Monday, May 11, 2009

Redemption Taking Hold

Hello friends and faithful readers,

Starting this Sunday, I will officially be a Kansas City girl! I am joining up with the team at the U.S. headquarters of 24-7 Prayer (not to be confused with IHOP, for those of you familiar). Essentially, I will be living as a missionary. I'll be writing loads of stories and working on the communication side of things for the Campus America initiative, which is a thriving part of the greater 24-7 network. It is an immense blessing and honor to join in this movement that is largely global and expanding rapidly. Although I'm sad to bid my current community here in Oklahoma farewell and to pack up the last five years of my life, God is certainly behind all this and changing me rather deeply in the process.

So, in honor of this new season in life, I felt it appropriate to start a new blog. From now on, you can find me here. I look forward to having you all along for the journey.

-r

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Glimpse

Some excerpts of a piece I'm writing, but not sure what to do with just yet. It's fictional, but true to life as I know it.

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Creak. Creak. Shuffleshuffleshuffle.

He came in.


Like an unassuming breeze, steady, confident, inconspicuous. I was lost in a world of wakeful dreams, but managed to nod kindly at him as he approached my table. He smiled warmly at me through sleepy eyes. After exchanging friendly banter with the barista—a tall, powerfully present man with dreadlocks and dark eyes that could look into the soul—he took a few steps my way, once again catching my absent-minded gaze.

“Do you mind if I join you?” He asked quietly.

//

“I see rhythm,” I said, nodding toward the world outside the windows.
“Can you hear it, too?”
“Not really. It’s so insulated in here. I see it more than I hear it. Or maybe I feel it. In fact, I can almost taste it. It’s like this strange familiarity in a land that isn’t my own just yet. Like a memory of a dream that you’d forgotten about. It’s like I’m laying in my bed, just waking up and trying really hard to remember what it was about, or who was in it. It makes me feel bold, but timid. It’s like I feel like I could pen a million words, but then stare at a blank page with nothing to say.”

//

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

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Rushing, crashing, moving, changing.

The mysterious power of the constantly moving water captured me. I was pensive, broken and in many ways, still reeling from the seemingly abrupt transition which marked the season of my life. The truth is that it had been coming along. I had even seen it approaching. But there on those shorelines, I felt the sting of rejection, the sorrow of goodbyes and the uncertainty of the future now keeping stride with me. I had been running so hard for so long that they had scarcely caught up with me before. I had kept them at bay, but now they were coming in with the crashing waves, wearing away at my pathetic façade. Slowly…surely…I began to feel the life-giving breath of my Creator once again.

Rushing, crashing, moving, changing.

A year later, I was there again, very much mended and transformed...but still broken, all the same. The moon shone fiercely as a dear friend and I let the sand invade the spaces between our toes. We shared memories and the stories of the last year of our lives at a leisurely pace, peering across the darkened shoreline and the moonlit waves. The wee hours overtook us as we talked. Much had changed, but some things had remained exactly as we left them the summer before, somehow enshrined in the golden memories we had collected. And I could hear the waves beckoning, once again. But this time, He told me that their presence meant it was time to go…not stay.

Rushing, crashing, moving, changing.

I find myself a few moons short of yet another year from that place. The power and revelation of God that I found in those waves lingers still. Oftentimes, my heart hurts for the shorelines where I grew up. It seems that every visit, and every departure, makes my fondness and reverence for it grow. Some nights I lie in bed and can almost hear the sound of those all-too-distant waves. And I know, beyond any shadow of doubting, that His everlasting arms are wrapped around me still. The sound of the waves in my ears, in my heart, reminds me that I find myself perfectly at Home.

Rushing, crashing, moving, changing.

Monday, March 02, 2009

From Africa, With Love

From Africa, With Love

In about three months, I will be traveling to Uganda, Africa. I am unspeakably excited about this journey. I'll be spending a few weeks there with a team of about 40-50 others, the vast majority of whom I won't meet until we converge in NYC to fly on to Entebbe. We'll be spending most of our time in Jinja and its surrounding villages, along with (hopefully) Kampala. I'll have my camera in hand, my pen at the ready and my eyes and heart wide open. Who knows what adventure will unfold.

Head on over to my Africa blog to keep tabs on how things are going. If you're interested in supporting my trip, please feel free to e-mail me at abide (dot) photography (at) gmail (dot) com and I can provide you with the necessary information to make sure you get a nifty little tax-deduction form.

Much love!
-R

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Maker of the Stars

Photobucket

Sleepy eyes and explosions in the sky.
An aching heart, yet full of love…beating so imperfectly.
Lungs now filled with faith…breathing…breathing…breathing…
A life that’s growing, moving, being.

A steady rhythm driving.
A rhythm far beyond.
A rhythm deep within.
A song that all creation knows…and sings along.

Rising, falling, ebbing, flowing
All the while our hearts are showing
Who we are and who You are
Breathe in the Maker of the stars

Monday, January 12, 2009

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[Flickr]

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Resolve [revisited]

Every once in a while, I take a turn through my old blog entries. I find it fascinating to see what was rolling around inside my head back then. Tonight I looked back and found an entry from one year ago. I believe I was sitting right where I am now (on my bed at my parents' house, far away from the lands of Oklahoma). I had compiled a list of New Year's resolutions. Here is what they were, and how I feel I did with each of them:

As ever, draw closer to God. (Successful. Except I have realized that He draws closer to me far more often than I do to Him, for which I am incredibly grateful. He is so very faithful.)

Be more intentional with others. (Successful. I moved in with three other girls for this very purpose, and found myself pulled into a beautiful community of Christians. Honestly, though, I still fight to let myself know and be known. Don't we all?)

Read (and actually finish) a decent number of books. (I finished one. It was worth it. My list last year was a bit lofty.)

Try to write a novel. (I wrote my heart out, but not for a novel. I have a lot of life to live before I think I can offer something novel-worthy.)

Hone my photography skills. (Successful. I made some investments into equipment and took opportunities to get experience. I am loving every minute of it.)

Journal more often. (This one was up and down. Lately...not so much journaling.)

Get some art on my walls.
(Successful. I started painting a lot more and nearly all the art in my room at our house is my own.)

Play more shows. (Not so successful. I played one. But, on the other hand, I started leading worship for sets at every Burn that I could. It's a make you/break you sort of experience to play the 2 a.m. set and to realize what it means to have an audience of One. Needless to say, it changed me deeply.)

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Now for (a few of) the 2009 resolutions, for those of you who care to know.

Go to Africa. I have plans that include Uganda and Kenya. More on this later.

Tell the stories of others more often. One of the reasons I have been relatively silent in the "blogosphere" lately is because I've gotten tired of hearing my own voice. After taking a few steps back to examine the creative aspects of my life as a whole (writing, music, photography, art), I realized that I need/want to spend more time pouring myself into art that tells the story of others. Again, more on this later.

Learn to tell my story better. I know this may sound like it conflicts with the last resolution I listed, but in truth, they are inseparable. As I learn more about the stories of others (and most importantly, how they weave into God and His Kingdom), I will hopefully learn to tell my own story in a way that is humble and effective. I realize this all may sound a bit transcendent. That's probably because it is.

Stop trying to keep my best foot forward. It is not worth the time and effort to try to maintain a perfectly agreeable image with others. Real community and relationship are forged in the fires of the nitty gritty.

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There are, of course, the more cliché and nonetheless important items on my list. But enough of that.

What are some of your New Year's resolutions for 2009?