Saturday, June 5, 2010

it works!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Well, Hi.

I have been gone for a long time from this blog.
But I have been very, very present in my own real life.
Please know this.

Please also know that I am goin on a mission! 
Well yes, yes I am.

And I have this very secret mission blog that I used to write on when I couldn't seem to put my Pre Sister Brown words anywhere else.

It is here.

And soon, I'll open it up for all to see. 
That means one day, when you click on it, it will let you in.
Kind of like a person you're tryin to be friends with.

I love the whole world. 
Right now. 
I just want to say that before I go.
This is what my face looks like on my mission papers. 
My life is real.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Feel this.

I need to say something. I’ve been having this bizarre experience. Lately I feel this strange sensation, it’s something like feeling need. It’s a lot like being hungry actually. For the past week or so I’ve actually assumed it was hunger. 
The process goes like this: 
I Feel it.
I eat something. I’m full. I’m not satisfied. 
I eat something else. More full. Still not satisfied. 
Still Feel it.
Over the past seven days I’ve tried meat, bread, fruit, vegetables, cheesy milky things, healthy things, greasy things, raw things and cooked things. Do I sound like a Doctor Seuss book to you? I’ve tried it all. None of it is the answer. Upon explaining this to my friend Sarah today I acknowledge a thought that has until recently been pushed to the backburner: Maybe it’s not hunger for food.

What is it that I’m unsatisfied about?

I also cannot sleep. Last night I tossed and turned all over again thinking is this because my new bed isn't not comfy? That’s not it. It feels just fine. 
Something else in me is trying desperately to get my attention.

Are you expecting this post to end in an answer? It won’t. Still waiting on that.
For now, let’s talk about secondhand books.

Today I went to the DI, this place is a lot like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Villiage. You know, it’s other people’s stuff. It wants to be your stuff now. We looked at the books because Sarah loves this. It’s therapeutic for her. I just had so many thoughts and I wanted to come home and write about them.

First of all, there are so many books that claim to solve life. Finding a Friend in the Mirror (How to love yourself). The fast Track to Heaven (Um, a short-cut to God?).  Be a Perfect Person in 3 Days (Really. I’m serious.) Finding Your Best in Multi-level Marketing (Gag.) Even a Writer’s Companion on how to get published (Okay so I might have picked this one up for a second…) One thought about all this: I will never claim that my book has the answer to life.

There are Mary Higgins Clark books everywhere. I wonder what is must be like, to be so well known that even the second hand stores have double and triple copies of your novels. What am I doing with my writing? What do I want to do? Do I want to be a 
fattly-sold Mary Higgins Clark? No, I don’t think so. At least, that is not my aim. What is my aim? To tell the truth. To say my words. What does that mean? I will spend my life trying to figure out the answer to that question. I will not find it in the Writer’s Companion, which then goes back on the shelf.

I find The Official Handbook of Hugging. There are actually chapters on How, When, Where, and Why to hug, complete with illustrations of chubby little animals demonstrating. I am honestly impressed with whoever had the audacity to be this cheesy. I will not buy this book today. I have lofty expectations about my future shelves as being tributes to great literature. But you know, the world just needs people to write funny huggin handbooks with cliché love quotes and hearts on the spine, and this is more than okay with me.

As I continue on my search, I begin to look for authors and titles I’ve already known, only to watch myself dismiss them upon finding. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I think of creepy stow-aways in the belly of moldy murderous ships. No thanks. Frank Norris? Eh. Then I see: The Scarlett Letter. Paperback. Yellowed attic-smelling pages. DONE. In my basket. This book was so hard to read, but full of beautiful things. Full. It is needful that I own a copy. I do now. 75 cents. Success.

With the unknown authors, I skim pages. I read really fast over chapter titles and final paragraphs. I require my immediate interest to be kindled. Make me want you, I am saying to these books. Let your significance yell off the page. All the while, a quiet voice within me fights this method. “My life will get nowhere if I search with these expectations,” it says.

Before I leave I see a Book of Mormon Reader. It’s an illustrated and simplified version for kids. My parents use to read this to us sometimes when we lived in Greensboro. I remember sitting on the rug in a pajama shirt that could have swallowed me whole three times over. I wanted to read the real scriptures because someone in sacrament meeting said that as you keep turning a wheel, it gets easier. And that even if we don’t understand the scriptures, we have to keep going to them, keep turning the wheel. My Mom said the other kids weren’t old enough for real verses yet. Now I am re-reading my study book from my Book Of Mormon class at BYU three years ago. I am going to go teach this to other people. Where is my life going? Look where it’s been.

I leave with The Scarlett Letter. The Lovely Bones. A Book of Days for the Literary Year, which says what James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald were doing on my birthday. (Awesome.) And an old Smithsonian Magazine that has really great art inside, which I can tear out and glue in my journal. I hand the lady my four dollars, and walk outside. I needed that.

It is about 8:15, and still light enough to see the details of the mountains. It will be dark in less than an hour. It is faintly cold, and everything is tinted in blue tones. As I climb into Sarah’s big SUV, I am struck with the impression that Today Really Matters. I don’t need an explanation; I just know it’s true.

On the way home I know that whatever this need is, this toss-turn mystery hunger… I must let it smoulder into discovery.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hey thanks!

I just want to write something happy because oh! Oh I'm happy. Oh man I am. 
I'm sittin here in this new apartment wrapped up in Claire's blanket and I just have to say something good. That's all. Goodness. (Hey, did you know Claire's my roommate now! Yeah!)

I can't say the details, but here's the deal: Everyone just do what God tells you to do.
This is different from just sayin you're gonna do it. 
That's right, you have to actually move forward! Who woulda thought?
And when you do, God sends you good things.
Because he wanted to the whole time you know, he was ready. You just had to do a few more things before he could justify giving you even more than he already has. 
You mean I have to earn some of these blessings?
You mean I have to do stuff?
Yes. I know. Shocking.
I know because this happened to me in real life this week.

And here's the deal: My life still doesn't make sense!
Isn't that great?!
It doesn't make sense and I'm still ridiculously happy.
I have been livin blissfully for at least 72 hours straight.

Accept for this one part of the day when I teared-up over my HUGE desire for a cheeseburger and how tired I was and weirdy my body was being. I may or may not have thrown my wallet at the couch and gotten a little flustered. Sorry. I had to pray and take a nap... after I ate my cheeseburger of course. The cheeseburgering/praying/napping combination worked wonders by the way. But really! Except for that moment of gross... miraculous happiness abounds.

If you're havin trouble feelin this way, check out my Little Breezy. Not only has he acquired himselg a cute little pair of glasses, he's ridin a Two-Wheeler! 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ok? Ok.

Okay so I just have to say a lot of things. A LOT OF THINGS.

My life is going to be okay! It is!

And people can throw down on my conviction. Bring it on. Try and make me feel small.

Because here's the deal: You can.
I'm not too proud to admit that right now.
You have the capacity to make me feel stupid and weak and meaningless.
But oh man I'm so good at bouncing back. I can expand back to full-size.

Lately God does not mess around when he talks to me.
We do business.
He tells me what he needs me to do.
And I have to follow through before I can receive more.
Step. Go. Do.

I saw three deer in the yard today.
They did not run away from me. We just stared.
We saw clearly.
I was so moved.
I wish I could explain what it meant to me.

I am scared.
I have fear.
I move forward.

I think we want the same thing.
But that does not mean
We will see.
I don't have to know what it means.

Brooke showed me this today:
Alma 26:16—“Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will praise God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.”


I can keep singing loud.
I can handle your choices.
And mine.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Always preliminary.

Today, I feel like this.
(I'm one on the left.)
* * * * *

vin·di·cate[vin-di-keyt] –verb (used with object)

1. to clear, as from an accusation, imputation, suspicion, or the like.
2. to afford justification for; justify.
3. to uphold or justify by argument or evidence: to vindicate a claim.
4. to assert, maintain, or defend (a right, cause, etc.) against opposition.
5. to claim for oneself or another.
* * * * *
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 
blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, 
and behold, as often as thou hast inquired 
thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. 
If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come 
to the place 
where thou art 
at this time.
D&C 6:14 
* * * * *

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord
And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, 
and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: 
and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: 
and after the fire 
a still small voice.
Kings 19:11-12
* * * * *

* * * * *

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This can be me.

"There were in her at the moment two beings, one drawing deep breaths of freedom and exhilaration, the other gasping for air in a little black prison-house of fears. But gradually the captives gasps grew fainter, or the other paid less heed to them; the horizon expanded, the air grew stronger, and the free spirit quivered for flight."

The House of Mirth
By Edith Wharton
Page 69

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Be somebody's Cait.

* * * * * 
Today is Tuesday. On Tuesdays I watch devotional on a big screen in an old room with my friend-for-life Cait. I met her when I was ten. Now we are big and have bigger lives and offer two hours of them each week to each other. The first is spent in front of this big screen, pre-maturely eating our lunches while listening to inspiring people speak. Cait's lunch is different from mine in that it always looks... well, planned. Her sandwiches have turkey and condiments AND vegetables. Like straight up spinach and pickles or something. Kind of like her outfits... an accessorized sandwich. Whereas the hope of my potential PB and J lies within the second pocket of my bookbag, which was filled in a flurry this morning by a jar of peanutbutter, my blackberry jam, a butterknife straight out of the drawer and two loose slices of bread. I forgot napkins. We don't have those in my house. Today I borrowed her poppyseed salad fork to eat out of my half-frozen by a ghetto-fridge disposable yogurt container. I didn't bring anything else, not even a spoon. The food is funny, but it's not the point. The speeches are beautiful... it helps to just sit and learn for an hour because you're actually choosing to.
But really, they're not the point either.

The point is hour #2.
We find a spot. A spot for...
The food was consumed early for a reason people. It's time to talk about the week.
"Okay so tell me stuff..." I say.
(I usually feel unprepared to verbalize, so I always want Cait to go first.)
This hour. Each week. Has become Absolutely Vital for my heart.
This semester. Each week: A full-feature drama occurs in my life.
On the better weeks, it's a romantic comedy.
But never uneventful. Never without a struggle.
(Also, never fruitless.)

"I don't feel like I'm dumping or venting when I talk to you because we don't wallow. We search."

I need to have my own world here with Cait sittin on the floor, over in the corner...
only inches away from 20 or so other college-kid conversations.
We are here.
With our words we spread out the roughly drafted blue prints...
The beginnings of a few answers...
We tear-up over the hard ones,
"I'm not sure what else I can give to this."
take pictures with the good ones,
"I can feel it. I'm whole now. I've always been, but I didn't know."
hold on for the hopeful ones.
"Imagine what it will feel like after ten years of work to feel what you've finally made together."
We figure out what we're gonna do next.
"Tell me what you felt when you prayed..."

I trust Cait because she is kind. Because I've never met someone who's intentions are so undoubtedly pure. Because since we were ten she's had this calm ability to face life.
Not with a set identity and something to prove,
Not with a shield of pretense,
but with a heart ready to reach
Ready to receive.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hey look I'm still here!

Today I'm in the LRC.
I cannot rent headphones because my student card is barred.
"Look," the nice girl behind the desk turns her computer screen towards me and says.
"See? It says you're barred. All I can do is click okay."

I must have given her the  
Can't you just jack me some headphones so I can listen to sweet jams 
while I write 50 papers?" look.
That look came after this spaz of conciousness that came streamin out my little mouth...
Well I don't owe any tuition (thank goodness), 
and I haven't checked out any books, 
and I don't think it's that parking ticket from last semester 
and could Wells Fargo maybe have translated their overdrafty hatred for me 
into an LRC computer?
I stop. She looks concerned.
After assuring her that everything will be okay, I go quietly to my computer.

No sweet jams for me today. I'm barred ya'll.
Maybe its because I won't shut up and get married?

Joke. Relax. It was a joke.

So yesterday was "I trust myself not to mess up my life day."
Today is "This is gonna be nuts so you best be happy and like it day."
So far I'm doin a great job.
With 3 papers and various grown-up appointments ahead of me today,
not to mention all the heavier emotional spaceships spinnin around me,
I'm laughin it up on this blog.
Way to go! What an adult I am!

You know what, I just love stuff.
I do.
I'm always appalled at where my life is.
Daily I spaz about who I am and who I want to be.
But I just love things and I'm excited about that.
That's all I want to say.

Except to tell you this secret:
I never sing as loud or with as much conviction as I do when I'm drivin alone in Roger Clarence.
Here are some songs that keep me movin forward.
I'm posting them by the line I sing the hardest. CLick this mess.

My song is love. My song is love unknown...
I miss winter just because I miss when I knew you best.
And have enough kids to make a band like Joe and Catherine, yeahhhh.
Turn off the car, breathe the air, let's stay here.
Now I may have faith, to make mountains fall.
Then one day: you'll go away. But I will too. Until then, my darling friend well I will hold...
yes I will hold onto you.
Sing out yeah, Everything's not lost.

Monday, March 22, 2010

We'll have time to know our neighbors all by name.

Today I was walkin home from school, music playin in my ears.
The sun was out and I was hoppin down the stairs.
I thought I can. I can trust myself to not mess up my life.
And God said to me "Keep going because I love you and I'm going to send you good things!"

I wasn't afraid.
On those stairs, it was just about today. 
The condition of my heart right now. Happy.
I want it to stay that way.

I came home and switched my laundry.
I read an old journal while eatin a glorious peanutbutter and jelly sandwich.
And then...
I went for a run.
That's right. Me. I. Went for a run.

Before I left, I asked God for some things. Help me let go of any sense that we are divided. Help me knock down my fears and be peaceful. Help me start from a new place. As I'm running, I want to churn out my anxiety and let it leave me. I want to open up my future and my spirit to you. I trust you. I trust myself. I trust that combination.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Declaration: It's gonna be ok, ok?

"I chose and my world was shaken.
So what?
The choice may have been mistaken.
The choosing was not."
--Stephen Sondheim

It is in these periods of my life, these eras of choice and forward motion, where I feel most alive. Even if it creates a struggle, even if I am racked with complexity, I am creating my future. And so, I find myself more fulfilled than I would be in a period of indecision, of stagnant calendar weeks, of horizontal silence. Because surely if I am not reaching up, I am sinking down.

* * * * * 
Part two: Letter from the bestfriend.
(Katie doesn't really know the whole story, she's missing a lot acutally. But she can tell how I'm feelin sometimes, even if I haven't written in a while.)

Lovie! I'm in between shifts at work again (shocker i know) and typin real fast cuz i have nine bajillion things to get done before tomorrow. I know huge things are happenin-slash-will be happenin for the next few weeks. I'm writin to tell you that you are enough. Just you. And if you don't end up with one of those boys it's okay. And if you end up with one of those boys or all of those boys it's okay too.
I'm writin to tell you i feel the power in your words.
I've been readin (as ush) and I just feel the gravity of your words.
I'm writin to tell you that I know you're workin hard to be the best you can be and be diligent in so many areas of your life and God does too.
And I'm writin to tell you that i know what it feels like to be stuck at the bottom of a well of contradictions and unsureities,  
and to just want loving everyone to be enough.

So most of all, I just love you. I wish I could fly you back to NC and we could just lay our souls out on the beach cuz goodness knows theyve been cramped up away from each other for too long.
Also, lately im a mess sometimes. Sometimes I don't know why. Sometimes I'm sad about Africa, sometimes I feel like my life is just nuts. Most of the time I just try to keep workin, keep pushin forward, cuz otherwise I know I'll be drowned in uncertainties. God is showing me important things everyday. I am grateful he just keeps findin a way in cuz sometimes im so wrapped up in everything I cant find his voice amongst all the other ones around me.

Love you bigger than the drive from here to Cali, longer than the plane ride from here to Kenya, and deeper than Mamaw's pineapple dumpcake.

You are my roots,
* * * * * 
Part 3: Hope. 

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. 
--James 3

Monday, March 15, 2010


Today I publicized a billion words in 3 new posts.

The next one is about the beginning of a story.
The one after that is a what came before the beginning.
The one after that is mixed up paragraphs from throughout.
The story isn't over,
and I didn't explain enough.
I've left out a whole chunk entirely.
I don't fully understand. You won't either. 

I just needed to unleash some of my old words.
The universe had it coming ok?
This is how I say
"I am here. I am learning. I am evidence."

That's all.

This is from an ocean.

“How’s life?” asks a boy, concerned for his friend’s heart which is in my hands.
“Hell,” I say.
“I appreciate your honesty.”

It was a lie. Life is not hell, but it got the point across efficiently. My point: I’m not tryin to mess with your friend ok? He's my friend too and I’m tryin to do the right thing. Please don’t imply that this is a careless matter of batting my eyelashes on Saturday nights.

“If you ever want to fight, you know where to find me...”

"You know most of the girls in your relief society would kill to have this problem," says my trusty Bishop. (We're tight.)
The first time he says this, I just knod.
The second time, I let loose:
"I know. But this didn't just fall into my lap, ok? I worked really hard to show these boys who I am, to give of myself. I did scary things with my heart. this is what happened in return. It's not about fate or luck."

“I think you’re brave,” Ben says.
“Thank you,” I say. I say it like I mean it. Because I do.

I’m up late tonight, all by myself. I used to do this all the time. Here I am with my pot of pasta and fuzzy pajama pants. Here I am. I want to show you something.

There are three parts to this story. I am ready to tell you about one. 

It comes from a page marked November 27th. 
I filled it with a question in really big handwriting: What am I doing with Ben? 
(I want to fill you in on what that question means, but it would make the story cheap, public, and incomplete. Just replace it with your own pressing question and stay with me.)
I scribbled about how this question was the real focus of my mind, not the novel I was reading, not even the ocean I was laying by. “This is the wrong question,” I write.

I get up. I can’t be on this blanket anymore. Too much movement inside. I am goin for a walk, and that’s all there is to it. Brooklyn comes too. I tell her about how my question was off-track. Here’s why: “No answer will fill all the holes with individual statements. No answer will be a logical blueprint for life except this: I am following the spirit. I am. New question for tomorrow: Am I still following the spirit? That’s all I can do. It has to be enough. It is enough.”

I told her it was going to be okay. I spoke deliberately, knowing that in the absence of my own knowledge, the impossibility of my omniscience, I needed to hear myself say these things. ALOUD. Aloud while walkin fast and alive down the beach.

The sand was flat for ages. No hills or patterns were left by the retreating tide. It made my restless heart crazy. We round a peninsula, one with a lifeguard stand. California is so foreign to me sometimes…as if the little guy in the chair can make it all okay. After this we see an edge. I’m not sure what else to call it. It was a tall piece of rock, jutting out into the ocean, like a small cliff. The water crashed all around and it was very alive with sea urchins and star fish and other smaller things I couldn’t name. I drew back from the urchins at first, in unfamiliarity. But then I remembered that these were alive and part of the earth and connected to the water, just like me. I let go and trusted, like I’d done five days before when I brought the truth on a Sunday night. “Lyndsi Shae, why you breathin like you’re scared to?” I touched their tops one at a time, letting each cling to my hand for a while before pulling away. And then, I did what I knew I would. I climbed the rock.

In my bathinsuit and tye-dyed t-shirt, I followed my own bare feet. It was the roughest surface they’d ever felt. Every step hurt. I knew I was here to find a higher place—that I would sit above the waves and feel certain things, but what I could not yet say. I jumped across a few divides. I reached up and up. I stopped once to rest my feet, but knew I had to get higher. I had to see more of the current. This current flowed around the edge of the cliff and sent waves out sideways, parallel with the shoreline. I had to watch them reconcile with the larger waves that headed straight for the sand.

Out in the ocean, the two wave paths collided into a large rock. The same kind of animals clung there as the place from where I watched. Each time the waves came they would crash over that rock, forwards and sideways, and then both waves pushed on towards the base of the rock where I sat. 
The cliff. The edge.

I sat on the harsh rock and curled my toes over the edge. I long to put myself amid things that have not been tamed. Man can never stop these waves. I think I want my life to be this way. As much as I crave  immediate answers, I want to my currents to divulge and my cliff to be shaped slowly—by life that clings to the rockface—adding itself to my edges-- by crashing water that pulses with the moon. With all of these I am eroded or refined, whichever I choose. And while I sit up on this folded rock, sore feet and t-shirt beneath me—I am singing to God. I am singing because He comes closer with the sound, because it is a way to call on many other pieces of myself, past pieces that sang these same songs.

I cannot show you these pieces in words, I can only say that there is a need for times like this. Times to climb the first cliff you see and find a unity between what has been felt, and what is still left to find. Time to prepare for the choices that will come, to crash sideways and forwards and hold tight to tumultuous rock. I have been the wave, the rock, the urchin and the tide. So I sing and reach for Him with all of these.

Be still, my soul: 
thy God doth undertake

To guide the future, 
as He has the past. 

Thy hope, thy confidence 
let nothing shake;

All now mysterious 
shall be bright at last. 

Be still, my soul: 
the waves and winds 
still know…

I watch the crashing water. It surrounds the base of this cliff and I think, “What would I say to God today, here on this rock. If I could tell him one thing… what would I choose”
I feel the answer come fast and calm and I say it aloud:

I want to do what you want me to do.
I want to do what you want me to do.

The application of this will require more than the desire.
The knowledge is more than just listening.
I know, but I am sure this is what I want to say.
I sit on that rock for a while.
The waves are getting higher.
I am right where I am supposed to be.

I watch water smash into the rock out there in the ocean, first from the side, then directly from behind. It’s covered but not overtaken. White foam erupts and dissolves. The rock re-emerges though the waves rage on.

Then I hear a crash beneath the edge where I sit.
In an instant I see the water lurch up from below. 
It has now come for me, 
and as I watch this triangle of ocean spring up, 
one word comes to mind:
It crashes over me then, untame and unexplained. I finish my song.
This is how I leave the cliff, not with a complete knowledge but with a respect for the unknown. A desire for more crashing beauty, more converging currents in my life. I climb down one painful step at a time. I know that my feet have been prepared for the rocks.

As we walk away I try to explain to Brooklyn.
“I feel better now,” I say.

Before, on that blanket with my book, I was too quiet.
I was too falsely focused.

Now I have walked in search of an answer, and instead found peace. There is wild water in my hair, and cliff scratches on my legs. My skin is tired from the sun and I am ready to walk away from that edge. To walk away without knowing the ending.

“I feel like I am here now,” I say.
“All of me.”
And I am.

That was 108 days ago.  3 and a half months.
What can I say?
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain...

Tonight I am in repair. I rest away from the waves. 
I am calm, but exhausted. I study the sounds and patterns, try to be still.

I want to do what you want me to do.

Porcelain, do you carry the moon in your womb? Someone said that you're fading too soon...

There once was a missionary.
I wrote him all his days,
except the last month or so.
He gets home next week,
but he will not drop by to say hello.
He said once that I was his best friend.
I am now dating his other best friend.
Reality: There once was a missionary, but:
Soon, he will be a Ken. Right here in this town.

Reality: There is no real way to prepare for this.

Our letters ended with a box.
Brooklyn text me:
"There is a box on our doorstep that looks like it's been through hell. I think it's from Latvia."
I came home to find it, busted corners and triple-taped.
To me, from him.
A box of all my letters and the things I've made him.
I sit here with them.
My mind looks at my heart and says
"Are you gonna be okay down there?"
"I think so, I mean someday," she says.
(She actually says much more than that. She begins a million thoughts without finishing any of them. She cries and yells. Sprints and sleeps. It's a mess, believe me. We're paraphrasing here.)
"No pressure," my mind tells her.
"Let's just not freak out. But let's not ignore reality either. But well... I don't actually know what to do ...Keep going? Yeah. Let's just keep going and listen for God and be strong."

This is what my mind and my heart generally decide to do. It's our most trusted solution.

So I made a cool thing on my wall out of the pictures he sent back.
And today, I'm readin my old letters.
I am tryin to make something positive out of this.
I am trying to do something constructive with all these emotions.
Wanna be a part of it? You're invited.
Here's a celebration of the last two years, in pieces:


May 2008:
So pretty much Pete Hoyt’s gonna marry my friend Stephy Jay, probably this summer. Another one bites matrimonial dust, and I am a triple bridesmaid.
"I’m in the APX breakroom at work, and there are computers for me! And a plasma screen TV... and I feel like I should be excited but I'm not. It's dumb.  They should turn the heat on, and add a couch... and then I'd be excited. (Maybe a grilled cheese sandwich maker.)
My supervisor at my new job is pretty huge. He has a Mohawk… like a 4 inch legit Mohawk. The other day I was bragging about eating a whole frozen pizza after my huge dinner. And then, mistakenly, he doubted me. I challenged him. "You. Me. Eating Contest," I said. "Girl, I would put you under the table." He talks now, but I know he fears me. I'll let ya know how it all goes down."
"One more question. I feel like, if I were you, my American life and my Latvian life would seem immensely separate. To the point that  remembering who I was before would be surreal, like I was recalling a movie I watched once... rather than something I actually experienced. Is it like that?"
July 2008:
"I'm home now! HOME. Today I took Brad to this sweet carnival thing for dang free! They had a ferris wheel and swings and an airplane ride and a fried chicken flopper! I was too old for everything, 'cept they did let me flop the chicken. I also wanted to get my face painted, but Bradley didn't really want to... and I would have been the only one in line that was twenty.
     You know what word I miss? Filthy. My Mom's chasin Brad around yellin 'You are a filthy little child and you're gettin in the tub. Quit whinin'.  And ooooooh! Go show Lyndsi how white your heiny is.'
Hi, welcome to the dollhouse.
     Other updates on my kids--- Corey just got his first sword wound from Kung Fu, not kidding. He came in flexin his muscles "Finally!" he proclaimed as he let his battle scar shine forth.
     Lacey's a fox. She came home soaked the other night because she decided she wanted to jump in the lake. So pretty much: she's me. I'm havin a sleepover with katie and kelsey tonight. I was real excited to ask her to come with me. What else could she possibly be doing on a Friday night? Going to Jason's party of course. So she's me, but cooler. Way cooler.
     This morning I woke up to the sounds of Jesse rockin out to guitar hero downstairs. He's SO shaggy lookin. By the time I came down he was skateboardin in his pajama pants. A shirtless bandit of flannel rebellion. My siblings are ballin."
August 2008:
"Right now I'm sittin in a cabin that's been rented out for Sabrina's wedding party. I know--dank. Welcome to the bridesmaid's room, you're the only boy in here. Be glad you can't hear on account of you'd hate it. So Sabrina's gettin married this weekend. Stephy Jay next weekend. Heather and my roommate Kim the weekend after that. Also, Brooklyn has a boyfriend. Me? I have a complex."

August 2008:
"I'm stuck in Cedar City on account of a tire BLEW while I was drivin 80 mph back to provo. Guess who handled it like a CHAMP? Me. And Brooklyn.
I'm in a dorm room, long story. This mornin I woke up, took a sweet long shower, jacked a freshmen's hairdryer... and so now I am atleast a clean, good-smellin hobo.
Did I tell you I was a hobo for real? Cause I am. I had to leave my summer apartment on the 15th, and my new one won't let me in til the 28th. So I'm stayin at Pete and Stephy Jay's empty married apartment until then. Brooklyn's with me, and her little sister Jen who's been livin with us for a month or so. Plus Steph's on her honeymoon so no big deal. Its FULL of boxes, with a mass-pad of blankets in the only open carpet-space-- we sleep there. Yesterday we dropped off Jen at SUU for her first day of college. (Hi, nostalgia major? Yes.) Anyway, thats when our car crapped out on the way home. We were sittin on the side of the highway in the dark, watchin the mountains. With the help of Chris Noel: my hero firefighter, and a state
I feel anxious about the fall, I am anticipating the change and flow of newness. I always get this way when I'm havin a beginning. Plus Sabrina, Steph, Stephy Jay, Heather, and our summer roommate Kim are all married now. So we're pretty much the most legit girls left in this town. And by we I mean me and my Brooklyn, we're a team."

October 2008:
"When Lyndsi gets married, we ain't havin no dainty halibut.
There will be fried chicken at that wedding."
--My little brother Jesse.

"I love my brother Corey. I know we could understand each other.  I miss him loving me. Loving me without guard, without anger. I would soar with relief, gratitude, and hope if I saw him go on a mission. I see what he can be. I wish I was more able to show him this love, because I know he doubts it, and I know that hurts him."

January 2009:
“There is one battle that remains-- always, I am fighting for my youth. Back home, I felt like my youth was dying before its time. I worked to preserve the child in me. I think that is why I still need to play in the reain and sing loud and fingerpaint. I need to know that I am not hardened. I pay my rent and write my papers. I go grocery shoppin and apply for scholarships. I help my friends tie up their wedding dresses. I. am. growing. Up. Part of this is beautiful to me. But still, I ache with the change. As God stretches me into who he wants me to be-- there is pain in the growth. I grieve for what I have lost. But I fell him here with me. I am grateful for the braid of past, present, and future. Sometimes, he reminds me, that he won't make me grow up any more than is necessary. Being a woman doesn't mean I lose my warmth. He will never rob me of my youthful spirit.”

March 2008:
"It's midnight and I'm eatin a chocolate coconut bar in my pajamas. I just got off work. There's an engaged snuggly couple on my couch, a leaky faucet down the hall, and a new book in my purse. This is my sweet life. I like it here."

January 2009:
"Lately I've been havin a hard time too. But, I was resistant to God's answers. I didn't want to know them... maybe because knowing them would require action-- and i was choosing to sulk. But last Sunday  I told Him I was ready to be in-tune. I opened myself back up. And since then, I have felt hims sending me strength. I sang in the car yesterday, and knew that I was BACK from my greyness. There was confidence and freedom in my voice, instead of disappointment and distraction. I know He brought me back, and I am grateful."

February 2009:
"Now I'm in my front yard eating chips & mango salsa with a stack of the letters you've sent me since I last wrote you. It's sunny. Happy Wednesday."

"...I love Ilga the feisty composer! She sounds like a strong woman, even if she's too stubborn to listen to you these days..."

April 2009:
"There is so much compassion in me, but blocked. Blocked by my distracted self-importance. If I could break down all that opposes it-- the anger and judgment-- the pride and idleness-- I know... that only clear purpose would remain. Only clarified direction.
Only healing."

September 2008:
*Postcard from California*
"Hail from your homeland! I'm here! I know! One of my favorite parts of today was sittin on the edge of the water and playin in the sand and tyin thin blades of seaweed on my ankles. They're still there. I bought some wooden beads from a mexican store for touristy kids like me-- who eat fajitas and fried icecream barefoot outside. Ken, San Diego is WAY different from the beach back home. There's a loud speaker at the ocean?! It's more ballin sushi city... and less country-fried-chicken-letsgofishin. It's not 100% me but I love it for what it is...”

November 2009:
"I have to tell you something. I'm kinda responsible now... like the super-busy-let-me-look-at-my-calendar-I'll-have-to-email-you-the-numbers responsible. It's weird. I used to think this kind of organization would kill my freedom and spotanaety. Now I know I have to be this way if I want to get everything done. Ken, I even wake up early. People depend on my and stuff. Sometimes I think 'Oh no! What if I'm boring now?!' But you're probably more responsible now too, so if I am more boring... hopefully you won't notice."

October 2008:
"Ken are you good at skipping rocks? Because I'm not. It's okay though, because I like the plunking noise..."

November 2009:
"I wish I could just sit you down and show you who I am, that it could be that simple.

The good news is: I've been tryin to do that for a long long time. For a while there, I couldn't tell if you were listening. Maybe that's because you weren't. But it's probably because you listen so differently from me, and so I just couldn't tell you were. Either way, for a long time now I've been able to tell that YES you are listening. I can feel your willingness. I'm always glad to see that it's still there. Always relieved. The best part is, these days you seem so ready to also show yourself. Maybe we can just keep trying. Thanks for doing this with me."

November 2009:
"I always worry that some mailman between here and eastern Europe will think the decorations on my envelope are obnoxious and throw away my letter because it's lame and American. Then I feel ignorant for worrying because that's kinda lame in itself... and American."

November 2009:
"Ken I just wanna be your friend all the time and tell you things. Sometimes I am walkin to school and I think 'I am so happy today. I want to tell Ken how this feels.' I am relieved to hear myself say things like that so naturally. Kinda like that time your companion asked you who I was and you said 'my best friend' without even thinking about it...
... I'm just glad for now-- for this part where we just write letters and learn things. This feels good. I believe in you so much. I hope you're finding out how powerful you are."

August 2009:
“Siovhan asked me what I want to be when I grow up and here's what came out: ‘A writer. And a Mom. Not necessarily in that order, but simultaneously, and forever.’ That's the most complete I've ever felt about the answer to this question.”

September 2009:
"I sit at this table, surrounded by produce and old letters... a gallon of chocolate milk (99 cents!) and the change of midnight. Today in my life I feel surrounded by: CHOICES.
This is scary. Empowering. Staggering. Everyday, I find myself doodling question marks.
Where will my life go?

These days I am trying hard to be my best self. I have to keep re-committing, sometimes hourly. I know you are trying hard too. Let's both keep going."

August 2009:
"Okay. There's this very logical thing you keep doing that blows my mind...
1. Acknowledge flaw.
2. Make goal.
3. Follow goal.
4. Progress.
It seems so simple, and I see it working for you. I see your change. In my mind, I want these processes to be poetic-- symbolic and unfolding. Change can be this way, but the steps to change are much more simple. Logical. Accessible. Duh, right? In my mind, great things happen in mass revelations of beauty and truth. But great things just happen out of consistent effort and keeping covenants. That's all. God has been teaching me this, and you too.

Sometimes he says to me, 'See this rain? You hate it because it is slow and misty. It isn't a mad rushing downpour, so you think it has not story, that no one will remember this rain or really feel it. But not everything has to be so intense. Not every feeling has to come fast and strong to really matter. Not every process is a revolution. All the green things you love are benefiting from this rain I've sent, no matter its pace. Slow life can be your life. It can be enough.'

I listen to him, but I forget very fast."