August 19, 2010 § Leave a comment
where your tears have fallen
there are riverbeds
etched winding into the previously unmarred
landscape of my forehead
visible to me only
i can see them like a fingerprint
on the topography of my reflection
feel them like a memory
on the map of my soul
i carry them like a whisper
like a melody
and smile secretly over the many small ways
you have already begun to change me
so altered, i am only yours
August 18, 2010 § 3 Comments
I turned 28 on Sunday.
28 is a lot of things: one of the precious few ages I’ll ever be that end in my favorite number, a mere two years hopskipjump from a new decade, and, most significantly, the age my mother was when she gave birth to me. As of Sunday, August 15th, I’ve known my parents for exactly half of their lives. Which is, well, interesting. I don’t really know what I feel about that.
But I do know how I felt on Sunday: loved. I am blessed and surrounded by amazing people who went above and beyond to make my day a special one. Favorite showed up at the crack of dawn to wake me and make a breakfast of all my favorite things. He came with beautiful flowers and seemingly bottomless pockets full of cards from just about everyone I know. My birthday team assembled and transcribed messages from all of my nearest and dearest and armed Favorite with them to deliver to me nearly every fifteen minutes throughout the day. 41 cards in all. Wow.
Here’s what I love about God – He’s the master of completing the cycle. There I was, birthday joy incarnate, reading hundreds of thoughtful, flattering, beautiful words from people I love and admire, walking completely unarmed into an Imago service that ended in an elder’s public confession of an affair. One brave, well-loved, and surrounded man stood trembling before our congregation and whispered the story of his failure. And I wept, and fought to keep myself in my seat. Because I have stood in rooms of people who suddenly saw me as a different person than they had only moments before. Because I know what it feels like to fail hugely, publicly, painfully, and irrevocably. And because I know that God sees him with exactly the same eyes, the same love, with which He still sees me – the same love that has been mine to bask in from the moment of my birth and will remain mine, will remain his, through a thousand other failures and let downs and public humiliations.
I hold these 41 cards in my hands with their beautiful words and I love them, I cherish them, I count them treasure, but I know the traits attributed to me on them aren’t really mine. I am all things destructive, I am stubborn and prideful, and I could never account on my own for the hurt that I’ve caused. These things you see in me, friends whom I love, they are only the product of the grace I’ve been afforded. They are redemption. They are not mine to claim, but I’m grateful any time I can be a vessel for them. I am none of these words on my own, and all of them through Christ who lives in me. What a privilege to have them laid out before me, to be able to read forgiveness on a notecard, to remember that but for the grace of God go I, to remember that in all things He wants to bless me and use me.
My amazing Portland family, you gathered at Favorite’s in the afternoon and jumped out and yelled surprise, despite my best efforts to melt you. You had a beautiful cake and beautiful faces and I’m not sure I’ve ever been grateful for or in love with any time in my life more than this one, so obviously surrounded by love. The already amazing family I was blessed with has grown to include all of you, and I’m so very glad. You are my evidence of God’s ability and desire to rebuild. Yours are the words He uses to love me. You are my very best birthday present.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see.
August 17, 2010 § 4 Comments
Today’s Cheap Thrill is a real do-gooder, and it’s brought to you by one beautiful girl named Caitlin who saw fit to start a bit of a body image revolution that I can’t help but get behind.
Most of you who follow this blog know that I deal with women and their body image issues at work every day. I witness first hand the absurd tendency that we all have to zoom in on the worst parts of ourselves the moment we step in front of a mirror, and the venomous way we turn that critical gaze onto each other. It’s tragic really – so many beautiful pieces of intentional creation being torn into unrecognizable ugliness, verbally berated, and scornfully poked and pinched. How very wasteful and how very sad.
Operation Beautiful is a rockstar of an idea – effective, unexpected, and cheap and easy to participate in. Here’s how you roll:
1) Buy some PostIt notes. Standard PostIts can run you anywhere from $1.99 up, depending on how many you want and how fancy you want to go. Or take some off your desk at home. Or ask your boss if you can have a pack for a good cause. Take note that this blog does not advocate stealing PostIts from work. But I’m not really watching you, either. Get some sticky notes.
2) Onto said sticky notes, write encouraging phrases, like: “You are beautiful EXACTLY as you are” or “Hey hottie, you look GOOD!” or “You are worth so much more than just your reflection. Beauty starts inside of you. And girl, you’ve got it going on.” or whatever you would like someone to say to you while you’re bikini shopping.
3) Take your PostIt army and deploy it onto mirrors in public places where women, or men, might see a PostIt in an insecure moment: dressing rooms, school bathrooms, other bathrooms, department stores, etc.
4) If you want to, take a picture and send it to Caitlin at http://www.operationbeautiful.com. She’ll write back to you, even, which is neat. Definitely visit the site for inspiration.
5) Remember that the words you’ve written to encourage others also apply to you. Remember that you were created to be who you are, not who you could be airbrushed into. Remember that you are a work of art. Wear yourself proudly. Go forth and be beautiful.
August 16, 2010 § 1 Comment
Firstly, I’d like to apologize for my silence for the last several days. Turns out I took a week off of blogging for my birthday. Not really on purpose. Sorry. Moving on…
For today’s other words, I’d like to direct you to a blog belonging to my friend Joy. Joy spends her days researching the relationships of those in the 18-35 age bracket and, as a result, she has some very interesting and entertaining wisdom to offer. I love this girl’s spirit. Go check her out.
August 4, 2010 § 1 Comment
I want to tell you a story.
Once upon a time, there was very stubborn girl. This girl spent a lot of time being sure of things: sure that she knew what was best for her life, sure that she knew how to get it, sure of her decisions, and sure of herself. She walked in the right directions, she made good choices, she gave sound advice. Things went pretty well for this stubborn little girl for the longest of long times.
But the problem with being sure is confidence alone won’t keep you from failure. After awhile, the girl found that the choices she had made weren’t as sound as she thought. She realized the foundation she’d built for herself was full of holes, far from level, and sinking fast. And like most any stubborn and prideful child stuck on sinking ground, she did the only thing she could think of to do: she panicked. She tantrummed. She fled.
There is another important piece to this story. This girl, this stubborn, prideful girl, she was loved. She was fiercely, wildly, permanently loved. And when she finished panicking and tantrumming and opened her eyes to find herself miles and miles from everything she had been and everything she knew, that love swooped down and picked her up like a paperdoll and surrounded her like a cocoon and rewrote her story.
It’s a revolutionary experience, being rewritten by love. Suddenly, the things the girl had taken for granted or believed were rightfully hers became treasures, became gifts, became physical shards of a powerful grace. The stubborn grip that she’d kept on her plans and her ideas loosened, then slipped, then released altogether, and she was still loved. She learned to close her eyes and walk blindly, to run barefoot in the sand, to trust in promises and learn to laugh at her restless little heart, and was still loved. She traced the outlines of all her weaknesses onto cardboard and carried them like a banner through the streets of all her relationships and was still loved. She lost her cool and yelled like an idiot and got mad and got even and got hurt and failed hugely and was still loved.
She learns every day. She is sometimes disappointed, sometimes overjoyed, always blessed, and always, always, always loved. And that love, the love that bore her, that saved her, that keeps her and makes her, is the only thing of which she is sure. Which is how she prefers things, nowadays. 🙂
God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.
August 3, 2010 § 2 Comments
Okay, today’s cheap thrill is actually free if you have unlimited text messaging, and if you don’t, a lot of plans will allow you to upgrade to unlimited text messaging for (say it with me) five dollars! Hooray!
Here’s how to use your powers of text messaging to annoy/encourage your friends and laugh hard and feel great about life.
This gag requires you to be in the presence of at least one other person. Annie and I are masters of this little game. You can be a master too, with a little practice. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll use Annie and I as the two involved in the prank. Shocker. Kyle will be our target. Typical. Here’s what you do.
1. Choose a target (why do so many of my blogs involve choosing a target?). Someone you know well enough to know that they won’t hate your guts for messing with them. We choose Kyle.
2. I (you) send a text to Kyle (target) that says something like “Hey Annie, are we still on for coffee tomorrow?” Kyle now thinks I’ve sent the text to the wrong person. Which is not too far fetched, really.
3. Let the fun begin. Annie sends a text to Kyle that says something like “Yep. Coffee with Karyn is my favorite. What time?” Now Kyle is confused… and you, if you’re like me, are collapsing into fits of giggles.
4. Choose your own adventure. Have an entire conversation, play dumb when Kyle texts you back asking what is going on, accuse him of eavesdropping, try to convince him you can conference-text, whatev. This is an expecially fun game to play if you’re waiting in line for something or waiting for a show to start. For bonus points, involve a third or (gasp!) fourth person in the madness. Oh hilarity! Oh silly silliness!
Now that your friends are good and annoyed with you, it’s time to remind them that you love them again. Time for text bombing! This works especially well for job interviews, big tests, bad days, or emergency situations. The process is very simple:
1. Text everyone in your phone that knows your target and ask them to send an encouraging text to your target at 12:15 (you can choose anytime you want). Send your own text at the designated time.
2. Sit back and enjoy the knowing that your friend has just received 20 something texts of encouragement simultaneously. Cheap, easy, day-making fun. Gotta love it.
Take back text messaging from the teens, friends! Use it for good!