girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Saturday, December 30, 2006

times gone by

i simply cannot get this little scottish tiddy out of my head...
so before any of my dear friends go out and make fools of themselves,
here are the lyrics :)
should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne? for auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup o' kindness yet
for auld lang syne we twa hae run aboot the braes
and pou'd the gowans fine;
we've wander'd mony a weary foot
sin' auld lang syne we two hae paidled i' the burn,
frae mornin' sun till dine;
but seas between us braid hae roar'd
sin' auld lang syne and here's a hand, my trusty friend,
and gie's a hand o' thine;
we'll take a cup o' kindness yet
for auld lang syne should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne? for auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup o' kindness yet
by: robert burns
to old friends and new ones too.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


there is no case for the emergent church...
someone should tell mr. strobel to get on that, he might be able to make a bit of money.
i stumbled upon one of ryan's friends blog this week.
he had some interesting things to say about us 'postmodern/emergent/anti-traditionalist/church-critiquing brothers and sisters'....
what he said was's true that our perception is our reality,
but as i mentioned in response to him,
i was a little hurt.
i'm not really sure which is worse, being invisible or being misunderstood.
ryan's friend is a smart boy and has a ton of good things to say...
i like him because he listens.
ken has always told me that i should never argue but strive to dialogue...
but then who gets to fight for those of us out here???
who represents US?
and WHO IS US?
ryan and i had a long chat about it last night...
and i'm beginning to realize how much i don't argue about these things anymore.
what others think and critique about the movement are becoming background to what we're really trying to do...
it's when i poke my head up and see who's paying attention to us that i get in trouble.
there are people out there that are claiming to represent the 'emergent' group (whatever you call it) and are doing a really poor job...
they are angry and reactionary.
and that really pisses me off,
mostly because i used to be that way.
people like ryan's friend have no choice but to believe what they're hearing...
and i suppose all we can do is try to pay enough attention and try to interject when we can.
i have been guilty of painting the whole traditional, conservative, modern church with huge brush strokes...
and i guess i shouldn't expect anything else from the other side of the fence.
for some of you out there, none of this is really a reality...
for others of you, you get bombarded more than i do.
it's a tricky thing...
knowing when to discuss and when to shut up.
i'm learning :)
and i'm trying really hard to just...'be'.
"the 'emerging church' is a label which is being stuck on anything that is outside the 'norms' of the Church as most people know it; whereas the Emergent Church is specifically about the principles of the science of emergence to church growth."-brewin
perhaps we're putting too many churches into these categories...
and maybe the categories don't matter at all.
we're gonna screw up...
that's the reality,
and i suppose all we can do is try.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


i've been 'tagged' by my dear friend mark berry...
which means i have to think of 5 completely amazing and intersting things to tell
all of you about myself.
here is my best attempt:
1. i was an altar girl.
while my family was still a part of the episcopal church i was actually the LEAD altar girl...
those episcopalians sure know how to let women in, that's fo' sho'.
2. i'm a bit of a masochist.
don't get too excited...
i said only a bit.
i have 3 tattoos & have had 2 piercings.
1st tatt-clover on my back.
even though he wasn't irish...i think st. pat was on to something
when he used the clover as representation of the trinity.
2nd tatt-the 3 ring trinity on my foot.
3rd tatt-'hope' on my wrist.
piercings-eyebrow & lip.
3. in high school i was little ms. tomball.
elected student body president,
student council president,
led 2 bible studies (i was super conservative)
and nominated homecoming queen.
i graduated a full year early because i couldn't
stand being everything everyone else wanted me to be.
...i am still trying to figure out who i am...
4. i own an electric violin & still haven't learned to play.
it's pretty much badass...and i, sigh, am pretty much lazy.
(hush rodney, hush)
5. my natural hair color is strawberry blonde.
it was de-virginized in the 8th grade.

i'll tag the napiers, rodney, karen, and johannes!

tee hee! you're it!!!


'as sarah waited - 90 years for a son to fulfil God's promise...
we wait in hope for what we though had been spoken to us.

as moses waited - 40 years in the deserts...
we wait for emptiness and humility.

as the prophets waitied - 1000 years of salvation promises...
we wait for signs of presence.

as mary waited - 9 months of her 14 years for the child of God...
we fell the birth-pains, yet fear for the child.

as johh the baptist waited - scanning the crowds for knowing eyes...
we long for an experience of the divine.

as christ waited - 30 years of creeping time,
40 days in the throes of temptation,
3 years in the midst of misunderstandings,
3 days in the depths of hell...

so now, we wait.
our turn to toil on the levelling mountains and staightening paths.
our turn to watch time's horizon.
our turn to hope that he who promised is faithful, and will return.'

right now the world waits...
with breath drawn in, held tight.
waiting on santa...waiting on the symbolic birth of a little boy.
we wait.
many stay awake...stomachs tied in knots of expectation.
some sleep to pass the time. the morning...there will be joy.
...for some.

others still wait...
for food
for shelter
for warmth.
for healing
for forgiveness
for wholeness.
for justice
for peace
for solitude.
for life
for death
for love.
i am waiting.
i am wanting to wait at least...
hoping that i can stand it,
hoping i can hold out,
hoping that i am not left empty-handed.

i am waiting on the movement of God...
and my patience runs thin.
like a healing wound,
i cannot keep my hands away.
it would heal if only i could let it alone...
but i am impatient.
i am unable to let time take it's course
and healing to happen.
the wound remains
healing is denied.
and so hopefully maturity comes...
that i can learn to wait.
it's a discipline i'd like to learn,
and maybe one day...
perhaps not wrapped up with a shiny bow
but appearing nonetheless...
change will happen.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


now i've heard there was a secret chord
that david played, and it pleased the lord
but you don't really care for music, do you?
it goes like this
the fourth, the fifth
the minor fall, the major lift
the baffled king composing
your faith was strong but you needed proof
you saw her bathing on the roof
her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
she tied you to a kitchen chair
she broke your throne, and she cut your hair
and from your lips she drew the
you say i took the name in vain
i don't even know the name
but if i did, well really, what's it to you?
there's a blaze of light
in every word
it doesn't matter which you heard
the holy or the broken
i did my best, it wasn't much
i couldn't feel, so i tried to touch
i've told the truth,
i didn't come to fool you
and even though it all went wrong
i'll stand before the lord of song
with nothing on my tongue but

Thursday, December 21, 2006

my dark night

ken posted on our wellspring blog about james fowler's 'stages of faith' and within it was the mention of st. john of the cross. i had studied him once upon a time in my hermeneutics class...and thought i'd look him up again. this is what i found:

"Dark Night of the Soul is a term used to describe a specific phase in a person's spiritual
life. It is used as a metaphor to describe the experience of loneliness and desolation that can occur during psychic or spiritual growth.

The term and metaphysicality of the phrase "dark night of the soul" are taken from the writings of the Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic St. John of the Cross
, a Carmelite priest in the 16th century. 'Dark Night of the Soul' is the name of both a poem, and a commentary on that poem, and are among the Carmelite priest's most famous writings. They tell of his mystic development and the stages he went through on his quest for holiness.

The "dark night" could generally be described as a letting go of our ego's hold on the psyche, making room for change that can bring about a complete transformation of a person's way of defining his/her self and their relationship to God. The interim period can be frightening, hence the perceived "darkness". In the Christian tradition, during the "dark night" one who has developed a strong prayer life and consistent devotion to God suddenly finds traditional prayer extremely difficult and unrewarding for an extended period of time. The individual may feel as though God has suddenly abandoned them, or that their prayer life has collapsed.
Rather than being a negative event, the dark night is believed by mystics and others to be a blessing in disguise where the individual is trained to grow from vocal and mental prayer, to a deeper
contemplative prayer of the soul. Particularly in Christianity, it is seen as a severe test of one's faith.
this is my abandonment.
traditional prayer is difficult...
collapsed is a great word.
and st. j is right...this isn't a negative thing.
i'm okay with it, and for the first time in a long time,
i've had words to put to what i'm feeling right now.
it isn't 'bright and shiny'
but i'm okay with that...
even around christmas time it's alright.
if st. j and others i trust are right...
then when the dawn finally comes,
if it ever comes (which i really think it will),
the dawn will be brighter than anything i can imagine now.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

jingle bells

i just locked myself out of the house...
luckily my brother was still inside asleep (yes, it's 2 in the afternoon)
and graciously came down to let me in.
as i waited...
i heard someone outside raking the leaves (which are falling in tons despite the humid weather),
and i heard him whistle.
i stood still for a moment...
it was one of my favorite carols.
regardless of the gross humidity, the cloudy skies, and the chore of raking the lawn...
this man was still cheerful.
when, for whatever reason, he failed to finish the line 'in a one horse open sleigh'...
i finished it for him.
i'm not a champion whistler, but i hope he heard.
quickly thereafter my brother met me at the door...
and i haven't stopped smiling since.
it reminded me what christmas is about...
the twinkling lights,
the mistletoe,
the rush,
even the crowded streets with irritated drivers,
the smell of pine,
the chill on my nose and toes that was here and will hopefully come back,
the carols or the hymns sung high in choir lofts or blared from my car stereo,
the carefully decorated cookies (or not so carefully eaten dough and icing!),
the friends both here and halfway around the US and the world,
the chance to serve friends by helping them move into a new house instead of having church at 4 o'clock on a sunday because that's what we always do,
the ability to spend $20 and use it to create special gifts for special people,
the ornaments,
the stories,
the itchy, obnoxious christmas sweaters that still make me giggle,
the angel atop the tree,
the random pictures of christmas lights around the house,
the hot chocolate (or iced if you're in houston),
the crap that is stirred up in us sometimes around the holidays...
and how even though painful, can still be productive...
because this christmas does not have to be last christmas...
or any of the ones past.
christmas is about 'the thrill of hope',
and this christmas will be whatever i make it.
whatever i want it to be.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


i got an e-mail today from a new friend...
someone rather different from me,
and yet their words resonated deep inside.
my friend may have said this to tons of others as well as me,
but it meant something...
something real, and true, and beautiful.
it's simple and logical...but so worth repeating...
and it made the world feel a little less lonely.

"As everything is about permission giving here is my permission to you:
Be young,
be foolish,
have fun,
do crazy, mindless things.
Have a few drinks more.
Allow yourself to make mistakes
(that's how your old friends got wise anyway).
Don't try to grow up too fast.
I don't think that God is demanding this of you.
Kiss your boyfriend and annoy grumpy germans with your excitement.
These are your freakin' twens so dance a night away,
watch a sunrise,
be late for church,
live on coffee for a week
and buy some crazy- expensive clothes.
Play a great prank on Ken
and drive around in your car for hours
just listening to decent music.
Play hard…
if you didn't get the point yet, I'm giving up ;-)

....To be honest,
I could cut the whole emerging church blah,
in the end it's all about friendship
and spending time with your favorite people."
and thank you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

best & worst of times...

there are moments when i feel overwhelmingly lonely.
yesterday was one of those days.
at the end of the christianity major at HBU they make us take two senior seminars-
one is fun (ryan's taking the one on the emergent church right now)
and the other includes an exit exam...
'everything you should have learned in the christianity major'
i was told yesterday to choose which bible verses i felt were worthy of memorizing.
this did not go over well with me.
one of my friends is in the class, and when i mentioned to him that i didn't want to memorize anything...the conversation that followed left us both a little flustered.
i felt misunderstood and alone.
later that night i attended a christmas party for ryan's fraternity.
on the way there i realized that a large amount of anxiety and andrenaline was flowing through me.
i am simply not like most of the girls i knew would be at that party.
i find myself in conversations with girls that weigh around 100 lbs. and who are complaining they can't find a pair of jeans that won't show their cellulite...
girls that start internet groups about hating people at HBU...
girls that carry purses and wear clothing that seem a bit overpriced.
now...i am guilty of these things as well.
i have way too much stuff...
and i'm mean and judgmental (obviously)...
but there are moments when i wish i was a little more ignorant of the important things going on in the world.
even the professor that allowed us to use his house for the party seemed a little out of the loop...
when i began to explain what kind of church both ryan and i go to, he seemed to have some understanding of it but still a little clueless.
he's a smart man...and social too...
so why aren't more people interested in what groups like wellspring and harbor are doing?
we know that we aren't the only way...and that others will do things how they feel best...
but the more we see how important community and an alternate way of living are...
the more i wonder why more people aren't on board.
ryan and i talked about it on the way home...
and i felt lonely.
at the first event i ever attended with ryan and his fraternity i met his friend named david.
actually, i had met david before...but it was the first time i adored him.
at some point during the party i ran out to my car with my friend bekah where we were stopped by a rather frail looking homeless man.
some of the boys, including ryan, were standing outside so they came over to assist.
ryan asked one of the guys to get our new friend 'tom' some of our food...
we talked with tom for awhile...
he informed us about the 'hit' that mayor bill white had on him,
how long he had been drinking,
that we were ignorant children who hadn't learned the basic fundamentals of 'sharing' and 'caring' in elementary school...
and needless to say that conversation escalated.
tom made it very clear he didn't want our 'scraps' of food,
but instead wanted money which we all refused to give.
at one point he began to circle around us and actually stepped forward to get into my quickly shrinking comfort zone...
that's when david stepped in.
all he did was make one small step...
he moved just far enough over in front of me to block tom's possible access to me.
a small step of 6 inches of concrete was huge to me...
and that's when i knew david and i would be friends.
yesterday at the christmas party david and his new wife (pictured above) called me to let me know they had drawn ryan in the secret santa game we would be playing later that evening.
they wanted to know if i thought he would like a new cell phone...
ryan has been without one for a year.
last night, before the party, ryan had a conversation with his pastor (that he lives with) about getting a new phone...
all his debts were paid and he finally had enough money to get one.
this was a big moment for ryan...
and my heart sunk.
he wanted to get a cell phone that night...
and i had to manipulate him into not doing it.
i couldn't tell him why though...and it was hard.
i knew that his friends wanting to do this was worth ryan getting a little frustrated at me.
the couple-david and chelsea-are great people.
they've been married for a month now and had a fabulous (and i mean fabulous) wedding.
as chelsea said "they were overly blessed and wanted to bless someone else".
there are moments when HBU seems like a foreign land to me...
and there are times where i choke back tears because there are real people there who love others and really want to try to help when they can.
ryan has good friends...people who love him, and so do i.
we are so lucky sometimes.
and i suppose the rest...we'll understand one day.
ministry and church and community and following what we think is the best way of life...
can be long, and hard, and lonely...
but so worth it.
especially if you meet people like david and chelsea along the way.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


"i think i want to learn how to celebrate better..."
ryan said this to me the other night at the same party i blogged about earlier this week.
he wants someone like karen...or teach him how.
i'm wondering why some people seem to get the art of celebration much better than others.
...and why is it so hard for us to celebrate?
i think i may understand where ryan is coming from...
some of us just haven't been afforded the luxury of celebration,
but what about the rest of us that have?
that have had a life filled with celebrations...why is it so hard?
last night a bunch of us went to 'lights in the heights'.
it was a least i thought so.
i brought along a thermos full of hot chocolate and a baggy full of marshmallows.
we strolled along...checking out all the houses, the bands, the art cars....
people were carrying around their own 'red cups' full of their own favorite 'beverage'.
it was good fun.
i got to get close to people i care about...and tried to stay warm.
and somewhere in the midst i felt sad.
ryan and i had talked earlier in the day about what christmas brings for him...
being with families that are happy around christmas...
not only does it make him feel happiness inside,
but it also brings with it a lot of pain.
i think he remembers other times...
when things weren't like strolls through the heights.
christmas is hard for me in moments like that...
when i see others faces'.
when the holidays aren't completely joyous.
on adventures like the one last night...i cannot stop smiling.
i was actually skipping around.
the cold...the lights...the people i love...the hot chocolate...the carols.
i love it all.
i never want it to end.
i didn't want to see ryan sad...
i don't want him to ever have an unhappy christmas again,
but...those are things i cannot give him.
i cannot own it.
it is not mine.
the picture of us above is ironic...
behind us, on the side of someone's house, is the movie 'it's a wonderful life'.
we watched a clip of that movie at wellspring today...
and even though it chokes me up, i'm left wondering if it's real.
are there really moments and holidays that are that happy?
i'm not sure,
but i'd like to find out...whatever the truth may be.
and i'd like to learn how to celebrate better too.
there are some people that just bring an atmosphere of it with them...
every moment feels special...full of energy...
i would like to learn that art better.
and i think it's true...
celebration is a discipline.
'fun' should be something we make time for.
something we value in our healthiness.
i hope that no matter what this holiday season brings up for all of us,
that we have our moments of happiness as well.
i think that one day we will have had so many holidays that are happy...
that they outweigh the sad ones of the past.
i hope that's true...
that christmas won't be something we dread going through,
but that the songs are right...
that 'it's the best time of the year'.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


earlier this week i found myself at a very difficult moment.

i had spent the night mingling with friends in one of my most favorite places- karen's apartment- and chatting with some of the neatest people i know.
ryan and rodney finally got a chance to be cute.
deanna got a break and got a chance to get out for a night.
(yesterday was her birthday, but don't make a big deal about it. >cough cough<)
some of karen's "pastor" friends helped me see that just because you work for a traditional church does not mean you cannot be overwhelmingly cool.
melissa...nathan...ken & becky...they were all there and it was great just to be in a warm, smiling, festive place.
and we were mostly there to celebrate the fact that our dear friend shannon is leaving us to head back to london.
...we celebrate everything it seems...
i even got to fix ken a mixed drink!
it was wonderful.
and then at the end of the night i got to have a good chat with two of the neatest, wisest, kindest women i know.
and they helped me...
they listened...offered observances they had...and asked some hard questions.
the biggest one was....'how do you feel centered again, or whole'....
and i had no idea what to say.
when things start to go awry, how do i draw it all back in again?
they mentioned that sometimes they go on a walk, or seek out action...
and others find themselves with music, or on a mountain...
and i still had no idea.
i want to find it.
and i'm thinking it might require some outside help.
so i'm finding myself contemplating therapy with a woman we all know and trust.
it's a scary thing to venture toward...but like shannon said...
if you want to be holistic...
you need physical health
mental health
spiritual health
and emotional health.
i'd like to have all those things...
as karen said, i'd like to get out of my head and into my body.
some of us have been in conversation about starting a new group at both HBU and U of H.
a place for us kids to go and feel free to drink breath.
perhaps ken is right, and this is time for me to move into action.
i've watched him...and now it might be time for me to facilitate.
ryan and i talked the other night about how great it feels to be in places where we feel understood.
i feel that way with him...
with wellspring.
i want others to feel understood and i'd like to meet others that make me feel that way as well.
in fact, in august i'll be traveling with a handful of others to go visit our dear friends in england.
i'll go that far to be with people that understand me...
and so for anyone that stumbles upon this blog,
i hope you have it somehow...
especially this time of year.
i hope that you have some way of allaying the fears, doubts, suspicions, or anger.
that you have a way to be at rest.
to calm;
to quiet.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

warm & fuzzy

tonight i felt warm.
despite any feelings that i may have toward the place i once worked, i have to admit that they sure know how to decorate for the holidays.
i found myself taking pictures...again...this weekend.
it started on friday when i went out to eat with my friend bekah's family.
her parents are divorced.
that's something that i suppose i should be used to...most kids i know have divorced parents,
but i've never seen it first hand...
i don't think i've been so emotionally exhausted over someone else's family before.
i wanted to help...i wanted to learn...i wanted to understand.
i watched my friend bekah as she tried to deal with emotional strain the evening was putting on her.
both her parents are happily remarried...
and i wonder how the holidays will go for her.
she's a strong girl.
i also found myself taking pictures at harbor on sunday.
it's rare that ryan and i actually see each other alone,
and so i've started considering church (or family) time...dates.
lots of people call the herrington house home...whether they have the last name herrington or not.
at one point i had to crawl under the christmas tree to get a fallen ornament, and one of the little girls followed.
i tried my best to capture the adventure.
and then today...
i felt warm and fuzzy being with my wellspring family.
there are lots of 'ifs, ands, and buts' in the near future...
it kinda makes me nervous.
lots of questions of when and where.
lots of late nights wondering what's in store for all of us.
there were tears shed and tears choked back on thursday night when the reality that ken and becky may not always be in houston arose.
it is hard for me to think of things being any different than how they are now.
watching my friend bekah's family made me realize that divorce is something that happens to perfectly normal people...
and it could happen to me one day.
i won't live in the fear of that...
but i think that sometimes i live in a fantasy world where people will always stay in love and they never leave...or have to go in order to simply provide for their families.
tonight when we were deciding on where to eat for dinner i said that i wanted to eat somewhere 'warm and fuzzy'.
that's how christmas makes me's an excuse to give lots of people a whole lot of affection.
it's a chance to snuggle up to those we care about.
a chance to smile more.
a chance to go exploring under christmas trees.
a chance to decorate.
a chance to spend a little extra time together.
a chance to wear obnoxious sweaters (ryan and i are looking for matching ones if anybody's got some).
a chance to be with family...whatever last name they hold.
a chance to help others.
a chance to remember.
yes...i feel warm and fuzzy inside.
who knows how long that feeling lasts...
inevitably i will get busy, and stressed, and cold...
but right now...
i'm thinking of my favorite christmas carol,
and i'm wondering if this is what 'the thrill of hope' feels like.