchester."
"You fell? How?"
"Using my crutches. I think it's broken."
"What is?"
"My wrist."
So I got in my car and drove to Winchester. On the way, I called Caleb. I need patience, I told him. I need grace. We talk a lot about grace. But how often do I act on it? How often do I show it? Now, with my mother completely incapacitated, could I be gracious? Patient? He prayed for me over the phone as I drove down US 60.
I came into the house on Long Avenue and my stomach hurt. Her wrist looked like a ping pong had risen under the skin. But I wouldn't take her to the ER again. Not again. So we put ice on it. And we sat in the living room and cried. And I played with her hair. And I made fun of her for not having any balance. And we dealt with the real issue...
I would later find out that it was Olivia who picked my mother up off the floor. Stooped down, put her forearms under my mother's shoulders and lifted her up off the floor. Fourteen years old, she was there to do what had to be done.
So on Friday I took Olivia and Mom to the doctor's. Found out her arm was broken. And would require surgery.
Saturday I moved into a new apartment. I moved Arthur in on Sunday. Found out on Monday that it only takes me 7 minutes to get to work.
And last night, I spent Christmas with my best family... seven of us, needing and wanting each other, eating cookies and opening stockings and watching Charlie Brown and listening to James Taylor and taking silly polaroids. I received one of the best Christmas gifts last night... wrapped in a yellow envelope. A ring pop.
All I want for Christmas?
I want to be like my little sisters. And I want to be the best woman I can be... loving with all my heart, opening up again.
And I want to see my dad.
Even as I say that, I feel the tears coming.
More than anything I'd love to wake up too early on Christmas morning and stare longingly at the clock and wait until a reasonable hour and run downstairs and tickle Dad's feet until he rolled over, licked his lips, and told us he'd be up in a minute. Instead of running to the Christmas tree, however, this time I would just curl up in bed beside him. Let him sleep. Because that would be enough.
He'd be there.
Presents would wait.


I feel like I haven't had good words in ages.
This happens every now and then; my well dries up and I am left, parched and seeking refreshment.
It's not always a bad thing: this want, this dehydration. It slows me down. It makes me reach, stretch my creative arm, causing me to seek, knock, ask.
Why do I not have words?
What is it I am dying to say... but cannot?
Today I am thinking about a lot of things. My finite mind is trying to wrap around this life, all that is happening, all that is going to happen... I am consumed by thoughts of deadlines, office hours, jingle bells, kitty litter, cardboard boxes, and Christmas parties.
I just finished taking my first final of the semester. I turned in a photography portfolio last night. Monday is my comprehensive bio final, Tuesday is a comprehensive nutrition final along with a nutrition project that had some technical difficulties. Wednesday is a 100 question exam with 5 journals due. And then... then I am done. With school. For now.
Two days after that I will be moving. In that small window of time I will pack up fourteen months worth of stuff and I will leave Hays Boulevard. I want to get out and sit on my roof one more time. Light one more fire in the fireplace. Play with the garage door for a while, so I don't forget how one works. I know the day I leave, I will stand in my empty room and say goodbye. For the third time in eighteen months.
I am a gypsy.
I have no home.
There will be indentions in the carpet from my bed and bookshelf. The room will smell like me. Like vanilla candles and nag champa incense and gap body mist and sandalwood body lotion. The room will echo... I remember this feeling. I will take a mental picture. Shut the door. And I will leave.
And I will drive downtown in a car full of stuff. I will park outside a new apartment complex and I will use a new key to unlock a new door and walk into a new, empty space. This room will echo too. It will smell like cleaning agents and paint, and the musty heat pump will generate warm air. This new space will start to awaken.
Along with this new space, with the end of the semester, comes a new family member. Arthur is a 10 week old kitten who stole my heart last Saturday night. He's the color of my coat, with faint stripes and spots. He's rambunctious and energetic and loud... he likes to cuddle and play with Hershey kisses under the dining room table. He runs headlong into walls and collapses, belly up, on the couch when he's tired. He's staying at Katherine's until I move to my new space. But he will go home with me in nine days... When we will start a new life.
Soon the new empty space will be filled with smells of food, of perfume, of laundry detergent. Beds will be made, books put on shelves, art hung on the walls, dishes put away in the cupboards. We will start new traditions and get used to driving down Tates Creek Road to get home. There will be new mailboxes and new bathroom sinks. This will become my landing spot. I will make this new place my home.
Life will start to look different.
Life continues to change.
Christmas is coming and it will not be like any Christmas we've ever had before. Three of the Vaughans will have to travel to Winchester to celebrate the holiday; displaced from their own beds so that the six of us can be there on Christmas morning to eat cinnamon rolls and open stockings. There will be a new dog, my new cat, and another year of experience to be accounted for. We are looking for new traditions, new hope, new laughter. Such things are not as easy to purchase as Christmas lights or gingerbread. The process will sting a little, pull a bit at the tendons of our hearts, and stretch the muscles of our consciousness. Until we come to realize that Christmas is just another day. Christmas, just like life, continues to change. Some things will stay the same. Bulbs will go out in the string of lights, and we will have to replace them. Ornaments will break. We'll fill the holes in the Christmas tree under my mother's careful, obsessive supervision. I'm clinging to a Charlie Brown sort of hope... It may seem like I'm counting the chickens before they hatch.
But then Christmas will come and go.
My prayer is we will remember who we are again. When mistletoe will not be what guarantees kisses, once we have stowed away the excess wrapping paper, untangled the Christmas lights. Holiday spirit all exhausted, folded up, packed away. The New Year will be here. School will start again. My kitten will grow up. The world will shut down. Slipping into the gray hibernation of January and February.
All the while I will be praying. Praying for grace. That as January comes, my spirit would grow to be giving, patient, wise, and selfless; that I would embrace such change and custom and fervor, knowing that all things change.
And the dam will break.
And the water will come rushing in, quenching thirst.
And perhaps, then, words will come.
Come and stay.


There is a family I know... a family I've never been particularly fond of, had any deep connection with, or had any ties to. They know my mother and my sisters (her boys used to clog with Kat, her daughter dances with Olivia). They were just that family who only listened to Bach, conservative activist republicans (not that there is anything with being conservative, an activist, a republican, or listening to Bach. It's just a bad combo.).A couple of months ago I heard that this family had decided to adopt. They have three children of their own, but they were wanting to take in a few children from Liberia. I thought it was a joke. A fleeting idea they had...Until the day I came home to Winchester and heard that the family had just picked up their new family additions. Come to find out... they've adopted at least five children from Liberia. My heart hurt. I wanted to hug the mother. I wanted to thank her for bringing these beautiful children into our world... these children who dont know their real age, who have walked across countries to get to orphanages, who live in dangerous proximity to LRA. Their skin is black as coal, their accents thick, their eyes dark and exotic...I watched the oldest daughter dance in the last ballet performance. SHe danced to a song called "Cathedral". I saw her lift her eyes and I wondered how she much feel... in this world of technology and luxury and love... does she feel like she lays her head down in a cathedral every night?And then I found out that the mother and father had given each of the children a new name. I was upset at first... wondering why you would rename a teenage girl or boy... until my own mother told me why. Told me that these children from Liberia had gone to their adoptive parents and asked for new names. "Real parents name their children. We want you to name us. You are our parents now."And I thought of the verse in Revelations, where it says we will be given a new name... of Jesus renaming Saul and Simon and Abram.

Father God, real parents name their children. Name us. Give us new names, written on white stone. So that we may be yours.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Man of the House

I don't have words to express my emotions about yesterday. Anxiety. An ounce of dread. In the twelve months since last Thanksgiving, life has changed dramatically. I wasn't sure I was prepared. I wasn't sure any of us would know how to handle ourselves and each other.

We always knew as we grew older that traditions would change. We would make new ones, old ones would dissolve, as we grew out of what we were and into who we are. This year, some of us are taller. Some of us have more lines on our faces, new ink on our skin, new experiences and more wisdom than we did on Thanksgiving of 2006.

Half of the Vaughan family is halfway across the country. The part of the family that balances out the male:female ratio. The beautiful limb of the family tree that will eventually carry on the family name. And I miss them. I miss Phil and his sarcasm, his teasing and tickling (although it's been years since he's tickled me enough to make me fall to the ground). I miss conversations with Donna, especially since my trip to their territory almost four months ago. Austin's voice has changed and I have to look up at him when he stands beside me. Carter is still learning who he is... and my heart resonates with his. It will be almost 2008 before we see them again. And I felt their absense yesterday.

We have a new addition. Somehow, the transition was seamless. A beautiful blonde who has stolen my handsome uncle's heart... she slipped in, quiet and unassuming. And before I knew it, she was sitting beside me on the floor while Olivia played with our hair. It is a special thing to be invited to a Vaughan holiday. We would have missed her had she not come. She's a keeper.

Dad had to work. There was a two hour window filled with picture taking, instructions, sandwiches, and Ray Charles. Later, I will realize that was what was missing yesterday. The piano was not played... and when Dad left, part of the holiday left with him.

But it was you who saved the day. I remember the years when you had plans of your own; "places to be", reasons to sneak out as soon as the food was eaten. You had your own time, and we loved you dearly. But back then, we had no idea who you were. The "cool" uncle? Some time between November of 2006 and yesterday, something changed. And I got to Severn Way and you were already there.

I watched you cook, scold the dog, love on Grandmom. I watched you hug a beautiful young woman when she walked in the door... I saw the look in your eyes when you talked to her. And then you sat down at the head of the table. In Granddad's seat. A sacred seat that, even on a normal day, few would dare to sit in. The man you are is no longer a stranger to me. There were moments when you sounded like Phil, moved like Dad, looked like Kat... but in reality, you were simply the man of the house. Filling the role of uncle, brother, boyfriend, youngest son... the only son who could really make it home for the holidays.

You had big shoes to fill yesterday.

I don't know what I would have done without you. When it seems like there are so few good men left in this world, I only have to think of you.

I left, thinking about next Thanksgiving, knowing that things would continue to change. We will continue to get older, wider, taller, wiser, hardened and softened and seasoned by life. Relationships will develop, our family will get larger.

And so, despite that longing in my heart for snow flurries, having to dodge arrows and bullets shot from slingshots, and the sound of the piano, played by two brothers...

I am thankful for you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Empty Places

When we were all younger, six Vaughans living under one roof in Winchester, we would spend a few nights a week eating dinner together. The littlest, Abby, was a picky eater. We used to tease her, saying if she ate any more chicken, she'd grow wings. But every night after dinner, Dad would tell her to stand up and he would poke her belly. "Do you have any empty places?"

This weekend, I drew a new analogy about my Father God. As thirty hours ticked by, sometimes whizzed by, and I felt the growling of my stomach and the weakness in my head, I saw Him lean over me."Do you have any empty places?"

I swear I could feel Him poking my belly.

"Yes, Father... too many."

"Let Me fill them."

We must let Him fill your empty places. The places that no amount of food or drink can fill... the holes in our hearts and the hidden crevices of our souls. Let Him come, pouring His grace all over us, until we are overflowing.

And so, after thirty hours, I understand a new ritual. The discipline of attaching a physical hunger to a spiritual one. Understanding the level of need and still... being so blessed. May your cup run over tonight.

May your empty places be filled.

He is enough.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Legal Pad Notes (pt.3)

You'll get sick of these by the time I'm done. But this is what happens when you work in a cubicle so far away from the windows... your mind has to find something to keep it alive... so I brainstorm. I brainstorm and then tear the page out of my notebook and bring it with me. And by the time I sit down to write it all out (so I don't lose it... all ideas are precious), the paper is tattered and torn. It's a system.
Psalters. Psalms. Poor wayfaring strangers. Gypsies. The way I resonate with them cannot be put into words.
Today is my half-birthday. The anniversay of meeting a best friend. Today is three years from then. From that one night. Of promises and assurances. Three jam-packed years of loving, growing up, growing apart, leaving, stretching, hurting, finding, seeking, seeing...
I need to find a VW van/bus. We need a diesel engine so we can convert it to vegetable oil. I saw one driving down New Circle this morning... I'm taking it as a sign.
Bad Company, "Burning Sky".
Upper room.
My heart is an empty room... I'm starting new. You do not put new wine in an old wineskin. I cannot make this new theology (dare I call it that...) fit into my old lifestyle.
It is not easy. God bless us

Legal Pad Notes (pt.2)

Church. (Immediately, you see a steeple.)
The church, I think as it was originally intended, was meant to be an army. A rescue team (think rescue dogs and parachutes and dangerous missions where you fight the elements and save lives). In the same breath, the Church is called to be a family. To be a comfort, a provider, a lover. I think we've hardened the spirit of the church with mortar and brick... caged up a beast that was supposed to be as dangerous and as good as the Lion himself. We've become lazy... immobile, with a concrete foundation. We are too clean, too designed, too safe.
My soul is wrenched every time I drive by and the lights of a sanctuary are dark and the doors are padlocked.The Church is flesh, not brick.
What do we call ourselves then? Tell me.
"We get it wrong when it becomes anything but love, and simply doing life together."I feel a beautiful desperation, a yearning that is foreign to me. I feel myself, my heart, stretching and reaching... just to touch Him."Love is always relevant."
Read Hosea. Redeeming Love.
Our best, most spiritual, organic, blessed experiencs usually do not take place in a pew. They happen over coffee, double cheeseburgers, while smoking on the front porch, while buttering bread, sitting around campfires, over fried chicken.
We've tried to replicate, manufacture and treat what was once "Christianity". Consequently, what was once the church has turned into little more than body, brains, and blood...no soul or heart. A little like the Tin Man.
"Don't forget to be in love."
It all seems too much right now.
Just breathe.


I got away this weekend.
This was one of the first times since my trip to Colorado that I've been able to be outdoors for long amounts of time.
So about thirteen of us escaped out to a farm in Montgomery County.
Caleb and I went grocery shopping the night before to prepare. Who knew the feeding college students would feel like feeding the 5,000?
The weekend was full of campfires and dying ATVs and low, November temperatures. Saturday morning we woke up to a cabin that was 50-some degrees... so we all piled onto the couch and stayed there for a while, cuddled up together, trying to keep warm.
We went on a long hike on Saturday. It might not have taken so long if we hadn't decided to try a short cut home. Which consequently led us onto another farmer's property beside a landfill, only to be greeted by mad coon dogs and unidentified, white, flying birds (CHICKENS!).
The sky was full of thousands of stars every night. And a few times I would stop and stand very still... and hear nothing. Silence. Do you know what quiet sounds like? You probably haven't heard it in a while. It's deafening.
There was nothing spectacular about the weekend. No great epiphanies.
Except for when I prayed to feel God's presence...
And the wind blew.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Mirrors in the Dark

There is nothing funny about fear.
I got to thinking about this because of Halloween.
Why people pay for other people to scare them to death...
There's nothing funny about fear.
There's something hilarious about people's reactions due to fear.
There's something incredibly funny about what people are afraid OF.
But that electric terror that courses through your veins... no, man, that's not funny.

And so there is a man in my life who wrote about fear last night. He asked us what it is that we fear. My list? 1) Failure. 2)Being lost. 3). Mirrors in the dark. 4) Security alarms. 5)Being alone. 6). Myself.

Myself? Even as I wrote that, I wondered where it came from. And even as I wondered, I got the answer. I am afraid, because most of the time I do not understand myself. I don't understand why I do what I do, or say what I say, or feel what I feel. I don't understand this radical transformation that is taking place...

I am afraid that when it comes down to the wire, the weak part of my soul will go into overdrive. They say when we are put to the test, we more often than not revert back to what we know.

When Jesus extends his hand and gives me my instructions...

My gut reaction is not going to be: "Well, of course, Christ. I've always wanted to live below my means, love beyond my ability, and I don't mind being dirty and cold. Sure, I don't mind if people hate me or scorn me. I'll love them anyway, no problem."

Yeah, right.

Why do I fear myself? Much for the same reason I am afraid of mirrors in the dark. More often than not, I get a sudden glimpse at my reflection... and don't recognize myself. And then I thought of this quote... which I am sure that some of you have heard before. But as you read it, I want you to think about this. Are you afraid of yoursef? If your answer is yes like mine, why? This fear I am feeling is not a funny thing. But it could be such a good thing... signifying change and transformation that is not my own doing.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, georgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are we not to be? You are the child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Marianne Williamson."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Legal Pad Notes (pt.1)

Just some thoughts that went through my mind today at the office... I will need you, my family, to help me elaborate and expand on these:

My prayer: "I will not lie. My heart needs to be changed just as much as anyone's. Father, take my heart and make it new."

Guilt wears off. This is the reason why donations flood in during the holiday season and then trickle off by February. We could show the public pictures of starving children, campaign for change in church services, and dish out statistics all day long. Something's missing to keep that conviction in the public's heart... a lifestyle change must occur. Guilt is not the avenue.

Part of the tragedy of the homeless is that so many of them have lost respect for themselves; they've lost their dignity to a state of utter desperation. It is our job, our calling, to help restore them.

Bus fares.

The least of these.

Giving my heart away (I am Yours, not my own).

The point is not to create an exclusive community, but to create a community that is big enough for the whole world.

What can we do to keep the public from accepting our flyers and tracts and throwing them into the next trash can, or onto the floorboards of their cars? Activism needs to become something far more than protesting and advertising... surely there's another answer.

We have to understand that we cannot change a whole generation over night. Mentality and behavior are modified over years and years... to change our mentality, to change our behavior, we must change what we believe. So pester the hell out of the adults who are stuck in their ways. And immerse the children in a new way of thinking. Teach them what our parents didn't teach us... maybe a new generation will rise from the ashes.

Our hearts are as hungry as our bellies. Our souls are as weak as our bodies.

Light in the Darkness

My heart is burdened tonight.
I'm in desperate need of some good company.
A good cup of coffee, perhaps.
I am learning that along with God's presence, with a called heart, when you are given a mission, when your soul is stirred...
It seems Satan likes to give us some special attention.
I'm trying to take a lesson from Mr. Price. I'm trying to laugh, brush it off, and press on. Persevere.
Tonight, he's attacking my self esteem.He's picking at my loneliness.
And I've asked for protection.
I am not the sort of woman that sees evil lurking behind every bush.
But I believe that one of my biggest mistakes is ignoring evil completely... disregarding it as supernatural or dramatic.
May the light outshine the darkness tonight...
Reminding me that I am glorious because He made me.
Validated by His love.
Be real tonight, Father God.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In the Beginning

The sky was heavy.
The air around her felt empty.
She was suddenly utterly aware of her skin,
And felt a hole begind to grow in her breast that, even a lifetime later, she wouldn't be able to fill.
The Lord had retreated.
The gates of the Garden were closed; an angel stood before them, shifting his weight, his eyes.
She saw an expression of pity fleet across his features and then dissolve into a light she could no longer bear to look at.
She looked at her husband, but for the first time, had no words to express her heart.
And then, not with her ears but with her heart, she heard the words she would cling to for the rest of her years.
The words she could try so hard to teach her children; the words she would always ache to hear again, but would forever only feel--as if an echo...
"Oh, beloved, how I love you."
She turned her back to the Garden, the only home, the only world she had ever known. In her heart she knew her children would know the Lord's grace.
But for the rest of her years, whenever the wind blew, she would know a great ache in her heart.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Thoughts (Pt. 1)

This will undoubtedly be the first in a series of posts. But I want you to know what I am learning... somehow, I want to chronicle this journey. Snapshots of my soul. I'm not sure a polaroid could expose the transformation that is taking place. So I will paint a picture with my words as best I can.

There is a difference between believing and following. Even the demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God. The rich young ruler believed the same; I would even go as far as to say that the young ruler loved Jesus. But don't we want to be more... don't we want our hearts to be in a better place than the demons, or the man who walked away? Believing is recognizing His majesty, recognizing Him for His power. Following, on the other hand, is the hard part. The part of the plan that will lead you past your ability. Following is the part that will break you, make you vulnerable, and lead you to a place you never could have gotten to on your own.

Jesus said, "Come, follow me." Not, "Come, know who I am." Rather, He said, "Come, be like me. Come do life with me." He wants us to see with new eyes. To see for ourselves (Taste and see that the Lord is good) that He is holy.

He separates us, sheep from goats. Those who fed Him, clothed Him, loved Him... from those who did not. With this analogy He urges us out of our comfort zone. He calls us to love everyone. To love the forgotten. To remember the lost. To be reminded, daily, that very little separates the suburbs and the park benches... that the resources we have been given, those that make us comfortable, are the very things we are called to give away. They say that money is the root of all evil. It is, rather, the hoarding of money... the misuse of money... that has left some without clean water or clothes.

Gates are a defensive structure. When Jesus refers to the gates of Hell in Matthew 16, He also refers to raising a church... which is an offensive action. In one translation, Jesus says the church will be "so expansive with energy that even the gates of hell won't be able to keep it out". T-shirts are being made. "I'm following Jesus straight to hell." I'm interested to hear the questions we'll get... I just can't help imagining Jesus charging ahead on a horse... I think He'll be yelling.

Christianity is uncomfortable. By picking up our crosses, we are submitting to a life of what my friend and I call, "un-comfort". Jesus does not want us to live in "discomfort". The point of Christianity is not pain and suffering. But about doing what it takes, whatever it takes to bring glory to God the Father.

And so when Jesus says to let the dead bury the dead... when He says to hate your father and your children... He is redefining family. The Body of Christ must be flexible. It must be able to grow with you, accept you as you change and grow and mature in Christ. You are not called to hate anyone... but you are called to love Christ above all else. That's all there is to it. And when He says "go"... your response should be nothing else but, "Yes. Where?"

The Lord knows me better than I know myself. Daily He looks at me and says, "That is who I created you to be. Let me show you, let me take you there."

Believe in Him.
Love Him.
Follow Him.
Be like Him.
Let Him consume you.

My disclaimer is this: He may not be gentle. The way may be steep. You may be uncomfortable.

But His grace is sufficient.


Twice a year the extended Vaughans drive in for the Keeneland meets. Once in the spring, once in the fall, it never fails. The only thing that varies is the number of them who come. Some years every brother, sister in law, cousin, first cousin, and second cousin once removed gathers in a hotel lobby to eat pizza. This year, there were only four. Johnny and Betty drove in from Chattanooga. Ron and Marlise drove down from Columbus. And I was dreading it.

I had watched my grandmother work herself into a frenzy trying to prepare for the wealthy Vaughans. The food she made, or had Granddad make, "would have fed Bosnia" (in Larry's words). "Twice" (according to Marty). I walked into the garage on Friday to find Granddad cleaning out a vacuum cleaner, a look of apprehension and slight disgust on his sweet face. Those are two emotion you rarely see on Joe. But there they were.

The Lexington Vaughans congregated before anyone else showed up. This was relaxed and easy and full of knowing glances... "it's about to get crazy up in here". We all knew. My mom looked at Marty at one point and said, "So how's life treating you, Marty?" Marty got a little bit of a smile on his face and said, "Wonderful. Life is wonderful."I immedately teared up."I have a good job, a good church, I'm in love..." he turned red. "I have no want." He has a good stew simmering, according to my mother. I need the recipe.

So my family, Marty, Granddad and Grandmom all waited for the four others to join us. About three or four hours later they showed up, having fallen asleep in their hotel room after a long day at the races (we found out later they watched the races from the Equestrian room... and the look of digust returned to Granddad's face). They walked in with a bag filled with bottles of wine. Betty declares, "Vicki brought this up from Atlanta last time we saw her. This is wine from a store called Trader Joe's. We call it 'Two Buck Chuck'." From across the room I began to die laughing. $2.50 wine... from an organic grocery store by Piedmont Park in Atlanta. I looked my granddad and said, "I hear that's some pretty good wine". So the poor man poured himself a glass.

Joe and Ron and John are brothers. Their oldest brother Luke died almost ten years ago. Granddad, Joe, is the baby. John is the next oldest. And Ron is third. John looks just like our Granny Vaughan who died back in 2001 and all you have to do to get to his heart is give him a hug. He married Betty, and after almost 20 years I still can't figure her out. Ron does everything in his power to intimidate you. He throws out numbers and irrelevant facts and tidbits of information. He wears round, gold rimmed glasses and talks with a distinct air of disdain. Love them, yes. But as they walked into the house, I leaned over to Mom and told her to pass me the bottle of wine. And then I looked at Marty and said, "man, we ought to get Ron to play some Mario Cart." This had Marty in stitches.

I had psyched myself up for the typical gamut of questions. "School", "Work", "Plans".... I didn't have the heart to tell them last night that none of my plans seemed to be coming to fruition and that God was ruining my life with His holy presence. I just didn't think they'd get that.

After we ate my Grandmother came out of the bedroom to fix herself a plate for dinner (she had retreated for a while to get herself together, I think). So I got up and went into the kitchen. She looked up and me and pursed her lips and closed her eyes (a smile that says, I'm not really alright, but let's pretend I am). "You okay?" I asked. "Need any help?" "No, I think I'm doing okay.""Grandmom?"She pursed her lips again."Grandmom, I want you to get yourself a plate and go sit down in there in the dining room and rest."She looked up at me."I mean it.""Okay. That sounds good to me.""The time has come when you have to start doing what I tell you to do, just like I listen to you." I winked at her. She grinned for real this time."That sounds good to me."I won't ever forget that moment.

I walked back into the living room to find Abby Taylor sitting cross-legged on the floor with Ron (the intimidating uncle), a glass of wine on the table beside him, playing Mario Cart. I was beside myself.Not too much later, Joe and John grabbed the controllers and my grandfather, the littlest brother, started teaching John how to play. Which buttons made it go. How to shoot your amo. How to jump (which, unless you could jump over an opponent, this button made no sense to poor Johnny).

Kat and I checked out early last night... we didn't really have anything better to do, but we couldn't handle it anymore. So we made our rounds, hugging everyone and kissing cheeks. "Sweet girl, don't work too hard," Ron said to me. I paused... "but study really hard!" He said. Oh. I thought for a second Ron had redeemed himself. Nevermind.

I hugged Granddad. He always hugs me really long and really tight and he whispered in my ear, "Come back, please, when there's not so many people." I told him I would and he winked at me. And as I walked down the stairs, once I was out of sight, I heard my mom say, "Can you believe we have two more grown women in this family?" My heart swelled.

Family. I'm shaking my head and laughing even as a I think about them...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I asked for this.

I asked for Him to come, to feel Him.

I wanted a purpose. I wanted to be free and natural and I wanted my soul to meet my body.

I asked and pleaded and begged.

There were days when I retreated... I was tired of looking, tired of seeking and not finding.

And days all I wanted was to be on my knees, and wait.

But it snuck in.

Slipped in quietly and planted itself in my heart. And even now I cannot pinpoint when it happened. A seed that had been buried deep within myself long, long ago has begun to grow.

And the process is a painful one.

I found myself standing toe-to-toe with a challenge.

Suddenly swept up in a sea that had once been dammed...

And I found myself feeling sick. Consumed in a way I had never quite felt before.

I wanted to cry and the tears wouldn't come. I needed to take someone's hand and fall to my knees and ask for direction... for some reason, a prayer said silently just wouldn't suffice.

I prayed the feeling would stay. Stay with me, Lord... don't leave me again.

I felt my soul drenched...

Feeling heaven meet your soul is like waking from a dream. I felt as if I needed to stay very still... barely breathing, hoping the feeling would stay. Staying still to keep the real world from coming and pushing heaven out.

I feel His grace. Like rain, it's falling down on me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

unforced rhythms

I am blown away.
When I say I am considering joining the circus... I am not kidding.
My grades are horrible.
My bank account is empty.
My body is suffering.
I do not sleep well.
I am hungry a lot.
I feel like I am pushing a boulder up a mountain... and even when I stop to rest, I have to bear the weight of the burden.
And then today happens.
How a simple 82% on a biology exam could turn everything around, I'll never know.
But I wanted to shout for joy during lecture.
For the first time in a long time, I knew what it meant to want to dance and jump.
Happiness. I was PROUD of myself. Immensely so.
And then I am reminded... unconsciously by a new ruined-life friend of mine... of a promise that Jesus made to us.
(Matthew 11:28-30) "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
I am tired.
And worn out.
Frayed at the edges.
Religion holds no joy for me... only love and spirit.
So I need to seek Him.
Find him, run away with him.
He will wisk me away.
He will give me rest... real rest.
He wants to take a walk with me.
He wants to work by my side.
If I watch how He does it, then He'll do it with me.
And then I will know how.
"The unforced rhythms of grace."
That made my heart stop.
My shoulders cannot take anything heavier... I cannot walk beneath a load ill-suited.
Keep company with Him.
What does it mean to be free and light?
I want to take his yoke.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Do you need to be inspired to write?
Apparently that's not the rule.

It is my rule.

And even as I sat down to write this, feeling slightly inspired, I feel it slipping from my fingers. Like sand. I cannot hold onto inspiration. It is inspiration that holds on to me. Hold me now, muse. Hold me tight.

I spent the weekend in Atlanta. The weekend flew by just like I was afraid it would. The old adage, "time flies when you are having fun" is so true. I had an amazing time. Shelby and I drove down on Friday afternoon. We reached Atlanta after the sun had set, and the city lights seemed to burn against the sky. The only way to drive into Atlanta is at night. The city's spirit is out then, and you can catch a glimpse of her character.

As we drove, I felt something rising in my chest. As if the dam had broken, and the chambers of my heart were filling up. I laughed out loud. Shelby asked me what I was laughing for. "I feel like Tiffany... my heart is happy!" We listened to American Pie as we drove into the city. The words still echo in my ears. "And we sang bye, bye miss American Pie..."

On Saturday, Tiffany and I got up and watched a parade on campus. Then we met Rachael in Atlanta. I was determined to stand up for myself, to be assertive. As much as I love Rachael, I have always let her walk all over me. I have let her confidence suppress me, and I worry far too much about what she thinks of me. We ate a late brunch at Java Jives. Buttermilk pancakes and black coffee and suppressed tears. We caught up on trips to Africa, loved ones, struggles, and goals. We talked about seasons of life and rent. Tiffany and I left, and my tears dried up.

On our way back, we passed old movies theaters that play indie films, Trader Joe's (an organic grocery store that sells $2.50 bottles of wine), and Piedmont Park. This is when I had my epiphany. The realization that it is, in places like these, where my soul meets my body. As if, finally, they fall into step together. The Anna who is organic and soulful and excited and ambitious. This is why I feel full. My soul is filling my heart. And I wonder how anyone could ever learn to love me, if I am not the person I love to be. How can I expect a man (or anyone for that matter) to see me, know me, love me... if it is not the real Anna he is seeing?

On Sunday, Shelby and I got into the car and headed home. Driving up I-75, Shelby looked over at me and said, "I am ready to be home." I paused and watched as Atlanta disappeared in the rearview mirror. It was daytime, and the city had lost her luster. Her homeless could not hide in the shadows, her grime was not glorified in bright lights. She was just a city. Where life happens. Where there are traffic jams and laundry to be done. "I'm ready to be home too," I told her. Five and a half hours later, we were.

And Monday came with all her hell. And I threatened to quit school. And I needed to cry. The tears won't come. Yet, I had another epiphany.

I can make Lexington anything I want it to be. This city can be my home. Geography has very little to do with our hearts. Unfortunately, this just means my greatest obstacle is myself. Oh, to be your own worst enemy. This is the challenge.

So I met dear Liza at Coffee Times tonight. I've halfway boycotted Starbucks in support of local houses. Especially fair trade ones. I walked into the shop and saw a collection of my favorite cards and a guy who was wearing really awesome socks. And Liza and I sat and drank macchiattos and I realized what kindred spirits we are....

What free spirits we are.

I'm sick and tired of writing about who I want to be.
Dreaming of what I want to do.
Of suppressing my heart and soul.

I'm ready for my soul to fill my body again.
For my outside to reflect my spirit.
For my heart to fall into step with my actions.

Nothing in my life right now is in sync. Nothing makes sense. I remind myself that this is just a season and "this too shall pass". Will it ever feel right again? Will it ever feel good? Even for a little while? This free spirit of mine is tired of being caged.

It will be a gradual transformation... as all true transformations are. Then one day, the cage door will fly open. And there will be wind beneath my wings.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Opening Day

Yesterday was opening day for the fall meet.

I've been coming here since I was a little girl. I remember "Breakfast with the Works" and bundling up against the cold October mornings. I don't ever remember staying for a race when I was younger. I don't remember the beer or the cigars. I just remember the sycamore tree and having my dad place $2 bets for me with his own money.

I took half a day off of work yesterday. Amazing how three hours of work will drag on and on when you are looking forward to leaving. It poured the rain yesterday morning. Everyone is happy... we need the rain. Being selfish, I wished it would stop. I had a special afternoon planned. Rain would just make it kind of soggy.

I brought my camera with me for the first time. Knowing how to take fast-action shots and utilize the lighting of the overhangs and tree branches. It's a good feeling to know what you're doing. It's a good feeling to capture an afternoon with a lens.

But this time it was a little bit different. I was old enough to place my own $2 bets (still, with my dad's money). I was enveloped by the smell of beer and cigars. I was acutely aware of the well-dressed men and women of wealth. I wondered if someone held a stamp at the front gate that read "Trust Fund" and impressed it upon these people's foreheads. They dripped with it... whatever "it" is. I can always tell how wealthy someone is by the sunglasses that they wear. (Just to give you a hint, most of them wore shades that cost more than my car.) I watched as people won and lost money. As a few particular individuals grew increasingly intoxicated. And I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I was not the thin, beautiful, well-dressed girl on the arm of the wealthy, well-bred young men who smelled so good (and they did smell good...). I couldn't walk in those heels for all the money in the world. I was the girl with the camera. Who was limp and wrinkled in the heat. Not to say that I didn't belong there. I did. I do. I just have a very evident socioeconomic bias.

It's a source of humor for me.

So we left... having lost all our bets and eaten hot dogs. We walked to the car and drove away. And I couldn't help but think that, despite the money the other's had one, besides the valet parking, besides the box seats and big hats... I was the one who had walked away with my hands full--my arms full. My heart full. Which is why I go to Keeneland at all. Tell Ernie that it's not about the gambling.

But my day was not over.

I went to the Home last night... the home for pregnant/sexually abused teenage girls. And I took Liza with me. We were late (fighting downtown traffic on a Friday night was our excuse). Tasha and Jess and Alexa and Sara were already there, had ordered pizza, and spread out newspapers so we could paint mini pumpkins. Jess brought the movie Gremlins... thinking it was a "scary" movie for Halloween. Turns out it's a disgusting Christmas movie.

"Where have you been? You're late." One of the girls said. She stared at me and then cracked up laughing when I threw my hands up in the air and blamed Liza. It's never my fault. But they had noticed I was not there... they had noticed my absense.

We turned on the movie, sat down, and started painting pumpkins in glittery, pink, and purple paints. One of the girls, who is fifteen years old, had been having contractions for the past hour. One more hour and they were taking her over to UK. Her due date is next week. The other fifteen year old girl let Sara hold her four month old baby. The baby girl kept crying and fussing and Sara kept rocking and bouncing her. This turned out to not be such a good idea. The poor girl vomited all down Sara's arm... crying and shaking her head and vomiting again and again. The baby's fifteen year old mother just stared. She didn't get up to help, she didn't offer to take the baby from Sara. Just sat there with a paintbrush in her hand and acted like the child was not hers.

So I got up and cleaned Sara's arm off and cleaned up the baby's face and took the baby from Sara so she could go wash off. I held the baby girl the rest of the evening. She laughs a lot, likes to suck on her toes, and has the prettiest brown eyes I've ever seen. When it was about time to go, the girls started bustling around, cleaning up, moving chairs. So I stood up with the baby in my arms.

She was sleepy, rubbing her eyes and yawning and holding onto any part of me she could get a hold of. I rocked back and forth on my feet and laid my cheek against the baby's head. And all I could do was pray. Looking around me at the three fifteen year old girls who were pregnant, the one fifteen year old who was a mommy already, and the two others who had been sexually abused by brothers or fathers... all I could do was pray.

And I remembered the girls at Keeneland. In their Gucci and Prada. And I know that underneath the labels, they have pain. And that no one is as perfect, or clean, as they appear. And to be quite honest, I would never wish the life of a the rich and famous on anyone.

But I held that baby in my arms. And I wanted more for her. I wanted her to know what it felt like to be loved. And to be safe. Father, take this child as your own.

I am glad I am not a mother yet. Really. But in that moment I would have wrapped her up in a blanket and taken her home. To be honest, I would have wrapped my arms around that fifteen year old mother and taken her home too.

Because I know what happened in my life that kept me from going down that path... that kept me from the Gucci and the Prada. But what also kept me from motherhood at fifteen... or abuse (of any kind). We had a guy come to our door the other night and ask us, if we could teach the "inner city kids" one thing to help change their lives, what would it be.

I wanted to tell him I wouldn't start with the kids. And the lesson I would teach, I'm not qualified to teach. And really, it's not something quite so tangible. But there's something to be said about love... and grace... and purpose.

And despite my socioeconomic bias, I feel for both girls. And I want our Father to take them both as His own. This, actually, is the same prayer I pray for my sisters. For Tanner and Ella. For Austin and Carter.

Father, take them as your own.

Because the Father has no bias.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pointe Shoes

I am feeding off your creativity.
I'm all about the metaphors and analogies these days.
The shoes I've been wearing are long deceased.
I can't dance in them anymore.
And so instead of spending some energy, taking some effort, to put on new shoes...
I don't dance at all.

I put a ring in my nose yesterday.
I spent Saturday morning with a camera in my hand.
Friday afternoon I was in a tattoo parlor.
I drove to Richmond in a big truck on Sunday, listening to Amos and Ray.

A sliver of who I am. I get the occasional glimpse, a snapshot, a whisper carried on the breeze. Giving me goosebumps, inflating my soul like a hot air balloon.
But just as quickly it is gone. Because I'm afraid of the blisters and calluses that are going to come from wearing new shoes. I don't want my toes to bleed. Which is what will happen if I lace up again... if I dare to learn a new dance (this dance that my heart already knows).

I'm trying to remember those things that make my heart feel full. And reach for them again.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Something More

I went to a concert at Southland last night. Only a handful of us were there as a band called Starlume played. We are good at having fun, and that's exactly what I needed. Going in, I prayed that God would make me laugh. I went in and met three or four new girls, talked to the bass player from the band, listened to bad karaoke performed by funny post college guys. I ended up "dancing" at the end of the night (think forty college students doing cupid's shuffle). My stomach hurt from laughing when all was said and done. And I drove away wishing it had all lasted a little longer.

I'm home now. Trying to think of the best way to put my emotions into words.

My thoughts, my beliefs, my perception.

Most of the time I know what it is I am looking for.

But tonight, none of that feels right.

It is almost three o'clock in the morning. And my head is spinning in a direction that really pisses me off. A head spin like this usually turns into a tail spin, which causes me to dive directly into some massive change. Some unreal amounts of discomfort and transformation. An unsettled dizziness, and I feel it tonight.

Some of you don't believe in soul mates. You believe in love. And you believe in destiny. But you don't believe the two are linked. The world has botched the true meaning of this phrase. Overused the expression "a match made in heaven". Circumstances have jaded us, twisted our concepts of love and forever and "meant to be" until we are not really sure what we believe about it anymore. If we believe anything about it at all.

I've wrestled with that. With setting my standards high, with knowing love and losing it, with wondering if, perhaps, I've gotten it all wrong. Again.

Maybe I have.

But tonight... I know that there must be something else. An essential factor. Something organic. Something chemical. Something spiritual. Something on a deeper level than physical attraction and "rightness".

I sat across from him tonight. He has a nice face, a good personality. He makes me laugh. He likes to travel. He wants a big family. He likes my music and my friends. He really likes me. I can tell. As far as relationship requirements go... he's passing the course. I left tonight and got this very clear sense that, if given the chance, he would be good to me.

But something is missing. And I wracked my brain as I talked with him, wondering what is wrong with me that I just cannot be pleased. Conclusion: there is nothing wrong with me. And nothing wrong with him. But that organic component, that connection between the souls, just does not exist there.


I don't really know what I want you to get out of this post. Something. If nothing else... remember that you can pray for laughter and He will send it. What I've taken away from writing this... from extracting these thoughts from my muddled mind is this:

It can be right. And he might be good to me until the day I died. He might pick up the tab and walk me to my car. It might make all the sense in the world. And maybe I'm risking it all by believing in something more...

But my whole heart tells me that it is out there. This something more is out there.

He is out there. And he is a man after God's own heart. Maybe he's an artist. Or just has an artist's soul. My heart will recognize him.

The ebb is low these days. Oh but my heart knows...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, September 22, 2007


In lieu of a new season I deleted a phone number with a Georgia area code out of my phone. I don't need it anymore. Haven't needed it for ages. But I held onto it... if he called, at least I would know it was him. That eleven digit number kept him real, accessible.

So I deleted it.

It was almost ceremonious. And when I laid my phone down, I rejoiced in the fact that I did not mourn the loss. To be honest, I don't even remember what it was like to be with him anymore. I remember small things... every once in a while, another man will walk past me and smell like Armani or will be wearing Rainbow flip flops. It's not necessary to forget. At least I don't think so.

I know what she meant now, when she said a few years ago that she didn't know him anymore. I understand what it means to know someone so thoroughly... and then to look into their eyes and see a stranger.

I laid down on the couch and fell asleep last night. I woke up to a dream that cemented all my thoughts and emotions: I had needed to get in touch with him. I went to my phone and his number was gone. There was no other way to find him. He was gone.

And I woke up, knowing that was how I would have lived my life. When I needed him most, he would gone.

I am so very thankful that eighteen months ago yesterday God gave me the strength to do the very thing I feared the most. I look at myself and see that the scars have begun to smooth and fade. I know they'll never leave. But I'm all about the scars... they mean you've healed.

So one day I will be able to look at my own children, explain about my first love (because despite it all, I did love him as much as I knew how), and say, "but I've never loved anyone like I love your daddy."

I just don't know where that man is.
That man I will love the most.
The one who will make me laugh.

Friday, September 21, 2007

East Coast Swing

How is it that after all my talk, all my goal setting, all my nights of lying awake and praying for these opportunities... that after all that, I disregard them when they come along?

I spent the night at a home for teenage girls who are either pregnant, young mothers, or have been abused. We ate junk food, made scrapbooks, rocked their babies, and listened to the others tell us the gender and name and due dates for their unborn babies. I love going to see them. But every time I walk out of that house and into the parking lot... I want to cry. Most of those girls are 15 years old. And they have already been through more than most of the adults I know. I don't even want to know where the fathers are. Freshmen in highschool. They should be learning algebra. I just can't help but think how wrong it is that a 15 year old girl knows anything about breast feeding.

So after I left the Home, I decided to find Kat and Sarah who were downtown learning how to swing dance. I got into the parking lot as they were walking out of the building, and they did all but jump on me, telling me I should come to the studio with them to dance some more. Sully was walking sheepishly behind them... though I'm not sure he was as reluctant as he wanted to appear. Dancing. I suck at dancing. Two left feet. I have all the rhythm I could want, but when it comes to channeling it through my knees and my feet.... you might as give it up. What is sad, is I would give anything to be able to do it. You know what holds me back?

Do you know what always holds me back?

Maybe it's pride. Maybe it's embarrassment. Tonight, it was a total lack of self confidence. I stink (my deodorant, to be quite honest, wore off hours ago). My face is all broken out, my toenails are not painted, and my hair is flipping in ten different directions (I thank Phil's genes for that). I do not want to get up close and personal with any guy tonight.... I do not want to look like a fool with two left feet on top of feeling utterly unattractive. Being pushed around on the dance floor is the last thing I want. How superficial.

This makes me more sad than anything. Because I know that the problem lies within me... my perception is my reality and the mirror is just reflecting my thoughts. And my thoughts are causing others to see me differently as well. But my thoughts aren't always of this nature. In the words of Miss Archer, sometimes I think I'm amazing. Sometimes I can't fathom why no one seems to be interested in me... on some nights, it's their problem. Not tonight. Tonight... it's all mine. I'll own up to this one.

What I wouldn't give to be on the dance floor right now. East Coast Swing with Sam or Sully... listening to Kat and Sarah make fun of themselves. Getting to know the two girls who were riding with them who I'd never met before.

Instead, I am lying on my loft floor on a bean bag. Resenting my feet. Wishing to be a little bit more like my younger sister... You know it's not supposed to work that way. She is supposed to look up to me. She's supposed to think I hung the moon and am the smartest person in her world. Instead, I find myself watching her and being in awe. Of her beauty, of her confidence, of her awareness, of her quirkiness. She is as impossible as they come... but she is amazing. No one yells louder, cries harder, or laughs better than she does. Tonight, I feel like the younger sister.

I will learn how to east coast swing. Even if it means on my kitchen floor in my bare feet.

That, come to think of it, might be the best place to learn after all.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A New Season

We are wrapping up summer.
Three more months under my belt... another season of sun on my skin.
Classes have started back and the mornings have cooled off.
Autumn is coming. It may not be a colorful one... the drought has taken its toll on us all.
But it is coming.
Officially, Sunday.

It's about time for a new season.
I'm done with this one.

Just the past week alone has been exhausting. Financial Aid is a battle I refuse to fight anymore... so I surrendered, waving a white flag, giving over a very long number, and they took an ungodly amount of money out of my checking account.

I failed my first biology test. I knew I would (which, I am sure, contributed to the following through). It was not all my fault... the average of the whole class was a 57%. Irene did something wrong. But that is not what she will tell me on Tuesday when I have to meet with her one on one. So far, the smartest thing she has told me is that I am "a genius, one definition at a time". One definition at a time. I am a genius. Yeah.

Then on Wednesday night I left photography class and found a citation on my windshield. A citation? What? A citation for parking without a pass. I paid $208 for a pass back in June. And have had it on my rearview mirror since August. Parking with out a pass? I took a look... and realized that my pass was gone. Gone. I threw a fit. A real live monkeyshine.

So I am ready for a new season. For this season to be in the past, to move forward. I took a few rolls of film the other night for class. Focus was lighting. Manipulating shadows, creating contrast. I came up with two pictures that made me smile. Both were of Katherine. One... a black silhouette. It wasn't until she wrote her own note that I was inspired by this photo. Silhouettes are created by the light source behind them. What light is behind me? Where does my light come from? "Though I am dark, I am lovely". Even when I am covered in shadows, wiped out by the darkness... the Light that is behind me will make me lovely again. The other photo was brighter. Katherine had thrown her arms out (at my instruction... but it seemed like wild abandon when captured by my lens). The sun was setting behind her and cast a radiant light on her body. She was outlined in bright light...

I wish I had something more poetic to write... something more inspiring. Something wise. But it is just not there. My soul is crying out. The words, the thoughts are all there. But my eyes won't cry the tears and my lips cannot form the words.

So with this new season I pray for new words, new experiences, new faces, new dreams. For brand new hope, fresh inspiration, and a genuine smile... to be reminded about the lilies. That in this wrestling match we call "life"... I would feel God's presence and know His love.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ebb and Flow

Sleep should have come already.

In six hours I will be on my way to the gym to work my last Saturday of the semester. A five hour shift spent watching little kids and the Vh1 video countdown, and hopefully get some studying done in between it all. Seven dollars an hour. I'd give anything to not have to go.

Tonight I met a dear friend and my sister downtown. We sat outside and talked and laughed and ate pizza from Joe Bologna's (thin crust, ranch sauce, chicken, broccoli, artichokes, and black olives. Best creation ever.). We talked about how stupid boys are. And about how amazing we are. About how if we would just say that enough, it would become true.

I sat there being ignored by someone who had been interested last week, watching the UofL fans being booed back to their campsites outside the stadium, watching the traffic lights turn yellow and red and green again. I am amazing, I told myself. Tonight I have a hard time buying it.

It's been a rough week. For some reasons quite clear, but also for a few I cannot explain.

I'm reading this book, Between the Tides (from where I learned about in medias res). "From the lowest ebb comes the highest tide." I sat on my lunch break and read those words, curious as to what they meant. The phrase "ebb and flow" have always intrigued me; the author goes on to explain that when the tide goes out, leaving all the shells and seaweed and exposed beach, eventually the tide will come back in again. Higher than ever. Full of more life, of more energy, than ever before. "From the lowest ebb..."

We've batted around calling my coffee shop Ebb and Flow. I need to come up with a design for a tattoo that symbolizes this; this ever changing, yet cyclical rhythm.

Everything dovetails together in the end. Being in the middle of a cycle of ebb and flow... territory forever foreign and familiar.

I am signing up for a retreat next month. Possibly by myself. The first retreat in years. A door to a whole new existence... a whole new experience.

I think I am going skydiving in a few weeks. Possibly. Kearney sings (his heart, I would bet, in medias res): "No parachutes or safety nets here. One foot in the water to face these fears. Coming out strong like I can't be wrong I said eh, I won't fall in the middle."

I have a test on Monday, that I might possibly pass if I would just study.

There is a story waiting for me in the gorilla gardens of Lexington, if Professor Benton will respond to my emails.

There are tickets to be bought for Nickel Creek and Dave Barnes. And a rivalry football game to be watched tomorrow night.

But first, as is the cycle, will come morning. And I will roll off the couch (tonight is the sort of night you fall asleep reading on the gently-worn sofa) and into the car and complain about it being too early. And then I will meet with my landlord. Some tears will be shed and I will be frustrated and something (at least one thing tomorrow) will be resolved.

At least one decision will be made and life will continue to flow.

"The lowest ebb brings the highest tide."

Here I am. The wet sand covers my feet, seeping in between my toes. Surrounded by seaweed and seashells. I can see the sky goes on forever, the water "chasing the horizon". My hair being whipped by a briny wind. Here I am, waiting. Waiting for the high tide.

But first will come morning.

Friday, September 14, 2007

God Wrestler

I sent them across the Jabbok.
I watched them ford the stream, but I stayed behind.

I had felt him following me.
I could see him out of the corner of my eye. All day I was haunted by him. Whoever he was, if he was even real. He vied for my attention, though he didn't demand it. But every time I turned to find his face, I lost sight of him.

As they reached the opposite side of the Jabbok, and my eyes strained to see them, I felt his presence again.

And I felt his arms around me. My lungs constricted and I resisted. I swung and groaned and kicked and twisted. I threw him to the ground and we fought. The mud of the Jabbok's bank slipped under my feet and splattered on my skin.

I expected to also feel blood on my skin. Or to feel my face begin to swell, my muscles pull. But I felt I felt no panic or injury. Instead, it was my heart that hurt; My soul that constricted and throbbed. I felt hot tears spill from my eyes. I used all my strength against him. He struggled against me, and I knew I had greater strength. And it wasn't until the man pulled my hip from it's joint that I felt any physical pain.

"Let me go, it is daybreak," the man said.

I groaned, my hands moving to where the pain shot from my waist. My chest heaved as I tried to breathe. On the horizon, the sky had begun to turn pink and the darkness had begun to peel away. As morning light shed on the man's face, I felt my heart break.

I suddenly knew what it was I fought for. He had the face of a man. But His eyes were infinite.

"I will not let you go until you bless me," I declared, wrapping my arms tightly around the man.

The man had ceased to struggle and asked me, as his face became illuminated with light, "What is your name?"

I blinked. The last time I had been asked this question... I had lied. I had deceived and gained what was not mine; stolen from my own brother. Everything in me knew, however, that this man would not be so easily fooled.


The name felt foreign on my lips as I spoke it.

The man said, "But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it's Israel; you've wrestled with God and you've come through."

"What is your name?" I asked him, wondering if he could possibly be who my heart knew he was.

"Why do you want to know my name?" The man then blessed me. And he was gone.

Even as I lay in the mire, I named the place "Peniel". For I knew... in my broken heart... that I had looked into the face of God.

I picked myself up as the sun rose high on the eastern horizon. My heart was new, I could feel it. My soul clinging to the realization that I had, as the Man had said, come through. For I walked away that morning without a scratch or drop of blood on my skin, not a muscle torn, or a bone broken.

But for the rest of my days I would walk with a limp because of my hip, the place my God had broken me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fault Line

The earth beneath my feet is quaking.
I believe I have pitched my tent right on the fault line.

Who could have known the Latin I learned in middle school would save my life in college Biology? The only way I can wade through my notes is to know that a lysosome means "a broken body" (lysos- to break, think Lysol). My hippie professor has ceased to be the happy-go-lucky tree hugger I imagined. I keep waiting for her to laugh. But I think she's thinking too hard about neurons.

Who could have known that I would be such a nomad. Having to adjust to so many new bedrooms, addresses, and driveways? In two and a half months I will be moving again. Into an apartment. I haven't lived in an apartment since before the third daughter was born... when our neighbors had a German Shepherd and we would sled down the hill in a plastic swimming pool. This time around I'm going to get a cat. From the pound. I was fantasizing about buying cat food today...

Who could have known that finding money to pay for college could cause such panic and stress? I've never been in want. Not really. Last time I ran out of money and didn't have enough to buy food... a fifty dollar bill was mailed from Norway. Somehow, my education will get paid for. And when all is said and done, and I hold a diploma in my hand, it will be a double blessing. Not only will I have earned a degree, but I will have paid for it as well.

Who could have known that after all these years of declaring I would 'get out of Kentucky', God would have clearly told me to stay here. For now. As a business major. Instruction dropped so evidently in my lap I could not ignore it. Although I heaved an audible sigh just thinking about horses and bluegrass. But already He has done some things to alter my perception of this town... immersing the campus with a little bit of culture, helping me find a place to rest, to laugh.

Or that after years of being told to be a counselor, a journalist, an OT... I would be making plans to open a coffee shop?

Tuesday was September 11th. Six years ago the Twin Towers in New York City were destroyed. Six years ago I was on my way to Shriner's Hospital. And the life I knew would fall around my feet. Surgery at thirteen years old... a blessing in disguise. A battle nonetheless. I still bear the scars. Who could have known that that day would change so many lives? That two stainless steel rods could eventually be a part of my testimony.

On nights like tonight the earth is rocking beneath my feet, and the light in my oil lamp is flickering.... the world is slipping, heaving, trying to throw me to my feet....

I know that the dust will settle. You see, it always does.

And for that I am thankful.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

You Are Here

Get a map.
Take your index finger and point to your country, your state, your city, you street...
A look at the solar system.
Point to your planet.
You are here.

I was opening mail at work. Occasionally with the private pay checks, patients will send tracts, or Bible verses. (Although, on Wednesday, I got a handwritten note from a thirty year old woman with Medicaid who called me a "fucking dumbass who did't do (my) job worth shit". Like everything else in this world, responses vary.) On Thursday there was a post card with a picture of the sun and the earth. An arrow pointed to earth and read, you are here.

Flip the postcard over. It goes on to read that we are all going to die someday. And wouldn't we rather spend eternity with a God who was big enough to create that sun than burn in hell? Fire and brimstone. Hellfire and damnation. The only sliver of hope was that we may be forgiven. But how? Read your Bible the postcard said. Daily. That is the answer.

I took the postcard home with me.

If only to remind me that I am here.

On this earth only the fraction of the size of the sun. Created by a God who (I can't imagine) dwells so much on Hell as He does loving us. That if we ask, we are forgiven. That these imperfections and sins and misdeeds and impurities are thrown as far as the east is from the west. Do you know how far that is? Go out tomorrow morning and start walking towards the sun. When you get there, let me know. That's how far.

I love a God who, when I ask Him how much He loves me, He stretches out His infinite arms. "I love you this much."

Is it really about burning in Hell? Is that the message we want to be sending through the USPS? For strangers to open, read, laugh at, and throw away? Maybe it has inspired a few. I pray it has done more good than harm. But in the world we live in... in the country, in the state, in the city, on the street.... it seems to me that love is what we need to hear.

You are here. You are loved.

And even on afternoons like this I feel it. Afternoons when another huge life decision is about to be made. I could be houseless in three weeks. I could have to pack up all my things for a third time... load them into the Corolla, and find a place to crash. A landing spot. A resting place. For two months and then I will load up again and get an apartment. And a cat. I will name him Solomon and I will have a key to the front door again. I'm not so much scared as I am in great anticipation.

I sat with my roommate late last night and watched as college students walked in and out of the lounge. People I knew. People I didn't. People I would meet in a matter of moments. Bob usually works in the back. He has a limp red afro and can't handle money very well. I like him. Tyler is leaving for Iraq in three weeks. He recognized my face... but didn't remember who I was until he saw my tattoo. My housemate and I talked about the next couple of weeks. The past few weeks. About our families and dates and our bitterness. And when I dropped her back off at her car...she climbed in and leaned out the window and yelled, "I'm going to miss you, Anna!"

I am on the edge.

Trying to be both good and lovely.

Breaking alabaster.

In the middle of it all.

Walking through a land unknown.

I am here. And I am loved.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

Things never work like we think they're going to.
I got to Winchester around noon. Held a baby, petted dogs, laughed at the boys, piled in the jeep and manuevered through Labor Day traffic.
The boys turned on rap music in the jeep and danced and laughed. The wind was in my face and the sun was shining and it felt good.
Today, I told Liza, might just be a good day.
We got to the Gorge and walked down a trail to what can only be called a watering hole. An embankment on one side, a large boulder on the other. I sat down on a log and pulled out my camera. Isaac headed straight for the rope swing. As we had walked up, we had seen another man swing into the water and land with a great whoop and a splash. So Isaac held onto the rope, pushed off the first tree...
I caught him mid-air with my lens. Hanging, suspended, horizontally above the water. Perfect shot.
But something had gone wrong. He had caught his foot as he pushed off the tree... this snag had sent him spinning. And before he could let go of the rope, his torso slammed against the second tree.
It sounded like a gunshot.
And he fell into the water.
We all paused.
He came up out of the water, heaving and spitting.
Liza and Kayla ran to him, while Caleb and I stood back... a little stunned.
Isaac's shoulder was bleeding. The breath had been knocked out of his lungs and he couldn't stand up. Everyone else at the watering hole had paused, holding their own breath. Then unwanted advice came tumbling out of their mouths. Caleb and I went down to the water's edge where Isaac sat.
Caleb started to get pissed.
He yelled at Liza.
He shot me a dirty look.
We picked up Isaac and his stuff, and began walking barefoot back to the car.
Five minutes in the Gorge.
Caleb cussed and fumed and barked.
Isaac nodded off in the front seat, muttering something about fluid in his lungs. Kayla tried to keep him awake as we made phone calls to Molly and Craig and Clark Regional.

Six hours later, Isaac has been transfered to UK for seven broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Caleb has continued to yell and blame.
Isaac is supposed to get married on Saturday and be deported for basic training in less than three weeks.
Liza called me later... amidst all the confusion and chaos.
I remembered my words. "This just might be a good day."

I am alone now. Everyone's out on a date, at their parents' house, or far far away. I went driving earlier and saw a fox. He stood in the middle of the road... tall and skinny and curious. I slowed my car down, wondering if somehow I could get a picture of him. He looked at me, cocked his head, and dashed for the brush on the side of the road. When I drove back later... he was there again. I pulled my car into neutral and sat in the road waiting for him to move. With a flick of his tail he was gone again...

The fox reminds me of Caleb.

Happy Labor Day.

a bird's eye view

I didn't get but maybe an hour of sleep last night.
The dogs kept licking my face. I couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep.
It was cold.
I was lonely.
These were things I probably could have fixed.
Put the dogs in the crate. Suck it up and get into the bed instead of laying on the couch. Change the thermostat.

Yesterday was just a bad day.
It was a beautiful day. But it was a bad day.
But I've realized that having a dog is highly overrated (I like the idea of having a dog. But cats are sounded pretty appealing at this point).
It's frustrating when you have a vision... an artistic eye... and you can't quite get anything to manifest the way you'd like.
When you feel reprimanded.
When you go home alone.
When the neighbors downstairs scream and slam doors and the chain lock jangles... sending shivers up your spine.
To top it all... strange allergies have made my eyes swell and I can't quit sneezing.
Allergies? Seriously?

It is Monday and I have the day off work. What the hell am I complaining about?
As I said before, I am into the very middle of things.
Being in the middle of things means that it is real and true... sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sometimes our visions flesh out. Sometimes they are crushed under the weight of reality.

I don't feel like I'm making much progress. Time is, certainly, not standing still. No, no. The neon lights are blurring and somebody has sent the hands of the clock spinning. Time's speeding by... I just don't feel like I'm progressing much. No evolving here.

I felt a little left behind last night.
She had somewhere to be. Someone to see. She checked out early... "looking for a back door". I was excited for her. Still am. Was at 2:30 AM when she called me.
But I felt a little left out.
My turn to feel that way, I guess. Is that karma? What goes around, comes around? It's been about three years. But I've checked out early before.
I don't feel like the older sister on nights like last night. Even though I got in a car and drove away and went home by myself and did laundry and washed dishes. It just didn't feel right. Or maybe it was right and I just didn't like it. Go figure.

Chris called me last night. The one who I saw at church a few weeks ago. He just spent twelve days in a hospital for an infection that only one in ten thousand people get. They thought he was going to die... now he's on dialisis and a very strict diet. He called me to tell me how he was doing and that he wanted to hang out. He needs to be around "good people"... because even one beer at this point might kill him. So the doctors say.

They diagnosed her with lupus. I saw her in Wendy's the other day. Actually, she saw me. When I looked up she was staring me down, waiting for me to pay attention. She grabbed me and hugged me. She's going back to school on Tuesday. The steroids have caused her to gain weight and retain water. But she told her mom that she has never been so happy... felt so loved. This will be a lifelong battle for her. But I see a light in her eyes that has never been there before. And she hugs me harder. And tells me she loves me. So if we can just find her some pants that fit... we'll be doing good.

I'm headed to the gorge today. A bigger deal was made about it than I would have liked. I just need to go and be out in the world. I have a photography assignment to complete. I need to spend some time with someone who is struggling to fit together the pieces of dreams and reality. They are connected, aren't they? Are we fooling ourselves? We'll find out. The sun is shining. Maybe today will be a good day.

These are the days we wish we had wings.
Maybe above it all... soaring over everyone's heads... it might make more sense. A quick look at the big picture. A bird's eye view.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

In Medias Res

I'm reading a book.
A book my Mom handed me saying, "I don't know if you'll have time to read this or not..."
I think I responded with, "I will make time to read it."
It's just a novel.
Not a self-help, inspirational, or even "Christian" book.
Just a novel.
And I don't know if it will end well.

But it is from this book that I learned the phrase: in medias res.
Into the middle of things.
A literary and artistic phrase, used to explain the style of jumping into the middle of the story (or starting at the end and working backwards) opposed to starting from the beginning and working foward (Ab ovo. From the egg. Or, from the beginning.)

I am in medias res.
No doubt about it.
There are years of life behind me, and possibly decades ahead of me.
Every day I learn something new, meet new people, try new things... sometimes I recognize it for what it is. Sometimes I mourn a stagnant existence.
I am in the middle of it all.
My life might not be so interesting if I told you the story ab ovo.
But if I started in medias res it might make more sense.
Hindsight is 20/20 after all.
Looking back we see all the serendipity, the miracles. We can recognize the growth and the progress... the sweet moments we might not acknowledge as they happen.

More thoughts on that later.

We are, after all, into the very middle of things.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


I don't know what to write.
But I know I want to.
I can feel that I have something to say to you...
but the words aren't coming.

I left work today. Finally Friday. Two weeks of school, two tests, a pop quiz down... three months to go. I think financial aid might be the death of me. I headed to campus today to take care of some more of the deadly stuff, only to find out that it would take four more weeks to see any amount of money. I wonder how I will manage to come up with tuition in three weeks? I'm trying not to think about it. Things always have a way of working themselves out. Why do I worry?

I found myself frustrated this afternoon. I went to Wal-Mart to check out their paltry selection of film (in a digital world... 400 speed Kodak film is a rarity). Film and chapstick. I left the store, feeling itchy with aggravation. I got in the car and pulled out of the parking lot. And couldn't remember why I felt this way. Why was I frustrated? What had happened?

I drove to Winchester. Praying the whole way that I would be able to rid myself of this weird anxiety. I drove past dozens of places I wanted to stop and take pictures... but I kept driving. I went to ballet class with Olivia tonight. I watched her stretch before class. Mesmorized by the way her ankles moved... by the flexibility of her back. Loving the way she is gentle with my guilty conscience (Anna, you need to take your shoes off.... Anna, you can't have gum in the studio). She is beautiful. I went into her class to try and get some "action" shots. I don't know what I was expecting. But I stood against the back mirror and watched the girls on the bar... listening to Hannah call positions and talk about "fluid movements". I held the camera in my hand, but only took one picture. I was enthralled. The rhythm of it... the way they all knew when the step back and watch, when to move their feet, when to look at themselves in the mirror. An art. A science. I was proud to call her my sister.

Tuesday night I went out with an old friend. I was nervous... I didn't really know anything about her present situation, how she felt about our social ties, or if she really wanted to even spend time with me. I met her at her house, put my wet clothes in her dryer (because, sadly, my dryer is broken), and we went out. We spent four hours together. Laughing. Talking. I had sworn not to mention any of the subjects that might be taboo (her boyfriend, church, God, Georgia, etc). Instead, I had every intention of just loving her. Mainly because I know that is what I need. That is what we all need. Just someone to love us. But it wasn't up to me. We sat down and she poured out her heart. Looking at me at one point and letting me know how much she had missed me... and how much she appreciated me. Where did that come from? She also looked at me and grinned really big. "I know I've got game," she shrugged. "It's probably not okay for me to say that. But I think I'm fabulous. I mean really awesome." She didn't think that was okay to say. I reassured her, I think it is. I also think it's true. We are going to the UK/EKU football game tomorrow. She is going to church with me on Sunday night. Do you want to know why I believe that being a Christian is about loving people? This is why.

Bryan asked us at CSF the other night to tell the other students sitting around us what the "craziest" thing was that we'd done since college started. I counted backwards. Two years now. How many crazy things? I think zero. That made me sad. I'm not talking about hoodlum, illegal, trouble-making craziness. I'm just talking about the stuff of stories. The stuff you tell your kids when they get old enough to listen. I couldn't think of anything, feeling trumped by Liza who had left home not once, but twice. Silly thing to think about. Craziness is probably not premeditated. Just a guess.

Got the feeling the other night that I really was starting to be comfortable with myself. I've met more people in the past few weeks... been more likely to shake a hand and ask for a name than ever before. Smile. Always remember to smile. Apparently my smile is more like a smirk. (I've made a mental note to work on that). But I think I've caught a glimpse of who I am... found a "spot" to be myself.

I'm thinking about quitting my job at the gym.

I'm thinking about moving into an apartment with Liza.

I'm trying to learn how to take fast action and depth of field photographs.

I'm trying to understand the Bohr model and why anyone would think that abortion is humane... (let's not go into that, but it is a pressing question of mine).

I think I'm going kayaking on Monday.

Thank God for holiday weekends.

All of that nonsense to say... I am not really sure why I ever worry. When I look at my bank account and stress about bills, wish I had the funds for a trip or a computer; or when I look at my poor Corolla and make a mental note to replace the duct tape and the driver's side blinker... I try and remind myself. He says not to worry, because aren't even the lilies of the field dressed beautifully? Doesn't He care about even the smallest sparrow? And what do they do to earn their clothes? Nothing. God provides for them... even the lilies.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I wish I were more rebellious. You challenged me, and I'd like to meet your challenge. Hm. It's not coming. It'd be easier if I could just laugh it off, declaring, I'm not doing that.

28 words?

Face lifted heavenward.
Heart aching to be filled.
Body sore, scarred, and painted.
Soul searching for embodiment.
Loving beauty.
Needing grace.
Desiring boldness.
Lacking courage.
Enveloped in dreams.

Don't think that covers it.
I think if you asked me tomorrow, my answer would be different.
I feel blessed, undoubtedly.
Pain and struggle are all objective.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I just finished a brand new week of a brand new season.
I am beginning to find a new family... on campus last night, I find a new place to relax.
Last night I liked who I was.
A new pair of jeans: $29.99.
Flip flops: $2.00
Spending the evening, comfortable in your own skin: priceless.

Bought books today. Two of them. I need five. Two cost me almost $200. Amazon.com, here I come. It took us almost two hours to fill out FAFSA the other night... I stood in line for a good hour and a half at the offices on Monday. It all makes you want to curse higher education.

Made friends with the security guard (Nathan) and the front desk guy (Gabriel). Alex, a guy whose face I cannot even recall, told me I was beautiful. There is someone I know in every one of my classes. My biology professor is a hippie--she told me to find something to do this weekend that feeds my soul. My logic professor looks like Jack from Will and Grace. Photography class will get me through the semester...

Sarah is in the hospital. I can tell by her voice how she is feeling. I saw her at the hospital on Tuesday and watched her walk around and get dizzy. I'm taking her ice cream tomorrow... she's having a biopsy next week. When she was admitted, no one (except for Kat) even thought to call me. I was pissed. Sarah's my girl. Two years now, I've been kidnapping her, taking her for coffee, waiting for her to blurt out what's worrying her. She exhausts me. And I love her dearly. Tuesday night, I hugged her tight (this was the first time she'd ever let me give her a two-armed hug) and told her I loved her. I had never told her that before. Shame on me.

I am leaving to babysit for 6-month old twin boys. There's a wedding going on tonight... I'll be in the hotel room changing diapers. Ha.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I think He is breaking my heart.
My knees hurt--
I know I should be on them constantly.

My words are not enough these days.

I feel like Mary.
Loving Him.
Needing Him.

Not having the words to tell Him.
I wonder if she, too, was completely out of words.
She didn't know what to say.

Every verbal profession of her love,
of her devotion, missed the mark.
Fell short.

All she could do was break her alabaster.
Fall to her knees.
Wash His feet with the best she had.

There's nothing fancy about the way I love Him.
There are others who love Him more,
harder, stronger, more diligently.

But here I am.
Loving Him with all the love I know.
Breaking my alabaster.

The best I have,
at His feet.