I come from a long line of bitter and angry women.
My mom started breaking that generational curse of grudge holding and while I reap the rewards of her hard work I have a lot of hard work on my own.
Like so many people it is so much easier for me to hold on to the bad, the hurt, the anger and so easy for me to nurse a grudge.

The thing is that I've worked through forgiveness for a lot of things. Things I never brought up at the time, things I never told anyone about for years and years. Bad things. (It's taken me a long time to say they were bad because I'm constantly comparing them to worse things and discounting the hurt it has caused and even now I feel like I need to qualify it, which I just have essentially)

I've forced and forced the issues until I work through it until forgiveness. I've forgiven several people day after day after year after year until the forgiveness sticks.
Yet I'm stuck.
Here I am stuck. On this shitty but not so big of a deal hurt that I just can't get past. I'm nursing it lovingly and holding on tight. Quite frankly I just don't want to let it go.
I want to be hurt. I want to be mad and dammit I want to stay that way.
It's one of the dumbest things I've done in a long time I think.

Because it's making me very brittle. It's making me bitter.(although my defense mechanism of sarcasm and witty batter is getting one hell of a work out)

The one thing I never want to be is like those women I knew growing up. I'm trying like hell not to be.

But the tricky thing about grudges. The sneaky thing about unforgiveness is, that the longer you hold on to them the tighter they hold on to you. It becomes this attachment to your heart that suffocates the ability to love, to trust, to even be happy.
The screech of bitterness drowns the sounds of friendship and grace, it deafens you to the whisper of a God that forgave those that put his son to death.
It's the metallic taste of anger that dilutes the very air you breathe.

Before you know it, even when you're ready to let it go. You find that you can't. You find you're to wrapped up in being hurt and rejected to even allow yourself to be invited in again anywhere.

I'm trying to untie these knots in my stomach. I'm trying to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth and I'm trying to move forward. Because I've stretched myself so thin, I've become so brittle that even the slightest deep breath is threatening.


Here on Earth

After reading The Blue Diary I knew I needed to locate and devour all the books by Alice Hoffman. Next on the list was Here on Earth.
I was not disappointed.

From the cover:
After nearly twenty years of living in California, March Murray, along with her fifteen-year-old daughter, Gwen, returns to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up, to attend the funeral of Judith Dale, the beloved housekeeper who raised her. Thrust into the world of her past, March slowly realizes the complexity of the choices made by those around her, including Mrs. Dale, who knew more of love than March could have ever suspected; Alan, the brother whose tragic history has left him grief-stricken, with alcohol his only solace; and Hollis, the boy she loved, the man she can't seem to stay away from.
I couldn't quite figure out what it was about the story of March and Hollis that disturbed me so much. It was dreadful (as in full of dread) because it was so consuming. It consumed everything and everyone in it's path. It reminded me a lot of Twilight honestly, except without the whole vampire coven...
I was quite disturbed by that book series as well.
The book is good, the writing is well done but I remain disturbed by a relationship so obsessive and compulsive it leaves no oxygen for the rest of the world.


Held Back

 I hold back.
It has been years, decades really, since I've let myself be excited about anything or anyone.

I don't believe that the good things will work out.
Even when all evidence points to the contrary I sit there contrary. Thinking of how it will go wrong, thinking of how I will be disappointed.
Because I suffer under the false impression that if I see the hurt and disappointment coming, if I see the rejection coming then I won't be as hurt.
But I am.

I heard someone say once that the majority of injuries in non-fatal car accidents come because the passengers are bracing for impact. Their feet are pressed against the floorboard or their arms are outstretched towards the dash to keep their faces from hitting the dashboard.
When people fall, off bikes, down stairs, just walking around, they break their arms and wrists because they are bracing for impact.
Sometimes it does save them, but a lot of the time it turns a simple nasty scrape or big bruise into a completely broken and sometimes shattered bone.

I brace myself for impact in relationships.
I hold my arms out, pressing you away. I stomp my feet on the floor hoping it will keep my heart in place so it isn't harmed.
But I'm starting to see that this stretching taunt of myself is only breaking and shattering my bones and harming me more than just a simple bruise.
It's also completely robbing me of the joy that comes with excitement. The bliss of anticipation.

But still I hold back. Constantly vigilant for the disappointment to come, bracing myself for impact and while I may save my heart the brokenness that it costs me is much greater.
I hold on to worry so tight
It's safe in here right next to my heart
Who now shouts at the top of her voice
Let me go, let me out, this is not my choice
-Sara Bareilles



Today I'm thankful for the struggle.
The struggle to remain in relationship to people, to remain in a community that requires more than my superficial presence.

I'm thankful for the people that insist I participate in life when all that is inside of me is screeching to withdraw and hide my heart away.

I'm thankful for a God that refuses to allow me to comfortably rest in unforgiveness and bitterness and for a community that creates a place I can share my heart regardless of how broken or gross is may get.

I'm thankful for a family that didn't go to a buffet for Thanksgiving (what? It's MY list)
I'm thankful for a family that is generous and kind.

I'm thankful for the tears that still fall which show me it's not over yet even though I want to pretend that it is. I'm thankful for songs, books, sermons and randoms snippets of conversations that strike deep truth into my heart right when I need to hear it, even when I don't want to hear it.

So today even though I am struggling to place my whole heart behind it I am thankful.
I am thankful.



I was thinking tonight about how I'm a greedy person.
Not in the sense of money or possessions (although I like both and often have to keep my inner pack rat in check...and I'm not that great at saving)
But I'm time greedy.

It's never enough time, the time spent with you just laughing and hanging out.
It's never enough time to sit on the sofa and veg, pull the covers up under my chin and whisper 'just 5 more minutes'.
It's never enough time to talk about the stupid things, the funny things, the serious things, the scary things.
Good-bye comes to soon for me and I feel dejected and disappointed. As if any fun that was had, anything at all that was accomplished was worth nothing. Simply by virtue that the time had ended.

I feel like an introverted extrovert these days. I, at the same time, am refreshed by time spent with friends and family and utterly exhausted by it.
I long for companionship but after a few minutes I find myself wanting to just be alone again.

Because entering into any situation I know it's going to end.
I fear it will end badly and like a baby I fear when you are out of my sight you are gone for good.
I worry that transitions and life changes mean the end and that we'll never see each other again, or that you'll be relieved to be free of me.
So I hold on tight.
I obsessively think and wonder about the next time we'll see each other, the next time we'll talk, the next time we can do something silly and mundane.

But then I remind myself to relax, and I begin to count the number of times I mention hanging out, I begin to make mental notes of the times I've made the plans and I've made the call and feel I'm pushing myself on you.
So I ration my excitement.
I ration my affection fearing I'm coming on to strong.
I pretend things don't bother me for fear you'll be annoyed with my silly little girl hurt and stop calling back.

Then I broke.
I snapped and shattered and now I can't seem to muster up the energy to reach out anymore.
I don't know what to say.
I know you have noticed. I know you have.
But I sit in stony silence with everyone now. Holding my heart just so, thinking if I just don't make a sound then it will be ok. It might not heal but at least it won't get worse.

What brilliant lies we are told.
What masterful ways we are told that cutting ourselves off from all those that are wanting only to love us in whatever broken way they can will keep us whole.
What a sneaky thief to steal the hope from our hearts, whispering in the night. Pointing out the signs you were to busy greedily collecting time to notice.

The phone call that took a few days longer to return.
The life challenge they didn't think to share with you (Don't you notice how you are left out so much?)
The birthday call that never came.
The shortened visit because other people, other things, were more important than you.

Time passes. Words stop up in your throat and then what is there to say anymore really?
What can help?

What a conniving little devil that slithers around. Whispering how right your little nagging suspicions always were.
They never really loved you, you were only entertaining for awhile.
I never meant to be the one to let you down
If anything, I thought I saw myself going first
I didn't know how to stick around
How to see anybody but me be getting hurt
- Sara Bareilles



I used to color my hair black. (By used to I mean I last did it like a year ago and it's still growing out)
I joked that I did it because my hair was still so light colored and everyone else in my family had dark hair and I wanted to pretend I wasn't adopted. (Really I did it because Ashlee (you can tell she's cool because of the way she spells her name) Simpson did and I thought it was cute)

But the thing is, I really liked the person I felt like I was when I had dark hair.
I did feel like I belonged more with my family.
I felt stronger.
I felt more confident.
I felt more able to survive the intricacies of relationships that baffled me.

It's easy for me to have black hair (well other than the arduous coloring process and inevitable mopping up of the little black dots all over the place and the streaks on my forehead).
I felt less fragile. Harder. More.

Being soft is scary.
Soft is pliable
Hard is immovable
Soft compromises
Hard requires others to compromise

Several years ago I had to pass a friend law that forbade me to cut my hair shorter than my chin (the 1st one) because I loathe not being able to tuck most of my hair behind my ears.
But other than that restriction my hair takes the brunt of my emotions.
I cut it, I color it, I tug at it, twirl it and pick pick pick at it.
It's immediate.
It's instant gratification.

When I can't control, or don't know how to act in, any given life issue I try to grab on to something tangible. So I grab on to my hair.
Because I can be soft, I can be hard. I can be carelessly pulled back or severely yanked into a tight ponytail.
But it's my choice.
When I can't choose how I'm treated and the wounds that have happened or are happening I can choose what to do with my hair.
When I feel excluded and other I can color my hair to show how I'm feeling even if I don't know it.

I'm trying to be softer now. More pliable. I'm working to remember that soft isn't weak. Soft isn't careless. Sometimes soft is being willing to work through crap and still believe that people can be good. Sometimes soft is having your heart broken again and again and still believing in love.
Sometimes soft is letting God in even when you're terrified of who he'll make you be. Sometimes it's letting people in even knowing they'll let you down.

But sometimes. Sometimes it's just a hair cut because your ends are damaged and a different color than your roots and you need bangs to cover an awkward outbreak of acne on your forehead.


Second Guessing

Five breaths
Ten seconds
One 2nd guess

I have no idea what the right thing is, I have no idea what to say even
I stare. Gaping open mouthed torn between wanting to vomit all that is on my heart out and zipping my lip to protect what little is left whole inside
I wait for people to tell me what the right thing is, but the best I can do is reject the wrong things hoping that eventually the right thing becomes clear.

No choice is still a choice I hear
Restless I pace
I sit
I lay down
I pace again

Pretty Woman and the beginning of Juno bringing the tears I had banished back to my eyes
Harry telling Ginny it will all be ok
I toss and turn
Dreaming of the answers I won't remember when I wake up


Harry Potter

I fought Harry Potter for a long time. Not because I was against the series or had any idea what it was or wasn't about, I just didn't care.
But last summer (2009) I decided to bite the bullet and read through the series. I'm pretty sure Katy cried a little with relief.

I have been hooked every since. I've read the series twice now, I've watched the movies innumerable times and have downloaded all the audiobooks to my iPod and have listened through them all twice already.
I might be obsessed.
I also really really want to go to Universal Studios and get a wand at the Harry Potter exhibit.

And I don't even care.
Because it's awesome.
Today the 1st part of the last book comes to the big screen and I saw it Tuesday at a sneak preview (and might have had an excitement hangover on Wednesday) and am seeing it again tomorrow. I kind of might even want to go see it again after that....

So happy Harry Potter day to you all!


The Blue Diary

I pretty much want to read everything Alice Hoffman wrote after reading The Blue Diary.

I wrote earlier about the quotes pulled from the book and how they really resonated with me but the overall themes did as well, plus the book was hypnotizing. I just kept reading and reading and the rest of the world faded away. I love books like that.

From the back cover:
When Ethan Ford fails to show up for work on a brilliant summer morning, none of his neighbors would guess that for more than thirteen years he has been running from his past. His true nature has been locked away, as hidden as his real identity. But sometimes locks spring open, and the devastating truths of Ethan's history shatter the small-town peace of Monroe, affecting family and friends alike.
Now, the police are at the door. Ethan Ford's life as an irreproachable family man and heroic volunteer fireman has come to an end - and Jorie Ford's life is coming apart. Some of the residents of Monroe are rallying behind Ethan. But others, including his wife and son, are wondering what remains true when so much is shown to be false- and how capable we really are of change.
The idea that someone could go so long masquerading as an upstanding and honorable person while concealing such deceit is not a new one for me. I have to fight hard to trust that people are who they say they are and that even while flawed they aren't a completely different person than they are actually saying/showing they are. Because I have wondered for many years what could possibly remain true when so much is shown to be false.


Just in Case

When I was asked to lead Washington Project it was at the same time an easy yes and a very difficult one. See, I was liking the fact that I was involved with my church but I could still cut and run at the first sign of danger. (relational danger that is)
Plus, more people would know who I was and for the most part that made me feel like I was being opened up to a level of scrutiny that I just wasn't comfortable with.

But there seems to always come a time when what God wants you to do becomes unbearable to not do. If that makes any sense.

So I jumped.
I led, I shared my contact information, opened my house and allowed my heart to be pried open a little bit at a time.
I found myself accidentally revealing more of myself then I ever intended just by having seemingly casual conversations about leading.
It got pretty dangerous.

Dangerous because I couldn't just leave. I couldn't just cut and run and pretend it never happened. I couldn't just stop going to church because there were people there that counted on me and people there that knew where I lived and multiple ways to get in touch with me.
Apparently, this is called community.

So I settled in. I stretched and grew and then snapped back into place and stretched and grew some more. All sorts of self esteem and self worth issues were churned up and mixed around. Many times I was forced to recover because it was required of me to be able to move forward in any way as a leader (required internally, not by the community).
I started to recognize this flight instinct that would rise up like a banshee in my throat.
I started to notice that during perfectly benign conversations with people that I loved and knew loved me I would begin to make excuses to have to remove myself from the conversation because it was to much.
It was to intimate.
It was to close.

Then I stopped feeling safe.
Then I panicked.
I was trapped. I was straining to pull away from any and all relationships and the biggest relationship was the one as a leader I had with my community.
I was known. People knew when I was acting weird, I couldn't just come and go and disappear for awhile. I couldn't pull back and become invisible again because I was seen by this community of people.
So I did the only thing I could think of to do.
I shared.
Not the details, not the gory dramatic reenactments.
But I shared my heart.
I shared how scared I was, I shared how I wasn't sure I trusted anyone anymore and I was scared that I couldn't trust God anymore.
I shared.
A little here, a little there and I was waiting. Bags packed. For rejection. For mocking. For disbelief and judgement. So I had packed my bags and started making a map of my escape just in case.

I was happily surprised. I was surprised that this community of people helped take the baggage off, and set it down so they could hold me better.
I don't know why I was surprised, they're pretty awesome.
I still have such a hard time trusting people and unfortunately the most trustworthy people in my life sometimes pay for the sins of my and others past.

But I'm working on it. So sometimes I may still pack my things...just in case. I may still plot my escape routes so I can run away from you because being vulnerable and loving people that can hurt me so much scares me. The fear tells me I cannot trust these voices. That I don't have any prospects for peace. But the everyday breathing of those in my community of people where they show me more often than not that they are here. That I don't have to run away.
Just in case, I will leave my things packed
So I can run away

I cannot trust these voices I don't have a line of prospects that can give some kind of peace
There is nothing left to cling to that can bring me sweet release
I have no fear of drowning
It's the breathing that's taking all this work
-Jars of Clay


The moment when a friendship ends

I read this post here from Kari because of this post which equally described my inadequacies and fears about relationships.
So I thought I'd share here. Because I'm beginning to look at what it is that I've hoped for in relationships and I'm examining if what I hoped for was wrong to hope for or if I was just a fool to hope at all.

Sometimes friendships fade away naturally – you move, or she moves, and maybe she gets engaged and has a job and is still working on finishing her degree, and she’s a few years younger than you are anyway, so you just naturally drift apart. You’ll still go to her wedding, and maybe even a shower if you get invited, and when you see her, you’ll talk and catch up. It won’t be the same, but it won’t be bad.

Sometimes, though, friendships die in a moment. The eighth or ninth unreturned phone call or email. The time she forgot your birthday. A betrayal. Something that makes you realize, “I just can’t do this anymore. It’s not worth the effort, and it’s never going to be what I had hoped.”

I realized today that that happened to me twice this summer. The first was with a friendship that had been floundering anyway. There were unreturned phone calls galore, but what I have realized about unreturned phone calls is that I never figure out the friendship has died until later. I don’t sit around thinking, “After five tries, I am going to give up on this friendship.” It’s after the fact that I realize, “That one time when I called and I had a gift I was trying to get to her and she never called me back, that’s when I emotionally gave up.” But it wasn’t even the unreturned phone calls that did me in this time. It was being somewhere where she gave everyone these fun pictures of things they had done together . . . except for me. I sat there, watching everyone else look at those pictures laugh and cry and reminisce while having none of my own, and something inside of me died. Even with that blatantly obvious rejection, I didn’t realize I had quit hoping for more until today, when Mike and I were planning a dinner party and I didn’t include her on the guest list. It would have been a given to include her a year ago, even six months ago. But today I realized that, unless things change with her, I’m not expecting the close friendship that I once hoped that we would have. And it’s because of the way I felt in that one moment. I didn’t know it at the time, but I can see how, in that moment, everything inside me shifted.

The other incident this summer was when a friend of mine forgot my birthday. I know that forgetting a birthday isn’t that huge of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but it was another situation where it was forgetting my birthday on top of several months of neglect. A month after my birthday, I emailed her for her birthday, but I still haven’t heard back. I thought of my email as a last-ditch effort, but looking back, I knew it was over when I didn’t hear from her on (or around) my birthday. She’s the kind of person who is good about birthdays, so it signals more than just forgetting. It signals that I’m not a priority anymore. And . . . I got the message.

In some ways, it feels like it’s easier to realize that you’ve given up and accepted how things are, or how they are never going to be. The first friend I mentioned – I am sure I will get an email from her now and then, and I’ll respond, and then I won’t hear from her for months. Lather, rinse, repeat. The second one – I doubt we’ll be in touch much after this. Facing up to those facts is easier than deluding myself.

It’s not that it doesn’t hurt, because . . . it definitely does. But it’s better than lying to myself, and investing myself in people who don’t really care if I’m around. In a strange way, it kind of feels like a victory – I am not going to do that to myself anymore.


Married Friends (and Family)

So I thought it would be fun to talk about some of my single girl confessions. After a day filled with some super awkward moments and super grown up conversations about marriage, relationships and mutual submission/men leading the family I thought it would be interesting to throw it all in a pot and see what happens.

So my first confession is that I love my married friends (and family...I'm lumping them all in there) and I love to pray for them.
Even though I'm still up in the air about wanting to even date let alone ever get married and have babies I love the married people around me.
I mean, honestly...until Pete moved in there wasn't one single person (as in not in a serious dating/marriage relationship) living in or near Cincinnati that I hung out with on even a semi regular basis.

I love getting to watch their relationships. I'm not sure if you're aware of this as married people but you are a fascinating case study in how to fight/make out without really fighting or making out.
I rarely feel like the 3rd wheel but every once in awhile I seem to stumble awkwardly into a super intimate moment. Not all bowchickawowow intimate but those looks and moments that you marrieds seems to have sometime.
That is the awkwardsauce.

But I digress.
I love and hate seeing the interactions in your relationships. Because I'm making notes. I love it because I'm constantly learning what marriage can look like and thinking about things I would like to be present in my (possible, maybe someday I haven't quite decided and am breaking out in hives just thinking about it) marriage and the things that I absolutely don't want (and how to possibly avoid them).

Lately, I have really loved praying for you guys. All of you. I love chatting with God about how much I appreciate being allowed inside your family (especially if you know...I'm not ACTUALLY part of your family). I love praying for protection for your marriage and for the strength of it to increase and become founded in (or more deeply founded in) God.
I love praying for your kids if you have them, or for you to get knocked up if you don't but desperately want them.
I love playing with your kids and being a goofy silly Aunt/random friend of mommy and daddy's that sometimes accidentally instructs your kids to kick people in the shins when they're being teased (sorry about that...I didn't think they'd ACTUALLY do it...)
I especially love giving them back, your kids are like time share kids for me and for this moment in time I wouldn't really have it any other way.

I love seeing how my married friends do conflict. Sometimes it's really really well. Sometimes....it's really really bad. Most of the time I have to remind myself to keep my mouth shut and stay out of it (and sometimes I have to remind you to keep me out of it). But whichever way I see conflict and I see it being worked through and I'm gleaning wisdom from your marriages that I use now in leading and non-married relationships and I might be able to(someday, maybe soon, maybe never but I'm feeling a little queasy just thinking about it) use in my marriage.

So that's my first confession of a single girl. How much I admire my married peeps and just how much I pay attention to their relationships. Next up...probably something about eating a box of cookies and drinking straight out of the gallon of milk...or something less ridiculous.



The cut is deep, but never deep enough for me
It doesn’t hurt enough to make me forget

One moment of relief is never long enough
to keep the voices in my head
from stealing my peace

Oh, control
It’s time, time to let you go
Perfection has a price
but I cannot afford to live that life
It always ends the same; a fight I never win
I’m letting go of the illusion
I’m letting go of the confusion
I can’t carry it another step
I close my eyes and take a breath
I’m letting go …

There were scars before my scars
Love written on the hands that hung the stars
Hope living in the blood that was spilled for me

I’m letting go of the illusion
I’m letting go of the confusion
I can’t carry it another step
I close my eyes and take a breath
I’m letting go …

--JJ Heller Control from When I am With You


Memorizing What I've Forgotten

She'll remember.
No she won't, all she'll do is memorize the things she forgot.
On a show I like to watch there is a character with amnesia. No, it's not a soap opera, it's Brothers & Sisters.
But she's been struggling to remember her daughter and things that were true about her life before the accident. Whatever form of amnesia she has it has wiped out the previous few years of memories and some random memories from years before that (I think the medical term for that is "glorified for television amnesia").
After making some progress one day the above quote was an exchange before two other characters.

I of course wrote it down because I had been forgetting a lot lately.
I was forgetting the ways that God had delivered me.
I was forgetting the ways that God showed up and saved me.
I was forgetting all the people God used to write love letters to me so many years ago.

I forgot He was still that same God.

I could have said as much to you. But it would have been this, "yeah yeah, he's the same God" but I would have just been saying it. Because I forgot it.

I had memorized it. I knew it was the right thing to say but I had taken the cheap and lazy way out with my heart and forgot.
Our church is working on integrity of heart right now and it's reminded me even more of what I've forgotten.

I don't want to memorize it anymore. I want to know it and not forget.


Here's the thing....

If I haven't spoke to you AT ALL, not even social media speaking, in like 5 months then who exactly do you think you are to tell me who you think I am?

Not only that. But what gave you the idea to make a blanket statement about something when it is clear you hadn't read farther back than a few posts? See also: you have my phone number or at least access to people that have it. If you're so concerned than get off the internet and call me or something.

Oh, and also. Maybe you should look at your own house before looking at mine.

Wait, one last thing...I think.
It seems that any fairly coherent person with any modicum of intelligence understands that something you type on the internet is just that. Something you type of the internet.
It's forever.
There is no guarantee that it's even true.
And most importantly it is AT BEST only a small sliver of a portion of that persons daily life.

I get that my frustration with you is way disproportionate to the offense but man it hacked me off.


I write

Please don’t hear this as me whining. I’m a writer. When I write, I heal. When my fingers move across the keyboard and my head nods slowly in agreement and my throat closes up because I need to cry it out a bit and the tears are actually words, I am soothed. It’s like medicine. So forgive me if my medicine is making you sick.
I read this post and the above quote was a part of it and you know, I just had to share. Because even though I'm loathe to identify myself as a writer this is how it is for me too. I've journaled since I was 8 (back when I called it a diary because I was a little girl and it was ok to call it a diary then). I've written on scraps of papers, the back of napkins, various social medias, a few walls and once on a rock.
I write.
I write to get the crazy out.
I write to untangle my emotions and thoughts and to try to put a sometimes overwhelmingly chaotic and scary world back in some semblance of order.

I'm going through a season now of trying to intentionally feels things I've stuffed down with large pepperoni, no sauce w/ garlic butter pizzas from Papa Johns. I'm trying to feel things and categorize them appropriately.
I'm working on tearing down the idols of friendships and grief that I've built over the last 31 years and building an alter to the only God that will never let me go.
So it's sad sometimes.
It's angry sometimes.
It's blank and unfeeling sometimes.

But I write. To squeeze out all the tears I refused to cry for so many years and to lance the wounds I've been suffocating beneath layers of wobbly skin.
I write because sometimes I don't know what else to do.

When I write, I know that sometimes I scare you. I know that sometimes I annoy you and it's just going to be that way for a bit, or maybe forever because I have no idea who it is that God is so forcefully shaping me into being right now.

So forgive me. If my medicine is making you sick.



Awhile ago I wrote a post about a period of dryness is my life.
It didn't really go away that quickly. I was plunged back into it and I wasn't doing that well for awhile.
I felt really unstable and unsafe and I often wondered if I would ever feel brave again. I wondered if the parched feeling in my heart and the deepest depths of me would ever feel satiated again.

I begged and pleaded to God, I shut down and tried to shut him out. I shut out people around me that were just trying to love me and I struggled against the dryness trying desperately to hold on to hope.

Because I've been through them before. Regardless of the specifics of the beginning, setting aside the different people involved I've been dry, so dry, many times before. When I step back and look at the overarching pattern of it I see that at the end of the dryness is a period of total renewal. A spring after a long and cold winter.
I emerge from the periods of dryness stripped of all that would burden me, stripped of all that had distracted me and I stand naked (sorry) and vulnerable on the cusp of what ends up becoming a time of confirmation, growth, refining and development in my life. Through leadership, serving, the friendships and relationships that remain and most especially by God I am rebuilt, reinforced, stretched and grown so much more then if I had been dragging the baggage stripped off of me in the desert.

My heart is so full tonight. After two nights in a row dreaming and talking about Washington Project and the leaders stepping down and up it has just been confirmed over and over again that the right decisions are being made. While God was pressing one to step down he was preparing others to step up. While God was burdening my heart to pull back with my 'do it all myself' leadership style he was emboldening people to step out on the limbs and joyfully share how God was burdening their hearts to step up and lead in whatever capacity was needed.

Hearing their hearts on leadership and serving and knowing God has placed them all here for a time such as this has been humbling and amazing. I just can't even begin to express my gratitude for these leaders and the way their stepping up is confirming a deep heart groan of mine and is working as cool water quenching the thirst I've been begging God to relieve.

This girl couldn't be more thankful.


The Course of Time

I'm reading through 1st Samuel right now. I did this extraordinary thing (well for me at least) and I asked my friend to read through the bible with me one on one. We don't meet every week but we pick a book, read through it on our own and discuss it. I asked for help because I get so discouraged and confused reading through the bible on my own sometimes and I just like to have someone to specifically set aside time with to process these things. But 1st Samuel is where we're reading now.

I've also set a goal to consistently get up early each morning and have intentional quiet time as a way to start my day. After Ben's great message (from 10/24) on putting first things first I was heavily convicted that I was being disobedient by not doing so, (me not you) I can't tell you what God is saying to you but this is what he's pressing heavy on me right now.

See I've been dreaming lately. Not just sub-concsious dreaming although I've been doing that a lot too. But dreaming of the future, what I want it to look like, what I want to be doing and who I want to be in it. I've been asking God to show me where he wants me to be and asking him to give me the deepest desires of my heart (and sometimes for him to tell me what they even are).
I'm beginning to see a cloudy picture and I'm trying to set my steps in order now, I'm trying to be obedient and get prepared now so that when the time comes I'll be ready and not so terrified to leap.
(which incidentally is something Ben said in his message Sunday which was alarming and reassuring at the same time that the same message was coming from all over the place...I'm so thankful that God is confirming these things)

So when I was reading in 1st Samuel this morning I got to the passage below and got stuck on the words "in the course of time"
Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."
1st Samuel 1:19-20
See Hannah hadn't been able to have a baby. She longed for one. She prayed for a baby so fervently in the temple one day that the priest thought she was drunk.
Now I'm no biblical scholar but in the course of time doesn't sound like Hannah got knocked up that night. Even though it says Elkanah lay with Hannah I'm guessing that probably happened a few times. Because "in the course of time" sounds like eventually she got pregnant.

I am not pregnant. Just to clarify that awkward elephant in the room. Nor do I want to be.
But there are things I desire. There are things that I have brought before the Lord in anguish and grief and even in anger. So much so that I stopped bringing them before him because I was so pissed at how long it was taking to be resolved.
But this morning I realized the time was not over. The course was not finished.

In the course of time.
In the course of time God will still be faithful.
My job isn't to define the call and purpose God has placed on my life, it isn't to control that call and purpose. My job is to prepare. To fix the integrity of my heart which has been full of hurt, anger and bitterness lately and to be obedient with putting first things first.
Praying. Reading the bible.
Because in the course of time God will provide. I just need to be ready to move and a heart burdened with anger, bitterness and hurt is not ready to move it is stuck in the muck and mire ready to wallow only deeper in itself.

Does this mean I immediately forget these things? Probably not, actually not at all. It means I don't stomp it down, shove the feelings back down my throat with pizza and candy. It means I daily, minute to minute take it before God in my anguish and grief, pouring out my soul and trusting him that in the course of time I will be healed, prepared, and ready to move forward giving the gifts He has given me completely over to Him.


Plot from Law & Order SVU

When I first moved to Cincinnati I got a job at a Christian book store. It was interesting to see this sample of people that shopped there, and often shopped there daily. I met a lot of really sweet people, I met a lot of grumpy and out right mean people and I met one specifically creepy person.

I'd seen Terry (names have been changed to protect the creepy) in the store several times. He always shopped with his mom who was a little spacey. Oh, and did I mention he was probably in his 60s or 70s, because he was.
He would always buy an odd smattering of things and would talk about movies and music. It wasn't creepy at first, just off feeling.

Then one day the book store started selling ACTUAL crowns of thorns.
In one sense it was kind of neat to think of churches having it on a table presenting communion, but in another sense IT WAS AN ACTUAL CROWN OF THORNS.
But I digress....

Terry began talking to me excitedly about the movie Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson. It was being re-released into some theaters around Cincinnati and he was excited to see it again. He also began buying up the crowns of thorns.
One day, while purchasing his THIRD crown of thorns (which  I was convinced by this time he used on unsuspecting coed he abducted from local campuses) he mentioned again how excited he was about Passion being re-released. He then said, "You know, you should come with me to see it. That would be fun."

(Fun...wasn't exactly the word I was thinking of...)

I said no.
He came back a few days later, bought ANOTHER crown of thorns (I mean these suckers were like $50, why did he need them all?! I was to afraid to ask.) and asked me again.
I said no.
The next time he came in I had the night off and he started asking for me. He tried to get my home phone number from the other employees who thankfully didn't give it to him.

Shortly after this I transferred to another store and was able to shake him for good.
But what part of this story doesn't smack of a plot on Law & Order SVU?


I Am Not

I woke up this morning with an odd heaviness on me. I showered, dressed and drove to work. Then I started seeing snippets of my dreams.

Walking by the one room school house
Swimming in the pond
Sitting on the porch swing
Running past the scary totem pole

I yelled back at you to hurry up. We'd been there to long we had to go.
Throwing ourselves through the sun porch door we gathered our things and cast one last look back through the window to the sink she so often stood at, dutiful as ever.
Collapsing on the stoop we raced to lace up the shoes we needed to run to the car for our escape.

But it was to late. In she pulled. Scowling and wretchedly intent on being unhappy as ever.
I don't remember what happened after that. Only the feeling of heaviness. The feeling of dread.

I hate that she's still in my dreams. I hate that she's still floating around in my blood.
When there were rumors of a secret those many but fleeting years ago I, like a child, wished and hoped that it was she was not really blood. I longed to hear that she was other, not the same, not connected to us by anything more than unlucky circumstance.

But there was no such secret.
There was no such luck.

I don't have to run anymore. We've disconnected her from us with the messy chops of a dull knife. But still she remains. Connected all the same.

I know it was just a dream. I know it wasn't real.
But still I woke heavy this morning, trying to remember that she was wrong. That I am not a bad girl and that I am not who she said I was.


Double Bind

I went to the library to pick up my audio books on hold and decided I needed some new fiction. I was in the middle of reading some intense non-fiction and was sick so I couldn't really process it.

So I started at the A's in fiction and when I got to the B's I found a book I'd read before and really enjoyed: Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian. Since I couldn't really think at all I just grabbed two more of his books the first of which was Double Bind.

From the book jacket:
When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont's back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography and begins to work at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won't let anyone see.
When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that he was telling the truth: before he was homeless, Bobbie Crocker was a successful photographer who had indeed worked with such legens as Chuck Berry, Robert Frost, and Eartha Kitt.
As Laurel's fascination with Bobbie's former life begins to merge into obsession, she becomes convinced that some of his photographs reveal a deeply hidden, dark family secret. Her search for the truth will lead her further from her old life- and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her.
In this spellbinding literary thriller, rick with complex and compelling characters-including Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan- Chris Bohjalian takes readers on his most intriguing, most haunting, and most unforgettable journey yet. 

I did not see the end of this book coming. Not until about 20 pages from the end. It was intriguing and confusing and the layers were placed so thinly I had a hard time discerning which characters story line was which, but in a good way.


Good Things: October

October 1st- Finished a good but disturbing memoir (Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres) and hung out on the sofa all night after Five Guys with my seester and eldest (see what I did there Sharen?) niece

October 2nd- Special day with Matthew. There were bounce houses, chicken nuggets, toys, the friend game and dinner at 'Robin Hood' (Red Robin)

October 3rd- There's nothing like a good Sunday afternoon nap

October 4th- Customer Service Appreciation Week launches with breakfast and lunch at work, a $250 bonus and a massage.

October 5th- My hair was really cute today

October 6th- Homemade french toast, bacon and strawberry breakfast at my desk this morning. Yummmmmmmmmmmmy!

October 7th- Friday Eve! Laying on the sofa watching hilarious TV

October 8th- I went to bed at 830 tonight, that is my old crotchety good thing for today

October 9th- 1st day of a new small group and I emotionally vomited all over the place. Only a little awkward....

October 10th-  Shopping with Sharen in the afternoon where I made her spend money Jeff was making her spend on herself...I also got amazing new bras and some fiercely fabulous nail polish

October 11th- I made it through my workout under the weather but without throwing up...here's hoping I can do it two days in a row

October 12th- I survived my 2nd trainer workout in a row! Also, conquering a clogged drain in my house while Pete looked on holding my makeup bag :)

October 13th-"We can eat at IKEA!" "PETE, THE POWER IS OUT!" "It would have been $6.67 if you wouldn't have burped" "They make applesauce crackers now?" "Um, Pete....those are applause crackers....." It was one wild and crazy power outage trip to Steak 'N Shake and Meijer night.

October 14th- Started dog sitting and I'm sick...it was only an ok day

October 15th-  Jars of Clay concert! I was sick but I found a bench to sit on the whole time where I could still see the stage and screens.

October 16th- I was a zombie all day today on the sofa sniffling and sneezing.

October 17th- Home! Being sick is always easier when you're sick in your own bed.

October 18th- Left work early and after a futile trip to the well clinic slept all afternoon and night. I'm ready to not be sick anymore.

October 19th- I felt a little better today, but I didn't tell anyone because I was afraid to jinx it. More sleeping the night away, but I made it through my whole work day and was even productive!

October 20th- Went to a celebration dinner thing honoring Washington Project, it's was a lovely night honoring domestic violence workers, volunteers and those that have been affected by domestic violence.

October 21st- Reading a good novel that oddly is working up a lot of my thoughts and issues with grieving. It's good, in the awkward and painful kind of way.

October 22nd- An appointment after work was canceled so I went straight home and marathon cleaned the house. Then, I sat on the sofa and read while listening to lovely music.

October 23rd- Hung out at Sharen's all day, they are re-doing her kitchen. I spent most of the day in the basement reading, sleeping or playing games with Matthew.

October 24th- First small group meeting, it was a lot of good conversation about Ben's sermon and delicious stuffed peppers.

October 25th-Man, can I say enough how much I love the people leading Washington Project alongside me? Because I feel like I can't tell you enough.

October 26th- Another great night dreaming about Washington Project and how it is growing, changing and developing. Lots of confirmation from God about leadership transitions and the direction the leadership team is taking. I'm such a thankful and blessed girl.

October 27th- Dinner with Alexis where I got to snuggle with Jacob a few minutes before he realized he wasn't being held by mommy and then a hilarious night with Pete that involved the magazine mental floss and Modern Family. It was coconuts!

October 28th- Family Taco Night at my house! Then pulling a bunch of leadership/ministry books off my shelf to review and promptly falling asleep in the middle of them all only to be woken by Pete coming home from work. I love naps that are immediately followed by crawling into bed for the night!

October 29th- Friday Friday Friday Friday!

October 30th- Work day at home! Yard cleaned! Shed organized! Laundry room emptied! Attic filled! Exclamation Points!

October 31st-Another awesome morning at http://www.4cornerschurch.com/ and with Washington Project followed by an afternoon of more attic stuffing, Harry Potter movies and general commentary on the costumes of trick or treaters. Also, pot roast!