Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A series of events

Post influences: Avatar, Brett Dennen, KC, Shane and Shane, the Cliq, a hazelnut mocha

I got a smart phone yesterday. A Motorola Cliq to be exact. Even I am starting to get creeped out by the things these gadgets can do. Buying this phone was like 8th grade when your parents couldn't help you with your homework anymore, Algebra was too much. My parents can't wrap their minds around it. So I researched the purchase myself. I must say, as happy I am about the purchase, I am one of "them" now. Plugged in, tuned in, wrapped up, slowly disconnecting from those around me with any form of technology that comes my way. And I am willing to spend buck on it all. I am an American. Come on. It's what we do.

Right?

Today I was driving down Broadway to get a latte with a friend when I glanced to the side of the street. I saw several people walking down the sidewalk, many homeless, which isn't unusual to see in the area. He was pushing his bicycle with his bag which carried his belongings in hand. It was bitter cold out. You could see this by the cold breath exiting his mouth.

My heart sunk deep into my chest.

I knew this man. Infact, I had sat down at a table with him just last month. I had broken bread with him. And like friends, we had conversations about sports, literature, politics. As I drove past him in my white SUV to endulge in my latte, I couldn't help my heart from being stirred; convicted you could say.

He was a friend I had made while spending time at Cherith Brook the past few months, a place that changed any idea I had about those that sleep under the stars every night. This moment founded some pondering today.

I just can't reconcile this in my life. Poverty. Those who are in need. Those who are broken....and me, with my college education, new technology and complaints about how life isn't fair to me. I am selfish. American. And I am, too, broken. In so many ways. On my way home I heard a song:

If You were hungry, would we give You food?
If You were thirsty, would we give You drink?
If You were a stranger, would we let You in?

What would be the song we'd sing to You when they're in need?
Would it be an empty hallelujah to the King?

What does it mean to them that we Christ-followers give our dollars to build bigger and better churches yet leave them sleeping under the overpass? And when we do help, what does it mean to create a system that shoves a plate of food in their face without a human connection; conversation; "hello, I acknowledge you, we are both human beings." What does it mean to them when we say we care but treat them like we don't?

All I know is I have a warm bed tonight, a shower in the morning accompanied by a hot breakfast. Gosh. There is such a disconnect.
What am I going to do with all of this?
.....I am figuring it out.
But my friends, we have much much to learn.
And they might be teaching us.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A New Christmas

Currently finding: rest
Currently excited about: the purchase of my new camera
Currently sick over: the money it took to purchase my new camera

This year we did things differently. We did "Christmas" on Christmas Eve. It's before midnight and I am already done with Christmas. This is weird. But you know, this was one of our best times as a family. We all came out of it refreshed and not too annoyed. Score. We didn't do gifts this year, just for the little ones. But we still eat just as much food and sat around doing nothing. It's like illegal to do anything productive during the holidays. Every time I thought to do something that I could check off my to-do list, I stopped myself. And I just sat there. That's all you can really do, right? I mean some families play games and such. We just sit there. But I have this newly purchased camera to walk around with, taking candid pictures that annoy people. This was an unplanned purchase which is why my stomach hurts to think about spending the money. I sat on my other one. Broke the dang screen. Anyway, it's a great camera and I am sure it will do me good in DC. So many things to document.

We are a family tied to tradition and Christmas hilights these traditions. As time passes and the family grows and changes, we have to let go of some....all awhile, adapting new ones. And what I see in my family at every Christmas is that we have remained steady, hanging onto the traditions which mean so much and letting the others go. We still dress up and act out the story of baby Jesus....singing Happy Birthday to Jesus with angel food cake and 3 candles that represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.....we eat Pizzelles....we open one gift at a time. I love these things. Today I think about my grandma. She was the source of these traditions we follow. And although they have evolved and changed, as they should and have to, they keep the same heart. And I think it's beautiful. And now, we look forward to a new addition to our family next Christmas. My sister is having a long awaited baby. Next year, that baby will be with us. A new Christmas.

And I look back last Christmas Eve to my blog post, and I am able to see what I was feeling, anticipating this time, when I would be done with school, wondering what that would feel like....having the whole world in front of me. And yet, it's not as overwhelming as I imagined it to be. Because just like every other time in your life, you are always more prepared than you thought. God somehow, in the craziness of life, orchestrates you to be ready for the exact thing which he is leading you to. And getting ready for DC, with new relationships and experiences, feelings, challenges, I feel such hope. JOY. And so many other things...It's remarkable.

It feels like a new Christmas.... I am in a new state of mind, entering a new place as I watch my family beginning a new phase, getting ready for a new arrival. And with the white snow that will be covering the ground tomorrow when I awake, I can't help but be reminded that "He makes all things new" (Rev. 21:5).

Happy Birthday, Jesus....and thanks.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Put on the Christmas tunes, let's dance

Currently listening to: Enter the Worship Circle
Currently feasting on: pizzelles
Currently dreaming of: all things DC

I am making lists....lists of to-do's before departure.....a list of books to read....of things to do in DC. I am making a list of people to see before leaving.....

This must be what retirement feels like. You sit in your chair, ready to think of the next thing you have to do, and when you realize it doesn't consist of the things you have emersed yourself in for so long, you feel naked--figuratively. I am sure an identity crisis is in my future. But at the moment, it's pretty fun to not have student things to do. I am partaking in some casual hobby-finding, ok, intense hobby-finding. But I figure I got college out of the way and there are several other things I want to accomplish...like learning how to cook, sew, how to exercise regularly, read more books, write more. I want to record more music. And you know, when I am done with that, I will miss school so much I will enter myself into grad school. Just because.

After 2 life-threatening moments of thinking my computer was crashing down, I devoted a signficant amount of time today saving everything I own onto a couple of little flashdrives. Those things look whimpy, but watch out, they can store your whole world. 8 GB of music, 8GB of pictures and another one full of documents I am too attached to delete. Ah, security.

I embraced a family tradition tonight. I dressed myself and my mom and dad in santa hats, put on the Luther Vandross Christmas cd and made pizzelles, an italian cookie and a Christmas tradition for our family. It's the same every year....same music, same hats, same roles. Mom makes the batter, dad handles the pizzelle iron, I take care of the music and hats (essential to the experience) along with eating them all as I go. I even hear the same things being said every year...."We should write what we changed down on the recipe so we remember it for next year"---we never do. So the first batch of pizzelles are either burnt, too soft or shaped funky. It takes a batch for dad to get the hang of it and to tweak it all to italian perfection. And you know, no one outside of our family likes them. When we were young, we always had our friends try the cookies, but they said it tasted like black licorice. While we make them, we dance. We glide and groove across the kitchen floor. And we never miss a beat. This is the Powell tradition.

I am going to bed now. Something a college alumni can finally do.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the other side

Currently packing: my dorm room
Current musical discovery: Kristene Mueller
Current status: alumni

So this is that awkward comeback from a long blog silence. I feel nervous, I feel kinda unknown. And I wonder why I haven't blogged in almost a month? Maybe I thought you didn't want to hear my pitty parties. Perhaps I was embarassed as to what I have been actually feeling. Or maybe I had no idea on how to express. The latter is mostly true. So I present myself to you...on the other side of student, in official terms that is.

So I graduated. I am done with college. When I talk about it now, it will be in the past tense. I will talk about what once was. I will remember.... And remember fondly. Just in case, I began making a list of different books to read and hobbies to pick up if I find myself freaking out in about a month. Having a 9-5 job will give me ample time to do some things I have been putting off. Then again, that sounds extremely idealistic. I will probably find myself just as busy. You know, I might like being busy. Ewe. I just sounded so American. Simplicity, I will find you soon.

What does it mean to say good-bye to friends you have shared life with for the last 3 1/2 years? When I look them in the eye to say good-bye, I replay our favorite moments. When my eyes well up in tears when I look at them, it's for them being such a significant part of my experience here. When I thank them, it's for influencing my entire life with just 3 1/2 years. When I say I will miss them, I mean I will miss having dinner with them every night. I will miss dressing up in costumes and putting on dance parties. I will miss late night conversations about faith and justice. I will miss worshipping with those that don't have to agree with me to understand me. I will miss being understand. Ah, yes, that is it. Being understood. Being able to question and not judged. Being able to doubt and still believe. Being able to mend faith and science. Here I found beauty. Leaving here raises so many more questions.

And yet I was reminded yesterday...."GO."

It sounds so familiar. That voice. I recognize that voice....from another season. And I remember.

So I respond willfully. I reply joyfully. I walk obediently.

And full of faith, I believe "He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever." Psalm 111:5

Amen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The little things

Currently listening to: Michelle Branch, “You get me”
Currently digesting: Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers
Currently into: stretching

Today’s Thanksgiving. I ate a lot of turkey, took a lot of pictures, ate leftovers of the turkey and watched some football. I am somehow encouraged. How this happened particularly, I am not quite sure. But from the combination of family interactions, naps, movies watched, conversation and reflecting on what’s important on a day like Thanksgiving, I have found some reassurance of who I am and who I want to be. Ah, finding revelations in the little things. You can always count on me to find some spiritual relevance in a movie or sentimental point to a situation. Come on though, this is why I blog.

Today I found the belief that I can be absolutely loved, cared for, appreciated and pursued by someone of the male species. It’s lame, but it’s through little scenes in a movie (“Mall Cop,” oh my gosh I can’t believe I just admitted that) or seeing myself react to a conversation a certain way that I find glimpses of hope and that I am perfectly content with where God has my love life. It’s when I hear friends talk about their desire to have kids (I mean, really?) and yearning for a relationship that I have found myself pretty content and focused recently (not saying I will enjoy those things when they come….the kids thing could wait). This is also to say I change day by day, but you know this so I will shut up about that. It’s just that like every other part of my life, I see how God prepares and equips us for the various seasons of our lives, and I see him doing it for me right now and it just so happens that right now my heart is taking it easy, letting go of the distractions that I so easily place in front of me regarding boys and my feelings. I am feeling secure and in tact for DC. Wow, as I say that I wait for you to laugh because as you go through my posts you see that this feeling changes. Think about this with me though. Perhaps my emotions over the past few months and the inner part of me are different. Maybe I feel at peace, security and confidence about where I am. It’s just that I struggle with fear, doubt and crying a lot (Oh my, we watched the movie “Up” too. That’s an emotional movie). But those aren’t to say I don’t have faith. Faith I do have.

So I stretched tonight, along with flossing my teeth….two habits of which I hope to keep. If it takes 30 days to break a habit, how long does it take to start one? More endorphins, healthy muscles, less plaque. That’s what I am going for.

A pre-written post for ya

Currently listening to: Alexi Murdoch
Currently thinking about: going to sleep at 7:00 p.m.
Current city: Moberly, Missouri

I think the best thing to do right now is write. Typing away these letters seems to be my only option of expression at the time, giving me a technology fix and a way of communication which a girl like me enjoys from time to time. I am a few miles out of town, in a place where WIFI does not reside. I keep working to get on the neighbors’ wireless connections, but everyone has their security codes in action so people like me can’t hack off their system I guess. My connection to the world has been shut off. I sheepishly admit that I feel naked and insecure without being able to pull up Google and check my E-mail 10 times a day. So I guess this kind of technology abandonment is a good thing. And hey, you get a premeditated blog written on Microsoft Word with spell check rather than a spur of the moment post. Positive sides to everything, eh?

I feel like people expect you to feel a certain way when you graduate college. I think they think you should feel a certain way leaving to go to a really cool place. I don’t know that they even know what I should feel, but everyone knows whatever “it” is, it should feel significant. So when I don’t feel anything in particular, what an annoying disappointment. I talk through future plans with people like a robot. It’s not that I am not feeling excited, it’s that I have a thousand other emotions fighting for attention at the same time. So I freeze. In fear, I freeze. It’s like I am talking about it with my head, anxiously waiting for the rest of my senses to catch up.

Do you ever have moments where you see how much your parents have aged? It happens when you look at old pictures and see your dad 30 lbs lighter and with dark brown hair parted on the side instead of grey speckled hair and a receding hairline or you realize your mom didn’t stay age 40 all of these years or it’s when your parents can receive senior citizen benefits at Golden Corral (I don’t actually know if this is true). It’s when you think about how your parents have spent 36 years together and your grandparents married over 50 years. These days I value the wisdom, appreciate the commitment and am found astonished at such longevity in some human beings.

With the kind of stuff I read in health magazines, it doesn’t look like my body is going to see much on the side of longevity, and if so, it’s because of drugs that keep my body artificially functioning and age-defying shots to my face to cover the reality of all this. With the way we treat our bodies, they are already ruined. Our generation is going to be leathered skin, addicted, obese, impersonal and the worst of communicators, always plugged in to some form of the newest technology. We won’t believe in marriage because we couldn’t imagine being with only one person for all those years and commitment and loyalty will vanish from our vocabulary. Debt will be our middle name because we can’t say no and we want it right now.

It’s like if I just sit here quiet for a moment I can hear my body dying. I can feel it as my joints start stiffening, my varicose veins arise, my chest starts sagging, the fat on my legs starts curdling and I look to those in their mid 40’s right now and think, wow, is that really going to be me? It’s obvious that I have self control problems. I can’t stop from eating whatever form of sugar is in front of me. The problem with this is that while people in other countries die from not having any food at all, we die because we have too much and can’t control ourselves with it. We love to indulge and I hate that. I know about health, about risks, about good habits that I don’t have. I’ve read about the statistics and I’ve experienced little victories with temporarily developed healthy habits myself. What I can’t understand though is why I can’t stay in control. Sometimes I blame this on my extreme personality. I will either go one way or the other. There’s no balanced life here, it’s one extreme or it’s the complete opposite. Or maybe it’s not this, but this mediocrity that I am living that is driving me nuts. Who knows.

I find that the ultimate idea behind it is that we are completely mortal. How sucky….how real. Our bodies are dying and we are all stuck finding ways to hang onto them as long as we can. Yeah, it’s depressing for most of us to look in the mirror naked when we get ready in the morning, but heck, it happens to the best of us, right? My value as a woman is inside of me, not on the outside (praise God). I have to remember this…every single morning when I get up. And I thank God that I am an overanalyzing and over reflecting individual where I can ponder on these things and not an artificial and materialistic-minded person overlooking it. Because I think I can go somewhere with this mindset. I think I can use this as momentum for a richer experience here, knowing my focus is on a Hope elsewhere.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day….so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen in temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Liz is like a box of chocolates

Currently listening to: David Crowder and Patty Griffin
Currently drinking: water
Currently taking: long prayer walks in the cold

You never know what you are going to get.

When you ask me, I might tell you I am excited about this "next chapter in my life." I might be thrilled of the "great opportunities" that await me. Or I might be scared out of my mind of what is going to happen. I may be sad when you say hi to me because you made me realize I am going to miss seeing you too much.

Be careful when you find me. You might get a "ooooooohhhhh girl" in the dorm, a "wasuuuuuup" if you are on the baseball team or some version of a weird noise if I don't know what to say to you or how to express my thought. And really, you might be the sucker who catches me at the brink of crying because I have developed the habit of being able to break down in tears at absolutely any moment.

This is the truth of the moment.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some heart felt words

Currently listening to: Enter the Worship Circle
Currently feeling: fisty
Current favorite lyric: You are the only faithful one

Sitting down to blog is like hitting the jackpot. This is exactly what I feel like doing right now. And I feel like I have so many things to say and I uniquely feel like saying exactly what I mean. Here's a disclaimer for mispelled words. There were a few I questioned but don't feel like Dictionary.com-ing them. Cuz I do what I want. Experience the rawness.

Some inner fisty red-head thing came out tonight. I saw something rise up in me, a youthful voice to a bunch of old people. I saw a confidence in me, a yearning to be heard. It wasn't as profound as it sounds, it just felt like it to me. Conclusion: I never want to be in the corporate scene. It's cold, ugly and impersonal. Will money ever have less value in this world than it does now (figuratively, not literally)? I am overwhelmed with purpose tonight. Through a frustrating few moments, I feel a little more centered and determined to be what is really inside me.

I am also feeling socially overwhelmed. I know these nights are coming. It's an inevitable arrival of an ever-so-extra-extravert. If you want to see this extravert at her peek and her breaking point, see me stop for 20 conversations in the cafeteria. Overwhelming (I am using that word a lot tonight) to say the least. It's nothing I've never felt before. I have reached my giving out max from the last few weeks. I peeked at a project deadline. I have lacked any sufficient sleep or relaxing mornings in bed. This is the place one comes to. You lock the door, turn down the lights, turn on the therepeutic tunes (Enter the Worship Circle tonight), and you write. You write until you hit your core, then you find your beautiful brokenness. When the reality hits, you cry and this gives you a sense of release. Then you lay your head down to sleep a good sleep. You wake up the next day reflected and renewed. It's rather beautiful and a cycle I have come to appreciate because it's where I find center in my life. It's more than just a physically tired break down, but a psychological analysis of my life and where it's headed. Of my needs. My ugliness. My beauty. My desires and my realities. It's a reminder of God's faithful character in an unfaithful world. Ah, my Hope.

People just want to be understood. I want to be understood. I have told you this before, but it's been seen true in my relationships recently. It's awful to find that I hold unrealistic expectations for people to understand me. When I find that there are very few that do this, I get frustrated. But really, is there really any faithful one here on earth? No one but the Lord. That's my conclusion as of right now and I think where I stand at this point. There is no one like Him and when am I ever going to stop looking.

Logistically and more light-heartedly, preparations are being made to spend Winter/Spring in Washington, D.C. I have of course already beeing brainstorming what a blog will look like in that situation. A new season, a new blog? Thinking.

I have officially checked out of the schoolwork area of school. Big research deadline has been survived....5 weeks isn't enough to keep me intent. I seem to be checking out and doing it quickly.

That's it for my post. Thanks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

This is my 100th post

Currently listening to: The Weepies
Currently making: decisions
Currently into: my somewhat long fingernails

So here are some memorable moments with some pretty memorable people.



This is what I just did and it's late at night. Yes.

I also had my first newspaper article published in the college paper today. This is a perfect way to celebrate my 100th blog post. With some late night calories (see above), wonderful people in my life and a debut article for the world to see. Although, to be honest, they won't appreciate me the way you all do. You have been with me since the beginning. So cheers....to you! My blog readers.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Finding words for this

Currently listening to: Death Cab for Cutie
Currently digesting: a Sunday sundae
Currently feeling: cynical

I find it extremely difficult to live in such a broken world. There is a chance to get hurt at any moment. This idea terrifies me. I don't know how to live without the fear of getting screwed in the long run. I guess when things begin to cycle in your life a certain way, you hesitate to even give it another shot. Because every time I try, the result is the same. The feelings are there. The hurt remains.

I serve Jesus who restores me. I know this. I trust this. It's at times like these that I understand even more fully that He really is the only one in whom I can hope. But I find myself believing in people too much. Hoping they will be the one that finally understands me. Wrong again. Thanks for the reminder.

The feeling of embarassment and "I told you so's" flood my mind. Maybe this is the place people get to when they throw their hands up and stop fighting. Maybe that's where I am at. I might throw my hands up after this post because I suck at controlling my life. I have evidence to prove it.

Why are we so human. Seriously. It's getting so old.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Feel like a coffee house inside


Currently listening to: Rob Pattinson
Current musical discovery: The Postal Service (don't say I told you so)
Current mood: musical and my insides feel warm

I have hesitated to blog lately. It could be the idea that I want to spare my vulnerability. It almost feels affair-like when I engross myself so much into these things. This doesn't reflect the time I spend on my posts (15 minute max) but rather the deep emotion I tend to spend connecting with this expression. Donald Miller talks about this in his new book. Writers can spend so much time creating worlds and stories on paper that they lose the ability to live it. This is not the case with me. But at this point in time I want to be sharing these stories in person, face-to-face, coexisting with you and allowing real experiences to busy my life rather than investing face time with my laptop. Ah...balance. It is all about balance, isn't it.

I have also passed up many blogging moods because every post could be titled the same thing: "Liz is sentimental and reflective about her changing life because she is graduating in 0.2 seconds and wants to tell you about it." How annoying. It's in one of my conversations atleast every day. I know one can't ignore these kind of changes and the ways it oozes in and out of your daily happenings, but come on, it's like a girl that refers to her boyfriend in every story. I know that is annoying.

I am beginning to look forward to post-graduation with gladness, hopefulness. When things start to fall into place at this point I get giddy. The word I use right now for the way I feel is thrilled. I am very very excited. More to come.

The question of the day was how often do you cry. When asked this, someone said once a month, another said a few times a year.....and me?

I said 3 times a week. I mean really.




Sunday, October 18, 2009

Seeing it as beautiful

Currently listening to: The Postal Service
Currently learning how to: eat grapefruits
Currently feeling: endorphins

I just went on a long, late night walk with a friend. Don't you love those? I feel good.

Life is pretty raw right now. There's nothing fake or imaginary about it. Nothing easy about it either. It's going incredibly fast and hard decisions await me. Those of you who know me well understand that I hate making decisions, let along ones that really matter.

I am healthily learning what is good for me and what is not. This goes beyond eating vegetables and exercise. This is about relationships. About lifestyles. About my choices. I am feeling a little more confident and a little more sure. These are good things to be feeling as I anticipate my future.

I am serious when I say that I don't know who I would be without the circumstances and relationships that have evolved during my time at Jewell. 50 years from now I will be telling my grandchild that college was the best time of my life. I will tell her that the people I met meant the world to me. The education enlightened me. The struggle refined me. I was privileged to have such an experience with such quality individuals. I will be able to say hey, I knew them. They are making a difference in the world, and I was able to eat dinner with them every day or have late night talks or dance parties with. They talked me through a break-up or listened to me complain about my Spanish teacher. They listened to me laugh...loud. They watched me dance by myself in the middle of an empty room. They appreciated my piano playing. They let me borrow hair clips and gave me nursing advice. They wrote me notes because they know I appreciate them and most importantly, they pointed me towards Christ and gave me grace to doubt when I wasn't sure that was where I wanted to go. These will be my stories. There will be plenty. And you know, people will probably get sick of them. But that's ok. And hey, maybe the stories will make it in a book someday.

My goodness, this all is just beautiful.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's blog time

Currently listening to: Honey Honey
Currently eating: anything and everything. vanilla ice cream at the moment.
Currently feeling: sweat on my forehead from a kickin dance party

It's after midnight. Get ready. It's. Blog. Time.

It's so fun to be here at this time. Yesterday is no longer here. Today has just started. The hall is quiet. Things just become calm. Perhaps I deem this hour sacred because I don't see it much with my eyes open. I have a lot lately though. I have come to appreciate this hour, because it means I am spending as much possible time with the special people here. 2 months is the countdown. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it. Don't feel sorry for me. I just need to talk about it.

My care free attitude over the past few weeks has me nervous. Of course it shouldn't. It's way healthy. But it makes you think some deadline is going to pop up in front of you, blindside you and knock you on the floor. I am laughing a little more, making dance parties happen, and looking into people's eyes a little more often. It's beautiful.

But for some reason tonight I could eat everything and not feel full. And choices are limited when you are stuck in a dorm. They range from putting peanut butter on rice cakes or peanut butter straight from the knife. I got sick of that so I went and stole ice cream out of the public freezer downstairs and hoarded it to my room. They won't know.

New music favorites: Alexi Murdoch, Keri Noble, Honey Honey

Thursday, October 8, 2009

(Fill in the blank)

Currently listening to: Damien Rice. I can't stop.
Currently drinking: hot tea
Currently seeking: wisdom

I figured I owed you a blog. I have been waiting for the right time to sit and type. The perfect time hasn't come, but this will do.

Life is moving at an unbelievable rate; a speed at which I am found extremely uncomfortable and unprepared. It's at moments like last night that I sit and Grand River Chapel and stare at the stained glass window ahead....locking my eyes into the intricate designs and colors......that the life that I have been running around frantically in comes swirling down onto my chest, thumping me hard and waking me up. And I experience silence. Stillness. Tears. All of a sudden I see what it's about, I see reality. I see what life is really about and the way I have been missing it. I see the condition of my heart and my need for a savior. I see my real fears and my deepest insecurities.

There's nothing perfect or flawless about life. It's full of humans with ugly hearts, seeking happiness and love from anyone and everything. We desire acceptance and we yearn for understanding. We lean on others who can't hold us up and we keep thinking that we can figure out a way to live a life where we call the shots. We lie to ourselves over and over again, patching up ours wounds and worsening the ones on others.

It's a heck of a time paving my way through life right now. I realize my hearts vulnerable and that scares the crap out of me. I realize I really do know nothing, and that nothing holds without the love of Christ. Perhaps this is a good place to be. Humbleness. My self deserves no credit or worldly satisfaction. My soul is yearning to escape the oppression around me. It's screaming for truth. And it's aware that my eyes do not see reality. My soul keeps me looking forward.... forward to the day where my faith shall be my eyes.

What a glorious day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Well here i am

Currently: adkfjalkdjf; mvnmc, mvcmnea;oojdkmd,klj;dafk;dioewo

I have been drinking a lot of hot tea lately, twirling my hair, and fighting off sicknesses swarming around campus right now. My voice is raspy. My eyes are puffy. And my head feel adrift in a cloud. Physically I am yearning for sleep; rest. Emotionally, I am seeking for the same thing.

My heart it panting for peace. If only I could lay this head down and know that everything in my life that seems to be running amok will be ok....my senior project will find its way to completion and stop hanging over my shoulders.....my future plans will find their way to the front.....and I will find a way to appreciate the time I have here. I would really like to do that. I loathe the fact that I can't do that. The moment my thoughts begin to marvel at the world around me, I wake up abruptly to my drill sergeant schedule alarming me to get back to my day. There's too much to do. And I don't think I can do it. Logically, picking this type of schedule was a stupid idea, seeming nearly impossible. And I am really sad about it. Emotionally, I am dealing with lifes general changes and decisions. Combined with being a girl and Liz at that, my eyes are teary and my soul is found in unrest.

My emotional throw up is this:

-I miss my friends, the ones that aren't near me geographically, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Some who have shifted their way to my past, I find it hard to let go. It's lonely to be without them now and it's hurting me to think about leaving a place full of dear ones and all of our memories.

My heart is heavy tonight. And I might leave it at that. Because there seems to be nothing else I can do.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

If Donald Miller's words could be wedded, I would marry them.

Currently savoring: a cherry Jolly Rancher and Arizona iced tea
Currently listening to: a lot of Andrew Bird
Currently thinking about: going to the Copeland concert

I have had a productive day. Homework is now at a stopping point. I have found a comfortable position on the couch. Music is at its peak. I can't stop twirling my hair. It's about to twist off. I have been inspired by the works of Donald Miller. It's time to blog, let's go.

.......................................................

..................................


.......10 minutes.


i can't remember what I was going to say.


You should read Don's blog. We're pretty tight: http://donmilleris.com/

Thursday, September 17, 2009

90th post

Currently listening to: Mindy Smith
Currently drinking: Lipton iced tea
Currently refreshed by: meaningful conversations

There is nothing easy about this graduating subject.....So much of what I enjoy is right here.
.the people.

I am surrounded by people that love, understand and have grace with me. They like who I really am. I have a community that is intentional and real about their humanness and their need for Christ. It's hard to know what to do with your emotions, your fears, your anxieties....what to do with your relationships once you are away from here. These are questions I am wrestling with in my mind.

And in this same change, I am taken away by how beautiful God has made this process of letting go of the things that I invested my heart and tears into. He finishes the work He starts, many times with people other than yourself. I believe that. Today I stepped back to notice people stepping out and allowing God use them to carry on the vision on this campus. It's wonderful seeing others be used by God. I couldn't be happier or more thankful. It's been awesome.

Really.

I am pretty calm right now. And quite collected. Strange. Perhaps I am feeling this peace that is talked about in the Bible.....that kind that surpasses all understanding. It's a unique feeling. And this peace comes at the strangest yet most opportune time to glorify God in His sovereignty and His faithfulness.

.....shrug.....

i don't know what else to say.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Always time for the blog

Currently thinking about: networking, jobs, akfjd;ajfd;jie;jrnmdn.
Currently have: my hood pulled over my head
Currently listening to: Vanessa Carlton, whoa.

Disclaimer: Don't let this post stress you out

Don't ask to hang out, I don't have time for you. Don't ask me to complete service hours for every class I am in, because I don't have time. Don't ask me to speak or lead worship, when would I fit that into my schedule? I don't have time to apply for jobs, so don't tell me everything that I should apply to do. But.... more than likely.....if you ask me...... I will say YES. My problem, exactly. (don't take the hanging out thing personally. I would love to hang out with you. Really.)

The trick to this semester: organization, time management, all that we wish we were good at.

How I am going to do this, I have no idea. My last semester might just be my craziest semester in the world. Not at all what I was going for.

Ah, there is always time for self-discovery though, and blogging nonetheless. In my recent experiences I have learned some things:
  • I am detail-oriented
  • Not quite the ceramics type of gal, patience is the problem perhaps
  • Not a flirty gal either when it comes to the opposite sex
  • I don't like the taste of curry
  • Spanish is always a time consuming class to take
  • Anything cliche is annoying and stupid

Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A deadline and Radio rejection

Current favorite lyric: Your love is a melody my heart can't help but sing
Currently: wanting to go to bed early
Current favorite article of clothing: my hat

My forehead is permantly crunched in a permanent thinking position along with my abilities to type 3,489 words a minute and intake an unreasonable amount of caffeine. I had a 5:00 p.m. deadline. I turned my paper in at 4:59 p.m.

Oh college and deadlines. I conquered that beast.

Anyone who is familiar with Pandora knows the frustration of maxing out of your skipping privileges. After browsing through all of Matt Nathanson's radio station and not finding anything that suites, I get a pop-up that tells me I am too indecisive and cannot go on; I must stick with the song that is on (like I didn't know my inability to make decisions). And so I get on the Snow Patrol Pandora station to give listening another try....I don't like the first song. This is not a big deal, so I go to click the arrow to go to the next song, and......rejected. The pop-up repeats itself again. What the? Can't Pandora sense an indecisive radio-station-changer when they see one?

Right now I am going to go lay this pounding head down on the pillow. And with a sigh, close these red eyes and venture to sleep for a few hours. See you soon, my friend.

Monday, September 7, 2009

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

Currently listening to: Ben Harper
Currently learning to: breathe
Current favorite song lyric: Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

I feel relieved at the opportunity to cuddle up with this piece of technology and write willingly about matters other than communication research and the difference between Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin. I have been waiting for this all day.

So, writing. I didn't realize I liked it until the past year of my college life. And it's not the MLA certified essays that I enjoy, it's this. I am reading a book called Sweet Agony which describes the thrilling and oh so satisfying endeavor of creating images out of nothing but a combination of 26 letters. Writing for my Communication professors right now is not sweet agony, it's painful agony. But sweet agony....oh what sweet agony in doing this (read that last line slowly with an English accent, sounds like Shakespeare).

I have several different layers of things going on in my life right now, all of which contribute to my heart feeling like it's been ripped apart and broken to pieces. No freak out texts/calls here, I am fine. I would just like to admit my hurt; that it is very real. It is humbling. And I am trying to get over the embarassing cliche feeling that I am going to miss "this place." But I am. "This place" referring to so many different things these past 3 years. Relationships have a lot to do with it, as does an identity that has been wrapped up securely by the titles and systems here. Without this identity, I feel like I have been dropped off on the side of the road, stripped naked, shivering, nameless and cold, waiting to sight my way down the road again.


But this time, a new road, and without everyone else.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A cozy post

Currently drinking: Pumpkin Spice Frappachino via Starbucks
Currently listening to: Cold Water by Damien Rice
Currently sporting: boot slippers

Coffee tends to stimulate my blogness. To complement that, it's a rainy Friday afternoon.

I visited Starbucks today and was very much reminded of how much I enjoy that place. New pumpkin spice treats and drinks, and dandy brown colored mugs. You should go. I left with coffee in my hand and the aroma drenching into my pores. YES.

I miss helping people figure out what kind of coffee to get and making their drink in less than 50 seconds. I miss the coffee lingo and the psycho morning rush. It's because I think everyone wants to be good at something. Not just career-ish stuff, but a connoisseur (props to Dictionary.com) of something trendy like coffee, beer, or wine. It's fun to be an expert. Like a chef, knowing all the flavors and spices, you can put together a treat for someone, leaving their mouths wide open because they have no idea how you do it. Liz, ah....the aspiring Coffee Master.

Meanwhile, reality has ordered me to order myself. I did three loads of laundry today and have a date with my planner. I have a pile of nasty dishes waiting to be washed, no surprise there. I am really excited about getting myself together and catching up on much needed conversations.

It's the fall season. Everything brown, pumpkin, apple, and spice. Fallen leaves and bonfires. Football games in hoodies. Let's skip the cliche statement about how time flies by and we don't know where it went and freak out about how it's September and my birthday of 22 years, Thanksgiving, graduation, Christmas, and God-willing, Peru, are coming up in the next 4 months, in that exact order. Brace yourself. Emotional blogs could be a serious side effect.

I am speaking Spanish again. My heart is warmed by it. Thanks to those who understand this and who have grace with me while I am in this place in my life.

So grab a mug of something, pull up a chair, and search for words with me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

H1N1, Facebook, and peanut butter

Current favorite song lyric: "The Day is Brave"

Today a friend in the cafeteria yelled out, "It's here!"

Wash your hands with soap and water. Use antibacterial stuff too, even though the hundred that have been put around your college are empty because the sanitizer is on back order. Stay in a foot long box if you have flu symptoms. Don't breathe or have contact with any other human being. If you say anything, we will quarantine you.

The bacon cough, pig flu, oink, swine flu, H1N1, whatever you want to name it, has hit the William Jewell College campus. All this does is make everyone paranoid. So now instead of the shallow small talk about the abnormally cool weather in Missouri right now, classes are consumed with chatter about the girl who had to go home because of the flu and how soap and water is the best way to clean your hands. Seriously. Small schools have to be the worst when it comes to these things because you hear the same gossip 20 times in one class. Things don't just get around fast here, they get around several times. Don't cough in public, people will form a 2-foot radius around you. You think people are your friends until they find out you are sick and take an extra few steps away from you. I am thinking about wearing a face mask and gloves tomorrow to school to see what people do.

Another rumor today at school said that there is a Facebook application allowing you to see who visits your profile and how many times they visit. Is this true? Because there was a rumor about this last year and I think that was false. So no more Facebook stalking?

Today I ate peanut butter and crackers, only because I wanted peanut butter. I just finished a Slimfast shake only so I could have the taste of chocolate. Sometimes I eat carrots with peanut butter only to have an object to scoop the peanut butter into my mouth. Why don't I just eat the friggin jar of peanut butter? Ah, what you do to justify what you eat. Like those dreamers who say, "Oh, I will have the cherry pie and ice cream because it's a fruit and good for me, and ice cream has dairy in it." I mean, really?

Someone forgot to tell this girl....

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Love. Hate?

Currently listening to: Ben Rector, Ready for Change
Currently addicted to: anything with sugar on the nutrition label
Currently reading: Sweet Agony

My body is in desperate need of a nap. My social exhaustion of 20 million catch up conversations within the last 24 hours and working 5:00 a.m. shifts days in a row is pushing me into a nap isolation. Give me an hour with a locked door....I will bounce back. Right now, I need not exert my extraverted ways.

Finding myself in various social situations lately, I see that my heart is moved extremely easily. My eyes will tear up in an instant, and having met you for the first time, I will want to do anything to make you feel loved and appreciated. It's an interesting place to find yourself once you observe it. It's great for sure. Just anticipating hitting a limit at some point or another? After a week, am I going to even have the strength to speak a word? If, though, I keep drinking from the neverending well of salvation, perhaps this love for others never runs dry? Can I maintain my nourishment so I don't run dry to others?

Coming back to a familiar place and setting with people reminds me of our desperate need as human beings to commune with one another. I understand God more fully as I see his character reflected through unique personalities and edification from my relationships. I realize my need for help, my need for care from others. It really is a beautiful thing.

Ben Rector sings of being "ready for change." I find it ironic that we ultimately find ourselves yearning for the thing in which we absolutely despise as it tears us away from every comfortable place that we find ourselves in. We hate leaving behind what we have loved so much, but we yearn to "arrive" at the next glory because it's going to be so much better. Isn't it? We are so fickle; we can't make up our minds. We hate change, but we thirst for it. We just don't know what we want. But then again, it's not up to us anyway.

There's something so much bigger going on with this love/hate relationship we, excuse me I, have with change. Maybe it's revealing something about my heart.....

....i need Him.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Orchestrate my heart

Currently listening to: Adele
Currently drinking: Starbucks iced coffee
Currently sitting in: a humid and damp dorm room

Some days music finds a way to meet you at the perfect moments and orchestrate your actions in a beautiful way. I drove home from work, listening to Making Pies by Patty Griffin and it ended right when I parked. Great timing. I just turned on Adele Pandora and the song I wanted to hear came on right away (Chasing Pavements). It was meant to be. And while making coffee tonight at the 'Bux, I was serenaded by some spectacular classical music. Classical music has a way with me. Could be my classical piano training. My heart wells up, and so do my eyes. Great music day, Tuesday. Thanks.

It's time for announcements:

I am leaving Starbucks. I have a week left of free coffee and some favorite regulars. Scheduling and being an extra full-time student this semester is the bad guy. It's too bad it didn't work out. I am going to miss it.

I am seriously considering (serious enough to write in this post) going to Peru post-graduation for a few months. I can't explain how happy this makes me and how peaceful my heart is in thinking about it. It's a recent development, enough to not have details and enough to consume my prayers.

Can I confess that blogging is currently on my list of favorite hobbies? My handwritten, private journaling has suffered because of this, but I'd rather share my thoughts with you. Regardless of how these make you feel, they make me feel so much better. Therapy perhaps?

Cheers.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

On the brink

Currently listening to: Iron and Wine
Currently drinking: Quick Trip iced tea
Currently getting rid of: a headache

I just partook in a little stroll at dusk. An extravert's chance for serenity. I am one who should avoid this feasting time of day for little critters that fly around biting people. I am now itching 3,587 bug bites on one leg. Something about me must taste good...the Starbucks that is now being pumped into my veins probably.

I took a walk in the cemetery. Here on the Hill, the cemetery sits up higher than anything else, making you see the campus in a different perspective. Every few steps I stopped to stare at the sunset. It was one of those moments. I just can't grasp some things. I am staring at change all around me, knowing that I should be feeling so many things but get on emotion overload, resulting in just numbness. Perhaps it's because we are human, or because we are immersed in our own lives that we can't catch some perspective. I know that I am standing at a brink. I can feel it in every inch of my bone. Everyone around me is reminding me of it, and I know that things could get overwhelming at any moment. I am just waiting for that time. The anticipation is killing me. Realities in my life never hit at opportune times.

The thing about different seasons is you miss the old one sometimes; you miss the way things were. And in the very same breath, you are drooling for what comes next. I mean we are never content. We just want something to get better. So I don't really trust my emotions right now. Of course I am sad about leaving college. Of course I am excited about being done with school. Of course I am scared stiff about finding a job. Of course I have no idea what I am going to do after school. Change is change. Change is inevitable. I am learning this. And I have been trying to be cooperative.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weekend travels

Currently listening to: David Gray
Current favorite song lyric: If this is a competition, you are my first prize
Current location: Browning Hall, Room 303

I am staring at a list of blog-worthy topics I made while sitting on an airplane to Phoenix recently. Get ready blog-reader, things are going to get exciting in the near future. I am not cool enough to plan any of this out, and I just made it awkward by making you anticipate greatness when really it's my brain throw up that scrambles such words together. I would just like you to know that my thoughts are compartmentalizing blog-worthy mentionings on a daily basis. So while on an airplane, eating pretzels and popping my ears, I thought I would transcribe my ideas. These will be out for you shortly.

In the meantime I would like to give a shout-out to some of those I saw on my weekend travels:

-The guy stuffing jalepenos chips into his mouth while waiting to board his flight....am I the only one that sees a potential problem for the person sitting next to him on the plane?
-The airport cart drivers that shuttle people to their terminal shouting "Move out of the way" as they speedrace through the crowd of people. Don't jump out in front of one of those. You might die actually.
- The people that run frantically to their terminal, afraid they have missed their flight. I just think it's funny.
- And what about the crazy businessmen dressed in suits that hold every version of technology within their paintsuit and can't sit one minute without pulling out their iPhone or Kindle (what's up with those btw) He holds merchandise worth more money than my car. That's an understatement.

I mean there are so many different people to watch at the airport. It makes me believe that God created airports so I could watch them all.

Through the recent packing and unpacking of moving buildings, I have been reminded of the excess amount of stuff Westerners own. This idea was also mentioned in a book I just read by K.P. Yohannon. There are people that have ridiculously more things than they need...just like me. Should I have the problem of not having enough room for all my clothes when people struggle to even keep the same piece of clothing on their back? I think not. There are a lot of unecessary things we, I mean I, surround myself with; all they do is distract me from the truth that I found in simplicity.

Lord, help me live out this yearning for simple things.

....train of thought to be continued.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

78th post

Currently listening to: The musical wonders of Waterdeep. It's been awhile.
Currently eating: peanut butter
Most current action: napping

The pile of dishes next to my face right now are starting to smell. I have used the same spoon the past 3 days. I just licked off my finger that has been dipping in my stash of peanut butter. I am living off of rice cakes, peanut butter, and instant oatmeal for the next few days. Let's see if I can stretch this out. I move yet again to another resident hall Tuesday. Moving is one of the most dreadful things besides the diseased dishes sitting next to my face.

I would be an awful gambler. Reason being, I got this brilliant idea that the closer you wait to the travel date to purchase a plane ticket, the cheaper it is. Why didn't any of my good friends stop me from this? As I gave in and put down a hefty money amount yesterday in reserving my ticket, only a few days before departure, I realized my weeks of skillfully waiting and anticipating a drop in price was not so skillful. Every day I sat and reasoned with Bing. com, contemplating whether to buy or wait. Luck had to be on my side. Lies. All lies. I am not going to even tell you how much I paid for a ticket to Phoenix. Because the exciting thing is I get to see my dear friend Nicole and her precious little boy. It is going to be a rejuvinating time away. I just know it.

I got pulled over yesterday for speeding. It was different than last time. Perhaps the further you get away from your 16th year of life and new driving, you calm down about things, and tickets only seem fair when you have obviously and blatently disobeyed. It seems that things like this always happen when you are speeding in order to get where you are going faster because you are late to where you are going. And being stopped by the policeman makes you even later. Alanis Morissette would say that it's ironic. I would agree. I was already debating whether to go out that night anyway, and having gotten pulled over, I wondered if it was a sign from God not to go. Funny how we spiritualize everything. Anyway, the man was nice and I knew that I was willfully going over the speed limit, so no need to cry, argue, or flirt...whatever girls do. I took my ticket and in honor of that, drove slowly for the night. Don't go 40 mph on Lightburne.

Starbucks tip of the day: Please specify whether you would like your mocha iced or hot before we make it.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

James, Jan. 09

The day began bitter cold, both in my heart and outside downtown Denver. The temperature was brutal and snow had blanketed the ground. We were expected to reach Denver for Jesus that day. Skeptical and fearful, I joined in the fun, being a part of a group of five that would receive a manila envelope unveiling step by step instructions as to what our mission was that day. We gathered in a huddle and ceremonially opened our envelope, anxiously awaiting what it would say inside. We were to catch the bus at 11:50 a.m. and end up in a particular neighborhood. Suddenly I realized we very well could be doing what I so dreaded to do, go door to door with tracks in hand, bugging people in the middle of the afternoon, sporting our phony Jesus smiles. Or so it was this way in my evangelizing past. I followed obediently, secretly hoping this would not be the case. After arriving and hearing our mission, lo and behold, that was exactly what we would be doing. After 2 hours of rejection, wet and cold, we stepped on the bus to head back to our primary location. In the meantime, I observed the saddened despair and poverty that the people of that neighborhood and sitting next to me on the bus experienced every single day. I was frustrated. I had a heart to help people; to love them. But there was a barrier between me and them because I didn’t know how. I saw a need but did not know how to meet it, and I knew that going door to door was the most cliché and ineffective way to do that. The world’s problems seemed too big, too impossible to fix in one day. Overwhelmed with any and all emotions, my heart gave up. Surely there was a way to show Jesus to people with going door to door. Surely I had something to offer of myself and the Jesus inside of me. But being cold, wet, uncomfortable, and hungry, and escorted myself to the luxurious Sheraton hotel where I spent my days that week. I put on some warm clothes, gathered my pen and paper, and set out to downtown Denver to treat myself to a latte and reflection time. And in this reflection time I would vent to God about all the injustices in the world, many of which I had just seen, and tell Him how hard it was to live down here with questions beyond measure about why I had so much and others had so little. This was my mission for that afternoon.

As I sipped my latte, I headed down 16th street, looking for a place to settle. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a homeless man scooting his things out from the mall in a little buggy. On it was a sign. On it wrote something about money and food. A policeman had stopped him, said something, and walked off. My spirit and body suddenly cooperated and pushed me to talk to him. My mind didn’t even stop to question the idea. For some reason, I found myself confident. The first thing that came out of my mouth (naturally) was, “How are you?” I immediately shut myself down for saying such a stupid thing. Come on Liz, I thought, what would he say, “Great. Just a little chilly and homeless.” So I don’t even remember what he said, or what I said after that. I just know I tried everything to have normal conversation as anyone would, regardless of whether he owned a home or not. I invited him to walk and talk. We ended at the corner of the street, talking about poetry and injustice. Among his food and blankets to keep warm, I think the most beneficial thing he had with him was a book of poetry he had found on the ground somewhere. It was something that reminded him that he was human and his brain was still working. It didn’t scream out that he was suffering. It didn’t put him lower than anybody else. It took him away from his problems and allowed him to engage in another world besides his own.

We continued to talk about random things….just like any friends would. I wasn’t afraid to acknowledge his situation, but I also didn’t want to focus on it. Just like him, I am more than my circumstances and problems. I have a story, passions and ideas. So I set out to ask him about his. He interrupted in saying that he had a lot of things to tell the world; that he wanted his voice to be heard. He turned to me, honest and so real, asking if I would write down his story. I laughed a little nervously. What do you say to that? Taking advantage of the moment, I agreed with a smile. It took both of us by surprise. I realized that I had just made a promise to someone that experienced nothing but inconsistency and broken promises in his life. Great. I was going to be another one. Or maybe not? Maybe this conversation would last more than today….and his story would be one that I tell.

In the bitter cold, we both stood paralyzed while I tried to figure out where I could go with a homeless man where it was warm, safe, and very public for safety. Coming to the end of my list, I escorted him to the Sheraton hotel lobby. How suiting. So we warm up on the leather couches as we watched preoccupied college students scurry by in their social huddles, dressed in their new Gap jeans and arguing over whether Starbucks or Jamba Juice would serve as the best snack. I held my latte as I searched for my pen and paper. So many thoughts run through your mind in a moment. In this particular one, I wasn’t sure if I made the right choice to bring him into the hotel. Was it shoving wealth in his face? Was it rude? These were just a few of the many questions that flooded my mind. I had no idea. But he was with me, and in this I held a sense of pride and protection as he was able to indulge in the warmth of the building for the next hour.

Just like anyone, where do you start with one's story? I hit around a few different questions, trying to gage what would get him talking. He was willing, but after getting emotional about one thing or the other, he kept on asking me what I wanted to know. And frantically, I would just say “your story,” which of course was dumb. He really hadn’t processed his story; that was my job to help him. I wanted to gather his thoughts and experiences and help make sense of them. I tried to gage the areas where he was comfortable talking about. I quickly ruled out his childhood. Although I wanted the whole story, I wasn’t about to make this homeless man relive the tragedy of his childhood for me. It just wasn’t the time. There were other touchy subjects that I quickly darted off of. So we landed on photography. You can tell when someone loves something or someone. Their eyes light up. They could talk forever about it. And in doing this, they end up reliving memories in their head while talking…kind of in their own world. I love watching people in this state. It’s enjoyable for me. So he loved taking pictures. He kept on saying his favorite thing to do was to “shoot children.” I cringed inside every time he repeated that phrase, only fretting about what it sounded like to a stranger passing by on our conversation. I quickly got over my insecurity, intently listening to this man relive his history.

James was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He began that his grandpa was in the mafia and he had a dad that molested him. This is when we skipped to his later life. He dropped out of high school and ventured into the work world. He did construction for most of his years, making decent money. For a short time, like I said, he did photography. This brought back a vivid memory of the first time (and maybe the only) he felt appreciated by a mother who had brought her child to get photographed. He retold the story of how she hugged him, with tears in her eyes, and thanked him for his great work. This was important to him.

James had done one too many drugs in his years to develop HIV. Too many needles, too many bad choices. He found out a year before our discussion that day that he was ill. Since then, I believe he has been reflecting on a lot of things, as it was coming out in our conversation. The scabs on his face told the story of a fight he had gotten with another homeless man recently that called his grandson the N-word. His face immediately squished together into a scowl, his lips puckering together, trembling, as he relived the anger. I quickly moved us ahead, expressing the joy that he had grandchildren, nine actually. James had been through two marriages, the most current one, for a very short time until she passed away. That is when he quit his job which led us to his current situation, being homeless. He said he just quit. He knows and admits his homelessness is his fault. Unlike many people I have talked to, he doesn’t blame God and James doesn’t hate the world. He took full responsibility for his actions. In thinking about the injustice in this world earlier that day, I asked him how he believed in God after seeing so many people hurting. He had no problem interrupting me to defend God’s sovereignty. He re-explained that God did not do this to him, that God is good to him and faithful to bring him out of it. I stared in amazement as my pride crumbled to the ground. Here was this man without a warm place to sleep or any security in his life with more faith than me and all my comforts. This man was wise. It’s true, it’s easier to understand the things of God when you’re poor, stripped of all the world’s pleasures and comfort, than it is to be rich. Maybe that parable made sense to me now.

It has been 5 years since his wife died, and James still finds himself humbly on the streets of Colorado, asking people for money. He is on the waiting list for low-income housing. He holds his head up, with hope for his future and love in his heart. He willingly left me with 3 pieces of advice, each holding an important piece of history in his heart:

Love your fellow man no matter what
Don’t judge people by the color of their skin
Stay in school

All of his advice was said with great convincing and belief, and with stories of their own of how he lived out experiences that taught him these things. There was a major sense of worth for James to be able to, in the midst of admitting all his bad decisions in life, pass on advice that is true to his story. And I received it gladly, and forever etched the conversation in my mind. I was able to pray for him before he left, praying for a warm place for him to sleep that night. He scooted over on the couch to embrace me. You know, I think he felt loved. And, I realized, so did I. In this weird way, I felt complete, like I had done something that I was truly made to do: Love God, and love others. So we got up and said goodbye as I escorted him out the door, and James set out into the world and onto this paper.

His story; our story. They are stories to be told and to be heard. And believe it or not, we find God intertwined in the depths and colors of our experiences…in the midst of our relationships and conversations. God is in the dirty places of this world…on the streets in people like James….shedding light in the midst of our own hopelessness. God is in places outside of our sterile churches and 4-step tracks to salvation. He is in the midst of every person on that subway, in the man sitting on the corner with the sign. God is present in the lost places. We must go and meet Him there. Because there awaits a story to be told...and a place for God to be glorified.

Monday, August 3, 2009

They liked it, so they put a ring on it.

Currently listening to: Patty Griffin
Currently eating: Life cereal
Currently reading: Captivating

Oh blog world, here we are again. It's a hot and muggy summer night. I just got off of work. Smell like coffee, have tired feet, and am excited to sleep. But I thought I would pay a visit to you and search for a few words before I sleep.

Too many people are taking Beyonce's advice. If you are reading this, a friend of mine, under 23 years of age, and are about to get engaged or married, please don't. Spare my sanity. Be kind to my singleness. If you like it, don't you dare put a ring on it. I think all my friends Facebook messaged each other, planning to change their relationship status at the same time. Infact, maybe I'll change mine. Everyone's doing it. The good thing about having 7,890 weddings to go to this next year is hopefully I will stay skinny and tan with a few cute dresses in the closet. That's the attitude, Liz.

While we are on the topic of attraction-like things, I would like to discuss crushes. No matter how old you get or mature you feel in the dating arena, crushes always make you feel like a 13-year-old pre-teen. There is nothing sophisticated or cool about them; they are unmasterable, leaving everyone absolutely vulnerable and inexperienced once again. Crushes make you blush and nervous, having conversations in your head, trying to talk yourself out of liking the person. You feel dumb at the fact that you overanalyze and jump to conclusions too quickly (maybe just the female species). And here's the trouble: drawing the line. When do you decide the potentiality of a relationship is unrealistic? When do you admit the crush to someone else? Because the moment you say something, it jinxes the whole situation. And the moment to realize you might just like a person, it changes the next day and you find that his friend is cute too. I mean, come on. 'Mize well put my braces back on and scrunchi in my hair for as young as these things make you act/feel.

Meanwhile, I have discovered that dishes are my most disliked chore. When I am eating soup with a fork and a green film gathers on my bowls, I reluctantly take the pile to the sink to scrub, scrub, and scrub some more. Maybe my husband will like doing dishes.

Thanks for reading, friend. I am leaving cyber space for the evening. Will talk later.

P.S. Don't read into this crush thing. I am not dating anyone or anything of the sort. No freak out texts please.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't go to Chipotle for the leftovers

Currently picking: cilantro out of my teeth
Recently discovered musician: Andrew Bird
Current mood: hopeful

Although Chipotle can do nothing to lose its place as my favorite place to eat, I took a second try at eating it on the second day today. Even if you cover the chips in a steel box, they still get chewy and stale-like. The rice gets dry and even though everyone warns me, lettuce, sour cream, and cheese aren't good warmed up in that thing. It took me a few times to figure this out. But I think I did.

Alright, Starbucks customers, listen to me. I don't post too much about the ways of Starbucks in my posts simply because blog posts always find a way to backfire in some way. But I can say this: do not talk on your cell phone when going through the drive thru. 90% of the drive thru customers rave on their cell phones will giving me the "oh hi, give me my triple decaf 3 pump no foam soy skinny vanilla latte, but please don't interupt my phone call which I am probably faking anyway to look cool as I buy my beverage at Starbucks." It only makes my job more stressful than it already is. Americans can seem to turn off the radio, put down their cell phone, or look another human being in the eye.

I have finally come to terms with my summer, 2 months into it that is. Things have finally sunk in, I have finally begun to enjoy things, and oh wait, summer is now almost over. Isn't that the way it is though? Just when you start to get used to a new season in your life, it's over before you know it. A wise woman in my life instructed me once in saying: The only thing that doesn't change is the fact that things are always changing. This is true, oh so true.

I really like Kansas City. I really like my friends in Kansas City. I really like my church in Kansas City. I've figured that much out. Perhaps this will affect my future in a very specific way. Perhaps.

So long, blog friend. And happy Saturday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Let's read and listen to music or something like that

Currently chewing on: fruit snacks
Currently discovered: eggs in the microwave
Currently enjoying: some FREE time

I am listening to Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap. MMMM whatcha say?

I have a stack of books on my desk, ready to read:
The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World by John Piper and Justin Taylor
Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan

Just finished The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller, you should definately read it.

My recent musical discovery: Jimmy Needham

I finally get free time, and then I am tired and want to go to bed. I might do that.

zzzzzzzz

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A joyful expression

Currently.....

I was reminded today that even as the past events in my life have been guided and ordered by the Lord, so are the very moments that I am breathing now and the paths of the unknown future. To see the decision I made to follow the Lord at L-Bar-C camp in 7th grade turn into this beautiful portrait of defeat and victory, sickness and healing, sadness and joy, being lost and found, has made be reassured and thankful for the past 8 years of running this race. I have become more and more confident that this is where my strength, my identity, comes from. I had a moment today at church: I sat, meditating about Christ before communion, and was overcome by this great joy...the kind that is described as the "joy of our salvation." It hasn't shown up in a while. But I think I was reminded about that joy today. My selfishness and brokenness many times leaves me somber and paralyzed in guilt. But today, I rediscovered joy; the celebration that comes with knowing Christ. It was similar to the encounters with God that I experienced as a new believer, all giddy-hearted, young, and eager. May I never lose my childlike faith. May my heart ever burn for You and You alone, My God.

Wow, my heart is full. So then, I will leave you with just that. My random and meandering thoughts will take a back burner, showing up here another day and time, so come back.

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done." Psalm 105:1

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Tuesday afternoon

Currently into: hummus and peanut butter, not together.
Currently experiencing: a back ache, thanks work.
Currently listening to: Boston by Augustana

Just got back from work. The 5:00 a.m. shift at Starbucks has become easier to manage. My summer has started to become a busy one between work and school. It's alright though; learning time management. Am a little worried about how well I will manage next semester. Final and most crazy semester of my college career. It's like the rapid fire finale at the end of a fireworks show.

You know, it's so interesting how music correlates with seasons in life. I have intentionally avoided emo-like music recently because of its baggage. It's always nice to return to music you enjoy after getting rid of the memories that go along with it. So know I can enjoy the sad and depressing lovesick Secondhand Serenade and Augustana if I want to.

Personality realizations: I need words of affirmation often, I am a big believer in doing what you say you are going to do, I need alone time, I can get to know people very quickly. I.can.cry.so.easily.

Alright, to you dear readers, thanks for the visit.

-Boom Boom Pow.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another midnight post.

Currently smacking on: peanut butter by the spoonful. Grocery shopping tomorrow.
Currently digesting: way too much coffee
Currently reading: The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
Current action besides blogging: Facebook catching up

Good early morning to you. I tend to take advantage of early hours because it's when I can find my thoughts honest and clear enough to articulate them to you.

I have been thinking about the future a lot lately; about what I want; where I want to go, and also; what's important to me. All that to say, I really don't know any cool answers to any of those. But I have become at peace with some things, clear about some others, and excited about some job hopefuls. I finally found a job description that explains what I want to do. I realize I just said that and you want to know what that is, but I don't feel like explaining it right now. Not my point. Ask later.

There are just a lot of choices at my disposal right now. About who I want to be and what I want to do. Where I want to invest my time and in whom I want to invest in. I am having to seek God with a little extra effort, but like promised, finding Him....in some of the most unexpected things and people. He knows exactly what I need. And He can provide that for me.

I realize that in front of me lies a leap of faith, into destination unknown. I am soon going to leave a lot of people I love and situations and ideas I deem comfortable. And I guess that's just the way it is...the way it's going to be.

Now I am going to get up, brush my teeth, and dream.

'Night.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Some Favs

Here are some people and experiences I have been thinking about and thankful for lately.




































Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mind wonderings of a sleep deprived redhead

Currently suffering from: "can't sleep tonight syndrome"
Currently listening to: Brendan James
Currently reading: The Pursuit of Holiness

Here's to another night confirming my abnormal sleeping patterns in the recent weeks. It's like Starbucks stuck a needle in my arm and injected the darkest of espresso, depriving me of every sleeping pattern I ever had. I went to bed 2 hours ago. It's only time until I get frustrated to lay there and twirl my hair, or try out new sleeping formations. Despite the instructions from health experts to not eat late at night, I get up to pick up my few month old cereal. As I stuff the dry cereal in my face, I realize it's sticking together, unaturally. I should throw it away. But I tend to hold onto food a little longer these days, says my rotted spinach and green cheese in the fridge. Fixing food for one person is just a task. I find I eat things I would never normally eat. I guess you could say my standards have been lowered dramatically. You end up compromising because heck, you can deal with just eating ___insert gross food here____. And even though you don't like ____fill in food you don't like here___, it's so much cheaper than ____food you like here___. Ah, the college life.

Do you notice how people eat popcorn (I was reminded of this by the way I was eating my cereal). They treat it like a freakin race. And when people are watching a movie they don't even bother looking down to the popcorn bag. No....Keep eyes on movie. Lower hand-claw. Catch the prey. Lift. Insert into mouth. Repeat excessively.

Did anyone even like those huge swirl lookin lollipops that were the size of your head when you were a child? They had rainbow colors going around in a swirl. I always wanted them because they looked so cool, but they really just tasted like sugar poop. Disappointment. Oh and rock candy! But I liked that. Or those giant jawbreakers. They still sell all that weird candy at the bottom of the shelves by the check-out lines. Like the sugary goo, baby bottle lookin suckers, gum shaped in a cell phone, etc. I think the liquidy stuff is what really bothers me. Just buy yourself a Snickers bar.

Do you ever have grammar or spelling rules that have stuck in your brain for so many years because a certain teacher stressed it all the time or someone always corrected you? Here is mine: "A lot" is two words, thank you Mrs. Castle in fifth grade. She told us that maybe 1000 times. I will never do it again.

Story of the day:

The other day while I was at the library I found myself staring at this lady. She was right in front of me and probably noticed I was staring because friends tell me I have a problem staring. But she was wearing the shirt I wore in the fifth grade school-wide spelling bee. Infact, I wondered if mom gave it away to the thrift store and this lady found it and bought it. For a second, I thought my life had come full circle and I was about to die. But there it was, my yellow and black striped polo. Exact. Same. Shirt. I mispelled the word "galactic" at that spelling bee. I ran to my mom and cried when I lost. Maybe it was because I wore a bumble bee shirt to the spelling bee.

There ya go.

Goodnight, blog friend.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Here's an update.

Currently eating: watermelon and cantelope
Currently listening to: Robbie Seay Band's Better Days album
Currently wondering about: the dang future

Hello dear friends. It's been awhile and I thought you deserved an update.

I finished the second book in the Twilight series yesterday. I don't know if I've ever read a book so fast, let alone that long and FICTION. This is phenomenal. I don't read fiction, especially the ones with over 500 pages in them. Movin on to the 3rd one.

I am beginning my 3rd week at Starbucks tomorrow. I am enjoying learning about espresso, cappachino foam, and how addicted America is to coffee. No wonder we are in an economic crisis and fat.....we go to Starbucks every day and drinks Ventis. Check the checkbook and calories before you buy, people.

Next week is the last week of 2 of my summer school classes. Then I begin another. Truckin along.

I visited my grandpa's house this weekend with my fam. The drive home was one of those where you stare seriously out the window, gazing as the trees whiz by, in deep thought about your future. It's a mystery to me. I have never felt so absolutely clueless about my future. And if someone were to ask what I really want to do, I would honesty say, "I don't know." So that's that.

My story for the day:

I was loading my stuff into the car at grandpa's house when two neighbor kids of his came over looking for "Mr.Brown," aka they wanted a popcicle. But first the girl had to ask me,

"Are you going to have a baby?"
"Um.....no."
And she felt the need to clarify, "Well, you look like you are going to have a baby."
"Oh..." I replied. "
"Have you had a baby before?"
"No I haven't infact."
And after this intimate conversation, she finally asked me, "Who are you?"
"Mr. Brown's granddaughter."
"Oh."
End of conversation. I don't think I'm going to wear that shirt again.

Thank you little girl for helping me feel positive about myself. Since then, I have been glancing at my reflection in every store window and frowning.

Well I have to go. I am going to work out.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What crayon color are you?

Along with Facebook taking over cyberspace, it has allowed normal human beings like you and me to take quizzes to find out things like....

What wild animal would you be?
How gay are you?
Are you a true Missourian?
What Disney princess are you?
What social stereotype are you?
What real age are you?
What is the first letter of your future husband?
What is the date of your wedding?
What kind of kisser are you?

Thank you Facebook, for telling me my real age, I almost forgot. And I didn't know I was 49% gay, thanks, now I am actually questioning my sexuality. And sorry friends, I don't want to know what Twilight character you would be or what celebrity would play you in a movie. And don't go filling them all out at once, you're taking up my whole news feed.

I have resisted taking these quizzes (Confession: I actually took the Disney princess one a long time age, that was before I knew what they would become.) And the problem with being curious about what your results would be is that once you take it, it's not like this private satisfaction in knowing, it freakin pops up on everybody's news feeds. Even if I had an inkling of interest to do one, I would be afraid a bunch of pop-ups and XXX's will crash my computer. I choose to remain a quiz virgin for my own dignity's sake.

But just so you know, if I were a crayon color, I would be orange.


::EDIT (Several hours later)::

Some more that just popped up on my feed:

What ethnicity are you, REALLY?
What do people think of YOU at first sight?
How dateable are you?
What mental disorder are you?
How tall are you going to be?

Oh dear....

Saturday, May 30, 2009

An honest post.

I feel like blogs are statements to the world declaring some revelation or raging tangent to others; showing how great you are about figuring out life. My soul sits uncomfortably as I type this. I am by no means in the right mind to impress you, nor am I prepared to tell you some spiritual and put together answer to my questions tonight. I come to the table very human, searching for an array of vocabulary to articulate my struggle.

When I sit and pity about my uncertainty in my faith and the world around me, I can’t help but see so many different portrayals of faith. I see all extremes and everything in between. I see beauty and strength. I see wrong and weaknesses. And in that split second that my mind finds labels and slaps them onto what my mind sees to be faith, I get overwhelmed in feeling the need to choose. Do I need to be an evangelical who votes Republican and passes out tracks with the steps to salvation? Should I be the liberal kind of Christian who fights for human rights and sees that the poor have food at night? Should I spend all day in a prayer room praying for revival?

These questions flood my mind tonight as I realize my condition. I have tucked away sermons and teachings in my head, kept things leaders have said, engraved doctrine into my brain. I have seen truth on both extremes in my journey, and I find myself in an uncomfortable in between. In some aspects, in time I have become someone that I never deemed to be good. In another way, I am more liberated and understanding of the gospel than before. I am not satisfied here because I know I am not where I need to be. And in my human and categorial thinking, the only way I seem to find in moving forward right now is choosing between two paths that claim to reach the same goal. My logic can’t rid truths from one for the other, or vice versa. Both shine a different light on Jesus, portraying him as a man standing for different things, like two different people. But really, who is this man named Jesus?

I know I sound confused. And sure, there is some of that. But in the end, as I fight this “good fight of faith,” my heart yearns to be valued for the person that I am more than the doctrine I choose to believe, or label I slap onto myself to please you. There is an honest fear of being rejected on either side. In that struggle, I try my best to stray away from indifference, for surely giving up would be easier than the fight.

I wasn’t taught that faith was more than black and white, but I am beginning to think it is. My faith contains colors of blue, bright yellow, and magenta. It’s deep and the shades are ever changing, from sea green to fragile peach. It reflects experience, relationships, and education. It screams out mercy and declares justice. It dances for joy and worships in peace. My faith is based on my need for a savior. And I know his name is Jesus.

Only He makes sense of my colorful mess.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recent Realizations

Currently enjoying: endorphins spreading through my body
Currently engaging in: Facebook stalking
Currently suffering from: closing eye lids

Some things I have become aware of lately:

I have sensitive hearing
I have a majorly sensitive sense of smell.
People need to learn how to use sarcasm appropriately.
I am surprisingly attracted to redheads. Some.
I really really love dancing.
I would like to go to New York very soon.
Playing the piano makes me happy.

This is my inventory of recent things I have noticed about myself. It's the little things, isn't it?

Monday, May 25, 2009

5 minute post

Currently listening to: rain
Currently wearing: Chaco's
Currently thinking about: Colorado

So I figured it out. I am not happy being here right now. That's it! It's like this cycle of emotions I have been in, trying to figure out why I am just not satisfied with my summer plans, with being here in Liberty. I would rather be in Colorado. I would rather be in Mexico. I would rather be doing something meaningful and productive. I don't want be working and doing summer school. I want an adventure, but somehow that part didn't work out for me. It's disappointing, really. I have wonderful friends doing wonderful things this summer.....Haiti. Amsterdam. Africa (3). I have friends in Colorado at camp, loving God and people and having campfires. Ah I miss it.

So that is my 5 minute post. Liz needs to change her attitude. Things have to look up.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gearing up

Currently listening to: Iron and Wine
Current career consideration: teacher
Current love: Kansas City

It's officially summer here on the hill. I am settled into a new building and new room. Adjusting is always a difficult task. Shifting into summer mode has been also interesting. But nonetheless, I am hopeful about things. Plans seem unpredictable, but hopeful.

I will be starting summer school and Starbucks barista-ing in about a week. I also plan to spend some quality time at my new church home, Redeemer Fellowship, and read, lay out in the sun, and run as a hobby. God willing that is. I am still fascinated with people and obsessed with loving them. This love might be finally awakening after some time of selfishness. The more I fix these eyeballs upon Jesus, the more I love hurting people.

An important part of this summer for me needs to be investing in my soul...something that tends to get ignored and pushed aside here. I need to listen to my heart, listen for God, and let myself be refreshed. If this is selfish, let it be. If I keep going on ignoring the fact that I need a savior and something else to hope in, I will be nothing. I have been an engine trying to run on no gasoline. I haven't been getting very far. And I don't want to fall into complacency....talking about all these dreams of mine and the life I want to live, but never stepping closer. That's a pet peeve of mine I have developed over the past several months. I want to be a doer.

Proof that summer has begun and my life is slowing down is that I am yearning to do the things I love......my fingers need to touch a piano key asap or I am going to go bazerko. I need to have some quality conversations. And I need to worship. The real me is starting to rise up. Thank you William Jewell College for allowing this much needed break. I won't let you down.