Friday, March 23, 2012


This is what I want to be about.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


So proudly I'll hold my head
As each tomorrow comes,
That those who look at me with think
I walk to singing drums

And maybe some of them will say
They wish that life would be
Just half as gay and nice to them
As it has been to me

If they should bring me little griefs
And little dreams to heal,
I think that I could help because
I'll know the way they feel.

"Consolation," by Helen Welshimer

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life after death

When I look back at this most recent season, what I see are a thousand things I wish I would have done differently. I wish I would have been more patient. I wish I would have depended more heavily on the words of Scripture and the biblical pattern of life after death.

These words from Shauna Niequist's Bittersweet could have well been my own. I've let some present darkness allow me to forget that there is light. I've allowed death to remind me of my frailty, my humanity. I've let Lent ingrain in me the deep wretchedness of my sin.

But, what about Spring? What about Easter? What about resurrection? God's pattern is newness after loss. It's hope after despair. It's beauty after ashes.

Several weeks ago, my pastor talked about murmuring the truth to ourselves. If we can't get on a high hill and shout, we can at least summon a little volume to give voice to Gospel so that we can hear it again. I need to hear over and over again, even if my proclamation starts small.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Buying dishes

When I graduated college (almost five years ago now!) I had been stewing on these words from a well-timed book called Running on Empty. One of the truths that stood out most from its pages was that I should be living, not waiting to live. At the time, that meant enjoying my classes, and not watching the clock. That meant, savoring spring break, not being anxious for graduation. It meant loving my lazy last summer, not stewing over my impending move and first big-girl job.

I'd like to say that I mastered that whole trick back then. Oh, but you know me too well. I was the toe-tappingest student in every lecture class. I was the girl who brought job applications on spring break. I spent many a-sleepless summer nights watching Felicity, eating ice cream, and making lists of all the things I had to take care of for the move and the start of my internship.

I was always, always waiting to live. Waiting to become this version of myself that I wasn't just yet. That summer, I bought out Ann Taylor. Women wear blouses to work, right? And slacks, and stilettos. That's what I thought. (Four years later, I'm back in the same office, and finally realizing that I can dress for work and maintain my personal style. Down with dress pants! Down with high-heel pumps!)

In those days, I was simply awaiting a grown-up life. I was dreaming about the house and the clothes and the mac book computer that I would have. I thought about the career I would tout, the car I would drive, the family I would have. Life in the moment was consumed with thinking about life in the future. And, I was impatient with living the time in between.

The one redemptive thing I can remember about that time is simple. It may sound insignificant to you, but at the time, it was a step in the right direction. You see, I had a handful of friends get married right after college. All of these friends had fancy new kitchens, shelves stocked with things most college kids had never before used. Food processors and emersion blenders. Nested mixing bowls and fancy knives.

As a budding home cook, I was jealous. I wanted to cook nice meals in my new life, you see. I wanted to have people in my home and make things with grown-up kitchen utensils. And I was more than slightly jealous that the married crowd got a push-start on building their kitchens. Here I was moving to a town with the set of plastic dishes I'd kept in my dorm room.

So, in one fine moment, I decided to buy my first set of dishes. And, I spared no expense on finding a pattern I loved. Salad plates, dinner plates, mugs, bowls, and glasses—a set of eight. Sure, it was an ambitious purchase for a galley kitchen with two cupboards, an apartment that only had room for a two-person dining table.

But, to me, it meant I wasn't waiting. I was taking the hope of the future and turning it into a now. And, what a beautiful decision that was. I can't tell you how many times I crammed new friends into my tiny apartment for dinner parties and movie nights. We ate off of my new dishes, and tried new recipes together. We made messes in that tiny kitchen and washed those plates dozens of times by hand.

And when I look at those pale blue ceramics, I'm thankful. Because it's been five years. And these plates have served countless family-style meals in my now cozy (and more spacious) home. They've been licked clean and passed around by new friends and old. And I'm just glad that I didn't wait. I'm glad I forked over the money I didn't really have to make an investment in the future that turned out to come a lot sooner than I ever thought it would...without the ring, without the registry.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


We’re only a third of the way into this Lenten season, and I am feeling the pang of my sin sickness. I’ve chosen to deny myself two of my greatest drinkable pleasures this year. These things—however soothing and innocuous they can be—are just things. They can have a hold on me sometimes, sure. And, I’m certain giving up them up for six weeks will be good for me in several ways. But as I reflect on the last two weeks, I can’t help sense that my sickness runs deeper than my dependence on caffeine for energy, or the warmth of wine to gladden my heart. I can’t forget the words of a sweet friend, uttered on Ash Wednesday.

I don’t want to give up chocolate. I want to give up sin.

I’ve always equated giving up things with identifying to Christ’s sacrifice—like forgoing facebook or television can hold a candle to the Cross! I think it’s safe to say that, for years, I’ve been misinterpreting the fundamental point of Lent. This year, I’m withdrawing from things that stem from honest-to-goodness distrust that the Lord alone is good enough. And that goes beyond a desire to withhold things from myself. That’s sin.