Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brew

Brew

Producer of many-a steamy breve.

[Click the photo for a bigger version]

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What is your favorite brew or drink?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saint Augustine

"What art Thou then, my God? What, but the Lord God? For who is the Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God? Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just, most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong; stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; never new, never old; all-renewing, and bringing age upon the proud, and they know it not; ever working, ever at rest; still gathering, yet nothing lacking; supporting, filling, and over-spreading; creating, nourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. Thou lovest, without passion; art jealous, without anxiety; repentest, yet grievest not; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy works, Thy purpose unchanged; receivest again what Thou findest, yet didst never lose; never in need, yet rejoicing in gains; never covetous, yet exacting in usury. Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe; and who hath aught that is not Thine? Thou payest debts, owing nothing; remittest debts, losing nothing. And what have I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy? or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee? Yet woe to him that speaketh not, since mute are even the most eloquent."

[The Confessions of St. Augustine, book I]

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Via Crucis

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I spent the weekend with about 15 other young adults at a retreat centered around Celtic monasticism and the via crucis (the way of the cross). It was a unique experience, to say the least. We were at a church on the edge of downtown and in the middle of an area where drugs, violence and poverty are very present. Essentially, we took things slowly, prayed a lot and got away from the noise. We practiced many of the same things that Celtic monks would, like studying the word, focusing on community, taking a vow of silence one night and structuring our day around several times of prayer and meditation. I knew there was power in liturgy and such, but I had never experienced it like this.

Oddly enough, I started reading The Confessions of St. Augustine shortly before I learned that the retreat would be centered around monasticism. Augustine's words can be difficult to grasp. I get lost in all the "Thee" and "Thou" of it sometimes, but something undeniably resonates with me in his words, his searching, his questions and his pondering.

I have a million things processing through my head and heart right now, but the lingering feeling from the weekend is pensive, grateful, refreshed and broken. It's beautiful, but hard to express this time. Perhaps I will be able to write more on it later.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shut[ter]

Shut[ter]

[Flickr]

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Lately I find myself on a creative streak. I told a friend that I seem to hit a stride, and then it all comes pouring out of me. Music. Photography. Writing. Artwork. Even cooking and decorating. The changing of seasons and the cooler weather inspires me. Either that, or Starbucks is putting something in their pumpkin spice lattes...

This creativity has its pros and cons. Part of me wants to skip town and do life over the pond somewhere for a while. To expand and grow in an area that is entirely new and challenging to me. Then there is the part of me that loves where I am. I am content, but not comfortable.

I was out for a walk the other night and the moon was full. I was taken aback at how brightly it lit the place where I usually sit for a while to think and pray. There were a few enormous, low hanging clouds moving quickly across the otherwise clear sky. I laid back on the ground and watched as they raced north. I was fascinated. Overwhelmed. Humbled.

I...have nothing to do...with that.

As I stared at the sky, something suddenly became very clear to me.

I am small. And that is good.

It is good to be reminded just how small I am, and how much I rely on God to keep the universe spinning and my world in order. I try too hard to do that myself most days. I am learning that His grace and discipline go hand in hand.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

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Photobucket

[...Flickr...]

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I've been rather daydreamy this week. I took this photo of my best friend circa 12,000 feet in the Rocky Mountain tundra (mind you, we drove most of that via Trail Ridge Road. I'm definitely not that awesome...)

It sums up the feeling of my week well.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

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[From a friend I haven't seen in a long time]

Justin: i heard you became a professional surfer
Rachel: cowabunga
Justin: is that french?
Rachel: si
Justin: i forgot you lived in germany
Rachel: ha ha...i'm out of languages...

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[And it's not even 10 a.m.]

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

To be held...

“You are loved,” he said as he embraced me. The night around us was quiet.

“I don’t know what to say,” I said, fighting tears once again.

I was so very weary from the fight.

“And that’s okay. You can just rest in that love…until you have something to say.”

The night weighed heavily in my heart. We were in the midst of a long drive away from people and places that hurt to leave, and I was in a very vulnerable place. It scared me more than anything. I was a very tightly contained mess, fighting hard to keep the tears from escaping. We found ourselves at an exit that resembled the middle-of-nowhere places I have grown so accustomed to in my many long drives and late nights. We had pulled over to switch places as we drew closer to home.

And in that moment, I realized His love was all around me. Even if the words that rocked my little world came from a friend that was just as human as me…I came to know another part of God's character and love. In the midst of my raw emotion and messy state of being, I felt Him move. He stretched out His arms and drew me closer. The timing of it all was inescapably perfect.

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“We have been brought near by the blood of Christ,” he said, as his little girl crawled into his arms.

I was taken aback at the moment. We had gathered to study the book of Ephesians, and I found myself watching his daughter as she quietly played on the floor. Every now and then she would pipe up and tell us that she had read that same story in her Bible. She had read her entire children’s Bible from cover to cover.

Oh, to have the faith of a child…

What is it about a child crawling into your arms and nestling into you that can make the most calloused of hearts melt? I’m yet to experience this with my own children, but the glimpses I have gotten with the children of my brothers and my friends is enough to show me more of the depth of my own Father’s love for me.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…

Once and for all, His death and resurrection broke apart a deeply settled hatred and division between Jew and Gentile. He brought together all humanity. He eliminated our excuses to be divided.

“I feel like I need to find a Jew or something and let him know!” he said. We all had a good laugh.

What happy news!

Nothing can separate us from Him, and in essence, nothing could separate us from one another, regardless of race, creed, background, story, mistakes, circumstances or culture. Like a daughter in her daddy’s arms, we are tucked safely into the place where we belong. We are made whole. We are made clean. We are made His.

We are held.