Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black Eyed Susan


When I was born, I had almost completely black eyes. So black that it was hard to tell a difference between the pupil and the iris. My Grandma Jane called me her "Black Eyed Susan" after the flowers with black centers and yellow petals. My mom has always said that I was "born under a sunny moon," meaning I'm (generally) a pretty happy lady. While strolling through the Duke University gardens a few weeks ago, the one little plant sign that my eyes fell upon was the label identifying Black Eyed Susans!

And look, they are members of the sunflower family. It made me so happy. Small wonder, since I was born under a sunny moon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time

10 points to anyone who knows the reference of this post's title...

After returning home from an early morning run, I almost always stroll around the outside of my apartment and do such things as stretching, killing time, making myself late to work, saying hello to the dog-walkers, and definitely being so thankful that my workout for the day is over. Of late, the sunrises have been AMAZING, and today was no exception. I ran inside to get my dinky camera phone and attempted to capture the moment.....which was a failure on all accounts because it's seriously impossible to get a noteworthy picture on that thing. But, I actually love this picture. Why? Because of what it made me think of. Which is? The title of this post: Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time.

Spoiler alert! Here's where it's from: CS Lewis' beloved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. While yes, I did read the Chronicles of Narnia when I was younger, I cannot claim credit for recently harping upon this actual line from the LW&W. I read it last week in our current Bible study book, Better than My Dreams by Paula Rinehart. And look at that! Today I saw this lamp post. Lamp posts will forever remind me of Narnia, where the White Witch ruled. Her evil spell is called "deep magic from the dawn of time," and causes it to always be winter but never Christmas in Narnia. When Aslan enters the scene, his chapter is entitled "Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time." And when he appears, the snow begins to melt.

Aslan's magic is the deeper magic. Christ's magic is the deeper magic. It is only through him and for him that the sun continues to rise each day as "he wakens me morning by morning" out of his goodness (Isaiah 50:4).

Upon meeting Aslan for the first time, Lucy asks if he is safe. The reply? "He's not safe, but he's good."

He is so good.

"For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings." Malachi 4:2

Monday, September 27, 2010

Indian Summer....'til today


I thought today was mid-September. Lo and behold, it's actually September 27th, which I think qualifies as late-September. Which is totally and undeniably the FALL. As in autumn... not the fall of mankind or anything like that.

WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO. Let's talk highlights: Duke winning the lacrosse national championship (a great way to kick off summer, in my humble opinion,) weddings, Michigan with the fam, lazy evenings, early morning runs because it was too flaming hot to run after work, amazing sunsets, berry picking (therefore, berry pies,) sun tans, ranches, fireworks, tubing the Potomac, flowers at Eastern Market, stargazing..... and last but not least, baseball. I did finally make it to a game in the end. Actually it was on the first day of autumn, but who's counting.


Really, Summer 2010 has undeniably come and gone, but it was one for the books. I remember being so ready for it. I think you would have to be insane to not be craving summer after the winter and spring that DC had... ummm... I try to avoid talking about it, but snow? Ya, it rings somewhat of a bell. All I wanted was to have sunkissed days outside -- the feeling of being chilly at night because you got a touch too much sun during the day so all the heat rises to your skin -- that is the feeling of summer to me. But surprisingly enough, fall has come. And last week when we were in the midst of an Indian Summer and you couldn't go outside unless you wanted 20 mosquito bites on each ankle, I definitely found myself wanting fall. Fall! It's here, and the rainy day today was a clear indication of it. (I loved it -- especially because I get to work from home on Mondays and was exceptionally happy to curl up in bed with my coffee and computer.)

I think the Lord knows we are people who get bored. I wish it wasn't entirely true. There are unfathomable joys to every single day we are alive, and honestly if it was summer all year round, that'd be ok. But the thing is, I wouldn't enjoy the summer if it wasn't for the spring. And I wouldn't long for fall if it wasn't for the summer. Longing for winter? Maybe for a second. Maybe just to have snow on Christmas day, but that is it. But the Lord knows he needs to change things up on us every once and awhile. We'd probably go crazy if it was as hot as it is in the summer all year long. And I would be entirely too anti-social if it was forever summer because it takes every ounce of my concentration to not be glued to my pool-side chair all day long each Saturday between the months of May and August. Actually, I remember Carrie Butler saying in April after leaving a Mumford and Sons concert that she just wants to "walk outside and swwwweat." She said it with such passion in her voice. A true Florida girl. So she might be an exception to always wanting summer, but in general, fall is wonderful, and truly something to be desired. Thanks be to God that he knows us well enough to give it to us...

Goodbye, hot summer --

Eww. Hot. I think I took this pic in mid-July, right before leaving
town for Sarah and Steve's wedding.

BUT THE FALL: Glorious fall! Fall equals amazing sunrises, bountiful blessings (hoos prematurely excited for Thanksgiving?) pumpkin beer, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, sweaters, socks on the feet, Halloween candy, football games, snuggling in blankets, watching movies, popcorn on the stove, and hiking in the mountains as the leaves change.

I know in about 2 months I'll be saying that spring can't come soon enough, but for now, fall is where I am happy to be. Oh fall, you are my pumpkin muffin.

And in conclusion, here's a nice reminder about life from St. Michael's on the Eastern Shore:

Go slow, and don't sail through :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Morning Donut

Happy Lord's Day!
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday

I saw this sign at the entrance to a farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland this morning while running before church.
Can I get an Amen?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

GO 4TH AND SHINE


The 4th of July. Possibly, my favorite holiday ever. Avery and Allie (2 of my best friends from Dallas) came into town, but little did they know what was in store. Little did I know it either, actually. The plan was to tube on the Potomac River from dawn til dusk, but our stomachs had other plans: eating lunch. The three of us, plus Carrie, Jennifer and Payden quickly abandoned ship and stumbled across Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Home of John Brown's Raid. Also, the home of the BEST oreo frosty I have ever had. MARE-CA. What's not to love. Here are some photos from our adventures ending in fireworks:

Walking into town... 
Yet suddenly distracted by.... 
Bambi! An American classic.
Chacos. Hard core. 
This one's for you, Molly White. Coca Cola Classic. 
 My tuna melt! A-MARE-CA
Here she blows. The Swiss Miss. Amazing. 
America! Old-timey diner. 
Enough said. 
Abigail, this one's for you. Moose tracks. 
The Super Treat little girl! USA. 
Jenn, my little hippie.  
We joined her with our frosties. Best ever. 
Life is good...
because we love America. 
Yes, we do. 
Fireworks overlooking the Mall. Love DC.  
Avery and Allie, joys. 
America! 
Go 4th and Shine! 



Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stir Me a Sweetheart

Look at what I just discovered while getting my second cup of joe this morning:

Sweetheart drinking straws! Seriously, there is no better name out there for straws. And no better way to love the moment of my morning.

Side note: I usually stick to just one cup of coffee each day, but today, some rascal put Pomegranate Berry Infusion tea into the coffee dispenser. My first cup tasted like cocoa beans mixed with rainbows. No bueno.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Heavens


"The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is 
the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits."
G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wake up the World

Last night, all my besties met up for fro-yo, and sat around in the middle of the Clarendon Commons -- it was a JOY. And on the way there, Abigail and I found SHEER DELIGHT in the fireflies.


Hello, little bug.

And here is the glory of this firefly -- it is just a flying speck of glowing light that serves very little purpose, but was created entirely for our enjoyment and the Lord's amusement.

"Let heaven and nature sing! Wake up the world, the king has come."

-From the song "Wake up the World" by JJ Heller. Christmas music in June. And why not? (scroll down on the page to get to the playlist and then scroll to JJ Heller.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Day

A rescued fawn from Liz's ranch outside of Houston. Glory glory.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Small Wonder: Ten-Barton Gardens


A few blocks down from our apartment building, our neighborhood has a community-shared plot for keeping a garden. I've driven past Ten-Barton Gardens countless times, but yesterday was the first time I actually went inside. After walking the circumference of the fenced plot, I couldn't for the life of me find the gate to actually go in -- so I hopped the fence, much to the chagrin of the ladies eyeing me as they tended their plants. I didn't really worry to much about the ladies, but more about why on earth would a shared garden need a fence if the idea is that it's for every one's use.... and then I started daydreaming about the Secret Garden and how there really must be a secret door somewhere to get into this thing.... and then I totally forgot that I had melting groceries in the car and hurriedly hopped the fence and dashed back to save my frozen blueberries....which made me laugh because I thought that all of this was pretty silly since I was at a public garden, yet had to hop the fence to get in, and then I had to save my frozen blueberries when really, why not just grow my own blueberries???



Anyway, the garden is pretty spectacular, and the idea of doing something together with your community appeals a lot to me. We all have communities, whether it's your roommates, your colleagues, your family, your neighborhood, your city..... and we are called to love the place we are in. After all, Jesus himself put a lot of importance to place in the Bible. Wherever he went to preach, we are always told the name of the place, and he individually loved each place and the people within each place.

We are meant to do the same wherever we live. Love the place where we are. Plant a garden, have game night with your roommates and best friends (this sounds so nerdy -- heeyoooo on the contrary, it's so fun,) talk to the people who live in the run-down apartments across the street, eat dinner with each other, share a bottle of wine, make friends with the concierge, hang with the moms standing around the playground as their children run around. My roommate Abigail once tried to take popsicles to the kids in the park but weirdly enough, they weren't there when she went.

We live where we live for a reason, and we are called to love our neighbors and the place where we are. It shouldn't be too difficult (I'm not saying I love my neighbors well. I don't, but I should, and I hope to work on it.) These people are right in front of us. It's not meant to be a burden -- it's meant to be a JOY to love the place where we are. Go out and love -- what a way to experience life to the fullest.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tonight I Can Write

Almost two months ago, several of my beloved roommates and I moved into a rockin' new apartment in Courthouse. We love out new digs, and it's situated directly across the road from Fort Myer, which is right next to one of the coolest places ever...

I have discovered Arlington Cemetery.

Please go here if you never have. Go around 5pm in the afternoon when the light is right, and it’s hot and breezy, but not too bad. I have jogged past the cemetery countless times on my way to visit Old Abe Lincoln across Memorial Bridge (this little jaunt has become a fixture in my week - running over the river, planes landing at Reagan flying in overhead, cars whizzing by in their rapid exodus from the city, their drivers wishing their work day ended at 4pm as well,) but I had never actually gone into the cemetery until a good friend and I took a talk-walk a few weeks ago. We ended up wandering all throughout it.

We climbed the hill and lo and behold, Robert E. Lee’s house is sitting on top. I had no idea. Standing there, you can look out onto all of DC and see the precise layout of the city, just as Pierre Charles L'Enfant designed it. JFK’s tomb is right there as well, and Jackie Onassis with him. The tomb of the unknown soldier, countless gravestones, Lincoln’s wife, thousands of soldiers’ lives marked in memorial.

We happened to be walking around right at the peak of spring. And when I say this, I only mean one thing: TULIPS. The beauty of the departed mirrored in tulips. Here --



See? Pretty.

Surrounded by these gorgeous flowers is a huge black bell tower adjacent to the cemetery, and the tower stands right next to the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Every night at exactly 11:00pm, I hear taps. I always thought that the horns were coming from that bell tower next to the cemetery, but turns out, they are coming from even closer, from just right across the street at Fort Myer.


Taps tells the soldiers that another day is done. (It doesn’t stand for Totally and Perfectly Sleeping, as many a camp counselor may have once told you.) It signifies the close of another day, it commends a job well done, it provides solace in its consistency to those who wait to hear it each night. Everytime I hear taps, I'm reminded of a line from Shakespeare’s Henry V: “The day is done, we are but for the night.”

The day is done, we are but for the night – meaning it is time to rest, to reflect, to slumber, to slow down, to live, to refresh. Shakespeare actually meant it to mean that they were doomed in their fight: the enemy had won and the darkness of night had triumphed. So make of that what you will, and yes, I am totally taking it out of context and one should always be wary of doing that, but I love being for the night. Taps commemorates the gift that the passing day was to me. Taps heralds in the night – a night of rest and restoration, always to be championed again the following morning with the new day.

I’m usually exhausted and so ready to fall into my bed, but I am grateful for Taps each night. A reminder of God’s faithfulness at the close of each day – I didn’t think the sound of a somber melody could do that, but it’s often in those sweet, familiar moments each day that God’s provision is so clearly seen. “Jesus I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art. I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.”



Btw, the title of this post is from a Pablo Neruda poem of the same name. Definitely worth reading.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Life Irony

"A rainy Friday is like a life irony." - Abianne Miller

Last weekend was ideal -- a balmy March Saturday full of pleasant surprises and the breaking out of summer skirts. Margaritas and walking through the throngs of fair-weather lovers in the Georgetown buzz. Crawling through impossibly small windows to watch the sunset on a friend's rooftop.

But today, not yet a week after that majestic Saturday, it is raining and apparently supposed to be 39 tonight with a chance of snow flurries. Excusez moi? God loves to mix things up -- I guess that is a good thing though. Keeps you on your toes. Or in your mittens.

Alas, I sit at my desk thinking "how can I lift my spirits today when it is oppressively gloomy outside?" My answer: Justin Bieber.



He's the 16-year-old Canadian who has stolen the hearts of every other 13-year-old girl on the planet. His dance moves are pretty epic. Abianne and I decided that from now on, we are only allowed to dance like Justin.

So here's to making Friday just that much brighter. Carpe Diem!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunshine on the Waterfront


I have been hanging out with a two-year old little bean of a girl lately. We often go on excursions throughout DC and the surrounding areas before she tanks and sleeps for about 3 hours in the afternoon. Today, Eva and I went to the Alexandria Waterfront. She is as cute as a marshmellow, and I managed to take a couple of pictures while also holding her jacket so she wouldn't fall in the water. This was no small feat, as every time she saw a bird (and there were many) she hit the ground running. Even if that meant running off the pier....







Saturday, February 13, 2010

You are my joy



This is my definition of ROMANCE, brought to you by Snow Patrol's "Signal Fire:"  

The perfect words never crossed my mind 'cause there was nothing in there, but you. 
I felt every ounce of me screaming out, but the sound was trapped deep in me. 
All I wanted just sped right past me, but I was rooted fast to the earth. 
I could be stuck here for a thousand years without your arms to drag me out. 

There you are, standing right in front of me 
There you are, standing right in front of me 
All this fear, falls away to leave me naked 
Hold me close 'cause I need you to guide me to safety 

No I don't want to wait forever
No I don't want to wait forever

In the confusion and the aftermath, 
You are my signal fire. 
The only resolution and the only joy is the faint spark of forgiveness in your eye. 

There you are, standing right in front of me
There you are, standing right in front of me
All this fear, falls away to leave me naked 
Hold me close 'cause I need you to guide me to safety 

No I don't want to wait forever  

No I don't want to wait forever
No I don't want to wait forever

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What the snow


I am going crazy. 

Cabin Fever apparently....

When you are stuck inside... 

Involuntarily.... 

With no wheels, no ability to tread lightly and loosely because you are too worried about falling on your butt while walking to Whole Foods to stock up on eggs and survival food for the inevitable snow fall that is happening again, yet again, after 20 inches already fell three days ago, and all you want to do is hop in your car and drive straight to Florida but, oh wait, you can't. Because your car is buried deep beneath frozen layers of slush and when you finally get it cleared off after four hours of shoveling and again falling on your butt, you turn the key to the ignition only to hear that sound... the sound of agony and sorrow..... that terrible click click click of your dead battery. 

Great. Love it. Love the snow. Heckkkk no. Hate the snow. Take me back to Texas. Global warming my arse. 

I am being harsh? I guess. 

Let's look on the bright side: memories made, hilarious pictures, ice cream in the snow because your back porch is colder than a freezer, really funny videos of Tilly in her igloo she made, at least this snow didn't come last weekend when I was in Nashville, yelling and complaining about life but really being happy too, lots of sleep, lots of movies (do not rent "Adam,") listening to Snow Patrol and loving it, being thankful that our electricity hasn't gone out, roomie bonding to the max, breaking out my blue, puffy, ball of a Northface jacket, finally eating all the canned food that I am not sure why I bought in the first place (yes, lots of beans,) and..... beating the blizzard of 2010. Hurrrray! 

As I write, snow is falling. I can hear the tappings on my windows. It all starts again. 

--Favorite Snow Patrol song: "Jusy say yes" but really they are all too good. 
--Favorite song from the Valentine's Day Soundtrack: "Say Hey (I love you)" by Michael Franti & Spearhead 


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm Fondue of You

Today, I strolled to Gtown on my break and totally not planning on it, bought a little treat: new nail polish.

I wasn't into nail polish until fall of my 4th year at UVa. I was living with two of my best friends and a third friend who turned into one of my best friends by the time our lease was up. One night, we had a complete girls night due to the fact that we had just found out that an ex-boyfriend had gotten engaged. Wine, tequila (what?) chocolate, sad movies, and lo and behold, nail polish. Ever since then, it seriously has been a joy of mine. A quick fix to lift the spirits. It's a "life may be down in the dumps, but we've got our nails painted pink! Get out of my way" type of mentality. Or rather, my nails are painted black! 'Lincoln Park in the Dark' was a personal fave at the time.

So today, I got OPI's 'I'm Fondue of You' from their fall 2008 French collection. I'm seriously thinking that the gals at OPI who get to name nail polish are brilliant. 'Bastille my heart??' 'Louvre me Louvre me not??' I LOVE THESE NAMES.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Really?

It is January! It is 2010! Bright new year. What awaits us?

Well, I can definitely tell you what is behind us, or at least me:

1) Men in my office who take newspapers to the bathroom with them. That is so 2009. Actually that is so -- never. Who does that?? This isn't their home. Honestly, I cringe every time I see this old man with a rolled-up paper in his hand walking to the bathroom. I drink a lot of water at work (keeps me awake) and thus have to walk to the restroom a lot myself. No joke, I see the same two guys doing it everyday. Right around 10:00am. Right when the coffee sets in, I suppose. Gross. What is it with men and sitting on the toilet anyway? It smells.




2) Vodka-cranberries. Not good. A real bruiser.


3) Smoky co-workers. I sit right next to one. Secondary smoke causes cancer and makes my eyes water.



4) Crazy driving. I'm going to take it easy this year. Ok, fat chance, but there's always hope.





5) Chris "beat you down" Brown. What a square. I will really miss his music though. I was running on the tread yesterday and "Forever" came on my iPod -- I did do one last, great, 4-minute groove to the beats of CB.



6) My brick Nokia phone. I think I was the last (wo)man standing with one of those. They were so cool in 2003 when we all swapped covers in the high school cafeteria. It's Apple's fault -- I love my iPhone, but parting with my Nokia was such sweet sorrow.