Category Archives: life

this is where i keep day-to-day posts, general items that don’t fit anywhere else, and things that bring life.

gentle hands are shaping

i wish that i had words that fully communicated what is happening in my soul. it is a confluence of factors, creating a perfect storm that i hope is leading to growth and depth.

but right now i am just tired.

i am exhausted, because soul work is draining in the midst of normal, everyday life and work.

i am tired of saying goodbye. the danger of falling in love with people is that sometimes they leave and that hurts. there have been too many goodbyes already this summer.

it feels like God is doing some very big and deep work in my life right now. i am glad for that. and i am learning that i am not crazy. at some point, i hope to learn what existence in this world looks like with these changes taking root in me, because at the moment i wonder if it is even possible.

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better late than never

every year, i list out the books i hope to read over the summer. every year, i fail miserably at checking them off. no doubt this year will be the same…so here is my list!

Redeeming Mulatto – Brian Bantum
The Lord of the Rings (all) – JRR Tolkein
Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith – Barbara Brown Taylor
The Naked Now: Learning to See as Mystics See – Richard Rohr
Sexuality and the Christian Body: Their Way into the Triune God – Eugene Rogers
Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others – Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky
Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues – NT Wright
The Anatomy of Story – John Truby
The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human – Jonathan Gottschall
The Road – Cormac McCarthy

completed.
in process.

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holding and losing

i am writing this post right now because i am trying desperately to finish finals, and i can’t seem to concentrate. i am hoping if i can get some of this out, i will find enough focus to make a dent. i can’t say any more than has already been said about the wonderful community of people connected to SPU, so that is not what this will be. this is my own process, it will not be eloquent.

june 5 with be a day that i mark from now on. it will be remembered as the day there was a shooting at my school. i have experienced a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. i was not on campus, and a part of me hurts whenever i tell someone that because it seems to be received with great relief, like somehow that makes it okay.

i spent the weekend hanging out with some of my favorite seattle kids, which was great fun, but meant that i had no space to think and to process this event until sunday morning.

i made the choice to worship outside of my church home on sunday, because i wanted to be with a group of people that wouldn’t be afraid to speak the truth of the event and to make space for the pain that we were in.

so here is the truth: i am wrecked, i am a mess. the world seems to have moved on, to not notice the SPU sweatshirt i have been wearing every day. i can’t hold a thought in my brain. i can’t focus on anything. i feel sick to my stomach. there is too much freedom in my schedule this week, there is nothing that i have to hold it together for. so i am not holding it together. i am not really holding it together.

i am tired, i am cranky. i can’t remember what it is i need to get done this week. i am not myself. what is more, i don’t even feel like i have the space for this to be okay because i have finals and summer classes and a new job starting next week. i can’t really afford to lose it right now.

so to sum: i am not holding it together, but i can’t really let myself lose it. follow that enigma.

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we’re all in this together

this week has served as a profound reminder for me. entering into celebration with friends embarking on a new adventure together, and sitting in pain with friends faced with unexpected grief.

it is no surprise to me that joy and grief are so closely experienced. however, i have been processing this with a new perspective recently. i have learned more about myself, and begun to understand why i am so sensitive to these two emotions in particular.

but moreover, as we enter Holy Week, i am reminded that these two emotions, joy and grief, are at the heart of our faith.

during this week we walk with Jesus through his Passion.

we are faced with the reality of our own brokenness as we betray him with Judas, deny him with Peter, and call for his crucifixion with the masses.

then his body moves to the cross, and we realize our mistake. that the one we have crucified is the One who has so profoundly identified with us, performed our existence in such a way as to invite us to fullness and freedom.

and we must sit here. for a time. this is Good Friday. grief. pain. we must must sit in this space for anything that takes place next to have any significance.

so we sit in a place of grief. we wonder how to move on. we wonder how there could possibly be any hope left. we wonder how God could have forsaken us. this is okay. this is part of the rhythm.

because then, in the midst of our grief, we go to the tomb…only to find the stone rolled away and the funeral clothes unwrapped and empty. we turn back, confused, and there he is. he is alive, he calls us by name, and he tells us there is more. there is hope. there is joy.

it strikes me that this is the essence of the human experience. the invitation of Holy Week is to experience the fullness of what it means to be human, with the One who shows us exactly what that means. we walk the road together, you and me, bound up and together in the life of Jesus.

grief. joy. these are the reality of humanness. they are true of every experience and iteration of what it means to be human. grief and joy are what bind us to each other and what bind us to Christ. because in this one man, the particular and the universal are made one. our differences are at once honored and done away with.

because we are all in this together.

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eight years in recovery

***trigger warning***

last month i missed a pretty important anniversary (…i don’t want to talk about it). but because that is so unlike me, and because it is affecting me deeply that i forgot to remember something that has impacted me so significantly, i decided to celebrate a normally private anniversary in a public way.

this week is eight years that i have been self-injury free. i say “this week” because i don’t remember the exact day, just that it was the beginning of february. but i do remember the exact scar that made me stop.

and i am sharing this anniversary with hope; mostly for growth. because i have realized this school year that i am not as comfortable with this element of my past as i thought i was. i still cringe when people joke and speak nonchalantly about cutting or jump to the defensive when curious people happen across my scars.

and i have noticed how frequently the thought still pops into my head. it never really went away, i have just learned better ways to respond.

self-injury is an addiction, it is a coping mechanism in the same way that drugs and alcohol are. it is a strategy to manage pain. for several years of my life, cutting was what helped me to feel present in my body, and gave physical manifestation to what was happening inside of me that i had no words for and no other way to express.

it is not a joke.

it is part of the reason i am on my way to becoming a therapist. i am here today because i had a therapist who wasn’t satisfied with letting me stick with my unhealthy coping mechanisms. i had people who saw the scariest, darkest parts of my soul and loved me anyway. and i literally have the scars to remind me where i have been and how far i have come.

eight years, here’s to the rest of my life.

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sexuality and identity

year two can be summed up or categorized by three themes:

creativity
sexuality
formation

nearly every conversation i seem to be having is about one or more of these topics, and often, all three.

that said, i feel very strongly that i have some work to do. perhaps some healing, maybe some confession, certainly some articulating of my own story that helps me to find clarity.

there is going to be a lot of uncertainty on this journey. i will probably say a lot of things that will be in process. i may not want to land on them for a long time, or incorporate them as axiomatic for my life, but they might be where i am at any given moment. i will also be raising and addressing what i think are valid, honest, and important questions. because of these things, and because if i am posting it might keep me accountable to actually do the work, i think that i will be posting this journey here – but with some limitations.

first, i wont be advertising on my facebook. this will most likely severely limit my audience. that’s okay. this means that the people reading it will be people who want to hear it, not just people who stumble upon my post in their newsfeed.

second, i reserve the right to password protect any post i desire. usually it will be because it is intensely vulnerable for me to share, and i am unsure about it. if i decide to password protect a post, my hope is that it doesn’t stay password protected for too long, just long enough to run it by trusted sources to affirm that it is worthwhile to the conversation.

ADDENDUM: third, my hope is to be able to experience some of this process creatively as well. that may mean that you see more poetry (Lord willing), perhaps artwork, etc. know that in sharing those things i am simply trying to articulate my own process, not necessarily contribute to a larger conversation.

so…here it goes.

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top ten

dear me, in the midst of a shortened holiday break i have completely forgotten to reflect on the year that was 2013. so, here is a brief version in the form of a top ten list. in no particular order:

10. travel – no haiti for me this year, but thankful for a trip to philadelphia and a visit home over the summer.

9. graduate assistantship – mostly fun, slightly terrifying. great experience so far.

8. internship – hello biggest surprise of the year. life-giving and challenging. bringing fullness to a once barren place.

7. theralogian…or theopist – i continue to navigate the two worlds of theology and therapy. some days i feel more like a therapist, but every day i feel like a theologian.

6. children – i had a (perhaps unspoken) goal of somehow developing more relationships with children, given that i want to work specifically with kids and trauma when i finish this grad school thing, and also given that i just love kids. i think i have succeeded.

5. new car – i purchased a new car. his name is legolas.

4. art – i am an artist (still getting used to this name). i am still working on finding my words again, but i am cultivating a discipline of creativity, and i love it.

3. neighbors – yet another move this year, but such a good decision. my neighbors are the most fun and the most welcoming.

2. lord of the rings – this year i read the lord of the rings and the hobbit. life. changing. 

1. friends that are family – ok. this one is definitely number one. hands down. everyday you teach me, love me, laugh with me, cry with me, get pissed off at me, forgive me, and let me love you back. thank you. i am glad that we get to do life together, and i could never go back. 

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