Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I wasn't going to blog tonight.
The plan was to wait until I had something witty to say; a funny story to share. Just to prove I do indeed have a sense of humor, or at least a lighter side.

Tonight George and I mapped out chapter ideas for my book. And after talking about Bryan so much, pressing his name into the paper, remembering how his eyebrows pulled down or his smile crooked up...I can't stop thinking about him.

Maybe it's the yellowed lamp in the corner or the stillness in the air. Perhaps it's this song that always brings the sadness up into my cheekbones. Whatever it is, tonight I've given myself permission to miss him.

Not the memory of him or the idea of him. Just him. All the little things about him that made him my brother. I can still feel the way it was to hug him, you know.

I've gotten used to the absence of him. The normalcy of him being gone. But tonight I just want to pretend. I want to imagine he is here, sitting against the couch with me, our shoulders pressed together. I want to pretend he still exists.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Remember Why I'm Here

There is a tremor running in my veins, trembling out to the tips of my fingers. I press the arcs of my nails into the crease of my palm, leaving miniature moons, like kisses in my skin. I glance from person to person, desperate to read them. Are they judging me? What will they think of what I'm about to say?

In shaky words I begin to tell my story, starting at the beginning as I always do: with Bryan. With the little boy they'll never get to know. Piece by piece, the words are running together into sentences, the spaces inbetween vibrating with my anxiety, but at least I'm still talking. Until that one part, the same part that I stumble over every time. The moment when I have to admit Bryan is no longer here. This time I can't even open my mouth - I can feel the words evaporating in the back of my throat, the pain I didn't realize still existed, welling up and pulling at me, and finally I crumple; My face tumbling down onto itself and my hand pressing against my heart to hold it together. The tears, warm against my skin, are washing down and I look away, desperate to hide my ugliness in this vulnerability.

When I finally raise my eyes, with a spark of surprise I find wet cheeks and red rimmed eyes looking back at me. I find no judgement, only compassion. And so I start again, continuing my story, this time with the pieces that came after Bryan. The sinking emptiness, the devouring depression, the relief I found in cutting. Lastly, I hand them the final fragment - my healing through Jesus Christ, my freedom.

Afterwards, they show me parts of their stories in return for what I shared - the woman who looked so beautiful, so put together - she was the one who cried tears of joy for me that I finally knew how special I was. The man with the alcoholic father whose voice shook as he said he understood. The woman with the daughter who's battling depression and cutting. She said she never knew there was a way to break depression. She never knew there was hope.

As I listened, I remembered. I remembered why I came here. Because I have a story. A story of hope and salvation. And because I have a God who wants nothing more then to bind up our broken hearts. HE is why I am here.

I am so thankful today for the friends God has given me, who support and love me, even from far away.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Little Boy in Red Rain Boots

Until today, it'd been 2 weeks since I'd talked to my little brother, Isaac, or as I affectionately refer to him, Bubba. He's out in CA training to be one heck of a soldier.

He called as we were headed out to a park for Mac's soccer game and the wind was intense. I ended up climbing underneath the playground and squeezing into a tunnel to try and get away from it. Kids kept running by and looking at me like I was the biggest weirdo. I sat there for an hour, soaking in his laugh and his stories. I don't know what it is about little brothers, but mine never fails to make me happy, to get me to loosen up. He is as familiar to me as a piece of my own skin. With him, I'm just myself and that is all I need to be.

It's hard me to think of him leaving for Iraq in June. He's willing to give up family and friends, a normal life, and ultimately, his very life - for me. For you. For this country. Sound cheesy? Get over it. In the last couple months Bubba's morphed into a man and I couldn't be prouder.

But when I look at him, for a moment, he's just a little boy in red rain boots, sitting next to me on a tree branch. Then I blink and that little boy is gone - but I tuck the memory of him away into the back of my heart.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Wish I Could Share With You...

...that moment on the trampoline, with the sunlight husky over the rooftop and the music turned up loud in the corner of the yard; my hair twisting in the air, over my eyes, against my mouth. The air is cool and clean against the hollow of my neck, a pale curve above the edge of my sweater. Every breath is fresh and bittersweet, my lungs fighting to expand far enough. Mac, a little imp with golden hair, is chasing me in big, bounding circles and I'm laughing until it's caught in my chest and I have to stop. Riley is singing and dancing, jumping and flipping, her long, brown legs flying over our heads. I pause to savor the thudding of my heart and laughter of my friends. The sun is about to roll behind the horizon, a shockingly orange sphere, memerizing to me. And for a second I can feel it, like dust filtering down from the fading sky - happiness, sprinkled across my shoulders.

My Lack of People Skills

My friends and family tease me about being a hermit. I've been called shy, anti-social, cranky, get the idea. And sadly, I'd have to say these names are all pretty accurate. But more than anything, I am just down right AWKWARD. When I meet people I have the hardest time thinking of something to say, much less anything interesting. I get all nervous, pulling at my shirt sleeves and avoiding eye contact.

Oh, and I have a confession for you: Pretty/confident people intimidate me. Those types of people make me feel instantly...less. Like I'm not as good. They make me aware of all my flaws, all I lack. That's probably not their intent but I can't help but follow that thought process. (And for the record it feels like everybody in Dallas is good looking and/or confident. Sigh. What to do. haha)

Being around the Brandons has made me realize just how much fear controls my life. I mean, I've known for awhile it's something I struggle with, but here there aren't people who are used to me, who understand how I am. I don't speak or act in front of people I don't completley trust because I'm afraid they won't like me, or they'll judge me. I don't leave the house here because I'm terrified of driving in a city. I avoid public prayer or praying for someone because I'm afraid I won't do it right. I know that God can take away this fear, although I might have to repeatedly give it to Him. It just takes time and that's frustrating. I'm tired of being paralyzed.

Some day I like to think I'll have people skills :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No More Coasting

At home, I was comftorable. Maybe too comftorable. I put off things I knew I needed to work on simply because I could. I hid out in my house because I knew I was "safe". Instead of stretching myself to grow I took comfort in familiarity.

Here, everything's new. And it's not easy for me. But I know that I've been given the opportunity to change. As much as I hate change, even I have to admit it's neccesary sometimes.

The family is at work and school from about 7 until 6...a long time to be alone but I kind of enjoy it. For now my plan for each day includes: getting up and running or walking (the weather is gorgeous, just saying!), devotions/reading the Bible/journaling, practicing piano, and hopefully some writing. Maybe it doesn't sound like much. But I need this. I need to know who God is for myself, not second hand. I need to learn to trust and to love - myself and God.

I hope that when I come home I'm different. Stronger. Better. I hope that I come home with a passion for God and a passion for life. No more coasting for me, friends. I am ready to live a full life!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Here I am in Dallas

Was it only two days ago I was in MN?? It has to be more like 2 weeks... The car ride down ended up taking about 21 hours, most of it through a snow storm. Longest day of my life? Yeah, pretty close to it. But we made it here safe and that's all that counts!

I'm a little scared. Meeting new people is so hard for me. Especially when they're all cute and outgoing and trendy. Ha. But no, I'm just anxious. I keep asking myself, What am I doing here? I guess I don't really know...but maybe I'm not supposed to. Maybe that's the whole point. To gain some trust in God. To strengthen and freshen our relationship. I think I'm just tired. And I never do like being unsure. Oh well. This must mean I'm growing. Or something.

The Brandons are great, for the record. It turns out they really are the coolest family. :) I'm glad Riley is here...she's 17 and quirky and fun. I think she'll keep me sane! Today we went to visit a church that has 30,000 people. It was ridiculous!! It was like it's own mini world. There's churches everywhere here. It's neat, to see God movin and shakin around here...

Oh, and fyi? it snowed here last night and it's cold!! What a let down =P

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Learning to Fly

Usually my life is full of doubt and fear. I constantly worry over the future and stress out over the unknown. But as the time of my departure grows closer, I find my heart at peace. There is no looking over my shoulder - this is right where I'm supposed to be, going down this road, at this time!

I've been crying out to God about a number of things - questions that wouldn't stop swirling in my mind, anxieties that wouldn't be calmed. And this week, through several special friends, it's as if they've been answered. There's a contentment spreading across my chest: Affirmation and Assurance. I am Secure.

Today I saw the school I'm attending next fall and I experienced joy at the thought of getting to learn about something I love so much. I strengthened a friendship with someone so remarkably like me it's scary. She is so encouraging and she makes me excited for the future!

Tonight I enjoyed belly aching laughs and the best brownies with a great couple of friends. I cherished our random time together and savored the comfort of being so unconditionally loved.

I may be about to jump, but I'm not scared -- God's about to teach me how to fly! :)

P.s. A is coming hooooome. the end to a perfect day!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

a Great Day to be Alive

There's those days you don't expect - in a good way...the days full of moments that make you pause and savor, situations working in your favor, and people who make your heart happy. Today was one of those...
1) Late night/early morning perkins with some of my favorites. Tucked in a booth, talking over each other, joking, laughing, sharing.
2) My dad had his back surgery and he's doing A-ok.
3) Episodes of CSI with Caleb. Some of our greatest bonding moments happen when we watch crime shows
4) St. Patrick's Day. I love this holiday for no good reason. I think it's great how everybody wears green...and it reminds me of my dream to someday marry an irish man with the cutest accent. Ever. ;)
5) I got to run around and play with my 7 year old friend today. He makes me remember what it's like to run just for the heck for it, what sunshine feels like, what innocence is. He told me his plan for how to catch a leprachaun!! We decided if one us found a pot of gold, we'd split it with each other.
6) Church friends and Lenten services. I love the feeling of Lent - sorrow mixed with hope and anticipation for Easter.

My heart is pushing at it's seams and threatening to spill out of the corner of my eyes. Or maybe it's just this song that makes me want to cry and smile all at the same time (youtube: Jeremy Larson, Make Believe).
Days like these are rare and precious...because I'm just thankful to be alive and to have I all that I do.
Off to pack, duckies...for real this time! :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Villard & Jonah

Yesterday a dear friend and I drove to Villard, just for the sake of it. I realized there's all these little towns around Alex that I know of, but have no idea what they look like, or where they're exactly at. So we made an adventure of it....pretty epic stuff actually :). Okay, so maybe looking at Villard took about 5 minutes, but the conversation, laughter, and music in between point A and point B was well worth the trip!

Lately I've been reminding myself a lot of Jonah: Avoid, avoid, avoid. I'm always complaining about how somethings not going to work, instead of trusting God has a plan. This weekend I chaperoned my church's confirmation retreat. An hour before we left I was running around packing, grumbling about how awkward it was going to be, and how much I didn't want to go. But you know what? I loved every minute of that retreat!! I got to know and enjoy the company of so many wonderful kids whose names I barely knew before the trip. Plus, I got to bond with my dad and hang out with some hilarious pastors and youth leaders. I found myself thanking God for the oppurtunity he'd given me.

Now, I just need to apply this realization to my trip coming up. Because right now I'm just avoiding the whole thing...I think it's the packing that does me in - it seems so overwhelming. I'm trying to remember that God has given me an oppurtunity and He's going to do some awesome things with it....but right now all I can see is the bajillion things to be done.
Prayers, friends, prayers. I need 'em!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Dilemma With Sleeping In

I. Am a night owl. Why? Because everything is better at night...
People are less irritating... I'm less cranky and more cuddly (believe it nor not :P)...and I like to think I'm twice as funny. I also like to stay up an hour or two after everybody else and enjoy the silence, something kind of rare in my house.

But you see, there is a problem. If you stay up late, you are probably going to end up sleeping in, which is all well and good...until you wake up and it's 11 and your day is half over. This does not do. I may enjoy staying up until the wee hours of the morning, but I do not like sleeping past 9. Which usually means I get between 5-7 hours of sleep every night. Again, another problem. My body is not ok with the lack of sleep and usually ends up defying me. Which then leads to me sleeping through two or three alarm clocks and getting very little done in a day. Oh what to do, what to do. Such a dilemma.

Today is a day of waiting. Waiting to find out if my laptop can be fixed before I have to leave. Waiting for money to show up so I can purchase items needed for the trip. Waiting to find out if the van will be fixed in time for the weekend. Bah, so much waiting and so little patience.

In the mean time, I am holing up in my room with episodes of CSI and The Waltons and pretending like I am not the least bit stressed. Me STRESSED?? ...never!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Desire in Your Palms

"And there was no voice in her head.
no whispered intelligence lurking
in the leaves - just an ache that grew
until she knew she'd lost everything
except desire, the red heft of it
warming her outstretched palm." - Rita Dove

Of all the poetry I love, this is my favorite. I remember the first time I read it, rolling the words around in my mouth like marbles. My heart hitched a little bit and I realized, I want this. I want to know the warmth of desire in my hands...I want to remember how to live.
Every day, I remember a little more.

10 days. Then I trade snow for sun. Familiar for new. Family for strangers. And hopefully, also, Fears for Strength. Doubt for Trust. Cynicism for Joy.
Things are getting done, slowly but surely, even as my Type B personality is screaming at me to procrastinate ;) Thankfully I have a Type A personality Mom who refuses to let this happen...

Hold out your hands, friends. Let your hearts remember the glow of desire.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

a Beginning

A year ago, the thought of a thousand tomorrows overwhelmed me. The prospect of waking up in the same bed, in the same town, in the same body, with those same heavy thoughts... it crushed me.

I was lost inside a world of lies, wandering alone with my friends Pain and Doubt. But clutched tight in my fist, I carried with me a glimmer, an ember. I carried Hope.

I chose to believe in the promise of Hope. Hope that God would lift the burden and bind up the broken pieces. Hope that one day I would welcome the idea of "tomorrow". And slowly, over time, that glimmer of Hope grew into a flame of Truth. Hope didn't let me down and today, while life isn't perfect, or easy even, I can say with certainty it is good.

I can't say this blog will always be funny (i'll try!) or even interesting, but I can promise honesty. Because I'm starting an adventure of sorts and I want you to go with me, if only through these words! :)

My life's about to change, and that scares me, but the thought of settling for average... that scares me even more.
It's like my brother told me, "Sometimes you have to jump and trust God's going to catch you. You have to let go sometime."

Well, consider this me letting go. And I'm about to jump!