pause in conversation

i got the new iphone this week, and i thought when i opened up imessage that i would find a clean slate for every conversation. but, as you all probably know, it keeps all your old texts! i think i like this, although i think i was also looking forward to starting over some relationships on a new note, of sorts, which i realize i could do at any time by deleting it but that seems so vicious and also something that someone does when they’re cheating and feels gross. 

so, i decided to scroll down to the verrry bottom of imessage to see who my oldest message was. (i got my old phone in march 2011) i had guesses. but the answer surprised me!

wyatt. a correspondance when we both, a year after graduation, saw each other across the room in rand. because, of course. i texted to ask if that was him, he concurred, we met on the steps of sarratt. 

after that (minus group texts or situations where someone’s number changed, which doesn’t count):

  • my adopted little adpi sister
  • one of my friend’s old roommate
  • a girl from college who also lives here, although i forgot that until just now
  • my cousin’s wife kathy
  • another girl i just remembered lives here
  • my old dgroup leader lauren
  • glenna, who i still consider my work wife and is listed by first name only, because 
  • mal’s twin
  • coworker julie

this was an entertaining exercise, catching little glimpses of conversations from two years ago. comparing where i am to my 10 most recent text conversations:

  • allison (asking if she wants my arugula, which i bought on accident thinking i was grabbing spinach)
  • emma’s husband jeremy (texting me a photo of their halloween costumes)
  • keith (with general life/job wisdom)
  • emma (although actually this was mostly jeremy texting from emma’s phone, but initially it was her relaying that she had finally broken down and bought maternity clothes) 
  • tyler (letting him know he was missing me in prime form at work today: no makeup and eating peanut butter and candy corn for lunch, while also having aggressive phone conversations #leanin)
  • kiely (analyzing my possible date from last night, who may be gay)
  • austin (possible date)
  • mal (re: cute pregnancy announcements)
  • group mms with keith and mary, which is its own entity (halloween costumes in our respective workplaces)
  • megan (her dressed up ghost-robot, a product of our target date the night before)

i think that pretty much captures my life in this phase exactly. 

the surprises of october 2

october second can be known for a few things: my second (and most productive, thus far) furlough day; the day i swapped my kansas driver’s license for a DC one (which i’m sad about and will opine over at some point); 364 days after my Lowest Low; the day i impulsively bought a train ticket that left 11 hours later for north carolina; and, most hysterically, the day grace took over.

let me begin with an important note: i recently discovered 1. the joy of fresh flowers and 2. that my neighborhood market has beautiful fresh flowers every day.

october second was a lovely early fall day, sunny and 70. so, perhaps it is not surprising that on my way to the metro i would get a bouquet for the girl who was picking me up to go to small group that evening, as a sort of hope-this-makes-you-smile thing. i’m not really sure why i wanted to do this; i just did.

what’s probably more surprising is this girl is my ex’s pretty serious girlfriend, who i had never spoken to prior to a month ago, but who i have found myself — unwittingly and certainly not by my rational choice — stumbling into a … friendship? … with. it’s not surprising that we are very similar. what has astonished me is how much i enjoy and look forward to being together. and — it cannot be overstated — that she seems to feel comfortable with me. i genuinely laugh. i’m excited to see her. she throws open her arms to embrace when we see each other. we never stop talking.

(we never talk about him.)

after four weeks of agonizing over this, october second taught me to just let this be. to let grace do its silly thing. to not fight it. to just buy the flowers and love this girl, who i’ve been praying about for so long — well over a year, before she was even who she was. to hug her back. and, what’s more, to genuinely want her relationship to work, for her to be safe and happy — and for them to be happy together. (what?!)

i snapped this photo standing on the street corner while i was waiting, so i have a reminder that Jesus does miraculous things. when i learned about her back in april, i felt impossible jealousy and something not too far from hatred. my heart was filled with shame. there’s still a little of the latter, but mostly there’s love for her. that wasn’t my doing.

"but i tell you, love your enemies"

"and buy them flowers"



I would watch Amy Sedaris give a tour of a Panera. 

Mi reina.

out on the waves

have you listened to ben rector’s new album? good. so you know what it’s like to fall in love. 

all of them, but “sailboat,” right? this week when i’ve walked to work and this song has come on, i’ve almost/did cry. (it still doesn’t take much these days.) i remember where i was in april, when he played that song at the concert, and where i am now — a couple steps back from then in some ways, although on the optimistic days i say it’s a couple steps forward. 

i’ve been lost and found

but mostly i’ve been waiting

i’ve prayed a lot for doors to open elsewhere for me. they haven’t. instead, i was given three of the most powerful conversations within a 9-hour span on monday, asking me to stay. it’s true: i don’t know where i would go from here. i just want to go, most days. even though this is still my dream job. but it looks like the voice is still whispering, “not yet.”

my god, do i feel so alone

this week, my two best friends here interviewed for jobs working hundreds of miles away. my closest coworker girlfriend had her last day today, following the exit of many of my favorite people. it’s easy, as it’s almost always been here, for me to look around and see hardly anyone near to do this with me, if anyone at all. i walk alone more often than i should.

and i’m hoping and praying

please let this wind blow me home

so i pray, a lot, for a chance to go to nashville. or for relief from this sea. or for a co-captain. christ has given me a sense of peace about it all, but it is like he has calmed the waters and is now sitting in the boat with me, head cocked to the side, gauging my reaction. i mostly stare out into the waves. 

i know so many of you feel like this. i cannot tell you how much of a relief it is when we talk and i feel like my boat is docked next to yours. 

counting my blessings (instead of sheep, or instead of the things that upset me)

when i came back to town on wednesday night, i found myself growing bitter and angry as my train pulled into union station. it was a feeling a couple shades shy of hatred for being here, and a desire to be just about anywhere else.

i unpacked that today on a walk with my small group leader, because i’m actually mostly happy in the day to day. sure, i’m still unsettled from the move, and things are a little weird in my personal life, and work is under transition. there are frustrations: two kids and a dog live above me, so i wake up around 6 every morning whether i like to or not (it’s the latter), my room is quite small, i’m still further away from things (and the grocery store is over a mile away — not fun when you’re carrying it back).

but, otherwise, the sum of my good things should be bigger than this feeling of unhappiness. so, i started counting my blessings out loud. it never fails to shock me into feelings of gratitude and joy. bing crosby and julie andrews have both told me this in song.

here are some things i’m thankful for:

  • feeling more like me again, even with this little setback
  • liking Jesus again
  • living a neighborhood that, while less physically safe, is not a place where i’ll run into my least favorite person (so it feels safer)
  • a lovely little apartment that is nearly done with construction, and close to unpacked
  • a beautiful kitchen that, while still small, is much bigger/not a repurposed closet
  • a smooth-ish move, and a sweet last few days in virginia
  • a quicker commute
  • bikeshare baskets that improvise as grocery bag holders if you don’t go too fast
  • having three and a half friends here (it’s better than none)
  • the depth of patience i have with myself most of the time
  • that my neighbors above me are moving at the end of the month
  • walks around arlington, and the number of people from restoration who have reached out to me lately to go on those walks
  • having a washer and dryer!!
  • a good good good job i still love, most days
  • coworkers i still enjoy seeing most days, too
  • the pace of summer, and learning balance
  • feeling financially secure
  • remembering i can take care of myself and i’m ok on my own
  • and remembering that i was called to stay in this city for a little while, and believing that is still true
  • but, mostly, friends that let me crash with them when i need to get out of here

When someone asks me if I would ever get back together with my ex

moving up

i have found myself impossibly restless about moving this year, probably because i “took a year off” from moving in 2012. part of me recognizes how christ brought this living situation together, part of me still wishes i was still moving to a different neighborhood - or state! - and part of me thinks it’s stupid to move because i’m in the perfect place. here, there is a safe home with lots (relatively speaking) of room, cheap (again, relatively speaking) rent, and it’s closer to church and church community. but, in a few days i will be living with another christian girl in a cute neighborhood about a mile from work, and just beneath a wonderful christian couple, and much closer my friends (or friend-like people). there is something to be said for those things, too.

now, i am sitting in a 2/3 packed apartment that i still need to live in for four more days. i keep taking things off walls, stashing pots and pans in boxes, rearranging the pile in the living room. i have been trying to put a finger on why i am so eager to leave.

and i think it’s because this neighborhood, and this apartment, have only sad memories for me from the last three years. my celebrations, my happiest moments all happened elsewhere. here, there is the shower in which i hit my Lowest Ever Low, the world’s smallest kitchen where i quietly make dinner so late, the white walls i never decorated because i never wanted to stay, the bench under the magnolia tree where i had many breakups and many more long phone calls. 

undoubtedly, here is where i have grown and wrestled and lost my faith and found it again. here, there is a trail entrance half a block away and quiet sidewalks and a coffeeshop that keeps changing its name but not itself. it is bittersweet leaving here, because i am so grateful, now, for all of it. 

but i have been growing and growing and it’s time for a new home with new memories. it’s time for a kitchen that can fit more than two people, for hardwood floors and a washer/dryer. it’s time to be 15 minutes from work and a quick bus ride or walk to see friends. it’s time for me to go through all the things in my life and see what stays and what goes.

and there is something to be said for my tendency toward moving, toward leaving things (and people). i was the most surprised when i didn’t leave last summer, considering what my world looked like then. i surprised myself when i went back to church, when i stayed at work. but it’s time to move again, for the good and bad reasons. time for the next step, if not the next season.

and time to not live closest to the scott street bus stop, as much fun as that has been.


Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal. Ask yourself some good questions like, Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? What have I learned about God this year? What parts of my childhood faith am I leaving behind, and what parts am I choosing to keep with me for this leg of the journey? Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?

i’m reading “bittersweet,” which on the whole i wouldn’t necessarily recommend, but she has a chapter on being twenty-five, and this passage is in there. and i quite liked it. i emailed it to lauren, because she is and probably always will be one of those people i look to as a spiritual leader, so i like to tell her whenever i have these mini-spiritual breakthroughs, and these have been good questions to wrestle with.

what was interesting is the visceral “NO!” that jumped to mind when i read the first question. “no, i’m not proud of the life i’m living!” a million transgressions flashed through my head. i left a church i love, i’m questioning God too much, i’m hanging out with a boy i maybe shouldn’t be, i can’t bring myself to forgive those who have hurt me, i’ve lost friends — close friends. i’ve closed up and resisted sharing any sort of love with others. i become angry and frustrated often. i struggle to care for those who need it, and instead spend far, far too much of my emotion caring and worrying and thinking about someone who, most likely, rarely if ever gives much thought to me, much less cares or worries.

then i thought: but that’s not true! i am so proud of me, so proud of how far i’ve come, so proud of what i wake up and do every day. i’m so proud at how i’ve taken care of myself, physically emotionally spiritually. i’m proud of who i work for and the work we do, and i’m proud of the small part i play in that. i’m proud of the relationships i’ve established here and the people i have gotten to talk to about myriad things like which restaurants serve breakfast 24 hours and what’s the best guacamole recipe and did you see the season finale of downton and what’s the difference between gingham and checkered patterns and this is why christ jesus is important to me. i am proud that i’ve stayed away from scott for seven months and 19 days (really longer but that’s the official count). i’m proud that i went back to resto and only cry some of the times and that i have an incredible group of women around me, physically emotionally spiritually, because i was brave enough to reach out one day. i’m proud of how far i run and the discipline i have had with my body in keeping myself healthy despite the curveballs i’ve gotten this year. 

maybe i’ll explore these other questions with you, too, but i think they’re good for all of us. i hope you are also proud of the life you are living. and i hope you, like me, are willing to work on some of the not-as-proud pieces, too.

Watching fireworks with two of my best friends on the WH south lawn. Happy birthday America. I’m the luckiest girl. @wallsohard @keith_ferg  (at South Lawn - White House)

Watching fireworks with two of my best friends on the WH south lawn. Happy birthday America. I’m the luckiest girl. @wallsohard @keith_ferg (at South Lawn - White House)

Love that little smile. (Beautiful morning for pebble beach!) (at The White House)

Love that little smile. (Beautiful morning for pebble beach!) (at The White House)

It is the small moments when you miss someone, you know? When you finally open that jar of blackberry jam that neither of you could open for a year, or when something happens in a meeting and you can’t kick them under the table and make knowing eye contact.

Tonight I was walking through an airport and passed a blue bell ice cream store and I felt like I was about nine years old, leaning over the deep freezer with my grandpa as he explained just why blue bell was the gold standard in ice cream, before we took it inside and he scooped us big bowls of french vanilla.

It was one of the first moments when I missed him, but it felt sweet, somehow. I was so lucky.

I got a single scoop of mint chocolate chip in a cone, and then licked it slowly, willing my body to not reject it. I had about 20 minutes before it did, but it was so worth it.

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and you watch and you work: You don’t give up.
Anne Lamott (via quote-book)

wet paint.

toward the middle-end of last summer, i hit a weekend where i finally emerged from my post-boy depression and had the strongest desire to paint my entire apartment. i wanted to change everything about my life so he wouldn’t come back and get me again, and apparently that started with my walls. after a million back and forths of “please” and “no” from my landlord, she agreed to let me paint if i painted it back white at least eight weeks before my lease ended. 

okay, i said. i just like painting.

so the bathroom turned this cool blue and our kitchen became a slate gray and honestly it made a world of difference. our clinical rooms became a little cozier and i felt fantastically empowered. it gave me some creative release from the ugh. i bought a deep red for an accent wall. 

of course, we got back together shortly after that. and then it ended again. of course. i never painted the accent wall.

tonight i’m beginning to paint the walls back white. i spent a couple hours priming the kitchen, and i just kept thinking of last summer, versus now, and how much is the same and so much more is different.

we made it through the election. same job, different title. (okay, a slightly different job.) i’m still single but surprised by how much i’ve been pursued, and even more surprised about how often i go on dates. occasionally i even go on one where i may actually try, versus suffering through it. 

i’m still not over him. i’ve begun to believe that he may just be someone i’ll carry with me wherever i go. 

i’m infinitely stronger. i’m impossibly happier. i have learned so much about grace and joy and forgiveness. and about cyncism and isolation, but i already knew about those two. 

10 more weeks to learn from these old/new white walls. and then it’s onto the next adventure. because if you’ve ever tried to move in a city, you know it’s an adventure.