girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

something happy...

ken and i had a good chat today.
we both decided that i needed to blog something happy...
that way everyone will believe me when i say i'm okay,
because i promise i am.
i'm still wondering just how easy or how hard this whole thing we call faith is supposed to be.
sometimes i believe jesus when he says that his burden is light,
and yet other times i believe him when he says that the path is narrow.
so which is it...and when did i decide it has to be either/or instead of both/and?
so sometimes it's hard on me, and some days i'm completely content.
today is a good day.
and so...something that makes me happy...
feeling understood.
especially feeling understood by someone that you really care about.
that is, after all, part of what we most like about our significant others right?
that's why we choose them.
well, that...and that they're cute.
don't get me wrong, ryan and i have definitely had some moments where we both didn't feel validated or understood...but that's life. part of growing.
i'm happy knowing that there's someone out there that gets me a whole lot better than the rest though. it's comforting knowing he's around.
i chatted with my good friend candice the other day and we talked about the analogy of 'the cup' that i'm sure most of you are familiar with.
i told her that ryan's pastor, jim, had actually told me about it...
how at the end of every day we need to empty our cups.
at the very, very bottom are things stuck in our cup from our past...things that are really hard to dig out and come up to the surface occasionally.
on top of that is all the rest...the stuff from our day.
the irritations, the frustrations, the highs and the lows and at the end of the night all i want to do is dump my cup out.
i want it all to tumble out into ryan's hands and for him to help me pick all the pieces apart.
i'm glad that i have someone that is willing to be there virtually every night to hear my cup stories.
i think that i once believed in the disneyfication that has happened to most relationships.
i wanted to believe that finding someone really special would mean things would be easy.
it's probably one of the hardest...and yet most fulfilling things i've done and am doing.
and so it makes me happy.
i'm honest.
i'm hurtful and mean sometimes.
i'm forgiving and forgiven.
i'm playful and silly.
i feel attractive.
i'm confident and secure in it.
and no matter what the future may hold, i'm happy right here...right now.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


i should really be sleeping right now.
that, or writing that speech that was technically due last friday but seeing as how i skipped class to go to dr. gorman's lectures...i didn't go or give my speech.
too many things to do...
so today in church the topic was God's love...
i've been thinking about it all week trying to prepare for the visual aid and a line from the movie 'closer' kept coming to mind so i used it.
it's the part near the end of the movie where jude law is telling natalie portman that he loves her but she's crying and saying something to the effect of...
'i hear you say you love me but where is this love? i can't see it...i can't touch it...i certainly can't feel it...'
that's how i feel right now.
the verse we're at in john is where jesus is saying that in the same way that the father loves him, he loves us.
a lot of us found this to be kind of funny seeing as how jesus didn't exactly have the best examples of a father showing love...
illegitimate birth
born in a dirty manger
family disowned him
not exactly what i would be running around boasting about.
'i hear you say you love me...but i can't see it, touch it, or feel it.'
that's what i think i'd have been saying if i was j.c.
which is where i've been in my thoughts all week...
at the end...where jesus is crying out,
'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"
...why have you forsaken me...
or in the message,
...why have you abandoned me...
who knows what happened between jesus and God that we don't get to read about in the bible.
all those missing interactions we'll never get to know.
and who knows what jesus meant when he was crying out to God.
perhaps he wondered where that love was when he needed it most...
sometimes i wonder why i go to church right now seeing as how God and i are kinda on the outs.
i wonder why i do the visual aid and the power points on some sundays.
i read the lyrics in the worship songs...
lines about 'knowing God's presence' and 'hearing me when i call'
i'd like to believe that
i certainly haven't made the decision that i don't believe it...i just don't know what i believe
which is a really scary place
control freaks like me would like to have one or the other...belief or non-belief.
the in between is unacceptable.
i can barely handle it...if at all.
tonight ryan told me that perhaps the reason that i go to church and do the power point or visual aid is because deep down i do believe in...something.
im attracted to something...or drawn to something.
then he said...'the faith of a mustard seed'. matter how many times i've quoted that verse, i've never known what it meant.
i thought it was reserved for the terrible term 'baby christian'.
(yes, it's horrible and no one should use's condescending and mean. some of us that have been around God and jesus for a fair amount of time are still babies)
but now i think i understand the mustard seed.
this is what it feels like.
and although it was completely my decision to suspend God until i know what i believe...
i'm feeling slightly abandoned.
like as if i just got in an argument and told someone to go away and that i wanted to be alone...
but really didn't.
i don't want to be alone.
what sucks is patience and waiting all of this out...
but i'm glad that i live in a place that says that i can question things...even God.
that perhaps even jesus wasn't totally convinced or happy or comfortable or confident in everything.
that perhaps even jesus had to question God...or at least get a lil upset.
i don't think that when jesus was hanging up there on the cross he just kinda said those words...
like he didn't mean them.
i think he really felt it.
felt the abandonment...felt the loneliness.
it's a scary place.
and so...i have my questions and my doubts and my fears...
but i also have my mustard seed,
and i plan on carrying it around in my pocket for awhile.
i wanna see what happens to it...
who knows, maybe it'll grow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Gnarls Barkley

i remember when
i remember
i remember when i lost my mind
there was something so pleasant about that place
even your emotions have an echo
in so much space
and when you’re out there
without care
yeah, i was out of touch
but it wasn’t because i didn’t know enough
i just knew too much
does that make me crazy
does that make me crazy
does that make me crazy
and i hope that you are having the time of your life
but think twice
that’s my only advice
come on now
who do you
who do you
who do you
who do you think you are
ha ha ha
bless your soul
you really think you’re in control
well i think you’re crazy
i think you’re crazy
i think you’re crazy
just like me
my heroes had the heart
to live their lives out on the limb
and all i remember
is thinking
i wanna be like them
ever since i was little
ever since i was little it looked like fun
it was no coincidence i’ve come
and i can die when i’m done
but maybe i’m crazy
but maybe you’re crazy
maybe we’re crazy
so this is why i can't sleep at night.
at least that's how i best know how to articulate it.
not only are the lyrics perfect...but the images are as well.
i stay awake for around 2 hours waiting for everything in my head to...settle.
then i wake up an hour before my alarm...and wish i could fall back asleep.
"wisdom begins in wonder" says socrates.
well socrates, i wish i could stop wondering.
i wish i could turn it off.
i wish i could stop going in circles.
i wish i could express myself.
i wish i could sleep.
i wish i didn't think i was crazy sometimes.

defining hope

i'm not really a huge fan of communications.
and yet my very baptist university thinks i should take the course...
and so i go. someone along the way found it to be i go.
it's funny the things you hear when you actually listen.
the past few weeks we've been studying all the downfalls and mix-ups within communication.
things like 'self-actualization', 'i feel' statements, 'differentiation'.
there's so much more too...and while sitting there in class i suddenly find myself back in ken's office. talking about feelings, and faith, and how we communicate all that.
i have to do a speech on friday about a word and it's definitions.
we get to use our life experiences.
i figure i should use 'hope'...seeing as how it's tattooed to my wrist and all.
so i've been thinking about hope.
especially now.
'the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best'
'to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence'
'to believe, desire, or trust'
it's that last one that gets me.
looking back in the OT you can almost substitute 'hope' for 'trust' which is scary for me when talking about God.
'...and hope does not disappoint us.'
i quoted romans 5:4 on here...right after i got my tattoo.
...we rejoice in our sufferings because
suffering produces perseverance,
and perseverance character,
and character hope...
ryan, rodney and i had a good discussion about this once. ryan made a really valid point that i've been thinking about. i always thought that hope was like the light at the end of the tunnel. that no matter what...and i say that with much emphasis...that there would always be hope. that there was always trust. that even if it was a was still something.
now i'm wondering what to believe.
maybe ryan is right, and that sequence of events from romans 5 has to be experienced.
maybe we don't understand hope until the end.
maybe i won't get it until i suffer, i persevere, i obtain character.
i'm starting to think so.
this isn't a sad thing...though i think sometimes it comes across as it.
i've been getting calls lately of people wondering if i'm okay...
apparently questioning and doubting find equal standing ground with 'not okay-ness'.
i like it.
for the first time in my life i feel like i'm not just believing what someone else told me.
that i'm not just waiting around for it to secretly click and i can begin to totally understand what others around me are experiencing.
i just figure, why keep it a secret?
perhaps saying all this out loud will open things up.
i don't like the word 'suffer'. i never have.
i don't think i would consider everything that i'm going through as suffering...
i think it's just more...honesty.
which sucks.
i don't like the hard part one bit, but i'm finding it completely necessary for continuing survival.
'completely necessary for continuing'...thus perseverance.
i think perseverance is a better word than hope right now.
why do i persevere?
who knows.
half the time i don't know why i even get out of bed...
go to all the things i've promised.
i think i do it because i'm hoping for hope.
which makes no sense at all i suppose.
i figure if i keep on truckin' along...keep on asking questions...that someday it's going to begin to make sense.
and in the meantime, i think my character is....becoming more whole?
what all is involved in that?
don't get me started on things like integrity...i'd prefer you ask my friend nathan. he's much more eloquent.
i really do believe i'm becoming more whole in all of this, and i would like to trust.
i would like to have faith...and i'm discovering what that means.
i wish it were as easy and as simple as it seems to be for some of the rest of you.
perhaps it is...and maybe i've just got to come down to that.
maybe i'm overthinking it all...and maybe i'm making things much harder than necessary.
but if that's the case...i'll find it.
it will come.
i've got to suspend God to be able to believe in him.
i need to figure out what i really believe.
now...there are lexicons and commentaries and life experiences to sort through before i give this speech. if anybody out there's got any would be much appreciated.

Monday, October 23, 2006


this is how it works
you're young until you're not
you love until you don't
you try until you can't
you laugh until you cry
you cry until you laugh
and everyone must breathe
until their dying breath
no, this is how it works
you peer inside yourself
you take the things you like
and try to love the things you took
and then you take that love you made
and stick it into some
someone else's heart
pumping someone else's blood
and walking arm in arm
you hope it don't get harmed
but even if it does
you'll just do it all again
-regina spektor
'on the radio'

i never loved nobody fully
always one foot on the ground
and by protecting my heart truly
i got lost, in the sounds
i hear in my mind
all of these voices
i hear in my mind
all of these words
i hear in my mind
all of this music
and it breaks my heart

suppose i never ever met you
suppose we'd never fell in love,
suppose i never ever let you,
kiss me so sweet and so soft
suppose i never ever saw you
suppose you never ever called
suppose i kept on singing love songs,
just to break my own fall
-regina spektor
my friend bekah introduced me to her.
she's wonderful.
go buy her c.d. 'begin to hope'

Thursday, October 19, 2006

work & toil

i had a great conversation today with my new friend nathan.
and i'm thinking about a lot of the things he said, one in particular.
that maybe our past isn't in our's in our future.
now, i'm sure i'll get the wording wrong and jumble it all around (i'm quite clumsy, you know) but i'd like to kind of think through that...
i'm thinking a lot about my aunt.
what she went through before she died.
we had the funeral last saturday...
i tried really hard to cry, but i couldn't.
i had too many questions and no way to have answers.
after the funeral my mom and aunt searched through her house for jewelry or anything expensive in the event that someone broke into the house.
it was as if she was still there.
i sat on her bed...looking around and wondering when she'd walk through the door.
her toothbrush and toothpaste were on the bathroom counter, ready to be used.
her bed was unmade.
her shower gel on the edge of the bathtub and shoes organized in the closet.
if nathan is right...if her past was actually in her future...then what did she see?
is that why she gave up?
if we move and act and anticipate the future based upon the past...then what did she have to live for? when the past is so painful that we cannot imagine the future without the pain...
i'm so mad at her.
i want to forgive her...i keep saying i have.
i want to believe that this isn't her fault.
...that it isn't my fault.
there's nothing i could have it, but where is God in all this?
i'm not mad at all of you calm down.
i'm just wondering where God is for someone like my aunt that cannot see her future with even an ounce of hope.
i want to believe that maybe i could have had hope for her.
that i could have held her hand...could have given her a reason...
but i couldn't have.
i didn't have time.
i didn't have time to write thank you notes for birthday money.
to give her a call to say i'm sorry your husband left you on your birthday.
to visit her house by the river and wade in the water and play on the bank.
i didn't have time to tell her i loved her.
and now...i barely have time to mourn her death.
when i sat there at the funeral i tried so hard to think of her...
but i had things to do. people to see. places to be.
i had to fit it in...her death, burial, and mourning all in a neat package.
all fulfilled in a day's road trip.
but now i have time...i have time to miss her.
i have time to wonder.
and question.
and have no answers.
when do school and work and even church become more important
sometimes i want to run away.
i want to go somewhere...and i've told ryan that maybe i'll go to africa.
he thinks i could help and serve and do everything i could do in africa here...
but i couldn't.
there are too many people expecting too many things out of me.
and others around me have it worse...much worse off than i am.
i hurt for them...the ones that have an even harder time with the word 'no'.
when do they get to do life? when does the fear of waking up at 40 years old and realizing you truly haven't lived life become so great that we run away?
how far do i have to go?
when do we get to heal?
or talk?
or love?
or miss?
or forgive?
or believe?
maybe it is about making appointments and being intentional.
maybe this is part of growing up...the realization that life will not stop and i cannot run away from responsibility.
maybe this is me acting out of my selfish need.
maybe i put too many demands on myself and those around me.
maybe i need to find time and quit making excuses.
and maybe it's all bullshit.
maybe compartmentalizing my life like that is ridiculous.
maybe i don't have to live this way.
maybe all this stuff that i've been told is important...really isn't.
i miss her...and that's important.
and i want to feel that.
i want to remember her...and mourn her...and not try to fit it in.
it will find a way out.
God is important.
and i need to spend time with that.
or it will find a way out too.
sleep is important...
tomorrow will come early enough.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


i found myself on the side of highway 45 at 11:30PM with a blown out tire tonight.
needless to say...i was not a happy camper.
most men probably can't understand the sheer desperation that enters into a woman when she finds herself in a situation like this. i think the closest is to imagine a daughter, sister or wife in the same predicament....not pretty.
so i found myself nearing panic as i timidly called the herrington household in hopes that ryan would answer and i wouldn't wake the entire house. he didn't answer...
so i called one of his fraternity brothers who offered to come and find me. i really do like those boys...but eventually he got ahold of ryan and my knight in diedrich's uniform arrived.
but before he could get there i began to think...i had nothing to do but sit and make sure no one swerved off the road into me and my....situation.
i thought about school...and how 6AM will not be pretty...
and about karen, and how i wished the nights events leading up to the car event would have permitted me the chance to actually hang out with her...
and how when you know you love should tell them...
and about God.
i don't know why crap like this happens...but sometimes it does.
ryan and i have been having lots of really intense conversations lately about who we are and how that effects each other. sometimes it hurts and it makes me become even more self aware...and there are moments that i simply don't want to do it anymore.
i want to run and hide and tuck my feelings away.
lately we've both been so busy that i've had to kind of go it my own.
i've placed myself in a scary place.
i've begun to actually need someone.
sure i need my family...and community...and all those things, but i think that this is slightly different.
you can't always be understood at home...or even in community. i certainly feel that way most of the time, but not always.
ryan tries...and i feel most understood there.
and a scary place.
in my worst moments of need lately ryan has been so busy that i've had to kind of buck up and go it alone...i hated it, but i went back to before and into a survival mode.
as i sat there waiting on him to show up i began to realize my helplessness.
it may have been almost midnight...but he was there when i needed him.
it's hard when you're in college and you're trying your best to be everything to everyone, and i recognize how high maintenance i am...but sometimes i like to pretend that i don't need anyone.
well tonight i saw that i do.
there are just some things a girl cannot do herself...and spare tires tend to be one of them.
other things happened in the car with God...or whatever... tonight.
and i'm still working it out.
i'm just glad to be home...
and loved enough to be rescued.

Monday, October 09, 2006


she died today.
only relative we were really close to.
not really sure what to do.
can't cry...
not yet.


question with boldness even the existence of a God;
because, if there be one,
he must more approve of the homage of reason,
than that of blind-folded fear.
thomas jefferson


i consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
for the creation was subjected to frustration,
not by its own choice,
but by the will of the one who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly
as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
for in this hope we were saved.
But hope that is seen is no hope at all.
who hopes for what he already has?
but if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

in the same way,
the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
we do not know what we ought to pray for...
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
-roman 8:18-26
ken alluded to this verse on sunday and it struck a deep cord in me.
i've been having a hard time lately....
coming to realize a lot of things about myself and about what i truly believe.
and i'm okay with it.
i think that there are some around me who are worried or concerned...
one of my friends actually cracked the joke,
'but juli! what if you died...are you sure you'd go to heaven?!'
some of you may worry about the same things...but i think God is okay with where i'm at.
perhaps i'm turning into clay.
yesterday, i decided to do one of the stations...prayer.
i didn't really know what to say, or how, or when...
but i just knelt there and waited.
i heard ken next to me...(is it weird i know his breathing?)
after awhile i got caught up in my thoughts and suddenly felt ken's hand
rest upon my shoulder.
it kinda startled me.
i don't know if he was praying thanks that i was back,
or over my current doubt,
who knows...
but it erupted something in me.
i started sobbing.
lots of things came out that i wasn't expecting.
and i couldn't stop.
i just...kept crying.
it felt good.
there's a lot of stuff i could be mourning about...
a lot of things i should cry about,
but there wasn't any one thing in particular i thought of.
maybe it's my aunt.
maybe it's my frustration and confusion.
maybe it's stress.
maybe it's lack of sleep and that i finally got to stop.
no kids to rush around one to controlling anything.
so i sat there...and cried...
and i think something in me groaned.
i've been trying so hard to find the words to pray
and searching for the words to say,
but it wasn't necessary.
...groans that words cannot express...

Friday, October 06, 2006


my aunt's in the hospital.
she's dying.
her liver is failing her.
i walked in the house today (right after getting my second speeding ticket in 6 months) to find this out.
not exactly great news.
worst part about it is...she did this. my aunt did this to herself. no one could stop her. she made a meal of alcohol and got herself down to 85 pounds.
like my mom said...'she just doesn't want to live anymore'.
i don't want to know what a dark place like that looks like.
i don't want to ever experience something i can't eventually be pulled out it by my own teeth and nails or by someone else grabbing me by the hair.
a month ago they said she'd live a few more years.
today they said she had 6 months.
she will probably die within the next month.
the control freak in me wonders what i could have done, and i know my mother is wondering the same thing about herself.
the hardass in me says that if this is what she wants...
and the girl that desperately wants to love God wants to know what this means.
if it's true that we can bring heaven to earth, then hell certainly has been given the same invitation.
today...the world is not a smiley face.
i won't ask any of you to pray...but perhaps throw some positive thoughts my families' way.

time will tell

'the conservative soul' by andrew sullivan.
i usually shy away from the word 'conservative'. it makes me nervous. and although i do not know this mr. sullivan...i like him. i like what he had to say in time magazine at least.
iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad is hoping to help usher in the armageddon he believes is quickly approaching. he, along with billions in the muslim world, are turning toward this fanaticism. he has said that 'peoples, driven by their divine nature, intrinsically seek good, virtue, perfection and beauty. relying on our peoples, we can take giant steps towards reform and pave the road for human perfection. whether we like it or not, justice, peace and virtue will sooner or later prevail in the world with the will of Almighty God.'
pope benedict XVI gave a speech that made a lot of people mad. only, most of them missed the point. he was trying to reach us here in the West more than the islamic population. he says that if our 'subjective conscience' tells us something different than his's false...not of personal integrity, but of sin. he insists on absolution in abortion, homosexuality, interfaith dialogue, role of women, etc.
bush has said that his faith 'frees him'. frees him to 'make the decisions that other might not like'. frees him to 'do the right thing, even though it may not poll well' and frees him to 'enjoy life and not worry about what comes next'.
perhaps sullivan is right...religious certainty is back.
'there is, however, a way out. and it will come from the only place it can come from- the minds and souls of the people of faith. it will come from the much derided moderate muslims, tolerant jews and humble christians. the alternative to the secular-fundamentalist death spiral is something called spiritual humility and sincere religious doubt. fundamentalism is not the only valid form of faith, and to say it is, is the great lie of our time.
if God really is God, then God must, by definition, surpass all human understanding. not entirely. we have scriptures; we have reason; we have religious authority; we have our own spiritual experiences of the divine. but there is still something we will never grasp, something we can never know- because God is beyond our human categories. and if God is beyond our categories, then God cannot be captured for certain. we cannot know with the kind of surety that allows us to proclaim truth with a capital T. there will always be something that eludes us. if there weren't, it would not be God.
in that type of faith, doubt is not a threat. if we have never doubted, how can we say we have really believed? true belief is not about blind submission. it is about open-eyed acceptance, and acceptance requires persistent distance from the truth, and that distance is doubt. doubt, in other words, can feed faith, rather than destroy it. and it forces us, even while believing, to recognize our own fundamental duty with respect to God's truth: humility. we do not know. which is why we believe.
in this sense, our religion, our moral life, is simply what we do. a christian is not a christian simply because she agrees to conform her life to some set of external principles or dogmas, or because at a particular moment in her life, she experienced a rupture and changed herself entirely. she is a christian primarily because she acts like one. she loves and forgives; she listens and prays; she contemplates and befriends; her faith and her life fuse into an unself-conscious unity that affirms a tradition of moral life and yet also make it her own. in that nonfudamentalist understanding of faith, practice is more important than theory, love is more important than law, and mystery is seen as an insight into truth rather than an obstacle'.
-sullivan in the oct. 9th edition of time
'if God were to hold all Truth concealed in his right hand, and in his left hand only the steady and diligent drive for Truth, albeit with the proviso that i would always and forever err in the process, and to offer me the choice, i would with all humility take the left hand, and say, father, i will take this- the pure Truth is for you alone'.
-gotthold lessing
well sullivan, i concur. let's just see what the rest of the world thinks.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

breaking the addiction

"Do not be too moral.
You may cheat yourself out of much life.
Aim above morality.
Be not simply good; be good for something."
-Henry David Thoreau