a long time ago, when i first started working at the church, a friend gave me some of the best advice i have ever received. it was during a time when i was particularly busy, trying to fulfill all the demands of both work and ministry, and was closer to burn out than i even realized at the time.

my friend told me that when it comes to boundaries, it's all well and good to have them, but {and here it is}, no one else will every defend your own boundaries. others may respect you for having boundaries, they may even say they respect your boundaries, but since everyone is pretty busy living their own lives, the only person available to ensure that your boundaries are not infringed upon, is you.

there have been a couple of conversations i've had recently that have reminded me of this piece of wisdom... and just the remembrance of it makes me grateful, as even after all these years, i am not always a good boundary-keeper.

one area where boundaries get too often infringed upon is in the area of silence and solitude. quieting all the voices demanding our attention, even those that reside in our own heads. van gogh understood the need for silence when he wrote, "when all sounds cease, God's voice is heard under the stars."

skye jethani also brilliantly summed up our need for silence in worship in his beautiful book, the divine commodity:

"when our imaginations are jolted into contemplating our true insignificance, either by a star-filled sky or some other encounter with the transcendent, our response is always the same- silence. it is the humility any rational creature should exhibit when confronted by a power so immeasurable it defies comprehension. silence is the beginning of all worship."

i think the problem lies that in the busyness and incessant dailyness of our lives, we forget to be rational creatures.


on this same subject, i recently came across some words written by rilke,

“i hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other.”

protecting the solitude of another. protecting someone else's boundaries...

in a world where we seldom protect our own deep-rooted need for solitude, is it even possible for people to defend the solitude of someone else?

i'd like to think it is...


you who never arrived

it's been a busy, busy week. i've tried on more than one occasion to finish the one book i've been reading for the last three nights, and have been unable to do so, either because of sleep, or some other ridiculous reason. it's friday night, and i am craving the comfort of an old friend.

who better to turn to than my good friend, ranier?

you who never arrived
by ranier maria rilke

you who never arrived
in my arms, beloved, who were lost
from the start,
i don't even know what songs
would please you. i have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next
moment. all the immense
images in me-- the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected
turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods-
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

you, beloved, who are all
the gardens i have ever gazed at,
longing. an open window
in a country house--, and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
streets that i chanced upon,--
you had just walked down them and vanished.
and sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled,
gave back my too-sudden image. who knows?
perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, seperate, in the evening...




i am almost finished my laundry for another week.

the previous sentence was said with much glee, because in a few moments, when i go get the last of my clothes out of the dryer and put them away, i will pick up my book, a wrinkle in time, head to my freshly made bed, and try with all my might not to fall asleep before i finish the book.

in saturday's post i mentioned that i finally picked up madeleine l'engle's walking on water, a book i've had forever but never got into. in it, the author talks about her children's book, a wrinkle in time, and since it, too was on my shelf, on saturday night, i picked it up...and whenever i have had time since, i have been unable to put it down.

she really was the most brilliant writer... i feel a distinct sadness that i did not fall in love with her writing while she was still alive.

i found this quote at thinkexist.com, and although i do not know which of her works this comes from, i am inspired, nonetheless.

she seems to have had the ability to stand firmly on the rock of her past while living completely and unregretfully in the present.

whoever 'she' is, i do not know, but what i do know is that this is how i want to live my life.



i like to be in control. i like to know what is going on, how it affects me, what i can do about it, all with the ability to opt out, should it be in my best interest. realizing that in this life, there are few things that are actually within the span of my authority, there are days when i prefer the security blanket of the illusion of control over cold reality.

i like to be in control.

contrast this with Jesus' words in john 15:13,
no one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. {amplified}
love = give up my life

give up= lose control

there are days when my cultural mindset of entitlement wants to say, 'are you kidding me? there has to be another way!' then i read in today's MUFHH that 'salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much.' then wonder why would, i even for a moment, believe that this path of being a Christ follower would be easy, and that i would only be asked to do the happy, easy, daisy-strewn things of life, while still playing by my own rules?

give up my life or maintain the illusion of control.

one makes me a disciple, the other, an illusionist.



on numerous occasions in the past i have almost picked up madeleine l'engle's book, walking on water, but have not gotten very far. this morning, before i headed for starbucks, i grabbed it, and i think i'm in for good this time.

i've already written a whole slew of quotes in my journal, but this one that ML'E quoted is pretty super:

to be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. it means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist. {cardinal suhard}
would my life make sense if there was no God?

my fear is that on too many days the answer would be closer to 'yes'...


another one...

i picked up philip yancey's soul survivor tonight, and in the chapter about g.k. chesterton, i found this:

here dies another day
during which i have had eyes, ears, hands
and the great world round me;
and with tomorrow begins another.
why am i allowed two?
(g.k. chesterton)

this is the wonder and excitement that i want to carry with me everywhere.


tonight i came very close to getting to see my brother doug. he's in town only for a few days of meetings that have kept him exceedingly busy, and there was a brief window of time today that it could have happened... but for a whole host of reasons i will not bore you with, it did not.

for a girl who hasn't seen anyone in her family in six months and ten days, this is a disappointment. i was just telling a friend last week how i miss my family. and now, i've missed this opportunity.

i'm trying to put a positive spin on it, but simply cannot seem to find a foothold to do so.

perhaps this: tomorrow is a new day.

i guess that will have to do.


ten questions

“so God created man in his own image,
in the image of God, he created him;
male and female he created them.”
{genesis 1:27}

a reflection of you.
that is what we are intended to be—

do you see your reflection when you look at your creation?
do you see any aspect of what you intended us to be?

there are days that i cannot imagine you see much...

can you see your reflection in our acts of faith, however small?
do you see yourself when one of us puts aside our selfishness
and reaches beyond ourselves?
do you see you when, in our feeble acts of bravery,
we set aside the fear that can be our uniform and choose to fight
for those who cannot?
do you see yourself when we look at and love those it is easier not to see?
when we forget our own needs in the face of other’s?
or when the tears in our eyes reflect the same things that break your heart?
do you see you when we reach the end of what we can do on our own,
and finally realize that we can do nothing without you?

but mostly i wonder—
do you see you
in me?



after reading stardust, i knew it was only a matter of time before i picked up another of neil gaiman's books. for a while i've had a feeling that it was going to be coraline, and then yesterday, that feeling became a reality.

i am just shy of halfway through the book, and i almost hate to say it, because i really am enjoying it, but so far my favorite part wasn't even written by mr. gaiman himself!

there is a special kind of-- i'm not even sure what you'd call it-- when one favorite author quotes another. like the feeling i had the first time i was in paris and i learned that my favorite poet, ranier maria rilke, was the secretary for auguste rodin, my favorite scupltor. as if in some parallel universe dedicated solely to my happiness, all of my favorite people who ever lived are sitting around a collection of tables at starbucks waiting for me and talking about paris.

i'm talking about the quote that opens the book. by someone i've already admitted that i think we could have been friends were he still alive. i've even quoted this particular quote here before.

no more suspense, this is the quote the book opens with:

fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. {g.k. chesterton}

i really need to find that parallel universe...


real comfort

it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. {jane austen}

so begins the timeless tale of elizabeth bennet and mr. darcy, better known as pride and prejudice. the words alone fill me with the anticipation of all that is to come.

tonight, we had a jane austen book club movie night, and as with every time i watch it, i have that strong urge to pick up another of her books. alicia & i read northanger abbey last year, and we've slated mansfield park as next, but i am having a strong desire to read persuasion. perhaps i can sneak it in.

but even more than reading the books, i love the conversations that come when people who enjoy the books and the movies come together to talk about these passions of ours. and tonight, my living room was filled with such friends.

i'm not sure which of jane's books this quote came from, but i like it:

there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. {jane austen}

especially, i might add, when you are surrounded by good friends.


before going to sleep

i am tired tonight. tired and my head hurts from thinking far too much.

so tonight, i will share a ranier maria rilke poem, then i will sleep.

to say before going to sleep

i would like to sing someone to sleep.
have someone to sit by and be with.
i would like to cradle you and softly sing.
be your companion while you sleep or wake.
i would like to be the only person
in the house who knew: the night outside was cold.
and would like to listen to you
and outside to the world and to the woods.

the clocks are striking, calling to each other,
and one can see right to the edge of time.
outside the house a strange man is afoot
and a strange dog barks, wakened from his sleep.
beyond that there is silence.

my eyes rest upon your face wide-open:
and they hold you gently, letting you go
when something in the dark begins to move.

good night.



although i well know that during the course of a week, if i do not get at least one personal day of quiet, away from people, that it is a very bad thing for myself and those around me, when it happens, i am always surprised at how quickly it all falls apart.

last weekend was boot camp for the poland mission next month, so friday and saturday i was away. sunday was the usual activity accompanied by the unusual activity of a friend's 40th birthday party... all of it good, but all keeping me from even two consecutive hours of solitude.

all this adds up to the fact that this week, i am not a good version of me.

i don't even like this girl... she has a short fuse, low tolerance for whatever she considers stupidity, and she worries way too much... especially about all the details of the mission trip.

what a coincidence {sarcasm} that today's MUFHH entry deals with worry...

if we are obsessed by God, nothing else can get into our lives— not concerns, nor tribulation, nor worries. and now we understand why our Lord so emphasized the sin of worrying. how can we dare to be so absolutely unbelieving when God totally surrounds us? to be obsessed by God is to have an effective barricade against all the assaults of the enemy. {oswald chambers}

i have no problem about being obsessed. it would take many words to relate the tales of all the things i have been obsessed about and with in my life, but sadly, i have to admit that God would not be near the top of the list.

today's challenge = being obsessed by God

what will it look like...?

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