Sometimes I feel like I’m the wrong sort of person. I can’t exactly speak up when I’m supposed to, to the point where I used to think God was pretty disappointed in me because I wasn’t witnessing enough. I’m not good at the “have you heard about Jesus” or even the “here’s some exciting news from my life” conversations, much less the ones that start with, “Hello, I’m a concerned constituent and would like to voice my opinion.”

It’s easy to tell myself that since I won’t call my representatives, or hold debates with family and friends, or be a twitter celebrity, I don’t care about the wrongs committed by this country against those on the margins, and worse, I’m allowing them to happen. I feel helpless, and useless.

But lately I’ve been thinking that maybe there isn’t just one way to be a decent global citizen, and that if I focus on what I am good at instead of trying to be someone I’m not, I can actually be useful. Maybe I can’t be the loudest voice, but here’s what I am going to do:

I’m going to volunteer helping local kids in low-income schools master reading skills because I am good at one-on-one connections and working with kids.

I’m going to donate to local and national organizations like Refugee Services of Texas, International Rescue Committee, American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, Equal Justice Initiative, and the North Texas Food Bank whenever I have the means to do so.

I’m going to work towards a career in nonprofit administration because I have people skills and analytical skills.

One day, I’m going to be a part of adopting a child into our family, because I can love others.

I’m going to love the family and friends I have, because in the end, they are all I have.

What are you good at? What can you do, and what are you going to do? I want to hear your ideas too. Let’s work together.

Tagged , , , , ,

Rogue One: A Christmas Story

***uh, probably spoilers?***



The problem with me seeing [insert any movie here] is that I almost always tie it to what’s going on around me. Even when it’s not meant to have any bearing whatsoever. I watch Parks & Rec on election night and it’s doubly disappointing when Knope doesn’t win in real life. I watch Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and I get angry at the state of the wizarding community (read: general atmosphere) in America. I make connections.

So when I saw Rogue One, when I watched a story of hope against the empire, I couldn’t help but tie in my own hope for love to win against the power of hate and destruction. And so if you’ve seen Rogue One, you can guess I was pretty depressed at the end. Is this how it will be? Is this who will win?

(Now, before you remind me that I’m just projecting my feelings onto a work of fiction, let me tell you, I know. I think it’s just that this is how my feelings get distilled, that somehow pairing them with a story is how I get to the real core of them. Don’t get me started on Harry Potter 7.)

“But you know what will happen in Episode IV,” my brother told me. That’s true. And that’s when I started thinking about Christmas.

Christmas requires that you’re in for the long game, if you think about it. It starts off with a flash of hope that things will be different and then………nothing, really, for the next 30 years. As 21st century readers, we know what will happen, but can you imagine being one of those shepherds? Angels! A baby king! and then………a massacre of infants. oppression as per usual.

Things did begin to change, but even during Jesus’ lifetime people said he wasn’t doing enough. Stop small-timing it with these 12 guys, Jesus. Go big or go home, Rabbi. Then he died (I told you there were spoilers) and the critics were right. More spoilers: He did come back to life, but probably in the most nonchalant way possible. Nothing flashy. No government overthrow. But slowly, over time, the good news begins to spread. It has power; it compels people to fight for good.

I think these are the stories I need to surround myself with. That even the smallest hope is powerful. Even when hate seems so loud, and any effort I can make just a whisper, it’s still worth it. There’s always Episode IV. There’s always Easter.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

[lent 2016]

I’m not giving up anything for Lent.

I thought about it but I didn’t think hard enough, and I don’t like doing things just because. I’ve observed Lent before but for some reason this year I couldn’t wrap my brain around exactly what the fasting was for, why we remind ourselves that we are but dust, and what my participation should mean to me. This morning before the service started I even wikipediaed Lent. What am I doing? What should I be doing?

That’s actually a pretty common theme for a lot of my life right now.

An area where I’ve recently realized how hopelessly out of depth I am is reconciliation and intersectional justice. I’ve finally been been hit in the face with the fact that my whiteness matters. It matters because the color of my skin links me to a centuries-long history of oppression. I cannot be blind to it. So here I am and here I believe that black lives matter and our prisons are unjustly filled and our borders are oppressively guarded, but what do I do about it? I cannot be an expert on the experience of lives I have not lived; I do not believe in being a voice for the voiceless, because everyone has a voice, so how do I amplify?

These thoughts all crossed paths this morning for me as I stumbled through Rite I. After being exhorted to bow down before the Lord, these words were spoken over me.

Grant, Almighty God, that thy people may recognize their weakness and put their whole trust in thy strength.

To be honest at first take I was slightly offended, in the same way that I was last night in the IKEA parking lot when a stranger had to help me load my mattress in the car. I can do it myself!  Plus I grew up in a tradition where humility was key, where it was important to die to self and to subjugate the flesh, and I have had to retrain myself to realize that I am worth valuing (and not just when follow God correctly). I am not weak.

But that’s not what this is about. All of my helplessness can turn to hope when I recognize my weakness and stop trying to pit my own tiny introverted strength against the force of evil and oppression. I’d be silly to trust only myself to tackle systemic racism or poverty or transphobia.

So maybe this is the point of Lent. To remind myself that this isn’t about me. Not for the sake of put-upon humility and sackcloth and ashes, but as an honest reminder of who can be trusted when I feel the smallest.

And honestly, I should have known, right?

Isaiah 58:6-7, 9b-10

Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you  offer your food to the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.

I didn’t choose a particular vice to give up this year. Instead I think I am giving up on the idea that God’s strength can reach no further than mine.

[See also: my good friend Stephanie’s post about corporate confession for racism.]

Tagged , ,

hatchet vs. axe

11 days ago, I realized I had no idea what the difference between a hatchet and an axe was. So I wrote myself a note on my to-do list and decided to write a blogpost about it. (because why not?) (and so here I am.)

First of all, it’s “ax”. Why is there no e? Merriam-Webster lists both spellings, but apparently “axe” is the more non-American spelling. Whatever. I blame that horrid body spray.

And it turns out that ax/e is an umbrella term.

A hatchet is a kind of ax that you can use with one hand. And apparently this guy.

The end!

PS: last week was apparently cephalopod week, and this is the darndest cutest thing, so I will create it for whomever wants it! (no guarantees on arrival date.) Let me know!

#CephalopodWeek #scifri

Tagged , , , ,

Is this what “calling” feels like?

The job I’m working in is tough. I work with families in the midst of abuse, poverty, substance abuse, homelessness, incarceration . . . some of these in generational cycles. I sit in their homes for hours and I, the outsider, am supposed to know what to do. To be trusted, I dive deep into their lives.

I think nearly drowned when I first started.

It wasn’t like I didn’t have my M.A., or pertinent experience, or a drive to help others. But I thought I had found my breaking point. My experience had been with a different population, I couldn’t personally relate, I was working heavy hours, it was new, I was overwhelmed. I thought about other options.

I still think about other options. But lately I’ve also been thinking, Someone needs to do this work . . . and why not me? Yes, it’s hard. Yes, I get weary. But I can’t shake the feeling that what I do is necessary.

The word “calling” has always been strange and vague to me. I value emotion, but I’m also a huge fan of logic, and sometimes my all-or-nothing mind has categorized a calling as some sort of spiritual “It just felt right.” Callings don’t seem to follow rationally.

Which is why this current cognitive dissonance has me wondering, Is this a calling? I can see plainly why my position is not ideal for me. But I can also feel a strong push against that: What you are doing is worthwhile. And you are needed.

Tagged , ,

A man approached me tonight.

I’m writing this because I haven’t always identified with those “Protect Yourself Against Attackers” warning articles or those “Harassment Is Everywhere” awareness pieces.

“Excuse me ma’am, I’m sorry to bother you.

This is a pretty impractical hole of optimism/blindness in my usually rampant realism pessimism. And while I do think that women have received the short end of the stick in many areas for an all too great majority of time, I’m usually not one to cry at every moment IT IS THE FAULT OF THE PATRIARCHY or LOOK HOW MUCH WOMEN HAVE TO PUT UP WITH EVERY MOMENT OF THEIR LIVES. I try to be balanced. I prefer individual stories to brush-stroke histories.

“I’m sorry, but last night I was beat up and robbed. All my stuff was taken.

He was polite, and well-spoken.

“I’m wondering if you have anything to spare tonight?”

It was the small, involuntary backwards step I took that put things into perspective. “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything on me.” (I really didn’t. I hate lying.)

“No problem, ma’am. I’m sorry to have bothered you. You have a nice night.”

“You, too.”

We walked away from each other and I looked back at him and wondered how he would get on, because I am (somehow) optimistic in that I want to believe truth in others. But also I remembered all the rapid neuron-firing that had filled the space of that small step. –he appears unassuming–I am in a public place–it’s not dark yet–is he telling the truth–he doesn’t look very beat up–he is still much larger than me–what does he really want– All in the space of a half-second. And I realized I had been (unconsciously, instinctively) nervous, because I Know What Can Happen To Females In Situations Like This.

It’s not an esoteric problem that I don’t face. These worries aren’t fringe extremism.

I’m writing this to say, finally, Me too.

Tagged , ,

that girl

I’m suddenly that girl.
I’m the girl who lives up the spiral staircase
I’m the girl who’s got a bird’s nest for a balcony
The girl you’re always so curious of,
In the house you’ve always dreamed of.
Who lives up there?
What books does she read?
Is it dark and mysterious in that tippy top room of hers?
The girl I’m always so curious of.
Who lives in that house?
I do.

Tagged , , ,


So as we all know, last year was the year of the selfie. See the following from the Oxford Dictionary:



  • a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary


early 21st century: from self + -ie.

I just want to know why now? I mean, I have proof that people have been taking selfies for at least nine years now. It may not have been taken with a smart phone, but I present to you the vintage selfie:

vintage selfie

Tagged ,