14 December 2013


One year ago today, the world stood in solidarity as we all experienced the horror that was the Sandy Hook Massacre.

One year ago, we struggled to find a way to express the pain and heartache that filled our hearts as the news came that twenty of the twenty-six people were kiddos.

How do we stand in the tension between horrific events such as Sandy Hook or Columbine or most recently Arapahoe High School in Centennial, CO? How do we express our heartache for tragedies that impact communities so much like our own? How do we move on from these events in a way that acknowledges what happened yet doesn't dwell in the past?

It seems like we have a tendency to sweep horrific events under the rug, to medicate them away with reality TV, sporting events, facebook, or food. We take to Twitter with posts of horror along with hashtags of solidarity. We take to Facebook with our posts about the tragedy and an analysis of why it occurred. And once we have taken our two seconds of social media silence, we are back to our posts about what food we're eating and giving our opinion about the current Twitter-argument between two celebrities. 

The thing is, tragedy doesn't end in two seconds. 

The horror doesn't dissipate in two seconds. 

It lives on in the lives of each person affected by the tragedy. It lives in the eyes and memories of each survivor. And it resurfaces each time there is another tragedy. 

Two seconds is not enough for me.

It reminds me of the Advent season that we are in. Advent is a time of waiting for the arrival of the Messiah, of sitting in the uncomfortable place of "not yet." It is about acknowledging that something or someone is missing and knowing that it is coming. 

And so, I acknowledge each person who is missing this day, who tragically lost their lives for an unknown reason. Because two seconds of silence is not enough.

In memory of the twenty-seven women and children of Sandy Hook, but most especially for the children whose faces and names will forever be in my heart.
Rachel, Lauren, Victoria, Dawn, Mary, Nancy,

Photos via CNN, collage made by blogger

11 December 2013

medicating and dashes

Why is it that we medicate the uncomfortableness? Why is that we medicate and drown, and drug instead of sitting in the awkward, and often, painful moment where every fiber in your body is telling you that something is not right? Why is it so difficult to face the fact that there is something broken in our lives?

We medicate by flipping the channel until we find a show that makes us laugh or horrified or sentimental. And the second that it is no longer giving us that "high," we flip the channel to the next "drug."

We medicate by going out every single weekend, running ourselves into the ground in order to make sure that we are doing "life" right with money and interesting hobbies and a glamorous career and a confident fashion sense and the perfect partner and the "best" kids and… When does it stop?

What has happened to quietness? To stillness? To not doing anything? To being uncomfortable? To resting?

I don't have the answers. I am caught in this cycle too. But I want out. I want to start caring about the people around me. I want to know and be known. I want to be uncomfortable at times. I want to acknowledge what is broken in my life. I want to admit that I don't have it all together, that I struggle with taking risks.

Maybe that is my whole point. Maybe what I am trying to express is that there has to be more to life than just drowning out the imperfections. 

There is this saying that on your tombstone there will be two dates on it with a dash in the middle and that the dash is our living. So, what will your "dash" look like? If the dash took on the characteristics of your living, what would it look like? Would it be long and thin? Or maybe a fat, squiggly line? Maybe a double line? Would it be a colored dash? Or a sparkly one? What about a simple black line? Whatever your living, your dash, looks like, let's not drug and drown out the entire experience. 

Just one more thought about the whole living without the medicating. I'm learning that in order to make the most of my living without medicating, I have to do less. I have to set aside time to be quiet, and still, and even be uncomfortable.

But it is worth it.

And on that note, I'm going to find some quiet.

08 December 2013

apathy about a dress and social justice

Dressember. Women a-dress-ing social justice in the 21st century.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen more recent flood of selfies, something that is not normal for me. For the entire month, I am participating in Dressember, a month of dresses in order to raise awareness and money for International Justice Mission. According to their website, IJM is a "human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression." I encourage you to check out both of the links above for more information on how to get involved.

Today, when I got up, all I wanted to do was put on a nice pair of sweats and sit in a coffee shop. I did not want to put on a dress. But then I got to thinking about it and I couldn't justify not putting on a dress. Yeah, I may not want to wear a dress but what about the 27 million people who do not want to be enslaved? They don't get a choice. They don't get the option of waking up and choosing to not be oppressed and exploited and trapped. And somehow the small act of wearing a dress when I least wanted to felt more like an empathetic act of solidarity with the 27 million. I am not trying to say that I know exactly what it's like to be a victim of slavery because I wore a dress when I didn't want to. Rather, my choice to wear a dress is in response to sitting down at the table and joining the conversation about social justice.

As I reflect on my day tonight, I am reminded of the many times when I don't want to go to the church service. It is those mornings when I just want to snuggle down under my covers that I have come to recognize as the mornings when I absolutely must get my butt in to the service. It is those moments when I am most burdened, exhausted, apathetic, and cynical that I need to be surrounded by my brothers and sisters.

I think that is similar to what I experienced today in my dress. On a day when I just wanted to slip on those comfy sweats, I needed to be surrounded by my fellow Dressember sisters and remember that ultimately Dressember isn't about me, it's about 27 million brothers and sisters who need the attention that 31 days of dresses can bring to the injustice of slavery.

23 October 2013

a people break and being human

We are meant for relationships. We are not meant to be islands of independence.

Being created in the image of God inherently means that we are relational.

What I'm realizing is that this means that I cannot simply be a lean, mean machine moving between school and sleep. I need others, I need community.

More than any amount of bucket-listing, I need time with people.

And so, until my time as a nomad is finished, I am putting the list to the side. Instead, I am focusing on nourishing my soul with God and with others.

16 October 2013

quarters, buckets, and playing the victim

Today I turned 24 years old.

Now, I know, some people may say that I am really young still while others would feel like I am quite old.

And I think I would agree with both.

There are parts of me that feels quite young; there are so many things that I have never experienced. Yet at the same time, I've been through experiences that I don't think any 20-something plans on going through.

So, here I am feeling both old and young at the same time. But that was not the goal and that means I've once again become distracted (it happens more often than I would like to admit).

I am 364 days from being half a century old. And there are so many things that I want to do yet I sit and complain about how I can't do anything because of my past illnesses. When someone asks why I haven't traveled outside of the US like I claim I want to, I use my illnesses as an excuse.

Why do I do that? 

Why do I make myself the victim to my life experiences?

Why do I put myself in the passive position of not having control in my life? 

I'm not sure of the answer to those questions. But maybe it's not about having the answers to every question. I'm choosing to not sit and ponder those questions. I'm choosing to act.

Which leads me to my announcement. Today, October 16, 2013, marks the first day of my new quest to be active in my own life and not let my illnesses continue to hold me down.

I'm calling it Quarters In A Bucket.

My short-term goal is to accomplish as many items on my bucket list as possible before I turn 25.
Long-term, my goal is to change my habit of inaction and excuses into a habit of action and freedom.

Here is to a year of change, action, and freedom.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. - Galatians 5:1(NIV)

15 May 2013

numero fifty and God-with-us

Hooray! This is officially the 50th post on this blog!

I guess that really isn't that many considering that I've been writing for 3 years but I'm going to celebrate the occasion anyway. My original intention for this blog was to write about my travels studying abroad, which never happened. I guess in a way, I did eventually travel away from home so at least I have fulfilled that purpose somewhat.

On a completely unrelated note, I was going through the files on my laptop tonight, cleaning and organizing (yes, you can do that on a laptop), when I came across a reflection essay that I wrote for my Christian Doctrines class.

And I thought I would share it with you. It is a reflection of Matthias Grünewald's "The Crucifixion," part of his larger piece the Isenheim Alterpiece.

So, without further ado, here is my essay; enjoy!

A very human death of Yahweh: God-with-us

The Crucifixion, Matthias Grünewald

What difference does it make that Jesus died?

Instinctively, I know that it does make a difference that Jesus died…I just don’t know how to put into words what that difference is.  The painting is very graphic.

It isn’t like a lot of crucifixion paintings where Jesus looks more like a super-human who hasn’t been truly affected by his suffering.

No, Grünewald’s painting is very much in touch with Jesus’s human nature and what it means to suffer to the point of death.

Rather than portray God-with-us as a God who is all-powerful, Jesus is battered and grotesque and wasting away and beaten and weak at his end.

So, why does it matter that he died? First off, I think it matters because it shows that Jesus lived the entire human lifespan from birth to death.

He didn’t skip out on any aspect of it but instead lived it all.

I think what it is even more awe-inspiring in that knowledge is that he didn’t sin at all even when suffering and dying. I know for me, when I was on the brink of death I struggled to even be able to have the thought of mind to even think about sin.

My energy was spent on just surviving – the bare minimum necessary to make it through the day – so I didn’t have any extra energy to devote to loving God and others above myself.

And yet, Jesus did that. 

Another aspect that stands out to me is that if Jesus suffered and died, then there is no amount of suffering that I could go through that Jesus has not himself experienced. You could argue that his suffering was taken to completion in his death.

There is no more suffering after that point and he went there.

So, no matter how much suffering I go through, Jesus has taken it further than that because he took it to its completion.

When I was extremely sick, my body was shutting down: I was dying. Jesus knows what that is like because he was in that same place.

There is no aspect of the human life that he did not live fully.

He conquered death and that means that there is nothing that has not been conquered by him.

There is nothing that does not bow in submission to God – God reigns supreme over all including death and the depths of Hell.

My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that you will come to know Jesus, God-with-us, in ways that you never could have thought or imagined. I pray that you will rest in the knowledge that the God of the universe is with us in our lives - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

12 May 2013

mother's day and the number fifteen

Today is Mother's Day. And as much as I want to, I can't be with my mom today. Somehow 1,300 miles is a little too far to walk in a day. So, I decided to celebrate my mom by dedicating this post to her.

I know everyone makes a big deal about how their mother is the best. But I don't think it has to be a competition. I think everyone has the best mother for them. I know that is definitely true for me. God gave me the mother that I have needed, am needing, and will need.

So, I thought I would share some of the reasons why I love my mom.

15 Reasons for Why My Mother Wins at Being My Mom
1. She taught me the meaning of not letting my education get in the way of my learning.
2. She showed me that music makes everything better.

3. She has stood in solidarity with me through many different medical sagas.
4. She gave me my quirky sense of humor that finds pink flamingos, duh-winning, and Funda Hundas hilarious.
5. She knows the importance of coffee, chocolate, and ice cream.
6. She gives me advice on everything yet shows confidence in my ability to make decisions.
7. She cooks delicious gluten-free food.
8. She taught me that the number of books to get from the library is limited only to the number you can carry.
9. She taught me that sometimes characters in movies and books can seem like real humans. (And sometimes you have to go visit your "friends".)
10. She has supported me when I said I wanted to pledge a sorority, transfer to a university 1,300 miles away, and go to a Broncos game while injured.
11. She sends a lot of care packages with things like chocolate vegetables and a birthday-party-in-a-box.
12. She covers me every day and night in prayer.
13. She has taught me that Jesus needs to be the center of my life.
14. She is not simply my mom but one of my best friends.
15. She loves me unconditionally.

I love you mom! I hope that one day I can be a mom like you!

Abba, thank you for mothers. Thank you for my mother. Thank you for showing me what unconditional love looks like!

14 January 2013

highways, love, and dreams

My little sister is engaged.

and instead of celebrating with her, I'm crying at my own singleness.

and I hate myself for it.

I feel like the only one of my friends who is not in a relationship. Yet my logical side tells me that my feelings are lying to me.

I want to be in a relationship. And yet as I write those words, I feel shame because I think that means I'm not enjoying my period of singleness like I've been reminded to do by pastors, married women, and once-married women alike.

I hope to be married in the next five to ten years. Yet I think I am afraid of commitment.

Somewhere in the craziness of driving on the road called Life - going to college and making great memories and dealing with horrible illnesses and falling in love with Jesus - I seem to have spaced on what turnoff I was wanting to take. I feel like I just discovered that the road that I wanted to go on at some point in the future is nowhere to be found now. I've taken so many other great roads that have led me on a journey to this incredible city of Seattle, so why am I so attached to this one path?

If life is a highway as Tom Cochrane so eloquently put it, then I think I missed the turnoff that leads to a romantic relationship.

If life is a highway, then I've traveled down roads of medical issues that aren't supposed to be driven at the age of twenty-one.

If life is a highway, then I've found a way to drive slowly on the road of college.

If life is a highway, then I think I went off-roading.

I have to believe that I haven't missed the road for a relationship. I have to believe that it is somewhere in my future travels.

I have to learn to be okay with the fact that I may be exploring and off of the main road for a while. For whatever reason, it's not time for me to take the road to relationship. If only my heart would remember that life is not stagnant.

I am on a journey and every day brings something new.

Someday, Jesus will let me know that it's time to turn onto that road to relationship. But that day is not today. I have to wait and trust that the One who carried me through my desert storm has my itinerary and will be with me every step of the way.

Today, I choose to let Jesus drive
Today, I choose to sit back and relax and just enjoy the road trip. 
Today, I choose to see the beauty on the road that I am on. 
Today, I choose to not worry about the itinerary. 
Jesus doesn't need my help in navigating so,
today, I choose to let him take me on an adventure.