Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Scroogey Christmas.

Today is December 22nd, and I've yet to find my Christmas spirit.

It's just not there.

The houses are all decorated. My tree is up. There are presents under it, but my heart just isn't there.

I've bought gifts and I've gotten gifts.

There have been countless sermons about Christ and His coming. But I'm just not there.

I don't know where my Christmas spirit is this year.

But, to be honest, the fact that it's gone doesn't surprise me at all, because when I think about it, the last six months have been some of the hardest to push through in my life.

In these last six months, there have been days where the fact that I got out of bed felt like an accomplishment to be celebrated. Simply being around people was a chore. I've laid in bed for hours on end, not able to sleep, and when I have slept, my dreams have been tainted by nightmares.

There have been more questions than I could ever voice or imagine. 

And I've cried. A lot. Sometimes in random places for no apparent reason.

So it makes sense that my Christmas spirit has been eaten up with it.

There are things here, though, that I've been so wonderfully thankful to have with me. Things that I can see that God has provided for me to make sure that I could make it through (even when I didn't know how to get to Him) and these have been the most unconventional instruments of grace.

 The first one being a movie. My movie. The new Alice in Wonderland movie. I've watched it over and over and over, and it never fails to capture my soul. The movie centers around Alice learning to be who she is, and not cave to the pressure of others, especially when it comes to the important things. She learns this from the most amazingly mad character, Tarrant Hightopp, more commonly known as the Mad Hatter. The Hatter is, well, mad. But he shows Alice something important. He shows her what it means to be true to herself. He shows her what it means to fight, to chase after a vision, and to even sacrifice herself for a cause. He shows her Alice's own heartstrength. That Hatter teaches Alice who Alice is.

How can you not love that?

The second has just been through a few people who just didn't leave. Two people that I've been totally, completely, terrifyingly honest with, and who have stuck with me anyway. These are the people who've held me when I've cried and have listened to me rant and rave and yell. These are the people who've yelled at me when I've needed it. I don't even know how to thank them. (Yes, Keedy, and yes, Shauna, I mean you. <3) They mean more to me than life itself. Thank you both for holding my hand.

The last? Well. The last have been the moments where God spoke to me. They've been few and far between, but they've pushed me through.

I don't have answers right now. I don't have reasons for feeling the way I do. I don't have anything to show for all my questioning. But.. I'm learning. I'm learning that it's okay to be vulnerable. I'm learning that it's okay for things not to make sense. I'm learning that God is bigger. I'm learning (the hard way) to take things one step at a time, one breath at a time, one moment, minute, hour, day at a time. I'm learning that I can make it through, simply because there's no other option.

<3 Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This Is Beautiful You

There are two blog posts that I read every single Sunday, usually before I leave for church (but not today because I woke up late and blahhh) that continually remind me of the beauty of people. The first is This Is Beautiful You on Single Dad Laughing. Dan posts pictures every week of people. Just people. People with their kids or their friends or their nephews and nieces or with strangers just being beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful people. People of all different walks of life. People whose lives are radically, astoundingly different, but we're all united by this crazy thing called humanness.

The second one is PostSecret. Many of you know it, I'm sure, but for those of you who don't, it's a collection of postcards with people's secrets. Their deepest, darkest secrets. Some of them are simple, seemingly meaningless. One this week just said: My left foot is bigger than my right. Some of them are inspiring. There is a distinct "raw" quality to them. A distinct vulnerability about people throwing their secrets out for all the world to see.

Today, though, I didn't read either of them before I left the house. But as we stood during worship, I got my own "This Is Beautiful You" moment. I was looking around the sanctuary, and seeing all the people. Everyone looked different. Some had their arms thrown up in worship. Some just looked bored. Some were just quietly taking everything in.

And as I saw this, I was reminded of a simple truth that gives me the greatest hope for the world: When you take down the walls and really look at it, we're all in the same place. Standing before our Father, trying to make sense of the world we live in and the world we're headed to. Trying to figure out this guy we call "God." 

That's where we were today. Standing before our Father, reaching for His love and His embrace. We're all broken, and all beautiful. All creations of someone beyond our comprehension. Created to create. Created to love. Created to discover.

I'm finding the more I fall in love with God's human creation, the easier it is for me to fall in love with their Creator. The more I fall in love with this creation, the more truth I see in Paul's letter to the Galatians:

"So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."-Galatians 3:26-29

There are no more divisions between us. <3 We all are one in Christ. We are all creations, and all beautiful. 

This is beautiful you.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Living with The Virus

This week I feel like my computer.

My computer has been infected (though I feel like "infected" is too soft of a term for it. Pillaged feels like a much better term) with this hideous virus that keeps me from being able to do much of anything.

The virus managed to masquerade itself looking exactly like my virus program, at first. So when I was half asleep, and what looked like my virus program showed up and said I had a virus and needed to do a scan, I said "okay.." and went with it.

What ensued has been a miserable rollercoaster of not having my computer.

This is what the virus does. The virus makes itself look like its a virus protection program. So when my computer starts up, it tells me it's opening in "Safe Mode" because the virus that it says I have is going to take over the OS (operating system, for those of you who don't know anything about computers..).

Every time I try an open an application, it shuts it down, saying that it's too much of a risk.

So, as I'm sitting in my bed last night, trying to make my poor computer work, when it dawns on me, that this is about how my mind has been working.

I've always said that my mind has "locks" on it. Things that I just can't bring myself to do, for no other reason that someone, somewhere, said that I shouldn't do it. So I don't. There are outfits that I love that I won't wear because someone, somewhere, said I shouldn't. So I don't. They're stuck in my closet because I won't get rid of them, but I won't wear them either. There are songs that I don't sing and movies that I don't watch and places I don't go and people I don't talk to and paths that I don't cross and questions that I don't ask for the exact same reason.

It makes me wonder how long my mind has been infected with this virus. How long have I not done all of these things that I would really love to do, because of this virus.

Part of me doesn't even want to post this blog because something in my head says I shouldn't.

I'm tired of living my life with the virus.

I'm tired of having everything in my head dictated by someone else's voice.

I'm going to listen to the music I want to listen to. Read the books I want to read. Watch the movies I want to see. Say the things I want to say. And live the life I want to live.


Because this is my life, and I can do whatever I want.


I'm going to go play pool for a little while, with really loud music playing on the stereo.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Seeing more than a 1" square

I'm really frustrated right now.

I'm sitting here at a picnic table in the middle of Alabama with a 16 x 20 sheet of paper taped to the table. It's a bit windy, hence the reason it's taped to the table.

I'm working on an art project for school.

In case you weren't aware, I spent 5 weeks in Honduras this summer and fell in love with some kids. So in art class, I've taken a picture of two of those kids, made it bigger, and am now drawing it.

 Aren't they cute? Pedro and Angel.

So we made it bigger and put it in black and white. and then we gridded it. We divided the entire thing into 1" squares and now I'm drawing them onto the bigger paper in 2" squares.

When I'm drawing this, I have to cover up everything on the small version except the square I'm working with. This makes it easier to focus on the actual shapes and not what it's "supposed to be."

Here's the problem. The part I'm drawing now is diamond 9, or Angel's right knee and sock.

It doesn't look like it's going to fit.

At all.


It's really messing with my head, because I have to draw it the way it looks anyway, or else it's not going to work.

I have to trust that if I just draw it the way it is, it will work out.

As I'm getting frustrated with it, and trying to resist the urge to just draw it the way it'd look right, that still, small voice that knows all-too-well that I learn best in metaphors, says "I know it doesn't seem like things are going to work out right now, but if you will trust Me, they will. Trust Me, I've got this."

So even though it looks like everything is going way down hill and nothing is going to work out, I have to trust that the God of the Universe has a better angle than the 1" square that I get to see of my life.

You would think this would be easier. And who knew that God would still be using Honduras to teach me lessons. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Healing Begins.

Tonight, I've just been thinking. Thinking about the people in my school. And I realized that if you look just under the surface, under the pretend, high school is one place guaranteed to be filled with broken people.

I know people who cut themselves on a regular basis.

I know people who are haunted by nightmares they can't explain.

I know people who have been abused by the people who were supposed to love them the most.

I know people who have been in therapy for years, and don't feel any happier.

I know people who live with broken families.

I know people who are scared and feel alone.

I know people who are broken.

And sitting here, the way we act seems to defy reason. We all act like everything is fine. We put on this wonderful facade that says "Look at me. Everything is fine here." When everything isn't fine. When we feel like our hearts are about to break. When we can't take it anymore, we sit and pretend to be okay.

For what?

Because we feel obligated to?

It doesn't make sense.

What if we all just decided that enough was enough? What if we decided to stop the back-biting and the fighting? What if we decided to drop our guards? What if, as a group, we decided to end each other's suffering? What if we admitted that, to quote a cheesy song, we are all in this together?

Could healing come from just knowing that we aren't alone? Could lives be changed? Could hearts be mended and spirits lifted?

Why can't we all just admit that we need each other?

Healing begins when we know we're not alone. <3

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A New Definition

Tonight, I dug deep into my podcast library and found one I didn't know I have. Apparently, I subscribed to the RadioLab podcast forever ago and forgot about it. I listened to one they had entitled "Words." Now, in case you can't tell, words have ALWAYS fascinated. The entire idea is fascinating. The way we define things, label them, assign meaning to them, and with those words, we assign values to them. Words contain a mesh of feeling and emotion, coupled with the distinct ability to hand them to another person. The power of language is absolutely phenomenal.

I've been spending a lot of time with Hannah lately, the 2 year old daughter of Lorin and Leslee. She is in that stage of life where she gives everything a name. I was over at their house last night, and she points to herself and says "Princess!" (They were playing dress up.) She went around and showed me "Table" "Chair" "Josiah" "Blanket" "Hair" and probably a lot of other things.

 The discovery of language is something that changes us. It changes the way we perceive the world. It gives us the ability to define and analyze everything in our world.

What happens, though, to the things that surpass words? 

For a society that is totally dependent on language, how do we process that which doesn't fit language at all?

We worship our God through music, through the study of His word, through prayer, through those repeat-after-me things we used to do in church, and through listening to His people. All of our processing of Him, it seems, comes through words.

He, God, is bigger than words. God defies every definition we could provide for Him. He is more than God, Gut, Dios, Gud, Isten, Bog, and भगवान. He is more than any adverb we could put before that name. 

Our language is too feeble to capture God's goodness. 

So how do we comprehend that? 

How do we worship a God that defies our compulsion to define? 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heading West.

In Sunday School, we've been talking about the big stories of the Bible. We started with Creation, and I began to notice a phrase that popped up in the first family.

It started with this, Adam and Eve screwed up and did something they weren't supposed to, and God said, "Guys, seriously? I have to kick you out now. Here are some animal skin clothes. They work a WHOLE lot better than the fig leaves you found." [I'm paraphrasing.]God puts them "East of Eden."

So Adam and Eve have a couple of kids, and when the two kids are big and grown up (Have you ever thought about how difficult it must have been to be the FIRST parent ever?), and they get into a fight. Your typical jealousy thing. God is more pleased with Abel's offering than with Cain's, for some unstated reason.

Cain gets angry, and took Abel out into a field, and commits the first crime in all of history. [I would be willing to bet that Adam and Eve had a daughter *since girls were unimportant* who saw the whole thing, went back to Eve, and said "Mooooommmm! Cain just killed Abel!" To which Eve would say, "Huh? Kill? Whaaa?"]

God tells Cain that his brother's blood cries out to Him, which speaks absolute volumes about God's heart, and Cain is banished to go further "East of Eden." Cain is upset, because he's afraid he'll get killed out there, and God, even though Cain screwed up BIG time, protects Cain by "marking" him.

Cain is sent East of Eden.

Further from God's presence.

Further from the love that has sustained him his entire life.

I have been traveling East of Eden. Away from God's presence. Away from the love that once made me burn inside. That made me feel like I could leap out of my skin and fly around the room. That sustained me. That made me believe that it was all going to be okay.

I want to go head West again. I want to be heading back to that presence. To that glory. To everything that once upon a time, made me feel like I was alive.

I'm heading West.

Join me?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Some Days Change Your Life.

There are moments in your life where you just know that you will never be the same. For better, for worse, the course of your life is forever altered. On June 2nd, 2010, my life changed forever. I walked into Widow's Mite Orphanage for the first time changed my life. I remember walking up the steps and thinking "Wow, this is it." I remember looking at them for the first time and being able to recognize most of them from the pictures. I remember Antonio asking me, "Do you know MY name?" And being thrilled when I did.

Today, though, three of them weigh heavy on my hearts. Gershon, Karen, and Jesus were taken from Bob and Joyce in put in custody of their mother. This is not a good place for them, and I can only hope that they're being taken care of tonight.

That's just his face.

I am thinking of Jesus on the day he was sick, and carrying him on my shoulders. He got ice cream all over my head and all in my hair and on my face. It was everywhere. But he enjoyed it, and that's all that mattered. I'm thinking about all the time we spent fighting, trying to figure out how to learn to read, and how to teach people to read, and how we had just started to get it at the end. Thinking about spiderman addition books and letter practice and getting 6, 7, and 8 mixed up. I'm thinking "six has one circle, 8 has two circles, 7 has no circles!" and "squish the letters together!" 

I'm thinking about Gershon, and how he worked so patiently with Pedro while he was with Wilson. Trying over, and over, and over again to catch that little foam ball. I'm thinking about the night Joyce was in the hospital, and how much of a help he was.

I'm thinking about Karen, and how natural of a leader she was. How it seemed like all the time she was trying to get everyone together. How she used to tattle all the time, too. I'm remembering the day she gave me "homework" and said I was writing with the wrong hand. I'm remembering her little smirk. She knew she was a Coder, too.

I hope and pray that they're safe tonight.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Reasons Why Emily Is Bad At Math.

There are few things that get me more down on myself than math. I, simply, am not good at math. (Or making decisions, Mom is currently looking at me with about 6 different flavors of Kool-Aid to choose from. But that's not the point.)

Math and just have never agreed well with each other. Math, with all of its rules and need for meticulous attention to detail, didn't fly with my erratic, why-should-I-listen-to-you way of thinking.

For example:

Math says: You cannot divide by zero.

Emily says: Why can't I? I want to divide by zero.

Math says: *palmface* YOU JUST CAN'T.

Emily says: You have failed to give me an adequate reason why I can't, so thus, I decree that from this day onward, anything divided by 0 is to equal 11 and 1/4.

Math says: No, it doesn't work like that! You can't just make up your own rules!

Emily says: Why not? You sure did. YOU are the one who told me I can't divide by zero!

Math says: Because you CAN'T  divide by zero!

Emily says: Yes I can! The answer is 11 and 1/4. Or, 11.25, if you prefer decimals.

(Side note: I couldn't decide quickly enough and Mom decided for me. I'm now drinking fruit punch kool aid)

Math says: No. You can't do that. NOOOOO!! *sobs hysterically*

Emily says: BUAHAHAHA! I win! *skips around Math, who is lying in the fetal position*

You see why we don't get along?

But it was ok, because eventually, I got to a point where math and I had restricted our relationship to the occasional run-in in the supermarket and at volleyball. I had effectively eliminated math from most of my life. This caused much less stress than the forced visitations we had every weekday for the past ten years or so. Math and I had gone our separate ways, and we were happy. Until Saturday, when I realized that my ACT was a mere week away. Math had been my foe the last time I took the ACT, and was, as predicted, my lowest score, at a 26. This time, though, I need a 30 in math, to get a 31 composite, to get a full-ride to Lee.

Math is, once again, the one thing standing between me and what I want.

Tonight, math and I are going to see a counselor to see if we can patch up some of our differences long enough to make it through Saturday. I'm willing to accept some of his rules, but in time, there shall be war.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Blog Title... Again.

So, once again, I have changed the title of my blog. I was at a party with my parents and two other couples from church. We were just talking, and the following conversation ensued between my mom, Kris, and me:

Kris: You know those sunglasses that change to adjust for bright lights and stuff?

Mom: Yeah.

Kris: Why don't they make those for windshields? It'd be a whole lot easier to drive.

Me: Actually...

Kris: *laughing* Oh of course Emily knows!

Mom (to me): Actually is the one phrase that describes your life. Your entire life has been "actually.." and telling us all the things we never needed to know.


Thus, the change happened.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Tried to Be... But I Can't Be.

I'm wearing this old shirt I have. I got it around the beginning of my freshman year (making it four years old.. *sniff* I'm getting old.), and even though I hardly wear it, I love it.

The front of the shirt says simply, "I tried to be..." then on the back it says this: "stronger, smarter, perfect, everything you ever wanted."

It's from a song by Hawk Nelson called "Everything You Ever Wanted," which is pretty well known among Christian Contemporary music.

As I was putting on my "I Tried To Be" tshirt, I was listening to "I Need You to Love Me" by BarlowGirl, and the words "And I'll stop this pretending that I can deserve what I already have."

I spend a lot of my time trying to be. Trying to be everything that people want me to be. Trying to match people's expectations of me. And I seem to carry that sort of attitude with God, my Abba, as well. It seems like I come to God saying "Please love me today. Look what I did God? I was good. I tried so hard to be good." Always afraid that I'm going to make the wrong move and get eaten from the inside out with worms (see Herod's death in Acts, I think it's chapter 9, but I'm not sure.)

The truth is, I need God to love me. I need my Abba to love me. And I need to understand that my Abba's love for me doesn't depend on how often I screw up (even though that's not an excuse), the same way my mom still loves me even though she had to spend an hour cleaning my room today because I didn't do it and people were coming to see the house. (I love you Mom!) 

My mom still loves me.

My Abba still loves me. 

And I'm relatively certain that I've posted a blog very, very, very similar to this in the past, but I'm not good at learning lessons, ever, really. (See my mom and the room cleaning thing.) 

Now... all of you watch this video of BarlowGirl's "I Need You to Love Me." Now.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Just In Case You Weren't Aware...

I am 17 years old.

I am not an adult.

I have no idea what I want to do for the next 68 years I'm projected to live.

You have no right to condemn me for that. Chances are, you didn't know either when you were my age.

So the next time you ask me what I'm going to major in, and I tell you that I honestly don't know yet, I would appreciate it if you didn't look at me like I was an unmotivated waste of breath.

I have dreams.

I have goals.

I have vision.

I have passion.

And one day, when I am living a full, wonderful life, you'll see that you had no right to treat me the way you are treating me now.

Just in case you weren't aware, I am more than a major. I have the right to experiment, to look around, to change my major as I transform, and to live my life without your judgment.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Leaving Home - A Fiction Piece.

Okay, starting to delve back into the world of fiction, and I wrote this for school tonight. It's short, so just tell me what you think of it.

Leaving Home 

Lily breathed a sigh of relief and leaned against the cold, metal wall of her corridor. It was safe. Of course, the term safe was relative. “Safe” meant the Gors weren’t breathing down her neck, and she was still alive. Looking around the next corner, she signaled back to home base. 

Stepping as lightly as she could, she maneuvered her way into the heart of Gor headquarters. She spotted the GorBoss with some of his closest advisors. He was a mere fifteen feet away and completely unaware of her presence. His teeth were clenched tightly as he knelt over the table with his reading glasses perched on the edge of his nose. Her heart beat faster and each of her steps felt like thunder. When she was close, she took a deep breath, and jumped. GorBoss turned around just in time to see Lily’s attack. Her grabbed her around the waist and slung her down on the table. By this time, the SpecOps had arrived and were busy fighting off the other head Gors. Each of the SpecOps knew to leave the GorBoss alone. He was Lily’s, and Lily’s alone.

The other girls were slowly being overtaken by the Gors. The Gors were all larger and stronger than the girls, but the girls were the best trained Ops Team in the galaxy. Their bodies were fine-tuned to survive the harshest conditions and take down the strongest enemies. This time, however, the Gors had gotten the upper hand. Lily writhed her way out of GorBoss’s grip and hid in the safest spot she could find: directly under him. He reached for her, and Lily almost escaped. He held her by the scruff of the neck and looked her up and down before tossing her over his shoulder.

            “Runt.” He muttered.

She squirmed in his arms. He squeezed her, hard, and her struggled to breathe. Finally, he let her go. She glared at him and said, “You wait until next time.”

            He laughed. “I’ll beat you then, too, little sister!”

She pretended not to hear him, and ran off to join the rest of her friends, smiling brightly. He turned around, and jumped back when he saw someone in the doorway. His mom was there, shaking her head but smiling nonetheless. She leaned against the doorpost and he rolled his eyes when he saw the look on her face. He went back to reading the papers laid out on his bed.

            “You know you’re going to miss her, David.” His mom said. David ignored her, and continued reading. Report Tuesday morning at 0600 hours… “She just loves you so much. You leaving is going to break her heart.” Tears began to tug at David’s eyes. He didn’t look up, just kept reading. Recruits need to bring their Army Handbooks… “David, you don’t have to go. You don’t have to leave us. You can stay.”

He looked up at her, finally, tears stinging the corners of his eyes. “I have to go, Mom. I have to go. I’m not gone forever. I’ll be back eventually. Please don’t make this harder than it has to be. I don’t want to leave her. I hate that. I hate it more than you could know.”

His mom bit her lip, seeing the pain in her son’s eyes. “Thank you for never growing up. Thank you for always playing into her fantasies. Thank you for being the parent I never could be.” David could see the regrets in her eyes, replaying all the times she had pushed Lily away, sipping at that ugly glass of wine. 

David said nothing, zipped up his bag, and went to sit in Lily’s room. He sat down at her table and began to sip from a plastic tea cup while Lily cheerfully introduced him to a nicely dressed stuff bear, named Mr. Bearbert, and a doll named Lady Lilly. His mom stood at the door; a single tear slid down her cheek.         

....well? what do you think? 

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Shift in Instincts

My old volleyball coach used to point out to us all the time that in order to play volleyball, we had to train ourselves to go against our instincts. (well.. the team did. I'm the manager. I just watched. Not the point.) Natural instincts would tell you that if there is a ball flying towards your face, you need to move out of the way. I was thinking about this today during practice while watching my team do this very interesting thing where the coach hits a ball at them, they pass it, do a funny backflip-roll thing, and then pass a second  ball.

It looks about like this:
Just like that, actually.

So we do this drop and roll thing every day at practice. Every single day. The idea is that eventually, the roll will become instinct.

In Sunday School, we were discussing how to be "in the world, but not of the world." Which led us to a discussion of the upside down kingdom, and about how the things we do as Christians go against our instincts. He talked about how we have to train ourselves out of it, like a sport. It may be instinct to react in anger to a hurtful remark, but Christ calls us to turn the other cheek. It may be instinct to want to be served, but Christ called us to serve.It may be instinct to hold a grudge, but Christ calls us to forgive. It may be instinct to worry, but Christ calls us to trust Him.

Ultimately, it is instinct for us to live for ourselves, but Christ calls us to live for him.

These things don't start out as instincts. If they did, we could just say "Okay, from now on I am going to love everybody no matter what", and that would be it. But it's not like that. It's not an instinct. we have to practice stepping in front of the ball before it becomes natural for us to do so. The more natural it becomes, the more instinctual it is, the easier it will be to play the game.

When we learn to play the game well, the whole team benefits.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

He Loves Me!

Today, I learned something amazing.

I don't have to do anything for God to love me. 

This is shockingly simple, yet it's the most amazing thing I think a person can realize. I realized it today.  He loves me. He loves me even though I fail Him every day. He loves me even though I feel like I don't have a place in this world. He loves me even though some days I just want to yell and scream at Him. 

How I ever lived with forgetting that is beyond me. 
He just loves me. 

He loves me with passion. 

And I've been living life out of sorts. I've been living life like I'm supposed to be perfect all the time for him to love me, and that's just not how it is. God expecting me to be perfect is kind of like a father expecting his kindergartner to do Calculus. And guess what! His love is there for me anyway.

I forgot about the time in my life when my faith was as simple as this: God, I'll do my best, but I'm not too good at this, and You'll have to take care of the rest. 

And that was all that was necessary. 

He loves me! He loves me! HE loves ME!! He loves me! 

Friday, July 30, 2010

You Were Meant To Change The World

"Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers. The round
pegs in the square holes - the
ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules and
they have no respect for
the status quo. You can praise
them, disagree with them,
quote them, disbelieve them,
glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that you
can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
- Jack Kerouac

May I always, always, always be one of them. May I always be an advocate of radical love. May I always be the one to dream. May I always be the one to change things. May I always be the one to stand up. May I always be the one to step out into the dangerous places. May I always be crazy. May I always have the glorious, beautiful vision of the future. May I always live my life freely. May I always breathe in the scents of the world. May I always savor the tastes of the wind. May I always soak in the beauty. May I always hear the melodies, the symphonies, the rhythms. May I always reach out and touch the horizon. May I always reach out. May I die the day I stop living life.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hug Me, I Need You.

So I haven't blogged in a while. This is relative, considering that I have friends (*cough* Emily Lynn and Chelsei Henderson) who forget to write blogs for months at a time. I think I've gone maybe a week and a half. Okay, 8 days. Not even a week and a half. But given my previous trend of writing blogs every other day, 8 days should have been almost 4 entries.

Really, I haven't been blogging because blogging would've meant having to be open and honest with my readers (however few there are), and I don't think I could've done that. I don't think I could've been honest about everything going through my head, and that bothered me enough to not blog.

Anyway. Aside from the massive emotional/spiritual crises I've been having, I've been thinking a lot about love. Everyone's favorite four-letter word. But I think that's a blog post for another day.

I posted shortly after arriving in Honduras about it feeling like home to me. I showed my favorite quote from Jamie The Very Worst Missionary's blog: "Home is where the will of God supersedes my own."

I don't know where home is anymore. I don't feel like I've come home. Home is a lot of places.

Home is my dry erase board. My dry erase board that takes all of my frustrations and all of my curiosities and all of my joys. And it does so without judgment, without retaliation, without anything. Right now, I have three scriptures (1 Peter 1:13, 1 John 4:1, and James 4:7) written up there in different colors, and the word "SURRENDER" in all caps in orange on it. No real reason why, it's just been what's on my mind. I also, in smaller letters, have the word "Home?" written in red, tilting upwards.

Home, for me, is being held. I know that sounds strange. But I'm a touch person, and home is that moment where you no longer have to rely on your own strength, and someone else's presence completely encompasses you. It's the closeness of being able to feel their breath and their heartbeat. It's the tender words in the whispers. It's a lot of things.

Every time I feel that, especially from someone I'm very close to, it's coming home.

Hug me, I need you.

So, if you see me, hug me. It very easily could be the highlight of my day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I have no idea why I did this. I just felt like it was important.

1. Stickman.

2. Stickman with object.

3. Stickman with object and purpose.

4. Stickman with reason to use object to achieve purpose.

5. Stickman using object to protect purpose from danger.

What's your object?

What's your purpose?

Where are you using it?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Time to Live.

I really, really, really like living. And I don't mean that in an existential "living v. existing" kinda way. I mean normal, every day, breathing, heart beating stuff. It just makes me happy. I can't explain why, but every time I get close enough to hear someone's heartbeat (which isn't too often) or when I can watch them breathe, I get butterflies in my stomach and this huge goofy grin on my face.

Maybe I'm just nuts, but something about living just excites me. This love for just living has been producing a passion for living well. A passion for making my life worth something. It just doesn't seem fair to have even one year and to spend it doing things that make you miserable.

So a few days ago, I decided to start really living. To start doing things that allowed me to feel the exhilaration of life. Things that challenged me. Things that pushed me. Things that ultimately would change me. I decided to live in a world where I amn't (long story.. am not.) afraid to love people. A world where love for people changed people. A world where there are no limits to where I can go or what I can do. A world amass in culture and language. A world with millions of experiences. A world with millions of perspectives. A world that can swallow you up. A world with more things to teach me than I could ever know.

I live in that world. On that Earth.

Isn't that just cool?

Isn't it cool that God provided us with all of this to live in and love and just LIVE? 

I mean, really, we have volcanoes and oceans and mountains and glaciers and valleys and prairies and rainforests and waterfalls and cliffs and rivers and lakes and deserts and ice and forests and caves and DIRT! All for us. And if we ever get bored with one place, there are millions of other places to go.

And if we ever get tired of looking at those things, we've got millions of animals and fish and birds and bugs to look at too. And if we get tired of that, there are billions of people to meet and billions of stories to learn and 6,500 languages to speak and billions of tiny cultural nuances to master. 

Then there's more! Even if we learn every language and see every animal and climb every mountain, there are galaxies upon galaxies of stars and planets and comets and other stuff to explore. 

We have one cool God. 
Puhlapanzak Waterfalls. Beautiful and amazing. Been there! 

Lava falling into the ocean. 

Saturn! Very cool.



You get my point? 

It's time to live.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This Day I Choose.

I've been home now for almost four days. And I really, really, really miss my babies!! I hate that I'm not there with them and taking care of them and helping with homework and play with them.

But sometimes, things have to change. And as soon as one journey ends, a new one is birthed. This journey has ended, but a new one has begun. I don't know what this new adventure entails, all I know is that I want to pursue it with the same passion that I pursued the last one. I know that I have the option to be upset about the end of my last journey, or to throw all that I have into the new one.

Today I choose to throw all I have into the new one.

Today I choose to find adventure, to find beauty, and to find joy in my life.

Today I choose to live for today, refusing to dwell on the past or worry about tomorrow.

Today I choose to love recklessly, wildly, as if no one will hurt me.

Today I choose to be only me, and I choose not to be ashamed of that fact.

Today I choose to live.

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Just Love Nice People.

I can be a pessimist sometimes. I tend to try and avoid that facet of myself, but every once in a while I find myself drifting into that mindset. Today, however, is not one of those days. It kind of started that way, but in every possible way it was refuted. My day didn't exactly start well. I had to say goodbye to 10 kids that I fell head over heels in love with, and I couldn't tell them when I was coming back. I was hugging Pedro, and he sat up in my arms and said "You no cry?" (read: kw-eye). I shook my head (it was almost a lie. Almost. But I wasn't crying.. yet.) and he said "Why no? I cry." and then lay back down on my shoulder and hugged me a little tighter. Typing that, I am crying. I fell so madly in love with those kids.

So... that highly emotional experience, coupled with an impending new, stressful experience didn't leave me with a very positive outlook on the rest of my day.

Skip to the airport boarding. I was checking my bag in at SAP (San Pedro Sula airport), and I experienced the first of many friendly people who directed my path today. She checked my bag and gave me my tickets and told me exactly where to go and what gate to go to and what I had to do next. Step by step, with a smile on her face. I am kicking myself now for not figuring out her name. I wish I'd paid more attention to all of their names. (side note: speaking of nice people, my flight attendant is really nice. He just gave me a Dr. Pepper and he was just friendly and smiley. I can't see his nametag from here.)

From there, I thanked her, told her to have a nice day, and paid my tax. Then I said goodbye to Bob (who is another one of those nice people! I love him! Great guy!) and he, too, explained exactly what to do at my next connection and stuff. Keep in mind it was my first time flying alone. I boarded my flight, and, a little nervously, waited for my plane buddies (a.k.a., the people with assigned seats next to me.). The people I got ended up being amazing. A sweet little girl named Melony, who was eight, and her mother, Amalia. Amalia, Melony, and I talked for most of the trip about flying and traveling and D.C. (where she's from) and San Pedro Sula (where she lives) and just stuff in general. Oh, and they were Catholic. They did a prayer thing before we took off, it was neat. I found out that she and her entire family (3 kids plus hubby) fly to D.C. at least once a year. Knowing that I, um, had no idea what I was doing, she offered to guide me through the customs/bag pick up stuff. We had to separate at one point, but she pointed me through to where I was supposed to go and said she'd wait for me in baggage claim.

I misplaced myself and ended up in immigration, where another guy noticed me looking confused and asked to see my passport, then he redirected me. I smiled and thanked him, too. Another great person.

I reached baggage claim, and Amalia was there. She introduced me to her husband and her other two children (17 and 15) and she stood and waited for me to get my bag. After that, she walked me over to where I was supposed to go and pointed me in the right direction.

She was an answered prayer. I was so nervous about navigating MIA (Miami Airport), and she helped me through the first part.Which, in my opinion, was the scariest.

I walked through the doors she directed me to and I handed my passport to a nice man who had to check it for.. something. I'm not sure. He asked me how my flight was and if I'd had any problems, and I told him it was my first time flying alone. We had a nice little chat and then he handed me my passport back and told me to have a nice flight. I told him to have a nice day and walked away, practically skipping. Another nice person. I said a little prayer, having recognized another good person God placed on my path, and thanked God for him too.

This is where I ended up having problems. I got through security with no problem. Talked to my family. And somehow ended up at the wrong gate. (In between security and realizing I was at the wrong gate, there was also the nice starbucks guy who was singing and smiling and all happy-like.) See... I ended up at gate 35E. Which had a flight to Nashville scheduled for 9:35 a.m. I didn't notice the a.m. (Tip: Check your flight by flight number AND city. Not appr. time and city.) This was after I had sat there for an hour. Another nice woman heard me go "Uh oh. That can't be good." and came and helped me figure out my flight information and the correct gate. Right before I left, she put her hand on my shoulder and said "Don't fret. You still have an hour and fifteen minutes til your flight leaves. You'll be fine."

So.. I finally found the CORRECT gate. But was still extraordinarily nervous. Eventually I worked up the courage (I'd spent most of the day in the airport and on planes. I was now tired and stressed and really just wanting to be home.. an emotion that still lingers now. Oh, and all I've eaten has been pop tarts and the starbucks) to ask the lady what flight she was on. She told me that her flight was to Norfolk, not Nashville. I briefly explained my... adventure.. and she said "Well we'll just look it up!" smiled, and started checking her computer. She asked me what the airport name was and finally said "Flight 410, depart 9:45, gate D46. You're in the right spot and the plane hasn't even gotten here yet."

I almost cried I was so relieved. So we talked a little bit and I explained the whole "I'm scared out of my pants because it's my first time flying and I have no idea what to do in el aeropuerto ginormico" thing. (ginormico is not a spanish word. I made it up.) She smiled and told me she has flown many times, but she knows how scary it can be. Feeling much better, I settled into my seat and waited on my flight.

Then I boarded, said goodbye to nice lady who helped me feel not so anxious, and almost cried from relief of ALMOST being done with my big kid adventure.

I am SO done with this whole "adult" thing. I don't feel qualified, and I just want to get off this airplane and hug my mommy.

Addendum: More nice people! A group of about ten people from my church came and picked me up from the airport. I felt so very loved! I made it home safe, and have only had a few hours sleep. By the way, I did hug my mommy, and almost cried.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Not the Post I Intended to Write.

I kind of really don't want to go home. I live in this suspended reality here, kind of. In this suspended reality, there is this far off "Estados Unidos" that people go to and come from that doesn't really affect me. And sometime later I'm supposed to be going there too. In this suspended reality, I'm vaguely aware that my life might be changing and I'm vaguely aware that people that I knew won't be there when I get home and that there will be new people and that my whole life is completely different. But only vaguely. None of it's really real, it's just out there in Estados Unidos.

So I don't want to go home. Because once I get home.. everything is different. Everything. I'm different. The entire course of my life is different. And I'm not totally sure I'm okay with that. I know I don't have a choice in it, so I have to become okay with it. But for right now.. it's a far off distant world. Billy reminded me of that today after church. He told me that I'm going to have to totally rely on Christ during all of this. He told me that things aren't going to feel "okay" for months. He told me not to worry if I feel out of place. He told me that I'm going to feel tons of emotions during this whole thing and that it's okay to feel those.

But most importantly, he told me that I wasn't alone. That he'd been there. That it'd be okay in the end.

Thank you Billy! You and America are awesome! :)

But I still don't want to go home.

Today I got to see four beautiful children confess their faith and get baptized. It was wonderful. Today I was reminded of Christ's sacrifice for me. One of the songs we sang today had the line "The Darling of Heaven, crucified." And I thought about it, and just, wow. The Darling of Heaven. The most beautiful thing that Heaven has to offer... crucified. Shamed. Hurt.

We're not worthy of that. We don't DESERVE that. We don't deserve anything. I don't deserve the ability to breathe each breath I take. We deserve nothing, but He gave us the Darling of Heaven. The most beautiful. The most glorious thing ever. Because He loved us.


I have no other words to say. I have no clever metaphors, I tried to come up with SOMETHING to relate that too.. and I just couldn't. There is nothing to compare it too. There's just nothing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Aldous Huxley and Pikachu

"But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin." - Aldous Huxley

I know, that's not a "normal" christian thing to say. But that quote is how I feel all the time. I find this attitude in people a lot. This kind of push-it-under-the-rug-make-it-all-better attitude. Through this trip, I've seen real pain. I've seen poverty. I've seen disease. And I've noticed that people don't want me to talk about it. People don't want me to tell them that things aren't okay. People don't want to hear about the reality. I understand why, because pain hurts.

I have found such an intense beauty in the pain and poverty and hurting. I see beauty in the tin houses and broken people. Maybe I'm just crazy. Maybe I'm just overly optimistic. Maybe I'm naive, but to me, it seems beautiful. There's something so raw and so real about it. Something beautiful about the fact that it's not hidden under some glossy coating. But maybe I'm just crazy.

Guess what. Pain is inevitable. But we go through EVERYTHING acting like we're all ok and everything is fine and dandy. We act like there is nothing wrong and we don't hurt and we don't sin and we all live perfect little lives.

Then everything falls apart.

And everyone acts like they are SO shocked and talk about how something like that would never happen to them. When secretly, I think everyone breathes a big sigh of relief that they're not alone and that things suck sometimes.

I run into this mode of thinking that seems to say "If I just pretend it's not there, it won't be." So we do. We pretend it's not there and we never get out and conquer it. This thinking is then contagious, and we end up with a church full of people playing this big game and no one getting anywhere because of it.

Somehow.. I think there might be something wrong with this idea.

There's one other sort of "head in the sand" thinking that really gets me. It's this phenomenon where people so surround themselves with "church people", people who have it all together, that they get this idea that there is no sin left in the world. That there aren't lost and dying people out there. Of course, if you were to ask them, "Are there any lost people in the world?", they would obviously say yes. But it's like the responsibility we have to share Christ is somehow lifted when they stop interacting with anyone that isn't a member of a particular church group.

But really, they miss out. They're the ones who lose the huge blessing in just loving people. There are lessons to be learned that you just can't get without being out in the "real world." It reminds me of an episode of PokeMon (which I was a huge fan of!) where Ash (main character) battled Lt. Surge, a gym leader who seemed to be just so much better than him. They both had electric type PokeMon. Ash had a PikaChu, and Lt. Surge had a Raichu. For those of you who don't follow pokemon, Raichu is the evolved form of Pikachu. Raichu is considered to be much, much better than Pikachu.

In the first battle, Pikachu was beaten badly. Very, very badly. Raichu had better electric attacks and was far stronger than pikachu. When Ash was in the hospital with pikachu, he remembered something that Lt. Surge had said. Lt. Surge said that he had evolved his pikachu as soon as he got it, turning it into a raichu. Ash realized that there were some attacks that the pokemon could only learn as a pikachu, attacks that allowed pikachu/raichu to be quick on its feet. Ash went back to Lt. Surge, and was right. Raichu had missed out on learning the speed attacks.

We can't afford to miss out!

I've been both of these people. I try to be neither. I'm not as successful as I'd like to be.

I no longer want comfort. I want real. I want truth. I want honesty. I want freedom. I want grace. I want failure. I want messes. I want dirt. I want acceptance. I want beauty. I want people to be real people again.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

To the Family with the Hubcaps on top of the Tin Roof

To the family inside the house with hubcaps on top of the tin roof:

You don't know me. You've never seen my face. You've never met me. I've never seen you up close, and I can't be certain of who you really are. I will probably never speak to you. I will probably never get within 100 feet of you. But I still pray for you. Every time we drive by the riverbank where I see your house, I think of you, and try to pray. I pray that God gives you enough. I pray that you stay healthy. I pray that someone - anyone - shows you the love of Christ.

I wonder about you, too. Mostly I wonder how you live. I wonder if the river is your only source of water, I figure it is, but I wonder still. I see the electric lines that go over your house and wonder if you have any electricity. I wonder if you have jobs or where you work. I wonder if your children go to school. I wonder if you've ever lost one of your children to all those diseases that they talk about on TV. I see the chickens that wander around your house and wonder if that's your only source of food. I pray that it's not. I see the horse outside your house and I wonder if it is your only transportation. I wonder your house is made of. I wonder if it's bigger on the inside. I wonder if you have a real BED to sleep on. I wonder how many of you live there. I wonder if your family lives nearby. I wonder if your house gets destroyed when it floods. It's so close to the riverbank, it looks like it would. I hope it doesn't. I wonder where you got all the things you made your house with. I wonder how long it took. I see what you do in the river, how you take the garbage bags and clean them. I wonder what you do with them. Is it money for you? What are they for?

But mostly, I just wish I could love you. Truly love you, not love you from a distance, but know you well enough to love you. Love you in a way that separates the differences between us, the differences between poor and rich, the differences between Latino and American, the differences between English and Spanish. I want to love you like that. A love that does nothing but unite.

Sincerely, with the best wishes in mind,
Emily, one of the many people who drive over the bridge where you live.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pedro: A Lesson in Patience.

Three nights a week, Pedro has therapy. Pedro either has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy (CP) or he has some brain-muscular disconnect from a beating when he was younger. Either way, the right side of his body doesn't quite work. He speaks in only 2-3 word sentences, and his right arm and leg don't work correctly.

So three nights a week, Wilson, Pedro's speech and physical therapist, works with him to improve his speech and movement. First, he loosens his muscles with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel. While they're waiting for that, they practice speech with flashcards. He starts with just the verb, making sure he can say that right, and then makes him say a whole sentence with it. Pedro is getting better at this.

After he finishes his speech, which takes an hour or so, Wilson works Pedro's muscles, stretching them and loosening them and stuff. Then Pedro sits in a chair across the room and tries to catch this little plush soccer ball.

I have never seen him catch this ball. 

Really. I haven't. I watch him do it almost every time, and I've never seen him catch it. But Wilson keeps throwing, and Pedro keeps trying. Pedro gets frustrated sometimes, but for the most part, he just keeps trying.

I've only been here for 2 1/2 weeks, so I know he will catch it someday. I know that he's made miles of progress since he started working with Wilson (as in, he can run like a mostly normal kid now), but in that moment, when I'm watching it, it almost seems futile. In my head, I know that it's for his benefit, and even if he's not catching it, just trying helps somehow. But in that moment... it doesn't look like he'll ever "get it."

Moving into the metaphor part of the blog now, I wonder how many times I've tried to catch the same ball. There are things it doesn't look like I'll ever get. But I know trying has to help. Even if it doesn't make sense now. I wonder how many times I've grabbed, just to see the ball laying in front of me on the floor.

But I have to keep trying. I have to keep grabbing. I have to keep working with it, or I know I'll never get it. If I never try, I never will. Maybe someday, I'll get that. Because, remember, there's a difference between knowing something and knowing something.

So for now, I'll keep reaching and trying to catch that ball.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" -Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And I thought *I* was supposed to be the teacher.. *sigh*

Angel and Jesus are busy doing their homework (which we just had a big fight over. Angel did NOT want to write.) They have 1st grade lined notebooks, the kind with the top and bottom lines, plus the middle dotted line. Anyway, for their "homework", I write down some words and then they have to copy them on the other lines. (there's only 6 lines..) Every time I do this, I have to be extra careful with how I write. I print much, much better than I would if they weren't going to be copying it.

I know that the quality of my work has a direct effect on the quality of theirs. I know that my work is a model for theirs. They're still learning how to write, and so what they learn now will have an effect on how they write for the rest of their lives.

As I was writing out one of their homeworks, and I was meticulously writing out the letters, I was thinking about how I never pay this much attention to my writing any other time.

How many other people am I really modeling for, without even being aware of it? 

Mike and I were talking about this, about how people were watching me (all the while he was giving me that "I know something you don't and I'm not going to tell you about it.) and always watching us. To be honest, the idea of someone using ME as their  example of how to do ANYTHING scares me. I don't feel qualified to be the "model" for anyone. But we are examples. We are all examples to one another.

Makes me wonder: How much better of a person would I be if really lived like everyone I knew was watching? 

There are all of these people that I'm influencing, whether I want to or not, and sometimes, I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing.

The next thing I learned from giving homework: It's not always about the answers. Angel finished his writing assignment, and I asked Angel to read the words to me. He looked at it, and said "Egg!"

Egg was the word printed on the page. But I knew that he didn't know it because he read the word. They have this habit of looking at the first sound and guessing from there, just hoping they'll land on the right answer. I made him sound out the word, and tell me what the letters were.

I realized then that sometimes learning how to figure it out is much more important than the answer itself. It's interesting, I was reading a book by Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christian, and he said something similar.

The quote said something like this: "What good is a math book if you just look at the answers in the back? You never really learn how to do math. You don't learn from the answers.. you learn from figuring out the problems. Maybe that's the way the Bible is too. Maybe it's not to give you the answers, but to help you figure out the problems."

(Friends of mine who have this book, Greg Crider, John and Nancy Hill, and NJ, feel free to post the exact quote.)

Jesus especially does this. When he doesn't know something, he'll just keep guessing. Saying number after number or letter after letter or word after word hoping that he lands on the right answer, while I'm trying to show him how to get the right answer. He will guess numbers without even looking at the problem. I have to tell him, "Look at the problem, Jesus. Look at it. Now tell me."

I have to stop him and make him look.

I think I've been guilty of just throwing out guesses to God, instead of looking at what He's asking and letting Him show me, I just throw at guesses trying to get the right answer. The guesses get us nowhere.

Friday, June 11, 2010

We're All Just Kind of Winging It.

.So, in case you aren't aware, um, I've been put in charge of teaching two five year olds. And to be completely honest, most of the time I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. We're learning math and reading. As we've been going about this whole process, we've gotten frustrated with each other. We've had tantrums. We've had sulking. We've had fighting. We've had stalling.

We've also had breakthroughs and cheerios and spiderman workbooks. We've learned how to count and how to add. We've learned how to do fist bumps and how to celebrate a job well done. We've learned that most of the time it's a good idea to take a break and go to the park and climb trees and swing from the football goal and play, except sometimes, when we actually need to finish our work.

And we're all just sort of winging it. 

Angel and Jesus don't really have any idea how to learn math, and I don't really have any idea how to teach math. But we're making it. We're figuring things out.

I was going to post a blog earlier about the game Snake. I have it on my phone, and I've been playing it in my spare time. I was going to post about how it feels like life. We start of small and have to avoid the obstacles and not run into ourselves while trying to find little nuggets to help us grow.

And then I had another important realization. We only play once, and we don't get "game over" when we run into a wall or tangle ourselves into a big knot.

Sometimes life and faith are a lot like Snake and teaching two five yr olds. We have no idea what we're doing, just figuring things out as we go along. Luckily, we have people who've already been there to tell us how they made it through and how they once got really long and got really tangled up and how it took forever to get undone or how math is best done with edible rewards.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sometimes I Draw God Wrong.

I know I'm not supposed to blog more than once a day... but...

This is my blog, and I will do as I please.

Here's the thing.

I'm wrong a whole stinkin' lot of the time.

I really, really, really don't like being wrong.

I like being right. I like having the correct answers. And sometimes, in the selfish more-present-than-it-should-be part of me, I like being right to make other people wrong.

My fear of being wrong has kept me from blogging lately. And every time I DO blog, I find myself terrified to check for comments, fearing that I was wrong and that someone pointed it out and that I may have (in the not-so-selfish part of my brain) taught something wrong and messed someone else up and deserve a rock tied to my neck so I can be dropped out of a plane over the Gulf of Mexico and then choke on oil there with a pelican.(And that's BIBLICAL. Aside from the oil-in-the-gulf-and-choking-on-next-to-a-pelican thing.)

This is what I was worrying about when I posted the last blog. I was worried that something I said there wasn't "right". And that I would mess someone up (ok, honestly, I was more worried that I'd be wrong and someone would call me on it than I was that it would mess me up.)

It just so happens that I follow Shaun Groves on Twitter. And he tweeted a link to his blog. The title, "God with Brown Shoes" intrigued me and I wanted a wonderful distraction from the chaos that has become today (which you can read about here..).

The blog  was about how sometimes Shaun Groves is afraid to write because he'll say something wrong about God. I had to smile, because I'm pretty sure God had just winked at me. He said that he was pondering this thought, about how we are ALL heretics because no words or pictures or music could encompass who God is. As he was thinking about that, he looked and saw a drawing that his daughter had drawn. This is what he wrote about his daughter's drawing: "To an art critic it’s atrocious. As a form of photo ID it’s useless. But to me, her Daddy, the model for this piece, the recipient of this gift, the object of her affection, it’s beautiful."

I almost cried when I read that.

Another of my favorite quotes is: "the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. " (props to Thomas Merton for writing that)

That's all I'm really after. Pleasing my Abba.

I can't promise that I will offer the right view of God. I don't always see Him correctly, but I'm learning how to draw better from the arms of my Papa.

P.S. As I wrote this (I'm using notepad because I don't have internet at this particular moment and my Microsoft Word trial ended and I was too lazy to put the code in), I kept putting in note (Emily, *insert something that can only be done with the interwebz*). Just thought that'd amuse you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Need You.

God, I can't do this alone. I can't do anything but make things worse by myself. Anything good I've ever done has only been through your help. If You are love, then I am hate. It is only with You that I can rid me of myself. I can no longer rely on my own strength to do anything. I need You. I need You more than I need breath. I need You more than I need water. I need You more than I need food. I need You more than I need anything. Without You, I am simply dust.

I've spent too long being myself, and just want to be You now. I just want to be like You. I just want there to be so much of You in me, that there is no longer me, just You. I want there to be so much of You that anything that I touch that is not of You is completely consumed by You. I just want to please You.

I need You. I need You to chastise me. I need You to form me. I need You to make me. I need You to change me. I need Your glory to be what fills my temple. I need You to carry me. I need You to heal me. I need You to light my path. I need You to be the very breath in my lungs and the very beat in my heart. Above all else, I need You to love me.

Hold me now.

I love You. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chaos and Peace, Intertwined.

Yesterday, I was watching some discovery channel thing on sharks, and this guy (whom they called SharkMan) talked about how misunderstood the great white shark was. Later, they had the host of the show go in with the shark, without any sort of cage or anything, something sharkman did frequently. After the host got out of the water, he made the comment, "Seeing the shark like that made me understand it in a new way. It brought a new complexity to it that I'd never seen before." (or something.)

It made me think about our bible study this morning. We read Isaiah 45 and it was just this picture of who God is, and it was incredible. It was new, it brought a new complexity to it. Thinking about what the host of the tv show did and that, it made me wonder, "How much easier is it to just write this shark off as a mindless killer, and not pay any attention to any evidence to the contrary?"

How easy is it to write God off as an impersonal dominator of the universe, and not pay any attention to any evidence to the contrary? I want to know God as well as I possibly can. I want to as much about God as my mind can handle.

Okay, next thing.

I've been assigned the task of teaching Jesus and Angel how to read. Eight of the kids are currently in school (Gershon, Fabiola, Mauricio, Rosa, Antonio, Karen, Cesar, and Pedro), because they are on a Honduran schedule (February to November). But Jesus and Angel are on an American schedule (August to May) so they aren't in school right now.

Which means that I'm their teacher right now. It's pretty amazing, I get to watch (I don't feel like I'm really doing anything, but I guess I must be considering how exhausted I am at the end of every day) them discover things and learn things that will actually make a difference (no matter how small) in their lives. Today Jesus was having problems with his 8s and we made a little trick up to help him write them correctly. It's little.. but how often are the little things the ones that matter?

I just love it. God has been so good to me through all of this. He's given me so much more than I could've imagined, and I'm learning what it means for me to lean on Him. I don't know what He's doing anymore, I don't know really how He's changing me, but I'm learning to accept it, knowing that as long as He's doing it, I will be better off. "It feels like there's chaos, but somehow, there's peace."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A few quick things:

1. Bob and Joyce should give parenting lessons. Seriously. We took all ten of the kids to church and to a restaurant, and their behavior is astonishing. All ten of them sat there quietly (they weren't silent, but they weren't loud by any means) and ate their food without fighting or bickering or anything. Then after they finished, the ran off to the playground. All of them are like that. These kids just listen really well. Mike asked Bob about it, and Bob simply said "I can only attribute it to the Word. These kids are in the Word every day, and that is what makes all the difference."

2. Not being able to speak Spanish might be the death of me. I am prone to have casual conversations with strangers, and not being able to do so really is starting to bother me. I was waiting on Pedro to come out of the bathroom, and one of the ladies (I hate that I didn't get her name) who worked there asked me something. It really bothered me that I didn't know what she said. I think she asked me about Pedro, but I have NO IDEA. I'm getting to the point where I can understand some of what the kids say, but that's it. Anyone else is basically hopeless.

3. Denominations are becoming less and less important to me as time goes on. The church I went to today was just a church for missionaries. Lots of different ones from around San Pedro Sula. It doesn't matter if you consider yourself to be Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Protestant, Catholic, Pentecostal... whatever.. when you are truly coming together to worship God. Worship has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with who created us. So the more fantastic people I meet who ascribe themselves to different denominations, the more I find that God's people are simply God's people.

4. When I get back, I will sleep forever. I am so ridiculously tired.

Again, nothing particularly awe-inspiring, just some thoughts about some girl in some country helping some kids in order to serve one really awesome God.

Pedro had so much fun doing this. He's always intensely focused.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sometimes You Have to Take the Dinoboar Off Your Back.

I would really like to post something ridiculously inspiring and profound today. I'd like to wow you all with the things that I've learned here, or some mystery of life that I have figured out.

But... I can't.

As usual, I have more questions than answers. So I'm just going to pray that whatever God wants in this blog will be in this blog. Sound good?

I don't even know where to start.

I went with Bob and Mike to help drill a well today. The entire way up the mountain there was some beautiful scenery. However, the most beautiful piece of scenery I saw, I didn't get a picture of. I'm sorry for that, but to be honest, I don't think I could've moved at that particular moment. We came to a clearing in the trees, and on the side of the mountain were a bunch of tin houses that were pieced together. As soon as I saw that, my thought was "This is home." This is where I am supposed to be. This is home. There's a quote a like from Jamie the Very Worst Missionary's blog (she lives in Costa Rica) that says "Home is where the will of God supercedes my own."

I always loved that, but it takes on a WHOLE new meaning when TN home and what feels like home are two entirely separate things. This feels like home. Here in San Pedro Sula. It might not always be home. But right now. On Day 3. It's home.

As the switchfoot song says, "Created for a place I've never known, this is home. Now I'm finally where I belong."

For now, this is where I belong.

The kids are great. I'm mostly working with two of the youngest, Angel and Jesus. They're out of school right now (They go to an American English school... the others go to Honduran private schools. Different schedules) and I'm working on teaching them better english and numbers and reading and stuff like that. Angel and Jesus are great. Little fireballs. They call me "Em-ee-lee! Em-ee-lee!" They're very inquisitive, asking "why? why?" all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. I am forever answering questions.

Okay, this is where I'm stopping for tonight. I can hardly keep my eyes open anymore. Check out the pictures on the facebook page. If you don't have facebook, well, you're a freak. But here's the public link instead: Honduras!


Here's one of my favorites, so I'll have a good thumbnail.

That's Karen, Pedro, and Angel.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Know New Things

So I'm sitting here in the Miami airport. I've got about an hour and a half until I board my next plane. There is a man with a funny accent talking about plane boarding and stuff. Mike Sawyer is next to me making business calls, if I'm not mistaken he is talking to David Garza, and I'm just chilling in the airport.

I've gotten my first bit of Cuban food, something that resembled a hotpocket, but tasted 10x better. I'm sitting at the D20 gate, and I leave from gate D22.

It's amazing the way experiences can change you. I feel like I've changed so much since I woke up this morning. The airport is a scary place. I checked my own baggage. I found my own gate and checked my own flight. I leave on flight 941, and am supposed to arrive around 1 o'clock today.

I know what can and can't go through security. I know that if you accidentally touch the side of the metal detector it'll beep at you and you have to go back in and out of the thing twice. I know that my laptop has to go through the scanning thing outside of my backpack. I know that mosquitos can transmit HIV/AIDS. I know lots of things that I didn't know this morning.

I know that all of my electronics have to be turned off before the plane starts moving. I know that the "Exit" aisles have the most leg room. I know that flight attendants are really nice people. I know that I can't use my laptop until we're 10,000 feet in the air. I know what 10,000 feet in the air looks like. I know that clouds look a lot more Three Dimensional when you're inside them. I know how different clouds can look! I know what the Everglades look like from the sky.

I know a lot of things I didn't know this morning.

I wonder what I'm going to know when I am going to come back.

p.s. Sorry I don't have some really cool cloud pictures for you. My camera is my cell phone and that's not allowed to be on during the flight. Apparently the temptation is too much of a risk. Hahaha. I might get some on the next flight. Maaaaaaaaaaaaybe. If I steal Mike's camera.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Preparing For Departure!

There are less than 48 hours until I leave, and I'm in the midst of making last minute preparations.

Which brings us to this:

I've gotten a lot of questions about navigating the comment stuff. People, minus the tech savvy ones, don't really get how to comment on the bloggity. So, assuming this works, you should be able to sign in with your facebook, twitter, or yahoo accounts. Or as a guest. Supposedly.

I'm not entirely sure if it will work.

Comment to help me test it out.

So now other stuff.

I have to finish packing still. I just haven't gotten to finishing it. There are a mere TWO DAYS until I leave. And wow, I'm starting to get nervous. Nervous just about being there so long. Nervous about lots of stuff. Nervous about leaving friends and family. Nervous about changing.

But mostly, I'm worried about my own ability to trust God. Sometimes it seems so easy. He's the God of the whole universe, not trusting Him seems stupid. But other times trusting the God of the universe means going against everything to do something that seems absolutely impossible with what seems like nothing.

Sometimes that's hard.

It's worth it, but it's hard.

This is the part where I'm going to choose to be a lot more honest than I'd really like to be.

Some days, I don't want to live my life in submission to God. Even though I know (remember, the difference between knowing something and knowing something.) that anything He has to offer is better than everything anyone else has to offer, some days I'd rather live doing my own thing.

Some days, He is all that I could possibly want. But.. not every day.

Not every moment of every hour of every day.

That's how it seems like it should be.

Some days I don't even want to work on making it there. Some days I look at where I should be, and I just want to cry because it seems like this far off place, thousands of miles away, that I'll never be able to reach.

Sometimes I look around and see all this potential for everything to be better than it is now. For everything to improve. And I hope and hope that we can reach that. But at the same time, there is that lingering cynicism that says, "We can never get here. How dare you even try to get there? You don't even know HOW!"

How does one overcome that? How do I know that the God that I know can do anything can do anything?

Okay, so now that I've worn my heart on my sleeve, here's a funny picture to distract you from Emily's epic failure.