Monday, December 29, 2008

the journey home

i want a Nikon camera, a little girl named Grace, some hot chocolate, flaming hot funyuns, snow, forest animals that help me clean my house, new acrylic paints, patience, for my deodorant not to smell like it was used my a certain latin man that lives in my house, a new home for kitty, some rocky road ice cream, and to sleep tonight without having dreams of my friends being pregnant.

but most of all, i want you, Lord, in all of your godly, unconditional glory. i want your love to turn me inside out and shake me up a little bit, okay, alot, and i want to be carried by you through the valleys and up the sides of the mountains. i want to dance with you barefooted on the mountaintops in the midst of the clouds and the dandelions and i want you tell me that its okay to be afraid, not of you, but of everyone else. i want to ask you a million questions without answers and i want you to kiss me on the forehead. i want to worship you with my hands in the air and my knees in the red dirt of morrocco, knowing that you find my childish visions of heaven endearing and not ridiculous because
i am your child
and you are my father, and as many times as i fail you and fail myself and fail others you clean me up and pick me back up and carry me home. thank you for resurrecting me and restoring me and showing me that there is hope and healing and redemption that can only be found in your love.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

growing down

i am sitting in my kitchen eating Jesus' birthday cake which is three days old and probably the best cake ive ever had. cake and milk is still a good snack, even when youre not six.

and on that note, im officially convinced that i grew up too fast. the girl who was named "most likely to never grow up," i am always, always, a contradiction. a cigar-smokin (well, once) bible readin spaghettios eatin 21 year old bride, who has never made any sense. i think ive found my identity in this. this, and the many years ive spent building all of this up.
living, and being quite reckless with other peoples hearts, while carefully guarding my own. sometimes i feel cheated by my choices, because i dont have stories of late night clubbing or drunken bar hopping. i dont own stilletos and ive never smoked a cigarette or tasted whiskey.
the closest memories i have resembling all of that are made up of running through war-torn spanish cities late at night in my underwear with people whos names i dont remember, walking five miles barefoot to see the eiffel tower, sleeping in airports and traveling the australian coast with one of the kindest strangers ive ever known. ive had my motives questions and have spent many a night explaining to people why my choices are not the most ridiculous and naive thing theyve ever heard. ive lied and prayed my way out of situations that had no way out. one time, i didnt shower for more than a week. i lived on a whim, and prayed that i wasnt killing myself in the process, experiencing in two years what takes most people late into their twenties to accomplish.

and then he showed up.

the man who would one day tame my wild heart, the person who i sometimes resentfully, but mostly affectionately, refer to as my anchor. the one who loved me without knowing me, but had a burning question on his heart, "is this what life with you is like?"
and how do you respond to that, knowing that he is the greatest gift that God has given you in this life, but wanting him to know all of you, to know what he was getting himself into?
"this is what life with me is like right now. im all over the place. but when im 25 ill have a steady job and a family. and when im 45 ill enjoy baking and traveling all over the world with you, or not, its your call. and when im 75 you and i will sit on rocking chairs on our porch and talk about the sky or the weather and the wonderful things that weve experienced together. but for now? this is what life with me is like."

and now, it is more like being 23 and staying at home studying the IEP process in special education with the faint sounds of my husbands voice echoing from his recording studio, trying to get from 20 to 25, wondering whether this transition is even possible... but it has to be, because people somehow make it through this awkward place of being a kid and being a wife.

i was standing in line at a store the other day when a middle-aged hispanic man standing behind me in a cowboy hat tried to stike up a conversation about second-hand furniture and politicians from illinois. i brought up my political science major husband, and was quickly interrupted by the statement that i've heard at least 342342374982375 times,
"YOURE MARRIED??? but youre so young!"
and then,
"How old are you? I can tell you your future right now." (smirk, smirk)

being married is, by far, the hardest thing i've ever done, it has stretched me and made me feel like im in over my head many times, i've decided over and over again that i grew up too fast and i am unprepared for all of this. married women envy single women and single women envy marrried women, and i am 23 and dont even consider myself a woman yet and i envy everyone, including myself, which should be added to my list of resolutions.

but as long as im unprepared and in over my head and growing up too fast with him, ill be okay. because what ive discovered in the last few weeks is that nobody has any idea how to do this, this human thing, and even fewer people know how to be under thirty and married (or under 120 and married), so ive realized ive either got to own it or abandon it, and abandon is not an option.

Friday, December 26, 2008

new years resolutions

this should have been titled "things about myself that i have to change before i go insane" or "i will easily ruin my life if i dont resolve to attempt to correct the following flaws"

so, in all of their broken, imperfect, redeemed glory, my resolutions that happen to fall around the same time as the new year:
(side note: yesterday morning, while my family and i are were gathered around the christmas tree, i was thinking about how far my heart has come in the last 6 years. i am an entirely different human being, and i am shocked that i have the same blood pumping through my veins and the same reflection in the mirror. God has done a supreme work in my soul and has rooted out many, many, things in me that are not supposed to be there and even when my faith is lacking i look back and the undeniable truth is that i am a new creation and that Gods love has completed me and shaped me and there is hope and healing in what He has already done.)

1. listen more, to God, to people (be quick to listen, slow to speak)
2. KEEP MY WORD. ALWAYS, ALWAYS. (dont make plans that i wont follow through with, don't say ill call someone back and not do it, be a person of integrity)
3. stop procrastinating!!! do things as soon as possible not as late as possible. duh.
(side note number two: even as im writing this i am getting angry at myself for doing these things. maybe that should have been number three, "dont be so hard on myself")
4. for my sweet husbands sake, establish consistency by putting things back where i got them from, which would probably start with finding a place to keep everything.
5. even though i am not suzie homemaker, and never will be, and i absolutely hate cooking and cleaning to the core of my existence, but i need to start making my home more liveable. it is not a disaster, but it feels like there is always some mess somewhere and it makes me feel at unrest and peacelessness (which i dont think is a word)

But, ultimately, I agree with my boy Jonathan Edwards, "Resolution one: I will live for God. Resolution two: if no one else does, I still will."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

from everlasting to everlasting

A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
In my heart, in my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Your will above all else, my purpose remains
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
In my heart, in my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out Lord, my soul cries out

-hillsong, "from the inside out"

download it. listen to it on youtube. this is good stuff.

Friday, December 19, 2008

family matters

I was born to two wonderful, ambitious, loving, women who did everything in their power to give me the best life possible. I never met my father, and spent the first part of my life wondering what it would be like to have a "real" family, which, in my eyes, didn't consist of a struggling mother and a dying grandmother. My nana is the person I spent the most time with as a child, in a world that consisted of tea parties, cabbage patch dolls, and lung cancer. She died when I was seven and my family got even more abnormal. My mom worked several jobs to give me a life in a safe environment, and did her best to raise me on her own. I always wondered what it was like to have brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, multiple sets of grandparents, and many cousins. Apart from my mom and grandma, the only other family member I knew was my cousin, who was nine years older than me and had no interest in hanging out with me, because apparently when youre a seventeen year old boy its not cool to play barbies with your little cousin. I'm bitter. At least I was bitter for a long time. Then the boyfriends entered the picture. The random men that symbolized that my mom had moved on from my dad, the men who drove cool cars and bought me whatever I wanted and some had kids and some liked to cook little mermaid sandwiches and life just got SO GOOD... until my mom mentioned that these men wanted to be her husband, and all hell broke loose in my mind, because ohmygod for the first time EVER I would have to share my beloved mother. Tragedy, tragedy.

Soon Jay was added into the equation. I remember very few things about the day I met the man who would someday legally adopt me, the man I now call Dad. The first thing, is that I hated him. He was a short, bearded, man with a Harley and really good manners, and I wanted nothing to do with him. I did my best leave a lasting impression on him during dinner, and was banned to the kitchen. He won my heart through Monday Night Disney Marathons and taking me to baseball games.

Not long after, The Day I Waited For My Whole Life happened. My infertile, 46 year old mom, sat me down at TGI Friday's and handed me a ducky rattle. WTF? The next words that came out of my mother's mouth I will never forget, "Honey, I'm pregnant." My thoughts were a jumble, and I couldn't even fathom what was happening to my world. It was a mixture of OMG I'm going to have a brother or sister, and OMG I'm going to have a brother or sister. I was eleven, and the thought of this happening was crazy. Like, what was she thinking???

Fortunately, several months later my little Olivia made her debut into a world that will never be ready for her. The sister I waited my whole life for was here and I was SO excited to have her. She has completely changed my life in so many ways. She has tested my patience by "painting her nails" on my carpet, and stolen my heart with her infinite wisdom and many gifts. The girl is good at everything. She is a hilariously funny straight a student with a zeal for life and a desire to follow Jesus. She is, by far, the coolest person I've ever met.

So, this is was my whole entire family, and it was a good one. We put the fun in dysfunctional. From these people I have learned how to be a person, and how not to be. Mostly I have learned resilience, and that it isnt the circumstances that you are given that count, but how you deal with what youve been dealt. My dream has always been to have a big family, but I became satisfied with these three.

Until I met him. I married the love of my life in 2007, and acquired 5 new siblings, countless aunts and uncles, grandparents, and a mother in
law who is totally ridiculous, but whom I absolutely adore. She has become one of my greatest supports, and has been a mom to me more times than I can count. I now have the most adorable little sisters and brothers in the whole world, and a wonderful father in law. I also have a wonderful Tia who is the big sister I never had and one one of my favorite people in the whole world.

I have been blessed, with a huge, loving, passionate, hilarious, gifted, complicated, wonderful family and I wouldnt have it any other way. Love them to the moon and back.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

an epic day

today is a day unlike any other day. a day where time almost stands still, as the world turns in ways it never has before. a day that is much, much, more than a snow day. more than the fact that there are 6 inches of snow in front of my las vegas home, and more than the fact that for the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE school is cancelled due to snow!!! no. today is much more than all of that.

today marks the 23rd anniversary of the day that one of my favorite people in the world inhaled the breath of life for the first time, and exhaled herself to a humanity whose expectations she far exceeded. the truth is, the day i met her, i hated her. which only lasted a year, because i moved to a far off place, and never intended to see her awful shortalls again. she mysteriously reappeared in my life several years later in the form of harriet the spy and best friend notebooks. we terrorized our world for two years, making the worst possible decisions we could have made, and having so much fun doing it. drunken escapades and promiscuous behavior coupled with boyfriends and kmart shopping sprees made for many adventures and memories, but would not compare to the years ahead. we drifted apart as our lives were reshaped by a God who knew EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING. we were reunited once more, and weve never been apart sense.

my best friend, whitney, has brought more joy into my life than i ever thought possible. she has been my shoulder to cry on, the other end of the late night panic phone calls, the only human that has ever been there at every important event and every time my car overheated. she has taught me to discover every moment of life, how not to look at refrigerators like im in love with them, how to make smoothies and get the best deal at jason's deli. she has inspired me to paint, to love fully, to seek God's heart in every situation and to pray until something happens. she has supported me in every decision ive ever made, and has done everything in her power to bring joy to my life (like eating goldfish crackers off of the airplane floor). together we have discovered what is right and wrong, an absolute love for Jesus Christ, the beauty of human beings- especially kids with disabilities, how to treat people, how to be treated, how to get paid to hang out, and how to have a friendship that is fulfilling and completely authentic.

and its not just me. every person that has ever met my best friend has felt honored to be around her. her light is so bright and her heart is so big, that her body cannot contain the love that shares with people. she has changed my life, and will continue to do so for the next 23 years. i cant wait to see her life unfold, and i feel so beyond blessed to have been a part of it.

Happy 23rd Birthday to my best friend in the whole world. I'm sorry for the many, many, times I've stolen your chapstick. I love you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

i have a dream (for 2033)

i look forward to the day that we can sit down with our children and talk to them about the way the world looked when we were their age. i wonder how much of it will be different, i wonder how much will be the same. i wonder if they will have any idea what proposition 8 is, or what they will think of our stories of civil rights protest marches. i wonder how they will react when we tell them that we watched the first african american president speak at the high school that we graduated from, or that we cried when they announced his presidency. maybe they will laugh at us when we tell them that when we didnt have internet until we were in middle school, or cell phones until we were fifteen.

regardless of what they think, i pray that we will have offered them a world where the love of Jesus is proclaimed openly, a world without wars on terrorism, one that spreads love, not hate. i hope we leave them in a place that they do not have to spend their lives cleaning up after our economic disasters, religious battles, social mishaps, or broken relationships. i pray that we leave them a legacy of love, and of hope, of dreams and of possibility, a place where they have learned from their ancestors mistakes and chosen love over hate, always. i pray that we will have given them the tools to use their lives in the best way possible, to love God with all that they are and pour out His love to the rest of the world. i hope that our children, whoever they are, will know that they are loved beyond comprehension and know that we have prayed for them and for the world they will live in long before they existed.

oh, and i hope they look just like this...which im sure they will:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Santa, Satan, and the church that stole Xmas

the battle looms within me, plaguing my every thought. i am constantly reminded of the decision i have to make, we have to make. after knowing all i do now, after the many many things that have been revealed to me, will i still choose myself over what i know is better?

and this is what i know: i know that i desperately want to love people in a way that they understand. more than anything i want people to feel special and adored. and so, in the past, ive bought the most elaborate gifts that i could afford, trying to be as thoughtful and impressive as possible, in hopes that maybe the people i love would have The Best Christmas Ever.

and that cant happen, because theres all these things that have been haunting me.

first off, the most elaborate gifts i can afford this year, are not at all elaborate. were in a transition place in our lives, desperately trying to hoard as much money to pay for college as we can because were are almost done but it currently costs us almost $6,000 a semester, and neither one of us has a solid job. we also have a house to pay for, bills to pay, a broken down car, traffic tickets, and credit card debt.

secondly, many of the people we love can give themselves far more than we could give them.

third, I feel like bath sets, candles, and other things that could be bought anywhere for anyone by anyone are impersonal and obligatory and oftentimes they dont display our love for eachother or for Christ.

the church i go to looks EXACTLY like a church should look around christmas time. there is a christmas tree with tons of presents underneath for kids who wouldn't have any otherwise, the entire stage is covered in water bottles that are going to be filled with change to build a well that will bring life, and hopefully eternal life, to 5,000 people, and under the giant cross is more nonperishable food than i have ever seen in my life. ever. in my whole life. in the back is a huge box filled with hygiene products, and there is this feeling of its not about me looming in the air.
and i love it.

so im taking the its not about me approach, and knowing that means its not about how much i spend on anyone else either. it will take self-control not to buy my sister the Ed Hardy hat of her dreams, but hopefully whatever i do end up giving her will last longer than that hat ever could.

so, this christmas, im going to do my best to give the most thoughtful, homemade, loving gifts possible.

worship fully, give more, spend less, love all.

want a piece of this? Go here:

Friday, December 5, 2008


oh, the world.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Do you feel?

sometimes it hurts to think. usually it hurts to feel. i think there are people in this world that feel things just a little bit deeper than the rest of the world. emotional paper cuts feel like deep wounds, and spiritual fender benders feel like head on collisions. and giggles are more like exploding belly aching laughter and rainbows make them exclaim at the incredible existence that is creation.

some of us, are just hypersensitive to the world around us, so much so that it engulfs our every thought. as a little girl, i thought everyone was like this, that everyone wondered and marveled at the complex society of red ants, and was furious with bumble bees for stinging people and thus killing themselves, because how could they let down their friends like that and dont they have an important job to do for the queen?

its complicated, this whole being a person thing, and im not sure we'll ever get used to it. i decided many years ago, when reading The Great Gatsby in sophomore english, that it was better to be naive and unobservant.
"I hope she'll be a fool--that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool... You see, I think everythings terrible anyhow... And I know. I've been everywhere and seen everything and done everything."
"He's so dumb he doesn't know he's alive."

and i envied that, because i only had two options- desperately seek to numb my brain and its thoughts and feelings that i can never keep up with, or feel- which would ultimately kill me. and there i sat, thinking about how complicated it all was, this human thing. there are really only two kinds of people in the world, those who feel the weight and those who don't. F. Scott Fitzgerald gets it. he feels it. he knows what its like to have one foot in fire and the other in ice, this twisted reality where we look in the mirror and know exactly what we look like, but turn around and forget.

to me, you, and f. scott fitzgerald, let us not get carried away with mirrors and weight and brokenness and joy- lets just feel the love, man, feel the love.

Baby, stop acting like a freak

My husband is hands-down the best person ever at cheering me up and oh, Lord how did I get so lucky to have underwear dance shows and a twelve minute song-writing session from the world's best shower vocalist, belting his newest hit, "Can you hear me babygirl, I love you baby girrrrrrrrrrl"and when that doesn't work he tries the old fashioned approach-
"Baby, stop acting like freak."

And it works, instead of being frantic, and anxious, and worried, and crabby, im back to my usual giggly self. I really don't give him enough credit. I don't think any of us give each other enough credit.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

labels, expectations, conformity

Does anyone else get as much joy out of the new Jockey commercial as I do?
Has anyone else turned to their husband and said, "I just saw an underwear commercial that reminded me of you?" (which, i think, is far better than the line he used on me-I saw a kangaroo and thought of you)

see for yourself, aside from my recent omar-inspired love for curly mop-top haircuts, this commercial is actually pretty legit:

Who needs Tivo when you can be inspired by underwear ads? Not me.

On the same note, today we put up our BRAND NEW STATE OF THE ART FOUR HUNDRED DOLLAR PRE-LIT GLORIOUS CHRISTMAS TREE. (that we happened to buy from Michael's last March and paid $36 dollars for at their NINETY PERCENT OFF SALE...anybody who knows me knows that I am the most frugal, but best shopper in the world- just one of my many useful talents along with being remarkably good at Scrabble, restaurant kids menus and Super Mario Kart). Moving on...

I'm in a desperate search for the meaning of Christmas. My church is doing a series on the Advent Conspiracy; basically that it makes Jesus sad that we spend his birthday maxing out our credit cards and buying overpriced crap to show people that we love them instead of giving from our hearts and spending time with people and giving to people what they really need which is love and sometimes food and sometimes shelter and sometimes clothes, but mostly love.

I did a small take on this last year when I bought more than half of my friends goats, families of ducks, and help for sexually exploited children (for gifts that are AWESOME, like these, go to, and this brought us all a lot more joy than a vanilla scented bath set ever would have. So I get that. I get the anti-consumerism approach to Christmas, and I know that God does too.

I just love Christmas, and I want to get back to basics with the whole Christmas thing. I want to understand the meaning of Christmas. When my friend Zim went to Costa Rica, she came home with countless stories and one of many was the way Christians celebrated Christmas there- and ultimately it was with a menorah. Jesus celebrated Channukah, and Christmas was originally a Pagan holiday, so Omar and I went out and bought a Menorah from Walgreens and that was that. But im a sucker for eggnog, and tinsel, and the Gift of Lights, and parties and red velvet dresses and as usual, im stuck in the middle- this lovely luke-warm place in which half of my life looks the way i'd like it to and the other half is wandering around the sale rack at H&M.

May God bless you as you navigate through the discovery of the meaning of Christmas,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

my darling young life girls

This morning Becca walked into the class that i'm substitute teaching:

I cant go to class

Why not?

Its wet outside

Well you can't stay in here

But you let Annnndie stay in here...

And you know what? I did let Andie stay and I let Becca stay too, because im a sucker and people don't last forever and spending time with Andie and Becca is more important than having them do thanksgiving word searches in their classes. Being a Younglife leader has probably been the most incredible experience of my life. I started doing YL so that I could show highschool kids a better way to live life, to be a positive influence to them, and ultimately lead them into a relationship with their Creator. But, the truth is, they've taught me way more than I'm sure i've ever taught them. Because being a younglife leader is like being a big sister, and a mom, and a best friend, and a pastor, and a teacher, and a doctor, and a substitute who lets kids ditch in her class even though its against every rule in the book.
More times than not, these kids are my saving grace, and as much as theyve broken my heart, theyve put it back together and left it in better condition than before. Kendal's boldness for the gospel, and Jess's sincerity, Becca's honesty, and Claudia's repentant heart, Stefanie, who surprises me everyday with her choices (like deciding to be a special ed teacher, and working hard to get there) and Andie and Liz who arent afraid to ask questions and seek answers. And then there are "kids" that have graduated and gone on to do INCREDIBLE things for the cause of Christ, like Katie the girl who discovered a love for kids with disabilities on top of the zipline at Lost Canyon, and is now using her life to touch theirs, who taught me what it means to be a Younglife leader. Or Jill who challenged me heart and soul every step of the way and has now brought me to tears more times than I can count because of her absolute love for Jesus and desire to be His hands and feet to the world, the girl who dreamed of going to Africa her whole life and is leaving this week to share the love of God with the people of Africa. Or Meg, who's heart is unmatched and who's voice is that of an angel, the girl who has been to hell and back, but chooses to fight against the resistance and desires to be a glorious light to the world. Or the countless other kids from both Coronado and Sierra Vista, who have forced me to examine who I am and who Jesus is, and have brought me to where I am now, and are going to leave the fingerprints of Jesus all over their worlds.

Because the last four years of my life have been filled with turkey bowling, panty-hose faced, peanutbutter licking, highschool kids who have taken up almost every tuesday and thursday night, and frankly I wouldnt change it for anything. To see God's children that were wandering in the wilderness and have now found comfort and love in the person of Jesus and have discovered who God has created them to be, and to know that God allowed me to be even a little part of that leaves me speechless. Worth it, absolutely worth it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

As a preteen I had a hard time conforming to the patterns of my friends' celebrity crushes. I was never one for JTT and my "I love Leo" poster only lasted a few weeks. In the spirit of thanksgiving, i've composed a complication of really ridiculously good looking guys that have dominated my walls and my heart for as far back as I can remember:

Orlando Bloom- Pirates

Adam Garcia- Coyote Ugly

Tom Welling- Smallville

Adam Brody- The OC

Michael Rady- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Adrian Grenier- Drive Me Crazy

Omar Garcia- Husband Extraordinaire

And I am thankful. Not because my husband is the sweetest, funniest, most intelligent, most genuine, most tender-hearted, best lover ever created...but because he is also hands-down, the best looking man i've ever known. And I just need to thank God for gracing my life, and this planet, with his existence. Because, cmon, how many girls are lucky enough to wake up every morning to this?:

you might not finish reading this blog

I'm not sure how to write about vampire love stories, soul-searching, feeling small, Becca, ignorance, overwhelming love, coffee, big churches, and pensions, all in the same blog.

There is a certain meaninglessness that has been plaguing my soul the last few days. The whispers of how insignificant this life is in the whole scheme of things has made me feel so pointless, and yet purposeful? I don't know, just trying to figure out what to do with the time ive been given. Twenty something funerals later, I understand how valuable life and people are. I get that humans are made to be eternal, and when that is taken away people freak out and get all emotional, until a few months pass and everything is normal again.
In the course of the world there have been almost 125,000,000,000 people that have walked the planet. The earth in reference to the entire milky way galaxy is this size: .
The milky way galaxy in the scope of the entire universe is even smaller. And my life, your life, is one of one hundred and twenty five billion little dots on that dot planet on that dot galaxy in this giant universe, and that makes feeling small an understatement.
So, we run around in our little lives trying to do something, anything, to give ourselves meaning. And I guess I feel hopeless, and hopeful too? Conundrum. Its really got me thinking about why God would create humans in the first place, and wondering more about why He made me. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a reason. Francis Chan wrote this interesting piece of literature called Crazy Love, which is quickly making its way onto my top ten list, because its really jacked me up inside. And ive asked myself 58235787 times the same question, what am I living for?

"In about fifty years (give or take a couple decades) no one will remember you. Everyone you know will be dead. Certainly no one will care what job you had, what car you drove, what school you attended, or what clothes you wore. This can be terrifying or reassuring, or maybe a mix of both."-Francis Chan

Thursday, November 20, 2008

bookworms and caterpillars

You know that scene in Beauty and the Beast, where your heart skips a beat, your breath shortens, and you know for the first time in your little six year old life that there is someone in the infinite abyss that understands you, and for the very first time you feel okay with who you are?


I do, and I did.
While many of my classmates were stammering through "Hooked on Phonics," I was captivated by the world of Narnia. And while they were desperately trying to "See Spot run," I was halfway through The Babysitters Club series. Don't get me wrong, im not an intellect by any means, but I have always LOVED to read.

The only problem with having a love for reading and a library card is that by the time you're 23, you run out of good reading material. Not that good books are limited, but I sit down with books like most people sit down with movies, and I read them straight through without stopping to decide whether or not the book is worth my time. Sometimes, I waste 5 hours of my life on a book that totally sucks, and 5 hours is a long time considering the fact that we have no idea how much time we actually have. There are, however, many books that have impressed me, changed me, shaped me, and brought me back to life.

I think you can tell alot about a person by whats on their bookshelf. Try it, you'll see.

Top ten best books i've ever read:


Catcher in the Rye, which is a stream of consciousness and character study, which I thoroughly honest, so raw, so inspiring that murderers and presidents alike have cited it as a source of inspiration.


Blew my mind, and jacked up my heart a little bit. I don't completely agree with the entire book, but anyone who has seen a Nooma video knows that Rob Bell knows his, er, stuff.


Any person who ever intends on being in a relationship in their entire life should be required to read this book. It is a true love story and you will cry and laugh and never be the same.


Any book that makes you refer back to your bible 849238429084 times, is worth reading in my book. This book changed my perspective on what it means to be a Christian entirely. Donald Miller is legit, and he knows whats up.


You are Special melted my heart and sewed me back together in a million different ways. I've bought this book for almost every child and high school kid I know.


Stargirl is a modern-day, 14 year old girl, representation of what a Christian should look like. In fact, I'm thinking about writing a book on how good this book is, and how every person that wants to be a follower of Christ should examine the tangible ideas in this book.

Ruined my life.

Saved my marriage.

Reshapes everything youve ever known about politics. If you havent read this book, ill buy it for you and pay you to read it. Seriously, you'll never be the same.

My absolute favorite book of all time. I recommend it to any human being in the entire planet.

Any suggestions on books that tug at your heart and your mind, are beautifully worded, are not science fiction, and you have just love love loved?

Its not right for a woman to read...first she starts getting ideas, and thinking! -Gaston

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


How come every time I talk to someone I haven't talked to in a few weeks/months/days the first question they ask is:
Are you pregnant yet?
Even when I'm with people that I see everyday...

"I have a stomach ache"
"Are you pregnant?"

"I'm tired"
"Oh, you must be expecting!"

"My back hurts"
"Have you peed on a stick yet?"

One of the questions people asked us when we got engaged was, "Whens the baby due?" Which is interesting considering we hadn't made it past second base...
In fact, we've recently won a bet against some of our younglifers who said we would have a baby by April of this year...nine months from our wedding day.

It doesn't help the pressure when almost everyone I know is carrying a bun in the oven. Half of me wants a baby so bad I'd be willing to give up anything to have one, but, the other half- the winning half- knows were not ready emotionally, physically, or economically to bring another life into the mix...not yet anyway.

I absolutely love helping my preggo friends pick out baby room designs, and listening to them talk about the joyful moments of ultrasounds and morning sickness. I couldn't be more excited to see some of my closest friends enter this new stage in their lives.

And someday, on God's timing, Omar and I will get to experience all of that. I want nothing more out of this life than to bring little humans into the world, to love, to grow with, to anchor, and to set free to make an incredible impact in the world. I can't wait to be somebody's mama, and to see my husband hold our child for the first time.

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.
- Lamentations 3:25

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Having no idea where your life is going other than who you're going there with is a little...unnerving. All of my dreams and desires are up in the air, floating around in the abyss with another person's hopes and goals waiting for some miraculous "big bang" between my life, his life, and God's will. I am close to success by the world's terms, having a master's degree by the time I'm 25, married to the love of my life, living in a nice two story house, with solid relationships and Egyptian cotton sheets. The American dream is beckoning us to seek a "normal" life, to live comfortably and die silently. And honestly? I want nothing to do with it. I suck at wanting what "everybody else" wants. Should I try harder to like coffee? Be better at mopping the kitchen floor? Make more of an effort to keep up with the laundry? or work harder to get more money to buy a better car so that ill be somehow happier?
“Our greatest fear as individuals....should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that really don’t matter…”-Tim Kizziar

Friday, November 14, 2008

Idolatry, Bigotry, Humanity

"The church has fallen in love with the state, and this love affair is killing the church's imagination," Chris Haw wrote. "Too often the patriotic values of pride and strength triumph over the spiritual virtues of humility, gentleness and sacrificial love."

It is extremely difficult to be a Christian in the midst of the mass amounts of political controversy right now.
As a firm believer in Jesus for President (an alternate approach to politics involving trusting God to be who He says He is, and recognizing the ways we are called to be His hands and feet in this world...also an EXCELLENT book by Shane Claiborne that you should read as soon as possible), it has been hard to find a place to stand in the last year or so.

On one side, I'm a white, american, christian, and I should obviously have sided with whoever the republican candidate is, and adapted my beliefs to his. And while I didn't particularly dislike John McCain, I found myself feeling uncomfortable about his stance on so many issues that I find important.

And then, there was this guy...
whom we thoroughly enjoyed seeing speak at our high school:
and evenmoreso enjoyed impersonating...well at least Omar did...

But the truth is, even though all is said and done with, I still have alot of questions. And I feel like alot of people see the answers as black and white when that may not be the case. And as much as i'd like to side with most of my friends, or rebel and take the other side, I cant do either, because although this election has primarily been- these issues arent black and white.
Where does Jesus stand on question 8?
Does he abhor marriage between two people of the same sex?
Or is this just like slavery...or dancing....where "the church" has taken a group stance and ultimately fought to rob people of the freedom that comes from knowing Christ?
Did God create us in his own image- even homosexuals?
or is sexuality something that has come into play as an effect from the sin of the world?
And if it is wrong in God's eyes to allow homosexuals to get married- then how to we approach it?
Is shouting and spitting and picketing and fighting the best way to make that opinion known? How would the situation look differently if it were covered in reverent prayer and approached with love?
What about planks in our own eyes, and loving our neighbors as ourselves?
How much allegiance do we pledge to America, and if so, how far are we required to go to pursue "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for all people, because according to our constitution "all men are created equal?"

and thats just ONE issue.

Its. just. not. black. or. white.

There are many things in the world and in the bible that are, but politics are not, because there are clearly obvious reasons why people passionately believe the things that they do, and why others passionately do not. I don't think Obama is THE hope for America, but I do believe there IS hope for America. That we can start looking beyond on ourselves, our desires, our money and time and things. I am excited to grow, to learn, to seek answers, and in the mean time- may God bless America...and Iraq, France, Canada, Mexico, and the rest of the world too!

"The banner of love is the only flag we salute. We pledge allegiance to a different commander in chief, a different gospel than America's. Just as America has her liturgy—singing the national anthem or placing our hands over our hearts or 21-gun salutes—we as a church need new rituals and a liturgy to give people a sense of belonging and devotion, of an identity that runs deeper than nation."- Shane Claiborne

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two steps forward, two steps back

I feel like I have grown up so much in the last six years, and yet I am exactly the same. My heart still beats a million miles a second at the thought of adventure, my soul still seeks love (only now i've learned to redirect it), my mind is still fifteen steps ahead of my body, and my spirit still finds solace in creation. My environment has never been constant, even though i'm coming to a point where I understand "nesting" and the desire for a person to have a home they call their own. My husband has been my greatest teacher, and for that I am absolutely grateful. My whole world is up in the air, forcing faith to dictate my steps. Love it.

On a side note, here is my existence for the last six years in the form of internet blogging:
(From December 27, 2003 until November 11, 2008)
(From October 6, 2002 until September 2, 2008)

For everything you have missed you have gained something else, and for everything you gain you lose something else.