Torrac, Carrie and Rottie

I have spent this break, so far, watching funny TV so I laugh more, actually spending money on myself so I don't feel as though I never do, reading wonderful literature so that my writing improves, and pretending I don't miss Jon with every heartbeat.

Christmas was fab, to say the least. Notable gift mentions: the "family" of stuffed IKEA carrots from my brother (see above), a gorgeous necklace from my uncle, and a handmade tea box from my dad (it is actually the most incredible thing ever). Gifts for myself: a ton of painting supplies on sale for ridiculously low prices and, a strange one, I finally signed up to be an organ donor. At some point that was on a top-10-to-do list, so it's done. Best gift for someone else: the "privacy area" I built for my brother to hang over his computer, made out of a silver wreath and crepe paper. Oh the joy. But the best part? Realizing how much I appreciate my family.

School still isn't back in for nearly two weeks, which gives me hope. I am already feeling a thousand times better, and I can only imagine that the feeling will grow in that time. It is so good to just be.


There Is Only Silence Bouncing in My Head

I haven't blogged in a really long time, and I'm beginning to realize that, sooner or later, people will start to get the impression that: a) my life only sucks; b) I only have very profound thoughts; or c) I'm actually crazy. My vote is c.

For the first time in a very long time I am questioning what I will do with the rest of my life. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and, if you're a rockin' exegeter (or exegetress), you may begin to get the picture.

Is this failure a sign to shut up, grow up, and move on? Or is it a reminder to persevere? I could really use that neon sign right about now.


Just Blowin' in the Wind

21 days until I'm done school.
20 days until no more exams.
18 days until no more papers.
7 days until no more books.
4 days until no more memorization.
I got this.

And on to the rest of my life because, believe it or not, I do have better things to think about. Example: how will I spend my glorious, nearly month-long Christmas break? So many ideas, so many glorious potentialities, and most of them revolve around a good night's rest.
Another example: how to best celebrate six amazing months with an even more amazing man? That's tricky. We're both so busy with end of semester cramming, but fitting incredible into the crevices of mundane seems... sacrilegious? Or maybe just unfair. But even if it's the worst night ever and everything that could go wrong does, there is no one I would rather spend a crappy night with (as already proved in the Fiasco-that-was-Save-On night).
Another example: how will I spend my summer? I don't plan on doing much of anything...and for me, a full-time job (as long as there's no work to take home) would feel like a break compared to the last five and a half years. Yes, years. I don't think I have taken a legitimate amount of time off from the rush and pull of things both necessary and over-the-top ridiculous since the summer I graduated high school. A week here and there does not count. It will be nice to be normal.

It's funny. The closer to the end of the semester I get, the more active my brain gets. Normally it's the opposite, but I think she knows it's almost time to use thinking and planning and creating for fun again.

Tonight I'm going to get a bit ahead on homework, drink some tea and get to bed by 12:30 at the latest. Then, even though it's my sleep-in, I will get up before 10 and do more homework. I actually never thought I could be that person.


Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You?

5 - Swimming lesson instructor.
6 - Teacher.
9 - Famous singer.
10 - Missionary.
12 - Writer.
15 - Married to a billionaire.
17 - Actress.
18 - Mother.
19 - Youth pastor.
21 - Pastor.
23 - Travelling poet through Japan, conquering skyscrapers and scary hairstyles with my devastatingly touching iambic pentameter.

At each age, these were my highest aspirations. Some are still with me (hello, famous singing career, here I come), and some are long dead. I never wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or astronaut or princess, because it was never about the money (except marrying rich, of course); it was about living out what I was passionate about.

So. Self-analysis time. What am I most passionate about at this moment?
...Reading my Bible, making delicious food, making anything really, going on adventures.
Okay. Now why am I doing anything else?
Obvious answer: it's all part of the plan. Finish school, do what's required, I'll thank myself later. And realistically, I'll be done in just over 5 months. That's all. But until then...I'm dragging myself through the mud.

I want a better attitude! I really do. And there are parts about school I absolutely love to bits. But there's the parts that literally take the things I used to love and twist them into ugly representations of lovely things. Too hardcore? Fine. The joy for learning is gone when I'm over-worked and under-prepared and hungover (JOKES) and, in some cases, have already learned exactly the same thing in five other courses (this happens more often than you'd think). And other things still hurt. I think I've mostly forgiven the painful bits from over the last whiles, but it doesn't make the hurt any less legitimate. Sometimes I forget how badly it still affects my heart, and then a reminder stuffs itself into my face and I cannot breathe all over again.

Sidenote: What do you do when you know something that literally no one else on the planet knows except the person whose secret it is to tell, and this information could destroy everything for someone else? What do you do when there is no "sworn to secrecy," but instead a mutual silence? What do you do when you know you should do the right thing, but in the end no one will thank you for it?
End sidenote.

I am fighting through this, but I'd rather enjoy the ride. What's the worst that happens? I don't get A+'s across the board? Unlikely at this point, anyways. I don't graduate with highest honours? ...I'm guessing that I'm the only person who cares if I do that or not. The school I want won't accept me because my grades blow chunks? I take the road set out for me instead of the one that was obviously of me.

I am officially letting go of perfection and instead striving to enjoy this at least a little bit more than I have been. Hello, folks! It's celebration time. Freedom is nearly here. It's taste is strongly overpowering my leftover coffee and midnight cigarette (JOKES...about the coffee. JOKES! Gosh).


You'll Never Know, Dear

It is truly a pity that the majority of my teenage years were spent with my heart bound up in producing angsty, cliché poetry; I was empowered by deep emotions, but I in no way did them justice. My potential was high and I wasted it. I read back now and it is not just my embarrassment that colours previous words, but a sort of wisdom that sees more depth in recent haikus than in any pager I wrote in the tenth grade.

As part of my Christmas artsy to-do list, I want to go back and revisit the circumstances that demanded such a profoundly lacking creative statement and come at them from a new angle, thereby rewriting what needed to be said with more retrospect and less chained-to-the-bottom-of-my-humanity by every circumstance that came my way. By the end of break, I want to have an entire art journal full of what-could've-been's (but without the bitter resentment of " what if"s).

This probably sounds stupid. It might be. I am probably wasting my time, but to me it is then a necessary waste. Maybe you don't understand = perfect. No one else could possibly see the ridiculous dissimilarity between the profundity of parallel universes: that of my waking life and the one relived in print. I want to do justice to my life, not just live as one who has no past and must therefore make entirely spontaneous, momentary decisions with nothing from which to refer.


Falling Together, Rushing Towards the Abyss

The more that life falls together, the clearer it becomes that there is a gaping hole. When will I release the hold on what I cannot keep to gain what I cannot lose? This ongoing process...some of it is effortless and I see myself growing by leaps and bounds; some of it seems hopeless, and I continue to cling.

In less than six months I will be graduated. When did this happen? In six months I will be free. What will I do with my time?
  • Write a book.
  • Make lots of ridiculous homemade crafts and sell them online to people too lazy to make them for themselves.
  • Travel to all the places I want to see.
  • Plant an herb garden.
  • Make art all day.
  • Travel around making art all day.
  • Travel to inspiring places and just make art. All day.
  • Go on a crazy year-long missions trip because I'm crazy and want to do something that will mean something to someone, not just to me.
  • Go stay at a cabin by a lake and go for a run every day and swim every day and paint every day, and do this, every day, until I'm buff and a decent painter and a panini and latte master.
  • Elope for the fun of it.
  • Get a 6 Flags seasons pass and go to every single one.
  • Get a grown up job on weekdays, only see friends and boyfriend on weekends, and volunteer because that is what good people do.
Did you just make the same sighish noise I did? Every part of my body made it with me. Everything on this list is beautiful and adventurous and lovely, except for the one I should be doing. Why is life like that? Why do I let life be like that? Why do I feel entitled to any more than that? Why do I feel that I shouldn't feel entitled? Why don't I just do whatever I want to?

The answer? The answer is a question. What does God want me to do? Me, I have dreams. Some of them are wonderful and some of them are selfish and some are godly, but that doesn't answer the question. Maybe He wants me in a season of doing beautiful things and making my own beauty and following His to the far corners of the world. Maybe He wants me to buckle down, get (or keep) a job, and be a big girl. Maybe He wants me to wait and see what He brings.

If only I knew. If only putting off my Masters - because, I now realize, I desperately need a break from learning in a classroom - meant that the rest would be sorted out.

I want a lot of things. Some of them are unattainable and therefore not even on my crazy list. Some are possible and therefore on the list. Some are in my heart and do not have names yet. Some are in my ovaries and do not have names yet, either. Some are in God's hand and, when the day is right, they will be hand-delivered to my soul.

Now that I think about it...that sounds really good to me.


I Guess I Wanted You More

It's a strange feeling to look back over the past few years, to really peer into them, and see what it was that drove me to be who I was. To not just look and suppose, or hide and minimize, or hide behind and defend; but, to really, honestly and truthfully, evaluate myself and my choices. I am a remarkable human being with intricacies that I cannot for the life of me untangle.

It's fascinating to be in a time of such mental clarity that I can memorize 3,000 words of study materials, nearly verbatim, and look back to a time when, during the semester, I honestly could not remember what classes I was taking. I suddenly have discernment and sense, and it throws the whole picture of "past" off its axis. I can see clearly now where I went wrong and where others wronged me, and the exact moment that I stopped caring and became completely incapable of choosing.

One particular set of circumstances has me particularly baffled at the moment. Like the others, I see where I went wrong and where he went wrong and she went wrong and they went wrong, but I have yet to see how it could have gone any other way. If even one element were changed, I would not be standing here, standing with the people I am, and that would be the worst fate I could imagine. Did God know this? Yes. Did He choose my destiny before all time and thought aside from His own? Absolutely. Am I angry with Him? Absolutely not. As much as I try, my finite brain cannot yet rectify how He can choose and I can screw up, but all I know is that it happens and I cannot possible understand and that it is perfectly okay that way.

What can I say? I wanted something more than God, and He fixed me. It hurt like...well, hell. Separation from God is what it was, but it brought me back closer than I have ever been. In the midst of hell, I found His love and I'll never go back. He cured me of my (literally) damned loves and wishes and desires, crushing all vestiges until I could be whole again. He loved me enough to crush everything ugly from my hands. He knew what He was doing, and, now that I can see clearly into that dark night, I know it was not a waste. He loved me too much to leave me.

I love You, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh my soul, rejoice!
Take joy, my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear


"Let's Be the Quiet Realization that Our Time Has Passed"

I'm in the middle of a massive life-dilemma, and I figure that, potentially, the only way to solve it will be to talk it out. Nothing but nothing in return seems to be fairly objective, so let's start here.

In six months, I will be graduated. That's four long years (that remembers like two but feels like seven) of stress and assignments and figuring each teacher out to get away with doing less and learning how to listen with only 10% of my attention while taking in 50% of the content (and let's be real, who remembers any more than that anyway?). So the dilemma. I want to go on to graduate studies, I've picked the school (if they'll have me, of course), I've nearly picked my degree (MCS majoring in Old Testament or Theology), and all that is left before me is to choose the "when."


When I go, I tell myself it will be different than here. Less credits, less classes, stuff I actually want to learn instead of stuff I kinda wanna maybe sometimes learn. But who am I kidding? I will put too much on my plate, as always, and die trying to get things that at one time would have been a snap but are now a marathon to Mexico.

So here are the options:

  1. Because I have to decide by January, which is far too soon to know if I'll want to be there in September, I can actively choose to take a year off and wait until next January to apply.
  2. I apply and (granted that I get in, because otherwise all dreams are squashed) I only take one course my first semester and see how it goes. From there, if I take two courses each Fall and Winter semester and one in Spring or Summer, I will finish in four years. Piece of cake. How could that possibly stress me out? And, if for some reason I decide to take time off in the middle, I have a two year time buffer (I have a max time of six years to finish).
  3. I apply and go, and make it my mission to kill this thing. I do three courses each for Fall and Winter, and two Spring or Summer. That completes it in two years, with only my thesis left to do. And who am I kidding? I could knock that thing out in a month...but I could give myself an entire year. Or two. I could be done in three years, still never even becoming a full-time student, and enabling me to have a job and a life outside of school.

So, what do I do? Objective nothingness, what do I do?

Right. Answers out of nothing are no answers at all.


But I Couldn't Stay Away

I know it's time to blog when I'm sitting here, staring at a wall and trying to decide what to do, but knowing on a deeper level I'm staring at my life trying to decide what to do.

So, umm, here's a smudging of my life right now, completely random and superb.

There is this one part of me that is happier than I have been in a very long time. There is someone in this world who loves me, really and truly, even though he doesn't have to. I can drink coffee again. I feel like, more than ever, I am moving into a place with God that is beginning to look like what it should look like in the end. I am looking to the future and not seeing darkness or endless sand.

There is this one part of me that is more confused than I have been in a very long time. What to do next year is high on the list of question marks, as are the questions of if I should go to Grenada, where I am going to get a steady income from once all my money pays off student loans (hooray, though, for graduating debt-free!), and the ever-nagging "is what I'm doing now leading to where I want to go?"

I like lists. It's because this one part of me likes to be super organized, while the rest of me likes to let things lie in ruin under the guise of organized chaos. So here are a few lists that came to mind and make me feel like my life is in slightly better order than when I started:

10 Things I Love About Myself (it's always best to start there):
  1. My sense of adventure and ridiculous spontaneity. It has led me on some of the most amazing adventures and I never want to stop being that way, no matter how old I get.
  2. My love of cooking and baking. Not only will it always come in handy for the rest of my life, I'm so glad it's not something that's a chore.
  3. The colour of my eyes.
  4. My ability to memorize. If I could have 5 books of the Bible memorized by the time I die (which I think is completely attainable, btw), that would be amazing.
  5. The way I act like a complete child. Sometimes, yes, it's definitely more on the tantrum side than the cute, but I love that I still like swings and sunsets and looking out airplane windows and wearing costumes and making inanimate objects talk.
  6. My love of knowledge and truth and justice. To me, those are God-given qualities and I hate when people put them down.
  7. My passion for life. I also hate when people put that down. It equates to putting down the essence of my being, and that I cannot stand for.
  8. My 10 second attention span for things that ultimately don't matter, and my decades-and-counting attention span for things that matter ultimately.
  9. That I have a past. It's not pretty; actually, it's pretty damn disgusting. But it has turned into a beautiful reminder of how good my God is.
  10. That I look pretty when I cry (except when it gets to sobbing, then I'm done for). It sounds silly, but my lips get all red and I look in the mirror and say to myself: "well, at least I look pretty when my world falls apart." Then I wipe my tears and it doesn't look like I was crying at all, except for some leftover, natural lipstick.

10 Things I Dislike About Myself:
  1. The way I hold onto the things in my life that are dead and buried. Someone or something has moved on beyond me, and yet I can't help but to humiliatingly hold on until I feel satisfactorily debased and finally let go with a silly and heavy heart.
  2. My insensitivity. It's been getting better in the last year or two, as I've actually been developing a feel for empathy, yet I still tear people down. I hate it.
  3. That I am so critical. Lately, I've realized that, especially when it comes to church issues, my ego blows up and I believe I am the smartest in the world about everything ever. Wrong.
  4. How many people I have let slip out of my life over the last few years. Consciously. I knew it was happening and I let them go. Part of it was that I didn't have any fight left in me, but part of it was just laziness. I'm sorry.
  5. My inability to follow through on all my promises to God. I hate it. I need to face them and to do them. It's so much easier to ignore them, but I know that some day He will look me in the eye and ask why I didn't do what I promised of my own volition. Silly, stupid me.
  6. My propensity to sin in ways that hurt others. Unfortunately, I do not tend towards inward sins that don't do much damage except to me; I tend towards those that hurt others deeply and take a good deal of time and energy and humility to mend, if they're fixable at all.
  7. My propensity to sin craftily. I don't usually sin in ways that are directly laid out in the Bible. I like to do things, instead, that I know I am not supposed to do. Or I sin by omission. Or I do things that ride the line so I can pretend I'm on the good side when, the truth is, my heart is usually on the bad side of the line.
  8. My lack of style sense. Every once in awhile I have a glimmer of something, and then it's gone. I'm one of those people who wears red with pink and brown with black and socks with flats and the wrong kind of jewelry and shirts with big holes.
  9. That I have a severely negative heart-attitude towards my body. 1000 compliments are always cancelled out by one bad comment, even if it's only my own. I regularly only see the bad, and that bothers me.
  10. I tend to not appreciate what I have. I am definitely actively trying to change that, but it's a struggle. I could use a good douse of the third world, I think.

Things I Don't Do Anymore that I Used to Love:
  • Draw.
  • Paint.
  • Write.
  • Read books for fun.
  • Lay in the grass.
  • Drive somewhere special just to watch a sunset.
  • Listen to music simply because the moment demands a soundtrack.
  • Go barefoot.
  • Create things.
  • Put on fun make-up.
  • Eat gross things that make me feel gross but taste so darn good.
  • Drive just to drive.

Things I Want to Accomplish in the Next 5 Years:
  • I want my Master's. I want to be educated by people I trust surrounded by people who really care about what they're learning. That's not to say that my current situation is the opposite, not by any means. All I'm saying is that I'm thirsting for more knowledge, and I want to do it right.
  • I want to have Romans completely memorized. Right now I'm at 4:16, and if I stay on course I'll be to the end of 5 by the end of the semester.
  • I want to be married. It's not really something to accomplish, per se, and if it doesn't happen by then I will really be okay. Really. But to say that I want to get married between 23 and 28 doesn't sound like a huge request.
  • I think I'd like to go on a fairly long-term missions trip. That's never been on the list before, but now it is. There's been a burning in my heart lately and I think this is where the flame is leading me.
  • I want to be depression-free. Wow, I think this is the first time I've actually come out and said the "d" word on here. But there it is. I want it good and gone, never to return. I am not putting a time limit on it, but it is definitely a huge desire of my heart. Sitting around in a pile of my own mess and tears is not for me anymore.

I am at a crossroads. Again. I am starting to get the feeling that these are going to come up often in my life. I look around and like too many options, it seems. Thankfully, though, God has spent so much time refining my desires and priorities over the years that it is becoming easier to see which way the street sign is pointing. I feel confident about the future. That is such a good feeling.

And by the way, I love someone in this world too, and not because I need to. This gives me deep joy.


Romeo, Save Me, They're Trying to Tell Me How to Feel

I am trying really hard to make sense of the space I am in right now. In some ways I feel as though I am exactly where I am meant to be and was destined to be and, really, in the only place I could ever have hoped to be in this exact moment; in others, I feel absolutely lost in a maze of what-ifs.

'What' and 'if.' Two words as non-threatening
as words come. But put them together
side-by-side and they have the
power to haunt you for the
rest of your life:
'What if?'

And then I find myself telling myself to shut the frick up already and take life how it has played out. It's beautiful; I don't know if I could have picked a better place to be in, minus the dirt and rot of the last year and a lot. But when I stop looking back and look at now, it's beautiful. It's brilliant. I wouldn't have it any other way.

That is how I need to choose to see it. If I don't, I will be swallowed up and find myself ending in a tragic 3inchesofwater drowning accident.


Things Are Really Looking Up...Way, Way, WayWayWay Up

It feels strange to come here and feel positive before I even begin. It is weird, which in itself makes me feel sad, that I don't remember the last time it felt like this to assess my life.

Things are really looking up. I have a lot going on and it's really hard to have no free time and a ridiculous amount of homework and commitments; however, I am doing okay. There's stress and things I don't like going down, but it is not shipwrecking me. Just today and tomorrow I have 7 hours of class, a few hours of work, chapel, a meeting, a hang out, and over 7 hours of reading. And I really am okay.

At camp a girl had a picture for me, and here we are. I am the table and it is not collapsing under the strain of school as it has in the past; God knows I can handle it. He is so good, so so good to me.


Let's Kick It Old School

Tonight I was tidying up and found my Jonas Brothers notebook, but couldn't remember for the life of me what was in it. If anyone has followed anything that's happened to me in the last two years...well, it's a mish mash of that. It starts with some pages from a class...Evangelism and Discipleship! Then a sermon I don't even remember preaching, some ripped out pages that are probably gone with good reason, and a packing list for my roadtrip last June. The following 10 pages were notes from the road, hurriedly scratched out while trying not to turn into pavement smear. Those were nothing but a joy to reread and remember the magnificent heart transformation that God accomplished in those three days. Fast forward to some curriculum planning in Toronto and other unfortunate-and-I'd-rather-not-remember entries. A weird dream, a planned roadtrip for myself, Tyler and Mark to go on (the best destination being Kentucky for some straight-from-the-motherland KFC), and then the truly painful stuff. It's not enough to read page upon page that I can't remember writing, but to get to the clearest memories of all...that hurts. A plea to God to forgive me. A "pact" with the disciplinarians of life. A psalm. And then, in the midst of some of the hardest of the hard, this:

God, how to explain? I am a mess. Again. I am empty. I feel desert-ed. I thought I was out of here, Lord. I thought I was in the clear, running with Your hand in mine. Was I wrong?
I stand here, Your living water the only thing keeping my heart beating. I am not thirsty; You promised I never would again and I am far from parched. I am satisfied in You.
How do I complain to the Lord of creation? Exactly, I don't. You are sovereign, my life alone is a gift, and I worship You in desert or field or storm or mountaintop. I worship You for staying the same, for Your righteous consistency.
How do I look into Your eyes, King of Kings, and ask why You have led me here? Your ways are higher than my ways, Your thoughts above my thoughts. Ultimately all creation and situations are for Your glory. How do I accuse Your perfect love of forsaking me in this place? You did not leave me when I looked aside, turned aside, turned my back, walked away, ran away. You were here! Hand in mine, even when the mittens were so thick I couldn't feel it, let alone anything else. Looking directly in my tear-filled eyes when I failed You most profoundly; You still had lover's eyes for me. You still saw Your little girl. I look back over every stumbling step I have taken over the years, which at the time I mistook for trips and falls, and I can now trace with clarity the complex dance You led me in. I was safe in Your arms through every twirl, lift and dip.
Who am I that You are mindful of me?
I praise You!
I praise You.
- September 27/2010


Just a Giant One

Tonight was not about me. It was about a lot of things and people, but most certainly did not revolve around me.

I did, however, get something out of it. And it's big.

One person, crazy enough to believe they can change the world, can. One person who is willing to stand up when everyone sits down under the crushing weight of oppression or the insignificant weight of embarrassment can cause others to stand, even if it's just to fall. One person following God's lead instead of their own can change an entire generation.

I want to be the one, you know? And I think I have it buried somewhere within me, or maybe it's more surface-level than I can see, but I want it to define me. I want to be used and consumed by God until I die and can really start living without the glaring flesh and sting of death. I have some things about myself I need to change first, though.

I don't love people enough. I love them in theory, just as I have spent most of my life loving God in theory, but when it comes down to it I don't love them enough to spend every ounce of myself sharing who God is with them. I don't love others enough to gently guide them instead of trampling their insides with my opinions; truth given in the wrong way at the wrong time is too often mistaken for falsehood.

I am too hard on myself. I let one mistake define me and I have a knack for taking humility to a wrong level. Couple that with bouts of egomania and I become a hindrance, not a help, to the Kingdom.

But, praise God, He's working things out in me. I am repairing relationships in my life like a madwoman, stepping up and having the hard conversations, and soaking up His word like nobody's business. I am letting Him work, so He is. No matter what else, no matter how I am or who I am or what happens, He Is.


Just a Teensy One

Just thought I'd drop in for a teensy update:

  • I'm officially done working at the church, tomorrow I'm done with crepes, and Tuesday I start my new job! Somehow God always provides; it's the most amazing thing!
  • 3 months, 6 days, and counting.
  • My last year of school officially begins next Tuesday. Time flies like I can't even explain.
  • I'm currently reading Lamentations and loving it. The more I read, the more it means, and the more it means, the more my life changes. Brilliant!
  • I'm so scared of so many things right now, but I can honestly say I have overcome my worst fear. I am no longer afraid of being alone.
The last one is the most significant. Where once I would have done anything to avoid being alone, I now know the only One who can forever hold me requires nothing to put myself in His arms. I am not alone and I never will be again. No matter what trials may come or who may ditch out of my life or die or simply move on, I am still not alone. I am never alone.


As Always

Of course He answered! And, as always, it was not in the way I expected. I was trying desperately to focus on just praying while I got done what I needed to do yesterday, but I kept getting sidetracked. Thankfully though, my humanity is nothing compared to God's faithfulness.

I was going through old birthday cards, trying to decide if any of them meant enough to keep, and I found one from my grandparents. It doesn't matter what it said, the important part is that I read it and knew. Without a doubt.

I am going back to school. I am finishing this year, finishing well, and getting out. And when the hard times come and I get overwhelmed and I wish with all my life that I hadn't, I will come back here, read these words, and know that I was being obedient.

The key to obedience in the wilderness is being faithful to what you knew before you entered. That's what I'm doing. And when I see glimpses of sunshine through the dense trees, I adjust my path accordingly and keep on trekking.


But All the Miles that Separate Disappear Now when I'm Dreaming of Your Face

It's exactly 12:34. In elementary school my friends and I would always be on the lookout for special times: 11:11, 3:21, 5:55, etc. And still, to this day, it excites me when I catch one.

I don't have much to say today. I am still undecided all over the place and need somewhere to land. Nothing is falling together the way I would like (I don't care how it looks, I just need a plan), and I'm confused and need to commit to seeking answers.

Aha! I am committing to seeking answers. God, by the end of the day I need to know. I'm going to seek You until I find what I need.


Find Me Here, Speak to Me

I did not plan on blogging tonight and the last thing I need right now is less sleep. Isn't that how it always starts? Well, the best ones do at least.

I'm in debate mode. I was dead set on either not going back to school at all or only going back for one course. I openly declared it in April, sure of my path. Over time I have continued to feed it and feed it, nurturing it, until it has grown into its own entity. Fighting "The Man" out of hurt and fear and anger turned into a life-force of its own. Something that has become abundantly clear to me lately, however, is that any life-force besides Christ-in-me is dangerous and needs to be crushed. It's not that forgoing a year of school is sin, but worshiping its ideology and proclaiming it as a virtue is. Thus, I have been forced to reevaluate.

After a summer of healing, and finding peace in God, and learning to depend on Him above all else, and being with a man who has cared for me without pushing God out of the way; after all this, I am beginning to learn to breathe again. And with each breath, I can see clearer and clearer that my path cannot be staked out with directions from my old handbook "Bitterness and Remorse." God has better for me than that. So here I sit, honestly not sure what to do. There is this huge, overwhelmingly beautiful part of me that wants to go back and live a year of redemption; not to "show" anyone or to receive praise from man, but because my God is the God who redeems the irredeemable. He can take my broken past and use it for His glory, to create a new, glorious future. I want to finish, and finish well. I believe those are good desires, Godly desires.

Then there is this part of me that would rather die than go back. It's humiliating and will bring to the surface a lot that I thought I left behind but will probably still need to be dealt with. I don't want to get hurt again. I don't want to be overwhelmed again. I don't want to fail again, and have 100 people staring at me with the look. The "I knew if we watched her long enough it would happen again" look. I'm not afraid of being who I was, but I am afraid of the sinner I still am. The question is not whether or not I will sin, but if my sins will be deemed "acceptable" or not by those watching. It has become a sad but obvious truth that we accept some sins as natural and something that everyone does, while others are crimes; I promise you God doesn't like either. And I am afraid of my wounded pride that would surely be the by-product of going back on my previous prideful declarations of leaving school behind.

Mulling over that last point, I foolishly realized that I just preached on this as part of my sermon on Sunday. Ha. Isn't that always the way? Repenting of hasty, angry, embittered words is a blow to the ego, and is absolutely necessary sometimes. If my biggest worry is embarrassingly having to tell everyone I was wrong, then I think I may be just fine.

Tonight I was reading in 1 Kings and I came across one of my favourite random stories. In short, it is the tale of an unknown prophet who, after doing God's will to a T, listens to another man's lie that God told him to tell this prophet to disobey a direct order from God. Foolishly listening, the unnamed prophet disobeys God and is then mauled by a lion on his way home. Moral of the story? When God tells you something and you know it's God, do it. Don't listen to someone else, don't listen to fear, don't listen to hunger (like this man did); obey God. Whatever God asks me to do in this situation, I need to obey. If it is to go back to school and swallow my pride, I need to do that. If it is to go work or go to YWAM or sit in my room and pray for eight months, I need to do that. And when, because it is a definite, when people tell me I'm doing the wrong thing, I need to shrug my shoulders, thank them, and continue on the path God has sent me.

Lord, find me here. Speak to me. I need to hear You.


Time, Silent, Heals Nothing; Time in Silence Heals Everything

There is nothing I love more lately than silence. It's not that music and people talking and noise in general is bad, per se, but absolute silence is somehow more enjoyable. Sitting with a breeze and no thoughts in my head is refreshing.

I don't want this all the time, but right now, for this week, it satisfies me. All I've done for far too long is think and think about everything until I go crazy. It's easier to simplify.

I've been realizing a lot about myself in the silence, especially about my relationship with God. It's been so cool to finally see Him coming into proper perspective. I always thought that the more people I brought into my life, the less space I would have for Him. Or maybe I only thought that because I always allowed it to be so. Seeing it now, though, I realize that He always maintains the same amount of space in my heart; He just allows me to expand and include others in it as well. Having a boyfriend or lots of close friends doesn't mean they take up empty space so that I don't feel alone; they build their own addition into the outer walls of a full space. Christ still consumes my whole heart. He is the only one I burn for. And one day, when I do get married, the three of us will enter a relationship together like no other. But without that, I am still satisfied because my heart is full.

Time in silence heals everything.


You're a Wrecking Ball in a Summer Dress

Just taking a break from disastrous sermon prep to share about my first Sabbath in a long long time!

What I did today: I slept in a bit to prolong a really good dream I can no longer remember; ate egg rolls for breakfast and caught up on some Rookie Blue; ate candy and relaxed in front of some mindless TV; hung out with a beautiful girl I haven't seen in forever and ate sinfully delicious and expensive sorbet; walked around the lake at a park; had a brief skype chat with ma man. And worked on my sermon.

I'm preaching tomorrow morning for the second time this summer, and I'm nervous to say the least. Last time (apparently) went well, but this one...oh man. I am going to be a sweating MACHINE tomorrow. Ew. I've been preparing for hours and hours and hours before today, but I still feel like I need so much more. No more, Leanne! I'm cutting you off!

I feel lighter. Happier. Saner. This is gooooooood!


If I Leave My Heart with You Tonight

I just dropped Jon off at the airport. Got up at 4am, no biggie. It's not a long time away by any means, but when you spend months on end seeing someone every single day, it's a shock to the system to be away for even one day. How will I ever survive eleven?! ...Heh. It's going to be a nice break and it means lots of free time to do things I need to get done but never seem to have time for. But darn it I miss him already.

There is nothing more beautiful than watching the sun rise over blue mountains and misty fields. I don't know what it is, but on this particular occasion the morning air makes me feel like I'm back in first year Bible College. I'm suddenly transported back to a similar scene: sun rising, misty field with a stand-alone tree and a cool, damp path to breakfast. It makes me think of sitting in a windowsill during sunset, a hot pink bedspread in a blue room, learning how to curl my hair, late night talks with a beautiful woman who I miss dearly, coffee stains on the carpet every morning, shower hugs and pebbles on my window. I don't know where this came from, but it's like I'm there, like I'm that person. What I wouldn't give to go back and tell her all the things I know now, all the things I wish I'd known then. Things would be so different.

But they're not. So here I am, a person who is learning and slipping and still crawling through the wilderness, being dragged through the mud in preparation for all that God has for me. Half the time, yes, I am the one who throws myself down, ties myself to the horse and then hits it with a stick, but I'm learning to better judge situations by God's standards and not my own. And when other people tie me to the horse "for my own good" or the horse just knocks me over, I'm getting better at overcoming, standing back up, and continuing on. Thank God that through all this He is carrying the load, or at least as much as I will give Him at any one time, and I do not have to do this alone.


If I Fall, Will You Let Me Down Easy?

I am tired of not doing the things I want to do because I feel held down by things that realistically aren't barriers at all. I tether myself to "obligations" so that there is no risk in taking that step. So. No longer. I am chopping myself free and going and doing and experiencing and living.

To start: I am taking a sabbatical. I don't care that I'm not a pastor or finished Bible school or old enough to be burnt out. I was, and I still feel the effects. I have dealt with some of the crappiest of the crap in the church and I need to be cleansed of it. So I am taking the time to do that, and soon. It will probably only be a week, but I think that's all I need. I will go somewhere beautiful and immerse myself in all the things I love but seem to never have time for, including silence. It will be glorious.

I am also going to start taking legitimate Sabbaths so this never happens again. That means: doing nothing out of obligation; doing what I want in the moment because I want to and not worrying about money; enjoying rest. This includes but is not limited to: sitting in front of the TV all day, going on long walks in pretty places, ordering in Chinese or Indian or just going somewhere stupidly expensive where I need to dress up and eat by myself which will be perfect; go to see a movie; paint a self-portrait; drive to Kelowna and back; make a lavish dessert and eat the whole thing by myself; get a pedicure; go to the MAC store and get them to put make-up on me and then buy nothing; purchase a beautiful pair of shoes just because I can; apply for ridiculous jobs online just for the heck of it; clean for the joy of it; knit a sweater; read Twilight again just because I can and I love it; wear slutty clothes around the house and through the McDonald's drive-thru; go pick wild salmon berries; wear my grad dress to whatever destination I have chosen; read whatever part of the Bible I darn well please; hang out with someone I haven't seen in a really long time; write letters to people I still have things to say to and then burn them in the backyard; drink beer and listen to my ipod while sprawling out on the grass; spend three hours doing my nails; go to a nude beach; wear a ridiculous amount of make-up with my hair in an outrageous up-do and wear sweats; pray for a full hour without wandering or falling asleep; watch a full TV series season in a day; walk around downtown handing out 5 dollar bills to every homeless person I see. Or something like that.

Things I will continue to do: read my Bible every night before I go to sleep; meet with good friends on a regular basis to hash out life and just be real; not get hung up on looking fab every single day; put my relationship with God before anyone else.

I am entering a new chapter of my life. I can feel it in my bones and it tingles in good ways. Where will I be this time next year? No one knows except God. But that's okay because even if my life falls apart: "Even then, as bad as it will be - God's decree! - it will not be the end of the world for you." Thanks Jeremiah, you rock. Let's hang out again soon.


Pain Is There for a Reason

There are a lot of thoughts spinning around in my head, a lot to digest. Things I thought I knew for sure are brought into question and the same old hurts bring new shocks of pain where I didn't know they could go. It makes me question being back at school and how I relate there and if I should go back at all.

Today I went downtown and ate poutine and saw my favourite places and held this one hand for hours. Tomorrow is back to work and back to life, but for one day it was escape. Soon I will need to find another job, decide about school, fill my life with things all over again.

The summer is over in four weeks and I have a lot to think about.


So We Can Tell Them We Did Everything We Could

I have been musing on wilderness lately, and have come to a startling conclusion: I will never get out the way I came. If my goal is to get back to the way I was before, I will fail miserably for the rest of my life. But. But if my goal is to come out changed through my wanderings and better for them, then I have a chance at succeeding.

It is not called a time of preparation for nothing. No scholar ever said that Moses in the wilderness was a waste, or David, or Jesus. What if to make my own life have meaning, this is what it takes? Then I will press on, with the actual goal in mind and not some faint nuance of who I used to be and wish I could be again. I can never be, will never be, would never want to be her again. No. There is a greater goal, a higher cause, a life that is more worth living by far.


Eating Cherries with My Lips

Yes, those are my lips. But not my nose. And yes I'm eating cherries, but they're not that colour and I don't act like I'm making out with them.

There are less than five weeks left in the summer, and only four of work. Oh how the time flies. It's actually unbelievable. Tomorrow is another day of colour-coordinating crayons and throwing out disgusting glued up stuff. And I'm preaching again next Sunday. I'm both absolutely terrified and completely at ease.

I look around and see potential for beautiful things. I think I'm gonna stick with that.


Life Makes Love Look Hard

First things first, I need to write a blog today. Check.

Second, I should spend quality time with my boyfriend buying silly things and being together. Check.

Third, I love watching my nails on the keyboard. That doesn’t really require a check.

The summer is more than half over and I feel like it has been a very long one indeed. I like the feel of the sun on my face and a cool breeze in my hair and the windows down and Brad Paisley singing in my radio and the surf on my feet and ice cream and little bits of vodka and spaghetti straps and flip flops and short shorts in my bedroom. But it hasn’t really been that kind of summer. It’s been more of a pants-wearing and go to bed early and wear a sweater and just drink iced tea and fall asleep after doing what I should kinda summer. But that’s okay...it really is. I am enjoying it.

And more than that, I actually am enjoying it. I am enjoying the people I get to spend it with and the joys of the little things. I like that I have days and then remember them the next morning, and good days happen. It feels good. The sun’s not out much but mine is. Sure, I still cry too much and get sad sometimes and need to fight things out, but it feels good. Because I can feel it.

I am a lady of many thoughts, and one day I might just get them all down.


Fall Away from Your Past, But It's Following You

If I knew the formula, I would figure out everything that's wrong with my life and be perfect. I haven't.
But I'm doing my damnedest. I am fighting with all that I have, and that has to be enough. It's got to be, or what else is there?

umbrella for rain
so it cannot touch my head
the street is quiet

darkness into light
falling behind emotion
into what could be

haikus eat long grass
or whatever they can find
to munch between teeth


If I Just Lay Here

Word of the Day: Contemplative

given to consider thoroughly; characterized by thinking fully or deeply about

It seems to me that all I have been today is contemplative. It is a day that would be best suited to laying in the grass in the sunshine for hours, or painting a poem, or swimming in a river with all my clothes on. Instead of doing those things, I have simply gone through the day and allowed thoughts to wash over and through me.

It has been a long two years. Now I find myself at a new place in the desert. I think that it would be quite impossible to ever wander the same part again; it is too ingrained in me that those ways only lead to death. I know them far too well to ever get lost on those paths again. The trouble is that I don't yet know where the new paths lead. This latest one has items of interest along the path, but not much to entertain. But! Did you notice? There's a path.

In plain English: I'm still in the same place I was two years ago, but I'm in such a vastly different place it can hardly be called the same. I'm still in Canada, but it would be foolish to think that northern Quebec and southern Alberta are in any way the same. And I don't know where to go to just get out of Canada already.

Other thoughts:
I would like a house that is always full of flowers.
Secretly, I wish I had almost no possessions.
Even more secretly, I wish I had too many to know what to do with...so I could get fed up and have none.
Cooking makes me happy.
Painting makes me smile for long periods of time. And I know it's genuine because no one else is watching.
I secretly think there are some things I'm really good at, but I'm afraid that if I say them aloud then my "powers" will be taken away.
I don't know if I like music anymore.
I have only spent two full days this summer doing what I want to do.
I am afraid that my new unfear of being alone will lead to me waking up twenty years from now, all alone, and with no way to fix it anymore.
Tacos are delicious.
I want everything to be full of flowers.


A - Muse - Ings

I haven't blogged in a long time, again. It's not that I don't want to, I just don't have much to say. Here's a snippet view (to quote my most hated feature of Google Books) of my most recent thoughts.

I've been working at my new job three weeks now, and it's definitely different than I expected.

This weekend was spent at Green Lake with 15 incredible people. I needed that so much.

I got a ridiculously nice easel and paint set for my birthday from a ridiculously awesome man. I'm dying to spend a whole week doing nothing but using it.

I ate an ice cream bar for dessert.

Okay, and I'm officially done with the shortened versions. Lately I've stopped listening to the radio for a few reasons: (1) I hate getting a song stuck in my head that isn't doing anything for me (I had a huge issue with "Touch My Body" a few years ago, and this time it's "Let's Play." So bad, but they're too catchy to get rid of); or, (2) I don't want my thoughts and emotions being influenced by songs that revolve around cheating, breaking up, or salacious sexual references. That being said, the last few days I've just been station hopping until I find something reasonable, and today I came upon this song. It was like my heart stopped and said, "Yes! Finally. Something I can identify with in a positive way." Don't read into it too much.

Tomorrow is the start of another busy week, but I'm looking forward to it. Busy means less time for too much thinking means less time for wrong conclusions that come out of an empty mind. A busy mind, in my case, is a healthy mind.


Ride Out the Wave

I am afraid of myself and the things I still carry with me against my will. I am afraid of the insecurities that drive me to commit ridiculous faux pas. I am afraid of my subconscious efforts at sabotage. I am afraid that I am not strong enough to be the woman I want to be. In that case, thank God for...well, God. I, on my own, by my pitiful self, am not big enough or strong enough or self-controlled enough to prevail over my flesh. But Christ in me? He reigns. And when He is not reigning, I know there are things between myself and Him that need to change, not between myself and others.

I have an extremely good thing going here, and I just cried myself silly thinking I am going to wreck it out of my own stupidity. But! If I surrender every thought and every action and every desire to the One to whom I attempt to give control, then there is no failure; failure for my hoped outcome perhaps, but not failure in His eyes. Thank goodness for the but.

The more I focus on Him, the easier this will be. Come on, Leanne. Grow up, delve in, be the woman of God He has called you to be. No excuses, no regrets.

There is nothing scarier than the empty hanging of a heart on the line.


Prone to Leave the God I Love

As a child, I used to imagine my hiding place with God as a garden. It was much like this one, except with many forks and a bench for us to sit on. Here I would just be with God. It was my safe place to go when I had a nightmare or just needed peace. I have not returned there in a long, long time.

More recently I have turned to the image of an island; safer, with no shadows. I don't go there much anymore, either.

This summer is being planned as one of rejuvenation instead of burnout, for once. I am creating a plan that centers around actually caring for the different needs of my body and spirit, and allowing God to do the rest. It will be interesting to see how it affects my life.

I am in a battle right now that is 100% mental. It is about maintaining focus, building strong muscles (literal and figurative), and not giving into the temptation to lie down in the desert to die. There are so many wonderful things going on in my life, so I need to focus on those and remember my reasons for living; not living as in continuing to have a body that beats and breathes and operates for the sake of itself, but living with passion as opposed to being a dead soul in a functioning body.

I am doing good, I really am, but this is a marathon. I am only just remembering my legs.


Accepted and Worthy Is Our New Name

So, today is the day. At exactly 1:41 AM, I will transform from being a boring, run of the mill, poop on a stick 22-year-old into a marvelous, fascinating, completely transformed 23-year-old! Brilliant! And the intermittent pictures? On the eve of such an occasion, I think it highly appropriate to document the many faces of Leanne in the face of facing said occasion.

I don't think I was a big fan of 22. Negative perspective (it's always best to start here and end on a sweet note):
  • I was a heart and soul prisoner of the institution, of The Man.
  • I had a lot of bad dreams, a lot of which came true.
  • I made mistakes.
  • I gained weight in bad places.
  • I had the worst internship of my life and took the worst road possible to build character.
  • I cried. A lot.
But the positive perspective! (it's always so comforting going through the negatives and almost always thinking of positives anyways):
  • I had my incredible, life-changing roadtrip with God!
  • I finally got to go on tour and see the whole amazing country! And who could forget the people?! Wow!
  • I built a LOT of character!
  • I made some new amazing friends!
  • I overcame a lot of difficult things and came to a new level of understanding myself, others and God!
  • I found a man who treats me right!
  • I learned to laugh again with true appreciation of life!

So, in summation, it was a year, which I was apparently more pleased with than I first thought upon initial recall. Good thing I made lists. Tomorrow my family will celebrate 23 years of life since I landed, and Saturday my friends will celebrate surviving thus far and the potential for life yet to be lived. I don't know how else to say it, or if it will even get across what I want to say at all, but here goes: yesterday helped to shape me into who I am, and the day before that and the year before that; the good, the bad and the ugly. Yesterday does not hold me, however; I am no longer defined by who I was yesterday or any second preceding that. Christ in me is who I am now, and who I will grow into. He holds every one of my yesterdays and all my tomorrows. And today, this day that recognizes my birth, is nothing more than a tribute to one more year that He has plans for me. I hope to live this next year in such a way that brings more honor to Him than to myself.