Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The day the blog moved to WordPress...

I'm moving to WordPress officially.  Mostly because it looks pretty and feels oh-so contemporary :)  Check it out if you want:  http://ashcmorris.wordpress.com

Peace to you, Loves.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30, 2011: Thankful to be OVER

I have to say, all this blogging every day has zapped me of my creative juices!  My posts are less intriguing and deep by the day, so I'm going to revert back to my once-a-week habit and actually try to make them relate, etc.  There's nothing on it yet, but check out the WordPress site, because this here blog is shutting down!  In about a week, check it:  ashcmorris.wordpress.com  :)  It's been real, y'all.

But today I am thankful for validation that changing directions is the right thing.  For those who are older, wiser, and more seasoned than me, thank you for living life and leaving your insight behind.  I am rich because of you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29

Today I am thankful for a change of pace.  A slower pace, even if it's for just a bit, but enough of a change to be able to take a few deep breaths in.  I'm thankful for a lingering evening that started with some cooking (of tortilla soup), transitioned into Tuesday night conversation with friends close to my heart, which is ending now with a Snow Day (New Belgium, I give you mad props.  I'm addicted.) and a book.  I just love when it ends slow like this, when I have time to unwind, not just fall into my bed.  Aahh.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 25, 2011: Posted on November 26

Yep.  Behind behind. blah blah blah.  I was at a show, so I stayed up way past my normal bedtime enjoying the musical whimsey of Youth Lagoon.  Impressive.  And the crowd was fun, which makes for a great night on the scene [of which I am not scene-enough to be a part of].

Today I'm thankful for new people and friendships.  New conversations and experiences.  It's the kind of thing I need to stay sane.  Oh... and a desolate office, so I could have a little dance part-ay all to myself with my soy latte.

Peace.  Dream sweet, Friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24, 2011: Thanksgiving

It's one of my favorite holidays of the year.  Today I am thankful that I was with people I love.  Not my "real" family but a second family of sorts.  It's nice to feel at home, even when it's not my "home."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23, 2011: His Story

Today I tested a man at work, and he shared some of his life story with me, which was full of darkness and trouble but mostly sadness.  But he smiled and laughed.  Despite his life spiraling out of control, he believed in God.  And told me to have a blessed day and pray to God-whatever his name was-whenever I needed help, because he'd always be there.  His story reminded me of the what's true and important in life and why I should not be so discouraged by trivial nothings.  We need stories like his from time to time to stay human, I think.

November 23, 2011: Fun Forward Looking

I have plenty of wonderful things to anticipate, which I am thankful for as well:

  • Vacation!  I have three paid days of vacation.  That's a jackpot in nanny world!
  • Thanksgiving!  I'm super bummed my parents got the flu and can't make it out to Denver for T-Giving, but I am so thankful that I have a second family out here to spend it with.
  • Youth Lagoon is playing a show on Friday.  Enough said.  I avoid Black Friday like the plague, but I'll brave the streets to see this kid.  Pure talent.
  • Sleep is finally here, because I submitted my last final via email two minutes ago.  What what!  1/6 finished with my MSW!!!!!!!  That's absolute crazy talk. (oops, not supposed to say "crazy" anymore... that's a rough one to kick.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011: A House

Today I am thankful that I have a house, an apartment to be exact.  It's nice to be warm and snug inside my tiny place, protected from the wind.  A lot of people will be outside tonight, and I'm thankful that I don't have to worry about that sort of thing.  That I go to bed full and sleep well, snuggled in my blankets.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's been brought to my attention:

To the five of you following the blog, thanks :)  I hope you follow into the future, when I attempt to write something more tangible and focused.  You know, like a real blog... well, sort of real.  As real as it gets for me...

November 20, 2011: College is good for... friends.

Seriously, I have the best friends in the world.  No comparison, so don't try.  You'll be disappointed.

I have friends from all over the world (literally) and across the country, but my Colorado ones will always be the "friends" when referring to "my friends."  People say you have a hometown [E.C., WI - Woop!], but when you leave it, you get a new home, which has happened to me here.  My Colorado friends are my second family, the family I chose.  :)  Cheezeball-I need some crackers!-but truth.

Our baby college, which was more like Christian summer camp on steroids, might have been slightly ridiculous [if you don't believe me, picture the steroids thing... that should be convincing enough!], but because of it we know one another.  We arrived wanting to prove we were cool, mature, and worthy of each other's friendship, and even though that worked in establishing a relationship, it wasn't necessary, I don't think.  Sometimes there are people we are drawn toward, and I would say it's the case with these ones.

I am impressed with them; they're going to change the world.  Whenever I get into a dismal-spiral (also known as the existential crisis during a graduate program) and discouraged that nothing can change, and doing the work is pointless, I think of my friends.  The ones who want to go abroad and have an adventure, finding work and living life in a new culture, getting to know people and loving their stories.  And the ones who are brave enough to do the Peace Corps and give up two years of their lives to help people in another, foreign place develop their community.  And the ones who work harder than anyone I know to pursue education and employment with excellence to model to others that life is more than what we see on the surface.  Gosh, these people are beautiful, and my heart feels closer to where it's supposed to be when thinking of how blessed the world is to have my friends in it, caring and dreaming and doing.

So, yes, I'm thankful for them.  And my heart will break a thousand times over when they leave me within the next year or two, but it's for something good, better, and I'm willing to share them others for awhile, as long as I get to visit them.  And play with their puppies.  And maybe be an honorary aunt if the need ever arises.  I promise to bring presents!

You know who you are; much love.  My heart couldn't be happier for the you.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19, 2011: Sweatpants

Yep, I'm super duper thankful for them.  And that today I allowed myself to take a complete break and stay in them the whole day after my massage this morning.  I watched an entire season of Parks and Recreation and ate half a pizza.  Glorious.

Okay, pretty glutinous, actually, but for the first time, in a long time, I've gotten to fully relax and rejuvenate all by myself.  And I napped.  I feel rested for the first time in a few months :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18, 2011: Paper Pass!

Today I am thankful that the paper which kicked my butt earned an A.  That's all.  Thank heavens it's over!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 17, 2011: Family Christmases

Honestly, I can't remember the last time we were all together at Christmas.  Okay, I remember it.  It was junior year, but I was high on vicodin post-knee surgery and dropped an F-Bomb, because my grandpa kicked my leg inadvertently.  Yeah, oops, not a shining moment for me atop the Christmas tree!

Anyway, holidays are sort of... ridiculous...around the Morris household, but this year we might all be together for Christmas eve.  Even if it doesn't happen, the hope that we might have it is enough for me.  I'll be the only single child there without a baby, but, hey, I'll be able to talk about white privilege!  Just kidding, I'll be holding out for that conversation until Christmas day.  Just kidding again.

Anywho.  I'm thankful that every family's a little dysfunctional but, despite that, thing can change and become more, er, functional.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16, 2011: Two Things

As a side note:  Blogger is archaic... I'll be converting over to WordPress sooner rather than later.  And I'm toying with the idea of writing a legit blog.  Like one with real topics and points, since I'm sure these little caveats are less than thrilling.  I mean, look at my five followers... reality check for the self.

1.  Today I am thankful that my internship will be better next quarter, potentially new as well, but either way, it will be more challenging and ground-breaking for me.  Wwwooooosssshhhh!  That being said I am thankful for the things I have learned thus far at Hep C (which requires a separate blog post in and of itself):  non-profit management, systemic bureaucracy, population underrepresentation, the unfairness of the American insurance system, why healthcare reform is integral to a nation's success, and how leadership impacts-good and bad-an agency's effectiveness, etc.  If you want more details, ask me at some point when our lives cross.  And I'm thankful that it's okay to admit when something isn't working without fear of reprisal, which is [apparently] part of professional maturation.

2.  Twinzies!  Oh twinzies.  How can I not be thankful for them?  Especially when they pee in the tub, eat my muffins, and draw all over my sweatpants with chalk.  I'll miss them when I'm no longer with them, but it'll give me a nice-likely five to six year-hiatus to rest up, if and before any children of my own enter the life picture.  I just really love how they give me hugs and kisses every day and get real excited to see me; it's totally selfish, but it gives me a super good feeling all up in my heart.  Yep, those goobers are cute.

The Puppy Hat:  My absolute fav.

So full of life.  I love!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15, 2011: Three More Days (But Technically Six)

I am thankful that, in three more days, all my classes will be over.  And after next Monday, my last final exam will be complete.

I am thankful that in a week from today I will be able to sleep for many hours and go for a run.  That will be nice!

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011: Dad

Today I am thankful for my Dad.  He's super thoughtful and shows that he loves me through little things like surprise emails, silly text messages (silly because he hasn't totally gotten the hang of how to do it...), snail-mailed cards, and tickets to BON IVER HOMECOMING!!!!  I can't wait until December 12!!!!

I love my dad.  He's has a distinct compassion for people and a unique ability to meet people where they are.  I like that.  And we're going through social-work-like school together!  :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Weekend Thankfulness

November 11th:

I am thankful that I have a break in one week.  A very long break.

November 12th:

Today I am thankful for Kelly, her insight and compassion.  And her laugh.  It's great!

November 13th:

Today I am thankful that I'm feeling better and about to embark on my last week of the first quarter! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10, 2011: Reconnections & Supervisors

Today I had lunch with my old supervisor from my CCU Residence Life days.  Ever since graduation I have not missed college for one second, but I miss being in Res Life sometimes.  Not the actual being a RA or ARD aspect but being part of a community that pushed me to be excellent and live purposefully.   A big part of loving Res Life was working with Kusch, because he challenged and encouraged me simultaneously.  And he believed I could do it when I was greener than green.  It was great!

Recently I have missed having Kusch as a supervisor or having a supervisor who was intentional about developing leaders.  I miss the challenge to find God in things and go the extra inch when all I want to do is sit on my ass.  And I miss the awkward Sandy Patty sign language jokes.  Probs for my whole life and the rest of my professional career I'll miss Kusch.  There's a reason why they call the best supervisors "the best."

November 9, 2011: I Am Who I Am

Today I am thankful that I am found in Christ.  That I am who I am, because he is who he is.  That's a whole lot of Scripture-quoting, but it's beautiful truth.  For the past week, I've been writing one of the most difficult papers I've ever (and probably ever will) write.  There will be an upcoming blog on the experience that the paper's based on soon... when I have two, consecutive moments to breathe.  But all that to say, I found myself writing and writing and writing everything that the professor wanted me to say, because I was so afraid that she'd fail me if I said the wrong thing.  So I researched and read and processed and wrote.  And then, because desperate times call for desperate measures (this blog is full of trite tonight!), I consulted my EX-BOYFRIEND for theological sources, because I knew he'd know of something, and my brain was trying to eat my heart, and I needed something to ground me.  Of course Trev knew of something, and he helped me out quite graciously.  *Another note of thanks*  But, then, it dawned on me that I was so preoccupied and busy with being PC and not hurting my professor's feelings or looking incompetent that I wasn't being me.  And that's the worst feeling ever.  So I gave it all up and was brutally honest.  With some compassion mixed in.

We'll see... it might not get an A, but oh well.  I gave myself an A, which is more important, because at the end of the day, it's me who's got to answer to me.  And then to God.  And tonight my heart's right, a living testament to a good, good God.  Mmm peace.

Sweet dreams, Loves.  Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8, 2011: Bible Study

I love Tuesday nights.  Meeting with my Bible study friends to discuss God, Scripture, life, etc. is a highlight of the week.  It's a consistent moment of solace amid the chaos with people who offer new insight and encouragement.  Plus, sometimes we just hang out together and drink beer or play games.  We're a small part of what the Church is, which is daunting yet special.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2011: Skinny Jeans

This post is superfluous, totally a First World Problem, but come on, sometimes a girl needs the minimizers.  And on the day after I was "supposed" to run a 5K, a flattering pair of jeans rocks.  That's all.

But to leave you with a tasty but profoundly-rocking treat, here's Feist's "The Bad in Each Other" off her new album, Metals, which I'm LOVING these days...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 6, 2011: Football Sunday

This morning I visited a new church for a school assignment, which warrants an entire blog post in itself, but right now I can't write about it, not processed enough yet, so I'll do some thanksgiving:

Today I am thankful for Football Sundays.  I spend them with Dani and Kaz (Mac, too, sometimes) in my sweats, watching football, winning Fantasy Football, and doing my homework.  It's nice to be with another human being amid the books and notes.  Inevitably we have little dance parties, drink boxed wine, and converse about life, love, and God.  We all need those people who get it and those times when it's cool to let it all out.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 4 & 5, 2011: Music and "Me, too!"

Two thankful posts in one day, because, let's be real, school work gets the better of me sometimes.

November 4, 2011:  Music

I don't have a lot of time to pursue leisurely things I love to do, and I can't wait until November 20, because all my courses and projects will be done for first quarter.  Aside from boxed wine, one thing that I love is listening to music, and fortunately this can be done while working on homework, cleaning my house, or driving in between the office and work.  I take it everywhere with me.  Recently, music's been my solace for my soul.  The creative outlet I miss but need to stay sane.  And it lets me escape to a different place, which is real nice, when I'm a little overwhelmed and off-center with no mat for a down-dog.  Mmmm.

November 5, 2001:  The Phrase, "Me, too!"

For the first month of grad school, I walked around thinking, am I the ONLY one?  about everything.  I felt so alone and out of place, so different.  But slowly walls break down, and I'm able to learn my classmates' stories a bit and get a closer glimpse into who they are and what this process is like for them. In those conversations the words "me, too!" come out frequently, which are a fresh breath, like waves rolling onto the shoreline, washing everything clean.  It's nice to know you have a buddy, especially since eye chat happens this way.  I do love a good eye chat.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3, 2011: Learning

Today I am thankful for learning.  This is the eighth week of my first quarter of graduate school.  In 21 days I will be finished with the beginning and that much closer to being able to do what I was made for, to devote my nine to five to what makes my heart beat faster.  I am overwhelmed by the blessing of education, to live in a country that allows and encourages women to grow their minds and go deeper.

It costs many dollars and consumes a lot of me, but I am so lucky to be doing this.  To devote two years to prepare and grow into a social worker.  Some days I think about all the possibilities and work I can be a part of, and I am overcome by how big the world is and how many possibilities wait ahead of me.  I am blessed to be a part of an incredible profession and meet amazing people with giving, big hearts.

Yeah, I'm thankful for papers, books, literature reviews, internship hours, meetings, and paper cuts.  All of it, every part... I was made for it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2, 2011: Heart Joy from Nouwen

Today my heart is thankful for this Henri Nouwen quotation from Life of the Beloved:

"You and I have to trust that our short little lives can bear fruit far beyond the boundaries of our chronologies... the fruitfulness of our little life, once we recognize it and life it, is beyond anything we ourselves can imagine."  

Today I am thankful for these, specific words, because they remind me that, in spite of feeling like I am doing nothing world-changing each day in the office, my life is significant.  My life belonging not to me but to my father is significant, and the moment I choose to live in that calling is beautiful.  It's the moment of trust that Nouwen's talking about, I think.  

My little life... oh how I limit, you, Jesus.  Thank you for not limiting me.  Thank you for planning infinitely more for me than I can even comprehend.  Thank you for not giving up on my little life!

May you find your heart joy today, whatever it is.  Peace.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Best Ideas Aren't Mine Anyway.

I'm copying my friends and taking time to write about what I'm thankful for on this blog every day during November.  I love it.  It's something that I need very much right now, I think, so thank you to whoever started it to begin with...

Today I am thankful for my sister, and it's her birthday, so it's fitting!  Erica and I couldn't be more different, and we fight all the time, because we don't get each other... but we do.  That's the crazy mystery of sisterhood.  Right now she's going through some tough stuff, but she's persistent and trying to make the best out of it.  And I admire her for that, her resilience and determination to do it right.  She's stronger than she thinks she is, because she admits when she's a hot mess, which is so hard for us to do.

I'm thankful that I get to be her sister and for how she looks up to me, even though I don't know what I'm doing half the time either.  I just love her :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

... And Doughnut Brains (Part Two)

But not all my blog posts can be reflective and spiritual.  This is the second part to my reflections on grad school (as all my blogs are about these days).  Stay away from the doughnut brain!  In other words, don't let your brain be a doughnut.

Ooohh I'm so delicious yet unsatisfying!!!  Eat me!!!  You'll regret it later!!!!!

You know, the person that looks polished, succinct, and delicious on the outside yet is empty on the inside... just like a doughnut.  The opening words of a statement sounds incredible, but quickly intellectual talk spirals into wasted air.  It's tragic.  Just don't do it.  Stick to the biscuit way of life, filling and substantive yet fluffy and amicable.  It's just better to be a biscuit, even if you don't have no gravy.

Always good, every time!

Jesus... (Part One)

A lot of venting happens at the Graduate School of Social Work.  And processing.  Oddly, I feel very close to my classmates despite not knowing personal details about them, because we talk about life and it's depth constantly:  the shame and embarrassment, beauty, fright, impossibility, and intricacy of being human.  It's almost like we're taking two years to go through an extensive existential crisis together, to explore every inch of who we are in order to recognize we're messed. Supposedly we're headed to this place of healing and wholeness, a place where we're still impossible but better able to help others (those three letters sure are powerful:  M S W).  All things considered, I'm in expensive, long-term therapy...

The most amazing thing about being in this program, at this school specifically, is that people name something else, speak out against it, and insist that it's no longer necessary.  But the thing that everyone's saying is Jesus.  It's Jesus every single time.  The pain and brokenness that everyone wants to see changed and eradicated is sin.  And the only answer to sin is Jesus.

Ironically, my brain is swimming in a pool of new theory and language, but I go back to what I learned in Sunday school 20 years ago.  It's simple yet profound, exactly as redemption should be.

Jesus:  making everything complete and beautiful in time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

At Kaladi

I took my midterm, the my professor gave us permission to leave and skip her lecture.  Felt bad and guilty, so I stayed put but thought, screw it!  I want a latte!  I decided to put on my big girl panties and take a few minutes for me.  It's wonderful to walk down Evans at 8:30 in the morning and breath the crisp, fall air, then find yourself at Kaladi Brothers, when you'd normally be in class.  FFFFRRRREEEEDDDDOOOOMMM.  And I took a minute to write a poem, which felt good.  I miss poetry, words coming to live and dancing on the page.

Coffee Shop Rumble

Here I am, in this noisy corner
Eavesdropping secretly on dialogue, debate, and private sweetness
    that aren't so proviate (or even that sweet), because here we sit
    together but apart.
But thanks for teaching me about
   the drummer, the mountain
   that novel, and your libido.
All of it intriguing, exquisite, and monotonous
    at the same moment
    in a moment all it's own.
But that's Friday morning for ya.
It's the coffee shop rumble.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Girls I'll Always Love

Despite not having time to run or pluck my eyebrows, I find time to peruse Facebook, looking through old pictures and stalking people I don't speak with regularly but want to keep tabs on.  Sometimes these searches yield the most incredible results.  Example:

Photographic mess that holds much promise...
I love this picture, or actually, this one:

Aside from being gorgeous, these women are incredible souls.  Some of my best friends, my girls.  When I think of each of them, I am encouraged.  I know only great things are to come from their lives.  

This is a super, cheese-ball post, but I love this picture.  All the hope and sparkle in those eyes.  Never lose it, Girls!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spending the afternoons with the twinzies refreshes me.  I can turn off my brain for awhile, yet I have this incredible opportunity to mold the two tinys into people.  That's exciting and a little daunting.  (Again, why I am not ready to be a mom just yet...)

I get great presents all day long.
 Today we played in the yard for hours, painting pumpkins, saying "hello!" to passers-by, and dancing to the Weepies.  It was the perfect fall afternoon full of blissful nothing, sunshine, and crunchy leaves.

Pumpkin shortage.  Whatever!

Cassidy is the little artist.

It's amazing to look back through old pictures on my iPhone from several months ago and read over their mom's blog from over a year ago.  My how they've grown.  They're not babes anymore, but to me, they'll always be the babies.  Funny to think about how much I detested taking that job... go figure.  Life sure is funny sometimes.

Ready to break hearts!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Learning [is] Surrender

Clearly the blog lacks these days, but what can I say?  Thoughts never stop thinking, and my brain doesn't slow down.  Between hours at the office, sitting in class, pricking people's fingers for blood samples, too many cups of coffee, and attempting to maintain some form of a social life, I must consciously tell myself to breathe, to process, to take it all in.  Midterm is next week; two years a quarter gone.

But a recurring theme in this chaos called grad school is surrender.  It's the only way I make it through the day with even a slight ounce of sanity.  This-social work education-is one of the most difficult things of my life so far, but it is good, too.  I feel as though I am beneath a magnifying glass, my every move and word observed, soaked in.  Everything has a deeper implication, and each person is not who he or see seems.  I cannot look at anything the same anymore; it's like my eyes are wide open to the things that have permeated my world for 23 years, but now I can it for real.  *Damn it, all this sharing of the feelings!

And every day I fight something.  Doubts.  Insecurity.  Disconnect.  Fear.  Pride.  Sleepiness.  Panic.

My world is consumed in an idea, a concept.  Most of my interaction is with textbooks and my own thoughts.  I remember my family and friends, their lives happening around me.  Instead of being a part of it, I am around it.  It's so much time in my own head, and I am a little sick of it. It's making my heart breaks a little...

I feel selfish.  Totally consumed in my dream, making my passions a reality.  Deep inside I know I am pursuing this for others' good, but then I consider philanthropy, humanism.  Does true altruism exist anymore?  Is there a point?  And then my tissue box is my friend... and my journal.  It's like Uganda all over again.

But in the middle of my ranting, my doubting, my being myself, I remember good things are not an easy processes necessarily.  And people are crazy, so working side-by-side (even with good intention), creating relationships, and dreaming of change together is ridiculous.  Crazy and dangerous, but beautifully messy.  It shows me how necessary this work is, how my passion is mine for a reason, even if I do not understand it fully.

And I breathe, feeling my fists clenched tightly around a full heart, holding onto each and every internalization... it's time to let it go.  Whatever that looks like, however I can in that moment.

Discomfort, I realize you.
Pride, I relinquish you.
Pain, I sit with you.
Wonder, I relish in you.
Anger, I embrace you.
Confusion, I let you.
Joy, I adore you.
Grace, I rejoice over you.
Love, I long for you.

*Jesus, I need You.

So, for me, learning, textbook or practical, is surrender.  A lesson I learn and learn and learn and learn daily.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Sleep Talking Man!

If you haven't heard the Sleep Talking Man, give him a listen.  His nighttime chats make me roar in laughter, and too much laughter is never a bad thing.  Props to this man's wife for recording every night!

Reminds me of my sophomore and junior roommates, both of whom talked in their sleep about the most random and ridiculous things.

Sweet dreams.

Monday, September 19, 2011

More Than Hopeful Thoughts

"Once again Jesus went out beside the lake.  A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them.  As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth.  'Follow me,' Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.  

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and 'sinners' were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
    When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the 'sinners' and tax collectors, tehy asked his disciples:  'Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners?'
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'" -Mark 2:13-17
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, 
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  -Matthew 5:3-12

The killer in you is the killer in me, my Love.
A life, all life is holy.
Healing in you is healing in me.
A brain spinning, twirls round and round.
Beating heart inside reminds me of the beating heart in you.

And at the end of the day, the words are borrowed, but the meaning is true, disarming me.  This constant battling of the head and the heart, my blood pumping to rhythms new and old makes me alive, which is the important part, I think.  Jesus to Rachel Remen to Smashing Pumpkins, tomorrow is a brand new day.  Amid P.C.'s high volume, truth speaks loud clear.  Let it be heard, and let my heart be changed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dear Show Attendees:

If you pay $25 to see a band play live, you should listen and watch.  To the many of you at last's nights Explosions in the Sky show, here are some pointers for how to listen better:

To the four couples surrounding me who spent 90 minutes in lip-lock:  Colfax has a plethora of inexpensive motels, which-by the nature of their definition-offer you the appropriate space for your activities.  You could pay potentially $25 flat if you find a true motel and save yourself the $25 you forked over for your significant other.  Make use of them.  Or purchase a Groupon Getaway; I hear they rule.

To the man attempting to become the boyfriend of five women:  Pick a target, and stay focused.  You appear moronic to the rest of the crowd.  And next time you try to seduce a woman, maybe try a subject other than jelly beans.  Try art, music, television, books, travel, nature, but not jelly beans for fifteen minutes.  Here's a free tip to end my piece for you:  attend a show of a band you actually enjoy, so you don't need to complain about your eardrum's post-rock-mordem.  This way, you will shut up and have something to talk about for at least thirty minutes afterward.

To the wild dancers:  It's post-rock not disco.  Dance, dance, dance away, but keep your appendages out of my face and ass, k, thanks!

To the tall people:  When you see a hole in front of two women under 5' 6'', and you are circa 5' 9'', don't weave your way in.  And when the 5' 5'' girl confronts you, don't say you're sorry and produce a puppy-dog face... then stay planted to the ground.  Dammit tall people!

And, finally, to Mr. McGrabby:  If a song-which happens to be my absolute favorite-is called, "Your Hand In Mine," plays and I sway a bit, it is not an open invitation to hold my hand or work your way up to my breasts.  And if I push you away more than once (specifically three times), that's a good indicator that you should stop before I lose it entirely and scream, "WHAT THE F***?  STOP TOUCHING ME, DUDE!"  Yes, I will be like Moses and part the sea of harassment for the auditory pleasure of the crowd.  And after a failed attempt to hit on me, you should move your body further than six inches from mine, particularly so I don't overhear you hitting on the woman next to me.

If, collectively, we follow these basic rules of common, social interaction, we will have a pleasant experience together, with or without marijuana.  I believe in your ability to succeed but welcome your questions if you find yourself in a state of ambiguity.

Cheers!  And... Texas Forever!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Big Girl School

I survived the first day, and while it was seven hours of orientation, I made it!  In the crowd I found the other Hep-C interns, a girl from CCU, and some friendly girls at lunchtime, so, technically speaking, I made some friends!

One of my favorite parts of the day was listening to faculty introductions.  Each person talked about the courses he or she taught and their personal interests in social work.  To say I was intrigued puts it mildly.  All I wanted to do afterward was ditch orientation and talk to professors.  Nerd alert!  But, really, who doesn't want to take a trip to Ireland to study the relationship between political systems and religious oppression?  Or go to Bosnia to study how major trauma influences community development?  Or attend a free yoga class aimed to teach low-income individuals how to cope with stress and love themselves bettter?

And now onto the bizarre part of the day.  A professor lead us through an exercise to help us understand this idea called the "learning edge."  Basically, we walked around the room-which he termed feeling the space-not speaking to one another and traveling whichever direction we wanted.  Hello, human whirlpool!  Then we would pause and shape our bodies into the image or concept he asked us to imagine in our heads.  The first time we stood shaped like a tree, but then it got more abstract:  shape yourself like the biggest barrier that will keep you from being successful and shape yourself like what you will do to overcome that barrier and shape yourself like your true motivation for entering into this profession.  When asked about our reaction to the exercise, I replied, out loud, that I had a hard time taking it seriously, especially in the most serious parts.  And then everyone in the group laughed.  Yay!  At least I'm funny...

Talk about weirdo but enlightening.  The professor went on to explain that the tumultuous range of emotions most of us probably felt during the day meant we stood at the precipice of our "learning edge."  If we were brave enough to stay at our learning edge during our studies, which involved feeling the icky emotions without shutting down or ignoring them, we would engage our social work education to the fullest, know ourselves better, and overcome many of the hindrances that keep us from being our best and seeing the best in other people.  He noted as well that, to do our profession well to make tangible change in issues we care about, we would need to stay at our learning edge for life.  It was odd, but it challenged me, which is something I crave and need.

Overall, I think I'm going to do okay in grad school.  And not just okay, I think I'll really love it.  And hate it at times as well.  Each class will kick my butt probably.  I'm sure I'll get in trouble for using pronouns that are not gender-neutral; this is something very new to the CCUer in me.  But in two years I'll be ready to take on the world... whatever that will look like then.  In the meantime I can rest assured that adult butterflies are very real but very likely to be overcome.  It's nice to know that something in my life is more than a hopeful thought.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

What is technically supposed to be 1/2 Week 4

As soon as I received my syllabi for my fall quarter class-load, I abandoned the high hope of running a half marathon in November.  I realized that I value sleep more than running a 13-mile race, and that realistically I would never be able to pull my butt out of bed four mornings a week at 5 AM.  So, now that that's settled, I've opted to run a 10K in November which is slightly less than half of a Half and a real Half in the spring.

Updates to come.  Now off for a run!  (Don't worry... three miles, People, three miles.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I have this jean problem...

I feel compelled to share the Googling results of my most recent search for the world to see, mostly because it made me roar in laughter.  See!

Google Search Initiated:  
"My jeans rip in my inner-thighs always!  Fix!"

  1. "Make My Jeans Last Longer:  'Ill back up caddis' point about lining.  I find that wearing boxers reduces this inner thigh pant wear.  I'm not sure if you can even buy that style of women's underwear anymore though an previous girlfriend use to like wearing men's boxers.'"
  2. "I know a girl who scothgards her crotch for this very reason.  It makes sense in theory, but I've never tried it though."
  3. "Katherine: 'This is the bane of my existence.  The destruction is inevitable but in the past I've prolonged the life of my pants by preemptively putting iron on patches on the inside of the pants at the rubby parts.  They come off pretty damn quick though...'" 
  4. "This isn't supposed to be sexy..."
  5. And get ready for the best:  "Do you wash em regularly?  Bacteria causes rippage in the inner thighs."
I'll be denim-patching these suckers.  They're my favorite skinnies (and, currently, my only skinnies).  Grad school budgets excuse such decisions.  At least I'm not alone and got a good laugh this morning :)

This one is good.

Friend posted this.  I loved it.  You should read it.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Big words!  My brain on Hepatitis C.

My brain is on overload.  Last night I went to my first training on Hepatitis-C (which I spelled wrong initially.  Better memorize that one...) to prepare for facilitating a support group for my social work internship.  I learned a bunch of new terms and words, and, really, a bunch of stuff I didn't know about how pharmaceutical companies and medical insurance works in situations like this.

Hopefully not what I'll be doing... I don't like those swabby things; they make me gag a lot.
But to my great relief, everyone at the training was kind.  And friendly.  And really cool.  One woman had just got back from Uganda.  Another was a pscyho-therapist.  And a few were were vegetarians (I think vegetarians are so disciplined!).  But everyone in the room was socially active and passionate about something out in the world.  It was neat to hear about what they do every day and how they are making an impact where they can.

There's something encouraging and soul-warming about meeting individuals who care about other people enough to give their time and be in meaningful relationship with hurting people.  My breaths are a little lighter now, and I slept super well last night.  I believe (and no longer have to convince myself) that this grad school thing is going to work out alright, and it's the right thing right now.  I like it.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Being a mom is hard work, I think.  On Friday night I stayed overnight with the twins.  My biological clock is now on standstill for about 1,000 years.  Just kidding.  But kids around 30 sounds good.

First off I FAILED to grill a turkey burger.  Not sure what happened or why it chose not to cook right, but the meat sort of stuck to the grate and got goopy.  That seemed crazy-salmonella-like, so I left it to harden a bit before scraping it off the grill.  Oops.  I forgot to close the lid, so it attracted about fifteen wasps.  Secret fear:  Getting stung.  My mom's deathly allergic, so I run away or kill bees/wasps/yellow jackets/anything with a stinger in about -5 seconds out of habit.  And in all my outdoor and traveling adventures, I've managed to avoid a sting.  I figure it's not so much about the painful sting but more about the possibility of being allergic and kicking the bucket after getting stung like the kid on My Girl.  Unpleasant.
She's precious.
SO ANYWAY... I attempted to hit chunks of turkey burger off the grill with the scraper.  The wasps followed the chunks/my hand.  I tried to hit said chunks far away from the grill and throw them into a bag.  The wasps followed me.  Finally I closed the grill and ran away like a brave person.  After 15 minutes I opened the grill and encountered mad wasps.  I almost ran away but had a brilliant epiphany to turn on the burner to kill the wasps.  They didn't actually die; they just got pissed, but the smoke made them fly away.  And I remained unstung.

And he's too cute for words, really.
Why didn't I just ignore it?  Because I wanted the babes to play in the yard, so they would sleep nice.  Eventually all the wasps left, but the whole experience just got obnoxious and dramatic.  Gross.  Afterward the night went smoothly, and the twins fell asleep without complication.  Then I collapsed with some wine and episodes of The Office.  I discovered this was my favorite part of pseudo-momming.

Saturday mornings for mothers.
Don't get me wrong; I liked the Saturday morning cuddles as well. What I did not enjoy as much was the 3:35 AM wake-up call.  Cassidy fell back asleep promptly after uttering a blood-curdling scream, but I stayed wide awake, my heart pounding for a good 30 minutes from being awoken mid dream (which was oddly about Florida and a butler...).  Counting sheep didn't work.  Pretending I lived in a fairy-tale land didn't work.  What did work was exhaustion, and I somehow managed to get back to sleep around 5:30 only to be woke at 6:30 by a playful toddler.

By noon on Saturday, I was exhausted.  And looked awful.  My eyes were too tired to wear my contacts.  It was stellar.  Then I went to the Gap and purchased adult clothes for my internship/graduate school education.  Turns out that when you spend a lot of money to learn how to be a licensed professional, sweats and tie-dyes don't cut it.  Such a grown-up day for me.

To sum it up, I gleaned the following from the overnight:
1.  Moms needs to be thanked more frequently.
2.  Moms are probably some of the most creative people on earth.  Creative in multiple senses of the word.
3.  I bet a mom invented the happy hour.
4.  I bet Spicy Basil-and the many take-out options on Broadway-makes a lot of money on Friday nights... because of tired Moms.
5.  I bet a Mom discovered melatonin's sleepiness affects.


While it might be challenging and hard sometimes, I imagine that being a real mom is a privilege as well.  And a gift.  To love someone no matter what and watch a person become.  Someday, someday, but my heart's (or maybe just my sleep cycle's) glad it's not today.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Confession One:  I've watched YouTube every day this week, multiple times a day, in order to learn how to style my bangs.

Confession Two:  I made an appointment at Aveda today to have my bangs cut differently... and to learn how to style my bangs.


Monday, August 15, 2011

1/2 Week 1

Today marks the first day of my first week of half-marathon training.  That's a lot of "first" and "of" in one sentence.  The game plan for week one is as follows:

Stretch &
3 m run
2 m run or cross
3 m run +
30 min
4 m run

Hal Higdon, along with many Americans, swears system works.  We'll see.  Updates to follow!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


When I see things like this happening, my heart is happier instantly!!  Cookies saving the WORLD!

http://cookiesfornets.wordpress.com  Check it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Goosebumps. Goose pimples. Whatevs.

I'm not sure what you call them, but this song gives them to me every time.  Completely obsessed is what I am; this song's been on repeat for three days.  Enjoy:

"Blood" by The Middle East

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Brauer

Every once and awhile two incredible people bump into each other, fall in love, and begin to live life together.  That's how I feel about Jess and Daniel who are both called Brauer now.  I love this couple.  Absolutely love them.

Being a part of Jess' and Daniel's special day was a blessing.  They know and share so much love between each other; it's nothing short of encouraging to be around them.  Every time we hang out, I feel a special sort of grace.  The kind that draws me back toward the heart of it and pushes me forward into a deeper desire for our God.  And a kind of grace that gives me good perspective on the tumultuous world of dating, attraction, and love.  The Brauers are a power couple, and I expect nothing short of amazing.

It's funny to think that the people pictured above weren't my friends one year ago.  It's even funnier to remember that I almost didn't go back to Bible study, because I felt so young around these ones.  And different from them.  But experiencing their friendship and talking about life and God together has made me rich this year.  Sometimes the friends we don't hand-pick are the ones that grow us most in the areas we forget.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Because I Am that Lazy, yet that Hopeful...

To train or not to train for a Half Marathon?
  (This is the question.  But, really, the resolve.)

In the spring I trained for a 5K and had a stellar time of 28 minutes for my first attempt.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to run it due to a nasty, breathing-prohibited sickness which turned into a month as a cesspool-germ-incubator/allergy festival who sat on the couch and watched Felicity in it's entirety.  I'd like to say that the sickness brought on five pounds, but I know the Felicity addiction did me in.  (Anyone who thinks it's impossible to resist Noel:  you're on, and you'll buy me a drink, when I prove you wrong!)  To combat my flubber, I tried my first-ever, two-week crash tone-up diet before the Vegcation to look good for... no one?  Not one of my most shining spirals into sloth...

This summer I've dragged my body down the neighborhood gulch "to get a run in" and done Core Secrets when feeling excessively flabby.  In reality I've half-assed my fitness routine this season in exchange for summer shandy and the infinitely-flattering sundress/belt combination.  Ooh la la. 

Sundress/Belt Combination:  Results Yielded!  Try it, Ladies!

It appears that I'm doing this because of a lack of "self-esteem" or having "poor body image," but this isn't about that at all.  It dawned on me that I start graduate school in about one month, and once that new chapter of my story begins, I will go into crazy mode.  And I can be either crazy-busy yet balanced or just crazy.  So, in training to run a half-marathon in early November, I take a big step to take care of me.  And to look "good," because I care for myself, not for anyone in particular.  And to feel good, because I am healthy, not to prove that I am athletic or meet a social standard.  And to set a big, motivational goal that proves I can accomplish what I set my mind to.

The face of determination.  

I believe that we love, serve, and understand others best when we are balanced and healthy ourselves.  What I do to help, challenge, and grow myself, is ultimately an action that may help others progress as well.

If you have any tips (or desire to be my running buddy!), drop a comment.  I'll update through the process and post some pictures of sweaty-nastiness... probably not.  What are you doing to take care of you?  

Cheers to being the best we can be!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Soul Longings

In a completely spontaneous moment, I ran into my best friend from elementary and middle school at church.  Seeing her brought me back to my wistful, ten-year-old self who knew every Point of Grace song by heart and wore (all too regularly) a favorite, intentionally-over-sized t-shirt that said, "People Use Duct Tape to Fix Everything.  God Used Nails."

Obviously, I was completely ridiculous.  The Christianese has escaped my vocabulary, and the poor fashion stays in the closet...for the most part.  For these changes I am thankful.  The twelve-year-old nostalgia brought back more than memories of awkward fashion, and I realized that at this age, my family traveled abroad, and I went on my first missions project to Morocco.  I failed to appreciate the cultural experience, and overall the trip was awful.  When I wasn't fighting with my mother, I threw up every five seconds.  I can't name half the cities we visited or names of people we met, but with complete clarity I remember what I thought while holding sweet, baby Karim, and listening to the story of how his adoptive mother found him next to a dumpster only a few months before:  if I hold baby Karims for the rest of my life, I will be content.

It's odd, I think, what sticks with us as we age and change.  I can't escape the desire to find the Karims of the world.  Some people refer to it as a "calling," and others call it "vocation," but I like the term "soul longing."  It's the idea we can't explain despite the passage of time or our efforts to try other things.  Somehow everything makes sense in the context of those moments, even when we have opportunities more advantageous, logical, or prestigious.  Most importantly, in those moments we feel most alive.  When we are not experiencing a soul longing, we're chasing after one.

In the story of Jesus' early life, Scripture says that his mother, Mary, watched him and "treasured" all the moments "inside her heart."  I'm not a theologian, but when I read that, I think that Mary's soul felt a bit like my own while holding Karim.  Mary knew that giving life to the world's savior was her deepest calling and the experience that would forever define her existence, her very own soul longing.  She treasured those moments, because she knew what they meant and implied for the remainder of her life. 

Remembering that 10-year-old me makes me long for those moments and places where I feel that completeness more than ever.  In that place there are no professional hoops to jump through or frustrated desires.  Just being.  But then I consider that while in that state, there's no longer necessity to get better. Essentially that's the end.  And I am so far from being ready for the end.  And that alone motivates me to jump through the hoops, try things on for size, and make some horrific blunders.  Because if I'm not doing that, I suppose I'm not living at all.

So my hope for you, for me, is that we stay quiet in those moments when our souls long and find the courage to chase those longings without thinking too hard or feeling too little until Christ decides to complete us.


Friday, July 1, 2011

When I'm Not Blogging...


... I am doing these fun summer things!! (or wanting to do them before grad school begins in September) You gotta have a little listy-list to make the time worthwhile.

1.  Go on a vacation.
2.  Run a 5k.
3.  Finish the Millenium trilogy.
4.  Camp in the sanddunes.
5.  Roadtrip somewhere.
6.  Pick fresh berries.  And make some homemade jam to give to my new neighbors!
7.  Host a backyard party!  Cocktails and Yummies
8.  Run every day of one week.
9.  Make organic cleaners.  (Away with you, awful toxins!)
10.  Tube down the river.
11.  Obtain a kick-ass suntan.  
12.  No TV for a week.  (Netflix has destroyed me!)
13.  Brew wine.
14.  Have a girls' sleepover then go to Snooze for breakfast the following morning.
15.  Hike a 14er.
16.  Go to one of those wine tastings for singles... shame, I know, but then I can say I've done it.  And I'll get to wear a sexy dress.
17.  Visit Mesa Verde.
18.  Go to the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs!! :)
19.  Learn how to make sushi!
20.  Hike to a listen to a concert at Red Rocks.
21.  Tour New Belgium brewery.
23.  Paint something worth hanging on the wall of the new apartment.
24.  Kayak at the pretty lakes up I-70.
25.  Take Dad to a Rockies game!

And plenty more.  What are you up to this summer?

The Birds and the Bees sing in the trees.  La-da-di-do-da!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Roadtrip, a Frieniversary, and a Vegcation.

Summer is rooted deep in my system, and in order to enjoy it to the fullest, I neglect things like blog posting and cleaning the bathroom every weekend (well, that later one might be out of spite... just kidding.)  Last week I had a great excuse, though, because I toured a few apartments, found a keeper, and signed a lease then hopped on the road for a much-needed vacation to Las Vegas with Morgan.

(The above picture is proof that, in Vegas, everyone-even savvy world travelers who like to blend in as much as possible-is a tourist.)

We like to give every cool thing we do a name, so we called this trip the Vegcation.  And we had so much fun, we resolved to do it every year (not Vegas but a vacation together), so our trip became the first Frieniversary.  It was THE BEST!  No diapers, no rain, no alarm clocks, and no iCal.  Instead of all those things, I got to enjoy poolside cocktails, Trader Joe's, Cirque du Soleil, and a fluffy bed.  It was fabulous.  And now I have a kick-ass tan to flaunt for the rest of the summer.

("Smile, we're almost to Vegas!")
Roadtrips bring out the most intriguing conversations, especially while driving twelve hours through incredible scenery.   Ironically, we kept commenting on how beautiful the creation was, which made God even more cool than he already is, on our way to Sin City.  And we discussed a game-plan to avoid getting roofied, which turned into an establishment of standards for whom we would and would not accept free drinks.  Edification in the highest.

(Who needs weirdos to buy you a free drink, when you can purchase a magical, frozen, Purple Rain slushy for yourself?  Don't worry... it contained only three shots and acai berry.  Balance, Baby!)

Turns out we were too creeped out by the men to accept any free drinks, so we bought our own; however, we accepted the free dining credits from the concierge at the resort.  It's great when the service-industry messes up in Vegas!  And we skipped the night clubs upon realization that even our most "club-appropriate" outfits were something that the grandmas wear out on in V-Town.

(In Vegas you meet the most intriguing people and see the most unusual things, which includes women who creep into photos and look like E.T.)

Cheers to staying classy in Vegas (and all the time)!  And looking hot despite the failed attempt at a two-week bikini crash-diet!  And to amazing vacations with amazing friends! :)  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Small Pleasures

Some Pleasant Thoughts for the Week:

*Denver is real green, and the grass is soft.  Rain is wondrous.
*Next Monday is my first day off since Christmastime! (Excluding the two days of vomiting...)
*Vacation in less than 30 days!  My dreams consist of nothing less than Napa orchards, sandy beaches, Haight-Ashbury, a plethora of playlists, quality bonding inside Classy, and mucho coffee.  And plenty of uses of the phrase, "Let's do this thing, Africa!"
*The running habit is back in full-swing, and I have new jeans to keep me accountable.
*I almost have my interviews for my social work internship nailed down-the first one on Friday.  Whew that was fast!  And super easy!
*Explosions In the Sky-the band that has accompanied my every low and high since sophomore year of college-is playing a show in Denver in the fall.  OH EM GEE!  Tears will likely be shed at the sound of Your Hand In Mine, no exaggeration.
*Our small group is almost one year old!
*All the HALO Denver kids get to go to summer camp, and some will see the mountains for the very first time!  All thanks to a bunch of partying philanthropists.  Alcohol and large bank accounts do incredible things in conjunction with one another...
*The Malaria Griot Project I worked on last month is complete, and we've got some crazy-awesome stuff planned for this upcoming year.  I can't wait to take Denver by storm... for the greater good.
*If this rain lets up, I get to ride my new bicycle work.
*My skin is too shades darker than it was at the end of April.  I'm looking like a real Asian.

People always say to live your dream, but when I look at my list, I can't help but feel like I'm already there... with plenty more dreams to dream, goals to achieve, and people to love somewhere on a bright promise of a horizon.
I am reading a book called Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol, which tells the story of kids living in the poorest congressional district in the United States, a neighborhood in the south Bronx.  I don't have much to say about the book, other than a recommendation to read it with a box of tissues and an open mind if you are at all interested in America's educational apartheid and inequity.  I want to share with you the last paragraph of the prologue:

"What is it like for children to grow up here?  What do they think the world has done to them?  Do they believe that they are being shunned or hidden by society?  If so, do they think that they deserve this?  What is it that enables some of them to pray, what do they say to God?"

It's that last line that chills me.  How do they pray, and what do they say?  I think of the children this book describes:  people with nothing whom society regards as close to nothing, if noticed at all.  But these boys and girls at the kings and queens of God's kingdom.  And I have so much to learn from their precious hearts.  And to think that this book is on my syllabus for my grad program at DU.  God has a clever way of weaving himself into everything and everywhere, even where he isn't necessarily welcomed readily.

(Amazing Grace:  The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation by Jonathan Kozol)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Being Of the Female Persuasion - Part Two

I'll spare the details of where and when this conversation occurred to keep the involved individuals as anonymous as possible.  In a conversation about life developments of mutual acquaintances and friends, someone referred to a group of girls as the "most attractive" and "dateable" women in our community due to their "godliness."  Maybe his confession of a stereotypical view of Christian women compliment invoked a little jealousy or something, but it bothered me a good deal and invoked definite feelings of annoyance, judgement, and animosity.  I confess I was wrong, but despite the obvious immaturity of my reaction (to an extent), the feelings were justified, I think.

Don't misunderstand; these girls are good people-kind, generous, friendly, dedicated, etc.  On top of possessing admirable qualities, they are beautiful women who love the Lord.  I don't want to berate them or men who think they are the "godliest" women they know, but this comment exemplifies the stringent definition of "godliness" and limiting expectations placed on Christian women (and women in general) today.  I realized these girls were the "godliest" women-to this guy-because they had no problem praying on the spot openly for anyone to join, read their Bible daily and spoke of the experience as highly enlightening each time, and interjected scripture and phrases such as "the Lord's," "it's God's will," and "the joy of the Lord is my strength today" frequently into common conversations, etc. etc..  If I take a step back, I admit his comment was not intended to imply that I was not a godly woman, but I took it personally and got frustrated.  Frustrated because I wasn't those things in that way.  None of these qualities are wrong, and I admit I could learn a thing or two from their example; however, I do not think that their faith or expression of it makes them more godly.

The irony of the guy's comment is that these girls embody everything we glean from Proverbs 31 in initial glance.  And unfortunately, we-note I'm including myself here-seem to settle at this as either the perfection we're going to attain or the definition we're escaping our entire lives as Christian women.  I fall into the later category, and I realize by posting these long complaints about my irritation with the "P31 Woman" that I am guilty of intense pride and cynicism.  Those traits are unacceptable as children of God, whether male or female.

Here are my wishes surrounding Christian women:
- We would live more freely, which means we do not allow ourselves to feel inadequate or compare ourselves to an ideal of what the godliest woman looks like or other women we encounter who appear to have it more together than us or be better Christians than us. 
- We would extend more grace and forgiveness to one another and accept that godliness has little to do with modest clothing, submission to men (as husbands or authority figures-yeah, I went there, and we can go there more if anyone wants, but I'll save it for a later post), domesticity, or child-rearing.  And we judge each other's godliness less/not at all.
- Accept that we will do things differently.  Some of us will be full-time moms and housewives creating cozy and welcoming homes.  Some of us will create a family and a career, never leaving one behind and integrating the two lives together the best we can.  And in that acceptance, we will appreciate that each chosen path is a direction given from the Lord specific to each individual.
- Speak with freedom and great clarity in the company of everyone we meet, uttering powerful words that challenge and encourage.  Act in a manner motivated by compassion and generosity.
- Enjoy our lives more and live them to the fullest extent, prioritizing ourselves... not in a selfish way, but in an appreciate way that leads to greater understanding and knowledge of the self so we can serve others to the best of who we are and our abilities.  Revel in being women!  (I learned this one from Beth Moore!)  
- Appreciate both genders for the unique things they do and aspects of God the other can't convey.

Overall, I resolve to try harder to appreciate the women around me and the men, too.  I want to appreciate the differences and see them as assets rather than divisive elements in community.  And I will try to work on embodying that above list better.  Balance, it's all in the balance.  

As I've thought through this and read the passage in Proverbs again and again, I conclude that the words aren't so much about being the perfect woman but give us something to work toward so we don't get complacent.  I breathe a sigh of relief, as I don't have to change into a morning person for the sake of my hypothetical children's breakfasts or resort to a career of selling handcrafts on Etzy while hypothetical husband does the cool work in the real world.  I can be me and be a godly woman... so long as I'm focused on being the me that God sees, the best me.  That's all he asks of me, and I like that so very much.  :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Being Of the Female Persuasion - Part One

"An excellent wife, who can find?  For her worth is far above jewels."
"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised."
-Proverbs 31:10 and 30

The two verses above are the current thorn in my womanly, Christian side.  I guess I am supposed to see them as an encouraging charge toward excellence, but they wear me out, and I feel grumpy reading them.  Instead, I like these:

"For attractive lips speak words of kindness.  For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.  For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.  For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.  For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.  People, more than things have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed.  Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.  As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others."  
-Audrey Hepburn

And  words slightly less whimsical and orthodox:
"I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure.  I make mistakes, I am out of control, and, at times, hard to handle.  But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

"Imperfection is beauty.  Madness is genius, and it's better to be ridiculous than absolutely boring."
-Marilyn Monroe

If I am honest, the later words make me feel lighter.  And I am ashamed that the Scripture passage above doesn't do that for me.  I am certain the scriptures are not the cause for my funk, but our contemporary discussion and interpretation of them frustrate me beyond adequate expression.  In preparation for writing this post (yes, I make a nerd confession that I sometimes prepare my blog posts like a paper...), I Googled "Proverbs 31 Woman," "Proverbs 31:10-31," and "I hate the Proverbs 31 woman."  All searches, including the last phrase, yielded dozens of hits.  We-Christian women (and men do this too, I believe)-idealize the "Proverbs 31 Woman" into the person we want to become or the symbol we loathe.  Whether we idolize the "perfect wife" in order to become the "virtuous woman" described in Proverbs or run in the opposite direction (which is a woman, like me, who buys her clothes and wakes up not at the butt-crack of dawn to homebake fresh bread for the kiddos... laugh, People, please!), we trap ourselves with her ideal.  Audrey's words are whimsical but empowering; they paint a picture of a different, brighter world.  And Marilyn's words are simply honest and raw.  I relate to her frustration but believe she has not abandoned hope of becoming a better person despite some flaws and imperfections she will carry always.

Recently, the thought of becoming the Proverbs 31 woman makes my nose wrinkle up and skin itch.  Don't get me wrong:  I want to be thrifty, frugal, wise, thoughtful, respected, and trusted.  And if I am ever blessed with marriage, I want a husband whom people admire and seek out, and I want to be a wife that pleases him... and you sensed it coming... BUT I do not want to be just that.  

... I want to marry a compassionate and intelligent man, be a "good" wife (whatever that means), and share life with my best friend, discovering God and becoming better together then changing our world.

... I want to explore every corner of this world, make new friends everywhere, and learn from everyone I meet no matter how different we are.

... I want to raise kids of all colors, shapes, and sizes to love people better and live abundantly-free every day they breathe.

... I want to serve people that the world forgets, ignores, and bypasses and help them understand that they are valuable, beautiful, and integral to changing this world for the better.

... I want to wear sexy sundresses, sip wine, laugh uncontrollably, and talk for hours with my friends, enjoying every minute together.

... I want to bake homemade bread, create my own organic cleaners, and make any place I live homey and beautiful.

... I want to be known as an intelligent, independent, giving, and loving woman who does not pass by opportunities because she is a wife, mom, or woman but uses each job and each vocational opportunity to be a better wife, mom, and woman and vice versa.

But above everything I want to use every last ounce of energy and life in me to help people know and love my God.  That seems more important, more fulfilling, more purposeful than being the "perfect" woman, wife, or mom in Proverbs.  And if I pursue the kingdom of Christ, serve his children, and lead others toward him, won't my lamp always blaze brightly?  I'm chewing on what it means to be a "godly" woman this week.  Join me.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I have a Twitter account only to win free give-aways through blogs, but I logged on this week to read the feed.  And every time I opened my Facebook, the News Feed was full of arguing and joking about Osama Bin Laden.  The dialogue (and implications of said words) interest me, and it raises the constant questions nagging my brain and heart about justice.  What is it?  When someone does something terrible that causes pain and the end of life for one (or many in the case of September 11th, which America coincides often with Bin Laden and his death), and justice is "served" through that person's own death, is the right reaction celebration?

By voicing these questions, I am neither affirming his death as the "right" thing or condemning it as "wrong."  My pacifist leanings (which apply generally to the death penalty and war, etc.) go into a chaotic frenzy over an occurrence like this one.  Bin Laden's death raises more questions in my mind than provides answers.  The biggest wondering I have is this:  Did the murder of one man vindicate the lost lives of thousands?  I have a twisted knot in my stomach, because, to me, it does not seem like death in any form redeems what was lost.  I know this is all very idealistic, and my heart breaks at the lack of justice in our world... for the countless hurting, lost, and broken individuals that we deem so often as "beyond repair" and "deserving" of punishment.  I am not saying Bin Laden deserved a break or should have escaped any form of consequence or retribution (including death, again I don't know what I think about it...), but I am saying that my heart longs to believe, has to believe that his soul was not beyond redemption and transformation through grace when he died.  I think the knot in my stomach goes beyond Osama Bin Laden's death and stems from my own sin and filth.  If Bin Laden is beyond redemption, then aren't I beyond redemption, too?  I long for a time and a world where justice is restorative and beautiful, and we speak of it not with sword and battle allegory but words of understanding, forgiveness, and peace.  Justice consumed with grace and motivated by love.

These are the times I wish I could have a sit-down with God and throw my heart at him and cry.  But I know he cries, too, maybe not for the same reasons as me, but for lives and souls lost to violence and hate.