Sunday, January 31

a little life update...

i just can't help feeling like i don't deserve all the blessings i've received this year. how thankful i am for my life here in 2010!
twenty is a great age to be, and college is a great place to be! although...

you do run into some slight inconveniences :)
i made coffeepot ramen today, it worked pretty well except for that the time it took for the noodles to absorb the hot water is about the same amount of time it takes for hot water to cool.

after that, though, i ate oreos and skyped my sister for 47 minues and 24 seconds, which was surprisingly refreshing. (not the oreos, i remain confident in their unchanging power)


but honestly, things are just so good. i've finally started working on my online biology class, which is a pain, but a manageable one. I also just found out about Google Reader, which is AWESOME and has been eating up a lot of my time as i find more photography and friend blogs to follow. Everything i find out about google impresses me... for instance, have you tried Google Chrome? Fast, Facile, Fantastic!

My Canon EOS Rebel XS arrived in the mail yesterday, as you probably saw, and i name things... so named it Sam [cute and gender-neutral, though the more time i spend with it, the more feminine vibe i
get :) ]. I already have a couple of shoots lined up here at school! These will be the first shoots with people who aren't immediate friends of mine, outside of work for CL!X during my breaks from school. i'm soooo excited.
The future holds Elliv practices, preparations for India, arrangements for the new Cedar-cliff township ministry, a trip to Texas with my favorite girls, and a LOT of drawing.
i'm looking forward to everything about this semester... i wouldn't change a thing.

Saturday, January 30

Meet Sammy.


Thursday, January 28

so, i buy a new camera last week, and then before it even arrives,
i find out today i get to take it to the Taj Mahal in four months.
India, here i come!!
also, i get to go to dance rehearsals for the next three months because one audition in my life finally paid off!
my car got fixed, i got a 100 back on a class assignment, i went to a productive ministry meeting with the "big wigs", i drew for an hour and a half, i ate cake and macaroni & cheese and studied one short, distracted hour for a test that i will get a great grade on tomorrow.
fair to say it's been an entirely amazing day?
alright, i think so.
well, i'm going to go to the rock climbing wall for my first lesson. :)
"why can't every day be just this good?"♪♫

Wednesday, January 27


but full of hope
sheltered by those who will listen.
held and encouraged, supported, believed.
safe, even when you don't glisten.

growing, if slowly; not dying, not dead
under the watch of protection
that knows who you are when even you don't...
when you're scared of your own reflection.

embraced, celebrated, and kept from collapse
by a people who knows your heartbeat
until you are stronger than you are right now,
until you can stand on your feet.

this is the answer to our hurting place.
it's what the world's begging to see -
a great revolution of "us", not of "them";
and in my life, it's starting with me.

Saturday, January 23

i believe

sweet resistance, you compel me not to stay, but to move on.
and even if i wanted to, i think i'm too far gone.
listening with dawning grin, hanging on the words
not even meant for me but which have soothed some of my hurt.
i believe there is no boundary, no place across a track
from whence a tender youthful heart with effort can't bounce back.
and yes, a double negative seems oft' the only way
to emphasize my true point. is there truth in what you say?
sometimes we speak out from our hurt instead of from our heads,
with thought in mind of what should be, and what is, now, instead.
but no matter how much i don't understand, no matter what i do,
you know i'm hoping for your best. you know i. believe. in you.

Friday, January 22


bit her lip and toughed it out, she grew among the thorns
until the blossoms, white and sweet did blossom and adorn
the ends of twigs which never seemed would be lovely again.
a bowed head and a simple prayer which ends in sweet amen
has brought the rain to pass and promised all new precious life
she's owned all that she wants to be, and not a waiting wife
but instead a gorgeous bride in present and in truth
to one who never will forsake, in age or in charmed youth.
there's something about stability that enchants and holds her down
but something also that released her;
freed her from all that bound.

questions asked silently of the night sky
when no one else listens or cares to ask why.

great silver moon, turned on your side,
have you ever had something you wanted to hide?
ever a secret, or ever a fear
that made sure you lost all you ever held dear?
great silver moon, rolled on your back,
have you ever felt strangely completely off track?
odd somehow, angry, frustrated or torn,
for no reason at all, are you down, or forlorn?

"We are shaped and fashioned by what we love." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

i love...

rain! even on the cold days. it makes me want to lift my face and just smile. i don't care that i look stupid. or that i'm wet :)
oreos. seriously, they make every dessert better [not to mention any day!]
babies. yep, Erin's about to be a big sissy. =]
Drawing. sure, i get super frustrated drawing the same plant like eight times, but it's so wonderful to have a break to do nothing, think about nothing. just to be a person who draws. is drawing. and that is all. so freeing, so releasing.
pictures! looking at them, taking them, putting them up, selling them, giving them as gifts. don't care. just love em.
Texas, and every tie i have to it. cowboys, josh, jenny, calling my mom.
memories. the good, the bad, and the ugly.
bed. insanely huge, warm, and soft. pillows and blankets: you can't go wrong.
can i restate rain?? what a wonderful phenomenon we've been blessed with. freeing beauty falling from the sky, reminding us our days are not about us.
love love love.
[i'm determined to figure it out.]

Thursday, January 21


hail. hail on top of a three hour drawing of a plant that looks like it probably grew on saturn, a frustratingly quiet-sitting-on-the-end dinner and an audition for a part that i'm not going to get, [but i won't know that for two weeks.] hail melted by salt which mixed and soaked into the pants which aren't mine that i borrowed to try to look decent for a half hour and now have to wash. [frick. laundry makes my back hurt.] hail that fell on my hair and my face, making them flat and red, respectively, for my videotaped audition.
complaining? no way! not me. not when Haiti is feeling the daily aftershocks of a massive earthquake. not when children have been orphaned, not when people are dying from malnutrition and AIDS. I, the privileged, thin, white American university student with a GPA above 3.5, am not whining about my petty issues of the heart. or about hail. damn hail.

oh, come on, i'm allowed an off-day, aren't i?

well, i did have a good time drawing for about the first hour and a half, and i did love singing again - i haven't been doing too much of it. preparing for this audition got me singing in the shower and on the sidewalks. i like that. and i've been putting off laundry for far too long. maybe i'll just put on a pot of coffee and get started on it; that way i can smell the delicious scent of my detergent - one of the few smells i can recognize.
is it really true? is life 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it?
well, i'm gonna try it out.
and by the way, i apologize. i shouldn't presume to know how you're feeling, and i'm deeply sorry.
here goes life with a smile... i'm off to go rock climbing!

Wednesday, January 20

i dwell on love. i always come back to it. love is everything. love wins. what the heck IS love? i don't know. [but i know what it feels like.]

"when you say you love me, the world grows still - so still inside and
when you say you love me, in that moment, i know why i'm alive." ~Josh Groban
He loves me, and for that love i live.

no, nothing else matters,
no, not how i feel
for feelings are fickle
but love,
love is real.

"how cliche!" you scoff at me
"hypocrite," you groan.
what does this girl know of love?
and you're right. i am. i don't.

but i know that it's been given me
in unabated measure.
sweet gracious gift from those who've cared;
i clutch my undeserved treasure.

i don't doubt it for a second,
though i don't know from whence it came,
for i'm engulfed by warm contentment
every time you say my name.

Tuesday, January 19

former they loved you, and former they knew.
you imagine upon them a stupor, a stare.
former you flourished because they saw you.
but now, naturally, they just no longer care.

Monday, January 18

don't miss it...

As i woke up this morning after a relatively sleepless weekend to a dreary sunday covered in muddy snow, the last thing i wanted to do was get out of my very warm, very large bed.
And then it started to rain.
If people weren't counting on me to be at church, i bet you ten bucks i wouldn't have gone. BUT people do count on me to be at church come sunday school hour, so i climbed out of bed and began to get myself ready. The whole time i was remembering how the same time one week ago i was thoroughly enchanted. i jotted down my experience during last week's painful discourse - sometimes i'm glad i sit alone come sermon-time. this is what i wrote:

when i walked out of my room this morning, i saw a beauty out the window that quite literally stopped me in my tracks. When i started to breathe normally again, i found my hand resting on my chest. The entire world was encrusted in crystal and serenaded by the early morning sun. a thick, pure white mist had covered the earth while it slept, and each ice-drenched twig was kissed by tiny violently vibrant red berries. Whereas normally i walk with purpose and watch my steps, this morning i slowed, head up, stopping to see translucent ice that almost reached out to touch me, admiring the cold, freezing fingers of icicles, larger than i had ever seen before. When i finally got to my car, i had to pause. my black honda civic was covered in precious and unique snowflakes of all different sizes. I took it all in, in total awe. I scrutinized the beauty of each snowflake until my feet reminded me just how cold it was by kindly going numb in the adorable peep-toe heels i was wearing while standing in the 8 inches of snow Ohio had received. (i'm such an incurable Texan, i swear we never learn -- mourning the loss of the cowboys today by the way...) I stepped inside Max, my little car, and continued to examine the snowflakes from the inside of my window as i waited for my car to heat up. i searched for two identical flakes, challenging the notion of their total uniqueness... i found an asterisk, a perfectly symmetrical daisy, and eight thousand other variations of six-sided figures. * [sorry, i had to check to make sure asterisks weren't eight-sided. I'm correct. moving on!]
I reluctantly brushed away the loose snow from my windshield with the wipers and waited for the rest to melt... i have an ice scraper, but i hate to use it (plus i'm just not very good at it - i look awkward and i drop the thing... remember what i said about Texans? ;D ) Well, i was late, and obviously not going to freeze my toes off trying to use my ice scraper, so i perilously departed like an idiot in my ice-encased vehicle; I never before noticed how exhilarating 20 mph could be in the ice. I got to church safely and stepped out of my car to see the morning sun shining through powdery snow gently sifting down off the rooftops and treetops of my whitened world -- it looked like someone had dumped buckets of infinitesimal specks of silver glitter into the atmosphere. i approached the church, breathless, and Ben the bachelor held the door for me. "Good morning, Ben!" i said, "Isn't it just beautiful?"
"Oh, yeah, i guess," he shivered, "kinda cold, though."

don't let me lose my wonder.

Friday, January 15

it's time!

...i've bought all my books.
i'm working banquets to support Wander, the precious 12-year old Dominican boy i give to each month.
i'm sending three checks home to my mom tomorrow to deposit for me.
and when they go through,
i'm finally buying a camera.

how blessed i've been to be able to save enough money to buy such an expensive piece of equipment! I justify this large purchase in hopes that it will eventually pay for itself. I will take good care of it, and I'm gonna start charging for my shoots. I'm thrilled. ecstatic.

I know for a fact most photographers don't generally go this nuts over the quality of camera that i'm about to buy - it's kind of the low man on the totem pole. But i have waited and waited, borrowed too many of my friends' cameras, and learned along the way. I've been frustrated about having to wait, but now i'm just so grateful. :)

need a photoshoot done? i'm your woman!!!

Wednesday, January 13


I, Julie, am water.

reflective, peaceful, moving
influential, compelling

inviting, vast, mysterious, deep, free
otherworldly, refreshing, liltingly energetic

soothing, sweet, laughing, bubbling
comforting, serene, intense and dancing.

i am water.

Sunday, January 10


"The time will come that all that we love, we will eventually lose,
and all that we hate we will eventually face."
Not all that is beauty is evident
or displayed, that the world might have known;
for the sleeper will miss the ice trees and sunrise,
the cuddlers miss women windblown.

the strong living beauty, vivacious, inspiring
that could knock the breath from a grown man
if he looked -- if he just ever bothered to notice.
how tragic, for he won't, though he can.

For the stars in the cold still velvet winter sky
are not seen by those who are not brave.
the entranced scintillations are lost to the vision
of pine trees and great ocean waves.

Right here! here He is! do you know who He is?
the skies are exclaiming His praise!
and the whole of creation adores Him without us.
through sunsets, seasons, nights and days.

how have we not seen His glory, created?
how have we missed His love signs??
for there is nothing better than what He has made us.
i am Beauty's love, and He is mine.

Saturday, January 9


hustle and bustle, and impatient fits-
where are your relationships now?
your mighty heart tumbled in hour of need
for shame, what your values allow.

hypocrisy all! do you see what you've done?
what you even continue to do?
snow gently drifts on your strong-set ideals
they must be used to benefit you.

all your cars in a row, and your ducks in a lot
the backwards norm twists us around!
but we move on, like cattle alike and the same
we rebel by obeying the sound
of the "fortunate" ones, those great povertous holes
we call stardom and wealth and great fame.
but they've bought their fortune, and lost all their souls.
and every last one
is the same.

Thursday, January 7


harsh but beautiful, the cold hard truth,
seeking for right to be found
but truth if neglected, as winter-kissed plants,
will shrivel and die in the ground.

"tough love, baby, tough!" is more a battle cry
than it may seem to raw untrained ear.
she who has tried all else sings this love song
though it brings her to her greatest fear.

the death of the truth with the death of her love
was her nightmare and now is her song.
they've shriveled and died in a hole, side by side,
and have left her right-siding her wrongs.

but great Truth isn't dead, no! and Love never dies!
though those in your reality may...
never forget, winter plants grow again. 
hold hope as you wait, watch, and pray.

Wednesday, January 6

joy, peace, and hope

faith is heart instead of fact
love is a soft caress.
joy is a strength, in the face of unknown
to grin and say "nevertheless!"

integrity is roots too deep
to be moved by trendy gusts
peace knows you can fight for fair and calm seas:
yes, in order to find it, you must.

gentleness turns large men to lambs,
pride swells in honest chest.
hope is seeing through all things
the better, the great, the best.

Monday, January 4

"Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors."
..what a fantastic line of thought! many times i think we follow the theology that tells us,without sadness, we wouldn't know what happiness really is - and without darkness we would not recognize the goodness of the light. but, when i think about it, light is light, whether it has darkness to penetrate or not. 
i often try to make a justification of sorts - because this day, two years ago, God let my back break.  I could not understand why a loving God would neglect all prayers and remove His hand of safety and watch me tumble into pain for probably the rest of my life. The depression that ensued for the next few months poisoned my once perpetually sunny disposition, and even after i returned from despair with considerable help, i didn't think i would ever be the same. My justification came in at this point, for i did not want to believe that i had suffered for nothing - "i'm so much better off for it," i told my friends. "Before, i was happy just because nothing bad had happened, but now i know happiness has a price. my outlook has changed - i know the world isn't all rainbows. my happiness now is informed happiness."
but hey, if i'm honest, 
i wish i could just be happy for no reason again. 
and sometimes, i am. i've learned through my experience with suffering that complaining makes nothing better, that pain makes you vulnerable to ask for help which in turn teaches you to trust, that being independent is not all there is to life, that people are good and merciful when you need them to be, that prayer is not ultimately ABOUT getting answers, and that God is always, always sufficient.
 God didn't facilitate my pain to show Himself to me, nor did He need a tragedy to change me. And by no means did He remove His hand of safety - i broke my back and i am alive. The miracles worked out in my life astound me. 
i am learning to be satisfied with what i am given, whether plenty or barely enough, [though just enough is plenty], whether comfort or pain, whether community or solitude. i am satisfied, for multicolored grace in many facets has been shown to me, a sinner. 
my God is so good!


tight jeans getting tighter, loosen up your belt
the problems of america: more passively noticed than felt.
church, have we lost our fire? is there no global appeal?
while we sit on our butts and watch football, 
the faithful are rewarded for zeal.
rewarded with plentiful harvest, 
rewarded with fullness of soul
while we have such great loads of nothing
we seek stuff instead of the goal, which
should be constantly pushing us forward,
constantly making us new -- 
have we lost all semblance of this calling?
Oh Father, make us more like You.