Monday, May 30

marriage is what brings us together today

we drove 30 minutes to mass yesterday at a parish that we normally do not attend, to hear a priest who proclaims the truth with utter boldness and faith.

needless to say, i was quite disappointed when we got to mass late, missed the readings, and on top of it all, the priest i was so looking forward to hearing speak was not celebrating mass.

(an aside: this is one of my favorite parts of being catholic - despite my disappointment at not having a homily by one of my favorite priests, i still received the true body and blood of Jesus at this mass, which made it an awesome mass. i am grateful and consider this fact to be truly glorious - i am not dependent on having heard a terrific homily in order to have a sublime encounter with Christ at church. that experience lies one hundred percent in my receiving of the Eucharist. but, i have to admit, a great homily does accentuate the rest of the liturgy and can leave me quite motivated to become more holy).

that segues nicely into my main point: i was pleasantly surprised, in spite of my former disappointment, that this new priest himself preached a good homily that, in spite of my wrangling with my son thoughout its entirely, managed to hit home several lovely and thought-provoking points.

my favorite was this: he spoke a little about marriage and how it is one of the greatest examples on earth of how the Lord loves us. now, no marriage is perfect, and our lord can only love us perfectly. nonetheless, a marriage striving to mirror the love of the trinity can truly grant the couple an experience of heavenly love on earth.

every spouse experiences the frequent need to sacrifice for the good of their beloved. sometimes, it's easy, because you can either see the purpose for that sacrifice or you are able to draw some satisfaction or pleasure out of it. other times, the sacrifice can seem pointless - why on earth is my beloved asking this of me? i see no reason that i should do or not do this, just so that my spouse can be happy.

but that is love - letting go of your needs or expectations, so that your spouse can be happy or satisfied. it is forever putting someone else's best good before your own. this is what we enter into when we say, "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, i will honor and love you all the days of my life."
 this is how Jesus loves us: "greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. we may not be asked in our marriages to lay down our lives, but we do die to ourselves every day, sometimes every moment.

and the love becomes ever more fruitful, ever more faithful, ever more reflective of God's love, the more we imitate his agape in our marriages.

he blesses our unions and makes them holy. his sacramental grace floods husband and wife, and makes each willing sacrifice easier and more beneficial than the last. he transforms our hearts to resemble his.

only thus, can we truly love each other, when we love with Jesus' heart, a heart broken and poured out for us in the ultimate show of agape.

we should show this type of unconditional love towards every brother and sister in Christ. but he knows that we need to begin small, so he gave us our family, our husbands, our wives, our children. here, in the family, we learn to love. and then that love can flow out into the world and change it forever.

it begins with i do and ends in eternity.

Friday, May 27

my soul proclaims the greatness of the lord...

my spirit rejoices in God my savior, 
for he has shown mercy to his little one. 
he has showered a thirsty heart with living water. 
he has shepherded a lost soul back into the fold. 

his mercy is without end,
his love is everlasting and abundant.
his faithfulness extends beyond infinity, 
his mercy endures forever. 

my humble voice cannot do justice to his glory.
my simple praise is insufficient to capture his majesty.

and yet, it is a sweet sound in his ear, for his acceptance makes it so. 
he embraces my praise, and thus it becomes worthy.
he takes in my love, and returns it back a thousand fold.

in him, i am satisfied beyond measure,
i am filled with every good thing, 
i am rich beyond imaging. 

i am at peace in his arms at last. 

Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance,and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.
+romans 5:3-5+ 

photo credit:

Wednesday, May 25

50 questions

this is taken from a great blog/online magazine i recently stumbled upon, the violet. the maiden issue rocked my socks, with little articles on everything from self-help to fashion to food to staying sane in a crazy world. one of the older posts featured this list of 50 questions which are intended to help you know and understand yourself. this was truly a fascinating exercise. i challenge you to go through this list. it takes a half hour or so, especially if you don't write the answers down. but i would recommend writing the list down and returning to it in the future. answer the questions honestly and without overly thinking them through. you are not tied to your answers and you could change tomorrow. the point is how you feel today. enjoy.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

Which is worse, failing or never trying?

if i'm truly being honest, failing is worse. and that's definitely something i know i'd like to change about myself, the way i view the world, and the manner in which i attempt to conquer it. 
If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
we do things we don't like out of a feeling of necessity or obligation -- i have to pay these bills, i have to make my family proud, i have to impress my my boss... we like the things we don't do because of a sense of fantastical excitement -- we have an idealistic dream in mind that perhaps might not be so romantic in reality, but so long as it stays in our head/heart, we can keep it as whimsical as we want. 

When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
i have actually accomplished many things that i have dreamed i would do. there are still many life goals that i would like to achieve, but overall, i'm quite content with my life experience. 
What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
i would like to re-imprint on the heart of humanity the radical truth of God's love for all.

If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
without a doubt, singing, playing the piano, performing for others and bringing them joy. 
Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
i am blessed and fortunate to have the best career in the world - i do what i love for the One i love. 
If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
i would love more, travel more, eat more, write more, sing more, perform more, experience more. 
To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
again, if i'm being honest, to some extent my life's course and choices have been determined by the supposed expectations of others of me. i feel as though this certain action or decision is expected of me, and whether or not that is true, i change my life because of it. this has affected me both in positive and negative ways. 

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? 
a little of both; i'm shamefaced to admit perhaps a teensy bit more the former than the latter. ah, harsh self-reflection is key to self-improvement. 
You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?
i would tactfully challenge their criticism, bringing up contrary evidences of my friend's character and contradicting facts i know to be untrue. 

If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? 
take responsibility for your life -- discover what you love and who you want to be, and then do the things you must in order to achieve your dreams. be not afraid to live life to the fullest, and don't let anyone tell you that you cannot. 

Would you break the law to save a loved one? 
without question. 
Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? 
modern art. 
What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
 i often put others before myself to my own detriment. 
How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
because we are all unique human beings, with our own interests and desires. but i earnestly believe that at the core of all beauty, all joy, all delight is a tugging towards God, who calls us all to himself as the true source of happiness.
What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?
skydiving. i simply haven't gone yet. and get a tattoo. because i feel i'll be judged.
Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
without a doubt; hundreds of things, most assuredly. 
If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
state: north carolina, because i adore the four seasons, the purple mountain ranges, the quality of life, and the crisp mountain air. 
country: italy; because my heart feels at home there. 

Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
no, but i hope that it makes the doors close faster, so that no one else will get on, so i can avoid that awkward sharing of space that is the elevator ride, and also then i won't make additional stops so ultimately, yes it does make the ride faster in fact... 

Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? 
a worried genius, because i could grow in becoming more at peace, and at least i would hopefully leave the world a better place than when i found it.
Why are you, you?
because the world is in need of me, because i am beautiful and bring beauty to those around me, because i have a heart full of love ready to flow over to those in my life.

Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
when a good friend moves away -- you always have the ability to reconnect no matter where a friend is, but it is infinitely more difficult once they live elsewhere and meet new people.

What are you most grateful for? 

my faith, the fact that i know i am loved and worthwhile, my husband and son, my family, my musical ability, the fact that i was born a free american with the world before me.  

Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
at this point in my life, i'd rather lose all my old memories and be able to more forward with my loved ones and create new and exciting memories, so long as i remembered who the people are in my life. 

Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
yes, but refinement and understanding come through challenge. 

Has your greatest fear ever come true?

no -- i have never felt utterly alone and unwanted. 

Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
that was actually a crucial point in my relationship with my now-husband. it was wretched to endure at the time, but it made us a stronger, more open and honest, and more real couple. 

 What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
 i was blessed to have a childhood that was mostly happy and special. but the one that comes to mind is eating a banana split for the first time with my father while at an out-of-town swim meet, just the two of us. i knew he loved me so much and always stood by me. i'm so grateful. 

 At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
during a recent singing performance. i relished being on stage in front of 600 people, connecting with them via song and touching them on a deep spiritual level.

If not now, then when?
when i am more brave. 

If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
my pride. 

Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?

 yes, my husband. 
Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?

 because when you believe something passionately and would do anything to spread that faith to others, sometimes you have to fight for what you know to be true and good and right. 

Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? 

yes, if you are a person of faith, morality, and good conscience. 

If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? 

not necessarily -- i would expand it and change it. 

Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? 

more work i enjoy doing, like recording, writing music, performing. 

Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? 

oh my goodness, yes. such is life with a small child in tow. 

When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?

 a year ago, when i decided to compose a full mass setting without any idea how to begin or what to do with it or whether it would be well-received or utilized. 

If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

 my family.

Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?

What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
when you know in your gut that it's true and good. you may still be nervous and afraid, but your heart knows what to do and will guide you. 

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
we fear judgment, condemnation, and ridicule.

What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
ask all the questions i think to myself. and sing more loudly and frequently.

When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
this morning while out on my morning jog, in between songs. 

What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
music -- my entire life expresses that love. 

In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
i will remember doing my best to make my home a happy place for my son and husband. i will remember exerting myself to ensure that people's funerals and weddings are memorable and beautiful. i will remember taking pregnancy tests and feeling hopeful.
Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
i am learning slowly to make them for myself without fear of judgment or making mistakes or letting people down. i am learning who i am and how to be me more fully and perfectly, please God. 

photo credits:
1) justCRONO via flikr Creative Commons

Monday, May 23

some music for your monday

no, not my original music...  but pretty awesome none-the-less.

today is my "day off." since i work a lot of weekends doing the music thing (SO happy i get to have a career doing something i adore that blesses people too), i find that weekends tend not to be relaxing for me. and then i have a full time job watching the kiddo.

so mondays have become my official day to relax and unwind. i spend matthew's naptime lounging and bath-tubbing and reading... sometimes... other times, even though i know this is supposed to be my day off, i sneak in some work before i catch myself and force myself to sit down and drink a cup of tea with a good book.

so today, i wanted to share two songs with you by some terrific musicians. i discovered these songs in our choose christ hymnal, the one we use for the teen mass at my church. i lead the music, so i often discover golden nugget songs that really hit my heart in all the right and needed places.

these are two such musical treats.

this first one is by tom booth, and it's called you stand knocking. per his introduction, it's a meditation on the divine mercy (ah, SO good). it's truly a powerful song.

You Stand Knocking

this second one is by charlie hall, performed by chris tomlins. we actually just sang this for the final teen mass of the year. if you went to mass this sunday, you heard the second reading from i peter which proclaimed:
You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises” of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

this song echoes that last line. it's called marvelous light. enjoy. 
marvelous light 

photo credit to fotolia -

Thursday, May 19

literature of my soul

every few years, i re-read the joy of full surrender by father jean-pierre de caussade.

i cannot adequately express how essential this book is to my spiritual life.

it--or rather the lessons and truths contained within-- has carried me through darkness into the lord's marvelous light. it has encouraged me to let go, to let God. it has opened my eyes to a better way of life, a richer, more fulfilled, more peaceful one.

i have started it anew, as i always do when the clouds of anxiety and self-doubt and stress begin to descend around me, threatening to wrench away the peace in my heart.

i work very hard for the peace. it does not come easily for me, nor does maintaining absolute trust in God, in his plan for my life, in his perfect timing and divine care.

this book helps so much, coupled with the daily meditations of God calling.

take today's word for example:
rest knowing all is so safe in My hands. rest is trust. ceaseless activity is distrust. ...
 how foolish are your attempts to save yourself, one hand on the rope, and one making efforts to swim ashore. you may relinquish your hold of the rope and hinder the rescuer...  
the final stage [is] when the saved soul trusts Me so entirely it seeks no more its own way, but leaves all future plans to Me its rescuer. 

i earnestly desire that level of peace, of surrender, of trust. i long for the day that i can wake up and say with all my heart, today is yours, Lord. guide me through it as You will.

i say it now, but half-heartedly. i offer my day to Him, then go about my ceaseless activity, bouncing from one project to the next at breakneck speed, without giving Him the chance to break through the noise.

so in this moment, Lord, i stop. i breathe. i quiet myself.

i look for You. because all it takes is one glance, and my heart is captivated.

help me to be still and know that You are God, in control and in perfect awareness of my needs, desires, and capacities.

the first chapter of the joy of full surrender is titled: holiness is faithfulness to God's will.

Lord, you do not demand success, but ask for effort.

today, i will try to listen, to be faithful, and to surrender more perfectly to Your will.

photo credit: taken from

Wednesday, May 18

1 corinthians 9:24-27

last week, i started running for the first time in two years.

for me, this was a tremendous accomplishment.

pre-2005, i was a hardcore exerciser, both as a means to stay in shape and fit, but also as a method of releasing stress and tension. i enjoyed the victory over my body that a good run provided. i relished having that control over myself.

then in 2005, i injured my knee and since then, exercise has been a tricky and inconstant obstacle course for me. i was no longer able to run consistently, and my knee would begin to moan and groan at the mere thought of the gym. it pained my heart in no small way, both because i longed for those sweet endorphins to course through my veins, but also because of my struggle with food and with my appearance. i hated having that power to burn my calories taken away from me. (this is a story for another time. today is about victories).

but last week, after much encouragement from my husband, I decided to give running another try.

here's another thing about me - i find it extremely difficult to start slow. i have many times re-injured myself because i have to go just a little faster than i should, i have to go a little longer than is wise, just because i'm a stubborn perfectionist who can't stand to start at the beginning. sometimes i'd rather just not do something than risk doing it poorly or waste time doing it slowly.

but the lord somehow got through this time and gave me the grace to go slow, to ease into it again, to be humble and take care of my body.

i am now at a week-and-a-half of getting up at the break of dawn (read 6:45am) -- which is its own miraculous occasion. i think my husband is more astounded that i drag myself out of bed at that extreme hour than the fact that i then put on my sneakers and run outside for 20 minutes. i love to sleep. i might adore sleep, on the same level as ice cream. i'm not kidding - my sleep is extremely precious to me. after all, i run around after a two year old all day. i can't afford to lose any energy.

but i'm doing it. i'm sacrificing a few minutes of precious sleep so to kick myself back into shape. i feel so much better, more healthy, more awake in the morning. by mid-afternoon, i'm raring for a nap, but i'm sure that will get better.

but the point is that i started. even though it's a mere 20 minutes (if even). even if i trod along at the pace of a tortoise. even if my knee every so often moans and groans, just to remind me he's there and not happy about this. i'm doing it. i stopped saying, "i should..." and instead i got up and did.

and boy does it feel good.

what are you not doing that you wish you were? GO GET STARTED! life is too short to wait or doubt. 

Sunday, May 15

from the desk of jim carrey

something to ponder as we begin a new week: 

"i hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of, 
so they will know that it's not the answer."
+ jim carrey

to know Jesus and experience his love is the only answer. 
nothing else matters.

Friday, May 13

heart prayer

i give you the best of me,
i give you the worst of me,
my self, in my entirely;
my strengths and my faults,
holding nothing back. 
your self in me makes up all that i lack. 
give the strength, lord, and the grace 
in everything only to seek your face.
my single ambition - lord, help me be true-
to be less of me
and more of you.

Tuesday, May 10

gonna be alright

i was going to write about something deep and profound. then i by chance encountered these quotes by bob marley. i'm gonna let him do some talking. enjoy this beautiful wisdom. 


"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. 
Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. 
Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. 
You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life." 


 "He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break.
Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you."


"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?"


"Don't worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright"  

Monday, May 9


sometimes, you just need to get away from life, from normalcy, from the usual.

thank God for my wonderful mother, who gave me the opportunity to escape.

thank God for my loving husband, who gave me a reason to escape.

thank God for my awesome kiddo, who gave me a reason to come back.

i got to get away from my usual routine of busyness and chaos for 2 blissful days. it was wonderful.

confession time: i have a very difficult time relaxing (i chronicled my sometimes self-destructive perfectionism here and here). it's incredibly challenging for me to just sit and do nothing, think about nothing, just letting go of the urge to do.

frankly, it's exhausting and i'm tired of it, but i don't know how to change.

i described it to a friend in the following manner: i feel as though i live my life with a vast ocean inside my being. whenever that ocean is calm and peaceful, i feel calm and peaceful. even if i'm tremendously busy and active, if my ocean is at rest, i can find peace in the midst of the chaos.

if, however, that inner ocean is chaotic itself, then even if i try to sit and be still, i cannot, because my inner place is tumbling and roaring and swirling and twirling. i can't just relax because i feel agitated inside, ergo my ability to be at peace is already compromised.

i spend the majority of my days, i find, with a turbulent ocean in my heart. thought after thought tumbles through my head, idea after idea takes hold of my creativity. it's not entirely bad, but i never feel as though my day is done. i feel i power full throttle from one project to the next, never feeling as though my work is done. there is never quite enough time to do everything i want to do.

it's actually in the moments that i try to sit and be still that i really feel that ocean tossing and turning in my spirit. at times it's quite tangible, the storm in my heart, motivating me, spurring me on to the next thing to be accomplished. i feel driven by a compulsion inside me, and i hold on for dear life as i move from one thing to the next.

i'm exhausted just reading this. it's just not a healthy way to live life.

so i decided to slow down for a weekend. i pressed the gigantic pause button and declared, "world, you must take care of yourself for a few days. i'm going off duty, and i trust you'll still be here when i return."

it sounds melodramatic, but occasionally i honestly believe that if i don't take charge of something and complete it on my own (because clearly asking for help is weakness and if i let someone help me i run the risk of the project not being done well so i should just do it myself...), the world will not be as good as it should be.

and that's not only a lie, but it's self-destructive, because no one can just keep going.

no one can bear the weight of the world alone. no one can be responsible for it all.

except of course for Jesus. but He's on His own level entirely.

so i forced myself to relax and get away for a while, leaving the cares and worries behind, focusing on my husband and our relationship and having fun together.

and you know what, the world was still here. my problems and stresses and responsibilities and jobs were still here. but i was able to forget about them for a while and be refreshed, invigorated for a fresh round.

it was wonderful and i can't wait to escape again. after a few times away, maybe i'll bring back a bit of the peaceful ocean with me. little by little, i'll integrate relaxation and quiet and rest into my normalcy.

what a wonderful world it would be...

Friday, May 6

for my next trick, i will open my heart even more.

i have written in the past about my parents' wonderful prayer group that they have weekly in their home (see here and here). they have been hosting these meetings for the past 24 years, nearly the totality of my existence. it is such a sacrifice of love on their part. i know they benefit tremendously from it, but i know too that it is countless hours of work and preparation. i can only pray that i too will be so hospitable, so open to the lord's call to service and ministry.

last night, i was at prayer group. of late, it's been challenging for me to be there, i don't exactly know why. i have my suspicions, but i haven't been able to pinpoint the exact reason i've not felt 100% engaged.

last night, the message resounded deep in my heart, and surprisingly stirred up feelings of frustration and anger towards the lord. it was unexpected and unpleasant, and afterwards, i went home and cried on my husband's shoulder for half an hour.

the message itself was not cause for agony. in fact the message was poignant and beautiful. the lord whispered to my heart, and i proclaimed the message to all, saying,

do not be afraid to come empty. 
do not be afraid to come weak, ashamed, or guilty. 
do not be afraid to come with nothing to offer me. 
your "yes" is all I ever wanted. 

i felt called to expand a bit on the message from the lord with some of my own meditations. it is incredible to think that the lord in his infinite majesty chose to create the loveliness of the universe, the expanse of the skies and the oceans, and then in his wisdom, he created man and gave him free will. he created us with the capacity to say yes or no to him. when we say no, it causes the lord intense suffering, because all that he has done has been out of greatest love for us. but when we say yes freely, it gives the greatest glory and joy to the lord. it is a moment of incredible victory over satan, every time we say yes to God. because sometimes, it's just hard. but we make that choice anyways.

this is where the message got really difficult for me to hear and process.

in my weakness, i sometimes get really angry with God.

i find myself surrounded with beautiful women who are enjoying their pregnancies, and in my weak moments, i find myself frustrated with the lord, that he chose me to lose mine. that he allowed me to suffer this loss.

i get angry with him. after all, i've been a good and faithful servant. i have loved him well. why then did i have to suffer, lord?

and then i remember Jesus carrying his cross to calvary. i remember how he embraced his cross of ultimate suffering. i echo the sentiment of st. teresa of avila: "lord, if this is how you treat your friends, it's no wonder you have so few."

and i realize why the lord chose me. it's because he trusted that i would continue to give him glory in the midst of this pain. he trusted me, that i would not allow satan to have victory and bring me to despair. he believed in me, that i would continue to testify to his great goodness and mercy.

sometimes, i wish he didn't trust me so much. but he was right.

every day, it is a choice i must make - to embrace this cross the lord has allowed me to carry. it is the choice to rejoice with my friends in their pregnancies. it is the choice to proclaim blessed be the name of the lord when everything in me feels the opposite. it is the choice to speak of the lord's tremendous love and mercy, when i feel so empty inside.

but i know it is his love and mercy that carries me. i trust that his strength sustains me, even though i feel nothing. he is the ground beneath my feet. he is the peace that steadies my heart. he is the rock i cling to in the storm. he is the quiet that comes after the tears.

he is the new dawn after the dark night. he is love.

and so, my lord, i come empty. i come weak. i come with nothing.

i say yes, because i know there's nothing else i can say that will bring peace.
i come, because there's nowhere else i can turn for grace and strength.

i don't understand. but i trust, i embrace, i believe.

fill my emptiness.

Wednesday, May 4

we all scream for ice cream

i adore ice cream.

to me, there's no better way to complete a meal perfectly.

it's cool. it's refreshing. it's creamy and oh-so-delicious - simply the perfect end to a day.

i was talking to my friend viktorija the other day, singing the praises of ice cream, and she remarked that she had never heard anyone speak of ice cream with such enthusiasm and fervor, and that i would probably write on here about it. so viktorija, this is for you.

as i'm sure many women have, i spent the better part of my life thus far stressing about food and counting calories and robbing myself of any genuine enjoyment of my food. i hated every second of it, and i never, ever want to feel that again.

i spent a large chunk of high school hating how i looked, hating parts of myself, hating every bite i took.

i never want to feel that again.

i want to embrace the me that the lord saw fit to create. i want to embrace all of me, even the parts that bridget jones so aptly titled, "the jiggly bits." i want to love myself and see myself as the lord does.

and i want to eat my ice cream decadently out of a brandy snifter, simply for the joy of it.

and i want to love every second of it.

because for too long, i didn't. for too long i didn't allow myself to take any pleasure in it.

so every bite i now take of ice cream is a reminder that i am fearfully and wonderfully made, just the way i am. it is a reminder that God made me beautiful and i ought be grateful for my flaws and my perfections. it is a reminder that food ought be relished and embraced as a joy in life.

and boy, do i relish it.

thank you, lord, for bringing me out of the darkness into your most marvelous light.
thank you that i no longer walk through the valley of the shadow of self-hatred.
thank you that in you, i am free.

photo credit:

Tuesday, May 3

one of the great things about having a kid...

is having a ready-made excuse for a vast assortment of situations.

need to get out of going to party you don't really want to attend? can't find a sitter for the kiddo. 

need to leave a party early? the kiddo needs his nap. 

you forgot that you left your kiddo's sippie cup in a bag with all the library books? whoops. 

i went to the library all set to blame this error in judgment on matthew. i know it's terrible, but i have a tough time accepting that i have made a mistake, and it's just easier to place the blame on the kiddo, knowing that the consequences will be vastly less once the offended party knows that he's just a little one.

but as i arrived, i searched my heart and discovered i was incapable of placing the blame on matthew, even though he would have blissfully and obliviously endured the stigma of being the one who wet the books.

i have come to the realization that even though you may consider yourself to be all grown up and adult-ish, the looming event of having to fess up and admit you did something wrong or caused something awful to occur is really hard.

i hate having to admit i made a mistake. i hate having to take responsibility for an error, and would much rather pretend it never happened, or hope no one noticed.

as a parent, this is actually one of my big goals: i want to teach my children to take responsibility. i want them to be independent and make their own decisions, and then deal with the consequences, whether good or bad.

i grew up in a sheltered home. my parents were generous and took excellent care of my siblings and i, and always made sure we had everything we needed. but i feel that because i was so sheltered, my parents were much more willing to share in the consequences of my actions, to step in and save me when i floundered.

i was tremendously grateful at the time, but i now feel a little less able to embrace life, make important decisions with confidence, and accept that good or bad consequences may follow. i am a little more reliant on the opinions and advice of others, and i know this contributes to my need to please and to meet expection (for more on this, read this blog post).

so my goal as a parent is to empower my children: hopefully give them wisdom to make proper decisions, and courage to face the consequences like a man (or a woman).

but that still leaves me, sometimes wanting to run and hide from bad consequences (or hide behind my own child). not very grown up or courageous, really.

i was talking to my dear friend viktorija today about an earlier blog post, and she asked to what conclusion had i arrived at the end of the post. i realized that sometimes you don't have the answer yet. i often get the answer when i least expect it and most need it.

so i don't know what the answer to this is yet, either. but i have an idea what my husband jonathan would say: he would say that i just need to do it. i need to make decisions with confidence and then deal with consequences as they arise. practice makes perfect.

ah, but can't i just be perfect from the get-go? no? darn it.

alright, i accept that flawed decisions will probably be made tomorrow. i will do my best to avoid them, but will put on my grown up face as best i can and deal with the circumstances. i will try not to blame my kid for everything.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, courage to change the things i can, and wisdom to know the difference. 

Monday, May 2

ever feel empty inside?

i was pondering what to write for my blog post today, and nothing leapt to mind, no words jumped to my fingers to be put down on my screen.

not a good feeling. i hate feeling empty, feeling i have nothing to accomplish, nothing to contribute.

the majority of my life has been spent accomplishing, achieving, all at the supposed expectation of "someone." i was talking to my husband jonathan the other day, and he asked me, "just who are you afraid of disappointing? who expects so much from you?" and all i could say was, "i don't know... they!" that ever-elusive they will be disappointed in me if i fail.

i've always felt someone expected something great of me. i always thought i would be known someday for achieving something extraordinary and new. i've based a great deal of my own self-worth and identity on the premise that i am what i do.

i don't know if you read the lyrics i posted a few days back, but i'm currently working on a song titled empty. and in writing it, i came to this realization, that what i do is not who i am. what is expected of me does not define me. my success is not my identity.

even writing the words feels like a lie sometimes. i have for so long desired to please, to impress, that i have a difficult time defining myself apart from my accomplishment: i am a singer. i am a pianist. i get straight a's. i...

but that's not who i am, and of late, i've craved being known. i want someone to understand me, the inner workings of my being, the reason why i am how i am. it goes being looking at my resume, and moves into a real understanding of me. i think this is where real love begins: it moves past the obvious, the facade of accomplishment, into the depth of a soul.

it requires an unveiling of my heart. it requires an honest revelation of my self, my weakness, my fear, my insecurity, but also my passion, my interest, my joie de vivre. just me, bare and open for revelation.

i tend to guard my heart, veil my emotions, and shield my thoughts. especially in going through my miscarriage, in trying to shield others from my pain, from having to endure the awkward consolations, i instead constructed a huge tower of strength and took up residence inside. i showed to the world a face that was strong, brave, doing well, trusting and moving on. i let a few people see the me that was hurting, that was broken, that struggled to understand why.

but i'm realizing more and more that behaving the way people expect of me is in fact keeping the real me locked up in that tower. if i don't show the real me vulnerably and humbly, no one can know me.

and anyways, it's okay to cry and be broken, so long as you embrace the reality that tomorrow the sun will shine again, and healing will come. it's okay to be vulnerable, so long as you don't dwell unhealthily on your weakness. it's okay not to be perfect, to realize that there is so much more to you that what you are capable of doing.

it's okay to just be. and sometimes, it's okay to be empty.

because the lord doesn't care so much about what we bring or about what we do. he wants us to come as we are, even if it's with empty hands. empty hands raised up high and spread wide to glorify his name.

and he'll take us further, deeper into holiness, into his perfection. he sees the real you and me anyways, so we may as well let him in to start refining and purifying.

and it's incredible to know that he thinks i'm special.


in spite of my weakness. in spite of my imperfection. in spite of my failings.

yeah, me.

so whenever i feel empty inside, i remember that he emptied himself of life so that i could be in this moment. i remember that he rose from the dead so that i would never die. you and i are worth everything to the lord.

that makes us special, makes us lovable, makes us worthy.

nothing i can do could ever come close. all i can do, and all he expects, is that i embrace it, that i say yes.

yes, lord. fill my emptiness. make me whole. i love you.

photo by bora (
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