Wednesday, December 28, 2011

i'm here.

i've always been a little embarassed by my laugh. it's pretty loud and sounds like a dying seal. anytime i laugh, i hear my name whispered around the room and later people come to me and say "i knew you were there because i heard you laugh." no one has ever been rude about it; generally, they say that they like my laugh. once in the middle of church i laughed when everyone else was quiet. i couldn't help it. i tried to stay quiet, but it spilled out. the whole church joined with me in joyuos laughing and our pastor had to stop preaching for a minute. i was so embarassed.

recently, i was at my grandmother's house for Christmas, celebrating with my whole family. almost all of my cousins were there, my aunts and uncles, my brothers and sister-in-law. everyone having their own personality and their own lives. my cousin Zach and his wife Jeanette brought their 8 month old baby Henry, whom i got to meet for the first time. my cousins, Blake and Saphira were there running around on their short little 3 and 4 year old legs. my brother Teddy was there lurking awkwardly in the corners and smelling of marijauana wherever he went. every once in a while, he'd dissapear for a while and come back smelling more strongly than before. he'd walk in the room and everyone knew he was there without needing to look. it was then that i decided that my laugh wasn't that bad. at least it was something that generally brought joy rather than the stench of a painful memory.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

thank you Jesus

for most, Christmas is a time of great joy and celebration. it's a time where quirky, crazy families come together to celebrate the Ultimate Gift by sharing gifts with each other. we get so wrapped up in being with family and friends and getting new things, that we sometimes overshadow what Christmas really is. for some of us, Christmas brings pain, perhaps because loved ones who are terribly missed are no longer with us, or family life is stressful and chaotic, or money is tight and you can't give all that you wish you could. i don't what to sound harsh or insensitive (because goodness knows that i struggle with all of those feelings), but i'd choose to argue that those things are not what Christmas is about. it's not about being with family, eating food, or giving gifts. it's about Jesus humbling Himself as a little helpless baby, knowing that He was going to be rejected and murdered for our own sins and yet still coming and loving us. even when we don't love Him, He loves us. that's what Christmas is all about.

here's a great reminder from my home church The Stirring Sing Holy


Sing Holy from the Stirring on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the death of grades - aka finals week

the peaceful chime of the chapel bells rang through the campus this morning bringing up feelings of comfort and rest as i meandered toward the death of my stats and research grad -- this was it -- i was going to fail stats and research and then i wouldn't qualify for psi chi and then i would die and then it wouldn't matter if i had studied for my biology final because i'd be dead then no one in all of irwin would know how to make my red velvet crepes and then thrid floor will be without a tag line and that would make everyone sad and yet...the peace remained because of those silly bells singing sweetly above the breeze that nipped at my face. soon. soon it will all be over. just breathe. OH NO! i saw my professor in the distances. stomach knotting, hands sweating, mouth drying. it's coming! the death of my grades! i received the test -- TEN PAGES!
...             ...
...                                          ...   ...
                          ...
easiest ten pages of my life

oh the worries of college

Friday, December 2, 2011

i am so very blessed. the weather today is absolutely beautiful! i walked outside and all i wanted to do was jump around and whistle with glee, except that i don't know how to whistle...but that's okay because today, my least favorite class was let out early, so naturally i decided to sit outside the coffee shop and enjoy the weather before scurrying away to my next class. as i approached, i heard the most beautiful noise: a few of my fellow students were gathered outside playing music and worshiping together. how lovely it was :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

desking on tuesdays...

once upon a time, i was simply a little resident...i went to events and got excited about study break and always wondered what the ras were talking about in their little secret meetings when they had dinner together in humphries. i looked up to my ras and thought they were the coolest people ever. i wanted to know them so badly and have their approval and make their days brighter by doing silly, fun, nice things for them and leaving them surprises. i never wanted them to be lonely when they desked and i never wanted them to stress over events without having the affirmation of their residents. once i got to know them, i liked them even more. even after knowing so much about the job and so much of the planning and frustration and time that goes into being an ra, the love and joy and passion i had for our floor, our dorm, and my past ras won the best of me and i too applied to be an ra. now here i am sitting at the desk reminiscing about those days and comparing them to now. college is going by so quickly.

you.

ruminations of you
bring joy through and through
but then comes
pain
and i can't see
you
i forget
in my naivety
i forget
and you try to break through --
you.
break through my habituation
and there,
in the stillness,
in the small quiet corner of my cluttered little heart,
you whisper.

you whisper so loudly that i think i MUST explode and overflow with a peace and comfort
so elaborate, so magnificent so

ineffable

you

Saturday, November 19, 2011

tattoo :) celebrating 3 years of freedom






i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes


(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)


how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?


(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


-ee cummings

Sunday, November 13, 2011

loneliness

loneliness is debilitating, but, although this poem doesn't show it, there is hope.




you know you are alone
when all you hear is that tiny buzz of
silence
as though something -- someone
in the far distance is also
alone
crying out to be heard
crying out
but no one cries back

suddenly, you hear
your own voice calls out
-- quet and sad --
it calls hoping also to be heard,
to comfort the other who is
lonely.

you feel a slight chill run up your back as you
curl up sobbing in the
darkness
-- it was only the air conditioner

you are completely

alone...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

decorated toms

i've been wanting a new pair of toms a lot lately, but i don't really have the money to buy them so instead, i decorated one of the pairs that i already had. i was supposed to be studying for a biology test but i was really stressed and had a sudden burst of creativity so i took advantage of it :)
peek-a-boo toe

Lace, Buttons, and Burlap!

just like new :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WINDOW love

all summer and into this year i have been obsessed with finding a great vintage window to decorate with. i've gone to yard sale after yard sale, thrift store after thrift store, checking craigslist every weekend to try to find one, but nothing.

this last tuesday, my co-ra amy and i had to go to thrift store to look for hats for our tea party this weekend. i had the whole route we would take all mapped out and i was rather proud of myself for knowing how to get to all of the thrift stores without getting lost. but then i accidentally took a wrong turn so that i was one street over from one of the stores. it's normal for me to get lost so rather than getting upset i saw it as an opportunity to see a new street in redding. luckily there in front of me was an antique store that i had never seen before; so i decided that we should stop in. OH MY GOODNESS - BEST DECISION OF THE DAY! as i was looking around my eye caught the gimps of a white weathered vintage window and i almost hyperventilated; and as i saw another and another i lost it. WHY HAD I NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE!?! not only did they have a window but they had so many wonderful windows that i thought it was impossible to decide which one i would call mine.

until i saw it.
nestled between a bookshelf and a lovely little end table was a three pane white vintage window that was perfectly weathered and perfectly wonderful. sigh. so so great!

hanging in my room :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

things that make waking up easier

1. beautiful weather! i've never liked the view out my window this much :)
2. grocery shopping = coming home with beautiful flowers
3. pumpkin spice lattes are wonderful
4. knowing that it's crepe night with 3rd floor irwin!


Monday, October 10, 2011

columbus day weekend - empty dorm/full days

this weekend was packed full of wonderful crazy things to do.
friday was a day dedicated to hang out time. i took my car to the shop, started a new blanket, and saw a movie with Emily and Lexi at movies 8. it was a day of rest in preparation for the next day...
yard saleing treasures!

saturday was flooded with great things! we woke up earlier than i had all year before then and set out yard sale-ing. we went to sale after sale finding wonderful treasures. one of the sales we went to had two little boys selling lemonade, which was the highlight of the excursion, espicially since i didn't find a window. then after having lunch at in-n-out, we made our way to the women's soccer game looking hot and simpson-fied. it was an epic game even though we didn't win. shortly after the game we took a few of our treasures (two great suitcases and one that Glori already had) and went to Nash's Pumpkin Ranch to take pictures. the ranch was a blast, not to mention beautiful! even if the day had ended there, it would have been wonderful, but that is only some of it. we then bought little ceasar's pizza to enjoy at the sundial bridge. the water flowing beneath the bridge and the stars twinkling and reflecting off the water was so beautiful at night, but we didn't stay long. after dinner, we headed off to spoon me frozen yogurt to see a free concert with chris molitor. finally, we arrived back at home to end the day with a movie. it was simply lovely.
came home from jenna's and saw this on my whiteboard from lexi

sunday was filled with starbucks "studying", the stirring, and movies at jenna's. Emily, Camille, and i decided that studying at starbucks was a good idea, but then we didn't get any homework done...so we went to tacobell, then to church. at church we heard a message about bringing everything to God since He owns it all anyway, which reminded me of the chapter "the blessedness of possessing nothing" by a w tozer in his book the pursuit of God. that chapter changed my whole outlook on what it means to own things. you should read it some time. after church, we were invited to jo's sister jenna's house to watch a movie and eat food. it was all in all a great day.

then Monday (today!) was dedicated mostly to studying for my biology test on wednesday. it's so nice to see that everyone is returning home from the weekend. although my weekend was pretty full, i missed seeing people.

Monday, October 3, 2011

hi, God!

earlier today, i was really frustrated with a friend of mine who didn't say hi to me when we saw each other - i know, it sounds silly now, but at the time it really hurt and as i was folding my laundry and processing (because all great epiphanies seem to come to me while i'm folding laundry or in the shower) i thought about how often i do that to God. i mean, He is in every interaction, every moment but how often do i talk to Him? or even acknowledge His existence? i think about how dirty my nails are more often than i think about His presence in my life -- and how can i even call this life that i'm living "mine"? every moment i live belongs to Him; who am i not to pause to give a few minutes of it back to Him?

Friday, September 30, 2011

stats and research = stress

this week has been so busy; i've hardly even seen some of my friends! i've taken lots of time to be crafty in order to relieve stress, but this week still piled up. this morning, i knew i needed to get off campus and not worry about anything; so Camille and i decided to go get coffee and take a walk on the sundial bridge between classes. i needed the stress relief but i was also avoiding homework...i am so good at putting off assignments especially when i have other things that need to get done, like getting coffee on national coffee day...anyway, all this to say that finally this evening around eight thirty i found myself with a statistics and research lab (that i was told took some people three hours to complete) due by midnight. this made me quite nervous especially absolutely no bone in my body wanted to be doing it. that is why, when i finally finished the lab at ten forty-five, it was imperative that we celebrate. so Sarah, Amy, Lexi, and i changed our clothes and raced outside to run through the sprinklers. we ran and spun and did cartwheels and played ninja, it was quite a stress reliever. then we came back to Irwin to eat junk food, watch despicable me, and put on princess tattoos. what a great day!

Monday, September 19, 2011

thoughts

the crazy adventures continue to blow past as this year rolls on. late night runs to taco bell turn into 45 minute drives; homework days turn into hours devoted only to crafting; classes turn into times of prayer and discussion. Recently i've been doing a lot of thinking about who has influenced who i am today and how in the world did i turn into who i am...i guess child development has me thinking overtime. as i look back on my life, especially my early years, all i can do is praise God for being a stable love in my life. now that i'm older i can still see His hand in my life, providing me with people and places and opportunities that remind me how loved i am. God is good!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

the whirlwind begins

this year is amazing! God has truly blessed me with a wonderful, supportive community. plus, third floor irwin rocks, and i am so blessed to experience life together with the women who live on this floor.

last weekend we went to a concert and the wonderful Spoon Me frozen yogurt shop, after which we threw bouncy balls off third floor and ran through the sprinklers. then on Tuesday, we had our very first study break. we had a lovely time connecting with one another and hearing about each others week and playing games. then five of us piled into my car and set out with Florence + Machine blasting in search of taco bell.

the rest of the week seems to have flown by in a whirlwind of organized chaos and here it is suddenly the weekend again. so much has happened that it is difficult to reflect back on the week, but one thing that i am continually reminded of everyday is how much God loves me through my dearest friends. i am so thankful for them and the ways that God brought us all together.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

they're here!!!!!

after training for a week and a half and decorating til the wee hours of the morning, our residents have finally showed up and joined our community to make 3rd floor Irwin a true home. i'm so excited for them to begin making Simpson their home and understanding how to keep their unique personalities while still contributing to the community and making it awesome. last night we had our first floor event where we played a name game and made paper flowers so that everyone had a hand in decorating our living room as we begin life together :) here are some pictures of our floor and our first event:

we couldn't paint so we used ripped up paper instead


they're no longer empty :)



roomies

yay flowers!


we had a whole Irwin event after

painting

wendy tied up rachel

my letters :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

heading north

today, i loaded up my car full of what i believe to be essential items for living at college (though i must admit i probably only need half of what i took with me) in preparation to head north in the morning. i have so many mixed feelings about the idea -- i can't wait to get there and see everyone and start decorating slash planning with Amy, but i also terribly miss mount hermon and day camp... ... ...plus, i'm driving up by myself, which is cool i guess, but the farthest i've ever driven is about 35 minutes and now i find myself at the threshold of a 4 hour drive...alone...with my car packed full of crap (very personally valuable crap, but crap all the same). around this time last year, or perhaps a week later since i was most likely still at camp this time last year...i digress...around this time last year, i was so excited and nervous that i could barely sleep, and i stayed up almost all night looking up youtube videos posted by simpson students and changing the lyrics of some of my favorite songs to fit the journey i would be taking the next morning...last night i started looking back on pictures and blog posts of last year, but then started looking also at pictures and posts from this summer -- life is moving by so quickly! sometimes i am grateful for the pace, especially during weeks when we have crazy children, but right now it's so hard to believe that just a week ago i was living in upper birch and hanging out with some of my most very favorite people in one of my most very favorite places.....

well...tomorrow will soon come and it will bring with it some more of my most very favorite people in one of my other most very favorite places, but...has it come too quickly? or has it taken it's time in coming??? - i can't decide, but either way, it has come and i embrace it with open arms

grab your bag and grab your coat. tell the ones that need to know. we are headed north.

Monday, August 22, 2011

God's timing is so good: my lovely new co-RA

i go back to school in two days! i can't even handle the wait. just before i left camp, i received news that Amy Haley was going to be my new co-RA. this was the biggest blessing i could have received. this whole time i was stressed that i would be paired with someone who would understand my heart for our floor or wouldn't agree with my philosophy or decoration ideas...but God paired me with someone who understands all of those things and is willing to support me in them. i am so excited to work with her planning trash tuesdays and nail painting parties while spontaneously dancing to natasha beddingfeild's "i wanna have your babies" at 2:37 in the morning trying to stay awake in order to get that last flower cut out or name plate stamped or button glued while talking about our summers at camp and our visions for our floor and the memories that we have of our wonderfully fantastic RAs Leeza and Wendy and how we hope to do our floor justice by them -- Amy Beth, this year is going to be great; i just know it

haha oh the crazy adventures that will ensue

Sunday, August 21, 2011

walmart adventure - how i met Jack

well, thursday finally came and it was time to pack up and leave my dear Mount Hermon home and head down the mountain to my aunt's house in walnut creek. it was hard leaving for sure, but i was also ready to sleep for the next 48 hours and call it good. unfortunately, or rather quite fortunately, i was not going to get much sleep that night because i had promised Faith that i would go over to her house as soon as i arrived. by this time i had somewhat memorized the way to her house and was quite proud of myself for getting there without looking up directions or taking a wrong turn. when i arrived at her house we decided that it would be best to go somewhere to get food; so between the two of us we made it to panda express about ten minutes away and then to blockbuster in the next town over.

feeling quite proud of ourselves for being so directionally fluent, we decided to head over to walmart to look at some things i needed for school. being somewhat ambitious, we felt that of course we didn't need directions since we could get to panda express and blockbuster; besides walmart was near our friend Holly's house so of course we could find it...

we started off by driving down one of the main streets that we knew eventually would take us from pleasant hill to martinez, but as we traveled along, the road became more and more unfamiliar until we finally found ourselves in the midst of a shell oil plant...this was when we finally decided to call our dear friend holly who just so happened to be driving in that same area (what she was doing by the oil plant, no one knows) and decided to try to find her and follow her back to walmart.

when we finally met her in the parking lot she asked us what we needed from walmart. Faith and i both began to laugh as we announced that i was in search of a gps system for my new car, which i promptly bought so that we could find our way back home. it was a wonderful welcome back for certain : )

p.s. his name is Jack and my car's name is Kerouac : )

Monday, August 15, 2011

the seed must die

this summer has blown past me. it has brought so much pain and love, friendship and sorrow, fear and joy...now it is ending and i don't know how to feel. i am excited to move on; i'm excited to see all my friends that i feel like i haven't seen in years, but i am weary to leave the family i have here. i'm exhausted and thoroughly stressed. my campers this week are crazy and i still don't know who my co-RA is going to be. my decorations aren't anywhere close to being done and my closest friends that i have spent nearly every hour with for the past 10 weeks are being pulled away from me in every direction. transitions are sticky and yucky and messy, but they are beautiful! they bring so much growth and such a new wonderful beginning. i know it hurts, but in the end it will be fantastic.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

catch up!


wow! i haven't written in quite a while, and the only reason i have for this is that i've been extremely exhausted and stressed. the few weeks after darling Madi left were not the easiest weeks of my life. i finally was put with 3rd and 4th graders which was great, but my heart was so drained. i couldn't pour my all into them because there was nothing left to give. it took a lot for me to allow myself to step back and realize that God had these awesome girls in His arms and He was going to love them and teach them regardless.

during the next week, Dallas week, i was given the opportunity to be craft director for the week so Sprinkles could have a break. i loved it! i loved being in lanyard window; i loved helping organize all the crafts; i loved keeping the kitchen clean; i loved everything about it! unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding that took every last ounce of patience from my body and i finally broke down crying. i cried for Madi; i cried for the month of May; i cried for loosing my co-RA; i was exhausted, lonely, and misunderstood. the lies that flooded my thoughts still haven't relinquished my heart completely, and with that baggage i entered into the final stretch of the summer including staff retreat, which ended up being quite cathartic.

Dallas week was followed by another week of 3rd and 4th graders. i was so excited to have them again because, after my cathartic weekend, i finally felt like i could give them more of myself. i had some trouble with one of my campers not wanting to be in my group or do anything really, but by the end of the week, she was having fun too :) week 8 also brought Boonis to Day Camp. Boonis is our end of the year fill-in one-on-one counselor who is absolutely fantastic.

that weekend was our annual summer staff banquet. this year the entire dinning hall was turned into a Cuban night club for "Tropicano Cubano Hermono". the night was absolutely perfect!

the following week brought the last week of family camp and another wonderful group of 5th and 6th grade girls. for a lot of my campers, this was their very first time at mount hermon, and i was so privileged to be their first counselor.

this brings us to Chinese Family Camp. half of our staff has now left us for the summer which brought heartache, but also joy since we have received wonderful fill-ins from Redwood. as if this week were not crazy enough on it's own, i had the flu all weekend, and began this week physically and emotionally broken, but it has been beautiful to see how God can renew and restore even in the midst of crazy campers and crazy situations.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

where is my heart?

after having such a mature group of 5th and 6th graders, i was not ready to go back to 1st and 2nd. i was pretty disappointed when i found out that i was placed with them again, but i knew i could do it and that God had a reason so i tried as hard as i could to change my attitude. then monday morning rolled around and i was checking facebook before the morning meeting, only to find out that my darling co-RA Michelle was not going to be able to return to Simpson in the fall. now i know that it may seem trivial to some people, but to me her absence brought so much stress into my already high energy stressful life. the whole time i've been at camp i've been able to but next fall on a back burner in my head and not worry about it because Michelle and i had it worked out and knew we'd do well together and were looking forward to our floor...now, i have no idea what is going to happen, and to top it all off - i had 1st and 2nd grade again!


i felt so scared and vulnerable during the meeting, but then i found out that a little girl who has ptsd was coming this week and would be in second grade. i remembered her from last summer and was really nervous that it might be hard for her returning without the her previous counselor being here. since i knew what she was going through and have dealt with it myself, Tiger Lily and i decided that it would be a good idea for her to be in my group. when i met her, she immediately took my hand and became my best friend for the week. her constant smiles and little triumphs throughout the week brought so much joy to my heart that i thought for sure i would explode with love for this precious child. every time she'd put her tiny hand in mine to calm her nerves or every time that she would tell me a story about what she had done the day before or every time that she'd finally feel comfortable enough to let go of my hand and run off to play with the other kids and counselors or participate in the hand motions of a song or allow another child to take my hand, my soul rejoiced for her! she stole my heart so easily and now i don't know where it is...

Monday, July 11, 2011

4th of july - pufflets and sassets



forth of july is here again, and what a week it was! this last week, i had a fantastic group of nine fifth and sixth grade girls. they were such a joy. one of the girls had been in my forth of july week last summer, and she really opened up right away during prayer requests which made the other girls feel really comfortable. we had such a fun time together. they asked meaningful questions and took bible study to deeper discussions about heaven and hell and why we need God's grace. they were so joyful and loving and fun. one of the reasons it was so much fun was that all the fifth and sixth grade girls seemed to be mine and Sassy's girls; there was no separation in their minds that we were in different groups but rather that we all encouraged and loved one another. this really shined on friday when we had the rock wall and ropes course. the girls all encouraged each other, and when i went on the ropes course for the first time ever they all cheered me on 'til the very end. it was hard to let them go, but i was ready for the next week to begin with me hopefully having 3rd and 4th graders.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

challenged and blessed

JEMS week is always a little tough; there are tons of kids, and changes to our normal schedule kind of make things a bit confusing, but it's one of my favorite weeks. God has blessed me again by putting me with the 1st and 2nd graders and given me a wonderfully behaved group of campers. they are so loving and obedient and fun. i have so enjoyed talking with them about Jesus' "I AM" statements and hearing their young minds solidify this knowledge in their hearts. last year during this time i was so emotionally drained everyday because of my grandpa's health, but God used these kids to minister to me and fill me up with love. this week, i've had a few emotional struggles that have me focusing on my self and my flaws rather than on God's goodness and power to work through me despite my failures. luckily, God has blessed me with a very wise, loving friend who sees right through my walls to the pain that is in my heart. i am so thankful for her and the challenges that she continues to remind me that i am called to.

Monday, June 27, 2011

unfettered

i want a life so enraptured by God that when people interact with me they know that they know that they matter to the Creator

i want a life that is defined by unfettered, extravagant love

Friday, June 24, 2011

my computer hates me

ever since i got to camp my computer has decided not to work. it keeps restarting itself and flashing the blue screen of death every two minutes! what is it, computer? i know i don't have as much time for you as i normally do, and i know i don't give you as much attention as you are used to, but temper tantrums like this make me wish i had a different computer. let it be known that i am not amused!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

week 2 = yes

this week has started strong. i have six really fantastic sixth graders who have huge hearts for the hurting. they love being silly and goofy and having fun, but they also understand when it's most appropriate to be quiet and let their gentle spirits shine. i'm so thankful for them and the work God is doing in their lives.