Saturday, July 31, 2010

Uncommon Class

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. ~Audrey Hepburn

Beauty is common. Class is rare.

Anyone can be beautiful. In fact, many men and women pay exorbitant amounts of money to professional surgeons and cosmetologists to make them "beautiful."

Don't misunderstand me; there's nothing wrong with beauty.

However, I have encountered many people who are simply stunning on the outside, but are entirely lacking in class. And by the same token, I have met many men and women who are "plain" by the world's standards, but the amount of class and character that radiates from their faces transforms them into some of the most remarkably gorgeous people I have ever seen.

So what makes a classy person? What is it about them that catches our eye?

It is the person who knows the difference between love and lust...

...who guards their tongue and knows the appropriate moments to speak and be silent...

...who marries intelligent conversation with a humble spirit and a willingness to learn...

...who carry themselves with a calm poise, but still are able to break down and weep when the need arises.

These people are rare.

They are the coal-turned-gems who have allowed the difficult situations in their lives to transform them into something beautiful instead of poisoning them from the inside out.

They are the tender-hearted women who practice the lost arts of tact and modesty, both in their words and in their appearance.

They are the men who understand that chivalry is not dead and that respecting the women in their lives will never pass out of fashion...the ones that realize that woman would rather be called "beautiful" than "hot," and that manhood is about quiet strength instead of drunken violence.

They are the youth of society who stand up and rebel against the low expectations set for them by today's society -- who understand that maturity is a treasure, education is essential, and that their bodies are temples.

These are the classy ones.

These are the beautiful people.

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. ~Col. 3:12-14

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Simply TOMs

The time has come.

I have a blog that is read by my family, friends, and various other people in the world out there...the least I can do is give back a little.

Those of you that know me are aware that I have a heart for missions and reaching out to those people in other countries that have little or nothing of their own.

I also love supporting and promoting organizations that use simple, ordinary things to make an incredible difference in the world.

Enter stage left: TOMs Shoes .

Their movement concept is simple: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.

All you have to do to touch someone's life is to buy a pair of these amazing, adorable, comfortable shoes.

A pair for a pair.

This is such an incredible concept to me. Everyone buys shoes. It's almost second nature to us, particularly to us girls, who find shoe shopping to be almost as entertaining as a good book.

Shoes are simple. They're there. We slip them on our feet every morning and rush out the door; half the time, it hardly crosses our minds.

So take a minute.

Check out their website:

Learn about what they do.

Maybe you can even participate in "One Day Without Shoes" -- 4-8-11.

Make a difference. Wear TOMs.

"And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." ~Matthew 10:42

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I remember... there was mist. Swirling mist upon a vast glassy lake... There were candles all around, and on the lake there was a boat... And in the boat, there was a man. Who was that shape in the shadows? Whose is that face in the mask? ~Phantom of the Opera

Every one of us is chasing a phantom.

A masked, hidden part of ourselves that is locked away behind some elegantly created facade in which we seek to find a more absolute answer to the questions burning within us.

For some, this phantom is love. The ache to be accepted and adored just as they are...the ability to be honest and free, to feel the arms of someone around them when the moon hides behind the clouds and nightmares invade.

Perhaps it is an escape from loneliness and the fear of never being needed by anyone, spending the rest of one's days with only mocking photographs and painful scars as companions...

...or a sort of monetary stability where the worries of tomorrow fade into a blackness of foolish trivialities.

My own phantom is a burning need to know. A need to discover what there is about me that makes me special...unique...different. What would make someone want to be with me, to know more about me than just my name and what colors are my favorites? Is this surmised uniqueness even true?

These phantoms have fingers of fire that brush ours cheeks with a burning flash of ice...a voice of whispering doubt that echoes in the darkness of starless midnights. These demons haunt our minds and plague our souls with their poisonous beauty and razor-sharp comfort.

It is in these moments of solitary darkness and overcoming despair that we grasp our Light and face the blackness boldly. We face our phantoms with Truth, revealing their mysterious sort of beauty as nothing more than skeletal monsters, teeth bared to rip out our hearts.

We call them as they are: Deception, Fear, Shame, Faithless.

...turn from them. Run to the One who is Faithful, True, Honor, and who Endures Forever.

He is no phantom.

He is real.

"He has redeemed my soul from the [dark] pit; and my life shall see the light." ~Job 33:28


Sometimes, I wonder if my pen will, one day, run out of ink...

...if one morning, I will wake up and discover that I've used up all my inspiration and I'll be left with nothing but overused ideas and broken dreams.

What if the day comes that I find that I can't write anymore?

It was in the 3rd grade that I discovered that ink flowed in my veins instead of blood and that my heart was made of parchment and leather bindings. Ever since then, writing has been something that has defined me.

I never want to run out.

So, I've decided that I never will.

I've found something that I love, something that makes me feel alive...

...something that glorifies Him with every letter and every page that I write...

...what would ever make me want to stop?

One day, I'll look over my old writings, as if they were a photograph of moments gone by and fondly remembered.

I write the good and the bad, the joyful and the sorrowful, the delightful and the frightening.

It's my story.

I glorify Him with the thing I love the most.

I bless those I love with my words.

That's more than enough for me.


Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts. ~Margaret Lee Runbeck

There is something so velvet, so blissful about silence.

Those moments when all distractions fade away and you are completely lost in a perfect moment of soundless thought.

Some view the concept of "silence" as a sign of mental dysfunction, or an awkward moment between friends when there is nothing left to say.

For me, it's the exact opposite.

When there is silence, there is comfort.

The noise ends, the chaos is silenced. It's a glimpse into the comfort of Heaven.

His still, small voice speaks loudest when we cease our storms and just allow our souls to be bathed in soothing calm.

I think that's why God gave us the following truth about our relationships here on earth...

...when you are able to be silent with someone, without a word between you, it is not because you have nothing to say to one another or that a unspoken tedium has been reached.

Not in the least.

You have reached that point of the utmost love. When those moments of pain arrive between two friends, there is such blessed relief in a simple embrace where not a sound need be made.

You both just know.

There is a time and a place for silence. There is an unspoken need in each one of us to have someone understand us at that level.

It's in that moment of silence when you hear the words "'re going to be okay" the most clearly.

Because that is a picture of our relationship with God.

Does this not make the silence that much more beautiful?

It should.

And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces 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. ~ 1 Kings 19:11-12

Monday, July 26, 2010


But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
~William Shakespeare

I have been blessed with amazing friends.

It blows my mind sometimes.

Even in the busy crush of life, the dramatic push of overwhelming emotion, and the shatterglass of confusion that makes up every day of human existence, I have people in my life who take the time to remind me that I'm more than just another nameless face in the crowd.

There come those moments where the ocean waves threaten to push me right off the edge of the cliff...that one pivotal disappointment that makes my once-sure footing suddenly feel like I'm balancing on thin air.

...and it's then, when I'm unable to stop myself from toppling headlong into emptiness...'s then that I feel your hand catch mine.

Sometimes, it's your whole hand -- a long conversation until 2:15 in the morning even when you know that you have to get up to work the next morning at 5am...taking my hand and dragging me onto the dance floor for no better reason than I'm sitting on the sidelines...discussing Jane Austen over Pad Thai and hot coffee on a late night, cross-country phone call...spending hours strolling around an amusement park, catching up on three years of moments...

Other times, it's just your fingertips that grip mine and pull me up -- the brush of your lips against my cheek when I'm crying...the feeling of your ankle draping over mine during a moment when I'm confused...a simple text message or wall post that says "I love you" or "Wish you were here"...that simple, wordless hug when both our worlds are shattering from the inside out...

At those times, I realize that it's your fingertip moments are the ones that stick with me the longest.

The ones that mean the most.

The ones that changed my life.

There is [a] friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one's self, the very meaning of one's soul. ~Edith Wharton

As You Wish

"Death can not stop true love, it can only delay it for a little while" ~ The Princess Bride

I can quote a lot of lines from a lot of movies. It's just one of my many quirks. My memory seems to latch onto cinematic dialogue. I have no valid explanation.

However, there is one movie that I can quote in its entirety without hardly batting an eye.

The Princess Bride.

For those of you who haven't had the distinct privilege of viewing this 1987 cult classic film...GO WATCH IT. Because, I have to say, it is one of the most incredible movies ever released.

Oddly enough, as my husband pointed out to me tonight, it is the movie that best describes our marriage.

One scene in particular, actually.

The Dread Pirate Roberts has "rescued" Buttercup from the hands of her three unusual kidnappers, and they are on the run together. They stop for a brief rest on a mountaintop. Roberts is being rather gruff and brutal with her, mocking her and treating her sorrow over the death of her one true love, Westley, as something trivial

She finally becomes fed up with him and screams in his face,

"You mocked me once; never do it again. I died that day...and you can die too, for all I care."

With that, she shoves him off the cliff and watches him tumble head over heals down the mountainside. As he falls, Roberts manages to call three simple words back up to her.


Buttercup suddenly realizes that the man that she has just potentially murdered is not the frightening Dread Pirate Roberts. It is her soulmate, Westley, whom she had thought to be dead. Horrified, she throws herself down the mountain after him.

In so many ways, that is my response with Jon. He becomes gruff or sharp with me in a time of conflict, and I retaliate with a knee-jerk reaction of pushing him away from me...maybe not down a literal cliff, but most certainly in a way that disrespects him.

Suddenly, I realize that I have just injured the man whom I love the most in this world, and I throw myself down after him. I would rather be wounded myself than to live the rest of my days knowing that I had hurt him and had lost him forever.

This is the conundrum that is so prevalent with marriages all across the world. We hurt the ones we love, and then we self-destruct in a last-ditch effort to save the one we have just wounded so brutally. This unending cycle seems intent on destroying our relationships -- not just with our spouses, but also with our friends and family members.

It's at moments like this when I look into my husband's eyes, and I realize something so incredibly powerful.

Jon loves me. He would risk his own safety to protect me and keep me safe.

He would brave the Cliffs of Insanity.

...swim through "eel-infested waters."

...sword-fight with a Spaniard.

...engage in hand-to-hand combat with a man six times his own size.

..."go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"

...brave the three terrors of the Fire Swamp (lightning sand, flame spurt, and even R.O.U.S's)...

...and finally, he would even undergo the most horrific of tortures and surrender his life

...all for me.

Because he loves me just that much.

So maybe, I need to lay down my pride, take his hand, and brave these terrors of life together. Because, as everyone knows...

"This is true love. Do you think this happens every day?"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Nanook and Superman

"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you." ~A. A. Milne

Weddings are amazing.

Maybe it's the massive overdose of "romantic" in me, but there is something so captivating about two people gazing deeply into one another's eyes and promising to be together forever...'s amazing.

Yesterday (7-24-10), I attended the wedding of two very amazing friends of mine. I've known the bride (Rachel/Nanook) since Sophomore year of high school, and the groom (Joshua) since Junior year.

As I sat in that church, watching Rachel and Josh hold hands as the minister joined them together as husband and wife, I couldn't help but smile. Their love is truly so very sweet and precious. I have never seen a more excited bride in my entire life.

And, I have to say, their wedding was indeed a reflection of them and their love.

The ceremony was simply precious. The decorations for the sanctuary were simple and breathtaking in their elegance. The bridal party was small and intimate, and the amount of love felt in the room was overwhelming. It truly was enough to bring tears to my eyes.

Rachel's uncle (who is also a minister) gave a short, meaningful address to the young lovers. However, my eyes were continually drawn to Josh and Rachel. Even as they looked and listened to the words of wisdom being shared with them, their attention never left one another. It was truly one of the most intimate and romantic moments I have ever seen.

So now, I raise my glass to the newlyweds....

Rachel: You are a beloved and beautiful friend to me. You have been there for me in ways you will never fully realize. I treasure every memory that we have shared together over the past four years of our friendship, and I pray that we make many more in the years to come.

You have truly found a prize in Josh -- your Superman-- and I know that he loves you more than life itself. Keep Christ at the center of your marriage, and remember to lift up your new husband in prayer on a regular basis. Blessings and love to you, my sweet Nanook. (Love, Puppet)

Josh: In the past two and a half years, I have had the privilege of getting to know you and become your friend. Since September of last year, I have watched you romance and tenderly love my dear friend. Yesterday, I watched you make her your bride forever. It is truly incredible to see how much you adore her and how much she means to you.

You are Rachel's "Mr. Darcy" and her Superman. Your relationship is one of the most tender and beautiful things I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Lead Rachel with tenderness and love, pray for her constantly, and never forgot just how precious she truly is.

I wish you both the very best, a life fixated on God, and overflowing with happiness and love.

I love you guys with all my heart.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This morning, I had my first cup of coffee in a very long time. It was like getting reacquainted with an old friend.

I don't know exactly what is it about a cup of steaming java, but there's something so soothing and familiar about the feeling of the ceramic cup in your hand.

...the fragrant steam floating up from the mug, brushing its warm fingers against your nose.

...the sharp, smooth flavor of that first, perfect sip.

It's comforting, at any season of life.

There are so many "coffee-flavored" aspects of life. Perfectly simple, and yet essential. Somehow, they end up filed under "forgotten wonder," and their existence fades into a misty sort of consciousness until they eventually disappear altogether.

It's the simple, seemingly insignificant things -- beautiful things that we tend to overlook until we realize that they've disappeared and we want them back in our lives again...

...that little ray of sunlight that breaks through the window each morning to dance on the pillow and whisper secrets in your eyes.


"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."~Jane Austen

There are several things in life that makes my nose twitch and my eyes sparkle...those rare, beautiful details that matter little or nothing to anyone else but me.

However, there's one thing in particular that tops my list. An elegantly worded, richly-toned book.

These books, however, are special. They're not the trashy, second-glance paperbacks that leave a sour taste of stilted thoughts and poorly invented cliches lingering on your tongue.

It's those classic books -- the ones that make the outside world fade away and welcome you into their worlds. The transition is so smooth that you barely realize that you have left the world of flesh and bone and faded into a world of fragrant ink and parchment pages.

Jane Austen. C.S. Lewis. William Shakespeare. The masters of literary elegance and intoxicating tales that are so vivid in color, taste, and tone that they can almost be touched.

They are the parents to breathtaking characters that remind us of ourselves -- all that we wish we could be, and all that we pray we are not. Creators of lands of such dazzling life, caressing breezes, and unending delights that we stand on the mountain's edge with arms spread wide, begging to be drawn in even deeper.

These are the places we long to be...our dreams encased in paper castles with doors of gilded secrets just waiting to be found.

To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations - such is a pleasure beyond compare. ~Kenko Yoshida

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Daisy Chain

"Daisies of the world unite -- all you have to loose is your chains." ~Unknown

I love daisies. Every color, every size.

My favorite ones are the Gerbera daisies, rich-colored and elegant.

There's something so innocent, so bold, so breathtaking about these flowers. These flowers whisper "love" in the darkness of my life; they have always meant something rich, deep inside my soul.

They are the strongest of the daisies, but yet, they are just as fragile as any other of their field-sisters.

Sometimes, I feel like a daisy. Beautifully innocent, but still echoing with whispers of a hidden strength. There are times when I feel like I'm going to break, like my petals are going to fall off and I'm going to wilt into nothing.

And then, He whispers in my ear.

"You're Mine. Even in the worst times of your life, when you feel like you've got nothing left, I will always be there. And you're Mine; one day, you'll live with Me forever. Hold on..."

And so I do.

Even when it seems impossible, when my heart is breaking for someone I love, or when my own life seems to be imploding from the inside out...

...I hold on.

So. All of you daisies -- beautiful, strong people who feel like you're barely holding on sometimes...

...stand up.

...break your chain.


Because you're loved.

"Promise me you'll always remember: you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ~Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne

Monday, July 19, 2010


I have OWD. Obsessive-writer disorder. It's a fact.

I will spend hours staring at the same blank page, racking my brain for something to write. And it can't be just any old nonsensical idea. It has to be perfect. Flowing. Grammatically correct. Poetic, while still being real. Tonight alone, I have started and erased about ten different blog posts.

Why? many reasons.

I have people that read my blog that don't even know me. All they have are these words, sporadically typed up and published by a nineteen year old wanna-be writer who's nuts about Jesus Christ, cares too much, loves until she's got nothing left, and might just be a little be insane.

And honestly, I was at the point tonight when I didn't even know if I was gonna even write anything worth publishing. Again.

But then, I got to thinking.

There's about five people in my life who know me on an extremely intimate and personal level. They've seen the beauty, the ugliness, the tears, the heartbreak: my husband, my parents, my sister, and my two best friends. And every single one of them has told me at one point or another that I mean the world to them...just they way I am.

Last night, my husband kissed me in the grocery store parking lot for no reason whatsoever. He just grabbed me, put his arms around me, and kissed me. We've been kissing one another for almost two years; the kiss itself wasn't uncommon. But there was something about that innocent kiss that made my eyes well up. Jon has endured a lot in the 2 1/2 years that we've been together, and even more since in our 9 months of marriage. And even after the fights, the pink socks, the late dinners, and the lack of blankets, he still loves me enough to sweep me off my feet and remind me of just how much he loves me.

So now, I've decided. No more over-scrutinizing. No more self-degradation.

I'm done.

I'm going to be real. I'm going to shoot straight. I'm not going to worry about being the world's best blogger, or the most perfect writer. I'm not going to hide any more.

I'm tossing my mask on the rubbish heap.

I'm going to be me.

Girl, 19. In love with and sold out for Jesus Christ.
Madly in love with the man who stole my heart and made me his bride.

Artistic, emotional.

Loving hard, caring deeply, heart on my sleeve.

Blessed with two of the most amazing parents and sweet-hearted sister in this world.

Has two incredible best friends, and a whole host of remarkable friends who make my world shine.

Slightly insane, but that's okay.

Because that's me.