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(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.

xo

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.

xo

 

I’m gonna try this Five on Friday thing…

…because it is a thing on blogs, yes?

[one]

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.

[two]

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.

[three]

Currently watching:

Game of Thrones, Season 5.

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

[four]

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!

[five]

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

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

xo

 

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.

xo

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.

xo

Kinzie Turns 21

A couple of nights ago, a group of us got together and threw our sweet Kinzie a surprise birthday shindig at Holly Hop here in Lubbock. If you know anything about K, you know she’s one of the kindest and most selfless people you will ever meet. You would also know that she loves Batman, so we definitely had to incorporate that into our decor. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures from our little celebration 🙂

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4.19.17

I rediscovered this journal entry from last month and I’d like to share it with you.

First, some context: The past several years have brought their fair share of difficulties my way. My parents divorced. I graduated from college and moved halfway across the country having next to no clue what I was doing. (It turned out to be an immense blessing, but that’s another post for another time.) I fought hard, ugly battles with crippling anxiety and chronic insomnia. I swallowed the bitter pill of my pride and sought help through professional counseling. I lived on my own for a year and discovered that while independence had its perks, a lot of the time it was just lonely as hell. I’ve had my heart broken on more than one occasion. I experienced a crisis of faith that devastated me and left me reeling. I’m still picking up the pieces even as I write this.

Those situations made me feel, more than anything, isolated. So if you’re here and reading this and you’re going through something that is dark and confusing and painful, I’d like to tell you that I don’t have a vast supply of answers or good advice. More importantly, I’d like to tell you that you are not alone, you won’t always be in that place, and you are loved. You are truly loved.

xo

//

It’s a beautiful evening. Still, but living. The birds chirp and chatter. Voices of family members starting to slow down for the night sound through open windows and doors. Air is cool, and sun is setting into a buttery yellow against a pale blue sky. Colors of spring. It’s peaceful, and I close my eyes to bask in it, to let it embrace me.

These different sorrows and pains have met me and changed me in indescribable ways…I wonder how I’m sitting here, how I’m breathing, writing, thinking, feeling. I did not expect this to be the look of either mercy or grace. I am beginning to understand how very little I understand. I have seen something of my own frailty and unreliability, and in turn something of Your love, forgiveness, and faithfulness. 

The light of this day is fading quickly. I know I will need to go soon. But I will draw out this small selah for as long as I can.

I wept today as I read through “A Grief Observed.” Lewis said it well, as he often does, that sorrow cannot be mapped. It is a process. Each day is different. We never know what landscape might be around the next bend in the road.

Tonight, I know You are here. It’s not that You left. There’s just been so much noise and force and chaos on my end. But You are not in the great wind or the flame or the quake. You are the small voice that comes after. I just had to quiet down enough to hear You.

The former things have passed away. Can we, can I, agree that they have served their purpose? That I don’t have to live in fear or in their shadows? So I can move forward a little more each day into a life that is not guaranteed to be easier or happier, but will be a life that is different. Not cyclical. Not bound in shackles. 

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