Friday, September 30, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

To my mirror self,
You are sometimes deceiving and sometimes gracious. How can you ever be trusted? There was a time when you seemed to be constantly cruel to my fragile esteem. Either you have changed or I have changed… or both of us have. Thank you for allowing me to see the beauty in me and leaving me enough humility to still know it even when you don’t show it to me.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


You have been one of my closest friends for many years and yet lately there have been important things happening in my life that I have kept from you. I can tell you sense that gap, but aren’t quite sure what to make of it. My fear in telling you is not that you won’t continue to be my friend, love me and encourage me, but that you won’t understand and it will frustrate us both. Sometimes I have a hard time even looking you in the eyes for fear you might figure it all out and bluntly ask me. Even then, I’m not sure I would be able to speak the truth but you would know. You know me too well.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

She's a Butterfly

I tried to come up with someone else to write this letter to. I had several possibilities, but even second place seemed to be far cry from the impact you’ve had on my life. (Well, technically Jesus is at the very top but He gets letters from me every day) The way we found each other seems miraculous. How we’ve managed to become so close, so quickly, even living a thousand miles apart is amazing too. You brought hope and love into my life when it was fading. You boost my confidence, challenge my comfortability, serve me humility when needed (often) and are a living example of faith. Because of you , I am returning to Africa where I believe I will once again be changed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Airplane Friends

Sometimes sitting by yourself on an airplane isn’t fun and usually I just keep to myself and bury my face in a book. I was supposed to be sitting next to my dad, but since my sister had missed her earlier flight and spent all day in the airport and got on our flight standby to fly the rest of the way home in the morning (deep breath) I agreed to take her seat alone and let her sit with my dad. I don’t know how or why I ended up explaining all this to you. Maybe we were just discussing the delays at the airport that seemed to have no reason. Then we continued on to talk about the trips we were headed home from and you even shared the snacks you had packed with me. I figured that part was God’s blessing for being willing to sit by myself. Anyways, thanks for ending a long, stressful day on a good note.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Promises, Promises

I don’t know that we ever made any of our promises official “pinky promises,” we were more of the “cross my heart hope to die stick a needle in my eye” type. (ahhh… maybe that’s when it started….) Kidding aside, those days seem like they belong to a different person; the memories more like a dream than my past reality. Those hopeful promises of being friends forever and not sharing secrets… well turns out we were good at keeping our promises.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A time to heal

I heard about your news from a friend. I can’t imagine the mental adjustment you have had to face. As the physical begins to change and finding a new normal takes its course, I will be praying for you. Praying for your health, and your family… but also that this would be a catalyst for reconciliation and healing in damaged relationships. You will need to rely on others a bit more now. I know you are in God’s hands and they will carry you through this time.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


My sweet El-bell…

My heart smiles when I remember days of your exuberant whistles, seeming smile, and freckled belly. So many fun moments of joy were spent with you. My favorite ones were the quiet moments. The times when it was my job to keep your lively spirit quiet without boring and losing your interest. I would try and count the freckles on your belly and you would pretend to laugh. I would lie across the tank wall, like we were both sunbathing and sing. Your 2 favorites seemed to be ‘You are my Sunshine’ and ‘Over the Rainbow.’ As I sang, you would quietly whistle along. One of the senior trainers even commented to me one day that she had never seen anything like that. It was our special thing. The best though was being rewarded with one of your infamous clicky-hugs.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Kiss is just a Kiss

You were a surprise in my life at a time when I needed God to give me hope. He gave me so much more than just hope. These last few months have been filled with getting to know each other, deep conversation, prayer, and much laughter (oh and a little kissing). I love your knowledge of scripture and your heart for people. I am fascinated by your nuisances and easy-going personality. I know I can be stubborn and frustrating at times. These last few weeks and probably the next couple as well haven’t given us much time to talk, but the little ways we connect are just as important. Even though I don’t verbal express it often, I enjoy having you in my life. I am looking forward to what the future holds for us. And yes… I know you are crazy about me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Second Chances

You tried, Jen. I know you tried, but we were both very insecure and desperate to try and find solid ground to stand and something firm to hold onto. Instead we grabbed onto each other’s brokenness. As different as we were we both tried to deal using control and self-abuse. It’s sad that we couldn’t recognize this in each other. Things between us did not end well. Things were said and feelings greatly damaged as we took whatever ammo we could find and hurled it. I saw you again several years later at a party. We were cordial, but spoke only briefly. I remember how unhappy you still looked and the stinging of my heart. I know I’ve done a lot of growing up and changing over the last 25 years. We could have had a friendship that lasted through all those years if we had known better. If I had the chance now, I would hold onto the things that made us friends and like to build a new friendship from that foundation. I hope you know I’ve forgiven you, and forgiven me and I pray you are healthy and happy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spazzy Mazzy

My first impression of you left me wanting to walk to the housing office and beg to be given a different room. But instead, I was simply grateful that you weren’t my roommate. You were loud, obnoxious, and suffocating just in the first half-hour and it didn’t seem to get any better from there. You appeared to have no consideration for anyone at all. I wanted to hide from you but it rarely worked. Over time… quite a bit of time actually… I began to feel differently about you. What I came to find out is that you have an amazing ability to love, despite it being over bearing at times. When no one else thought to help make sure the little things in my life were taken care of – you did. You made sure I knew that someone cared. You spent the night at the hospital with me looking over my mom (and even talked me into being a little silly and ride chairs down the hallway). So glad that the first impression wasn’t my last.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Broken hearts are hard to heal. There is no band-aid you can slap on it and wait a day or two while the wound recovers. Too often the scars are carried for life, and sometimes those scars have names and sometimes they just are nameless faces and statistics. To the millions of orphaned children in Africa, you have broken my heart but you have strengthened my spirit. While I weep for your tender faces, your tiny frames, your hungry bellies, and your forgotten existence, I pray that the God who knows your name will carve them as scars on my heart so that I may carry you with me. Out of my broken heart I will use my words for you that others’ hearts may be broken also. As long as even 1 of you is alone and scared, my heart cannot and must not heal.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Liar, Liar pants on fire

I get really sick of you, you know. I really don’t need your help to remind me of all the things I shoulda/woulda/coulda done. Nor do I need you to point out the ways I’ve disobeyed God. Sometimes you go so far to plant these lies in my head that sound so believable that I begin to believe them. You are nothing more than a liar and thief and I want you outta my head. Take your eviction notice and beat it – this brain belongs to the author of Truth.


Dear brave one,

You believe with such abandoned faith that even the darkest of circumstances don’t dampen your spirits. You live so sure of the Father’s love and good care, whereas I must continually struggle to push aside fears and doubts. While I crave control, you throw caution to the wind and follow the slightest whisper of Him who knows your every step regardless of the outcome and the chance you might look foolish. You aren’t afraid to try anything even if you might fail. Oh… how you love… you love with no concern for yourself, expecting nothing in return. Your love is open to blessings and hurt because you know the Healer will care for any wounds you may sustain. I wish I were more like you.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Elementary School Love

Mr. Duffy… ahhh. I thought I loved you in 2nd grade. I already knew then that I would fall for smart guys. I know back then I might have journaled that I wanted to marry you, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t really know what I was saying. I really just wanted your attention and to please you. Having you encourage me just made me want to do even better. I’m sorry that I disappointed you when I brought in that fake note from my mom. I felt so embarrassed when you called me into the hallway to ask me about it and I lied, even though I knew you already knew the truth. I still remember how right before lunchtime you would always tell us a joke. Looking back now, they weren’t even good jokes. But I still remember how one day I figured out or already knew the punch line and so I said it. I figured you were extra proud of me that day. I hope you know what a great teacher you were.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My heart's in Africa

My heart was captured by you the first time I heard you sing. You with the beautiful face, angelic voice and deep hurt in your eyes. I loved Africa because I loved you, Khanysile. I saw the way the other girls looked up to you, but you were somewhat apart from the group. When I came back the following year, it was a joy to see such life in your eyes. I saw your passion for worship, how you learned a whole CD in a day and sang your heart out dancing around the dorm. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 10 years since I’ve seen you. I pray that adulthood has been kinder to you than your childhood. I pray you will use your voice to sing healing into the hearts of the hurting. Soon I will be headed back to Africa to spend time once again with kids just like you were. I will once again try and bridge the gap through music, a universal language. In that way, I will feel you close. Keep singing to Jesus, beautiful one.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Missing you

Most of the people that I miss when I really start to think about it, I’ve moved on from. Even though I miss the memories and the time we’ve had, it doesn’t necessarily mean I want to see them and be a part of their life now. That isn’t the case with the two of you. Aaron and Abi, you are such a part of the fabric of who I became and my desire to someday be a mother.

In the years since you’ve no longer been a daily part of my life, you’ve grown up, found new talents and passions, and even struggled through some very hard things. Throughout the silent years, I missed you – I want you to know that and never doubt it. Every birthday I thought of you and on so many more occasions as well. Some days it even made me cry, but how do you explain the loss of children that aren’t really yours.

I’m glad for the chance to reconnect with you; for us to have another sunset date sharing memories while creating new ones, Abi. And to reach out and have you open up and share you heart with me, Aaron. Still, the physical distance and the circumstances of life won’t give me back the closeness I once had and always miss.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An ocean apart

Dear Gideon,

I hope you are happy and still pursuing your dream of becoming a doctor. I know how gifted and determined you were. I hope you are seeing and understanding more of God’s hand in your life. Your strength, mind and heart in His hands will accomplish many mighty miraculous things.

Last time I heard from you, you were possibly getting married but I couldn’t tell if it was something you really wanted or not. Either way, I pray you are content. I have no idea if you are still in the States or Cameroon. I think of you often, especially now as I am soon to be headed to West Africa, a place I thought I would have first visited with you. I pray your mother’s health is holding up and your sister’s baby is growing up healthy and well cared for. The season of friendship you gave me was truly a gift and I am thankful to God for crossing our paths and I pray he crosses them again someday.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Saying You're Sorry

So far I’ve had no problem knowing exactly who to write my daily letter to; sometimes even having to choose. Today I sat and thought about forgiveness and broken bridges in my life and no one is coming to mind. There have been times in the past when names would have come to mind, but gratefully God has allowed me to make amends and even restore some of those relationships. As I get older, I am more aware of how important communication is and owning up to your part in any relational rift quickly and therefore I am more likely to try and make amends. Despite my contrite efforts, I cannot make someone forgive if they choose to hold onto the hurt. Perhaps, it is even an unintentional, unknown offense. I also know I am not perfect and I have hurt many people in my life.

To anyone I may not have had the opportunity to apologize to, I am sorry that I hurt you and hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Go Away!

You. It’s always been you, the one who has the power to hurt me the most. From the very beginning you had such high expectations of me. I strived so hard to meet every single one. Sometimes I succeeded, but not always and I when I didn’t I felt like a failure. You made choices at times that left not only deep emotional scars but sometimes even physical ones. I thought I was free from your trap, but every now and again I turn a corner and feel you around me like a phantom cobweb. You will always be a part of my past, but I don’t want you to be a part of my present or future. Your negativity and unreasonable demands are not wanted. Forgiveness is a process and I’ve been in it for a while with you and most days there is much healing. There was a time I would have said I hated you, but I’ve come to accept you and even love you. Oh, there are days I still get angry with you and days I want to change you but I can’t. Only God can and I know He is. One day you’ll be just a gentle reminder of what I left behind and how far I have come.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Samatha & Sparrow

Your mommy misses you and always carries you in her heart. While I wasn’t blessed to have seen you or hold you in my arms, I have been blessed to hold you in my heart – helping your mommy to carry a sorrow that was too heavy for her to carry alone any longer. Even in your death, you brought healing to two weary souls – one grieving for her loss and the other for what she had not yet found. Your existence is known and the legacy your love has left will be passed on. One day, on the other side I will hug you and hold you and thank you for your gift.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


There were days when I would count the minutes till I could see you and talk to you. I would often know without words that you needed to talk, even when you fought it. There were months when I would eagerly check the mailbox for love from you and quickly respond with all my thoughts and feelings unfiltered. We gave each other a safe place to be ourselves. Time has a way of speeding up, and other things come and take up our time. I’m so glad that we still are in touch, but I wish we were much more a part of each other’s lives. I don’t know when you might need a friend to reach out anymore and I miss you.

Passport Through Darkness

Mrs. Smith, I recently was given your book to read and it altered me. It took a lot of courage to write your story and not take out the harder parts. You could have simply written about the journey that led you to the Sudan. You could have shared the mission journey you experienced being there and shared the stories of those who shared with you without ever delving into your personal struggles. Yet, you did share your experience with me as a reader. I want to have that kind of courage to share my story.

As I am preparing to travel to another country soon, your book reminded me that listening is the most important gift I can take with me. Everyone has a story and as we listen to others, the stories begin to intertwine into one story of humankind. I can’t explain what I felt reading, but by the end of the book I was different. I am inspired by your courage. Thank you for the gift of intertwining your story with mine.

Labor Day & Love

We jammed packed the weekend full of trips and fun things to do. We spent 11 hours in the car in 2 days, spent time with my sister and my friend, and managed to fit in an 8 mile run.

More photos can be seen here.

Day 1: Lake Michigan Road Trip

Day 2: Hartwick Pines Road Trip

Return of Rev Chuck Walla?

We are crazy. We're sisters so it's allowed.

Stephen and his body double

Lumberjacks are sexy

Fall colors starting

Day 3: Hanging out with the Sokos

We had steaks and salad, lots of laughs, good conversation, and even great music.

Day 4: Run around Kensington

I woke up a bit cranky, but after braving the cool temps and taking a caffeine pill, the run was great. It felt much faster having someone there along side me, to talk to and push me when I wanted to stop.

Then... the weekend was already over and it was time for a much needed nap!

Thank you Stephen for coming to spend some time with me. And thanks Tiff for being willing to drive down to spend the day with us.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Firefly,

Can you believe it’s already been 2 years? Way back then did you ever think we’d still be friends? That we’d get the chance to meet and share life in person and not find it hard to transition? You were the first to really take hold of my heart in that cyber room. In you, I saw a light sometimes flickering in the darkness – you became my firefly. Many times I have seen the light dim till it was almost completely dark only to come back to full strength… lighting the way for others who have gotten lost in similar forests. Your light is your voice and strength in spite of weakness and I pray you never stop using it. I love you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Anything Goes

Sometimes when I think about you, I forget that we even dated. Those few months were the ones we didn’t make sense in a many year friendship. Had we stayed friends and not attempted to make more of it, I wonder if we would still be friends today. Not that those months were bad. I just think they made us aware of certain things about ourselves and that we made better friends than lovers. As I think back now, I realize so many things I missed and should have picked up on; things I should have asked you about and acknowledged, but perhaps was too caught up in myself or still too immature to really notice. I am sorry if you ever felt let down by that – wishing I had read between the lines. Would things be different for you if I had? There are things I wish I had been more open about to; maybe I would have learned to trust sooner. We may not have been good lovers, but you taught me so much about love.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do I know you?

We have never met and chances are will never even pass along the same path. But as I watched you running toward me, you reminded me of my friend and the journey she has been on and how proud I have been of her. I wonder what your story might be? How and why did you start running? Do those around you cheer you on and an encourage you? I wanted to shout and tell you to keep going, you were doing so good. But I figured that might make me seem a bit crazy, so I just did it on the inside. I want you to know that watching you encouraged me to keep going.

I dreamed a dream

Dear dreams, I have created you, chased after you, and achieved some of you. Funny things you are dreams, you may look so sure and solid but turn out to be fragile and ever-changing. But you have kept me going forward many times, when the past beckoned me to turn back. As old dreams fade away, new dreams appear on the horizon. God willing, I will keep moving on towards your horizon… chasing… and achieving.

After I wrote this letter, I briefly considered writing a letter to the dreams that I have while sleeping. They are usually intense, detailed and bizarre. But I couldn't think of anything more to say to them than "Really!?!"

Two sweapeas in a pod

I may not have liked you the day you were born, but I have loved you every day since, sweapea. Our memories are filled with wonder, silliness and much laughter and still continue today. It’s what I love most about us, that whenever we are together we go back to being “Fremont & Clyde.” I am so glad I got to see you this weekend. It did my heart good. I wish we lived closer so we could take road trips and just see each other more often. No matter what friends or man come into my life, you will always be my one and only sister.

Feels like camp

I can’t really address you as ‘my parents’ anymore as it makes you sound like a unit. Ironically, even when you were married, it doesn’t seem like you functioned much like a unit. As I get older, things seem to be more settled and less tense and emotionally fraught. I’ve gotten used to holidays with ‘just us’ feeling less like the holidays I loved as a kid. Even though it never was, is or will be perfect, I am blessed to have two parents who love me, root for me, and allow me to be myself. As my parents, you did a good job working together to raise me.

A letter a day

My friend is writing letters for each day of September. You can find the list and read her letters here.

I really liked the idea, as I like to write as well. I am not sure I have the dedication to write & post them all. I already had to play catch up on the first 6 days!

So... here we go...

My Josh-y, if only you had known I was alive perhaps we could have made beautiful music together. I have loved you since that episode of Ally McBeal when I knew I would marry you in a heartbeat. Crush… obsession… same thing, right? Although there was that blip in my admiration when you foolishly dated Katy Perry. I have held the flame as long as I can, but you have lost out. I can only pray that someday the regret of missing out on me won’t catch up to you.