little. bitty. eggs.

Having this little hummingbird outside out apartment has been the sweetest thing. And it couldn't be more timely. Reminding me of preciousness and life and CUTE!!

Took this pic yesterday. isn't she beautiful?
The last couple of days, mama hummingbird has been in her nest every time i looked out for her. I never saw her leave it or move. i knew she had to be laying her eggs, because she wouldn't fly away even when i watered my plants, walked past her to get the mail, or when i would stop to take a picture. It's been magical.
I was starting to worry that she wasn't eating, but i knew that she knew what she was doing.
Then this morning i looked out the front sliding door, and she wasn't there, so i grabbed my camera and quietly stepped out to see if my suspicions were correct. And voila...

2 perfect, tiny little eggs.
I could hardly contain myself. They're about as big as a pinky nail...i went inside squealing and pounded on the bathroom door to show Chad the picture.
When i went back to the window, i saw mommy bird just returning and nestling herself sweetly into place. my heart melted. You guys...i can't...i'm gonna die of cute.


and sometimes...doors just shut.

I wrote about the impending Russian adoption ban in December, and how it was bound to affect a family very close to us. Read it here.

Jaime, the mother of that family, posted this on facebook today...

I'm just heartbroken. Another tragedy i don't understand. If i can't even conceive that this is good-bye forever for them...how much more wrenching and painful is it for Jaime and her family...??

I am once again overwhelmed. Putin's pride shattering the lives and chances of thousands of children. It's just a nightmare.

And now that Isaac is 5 years old and has down's syndrome, he will likely be transferred to a mental facility, where he will have a very small chance of survival, much less a fraction of care and dignity...and definitely not love. After years of waiting and prayer, tens of thousands of dollars raised, getting to meet him finally this last winter....it's just...over.

They'll have to live and continue on their lives knowing he's alive somewhere, lying in a bed, wasting away, and there is nothing they can do. 

It's just so grievous i can't put it into words. God, this can't be the end of Isaac's story...


this life


...just one of those "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO FEEL" kind of days.

My heart broke...again...(for, what, the 4th time in just the past year or so?) for the lives of so many that were literally blown apart.
I just can't even imagine having been in Boston yesterday...especially those who lost a limb or a loved one. The reality and scope of these acts of horrendous violence are beyond me. My mind can. not. understand them.
Whenever i feel like i've been desensitized by movies & tv, something like this--or Newtown/Sandy Hook, or Aroura, or 9/11--remind me very quickly and painfully that i definitely have not.

In that same hour, one of my oldest and dearest friends sent me a beautiful surprise: a picture of her just born baby girl...nestled on her chest...tiny, black-haired, eyes wide with brand-new sight. I'd known it could be any day now, but it was the last thing i expected at that point! My heart mended just enough... enough to finish the work i needed to do.

Over the weekend a hummingbird built a teeny tiny nest right outside our living room.
it's about as big as a teaspoon
took this picture this morning from the window, she totally
saw me spying on her.
It scares me how precious and fragile it is...that there is so much working against its survival...but isn't every day like that? Every day of our lives?

This world is often a horrendous place...but there is still room for miracles. Like a perfect little human being pulled from the womb of a woman who has struggled through so much of her life, but God has held her, blessed her, kept her. And here she is now, a mother. A mother!

Lives ended, lives begun. Mystery. Grief. Joy.

peace? yes, even peace...


Mental Illness, Hope, and leaving the choices to God

Rick Warren's 27 year old son committed suicide last week. 
He posted this shortly after it happened: 
"[Matthew] struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life."
From what i've heard and learned and read, Matthew Warren was a soft-spoken and warm hearted young man...but his whole life had struggled with mental illness and depression.  

As a tragedy like this is bound to do, countless conversations, tweets, essays, blog posts, etc swarmed the interwebs.
I found interesting this quote from a psychologist who wrote a brief article about the matter: 
"Matthew...died from emotional pain, not from the self-inflicted bullet the autopsy shows. The fatal wound came from a cesspool of emotion and deep personal agony.The internet yak-yak blaming of Matthew’s homosexuality or Rick Warren as Matthews’ source of pain is absurd and should stop immediately.Those who spread such venom have absolutely no factual basis for their statements. Citing Leviticus will not serve to reinforce idiotic blogging."

Ann Voskamp, author of 1,000 Gifts, wrote about it on her blog. About a half-dozen of my facebook friends posted it to their pages...it seemed to connect with a lot of people. Here is a link to the post: What Christians need to know about mental health

As for myself, i've been quietly listening, reading and thinking. Not ready to address the matter just yet...if at all. For, you see, this issue hits so close to home with me, cuts so deep into my heart, i hardly even know what to say.

I suppose i won't say much, except that i appreciate the growing awareness in Christians of the realness of mental illness...that it's not always a product of not enough faith, or a conscious act for attention, or disobedience, or unacknowledged sin, or whatever label people choose to assign to it. It's a real, viable, thing. And it's out of the individual's control.

I didn't decide to start struggling with depression when i was 13. 
I also didn't decide to allow it, by 15, to cripple my mind and spirit so much that i hated myself, cursed myself, hurt myself. I scratched out more than one blurry, agonized suicide note as a teenager...longingly eyed full bottled of painkillers. If it hadn't been for Jesus i don't know if i'd be here writing this.

I didn't one day think, in my early 20s, "I'm bored. Massive depression just isn't enough anymore...let's add some rapid-cycling mania and turn it into a full-fledged bipolar disorder!" 

In my mid-20s my family (and i) caught on with what was happening. I remember thinking "wait...this isn't normal? not everyone feels this way all the time??" And with the help of this book, by our friend Bob Grieco and a good psychiatrist (who i still see every 6 months to check on my medication) i am generally functional! 

Maybe someday i'll go into detail...maybe not. 
I touch on it every so often here, i know. i can't help it. it's a part of the way i'm wired and i am used to that now. Like having a bum leg or a painful disease, it's bound to affect the way i see the world, see God's work in my life and in others...and when i write that will creep in sometimes. 
BUT it's not always in bad ways. Interestingly enough! 
the first bloom of my little Impatien on
our front stoop

Like being reminded over & over about how hope exists even when i don't feel it. I know that now. And i can minister that to people. Do you know how much that makes pain worth it? To "comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted?"

Some days i still want to hate myself, curse myself, hurt myself. 

Some days (though almost never anymore and, i pray, not as overwhelming as it once was), i just want my life to end. It just is what it is. But...
... “I know Whom i have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”
And "that day" is His choosing, not mine.
I hope i will hold on to that for all of the rest of these brilliant, too-short, sad and happy days.


i think i'm leaving work early

Ever had one of those days that the floor sample perfume bottle shocks you by spraying wayyy too hard so you're plunged into such a musky, flower-saturated never ending haze of headache, coughing, sneezing and nausea that changing and showering tonight can't come soon enough...? 

oh totally yeah me neither.


how an elderly woman and some shiny unmentionables joined to make me question getting out of bed today

Gas station, waiting for my tank to fill up. 

Old lady pulls up to the pump in front of me, begins to back up. Old lady backs up into bumper, stops. Old lady backs up further into my bumper (crunching sound), stops. Old lady backs up AGAIN, at which point i'm all "HEY HEY STOP". Old lady opens door, dressed in her fancy Talbots best. "Are you okay?" i demand. "Yes." "Are you sure?" Old lady ignores me and looks at her bumper, which is scratched, then mine. I brush off some dirt. "That's not from my car" says the old lady rudely, then turns around and walks away.
Conversation over, i no longer exist. 
Not once did she look me in the eye. No "oh my goodness," or "I'm sorry".

i wish i had taken her license plate number because when she pulls out i see her weave in traffic. ugh.

Later i see a giant black truck with chrome covered balls. i commence asking the universe "why, why, why...?


this is me today.

upended by

the cart


L. I. F. E.

i realize what's going on...and i have a list of what needs to happen...

but feeling a little...ah...frozen.

you think it's okay if i just sit here for a minute until i can figure out a way to get down?



Yesterday was Easter :)

My sister asked if i wanted to go to Church with her and Alec, Reality LA's Easter service at the Hollywood Palladium. With the ups & downs of the past couple of weeks i was feeling unequipped in nearly every way to deal with hoards of people, loud noises, a long drive into a crowded and broken city. 

But every time i attend Reality's services i am SO blessed...so encouraged...by their desire for the glorification of Jesus and restoration in the city of LA. 
So i said i would go, and i did!

11am saw us walking down Sunset Blvd in a throng of people. Friends meeting up as we went, lots of smiling, greeting, happiness. I saw a hip young guy talking to a man sitting at the bus stop, as we passed i heard the young guy ask: "You got anywhere to go this morning, man?" "No, actually," bus-stop man replied. "Well, you're welcome to come join us this morning if you want!" said hip young guy. We were well past them at this point and i didn't hear the rest of the conversation. But i smiled.
Then we were filing into the building, surrounded by young people. Reality LA has a reputation as being a "young, cool, hipster" church...there are a lot of those kinds of people, it's true...but more and more it's growing into the city, and every time i go there the diversity of attendees increases, and it's encouraging. 
Milling around us were young people, old people, families, every race and color and walk in life, people in wheelchairs, people in their sunday best, people in their weekday coolest.

Then came worship, celebration of the victory of the resurrection, a choir singing praises in harmony. I appreciate Reality's approach to this, as i am not a fan of the "concert-style" worship in many churches...i feel like it pulls the attention away from the content and onto the people preforming in front of you, often seeming to show off how good they are at worship (whatever that means...i think you understand).
Reality has a band, but they remain cloaked in shadow. The only light on "stage" is a dim blue so they can see what their playing. I often forget they are there al all. Your focus is on the words glowing on the screen, all you hear are the voices of the singers, and there is no judgement on how you choose to worship.
Hundreds expressed thanks in their many different ways...some people seated quietly, eyes closed, rocking, just listening, some with hands outstretched, while others were on their knees, holding the bread dipped in wine.

I stood, and sang quietly. Looking at the words, or looking at the people around me. I usually sing pretty loud, because i like to sing, but every time i went above speaking volume i began to cry. So mostly i just whispered the words, or mouthed them...my arms wrapped around me...not able to let any sound out at all. I was overwhelmed with emotion, with so much burdening my heart, so many people heavy on my mind. Oh, God, the hurt and misunderstanding everywhere...I tried to pray, but my mind was a jumble.

In spite of my heaviness i did appreciate the time... all of it. The sweetness of the words, the genuine joy around me. Tim's message was your good, solid Easter message...the gospel. But not coated in saccharine sweetness, rather it was heavy and meaty with truth and importance. The importance of today, of not wasting a single day in fear and dread of suffering, of death, and of the pain of life. In fact, if you have 45 minutes or so, you should go listen to it...

Afterwards there were baptisms. Dozens of Baptisms...right there on Sunset Boulevard. Many had signed up ahead of time, and many decided to do it right then and there, as they gave their lives to Jesus. So with cars driving past, people walking by, the sky drizzling down, the men and women doing the baptizing climbed into the pools in full Sunday-dress...as did many who were immersed. Some people cheered as they came up, some wept with joy, some simply hugged the man and woman who baptized them. And sweetness filled the cold misty air.

A friend of mine named Carmen, who is dating a young man I've known all my life, Dave Meyers was baptized that morning... here is a picture of that (with Dave smiling behind her).
i love, love this picture.

Lots of friends said hello, I saw Pip, Ian, Shelvy and others. They asked if i wanted to come to an Easter brunch at Brad & Ashley's (Ashley, incidentally, is the girl on the left baptizing Carmen). But by this time, i was done. I mean...i was completely, utterly drained. I couldn't track conversations, i couldn't look anyone in the eye, i was shaking (not just from the cold), i was dizzy, my vision was a blur. Too much. I was just...done. I told them i had to get home...to...get stuff done...

Alec and Sarah asked if i wanted to go to lunch. No, i needed to get home...i felt like i was about to implode.
As i sat in the backseat i tried to breathe and relax...
my whole body ached as if i'd just run for hours, my head felt like a balloon, my heart kept skipping beats, and tears kept leaking from my eyes completely without my consent. 
There was joy in me somewhere... there had to be. I had just experienced a wonderful and God-glorifying morning! What is wrong with me? 
I felt broken and idiotic and discouraged beyond explanation. The most pitiful, dysfunctional and useless of Christians. 

I even skipped most of Easter with my family. Chad was home sick, and i used that as an excuse to only have time to stay for a little while then leave to bring him dinner.
little succulent orphans i brought home with me
I did take a walk with my sister, which was a sweet and healing thing. We looked at all the different blooming desert plants in the neighborhood, and rescued little pieces that had fallen off, taking them back with us to plant at home. 

It was soon after that i went home, and all but collapsed into my husband's arms with such depression and disappointment in myself i could hardly breathe.  Maybe if it hadn't been the 3rd or 4th time i had done so that week it wouldn't have been so devastating...but as it was, i was just exhausted.
i cried and tried to explain what was happening but my lack of ability to verbalize my thoughts sufficiently just frustrated me. (which is why most of the time i just don't talk at all...the fear of expressing myself insufficiently often outweighs the need to allow someone else to help me bear my burden. SO LAME.) 

Not even a month ago, he would have been distressed right along with me, trying to get me to talk, getting mad, getting frustrated, needing to fix me, needing to fix something, anything!
But events in the past week have developed a new understanding in him, and in me. On his end, that all he needs to do is be. Just be there. Speak softly, and speak truth. And that is just what he did. 

This morning we read today's My Utmost for His Highest, and it, too, did a healing work in me. For, aside from my over thinking, panic and social anxiety, i realize i was also feeling overwhelmed with grief for those in my life, in my family, who are lost. I knew that, as i stood in the auditorium, processing everything, but i don't think i realized the degree to which i had allowed it to paralyze me with hopelessness. That's right: hopelessness!! On EASTER!! 

Anyway, so this is what Chad read aloud this morning:

When he finished, i simultaneously wanted to jump up in celebration and thankfulness of being so directly spoken to by God, but also kick myself in the head at my weakness to fall into such an obvious trap: 
"Beware of getting ahead of God by your very desire to do His will. We run ahead of Him in a thousand and one activities, becoming so burdened with people and problems that we don’t worship God, and we fail to [be able] intercede." 
The "be able" is my addition, obviously. But that's...exactly...what happened. 
Like being diagnosed with cyclothymic bipolar disorder, simply putting words to something--knowing it had a name, a reason, an explainable existence-- was like dropping a weight from my arms. 

I don't mean to end abruptly...but i just ran out of words! I suppose that's the gist of what i'm thinking about today...i'm not sure if it's properly arranged or coherent, but there it is. I'll probably read this later and say "holy crap i wrote way too much..." 

Just...stop getting ahead of God. Stop deciding it's too much before you even know what He's really doing. He is pretty good at getting these things done. (that was for me, by the way. unless it was also for you, too.)

Here's the little succulents planted in their new little houses: