Saturday, December 19, 2009

Facing the Shadows

I was not kidding when I mentioned a coming cold, dark season last month. To be honest, the darkness sucks, this time more than most.

Perhaps it's partly because this time, I'm peering into my soul and story intentionally, and in a way that I haven't in many years.

Perhaps it's partly because this time, there are people in my life who matter to me, and whom I supposedly matter to as more than just a face in a crowd. I think it's this part that makes the loneliness deeper and the silence deafening.

Oh wellz.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Final final, finally...

It's an hour before my last exam.
I'm operating on barely 4 hours of sleep.
I've finished my resource sheets.
And I have no clue how I will fare on this crazy final.

It's statistics, of course - which elicits a variety of ridiculous reactions from me... right now, I'm sorely tempted to answer the entire exam in doodles:

(mean square)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An apology. And tea.

So... my last post wasn't intended to be a smash on anyone who likes traditional holiday tunes. I've just realized lately what a propensity I have for disconnection. Some days it's a battle to stay not just physically, but also spiritually and emotionally, awake. Who am I kidding? It's been most days lately, which is why I've taken to just turning everything off. Thus, when I actually turn something on it'd better be good. :-)

I apologize if I offended anyone.

On a kind of giddy note, I like tea.

This time last year, I did NOT like tea. This time last year, I didn't want to even consider tea as a viable beverage option. Oh, but I didn't know what I was missing until this week. :-)

Last spring, I decided I'd give tea a shot & started with the Celestial Seasonings fruity stuff. Why not? There's a tea factory just up the road in Boulder. That was all well and good. I tried some breakfast teas & greys. They were alright too (well, except for the one that tasted like old cigarette smoke smells).

Then my friend Elizabeth gave Jer & I tea for Christmas.

She gave us this stuff:
Tea Gschwendner's Winter Magic
(and their apple pie tea too)

Since I cracked the gift open on Sunday evening and put it to the test, I've had to resist chain-drinking the stuff. It's incredibly delicious. :-)

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Music

You know, sometimes I can get really annoyed at Christmas music. For a decent number of years now, any Christmas-musical sentimentality I have has been tied up in old hymns that remind me what the real story is. (Which is funny, actually, because I spent most of my life despising those dry, boring old hymns for the complete disconnection of belief and action that they represented to me.)

Well... now hymns are anything BUT dry and boring to me, and the Christmas-y ones are no longer confined to Christmas.

Probably about 5 years ago, I got my paws on Your King Has Come, which includes a whole pile of my favorite musicians singing a whole pile of amazing hymns and assorted other awesomes. And in the midst of all the awesomes, I found my favoritest ever Christmas song. Years (and hundreds of listens) later this song still makes me want to dance and cry and be generally absurd for the sheer joy of what God has done and is doing and will do on this broken sphere - and what He offers to the broken souls that walk it.

Without further ado, here's a link to the song:
Jeremy Casella - Joyful Fire

And here are the lyrics (to the best of my understanding):

Bright and shining like the sun
In the middle of a dark, hot night
I was walking through the fields,
I saw it hanging in the sky.

And, oh - some kind of illusion,
I thought I was out of my mind.
This light shone all around me,
It ripped through the dark like a knife -
Just like a knife

There was music in the air
And there was glory in the sky.
I saw an angel of the Lord who said to put my fears aside.
He said, "You've been waiting for a savior,
Well He's born in the city tonight.
You've been walking in the darkness
But you've seen a great light."

And, oh - I swear there were angels
just singing and dancing on high;
This light all around them,
a joyful fire in their eyes.
Oh, love - there was a fire in their eyes.

Oh, love. Oh, love - fire in their eyes

Oh, the righteousness and majesty,
This savior Jesus is our holy king,
Fulfilling every ancient prophecy,
The perfect sacrifice for you and me

So go tell the hungry,
Go tell the poor,
Go tell the widow,
Go tell the broken-hearted,
Go tell the homeless,
Go tell the thirsty,
Go tell the lonely -
the Lord keeps his promises,
the Lord keeps his promises.

* * * * * * *

(By the way, I would highly suggest pretty much all of Jeremy Casella's music. He's incredibly talented and beautifully honest. Check out his website here.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009


It's not often that I get to cram so many favorites into one day:
- great, but mildly unlikely, company
- sweet bike time
- light rail
- knitting
- crisp, clear, cold weather
- soul-searching
- coffee with Jero (I can have coffee again!)

This day was nearly 2 weeks ago and it's been a bit of an anchor in the crazy. God hears my prayers and responds in most surprising ways.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Old Pattern - Kindling Coffee Cuff

A few weeks ago, my husband and I met our friend Becca at the local Caribou Coffee to hang out. I was pleasantly surprised to see a bunch of reusable coffee cuffs, some knitted, hanging around for purchase.

I was also amused... about 2 years ago I made a bunch of my own just for fun but didn't think anyone would want to buy or use one. While re-arranging my craft corner the other day, I stumbled across the pattern I'd worked out for this one:

And so... for your knitting/stocking-stuffing/white-elephant-gifting pleasure, I give you the extremely simple directions for what I decided to name Kindling:

Grab some worsted-weight yarn (like Paton's Classic Wool).
Using US Size 6 or 7 dpns, cast on 36 stitches (a cable cast-on seems to work best!) & distribute them on 4 needles.
Join & knit two rounds in this manner: (K9, p1, k7, p1, k9, p1, k7, p1)

Then repeat this pattern 4 times, or until desired length:
Round 1: K9, p1, k1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1, p1, k9, p1, k7, p1
Round 2: k9, p1, k7, p1, k9, p1, k7, p1
Round 3: k9, p1, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, p1, k9, p1, k7, p1
Round 4: K9, p1, k7, p1, k9, p1, k7, p1

After achieving desired length, complete last round as follows: (K9, p1, k7, p1, k9, p1, k7, p1)
Bind off.

Here's a shot of the details, sort of:

Happy Knitting & Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 07, 2009


I'm pretty sure that knitter/artist/photographer/designer Jared Flood (of Brooklyn Tweed) is an evil genius.

I've been reading his blog for about two years now, but I've only managed one project that he had a hand in, Smariek's Cap Karma. Granted, I've completed that project about 10-12 times.

Well, I started Koolhaas tonight (sweet hat pattern, check it out), and I'm certifiably addicted. I don't want to put it down, but I really should because it's 1am and I have an early class in the morning. Ah, sweet irresponsibility!! Maybe??

One day, I shall get up the guts to start this or this.

One day, I shall also dust off my camera and take pictures of the projects I've finished lately.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Just for the record...

This is not what I've been dealing with:

Although it does run in my family. (eek!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I want to like them. Really, I do.

I have several friends who have an affinity for carrots. One friend would regularly buy a large bag of carrots to be his lunch for the week. I still don't understand how he did not turn permanently orange, but oh well. My husband loves carrots. He's happily munching on them right now.

But me? I. do. not. like. carrots. I tolerate them. I tend to eat them sparingly, and only because they're healthy & I'm supposed to.

Well... I'm on a mission to like carrots now.

Due to some recent health issues, I'm having to watch very carefully what I eat. (No, it's not diabeetus or anything super-huge.) Anyway... carrots are on the good list.

Coffee is on the bad list (pout.)
Soda is on the bad list (bottom lip trembling.)
Curry is on the bad list (wide eyes.)
Chickfila seems to be on my own personal bad list (tear!)
Tomatoes are on the bad list (whimper.)
As are a multitude of berries and citrus fruits!!! (sob!)

At least for now these are among the things on the bad list, so I'm hunting for other things I enjoy that are actually okay to eat...

And I really wish I liked carrots.

* * * * * * *

P.S. If you offer me a Dr. Pepper, I probably won't talk to you for a week.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A little mischief...

I was making some Christmas presents this afternoon and got a little carried away.

The result was this:

Meeple Madness

The Meeple is a piece from one of my favorite boardgames - Carcassonne. I'm pretty sure I have solidly stepped into geekdom by pasting one on my shirt, but that's alright with me. :-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I've been finding myself whispering this a lot lately - part prayer, part plea, part thanks. And I have received much lately.

Much, much mercy.

A professor gave me an extension on an assignment, but then decided he couldn't realistically do that and revoked it. To which I whispered, mercy, realizing that this is just one assignment that will not likely be the death of me or my grade in the class.

Cold #3 ended up being something completely different. Still not certain what's going on, but I should (hopefully) find out in a few days. In the meantime, these days of questionable health have been driving me crazy. My body has been pretty reliable for most of my life, and now it just feels like its giving out. To which I whisper, mercy.

Each day of this past month and a half has been completed by the grace of God alone. Some days school, some days illness, some days wrestling, some days hiding, some days angry, some days thankful, most days weary, a few moments incredibly awake and aware of God's presence with me despite all appearances to the contrary. To which I whispered (and whisper still), mercy, because His presence is mercy and for that I am thankful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Study Tactics

I'm sure this won't work so well for the longer papers that I have due in coming weeks, but for now I'm enjoying this approach to studying:

Write a section.
Knit a few rows.
Write a section.
Knit a few rows.

Thanks to some rest and the prayers of a few good friends, I think I might be able to fend off Cold #3, which was threatening earlier this week. Whatever it was knocked me out for Tuesday, but I refuse to be knocked out any longer... but I'm still moving slowly.

And writing a section,
Then knitting a few rows.
Repeating repeating
til this assignment is done.

At this rate, Shalom could be done by the end of November. You know what... I need peace AND a warm sweater, so that works out well. :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

But all is not dark...

I know the last post was a bit of a downer. You'll get that here periodically, as I try to be genuine. Where I am is where I am and I won't try to hide it.

But all is not dark in my life. I have an incredible husband and I have a handful of friends, near and far, who are willing to stick things out with me and help me carefully peel back the assorted layers of my heart.

I also have a few sanity-keeping hobbies that I will carve out time for. My bike will get plenty of use, as will my running shoes. My paintbrushes will likely not stay dry for long, and there will be plenty of fun on my knitting needles. I know better than to dive into a mess without some diversions. :-)

Thanks to my wonderful friend Yvette (who gave me a fantastic birthday present - a gift certificate to my favorite local yarn store), I was able to get some yarn for a sweater today. No pictures yet, just a delighted impatient me who has already cast on for my second iteration of the Shalom cardigan. This time it will have sleeves, a la here and here.

The first time I made it, I used something I affectionately (haha) dubbed "Quintessential Itchy-Scratchy." Basically free yarn, also basically unwearable. Really, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could make a sweater if I could afford to. The completed product lives on my duct-tape dress form, whom I call Ducky. This new sweater will live on me. :-)

I should be writing a paper, but I'll get to that in a few minutes. Grad school does not have to be all work. Just remind me of that in a few weeks...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The beginning of perseverance

I get the feeling that I am entering a rather cold, dark season. Perhaps not physically... after all, I live in sunny CO now.

It's not creaky knees that bear the message this time, but the returning ache of an old, tired soul and a dimming of vision. More steps are uncertain, and there is less welcome in old places of rest. There's a loneliness that I can't shake. There's a homesickness for deep community and a dawning realization of just who and what are missing.

And you know what? I will welcome this season. I believe that Jesus is right in the thick of it with me, that my Father is at work redeeming a lot places that have been broken or lost.

So here I sit with open heart and open hands, listening.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow...

Fonder, right?

(By the way, that's a really funny looking word. Fonder.)

Actually, it doesn't. Just for the record.

I mean, my fingers miss Facebook... every time I open my browser I start down the familiar path of check email, check Facebook, check blog-reader, check news (yes... in that order, it's sad, i know) & I come to a screetching halt on the second step.

But the rest of me has been breathing a great big sigh of relief and diving into the rest of life.

In lieu of Facebook & far too many hours of internet-based procrastination:
- I've begun to deal with some skunkiness in my own heart that I would've put off at least until Thanksgiving & possibly Christmas
- I've finished and sent off a paper two days before it was due
- I've done some much needed apartment cleaning
- I've been considering painting projects again (and actually done a little one!)
- I've gotten to work more on my sister's baby blanket

...and I've gotten up the courage to talk to God again (at least once)

These, my friends, are very good things.

A November Morning in Grad School

Riiiiiiiiiiiiing... Riiiiiiiiiiing...


Riiiiiiiiiiiing... Riiiiiiiiiiiiiing...


Riiiiiiiiiiing... Riiiiiiiiiiiing...


Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

Shower. Pack. Leave. Go downstairs. GO UPSTAIRS.

Grumble. Go downstairs.

Drive. Drive. Drive. Nearly get pulled over. Grumble. Drive.

Prayer. Coffee. Sigh. Breathe.

All to work on statistics on a Saturday morning... but the semester is nearly over and I am counting the days!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009


For those of you who read my blog and are also my friends on Facebook... I deactivated my account. (Probably) not forever. Just for now. Ask if you wanna know.

P.S. I finally fixed the comment function on the blog. Figured if I'm not available on FB, I should at least do that... :-)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dangerous Prayer

I have learned, partially through the life of my husband Jeromie, that honest prayer is dangerous. Yes, it is many other things as well, but it is dangerous too.

It's dangerous to my sense of comfort. It's dangerous to my fragile earthly peace. It's dangerous to my familiar way of seeing and understanding and relating in the world.

I have just such a dangerous prayer.

I want to see the streets of Denver the way many of my friends and acquaintances do. I want to see those things that are hidden to my comfortable middle-class eyes. I may never be able to fully understand just what it is like to live them as a daily, draining reality... but if I am to walk well alongside these people I love, then I need perhaps a little more than cognitive empathy.

I have no idea how God will answer this prayer, but I'm praying that His will be done.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I'll probably post in a few days about the sheer, utter craziness of last night, but in the meantime I present to you my snowboots.

Just a word or three before the pictures: wtf?!

(I'm not complaining... I'm just confused!)

Tent stake to show the extent of the damage



The Boots: Columbia Bugazips, obtained for a mere $3 at a yard sale last year in near-unused condition

The Conditions: High of 32F, Nighttime low of 26F, steady snow throughout while camping out:
- in Fort Collins
- in a decent snowstorm
- in a Chikfila parking lot
- for ~13.5 hours
- for free food!

The Crazy: The boots stayed outside of the tent, but out of the weather, for about 6 hours last night. They were awesome and toasty with no apparent structural compromise until I got back to Englewood and went in and out of several stores. At some point, I realized that my heel was bothering me & so I looked down at my shoes to discover that the left heel had cracked completely around. Keep walking around, finish my errand, walk out of the store, hear some crackling, look down... right toebox full of spiderweb cracks! Was I supposed to pretreat these things or were they just defective?

Jer looked at reviews of similar Columbia boots & found that several people had posted the same problem. Apparently the boots only have a 1 year warranty anyway, so it's probably not worth even asking since I got them secondhand more than a year ago.

No complaints from me... I definitely got $3 of wear out of them. It will just be a cold month or two for my toes if this weather keeps up. I'm eying some sweet boots for Christmas though... :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Just sayin'...

I am having a really really hard time understanding how it's already the end of October.

Some things I have loved about this autumn so far:
- crisp, cool weather
- pumpkin chocolate chip muffins & caramel apple cider
- visible snow behind the front range of the Rockies
- french press coffee more mornings than not
- itchy fingers: as in, i want to knit A LOT (where's more yarn?!)
- a smaller, possibly deeper vein for Fishes as we meet inside the church
- the Denver Half-Marathon
- 3 (maybe more!) snows before Halloween
- lots of sweet lunch dates with new & old friends
- leading my first group, and not being utterly terrified
- meeting and doing some good work of my own with a counselor

Some things I have not loved about this autumn so far:
- 2 major colds in less than a month!
- major bucks toward long-needed car repairs
- 3 (maybe more! snows before Halloween, with the awareness that I know far too many people who either do, or may have to, sleep out in it

Autumn is not over, but October nearly is... and I'm going to see how many more hours of sleep I can fit into it. :-) I've already missed a few too many!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

toot toot.

So... one Amy Sawyer has demanded a "randish" blog post about the half, and she shall get it, unfortunately sans photos.

This past Sunday morning, Jeromie & I downright conquered the Denver Half-Marathon. I say conquered because we both had a pretty bum few weeks leading up to it. I got sick. Jer got busy. We both felt beat AND we made the (possible) mistake of eating PIZZA as race-fuel. Not even delicious BlackJack's BBQ Chicken! Not even McKinner's many delicious awesomes! Dominoes, I tell you! We ate Dominoes!

With good friends, of course.

But that still does not make up for the fact that pizza is not always runner-friendly the night before a race/run/event/whatever.

That said, we were both planning to just settle for finishing.

So. The Half. I will definitely be doing another one, and hopefully another after that.

Looking back on the morning, the Denver course was an excellent place to attempt my first actual half-marathon. I'd run the distance many times in high school, just to get away from life, but I hadn't ever done a formal half-marathon, and I hadn't run that far in YEARS (like 10 of them). The course was fairly flat (except for fun little hill early on, and another one between miles 9 & 10 in the Cheeseman Park area), the race was not huge participant-wise, and the weather turned out to be amazing.

We took the light rail into downtown so we wouldn't have to worry about parking, and managed to get to the Civic Center Park (starting line area) by about 6:30am. As is almost always the case before a race, we ended up spending most of our time before the start waiting in the lines for the restrooms. Bah. Anyway... we managed to get through the lines, check our gear bags, and make it to somewhere near our pace-marker by a few minutes before the start. Of course, at that point I realized I'd forgotten my little snack-gel thingies, but oh well. I think it took about 4-5 minutes to get to the actual starting line after the race began, and that time basically served as my warm-up. Next time... I'll get there earlier.

We'd agreed the night before to just run our own paces, so we parted ways within the first quarter mile. I spent the first mile or two weeding my way through the crowd and trying to feel out how my calves would behave for the day. I wasn't paying much attention at all to time or pace and thus missed hitting my watch until the 3 mile marker. After that, I hit my watch joyfully at every mile because I was that much closer to being done AND I was kind of interested to see what pace I had settled into.

I don't remember much about the running part itself except the silly, quirky thoughts & lovely "runner's high" that strike me on good days. I remember being utterly blown away as I approached City Park (somewhere in mile 5?) and saw the front-runners fly past in the opposite direction... they were several miles ahead of me and booking it. I remember cheering for the first & second women I noticed in that pack. I also remember getting passed at about that same time by a boy running a leg of the relay who looked like he was maybe not even ten. Oh yeah... and I remember loving the fact that I was running down the big fat middle of the road, with no worries about drastic camber or much of anything else!

Somewhere around mile 7, there was a station for grabbing GU, and I gladly grabbed one. My last experience with chocolate-flavored GU (about 10 years ago?) was NOT a good one, but I figured I'd shot my own self in the foot by forgetting my stuff and I was not about to risk crashing later. Surprisingly, whatever I grabbed was actually palatable... almost like chocolate frosting. So... I hung onto that for about 2 miles & ate it whenever I could see water up ahead.

Mile 11 was probably the hardest mile of the run... my knees were aching and my ears were doing this weird popping deal from the cold I had a few weeks back. At this point, I just decided that there was no quitting and no complaining and off I went.

Somewhere around Mile 12, the marathon and half-marathon courses parted ways. I knew that my internship site was just a block past the split, so I was maybe-just-a-little tempted to add a block to my run, but when it came down to it I was just glad to head for the finish.

The end was unremarkable, but at the same time SUCH a relief. My official time was 2:01:59, which works out to an average of 9:19 per mile. All I can say is that I was (and am still) pleasantly surprised.

Since Sunday morning, I have taken A LOT of ibuprofen. I've also cursed at the two flights of stairs that I must go down to leave the apartment. Today, I commuted in to campus on my bike (+ a few extra miles for good measure), and that was a HUGE help in taking the edge off the soreness in my quads and calves.

So... that was the half. I'm already plotting and scheming for running a whole in May - the Denver Colfax Marathon. I may even have a training partner! :-D

(P.S. The post title is because I wasn't planning on writing about this... it just felt a bit like tooting my own horn. I was going to let Jer do the posting, but he told me to write my own...)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Lost for words...*

In the past year or so, I've become accustomed to relative silence. I say relative because the rest of the world is usually bumping around & full of ceaseless sound.

For me, this silence has taken a few different forms, such as choosing not to accompany most of my actions with portable music. (Relatively) silent car trip, bike ride, run, study-time, cleaning sessions, etc. Nano has gone dusty for extended periods of time, and laptop has spent most of its time on mute. (At least with that last one I can ignore the fact that my computer has pretty awful speakers.)

Since the beginning of this year, I've been trying to be attentive to how I listen: as a friend, as a wife, as a family member, as a follower of Christ & journeying soul, as a counselor, as an artist,** as a being-in-the-world-at-large.

It's been an interesting time (to say the least!) and I am still learning.

One area that has remained painfully silent for a while is the time I've spent in Scripture... and I've responded poorly by spending less time in it. And intermittently connecting with the sadness behind it all, then honestly wrestling with my responses to Truth. So much more going on around this... ask if you want to know.

So imagine my surprise when I'm driving home today, listening to Snow Patrol (which we just recently got an album of because we just recently found out they were awesome because we've been hiding under our grad-school-seminary rocks (boulders? mountains?) for the past year (and other rocks before that) and haven't added to our music library out of laziness or lack of funds or just being fine with what we had. did i mention the fact that i don't usually listen to much of anything in the car anyway?! Strange afternoon.).

Where was I? Ah, yes... Listening to Snow Patrol & more specifically, "Run."

I wasn't listening closely to the lyrics (that's the next step in my music-processing processy-type, well... process) and was blown away when, clear as a friend in the passenger seat a snippet of the words from the chorus stood out to me:

"Even if you cannot hear my voice, I'll be right beside you dear." (Run - Snow Patrol)

Yeah. I broke down in tears. (Which, thanks to a sweet & wise friend, I now know I should listen to.)

The rest of the song doesn't really seem to fit as the voice of God, but those words blew me away and are consistent with what I know to be true.

Snow Patrol is not a substitute for encountering my Savior in the pages of His story, but those perfectly-timed words are an encouragement to me as I open the pages again & listen anew.

- - - - - - -
* What I was this afternoon, obviously not anymore as I just spit out a whole bunch of them.
** I'm still wrestling with applying that label to myself...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Snob.

Alright, I confess. I can be a bit of a book snob, and I'm not at all proud of it.

To a certain extent, it's been useful - there are much better things I can think of to do with my time than read a bad book. On the other hand, I'm sure I've skipped some pretty decent, thought-provoking books because they didn't seem to fit the bill of a good book to me (particularly novel-wise). I don't typically just judge a book by its cover (unless it's shelved in the Romance section :-p)... a lot more usually goes into choosing (or not choosing) a book.

Right now, though, one aspect of my book-snobbery is a bit frustrating to me.

You see, I have to read The Shack (Wm P. Young) for a class this semester. The thing is, I'm not really thrown off by the whole theological monkey-business that I've heard about it, or even the apparent "bad writing." Some people whose opinions I trust have found it to be thought-provoking, and I'm betting it will be. What throws me off is the scads of people who flocked to buy the book sometime last year (well, more like a year and a half...) just because it was the latest, greatest thing. Every time I look at the book, I cringe in mild annoyance at one person after another after another coming into the store to ask after it, not having the slightest clue what it was even about. And being quite rude while they were at it. For this reason, it kind of fits in the same category to me as the Twilight Series, anything by Nicholas Sparks and (for the longest time but not anymore) Harry Potter, to name a few.* For now, I have to put these adverse reactions aside and try to read The Shack with an open mind. Who knows? Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

So, my question for you (likely few) readers of my wramblings:**

What books have I probably missed out on as a result of all this silliness?

- - - - - - -

*I mean no offense to my friends that have read and enjoyed any of these books. I've been challenged lately to evaluate my reactions to these books and where the heck they're coming from.
**Intentional misspelling... seems an apt description of the combination of wrestling & rambling that happens here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


i can be...
a wreck.

i can
& action
for even the slightest
kernel of "truth"
about who i am.

once found,
i take it as the whole
and build my day upon it

pebble by pebble
i have buried myself,

a martyr to my own mistakes.

(E. Rand, September 2009)

* * * * * * *

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


It just occurred to me yesterday that I've had this blog going for about three and a half years... happy 3.5th blirthday to me. Haha.

I did an inventory of the tags/labels and decided that they were a little out of hand. As a result, I've gone through & tweaked the labels on every single last post. So... now the tags are a little less crazy.

It was really interesting to take at least a brief look at all the blog posts I've ever written. Some of them are just plain silly. Yeah, I get that way sometimes. Alright, most of the time.

Some things I've recognized (perhaps again):
- Christ and community are an integral part of my life.
- I wrestle with truth & untruth, with God and with my heart regularly.
- I have a creative heart.
- I have a quirky sense of humor.
- I love to run, bike & just be outside. Oh, and reading good books.
- I want to, and am/do imperfectly... know and be known.
- God is bringing me to life.

Top Tags:
- silly (32)
- photos (25)
- creativity (22)
- community (22)
- good books (17)
- ramblings (17)
- wrestling (17)

I'm not sure very many people read these posts, but I will continue to write them. After all, this is about a journey that ain't stoppin' anytime soon...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


hint of fall at end of summer,
hint of summer in midst of spring

welcome change of something other
gives me hope for better things

'cause i've been stuck in ruts and gutters
for longer than i care to say

but i know that a time is coming
when all these things will be
washed away...

this isn't to say that i'm not trying
or wrestling it out for all i'm worth

but more to say that i've been rescued
by One who knew me before my birth

hint of fall at end of summer,
hint of summer in midst of spring

welcome change of something other
calls me to a life that sings

(E.Rand, September 2009)

* * * * * * *

Monday, September 21, 2009

Strange Poetry

Strange poetry
creeps around corners
and follows me with stealth
and ease.

It whispers in the steady hum
of an underground train,
as its rhythms reveal
all the loose places
on tired bodies.

It sings
accompanied by a symphony
of take-off
and eventual landing.

It shouts
as weary travellers
remove their inhibitions
and return
to woodsmen roots.

It beckons,
invites me to listen
for the distant echoes of Creation
and join in.

(E.Rand, August 2009)

* * * * * * *

Friday, September 18, 2009




and yet,
my corner is dim...
my bones, rattling.
my muscles, tense.
my companions, just an arm's length
but a thousand miles away.

and You...


please open my eyes
and rescue me.

(E. Rand, September 2009)

* * * * * * *

Note: Who knew that this poem, written last Tuesday, would end up describing this whole week? Prayers can be answered in the strangest ways...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yeah, buddy...

Jeromie and I NAILED our long run this morning.

I was a bit nervous about it... I attempted 10 miles a few weeks ago & had to stop at 8 due to unforseen circumstances. Also, this is the first time in about 10 years that I've tried to run that far. It was Jeromie's first time ever.

We drove over to a local bike trail - the High Line Canal Trail - walked a little, stretched just briefly, and took off. We agreed yesterday that we'd think of the run as 5+5 (not 10!) and did just that.

A little giddy at mile 5, I decided to hit the "reset" button. :-) I told Jeromie good night, yanked on my right ear, and then started chattering about this crazy dream I'd had the night before... that I'd just run 5 miles, but coming from the other direction. Gosh, that would make for a tiring 5 mile run, wouldn't it... dreaming about it, then doing it. It was kind of fun to count the mile markers on the way back & think of it as only having run a mile, mile & a half, two...

Yeah, silly... I know.

Just over a month until the Denver 5+5+5k (and 10+10+10k).

I'm pretty sure we can nail that one too...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Project Sparrow on Etsy

Since community is such a huge part of my life and the birth of Fishes N' Loaves and Project Sparrow, I wanted to provide those around me with an opportunity to participate as well.

A collection of sparrows will be posted on Etsy in order to share the project and also to raise money for its completion. Proceeds from these little sparrows will go toward the making of more to give away, and any additional funds will go to support Fishes N' Loaves.

The sparrows are intended to be a tangible reminder - not just for those of us who are noticeably poor and broken, but for everyone. In sharing this project in the wider community, it is my hope that the sparrows will be a link and a call to prayer, relationship, and action.

Visit to view the sparrows available in my shop. If none are available, send me a message on facebook or through Etsy to request one (or several)!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Artist Statement: Project Sparrow

This project is an extension of another one, a set entitled "His Eye Is on the Sparrow"; it does not stand alone, and this is why...

God has used several gatherings of his larger church as he has moved in my life to bring about major growth and change. These gatherings are each a little different from the other. There's Downtown Community Fellowship (or DCF) - a gathering of mostly college students in Clemson, SC. There's "Little Church" in Littleton, CO - a group who comes together each week to work out what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit. There's Wellspring Anglican Church in Englewood, CO - a body of believers from many different walks of life who have a heart to engage their community in real ways. Finally, there's Fishes N' Loaves.

Fishes N' Loaves is a gathering of broken people who want to love others in word and action because of the way that Jesus has loved and rescued us. We meet each week in a local park in Englewood to share a meal, some music, some fun, our life stories, and the good news about what Jesus has done. A lot of the people who participate each week, leaders included, have histories (and even realities) of addiction, homelessness and heartache, but this is not the point. The point of this gathering is to share the love of Christ regardless of past or present, to break down walls, and to give and receive as equals.

The little sparrows were created with this amazing group in mind: to give God the glory for our very existence and to pass along the message that we are never too small or too broken to receive the love of the Father which has given us by his Son, Jesus.

My hope is to create a collection of these little sparrows and to give them away one Sunday this fall. If you would like to support this project, please contact me.

Artist: Elizabeth Rand
Media: Acrylic paint & paper on canvas

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Artist Statement: "His Eye is on the Sparrow"

The inspiration behind this work comes from two places: Scripture and my experience of community. In two places in the book of Matthew, Jesus points to "the birds of the air" (6:26) and the sparrows (10:29-31) as he speaks of the way in which God cares for his people. In chapters 5-7, he speaks to the crowd gathered on the mountainside about many things, including worry. Jesus instructs the crowd to look to the birds and the flowers, to observe how God cares for them, and to consider how much more God will care for them, his listeners. When it comes down to it, he tells them (and us!) to "seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Mt. 6:33). In these verses, the birds are a constant and visible reminder to me of how God calls us to actively seek him and trust him.

In chapter 10 of Matthew, Jesus sends out his twelve disciples with some harrowing instructions. He tells them that the way will be difficult - they will be hated by some, arrested by others, and even persecuted and killed. But he also tells them not to be afraid of the things of this world... they don't change God's character or his heart for his children.

So our call is to seek God and to trust him even when our circumstances seem to say otherwise... and we have not been called alone! We've been made a part of God's family through his son, Jesus. This family is not just some nebulous concept either, but rather something we can see and touch and wrestle with as we join together as a church. To quote my friend Stuart Hayes (and many others throughout history), "the church is not a building." It's the body of Christ gathered together - locally and around the world.

The birds are each sparrows, as a reminder of how God cares for his children. Together, they point to the community that God has given us in the church. Each bird is a little different, too, because God has lovingly created each of us to uniquely portray a piece of his heart and his story.

Artist: Elizabeth Rand
Media: Acrylic paint & paper on canvas

Monday, September 07, 2009

Before we begin...

Sooooo... over the next few days, I will begin sharing a creative project that has been coming to life over the past month or so. Before sharing it, though, I figured I would give a little bit of the context.

Jeromie & I have had a pretty low-key summer - a trip to Alabama to see Danielle graduate, one online class each (though mine crammed the entirety of church history into 10 weeks), a little hiking, some visits from family, a few trips to Nebraska, and a whooooooooooooooole lot of cook-outs! There's always a lot more to life than events though, and I can attest to the fact that learning is not constrained to classes.

This year, at least thus far for me, has been one of listening, and with more than just my ears. I've been trying to figure out what it means to listen with my heart - to be present to God, my husband, myself and my community. I had hoped that this listening would create space for creativity, and I got impatient when that didn't happen in my time frame (last semester).

I've learned that such listening comes first. And the mess & mercy of community in Christ. Oh, and a time of rest helps. :-)

These things came together a month or so ago, and I'd like to share the result with you...

(but you'll have to come back tomorrow!)

* * * * * * *

Some links to check out in the meantime:
- A challenge: ("Do Something Brave" @ Evening Soultide)
- A community or two: (Wellspring Church & Fishes N' Loaves)


Body in morning
fumbles for coffee and keys -
urban habits in a rural skin -
considers time found,
time lost,
and listens as nature procures
a home-made breakfast.

Body in morning
finds old roads etched into her bones,
old trails whispering their welcome.

Refusing to burn the day with regret,
those bones strike out for home
and find themselves in a world of green,
of galax and mountain laurel -
the faint smell of Christmas.

Water and soul rise,
journey upward in a haze of remembering,
then descend in joyous song
on ancient boulevards
of stone and psalm.

(E.Rand, August 2009)

* * * * * * *

Friday, August 21, 2009

Listening, continued.

Yeah, so... I had great plans to keep up with this thing over the summer. Obviously something different happened, and you know... I'm okay with that.

Instead of filling the interwebs with questionably relevant chatter, I've been listening.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling all blogs "questionably relevant" or even chatter. I thoroughly enjoy the blogs I keep up with. It's just what blogging would have been coming from me.

One of these days, I think I'll share some of the meaningful things that have come out of listening this summer, but until then I intend on a good bit more listening (and a good bit less talking).

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Creating again...

So, I'm thinkin' the key to being creative is to quit grad school... just kidding. This past week has been host to a new adventure in painting, some handmade baby gifts, and a handmade wedding present. I'm still working on something with the paint-project, so a post about that will have to wait, but in the meantime...

The Date Jar...

Sometime last year (before we moved), Jeromie & I decided to make a date jar. I found a cool, old beat-up container at a local antique store & we filled it with fun ideas for dates. Why? Because we have a slight tendency to take life and ourselves too seriously sometimes. :-) In fact, the date jar has been in hibernation since last spring because we let that happen. And we moved (three times! once half-way across the country...). And we both started grad school. Yeah. We're reviving it. Point taken.

Soooooo... when it came time to make a present for my friend who got married this afternoon, I decided to make another date jar. She and her husband are both in grad school at the same time too, so it just seemed appropriate.

I apologize for the poor picture quality, but I didn't have time to wait for daylight & Jer's off-camera flash thingy is out of battery. :-\

- one sweet container, preferably old or with a story behind it
- three colors of scrapbooking paper
- one lighter, contrasting color of scrapbooking paper
- some scissors
- some glue
- a pen
- a few fun ideas!!!!


Some ideas to start on...

Some blanks for creating their own ideas

Photo-op with the original date jar :-)

Finished product!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh, sweet mercy.

This... approximately what the past 6 months of grad school have made me feel like, more often than not. Note the hair-on-end and buggy eyes.

Now, that's not completely a bad thing. I've been learning A LOT, and (as usual) the brain-frying level of stress has a lot to do with me taking things a little bit *too* seriously at times, not getting any real time for rest, & the rigor of grad school reading requirements. You know there's a lot of reading when someone who LOVES to read is sick of it.

But... my first year of grad school is now officially OVER. :-)

Still to come:
- a year of internship
- another 30-something credit hours
- a lot of prayer & listening
- much, much hope

But first, 37 days of mostly non-academic awesomeness! I discovered yesterday that I have more summer left than I thought, and I'm going to savor it. :-D Hopefully these 37 lovely days will entail a some creativity, cool water, mountain roads & trails, time with friends, and a trip back East amidst the work & site visits I still have left to do.

Just wanted to celebrate. :-) And now... popsicles!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

For the love...

Most of the time I *love* being a bike commuter. The part of Denver I live, work, & go to school in is conducive to decent-length commutes & it clears my head.

I do NOT like having 2 flats in 2 days.

There's nothing stuck in my tires.
I'm careful not to pinch the tubes when I replace them.
I avoid pot-holes & jumpy sidewalks & broken glass.

I was okay with one, but two?!?! Apparently I'm making up for lost time. :-p

Okay, I'm done venting. The past few days have been frustrating & I guess a 2nd flat just punched my last button. I'm done.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Three Years...

36 months.
1,096 days.

a lot of sleeping
a lot of waking
a lot of questions
a lot of choices
a lot of miles covered

a lot of living and dying,
often at the same time.

some seasons of action
some seasons of rest
some seasons of hope
some seasons of wonder
some seasons of wondering

some seasons of darkness,
with a tiny candle to light the way.

some seasons of incredible joy,
with the felt warmth of Life and Light...
but whether or not we feel His presence,
Christ is with us, in us.

From our beginning, we've been wrestlers, doubters, hope-ers, love-ers, pilgrims...
Here's to many more years of venturing forth...

hand in hand,

side by side,

with mischief in mind,

and grace all throughout.

I love you, Jeromie Rand

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


So... my life is organized by music, and just about any album I've had for a while brings up vivid memories. Some seasons of my life are characterized by a single song, others by a series of them. As I spent this morning cleaning, I found myself listening to another memory... one that comes up quite often actually.

Hold Me Jesus - Rich Mullins

This song is one that I resonate with anyway, but it will forever bring to mind a good friend - Aaron Pugh.

Aaron was a pretty incredible guy: tireless servant, generous giver, constant encourager, fellow pilgrim, bearer of the love & peace of Christ in many ways to many people. I actually think about him a lot... whenever I take out my bike. He rode too, though I never got to ride with him, and he passed away riding.

Aaron had a big heart... mine was too small and constricted at the time to let him be a good friend to me, and that was my deficiency, not his... I kept everyone out at that time in my life. He didn't let that get in the way, though, and I think that's part of why his life continues to challenge me to do the same. I spent a lot of my life pushing people away from me, and though I'm past that now, I think I still respond in that same old way sometimes when someone pushes me away. That response is not the way I'm called to live, and it is not love.

There's more going on in my heart right now than just memories of Aaron... but those memories brought some things to the surface today that I'd not wrestled with in a while. I guess it's time.

Monday, June 08, 2009

What do you think?

"The first key to wisdom is assiduous and frequent questioning... For by doubting we come to inquiry, and by inquiry we arrive at the truth."
~ Peter Abelard (1079-1142)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Humor & the House of God

I guess I'll start at the bottom of my list of possible topics... after all, I finally have some pictures to share. Mildly amusing ones, too. :-)


At least for the summer (possibly longer), I have one of the least fun jobs I've ever had... BUT it's also been one of the best in a lot of ways.

What do I do??

I clean our church building.

It's really not bad or difficult or anything... it just way larger chunks of time spent with chemicals than I'd prefer! I spent the first week or two gagging as I faced the prospect of cleaning 8 toilets & 2 urinals, but I am now patently unafraid of whatever surprise may greet me AND I have a newfound respect for janitorial staff everywhere! :-) Hmmmm. I'm blogging about toilets... I'll move on now.

I've actually begun to love the time I have each week doing this... once I finish balking at the whole hours-with-chemicals thing, of course. That aside, it's actually some beautiful time for any number of things: singing, thinking, just being quiet, listening for where or how God is stirring in or around me, praying, lamenting, laughing out loud, incurring minor injuries... oh wait, that last one's not a good thing. :-)

This week has been a particularly lovely time, and it began unassumingly with some new-to-me music (The Autumn Film... thanks Rob!). Their song, "Enough" had tears streaming down my face while I was scrubbing toilets - "my heart's been ripped wide open by all the things I didn't need; Your heart's been ripped wide open 'cause I keep chasing other things..." An apt description of my journey with Jesus. Perhaps more on that later.

After processing through that bout of tears, I moved on to some different music... Dave Smith's Two Cities. I knew there was the possibility of crying with this one, but I didn't expect to mop up my own weepy mess!! Okay... slight exaggeration. I don't cry often, and it usually takes a lot to get me there so to find myself crying twice in a day is quite a feat... but it's a very good thing when it happens. Tears are welcome now, and they're an opportunity to find out what has been stirring unknown in my soul.

Anyway... on Two Cities Dave shares a cover he recorded of Genesis's "Take Me Home." His rendition is beautiful and it reminds me of the handful of times that the DCF band played it on a Sunday morning. I'm pretty sure that this song has become one of those hooks that I hang memory and meaning on... I am forever learning what it means to pray for home.

Initially (and sometimes still), the song held for me a longing for my home with God - when I die or He returns, whatever it may look like. Not that I've stopped longing for that, but this earth-ball is where I'm travelling right now and I might be travelling on it for quite a while longer so I'm pretty sure it'd be wise to consider what God has called me to here.

When Jeromie and I left Clemson to move to Denver last August, I'm pretty sure we were both bawling along with the song as we left town in memory of the beautiful family and place we were leaving. A week or so later driving north into Denver from New Mexico, we found ourselves crying tears of joy to the same exact words because we knew that God was all over the move and was bringing us to a new and different home. Over the past few months, unbeknownst to me, my soul has been stirring along with the thought of home as a people. When I sang and cried yesterday, I was not longing for a physical place but loving on and missing and praying for my scattered family... and I was loving on and praying for and rejoicing over the family I have begun to gain here.

I miss my DCF family. I miss our house church there more than I can describe. I miss the connection and the honest tears and the difficult questions and the authentic love of that band of Jesus-followers. But at the same time, God is weaving together an amazing family here too. It does not look the same, and I don't want it to. I want to throw myself in unabashedly with the brothers and sisters I have here. I want to be open and anticipating something amazing, because Jesus is doing just that among us.

And I want to laugh. :-)

So I do.

Part of my family here is the incredible mix that is Wellspring Anglican Church... this is the one whose building I clean. I'll have to write another post sometime soon to talk about Wellsping more, but this post's already gotten longer than I'd planned and I still haven't gotten to the humorous part. We are a diverse pile of people from a bunch of different backgrounds with a shared love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We also know how to have fun... just wait for pictures from Sunday's Block Party & small group cookouts!

Apparently we also know how to make one 5'5" cleaning-lady laugh every time she opens her closet door:

This is my twice-a-week companion.
He's a vacuum cleaner.
I'm pretty sure he needs a name.

Also, today I spent about an hour and a half scrubbing out the baptismal tub and I found this little guy:

I might clean the Wellspring building, but the building's not the house of God... we are as a part of His body, and I want to live in THAT house. :-)

P.S. That strange-looking platform? It's a dock. We're turning the sanctuary into a SWAMP this week for Vacation Bible School. Told you we know how to have fun! :-D

I hereby resolve...

... not to play Tetris today.

I know, I know. I could resolve to do (or not do) so many more exciting things, but Tetris it is. I have spent many years convinced that I hated Tetris until Jeromie proved me wrong oh... 2 days ago? I confess that I have wasted a lot of my free time playing Tetris. No wonder my paper isn't done! :-p

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mess & Mercy

There are a lot of days where I feel downright uncomfortable in my own skin... when I am acutely aware of the fact that something is amiss. In my heart. In my relationships. In my world.

As many have said before me, things are not as they were made to be... and yet there is beauty, life, hope... a steady tension... the "already and not yet" of the One True God at work.

My life so far has been a beautiful, ridiculous, little part of a much larger, lovelier story. Beautiful because Jesus is making that way... ridiculous because it's such an odd assortment of mess and mercy, belief and unbelief, brokenness and healing, coming and going, learning and forgetting, travelling and setting up camp for a time, and becoming.

Lately, it's felt like the brokenness was winning... physically, emotionally, relationally... i've been an inconsistent (to some, absent) friend, a difficult wife, an impertinent child, a prodigal yet again... i've added a new (minor) injury to my long list (who knew you could bust yourself vacuuming?!)... i've lost track of the things that are most important to me... so it goes...

But here marks a moment where I've been picked up, dusted off and reminded that this is not the end of the story. :-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Don't worry...

... I'm still alive, though that status felt debatable just two or three weeks ago (finals!). :-)

I feel like I've learned a lot this past semester, though the bulk of it had little to do with the classes I took. Not saying that I didn't learn anything from classes, but... there is more to grad school (& seminary in particular) than academics.

Possibly coming soon:
- the story of a little ragtag band of travellers...
- miles & miles of percolation (thoughts, not coffee)
- two wheels & grades (the steep kind & the school kind)
- introductions, such as my amusing twice-a-week companion
- who knows what else??!?!?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Cry for Mercy

"There is so much fear in us. Fear of people, fear of God and much raw, undefined, free-floating anxiety. I wonder if fear is not our main obstacle to prayer. When we enter into the presence of God and start to sense that huge reservoir of fear in us, we want to run away into the many distractions which our busy world offers us so abundantly. But we should not be afraid of our fears. We can confront them, give words to them and lead them into the presence of him who says: 'Do not be afraid, it is I.' Our inclination is to show our Lord only what we feel comfortable with. But the more we dare to reveal our whole trembling self to him, the more we will be able to sense that his love, which is perfect love, casts out all our fears."

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen - A Cry for Mercy

Thursday, April 16, 2009

: : : Listening

365 - 3.15 / Perspective / Littleton, CO

* * * * * * *

A rare day in Denver...
Heavy clouds begging,
And so I do...

A rare day in history...
Heavy clouds, mourning

::: it is finished.

veil : torn
death : scorned
LIFE : born
out of
hope : lost and found
at an empty tomb,
in a closed room,
on a dusty road,
as the Spirit falls
and we are called

and take our first breath,

Friday, March 27, 2009


"It has been said that listening is far more challenging than talking. Listening with genuine, heartfelt interest opens the door to sharing at the depths of who we are."
- Jack & Judith Balswick


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I am...

- not the great I AM.
- very thankful for my friends.

Grad school has been kicking my tail this semester - and moreso than I expected! God seems to be forever teaching me about community, and no less now in the middle of crazy papers and looming midterms.

He has kept me going in a multitude of ways, not limited to...
- random provision of chocolate (yes, i love chocolate now)
- an unexpected gift of coffee
- a much-needed dose of perspective from my dear friend, Becca
- the patient, listening (and cooking) heart of Rosie
- the grace and commiseration of my husband
- permission to take a little time to take care of myself by going for a run

I have a hard time receiving these gifts... I'd rather give them... but it seems God wants me to learn to simply be and listen and revel in the caring hearts and hands of my family and friends.

So, to everyone, and to Jesus most of all: thank you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


365 - 2.15 / Studying by Candlelight / Littleton, CO

* * * * * * *

The past week or so have been somewhat of an enigma to me. Oh, I have theories, but I'm not sure they fit...

- Yes, but there's more to it than that...
Under the weather?
- Yes, but there's more to it than that...
- Yes, but there's more to it than that...
- Yes, but there's more to it than that...

I'm a little baffled that three weeks of class have already slipped past. Meanwhile, I've already gotten behind on my reading, I've caught a cold and kept it for a week, I've tweaked & turned in my learning contract, I've seen 2 clients, and I've questioned the very core of who I am.

A friend has said that she has many layers, the deepest and best one being chocolate. Lately, I've had the unsettling feeling that my deepest layer is something akin to tar. Black, smelly, and disgusting.

On a cognitive level, I know this is not true. Perhaps I have become tarred over the course of life in a broken world, but my deepest heart is not itself tar. God is up to something good again (as always), but...

For some reason, that's really hard for me cling to and live out of on a heart-level.

So in the past week, I've given up and gotten by. Exhausted and snotty. Soul-weary and overwhelmed. Eyes closed, camera off, sketchbook hidden. Despite a commitment to listen with my heart, I mostly shut it down again - afraid to venture further through the doors opened to me.

To be honest, I'm still on the edge of that place even as I write. But I am not alone and I am not stranded. I am surrounded and embraced by my Creator, Redeemer, and Friend - and by a community of people who are willing to remind me of what is real and true.

I am not sure what God is up to in this season, but I do not need to know the end right now, only that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day He returns (Philippians 1:6).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On Being Awake...

"The word I kept hearing in multiple places this morning is "awake." I'm curious what it means for me. Anything for you?"
~ Winn Collier, as his Facebook status

"short answer... it's a state i wish i were in today, more than just physically. it's better than texas. :-)"
~ my too-quick, but still true, response

* * * * * * *

I probably should've thought more about my answer before I posted a comment, but I didn't have the energy to articulate, at that moment, what being awake means for me. So I got to have a little bit of freshly prepared foot* for lunch, but that's okay. As a "transplanted Texan" (see below**), I stand by my claim that being truly awake is better than Texas any day.

And now I shall explain.

For me, being truly awake is far more than a physical state. It's a matter of willingness, awareness, aliveness... where I pop my head out of my little prairie-dog hole and realize that the world, and God in it and beyond it, are far larger than I understand them to be.

To be awake means:
- seeing and listening, with more than just my physical eyes and ears, to God and the world around me
- anticipation, not complacency ~ keeping watch, as in Matthew 25
- letting go of my little life for the sake of loving and serving God and my neighbor
- spending honest, unfettered time with my heart laid bare to Jesus, who has rescued me
- asking hard questions & thinking hard through the possible answers
- encountering the world honestly, genuinely
- remembering what is true
- loving well wherever I find myself - whether work, school, or community
- working well wherever I find myself - whether work, school, or community
- allowing myself to be loved by others
- something God calls me to be
- and much, much, MUCH more...

If I am honest with myself, I don't spend much time awake... and that, my friends, I lament.

* * * * * * *

* - I don't like to stir things up, so I stuck my foot in my mouth. Perhaps unnecessarily. I'm still evaluating that one...
** - Though born in Texas, I grew up in SC, and thus went through all of SC's state history shenanigans. So... when I came home from school in the 3rd-ish grade calling myself a "sandlapper" (the name for a South Carolinian, I guess), my mom went to great lengths to explain that I am not in fact a "sandlapper," and should not call myself that... I'm a "transplanted Texan." I guess it stuck.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mending Pants & Relationships


* * * * * * *

There haven't been very many productive days since I got back to Colorado, at least not in the way that I'm used to. I feel a bit aimless without a job or classes at the moment and tend to putter around aimlessly in the morning unless I've made concrete plans the day before. If it's a particularly bad day, the puttering lasts well into the afternoon and isn't necessarily restful. Unfortunately it can be self-pitying puttering, which I hate in myself - a sort of moping without seeking a solution or acting on what I already know to be necessary. Not every day has been like this, there've been more than I'd prefer.

And yet, in this sick-ish puttering, God is somehow at work.

I've been reminded of three things in the past few days:
1) That God's love endures forever;
2) That He will not abandon the work He has begun; and
3) That, while I was still far off (and still sometimes am), Jesus met me and brought me home

I am most certainly a prodigal pilgrim... on a lifelong journey, often returning to God after an absence.

And I'm not just a prodigal in my relationship with God... it seems I am just as much of one with my husband, Jeromie - though we see each other daily, I think we've both struggled to be fully present in this past year. Instead of fighting for our marriage, as we ought, we've taken the easier road of co-existing. Especially in our time as students... cause boy does school demand a lot.

Not good.

But God's been up to something between us in this puttering time... an awakening of sorts, and a conviction and a call: to fight for each other and for our marriage, even when we're tempted to run & hide.

So... if you know us, whether you're nearby or far away, hold us to it.

* * * * * * *

The closing prayer from this morning at Wellspring:
Father of all, we give you thanks and praise, that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world. Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us, so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Weathered & Weathering


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Seems like right when I decide to keep my eyes and heart open, there's an incredible temptation to just shut them and give up. That would most certainly describe yesterday and, unfortunately, the better part of today. I wish I could say I withstood the temptation, but not today. Oh, I tried yesterday, but today I gave up. And then I realized what I was doing.

So... I went for a run - camera in hand, heart hopeful - and at least at first, every step was a chore. It didn't really get any easier as the run progressed, but I felt better just for being out. Ended the run at my local yarn store, found some materials to knit Jer a scarf, walked home in the wind, appreciated the rare overcast afternoon, and spotted something new (to me) in my favorite alleyway just behind the house.

Old shed. Old shingles. Obviously beaten by years of sun and snow. But still kickin' it one day at a time.

It's funny the things God uses to put things in perspective for me.

I'll just keep kickin' it. One day at a time.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

365 : The Little Things


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If there's one thing I've learned in the past few years, it's that little things can make a big difference. A word, a glance, a hug, a few minutes of stillness, a nap, a sneaky-plan, a flash of unsuspecting beauty here & gone...

There are periods of my life where I just let the little things float on by, and in the process I tend to forget what's important. I really don't want to live like that. If you know me and you see me slipping into that... call me on it. :-)

So. One of my hopes for this coming year, and for life in general, is for eyes that see and ears that hear. I want to be captivated, captured, arrested, awed by God's active presence in and around me because He is near and He has dwelt here among us. Emmanuel.

There are lots of 365's floating around the interwebz, so this idea is not a Liz-original, but I'll take it & adapt it & run. With the lovely camera I received for Christmas (thanks Jeromie!), I hope to capture a few of the things that speak to me, hopefully one each day, and share some of them here (aesthetically pleasing or not).

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"To work on a book is for me very much the same thing as to pray. Both involve discipline. If the artist works only when he feels like it, he's not apt to build up much of a body of work. Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it, because the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work, and to go where it tells him to go. Ultimately, when you are writing, you stop thinking and write what you hear.

To pray is to listen also, to move through my own chattering to God, to that place where I can be silent and listen to what God may have to say. But, if I pray only when I feel like it, God may not choose to speak. The greatest moments of prayer come in the midst of fumbling and faltering prayer, rather than the odd moment when one decides to try to turn to God."

~ Madeleine L'Engle
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Home Safely

6:30am flight out of Atlanta, GA

good music & closed eyes

heading back to colder, drier climes (which i love)

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I am sad to have left my east coast friends and family
but I am glad to be home.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Headin' Home.

I really wish I could be 3 places at once. And all there all three places. There are just too many awesome people in this world for me to get enough of them all... like my family and my husbands family, and my dear friends in half-a-dozen states.

But alas. I am not omnipresent. I am one very human Liz.

Which means it's time to go home. Yay! & Boo! at the same time.

I have had an incredible Christmas break this year, and I am glad for the time I had in each place and with each person. Thank you to everyone who has given us a ride, hosted us in their house, fed us, lent us transportation, laughed with us, laughed at us while we laughed at ourselves, and rescued us from a rental-car debacle. Special thanks to Jeromie for putting up with a crick'd neck the first week and a nasty cold the second! That man has patience.

So. We're off...
- Montgomery to see the Dixons
- Atlanta for time with the utterly fantastic Henleys before an
- Early morning flight to CO.

Much love, all.

Thursday, January 01, 2009



Haven't done this in a while... haven't had or taken the time. But that doesn't mean I haven't been inspired by something! :-)

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Old Pictures - Of anyone, anything. Especially family. We don't have many from when I was little, but I came across a frame full of ones of me at Dad & Amy's house over Christmas. The picture on the far left is one of me messing around on the piano. Funny... I still like hats like that. Anyone up for Fedora February??

Puppets - It all started with Pigeon. Then I found the cutest hedgehog at a board-game store (Dirk: "Prepare to meet your dooooooooooom!!"). Then the awesome Bucks gave me a sheep (Doug). And now I have a collection of medieval finger puppets. My faaaaavorite puppet company so far is Folkmanis. They make tons of animal puppets and they're incredibly cute. :-D

Pens & Colored Pencils - Colors. Writing. Drawing. Taking pictures of them...

People - Family, good friends, new friends, strangers who won't be for long. Talking, listening, encouraging, giving. Knowing & being known. Being called out for the crap that I sometimes decide to wallow in. Telling stories, hearing stories. Dreaming up monkey business.


So now for some of that monkey business...

Ultimate Nerd New Year's!!

Arright. I'll fess up (to the whole world) what all my family and good friends already know.

I'm a nerd. and a geek.

In middle school, I'd've* cringed at the labels and made some rather ineffective efforts at thwarting them, but now I proudly OWN that part of my personality. You know... I like being a nerd. Who cares about labels anyway?

So... tonight was the ultimate nerd New Year's for me... full of board games. :-D Jer & I chilled at home with his parents, celebrated with lasagna, played a game, toasted in the New Year, then Jer & I played another. The important thing (to me) was getting to spend time with some of the people I love, laughing at ourselves and each other.

Dinner: Darla's lovely lasagna
Games: Alhambra & Agricola
Chuckles: Watching the East Coast New Years Countdown with Will, Arnold, Beth & Hope over Skype; "Don't be a stinkypants... that's my job!!"

Happy New Year to all!

the RandParents

The Colorado Rands

A very close game of Agricola
Jer 34, Liz 32

(* - I know that I'd've is NOT a correct use of anything, but I happen to like it thank-you-very-much. :-) After all, 'tisn't a school paper!! :-D )