A Beautiful End

We decided to make today count. And so we jumped in the truck, drove forty minutes with music on blast, then ran to the sandy beaches of Laguna Niguel.

We walked up and down the beach, barefoot and ridiculously happy.

We didn't really do anything, just walked and laughed and talked and laughed. Sometimes we just sat in silence and pushed the sand around with our fingers. It was perfect. As the light died down, we visited the small shops and shared a small cup of gelatto.

We wanted to avoid traffic and leave early, but as we were running towards the car, we saw this.

We smiled and looked at each other. It was the last sunset of 2010 - how we could just run by it? So instead of running to the car, we ran to the most picturesque spot. I didn't have the camera just then, and for once, I was grateful for that. I heard the seagulls and smelt the salt air.

A beautiful end to a beautiful year.

Benedictus es, Domine, benedictus es.


Colors of December


Dostoevsky on Love

"A loving humility is a terrible power, the most powerful of all... love is a teacher, but one must know how to acquire it, for it is difficult to acquire, it is dearly bought, by long work over a long time, for one ought to love not for a chance moment but for all time."

~ Brothers Karamazof


Advent: In the Waiting

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away [...]
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

~ T.S. Eliot, No. 2 of the Four Quartets


Spurgeon on Change

Today felt strange and slightly off balance. I looked out the window and saw November fog, yet it outlined the silhouettes of a dozen palm trees. Fog and palm trees honestly just don't go together. Somewhere in the middle of muddled thoughts, I realized I was missing Idaho, and that it's almost exactly a year since we all left. It's strange to think about last year. I love where I am, am blessed and ridiculously thankful for it, but I still miss Idaho. Some days much more than others. I find myself wishing change didn't happen, and that life was back to how it was last year or even two years ago before I was sick. And then I remember one of my favorite passages in literature. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening for November 2, my birthday, is absolutely perfect. It deals with the idea of change far better than I can ever attempt.

"I am the Lord, I change not." --Malachi 3:6

It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows. All things else have changed--all things are changing. The sun itself grows dim with age; the world is waxing old; the folding up of the worn-out vesture has commenced; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they shall perish, they shall wax old as doth a garment; but there is One who only hath immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change. The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore, is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth--"I am the Lord, I change not."

The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian's hope affords him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth. With God "is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." What ever His attributes were of old, they are now; His power, His wisdom, His justice, His truth, are alike unchanged. He has ever been the refuge of His people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and He is their sure Helper still. He is unchanged in His love. He has loved His people with "an everlasting love"; He loves them now as much as ever He did, and when all earthly things shall have melted in the last conflagration, His love will still wear the dew of its youth. Precious is the assurance that He changes not! The wheel of providence revolves, but its axle is eternal love.

"Death and change are busy ever,
Man decays, and ages move;
But His mercy waneth never;
God is wisdom, God is love."



Love this rain. How a raindrop settles on my face, then runs down, leaving way for the next inevitable drop. How it brings us closer, as we huddle for warmth in the library or around a cup of tea. How it makes the air feel alive and reborn. I love this rain.

Nobody stands still in the rain. Rain rushes us all from the shelter of one dry spot to the next. I found myself hurrying past the library with my hand above my head until a rebellious raindrop landed on my face. I had to stop. And look up. Rain is our common grace. It's easier to see grace with this image of rain. It falls from above and touches everything below. It is a gift.

I kept walking but with an uplifted head and entered class.

Two hours later, I forgot my moment of revelation when the pain set in. Rain makes my knees and hands feel a steel, sharp pain. I pulled my unwilling body across campus and hurried through the rain. Rain didn't feel beautiful or remind me of grace. Then I almost fell into a puddle that drenched my shoes and splattered my face. I had to laugh as I realized my stupidity, my sin. It began to rain harder. As it fell, the rain startled my soul into remembering God and His love. Maybe I wouldn't be so startled if there was no pain. Maybe it's not just the rain that startles my soul, but the pain as well. Maybe... no, not maybe, God ordained both. And I can rest in that.

"When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me.

Oh. How He loves us. Oh, how He loves us. How He loves us, oh."


The Quiet World

(by Jeffrey McDaniel)

In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.


October 1st


Beginning in Wonder

It's a new day, a new door, and a strange one, I don't know what all to expect. I'm hoping, I've been hoping that this day will come for a long time. School starts in an hour. Yes, yes, it does! Soon, I'll be on campus, a real college campus, as a real college student. I am so happy I'm lost in wonder.

I wonder at both the little things and the big and the paradoxes in between: how the sky opened up to receive the sun, how I can walk without any trace of a limp, how small my Bible feels in my hand, the fact that I'm even holding the very Word of God, how far some dear friends are yet how close their prayers and love have made them to me, and the wind blows through my window, how it makes me feel alive.

So, I start my college adventure now. I thank God for His faithfulness and mercy and love. And I wonder like a child at how great God is. Whatever happens next, He promises it will be glorious.




Two Summer Blessings

This beautiful girl came and visited from TX. She stayed for an entire week (!). We drove down PCH from Malibu, window shopped at Beverly Hills, squished seaweed in Laguna Beach, and saw the sunset at Santa Monica Pier. We watched Inception, and I took her to In-N-Out. We also managed to have gluten-free (GA) and dairy-free (me) meals for most of the week. We had a beautiful time together.

Mom, my two sisters, and I drove for 7 hours to see this lovely friend. We went star-gazing and saw blazing Arcturus through the eye of a telescope. We went up on the deck, and she read aloud by the light of candles. Sunday morning, we sang out of the Cantus and read some more. We had a beautiful time together.


I love these girls :)


Thankful, So Thankful

The test results were negative. :)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow...


The Box Called Tomorrow

The word sits like a hot coal in my mind. It burns through all my defenses. No matter how many boxes I try to put around it, it breaks out and lands right beside me. For right now, I'm putting it in a box called tomorrow, far away from today. Please, stay there.

Rewind two weeks ago: I had gone to USC for a visit with my doctor, and she found a diagnosis - Job's syndrome. It's extraordinarily rare and also incurable, but definitely something that can be controlled. The downside is that it is connected to two forms of cancer. I was tested for one of those two weeks ago. I should get the results tomorrow. That's also the word (cancer) that burns through my mind. I have a ridiculously dramatic imagination.

Today, I found myself jumping every time the phone rings. I check the caller ID - if it's not USC, I put the phone down with a lot less enthusiasm than when I picked it up. It's silly, I know. Then I realized. I just have to laugh it off, hug whatever sibling is closest to me (there's a bunch of them), and go on with life. Let worry keep itself company.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll find out I do have cancer. Or maybe the sky will fall and dragons will populate the earth. My worrying will not change what comes tomorrow. I could spend a lot of time wondering what could happen, but what will happen is ordained by the Lord of the universe. I'm going to rest in that. And with His grace, I'll also take joy in it.

For now, there's a beautiful sunset. Stars will come out. And the Lord was, is, and always shall be faithful, holy, and sovereign over everything. Even that box of "Tomorrow".


These Small Hours

The enormous expanse of blue above enveloped us in strong color. Sticky watermelon juice ran down on faces and through our fingers. We stood in the middle of nowhere. Goodness and mercy stood by our sides. The little one insisted on keeping his sweater on, even though it had to be above 75°.

We laughed and finished half of a watermelon. It was just us three - Dad, youngest brother, and me. Splashed cold water on our faces to erase the memory of the stickiness. Then chased each other with water bottles, making small puddles of mud in the dry dirt.

We climbed back into our small white car. Home was three hours behind us, and rest just four hours ahead. Dad started the car, and we drove on.

Time falls away, but these small hours,
These small hours still remain.


Epic Reading List (Literally)

Finishing Milton

Epics! I received my fall semester reading list for Torrey sometime in June, and after scanning the book list, I couldn't stop smiling. I love, love these books. I thought of reading them during the summer, but quickly discarded the thought. I had already read them, so maybe this summer should be for non-Torrey books. But then I thought a little more. My amazing literature teacher, Mr. Callihan, always asked us to read, at the very least, portions of these books aloud. These books were meant to be read aloud. They are poetry. College schedules probably don't leave too much time for slowly reading through the books. (I think.) So, I made a summer goal: to read through all the epics out loud.

Last week, I finished the last epic, Milton's Paradise Regained. It was such delightful summer reading project.


New Favorite Book



We stared with wonder.

"A thunder storm in July? It can't be."

The thunder flashed and the lightening roared. The grey clouds traveled towards us. The sound of thunder mingled with our conversation. We laughed and talked about everything under the sun - my friend, my Mom, and I. We lost track of time.

Towards the end of the dinner, we gathered the white plates and plastic water jug and looked up at the sky. A double-rainbow stood out, clear and bright against the darkest clouds. I told Mom about my favorite passage from Morning and Evening.

"Jesus Christ is... the covenant Rainbow, displaying all the glorious hues of the divine character and betokening peace. To the believer, when his trials and temptations surround him, it is sweet to behold the person of our Lord Jesus Christ—to see him bleeding, living, rising, and pleading for us. God’s rainbow is hung over the cloud of our sins, our sorrows, and our woes, to prophesy deliverance."

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, August 12

I talked with Mom. The rainbows not only prophesy deliverance, they prove that we are delivered. We will face grey clouds and thunderstorms. We face them now. But not alone, never alone. We have a God who loves us enough to send colored streaks of light after a storm, and even more so, He sent His son to bear the storm.

Mom smiled. We went inside.

And the storm passed over us.


Castles in the Sand


A Story

You felt it as soon as you walked into the house. Beauty so great that it was tangible. It wasn't just beauty: it was hope, grace, God-bringing-joy-out-of-suffering. The sun made us squint our eyes as we sat and waited for the ceremony to begin. That's the end to this story, but the beginning looks much different...

Two years ago, our pastor's wife died. It was unexpected, sharp, painful. I remember playing the piano at her funeral - people filled the church, and you could hear the rain pounding outside. We grieved her loss and his pain. There are no words for that grief, no answers for the question why. Pastor John clung to his faith in God's sovereignty, that day and in long months then years afterward. And although God's grace was evident, His purpose was not.

Six months ago, someone new came to our church. We're a small church, and newcomers are always noticed (and welcomed rather enthusiastically). Her name was Myrna. She came to lunch at our house, and we heard her story. She was a widow, and her husband had died four years ago. She spoke of God's love and sovereignty, how He gave her strength and hope. You could see her trust and faith, even during that short time. Someone else came to our house. And that was the day that Myrna met Pastor John.

Three days ago, they said "I do" and smiled and kissed under the bright June sun.

It was beautiful, so beautiful. My words fall flat, but it's the story that counts. I love and need stories like this. Even though my life is so different and my pain so much less than theirs, their story gives me hope. You could list Suffering as a main character in this story, and that would hold to the truth. But alongside it stands Hope and a God, a very real, incomprehensible, and marvelous God.


Two New Favorites


On Living

"I know sometimes it seems difficult..." I began.

"Difficult!" All she seemed able to do was echo my words, spitting them out as if they tasted bitter.

"Yes, I know, but we are alive," I argued, "Think how alive we are. It isn't like Southstone where we just went on and on and nothing ever happened. Here I can feel us living. Don't you feel as if you were being stretched?"

"It hurts to be stretched."
Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden

Living right now is just like that quote. The type of Living that stretches and stretches, pulls and pulls. There's just so much. I can't put my thoughts in order, so I'm leaning on quotes.

"We are never more in touch with life than when life is painful, never more in touch with hope than we are then, if only the hope of another human presence to be with us and for us." (Clown in the Belfry, Frederick Buechner)
"The characteristics of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality." (The Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis)
If pain makes life real, it also makes hope unmistakably real. Hope becomes something to hold, something to wield. Also, something to lose. But it's there, undeniably there.

Sometimes, I have to pull myself out of my narrow world and just laugh. It's not a cynical laugh or a despairing laugh, but a laugh of pure joy. A laugh that realizes how small I am and how great God truly is.

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; 5
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 10
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
(God's Grandeur, Gerald Manley Hopkins)



"Learn power, the smash of the holy once more, and signed by its name. Be victim to abruptness and seizures, events intercalated, swellings of the heart. You'll climb trees. You won't be able to sleep, or need to, for the joy of it."

Holy the Firm, Annie Dillard

No other quote can describe this month so well. The smash of the holy shattered my plans for June. From the start, I've been bewildered, angry, amazed, through the whole spectrum of emotion. This month feels fragmented and unclear. Nothing fits together (except in some great plan that I cannot see). I hope in that unseen plan. Life now just means unraveled plans and unanswered emails.

Two weeks ago, I planned to fly out to TX and visit two very, very dear friends for the first two weeks of June. But I had to cancel because of more health issues. Apart from the pain of the new illness, I was not happy that first day of June. Southwest kindly sent me an email confirming that my flight was indeed canceled. I tried not to break down crying. Tried being the key word. It sounds silly, but visiting friends really is a huge encouragement, and those girls are two of my best friends. I felt so little and lost.

Last Sunday, I made the whirlwind decision to spend the week with my Ninos in Oceanside. It was one of the best weeks ever. We watched movies, rode bikes, blasted Taylor Swift and Matchbox Twenty, talked about everything under the sun, read Narnia on top of bunk beds, and drank tea. I could feel the swelling of my heart towards joy. This completely unplanned week, this smash of holy, made me want to climb a tree and laugh out loud.

We gathered last Saturday, my Dad's side of the family. Just two months ago, we mourned the death of my Uncle Kenny, this time we mourned another death. Together in dark colors of black and purple, around a grave, tears and hugs. This death was another shock, a complete surprise, a smash of... holy?

Yet I have to believe this is a smash of holy. If this all really is the smash of the holy, then I can only stand back and bite my tongue. Silent, but with something else pulling at my heart. If the mark is of a God who is the holy, holy, holy Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory. This month is part of His glory. And because of His only begotten son, I see part of His glory. And then there's the pull, the pull of joy. It definitely came after the smash, after I cried, whined, and argued. But it's there: a sign of grace, a gift, pure and beautiful joy.

What wondrous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul...

Smash of holy.


May Book Love, I

May 1-7
"Rejoicing with the morning stars that Thou art our God and we Thy children. Make strong and wild this secret song within until it bursts forth at last to thy glory and our saying."

The Hungering Dark

"Was not everything, after all, like this bewildering woodland, this dance of dark and light? Everything only a glimpse, the glimpse always unforeseen."

The Man Who Was Thursday

"Don't believe the newspaper reports. Juliet was not arrested and taken away in handcuffs . . . She DID throw a teapot at Gilly Gilbert's head."

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

May 8-14
"There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady... Don't you know that secret yet? And don't you know- listen to me, now - don't you know who that Fat Lady really is?. . . Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy."

Franny and Zooey

"Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating." He lifted his hands high above his head as if stretching for the sky. "But there are other ways to understanding!" he shouted, laughing like a child. He threw both arms to the cloudless arch of sky above us still laughing. "Look!" he shouted tilting his head back. "Blue! Blue! Blue!"

The Name of the Wind

And we need reminding of what time can do, must only do; churn out enormity at random and beat it, with God's blessing, into our heads: that we are created, created, sojourners in a land we did not make, a land with no meaning of itself and no meaning we can make for it alone. Who are we to demand explanations of God. (And what monsters of perfection should we be if we did not?) We forget ourselves, picnicking; we forget where we are. There is no such thing as a freak accident. "God is at Home," says Meister Eckhart, "We are in the far country."
Holy the Firm

May 15-16

No quotes here, just some beautiful books with one of the most vulnerable, human, and absolutely wonderful protagonists in modern fantasy literature. The first book doesn't really hold a candle to the its sequels, but it's still good.


I know some of these quotes may not make sense taken out of context, but these books deserve to be read from cover to cover. Some turned my world upside-down (notably, The Man Who Was Thursday and Franny and Zooey), and others came very close to it. I loved them all. So far, May has been a delightful month of reading.


Shadow and Light

Life is complicated. Today affirmed that fact with a sfz(orzando). All things bright and beautiful, that was today: Shakespeare read-aloud on the cool grass in a deserted park with two younger brothers and handful of chocolates. Obviously, today was not the complicated part of life. But yesterday was, and Wednesday, and it's hard to believe Tuesday even existed in the same world of this Friday. Tuesday, the day that was tears, doctor visits, and the return of the oh-so-notorious antibiotics. This whole week has been a curious mixture of shadow and light. The shadows came from every bend and struck my body, heart and mind. They hurt. But the light was just as powerful as the dark.

Thursday, I met with friends, and we read together, talked, and prayed. We came out of that house with new and old truths that felt so real, so very close to us. It was beautiful.

A dear friend reminded me that "life is as fleeting as a breath." Oh yes, yes, and love is strong. These days of shadow and light make up the fabric of our very own narrative, the story that says: we are weak, and He is strong. He is also good, so very good.

It's easy to say that now, of course, now with healing wounds and fresh memories of gentle words and sunshine. I wish I could say I remembered His goodness during those times of shadow. I didn't. I cried, I whined and fell into a dreaful apathy where I almost didn't care if God was good or not. I wince, now with this solid truth of goodness in hand, I wince for my past sin and the future times when I know I'll forget this world-shattering truth. But for now. I'm grateful. And I can lay here on the grass with the dappled patterns of sunshine and shadow, and I can nothing. Just let the quiet wonder of His goodness flood my world.



This. Is. Beautiful.

I pull the words out, forcing them and hoping that speaking is believing. I say them again. I'm curled tight on my side, pushing the words into my heart. But really? I don't think this is beautiful. I think this hurts. It hurts so much, it hurts too much. And as hard as I try, I can't blend my words with my feelings. They mix as well as oil and water. I am not thinking of beauty or trust or sanctification, I just feel pain of the open, raw skin all over me. This is not beautiful.

I'm scared now, and words come tumbling out: memorized verses, promises, quotes. The words fill the empty space of room around me, as if I hope to conquer my feelings with a sheer multitude of words. They don't work. I sit up. I'm surrounded by empty air, and the words batter against my heart. I'm exhausted. Maybe they're right. And then, some words begin to sink in...

Words: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. This isn't the valley of the shadow of death, and still I fear evil, I doubt Good. But Thou art with me. I repeat those words, over and over. Thou art with me. Maybe this is beautiful.

Words: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. In my weakness, in this weak pathetic body. I wrestle with those words. They break, bend, shatter my excuses. His power stands here, whether I admit it or not. His power and glory, I am just his whiskey priest.

And now the words make sense. They burst upon me as rushing water. This is beautiful. Because He who suffered death and wrath, He stands for me. This is beautiful. Because He comes to my weakness and sin. He doesn't heal me tonight, He restoreth my soul. And now I can say and believe, at least for tonight:

This. Is. Beautiful.


Hope, Revisited

"This dragon of despair burns down all that I hold dear. I begin to sink deeper and deeper into depression and apathy. Why bother? It's a serious question. Why get up? Why make the bed? Why fight for anything at all? Because there is still hope yet! Because the dragon just might have a weakness. Because your heroes are uninformed enough to think they might have a chance. The fat lady hasn't sung. The concrete has not set yet. There is still time. Yes, this planet is wrought with horrors and pain and heartache, but there is beauty still. The dark horses are still running."

Jon Foreman, The Dark Horse


Three New Favorites


Wait and See

These days are filled with long hours of waiting. I'm not even exactly sure what I'm waiting for: maybe it's health, or the ever-hopeful idea of Biola next fall, or someone to just call and say, "Hi!" Either way, the days fall slowly and quietly (well, for the most part). But, somehow, through His grace, right now I really love this waiting. I love to sit outside and just watch. The sun cuts through the branches and makes dappled patterns on the ground. It truly is beautiful.

Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart.
Psalm 27:14


The Solution to Life

"The most interesting questions continue to be questions. They are the wrapping around a mystery. You should add 'perhaps' to every answer. Only uninteresting questions have a definite answer."

"Do you mean there's no solution for life?"

"I mean that for 'life', there are several solutions, therefore no solution."

"That's what I think, too, Mamie Rose, there's no solution to life other than living."

~ Oscar and the Lady in Pink by Eric-Emmanual Schmitt



Today was beautiful. It still is, actually. The strong blues of the sky are clear and the green all over our house and yard defies description. And the wind! It's blowing, reckless and joyful.

I climbed to the top of our tree house and tried to journal. But the wind blew the words away. Something about the wind makes me feel so alive, so grateful for the present. I'm reminded of His faithfulness in ALL things. No circumstances change His character, He is the Lord of all creation. I stand with the wind, with blue skies, with green trees. And I am at a lost for words.

How great Thou art.

Benedictus es, Domine.


Latin Tuesdays

Meet my Latin class. Every Tuesday, we somehow manage to pull laughter and smiles out of declensions and vocabulary tests, whether or not understanding comes. And some days, my adorable students have light-bulb moments. All of them. And it clicks.

Today was one of those days. Hurrah!

I love my class.




Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

Sunset Cliffs, San Diego.

Last Saturday, we held my Uncle Kenny's memorial service. Then, we spread his ashes over the sea.

When Daddy spoke at the service, he ended his speech with these words.

The Lord giveth and He taketh away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.



He is Risen!

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.

Isaiah 61:1-3



"Rejoicing in the Bible is much deeper than simply being happy about something. Paul directed that we should 'rejoice in the Lord always' (Phil. 4:4), but this cannot mean 'always feel happy,' since no once can command someone to always have a particular emotion. To rejoice is to treasure a thing, to assess its value to you, to reflect on its beauty and importance until your heart rests in it and tastes the sweetness of it. 'Rejoicing' is another way of praising God until the heart is sweetened and rested."

Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods



"Time is a storm... but beyond time's storm, there's timelessness. The Lord of Heaven changes not, even when our view's most dark. God's never gone. It's only men go blind."

Godric, Frederick Buechner

The view seems dark now. In this past month, time's storm hit hard. Heartache for friends in pain, grief for the deaths that have touched my family, my friends. My uncle Kenny died suddenly last week. He was only 29. Dad loved him so, so much; I grieve to see Daddy hurt like this. And then again, a friend from church, Hermano Tony, died yesterday. And even though I didn't know him that well, I know the grief my family is going through now, I know his family and friends must be going through the same pain.

I feel helpless in this storm. With Dad, I can hug him, talk with him, and just be with him. But the grief remains, as it will for awhile. All I can really do is pray for Daddy, for Hermano's family, and for my friends. I really, really wish I could do more, wave some type of magic wand and make all the pain go away. But that's me wanting to do God's job. It is in His hands. I cannot ask for more.

And even though the view is dark now, I know it is not a pure darkness. My Uncle Kenny and Hermano Tony were both saved. And they now stand in the glorious presence of the Lord. What a thought!

I'm learning to trust in the promises of God, and in this process, I can find joy. I have found joy. A joy that is not circumstantial: the joy of the Lord, who is always, always there. Not a happy-go-lucky attitude, but a foundation, a comfort that the storms of time cannot shake. Please Lord, let me rest in that.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.



Note - it really isn't the best idea to start a blog project in the middle of quinceañera preparation. Just saying.

But it's over now, and all we have left are pieces of wrapping paper, flower bouquets, and a very, very happy fifteeen year-old. It was worth every single second of work. More on the quinceañera later, but here's a picture from the ceremony and one from the reception.

Mom, the beautiful Quinceañera, and Dad

The quinceañera and her court


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