Saturday, March 29, 2008

i can't speak the sounds that show no pain

i had a dream last night that was, to me, amazingly symbolic.
part of it was this:
i was at a beautiful big center, i think for children. i did not work there, but as i walked outside a family saw me and thought i did. they handed me their little screaming toddler and bolted. i knew that the little girl was in so much turmoil and needed so badly consistency, safety, and to trust me. so i held her closely and tightly, walking around the center and showing her things- talking softly to her as she screamed. we came to an overlook of roads filled with cars and traffic. right below was a place that was full of dingy colors, like trash or something. but i thought it was so beautiful and wished i had a camera. at that point the little girl had settled down and we were bonded.

interpret as you will... i have two ideas. :)

i heard a sermon a long time ago that for some reason a piece of it is ringing in my head today. rick mckinley, from imago dei in portland, says that if you come to the community wanting to have you needs met you will leave disappointed. but if you enter into community with your arms open, looking to meet the needs of others, your experience will be fulfilling.

it's a beautiful day. i'm meeting some friends for a walk and some coffee and a visit to the art museum. the sun has an energizing power over me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

i say i'm the body and drink of the wine

today is Easter Sunday. it's nice to have a restful Sunday again. although my travels were enjoyable, i needed a quiet, thoughtful Sunday at home with the tone set by a service at VC. my family came to worship with me today, and although i'm always slightly nervous to bring people with me- i tend to wonder the whole time what they're thinking, if they like it or not- i didn't let those thoughts bother me and i think they enjoyed their visit. and it was nice to get to share a place i enjoy so much.

mom brought me some peeps and two big buckets full of planted tulips and other springy flowers, which i am very excited about. i've been wanting to develop the horticulturalist in me :)

the thought this morning was different than the expected Easter Sunday sermon. although still centered on the resurrection, he spoke more of what Jesus' rising from the dead represents in our lives and of the hope that we can hold to. he talked about the restored earth that we look forward to, and that in the meantime our lives are to be lived with a mission.

he quoted a friend of his who has since passed, and the words resonated with me.
"When it seems that hopefulness is the least appropriate response in this situation, let it rise up even more. Whisper your hope when you lie down at night, scream your hope when you wake in the morning. Live your hope as if it is the one and only thing that sustains you in this ravaged world. You will not be disappointed." -Mark Palmer

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

"I am not me anymore. At least I'm not the same me I was. " Diarios de Motocicleta

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

To a new life on a new shore line

i did something that, had you asked me three years ago, i would have sworn i'd never do.
while in st. louis this past weekend i got a tattoo. whoa. hehe! :) it says "esperanca," which in portuguese means "hope" or "wait."
it hurt, but i had my love by my side, holding my hand. we'll probably take the tattoo man's advice and get matching "bff" tattoos next time... just kidding.

i feel like hope and waiting have become central themes in my life, in the things i care about, in my work. two years ago i spent a very small amount of time in a place that made a very large impact on my life since then. it basically turned things around, as far as i was concerned and the "plans" i thought i had. since then there has been a deep and consistent need in me to go to where the hurting, poor, oppressed and suffering are and love them there. in working among those who are so broken, though, it's easy (for me) to become jaded, hopeless, overwhelmed. i continuously have to remind myself that our hope isn't here on earth, and that i am only being obedient to what's been placed on my heart and using what i've been blessed with in order to bless others. so, i thought that this might be a little visible reminder of that hope, and the place where it was so beautifully taught to me.
(plus it's fun:)

so, st. louis was wonderful, as always. i went with brian to see courtney for the weekend. i love being down there, and i love that courtney and i share such similar hopes and dreams for our lives, thus allowing me to not feel totally alone. talks this past weekend, too, refreshed my hope for future things, and even left me feeling slightly giddy. we shall see!

a few weeks ago i was eating at a restaurant and joked that i was going to order the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which cost as much as any of the other, actual, sandwiches. i didn't order the peanut butter and jelly, however, and the joke's on me. i have suddenly become hooked on pbj... i had one for dinner last night, and most likely will tonight. i really don't know the reasoning, but it's so good.
we are currently experiencing a bed bug epidemic in the neighborhood/building in which i work. it's awful, if you are fortunate enough not to have encountered the little creatures. they're so hard to kill, and to find, and they breed like crazy.... last week i saw one crawling on my work bag (which has since been discarded) and felt so compromised. i say all this in mostly sincerity and a slight bit of drama. but seriously, they're bad news.

welp, the week goes on. no more road trips for a while. tonight i'm just excited to stay home, enjoy some arrested development borrowed from a work friend, and have a delicious peanut butter and jelly.

ha esperanca pra voce. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I look at all the lonely people...

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
-Traditional Franciscan Benediction

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cali is wit' it

well, well, well.
i feel like the primary event in my life right now is my recent long weekend trip to san diego, but i don't have much to say about it, except that i'm excited for warm weather to come here to cincy. it was a nice time, though.
while i was gone my friend brought a new little man into the world, and i must say, as i am fresh from holding him in my arms, that he is precious. so that's exciting.

i'm reading this book my mom lent me, which i started reading while i had the flu and got annoyed with. nothing like two 4 and a half hour flights and a five hour delay to make you think twice. i think i just wasn't in the right frame of mind when i had a fever. so, all that to say, it's pretty interesting, and of course has got me thinking :)

the author, carrie mcdonnall, writes in "facing terror" about her time working with arab muslims in iraq and her time leading up to her work there. she tells the story of a tragedy that occurred in her time in the middle east and the aftershock. what's stuck out to me is her writing about when she returns to the u.s. after her first term overseas. she was so excited to come home, but upon return she writes,

"I felt free as a bird. But I never felt free of my concern for my second homeland....
I felt I was missing something in the comfort and security of my home in the United States.... I knew I would probably never felt complete in either place." 110-111

i constantly wonder why i have such a desire burning in me that is yet to be ignited. sometimes i think i'm just confused and that maybe i'm just supposed to live in the u.s. and love it here. but reading her story, the way her heart was shaped, beats true in mine as well. i think i discount it because i wasn't overseas for long, but i can't shake that desire. so i wait.

and on to waiting: something i've been considering a lot as well. there is so much waiting in the Bible: the israelites in the desert for hundreds of years, noah on a boat for 5 months, abraham and sarah having a baby in their hundreds. i'm reminded that God is faithful to his promises, but he is in charge of the timing. so i wait. :)

i feel content in my waiting. it's a weird kind of confused peace i have... one that passes understanding, perhaps? heheh. i really feel like things are being put in my radar- shaping me, leading me, teaching me. and i know that there is life in the meantime, and i am to live it to the fullest extent.

well that's more personal than i usually try to be, but there ya go.

i'm roadtrippin' it (again!) to st. louie this weekend to see my love. i can't wait for some cheeseburgers, coffee and chats!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

love in every language

a couple weekends ago my friend meredith came up to cincy with her husband for the weekend. she came out to dinner with us and stayed overnight with jess and i. it was lovely to see her. and hard. 2 years ago meredith was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. it has been a battle of faith and prayer and trust since then. sometimes she looks so good and is so energetic you wouldn't know anything is wrong. but lately she's been in a lot of pain and has lost a lot of weight. it's hard to see your friend cope with that, and it's hard to know how to react. so i'm struggling with that. if you'd like, please pray for meredith and her family, whatever you feel led. paul says

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28

my day was burdensome. the system makes me tired sometimes. and i meet people sometimes that leave me with a sense of urgency, to act as fast as possible- which isn't a bad thing, it's just that i'm dealing with the system, so i call one agency after another, leaving messages here and there, telling my client we'll have to wait on that, too.... it makes me physically upset.

as usual, lots on my mind. but those are the most prominent things.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I went down to Nashville, Tennessee

yesterday i got back from a weekend trip to nashville with my roommate and friend to see my sister, beth. it was a lovely weekend. my sister's pretty cool... she writes music. check out "lilies of rio" on her page- she wrote it for me :)
and i have a couple more wonderful mini traveling adventures coming up... it really makes the weeks much more endurable, knowing in just a couple days you're off to another fun city to spend time with precious friends.

sometimes the good things are overwhelming. it's easy to bear hard things... well, not easy, but i deal with them better in some ways than with really good things. because the really good things make me feel undeserving, and i wait for something not so good to happen so that things will make sense again. not a good mindset, eh? i'm working on it. :)

the lenten season has been a blessing: it's been filled with a peaceful joy and all the goodness i mentioned above.