28 June 2006


i recently e-mailed a girl i hadn't talked to in about a year. we have a long history together, and it's a new beginning/continuation of our friendship. she's been extremely patient with me as i've grown into who i am right now. since i've been on vacation, i've been doing a whole lot of nothing. just reading, reflecting, listening to music and hanging out with friends. as you can see, it's been a whole month of r&r--very deserved for a teacher. :)

but in my community groups, i keep hearing the phrase 'know your heart', and i've been thinking about how i project myself and how others perceive me. how real have i been lately? i've been thinking about that as i went through some of my writings from over the past five years--things written in joyous times and times when i've been at the end of my rope. in reading about those dark times, they're such distant memories, almost like another person wrote those things. it's like i don't know that person anymore.

am i still that person, have i tried to hide that person, or have i understood the changing power of God's grace? these are questions i've been pondering.

grace and peace.

23 June 2006

back to my roots

last week someone challenged me to start writing again. he's not the first one that has suggested i write as a type of catharsis. as a matter of fact, he's one of several over the past couple of years, but the most recent that really made me think. i've been journaling throughout my illness, and i've written a few poems here and there, but i have purposely not written anything creative in the past nine months or so for two reasons: 1) i've been mentally exhausted after teaching all day and 2) i haven't wanted to creatively discover what might have been hidden so deep. blogging and journaling seemed to be a safer route to catharsis than the truth of poetry.

since last week, i've read through some of my work from the past five years, and i've tried to look at the world around me through a poet's eyes like i used to. i wrote so many essays in grad school that i think my poetry skills have become a little rusty. especially word placement, not so much diction because my diction has always been frank; well, i dance around the issue a little, like in real life. not like that of my poet friend michelle. she was my comrade during our years in undergrad. absolutely astounding how she manipulated the english language.

but i did write a short something about my glasses sitting on my desk. :) and i unearthed the novel i started five years ago. i guess i'm a writer again.

ps: please note "apart" is the act of being separate from something. i know you mean "a part".

15 June 2006


probably one of the greatest books on vulnerability i've read is His Brother's Keeper by jonathan weiner. it's about stephen who has lou gherig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or als) and his brother jamie who takes his every passion and puts it into developing a foundation that will raise money for research of a cure for als. his goal is to cure als, and weiner does an excellent job at describing the scientific and economic venture that ensues, but he mixes it with jamie's personal goal: saving stephen.

a passage i'd like to share comes from weiner's own interaction with stephen:
It was painful to watch him strain. I wanted to turn polietely away, but if I did then I could not understand what he said. I had to keep my eyes locked on his and watch him carefully. This forced me to face what he was facing and hear what he was saying, and he was putting all he had into saying it. [. . .]
Stephen was as sensitive and observant as ever, concerned about everyone around him. He often thought his disease was harder on others than it was on himself. (p 345)

weiner continues on p 346: His illness was a normal accident, and he refuesed to mythologize it.

i do not have als. i do not have a life-threatening disease. my muscles are not wasting away. though i do not know what my illness is, it's fairly certain i will not die from it. i have learned to live with the uncertainty of it as well as living with a level of vulnerability. i have tried to hide my vulnerability as much as possible lately. however, i was paralyzed at community group last night, and it was extremely awkward for me. perhaps i needed a reminder that i am not in control. what has been more painful for me from the beginning has been watching those around me feel so helpless. i like the part about stephen's illness being 'a normal accident'. in learning to live with my 'new' body, have i reduced the entire mystery of my illness to a simple brush-off, thereby actually making others helpless when they ask me if i need anything when i am physically vulnerable?

13 June 2006

in my head

i woke up early this morning with a searing headache, was able to get back to sleep, and later awoke again with this phrase of a song in my head. i'm not sure if it's an original song or if it is something that I heard yesterday but here is the phrase: Holy holy Lord God Almighty / Be still, behold your God.

it's probably a composite of two other songs i've heard in the past couple of days. perhaps this is an incentive for me to start writing again. wherever this phrase came from, it's a strong reminder for me to be still and behold the Lord as the central focus of my day.

*this post was written with Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice-to-text software.

05 June 2006

on my own two feet

so i'm in the middle of a very important decision, which is a process that has been going on since last october--moving. yikes! since i came back to augusta from spain, i've been up to middlebury, vermont, twice to finish my studies while living in the dorm there; i started two new jobs; and i researched buying a house. but now i'm looking at renting an apartment--something i haven't done in two & a half years. it's so weird how i found a flat in 4 days (with my roomie, of course) in madrid, and here i am agonizing about a flat that's PERFECT (except for the brown carpet) in the very area i grew up in. now it feels like i'm hesitating to have the one thing i lost: complete independence. it's a beautiful feeling to have options, but sometimes the options can be scary.

i looked at the flat for the first time on friday, and i'm looking at it again tomorrow. i'm going to take some pics and measurements, and who knows? i may even sign a lease. not too bad. my life has been a great big lesson on patience and looking for the will of God. i truly pray that i can use my new place for God's glory, since it's He who has given me this blessing.