31 March 2010


A carefree adventure to Amsterdam and Berlin with my favorite flatmate, Melody... is there a better way to spend a long weekend?

Well... I can think of a few, but they all involve flying back to the States. (:

So for now, it's off to Anne Frank and Corrie ten Boom's houses, tulip gardens, canals, windmills, pancakes, and of course, coffeehouses! Be back Tuesday...

26 March 2010


I am having a super duper lame Friday night.

There were certainly good things in this day. I'm staying at Karen's house tonight, and her hospitality is almost as beautiful as she is. I had tea with Francis and Penelope Warner for the first time today. I had a sweet skype date with Allyallyally Hall. I saw a wooly rhinocerous tooth at the Oxford city museum this morning. Yet despite all of this amazingness, I'm both physically and emotionally shot.

Out of the blue today I ran into two different struggling women who I've had repeated interactions with in the past. I am so very thankful that we have been put into each others' lives, and good things have come out of these strange relationships, and I have hope for more beauty to grow. Buuuut, those two brief conversations left me reeling, feeling as though I had been fastened to an emotional vacuum cleaner and sucked dry. I just don't know what to do. I don't know how to love them. I am unable to give them what they ask of me and I am tearing myself to shreds to make sure that my inability is not just a facade masking unwillingness of heart.

This heart strain makes me more vulnerable to other things. Like loneliness. Like jealousy. Like boredom. Like blabbering confusingly on my blog. Yuck.

And so I'm going to bed at 10:30 on a Friday night. Goodnight life. If you could please be a little less overwhelming tomorrow, that would be great.

18 March 2010

break my bones

Tuesday afternon after I got off work I took a sandwich and some coffee down to David, a Big Issue seller in Oxford who I see a couple times a week. We were standing there talking and despite the warm sunny weather, he seemed so discouraged. When I asked, he told me he was just tired of the abuse. He always speaks to me, and I have observed to others, with the utmost politeness and kindness, asking them if they would like to buy a magazine with a quiet, gentle manner. But he told me that while some people respond politely, there are many others who will yell at him, tell him to "f*** off," or otherwise verbally abuse him. Sometimes he leaves his corner early because he's just weary of it.

I can't believe people would do that. What kind of brokenness inside of someone causes them to treat a struggling human being that way? Who do I hurt with my words? Carelessly spoken, shot off, unintentional, or measured, we all instinctively know the power of speech, and I have used mine to wound, stab, and isolate.

That night I watched Memoirs of a Geisha. The entire film is aching and sad, but ironically, the part where I started crying is when the little girl who has been taken from her family, abused and isolated, and then abandoned by her sister in a thwarted running-away attempt is standing on a bridge in the middle of town and a powerful businessman notices her, stops, speaks kindness into her life, cheers her up, and buys her some flavored ice. From that moment onward the girl's entire life purpose becomes to become a geisha, because then she will have a chance at a place in that businessman's world.

His words spoke kindness into her, revolutionized her life, gave her a purpose to live. I started crying because it frightened me. We have so much power.

My friend Lissha once told our teen girls at camp, "You have the power to speak life into people." I have never forgotten that phrase. That is a terrifying power, because it infers that we also have the power to do exactly the opposite. And we have this power not over objects of small importance, but over people. People who have been dearly bought, highly esteemed, redeemed in the suffering of God himself. We speak thousands of words every day. Each one is a choice.

Forgive me, Lord! For I am a woman of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!

" They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent's; the poison of vipers is on their lips. Selah" Psalm 140:3

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" James 3:9-11

15 March 2010

a snapshot of life in oxfordland

Random photo goodness...

I can't even play a violin, let alone play a violin on a tightrope. Walking backwards.

Enjoy the beautiful days when they come.

Extravagant beauty.

Ceilidh dancing on Burn's night.

Do I really live here?

Cornmarket Street. Saturday afternoon.

The college boathouses down by the Isis where we row.

The Jericho mural.

Jericho is a hip neighborhood in Oxford.

High Street as seen from St. Mary's tower.

Perfect Sunday afternoon.

A Brit, a Scot, and an American walked into a bar...

My dear otherworldly friend Holly.

Julia and Mel. Make up your own caption.

Gospel choir!

And now for some recent happiness from the bop Saturday night. Theme: circus and freaks.

Lottie and Holly. Me loves them.
Oh, and David. I guess I love him too.

Julia and I.

Dancin' it up.

Mis amigas.


Finally, and most importantly, I now own the most freaking awesome ensemble of six shades of sequin. What more does a girl need in her life?

Life is good. Life is hard. Life is b e a u t i f u l.

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future." Ecclesiastes 7:14

"Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do." Ecclesiastes 9:7

10 March 2010

this is krakow

I was only in Krakow for a few hours, but the city stuck itself firmly in my heart and memory. It was a cold, dark, magical winter wonderland. Bustling with life and vitality, but serene and dreamy. And friendly, drawing you in, coaxing you to explore further. I hope someday I will be able to go back. Thought we've only met once, I have the feeling Krakow and I will reunite like old friends.

This is what I saw when I was there.

The architecture.

The Christmas markets on the main square.

It's probably a good thing I was only there at night. It was so dreamlike, the entire city probably disappeared with the morning light.

Not joking. It really might have all disappeared after I left.
Like an enchanted city in a fairytale...

"When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed." Psalm 126:1

07 March 2010


Why do we like quotes so much? Or why do we sing along to songs, or play them to complement our emotions? Because we recognize that somebody said something that echoes within us, but they said it better than we could say it. Sometimes they say things that we don't even know have an echo inside of us until they say it.

Anyways... I read an excerpt from Don Miller this week that really explains a lot of what I'm feeling about this time of my life, about life in general, about growing, changing, refining. Maybe quotes or song lyrics are cop-out blog posts, but it's what I'm thinking about and dwelling on, so I want to share it with you. Yep, you.

"I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently. Only the good stories have the characters different at the end than they were at the beginning."

I want to change. I want to come back from this year different than I was. Simply because that's what's good and right. To refine.

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Luke 2:52

04 March 2010

oh the things you will see

Really, England?

"Who is this coming up from the desert like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense made from all the spices of the merchant? Look! It is Solomon's carriage, escorted by sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel..." Song of Solomon 3:6-7

02 March 2010

this is prague

I've dreamed of going to Prague for ages. I have a vivid memory (who knows if it's real or not) of being pretty little, maybe seven or eight?, and looking through my big sister Annie's black-n-white photographs of Prague architecture (Anne, feel free to declare whether or not this memory can possibly be true, and if it is, how long ago would it have been anyway??). Partly because I thought my big sister was freaking cool, and partly because the photos were insanely beautiful, I decided right then and there that someday I would go to Prague. And take black and white photos of the buildings. And so I did.

The end.

(Or the beginning?)

But there are a few things in Prague that just can't be captured in black-and-white:

And my very favorite:

"Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in." Psalm 24:7