Thursday, December 21, 2006

Written shortly after the November elections


We are people so blessed, but our blessing’s a curse
For it seals shut our eyes as it fattens our purse.

We celebrate selfishness posing as love.
We lift up each wolf in the clothes of a dove.

We’ve opened our minds (and diluted the truth),
We despise age’s wisdom (we’d rather have youth).

We totter on fences, one foot on each side.
Our pleasure’s our purpose—we’re here for the ride.

We are certainly blessed—we are fat, we are free...

Never has death crept in so silently.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

From the minds of children...

...come some pretty strange ideas.

On my way to work today I saw a car abandoned in the bike lane. Now, it wasn't a particularly huge car--maybe a Corolla or something similar--but the entire thing fit in the bike lane. I don't know how many times I've driven this street. Probably four times a day for over a year, and that's a conservative guess. But never in my life would I have imagined that the bike lane could practically be an extra car lane. It fascinates me still. But the reason I bring this all up is the train of thought that it started. It all goes back to my dad.

My dad is an insanely smart man. He knows bunches about everything, it seems. Often, when you ask him a question involving knowledge (not a when's-dinner-type question), you'd better precede it with "In a yes or no answer..." or you'll be listening for at least 3 months. And knowing my father and his boundless wisdom makes me love this story even more. When he was a wee, tow-headed boy, he was afraid to learn to ride his bike. Not because he was afraid to fail, not because he didn't want to get hurt. No, he was afraid to start riding his bike because he thought the bike lane was the double yellow line that divided the road! It never occured to him that he had never seen a single person cycling in between the yellow lines; somehow, that idea had just fixed itself in his brain and IT WAS TRUE!

Because of the way our minds love tangents, I found myself reminiscing about my own vehicular misconception as a young teenager. Maybe a year before I got my permit, I was riding on the interstate with my mom and she mentioned, off-hand, that one should not stop in the middle of the highway. Perfectly logical. Well, for some reason, that was seared into my brain as "you're not allowed to use your brakes on the highway." For months, I silently fretted over this: "But what if I need to slow down??? Do I just coast to a more reasonable speed? What if traffic doesn't allow me to do that???" I was scared to death about highway driving, and I wasn't even allowed to drive yet. Luckily, this myth was dispelled when I did in fact get my driving permit. And today I proudly apply my brakes on highways across the country.

So this little story got a smile out of me, then jolted me further back in my childhood to my very first memory of a miscommunication. When I lived in England, we had a drawer in the kitchen where all manner of pens lived, including highlighters. There was one highlighter in particular that was extraordinarily bright yellow. It was the first thing you noticed upon opening the drawer. Well, one fateful day, I needed a pen. Naturally, I went for the drawer and, as usual, my gaze went straight to the highlighter. But that day, I saw something I had never read before. WARNING, the highlighter announced. AVOID EYE CONTACT. Of course, what it meant was don't try to use the highlighter on your eyeball, but this was England, remember, and they have a funny way of phrasing things. So, to my young, mostly-American mind, this meant DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LOOK AT THE HIGHLIGHTER. IT IS BRIGHTER THAN 1000 BLAZING SUNS AND WILL PERMANENTLY SEAR YOUR RETINAS, THUS RENDERING YOU BLIND FOR ALL ETERNITY. MWAHAHAHA. Or something similar to that (not sure if I had a concept of the "evil laugh" at this point). From that day on, every time I opened the pen drawer, I had to search for a pen by feel because I would immediately close my eyes or look away. It made things very difficult, but I was sure that a slight inconvience in pen selection was a whole lot better than being RENDERED BLIND FOR ALL ETERNITY. I honestly could not figure out why they would sell pens that caused instant eye damage, or why my parents would keep it in the house, but of course, I never thought to ask.

Then, last month, I realized my error.

Just kidding. I don't remember when I came around, but it was years ago. But it brings me to another random thought. The programmer who is helping build our website at work has a page of funny fake computer error messages. My favorite:


Indeed. Indeed.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Psalm 33:17

Horsepower is a vain hope for deliverance.
The blackest asphalt, no matter how smooth or how far it stretches, cannot save.
The distance between a memory and me sets nothing right.

Sin, like love, transcends space and time.
Luckily, love is the more persistent of the two.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Ankfulness: the state of having exceptionally large ankles. Also known as cankles.

Hankfulness: the state of having pockets overflowing with handkerchiefs. Everyone’s best friend in flu season. 2) the state of owning every Tom Hanks movie ever made. Also popular during flu season.

Thankfulness: the state of overwhelming gratitude for every undeserved blessing God has showered upon me.

Whether you’re ankful, hankful (or Hankful), or thankful, I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving with people you love. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Acts of Dubious Intelligence #1

Take some time out of your day today and simply observe the other people who share our tiny slice of this great big planet. What I believe you will find is that many people are frightfully lacking in common sense, for they do things that anyone who possessed that fine trait would never consider.

I'd like to state for the record that these things shall henceforth be known as Acts of Dubious Intelligence. And one to get us off and running:

1) Riding a Motorcycle without a Helmet

Never in my life have I seen as many people riding these two-wheeled death machines without some sort of skull protection as here in CO Springs. Perhaps it is a side-effect of oxygen deprevation--CO is awfully high up in the atmosphere. Now, I understand that your chances of survival upon being thrown from your seat at 50, 60, 75 miles per hour have GOT to be slim to none, even if you were wearing a helmet. But just toodling around town in the 30-45 mph range, I'd imagine that hard hat would greatly increase the possibility that you would one day be able to function normally after taking a spill from your bike. Not to mention the fact that your baby girl/boy might get to grow up with you rather than not. That your wife or husband would not be left alone with the cash from your life insurance policy, which on all counts is not very good to cuddle with at night.

The point is, I'm baffled. Is the feeling of wind tossling your hair SO TREMENDOUSLY INTOXICATING as to render all thoughts of family, health and safety null and void? If anyone can help me understand this, I'm willing to listen. I don't know that my opinion will ever be changed on this issue, but I'd like to hear you out. And if it's just about the fact that, in CO, one CAN legally ride sans helmet, I don't want to hear it. I don't believe the government is here to protect us from ourselves in most situations. But I would hope that, given the freedom to choose between permanently scrambled brain and perhaps temporary steamed brain (I'm guessing helmets can get toasty), people would choose the latter for the sake of everyone involved. But that's just me.

Ah, the life I lead

I have pondered at length and reached this very definite conclusion: There are few things as scandalously luxurious as lying in bed under a down comforter, reading on a weekend morning.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Been shootin' again...

maroon bells1

New photos are up! Shots from my Labor Day Weekend O' Fun with Katie (aka Kumquat): Rennell and Tyler's wedding in Eagle and Maroon Bells outside Aspen. Both great for a snap happy gal like myself :) Click on the Snappy Snaps link on the right for a peek. And yes, many are artsy-fartsy...consider yourself warned!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I asked

I wish I could claim this as my own, for I think it is beautiful and true—two things I strive for in my writing—but the credit goes to an anonymous poet.

I asked for strength
and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom
and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity
and God gave me brawn and brain to work.
I asked for courage
and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for love
and God gave me troubled people to help...

My prayers were answered.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The speckles are really more like ridges

I don't lie on my floor and stare at the ceiling enough. My current life is not conducive to this.

Reason #1) Colorado is not a state that encourages you to lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling. 300+ sunny days! Mountains in your backyard! Zero humidity and refreshing breezes! You feel guilty for running errands, emptying the dishwasher, being inside for any reason, like you're wasting a perfect day.

Reason #2) I wake up at 7, arrive at work by 8:30. Write and design and generally be creative until 5:30. Home by 5:45 to eat dinner and be out the door by 6:10 for dance or shortly thereafter for other regularly scheduled activities. I often don't get home until around 10, when I usually check my email, tidy my room, tuck in my roommate. Then bed for me. Breathe.

For the past 4 days it has rained nonstop. We are under flash flood warnings. The temperature is a damp 65 degrees and the thick white brightness of a cloudy day pours in my window. It is yucky. And for once, I do not feel guilty for being inside. It is not a perfect day.

And so I spent considerable time this morning lying on the floor staring at the ceiling. I loved every second of it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Land of the Free From?

Today is July 4th. Today we are suppposed to remember that we are free. Today we tend to focus less on what we are "free from" but what we are "free to"--free to worship anything, free to disagree with the President, free to waste our time, our money, our lives, free to decide how we decide. In the great span of culture and time, it's quite an unusual position, the freedom to live how we like. And so we celebrate with mass quanities of juicy griled beef, fresh ripe strawberries, sugar-sweet corn-on-the-cob, triple-scooped ice cream cones. Great food is a blessing. So is "freedom to". But really, "freedom from" is the most mind-boggling concept of all. Freedom from sin, freedom from fear, freedom from death, freedom from crippling anxieties, freedom from destructive lusts. "Freedom from" is a gift, one that cost Him dearly. Only by exploring "freedom from" can we properly appreciate the "freedom to" that most Americans think is an irrevocable right. So many people practicing their "freedom to" are anything but free. And those of us who, with wide eyes, have accepted the gift of "freedom from" must exercise our "freedom to" and share that gift. Maybe accompanied by a nice scoop of ice cream.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

YOU try to milk a pissed-off cow

Last night a group of us went to the Working Ranch Cowboy Association Rodeo. It was fantastic...and I took 181 photos! I know! I couldn't believe it either. I got a few good shots. Many of them came out blurry--lots of frantic motion at a rodeo, and me with my little point-and-shoot digital--but I was able to salvage the best blurry ones with the help of my Photoshop filter friends. Click on the Snappy Snaps link to see some of them.

My favorite thing about last night's festivities was that all of cowboys competing are real manure-shoveling, calf-birthing, working cowboys. These aren't show-boys; they actually do chores similar to the events they compete in. It's such a far cry from my 25 years of suburbia, but it was made more real knowing that day in, day out, these cowboys are making a living with the very skills I just cheered for. And that makes me appreciate it even more.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

If John the Baptist were a Redneck Rapper...

My name is John the Baptist (I’m a Presbyterian.)
I spend my day a’dunkin’ sinners in the searing sun.

My suit is made of camel; a camel made my suit.
My favorite snack is locusts—you should try ‘em…sure beats fruit!

First ya wash ‘em in the river (they’re less chewy when they’re wetter)
Then a dip in wild honey…yep, the wilder the better!

People come from every corner to my desert dipping spot.
Most jump in to please Jehovah; Some jump in because it’s hot.

I tell them that He’s coming, one who’s wilder than me.
We’re not worthy of his toenails, yet He’ll die to set us free.

I tell ya, He’s a-comin’! Just repent, for goodness sake!
He’ll baptize you as I do, but with spirit, not with lake.

And for those who choose to follow Him, it’s not an easy way.
Who knows? Your head might even wind up neckless on a tray.


I’ve got a strong suspicion, if you follow, you’ll be poor.
But, bet your bottom dollar, it’s adventure, that’s for sure!

For He’ll wow you more than money can, and you’ll get your reward
Here on earth and then in Heaven: You’ll be kickin’ with the Lord!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How Beautiful the Hands

She sings with her fingers,
Silent poetry, slicing and carving the air,
Hands fluttering like a bird.
Announcing in a gesture, proclaiming without a sound
The thunderous majesty of our King.

In this borrowed language of motion,
She dips and she raises her hands up in praise.
Sustaining a gesture, repeating one twice.

A caress for her Father,
She offers her hands as music
To those who linger in silence.

When the Lord seems quiet,
When I pray for His voice,
He is faithful to answer:
He gives me a sign.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

New pics!

Hey there, all you peeps with nothing better to do! I've just posted a bunch of new pictures on my Flickr--my favorite "photography" from the past few months. Hope you enjoy...and if you do, please let me know!

Just click on the snappy snaps link in the right column for the fun to begin!

He loves me, I know it.

As I pull my hair back to wash my face, I can smell the day on my skin. Campfire, damp grass, sunshine. It’s not a bad smell. It smells of happy days, of sunny days, of busy, friendly, early summer days.

No, I know what it smells like…it smells like blessings.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Saddest Day of All Time

He’s dead.

He’s dead. How can he be dead???

Oh, God…He’s DEAD.

He was supposed to be our king. He was going to save us all. But now he’s dead. How can he save us if He’s dead?


Where is our hope now? He was our hope, but how can he be now? He is wrapped from head to toe in linen, cold, without breath, laid in a cold, dark cave. There is no life in that cave.

And here we sit, mourning and weeping the man who would have been our king. Was he even who we thought he was? Why didn’t he save himself? Why??? He brought people back to life countless times…how hard would it have been to free himself from that cross, to show those hypocrites who he was once and for all? No one could have doubted him then. They all would have fallen on their faces, crying out for mercy to the one they had just crucified. What better opportunity?

Father in heaven, why have You forsaken us? Why did you bring us this man who would be our king, only to take him away in utter disgrace? We saw his works and signs…who but the Son of God could have performed such miracles? And yet you allowed his own people to put him to death. They chose a common criminal over him and demanded his innocent hands be pierced. His was the death of the scum of the Earth. Where is your mercy, O God?

What do we do now, Father? Who will choose to follow his teachings when, in the end, we’re all the same—dead. Oh, they’ll say he was a wise teacher; they’ll say he did great works. They’ll even say he was Your prophet. But with those very statements, they will dismiss him. Who can believe that the Son of God eternal would be as limited by time as the poorest beggar in Judea?

In my heart of hearts, I know that he came for a purpose bigger than his brief time with us, but God, I am so lost now. My heart aches with this sorrow and my eyes fill every time I think of his face. The light in his eyes haunts me every time I try to sleep. Father, he can’t be dead! Your hand was in this, I know. The noon sky was black as night at the hour of his death; the curtain in the temple was ripped in two by unseen hands. Surely You are not finished with him yet. Surely there is more for him here, here with us.

Oh God of Abraham, God of my fathers, hear my cry. Why, God? Oh, why, my Lord? How can he be dead? How can he be dead? Will I ever feel joy again?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I don't know your name.
I don't know where you live or what you do.

Are you fearless?
Do you speak German?
Did the full force of God hit you square between the eyes one day,
or has it been a long, slow dance?

The only thing I know is that the shimmer and hue of your soul
brings the glow out in mine.

And we'll talk.
Oh, how we'll talk!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Psalm for My Love IV

Even if I don’t know what it means to love you, even if I don’t know how to love you, Lord, You’ve never left me. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You, Father. You loved me first. Thank You, Lord.

Father, how freeing is Your love! You’ve traded my shackles for wings, a prison for flight. So many times in each day I forget this and behave as if I still bore all my own burdens: things to accomplish, situations to control, and an endless fatigue and disappointment when I can’t do it all to my unrealistic expectations. But through You, Jesus, I am released. Released from my own standards and the world’s. Released from worry. Released to Joy.

Released to Joy

Running as fast as I can through life
Each day blurs by,
Leaving an impression rather than a memory.
Eternity is mine,
Although you wouldn’t know it by watching.
Slowly, slowly, My child.
Everyday is a gift I give.
Don’t let life steal My joy from you.

Just as You promised—a way out.
Our victory over death
You cleverly hid in a man condemned—for who would guess that death would die through death?


Oh Father! Remind me each day:
--That You forgive me forever
--That You are bigger than suffering and bigger than sin
--That You are with me no matter where and no matter what
--That You have released me to joy

Never let me forget that You love me, not for anything I’ve done or will do, but because I am Your Gwen. And that is enough.

In Jesus’ precious name, I lift this all up to You. May it bless You, Father.

I love You. Happy Valentine’s Day.

A Psalm for My Love III

When my heart is breaking You hold the pieces. When my spirit is exhausted, You support me. When I feel so alone, You surround me. There is no place I could go that You wouldn’t have been there first, preparing for me, awaiting me, waiting to embrace me.

With Thou

When troubles at my door do pound,
And fear and weakness swirl around,
My heart will tremble; still I know
With Thou before me I shall go

I step up to the airy edge
And peer down from this crumbling ledge.
I wish to run, but still I know
With Thou beside me I shall go

My past creeps up on me at night,
Confronts me with more wrong than right
My soul feels black but still I know
With Thou behind me I shall go

The door flings open, blinding light
Surrounds me. I give up the fight.
The price is paid so that I’ll know
With Thou within me I shall go.

A Psalm for My Love II

Over and over, you forgive me. Before I was born, before I was thought of, You had forgiven me. How can we fully understand that it’s nothing that we’ve done? That it doesn’t matter how good we are on the surface, for we are all sinners through and through. Yet You overcame that and You, sometimes gently, sometimes abruptly, lead us to that realization—that You are bigger than sin and pain and suffering, even if You sometimes have to use sin and pain and suffering to get our attention.

Suit of Sin

I wear a suit of sin that squeezes on my heart. Some days it’s so tight, I feel as if my heart would break. And break it does, over and over again. But there is beauty in its brokenness, for as it bursts, it pours forth light. As it shatters, I am fixed. The bigger the break, the more I am filled by something better than myself. And it hurts, oh how it hurts. But the One who made me lives in my heart and nothing could be better than to slough the dull casing and allow the Love that formed the universe, the Love that sacrificed all, flow like blood in my veins, shine like a torch into my darkness.

A Psalm for My Love I

My roommate and I, being single, decided to dedicate Valentine's Day to God and wrote psalms to celebrate His love. Here's mine, broken into parts cuz it's LOOOONG! It fits together really well, though, so if you have a spare 15 mins, I recommend reading it all together! The structure is pretty much intro, then a poem, then a transition then another poem or bit of free verse...


What is a day dedicated to love if it is not a day dedicated to Christ? For who could truly love without Him? We, dirty in our sin, would be forever separated from the Author of love. We could never be reconciled to God without the ultimate price of His son, the death that gives us new life each day, life without limit, regardless of what we’ve done.

77 x 7

Chance after chance and time after time,
I’ve stumbled on my feet
and fallen on my face.

But I’ll have to ask for forgiveness again,
For tomorrow’s a new day…

And here I come crawling back to You
So full of shame I can’t look at You
But You knew this from the beginning of time
You’ve waited to say, “Come to Me, love, you’re mine.
I’ve got your heart in My hands—you’ll be fine.
It’s all part of My grand design.”

And You knew this,
Didn’t You?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Water Bearer

“No,” He pushes my hand away, weakly but with certainty. “I don’t need it. I’m fine.”

Even as he speaks, his lips are cracking. His skin looks dusty, and his hair is falling out in chunks. “Goway,” he slurs. As he stumbles to get up, my eyes gloss over. Three tears fall to earth and are gobbled up by the thirsty ground. Would that my friend do the same…

I am the Water Bearer, even when the thirsty do not choose to drink. I cannot force them, like that old proverb about horses says. But in this case, I cannot lead them anywhere; I come to them. My gift is free and my gift is for all. But most people don’t realize that their lips are bleeding, that their eyes are dilated, their skin hardening. Everything around them is withering and dying; to them everything’s normal. They do not realize they need water to live.

“Friend, take this cup. It will help, I promise.” I extend my hand once again.

“I said NO!” He struggles to shift from his knee to standing, his supporting leg swaying like a palm on the beach. “I’m not thirsty!” he croaks. “I just need to stand up…”

With each cup I offer comes the promise of restoration, rejuvination, replenishment. The water refreshes not only the tongue but slides its way between the cells of the body, plumping and repairing—my water fills the empty spaces.

He grabs for that tree, for those rocks, something solid to pull himself up with, but they are useless mirages. He looks around, but we are alone in this wasteland, save another man, tiny on the horizon. He slumps back to the ground, aware for the first time that standing is hard without help. “Maybe just a little,” he mumbles. I hold out the cup again. He draws it to his face, eyes trained on the ground the entire time. But instead of drinking it, he lifts the cup high and pours my water over his head. Little rivers stream down his face, and he closes his eyes. His parched lips part in a crack of a smile. But even as I watch, the water disappears, evaporating into the arid desert air. His smile fades as the cool is replaced by the same old dryness. Except this time, because he knows water now, he can feel it. He thrusts the empty glass at me, waggling it around. “More!” he cries, as the heat returns. He still avoids my gaze.

My cup is not to be taken lightly. My cup is not to be squandered. It revives so long as it is truly tasted. Occasional splashes do nothing but make misery more apparent. My water refills, but you must offer your body, your vessel, to be refilled. It is a commitment.

“Friend, so long as you choose to waste my water, you will never be satisfied for long. The water must become a part of you. Please drink.” I offer him the glass, refilled to the brim, but he just sits there. I know what he’s thinking—who are you to tell me what to do? I just needed a little refreshing. One more glass to splash on my face and I’ll be fine. But I know he’s also thinking about how fleeting the pleasure was, and how, even after that, he can’t stand up. He reaches out and accepts my offer. As the cup trembles toward his lips, light sparkles off the water. The reflection dances on his face and I smile.

I refill his cup as quickly as he drains it. Over and over, in great gulps he drinks, like a man falling in love for the first time. He doesn’t waste a drop.

He looks up at me with new eyes, glistening now instead of dull. I can see my reflection in them as I extend my hand. “Come.” I point into the distance. “I think our friend over there is thirsty…”

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dancing on Dust

The essence of wealth and the perfume of diamonds
Eludes us but sirens its song on the wind.

And we reach, how we grasp, for the treasures our senses
Can gather and measure and finger and spend.

But at once, in a breath, we are naked and empty
How naked and empty are we in a breath.

And the things of this earth that we swore by, now rubble.
The perfume of pleasure stinks plainly of death.

For no matter how solid the world seems around us,
We’re dancing on visions of dust all the same.

But for us, there’s a light with more substance than granite,
And for us, that light has a name.