Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fill Me Up

Smooth, black leather encases 192 crisp, blank pages.
The blue ink glides smoothly over the first page as I begin documenting a new chapter in my life.
This, and only this, is ever my secret keeper.

Nothing but blank pages ahead of me, I look ahead with great ambition, endless dreams, and a healthy dose of fear. For I know these next 192 pages, they're going to be a wild ride.

Your predecessor holds tales of great adventure, a life changed forever, deep yearnings, and much pain...
What will you hold?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Night Drive

I'm sure the view from heaven beats the hell outta mine here.
If we all believe in heaven, maybe we'll make it through one more year down here.
My headlights pierced the darkness, fingers tapping the steering wheel as I impatiently waited for the light to change. 13 Laurel Street my destination, my second home during high school. I had a bottle of Jack riding shot gun, hoping it could numb the pain where my words would surely fail.
My hand lingered on the door handle, unsure I was ready for what awaited me in the house.
Frozen grass crunched beneath my feet. Reaching the front door, I instinctively let myself in.
(Some things never change.)
Her red, blood-shot eyes met mine as I stepped through the doorway...stepping back into a role long forgotten by me, but still mine.
The corner of her mouth lifted in a faint smile when I revealed the bottle of Jack, flashing her my best cheesy smile. And at that moment I knew she...we...would be okay.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lucky Number Seven

Currently: on lobby duty
Currently listening to: Owl City
Current mood: anxious

This semester has been a long one filled with unexpected twists, good and bad. Normally semesters seem to fly by, but August seems like so long ago. My life and relationships are drastically different now.

Here are some things I've experienced:
fear of the future, anxiety

The next 48 hours are the only thing standing between me and a few weeks of much needed rest and relaxation. I'm ready to go home.

To-do List for Break:
run routes without hills!
hang with the siblings
bake cookies
eat said cookies
read for fun (any book suggestions?)
re-establish some old relationships
laugh with my cousins and grandparents
City Museum with Anna and Christine

So long lucky number seven. You've exhausted and yet rejuvenated me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I live with only one regret.

His name popped up on the screen, my heart skipped a beat.
We haven't spoken in nearly a year, but for some reason the past few days he has consumed my thoughts.

"I'm in a relationship and it's going nowhere. I want out." he says. "She doesn't make me happy."

My thoughts race...
Get out then.
Go somewhere with me.
I can make you happy.

But I keep my composure. Console him. Ask him how school is. How life has been.
It kills me to hear him so unhappy.

Even after all these years, there is no denying it...my heart still belongs to him.
If he only knew.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Little Things

Arms swinging, hand in hand we headed down the stairs.
She slipped her pinky inbetween my index and middle finger.

Funny the little things we remember about people.
She remembers.

And I couldn't help but smile.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My heart hurts today.

Occured to me the other day
You've been gone now a couple years
Well, I guess it takes while
For someone to really disappear
And I remember where I was
When the word came about you
It was a day much like today
The sky was bright, and wide, and blue

And I wonder where you are
And if the pain ends when you die
And I wonder if there was
Some better way to say goodbye

Today my heart is big and sore
It's tryin' to push right through my skin
I won't see you anymore
I guess that's finally sinkin' in

'cause you can't make somebody see
By the simple words you say
All their beauty from within
Sometimes they just look away

But I wonder where you are
And if the pain ends when you die
And I wonder if there was
Some better way to say goodbye

Thank you, Patty Griffin, for saying what I can't.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Street Dragon!

One word: DYNASTY.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gloves off

The time had come.
This night was different.

As she stood in the all-too-familiar ring, staring into the blank eyes of her opponent, she felt something within her change. Her clenched fists began to loosen, and before she knew it her gloves were falling to the floor. As if in slow motion, they fell to the ring floor, bouncing slightly as they met the floor covered with so many of her tears, sweat, and blood. And in that moment she was more aware of herself than she'd been in a long time. A voice within her bellowed loudly, "NO MORE." Her eyes ran from her bare hands to the opponent across the ring, and then she turned and slowly climbed out of the ring. The opponent quietly chuckled, having seen her leave the ring before, always to return. But this time was different; she left the ring that night without looking over her shoulder to see if anyone was chasing after her.

Free from the ring, she walks with her head held high, with a new sense of security; a security rooted within a long lost sense of self worth. Walking away has been the best decision she's made in a long time. She is finally happy.

The struggle is over.
She is worth more than that...
and finally believes it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Unfamiliar Silence

These sea foam green walls are covered with the work of little artists. The warm Louisiana sun shines through the front windows.The familiar sounds of tools clincking against medal and Joe's voice carry in from outside. Every crack and corner of every room holds a sweet memory, and sitting here in the silence almost brings me to tears. This house holds a very important part of my past, and the people who fill it each day hold my heart.

Soon, the kids will dart up the stairs, pulling me away from my daydreaming, and act surprised when asked if they have homework. The silence will quickly evolve into an organized chaos of ABC's, time tables races, and complaints about completing homework.

But for now, for now I sit in silence and stare across the street at an old brick building which may just hold my next adventure...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

the empty moments

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain,
mine or your own,
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy,
mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty every day.
And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure,
yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Southern Rain

I miss the southern rain.

The moments on rainy days in which I would slip outside, into the quiet the porch offered...until the door would swing open and my name be uttered by a little voice, pulling me away from my thoughts and back into the house, back to UNO, Connect Four, checkers, and the little lives that hold my heart.

Hoping my outdoor friends had found shelter.

Blue plastic chairs in the carport. Moments treasured not for spoken words, but for the simple gift of presence.

Southern rain is different. It's more powerful--it begs you come and sit a while and listen to its sound, to let it speak to you. It's appreciated, and it gives you an excuse to stop, to slow down. Here, we put on our rain boots, pop open our umbrellas, let out a sigh, and trudge through it. When it rains in Shreveport, things slow down, sometimes to a stop. There rain is like an old friend; its presence is appreciated because its visits are sparse, and it always stays a while to catch up.

It's raining there tonight.
Boy, do I miss the southern rain.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chapstick and Faded Memories

Currently listening to: The Weepies
Currently: yearning for something more
Current need: big hugs from little arms found in Cedar Grove

I've got lots of friends, yes but then again, nobody knows me at all.

My heart is heavy, as it often is these days. It is laden with broken relationships, frustrations, unmet desires, seemingly endless battles. But tonight, one battle weighs on me more heavily than the others I fight on a daily basis; the battle to be present.

The smallest things can send me back. Hearing Conch yelled across the Quad or through the Union, the name known to only 11 others. A breeze that blows just right. My red, high-top Chuck Taylors. But tonight, tonight it was chap stick...Banana Boat SPF 30 with aloe vera and vitamin E to be exact. The little yellow and green tube had been hidden within desk supplies for who knows how long. And it choose tonight to re-enter my life, to take me back, to remind me.

The clear substance glided smoothly over my thirsty lips, smelling slightly of coconut and aloe. To the outside nose, that would be all; but that smell means much more. It is the smell of the cool ocean breeze sailing over the Gulf of Mexico, flowing through my unwashed hair and causing the beads of sweat on my body to evaporate, leaving their trace by calcified salt on my skin. It's the smell of way too many tortillas and cream cheese (which, to this day, I still cannot eat without feeling sick). It's the smell of being completely invested in the people around me. It's the smell of learning to accept a failure. Of pushing harder than ever believed possible. Of simplicity and pure freedom. The smell of truly experiencing God's presence for the first time. It is the smell which best encompasses the best 15 days of my life. It is the smell of living in the moment, of being present.

My heart longs for more--freedom, adventure, opportunity to break from the numbing daily routine, comfort.
It's easy to focus on not wanting to be here. It's easy to count down the days to our so called freedom. It's easy to long for things left behind or which lay ahead. The harder thing is to be present, to be focused, to be invested, to be here now.

Let me never forget that smell.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

These boots were made for walking.

sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same...

thud, thud, thud
The two-toned, borrowed boots were at least two sizes too big.
thud, thud, thump
There was no doubt that I was approaching as I strutted across campus and through the Union.
Did I look ridiculous?....Most likely.
Did I care?...Not at all.

Never have I understood more clearly than right now that sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. The past few days have slapped me in the face, yet simultaneously provided comfort. It's not how I want it to be. It's not how I thought it would turn out. It's the healthiest decision for me at this point. It may be short term, possibly long term, or even permanent. And it's going to hurt like hell. But, it's time.

These boots were made for walking, and that's just what they'll do.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Pull, I push.
Step towards me, I'll step back.
Hold on tight, I'll wiggle free.
You swing, I'll jab.

Don't hold me down.
Don't tell or expect me to be okay.
Do not put me in that box again.

Tell me my feelings are valid.
Fight for me.
Show me I am worth the effort and time.
Let me in.
Ask me to stay.

The tension on this line is stronger than ever before, and when it snaps the sting of its recoil will be fierce. But I won't flinch. I won't cry. I won't think twice.
I'll be gone.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Currently: struggling
Currently listening to: Sigur Ros
Currently feeling: surprised

In a moment of shear desperation and being overwhelmed - "run away with me" I said.
Being his usual, amazing self, his first concern was not to where we would run, but for my well being. My reply was typical, but his response caught me off guard.

then run.
Two words...stopped my heart.
Run in your dreams, then come back.
So for now, that's what I'll do; it's all I can do.
I'll run. I'll escape. And then wake up and face the day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's in a name?

Currently: sitting in the Perch, not reading for Armstrong's seminar tomorrow
Currently listening to: Iron & Wine

What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.

My first name, albeit an uncommon spelling, is fairly common; my last name, however, proves fairly unique. Due to the latter of these two facts I have spent most of my life answering to nicknames. I mean, with a last name like Waeckerle, what could I expect, right? Right.

I've got more nicknames than I can count. Some stem solely from my last name, others from a combination of the two. Some are specific to certain people, others widely claimed. Some possess stories, others strictly borne from convenience.

In any given day, I could answer to a multitude of names.
But my parents gave me one (okay, technically two).
My name is Krysten.
Not Kwack. Not Wack. Not Quack.

Here's a moment of vulnerability for you: I am truly struggling with my sense of self and what that means; I think that plays into this whole thing about to what I answer. Please don't misunderstand me, I know (in most cases) nicknames are a sign of endearment; I have nicknames for some of my friends. But I also recognize the power a name holds, the power naming something holds.

This summer I learned the Portuguese language does not contain the letter K; which meant they could not say my dear friend's name. How difficult to not be able to hear your name, to have that part of your identity stripped from you.
Am I comparing constantly being identified with a nickname to life in a foreign country whose people cannot express your name? No. But I am beginning to understand a small piece of that feeling.

So, what is in a name?
Call me Kwack or Krysten, I'm the same person, right?
I'm not so sure.

Habit ensures I will always be referred to through nicknames. But maybe, just maybe, this will prompt someone to call me by name at least one out of every ten times.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Box Wine & Alleyways

Go listen to Damien Rice's "Rootless Tree".

...that's where I'm at.

Friday, September 4, 2009

As it Comes

Currently listening to: Bon Iver Pandora station
Current book: "A Problem From Hell" America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power
Current mood: relaxed with a dab of anxiety

Today marked the end of the first week of my senior year. Wow.
After hanging in limbo for two weeks, I am finally registered, moved in, settled, and (God willing) will graduate in May.

I will spare you all the "I can't believe I'm a senior" talk...even though I can't. It's times like these in life I am reminded how time flies; and the fact that over it I have absolutely no control. This year will be interesting--dynamics have changed, people (including myself) have changed, Jewell feels different. This is the beginning of the end.

Here are a few things I'm focusing on this year:
1. Less talk, more action.
I'm done simply talking about doing things, even if it means sometimes I fly solo.
2. No competition.
No longer will I compete for people's time. One sided friendships are a thing of my past.
3. One on one.
Never have I been good at handling large groups of people, even when they are some of my
closest friends; this year that fact has been exacerbated. For my sanity, I will spend the
majority of my time one on one or within smaller groups. It may seem silly, but I simply can't
handle most social situations.
4. Take life as it comes.
"Be here now." Live in the moment. Less worry. I'm going to make the most of these last
eight months of having a security net.

Overall, I'm excited. This is a critical point in our lives, and I look forward to sharing all that encompasses [joy, fear, stress, disappointment, the "lasts", triumph] with my classmates. The world is calling, but for now, let's hit the ignore button and enjoy each other.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

These Things

My heart aches for...

comfort where comfort should be found
a place to land
relief from the pain
the comfort of his arms
to be looked in the eye and understood
the strength to finally break these chains
the deep connection we once had
open road

It's been two months; I didn't think I needed it any longer...
I was wrong.

Friday, August 28, 2009


sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name...

Actually, I prefer the opposite.
Lately it has been within my group of friends that I have felt the most uncomfortable.
So much sits behind that statement.
I sat down with the intention of all the thoughts whirling around my head to flow through my fingers, but as the little black keys rest beneath my finger tips my heart says "no". The thoughts continue to whirl, the words do not come. So, my blogging friends, you will for now remain in the dark.
I would apologize, but I'm not doing that any longer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rock::Krysten::Hard Place

Currently: fighting back tears
Current situation: between a rock and a hard place

I feel as though I will have to explain this to all of you eventually, so this is my effort to save some time, and my emotions...
Currently, I am not enrolled as a full time student at Jewell. Why?, you ask--it's a long story. Basically, I have a balance left over from last spring so financial aid has placed a hold on my account, which means I can't register, which means I can't move into the dorms. (I would, however, like to point out that I have paid for the 2009-2010 school year, even though I'm not registered or moved in. How thoughtful of Jewell.) For weeks I have been battling this situation, and it is truly getting the best of me. Options and time are the two things I am quickly running out of, and if I do not get things worked out by tomorrow I may not be a student at Jewell this semester/year.

As an (wanna be) adult, I am mature enough to recognize that, while others are not helping the situation, it was my inaction and irresponsibility that brought me to this place. It's frustrating. It's embarrassing. I've cried more times in the past three days than the past three months.

In the beginning, I thought this was God's way of teaching me a lesson (not in a malicious way though); he's always been good at holding me responsible for my actions/in actions. But the situation has progressively gotten worse. And today, after my last ditch plea for assistance to my father was harshly rejected, I am beginning to wonder if this is God giving me a way out.
Confession time: For 3/4 of the summer I was not planning on coming back to Jewell this fall.
So, do I keep taking this as a challenge and continue to fight? Or is God telling me it's time for something different?

Many of you have recently returned from exotic places and your new found gypsy souls desperately desire to return. This gypsy soul has not yet found that release, but feels that same desperation for something different. While I understand it may be worse to have tasted the world and been pulled away from it than to have never tasted, I want you to know that I would give anything for the bittersweet aftertaste you possess.

So, where does this leave me?
I have NO IDEA.
The next two days have the potential to drastically change the course of my future.
And I'm scared.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hey-O, I'm Legal!

Currently: hanging in the Anderson's apartment
Currently feeling: great

It's official my friends, I am 21! And I will not hesitate to say that it has been the BEST birthday thus far.
Now I know you're probably thinking that it was great because I could drink...not the case...although that was nice. Here's a run down of what my day looked like:
Normally birthdays seem to fly by, but yesterday strolled along like an old woman on a walk. I woke up at Kelsey's house here in Liberty and then she and I spent ALL day just the two of us; and friends, that would have been good enough for me, but the day just kept getting better! After spending all day hanging around her house, cleaning, and running away from Mormons, we met up with a large group of my favorite people at Compas. Los Compas is always wonderful, but it's even better when Nesto is your waiter and it's your birthday! Dinner was wrapped up with "Happy Birthday" in Spanish and a double shot of tequila. Ice cream at By the Scoop, drinks at Six, then cake at Kelsey's house (thanks to Kels and Jon :).

There is no better way to spend a birthday than surrounded by people you love laughing so hard your stomach aches, and that's exactly what I did. Not to mention the fact that a boy who is quickly becoming very important to me got to meet my closest friends. :)

So thank you to all of you who called, texted, or came along for the party.
You all make my life better.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stranger in a Familiar Land

Throw away your misconceptions. There's no walls around heaven. There's no codes you gotta know to get in. No minutemen or border patrol...The failure keeps you humble. And leads us closer to peace. Heaven. What the hell is heaven? Is there a home for the homeless? Is there hope for the hopeless.

So I'm home...for a funeral.

Sad as it may sound, I feel as though funerals bring me home more often than anything else. Today will be spent surrounded by my father's side of the family at my Uncle Mike's funeral; all morning I have tried to mentally prepare myself to be approached by people whom I'm apparently related to and be told how much I've grown up. Of course I've grown up, like it or not biology gets us all. Following hours of uncomfortableness, there will be a long drive with my immediate family through which I will put on my iPod and ignore the world and I will return to the couch I sleep on in the room that is no longer mine, surrounded by the 3 Rubbermaids, 2 duffel bags, and 3 boxes that contain my whole life and everything I own.

Mom: "Since you're home, why don't we have everyone over on Sunday for your birthday?"
Me: "Great." (laced with sarcasm she does not pick up on)

So within 48 hours I will see every member of my extended family, both sides. Don't misunderstand me, I love my family...but this is too much.

Oh, the joys of being "home".
...at least the laundry is free.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

laced with brilliant smiles and shining eyes

this is one time, this is one time, that you can't fake it hard enough to please everyone or anyone at all...or anyone at all. and the grave that you refuse to leave, the refuge that you've built to flee, the places that you've come to fear the most...it's the place that you have come to fear the most.

This little room in Melrose has been my sanctuary this summer, but also my prison. It has been years since I had this much time to myself, this much free time; honestly, I haven't known what to do with myself most of the time. Run, work, home--what else?

Music tends to define my life, probably because I was not gifted with poetic fingers. Within lyrics, I find my solace. There have been many hours spent these past few months lying on the floor, eyes closed, letting the music take me back. Intentionally chosen, the melodies strike the chords of my memory--some bringing gut wrenching laughter of cherished times, some expelling tears laden with the deep pain still somewhere deep within me, some rousing anger not yet dealt with, others mellowing me out, taking me to a place of contentment.

Summer 2009 met me with few expectations. While most of my friends were jetting off to their exotic adventures, I would be stuck on the Hill. Great. I'll be honest, if I could change it, I would. But it is times like last night I am reminded just how much I needed to be here this summer.

One of the very few things which has kept me sane this summer has been the presence of Quincy. Last year brought Quincy together as RAs in Semple and a relationship which started as co-workers has evolved into a beautiful friendship. So last night we decided to have dinner at Los Compas, and what started as a simple dinner between two friends turned into deep, meaningful conversation and a time of confession. I have not had my heart hurt that much for or felt so close to someone in a very long time. The words said and the feelings expressed at that booth in the middle of a crowded restaurant will stay between Quincy and I, but I will share this with you...
This summer has brought healing, beautiful healing.
I have found it in the most unlikely of places--playing Frisbee on the Triangle with new friends, Skype conversations, a Rusted Root concert, a booth at Compas, the floor of my room, late night conversations with my suitemate, the swing, ice cream dates with Rory, among other places.

No longer will I be a stellar monument to loneliness. I'm taking off my perfect make-up; no longer will I barely scrape by. The grave that I refuse to leave and this refuge I've built to flee will no longer be the places I fear the most.

This healing process is one which is far from over; but I have tasted the sweetness of joy once again and will fight for it from here on out.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

as the dawn breaks to day

Currently listening to: Mike Crawford and Liz's blow dryer
Current mood: relaxed
Looking forward to: this morning at the Well

Early morning is quickly becoming my favorite time of day.

For the past month and a half I have had an incredibly difficult time sleeping; it has eluded me for periods lasting days. But in the past week things have been looking up; while I am still not sleeping like a normal person would, I am getting a few consecutive hours each night. This brings me to my new love of early morning...

Typically, no matter what time I fall asleep, I wake up around 5 am. At first it frustrated me to no end, but I am learning to embrace it. So lately the following has become my morning routine:
hesitantly roll out of bed
flip on the coffee maker for hot water for my tea
turn on the episode of House I fell asleep watching the night before
by the time my tea is gone, House is usually over
spend a little time with Jesus
insert contacts into tired eyes
workout clothes and tennis shoes on
morning run

The doors of Melrose open and I enter the cool of the morning. The world is just waking up--sprinklers are quenching the thirsty grass, birds begin to chirp, the sun is opening it's sleepy eyes and pushing toward the horizon, throwing colors across the sky as if God took a paint brush to it. For a moment I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths of the crisp, cool morning air; it fills my lungs and eases my soul. As I exhale, the worries and stresses of the previous day are blown away. I am new. I am alone.
This is peace.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

throw it all together.

Currently listening to: NPR
Current mood: blank

Much has happened since my last post. Some which I will share with you, my dear blogging friends, some which I will keep to myself, and much of which I cannot fully process. Here's a random assortment of my life right now:

1. My mother is now on Facebook.

b. Four things are crossed off my list of goals for the summer.

iii. I finally acted on my desire to get involved at Jacob's Well; I was done waiting for other people to be ready or to have the time. I have the time now--so two JW Summer Institute classes, one email to the head of volunteers for JW Kids, and a few weeks later...I'm involved, and I now have friends at Jacob's Well that are not from Jewell. And it feels good.

4. "Sell everything you own and follow me."--I'm trying to figure out what this looks like in my life. And I'm probably over thinking it.

e. I, the girl who hates water, spent most of Friday at a water park. Weird, huh? I know. But that is what the kids I was watching wanted to do...and to be honest, I had fun.

vi. I ate meat for the first time in two months yesterday....and paid for it today. Won't be trying that again for a long time.

-- The book Marley and Me made me cry. Don't judge.

h. Ben and I are dating...not in a relationship, but dating.

9. I went 3 days this week without sleeping at all...my body hates me.
So I've resorted to drugging myself. You do what you have to.

That's all I got.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


it's 5:21 am.

why am i still awake?...

...because my body hates me.

for the past week i have not been able to fall asleep before 5 am...
this is getting really old.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

hit the road, jack.

Currently listening to: Interpol
Currently feeling: good

i bought new running shoes yesterday.
it's the best investment i've made in a long time.
they're asics.
do you know what asics stands for?
the latin phrase translated: "a sound mind and body".

running has become a saving grace. normally i go towards the square, up mississippi, etc. but yesterday evening i was eager to try out my new shoes and was looking for something different...so i went the opposite way--i ran out of town. a few blocks from campus, highway H opens up into wide open space. i took off with no destination or stopping point in mind...i just started running.

it was the best run i have ever had--highway H is long and hilly, there was open road as far as i could see. the cool of the summer night was setting in. all i could hear were the crickets, the occasional car zoom past, and the sound of my feet hitting the pavement.

the past two days i have run further and faster than ever. maybe it's the new shoes (seeing as they have cushioning that my old ones were lacking because they were so broken down). maybe it's the new route. or maybe my mind and body are finally getting on the same page.

for me, running is freedom.
it's time alone.
just me, the road, and my thoughts.
it's the beginning of my road back to a sound mind and body.

and from now on, i'm leaving my problems on the pavement.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Project Noah

as i'm leaving, a change comes on my eyes, these streets persuading me with mumbles strange goodbyes. and through the water, through the ring, to the soul of everything. i wash my heart out on the stones, and i'm almost gone.

i spent all of last week in new orleans with the youth group from grace umc (shreveport). we worked with an organization called project noah, and did rebuilding/clean up work after katrina.
::side note--it's been 4 years since katrina hit. 4 years. but as we drove through new orleans her mark is still COMPLETELY evident. the spray painted circles denoting survivors/bodies are still on most remaining houses, stairs lead to nowhere, homes are still boarded up. you wouldn't think it's been four years.::

when i signed up to go on Noah, i had no idea of the impact it would have on my life. first of all, my crew dug a house foundation by hand -- no machines, just shovels and our own strength. it sucked! but what an incredible experience! how many people can say they have done that? not many. also, to my surprise, i was an "adult" on the trip. what?? having this title really challenged me throughout the week; for instance, when the work became almost unbearable and i wanted to quit and/or complain, i had to remind myself that the youth in my group were watching me...that I was now the one setting the example, which meant i had to push through and stay positive, all the while encouraging the kids.

i had never been in an "adult" role with youth before, and it both humbling and encouraging that scott and sarah have that kind of confidence in me. the week was long, hard, and challenging...but i walked away feeling a little more grown up.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"trust me"...no thanks.

Currently listening to: Silversun Pickups
Current mood: annoyed/disappointed

People never cease to surprise me. Never.
I’m convinced you never really know someone, especially in this stage of life. We are all growing up, changing as individuals; and as a result our friendships ebb and flow like the tides. The last three semesters have taught me a lot about friendship; and as a general rule I have learned not to trust people.

I’m done trusting people who don’t deserve it. I’m done apologizing. I’m done wasting energy on one-sided friendships. I’m done playing games. If you want me to let you in, be prepared to prove yourself to me; and I expect to have to do the same.

Another thing I’ve learned is that it is incredibly difficult to disprove/rid a stigma an individual has of you. I have not been myself these past three semesters—I’ve been battling issues and illnesses. By no means am I apologizing for any of that, but for those of you who watched me struggle…I want you to know you have not seen the person I want people to know. So I want all of you to read the next sentences very carefully: Forget what you’ve known of me the last few semesters. You will see a new person in the fall—stronger, healthier, happier.

Monday, May 18, 2009

pull-out couches and tractors

Currently: half listening to my mom
Currently listening to: Ben Lee
Currently feeling: out of place

i'm home, albeit for two days, for the first time in 5 1/2 months.
it's weird.
my bedroom has been converted into the "family room"...translation: my sister took my furniture and i now sleep on a pull-out couch. the only remnants of me in the room i designed and literally helped my father and his friends construct are the paint colors i so meticulously chose.

each time i come home the landscape of my little town is different. here are the differences this time (which will mean nothing to you, but bear with me):
--they tore down OLA and are building a junior high
--there is a new fire station across from my doctor's office
--the glass door on front of my house has a new handle, which means i can no longer simply push it open. so yes, i do run into it every time.
--our swing set is gone
--the tree i spent my childhood climbing has been reduced to a measly stump. at least my father had the decency to cut above the part i carved my initials into
--we now have a monkey joe's...but i have no idea what that is
--what was once a 4-way stop is now a round-about

i don't know how i feel about home anymore. in some weird way, i'm glad my parents converted my bedroom into the family room. i think pull-out couches are a sign of emerging adulthood. i don't live here anymore, and this solidifies that fact. more than a few days at home at a time is all i will ever be able to handle.

...today, i was driving and passed two tractors on the road. that doesn't happen in kansas city, and i had forgotten how much i like it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"and you wanted a salad..."

Currently listening to: Ryan Adams
Current mood: at ease

i finally got to spend time with my dear molly tonight. finally.
what a relief to finally reunite with my dearest friend.
we talked, we ate, we laughed, we confessed, we reminisced, we looked forward.
i don't have any insightful things to say or teary-eyed stories to share with you; just the fact that i am incredibly grateful and blessed to have a friend like molly.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

T-minus 2 weeks

Currently: sitting on office duty in Melrose
Currently listening to: the annoying hum of the soda machines and freshman freaking out about their group project
Current mood: in between

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind, and the next two are not proving to be any better. My body is exhausted, I can't seem to kick whatever virus I have, and my planner looks like an ink pen exploded because it is so full. So here are a random collection of thoughts for your viewing pleasure...

1. I really really really need to guard my heart. For real.

2. This week I got to spend a lot of time with Emme and Rory. They are absolutely wonderful, and just being around them makes my life better. I can't wait to spend all summer with them!

3. My family came last weekend. It was the first time I had seen them in almost 5 months, and they were here for a whopping 6 hours. The time with them was...good, exhausting, awkward, and reminded me why I do not go home.

4. A friendship was mended last weekend, albeit under not so choice circumstances. But I'm not complaining. Hopefully this will be the end of our roller coaster ride...

5. The fact that I am not returning to Louisiana this summer has been difficult to deal with. By the time I am able to go back, it will have been 8 months...part of me is still afraid the kids will forget about me. Plus, they don't have anyone who can be with them every day this summer...which really makes me worry about them. And I miss the Momma.

6. In 2 weeks I will be a senior. Holy. Mother. Mary. As ready as I am to get out of here, I'm not ready at all.

7. Lilac bushes all over campus are in full bloom, and I love it! That is one of the best things about Jewell in the Spring.


9. Saturday I proved myself to myself as a RA. I finally feel confident doing this job.

10. This week I have 4 tests, 3 presentations, and 5 papers due. All this the week BEFORE finals. I swear our professors are trying to kill us.

I'm ready for summer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

incoming call...georgette

Currently listening to: Cake
Currently missing: Shreveport
Looking forward to: S.U.M.M.E.R.

i just got off the phone with one of my favorite people in the entire world...georgette. the call was unexpected, and a sense of relief fell over me when i saw her name on my phone; and while the conversation was a mere 12 minutes long, it was exactly what i needed tonight.

my summer was spent with georgette--walking for hours around the lake, swimming on fridays, doing all things uniquely shreveport, watching ER and CSI, playing connect 4 with our kids. she's my big sister, and i miss her terribly.

she called because i was on her heart and mind; i am always incredibly humbled and honored when someone tells me that. she wanted to know how i am...and would not take the standard "i'm alright" answer. tonight was the first time in a long time i have told anyone what's really on my mind and heart--it felt good. i wish georgette was closer, but we are where each of us needs to be (although most days i'm not convinced of that). so for now, we call each other occasionally and talk about silly things like how "jesus and java" will get us through the last 3 weeks of the semester.

and it's good.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My dearest Molly

Currently listening to: Fleet Foxes
Current struggle: jealousy
Currently missing: Molly
I've learned a lot about relationships this year.
Some people have proven themselves to me, others have not.
I've been let down...
and I've let others down.

Relationships are tricky; they take a tremendous amount of work. Over the past few years many of my relationships have changed...some for better, some for worse. But there has been one relationship, one person, I have always been able to count on--Molly.

Molly and I have been friends since the beginning of our journeys at Jewell. Living across the hall from me, she was my constant companion freshman year. Sophomore year found us paddling through the Everglades together, which only increased the depth of our relationship. And this year, well...she has watched me go through hell and back, and has not once left my side (except the whole going to Central America thing).

At only 22, Molly is already an incredible woman. She is humble, deep, intentional, content, hilarious, and real. Her quiet grace touches my heart. She is both rational and realistic. Willingly, and sometimes unknowingly, she shares her immense wisdom with me. She has an incredible ability to put me at ease. She is the one I turn to for advice--she's straight with me. She is truly a beautiful person, inside and out.

I miss her dearly, and am eagerly (and impatiently) awaiting our reunion. It's about time we get back to making excuses to go into Kansas City so we can go to Broadway Cafe to get hazelnut lattes. And for her to show up to breakfast 10 minutes before class starts. And I still have a lot to learn from her about bartering with the guys at Prospero's Bookstore. Mostly, I just need the only person I can truly count on back.

Friends often come and go, but if you're really lucky you'll get those few people who are truly significant in your life. I am convinced Molly is a friend for life. And I am incredibly blessed and honored to call her one of my dearest friends.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

breaking free

Currently listening to: Ane Brun
Current struggle: restlessness
Mood: READY!!!

no one in my life has described me more accurately and concisely than my mother; her description of me: drifter. for not knowing me very well, she's got me pegged.

fall break of my freshman year was my first long distance road trip by myself--a trek to umr to visit friends. and i believe that was the beginning of my drifting. my family had always traveled, vacations every summer...i'm no stranger to other parts of the united states. but this trip was different...i was barely 18 and was just beginning my journey here at jewell. and although the trip was only 3 1/2 hours, it was exhilarating. i was finally free.

and then there was sophomore year: outward bound = the single most incredible experience of my lifetime. it's really difficult to believe it's been over a year since i spent my christmas break in the everglades...i remember it like it was just yesterday; and very rarely does a day go by which i don't long to be back there. outward bound changed me.

i'm losing my mind here; it's like a dog being tied up, itching to run. i have another whole year of school left--i can hardly stand being here now, what is it going to be like next year?? so often i fight the urge to get in my car and drive, no destination in mind...just somewhere different, somewhere new.

one day i might look back and regret not focusing on "being here now", but i'm convinced i was born to move. so much lies ahead of me--so much adventure, so many new people, so many new places--it's killing me to wait (i never have been very patient). jewell is not satisfying me any longer, i am ready for something bigger! this deep yearning to move, to run is more than likely affecting my relationships here...but instead of battening down the hatches and focusing on working through everything here my instinct is to look forward and run.

and so far, no one is chasing me.

one of these days i am going to pull hard enough to break this chain, and i'll be gone.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

love from little arms

currently listening to: guster
current mood: dismissed/restless
looking forward to: anything but right now

lately much of my time is spent with people under the age of 10. let me explain...

mwf mornings/afternoons i babysit two little boys, aiden and andrew (5 and 3). friday evenings i volunteer at midwest foster care, which really means i hang out with kids...most of whom are pretty young; we play basketball, play on the playground, and other kid things like sidewalk chalk...i love every minute of it. and to top it off i spend as much time as possible with rory and emme anderson (4 1/2 and 2).

one of my favorite things about mwf mornings: ringing the doorbell at aiden and andrew's house and hearing aiden yell "kkkkrrryyyssstttteennnn!!!" this past monday aiden flung open the door and the first thing i saw was andrew running around butt naked with a huge smile on his face...although it had been a crappy day thus far, i could not help but laugh!

last night as we were leaving dinner, emme ran up to me arms stretched upward saying "hold you, hold you"...which meant she wanted me to hold her. when i picked her up she gave me a big hug and then preceded to rub the back of my shoulder with her little hand and then say "sank you, kyssen. how you?" it was absolutely precious. then rory came over to my "big house" (semple) and we had a baking party with her easy bake oven. after handing out our cupcakes in melrose, i got to read bedtime stories with emmers and tuck her into bed. who could ask for a better post-dinner activity? not me.

i'm in a really weird place with friends right now. why are relationships so difficult once we get past the age of 8? i mean, we all want the same things, don't we?--to feel loved, accepted, like we are important to someone, respected, to fit in. and yet, so often we (i) fail to be the kind of friend that provides those. it's messed up, frustrating, discouraging, and hurts. you'd figure at the age of 20/21 we could figure out how to treat each other.

so for now, i spend as much time as i can with my little friends. it's funny how much i can learn from them--aiden is teaching me about compassion, andrew about joy, and rory constantly reminds me of the importance of being considerate.

big hugs from little arms can fix just about anything.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Perfect Shade of Dark Blue.

Currently Listening to: Ben Lee
Current Struggle: insignificance
Mood: Reflective

The past few days have been quite interesting, but for no particular reason. Here are some of the things running through my mind lately:

At 5 and 3, these little boys are quickly becoming an important part of my life. I spend MWF mornings/afternoons with them while their mom works. Andrew has down syndrome, and is teaching me a lot about communication. Luckily he uses baby sign language, so (most of the time) we can communicate...in a traditional way. This morning he looked at me with his big green eyes, rosy cheeks, and cracker covered face, and smiled big and wide then burst into laughter. His joy is infectious; no need for words. At five, Aiden is one of the most compassionate people I've met--Andrew is getting a sinus infection, and this morning Aiden told me he wishes he could be Andrew so he could take his sickness. Later that day he preceded to list all the reasons he loves his older brother Calin. I really believe the Lord is going to use little Aiden to help heal my soul. Plus, it's fun to find out that I am, in fact, half robot and to play "action fingers" in the "snow castles" we build.

Ash Wednesday--
Jon and I went to the Ash Wednesday service at the Well, just the two of us. It was perfect. Those times when it's just me and Jon, those are the best. Our friendship is an incredible blessing; I wish I could describe it in words. That night and that service, and experiencing it with him was exactly what I needed. What a good way to start the Lenten season...

Going Home--
Lately I've had this strange desire to go home, like home home. Weird. Not really sure why...I do miss my little brother and sister though. Ever since I came to college I've been building MY life; but I have very recently realized I have attempted to do so without including my family. It's pretty much like trying to build a house without the foundation--whether I like it or not, my family is part of who I am. So, for the first time ever, I'm going home for a weekend. And...I'm not telling my mom I'm coming. Surprise! I'm pretty sure she's going to cry.

Salad Dressing&Summer--
Tonight I had my Momma's (from Louisiana) salad dressing for the first time since Christmas. It's incredible how one taste of it on my tongue sent me back there. You know, my room is literally covered in pictures of my kids and their artwork. I know it's there, but I rarely look at it anymore; so tonight when I returned to my room I stood and surveyed for a long while--taking in every face in each picture, remembering the stories behind each. I read Kelsey's blog, and I was back on the front porch of the White House. It's a constant struggle to pull that peace and lvoe into my life here at Jewell...

Speaking of lvoe, it's what I'm doing for Lent. Realization: I have abandoned the lvoe I learned, found, and experienced this summer. Not okay. It healed me once, it can heal me again. Without it, I am nothing. Also, I'm no longer letting other people's reactions determine my actions. I think it is going to be a good 40 days.

Major struggle in my life. I especially feel it in my close group of friends, by no fault of theirs--it's connected to my insecurity. Vicious cycle, isn't it? I could go into detail, but I won't. If you really want to know, just ask.

Just for kicks...I really like random texts from dear friends, Pandora, waking up to snow covered ground, and long spontaneous talks in the study room after RA meetings.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I am nothing.

If I speak in the tounges of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all the mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irratable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong-doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends...For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I keep being pulled back to this...probably because I keep getting it wrong.

Monday, February 9, 2009

jesus and fluorescent lighting

**disclaimer: i hate fluorescent lighting!**

jacob's well continues to inspire me, along with providing me a place in which i meet god in different ways each time i enter that building. while i am a regular at the 9am service, today i went to the 5:30 service with jess. i really wish that service worked better with my schedule...the atmosphere is so incredible. there's something about the way the lights are dim and the streetlights shine through the stain glass windows with the candle light...i suppose it just makes it easier for me to center myself--i'm all about atmosphere.

tonight the service was a little different. the band decided they were not going to use any electricity; typically they have 4-6 people accompanied by electric guitars, mics, amps, etc. (but not in the stale praise band kind of way). not tonight. tonight they were 11 strong, no mics, no amps, acoustic guitars, cello, banjo....it was incredible. it was their attempt to allow us (the congregation) to hear each other. at first i was slightly uncomfortable, but as i closed my eyes i found myself immersed in the beautiful sound of a few hundred people lifting their voices to the lord. it gave me the chills. i didn't know 99% of those people, but i felt connected to them in a way i cannot describe. you know, i'm not sure what it's going to sound like in heaven...but i think i experienced a little bit of it tonight.

along with being able to hear my brothers and sisters sing along side me to our great god, i could hear communion being served. now, we take communion every week and i always like to watch people as they file through. but tonight was different. tonight through the voices singing my favorite song (words to build a life on) i could hear "the body of christ broken for you...his blood shed on your behalf." communion changed, i don't even know how to explain it.

blessed when you lose your own identity,
blessed when you find it and it has been redeemed.
blessed when you see what your friends can never be.
blessed with your eyes closed,
blessed you see me.

But as for me, my prayer is to you O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer
me in your saving faithfulness.
-Psalm 69:13-
...i think i'm beginning to experience what freedom feels like...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

vulnerability, apathy, relationships, and my fish.

"i've got lots of friends, but nobody knows me at all."
--the weepies

sometimes i wonder what my fish would say if he could talk to me. now, i realize how ridiculous this sounds but here's why...
he sits on my desk (at which i spend a lot of time at night). he sits there and swims, watches me, and sometimes even follows my finger (we're still working on that). my fish sees every aspect of my hidden life: he sees my insecurity, he sees me cry, he sees me throw things at my door out of anger, he watches me struggle with my relationship with god and with my friends, he knows my secrets.
so yes, i would like to hear what he'd have to say to me.

lately, i've been struggling terribly with relationships. over the past few months i've watched relationships in my life blossom, thrive, deteriorate, and even fail. i'll be honest with you...vulnerability scares the hell out of me, especially when i know another person can hurt me. and how sad is that, to have the fear of being vulnerable with one of my closest friends for fear of being hurt by that person? i hate that is what that relationship has turned into; it also breaks my heart. and the one person i always felt comfortable with, the one person i could always be real with is now thousands of miles away in central america. i can't describe to you how i miss molly; she has this incredible ability to put me at ease, which i didn't realize until she was no longer here.
so here i am, in this state of apathy; and while it has brought me relief for a short period, it is slowly wearing off and that old and all too familiar pain is creeping back in. a very dear friend of mine consistently tells me that "it is okay to not be okay."
i'm trying my best to believe that, but the world is telling me otherwise.
so i wake up every morning, put on a smile, and try to fake it as best i can; all the while slowly dying inside and destroying what's left of some of the best relationships i've ever had.
this has got to stop.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

my boys.

this morning i had the privilege of attending jacob's well with josh and jon. i was pretty stoked considering i thought i was going to have to go by myself...not to mention i love love love those guys.

*side note: i really love jacob's well. sure, a lot of people say that...but it has been a saving grace for me over the past 2 1/2 years. finally, a church where i am fed and delve into the word. it's wonderful, and exactly what i need at this point in my life. just something that stuck out to me this morning: tim said, "activism without reflection and contemplation is just business."*

lately i've realized how blessed i am to have men like josh and jon in my life. throughout high school i had a lot of guy friends, but my life has always lacked the support and presence of strong godly men. he has finally blessed me with that; while my relationship with each of them is unique, they all offer me strength by being my brothers in christ. they are so sincere in their beliefs, so determined to be the kind of men God desires them to be, that i am inspired by them. it's been incredible to watch them grow. my prayer for them is that they continue to allow God to work through them so that they may continue to encourage and inspire others. my desire to express to them in words what they mean to me comes unmet, but it's my prayer they know i consider my relationship with each of them invaluable.

plus, they're hilarious :)
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