Sunday, December 20, 2009

A blanket of rest visits Maryland

A glorious noreaster has blown in about 23 inches of snow this weekend. What an incredible way to end a semester; thank you Jesus! Snow storms are such a wonderful reminder that though we think we are in control of our lives, something as little as frozen water molecules can turn us upside down. We all have to stop and look at the world. We are forced to rest. And what an awesome sight to see the world silent in a white SPARKLING blanket of snow. For a moment the world is so peaceful. It is one of my absolute favorite experiences; the sound of nothing but snow falling and the look of everything so beautifully crystallized. It is a time to rest and play with the people closest to you. Even the people you meet on adventures out into the storm, there is an exchange and care for eachother that does not usually occur on a regular basis.

I love the hot drinks, board games, puzzles, movies, and books that can be experienced without worrying about what needs to be done on a snow day. A bonding little surprise with the ones you love, and a vibrant reminder that God is in control and he will bring us rest.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Confessions from a granddaughter of a domestic goddess

In the spirit of my dear friend Becca. Who has a fabulous food blog, gourmet cooking on a dime, I have decided to share one of my family domestic goddess secrets. Well, it may not be a secret after all but still worth sharing.

Growing up if anyone of my siblings (there are seven of us!) stained a beloved piece of clothing it would be taken immediately to my grandma. She is one of those fabulous women who know how to pinch a penny, but believes in buying quality items and taking care of them. She is a guru of house care and can tell you anything from where to get a quality bra, who can re-sole your favorite boots, to how to get blood out of the sofa. The only domestic quality she lacks is the ability to cook, which my mom makes up for.

So yesterday when I spilled the yam maple-butter sauce all over my new cute (and potentially long-term) shirt dress, I knew where to go. I had simply washed it, but the oil stain remained. So I called grandma immediately. Whatever you must do, DO NOT DRY a stain, the dryer heat sets the stain and its a goner by then. This is what my grandmother told me, when you get the stain if you are not in the immediate vicinity of stain remover, spit on the stain. Spit has enzymes that can break down the stain. Once home a paste of baking soda and water can be applied to the stain and allowed to sit for 30 minutes. Also lemon juice can be applied to the stain. If these are unavailable dishsoap can cut through grease stains (which was eventually what got the butter out of my dress!) If none of these work, I call my grandmother again, she has more secrets or take it to the dry-cleaner (they are pretty amazing and were able to get chinese food grease out of my favorite trenchcoat!)

Happy stain removal!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Reflections on Fifth grade

When I was nine years old I entered the third grade at a new public elementary school. Before this year I had been going to a private christian school, and the transition was rough on me to say the least. I threw up the first three days of third grade because I was so nervous. In my first few weeks there it was apparent that I was behind all the other students in math and writing, struggling to keep up. Thankfully I had a most wonderful teacher, Mr. Turner, who was quite the pusher. He met with my parents and told them I was smart but needed to just work hard to catch up. My parents were incredible and tutored me every night, always pressing me to work "maximum" not "minimum" in my homework. Well, it worked.

Fast forward two years, I graduated fifth grade, class valedictorian. Silly little award I know. But I was presented with a gift from my principal, a framed poem, called 'Don't Quit'. I loved that poem and memorized it in the weeks to come. I still love it and had no idea how much it would correspond with my life journey. Not that I've had many hardships, just in how life can be difficult at times. I almost always reflect back on it. I thought I would share:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A time for change

A butterfly begins his journey as a caterpillar. He hatches from an egg and crawls out an ugly little worm. A worm who lives to eat. Gorging himself he gains strength to build a cocoon and energy to live through the period of metamorphosis. He grows strong and big. A cocoon he begins to weave around his body securing himself for up to two weeks. Inside he cannot move his mouth or legs, his movement is limited to wriggling his body. His skin begins to soften and stress marks appear, out tears his next body, not yet a fully formed. Over the next few days he grows and changes into a fully developed butterfly. And when he is finished he cannot yet leave. He must break through the cocoon, tearing the silk to be free. It is a painful process. And yet to prevent him from it, or even to aide him in his emergence would be to his detriment. The tearing strengthens his wings, it this final step that allows him to fly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I had the worst day yesterday. So glad I have a little family formed in Baltimore that helps me through days like that. Community, and I mean real hard formed community which takes time, love, and a lot of grace and talking... that is what got me through yesterday. I'm so glad I am blessed with such community.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My journey to become a disney princess

I had to move room the other day as my ceiling was leaking from all the rain and its been leaking for awhile now. Even after rerubberizing the roof, so they will have to cut into the roof and with jonathan moving and getting married it was decided that i would move into his room.

So after a long day of me and dan moving my bed and everything else into my room and setting it up a bit, I was feeling great. This room set up feels more peaceful and comfortable than my last even though its smaller. I was loving the set up, and dan and i finished the evening with yummy rice and veg while watching the collector on my laptop in my room. (finishing the meal off with tea and berries and cream!)

I went off to bed that night feeling great and ready for a full nine hours night of sleep! When I heard a little scratching noise, and I knew it was a mouse. I decided to write it off because its on my floor and will just run around like those little creatures do in my house sometimes. But the sound was getting closer and closer, and i looked over to the wall side of my bed and a little furry creature was running down my bed!

I jumped up and went downstairs because dan was sleeping on the couch. He set a trap and offered to switch bed arrangements like a true gentleman, but i knew if i didn't sleep in my bed that night i would be more fearful the next night. And this is it. Its either move out or name the mice and talk to them while they are in bed. This is where I'm living.... I don't have any other options. (i mean its not totally true but anyother option would be extremely inconvienant and i believe you make it in life by buying oneway tickets and sticking through the hard shit. ) Anyway I went back to bed. Didn't sleep well at all that night, couldn't sleep for hours but finally drifted off to find the mouse dead in the trap the next evening and finding myself more and more comfortable in my room. Stilling praying each night and trusting that God is bigger than the little mice that might crawl into my bed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Healing through giving.

So I found myself again on one of my favorite websites, A community mail project that was started many years ago by a man named Frank Warren. He provided for people an address to send in decorated postcards with their secrets, deep and dark or funny and light alike and select ones are posted on the website. The project took off, it has made rounds as an exhibition in art museums, the cards have been released in a series of books, and it has been a movement which has given many hope.

Anyways I was on the website and one of the cards really touched me it read, " Working with cancer patients has helped me stop having suicidal thoughts." and i thought how brilliant is this? thats it really it isn't it. So often we are told that our lives happiness lies in self-fufillment or even in therapy in finding "our wounds." Which I will say working through our wounds is important but its really through serving others we take the focus off of us and we are happier and we get healed in the process. I'm not saying go do and push your problems under the rug; I'm saying we find fufillment not in focusing on ourself as our culture tells us, but in doing as Jesus did and serving others. Ironic, countercultural, and anti-self help at times it is what it is.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nothing quite like a good push out of the nest

i gave my first pecha kucha presentation in class the other day and i did great! i'm not saying this to brag but i'm quite proud of myself... i've never thought of myself as good at public speaking but as I'm an education major I find myself having to do it more and more and I'm getting quite good. Which is just a shock to me! I'm always a little nervous but it usually clears up and with a pecha kucha i had to give a presentation with pre-timed slides without notes. And everyone remarked on how well i did... they all told me i was the most natural, just chatting in front of the class, informative and funny and timed quite well. I'm so excited and pleased with myself.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The moon controls the movements of the tide

I feel the tide turning. The pull between two gravities, the oscillation of the waters and the floor beneath me. Cold under currents being drawn to the warm surface, there is a shock but life prospers in cool waters. Everything will change.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How small the world really is...

So yesterday I'm sitting in my Advanced Writing class, which I may add is an amazing class. After the first fifteen minute free write we're all sharing our mini essays and the guy next to me, Dan, shares with the class that his brother will be coming home from Eastern University this weekend. To which I'm surprised and squeal, " My brother goes there too!" Shocked that I'm sitting next to the one person at Towson, a University that has over 20,000 students, has a brother who attends the same small college my brother attends.

Well we exchange brother's names and i text Jon-Michael, my brother. He replies saying "Oh yeah, Raphael is one of my best friends. How do you know him?"
I'm awed now... and so I ask Dan what his brother is doing at Eastern and how he chose to go there. And his reply is he is majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Missions. At this point I just laugh and squeak one more time... so is my brother!

At this point my whole class is just bubbling with laughter and telling us we have the same brother. How funny is this. Needless to say the rest of the class, Dan and I talk and giggle, by this time there is no stopping my laughter. I can hardly believe this but it was such a nice surprise. I just forget how related we all are sometimes and then a moment like this comes along.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A realization

Lately I have been loving living in the city. I love my neighbors and I love my neighborhood. I don't wish I was back in Severna Park. I like the feel of the houses and the community. I love Khaleek and how he visits me and we paint on my stoop. But today I am feeling the heaviness of the city.

I was listening to my roommate tell stories about what he had seen that day and days before. Stories of violence and rage. And I felt a heaviness of the city. The cycles which are so hard to break out of but lead to death. And I realized the things we are asking these people to do are really radical. Of course we've always said that but the things Jesus asked us to do are so hard. Like how do you explain forgiveness to someone who has had their brother killed and they still see his murderer everyday and how do tell someone to respond in love when violence is the cycle they live in. Thats hard. I still believe it is the best way, but I realize how radical the Gospel really is.

Also if anyone has ideas of were to find these items cheap could you please let me know:

-A large mirror to hang on the wall of my living room
-a drying rack
- sharp knives
-cool artwork
-a doormat
-light figures

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So this morning I woke up at the Hoards as I usually do on Tuesday mornings and came down to find the house to myself. I poured myself a nice cup of coffee and realized there was a book on the table called, The Christian WOMAN...Set Free (women freed from second-class citizenship in the Kingdom of God.). The title intrigued me and scared me a bit, so I started to read. I might add that it was written by a man! Yay for wonderful men! So I read 3/4 of the book this morning. It is an easy read, written as though I'm listening to a story on the radio.. quite funny. It gives a broad overview of where the thought of women as second class citizens began and how secured itself early on in the church. That section made me very sad, hearing the terrible things Greek philosophers and popes said and did to women.

But then came the chapters on Jesus and Paul and the early early church and how they were the greatest liberators women had seen. The chapter on Jesus made me cry. It was as if for the first time I saw how Jesus really was so radical to women. And Paul, I think for a long time I was not sure how I felt about Paul and his attitude toward women, but reading this chapter made it able to see how revolutionary Paul was too about women and how wrongly he is quoted. I was able to see Paul and his personality and really like and appreciate him, I was able to see myself as his friend back in the day! haha I know that sounds really odd but it helps me understand and know the Bible as well as people more. To be able to put myself in the situation with them.

This book is not super in depth and intellectual but offers a broad history... it does cite some books however that I would really like to get into. And I realize I have not finished it yet so it could spiral downwards after I post this but I wanted to share how its helping me a girl who feels strongly about women and their roles on earth and loves jesus, but could not reconcile the teachings in the Church (not particularly my church but the broader church) with her gender.

Monday, September 14, 2009


It has been almost a month I’ve been moved into south Baltimore. I decided I wanted to blog my journey of living life in the hood, but as usual life has gotten the best of me with starting a new university and moving and the lack of internet at my house. So one month in and I will start.

The first week was exciting and lonely all at once. My roommates are lovely but extremely busy themselves as one is a youth pastor in the city, the other visits his fiancé, and the other commutes to Virginia for seminary (! This last one blows my mind. I can barely handle the commute to my school which is just outside the city!) I felt though I was just twenty minutes from my old residence in a totally different world. It was exciting, but I mourned the ability to walk into any of my siblings rooms and have an instant companion. It took just one week of figuring out the city and my new routine and fixing up the house and the loneliness and mourning was gone. I love my new house; an abandoned row house in the area of the city in which our church and bethel Presbyterian have been ministering to the women caught in prostitution.Tom bought the house and did some renovation so that we might be a positive presence in the community.

About a week ago I met the neighbor boy Kaleek (I’ll have to make sure that’s how you spell his name when I see him next). The kids in the city just break my heart, I’ve been crying a lot about them. So I was very excited to meet him, and we’ve been tight ever since. Last night he knocked on my door to say hi and introduce me to his friends, so I brought out some paints and spent the evening painting with him. Through him I’ve met his mother and some of his mother’s friends, who I think were quite pleased that I was playing with the kids. Kaleek has been my connection to the neighborhood.

Instead of writing a book I’ve decided to share the highlights of my last three weeks:

  • When it rains the ceiling in my room leaks, I have to put pots down, this weekend the ceiling started falling in!
  • I’ve loved staying with the Hoards in North Baltimore Monday and Tuesday nights when my classes end to late to come home. Good friends are such wonderful gifts!
  • I went to the Book Thing, where they give away free books; you can take as many as you want! Devin took about 100… crazy.
  • I’ve found ALDI the glorious cheap grocery store!
  • I’ve been eating mostly rice, pasta, beans, and vegetable dishes, (finding I can be a pretty good cook and a pretty thrifty, almost vegan lady) when a lovely lady in the church found out she bought me a bag of meat!
  • Daisy so kindly donated kitchen and house utensils to my house.
  • We’ve caught 2 more mice making a total of 12 kills.
  • I’ve been cleaning and fixing up the kitchen and dining room… even put up our first picture… the house is starting to become a home… so much more to do!
  • Dan has been an incredible support and handy man (hooray for handymen!) throughout the process even though he has been moving too.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm procrastinating the world's most retarded paper to write ever....aaaahhhh h except the next one that i will have to write for this ed psych class... the class is great the papers are pointless... and i usually don't mind writing. ugggh.. ok i just had to get it out of me. back to writing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spring Awakening

As spring is coming... i'm feeling this rebirth in of the things I love. I'm absolutely loving my art class right now and all the charcoal i'm using... it feels so good. I've been getting my whole body into it, and my professor is awesome. It is all making me think back to last spring and my outside art creating... allowing me to become excited to do more in a few weeks time! And i'm feeling a bit of writing popping up in my head... nothing in full, but phrases and words... it feels as though i'm on the verge.

Today I went crazy with a q-tip cleaning my cell phone... haha. I heard it holds tons of bacteria, which breeds because its kept in warm dark places. haha... there is a bit of OCD in me still. Also loving my ed psych class, its great in practical application.