Category Archives: family

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.

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Hannah’s Chuppdate (age six)

From the always excellent archives, a letter I wrote to family and friends at the tender age of six. Enjoy my superb spelling and creative punctuation.

This is Hannah. it is my BirthDay Number Six ! .I am exsited !aren’t you to ?Well I am! Rejoice in the Lord always!we ALL! love all of you !. Here is some about me (Hannah)


SWING (At PlayGrounds)
READ BOOKS (Very Much Evan Big Ones!)

Things I don’t like…


my favrite foods and season and why?



Things I want to do while I’m six…

Learn to swim
Learn to ride a bike
Learn to play gatar
Learn to play piano

what I think about my DAD… he is…,speisal,happy,funny and loveable
MOM….she is…MY MOM!

My favrite things to do at SCOOL…


Here is a poem I wrote about hugs:

Hug’s Don’t Evaporate

Hug’s don’t evaporate
that is true.
When we say: Mama I’ve got a booboo!
that’s when we need a hug!

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announcing an announcement

The winner of the Probably Not Annual Subconscious Limerick Completion Contest, selected by a half-biased and half-objective panel, is Mrs. Heidi Chupp, with the following submission:

A grad student, once, while a-quinceing
Read a poem on the values of mincing
It was a humble narration
Not long in duration
But it was, nonetheless, quite convincing.

As the winner, Mrs. Chupp will receive in the mail the most excellent prize of several brownies I made last night on a whim, with no recipe, because I wanted french fries. That is, if my roommates (and/or Jessie Riley) don’t eat them all.

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Thistle Farms

I just received a lavender spa kit from Thistle Farms, and as I opened it I became strangely emotional. My chest started to tighten up and a sob started working its way up my throat. My best guess is that this unexpected reaction was tri-fold.

First, lavender’s what my mom smells like. I’m pretty fond of her, and I haven’t seen her since December, which I realize isn’t a very long time, but as I said, I like her loads, and I miss her. Lavender’s her favorite scent, and honestly I used to hate it. But with lavender essential oils in baths, lavender lotion, lavender soaps . . . soon the smell became comforting. So when I opened the box tonight, it felt like a hug from home.

Second, I could honestly feel the love emanating from each of these products. Thistle Farms is a non-profit business in Nashville, Tennessee, that I first heard of on NPR (go figure). It’s operated by the women of Magdalene, a two-year residential community for “women who are recovering from sexual abuse, addiction, and life on the streets. . . Magdalene stands as a witness to the truth that in the end, love is more powerful than all the forces that drive women to the streets.” I picked up the shower gel and body butter and body polish, and recognized them each as testimonies of lives changed. It was overwhelming.

Third, this came at exactly the perfect moment. I’m struggling recently to connect heart and head, so it was powerful to have my senses flooded with reminders of what I am passionate about and why.

So thanks to mom, and thanks to Thistle Farms. I’m proudly a Thistle Farmer.


Why the Thistle?

Thistles grow on the streets and alleys where the women of Magdalene walked. Considered a weed, they have a deep root that can shoot through concrete and survive drought. And in spite of their prickly appearance, their royal and soft purple center makes the thistle a mysterious and gorgeous flower. Being a Thistle Farmer means the world is our farm, and that we choose to love the parts fo creation that others have forgotten or condemned.


Hannah sits at the piano, quietly … no, never. Not quietly. Not Hannah. Let’s start over.

Hannah sits at the piano, plinkering away to herself. (Just because she’s plinkering to herself doesn’t mean it’s quiet.) Many pages of these three hymnals have been witness to her peering eyes, thumbing … well … thumbs, and that claw-like system that keeps the pages to where she can see them.

She announces to the world (and to her mother in particular) the reason for the awkward harmonies her out-of-use hands have contrived at the expense of the well-worn keys. (It seems to be along the lines of her declaration at a young age: “Mom, I will do gymnastics, and you will clap.” Maybe the following words, like her former proclamation, will be prophetic.)

“When I am 75, I will be that old lady leading a small country church in worship. That’s why I’m playing all these hymns now. I’ll have years of practice.”

Her mother is unfazed and unconvinced. “It’ll have to be a very small church…”

Reflections on Texans

I’m back to live for several months in the state of my birth and rearing, but upon arriving I already feel strange. Which is strange in and of itself, considering I was home for Christmas, albeit briefly.

However, it doesn’t quite feel like Texas, which I guess is why I’m apt to reflect. The barrage of black and gold and gold and green are not Texas colors, or perhaps they are, since the Super Bowl is being held locally in the imminent future.

The Steelers and Packers fans must marvel not at the snow and ice we’ve received, but at our inability to deal with it. Main roads are less cleared than back country roads, and some major highways are barely better. But the dusting of snow that turned into half a foot has caused native Texans to marvel. “It’s like frosting,” said mom. “It’s like normal,” said I.

I will also have to get used to the fact that I am not in my apartment for which I do not pay utilities and in which I am used to a balmy 74 degrees. I am in fact in the house of my adolescence for which my parents do pay utilities and in which I bundle up against a more frigid 64 degrees.

And although I can on all legal and moral fronts now consume alcohol, interacting with drunk young females, slightly creepy foreign men, and the talkative and, drinking, even more talkative and repetitive inhabitant of seat 2E, I think I shall keep myself wary.

I also forgot that many signs are in English and Spanish here.

Christmastime is here!

#23 – Waking up to snowfall.

#24 – Zumba.

#25 – A healthy, functioning human body.

#26 – My generous brother who gave me his wonderful pajama pants.

In Which I Hurl Myself Off A Succession Of Cliffs And Find I Was On A Very Safe Path All Along

Perhaps I am Eustace? (read: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, in which he stumbles blindly and supernaturally into the Dragon Valley)

Anyways, tonight I had cause to remember that for the past several months, whenever I think I have a sort of plan for myself, it gets uprooted. It’s been disillusioning, disheartening, and daunting for sure. I’ve even thought, why bother trying anymore? I should just give up and eat potato chips all day.

In talking to mom tonight and explaining my woes, she kept telling me how awesome it was that God had such a path laid out for me.

“Where?” I can’t see it. Everything is being upended and shaken about and wiggled all over the place. Nothing seems like a path.

I just can’t wait to get to the end and see what I have come through unscathed.

#12 – God is trustworthy. He will not waste my time, love, dreams, life. He’s not like that song, “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away…”

#13 – God’s leading. I honestly can’t see it right now and what appears to others to be His leading looks to me like a freefall down a rocky cliff, but I know He does and I am excited to see what He is doing.