Wednesday, May 23, 2012's out for summer!

A couple weeks ago my first year of grad school wrapped up, and now I have no choice but to face the inevitable decisions that must be made: where to live, and what to do. In some ways, I really enjoy this time because it allows for evaluation and starting something new. In others, it just plain exhausts me. This brain just doesn't quiet down very obediently, but just keeps pondering all these new things.

It's so odd to think that this is my first summer in Portland, since feels more long-term 'home' to me than anyplace since finishing high school. The community is not transient except for the grad students who might or might not be around awhile longer. My friends are a delightful mix of people in many different stages of life: with children and not, single, married, younger, older, student, well-established, and new to the area. And the many opportunities of this city and region still enthrall me.

Right now I am fighting the identity of 'student' that has attached itself to me - understandable, since I after all did become a student again. 'Is it worth it?' is a question I still ask. Making the transition from student-ness to non-student-ness is so difficult for me. It's full of baggage from the last time 5 years ago, when everything outside of me was drastically changed by my father's sudden death. The lack of a fatherly advisor is part of my hesitation, I think; hadn't thought of that before now, but it does make sense. We are never beyond desiring wisdom in decision-making, and some of us, like myself, are quite cautious because of not wanting to make a bad step.

So I come back to where I always go, depending on my holy Father and Spirit to counsel these decisions. Trusting and listening is such work! Those are definitely areas I relish and step toward cautiously, since they are so important.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Surreal: having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream;unreal; fantastic.

Sometimes, I wake up and it takes a moment to gauge whether or not the events of the previous day were part of a dream or they actually happened. And sometimes, the realization that the day before was real hits harder than the actual event, since some shock has worn off. One morning I awoke to a knock on my door at 5am; the next, just to the sunlight peeking through my window.

3 days ago one of my roommate's best friends went to the ER for a very bad migraine. That night she was admitted to ICU, put on life support, and then died just hours later. Turns out she had a cancerous brain tumor.

She had just celebrated her first anniversary with her husband, was 25, and was studying toward a master of arts in counseling.

It was so fast. It reminds me of my father's sudden death, which will be 6 years ago this month. I'm so glad that her family was able to gather around her in those last hours. I didn't have that gift.

Every time people around me are shaken with loss, it builds a stronger resolve in me to live more fully into whatever moment I find myself: living with delight, joy, sorrow, and gratitude with the time we have. I hope to be more sincere with my interactions with people, in particular by letting those close to me know how I value them, and accepting the truths they speak into my life as well. This way, when the difficult times come, we have built up a store of assurances of love. Love is the strongest force I know to carry us through.

And when the truly joyous events also happen, we share in the rejoicing, just as we rejoice that my classmate knows no more pain in the difficulties of this earth. She is praising God in the heavenlies with the saints who have gone before, knowing as she is fully known and knowing God's love more clearly than ever. It may be juxtaposed with the loss we feel in losing a wife, sister, daughter, and friend, but that helps the joy to be all the stronger.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


It does seem to be a buzzword these days; in terms of race particularly, Americans seem to be paying more attention to the way we treat one another. It's heartening to see that people are actually doing something about it, like those that were at the TED2012 conference last month and saw Bryan Stevenson talk about the justice system. Here's the talk below:

And here's an article written about the talk, which tells more of the story- after the longest standing ovation in TED history, $1 million was donated to the Equal Justice Initiative in order to help them combat racial bias against people of color and lifetime sentences for youth, in particular.

He's a very engaging speaker, and his stories of both his grandmother and talking with Rosa Parks and her friends really brings the story home.

May we continue to face injustice and build relationships with others, so that what happened to Trayvon Martin doesn't happen again. One of my professors blogged about this recently, encouraging us to be wary about making presumptions especially because in this case the situation seems to have been started by racial/economic status concern.

It's a dark history we come from, even though there are many points of brightness- innovation, the assembly line, a land full of dreams as high as the sky, a beautiful country; but it is mixed with land the United States of America never paid for and enslaved while stealing from those who lived here, a history of slavery for economy's sake, and an evangelical Christian majority that turned their backs in the face of the civil rights movement, among others.

Sometimes it's extremely disheartening.

But like Rosa Parks told Bryan when she said his work would make him "tired, tired, tired", we too have to be "brave, brave, brave" and keep our eyes on the prize, and hold on.

Hold on!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

At least I don't look like this...

But I do feel rather crappy. Some big transitions - a new semester, roommate moving home to Uruguay, job search highs and lows, and now an achy body that's plumb wore out from the beating this introvert has put it through in the past week. So much lovely people time..but probably too much.

So now not only do I have to make myself rest, but to remember while living in community that acting like a b* is not very loving and is not how I really want to act. It's the whiney, tired, achy self that's thinking these things, that's all.

Here's to better.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The rocks cry out

Ain't no rock gonna cry out in my place, as long as I'm alive I'll glorify his holy name (camp song)

I wrote this finals week and forgot to press 'submit' so forgive the references to Christmas-past!

We have a responsibility to speak what we believe, no matter what it is. As people we have this innate need to communicate. I admire it when I see this in others, whether or not I agree with what they believe. They are being true and trying to live a pure life, not denying parts of themselves for the sake of someone or something else.

And I can't help but imagine what it would look like if their beliefs changed, sometimes. Maybe it's just an active imagination, I'm not sure. But I do think it is a little bit of how God sees us and the potential within.

Sometimes the joy inside me wells up and I just have to write and speak. Right now, I am in the middle of finishing a project for class, but I had to stop and write this; put aside the work and just write.

I love writing, using the written word to craft and communicate. So here goes, another attempt at communicating!

What has really been coming home to me this term is that we need to work harder at listening. Most of the way we communicate isn't actually in the words that we say, but the words we don't say: our body language, facial expressions, where we spend our time, what we do and talk about with one another. I see a lack of listening that makes me sad and angry. So much heartache happens because we are so busy trying to be heard and don't take the time or effort to really see one another.

This Christmas season, when so many people feel overwhelming loneliness, I hope we put forth some more effort in being present with one another and hearing what our loved ones are saying. I think it's "Do you really see me? Am I loved? Am I alone?"

I know that I'm guilty of this. Both sides. We all have the need to belong.

If we take a moment we'll see that we ourselves are not alone. And maybe by seeing each other we will really be able to communicate and understand truth and love.

Friday, January 06, 2012

What do you want?

In writing the last post, I was looking for an unusual link to give more information on Dorothy Day's book The Long Loneliness and when I found Burnside Writers, it seemed intriguing. Coincidentally, one of the people involved with them is Donald Miller, of Blue Like Jazz fame..

Well, he's got a conference coming up that explores seeing your life as a story and how to share it with others. There's a big push toward this these days..of course, it's not new since the Bible is mostly story and our lives are mainly stories interspersed with facts, desires, fears, etcetera.

My biggest difficulty is that I feel I know what I want, but it's not really a tangible goal. The business-educated side of me gets quickly annoyed with that thinking, because measurables are how one knows goals are being met. Oh well! Best not think about it too logically, then, right?

But I can't help myself. I must think of it. Because 'it' is what my life is all about. I want to share my life with others, being wise in who to trust how much. Being vulnerable and trusting, but not just giving my heart to others expecting they will treasure it as I do. I can't find my worth in that since I know it's a losing situation. Giving my heart may be painful but I am hid in Christ and act out of the trust in that love.

Maybe it's all a sham- lots of people tell me this. But lots of people say lots of things and we need to sift through and find truth. If I believed everything everyone told me I'd be believing everything and essentially nothing because there are contradictions everywhere.

So what do you want? Because I hope you're going for it. To be educated in it, to work toward that, and live into it. Maybe it will change. Maybe you'll decide that was a totally wrong path to take. But at least you'll know. It's like that adage, 'better to love and lost than not to have loved at all'. Those who have know what I mean. Live life to its fullest. I don't mean that you have to be happy all the time; there will be lots of scrapes along the way- but fight for it.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Finally..Dorothy Day

So - I read a biography about Dorothy Day yesterday, only about 3 years after it was recommended to me. I have a dear friend who lives in an intentional Christian community house in the South Bronx, and reading that book showed me some of what I can tell has shaped her vision for it. We spent some quality time dreaming of living in the city, what it should look like among the poor, really living WITH people and being an active member of the community you live in, wherever it may be. I'm proud to be her friend. She's really doing it. Not without lots of bumps along the way I'm sure, but that's part of the blessedness, sharing in the brokenness.

The Catholic Worker is such a beautiful movement (at least, the image painted in the could be different now, I don't know). I'm sure in person many wouldn't call it beautiful, since there are many poor, dirty, foul people who are drawn to the houses of hospitality- but Dorothy's desire to not turn away any in need was beautiful to behold. And she really was quite firm in her convictions once she decided (in her 40s, I think) that seeking God through the Church was really the only way she should and wanted to live.

I'm inspired to read her book The Long Loneliness after that foray into discovering who she is and how she lived.