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.