Monday, August 30, 2010

Black iced tea at 15th Ave, sitting in the little outdoor patio garden, waiting for my dear friend MIss Landies... about to crack open a book and enjoy my favorite part of the day on this perfect August evening.
Today was a very long day at work- 6:30-3pm, which may not sound like much... but it is at starbucks. Especially, with some of the people I was working with. Thankfully, much of my morning was spent with Cristie, double-barring. Kathryn worked this afternoon with me. And I got to spend an hour working on the signs- one of my favorite things to do at starbucks.

Now, I am stalling a few minutes before heading to Capital Hill to meet with my professor who oversaw my senior thesis- and get it back from her. This will be serving as my writing sample for my Cambridge application. I need to cut out a little over a thousand words and do some other revisions to the introduction (and in response to whatever other feedback I get from Professor Chrisman today). The online application for Cambridge opens Wednesday- from which point I will have one month to submit everything. As I know, it will include a sample writing, a 500 word introduction to that sample writing. A 500 word personal statement, and a 1500 (I think) dissertation proposal. :/ Something like that... There is much to be done, and redone, and redone. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In essence, there is only one thing God asks of us- that we be men and women of prayer, people who live close to God, people for whom God is everything and for whom God is enough. That is the root of peace. We have that peace when the gracious God is all we seek. When we start seeking something besides Him, we lose it.

-Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

I'm becoming a bit infamous for my simple, perhaps pointless side scribbles in my books- but beside this section, last night I wrote, "that's it!" as I started to cry. In my heart- I've started to want things again more than I want Him. I want to want Him more. I don't want to waste my time in any dream that isn't cast by His hand. Some of you may think I'm a bit crazy at times- or a bit 'overkill' or brainwashed.... but none of you can deny that I've changed in ways that aren't for the better- that I don't love you all as well as I once did. I don't give of myself like I once did. I don't put you above me. It's all the practical shift that's come from my heart no longer seeking the gracious God- and Him being enough.

I always want to choose Him as my all- but it seems more often then not, it feels less like a choice- it looks more like my plans falling apart, the people I seek retreating, me hurting the ones I care about... and at some point me looking around and feeling very alone. I put off casting myself into His arms until I can feel I'm at least surrendering a life that is great and looks like a valuable sacrifice. But, that life doesn't end up coming while I am away from Him. The only good things in my life have come and flourished the most when I lay down my desires for any thing that He doesn't give me.

I only want what comes from my Father's hand. He's never done me wrong. He's never abandoned me when I've chased after Him, He's never been silent when I've voiced my deepest fears, He's never grown bored of me, or changed His mind about me. He's confident. He listens and waits. He waits. He's faithful and holy and righteous and all the things I will never be in myself. He's pure and spotless. He's selfless. He is love. He's powerful enough to heal the people I love... soften and mend breaking hearts. Touch broken bodies. Touch shattered dreams. Invest His hope and passion into the dry places. Give peace and clarity, unveil destinies, and give strength to fight. To forgive.

I only want what comes from my Father's hand. I'm desperate for there to be less of me, and more of Him. I'm desperate for Him to be strong in all my weaknesses- to overrule me. To work a miracle in this clay child.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm learning all over again that life is not about me. It's amazing how we can walk through life thinking that it is, but when it comes down to it, there will always be those events and decisions that we can't do anything to change, no matter how much they cross our will. We can either choose to accept them, embrace them, and grow from them. Or, we can attempt to keep living as the center and become hard to anything that seems to conflict with that idea.

I've become more selfish this past year. I've also become more honest with myself, about what my own heart is feeling. As silly as that might sound, I'm grateful that my heart and mind are finally becoming more connected, and that I can recognize and admit to myself what I want and what I don't want- what I like and what I don't like. I'm grateful I shrink less from conflict. But, with that change, I've also lost part of my tenderness... something I want. Now that I KNOW what I want, it is a lot more difficult to choose against it, for the sake of a friend. But, these are the lessons I'm learning, and I am grateful for them. Ignorance may seem like a blessing- but it is really only an easier way of making decisions, not a more valuable one. It let's you live a half life- not really wrestling through to the depths.

Yes, life is not about me. I plan to write it across my mirror- it'd be nice to have that reminder first thing in the morning, rather than mid-day when I realize I've already made several selfish decisions. I've been repeating this to myself a lot the past couple weeks, "life is not about me." It is not about what I want. At the same time, I believe deeply that we are to live a life of desire and passion- that those point us toward our destiny and are part of the provision from God for us to fight for impossible things that He destined to accomplish with us.

So, fighting to keep passions alive- and accepting that in the end, it's not me that matters. I love the apostle Paul- I love his prayer, "let me decrease, that You may increase." Decreasing, hurts. It's a whole new kind of loving.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tonight is the Novalis concert at Chop Suey. I've loved them since 'they' were just Tommy's voice on that one track on Imago Dei's album. Add to that Katie's voice that's something like whipped cream and liquid gold combined, Tommy's intimidating lyricism, and an acordian and you start to get a picture of why they are so loved. I haven't even mentioned three of the band members yet, all of which deserve a paragraph (but I lack the musical knowledge to do such a shout out justice, so we'll forego for the time being). And they just keep getting better and better. Now add to that, that one of my very best friends is opening for them (who I am also a big fan of musically- but don't tell him please), and I can't quite tell you enough how excited I am for the show tonight. I can tell you I am excited enough to be up at 1:30am blogging about it, even though I have church, work and then the show tomorrow... followed by two very busy days.

If you are free tomorrow night, you should come. But then again, you probably already have plans... to be at Chop Suey. ;)

My shameless plug... but also just my excited rantings... or unembarrassed bragging that my friends are cool and have stuff like shows. Read it how you like.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I love mornings off. I slept until I was awake. I just heard the coffee pot beep in the other room... I'm still in my pajamas, the house is still asleep. And I'm heading out to the porch swing for some quality time with Jesus after a little perusing of the Cambridge web page.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Just because I've always liked it... and it helps lighten the heart...

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson
So the past couple weeks have brought lots of jaw pain thanks to my wisdom teeth, pain in my knee/hamstring thanks to weeks off from my wisdom teeth and then pushing myself too hard on my first run back, and then back and neck pain thanks to a car accident. Add to that some definite processing and heart aches and yes, it's been a tough few weeks, and not ones that have driven me to blog.

Plenty of things in my heart have been surfacing, and I know I haven't been the funnest person to put up with, I'm very sorry to those of you who have got the brunt end of that. I feel a bit of a mess, and definitely in need of the Lord to change my heart. Not just in the, 'I am a sinner' sense, but also in the 'I am a broken mess' sense. I don't know how self-help books even sell, because I'm very certain that I can't fix myself. Some hurts are just too deep, and as much I feel I've tried to 'reject' 'bind' 'resist' or 'ignore' I'm still discovering they are there.. and when people get close, they pop up to bite, both me and them.

I trust the Lord can change me, and heal my heart. Even the things I don't understand about it. Yesterday, Mrs Willis spoke on hope. It couldn't be more timely. I just wrote a poem the other day, called Hope. After a time of wrestling with the Lord, and wrestling with my confusing heart, I settled finally on that, Hope. The Lord named me Hope. He put it into my being, because He knew I'd need it as my anchor to hold me and not let me quit. In an honest conversation I've more than once described my life as 'in tension.' It's the best I can describe it, I'm never 'here' nor 'there' - I'm always called to walk some uncomfortable line between I feel. My name means "Pure" and "Beloved"- two things I struggle constantly to feel I really am. 'Pure' means, without mixture. I feel pure is almost unattainable, especially in todays world. And Beloved, well, that's another story.

I was driving home today and shocked myself with a sudden thought. Some of you know this, but most of you don't. I love my original nintendo. That's the only electronic-game-anything we got. And it only really came out during Christmas time when we were growing up. Somehow, us girls still managed to become pretty great at it. Today, I still like to pull it out with friends and provoke a little awe into the eyes of my competitors. Yes, I own at mario. But, I've never seen the princess. I've only ever seen the little maiden chicks at the end of each world. It's the best way I can think to describe how I feel, I'm afraid I'm just the awkward maiden at the end, wearing strange mushroom like diapers saying "Thank you for rescuing me, but your princess is in another castle."

Funny that He named me Beloved. Ay?

But He also named me Hope. Trust. Expectant waiting. I pulled out my notes from yesterday and started reading through the verses again. I only made it to the first two. Then, I started reading through Psalms 32-33. It's amazing how different things look, when you raise your eyes. I can't change myself. I can't make myself believe things will all turn out beautifully, and that if I'd ever make it to the dungeon of the last castle, I'd see a green-eyed brunette standing there. I can't make my heart stop fearing or expecting pain, or stop pushing people away. I can't make myself cry in front of people. But I can raise my eyes to the heavens, to the One my help comes from. To the one who restores my soul, and heals my heart, and my body. To the one who has a plan for my life, to the one who plants seeds of passion in my heart and waters them 'til they become mature destiny. To the one who chose me, created me, and named me Beloved, Pure, and Hope. To the one who knows my heart, despite my failure to let it be seen. To the one who won't be pushed away. To the one who waits, until all my tears spill out. To the one who promises to never leave me or forsake me. And to the one who's love never fails, and promises never fall short. To him I can lift up my eyes, and trust.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Things are still happening with cambridge... new and exciting things, which I will fill you in on soon. That said, please, please be praying for grace over the whole process. That the right connections would be made, and that I'd have strength and grace and passion to keep in this process and do the work necessary to keep dreaming. :)

I need to start writing bios and editing my sample writing, and getting the actual forms filled out. There are all sorts of other little things I have to apply to and get covered. So much left to do, but I feel like every time I set my heart to do it and put in the work, the Lord blesses it and opens the door. It's just me finding the courage to keep walking up the steps to the front door, and knocking.

I need to connect with the professor who is willing to oversee my research in Cambridge. So pray specifically that the Lord joins me to a Literature professor who specializes most likely in the Romantic Period- and who is willing to work with me, advise me, and in fact strongly suggest me to the trust for this scholarship. :)