Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gray Paranoia

I stood in front of the mirror as usual, brushing my teeth, and that's when I saw it.

My mouth gaped open. Toothpaste spit began to ooze out. It was a good thing I was leaning over the sink.

I swished, rinsed, and spit again, my eyes fixed on what I had just discovered.

I leaned in closer to the mirror.
Could it be?
Oh no...
It was.

3 inches long, protruding from my scalp as though it were a mini lightening bolt.
Coarse, wiry, unruly.

I tugged on it to see if it was, indeed, attached.
It was, indeed, attached.

I plucked it out and thoroughly examined it under the scope of my 5 bathroom light bulbs, rubbing it between my fingers.

I'm still flabbergasted. Astonished. In disbelief.
Oh my.

My first gray hair.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A peek into my journal

Reading past journal entries is often thought-provoking.
I sat in Starbucks (I'm sad to admit it, but I've become more of a Starbucks girl than a Dutch Brothers girl since moving to Eugene) with a good friend, my Bible, journal, and a nonfat white chocolate mocha.

I didn't write anything new because I got so wrapped up in my past entries.
  • March 4, 2006: the "Be Real" all-campus retreat at Twin Rocks
  • March 8, 2006: Praising God for my new-found confidence. "I don't ever want to forget how I feel right now -- a bit restless, w/ butterflies that won't go away. I want this confidence to permeate everything that I do." Asking questions about post-graduation decisions: Tilikum or inner-city San Francisco with CSM?
  • March 19, 2006: Sitting at the Portland airport, traveling to interview with CSM
  • March 21, 2006: Committing to work at Tilikum
  • March 28, 2006: Spring Break in San Diego, asking God to heal me of my sunburn :)
  • May 2, 2006, laying on the carpet at a beach house with my parents and grandparents with a glass of red wine and Vicky Beeching in the cd player: "I am a college graduate! ...later that night, we ended up laying down in the middle of the quad, looking at the stars, wondering about life after graduation...Baccalaureate was a moving time to worship together for the last time...I grinned for pictures... Karissa's dad accepted her honorary diploma and everyone stood and clapped; I cried as I remembered her...I took pictures with family and then they left to go back to the hotel. I walked back to my house in the rain. I felt sad, but wouldn't let myself cry. Everything I had invested in for 4 years had come to a close. I finished school...and that was it. I was surrounded with love and reminded of my dear friends who love me and accept me just as I am."
  • May 13, 2006: "Lord, I'm just a confused 21-almost-22-year old. Please help me."
  • June 1, 2006: Tilikum Staff Training, day 2: "Colossians 2:19 The whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments & sinews, grows as God causes it to grow." I am complete!
  • June 14, 2006: "I'm starting to feel a little uneasy about the Fall. God, I realize my schedule does not look like that of a person who wants to hear your voice. Help me to remember to be still. I need direction, and I desperately want to hear your voice in the silence."
  • June 24, 2006: "I don't want to be thinking or wanting things that you don't want me to have. This is difficult for me to say because sometimes I really want things that aren't the best for me. Help me discern so I may be wise."
  • July 3, 2006: "Father, forgive me for the things I repeatedly do that I shouldn't be doing... it's the 'little' things I find trapping me... comparing myself to others, seeking man's empty praise, judging... I'm sorry for thinking other voices are really more interesting than yours. I'm trying to work on being still, listening for you in the whispers, rather than in the fire & wind, or in the voices of my friends and staff. I know you speak through them, and I also know you desire to speak TO me. I want so badly to hear from you myself."
  • September 11, 2006: "Fear is silent wonder, radical amazement, affectionate awe at the infinite goodness of God." -Brennan Manning
  • September 27, 2006: "My Word Made Flesh application is in. Now I struggle to wait patiently for their decision. God, help me release this opportunity into your hands. I trust that you know my desire and the best fit for me this year. I want to be obedient."
  • October 26, 2006: "Some thoughts on Bolivia: anxious, a dream, starting think about the realities and what I will miss, nervous, excited, how can I possibly prepare for this?, My family won't be accessible to me, freaking out on the inside, $4800, what will I come back to? Who will remember me while I'm there? Spanish... I'm going to freeze."
  • November 12, 2006: feeling twitterpated...
  • November 30, 2006: "Thank you for the way you use my friends to bless me... I don't even know if the word "bless" is appropriate to use-- I feel like it's limiting and makes me think of those less-fortunate, as though they aren't blessed?! I don't know... I think I have issues now that I'm consumed by thoughts of poverty and justice. Maybe 'blessed' has just been misused for so long and really has nothing to do with material things..."
  • December 1, 2006: "I'm really wondering if you're calling me to a life of living among the poor. I'm scared, and I can't shake the way this book has aroused something inside me. I'm still questioning: having the means and resources while using them to help the poor - how can I do this? I have a dream of living not for myself, but for others. "living simply so that others may simply live." How can I, as one person, make a difference? What do I need to commit my life to, besides my 4 months in Bolivia?"
  • January 2, 2007: "Forgetting what is behind and looking to what is ahead. I'm in a funk...wondering, questioning, doubting, waiting, anticipating. Discouragement, exhaustion, nomadic, bewilderment."
  • January 12, 2007: "Living in tension...will we choose to make enough noise about injustice that our society has to pay attention?"
  • January 15, 2007: "You keep me in awe of how big and great you are. Your hand is in everything and I give you credit for these 'coincidences.'"
  • January 30, 2007: "I finally feel ready for Bolivia. My head reminds me of my nervousness, how difficult things will be, my fears, what ifs?, and details to finalize. My heart, though is ready. I am filled with inexpressible peace and confidence."
  • February 13, 2007: "Mom and Dad are concerned/sad about me leaving - extra hugs, curious questions, wondering together about the next 4 months. I cuddled with mom on the couch and realized how much I love her hugs and touch. How will I manage without them? I laid in bed and cried, thinking "what the heck am I doing?"
  • *insert Bolivia break...*
  • August 5, 2007: "Ok, it hurts. I haven't cried about this for a while - maybe it's healing? I'm struggling to trust you right now. I know you have my best interests in mind, so why is it still so hard to surrender? Help me to trust you... w/ a job, a man, and friends who understand.
  • September 4, 2007: "Tuesday evening, a quiet night with Stef in the apartment, storm clouds rolling in, news that another job I applied for has already been filled, still waiting to her about the other, looking into grad schools, wondering about timing."
  • September 8, 2007: "Confusion is running at full-speed, yet there's unexplainable excitement, too. It's Saturday morning and I have no plans until tonight. Hopefully I'll finish my application materials for NCC."
  • September 9, 2007: "Tomorrow is the day... interviews at Northwest Christian College. God, thank you for filling me with such peace about this opportunity. My hopes are up, which concerns me. I'm simply amazed at how the desires you've placed in my heart seem to line up so well with the responsibilities for this job as an ARC."
  • November 1, 2007: "I've been at NCC for almost 3 weeks and after only 24 hours of notice, I spoke in chapel. I feel distracted because my mind keeps replaying my message. I felt so comfortable, yet I can't help but wonder and question if I really conveyed my heart accurately to these students. This can hardly be called a job -- it's life! There are tough conversations each day. There are hurting people each day that I encounter."
  • November 15, 2007: "I want to walk in the Spirit today, that I would know divine appointments and respond."

I often wrote about confusion, doubt, lack of surrender, and discouragement.
As I reflect on the changes that have taken place over the last 2 years, I like to think I'm a little more confident, a little more bold, a little more focused.

This year, I want to be Spirit-led.
This is an excerpt of an email I recently wrote to a good friend:

So... I've been thinking all day about what I read in Ezekiel last night. I even woke up with it on my mind so I wouldn't forget to tell you about it. I've been repeating the verses over and over in my mind (paraphrased, of course). I've been talking about my desire to be more in tune with the Spirit. I want my words and actions to be led by the Spirit so that nothing I do or say will be stuff I "made up."
I would hate for myself to get in the way of what Jesus wants to do through me.

Anyway, I read the first 6 chapters of 'Zeke' and then paused to think about what I wanted to remember about that passage. A few things jumped out to me:

  • He is divinely called and anointed. It was evident to him (through the Holy Spirit's promptings) that not everyone would receive what he had to say, even if it was from the Lord. It's disheartening... yet completely true. The Lord knew that even in Ezekiel's prophecy, there would be some who didn't accept the truth. Maybe it was too hard to hear? Too good to be true? Too hard to be true?
  • 1:28-2:2 "This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. He said to me "Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you." As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me."
  • The Holy Spirit is empowering. Without the spirit, Ezekiel's face was to the ground. Because he'd glimpsed God's glory, he couldn't stand. But, it was when the Holy Spirit entered him that he was able to stand again. It was when the Spirit entered him that he was able to hear what the Spirit was saying. Am I that open to be filled by the Holy Spirit? Am I that in awe, that I would literally lay my face on the ground in the presence of God? And, would I live in that prostrate state until the Spirit filled me?
  • 3:12,14 "Then the Spirit lifted me up. The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away...and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord upon me." I don't really get the part about being bitter and angry, but it intrigues me.
  • It's interesting that I continue to be captivated by verses that talk about "standing." That in the end, when the battle is over, we will stand (in reference to wearing our spiritual armor). The Holy Spirit makes us stand. I think standing could symbolize confidence... I am also learning about confidence. Pretty cool how the Lord is weaving these two things together... ya think?
Holy Moly, God is so good.
It's now very early in the morning, so I'm thankful for a day off tomorrow.

Adventures in Babysitting

I thought 8th grade would have been the last time I played with Barbies. I remember crawling up into Elyssa's attic and unearthing her childhood treasures from their cardboard boxes. We sat up their for a couple hours, reminiscing about our childhood, braiding hair, and trading party dresses.

At age 23, however, I was given another chance.
When I was babysitting, Anna (age 7), insisted that I play a role with her various dolls. When I was at a loss for words, she would feed me lines.
"Say, 'gosh, our boyfriends are so ruuuude.'"
to which she would respond "like, I know they are. What a couple of losers."
my turn: "Maybe we should dump them!" (I came up with that one on my own)
Anna: "yeaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

The King and Queen of the mansion were played by chess pieces (of course), and the chess board served as the palace which was easily converted into an enormous swimming pool.

The Barbies stint was short-lived because Hannah Montana was on tv. I braided Anna's hair, giving her a braided headband with two French Braids (so beautiful, I must add, that she squealed in delight and wore them to school 2 days in a row). She brought out her bin of makeup (mostly some sparklie powder, glitter, a few shades of eye shadow, nail polish, and lip gloss) and we gave each other makeovers. I had a hard time scrubbing the red sparkles off my cheeks and my eyelids were heavy with layers of pink shadow.

When it was time for bed, I helped her clean her room and change into her new set of pajamas. She paused and exclaimed: "I have freckle on my belly!" I looked up just as she lifted her shirt, and sure enough, she had a single, brown spot on her stomach. I pulled up my sleeves and showed her my spots. She said "yeah, but what about on your tummy?!" I hesitated, then pulled up my shirt and we counted my freckles together. She went a little obnoxious with her counting: "31, 32, 33.."

I tickled her and then we read "The Princess and the Pizza" before turning the lights out.

Micah (age 10) was content playing video games until his sister went to bed. I think he was secretly waiting for my attention to shift to him. When I walked out of Anna's room, he was waiting for me with his 11 pound binder (give or take) full of baseball cards. I told him I didn't know much about baseball, but he proceeded to ask me which players I'd heard of on each page. I think I only pointed to Babe Ruth. It didn't matter to Micah, and he didn't make me feel embarrassed, either. He delighted in the opportunity to tell me about each one.

Micah voluntarily headed to bed at 8:45pm. He stripped down to his skivvies and climbed in to bed. I tucked him in like my dad always did for me... snug as a bug in a rug! I grabbed each toe and counted them under the blankets. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.... 11!!!!!" We looked at each other, astonished, and then burst into giggly hysterics.

I babysat from 6pm to midnight, two evenings last week, in the midst of a very stressful time. I was exhausted, and yet I found refreshment in the opportunity to just be a kid again.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

51 to go

At the suggestion of my friend Trisha, I've decided to create something weekly for all of 2008. I'll document everything I create and make an album of all 52 creations.

Here are my first creations of the new year, inspired by a dear friend who painted these words, then tore them up on a bad day. I recovered her trash... the rest is history... errr...art. :)



my Mary Chair

Brown, plush, and gigantic. Every time I walk into my room, I'm drawn toward it. Though inanimate, it seems to beckon me to kick off my shoes and plop down. "Take a load off," it entices.
My new papasan (pop-a-zon) has become my "Mary Chair."

A place for me to be still.
A place for me to know that He is God.
A place for me to rest, think, read, pray.

It is not a place for work, talking on the phone, checking my email, or a spot for my dirty clothes.

It's exhausting to live like Martha and I want to be more like Mary.

You, my papasan, are my sacred seat.


I just got off the phone with my dad and we talked about how cold it is. There is snow in Grants Pass and the forecast for Eugene predicts a smokin' 37 degrees tomorrow. I cranked the heat in my apartment, wrapped myself in my favorite blanket, and dished up some ice cream. I doubt I'll ever be too cold to eat ice cream. Especially not Moose Tracks with peanut butter cups and fudge ripples. Nonetheless, I'm shivering and wrapping myself tighter in my blanket.

My apartment is a disaster - my floor is covered with newspaper, paint brushes, oil pastels and picture frames. Nonetheless, my art projects over the course of the last few days have brought me much joy, rest, and therapy.

I got my haircut today. I even got a mini head massage and a delightful 'conditioning treatment' which I was not expecting. Nonetheless, I paid too much money and it's not my favorite hairdo.

Less than 24 hours old, he snuggled in my arms. A colleague's wife just had a baby and I held him in my arms. I was overcome with the reality of witnessing an enormous miracle through such a tiny body. Nonetheless, kids are in my very distant future. :)

Sending you an email about how much I miss you and gushing about why I love you just doesn't do justice. I wish I could be there with you. I want to hug you and listen to the stories you said you didn't want to talk about for fear of breaking down. Nonetheless, I'm saving up some huge hugs for when I finally get to see you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Oh, sweet Kenya

I'm long overdue for a post.
Many thoughts, zero words.

My friend Terese is touring with the African Children's Choir and has pleaded that we pray for the people in Kenya. I remember sitting in a school house in Rwanda, listening to survivors recount their stories of the genocide.

This story sounds all too familiar:
Mobs kill up to 50 at Kenya church