(the) present

be here now — with you
driving down snow-covered streets,
evening armchair talks

be here now — with you
pea shoots, tomato fragrance
worm ends in rich soil

be here now — with you
laughing together, today,
with crinkled-eye smiles

be here now — with you
this moment, this moment, this,
enjoying the gift

advent, poetry

second law

a few nights ago
a wind with winter
in its lungs howled
around the house
and when we awoke
a spit of snow
lay like glitter
on the grass
the bone-biting cold
binds us inside
and at the end of the day
the sky is as dark
as the end of the world
a forbidding force filled
with foreboding
our upkeep of creation
is inhibited by our own
in-fleshed limitations
of eyesight and frostbite
so runs the world away
in entropy
while locked inside we sit
waiting for warming.
i saw a man one evening
dressed in his sunday best
silently awaiting spring
they’ll plant him
in the iron earth
to be shrouded
and watered by snow
until time is complete
and from the shell
of what once was him
he will incorruptibly blossom
a perfected man somersaulting
through the spring-new sky.
You promised us a seed
the day we left the garden
for a life in disrepair
You promised a head-crusher
to quell the heel-biter
and we waited in hope and horror
through flood and fire
to a man condemned
by the rule of death
but You had promised –
so God-beyond-time
who prophets patiently awaited
became God-with-man
a seed to be sown
for the sins of the world
to rise in a reign unending
taking up the law of life
a king making servants sons.
and so it came to pass …
and so You promise to complete it.

advent, poetry, time


the clock’s ticking
marks each second
as it passes
i let them slip by unmoved
too tired to observe
this fragmented fleeting of time
when i’m struck by the vastness
of past and future
what has been and what has yet to be
here i am, now
in this second and that one
is this present tense perfect?
one perhaps last warm moment
before winter’s chill sets in
with threats to petrify our flesh to stone
the lamp alone makes midnight darkness bright
while dog howls and train horns
twine around this ticking night song
more time has passed
and still you are not here
i have been waiting what seems
a long time
imagining your face
your voice
the feeling of your fingers
twined with mine
and still you have not come
but who am i
time-warped mind that i have
to object to the rhythm
of the world?
for millennia of our mortal years
man waited through what might
have been moments for You
unmoved by time as You are
yet even You waited
nine months of seconds spent silently
singing enwombed in darkness
waiting to be born
three days of moments passed noiselessly
trusting entombed in a garden
waiting once more to rise
time is still fleeing from me
but i mark its passage unalarmed
You have promised
and it is enough
some day when time no longer binds me
i will see Your face
hear Your voice
hold Your love-scarred hands in mine
You have illuminated my darkness
and i will soon have no need of night
for with You there is endless day
even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come


autumn musing

i stood there silently
feeling the wind buffet my back
watching as it whipped leaves
into miniature tornadoes
and sought to sever the glowing roses
from their stems
all this beauty abundant
cloud-streaked blue above
and golden boughs surrounding
yet you don’t see this as i do
you can’t read the poem enfolding you
can’t hear the sun singing sonatas
on his daily race through the sky
you can’t taste the love that holds this together

once upon a time, neither could i

our ships are not the same
but i know my anchor is sturdier than stone
it alone will remain when our bones
lie wind-scarred and whale-white on the shore
let your eyes therefore be opened
that your heart may then behold
eternal Truth, life-giving mystery of Love

amazing things, Christianity, photography

leaves, love


yesterday mist hung heavy and in the night became rain.

when i walked out the door this morning, the porch, the steps, the sidewalk, the driveway and the entire front yard were covered with glistening golden leaves. my little black rabbit shed them like scales as we whirled away to work.

all the trees were shining in the rain, their green and gold and fiery leaves gleaming like gems against darkened trunks.

my heart hovers very near the surface in autumn. the strange, wild beauty of nature’s death dance takes my breath away.

as i hummed over streets spangled with leaves i was reminded that all the gold in the world belongs to God. on days like this you can see how lavishly He loves to spend it. gold was piled in the gutters and fell sparkling through the air.

as prodigal as He is in this, even more extravagant is He in love.

He never holds any of it back. ever. He loves with intentional abandon.

He is prodigal with purpose.

He wants you.

what are you going to do about that?

family, letters, photography

apology in advance


dear squirts,

this is an odd letter for me to write you, since i don’t know if you are to be in the land of someday. i don’t even know how properly to imagine you.

but i know one thing, and i know it all too well.

darlings, i will fail you.

i will disappoint you. i will damage you in well-intentioned unintended ways. i will say things i never meant to say, and i won’t say things i should have said.

i was thinking about us the other day and all the wonderful plans i have for your education, the things we’ll do so your little brains soak up wonder and awe along with knowledge and wisdom. i have plans to train you to be shining lights, knights and brave maidens fighting beside each other for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness.

but what if what i want isn’t what you need?

what if what you need is not the ability to read plato, pliny and paul in the vulgate, but instead to speak the language of your playmates down the street?

what if i can’t teach you what a gerund is? what if i completely forget the concepts of algebra? (what if i already have?)

what if i can’t bake all our own bread, what if our garden never gets off the ground, what if i can’t train myself to follow through with teaching?

what if you eat dirt that actually does have the plague? what if you drink bleach? what if you have chicken pox? what if you break bones?

what if you all have the minds of engineers? what if what if what if?

heaven help me.

and that, darlings, is the second thing i know, and i know it even better.

i will fail you because i am a human fallen from the get-go, but my value and yours does not hang on our mutual failings (for you will fail too).

“if only i could be perfect” … but i can’t. that’s the point.

i can’t be perfect — a perfect human, mother, teacher or anything else. God alone is perfect and we could never get to Him under our own steam. but God doesn’t love us because of our level of perfection; He loves us in spite of our inability to be perfect. because He loves us and knew we could never come back to Him on our own, He sent His own son, Jesus, to die for us — Jesus gave up His perfect life in exchange for our broken, sin-festered ones.

nothing i can do can make Him love me more than He has eternally, not even if i learn the fifth declension of latin and manage to teach it to you.

nothing i have done — no fault in the past and no failure in the future — can make Him love me any less than 100%.

and the same goes for you (and for daddy, and for everybody).

that is the love of Someone who is so majestic that in comparison to Him, our brilliant, blazing sun is tinier than a quark and colder than absolute zero.

when God looks at us, He doesn’t see all of our sins, mistakes, failures and half-hearted attempts of mediocrity. instead He sees Jesus, perfect God and perfect Man. Jesus’ record is made forever our own —once we belong to Him, we can’t escape it or jump out from behind it. He’s always ours, and we’re always His. always.

so, my darlings, i will fail you, and i’m so sorry for the hurt and frustration i will unintentionally cause.

but remember that God is bigger than both of us, that He holds us when we fall and helps us back up on our feet again. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

i never want to be the one to break your hearts, my dears, but something in this world will.

when it happens — when i fail you and when the world fails you — run to Jesus.

because He is Love, and never fails.

love now to then,

books, photography, random

snapshots from crazy

dear people who read my blog,

i’ve thought of such lovely things to tell you. i’ve thought deep thoughts, shallow thoughts, sad thoughts, happy thoughts … and haven’t had sufficient time to write them down. life is busy. but busy with good things.

so here’s an update on my life lately, according to instagram.

the weather started getting chilly. i’d started wearing flannel in august.

we went to new salem, illinois, where i bought this tiny pipe i will never smoke.

i finished being 25.

so i started being 26. (and had a surprise party, which almost everyone forgot to photograph. but that’s okay — i know it happened.)

my coworker brought me a birthday flower. he is a gardener and grows beautiful things.

i bought lip liner and thought about buying warby parkers.

my nephew, niece and sibling-friends in taiwan sent me birthday greetings!

i decided october was a good month to spend reading scary books. i started “miss peregrine’s home for peculiar children” in the afternoon and finished at 2 in the morning because i was fascinated and terrified and couldn’t put it down.

being cold and sleepy leads to extra drinking of coffee. the barista said he liked my name. he spelled it wrong, but there’s a smiley face, so it evens out. and he was nice, so it’s all good.

another scary book. “the haunting of hill house” took me three days, but it was even more terrifying. i’m 26 and still afraid of things that go bump in the night … if i’ve been reading psychological horror stories long after everyone else is asleep.

i made a cake. it was full of beer. i’m not ashamed of buying beer based on the name and label design.

autumn! candles! leaves! campfires! (why does no one make a perfume that smells like wood smoke and pine needles? am i the only woman who wants to smell like that?)

i knit, very slowly, only long, straight things. (although a project delay of several months was due to a hot summer and a pekingese that chewed the tips of my knitting needles.)

all the things happen at once. that’s probably a rule. so i stay up late working on projects. or writing silly things on my blog. like i am now. oops.

frosty nights are closing in. my coworker this morning graced the ladies of our office with bright autumnal bouquets.

all for now. but more to come! eventually. i promise.