i don't lie when i say i [can] love [crave?] anonymity.

and so, while i love this tiny town, sometimes, it's too much.


[portland] sunsets say goodbye

In limbo at the Portland airport.

4 8th grade-ish looking boys playing me brass christmas carols on their trumpets and drums. I guess it's random to listen to a small quartet in an airport, but it's also fitting.

I'm trying to process everything--the 5 finals taken, 6 boxes packed and sent north, 1 room checked out of, 2 roommates bid goodbye, countless other friends hugged and kissed--home (and snow!) in a few hours and a new season ahead.

Heh, I am no good at processing.

"and i cry hello to the change, You've brought me this far..."


two roads diverged

you come to me with fumbling tongue
"our minds, they connect!" you contend
and i must confess, i cannot disagree
but sometimes minds aren't magnets,
instead daggers to the heart
and i feel like i've lost something-
but not you.


high tides and rainy nights

"Only the moon high in the sky as an empty reminder, but if, looking at it, we just remember, our two hearts may meet."


get in the christmas spirit, you

Over satsumas and Sufjan, with some trepidation, I make my announcement:
Next semester, I'll be studying in San Francisco.

Ok, the worst is over.

The weather has been so strange lately- 38 degrees last night! But today in the 70s, with higher local swell than I've ever seen- higher than it's been for 2 years, apparently. There were about 20 surfers at East Beach, next to the pier.

I'm going to miss this stretch of the Pacific--this surfing, skating, avocado-eating, classic California culture that I both mock and share in--that has pursued me all of my life. Oh So-Cal, I came to find something, and you offered all you had. And now you are as fully in me as my Washington, now after every Christmas and summer spent with you, now after these 18 months.

On to the next adventure. I've never even been to San Fran, you know. I come from the wilderness, for goodness sake! Mountains and islands through and through!

I am afraid of this next part of the journey, but just a little. Feeling a little bit brave. And trying to soak up every last moment with my beautiful friends in the Barb.


feliz cumpleaños, mi hermana

My sister Caitlin (Caity) turns 9 today. Happy birthday to 1000 miles North! 10 days and I'll be there.


most strange dreams

"I want His secrets, His softest secrets," Arianna whispers to me.

Later, a friend from home approaches. "How are you?" I ask, embracing him. It's been a long time. He falls on me, starts weeping. He has cancer.

So does Francisco's daughter, a Mexican man who works in our cafeteria. In real life, I just interviewed him for a presentation in Spanish.

Two other people in the dream are also very sick. "It will be a year of pain and death," a voice says over me.

Music starts to play- someone is playing music. And I dance. I dance like I'm flying, I'm moving everywhere, jumping and twirling and spinning and kicking, dancing only the way one can dance in dreams.

"I want His secrets, His softest secrets," I wake up whispering.


early morning haikus

out of decent tea
brain mulling Osama's thoughts
i love school, repeat

O Islamism
i am very ignorant
when you come around

that girl over there
crocheting yellow blanket
at this time of night?

double essays due
the professors, they must plan
to ruin my life


"A disciple once came to Abba Joseph saying, "Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, my litle fast, and my little prayer. And according as I am able I strive to cleanse my mind of all evil thought and my heart of evil intent. Now, what more should I do?" Abba Joseph rose up and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He answered,

"Why not be totally changed to fire?"


i am (from Jenelle and Lisa)

i am hailing from the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.

i am in love with the smell and feel of old books.

i am a believer in deep lungfuls of breath during any sort of Weather, outside.

i am a friend who would like nothing better than to share a cup of tea with you.

i am a child of addiction, and a fighter of my own.

i am a pilgrim in Shadowlands, looking for the Peace and the Joy and the Truth.

i am a listener of lore, of stories, and of hearts.

i am learning to listen.

And tell me, who are you?


rejoice and hold hands

A bonfire night, to celebrate Trevor and Jenelle's birthdays, and a couple others, too. 20 of us on the beach, smoking pipes and humming melodies, beating djembes and a few of the guys with flame throwers, spitting oil to breathe out fire like dragons. Real dragonfire. A raucous celebration.

All of us skinny dipping, girls to one side, boys to the other, our bums white in the glow of the mist and cloud overhead. And I walk barefoot, my toes curling into all this pale sand...

I would like a real peace pipe, I think. I mentioned this and Jesse talked about one made by both Israelis and Palestinians, half and half. I would like one like that, smoked in a circle with real, conflict-ridden, multi-cultured friends.

A few partying highschool boys came to our little circle and hung out for a while. They asked where we were from and someone responded, "All over the world." And it was unthought of, unconsidered, but true.

Later, we moved to an apartment to smoke hookah and dance, eat beautiful homemade desserts and laugh together. Oh, these California Novembers... how I love these nights.


the whaler / thrice

My lover’s song will it beg me to stay?
I know the stars, they will sweep me away.
My daughter’s eyes, they are two tiny seeds.
Its water will rise and run down her cheeks.

Father where do you go so far out upon the sea?
When are you coming home to me?
Darling why do you leave?
As the north wind begins to blow will you be coming home to me?

The boat and the plank, they are that I know.
The sea calls my name and so I must go.
While they still sleep, I slip out the door.
But how can I leave when my anchor’s ashore?

Father where do you go? It’s farther than I can see.
When are you coming home to me?


"Afterwards Aaron came out front and talked and played some Dylan and the Spider songs, and a few others. He has this mustard seed kind of faith. Like he's constantly second guessing himself- such a small faith, so qualified you'd think it would be invalidated...but it was strong...

I wanted to ask him about being afraid of God and why following Christ is so painful. But then again he talked about how pretty much "life is shit and I have joy and its from this big thing people call God and that's about all I understand." I feel like my life is ringing. I don't know what to make of myself. Nothing perhaps. Aaron was talking about colleges and marriages and kids and how that's good, go live what you need to live, try what you need to try, but ask yourself if that's really what you're looking for and talking about how it all fades, we all die. And I've heard that a million times but never by someone who looks like they're living it. And I've never heard someone advocate singleness so explicitly before.

Shadow am I. There was this one moment where this girl just getting shoved past me and kinda looking panicked and...well, I'd say I put my arm around her but it was kinda just how the push of the crowd went at first. But I don't know...this is gonna sound really weird and cliché, but it felt right to be defending/reassuring someone in that crazy mess, and also just to be with someone in it. It wasn't sexual at all...I give up trying to explain it...but it was very different from the moment later when this girl is dancing on my arm and I'm like "is she hitting on me, does she even realize I'm here, and this is making me feel very uncomfortable but I want that touch." Oi.

I don't know...do you guys ever feel that way...like if someone kissed you on the cheek or touched you, you'd just fall apart and start crying...I don't know...I've had way too many moments like that this semester, though most of the time the touch never comes anyway. And sometimes I feel like my self-control is killing me."

James sent us this message about seeing the same show Trevor and I just saw (only in Oklahoma). We (my roommate Bethany and I) read it and cried. We pulled our other roommate in with us to strum guitar and sing a quiet song, to pray sparse, stuttering prayers. We held each other for a few precious minutes.

What else can we do but go on, but try to see His face? There is nothing else, there is nothing else. And I don't know what to do but to keep going, to cling to these moments like surface gasps of air, like water in a parched land, like something to hold as we drown. We follow, even as we carry each other.


child of the earth

"Don't you like a rather foggy day in a wood in autumn? You'll find we shall be perfectly warm sitting in the car."
Jane said she'd never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn't mind trying. All three got in.
"That's why Camilla and I got married," said Denniston as they drove off. "We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It's a useful taste if one lives in England."

-CS Lewis, That Hideous Strength


"i have my father's hand
i have my mother's tongue
i look for redemption in everyone

there is all this untouched beauty
the light the dark both running through me
is there still redemption for anyone?

changes come
turn my world around"


we'd sit in the room, listening to albums on vinyl
burning incense
talking about shows like we were savvy critics
playing mix tapes to sing along
thanks for sharing mewithoutYou with me all those years ago, sam.

Trevor and I drove down to LA last night for the show. mewithoutYou was only opening, but even those 30 minutes were so beautiful. Thrice was amazing, of course, and even though I was, confessedly, a bit skeptical of Brand New, they were so emotionally charged and raw during their whole, long set. At least live, I am sold on them.

Nelly and a friend met us outside The Wiltern for some genuine Chinese bean-sauce noodles at a hole-in-wall place and then bad but welcome cups of coffee from Denny's while we waited in line. We saw Aaron going through the trash (read my favorite interview with him here: http://www.bustedhalo.com/features/BustedAaronWeissmewithoutYoupart1.htm) and awkwardly said hello. He offered us pieces of pizza, but we were so full.

The drive home held more music, especially Radiohead (of course), crunchy green apples and good conversation. There's nothing really to say, except that I want to be part of this truth-telling, this way of writing things so true that it hurts and offends and feeds all at once. I want to eat truth like bread each day. I want to swim in it like the ocean, feel its waves crash around me. I want to know it communally, with others. I don't know how these musicians write songs that are so true- how they verbalize that we're "playing around with matchsticks when we could be utterly changed to flame," that we "do the best we can." We're so small and weak and incapable, but He says we'll overcome. Oh, doubters. "We desire truth in the inmost parts," a friend reminds me. And I want to remind others.

There was almost a desperation hanging over the entire show... a desperation seeping into us, a desperation we partook in.

"i was once the wine, and you,
you were the wineglass
i was once alive, when, when You held me"


I have a confession.

I think I have an addictive personality.

Tonight, in the cafeteria, there was candy out everywhere for Halloween. In rapid succession, I ate 4 mini-m&m packs and then felt a little sick. As I was leaving, I laughed to my friends that I am trying to quit my addictions and threw the candy stashed in my pockets back onto the table.

But it's really true- I rarely buy candy or keep it, but if it's available to me, I can't stop.

It's the same with other things too- I get addicted to working out, for example, or routinely doing things... things as omens, or in a specific order...

All of this to say, sometimes this stuff freaks me out- when I feel terrible if I don't work out for the right amount of time, for example, or eat like 500 pieces of candy in a row- because there is so much alcoholism and some drug addiction in my family. I want to be careful with these things... especially because so many of my Northern friends have been to rehab (and often, back again).

I heard this interview with Donald Miller last winter- it was about learning to live in withdrawal. He said we should always live in withdrawal in some form or another so that we learn not to idolize things- not to love them more than we love the One. He said all of this so tenderly; it was quite profound. I think living in withdrawal is quite contrary to our Western mindset (the same with fasting, it seems). For anyone interested, the interview can be found on the 2/23/07 and 3/2/07 Relevant podcast.

So I think I am going to eat no more candy for one month. December 1st (heh, that's just in time for Christmas:) ). Posting it here makes it more of a commitment, I think.

Yeshua, I don't want to need things more than you. Even ridiculous things.


Right... I was trying to figure out how to add photos (any photo, really) to my blog. But apparently I'm incompetent. So I give up. And yes, it's 3:47am... and yes, I already went to bed... and no, I can't sleep. This is all quite silly.


"Am I a student?" he said, looking at me closely, "Sure, I study. But if I could do anything? I'd smoke cigarettes, and I'd paint, all day. And I'd do it anywhere but here."


The Fire

Most of you have probably heard about the fires sweeping through from Malibu to Mexico. Today several of the fires merged with 100+mph winds. My family in Malibu has been evacuated, and my roommate's family in North San Diego is packing as I write this. They should be ok (ie: the fire would have to go through huge residential areas to reach them), but any prayers that the fire doesn't devastate so many lives are needed.

The weather up here in Santa Barbara has been ashy and smokey- we had crazy gusts this weekend that blew soot and debris over everything (including me, when I was trying to run in the foothills). The power went out several times Saturday night, but the winds have now died down. The light is very odd today, though. Santa Barbara is under evacuation warning, but that is all so far.


"It did not feel like 'renewal' then. It felt like disaster, like loss, like like liberation, like life gone wild. And it felt like all of them at once."
-Sister Joan Chittister, "The Wary We Were: A Story of Conversion and Renewal"

Our stories twist and turn and intertwine, until our hearts are all sewn together, red string stretching across mountains and oceans. My heart feels too much- too much rending for the cracked bride, too much pain for the hatred and isolation between disciples and Jews and Moslems. And I'm broken for my dear friend Geofrey turning 20 today- homeless Geofrey and his new baby daughter... and I'm indignant for him, and I'm righteously angry- and, yet I'm full of pride. I'm angry at all the fascism material I read for CPI this week- I'm revolted at all the Christian Identity movement and other such horrible groups I researched... I'm furious that some have the audacity to use Y's name. I don't even want to write it here. And I'm saddened that the Enemy is such a liar- that he has lied to so, so many people, that he lies to me continually and I believe him.

I'm horrified that 60 million in the 20th century alone have been killed in war or genocide, and that's not even including soldiers.

I'm broken that one of my old, favorite profs is caught up in a huge sex scandal- I'm confused at our justice system and I'm trying not to make judgment calls, because I am not the Judge. I wish I could tell his sweet family that it will turn out, that he'll be able to teach again, that he won't be convicted, that this will all blow over. I hurt for my friend Liz and her epic love story- I wish I could tell her it'll all be ok, it'll all turn out well.

But maybe things turn out really shitty. Maybe "justice" looks really fucked-up. Because this week, Lisa's cousin really did die, really did leave 4 kids and a husband behind. And my mom's coworker really did get in an accident, losing her husband and daughter in a head-on collision that left her and her son severely injured.

I just don't know anymore.

I listen to In Rainbows and think of my friends Amanda and Russ, and how they finally got together, after years of pain and confusion and beauty and friendship. I think of the redemption in this.

I think of watching Jane Eyre on stage last night, and how Jane held on. I think of holding on. And maybe holding on isn't what we think it is. Maybe holding on is pressing our palms up against each other's thudding hearts and writing bad poetry and singing some verses together and crying into our tea mugs. Maybe holding on is thanking him for his goodness in light of and spite of everything, then crying in distress with outstretched hands. As my friend Liz says, we must first bless him because he so loves us. Adonai, thank you for your patience. We're all growing cold, but we want to stay alive.

Yesterday I read Volpone for British Lit, and there was a sidenote that said patience originally meant "enduring blows." And I think, if I'm ripped up at all this injustice, how much more so is he, the Judge and the Just Himself?

How long, O G-d? It's growing cold...


some bad haikus (or, I am a pretend poet)

each foot crashing down
fifty ants carelessly slain
i am a giant

knotted, tangled hair
a vista of tossing surf
wind means autumn here

bowing trees to the sky
sunlight dancing on the leaves
the wind holds her breath


These days are a bit lonely, and my heart aches a little. For autumn and for missed friends and for your nearness, Yeshua. Every piece of community is a rich, warm liquid in my throat, a blessed island in the sea of chaos and homework and disconnect.

Last night, I randomly ended up at Bread of Life talking to Don and Cynthia and Bill. Don is probably 55 or 60 and his parents are in their 80's now. Cynthia told me she was born in New York City in 1926 and came West when she was 21. Bill told me, his eyes twinkling, that they met in October (1946?) and married in April because he wanted to marry her before someone else did. He had just gotten out of the war and started a job as a civil engineer for Los Angeles.

They talked about raising Don and his siblings in Portland, about their grandchildren, about Don's education at UCLA and Cyntha's jaw cancer... I know they're not homeless, per se; Don takes care of his parents, but things like Bread of Life, free dinner and community at a park, keep them fed and loved.

What is it like being so poor? Being without health care? Honestly valuing every conversation with another?

Today, I got a surprise package from Jenn with a Tunisian scarf (she just came back from there) and lots of random notes and funny pictures. Arianna left a tea bag and note in my mailstop.

And suddenly, Adonai, you're not so distant and not so elusive. You're a mystery, but Mystery who holds me. And I am very small, and not so wise, and not so humble. My heart is torn, but maybe it's getting softer. And I am safe in the cleft of your rock, beneathe your wings.


I need to pack for Yosemite. We're leaving early in the morning to hike and camp up there for a few days, 4 of my suitemates and I. I think we're doing Half-Dome, too. Check out an Ansel Adams photograph here:

Today was beautiful. I woke up at Shannon's house and we took a long walk, packed the car full of food and gear, and longboarded a little. On the way back up to the Barb (Shan lives about an hour south), we stopped at the Avocado Festival. Up north today was Ciderfest, so I was really missing autumn. But the lovely 101-N ocean-drive and some killer guacamole were beautiful gifts.

To top that off, Jenelle came, and I haven't seen her since February! So I met them down at the drum-circle, and we went to dinner, then Nelly and I went for coffee. We came back and watched a couple Office episodes in Trevor's room, with tea and bread, and Jesse really randomly said he missed hearing me worship and that my voice is beautiful.

I get so insecure singing- to hear Jesse call me a worshipper was really life-giving. Yes, I want to be a life-giver too.

And I really miss worship. Last weekend I was out-of-town at my cousin's house; this weekend I'll be camping. I need some Vineyard in me. I need some communion of the saints.

My words are so empty, but Adonai, You are so good. thank you.


If you have time, watch this video:


(I'd try to figure out how to post it, but I need to study...)


Night is our diocese and silence is our ministry
Poverty our charity and helplessness our tongue-tied sermon
Beyond the scope of sight or sound we dwell upon the air
Seeking the world's gain in an unthinkable experience
We are exiles in the far end of solitude, living as listeners
With hearts attending to the skies we cannot understand:
Waiting upon the first far drums of Christ the conqueror...

-Thomas Merton


Autumn Day / Rainer Maria Rilke

Lord: it is time. The summer was so immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials,
and let loose the wind in the fields.

Bid the last fruits to be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them to ripeness, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time,
will stay up, read, write long letters,
and wander the avenues, up and down,
restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.

I want to go home and go to Cider Fest. I want to breathe the brisk, crackly air and pick my orchard's apples. Year two without autumn...sigh...


The California Coast stretches out topographically in my mind; I'm Jack Kerouac, going south by bus on the 101, and it's pulsating, this coast, a mess of tumbling waves and grinding techtonic plates. The beach reaches perpetually onward, smattered with driftwood teepees and various pseudo-hobo shelters, bird-ravaged seal carcasses and stringy kelp. Nature, in her element, manages to stun with beauty even amidst too-large houses and tacky RVs; quietly she alludes to a bygone solitude and glory. And I open wide my eyes to honor her, determed not to ignore this free chance to behold art. The seaweed-strewn, beloved Pacific is breathing with Luna's tides. The ocean is a living thing, lapping at the crooked edge of broken land, kissing and licking Earth's wounds faithfully, healer that she is.

I listen to Conor Oberst sing, She sends me pictures of the ocean in an envelop, so I know there is hope. Hallelu.


Autumn pinings...

I guess it's high time to make the switch. So this is the beginning of my new blogging location. If you're interested, check out my old one at www.xanga.com/feardiedthatday

Hope to hear from you on this journey.