Tuesday, October 28, 2014


i imagine that your mind
swirls and drips and
bursts with firecrackers
that put Gandalf to shame

on bad days, i imagine the conversations
that do not happen
real conversations with words
and pauses and back and forth
words that can melt stone

but you,
well you prove me

who needs words when
eyes bore into my being
and crooked smiles send shockwaves

who needs words when
hands on faces speak oceans
of your protective heart

who needs words when
knitted brows shout of your fierce love
that takes up the entirety of you

so let your mind swirl and drip
and burst
i may hope for more
but we
we don’t need words
they would only get in the way

Monday, October 27, 2014

an open letter to non-virgins

Dear Non-Virgins of the World,
I think it is time that a different conversation was had. Actually, that conversation is already happening, but I feel like not many of the right people are listening. So with all that said, I’m diving in and starting a conversation with my circle. So that maybe, just maybe, something I say might stick in the craw of someone and, in turn, they start that conversation in their circles. I’m trying to change the world here people.

Sex. There I said it. That’s what I want to talk about. No, I don’t want to talk about the nuts and bolts. I don’t want to tell you the ins and outs of a healthy, or unhealthy for that matter, sex life. I don’t even really want to talk about what it is. I want to talk about how the church, in all its glorious goodness and mistakes, does not prepare people for the fall out of becoming a non-virgin, but still sitting in the pews and listening to sermons preached on the avoidance of sexual sin and remaining pure.

Pastors/preachers/youth leaders/and your every day abstinence-only educators love to stand up and talk about remaining pure and holy for your future spouse. They tell you that your virginity is a precious gift to be offered up on your wedding night as you get naked for the first time with the person you have chosen to go through life with. They tell you to remain unblemished and unspoiled so that you can present yourself, on your wedding night, as living sacrifice to not only your husband/wife but to your God.

And they are right. That should happen. It can happen. It is the ideal situation and it is one that I pray will happen with my boys and their future  spouses.

The reality of the situation, though, is much different. The chances of my boys marrying a virgin is slim. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but if I’m honest with myself, the chances are slim. The chances of my future daughters-in-law being a virgin AND my sons being virgins the first time they slip into the sheets together is even slimmer. That is a depressing thought, and in all honesty, not one I really want to think about. And that’s not even really what I want to say right now.

We need to think about how we talk about the time leading up to the wedding night. The only thing I ever heard growing up was “don’t have sex before marriage.” Period. That’s it. Just don’t do it and everything will be okay. But what happens when you do have sex before marriage? What happens when you have a lapse in judgment, or make a decision before you are a believer to have sex, or have your choice ripped away from you at the hands of a rapist? What then? You’re damaged. You’re spoiled. You’re blemished. You no longer have this precious gift to give your husband/wife on your wedding day.

You sit in the pew and hear your pastor tell you that being unblemished is the only way you should present yourself. (Well, too late for that.) He tells you that no good Christian boy wants an unwrapped present. (He may not say those exact words, but that’s what it sounds like.) He’s preaching to the ones who have done it right so far and is encouraging them to keep doing that. All the while you sit there and squirm and blush and feel every guilt come flooding back. You think “If I’m already broken, what’s the point now? If no one wants me, why should I try to fix myself? If good Christian boys only want good Christian girls who are unblemished, I might as well go ahead and resign myself to old maid status for the rest of my life, or I might as well go back to having sex on the regular.”

Here’s where we get it wrong. No one goes into marriage airing out their past sins. Well, with the exceptions of some major law breaking stuff or something like that. I sure didn’t tell my husband every time I had lied or broke the speed limit or thought about physically harming someone or every curse word I had ever said. It was assumed that I was a sinner saved by Grace and we left it at that. So why did I feel it was so important that he knew the ‘condition’ of my lady bits?

I am not down playing the importance of abstaining from sex before marriage. Please do not think that of me. I fully believe that sex was intended to be had between a husband and a wife only after they are married. But if the sin of pre-marital sex happens, you can still be forgiven.

Did you read that last part? Sexual sins can be forgiven. They will be forgiven if you ask for forgiveness. Simple as that. Just like any other sin. No, God’s not going to make you a virgin again. Ladies, He’s not going to knit that hymen back together. But He will forgive. He will make new. He will see you as worthy even though you are not. If we base our entire lives, and if we can get married, on how worthy we are, well…every single one of us should be single. My virginity, or lack thereof, doesn’t really matter to God once I have confessed my sins and asked for forgiveness. My sexual sins are forgotten just like my sin of lying or running a red light or having harsh thoughts towards my neighbor or coveting my cousin’s new car.

We are all sinners saved by Grace and we can choose purity every day, regardless of how intact your virginity is.

So pastors, if you’re reading this, please (PLEASE) take into account that there will be people in your pews that can’t wait to have sex until marriage because they’ve already had sex. And they are not married. Stop talking about damaged goods and unopened presents and how brides should only wear white if they are virgin. We’re all damaged goods. None of us are worthy of the awesomeness of God. Start talking about choosing purity every day.

If you are a person reading this, and you’re not a virgin please know that you are worthy of having a spectacular spouse. If you have asked for forgiveness, and received it, God has made you worthy. The good ones aren’t just virgins who have saved themselves for marriage. If you have asked for forgiveness, God doesn’t really care about your lack of virgin-ness. He wants you to move forward. To choose purity every day. Actually transform into that new creature that He has created. Not dwell on past sins.

If you are a virgin and you’re reading this, you are doing it right so far and that is awesome! But know that you are no better than the non-virgin sitting beside you. Your sin may be coveting or lying or stealing or whatever. 

My God doesn’t rate sin. Sin is sin. And praise the Lord we can be saved by Grace.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

teach them to adventure

hold my hand, gentle boy
even when you do not want to
i need to feel the grittiness
of your hands
and feel the resistance as you pull back
you are three and do not
need your mother
or at least that is the way
it feels
at times

i know you need me
you are only three
after all

so let me sear
the grittiness and
dirty fingernails and chocolate
chip waffle smudged cheeks
into my brain
before you are off
conquering and adventuring and
being you

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

thread or compost?

sometimes i wonder
what would happen should
i run away
leave everything
and everyone
and be alone

would aloneness take
my heart and mend it
or shatter the broken pieces
into millions more

mended, i could be
loved and love
to the whole of time
and space

but broken...
broken i could scatter
to the stars
and the moon
and maybe a field of daises

i hear broken hearts
make the best fertilizer

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Extra Mile

I have sat down several times over the course of the last few days with every intention of pounding out a post about The Extra Mile hike that I did this past Saturday. Every single time I try, I come up short because I just can’t find the right words. But, I want to get it out there before I get to far away from the experience to remember the details.

So I’m just going to start writing. We’ll see where we end up.

I drove down to Bethel Mennonite Camp the night before the hike. The plan was to start on Saturday morning at 7:15 and I didn’t really want to drive from my house that early in the morning. I found it extremely hard to sleep that night. Nerves were getting the better of me. I tossed and turned and tried to get comfortable, but nothing worked really well. So in the dark, I busted out some yoga. I stretched and breathed and held poses and tried to clear my mind. I prayed and talked and recited every shred of scripture that I could remember. Around midnight I climbed back into my bed and drifted into a barely asleep sleep.

6:15 am came too quickly. I brushed my teeth, dressed, and did a quick devotional . Then down to breakfast.

7:15 am. Nine hikers loaded into a van and I was immediately intimidated. I was surrounded by seasoned hikers and young kids. At the drop off, my stomach immediately started churning and negative thoughts started seeping in my carefully crafted positive barrier. We set off and I was quickly at the back of the pack. I repeated over and over the words my dad said to me the day  before: ‘this is your hike. Don’t try to keep up with everyone else. Do it the way you have trained to do it.’ So I did. But that still didn’t mean that I was happy about it. Not going to lie. The first 3.5 miles of that hike were pretty miserable. I felt out of place and like I had bitten off WAY more than I could chew. Actually, I had bitten off more than I could chew, but I didn’t stop.

The ten mile hikers joined us at the end of the first 3. 5 miles. This is when my Aunt Rosie joined us. This is when my spirits lifted and my confidence came back. Her smiling face and her confidence in me put the spring back in my step. I was still slow and still the last one in the pack, but at least I had her with me. We finished 6.5 miles and then were bussed back to camp for lunch.

Lunch was sandwiches. I kept it pretty light. I don’t like to have lots on my stomach when I’m exercising. So I ate one slice of bread with turkey and cheese and a few salt and black pepper chips. And water. Lots and lots of water.

I knew what was coming. The middle of the hike was going to be my hardest part. I had always known this. This was the hike that I HATED as a child and as a staff member at camp. We were hiking to the fire tower in the Robinson Forest. To any of you that have hiked that trail, you know how hard it is. For those of you who haven’t…well, basically it’s a mile. Straight up a hill. And I’m not just talking about a sloping little hill here. I’m talking a big, stupid hill. Again, Aunt Rosie stuck with me. It was on this trail that I actually lost faith in myself. I was convinced that I couldn’t  do it. We stopped for a bit and I had an internal argument with myself. Every doubt was fighting to take over. Every negative thought was surfacing. If it hadn’t been for a group of friends that I knew were waiting to hear the victory story, I would have quit. We kept at it and finally made it to the top where everyone else was already waiting.

The downhills and the flat spots where the best parts. I caught up with friends and chatted and laughed and had a grand time.
The last 4 miles were the hardest, and longest of the entire hike. And it was all on flat, paved ground. I was tired. Every part of my body hurt. I could feel blisters. I was wet (did I mention that it rained off and on all day?). I wanted to be done. Aunt Rosie was done, but my Uncle Phil plodded along beside me. We talked to keep my mind off the fact that I was so tired that I could barely move.

Uncle Phil and I were the last ones. We didn’t finish with the rest of the group and the only one cheering us on at the end was Aunt Rosie who had come to pick us up. When I saw the van, I almost burst into tears. I didn’t feel like I expected to feel. I expected to be overcome with some kind of ‘I did it’ emotion. But the reality is, I was just glad to be done. I was glad to sit down in the van and lean my head back.

When we got back to camp, there was cheering for me. There were hugs. And I smiled and felt proud. I changed into some dry clothes and we waited for supper. Which included the best meal ever of fried fish, grilled chicken, pasta salad, rolls, and cake. Seriously. BEST MEAL EVER.

Kind of anti-climactic, huh? It kind of was. Ha!

Then I got home and the enormity of it all hit me like a ton of bricks. This whole day wasn’t about hiking 15 miles. I mean, it was. BUT it was more about setting a goal, working for it, and accomplishing it. I set a goal to hike 15 miles. I trained for it. I worked hard for it. I doubted myself. I was confident in myself. I’m pretty sure that I felt every emotion in the entire span of human emotions during the course of the 24 hours of October 11, 2014. I will never forget those 24 hours either. In that time span, I proved to myself that I can do what I put my mind to. I can succeed in this thing. I also learned that 31 is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby.

And I did it.

Because I can.

Friday, September 26, 2014

10 things i think about while doing a workout video

1. Do you think duct tape would keep the girls under control? 
There are not enough bras in the world that can keep my chest under control when I'm jumping. For reals. I need some more support.

2. That was the warm-up? 
My heart rate is already sky high! Is it time for a break?

3. Modifier? I don't need no stinkin' modifier! 
I've been doing this for like, one year. I got this. Don't baby me!

Ok. So maybe I still need the modifier.

5. Burpees? Gah!
Didn't we just do these yesterday? I believe that burpees were created by the devil. They are pure evil.

6. I've only been doing this for 10 minutes?
Are you serious right now? I've only been doing this for 10 minutes? How much longer?

7. I'm pretty sure that you can, in fact, drown in sweat. 
I'm thinking my husband needs to be a certified lifeguard. I mean, there is ALWAYS copious amounts of sweat when I'm done.

8. Are you even human? 
Those perfectly muscled people on the video have to be robots. They are an invention of the production company to make me insane.

9. My kids eat entirely too many crackers. 
Holding a plank gives you plenty of time to analyze your carpet. Maybe I should vacuum more often.

Sweet, heavenly corpse pose. My favorite part of the entire workout. Just lay there and don't move. I can do that!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

a list of happy

Today I really just need a list of things that make me happy. I need reminders sometimes. So in the interest of raising my mood, here we go. A list of things that make me crack a smile.

1. cable knit tights
2. impossible blue skys
3. leaves that turn yellow
4. a cup of coffee in the perfect coffee mug
5. the color green
6. putting burt's bees chapstick on chapped lips
7. the sore ache of my calves after climbing a big, stupid hill
8. boots
9. my glass starbucks tumbler.
10. finding just the right word for just the right time.
11. a good denim skirt
12. a random text from a friend during the day
13. hearing the rain on a tin roof
14. clapping when it thunders
15. daisies
16. seeing silas crack a sideways grin
17. catching elijah with 'the look' of pure mischief on his face
19. quiet
20. going for a LONG run or walk, coming home, taking a shower, and then putting on pajamas that have been warming up in the dryer