Tuesday, December 30, 2008

desert song

This is my prayer in the desert,
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need,
My God is the God who provides

And this is my prayer in the fire,
In weakness or trial or pain.
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

And this is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on it's way.
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

Monday, December 15, 2008

in other words....

This is about how I'm feeling at this point:
Or, narrated:
D(#$*#(::asdf#(#*$#!)!!)!)!) ieiei#(*$#
KDJKDkdkdjfkdja; dfD(#(!@!)!!!)_@?@@

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

micah 6:8

So, I've been waiting to hear back from a job I interviewed for in Dallas last week. It came out of no where, and really sounds amazing, but still the 8 billion different things that are in my heart seem to conflict one way or another, and I don't even know what I'd say if I were offered the job. But as I wait to hear from them, I have just set my heart before the Lord and asked Him to direct me. I was supposed to hear back from them today (still waiting), and as I opened my Daily Light, what little 'ole verse popped up once again??
It started first with "To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice" (Prov 21:3). Hmm, I thought, That sounds eerily familiar to what He's been speaking over and over again through this in-between time.
Then, continuing, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8).

Ha. I still have NO idea what the Lord is really saying through this, whether it means this period of my life is just meant to be a small life, working to pay of debt, nothing too flashy, or whether it means that I will be heading off on some weird YWAM adventure sometime soon, I can't deny that He has been bringing this up repeatedly to my attention.

So, Lord, as I wait, I just ask that I would walk and demonstrate righteousness and justice in humility as I walk with You.

Monday, December 1, 2008


My love for you is real.
It moves like a summer breeze.
My love for you is strong.
Lord it brings me to my knees.

It’s born in the wild
It's river long,
Love strong,
True and wild as hell.
Honey now,
My love for you is real.

My love for you is calm.
Candy sweet and thunder strength.
My love for you is wild,
It breaks the locks and breaks the chains.

My love for you is long
Across the oceans on a sail.
My love for you is true,
Meanings change but not the tune.

It’s born in the wild
It's river long
Love strong
True and never still.
Honey now
My love for you is real

I love this song. I think it has so much truth in it, for His love for me. So crazy how real it is sometimes. I love that it feels wild and free when so many times we think it's controlled and measured.

I was thinking about a lot of different stuff with my brother and his new wife here this last week. And I was thinking about their life in Dallas, working, being trendy, pretty consumed in their life as newlyweds but still giving of themselves in this church plant they are working with. And as clear as day I heard the Lord's voice say,

"You would never be content with that."

It's so weird how sometimes I know the Lord's voice. And I felt it was Him so distinctly. On intense dissection, the words could be distorted into someone pessimistic or even critical. But I know that's not what He meant. I think John and Kasey's life is beautiful. It is honoring the Lord with their gifts and talents, and for a while that's what I thought I wanted. But I know I would never be content with that life. I mean, I want to be married and all that, I just know that I would collapse in on myself if I stayed in the States too long. I always find myself so consumed with my SELF whenever I'm here. It's like I get more and more ridiculous as I spin inward. Ha. And I've found such freedom from that in cultures where it's not about me....about my clothes or hair or body....because 'outreach' so many times mean just the opposite of my life here (so much so that we don't shower often or wear more than two pairs of shoes).

And I love the freedom that comes with that.

And that's what I think I love about His love for me: It is wild and free and messy and it doesn't shower a lot. For now, here I am, working, paying off debt. But I "belong among the wildflowers" (Thank you, Tom Petty), and I can't wait for wherever that is.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


A little Thanksgiving...missing a few choice family members this year. But, (**sigh ** ) such is life once peeps start getting married. Please note that with Kasey's addition to our family, I now realize how much of a munchkin I am. DANGIT.
These next few were the ladies on Thanksgiving day with our lovely aprons. Woot.

I really do have so much to be thankful for this year...being alive is one of the top ones. Ha.

I am thankful for my sweet family who I love dearly despite all our issues.
I am grateful for sweet friends from all over the world.
I am thankful for Nita and how she cares for me like I'm one of hers still.
I am thankful for my sister who is always on my side.
I'm thankful for my sister-in-laws who were my friends first.
I'm thankful for my Mom who is one of my best friends.
I'm thankful for my Dad who thinks I'm weird and loves me just the same.
I'm thankful for a Friend who loves at all times.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

From Friend to Me

So, because Friend knows me inside/outside/over/under in a way that mostly borderlines the "abnormal or supernatural" side of things, she is the BEST at giving gifts. Previously, they've been cutesy/artsey things that Martha Stewart's prison dreams could never match, but this year she's used her 'seeing eye' into my heart and got me a year's subscription to Cooking Light!!

Woot! Maybe she knew because I drool over the copies she has at her house, but nevertheless, I ... LOVE...IT. I just got my first installment a few weeks ago, and the pages are earmarked like crazy and it already has a place of honor next to my bed (just a reach away from the bib-al of course). I have already committed to allowing the stack to continue to climb as the issues keep coming. Hoarding though it may seem, good recipes at the ready is no laughing matter.

Thanks, Friend, for doing what you do best: Being so you ...and so me at the same friggin time.
My tummy thanks you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

for a friend...

I have been meeting with a friend to pray and walk through some intensely painful memories. And as we've been experiencing these things again, it takes something all together supernatural to wait patiently that the Lord will bring healing and truth to situations full of hurt and lies. As a general rule, I do not understand how our Father works, but I know that He is faithful. So, sweet friend, these lyrics are for you:

To the one with the wounded heart

The years fighting have left you scarred
Wait the light will come
To the one with the distant eyes
All this crying has left you dry
Wait the light will come
Wait the light will come
Lift your eyes
The sun has overcome the night
Come alive
As we shine in loves true light

Here is laughter beyond the tears
Here is courage to face your fears
Look the light has come
So rise you daughters and stand you sons
Claim the victory that Jesus won
Look the Light has come
Look the Light has come

"Let us hold fast to our confession with unwavering hope that He who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:23

Friday, November 7, 2008


i am: weird with a side of normal.
i fear: microwaves.
i hate: bad grammar.
i love: my family.
i dream: most nights.
i ache: still when I think about Josh.
i wish: I had any sort of a sense of direction.
i want: a nice camera. (Or something more profound... like "world peace"?)
i smell: things before I eat them.
i hear: the harmony over the melody.
i crave: chocolate chip cookies.....nearly at all times.
i desire: to make Him proud.
i can't: cook like my mom. It's so annoying.
i dance: at weddings.
i sing: for my King.
i listen: to music as much as humanly possible.
i need: laughter.
i lose: my friggin keys.
i think: too much.
i feel: like my current job makes me want to gouge out my own eyeballs it's so dull.
i watch: my little sister. She's trouble, I tell you.
i miss: my brothers.
i write: sarcastically.
i can usually be found: thinking too much.
i believe: He has called me lily.
i never: talk in the morning if i can help it.
i care: for the little ones.
i wonder: what the h I'm doing with my life.
i regret: eating Candy Corn. It ALWAYS makes me sick.
i am scared: of heights.
i like: my bed, "la marshamellow"
i know: that He is good.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

apologetic art

There comes a time in everyone's life for apologies. Whether the person is someone you struggle with getting along with/they are nearby, the need for the art of apology seems staggering. In light of the fact that "those times" come very often in my life as I have a blind, stubborn need to be in a position to apologize, I've decided to share with the world wide web some things I've learned in the apology minefield.

1. When you know you need to give an apology:
a. Straight after a word/action, you feel that horrible thing in your gut that isn't indigestion, but more the realization of your own depravity has suddenly balled itself up and settled in the base of your stomach. It is seemingly unmovable at this point.

b. The look on the person's face who you've offended, causes your inward being to shrink to the size of q-tip and you find yourself looking for holes in the ground in which to plunge your head/face/neck.

c. The words that come flinging/flailing out of your mouth are strung together not out of reason or rationale, but more out of furious, half-insane emotion tangled up with rageful, unapologetic idiocy.

2. When to not apologize:

a. When the person to whom you owe the apology is still foaming-at-the-mouth angry.
b. When you you look good and they don't.
c. When you're not really sorry. (Duh).

3. How to apologize via some media:
a. Phone/voicemail:
i. Don't ramble. Or do ramble. Either way to get your point clearly stated -- or just stated at all.
ii. Introduce yourself as the offended person may have erased your phone number already and doesn't know who's calling (....or is that just my own nasty habit?)
iii. Feel free to make jokes. My personal favorite is a "Knock, Knock" -- ever-classy and always lightens the mood.

b. E-mail:
i. This is your chance to be eloquent and thoughtful even if you are not eloquent and thoughtful. So be precise in your words. Say exactly what you mean to say, because you have time to think, edit, rewrite, start over....

c. Some chat medium
i. Stay. Away. Things are 99 % likely to be misunderstood. Sincerity is suddenly sarcasm, and hurt is lost in the sea of ambiguous Smileys.

4. My favorite choice words to use during actual apology:
a. "I'm an idiot."
b. "I think too much and/or not enough."
c. "You were nearby?"
d. "I was WRONG." (*Key phrase)

5. Things to avoid:
a. Telling the person they are an idiot.
b. Pointing out their need to apologize.
c. Looking better than the other person while apologizing.
d. Being an idiot in the apology as well as the offense.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


So I've been praying and seeking about direction, and believing for breakthrough in a lot of different areas. And as I've been praying, I've toed a crazy line between days of faith and days of despair. Yesterday, as I was randomly reading this girl's "About Me" section on Facebook, I came face-to-face with a reality of my belief about God. This is part of what she said:
"First things first.....God is so good. There have been quite a few life changing/ life giving transitions lately. About 2 1/2 weeks ago I married my best friend and couldn't be happier! I love being married and highly recommend it.... Everyday we are reminded of the promises God has made for us and are so excited to continually see them fulfilled." (haha..AEH, recognize it?)

Basically, this girl married the love of her life, they are starting a ministry from the ground up, they love their church and are doing well financially. I don't want to be a kill-joy...but of course it's beautiful to see the promises of God when they result in a happy marriage and perfect jobs and everything is sunshine and roses. But I remember when right after Josh died, my friend Donna told me that sometimes "You have to KNOW that you KNOW that you KNOW that God is still good." In her own loss, Donna understood that God's promises and faithfulness does not always show itself in daisies and roses. Sometimes you just have to cling to a truth because it is Truth. And I think for a while, I just hung on to the principle that there are rough spots, but in general God's promises for beauty for ashes remained if you are faithful.
But this is what I had to ask myself after reading this girl's profile: If God never answered, if I never see breakthrough, if it is not beautiful and peaceful at the end of my day, would I still declare His goodness and faithfulness?

Oh man.

In general, I am not brave. I used to think I was. Or at least, I thought I did brave things, you know, travel the world, jump off bridges/cliffs, be sassy. But I'm not. I think I'd rather take the easy road than the high one. I'd rather pretend or ignore than be honest. I'd rather not try than to fail.

I think my bravery was circumstantial, kinda like how I viewed "God's faithfulness." As in, months from now, I don't want to write all over my blog about how "faithful God is and how his promises remain" WHEN I FIND THE JOB, or when I begin to walk in my purpose, because that's what I was believing for. I choose to believe that even if it doesn't come -- his faithfulness is still a piercing beauty that has won my heart. I want to walk with my God in all the faith I have because I KNOW that my God is good.

I still believe His heart is for me, that He is more faithful than the morning. But I want Him to know that if I believe my whole life for breakthrough or for help, and it doesn't come, I have sealed it on my heart that His faithfulness remains even when I can't see it. I know that He holds all things and He still holds me.

You are God alone,
from before time began,
You are on Your throne. You are God alone.
Right now, in the good times and bad,
You are on your throne. You are God alone.
You're unchangeable, unshakeable, that's what you are.
Because you are God alone.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


So I did it (finally). After years of being a 'jogger' I finally ran a race: a half marathon. My goal was to run the entire way and finish the race and I did. (It matters little that at about mile 10, it was no longer a pretty sight, and let it be known that I finished just in front of a white-haired woman probably in her sixties). At any rate, thank you Jesus for legs that run. Thank you that this sickness did not end in death, and here I am, nearly six months to the day later, running a half marathon.

Annndd, let it be known that about mile 12.4, I see Laura (mom) on the other side of the street, yelling, "Use the force, Jennie! Use the force!!" She then proceeds to run across the street and run behind me the rest of the way. haha...oh Laura. I've also decided that the people who came out, brought chairs and signs just to cheer are maybe some of my favorite people. I'm going to do that sometime. It was the sweetest display of selfless encouragement. (Thanks, Mom.)

However, I am sore and think people that run full marathons are nut jobs.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


More old Europe pics....It kinda makes me want to backpack through Europe again. This time, I'd know to wear at least 2 pair of long johns at all times, bring at least 23,982 granola bars, and make it through like a pro.

Westminister Abbey, England.

In a Shoe. Holland.
Uh. I couldn't resist. Spain.
Train station in Belgium.

The Cinque Terre, Italy. Seriously, one of my FAVORITE places in the whole world.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

favorite things

So, in this "not being boring" new phase of my blog, I've decided to post some of my favorite things. And so, as I dig deep and figure out what "is Jennie"...I of course came up with these things;

My Asics running shoes. Woot! I'm taking Friend's challenge (to herself) and am starting to 'train' for a half marathon....7 miles last saturday. This weekend 9. We. Shall. See.
Uh. My iPod. I would have to say that it is my favorite earthly possession. Hah..no joke. My brothers gave it to me the Christmas before I studied abroad and I LOVE IT. I love that the back of it says "MeJennie" (Their nickname for me) and "Psalm 139."
FALL. I LOVE IT. The end.
Diet Coke. Haha... Oh Lord, please don't let my brain shrivel up when i'm 90 b/c of the weird affects of aspartame. Fountain diet coke would have to be my favorite, i could drink it any time, day or night. But, Diet Coke Lime is a recent new love...not as standard as regular DC, but still delic.

Monday, October 20, 2008

i make jokes

After careful consideration, I've realized that my blog is melodramatic and kinda boring. So, to liven things up: OLD EUROPE PICTURES.
Enjoy. More to come when I find some more good ones.

This is Megan and I after our first successful Eurorail trip. Amsterdam
The four of us in Prague.
Hahah..This picture. Oh dear. In summation, Mel and I traded in our couchette tickets for a cheaper, more-stupid option. Result? 7 hours in a PAINFUL seat with 6 other flatulent and generally disagreeable passengers where I slept in 45-minute intervals with intermittent periods of wishing I weren't alive. This is me getting off the train at home.
Me doing what I do best. Sleep-ing.
Yes, I'm going to eat it. I mean, we are in Germany. That's where you eat sausage and sour kraut, right?

The Dance of the Catalan. Spain.

Punching pigeons. Duh. Italy.

Thank you Lord for French crepes. (And for the Frenchman who bought it for me).
The Louvre, Paris.


Cars. Stoplight. Castle. Scotland.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Papak's word of encouragement

I was talking to Papak today, and before we got off the phone he gave me the purest word: He has not forgotten you. You are not abandoned. Ask of Him and He will show you. And then he read me this:

Isaiah 55

The Compassion of the LORD

"Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

"Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

Thank you Lord that your word does not return void.
Thank you for my heritage.
Father, make my heart bold.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Mercy in the days ahead.

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another."
Romans 12:10

"Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths,where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls."
Jeremiah 6:16

"..for He has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"
Hebrew 13:5

Monday, October 13, 2008

beauty for ashes

I read this passage about the Fall today and was so struck at its reality.

"Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man...Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their heart to impurity...because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. "
- Romans 1:24

Mercy, Lord. Here I am. Ugh.

Thank the Lord and the makers of Zoloft. Ha. These last few weeks have been especially trying. And by 'trying' I do mean that Puffy (my favorite stuffed animal friend since I was maybe 2) has made a reappearance in my arms at night (uh, that's not a joke), and that unexplained crying is a part of my regular, daily routine.

I don't know why my heart feels so conflicted and unsettled. I don't know why I haven't found the way I want to walk. But I haven't. And I am. Yet still, I am confident that He is faithful. Nevermind the fact that I feel like my lifeless Puffalump (the aforementioned stuffed friend) has it more together than I do at this point (Oh you! With your constant gaze and stoic -- but friendly -- demeanor!) I am still resting in the promise that He has me. I am praying earnestly that my heart would remain faithful to His, and no matter what choices lay ahead, I would never exchange the truth about my God for any lie.

Lord, let my spirit rest in the glory of the immortal God, even when I am anything but at rest.

You have won my heart.

Friday, October 3, 2008


"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

"When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that true love died"

- True Love, Phil Wickham

Monday, September 22, 2008

God, the comedian

So, I have this weird affinity for Praying Mantis (or is it Praying Mantises? Praying Manti? Ha). Anyways, I think they are cool. I mean, they look lives leaves and like a prayerful monk all in one.

I snapped both this pictures in Hawaii. But I've seen one around STL recently.

Ok. So the point is this: I've had a few people in my past who have chosen certain ordinary things that they have asked God to use to remind them that He is thinking about them or loves them or whatever. My mom's is a butterfly. I had a college pastor who chose red balloons. Anyways, it was literally yesterday when I was at the park that I decided I would make my little 'reminder' be these fabulous green weirdos. As in, whenever I saw its weirdness in action, I could be reminded that my Father is thinking about me and loves me no matter what.


So. Today. My mom and I were taking a mid-morning walk because today is another one of those beauuuuuuutifulllll Fall days. Toward the end of our walk, my mom shrieks,
"Oh Jennie, look!" she says while pointing downward. What's she pointing at?

A dead, squashed Praying Mantis.

Literally, it looked like someone just took the little guy and laid him perfectly flat on his side and squished him dead. He even had his little 'praying' hands at ready. So there it was: the symbol I had chosen to be a sweet reminder between me and God that my Creator thinks of me -- flattened mercilessly and dead as a doornail.

Cool, God. Real cool.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"confessions" of his ; exhortation of mine

...If souls please you, let them be loved in God; for in themselves they are mutable, but in him firmly established -- without him they would simply cease to exist. In him, then, let them be loved; and bring along to him with yourself as many souls as you can, and say to them: "Let us love him, for he himself created all these," and he is not far away from them. For he did not create them, and then go away.

They are of him and in him.

Behold, there he is, wherever truth is known. He is within the inmost heart, yet the heart has wandered away from him. Return to your heart, O you transgressors, and

hold fast to him who made you.

Stand with him and you shall stand fast.
Rest in him and you shall be at rest.

Where do you go along these rugged paths? Where are you going? The good that you love is from him, and insofar as it is also for him, it is both good and pleasant. But it will rightly be turned to bitterness if whatever comes from him is not rightly loved and if he is deserted for the love of the creature. Why then will you wander farther and farther in these difficult and toilsome ways?

There is no rest where you seek it.
Seek what you seek; but remember that it is not where you seek it.

You seek for a blessed life in the land of death.
It is not there. For how can there be a blessed life where life itself is not?"

But our very Life came down to earth and bore our death, and slew it with the very abundance of his own life. And, thundering, he called us to return to him into that secret place from which he came forth to us...

For he did not delay, but ran through the world, crying out by words, deeds, death, life, descent, ascension -- crying aloud to us to return to him. And he departed from our sight that we might return to our hearts and find him there.

For he left us, and behold, he is here.

He could not be with us long, yet he did not leave us. He went back to the place that he had never left, for "the world was made by him."[104] In this world he was, and into this world he came, to save sinners. To him my soul confesses, and he heals it, because it had sinned against him.

O sons of men, how long will you be so slow of heart?

Even now after Life itself has come down to you, will you not ascend and live? But where will you climb if you are already on a pinnacle and have set your mouth against the heavens? ... Tell this to the souls you love that they may weep in the valley of tears, and so bring them along with you to God, because it is by his spirit that you speak thus to them, if, as you speak, you burn with the fire of love.

- St. Augustine, "Confessions"
book iv, chapter 12

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear God,

I'm kinda annoyed at you right now. Please know that I am extremely grateful for how you care for me and watch over me. But I just don't the heck know where my life is going or how I could even begin to do your will if I don't get to hear from you.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

into the wild

As I spent some time with God today, I was overwhelmed by my gratitude and overall happiness -- only to be shocked to find myself suddenly worried and anxious that I was going to miss something by my simple contentedness. I still want to go. I still want to travel. I remember the night before I left for YWAM, as I was packing, I thought to myself (in the midst of butterflies that were turning into a painful ache) 'Why do I always want to leave what's comfortable and safe?' There I was, in the peacefulness of my home, about to leave and start something completely unknown. And why? I guess it's childish to want to leave and explore and venture. And my thoughts brought me to Thoreau's famous quote about "sucking the marrow" out of life. I read the beginning of Walden, and found so much of what my heart speaks and didn't even know. Save and except the fact that Thoreau was probably an evolutionist atheist, I believe his searching is fairly true to life. As I read, I think it's become more clear why I have the desire to leave -- my experience at YWAM was hard and uncomfortable, and most importantly, simplistic. And I think that's why I felt so alive, and why it was my own Walden, respectively.

"When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality...children, who play life, discern its true law and relations more clearly than men, who fail to live it worthily, but who think that they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure"

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it..."

- Henry David Thoreau, "Walden", excerpts from chapter 2

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

meet mrs. bower

If you've ever met Laura you're probably shocked at least once during your conversation. It could be it be because what she says is either so progressive and edgy that it makes Ellen DeGenerous look like a Limbaugh's BFF, or it could be because what she says is spoken out of a paradigm formed sometime between when the dinosaurs roamed and JFK was shot. The following are just a few of the indelible subjects that are so constant to my mother's nature and character that I'm sure I'll be able to speak on these with humor and truth even in her eulogy. The first are her major medical discoveries and the latter are just a catch-all of her favorite subjects.

1. Her belief that most health concerns in my generation are the result of an overdose of sugar in their diet: (This coincides indirectly with her theory that God gives adolescents acne as a means to impede the hasty introduction and fellowship of two very-physical bodies) She is convinced that any personality issue from disposition to any diagnosed medical disorder are the direct result of the influx of sugary foods in kids' diets today. Sugar-coated gummy worms are the anti-Christ.

2. Vitamin C cures everything. Take at least 4x the recommended dosage or it won't do any good.

3. The physical state of your tongue is a direct reflection of your body's inner health. If there is anything other than a perfectly pink, beautiful tongue shooting out at her when you say "ahhh" then please see #2.

4.Don't eat out of the serving bowl. That's bad manners. Not only is it bad manners, but it's actually poor breeding. And not only is it poor breeding, it's a sign that you have no self control and is probably indicative of some serious character flaw which is the direct result of your lack of discipline. In fact, are you saved?

5. You probably shouldn't have more than one window or application open on your computer. That's just asking to get confused.

6. What is text messaging? And how does the internet have enough room for everything?

7. It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

8. Good girls wear hosiery. Even if the last time the general population wore hosiery on a regular basis was in 1965, it's still a good idea for church events and formal occasion. ("I haven't left the house without Lyrca on these thighs since I was 15." "That's 'cause you were brought up right" Steel Magnolias quote)

9. Nothing good happens past midnight. (Annnnndddd she's usually right. Ha)

10. Favorite sayings:

"Aren't you going to fix your face?"
Translation: Put on make up so you don't look like you do currently.

"Zap it."
Translation: Microwave it.

"Xerox it."
Translation: Record it (on television).

"Bless his/her heart"
Translation: He/She is an idiot.

Please feel free to add/edit any of what I've written. I'm sure that if you've met her, you've recognized a few of quirks all on your own....

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I've spent a lot of time just being quiet in the Lord's presence lately. At first I would just listen to music or play my guitar after reading a few verses. Then I just started to sit with Him while listening to music. And now, I've found myself sitting, staring dead-still out of my window, asking Him to just be with me. Fighting the temptation to label myself a loon, I've decided that my soul needs just that: perfect quiet.

Oswald Chambers said something in today's entry about prayer not being about getting answers, but about perfect communion with the Living God. And however imperfect sometimes I feel our communion is, I believe he's right. I've been striving and striving and begging and pleading for God to make clear some sort of direction for my life, and have little to no writing in the sky to lead me onward. Frustrated like mad, I have to remind myself that He is more about the process of finding our calling than anything.

And so, as I am so apt at doing, I took perfect, holy knowledge and buried it away. Now far from the light of my conscious, I lay in bed going over and over again different job opportunities and locations that have been popping up recently. As I was weighing each and every possibility with utmost delicacy in taciturn debate, I think I finally realized how much my decision-making is through fear.


Fear! How the heck can I claim that I trust Him, if in all actuality, I DON'T. How can begin to seek Him and His will for my life's purpose if I can't let go of the control I have over my circumstances, my finances, my fears. How petty of me to have considered the possibilities of my future by nickels and dimes in comparison to the vastness of the riches of my Holy Father! If in considering the lilies of the field, I find myself still riddled with fear of 'not making it', I must be missing something.

How have I let myself into this trap? I know that I know that I know that He is faithful. His faithful kindness has humbled me on more than one occasion, and still there I lie fretting and fearful over which job would bring me a suitable amount of happiness weighed against a suitable living wage. Ha.

Surely He remembers I am dust. Surely He knows.

And I'm convinced (again) that He does. I wrote these lines in my journal earlier:

"I will rest in the quiet of your nearness;
I am lost in the vastness of your name.
The silence still sings of your praise;
May my heart lay near thine always."

So, I'm back to being quiet before Him. Perfect love casts out all fear. His love casts out my fears.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

just a run-of-the-mill life's purpose

Stan has a job for me today: to write out my 'life's purpose.' Yikes.
This is what I know:

My heart is to love you, Lord, and to be loved by you.
My desire is to honor you.
My passion is to show others more of who you are and to usher them into your presence.
I love music.
My urgency is to care for the least of these.

These hands are yours, teach them to serve as you please.
As I reach out, desperate to see all the greatness of God, may my soul rest assured in You.
-Hillsong United

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow.

Seems too soon to have been a year ago. His life seems still more real than his death. What sense does it make to to feel like everything and nothing has changed? Weird.
Jordan said there was a deep sadness in my eyes over the last few days, and maybe so only because when my mind is at peace, it rests on him. Nothing about this is fair or simple, and I still like to believe that he chose to go. He wanted to go on ahead.

But I still wish he could see us now.

Father, I still trust you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

a keeper

Yesterday, I was so tired that I was near-delirium. As I was falling asleep, I suddenly had the most vivid memory of the last time I saw Josh. It was so real and random that I woke from my half-stupor and nearly cried.

He knew I was in Dallas before I was going to leave for the holidays, but I was so screwy about him that I wanted to see him, but didn't want to admit it, so I so kindly offered him the chance to take me to the airport at the crack of dawn the next morning. And so, at 4:30 a.m., or some unholy time of the morning, he knocked on Anne's door to take me. I remember I wrote Anne a note because I wasn't going to wake her that said, "It's 4:30 a.m. and I have a full face of make up on and my hair is done. What's wrong with me?" Ha...and so I answered the door fresh-faced and ready in the darkness of the December early morning.

He was dressed in torn jeans and some baggy t-shirt with a John Deer hat, and his hair was curly and long underneath. I remember laughing to myself because his style of late was so trendy that it must have taken hours to meticulously create each outfit: euro hairstyle, hair gel, expensive jeans and abnormal amounts of stupid accessories of some kind. But standing there in front of me now, he looked so unkempt, so.. normal. It's ironic that the last time I saw him he reminded me so much of the first time we met: torn jeans, Abercrombie shirt, hair long and curly on the ends.

I remember Anne came down with me to answer the door and he said hello politely, aware that she wasn't his biggest fan. Then he hoisted my huge suitcase and guitar over the side of his truck without a struggle, which was so strange because he was always so damn skinny and looked like he could blow over at any moment. We talked about how he had stayed up all night because they had gotten in so late, and everyone had eaten mushrooms but he hadn't. Right off the bat he joked that he had never gotten goodbye kiss at the airport and was looking forward to it. I laughed and said, "Oh, are you!?" teasingly.

I remember he didn't know exactly how to get to Love Field airport. But I remember that I was uncharacteristically laid back about getting there, only because I knew that he of anyone would find it without getting lost. We made it there without much event, and pulled into a Starbucks to sit and have coffee before he dropped me off. But it was like 5 a.m. and it was still closed. He made some comment about it opening later on the weekends.

He pulled out of the parking lot and I remember thinking that he was disappointed because now we didn't really have a place to sit and talk. As we pulled into the check-in area, he helped me with my bags but told me he'd meet me inside because he had to park the truck. So I waited for him in the doorway. After all my bags were taken care of, he took my hand. It was just normal or something. Everything was still closed, but we went to sit in the sitting area for the McDonald's. I remember he sat across from me and held my hand the whole time we sat there. I don't really remember what we talked about, but I remember watching him watch his hand and mine, and I remember thinking my hands were ugly and square compared to his long, slender fingers. I wish I could remember what we said, but I really only see images of him across from me.

So, he walked me to the security check-in, where he couldn't go after that. We faced each other to say goodbye and he reached down to give me a kiss. Ha. I remember laughing at his cockiness to think he really was going to get a kiss goodbye even though we weren't dating or really even talking before a week prior. But again, it just seemed normal. So I kinda brushed my mouth with his, teasing him. "Really, you're gonna..." was all he said before I decidedly kissed him. I didn't even feel silly about kissing in public and even remember that I pulled him closer with my right hand on his back.

It was a great kiss. Ha. And I'm not even saying that because it was one of the last moments I had with him. But it was. It had no awkward sloppiness of a first kiss with a new love. But it had still the feeling of your stomach dropping in excitement. Strange. Then I vaguely remember him saying that I should just stay here for the holidays. I could stay with his Mom and Jack, they'd love to have me. And I remember loving the sweetness of the idea, but I'm not proud to admit that the first hesitation I had was to do with the stupid plane ticket. Ha. So lame.

At some point we let go and I walked through security and boarded the plane, but I don't remember much about it. I think we texted each other at least 40 times before I made it to my house. I went directly to sleep when I got home and remember that I woke up to him lamenting that I hadn't stayed. It was a sweet awakening.

And that was the last time I saw him. I think I like this memory because it was such a perfect picture of the simple plainness of us together that always managed to get confused with these stupid arguments and ultimatums that put us in different corners of the ring.

And so I'll keep it here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


She's pretty much grown now. Not much of the 'little girlness' is really left, especially with those damn vivacious curves. Lord knows she looks older than me. As we sat at lunch today, I noticed a few of those little awkward things that are becoming of a little girl not a woman, leaving just a linger of childhood.

She doesn't say "Bread Company Co," (because she didn't know that "Co" was short for company.) She doesn't mispronounce much anymore. She wears makeup.

To her much wiser, older sister, Gracie will probably still be 4-years-old until she busts me in the nose with her adulthood. Until then, I think I'll still enjoy the little awkwardness. I like how she trumps around the house, not knowing yet how to balance her thickening hips with the childish excitement of her task. I like that as she sat at lunch today, her shapely legs moved awkwardly in her skirt and flashed a bit of pink, flowery underwear. The consciousness of her femininity hasn't yet overtaken every movement of her body to leave her aware of awkwardly spread legs. I like her braces.

She wrote me a note before I left for YWAM and her words were this perfect blend of child and adult. "Carpe Deium!" she wrote. "That means 'seize the day,'" she added as an aside for me if I hadn't known. Her note was this strange thing I could touch and hold in my hands of her waning childishness.

Sure she's discovered how cute she is -- and how boys have discovered it too -- but it seems innocent. She loves life, friends, clothes, and all that comes with her upcoming womanhood. I love to watch her discover the ups and downs of being grown. Her desire for independence still flashes in angry, dramatic outbursts that are usually scripted eerily similar to whatever 'coming of age' movie she saw recently. But she's still discovering.

So, I'm praying that she'll discover safely. I pray that God would cover her from the ugliness of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. I mean, I know she has to grow up. But, I just pray that He would cover her gracefully as she steps out. I hope she doesn't struggle with the same stuff I did, and that her beauty stills itself beneath her skin.

I hope she grows in grace.

Monday, May 26, 2008

'my love for you is real'

So, I'm home.

Strange to have up and left so quickly (thanks, Dengue Fever). It feels like I was pushing and begging and asking for breakthrough, and then I was sick and in the hospital and the rest is history. Maybe I'll know what the point of being "taken out of the game" so quickly, maybe I won't. But I have begun to resolve that I will still serve Him if it means I won't see any breakthrough, any beauty, any salvation.
As Screwtape writes to Wormwood of their plight to derail the Christian walk:

"Our cause is never more in danger than when a human no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

-C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

I'm not sure I can really count this as "suffering" for Him, but I hope that there was something broken for the people there. I hope that our lives there even for that little while brought Him pleasure, and that He was proud of us.
Ha. Could He be proud?

Even as I have begun to tell people where I've been, my story seems so little. What I have to offer, what I have given, seems to little. And I don't know where I'm headed, but I know that I see things differently. I believe He has changed my heart toward the poor, and to the reality of what knowing and following Him really means. I believe He is a mighty and holy God, and I am humbled to be counted as someone He loves. His ways seem ever higher, His sovereignty seems so much greater, and His mercies are so much sweeter since I have been serving with so little to give and so little in return. Strange how that works out.

Mercy, Lord.

"my love for you is real. it moves like the summer breeze. my love for you is strong, Lord it brings me to my knees...."

Friday, April 25, 2008

my soul is restless, until it finds rest in Thee...

So, culture shock. I thought I would experience culture shock when I first arrived nearly a month ago, or when I returned to the "Western" world, but instead, it's the dichotomy of cultures within this country that is so strange.

For our day off, the team has been going to one of the ENORMOUS malls here. And still, I have never felt so unsettled or uncomfortable in all my life as I do here, on a day that is supposed to be restful. It's not even the strangeness of the disparity between the rich and poor here that really unsettles me. Even with our day to day life working in a slum, clearing away years' worth of trash and filth from people's makeshift homes or trying to bring any sort of aid to a people with nothing, I thought I would enjoy sitting in air conditioning, reading and drinking coffee.

But instead, this chaotic mess of lights and sound and taste makes me want to bury my head beneath something thick and heavy. I have more than once today wished I was back at the slum, talking to Ross or just sitting with people there. Weird. John told me that he never felt so alive as when he was doing his outreach, and I see exactly what he means. At first I thought he just meant "raw" as in, everything was stripped away, and his heart was newly hurt and newly healed and the sin that so easily entangles was for once being left behind. But I think he meant that his heart and soul were alive in the reality that this life does not satisfy.

We were made for something else.

I can feel my eyes glaze over and my heart quicken as I stare at the brightly lit stores here. And it seems like I am never so hungry as I am here, looking at 23432 restaurants which boast of cuisine from all over the world: sweet, spicy, salty, exotic, decadent. And still, my soul is an unrest. Nothing here satisfies. I can't buy enough. I can't taste enough. I can't see enough.

Yesterday I wrote in my journal that the Lord would 'ruin' me for the ordinary in this life. And, apparently, He does answer prayer. Because here, I feel ruined. I am alive to the fact that He satisfies like nothing can or ever will. Spending hours fighting traffic in exhausting heat just to get to our slum to give a hug or bring something to eat or a shirt to wear seems so much more restful right now than any of this that surrounds me right now.

And so, I am alive. I am alive to something else. I am alive to something other than just a 'new me.' I am live to Him and His heart.

It is there that my soul has found rest.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

the world is a book...

and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Kona, Hawaii to Tokyo, Japan to Jakarta, Indonesia.
Time for some reading. And some abiding.

We'll see about this. Right now, I am increasingly aware that I am willingly walking blindly into these next couple of months. I mean, this is YWAM. Our plan is to have no plan.

And I love that.

Here's to no plans, no sleep, and no place to lay your head.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

oh how he loves us so...

If one thing i have learned here at YWAM, it's that God does in fact know what He's doing. However crazy-assed it may seem, I believe that He is still working all things together for good.

This post has come from the deepest places of my heart and my thoughts with and toward God, mainly having to do with my relationship with Josh and his death. I can only begin with words of praise; God is faithful. He is good to me when I don't even know it.

When I met him, I was a freshman at Baylor, thirsty for everything that was to come from 'becoming an adult.' And of course, I fell in love. Josh only had one tattoo then (ha) and loved to wear that Abercrombie shirt and those Diesel shoes that he used to share with Peugh. We were simpler, it seems. A good while into our relationship, I began to walk with God in an intimacy that I had never known before. I was always a Christian, but a Christian who sang worship songs blatantly aware that I would not sing "I love you." I knew Him to be a Creator, the God of the universe. I respected Him. I honored Him. I revered Him. But loved?

But then, I fell in love with God. I fell for Him deeply and fast. He cherished me. And it was then that I began to hear His voice as clear as I've ever heard any audible voice around me. "Come out from among them and be separate..." this verse haunted me for months as I wrestled with the knowledge that He was calling me out of this relationship with a boy I loved. I wrestled with knowing that both Josh and I were Christians, so how could He be saying that we were "unequally yoked"? I wrestled with knowing that He was asking me to be obedient no matter what my heart or mind said.

So I did. And to this day, and to my deep regret, Josh's last blogs speak scornfully of a girl who scoffed at his 'godliness.' His words in that blog haunt me, especially because we never got to talk about what he had written. To him, I had played the indubitable "God card." There was no way to explain to Josh then that I loved him, but God really was calling me away. Away to where, I had no clue. But away from Josh for the present.

So, I went. And Josh went. We walked miles away from each other, but managed to swing back around and throw blows every so often. It wasn't until the week before his death that we came to a point of total honesty about our feelings toward one another, despite years and tattoos and addictions that had passed between us. I almost believed that God had called me out to be separate, but was going to restore something there.

And then, Josh passed away.

Obviously, his death has changed me. And the Lord knows how I have struggled and wrestled and fought and cried over the plain unfairness of it all. And one day, I remember writing in my journal, asking God why. Not asking why had Josh passed away, but why had I heard His voice so clearly call me out of that with Josh. Was it because He knew Josh would die young?

For some reason, I went and re-read Josh's last blogs "Thoughts on God" a few days ago. I just had this strange desire to read every word and hurt all over again. So I did. But this time, instead of reading it in a place of pain and frustration, I really read his words. He talked about his life as a little no-nothing worship leader who found himself struggling with doubt, getting the "God card" from a girlfriend, falling into deep drug addiction, and finding hope - and finding God. He wrote about intimacy. He wrote about beauty. He wrote about a God that was beyond the church, beyond a religion. He wrote about a God he knew.

So as I sat with God under that big tree at the base of the hill here in Hawaii, I feel like He sweetly brought closure to a hurt that was so deep and so costly in my understanding of My Almighty. Josh knew God at his death in a way that I don't believe he did in the years that looked more like he was following God. I believe that out of a place of painful obedience and unknowing, God brought Josh to a point of knowing Him deeper. And I have never felt so strongly that now Josh knows now.

He knows.

And so, I am filled with praise to my Father. His works are mightier and sweeter than any I could contrive. He has taken my heart with his kindness.

"...and by this we will come to know that we know Him...."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

a dwelling place

So strange that I feel continually lost. Even with a safe home, I'm at such unrest. And now, here I am, at YWAM in Hawaii, and I find myself near tears because I feel so lost. What is it that is keeping me from really 'dwelling'? Moving back home since graduation, I've definitely had to discipline myself to really live in the moment and not continually wonder if I'm in the right place. Because no matter where I go, to Dallas, to Waco, to good old East Texas, I'm still wrestling with finding my place. I'm (painfully) learning that 'home' has so little to do with location. I think I've always blamed my restlessness on the fact that my heart is in so many different places; that those I'm closest to are spread out all over the country, so how can I possibly be happy without being surrounded by them at all times? It's like I have this relentless desire to gather up all my intimate relationships in one place, some weird hippie commune of love or something. And in really listening to God's heart lately, at this so-transitory period in my life, I have found that He is my dwelling place.

"The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
Deuteronomy 33:27

I see now that no matter where I am, surrounded by those I love or not, that He is my peace. He is where my heart dwells restfully. I think since Josh's , I've really clung to home and the safety there. But, I also know that God has put in my heart desires that working in a cubicle just aren't going to fulfill. And I think I've walked out in such fear since his , a fear of losing what I love, and it has really stopped me from seeing the joy for the moment it is joyful.

Thank you, Father. I need you so much every day.

And tell Josh Happy Birthday (a day late :)