A Before & After Tale

“You don’t handle change very well,” said G. I looked up, shocked by the frankness, but not stung by the truth the words carried. I had just finished part of a long rant of my frustrations and confusions to this new friend of mine. It was one of those long-winded talks where your heart starts to pour itself into listening ears and the words refuse to stop flowing out.

“It’s okay, I don’t either,” she followed up with a smile. So I breathed a sigh of relief and gave a nervous laugh.

Truth be told, I don’t handle many adverse situations well. Hooray for being human!

These are my confessions (just try to get the Usher song out of your head now, I dare you): I run from pain. I shut people out to lessen my chances of emotional suffering. I don’t like asking for help. When I am hurt by others, I tend to hold mean, nasty grudges. And no, I don’t handle change very well.

Which would probably explain why a little over a week after turning 26, moving from rural West Texas to the greater Boston area, jobless, and in the middle of a freaking scary and unsettling faith shift, I was crying in my closet on the first night in my new room.

*side note- It’s a nice closet to cry in. Plenty of space to stretch out and roll around in my misery a little bit if I so choose.

I don’t know when or why I started doing this – not crying in closets…that’s been happening since middle school, and can be cathartic in good measure – but I began to view the metaphorical glass of my life as half empty. Thoughts like…

“You’re not good enough, and no matter how hard you try, you still won’t ever be good enough.

You’re unlovable.

Nothing will change, and nothing will get better.

People suck and can’t be trusted.

Don’t even think about getting your hopes up,”

…started to pervade my mind and shape my worldview. And let me tell you guys, this is a NASTY headspace to be in, because you start to hate yourself, and then it makes you hate other people and life in general and then you’re in a swirly dark vortex and not even fistfuls of dark chocolate paired with a bottle of Arbor Mist Strawberry Moscato can help you. Oh man, now I’m craving dark chocolate and Arbor Mist Strawberry Moscato.


Switching gears. It’s been several months since I wrote ^^all of that^^ and I’m now in a different place in my life, which is wonderful. Because guess what- Things did change! Things got better! Wow! I could go into my whole process and blab about that for the next 25 years, but I’ll spare you…at least in this post. *smirks* What I want to capture here is where I’ve come from and where I’m at today. Some of you who keep up with this blog/my life in general, bless your souls, know that I’ve been writing poetry again. It’s been a massive part of getting back in touch with my creative energy, and it’s also been way therapeutic and healing for my soul. Win-win situation. I’ve mostly kept those writings private, but I’m ready to share at least one poem with y’all now. Whew, palms are sweating. This is called “As Water.” I hope you like it (and if you don’t, hey, that’s cool too).


3.14.18 As Water

[photo cred: me // taken in Orange, CA]

A Late, Late, Late Night Ramble

It’s nearly 2 in the morning and I’m wide awake. This isn’t unusual for me. The witching hour and I have been well acquainted for several years now, and insomnia is my homie. My habit has been to stay in bed, tossing and turning and feeling like total junk because I SIMPLY CANNOT FALL ASLEEP. But earlier tonight—I guess it would be yesterday if we want to be technical—a woman older and wiser than I was telling me that she struggles with the same issue, and that finally she started to get up and do things around the house, knit, etc. instead of also feeling like junk because she simply cannot fall asleep either.

I decided to follow her lead and be at least a little productive until my body decides it’s ready to crash. So far, I have filled in my planner and gotten a head start in figuring out how my week will look, started listening to Mat Kearney’s Just Kids album, wrote a poem, and now I’m here. Working on a blog post. It’s a bit of babbling, but there’s also something I want to talk about. It struck me earlier when I was brushing my teeth. One of those things.

My life has changed a lot in the past couple of years. I also think that I have changed a lot. Like, not a lot, a lot. I’m still ~me~ and all that. It’s like this, y’all: I’m in my mid-20’s and I thought I had all the things figured out until I realized in a rather harsh and unpleasant and mean kind of way that I had next to nothing figured out. Which sucked on an exponential level. And then over time it sucked a little less. Now it’s becoming exciting. Still confusing, but I’m learning to live and thrive in what I call this “tension of not knowing” instead of despising it or wishing it away.

Am I making sense? Did I mention that it’s nearly 2 in the morning and this is almost pure stream of consciousness? You’re welcome.

But here was the thought that came as I was teeth brushing. As I was going through my personal rollercoaster—think Texas Giant at Six Flags—a lot of the relationships in my life were affected by the crazy ride. Friendships were tested. Majorly. Some are still present with me, and some are not. And I guess I wanted to write about this because I wish that Me from two years or even a year ago had some kind of resource or voice to walk her through that time. I think a lot of us are well-versed in how to deal with romantic versions of heartbreak or loss, or at least we know there are magazines and blogs and books aplenty that broach the subject. But, the loss of friends? Of people I thought would be in my life, you know, more permanently? I didn’t know what to do at all when the rubber met the road. I was so ill-prepared. I made mistakes. I was hurt, and I most certainly was hurtful, whether any of it was intentional or not.

In a sense, I guess this is like a letter to my younger self, even though of course she won’t read it and it’s fruitless to try and change the past. Maybe this is more important, that I’ll have a reader who needs to see this and it will be like a digital hug for them.

What I’m trying to say is, at some point in your life, you’re gonna go through something tough, or maybe a fair number of tough somethings. I’m not even attempting to scare you here. It just is what it is. Keep breathing. And when that time comes, you may feel like the world as you know it has shattered and you’ve lost all your bearings and you might be wondering who you can trust and who could possibly understand what’s happening inside of you. That’s normal. It’s awful, but it’s normal. It’s not wrong, and there’s no need to feel ashamed. I would like to encourage you to start with trusting yourself, but I know that can be shaky and next to impossible. If you have a relationship with God, pour into that. If not, that’s alright too. Really, it’s alright. There’s still yoga and iced lattes and butterflies and night drives and babies to cuddle. Go for a run, even though you hate running and you think the runner’s high is a load of utter BS. Let the run turn into a walk, and pay attention to how the sun feels on your skin. Take it a day at a time, or in even smaller increments. One hour at a time, one minute, one moment. Binge watch New Girl and laugh until you cry, and then cry just to cry and know that it’s not against the law to do so, especially when your heart is broken. It’s okay to be angry, too, even though I know that particular emotion frightens you. If someone asks how you’re doing, be honest. You don’t have to divulge everything that hurts, but you might be pleasantly surprised by their response. You might also be super offended and realize that’s a person who isn’t on the same frequency as you. I repeat, that’s okay. You don’t have to force it. It doesn’t make you a jerk, and it doesn’t make them an enemy. Know that certain bonds were only meant to last a given amount of time. This is the hardest lesson, the one about impermanence. Finally, know that you have people who will love you through some of your ugliest, nastiest moments. You won’t understand this. You don’t need to. Tell them, “thank you.” Tell them, “I love you.” While you’re at it, tell yourself, “I love you” too. Spoiler alert- you’re gonna make it through this.


[photo cred: me // this was taken somewhere in Middle of Nowhere, New Mexico a few years back]

(nearly three months later) Greetings from New England!

*flips light switch*

Oh, good! My blog is still here. Boy howdy, I’ve been busy. School, work, lyfe. You know how it goes. But I realize I haven’t shared like, anything, here about my time in Boston thus far. So I’ll fork over some bits and pieces of things I’ve seen and places I’ve gone.

By the way, I have to mention that I am in love with this place. Absolutely smitten. I love the excitement of the city, the history and the culture. The restaurants and coffee shops are out of control, and I’ve barely even scratched the surface of either scene. I’ve been able to meet some super fun and awesome people through my program and local events. I feel like I can be myself…whoever that is…which is kind of a big deal. I’m happy, and I’m grateful. Pass me some confetti, please.

All the poems scattered throughout are by Mary Oliver. I’ve been slowly making my way through her writing since the spring. She’s really something else. I’m slightly obsessed. It’s fine. Now, without further ado…

The Emerald Necklace kissed by shades of autumn

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There is a heaven we enter
through institutional grace
and there are the yellow finches bathing and singing
in the lowly puddle.

Widener Library at Harvard University…gotta live up to the blog’s namesake here!

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“It’s not the weight you carry

but how you carry it—
books, bricks, grief—
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

The Green Monster peeking over the walls of Fenway Park

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Everyone should be born into this world happy and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!

A Saturday afternoon viewing of Watson and the Shark by John Singleton Copley

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If God exists he isn’t just churches and mathematics.
He’s the forest, He’s the desert.
He’s the ice caps, that are dying.
He’s the ghetto and the Museum of Fine Arts.

The rather intimidating stare of Alexander Hamilton

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Oh, let there be a wedding of the
mind and heart, if not today
then soon.

Meanwhile, let me change my own life
into something better.

Can you see why I always wanted to take the long way walking to my babysitting job?

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Oh, Lord, how we are all for invention and advancement!
But I think
it would do us good if we would think about
these brothers and sisters, quietly and deeply. 

The trees, the trees, just holding on
to the old, holy ways.

And this is the long way to my other babysitting job…hehe. #spoiled

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the whole afternoon went on
that way until I thought
I could feel
the almost born things

in the earth rejoicing. As for myself,
I just kept walking, thinking:
Once more I am grateful
to be present.

The Liturgists Podcast, live from Reservoir Church in Cambridge. FUH-REAKING amazing.

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Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Boston Common–Like I even need a reason to spend time in this part of the city, but wowww. 

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Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this too, was a gift.

Somewhere in scenic Beacon Hill…the heart eyes abound…

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I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.

As for the body, it is solid and strong and curious and full of detail; it wants to polish itself; it wants to love another body; it is the only vessel in the world that can hold, in a mix of power and sweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas, ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.

 Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.


Southern California Revisited

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” -Søren Kierkegaard 

I first came across the texts of Kierkegaard when I was cataloging books in a research library a few years ago. I haven’t read any of his works; he was a theologian and an existential philosopher, and to be honest, I’ve never been able to navigate the topics of theology and philosophy with much finesse. But when I came across this quote of his, courtesy of Google, I found it fitting for the topic at hand.

What I will share with you regarding those two years I spent in California will come mostly in the form of pictures. What happened while I was there? What changed? I don’t think I’m all that different from the nervous yet eager 22-year-old who drove into Orange County during rush hour back in 2013. But I’m not the same either.

I will say this-
God came to me in many ways, shapes, and forms in those two years. (Three, if you count the gap year when I returned to Texas for an important selah.) His visitations ranged from the commonplace to the awe-inspiring. When His voice was quiet within or I felt that He was far from me…and those times were severely uncomfortable…I can reflect and see how He was faithful to meet me and love me through people, and through a kind word, a hug, a listening ear, a joke, a card from my mom, a phone call from a faraway friend, a verse, or a song. He met me through flowers and sunrises and a warm breeze on my skin. He met me during early morning walks with my token cup of coffee and during countless rants and tears and questions as I drove up and down the 5. He made, and is still making, good of His promise:

“And behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age.” (Matt. 28:20b)

I hope you enjoy these snapshots from my sojourn in the Golden State.



I’m gonna try this Five on Friday thing…

…because it is a thing on blogs, yes?


I’ve gotten way into TED talks recently, and one of the first that I watched is this right here:

Brené Brown is just amazing. I’m a huge fan. She’s funny and frank and so real. She lays it DOWN in this video, y’all, and I love that she’s got years of research under her belt to back up her message. Her words resonated deeply with me, and with a lot of others, it seems. The video has 30 million+ views on TED’s website. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that these 20 minutes made me look at my life, my heart, and the hearts of others in a brand new light. PS- I suggest getting cozy with a cup of tea and keeping a pen and paper handy for notes.


Currently reading:

Haven’t laughed this hard in public reading a book since Tina Fey’s Bossypants. It caught my eye at Barnes & Noble a couple of weeks ago, because how could it not. The spazzy, stuffed raccoon might have turned some people away, but not I. If you’d like some candid, stream of consciousness narratives about living with mental illness and finding the humor in it, and also don’t mind cursing, then go read this!! And then find me so we can discuss + snort laugh about it together.

See also: http://thebloggess.com/ for more of Jenny Lawson.


Currently watching:

Game of Thrones, Season 5.

Trying to wrap up this blog post ASAP so I can continue my binge…


It rained the other day, and I love rain. So here’s a video…of the rain.

(30 seconds later)

Well, this is awkward. I can’t upload videos?! Ugh. Okay, and I don’t have the patience right now to figure out how to do it. See #3. Time to improvise.

Look, a nice rainy-ish image from Pinterest. That will suffice. Next!


My friend Grace made me an adorable mug as a going away present. Too cute not to share 🙂


Signing off now. Dun-dun-duhduhduh-dun-duhduhduh-dun-duhduhduhduhduh! (That was the GoT opening credits, couldn’t you tell?) K, byeee!



How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful


Something that gave me a little spark of happiness today was rediscovering a song I fell in love with months and months ago. Other things that have given me that same feeling lately include:

  • drinking a huge cherry limeade from Sonic after going to an hour of yoga in a studio where the A/C decided to stop working
  • getting a text message from a friend reminding me that I’m worthy and loved
  • packing up my first box and realizing that I am legitimately moving to Boston, Massachusetts…city of my dreams…it’s fine, it’s not a big deal, I’m not hyperventilating, thank you…

The song is the title of this post, and it’s by the almost-too-incredible-for-life Florence + The Machine. I was out for a walk, and it came up on the “My Favorites” playlist. Thank you kindly, Apple Music. I don’t know if you’ve heard it…if not, then here. Do yourself a huge favor and listen. The instrumentals in the last two minutes are guaranteed to make your soul take flight.


This song. It takes me out of my smallness and opens up my heart. It makes me want to gaze upward. It makes me feel good and grand and exciting things. It makes me ache to see the world and to love with a big love. I hear it and I’m reminded to soak up every little bit this life has to offer. THAT is why I love this song.

In honor of this gorgeousness, I want to share some pretty pictures of the ocean + sky that I’ve taken in the past few years. It seems fitting, yes? I also just got back from a whirlwind trip to California, and I miss the beach and the Pacific already.

Enjoy the view and the background music, my sweet readers and friends! Oh, and if there’s a song that you love and want to share with me, please leave me a comment! I’m always up for suggestions.


The Lyrical Bay

Okay, you might be wondering what on earth that title means. Truth be told, I have no idea. I found a “Random Romance Novel Title Generator” and that’s what I got. Here’s why.

I’ve been volunteering at the library for a number of weekends now, and I seem to have found my niche in the Romance section. Yes, the passionate INFJ who is not so secretly obsessed with Jane Austen and Taylor Swift music ends up in the Romance section. Not on purpose, really. That’s where I was needed during my second visit, and I just kept going back. Come on, I’m a creature of habit.

I find the busy work of sorting and alphabetizing to be soothing. I leave the outside world behind, and all my inner machinations shut off for a little while. Hours pass like minutes there amidst the stacks, and the time I’ve spent with the likes of Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich has turned out to be rather nostalgic.

I categorize Harlequin and Silhouette publications and I’m reminded of my Great Granny. She always had a few of those paperbacks on her bedside table in the nursing home next to her TV set and lipstick tubes.

I broke a sweat organizing Danielle Steel hardcovers on their shelves yesterday. Seriously, there were so many. I’m reminded of my Nanny Jan. She had Danielle Steel hardcovers on her bookshelf too, and she always let me pull one down to pore over when me and my family went to visit her and my Papa Don.

My eyes fall on book covers featuring busty blondes and bare-chested rogues, their titles referring to some type of passion or fire or temptation. I can’t help but laugh, and I’m reminded of the house we moved into when I was 11. It was an old place with creaky wooden floors, a musty smell hanging in the air, and a shadowy closet in the basement where the water heater rumbled away. It was deliciously creepy. When we were first looking at the place, I found a box of old romance novels in the formal living room. I started digging through it while my parents were touring other parts of the house, naughty preteen girl that I was. Curious, I flipped through the pages to find the racy love scenes that were strategically placed every few chapters or so. Then I set the book back in its original spot when I heard footsteps coming closer. I did my best to appear casual, even though my heart was racing from my scandalous endeavor.

I haven’t read a proper novel from the Romance section since high school. I guess my taste has changed, or maybe I was left jaded by the Twilight series. But the memories attached leave me with a lingering smile as I follow their threads back to my girlhood, to relatives I loved and stories I craved and places I treasured.