Friday, June 4, 2010

Moving On

This was my college blog site. But I've moved on from college.

I'm not done blogging though. As absurd as it sometimes feels, I enjoy writing to no one and everyone at the same time. So please move to WordPress with me:

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Letter to One Who Doesn't Read This Blog

Dear Izaak Walton,

You are the best part of being home. Besides my family, you make this little dinky suburban town my own place. I can come home to you. You are a part of so much of my life history. You’ve been there for the childhood memories of bike rides through the rain and painful scrapes and attempts to catch frogs and crossing iced-over lakes. In every season of life and growth, you’ve been so present. Always available, always receiving me as I am, always offering yourself.

I’ve retreated to you in my weakest moments and you’ve shown me God’s grace and beauty. Somehow, even though I’ve known you for a decade or more, you still surprise me in the ways you pour into my life. With you, I can be alone. I can just be, in the miracle of shared solitude. No need to talk. No expectations, no requirements. Just you and me.

You glorify the Creator of the universe every single day just by letting others behold His handiwork. And in everything, in every moment, you turn my thoughts to God.

And if I wasn't just ascribing anthropomorphic qualities to a forest preserve, I would probably send this to you in real life. :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Someone bought me coffee today. She was a beautiful black woman with long braids and a bright smile on her face. I don’t know where she came from or where she was headed. The only words she spoke to me were, “I think I’m supposed to buy your drink today,” and “God bless you.” I was struck by her kindness and generosity, to the point of wanting to be like her myself.

I don’t know why she felt compelled to buy my drink. I was counting up the handful of change I had in my pocket, so maybe I looked a little desperate standing there in front of the cashier. But whatever her reasoning, she did something astounding for me.

She said, “I think I’m supposed to.” That means she was responding to something bigger than herself. I suppose that something bigger than herself knew my heart as I walked into Starbucks. Lately I have been thinking about the person I want to be. I sometimes fear that I’m obsessed with self-improvement and for all the wrong reasons. And I walked into that coffee shop with two books and a piece of paper in hand, pen in my mouth, planning to write down the character and qualities that I want to be focusing on in my life.

But she turned my thinking around. Just after she left and I sat down with my iced chai latte, I wrote down a list of ten things I want to do in the next week. Included on it were, “do something random and spontaneous to bless each of my sisters,” “buy someone else’s drink at Starbucks,” etc.

And as I was making this list, I realized that the woman who came in and bought my drink was probably not trying to check something off a list. I remembered that the person I want to be is the person who imitates Christ, not in actions but in essence. We have not been given a list of dos and don’ts. Our God-man Savior obliterated the legalism that gave rise to hypocrisy. He wants my heart, not just my deeds.

So number ten on my list became numbers one through ten. It takes care of the others. It is this: Decide who you want to be. Every single day. And who I want to be is a manalive, a woman who commits herself every single day to her Savior, a person who allows Christ to cultivate within her a nature that needs no reminder to be a blessing, that needs no lists, no to-dos.

This is who I am: I’ve been born again. The Cross is my defense and my hope, and I'm finding who I am in all that my Savior is.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dandelion Wishes

My life has been full of dandelion puff-balls lately. I've always been particularly fond of these, though they mean rather unkempt-looking lawns and more trouble than most gardeners desire. And yet, I can't help but love them, trouble though they are. For all their weediness, I've always found them beautiful and inviting.

For one thing, there's something about how tangible and physical they are. They beg to be picked and no one will object because, of course, they're weeds. And so, I pick them. All the time. For the last two weeks I was at school, there were hundreds of dandelion puff balls absolutely everywhere, and especially near the prayer chapel (which is incidentally, one of my favorite place on campus). So every time I walked past that part of campus, I picked myself a puff ball. I felt it in my hands, cupping my fingers around the delicate seeds that sometimes look like sunbursts. I kept it intact as long as possible, protecting it from the wind lest it disappear even as I carried it. I touched my face with it, feeling its softness and itchiness at the same time.

I used to be very silly about dandelion puff-balls. I used to look for only the biggest, roundest, most perfect ones with the long, thick stems that were durable and sturdy. I think I used to like those because their delicate perfection appealed to me. When you wish on the perfect ones, it feels more likely that your wish will come true. But lately, I've liked the small ones, the imperfect ones with a few seeds already missing. And for the same reasons--it seems like they're saying, "I can't promise much. Your wish may not come true. But you can try and wish on me anyway." (My friend Libby says that for all my rationality, I'm utterly romantic. I guess I'm okay with that.)

So my life has been full of imperfect, "no promises, but you can wish on me anyway" dandelions. I've had a lot of wishes that just don't come true like I hope...

BUT--I think the thing I like most about dandelion puff-balls is that they were created. designed. by the same God who created and designed me. He knows the wishes that I blow to disperse the dandelion seeds. He knows that my heart can sometimes be as delicate as the round white balls of dandelion beauty. And when I remember all of this, I am put at peace to see the dandelion seeds fly every which way by the wind. Whether wishes or prayers, my God knows them all.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Notes to Self

1. You get better service at Payne's when you wear a dress.

2. Professors aren't half as much fun as their kids.

3. Be concise.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Someday, if I ever have a house of my own, I will have a porch. And on that porch will hang a swing. And from that porch swing, I will watch rainstorms.

Rule #1 in Elena's household: rainstorms must be watched from porch swings.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


When God does this, it's astounding.