Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year

Well, this is it. 2008.

I'm not exactly sure if I'm ready for a new year to begin, but I am certain I'm ready for this one to be over. This was a difficult year to say the least- stresses of student teaching, losing a relationship, questioning my calling, dealing with serious family health issues, really ridiculous/immature boy drama, loneliness, illness, fear, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on.

On the other hand, there have been some wonderful things that happened this year: I finished my student teaching, graduated from college, got a job, made new friends, reconnected with old friends and committed to going to Russia. But more than all of these things, I have grown a tremendous amount. I entered 2008 as a broken, hurting, confused, and scared girl. I didn't trust myself enough to believe that I had anything of real value to contribute to a conversation, a relationship, a classroom, or most importantly, the world. But at some point-in the midst of tears, questioning, hurting, and healing, it changed. I changed. I am not the same broken girl that stepped into 2008. I am whole again. My wounds have healed and are now replaced by scars-reminders of what was and no longer needs to be. I am stronger. I am wiser. I am more confident. And here is the biggest change of all: I like who I am, and love the life I live.

So welcome, 2009. I can only imagine the heartbreak, difficulties, joy and growth you hold.

Monday, December 29, 2008


I will blog again. Really.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I shouldn't be awake but for some reason, sleep won't come. As I was lying in bed, a memory from this past year came to mind. I'm not sure what sparked it but it made me think.

One night I was sitting in my room feeling unsettled emotions that I could not put my finger on. Jamie came into my room and asked me what was wrong. I told her I didn't really know, I just felt weird inside. She said that sometimes when she is upset or angry, she'll write down everything she can think of that is bothering her and then rip the paper up. I thought it was a stupid idea, so I tried it. I began writing:

Student teaching.
Don't want to teach.
Break up.

I began writing more and more until the entire page was covered with anxious thoughts, hurts, doubts, and brokenness. As I wrote faster I began to laugh...hysterically. I laughed so hard tears started streaming down my cheeks and Jamie looked on at me, laughing nervously. I don't think this was the reaction she had anticipated...but it wasn't over.

I continued to write. I continued to laugh. I continued to cry. And then I ripped the paper up. I ripped it into tiny pieces, somehow hoping this action would rid me of my cares and emptiness, my loss and confusion. It did not. My hysterical laughter turned into hysterical weeping. Months of anxiety, loneliness and hurt uncontrollably flooded out in the form of salty tears and painful sobs. Kristi, who had heard me from the other room, now sat on the floor beside me, stroking my hair and waiting for the pain...or at least the physical signs of stop.

That night I realized that buried burdens cannot go undetected forever. I saw the faces of my roommates and dear friends, wanting to help, yet completely unaware how deep the roots of my pain had buried themselves in my being. And as I layed on the floor that night, I realized that I was indeed carrying burdens but I was too tired to hide them, too weak to carry them, and too broken to fix them.

I'm not sure why that memory came to mind...except tonight I am able to look back and thank God for my brokenness for it has cultivated in me strength, beauty and most of all, faith.

Student teaching...over.
Don't want to teach...don't have to teach. not today
Break up...wholeness.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Well...I've done it. The deposit has been paid, the acceptance has been signed and I'm going to Russia. It is times like these that I realize there aren't enough words...or at least not the right words to accurately portray on the outside what happens within. But I'll do my best, though these words feel superficial and lacking to me tonight.

I am nervous. What will it be like? What if my team members don't like me? What if I don't like them? What if I regret my decision? What if I'm not a good teacher? What if I get hurt, or robbed, or sick? I've never had such high stake butterflies before. I am nervous.

I am heartsick. I am well aware that although I will not be here to share it, life will go on for my family and friends. I will miss barbecues and birthday parties, shopping trips and coffee dates. I will miss meaningful conversations and meaningless joking. I will miss Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just writing that brings tears to my eyes. I ache at the thought of being apart from my family and friends. I wonder how I will manage to make it through the joys and hardships without my mom or dad, brother, or best friends to share them with. I am heartsick.

I am excited. Never before have I allowed myself to so fully let go and trust. I believe God will move and I am excited to see how. I look forward to meeting new people and building new relationships. I am hopeful that I will learn to speak Russian and be better able to communicate with those my heart still aches for. I am confident I will learn, and change, and grow. I am ready to embark on a journey of my that is not prompted by another's interests or direction, but a journey born from my own experiences, woundedness, and calling. I am excited.

But above all, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that a shy, timid girl can find the strength and courage to step out in faith and into the her Father's plans. I am hopeful that a life as ordinary as my own is capable of doing extraordinary things. I believe it is possible to make a difference and I find hope in the fact that this is just another step in the journey, another chapter in the story. And whether this turns out to be the best or worst year of my life, it will also probably be one of the most transformative. I am hopeful.

Nervous. Heartsick. Excited. Hopeful.

All of these and yet so much more.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


"Carry the weight of your brother
Carry the weight of your sister
I'm not afraid to say I don't know

Carry the weight of your father
Carry the weight of your mother
I'm not ashamed to say I don't know, anymore

Carry the weight of your neighbor
Carry the weight of a stranger
I'm not afraid to say I don't know what to do

And so I carry the weight
Carry the weight
Carry the weight
Carry the weight
Carry the weight of each other
Carry the weight of another
I'm not afraid to say I don't know"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Step at a Time

The other day I had a strange experience that I can't stop thinking about. My co-teacher Erin and I were herding our children up the stairs towards the playground and I was helping one child (a particularly slow child) climb the stairs. As I held his hand and tried to hurry him along, he clung to the hand railing behind him while his feet moved forward. Clearly this wasn't going to work, so in attempt to explain to him why we weren't making any progress I said, "Carter, if you want to move forward, you have to let go." As soon as my ears heard my words, my heart felt them.

...If you want to move forward, you have to let go....

Can I be honest with you? I so desperately want to move forward but there is still fear in the letting go. How long have I clung on behind me while trying to move my feet forward? And how futile and exhausting my efforts! Sometimes we can only truly move forward if we are willing to let go of the past and those things that hold us back. I'm beginning to feel it now...the letting go. I see the steps in front of me and I'm slowly releasing my grip behind me. What is ahead, I surely don't know...but I'm ready for the journey. So here it is God, help me to let go but don't leave me empty handed.

Failed relationships.

I'm attempting to give it all to you, God. If I reach for it again, take my hand instead. If I look back, continue to nudge me forward. And if I get lost in my fear and anxiety, remind me there are too many things more important than my changing emotions. Here we go, and step at a time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So here is my attempt to continue blogging on a more regular basis...not because I think anyone really reads this but because it is so important for me to think and process the events of this life (and though I journal, I can certainly type faster than I can write!)

I am struggling to decide what to do with this life. I've just finished reading a book titled "The Irresistible Revolution: living as an ordinary radical" and it has challenged me to examine what it means to be a christian. By the standards of American Christianity, I think I do okay. However, I am not convinced God's view of Christianity is in line with America's view. That's big. Bigger than I want to talk about at the moment... but it's safe to say it has caused a lot of questions, discomfort, and restlessness lately.

In other news, I'm sitting at Forza, pretending to involved in this blog writing as a cover so I can engage in one of my all time favorite activities: people watching. Currently there is a little girl at the counter wearing jeans and giant black socks pulled over her jeans and up to her thighs. I understand parents letting their children dress themselves and I fully support the independence it gives them. However, I could put money on the fact that when this girl grows up and sees pictures she is going to wonder why her mother ever let her out of the house. My battery is about to I will you with this deep, very important question. What will you allow your children to wear?


Monday, October 20, 2008

To Do List

Life is crazy. Make a "to do" list.

1. make car payment
2. get supplies for kesher night
3. clean out car
4. return phone calls
5. blog/journal more
6. forgive
7. decide what/where the next year of your life will be

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I'm drinking water out of a mug because most of our dishes are packed and sitting in a room that looks bare and lonely. It's unavoidable now...change is here. I really dislike periods of transition. It is difficult to release my grip of what I've known and fully embrace that which is to come. Tomorrow I start my new job, and Wednesday I move in with the family that I've been babysitting for. What do I feel? Excitement. Dread. Anxiety. Relief. All of the above.

I've spent the past few hours going through my room and packing. I've tossed old notebooks filled with coursework that at one point consumed my life. I've come across old pictures of old friends. I've found letters and notes and things that have made me feel strange and sad and nostalgic. I feel the urge to call my mom and tell her about all this. I feel the need to hear her say that everything will be fine and my co-workers will like me and my move will go smoothly and this weird time of transition won't last forever. But I can't. She is out of the country without phone service. Perhaps it is better that way. Perhaps it is necessary. But as I sit in this room, surrounded bits of life packed into boxes, I feel a familiar feeling-a mixture of loneliness, anxiety, and excitement. I've felt this before and I know something is happening. I think they call it growing up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


A couple weeks ago I made up my mind to hike Mt. Si. My decision was based on boredom, pride, and a desire to feel both energized and exhausted by the same means. I had tried to hike this mountain a couple times before, but both times blisters and common sense became my defeat. So on that gray, cloudy, Tuesday morning I made up mind that blisters or not, I would reach the top.

I'm not a huge fan of doing things by myself. I almost always would prefer the company of a friend over the experience of solitude or independence. However, this year...and this summer especially...I have begun to see the beauty and value in time spent doing things on my own. But that's another story...

I felt really good for the first fifteen minutes. :-) There is this strange competitiveness that resides within me that I sometimes deny. However it wasn't long before it kicked in and I felt the need to pass the boy and man ahead of me. After all, I couldn't let a child and an old man beat me to the top! (Because apparently it was a race). I continued on and was feeling good about my pace, despite the fact that fatigue was beginning to set in. I thought to myself "keep going! You are doing great! You've probably gone about three miles already!" It was at this point that I came to my first mile marker. Mile 1.5. What? 1.5. What? 1.5.

Funny thing about mile markers. It doesn't really matter how many times you look at them...or how hard you wish them to change. They say what they say.

I hoped perhaps it was telling me that I had already gone 2.5 miles and I only had 1.5 miles left to hike! However I knew deep down that wasn't the case. But it didn't matter. I had made up my mind that today was the day to hike this mountain and I continued on. My legs were starting to burn and I continued to grow tired. I wondered how much farther it was to the top but each time my mind wandered to thoughts of distance or pain or fatigue, I just had to remind myself that I had a goal..a end in mind. And I wasn't going to stop until I reached it. Was there pain? Yes. Was I tired? Absolutely. Did I stop and turn around because it was just too difficult and I felt incapable of making it to the top? Nah.

It was somewhere between mile 3 and my calves exploding that it finally made sense. As weird as it may be, I randomly see things that happen in my life as analogies for life, God, and faith. And thankfully, on that cool Tuesday morning, my weirdness did not fail me. We are all climbing mountains of sorts. Some of us are standing on ground that is leveled. We are enjoying the view and praising God for the beauty that surrounds us. Some of us are hurting. The journey has left us sore, blistered, and bruised. And still others of us are just plain tired. It feels like we are constantly climbing uphill and we are running out of air. There must be an end somewhere but at this point the only thing one craves is rest.

By the time I made it to the top, I was tired, hungry and blistered. But I made it. And as I was standing on top of my goal this conversation played through my mind. It was a conversation I have had many times throughout my life...however, it was not until this day that end became clear.

God, I'm tired.
I know.
Maybe I should rest. Maybe I should turn around and try it another day.
Keep walking.
God it hurts.
I know. Pain produces strength.
It hurts too much. I need to stop.
Keep walking.
How much farther?
Elizabeth, do you trust me?
...what?...yes...I think so...
Elizabeth, do you trust me?
...sure...i mean, yeah...but how much farther?
Elizabeth, do you trust me? Do you believe I am good? Do you believe I have a plan?
Than does it really matter?

Rarely do I feel like God speaks directly to me but there was something about this day-this hike-this lesson that I honestly believe was from God. Two days later I would find out that the person I love and respect more than anyone in this world is sick and will need to undergo an intense and difficult treatment. Pain. Deep pain. I would think back on all of the occurances over the last year...make it the last three years... and wonder why. Fatigue. Deep fatigue. The image of continuing on the journey, up the hill, toward the goal, came to mind multiple times as I wallowed in my anger and confusion. I still do not understand. I expect I won't. "How much farther God? How much more pain? I'm tired!" But I'm trying to trust...I'm learning to trust.

Forgive me for the times I've rested too long or sought healing for my wounds in the wrong places. Forgive me for the times still ahead of me when I'll want to turn around and run in the opposite direction. I'm tired. I'm scared and I'm hurting and I'm tired. But I trust in you. Take my hand, God. I think I'm ready to continue walking...

Friday, July 25, 2008


Look around. What do you see?
Dreams hidden out of fear?
Reckless trust?
Cracks and scars? Love isn't perfect, you know.
Look away.
Insecurities. Doubt. Greed. Confusion. Lust. Hurt. Anger. Sin
It is beating...but for what?
Look Deeper.
Holes. Dark holes.
Ukraine. Longing. The future. Failed relationships. Death.
Hands in the air, face to the floor.
Take this beautiful, broken mess. I don't want it anymore.
May it belong to you...alone.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I really like life right now.

that is all.

Monday, July 14, 2008

to be known.

Tonight I went to Starbucks with my mom. As we sipped our blended lemonades, we talked about life and all of its craziness. I feel like there are so many changes and uncertainties right now that sometimes I feel like I have to give it my all just to hold on. I feel like I am at a different place in life than so many people who are close to me. I am struggling with different things, wanting different things, and doing different things. In many ways, I feel unknown.

I noticed my mom looking at me and asked her what was wrong. She said that tonight I look liked a little girl. A little girl? I felt slightly offended. A little girl, she said. She told me no one else would notice but that tonight I look liked a vulnerable, little girl.

And then we sat in silence... knowing and being known.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

the future.

"Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing You praise..."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dear Journal,

After I left church today, I came away thinking about the past year and the changes that it has brought. I began flipping through some of my journals and in them found deep hurt, joy, and above all, the unraveling of a bigger picture through answers to prayer.

December 17, 2005
"Look at my life now. My family, my church, my school, the people around me, the decisions I make...for the most part they are safe. People would probably think my life to be a success if I graduated college, became a a teacher, got married, had kids, and lived a "good" life. I can't help but wonder what does God have to say about that? I wonder if that would be how he would define success for my life. The way I see it is there are plenty of people who would love to live a life like that and will search for nothing more. And perhaps that is okay. But what could God do with me if I was willing? If I layed down my dreams before him...?! If I gave him my dreams of a husband, a teaching job, children, and ultimately my security and layed them before his feet. How would things be different? In what ways would the direction of my life change? Maybe nothing would change or maybe nothing could stay the same..."

June 20, 2007
"...Lord, protect me as I travel to Ukraine. Break my heart, but Lord, show me what to do with the pieces. I am anxious and you have told me to be anxious about nothing. Give me peace. I am weak but I believe that you will be my strength. Help me to rest in your promises. I give you this trip. Change me."

September 23, 2007
" and in church, the pastor said, "God does not waste pain" and I found that to be such a powerful statement. When I look back on the sturggles and heartache in my life, I can see how God used those to shape me and teach me valuable lessons. Lord teach me-and if I am unteachable, break me."

November 24, 2007
"...Lord, what do I do now? Where do I go from here when my everyday life has lost so much significance in light of larger things? God, my life is safe and mapped out. But is my plan really your plan? I don't want it anymore. Nothing makes sense. I need clarity. I need direction. I need wisdom..."

December 13, 2007
"...what do you want from me? I've lost my best friend, I'm dreading my student teaching and I no longer know what I want for my future. You broke my heart in Ukraine and left the wound wide open. I feel annoyed, lonely, and hopeless..."

January 6, 2008
"...'this too shall pass' right? I feel crazy. I need to use this time. I can't keep hurting and questioning like this. Become you, Elizabeth. Change. Who does God want you to be? How is that different from who you are? Get up, do something..."

February 9, 2008
"For as long as you can remember, you have been a pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity. You need not look at that in a negative way. You wanted to give your heart to others, and you did so quickly and easily. But not you are being asked to let go of these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you..."
~Henri Nouwen

April 27, 2008
"Last night at church the sermon was about work. The pastor talked about how so many of us are unhappy with our jobs ad yet work takes up more time in our lives than anything else. We are always telling ourselves 'if only'...or 'when this happens' then we will be happy. Wow. I am so guilty of this. But the fact of the matter is if we can't be happy today, we're not going to be happy tomorrow. We are perpetually dissatisfied when we fail to be content with what today offers. The reality is if we have food and shelter, we should be thanking God because our needs have been met. We must thank God that for our jobs-that we have something to do, and that it is good. Often times student teaching overwhelms me. I keep telling myself that when I graduate, then I will be happy. But will I? I have seven more weeks. I pray that they pass quickly but that I don't take them for granted..."

May 7, 2008
"Lord thank you for today. Thank you for little things like flowers and huge things like answered prayers. You know my heart, my dreams, my fears, and my insecurities. I know you have a plan. I ask you continue to reveal it with great clarity. Be with my friends in Ukraine. They are lost, hurt and broken. But aren't we all..."

May 18, 2008
"I am sitting on the front steps of my house and it is so beautiful outside. I love it! I feel good about life when the sun is shining :-) The ending of a school year is the perfect time for reflection. Lord, thank you for the tears and the laughter. I still struggle with thanking you in the hard times but they have been, and continue to be so valuable. I've learned a great deal about my self, life and God this year. And though it has been very difficult, God has interspersed moments of peace, joy, and awe. I feel like I appreciate the little things in life more now. I find great joy in a cup of coffee or writing in my journal on a sunny step. And that is what life is about...appreciating the little things. Reality is that life is hard but God is good and he shows his goodness in so many ways."

May 20, 2008
"...Bangs were a bad choice..."

May 24, 2008
"Last night as I was driving home from hanging out with Katie, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. There hae been some very difficult experiences this year. Looking back in my journal is a reminder that things have not alwyas been happy. But not that I am coming to a crossroad in my life (graduation) I can look back with new eyes and great thankfulness for what God has done in my life. I am thankful that I am single. I am thankful for my experience student teaching. I'm thankful for the times of loneliness for they have created in me greater independence and appreiciation for friendship. So today as I sit out in the sun, I feel feel thankful for what has been and I look forward for what is yet to come."

June 10, 2008
"So it begins. A new chapter in an old life. Here it is, Lord. I give it to you. God, I pray that you will guide me where you want me and give me the strength to do it the right way. You know my desires and fears. Do with them what you wish. Make me like you."

June 23, 2008
"If I have learned anything this year, it is that no matter how much I count down or wish a circumstance to be over, there will always be more obstacles down the road. Sometimes I struggle with finding the good in today. I don't want to just try and get through it. I want to live. LIVE. I'm tired of feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I need peace and patience. God, you know the ugliness of my heart...the insecurities and sin. Forgive me. Make me new. I need to hear from you and I need direction for this upcoming year. If I am to teach, I ask that you open that door. If I am to do something else, open that door. I need you. I feel overwhelmed.This is not a time to give up but rather, become new. What do you have, Lord? I'm watching and waiting..."

June 26, 2008
"...good day. Weird day. Good day. My heart and plans are yours. Protect and transform them. Here we go again..."

Weird that I just wrote out pieces from my journal. Weird that so many of the struggles I thought would disappear once summer arrived, have only intensified. I walked to gasworks by myself tonight and sat up on the hill. Ordinarly, I would have loved to have a friend come along. I'm not a big fan of being by myself and I've had my fair share of time alone this summer (no job :-() But I'm beginning to see a purpose in my loneliness. I need to stop relying on others to validate and entertain me. I must admit, I've never been more ready to work but I'm trying to view this time as an opportunity to learn and grow. Another lesson to add to the journal :-)

Life is crazy. That is all for now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

in hope

"...and in their pain began to sing
their chains were loosed
and they were free..."

Monday, April 21, 2008


Tonight I was supposed to meet a friend so I drove over to SPU and waited. We ended up rescheduling but while I was there, I walked through campus and felt a strange sadness I did not expect to feel. I looked up at the big windows of Moyer and thought about the time I built gingerbread houses in the "1.5" or stayed up late studying. Thoughts of my friends from freshman year and the adventures we had came to mind. I thought about sophomore year and all of the tears but also all of the laughter. A year of firsts. I thought about junior year and moving into the step closer to independence. I thought about the golf games, staying up late, walking to 711, baking eclairs, selling tulips, cramming, and watching movies.

I went up to the University Ministries office and there too, I was reminded of what has already been. I saw my Latreia coordinator notebook and flyers for SPRINT. I thought of the hours I had spent in the office or in cadre. So many memories...good and bad flooded my mind.

Life changes. Sometimes I think we don't even realize that big changes have already occurred until something stands as a reminder to what was. In many ways I feel like I've already left SPU but have forgotten to say goodbye. Student teaching keeps me away from campus and the one night that I'm there, I'm usually so ready to be home that I don't stick around to feel like a student. I don't know how I feel about things. On one hand I'm so excited for graduation. I feel like I'm in this awkward in between time. I no longer feel like a student but I'm certainly not being paid for the hard work that goes into student teaching. I think I'm ready to step forward from this. But that means saying goodbye to a huge, life changing chapter in my life. Ready or a little over a month that is exactly what I'll be doing. So I'll set my mind to enjoying this time while it lasts and thanking God for the memories and lessons that I have learned along the way.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Yesturday was a beautiful day to me. Here's why:
-I woke up at 7:45 (my choice)
-I played in the park with a 5 year old
-I saw all of the parents with their kids in the park and suddenly got excited about what is yet to come in my life
-Ethan and I went to Julia's bakery. I read Star Wars to him while he successfully made a mess of his chocolate chip muffin
-We played with sidewalk chalk
-I got paid to play
-I ate my leftovers from the spaghetti factory
-I painted my nails -toes and fingers
-I wore flip flops for the first time this year
-I sat out on our front "porch" for an hour and read and wrote in my journal
-I watched to kids down the street eat ice cream sandwhiches and I felt almost giddy thinking about summer
-Todd and I got Jamba Juice and vistited in a park
-Andrea and I went to IHOP at 9:00 last night. What a wonderful thing stuffed french toast is.

My day was wonderful and the perfect reminder that often in the midst of chaos and stress, God will send little things (like sunshine and warmth) to brighten our day (literally) and remind us of the beauty in life. Thanks, God.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Walk On

"Yesterday, when you were young,
everything you needed done was done for you.
Now you do it on your own but you find you're all alone,
what can you do?

You and me walk on
cause you can't go back now.
You know there will be days
when you're so tired that you can't take another step,
The night will have no stars
and you'll think you've gone as far as you will ever get
but you and me walk on
cause you can't go back now and yeah, yeah,

go where you want to go
be what you want to be,
If you ever turn around,
you'll see me.

I can't really say why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
but in the end,
the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself
and you and me walk on yeah you and me walk on
cause you can't go back now
walk on,
walk on,
walk on
you can't go back now..."

Sunday, April 6, 2008


For better or worse, I am an emotional person. I think it has only been within the past few years that I've been able to admit to that. In some ways, I see this as a good thing. My heart is easily broken for those who hurt and suffer. It does not take much for me to empathize with another or want to ease another's pain. On the other hand, I sometimes experience such joy that my stomach feels as if it is about to burst. It is a wonderful feeling that I honestly can't find the words to fully explain. Yes, I am emotional. I feel things deeply-both joy and sorrow

But what an awful thing being an emotional person can be. I feel like one day I can be on top of the world and the next I can't seem to climb out from under the weight of the world. God, what purpose is there in this? All I know is that tonight I feel loneliness and dread. And no matter how much I try to talk myself out of it or remind myself what a wonderful life I have, my heart continues to ache. What am I doing? Why am I like this?

Snap out of it, Elizabeth. Life is bigger than yesterday, today, tomorrow, and especially your emotions.

I need peace.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

a house made of cards

“The real damage is done by those millions who want to just ’survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left alone in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bad guys won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn: fidelity to Christ.”
Sophie Scholl

Friday, April 4, 2008

here we go again...

I do not understand why I feel the way that I so often do. Where does this anxiety come from? Lord, God, I don't see the reason or purpose for this...but I'll trust that you do.

"Courage does not always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."
~Mary Anne Radmacher

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Dear Elizabeth,

Why do you worry so much? And why are you so awkward? These are two things you should probably work on.

In other news, today was yet another beautiful day. But try to be a bit more productive tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dear Elizabeth,

Dear Elizabeth,

You came upon a letter today that you wrote to yourself in high school. Make sure you hide was pretty embarrassing and you wouldn't want anyone to stumble upon it. But it talked about who you were, who you wanted to be, and what you wanted to remember about life on March 10, 2002. Reading it again today, it made you realize that so many of your dreams have already come true and that there are still so many dreams ahead of you. But you must not live solely for them. Remember today as well.

Elizabeth, today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and you could feel that spring weather is on its way. And you're on spring break and you've already had time to relax, sleep in, and have fun...and you're not even halfway through break! Life is good! And despite what you might feel at are so lucky to be in school. You have the opportunity to learn and grow and be challenged. Please try to remember that next Monday when your alarm goes off at 6:30am.

And your friends. Elizabeth, you have some pretty great friends. Make the time for them. You're busy, yes. You're tired, yes. You have to get up early, yes. But they are amazing people and you truly do need them in your life.

You started eating healthier and working out again. Go you. But do it for the right reasons. Do it to feel good. Do it to be healthy. Do it for the energy you'll gain. But please don't compare yourself. You're so good at comparing yourself but it's time you focused your energy on accepting yourself.

Like I said, today was a beautiful day. Remember to thank God for it. And when you're feeling down or worn out...remember that days like today will come once again and it won't be long before you're reading this again, wondering how time could pass so quickly.


Monday, March 31, 2008

starting over

This has been a challenging year for me...perhaps the depressing nature of many of my blogs makes this evident. However, I cannot begin to express the lessons I have learned as a result of the trials and changes. The problem is that because it has been a hard year, I sometimes think this school year has to come to an end before things will start to improve.

This weekend I went to Portland and it was a time or relaxation, craziness, and fun. Basically, it was everything I've been needing. And while I was in Portland I realized that somewhere along the road, I stopped living and began to do nothing more than exist. I suppose that hurt, stress, and exhaustion might make it easy for one to find it difficult to just make it through the day but oh how much I miss when this becomes my reality. I've been a rut that I desperately need to climb out of.

Yesterday, I had the realization that this rut is choice that I must refuse to choose. There are aspects of my life that are beyond my control. There are still difficult things that I will experience...there always be. But what a wonderful time in my life that my choice to exist has blinded me from. I am so thankful for good friends, good times, and the chance to start over at any point. Hello, new life...I'm so excited to LIVE you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I have a wonderful friend named Katie.

She is single.

She would like you to know that.

When anxiety was great within...

"Today, O Lord, I felt intense fear. My whole being seemed to be invaded by fear. No peace, no rest; just plain fear: fear of mental breakdown, fear of living the wrong life, fear of rejection and condemnation, and fear of you. O Lord, why is it so hard to overcome my fear? Why is it so hard to let your love banish my fear? Only when I worked with my hands for a while did it seem that the intensity of the fear decreased.

I feel so powerless to overcome this fear. Maybe it is your way of asking me to experience some solidarity with the fearful people all over the world: those who are hungry and cold in this harsh winter, those who are threatened by unexpected guerrilla attacks, and those who are hidden in prisons, mental institutions, and hospitals. O Lord, this world is full of fear. Make my fear into a prayer for the fearful. Let that prayer lift up the hearts of others. Perhaps then my darkness can become light for others, and my inner pain a source of healing for others.

You, O Lord, have also known fear. You have been deeply troubled; your sweat and tears were the signs of your fear. Make my fear, O Lord, part of yours, so that it will lead me not to darkness but to the light, and will give me a new understanding of the hope of your cross.

~Henri Nouwen

I have been struggling with a lot of anxiety lately. There have been so many changes in my life this year and so many that are in my near future. I suppose much of my anxiety comes from the unknown and uncomfortable. However, I must daily make the decision to surrender my anxiety and choose peace. I can only take one day at a time. The future will always be unknown and the present will always have apsects that are uncomfortable or bothersome. It is my choice how I choose to respond to these situations and whether or not I give them the power to control me.

But lately, I have also been reminded how important gratitude is and the transforming power it can have on our lives. On Sunday I went to church with Emily and heard a man who is a pastor of a church in Ukraine. He discussed how easy it is for those of us who have our needs met (and more) to take for granted what an amazing thing that is. So many people don't have what they need to even survive let alone to live the types of lives here in America, we see as normal. I remember when I was in Ukraine thinking about all that I take for granted. I would have paid big money for a cold glass of water, some time alone, or food that didn't immediatly make me lose my appetite. Now that I have all of those things within in my reach, I don't think twice about them. This must change. This week I will look for those blessings, I will seek out the simple joys in life and if I feel the anxiety of today and my future begin to cloud my perspective again, I will thank God that he has given me both. Today and a future.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Today was not a good day.
I don't know what to do anymore. There is an aching emptiness in my heart left by the children of Ukraine. However I have not the words to express my thoughts and feelings and so I am left wondering, waiting, and questioning alone. I cannot explain the sense of urgency I feel or the fear I have of settling into a comfortable life and finding it too difficult to then surrender such security. Life is SO much bigger than this. I know this now. I feel it deep inside of who I am. But its hard when it feels like everyone else finds contentment in the familar. And perhaps thats fine...but I cannot accept the life that I planned out so long ago. So until we meet again...

"The wind is blowing down the quiet river,
a shining road that carries you alone.
Baby boy my love will last forever.
If you're to live, I must give you up to God.

I know our God will guide, protect and keep you.
Teach you faith and hold you by the heart.
Though your mother's heart is broken by your leaving,
her Father knows just who he is and who you are.

I wish that life wasn't always ending up this way,
with Heaven's love at stake and hell to pay.
But you in God's loving plan might be the missing part.
You must live. So I give you to his heart.

The wind is blowing down the silent river,
a shining road that leaves me all alone.
A life for you's worth losing you forever.
Some day we'll stand in God's fair land, forever home.

I wish that life wasn't always ending up this way,
with Heaven's love at stake and hell to pay.
But you in God's loving plan might be the missing part.
You must live.So I give you to his heart.

I wish that life wasn't always ending up this way
with Heaven's love at stake and hell to pay.
But you in God's loving plan might be the missing part.
You must live. So I give you to his heart."

too much.

I think part of growing up is realizing that people are different. We do not all have the same opinions, beliefs, or points of view (nor should we). I've had a difficult time in school being introduced to new ideas and beliefs. I've been challenged to re-evaluate much of what I have been brought up to believe or have come to believe on my own. I have changed and I have stayed the same as a result of my newfound knowledge. Some of the issues that we have discussed in my classes I have no real opinion on and I don't intend to spend a lot of time trying to develop opinions on issues that no one will ever have answers to. I think life passes too quickly and we are called to more than simply engaging ourselves in carousel conversations. But when the topic of conversation shifts to injustices or inequality, I find myself challenged to re-evaluate my own beliefs and lifestyle. Knowledge is beautiful in the sense that it opens your eyes to a whole new world, however it also pushes you into a perspective that you cannot turn back on. There is a great burden that comes with knowledge. I am trying to balance what I've grown up to believe, what the people that I love and respect believe, what I've learned in my classes, what my own experiences have taught me and what I've learned about the experiences of others around the world. And sometimes the weight of everything is too much. I want to rise above apathy but I find forming my own opinions can sometimes be a lonely, scary, and difficult process to go through.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kid quote of the day.

"Miss Miles, I've started writing songs. I've already written some. One is about Elvis's collar, I've written one about pizza and I just finished one about dogs in the desert."

"Wow, Julia, that's great."

"Yeah, you don't even need lessons to do it. I'm really good."

Kids are amazing.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Tonight as I was walking to my car, I realized how quickly time passes. I cannot believe that I will be graduating in one quarter. I still remember the morning I left for college my freshman year, lying on my bed and crying-filled with sadness for what I was leaving behind and anxiety for what lie ahead. And now I am on the brink of starting a new chapter in my life and I once again feel a bit of sadness for what I am leaving behind. My four years at SPU have been anything but easy, but they have been more than transforming. I've experienced times of depression. I've hurt friends and been hurt by friends. I lost my grandpa. My mom broke her hip. I've struggled financially, academically, and physically. I've questioned my faith. I had my heart broken by the orphans of Ukraine and I am still wondering what I am supposed to do with the pieces. I said goodbye to my boyfriend and thus, my best friend. I've questioned my plans for the future. I've felt lonely and unsure. Yet in between all of the hard times, there have been times of immense joy and happiness. I have made amazing friends, laughed so hard it hurt, and felt the joy of a job well done. I've been challenged by my classes. I watched my brother get married and my friends get engaged. Through my experiences in Ukraine I've come to realize (or start to at least) how much bigger God is than I ever thought he could be. I met my SPRINT team (aka the loves of my life) and have been encouraged by their presence in my life. And as I look back I can begin to see how God has used the pain, confusion, and heartache to teach me lessons and bring me to places I never knew he would take me. I can honestly say I wouldn't trade or change my life for anything. And as I say goodbye to an incredibly meaningful place and time in my life, I am welcoming in a new one; full of pain and joy, tears and laughter, successes and disappointments. Perhaps I'm in a bit of a sentimental mood tonight but the more I reflect on all I've been through and all there is to come, I can only think of one word to describe how I'm feeling.


Sunday, March 2, 2008


1. I changed to blogspot because I couldn't figure out how to use the other one very well and more importantly...Katie's was cuter than mine. Now there is a striking similarity. Sorry, Nesty. So I copied my other posts to their new home.

2. I can't find the right music to match my mood

3. I think life is going to different from what I was expecting. I only hope I have the courage to allow it to be.

4. I liked church tonight. I loved this:
We say, "I can't" to Jesus.
He says, "I never said you could...but I can..."

How often do I try to do things through my own strength and effort and how often am I faced with failure and disappointment!?! God is so much bigger than I allow him to be.

ya loo-blue tib-ya

"You and me

me and you

there's so much that

we've been through

through it all I've come to understand God's love

and if tomorrow never comes

know this twice, just know this once

knowing you has made me able to go on.

You and me

Me and you

there couldn't be a better two
to be blessed to know the meaning of true love

and if you leave me

I'll feel scared...

...fall apart, feel unprepared

but I dare to make it through all on my own

Yes, I dare to make it through all on on my own."

In a Funkyfunk

Near breakdown today. Near? Well…maybe breakdown today. I think I’m in a funk that comes and goes and I really need to break out of it. I just feel so weird. Its like I’m suddenly realizing that in a few months I will be graduating and life will be so different. Don’t get me wrong, I’m SO ready to be done with homework, and tests, and always feeling one step behind. Especially now that I’m student teaching I feel like no matter how much I do, I’m never done and quite frankly, it’s overwhelming. But its more than that. I think when I went home and I got my wisdom teeth out and then returned to school I realized how good it feels sometimes just to be taken care of. To have my mom or my dad by my side…knowing that for a while I am safe and comfortable and I can go untouched by the pressures and stresses of life. Perhaps that sounds immature or pathetic but it’s how I feel and I can’t help but think how quickly life is changing. I am doing my best to see each day for what it is- a gift and an opportunity that I can never have back. And some days I can appreciate the beauty in that. But this week (like many in the past) I am struggling to view life that way. I just feel worn down and ragged. I long for a break from life but I know it would only bring temporary relief. True happiness only comes from enduring such trials and changes and seeing them as opportunites for growth and change. Lord, I need perspective.
Nevertheless, I see growth and I know it is the result of the trials and hurts I’ve experienced. Last night as I was laying in bed I started thinking about Ukraine. At times, I hated being there. Thats harsh, but honest. I was so out of my comfort zone, so far beyond what felt familiar or even within my abilities to endure. I often found myself struggling just to make it through the day. And now, I look back and long to be there. I would give anything to see my kids again, to hug them or play volleyball or the ever popular hand games. Yet at the time it seemed so commonplace, I did not always find great signficance or joy the little things for the perceived difficulty of my trip often clouded my view. And the more I think about it, the more I realize the only difference between then and now is location. Life is hard. It is. And there are days when the only thing you can do is seek the strength to make it through that day, that hour. But the past has taught me that the hardest times can also be the richest. I have little doubt that I will look back on this year and remember it as a difficult, yet transforming time in my life. Today was hard…but there’s always tomorrow! That kind of sounds more optimistic than I actually feel right now but whatever. It’s the truth.
“ Morning brings a hunger for new eyesThat have been covered by the hurt of yesterdayWho could create in me the vision of a little child?It’s youYou take an ordinary dayAnd turn it into flowers like the month of MayYes you doYou see all my painYou cry over it for hours till I’m new againYes you do
When I have been a victim of familiarityWhen my heart has fallen into sleepHealing is the voice that awakens meAnd it is you”

An Ordinary Day

I used to admire people who appear to truly know who they are. Confident, independent, and driven…qualitites I sometimes only wished to one day obtain. The more I think of it, the less I am certain that I’ve ever really known who I am. But the past few months I have realized that I am gaining something far more valuable than the knowledge of who I am…I am coming to see who I want to be. There has been something so humbling about letting go of my plans and securities. Fear is present in the uncertain but this time there has been a whisper of peace encouraging me to press on. I still sometimes lie in my bed, feeling completely alone and void of hope and wonder what it is exactly I’m doing. Am I trying to be brave? Because I am still lost and searching for so many answers. Do I have something to prove to someone? Because in the end, it does not matter what anyone thinks of me. Can I really do this? Because some days I can barely find the strength to make it through the day. But then, in the ordinariness of ordinary days, I find hope and strength that without such questioning and heartache, I would have easily overlooked. Its funny how life teaches us things. Sometimes the lessons that we’ve been needing to learn having been waiting in sun that rises every morning, the person we pass daily, or the opportunity we are ordinarily too busy to accept. And suddenly, the emptiness, and hurt, and confusion finds itself in the company of new beginnings and the excitement of growth. So who am I? I still can’t answer that fully. I am a student, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, a nanny, a neighbor, a roommate, and a face you can choose to see or not. I am broken and healing. I am weak and I am strong. I am stupid and I am learning. My heart is easily broken (for better or worse). I struggle with finding the right words at the right times. I constantly doubt and compare myself. I can be lonely in a crowd of people. But somehow who I am no longer defines who I can become and my weaknesses give me hope for my future. Life is waiting and none of this really matters anymore…it might be part of who I am, but already God has proven to be greater than all of my expectations. I have a hope that I did not expect to feel and I am confident that great things, whether they be big or small, are on the horizon. So today, I feel hopeful. Tomorrow, who knows. I’m just going to take it one ordinary day at a time.

A Boy Named Oleg

I met a boy who was brave without knowing it, who offered love without ever fully experiencing it for himself, and who gave without expectation of anything in return. And I wonder if he knows that I pray for him and think of him daily. I wonder if he hopes to one day have a family or if he found something in today to fill him with joy. I wonder who comforts Masha at night when she has siezures or who tells Natasha that no matter what anyone has done to her, she remains a precious and beautiful child of God. And then I wonder how I can discuss the latest book I’ve read, or what test best measures comprehension and does that even matter any more? Four years of schooling and thousands of dollars of debt tells me that it should. Five weeks and a broken heart tell me that it can’t. Take my hand, God, the path is unclear and I fear losing you in myself.