Tuesday, December 27


Who knows when you'll look back and regret the decisions you're making now? Who knows when you'll long wistfully for your current carefree days?
Beautiful stories are being crafted in the lives of everyone we come across. Taking the time to look over our own, understand them, and add to them memories for future comparison is important; we won't know how to navigate our futures if we don't remember what we've come through in the past. (journal. we should all journal.)
It's easy to grumble and complain about how we're being treated or the losses we are shouldering when we lose sight of how far we've come since the beginning of our struggles.
Sometimes when i take a hard look at my perspective, i wonder how i manage to choose to miss out on enjoying the moments i have in order to instead be annoyed and selfish, or worse, deceptive or depressed.
Seriously, you need to take what you've got, because like it or not, it's all you have.

And who's to say that this moment isn't the best moment of your life?

Sunday, December 25


She loved the ways that hair and fabric fall.
Arranging themselves neatly or in disarray as they settle, it settled her soul to watch them flutter. Her long, full skirt and her fine, mouse-brown locks were in the wind.
He had loved her hair. She'd grown it long, as long as she could for him, and he had often offered comment when the light shone upon it, reworking its lackluster tones to reveal subtle hints of gold and glints of copper, like value hidden in a field of wheat. But she stood now in no such fertile field. She stood at the edge of a hill in a warm wind, surrounded by dry grasses, so easily swayed, so easily killed. Fragile. She crossed her arms over her waist and hugged her hips. She closed her eyes as she felt the wind dying down, as her hair and her skirt grew still while the world around her softened, and everything inside her died. She seemed fated to stand this way forever, a hardened woman encased in a rose-colored subsistence.
She understood the way the strips of fabric fell as she cut them away. The yards fell from her quivering as her heart quivered - as her resolve quivered when they had met, accepting gravity's pull with the little effort that seemed the exact opposite of that which had to be mustered to forget him.

But then, that was unfair. how could she forget him? she still had his child.

She treasured the way the hair fell from her shoulders, though she quickly gathered the jagged chunks in her hands. Precious to her, part of her - once a token of love, now shorn in forgetful, painful bliss. It was taken from her so easily: that which she exhausted her effort to keep. She was struck with the reality of the fact that she could spend what seemed an eternity making something her own, and in one moment, in one stroke, see it become so entirely other - estranged from her. Forever.
Naturally, she could always recall what she was like before. She had the pictures.
The contents of her day having been carried out, she stood purposefully under a stream of water: pounding, cleansing, ridding her of the residue of her torturous errands. Tugging her hands through her hair, she was acutely aware of the freshness of its absence. She felt lighter somehow, in the worst way possible.
And she went on her way, in a new dress and a haircut.
She wore them well.

Monday, October 17

a sitting search

to sit and search, to type, to scroll
with cursor in hand,
the lazy afternoon exploited
forgotten are the gilded pools above the earth at sunrise,
potential and love and harmony and unity
and all that seems beautiful
in theory
where, waldo, are you?
walking among men meant to hide you
content, or smiling, never to be found
a passive and sweeping search is made,
knowing you're not lost; you're fine, you're fine.
a sitting search and cursory glance
a type, a scroll.
a type to fit, this square pegs the round whole
the cursor, the pointer,
the typing, the scrolling,
the recreating and shaping and forming,
the never fulfilled sees the ever content
and cursing, and poignant - where, where, waldo are you?
alone, alone, and with everyone else
surrounded, sufficient, eye on a lens and cane in hand
to see with, to lean on, and scrolling - no - strolling.
and all that seems beautiful, seems enough for you
in the lazy evening, accomplished and fulfilled, somewhere.

Monday, August 29

i'm not going to die today.
But if i did, it would be of happiness, with a heart overfull.
I don't have many possessions that would be of much worth to someone who is not me, but just to be clear, Melody Sheppard should have all my clothes, and my books should be added to my parent's library. Mom, you could take some photography classes so you could use my camera.
today would be a decent day to die.
Today is the last day of my Twenty-First year. (and did you know your cells begin to die faster than they are created at the age of twenty-two? so really, either way, tomorrow i'll be deteriorating. nice knowing you all.)
I have discovered so much about myself and about others, learned valuable lessons that improved the quality of my emotional life, become more artistic and more articulate, traveled the United States, lost self pity, and found confidence. I am more well-humored than I have ever been, and more well-rounded. I like risks. I like people. I like style. I like reading.
My church even called today about India support - with news they said i'd like to hear.
In celebration of personal growth, and in culmination & conclusion of a fantastic year, I'm skydiving today.
wish me luck!

Thursday, August 11


So, Norma is a woman who suffers from compounded paranoid-schizophrenia and dementia who lives on the behavior hall. The doors are locked for resident safety, and today she wanted to go home. She was exit-seeking all day, and though she always mumbles, she was so flustered today that her speech was nearly indecipherable. Towards the end of the day, though, she approached me in the dining room, looked me directly in the eyes and asked with stunning clarity, "Do you know how to leave?" When a person has dementia, you enter the world in which their mind has entangled them instead of trying to bring them back; reality only confuses and upsets them. With this in mind I automatically replied "No, Norma. I only know how to stay."
Even as the words danced in smiling and comforting deceit out of my mouth, the irony of speaking them to her on my last day with her stung my lips.
I do know how to leave... i know very well how. I constantly and perpetually leave; it seems more now a force of habit or a way of life than anything else. For me, to leave is to stay - to change is to continue in the same way.
The question is not "Do i know how to leave", but instead, "Do i know how to stay?"
I haven't kept a job for more than six months in over four years. I have had nearly every different hairstyle and color i can think of. I have traveled to ten of the fifty states in the last three months. I have moved five times since January, and plan to soon live across an ocean. Have i ever learned how to stay? I can see where the value of staying would be immense - this nostalgia and homesickness for more than one place is overwhelming... not to mention the promotions that can be had if you continue to work with the same employer.
all of that aside, though. When i get very caught up in leaving, i have an aching desire to find a place that draws me so strongly downward that all i can do is stay. Who knows, maybe i'll never be that type of person, and i'll have to learn the disjointed contentment of the uprooted, the stationary heart on the shuffling feet of the nomad. Maybe what i long for is so otherworldly that it can't be found in a windowseat and a basement. Maybe i should let an evolving settledness replace the way that i feel tonight.
tonight i feel frustration, and unsettled uncertainty.
Norma, I'm sorry for every lie I have ever told you.
I do know how to leave.

Tuesday, August 9

road trip!

and driving,
with the warm cancerous sun on my arm
its oxymoron revealing itself in shades;
in pieces, in an unfolding motion.
undulating in parallel to my life and existence.
my life: the great simile, and the as if.
constant comparison, seldom original.
over and over,
revisiting lessons, repeating sins.
the route never altering once it begins.
like wheels on the road;
like driving...
my chapters are state lines;
my milestones, road signs.
i'll pause in a sleeping transition, and believe you this:
i will not remember the hardships when i've arrived.
and ever, ever i'm moving,
and driving...

Wednesday, August 3


i'm really shooting myself in the foot, aren't i?
i have my fireflies and my fog. i find beauty. but i'm denying myself so many things by choosing adventure. the ones that are left.... they're dwindling.
will they look elsewhere?
if i believe in soulmates, i have nothing to worry about.
but maybe i believe you can love anyone if you decide to.
and that is my truest fear,
for i have never decided.

Friday, July 1


it knew not its end;
it knew not its place.
and grew coiling upward
fits and flares unwarranted.
remorse in remission,
closure in evasion
comfort in coiling and contorted decease.
that comfort which i sought, purposefully
thinking of drowning in its forgetfulness,
twisted, turned on me entwined and amplified
my fears.
my most profound nightmare
consolation never was constituted,
deliverance never delivered;
reprieve never recovered.
and needless to say,
sleep; it evades.

Monday, June 27

just another wistful reflection on love.

i used to be in love with love.
i used to believe in the power and the beauty of the magical quality that transforms relationships into shining creative, life-giving entities.
i used to find myself enthralled by the mystery and the spontaneous combustion of new love.
i used to wait expectantly for it to find me.

i don't want to be jaded. i don't want to be burnt out. but after all the weddings and all the engagements, all the couples and the seasoned relationships, it's begun to feel like love is only how i make a living.
reasonably, i know that i don't have to wait for love. i know that i'm surrounded by it. My friends are gracious and my Savior is fully redemptive. But every day my fingers slip more progressively from my sturdy grip on the belief that romance is going to work for me. My defeatism and disenchantment grow, chipping away at my vision of what could have been mine.

this is something i regret.

love is still beautiful to me, i just have stopped believing that the beauty of love is FOR me.

Let's be honest. the quest for love is a fool's errand, and it takes courage to continue the search.

But love is life, and I choose today to continue to believe in it, even if romance was never written into the script of my life. The love which i affirm encourages, brightens, and creates. The love that i will propagate closes chasms and dissolves distress. The love that i believe in has the last word in a world where death gets all the biggest headlines.

i will drop the cynic's axe.
i will believe. i will change.
i will.

Sunday, June 19

i'm just not your type.

I would just like to say that I don't like it when people think they have me pegged.
"oh so you're the type of girl who...."
yes, i have eclectic music preferences; no i would not consider myself a "hippie". yes, i have a facial piercing and short hair; no i do not skateboard. yes, i am an avid and devoted Christ-follower; no i do not make all of my own clothes, nor do i hate democrats. yes, i like to sing; no i do not want to be famous. yes, i love coffee; no i do not wear lots of scarves. yes, i have high standards; no i do not hope to remain alone.
i guess i'm not trying to fit a "type". I'm simply doing the things that make my life full and meaningful. I'd like to be cultured as well as cultural. I'd like to be fit as long as it doesn't pull my sweet tooth. I'd like to be a rather verbal and articulate introvert. I'd like to express a happiness that doesn't require me to continuously smile.
Now, i realize as i'm writing this down that it begins to sound somewhat dark and angry. this is not my aim. I'm just getting a little frustrated at the tendency of many (from friends to strangers) to try and place me - to categorize me and figure out why i'm still single, or why i'm a psych grad working in a nursing home, or why on earth i'd want to go to India.
people, i'm not a type and it's not a problem.
can't anyone just take me or leave me?

anyway, since i'm not the type of girl to be labeled... ;) let me tell you what type i am.
i'm the type of girl who loves to love on old people, even if they don't remember me day to day. or if they hit me. ouch.
i'm the type of girl who starts to enjoy working into the nighttime hours because it means i get to be in on the summer-in-ohio-backroads phenomenon that is tiny sparks of brilliance flickering moment by moment. it looks like life and it feels like dying; it's constant creation and feeling and motion. it's a pale green splat on the windshield that stays lit when it dies. it's as simple as driving through all the fireflies.
i'm the type of girl who continuously loses the battle with myself to be ever striving, ever learning, ever changing and growing.
i'm the type of girl to get back up again.
i'm the type of girl to skydive.
i'm the type of girl to lose track of my speed on the highway because i'm looking at the harvest moon.

see, you don't have to have me figured out. i don't even think i do.

Monday, April 4

Me Today

So, today i drove home from West Virginia. The drive was great, and i'm happy to report little to no back pain during the three-hour trip!
i did my (now traditional) 125 (once per road trip, if you must know) miles per hour during a lonely straightaway, and before leaving West Virginia I caught some lunch. I know you're thinking, "well, that's hardly bloggable," but before you continue with your lofty criticism, you should know that because i felt i had one last West Virginian weekend adventure left in me this Sunday afternoon, i opted out of Wendy's, Subway, McDonalds, and Gino's Italian Bistro; all to subject myself to the splendor of Tudor's Biscuit World. Lunch was truly and entirely an experience, let me assure you. also, as a side note, it was delicious!
Anyway, I drove all the way home and was here by about 4 pm.
I began to unpack, trash first, and realized to my dismay that i had more than likely left my house key.... in my house. [what kind of idiot....!?] I called my roommate, who said she'd be home in three hours. fantastic. I confirmed myself as keyless, and tried the sometimes-unlocked front door to no avail.
So it's me, my car, my one-day luggage, and my computer charged to 27%. I finished an episode and a half of How I Met Your Mother before my battery died and i began to read the John Green novel i'm enthralled with at the moment. After about a hundred pages I had a fit of brilliance, realizing that there was an outlet on the outside wall of our house on the porch, so as i charged my computer i finished that half-watched episode, and then closed my mac to charge.
As i returned to my back seat and settled back into Paper Towns, I glanced up momentarily, distracted by some noise - probably the obnoxious and adorable black&white cat that runs around here - and my bib number from the 10k last week caught my eye. it's pinned to my drivers' seat sun visor: #350.
And then it kinda came over me: I'm the kind of person to be reading a haphazardly named novel in the back of her car; one who has run a 10k and is beginning to really enjoy road trips. I'm the type of person that falls in love with beautiful words and who values journaling, who has read her Bible consistently for the joy of it during the last week, and who bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie.
I'm explicitly, though partially, the person i've been hoping to start becoming.
(I'm also the type of person who wears a watch, which, though it is not an item to cross off my bucket list, is something i've always aspired to. obviously, this is beside the point.)
Life is really all about the becoming, isn't it? Someday I'll also be a person who's been skydiving and who's had a baby and who has spent at least two years in a foreign country.
but right now i'm on my way, and the way is great.
I'm living life for the experience.

Tuesday, March 22

merry lee.


My tears I know won’t change a thing, but my ambition can.

There’s emptiness upon this broken earth.

For all is warped and twisted in unrivaled magnitude:

Oh, precious one – you cannot know your worth.

Outrage is perpetrated daily, Beautiful is scorned

And malice’s reward is bubbling mirth.

My tears, my only ally, filled with empathy and angst

Pour out so pure my soul can hardly bear it.

They’re charged with meaning, unrelenting, angry for the grief

Of helpless hearts; pity their only merit.

But my hot ambition, pent up, seething, can cause me to act-

Through my tears I run with purpose towards a goal.

And steadfast, always looking up, my motivation this:

Your pain is unforgotten to my soul.

I’ll speak for you, you voiceless, and will see for you, you blind;

Eyes locked, hands clasped, we make eachother whole.

And whole we’ll be, perfection in this place of broken hearts.

We’ll gain what we have longed for desperately.

For unity will make us love; and justice bring us peace.

We’ve found it. We’ve together found the key.

Friday, March 4

oh hey. my heart is warm.

and my skin will be, too, in a matter of mere hours! i don't feel like falling asleep... in fact, i feel like a nice cup of coffee, but i know that's just not wise the night before your last early day of a long and exhausting 2 weeks.
Today being the first day in what feels like forever that I didn't have a single solitary activity planned away from my home sweet home, i decided to use it for some major me time after class was over. boy, if bubble baths and book reading only burned calories...
i learned a lot today too, though. a lot about people, and how different they are, and how weighty their unique preciousness is. Gisela, Judy, Buck, Margaret. One bound by dementia and language barriers; one bound by a brain that cannot process and the cogs and machinery of the modern transportation technique; one bound in a rigid body and an unresponsive facade; one bound by hospice care and a treasonous memory. Heather, Alyssa, Jeff, Salena. One broken by life and death, struggling to maintain her position and straining to feel something; one broken by mistakes early on, defined by mistakes and ambitions on hold; one broken by one lay-off too many, seeking change in a mundane life; one broken by trust given unearned and by too many relationships, but still seeking love, learning, and the betterment of family.
and to think! all of us thrown together in a week, one big mess of problems, brokenness, pasts, and yet - brotherhood.
yes, i got to thinking today about how much love there is among humanity that bands together. unity is beautiful, compassion is precious, and the burden of the soul and body lays heavy on my heart as i continue to meet people, all of whom are broken somehow.
who knew we all needed each other so much?

Friday, February 25


What a romantic life i've got!
ok, now i'm not talking about romance like roses and cuddles and ryan gosling, and i'm not talking about romantic in the historical context or era, either. (when you read that, i hope you pronounced it I-thur, instead of E-ther. it just makes me sound more educated if you did. and i am a college graduate. so, keep that in mind for future reference... thanks.)
no, none of that romance. i don't know, i guess, romantic in the most poetic form of the word. beautiful; ironic; mysterious; longing. all of that.

first, there's this nursing class. 8 hours a day for two weeks. 8 people in the class... all very different. it's a very breakfast-club type situation, all of us starting off sort of resenting and being weirded out by each other, but growing through extended periods of time and shared experiences to sort of depend on each other and read each others' quirks. it's kind of beautiful, getting to know strangers.

next there's good roommates, a fantastic church home to look forward to attending weekly, mint-flavored hookah, new recipes, newfound physical and emotional stamina, photoshoots, the book of Hebrews, an impending trip to the beach, and an unquenchable desire for water and yoga, which are both making me so healthy right now! where is all this coming from? gosh, my life is real good!

and of course, there's the trips to cedarville in my car, with which i have some kind of strange bond. i'm singing more now than i may ever have. i think it's really good for me.

And then, oh my stars, there's people like Katherine, Merilee, and Jena.
people i can really talk to. people i can draw inspiration from. people who just get me. people who don't like coffee (i love me some morning brew, but i love individuality more.) people who can not only handle but appreciate abstract ideals. people who go overseas and love on other people. people who write with soul. people who CARE about truth, life, love, and other mysteries.
i get to have people like that in my poetically romantic life.

The rain tonight is romantic; which i guess is why i thought to use that particular adjective to quantify my life tonight. Rain makes everything look new, fresh, and photogenic (not to mention wet and splashy). i just love probably everything about it: the feel of the cool droplets, the evocative atmosphere it creates, the renewing properties, the lyrical sound.

my life is like that to me. causing contentment, ever changing, leaving me feeling entirely renewed.

Saturday, February 12


i don't know if it's too much to ask, and i don't care if you agree...
but i'm longing for that moment when someday someone will sing to me.
he'll turn my lonely into lovely, he'll hold me and my heart will smile.
the days spent gazing out of windows all, will seem, were worth the while.

worth the trip down the broken road for the end result of the journey to see.
but here, but now, through tears tonight; the broken road is breaking me.

breaking, broken, shattered heart, have you no solace, no reprieve?
will you ever cease to wallow? are you no one's priority?
bygone, buried, wasted love, have you found nowhere yet to rest?
must you hover, never landing 'til you pass life's bitter test?

and a day, a day to celebrate this quest for making life complete
seems effortless for those who love and savage toward the love-effete.

Saint Valentine, you barbarous, sadistic, feral, heartless man.
your holiday is perfect if depression was your plan.
but as for me, i'm sitting, waiting, love nearby hov'ring patiently.
it will not rest until it finds
that man who's going to sing to me.

Friday, January 28

wow, stuff is beautiful, isn't it?

I was driving home tonight from an eventful, productive and super fun evening on campus, having helped create a video for the philanthropy committee i serve with in Student Government, been to a 100-Days' party celebrating the nearness of the walk across a stage to shake the president's hand, and participated in an intimate gathering of screaming, joking, giggling girls in honor of a very special birthday.
As i said, i was driving home, and the snow had begun to fall faster than i particularly like it to on my drive home. i began to tense up from my toes to my forehead muscles, and kept having to tell myself "just focus on the part of the road you can see, and take it slowly." Well, when you're driving into a snowstorm at midnight, your brights don't help. neither do your normal lights, really, since the road looks exactly the same as the surrounding fields. But the brights don't work because they make you feel like you're in warp drive, even if you're only going 35 on the highway. oh, man. my hands were little gloved fists on the wheel, and oh! my forehead muscles!
i kept thinking, boy, am i ever ready to be in INDIA.
i made it a good bit of the way without incident, sqeezing my whole face on the really tight curves (cars always seem to come at you from the opposite direction when you are on the worst turns in the road!) and i was thinking i'd really be fine. I was making one of my last turns when i lost my connection to the road and my car forgot all friction and began to do whatever it deemed necessary. i stopped just in time, having turned 90 degrees from 25mph to a standstill. every time i fishtail i just want to cry. sometimes i do.
anyway, after that i made it home, losing control a couple of more times, but without incident. it was only as i was pulling up into my driveway that i realized how serene and perfect everything looked. i decided to go for a little snowy night walk.

i threw my first snowball of the season. i was a little bummed that there was no one to throw it at, but hey, if it doesn't hit anyone, i don't have to worry about getting hit by one in return! i made tracks on fresh snow, and spun a little bit.
Even if it means a little slow driving, and some sore forehead muscles, i hope it keeps snowing tomorrow. I plan on getting out to do a little shooting before traveling to my next job opportunity... let's pray for a job offer soon, people!
Anyway, the snow reminded me tonight that there are always two sides to every coin.

There's fascination in frustration. There's perfection in pain. There's beauty in bewilderment.
i think we just have to find it.

Saturday, January 15

deepest and darkest.

Here's the thing. i've always wanted to believe that my longings were showing me who God wanted me to be. That ultimately, He was using my quirks and individuality to create a person who in her ideal state would reflect His glory... in all of hers.

But here's some philosophy for ya- here's what i'm asking myself today:
do our personal desires and tendencies belie our destinies, or our dark sides?

have we been created to fulfill a great potential that's ever welling up inside of us; or to deny ourselves, following Christ to the death?
see, when i think about it, the former option sounds a little like existentialist humanism to me, and the latter sounds like Luke 9:23.

but man, it feels nice to think that when this life lives itself out, ultimately i'm gonna get what i want.
it's sort of like a punch in the stomach to remember that what He wants is what it's really only all about.

Monday, January 10

an episode of thankfulness.

So, here i am. living alone.

well, essentially. i do have two beautiful and excellent housemates... who are never home. :)
I've thought of all the things i can do to utilize allll of the extra time i'll be gaining this semester - i'll gain at least 18 hours a week from not attending classes, and that doesn't even begin to count the time spent doing homework! all in all, we'll say i gain an extra day per week in down time.
you jealous yet?
ok, so i do have a job, but to let you know how life-consuming that will be, i'll just say that i have two shifts this week which add up to a grand total of 10.5 hours.
what am i going to do with myself??
an excellent question.
I intend to 1) catch up on sleep, 2) reunite myself with my artistic side, 3) diligently devote myself to learning, and 4) work on my personality as a thankful individual who is an encouragement to others.

1- this is self explanatory.
2- i brought back all of my paints and sketchpads from home, i've printed off some fantastic sheet music to work on at the pianos in the practice rooms, and i hope to listen to a lot of good music, write and blog a lot more, and run consistently. (i know it's a little bit of a stretch to have running as a bullet point for creativity, but hey, fitness is an art, right? (also, i'm signed up for a 10k in March. woo! guess who's gonna be in the best shape of her life?) )
3- i plan to be in the Word daily. i'll not become in the future who i'm not becoming today, and i just this morning heard a fierce sermon to the backslidden. Faithfulness is a priority. I also want to stay caught up with my duties under PMI's child sponsorship program, read a ton of really good books, uncover what it really means to me to be a Christian through some independent Bible study i've begun, and I hope to sit in on a few classes i always wanted to take as a student.
4- this is my main goal for 2011. the truth is, i complain entirely too much. When i think of the person i hope to be, i see a woman who is honest with others, but who is not burdened by discontentment. i have no reason to be so selfish as to think there is anything in my life worth getting legitimately upset over. my life has been orchestrated up to this point and is now still being woven into a miraculous and breathtaking pattern of glory, and i believe that with all of my heart.
and so, i will be thankful!

so here i am, living alone. the first thing i have to say for it is that i get to open all my own food!
does anybody else love to be the first person to dip into a brand new jar of peanut butter, nutella, or fabulously fake butter? well, i have always loved it, and it's number one in a long list (which will be notated in no particular order, i'm sure) of things i love about my life and living situation this semester.

also, i smelled three things today: an orange, the peanut butter i opened, and a wonderful coconut lime verbena candle that my mom gave me years ago which i've never been able to burn (thank you, CU). they were beautiful smells!

going tonight to reunite with my favorite girls. going tomorrow to check on prices to get my nose repierced. (thank you again, CU - haha!)
my God is good to me.
how thankful I am that He has me here, and that His love is the most amazing love i've ever known.