Love, Then

Hi there.

So, keeping up with this blog may not seem to be a huge commitment. However, with the stresses of transferring schools and maintaining a job, I’ve let my focus for this blog slip to the wayside. That said, I’m not done here, and still have a lot to say, so please stay tuned. For those of you who have continually supported me throughout this transitional period of my life, I appreciate every ounce of your encouragement.

Now, on to the fun stuff. I’ve written a new poem. This one is not spoken word, even though I’ve written a new one of those as well. God has really got me thinking about our fickle human hearts. How we are so quick to give them away to anyone but Him. How we blame Him when we are hurt. How we hardly ever notice how much we’re hurting Him.

This is sort of a personal poem; it’s the first one I’ve put my name in. When you come to that point in the poem, though, I’d like you to substitute my name with yours. Disclaimers out of the way, here’s my new poem called “Love, Then.” Enjoy.

 

is it better then, not to be in love

to spare our hearts the need for healing

the waste of hurting

is it more clever then, to shut them away

these fragile beating things

should we hide them where no thief

will think to look

let us bury them so deep

that they won’t be

worth the reaching for

where there’s only fear in the finding

and if i never wrap up

this heart with a bow

never give anyone any

chance to hold it with their two hands

how will that not help to keep it hinged

all ready i’ve starting stacking

and so with skipping stones

i’ll build a tower so tall that

You especially won’t peer

through to the pulsing

so is this my last prayer, then

this grand poem

this notion of nail and hammer hideaway

here inside these four walls

i suppose i’ll sit and wonder and wait

for whatever it is i thought might be worth

the hollowing of this heart

the emptiness of this chest

and in the cold dark corner of this cave i’ve made

i’ll waste time by listening to the ticking

every minute minding my own business

being a little too hard on myself for not

being able to let go and i’m learning

that there’s no such thing as numb

i’m just not anywhere near You

in my head and yet this heart still

feels you close by

in the quiet

and real soft You say my name

and i can’t help but hear it

some sort of hum

from right outside this stony home

a hymn, then

and when i wipe the dust from my

worn out memory of a muscle

i won’t even bother

wishing for miracles

and yet You begin to break

down these walls i built to keep

You out Your hands tossing rocks

Your heart here to have me back

and You’ve seen the sign I painted and

placed above the doorway

which says no love allowed

and for the first time in

forever i look at your face

and see sadness there in those eyes

a certain kind of kindness in Your

half smile that makes this heart

ache a little more than it ever has

and how could it be that withholding

this barely beating bit of me

would be the thing to break it

and why would You be so willing

to be the One who saves it

without words i look up at You

i don’t know how to say the opposite

of i told You so so here

in this sweet silence i let you speak instead

You reach up and brush a strand of hair behind my left ear

and gently lean in to kiss my forehead

no, You simply say, and see i’m not quite sure

how to take it so You take the seat beside me

and wrap Your arm around my right shoulder

You say, I’m answering your question

no, sweet sarah, that heart of yours

was made to be Mine

and when you were inside your mommy’s tummy

i told it to beat for Me

to race, to ring, to pound, to pulse for Me

and when you begin to wonder whether it’s

better not to be in love the answer will always

be no and I know this

for when I dreamed of you

before you breathed your first

I knew what you would do

knew you would run like wind

in the other direction

knew you would steer clear of spending time with Me

Knew you would hate Me and hurt Me and leave Me

loving you the same

and surely I never stopped loving You

not even for a second

sometimes, My dear, I must show you that

to have a heart is worth the hurting

but here, in these hands of Mine, I will

keep yours safe and sound

and I will never leave you to fend for yourself

one day you’ll figure out that I give

to you what this world cannot

so beautiful and big, you couldn’t

fit a bow around it if you wanted to,

this heart

and here, my darling

it’s yours to have

so this is love, then

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Middle School Me

Why hello there!

So. With all of this *temporary time on my hands* I’ve definitely had my fill of searching for jobs, anxiously waiting to hear back from businesses, staying up late, exercising (yes, I did say “exercising”), watching Duck Dynasty with my parents (no comment), and exploiting Netflix for all it’s worth.

According to Netflix, I’m schizophrenic. No, really. It doesn’t know whether to recommend more vampire shows, the latest rom coms, or british sci fi. I like to think I’m no respecter of television genres. Well, most of them.

Aside from that, I actually re-watched a film called Cyberbully, which really caught my attention. As I said, I’ve seen it before, and since then, I’ve done quite of bit of research on cyberbullying. I also conducted a little social experiement of my own for an english class, in which I set up a fake Facebook profile to prove how easily bullies and cyber-criminals can communicate with, well, us. Don’t worry, I never put anyone in harm or threatened anyone. This was purely an academic assignment.

It definitely seems that cyber-stuff has become the topic of many a conversation these days. And I guess in some ways, that’s a good thing. Online harassment should be anything but ignored. And although this issue has me thinking about the future, and our obligation to make it a safer place, it also has me thinking back to my own middle school years, when AIM, MySpace, and Facebook first waltzed into our lives.

It’s made me think back to when what everyone thought of me online meant the world to me. I know I’m not alone when I say how obsessed we girls were about talking to our crushes in a chat or whatever it was called (ohgoshohgoshohgosh does this mean I’m getting old?).

Either way it’s funny. When I was younger I used to believe that molehills were mountains. Also, that I would marry a Jonas brother, but that’s beside the point.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish I could talk to middle school me. I would tell her that real friends don’t just “accept” you online. They stick with you through thick and thin. They love you even when you aren’t wearing makeup. In my experience, they make music videos to punk rock songs with you and laugh about it years later. They give you space and let you grow, but are never far behind when you need a hug or a good cry. If you’re lucky, they will be with you ten years and counting, reminiscing about the good times you’ve had together.

Today, a lot of drama takes place online.  For those who’ve endured it, or know someone who now is, know that there’s a bigger picture. A life outside of all those flakey “friends.” I would offer that it’s better to pour energy and love into the people who live and laugh with you outside of social media sites. And if someone says something hurtful about you online, know that their words don’t define you.

All of this said, I’m thinking about doing a segment on this blog, offering advice to middle school me. Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading!

*read last post here

Stay-At-Home-Sarah

Hi there.

I have some news that I’ve sort been keeping to myself, my family, and my close friends. It’s something I haven’t really been able to fully come to terms with myself at the moment.

I’m not going back to school this semester. This semester, as in I’m not a college drop-out.

Basically this decision came about on my birthday over winter break. If I’m being honest though, it weighed heavily on my mind way before that day. I hadn’t been content at the school I was attending, with my attitude, or even my relationship with God. These things suffered greatly over the past semester, and I had let them suffer.

So many times I’ve questioned my circumstances. I would ask questions like “why don’t I have more friends?” and “why am I always in a bad mood?” I often wondered if I would ever find my way out of oppressive unhappiness. This is not to say that I am ungrateful for my time spent at the college I was attending. In fact, I truly believe my time spent there was anything but wasted. So many things in my life have changed over the past year and a half. Relationships were tested, I learned who my true friends were, I learned so many rich and wonderful things about my Heavenly Father, and my love for literature and writing was kindled and kept there.

I fell in love with people, some came and went, some stayed, but in some way they all affected me. God has shown me that He will bring people into your life for only one reason, and that is to make you fall more in love with Him. Whether those people love you, hate you, treat you with respect or condescension, whether they are there for a short season or a long one, they will only reveal God’s love for you. I have found that He will use them for His glory. Those who reflect His love do just that. And those who hurt your heart show you that God will not do the same.

I am sad for those I must leave for now, and if you’re one of those people, and you’re reading this, know that distance does not lesson my love for you. As e.e. cummings would say, “I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. I am never without it.”

As for the here and now, I’ll be staying home, working, and searching for a new place to call my temporary home and learning environment. That is, I’m on the hunt for another university better suited for me.

This decision is a scary one for me. I am afraid of the unknown, but I’m learning to let go. God is in control.

I’ll try to keep you updated on the goings-on of this adventure. And it is one, this. I’m hoping that stepping away from the past season of my life will help me clear my head. I’m hoping I’ll grow in faith and in my ability to trust God’s hand in my life. He said He would never forsake me. And you know, I believe Him.

Prayers are always welcome. I want everyone to know that I’m not trying to run away from anything. I’m just trying to find a place where I feel I belong, where I can serve God, and learn to be content in spite of my circumstances. In some reading, I came across a passage that spoke of God’s oftentimes stirring things up so that our discontentment would lead us somewhere else, somewhere new. This is my chance to see if that’s what He’s doing in my life. I have every intention of returning to a university next fall.

Thank you for reading, and for sharing in my journey. I’ll leave you with lyrics from “I have made mistakes” by the Oh Hellos:

“I have made mistakes…I continue to make them. The promises I’ve made…I continue to break them. All the doubts I’ve faced…I continue to face them. But nothing is a waste…if you learn from it.”

I can honestly say I’ve learned a great deal in the past year and a half. I believe God will use my past to prepare me for my future. Here’s to trusting in His promises. Unlike us, he will never break them.

May all be well.

A Time for Trying

Hi there.

I’ve been thinking recently about why I and some of the people I know stop ourselves from doing the things we want to do. And I’m not even referring to life-altering, mountain-moving, miracle-for-one-please types of things. There are so many times that I’ll look at other people and the things they do, whether it’s making YouTube videos, exercising regularly, or expanding their writing repertoires, and I’m just over here watching them, wishing I could do the same.

And for some reason, I tell myself that I can’t. Or that if I try to do those things, I won’t succeed. So why try?

In search of some answers, I turned to some of my favorite quotations. Marianne Williamson sure has something to say about my query in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principals of a Course in Miracles:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ”

This is not my way of saying that I won’t make mistakes if I try something new, but where is the harm in believing that I am capable of more than the annoying voice in my head says of me? I began to wonder, though, if my fears really do stem from my own self-denial or if I actually could be afraid of failing. Or maybe it’s a mixture of the two? I had to find out.

This time, I looked to Emily Dickinson. In a certain poem of hers, she offers that

“We never know how high we are / Til we are asked to rise / And then, if we are true to plan, / Our statures touch the skies– / The heroism we recite / Would be a normal thing / Did not ourselves the cubits warp / For fear to be a king–”

Maybe Dickinson is right: it is our own fault for not rising to whatever occasion is before us. We are all our own worst critics, as the saying goes. In our own minds we set a standard that we do not allow ourselves to rise above, and that is a shame.

I agree with both writers that we all have more potential than we dare to think. And this is not a selfish statement, but truth. God created each of us with talent that would bless others and bring glory to Him. Perhaps it’s time we stop refusing to believe the lies that contradict this. Maybe if we start believing in the truth and in ourselves, we might not be so afraid to step into situations that used to scare us.

We might make mistakes; we might even fail a few times, but I would say that not trying at all is the real tragedy. So I’m in if you’re in. Let’s try something new.

I’m not going to pretend that the thought of that doesn’t petrify me. But if fear is the only thing standing in my way, well we’ve all got to face our fears to overcome them. To realize that failure isn’t the worst outcome is comforting in its own way. And maybe being free from our fears is the real miracle after all? Tell me what you think, and thank you for reading.

May all be well.

The Writing Process

Hi there.

Phew. I am finished with finals. No more cramming. No more memorization drills. No more sweaty palms before tests. No more late nights. Ha. Well that one hasn’t changed; I pretty much still stay up all night and sleep in until two. I have a problem.

Still, through the stress of it all, I seemed to find time to learn something other than the definition of “anachronism,” which, by the way means “chronologically inconsistent.” Okay. I’m done now.

What I did find out actually has something to do with the chronological order of my own writing process, and more importantly, what that happened to reveal about my own outlook on life.

Basically, I have a system when it comes to writing papers. It goes something like: Pre-write, Panic, Draft, Revise, Stress, Edit, and Annoy Anyone Who Will Proofread For Me. Then I stress some more. I really do enjoy writing papers, but sometimes, under the pressure of wanting them to perfect, I set the standard pretty high and forget to just have fun with what I’m writing. I’m slowly trying to change the way this process plays out, but old habits die hard. It’s cliche, but true. That’s the unbearably annoying thing about cliches.

But back to how this relates to my personal life. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I tend to believe my own life should play out. Unfortunately it looks a lot like my skewed writing process. I tend to start with a “Pre-write.” It usually starts with a plan I think up in my head. I tend to want to stick to this plan pretty strictly, which almost always is a bad thing. Meticulous planning is honestly a waste of time. Because how can I or anyone know for sure that some element of our papers or lives won’t need to change, or be taken out, or edited in some way? We can’t. It’s better to have a general idea and let things come naturally. And they will come, if we leave room for them, that is.

After that step, I usually move on to Drafting. I’ve heard that for some writers, this bit looks a lot like word-vomit. The words come, and end up on the page, and are later revised. I wish I could do that, just write without a second thought. But…I have an issue with making mistakes. This ultimately leads me to the delusion that spending hours on a sentence will make it perfect. It doesn’t, though. It just makes me mad. If I can’t get it right, I just stare at the page, thinking, “Verb, you will agree with the Subject in a manner that is both visually and audibly pleasing to me.” Verbs are the worst, but they aren’t the real problem. All in all, I just need to learn to step away from my paper, from a life crisis, or from a big decision. My advice to others and to myself is to take time away from the issue. Let it be, relax, and realize that eventually the right sentence will manifest itself on the paper. The right choice will be made clear to us in time.

Revising and Editing aren’t too much of my concern because I usually tend to incorporate those into the earlier stages of my writing process. This is sort of a problem, because if I could just write, then I could see the parts that need fixing with a clear head and with new eyes. In the same way, if I could just stop worrying about which way is the best way for me to go, which path is the right one, then I could just take a step of faith, knowing that God can fix and work in the midst of that decision, leading me in His will.

As for the Panic and Stress, I just need to let go. At the end of the day, a paper is just a paper, and no matter what grade I receive, I should be content with the fact that I will have grown as a writer and as a person through the whole process.

Writing has always been an important aspect of my life. So many times God has used to it to show me something about myself, or about Him. Walking with God, like writing, is a process. It can be messy, and confusing, and downright frustrating sometimes because we just can’t see how the story will end. Even so, it’s more about the experience we have in between the lines, anyways.

So all I can do is write the papers, and live the life God has given me. I can write and walk in the confidence that God is the true Author of my story. He’ll teach me the things I need to know along the way, one word at time. And who knows? I might even learn some interesting things about myself in the process. Thank you for reading.

May all be well.

Indigo Toes

This is a poem I wrote last winter. Let me know what you think!

indigo toes

i asked for a pair of blue rain boots

for christmas cause i was drowning in

cleveland and hoped that at least i could

keep my feet dry why

don’t bubbles find their way

to me if the sky’s a broken bathtub

i’m scrubbing weather from my skin

and wonder whether i should trust

the first snow of the season

white as innocence

but cold as my spine

when it shivers soft

as a snowflake

fake as a man

made of frozen rain

i never thought what

it feels like to have

beady eyes

and a carrot nose

nobody knows

but frosty

and i gave him

the last black hat

in my closet

why don’t ceiling tiles

break into a thousand

tiny pieces and fall

to the floor

outside isn’t inside

wipe your feet on the doormat

don’t bring your dirt in

you might try going barefoot

blue toes might be fun

or run for miles

until you find yourself

praying for angels

in the snow

shower me with hope

savior save me from

the slush

i saw my breath

float up to an ash-gray sky

searching for color

in indigo toes

nose goes on that one, frosty

we’ll be friends when rosy cheeks

aren’t worthy of a shade like sunset

i bet i can beat you to the house

and back

on the count of three

we’ll see if summer

brings me someone

who won’t leave with the last snow of

the season

Living in Awe

Hi there!

Hope everyone’s had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I could offer a variety of excuses as to why I’ve been absent from the blogosphere as of late, but not one would suffice for my not doing what I said I would do. I haven’t been posting twice a week, and that is wrong of me. Life is busy and messy, but even that doesn’t warrant my not keeping my word. I do apologize.

If you are willing to move forward with me in our attempts to both contemplate life and make sense of, well, mankind, I would like to speak with you about something I’ve read for…you guessed it: theology. It’s not too heavy a subject today though, so stick with me and maybe we’ll learn to see things in a slightly simpler manner.

Let’s get cracking. So, to give a frame of reference for what I’ll be talking about, I should tell you that it is a shame how the modern world–specifically American culture–is so bent on stripping life of its mysteries. We have become so focused on finding out why the sky is blue that we neglect to notice it’s beauty. TV programs like How It’s Made concern themselves with explaining away how things have become as they are, and our desire to know has overwhelmed the importance of experience.

This is not to say that we should choose to ignore important issues. Ignorance is not bliss, but there is something to be said about appreciating the impossibility of understanding everything.

In Can Man Live Without God?, Ravi Zacharias’ argues for the childhood sense of wonderment that the modern world seems to have lost. The book is an apologetic for the Christian Faith against western atheism, and offers a logical, aesthetic, and relational defense of Christianity. Even so, Zacharias notes the importance of stepping away from our tendency to prove and know everything about all there is to know.

There is something precious and pure in appreciating that the seasons change, that the sea does not envelop the shore. It’s okay to ask questions, in fact I would encourage it. But if you don’t find the answer you’re searching for, don’t be so eager to deny the subject its significance. Rather, try to appreciate its intrigue.

Zacharias uses the image of a child staring in awe at his balloon that floats up to the ceiling, waiting to be pulled back down. The child is so fascinated by the balloon, that he reaches for and releases the balloon countless times with much excitement. The author says that God says to the seasons “again!” and to the sun “again!” Our Creator has created this world for us to admire so that it would augment our admiration for Him.

It’s okay to delight in that creation, for we are God’s creation, and He delights in us. Enjoy the intricacies of this life without always demanding an answer as to why they are that way.

You could walk onto your front lawn this winter and say that you see “atmospheric water vapor frozen into ice crystals and falling in lightwhite flakes or lying on the ground as a white layer,”* but isn’t it a little more magical to catch it on your tongue and call it “snow?”

May all be well.

*Definition from Dictionary on Mac computers

Free Time? That’s Funny.

Hi there.

So today will mostly just be a chat about how, as you might have inferred, I have no free time.

But who am I to complain? I mean, I signed up for the madness that has become my life this semester.

Just to fill you in, I’ve been juggling three papers this week–ranging from one to ten pages–and to be honest I’m a little brain-dead.

But, as I’ve been writing, I’m beginning to agree with John Green who, in a particular video, said that just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun. In fact, the more time I’ve spent writing, the better at it I’m becoming. It’s quite rewarding actually.

Even though my weekend was mostly spent in my dorm lounge living off of Twizzlers and Diet Dr. Pepper, I decided that I wasn’t wasting my time by using it to accomplish schoolwork; I was actually bettering myself and figuring out that my middle school teachers were right all along: learning really is fun.

It took self-dicipline, prayer, and patience on my part, but all in all, I enjoyed what I read and wrote, and know that in spite of the stress, my weekend was well-spent.

And maybe that’s how things work in this life. It’s difficult and frustrating–and we’d all rather stay in bed sometimes–but to accomplish what we’ve set out to do is a grand thing. Maybe by facing the things that don’t seem as fun as bumming in front of the television screen, we can learn in more ways than one.

For instance, I learned that:

I can write an eight-page research paper in one weekend.

I love snuggling up in a chair with the window open.

God will never give you more than you can handle.

Also, if you ask Him for help, your burden becomes a little lighter.

Lastly, Twizzlers are da bomb.

So…hope you’ve learned something from this post. Even if you don’t feel particularly motivated to begin a project, just start somewhere. Allow yourself to find joy in the process. There’s no rule that says you have to hate homework (but use your discretion as we all know math is of the devil).

Anyways, have a wonderful Tuesday!

And may all be well.

Waiting on My Words

So…it’s almost midnight. I know, I’m a slacker. But in the reality that is not virtual, I was really being productive!

I promise I was.

Here is a picture  c/o my roommate to prove it:

Look! It’s me performing my poem at a talent show to raise money for Operation 20/20!

I performed an original spoken-poem that I wrote last year called “Waiting on My Words.” Here is that poem! Enjoy:

spit it out, billy

like my words were seeds

that would sprout sentences from

my mouth

like your words were seeds you

planted as doubt in my brain

and i’m weeding through

the pain like a gardner

shoveling away at his own

stammer

and i still remember that day

when you shoved me down

in the schoolyard

you left me in the dirt

with grass stains and a

nickname

and just because i can’t say what sally did by the seashore

doesn’t mean i can’t collect seashells

or dream about seagulls, see

the thing is i don’t have to

‘annunciate’

in order to appreciate

what’s in front of me

and i can articulate

in better ways than wordplay

just like moses couldn’t speak

but he stretched out his staff

and the red sea went weak

and said excuse me

so

excuse me

if i am speaking out

of turn

but my hand’s been raised

and the teacher doesn’t call on me

‘cause she doesn’t want to take up

too much of your precious time

but i’m finding

out that for once in my

life i’ve got a lot

to say

so…

hey,

did you ever stop to think that

maybe my stutter

is like the wings of a

butterfly

fluttering so fast

that my words can’t keep up

with my wings

or maybe

my tongue is just tripping over

things

and i know from experience that

beauty takes your breath away

so if i can’t speak

it is because i am too busy

breathing back beauty

into these lungs

and no, the cat does not have my tongue

i have just been scratched in the back one

too many times

to tell you off,

and on the subject,

my mother always said that

if you don’t have something nice to say

you shouldn’t say anything at all

so

my silence

tells more of story than your teasing

ever will

and b-b-by the way

next time you feel like

making fun

why don’t you just

talk a walk, i’ll let you borrow

my flip-flops

and maybe then you’ll

see

that my feelings

are one fist-fight away

from being beat to death

and right now,

all i’m asking for is

a bandaid

so,

what do you say?

are we gonna be friends

or will i have to spend

another day

waiting on the world

to see

that waiting on my words

is worth it?