girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Thursday, April 30, 2009

the house that love built

'it is a curious sensation: 

the sort of pain that goes mercifully beyond our powers of feeling.

when your heart is broken, your boats are burned: nothing matters any more. 

it is the end of happiness and the beginning of peace.'

-george bernard shaw


so i thought i was done with blogging for awhile,
but then adrian died.
adrian is one of the guys that lived at 'alpha house'.
alpha is part of the harbor community that i'm apart of in houston.
the house is run by my friends josh & aimee who have two beautiful daughters, shaun and rebecca.
over the past years they have worked with men that are recovering from drug addictions.
they have given them a place to stay with low rent pay, a safe place to get healthy again, and a family that loves and hopes for them.
they are very, very brave.
after hurricane ike there was some damage done to the apartments that these men have lived in. 
adrian was the last guy living there and he had moved into the house during the construction to fix the apartments.
on april 18th, after a morning of running errands in a thunderstorm, josh, aimee, and their daughters came home to find adrian slumped over in his room.
he had overdosed on heroine.
apparently he had been clean for about a year until a month ago when he has used again.
aimee is somewhere around 6 months pregnant and was the one to help do CPR on adrian.
the other house connected with harbor is right down the street.
it's the house where jim, betty, jovon and ryan live and were called over to the house when adrian was found.
they were able to help get the little girls out of the house and help josh and aimee as they go adrian's heart beating again.
one week later adrian was buried after having several of his organs donated to transplant patients.
i didn't know adrian very well.
he was super shy and i am super not.
i wish i had known him better.
he was 23 years old.
i also don't know the kind of pain that adrian lived with.
as far as anyone can tell, he hadn't meant to hurt himself.
i do know the kind of pain that all of us are dealing with in 'the after'.
i see it on josh and aimee's faces.
i hear it in our community as we try to figure out where to go from here.
adrian is the only death in 10 years of working with people recovering from drug addictions.
his death changes things though.
it brings out things in each of us.
makes us ask some questions.
makes us look at ourselves a little differently.
in the end, i hope that adrian knew peace.
i hope that eventually we will all heal,
and that we may too know peace.
i'm not sure if this means i'll keep blogging,
or if it's just gotten me wanting to talk again.
i'm still a happy little girl,
but i felt the need to remember adrian.
that's why i made the video above.
i don't have any pictures of him,
but i have pictures of the harbor children.
one of the reasons i love community is because of the children.
most of them will never know what a 'big church' is like.
what it's like to sit in pews,
or be put into a bunch of church programming.
i like having them around.
i like when they see all of us together working on the alpha house construction.
i like how all of us get to help raise the children together.
so i made the video for the kids and to remember adrian.
may he rest in peace.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

in the end.

it has been a long time since i blogged.
recently i've tried to figure out why that is,
and the best answer i can come up with is...
because i'm happy.
it seems silly really,
but it's pretty much the truth.
after returning from my 5 1/2 month trip across europe i found myself to be a different person.
blogging about pain and suffering and deep change is a lot easier than simply saying that,
'today i am happy'.
it just isn't quite as profound.
so where am i now?
despite the recession i have found a great job:
i'm lucky enough to spend my time planning summer camps for kids.
the work behind camps is tons of fun,
and really rewarding as well.
i am still loving my communities and learning how to be loved by them.
my family is alive and well...
learning how to heal and how to grow.
ryan and i are still dating and still working on our relationship.
we will have been together 3 years this september.
but does love conquer all?
i suppose only time will tell.
and God and i?
we're still working on our relationship too.
and lastly, i've found something i'm really passionate about:
taking pictures.
my parents were lovely enough to buy me a new canon 50d dslr and i've been snapping photos every chance i get.
in fact, i've started a new blog to track through my picture-taking progress.
and so, for now, i'm happy.
it's time to move on and start something new.
maybe you can visit me there

'happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth...
we are happy when we are growing' 

Friday, December 19, 2008

day 160

today is my first day back in texas.
this morning i woke up thinking, 'i wish i was home...'
only to realize that i was home!!
my last few days in london were great.
shannon was able to get us on a rooftop terrace of parliament so that we could see big ben up close!
it was one of those lovely rainy, cold english days and a pretty euphoric feeling standing up there.
that's when the 'day of processing' began.
if you know anything about shannon hopkins, you know she makes you think!
afterward we had coffee and then went for lunch to one of my favorite american diners, TDIFridays.
then we went and had a glass of wine at 'Gordons' which is down in some catacombs in the city.
so we went from the top of the city to underneath the city all in one day,
whilst processing all along.
it got my mind thinking...
remembering all that i've come through over these past 5 1/2 months along with what the future could be.
and now i'm home...
home sweet home.
it will be good to rest and to be in my own space for awhile.
it hasn't even really set in that i'm here-i think that will take awhile.
but soon enough everything will start coming back to me and i'm sure i'll develop wanderlust once more.
but for now, i'm back in texas...
who knew i would miss it so much.
maybe now i can start to smell like home again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

...and on the 6th day...

...God created MANchester.
at least that's what they tell me.
my trip to manchester last week was great.
i got to spend time with laura drane and her husband mark...
and then also ben edson, his wife ruth & their kids jude and lily.
i also got to see their community, sanctus1, in action.
from the moment i walked in the door i was set to work helping them set up for their advent art installation-'GIFT'.
sanctus1 meet in a cafe called nexus which is in the basement of the methodist church block in the center of manchester.
also sharing their back office space in a network called 'SPEAK' which works on getting out information on the injustices of the world.
so you've got sanctus, great art installations, fighting injustices, and great coffee all in one spot.
oh, and some of the 'leadership team' at sanctus are paid by BOTH the methodist & the anglican church.
so if i had to pick a word for manchester, i would pick:
it's not like in the states where each church and denomination is fighting the others down the street for fear of their lives.
no, in manchester (and around a lot of the UK) the church just wants to survive and is happy to let the other denominations do the things they do best...
let the baptists do their baptisms well,
let the anglicans do their liturgy well, etc.
sanctus1 was cool.
we had some great intellectual conversations and they do some kickass alt. worship...
but i was reassured that ben (one of the leadership team) is only artsy by association.
that made me feel a bit better.
i also got to stay in 'laura drane's castle'!
(it's really an old cathedral that's been renovated into 25 different flats)
it's beautiful and a really great space-i guess when you've got old cathedrals on every block it's easy to find new uses for them.
sanctus was a great way to end this trip.
it got my creative/spiritual/questioning juices flowing again.
now i've got about 5 days left and i head back to texas.
i'm excited, but it will be sad to leave this time and space.
it'll take a long time to unpack everything...
literally and figuratively,
but for those that have read throughout the trip-
i'm gonna be glad to get home and tell all these stories.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


my friends jonny baker and jon birch over at proost proost (the fellas that published the 'book of blessings' from the wellspring community) have been cooking up a project for advent for a while which is now available... 

inspired by the grace community and their service nine over the last few years, they commissioned nine artists to interpret nine different pieces of the christmas story. 
all the pieces have been created in response to one of the traditional nine readings from the nine lessons and carols christmas service. 
there are 6 movies and 3 tracks. 
the items are not available individually - they wanted to keep this as a set. 
i think it's a great idea for communities interested in doing something different and creative for advent and the christmas season.
the whole compilation is available for NINE pounds...
which is like $13 or something, depending on how the dollar is doing on any given day :)
YOURS TRULY is on the 5th track with the one and only mr. jon birch...
it's a blessing based on mary & the angel that visits her and the verses luke 1: 26–35; 38.
check it out on the proost website!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


the last couple of weeks have been crazy!
shannon has returned from her 'american tour'-fundraising and more  sweet notions.
as soon as she hit the ground we started to get thanksgiving ready (she throws a party each year and invites over the americans & english).
it was a great time, but an awful lot of work for someone like me who doesn't cook.
i did, however, pull off a corn souffle and two pumpkin pies. 
they were great...ask anyone!
during that time my friend molly from oklahoma came over for a visit so i got to show her some of my new 'stomping ground' around london.
we also took a trip down to the coast and hung out in brighton.
today is my second day hanging out in manchester with the community sanctus1.
last night they had their weekly gathering and we discussed the prophets for their 2nd advent week...
tonight i'm going to help a local vicar serve beer at his church where they're hosting some bands,
today and tomorrow i've been helping out with a group called 'speak' that work in social justice issues,
saturday i'm helping out at a craft fair being held in the cafe that santus1 meets in,
and then that night i'm volunteering from 2am-6am at the cafe (we call cabs and hang out with folks who need it).
then i'm back to london to ride out my last week and a half before returning to the states!
i've loved this trip...
so much more processing to go,
but i am so ready to be home.
so ready for christmas!!!
oh, and did i mention i saw SNOW on my train ride up to manchester? 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


my roomie here in london, hannah, and i have been doing a lot of processing about who we are and what we want to do with the future.
recently i made a list of things i CAN do for a job and things i WANT to do.
when i saw that i even left the window open for the 'can' category...
i realized something was wrong.
when i quit the ymca last year i gave my boss a card.
he had been complaining for the past year about how he wanted to quit the Y but never did.
the card had a drawn box with butterflies flying inside it.
there was one, lone butterfly flying outside of the box.
one of the butterflies inside said, 'why are you flying outside the box? 
why don't you come back in here where it's safe?'
the butterfly on the outside of the box replied...
'you may be safe, but i am free'.
i recalled that card when i realized i had created a 'can' category.
hannah and i agree that there is a vacuum out there that wants to suck us in and that it must have started somewhere around graduation...
but the more i think about it,
i think it started much longer ago.
somewhere down the line somebody or something made us feel like we had to be a part of the 'rat race' that so many people get caught up in.
i realized that to 'be free' is a really intentional thing.
i have to wake up every morning and tell myself that 'i choose to be free'. 
that way i don't get sucked back into believing i have to live my life a certain way and on somebody else's terms.
i think God is a lot like that for me.
i will go days without remembering God.
there are times when i hurt so bad and i feel so lonely that i wonder if God is real.
the same goes with people that i love and tell me they love me.
it seems to be an intentional conversation that has to take place everyday...
otherwise i slowly find myself being sucked back into the vacuum. 
i have to choose to believe in God...
choose to believe i'm loved...
choose to believe that i am free.

spring of hope.

'it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, 
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, 
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, 
it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, 
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, 
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...'
-a tale of two cities; charles dickens