in spite of Richard Foster's assertion that we are all beginners when it comes to prayer, i am regularly frustrated by my prayer life... or perhaps, more accurately, my lack of prayer life.

i begin each day with the best of intentions, but somehow, in the course of living, prayer becomes overshadowed by all the things that need to be done and thought about and taken care of. then the guilt sets in, and who wants to pray with a guilty conscience, so it then gets pushed back behind all the diversions... you can tell that this isn't going to end well.

so, i started something new yesterday.

i picked up The Divine Hours, a rather sizable yet brilliant book by Phyllis Tickle last week from BookDepository.com. it contains prayers for praying the Daily Offices, morning, midday, vespers and compline, from June all the way to September. when i received it last week, i was intimidated by its size, but when you consider there are four sets of prayers for each day for four months, it makes more sense.

there is a quote on the back of the book by Bert Ghezzi saying, "The Divine Hours is simply the best for people who want to work prayer into the fabric of their daily life."

this is what i want... to work prayer into the fabric of my everyday life.



i have no idea how many times my mother has directed these words at me:
if you haven't got anything good to say, don't say anything at all.
for a girl who has always liked to talk, these words seemed the cruelest kind of wisdom. then the philosophical part of me would kick in, and start to question what could be considered 'good', and nothing good would happen from there.

how grateful i am that i did not have to raise me. {have i said thank you, mom?}

you may have noticed that there hasn't been a lot going on here on my blog lately. in truth, i haven't had a lot to say... good or otherwise. this has been a very tiring and draining season, for no reason that i can single out. and the result seems to have been a complete lack of creativity and fresh ideas.

but i'm feeling that this dry season is beginning to move on. and i'm seeing small glimpses of some of what could be on the other side.

i cannot wait to share it with you...



why is it that when you have to get up early in the morning, sleep becomes as elusive and mythical as a unicorn?

there are times when i read something, particularly something exceptionally brilliant, that i cannot help but wishing that i had written it. such is the case with most of Rilke's works. poetry, prose, it matters not, the sheer level of his brilliance always leaves me speechless. especially in the presence of words such as these...
The Book of a Monastic Life, I, 7
—Ranier Maria Rilke, from The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

If only for once it were still.
If the not quite right and the why this
could be muted, and the neighbor's laughter,
and the static my senses make—
if all of it didn't keep me from coming awake—

Then in one vast thousandfold thought
I could think you up to where thinking ends.

I could posess you,
even for the brevity of a smile,
to offer you
to all the lives,
in gladness.
so much brilliance. so much insight. so much perfection.

this love poem to God— written so many years ago, in a language i do not understand, by a man i would have loved to have met— is exactly where this dark night finds me.



i cannot decide if i am more:

        a) excited to see how it will all come together.
        b) sad to see it all end.


favorite things: vacation edition

my recent vacation to NYC introduced me to some new favorite things, and reminded me of others. to start with, let me say that New York itself has rapidly become a favorite place... not surpassing Paris, but it is not without its immense charms.

Rice to Riches rice pudding until may 2, 2010, i have never had rice pudding in my life. some vague recollection tells me that my grandmother made some, at some point, when i was still living at home, but it seems that the consistency looked a little too much like tapioca {gag} pudding for someone with texture issues to even consider trying. but on this fateful day, after eating dinner at Lombardi's Pizzeria on Spring Street, we crossed the road to Rice To Riches. If you've seen the movie Hitch, you may recall two of the characters sitting in this super-hip place eating rice pudding. but the movie is nothing compared to real life.

the rice pudding comes in a whole bevy of flavors, but i couldn't manage to get past the first one i tried, Coast to Coast Cheesecake. then, then put some toasted coconut on top, and to be honest, i didn't even get a photo, because once i started eating this delightful thing, the world all got shiny and pretty, i could hear birds singing, peasants were dancing somewhere down the meadow... you get the picture. i even dreamed about it that night. and sitting here in my kitchen, i am ready to blow off everything i have and go back to NYC to get more. but alas, prudence calls.

Liberty of London scarf about a million years ago, i had sent Ang a link showing that the ultra-cool Liberty of London had hooked up with Target, and the big T was going to sell some of their pretty, pretty stuff. i will admit to being mildly envious, being so far from a Target myself, that Ang would get to see all the joyous, blooming things before me... but alas, my wonderful BFF got me the scarf—this scarf— that was in the article i first sent to her for my birthday! i think that there's only been two or three days since i got it when i haven't worn it, i love it so very much. it is perfectly florally and happy, and for a girl who doesn't normally do florals, and prefers the colors black and grey to all others, you must realize how momentous and perfect this scarf really is.

traveling with my parents it has been well over 20 years since i have been on vacation with my parents. i am self-aware enough to now admit that i wasn't the easiest of teenagers {and by that i mean even into my 20s} to live with. my self-absorption levels were fairly legendary, and, let's be honest, i still have my moments. so, i am sure it must have taken mom and dad some serious thought about braving a vacation with their only daughter. but if they did, they didn't show it, and we have all been super excited, almost since the time we started planning the trip back at Christmas.

i can honestly say that i really do have the super-coolest parents. whether we were climbing the Brooklyn Bridge, getting lost in a park on the way to the Cloisters, or discovering TV stars in Times Square, they had a great time, we laughed SO much, and we made memories to last for years to come. thanks, mom and dad, it was a great trip, and i cannot wait for our next adventure.

speaking of our next adventure, i simply cannot wait to show my parents around Paris. i KNOW they will love it as much as i do.

* * * * *

that's all i have for today. have a blissful weekend. i am getting my hair cut, and with being away, i've missed our saturday evening service, Connections, at PORTICO for two weeks, so i cannot wait for that tomorrow, and then a movie night with my good friend Alicia. see you next week!


“the poetry is all in the anticipation, for there is none in reality.” | Mark Twain
favorite things fridays are returning... by the end of today.

wait for it...


too expensive

i've been definitely having some struggles getting back into the swing of things since returning from NYC. habits and disciplines that before the craziness of the month of april were my constant companions have been long in returning. i am well aware that there is no one to blame but myself.

too bad falling off something is disproportionately easier than getting back on.

but i am trying.

as i was falling asleep last night, i was reminded of something that i read in the brilliant book, Devotional Classics, selected readings and devotions from classic authors.

the piece that stuck with me was the entry by Dallas Willard, on page 16...
nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God's overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. in short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring.
this is the kick in the butt i've been needing. because more than anything else this week, i really need to see things in the light of God's governance... among all of the others things listed here.

the cost of staying here is simply way too high...


NYC: Days Three to Six

{it seems that i took a vacation from blogging as well! so i will do my best to wrap up our journey.}

day three: Angie walked over to our hotel, then she, Dad, Mom and i went to our hotel's cafe, named the Cosmopolitan Cafe, for breakfast. Then, we split up, Todd and Ang going on their way, Mom, Dad and i heading uptown to the MOMA.

i was a little disappointed in the MOMA, partly because of the millions of people, partly because of the sheer number of people who were moving from piece to piece of the brilliant art, not looking at them with their actual eyes, but photographing each work, then moving on to photograph the next. how could you be in the presence of art, and not actually look at it!? i'm still trying to move beyond it...

after the MOMA, we walked over to the Rockefeller Center, had lunch in the lower concourse, then while Mom walked around below, Dad and i took the elevator up to the Top of the Rock, which was pretty darn awesome. great views of the Central Park, the city skyline, and, of course, the Empire State Building. when we got our feet back on solid ground, we walked around a bit, Mom bought a cool bag, then we went outside, where we saw the Dean and Deluca that is shown every morning then the Today Show's cameras pan the crowds outside. walking around the area, we got photos of the Prometheus statue, as well as Atlas, which is right across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral. there was a service going on in the cathedral, so we couldn't see much, but what we did see was beautiful.

next door was a Saks Fifth Avenue which was being outwardly renovated. since we were there, we went in, and while i am not sure if i have ever been in a Saks before, had i seen the ridiculous prices, i am sure i would have remembered! apparently this is not a place for people like me to shop!

after we picked our jaws up off the floor, we walked over to Times Square, where Mom walked around with her camera, and Dad and i sat at a table in the square enjoying the day turning into night. very, very cool. we stopped at Bubby's for dinner again on our way back to the hotel, then turned in for the night.

day four: today was the day we decided to go to the Cloisters, a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they have built a castle that houses art and treasures from monasteries and other ancient buildings from Europe, many from France. Dad, Mom, Ang, Todd and i took a subway all the way up to 190th Street, then walked through a beautiful park to get there. the place was amazing, from the building itself, to the part i was most looking forward to, the unicorn tapestries.

we were super hungry at this point, so we got back on the subway to go back to a restaurant we saw the night before in Times Square, and as we walked to the Brooklyn Diner, my mother's 'star-dar' went off, and suddenly we found ourselves off to the side looking at Michael Weatherly {Tony DiNozzo from NCIS and Mario Lopez} be interviewed in the middle of the square. Todd has photos of Mom, starting at the outer area of the group surrounding the stars, and slowly moving in, until she was right next to the guy holding the microphone.

after that episode, Mom was, to say the least, extremely giddy. we finally ate lunch, but her eyes were on the window all the time, hoping to catch another glimpse of her favorite NCIS star. but alas, that glimpse never arrived. so what better thing to do then to hop on a subway to go to the restaurant namesake of one of the best John Cusak movies, Serendipity, for frozen hot chocolate. {yes, we ate two day's worth of calories in an hour and a half!}

once we rolled out of the restaurant, it was time for Todd and Ang to head on their way to their evening's activities, while Mom, Dad and i headed back to the Times Square area to see West Side Story. so eternally cool, is all i have to say about that. the perfect ending to a super day.

day five: our last full day started with Dad and i going up the Empire State Building. Mom stayed again firmly planted on the ground in shopping mode as we went up the iconic skyscraper. funnily enough, Ang and i had gotten our signals crossed, and i thought that they were headed back home, but we ran into them in the lobby of the ESB. they were just coming down as we were going up. crazy!

we went from the sky to the sea... well sort of. after the ESB, we headed over to pier 82 or 83 {stupid numbers} and caught the Circle Line Cruise, where for two hours we stood on the side of a boat and saw the city from a completely different perspective. and we finally go to see the Statue of Liberty closer. one of the best part for me, was going under the Brooklyn Bridge, which we walked on just a few days earlier.

once the cruise was done, given the incredible pain our feet were all in, we did some shopping, went over the Washington Square Park to sit there for a bit, took a quick jaunt to Kate's Paperie, and then headed back over to the hotel to pack our suitcases and rest our feet.

around 9pm, we decided we were hungry, so we went to the Whole Foods Market, and put a picnic together for our last NYC dinner.

day six: our last morning. after breakfast, we walked over to Barnes & Nobles, got coffee {oh, did i mention that my mother is now addicted to Starbucks Cafe Mochas?!}, and waited until my shuttle arrived to take me to the airport. so i said goodbye to my favorite parents, and our journeys home all began shortly after that.

* * * * *
so that was our absolutely wonderful adventure in NYC. even now, days later, i still wish i was there with Mom, Dad, Ang and Todd.

until the next time...


NYC: Day Two

for a day that got a slow start, it certainly didn't stop us from doing anything!

after we ate a quick breakfast around 10:45 am, we walked south, first hitting a Whole Foods Market to look for TOMS shoes, which they didn't have my size in the ones i wanted, then we went to Barnes and Nobles, where we got caffeinated, then took the short jaunt down to the World Trade Center site.

let me back up for a moment... a little after 8am, i went down to the Starbucks attached to the hotel, to get an Americano. it was already so hot and humid, i knew i was in trouble.

but after looking through the fences, and walking around a bit there, we walked over to Broadway, where we enjoyed St. Paul's Chapel, then a little further down to Trinity Church. Mom was disappointed not to find Nicholas Cage there (from the movie National Treasure), so on we went, exploring the city.

on a very happy note, we did go in to Tiffany's. just walking in the door you cannot help but feel prettier being surrounded by such beautiful things.

being thirsty, we hit a Dean & Deluca within a Borders Bookstore on Broadway, and it was there that we heard that Angie and Todd were on their way to meet us. once they got there, we all headed off to towards the Brooklyn Bridge. it took us a while to find how to get onto the pedestrian walkway, but eventually, we prevailed!

then, the five of us climbed the Brooklyn Bridge, which, i would definitely recommend, should you ever find yourself in NYC. at one point, mom, dad and Todd went a little further down the bridge than the two of us who were having issues with their shoes, so Ang and i sat down on the bridge, and watched people walk past us. at one point, there were so many people that stopped to take a photo right in front of us, i started taking photos of whoever stopped there to snap one of something else. let me just say i have some pretty random photos!

after that trek, we walked back to Broadway, where we parted company with Ang and Todd, and we all went back to our hotel rooms to get ready for dinner. Ang, Todd and i walked to dinner, while mom and dad went back to the hotel so mom could change her shoes, so they took a cab, and, of course, beat us to Lombardi's pizzeria.

we had the funniest meal EVER, and the staff at Lombardi's was excellent and played along perfectly with our madness. after dinner, we went looking for a gelato place, that happened to be closed, so we walked back to the area that Lombardi's was in, crossed the street, and had dessert at Rice To Riches, which sells only rice pudding, but a myriad of different flavors.

all i can say is, for someone who has never had rice pudding before, i have been converted. i am sold. even as i sit and type this in the morning, i want more of their rice pudding. my solace is that it was on the same street as Kate's Paperie, which we will be going to sometime soon... so there may be more rice pudding in my future.

at this point, it was time to walk back to the hotel. we had already done so very much walking, i think had a very large giant showed up with an adult-sized storller, none of us would have hestitated to hop in. we parted with Ang and Todd at their hotel, walked the three blocks to our own, and that was it.

it was a good day. who knows what today will hold...


NYC: Day One (Saturday)

well, the day has finally arrived... this girl is in New York City!

it all started with one of the best and shortest flights i have ever experienced. even with no hot italian flight attendants (BA rocks!) bringing me treats from first class, Porter was superb. the cappuccino in the lounge, even being made by a machine, was excellent. i may have even had two. and then, the short jaunt between Toronto City Airport and Newark Airport was over before i knew it.

when we got to passport control, wouldn't you know it but their computers were down! i think i waited in line there as long as the actual flight was. (so thankful that one of my most important life laws is that one should always carry a book!)

after i got through customs, and picked up my luggage, which was one of three sitting on the no-longer-moving carousel, since i really hadn't eaten yet, i did what most anyone else would have done, and picked up an Americano at Starbucks. perhaps it did nothing to help the hunger, but when you're happy, hunger matters less.

i am not sure i can write about the fast-paced and whole-heartedly terrifying shuttle van ride to my hotel, The Cosmopolitan... i may need therapy for that one. in the room, i turned the air conditioning, then headed down to the subway, which is right outside the hotel's doors.

i have Paris to thank for getting me over my fear of subways... not that it was actually a fear, more of a lack of knowledge and experience that kept me from doing it. but once you have been laughted at by the french for not knowing how to exit a subway, what other humiliation is possible?!

after getting something to eat, i walked up Sixth Ave. and took all the sites in. sadly, given the highly uncomfortable state my feet were in, i needed to pick up a pair of black flip flops. my first souvenir.

then i walked over the Penn Station, where mom and dad's train was to arrive at 6:25pm. fortunately for me, there was a Borders Bookstore right there at Penn Plaza. that is NEVER a bad find.

finally, the parents arrived, we got their luggage and took a taxi driven by a very nice man from Ghana (who is a much better driver than the shuttle van guy), got them checked into the hotel, and set out to a restaurant close to ours for dinner. by then, it was about 9pm,

the restaurant, Bubby's, was one of the first that i highlighted the NYC travel book i bought last Christmas, and with good reason! the food was amazing, and more than any of us could possibly eat! we will definitely be going back there for breakfast (sour cream pancakes!), and possibly pie, which they are famous for.

then we came back to the hotel, talked about what we would do today for a bit, and then fell asleep.

right now, it is 8:13 am, and i am typing this in the dark in my bed. the parents still sleep. very shortly, once my face stops looking like a pillow attacked it in the night, i will walk down to the starbucks in the hotel, and get me a cup of happy.

then we will see what happens today...

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