(undated journal entry from some time between August and October 2016)

The water of the shower drenches her in sudden insight. The realization of the reason for the sudden and intense need to leave the room trickles through her hair and down her back. The idea percolates through to a place of understanding somewhere deep inside of her – a place the influence of past and unconscious is unearthed beneath the surface of conscious present. This place where the paper is filled with imprints and smudges, the floor covered it eraser shavings and splatters of white out – the remnants of constant battling.

The clay she forms remembers the places it has been touched, mended, and punctured.  Though it does so silently, only revealing these memories later, when tried by fire. Only then do the cracks appear, shedding light on the previously unseen mistakes/damage/mishandling.

She realizes in this moment that she is this clay, cracking in the kiln of marriage. And just now in the kitchen he was not her husband, but her father. And the fear that left her child self hiding in her bedroom some evenings, brought about by his anger, was suddenly cracking her surface.



Please stop.

Their gunshots
like the drops
on her forehead,
Cold and penetrating.
She shut her eyes
and her mind
between each:
bracing herself for the next,
steeling herself.

She had, for a long time, liked to think that her mind was indestructible
But slowly, slowly
she was learning otherwise

She turned the knob, just slightly, so the faucet would slowly and consistently drip fat, cold drops. She stepped over the edge and laid on the bottom of the tub so that her small body would be aligned to let the drops fall precisely on the imagined x in the center of her forehead
As the heat was drawn from her body and her bones became self aware, her eyes no longer saw the bathroom and her ears no longer heard the silence.
She was elsewhere,
this child,
fascinated by torture
And slowly, slowly
she found that a mind,
like steel,
will corrode
given enough water
and time


And now
their gunshots and you
surfacing in the ocean of silence
A jolt
in a dream
bringing back all the memories and realities
Like an earthquake splitting the surface
simply to remind the world
of its layered existence
sewn together.



brick low resThe small finger traces the maze of mortar, sliding through streets that run between buildings of brick in a vertical city
and that finger doesn’t know that a standard mortar joint is assumed to be 3/8″
And that brick sizes are determined based on that assumption
And that Frank Lloyd Wright spec’d colored mortar to accentuate horizontality
And that even though the little pig was protected by his house of bricks that the walls of home can’t protect from everything
Because so much of this world is a facade
And it’s the wood framed interior that goes up in flames
And the mold of sadness in the basement that slowly creeps in
And the termites of time eating away at the bones
But her bones are still young
And her skin is still soft
And her eyes are still smiling
For they haven’t yet witnessed the things that huff and puff more viciously than that wolf.

If only the shelter of childhood was built to house us all.



In Response

It upsets me that I end up crying in church all the time.

It upsets me that Christianity feels so arrogant. And that it condemns a large portion of the world to hell. And that a lot of the time it turns people into projects and checkboxes.  And that God’s sovereignty can be used as an excuse for a whole range of things.  And that the woman at the playground didn’t even care who I was as a person or what I had to say when she handed the Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet to me.

It upsets me that we exist in a broken world but that God hasn’t fixed that yet.  And it upsets me that that increases my doubt and causes me to question his sovereignty, power, and existence.

It upsets me that every image or thought I have about God is tainted by my humanity, and that I am supposed to be able to see him as perfect, when all I have are imperfect people as previous reference points.

It upsets me that I have to try and discern the difference between biblical truth and fiction created by “christian culture.”

It upsets me that I can’t read the Bible without twisting the words or getting stuck on some theological/philosophical issue (e.g. the problem of evil or the interplay of sovereignty and free will).

It upsets me that faith is so difficult.

It upsets me that I don’t understand. And that this can be answered with “well you’re finite so what do you expect.”

Death upsets me.  Seeing my mother-in-law fight for her life for four years only to die after all upsets me.

It upsets me that we are given friends and loved ones only to lose them.  And it upsets me that the sermon today seems to suggest that this is to teach us a lesson. And it upsets me that all of life feels like a lesson to be learned.

It upsets me that I have a friend dying of cancer. And it upsets me that praying seems futile. And my pessimism upsets me.

It upsets me that life isn’t fair.  And it upsets me that I feel guilty for saying that as I live in a free country with a roof over my head.

It upsets me that I am small and insignificant.  And that I don’t feel in control of anything.

It upsets me that sovereignty and manipulation seem interchangeable.  And that I feel like a pawn.

I am upset by the feeling that Christianity promotes self-loathing and low self esteem.

It upsets me that the arguments against Christianity feel so potent.  And that so much can be explained by science and psychology.  Because this makes faith seem even more impossible. And it upsets me that my doubt makes me feel inferior.  And causes me to fear becoming ‘a project’ to my Christian friends.

Empty words upset me.  And hypocrisy.

And it upsets me that sometimes I feel so much anger inside but I don’t know what to do with it.

It upsets me that this list is so long and that it is only the tip of the iceberg.  And it upsets me that it shows my selfishness and my price and my brokenness and my laziness and my need and my misunderstanding.

And it upsets me that numbness feels like a more tolerable way to exist than having to deal with all of these things that upset me.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In response to the opening question of:

what upsets.JPG

In Response


Her signature unknowingly picked up the gauntlet
that he unknowingly dropped.
And this unknown challenge was both imaginary and impossible:
there were no rules and all the rules,
nothing was defined and everything was.
With no weapons and all the weapons,
it was all and nothing

Like the space between walls

that we call rooms

And the pauses between words

that we call necessary

But his homelessness felt all too familiar
Longing for the lives and places that were no longer his
Now existing in an obsession with isolated oscillation
A mouthful
Of memories
Creating the pieces she held between her fingers, trying to place
Because she was accustomed to the lonely company of puzzles
Wanting their wholeness for their own sake
For she imagined she knew what it felt like to be shattered into 1,000 pieces and placed in a box on a shelf for a rainy day

But this one,

this one was like the one at Goodwill –
Where she was startled by the violent eye contact made across the room
While standing in the checkout line
And he walked in through the door
And neither knew what the rulebook had to say about this
So he disappeared amongst the shelves
And she out the door.
But now every time she goes back
She can’t help but feel her stomach drop out of her torso
Like it did in that moment
In the store with the puzzle himself –
Who never gave her the satisfaction of having all the pieces

So instead of admiring the whole
It’s the gap that holds her attention,
The emptiness that drives her insane
As she sits still trying to determine if anyone won
Amidst all the losing.


The Accident

A white car in fog heading towards her
driving home his points and ideas
with no lights on
so nobody sees him coming.
But they break down –
The metaphors that is

He should have called it a mini van
His ghost child trailing behind him.
But it’s a fog eat fog world in here
Where everything slips through fingers
And she questions if he’s even real
Because she’s always been a cynic
Or so it seems
As she secretly covers a deeply dug pit
of hope
that waits to be filled
Because she’s always been a dreamer
Or so it seems
As she secretly swallows a premeditated handful
of sleep
that waits for no one

And she realizes what is happening
too late
and just in time

Now it’s all just a stinging cheek,
a tear streak, a journal page, and a drawing from the girl in the room down the hall, who also walked in socks to the attendance sheets that set them free…
And by free, we mean from the walls of daycare and the restless nights and the twitching of the cocaine addict and the heads that speak like talking to children, their eyes making sure we didn’t find our shoelaces – God forbid;
For freedom is different for those trapped by their own skull and skin

And he drives to the coast
To submerse himself in freezing water
To let the waves crash instead of him
Because we’re all trying to be alive and asleep simultaneously
Because we’re all looking for someone who might pretend to care, even for a second, about our shattered dreams and broken expectations
Because we’re all in a silent state of solitary confinement, just looking to make eye contact

(But they break down)

And maybe there’s no fog where he came from
So who’s really to blame?

The Accident

the WHY

I am torn between writing some deep, rambling, insightful post about life and freedom and meaning and language and relativity and definitions…. and posting cute pictures of kiddos from this week…. Thoughts? Opinions? Comments?

[Too bad you can’t respond to my questions before I ask them…]

Well, I guess for starters I’ll update you on the day-to-day of my life and see where that takes me:


+  gray and threatening  rain = playing in the children’s section of the library and risking a trip to the park where we met a new friend
+  mass chaos, wresting, practicing the art of sharing, indoor trampoline, watching Ezra cheer up Ivy, “oh, you do ballet?! I did too!”, thanking God for another set of adult hands…
+ FINALLY THE SUN IS OUT! another trip to the park, splashing in the river…the smile the garbage man gave us when he noticed it was a toddler sitting in the front seat pretending to drive the parked car :) the tantrum that followed after getting out of the car…
+  missing mommy, loving on the cat, missing mommy, eating a snack, missing mommy…
+ playing in two different sandboxes with two different kiddos  (also true of slides and bubbles)

In the time I wasn’t with kids I:

+  started a book called Wool by Hugh Howey that my parents bought for me after asking if I like dystopian literature, which I do.  Really interesting so far.  Definitely a page-turner.  As of now it is reminding me of a cross between The City of Ember, The Hunger Games, and The Circle.
+  hung out with two new friends :)  I even got to talk about art/design/making with them!!  Plus I got to hang out with some old friends too. It’s been a good couple of weeks in terms of my social life.  And it’s not often I feel like I can say that.  Being such an introverted homebody and all…
+  had one day of productively checking things off my TO DO list

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And now here we are.  A Friday night…sitting on the couch…trying to put a finger on why I feel so off.

I hate that there are always so many factors.

Is it just something biological?  Did I not get enough exercise today?  Poor food choices?  Is it an inner emotional turmoil?  Am I frustrated by the fact that I have time to do something creative but don’t feel up to it?  Do I feel unseen, unknown, unheard?  Is it my insecurity in relationships?  My insecurity in my artwork?  My worth? The typical feelings of meaninglessness?  …

Something I have come to realize about myself is I always want to know WHY.  I think that is something true of humans in general…but I also think that some people think about the whys more frequently than others.  And until recently I didn’t realize just how deeply the whys impact my thinking.

There are times when this is incredibly helpful.  When it helps me to see and perceive things beneath the surface, the motivations, the reasons, it helps me to empathize.  People have told me that I am good at asking the “right” questions… and for a while I was puzzled by this… I was just asking questions without thinking much of it.  What does it even mean to ask a right question?  But then, as is my nature, I started to think about why it may be that so many people have made this comment.  And I think it may have something to do with the fact that I subconsciously dig into the reasons for emotions, actions, reactions, etc. and simply ask questions based on this curiosity.  (my future career as a counselor perhaps?) However, there are also times when this tendency to ask why is incredibly dangerous and detrimental.  It has led me to doubt the motives of people who have no ill intentions – people who love and care about me.  (But why would he be offering to do the dishes?  He must want something….  But why would she buy me a gift randomly?  It must be because she must feel sorry for me…  But why…? It must be pity, annoyance, frustration, anger, deceit, personal gain…) It has caused fights in my marriage, barriers in friendships, misread body language/comments/facial expressions/gestures/questions… Because when I doubt the genuine, pure motive of someone, I insult them.
I unintentionally say: I don’t trust you.
I say: I know you and see right through you.

“Cynicism is the sickness of my culture
We undress each other with an evil eye”
Cynicism by Josh Garrels

Unfortunately, because there have been numerous times when I have called someone out on mixed motives and then these mixed motives have been confirmed (if not at first, then later after some thought) it is extremely difficult to have any desire to try and alter my cynicism.  And in doing this or saying this I am IN NO WAY SUGGESTING THAT I HAVE PURE MOTIVES.  That’s just it.  I see the selfishness, the greed, the envy IN ME.  I see the bitterness, the anger, the hurt, the loneliness, the desire to be seen, known, understood, important, heard, right, happy, comfortable IN ME.  Not all the time.  I’m sure I just see a tiny tip of the iceberg of those things in me.  But because they do exist in me I assume they exist in others as well.  And sometimes I am correct.  But sometimes I am so so wrong.  And that’s when the hurt comes in.

So what do I do?  (The question that is always asked at the end of these kind of realizations.)  Where to go from here?  Just because Love Always Hopes, does that mean I am supposed to ignore the reasoning for things?  Do our reasons and motives matter? Is my asking why actually a form of judging others?  Is it pure curiosity? A desire for empathy?  An innate attribute of my personality? DOES IT MATTER WHERE IT COMES FROM?

If I help out at a food shelter because it will look good on my resume, does that negate the fact that people who were hungry now have full stomachs? If I sing at church even though I don’t want to does that negate the fact that I am singing?  Does the why change the label: from selfless to selfish, from worship to deceit?  Should our aim be authenticity?  What does it mean to be authentic? Is it even possible to be truly, deeply, 100% authentic?  Would that be a good thing? (Yes, your butt does look fat in those pants.  And I am telling you this because it is true and also so you will give them to me. – harsh/rude/unfiltered truth? – authentic?)

Does the why matter?
[What do you think?  Let’s talk. :) Comment below!]

the WHY