Monday, April 29, 2013
Our church has amazing youth. Amazing people. I LOVE these retreats where we as youth can all come together to both worship and delve into God's Word, and also talk and build each other up and catch up on all we've missed on each other's lives in the past couple months (or years). It's an amazing time, which I always look forward to. Here are some pictures I snapped while at the retreat: enjoy.
These girls are the. best.
After I told them to ignore me and that I was invisible, they all started laughing nervously and making funny faces at the camera. (note to self: sneak up on boys with camera next time.Finally. Normal.
The lovely Myra. This girl is amazing.
Not exactly sure why they're both 'flying'. Don't ask.
Brother and sista.
No comment. ;)
Thursday, April 25, 2013
+this life isn't about you+
+invest in lives+
+stop daydreaming and go do+
+he's out there+
Dear 14 year old (almost 15 year old) Keely:
You shouldn't forget. Forget who made you and what's most important in this life: God. And family. You so often treat them as a dumping ground for your feelings, for your roller coaster emotions. They aren't there just for you. You're there for them. You need to stop being so selfish.
Do you feel that golden sun, sifting through the windows onto your pale skin? Can you feel the radiating warmth the sun offers, beckoning you to go outside? You need to enjoy God's gorgeous creation, go outside, watch the littles ride their bikes, whatever. Just get outside.
Yes, yes: I know it's so easy to read books like Radical about investing in lives and discipling others, and then just walk away thinking: that's not me. i can't do that. No. You need to be apart of other's lives, teaching them (if only with your life) about Christ. And to teach, you have to know how to be taught yourself. And to teach others how to study the Bible, you have to know how to study It yourself. And to know how to teach others to pray, you have to know yourself. Remember these things.
You seem to love to sit, close your eyes, and dream. Slip from reality.
Live in the present. Stop trying to escape. Go do things.
You know that boy you sometimes keep thinking about? Like where he is, or is he out there? Well, he is. You're not ready, though, and neither is he. God will bring him into your life at the opportune moment.
Don't forget these things.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Hello, lovelies. :) It's green and lush outside (though a bit dreary) and I'm so, SO happy it's finally looking like Spring. I was wondering if you had any thoughts, ideas, stories, or photos you'd like me to post about. Let me know! If you have pictures or quotes or 'stories', link me up to them in the comment section below. Happy day to you all!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I want to write words that are made of fire and water and burn and claw and grow, rooted, in other people’s lives. I want to see my words branch raw and ready. I want to write. Write what I’m feeling. Write what I want to happen. Write my dreams, my loves, my hates, my prayers, my passions, my desires, my struggles. I want to scrawl out lists, I want to feel shivers race up and down my spine when I write, and I want people to feel the same way when they read my words, too. I want to write. I want to write so hard and just get the words out no matter how brittle I feel or no matter what others think. I’m so often concerned with what others think. It doesn’t matter what they think. I can have my stories, and write them too. If they don’t like it, fine. If they do, fine. I want to write. I want to write like crazy, and love doing it. I want to live so I can: number one, glorify, know, and love God, number two: serve and love and give, and number three: write. It’s a flame, kindled inside me that won’t be swept out. It’s a passion. It’s real.
I want to write.
I want to see people value life, and to know that they’re not going to be here forever. They need to know that they may not have forever to live, and they may not be here for very long. I want to see them live each and every moment intentionally and wholly, being present and real and raw and vulnerable. I want to see them pursuing their God-given passions. I want to see people who begin to care less about what others think of them and what the trend is and stop staring wide eyed at their devices, and start living and making the most of the minutes God has given them. To start serving and giving, and reading and writing, photographing, drawing, organizing, WHATEVER it is that they love and they need to go do. Because we need to go do those things that make God smile, and make others smile, and that we can smile at too. We need to start valuing life, and making the most of things. To start keeping a grateful list and stop complaining every other minute.
I want to start seeing people value life.
I want to wake up early and read my bible for a good, long hour. I want to journal about what God is doing in my life, and start seeing with His eyes and His eyes alone. I’m so, so, so, so, SO selfish, and I never truly desire to see God’s will carried out in my life. But I do. There’s this war that’s alive in my soul, like a huge game of tug o’ war, where the Devil’s pulling on one side, wheezing and coughing, and God’s tugging gently on the other. I so want God to win, but I so often let the Devil win and then, how is that pleasing God and loving him? How is that being faithful to my Daddy? I want to obey him, no matter what. Even if that means giving up my writing. Even if that means giving up my life. He should come FIRST. Because I was loved by him, and he died for me, and he is faithful to me and loves me no matter what.
I want to love God.
These are my passions, whole and true. I'm finding, slowly, who I am and what I love. Thank you Jesus, for showing me, for teaching me. I love you.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
i. Life is short. We live like we're going to keep on living forever, though it won't be long before we're just a memory. If you want to keep track of life, live right now. Be all there, wherever you are. Realize that everything you do has meaning. It matters. It counts. What matters most is what you DO, NOW. Not tomorrow, or next week. Today. And you now that list, crushed in between to-do lists from a year ago, and the college applications? That list, that mentions everything you want to do? Go do them. Stop living with clenched hands.
ii. Life is beautiful. Why do we hold back in raising our voices about those unborn who have never felt the first spring rain on bare skin, or tasted chocolate, or watched the summer sunrises melt into the distance? Why don't we care? Why don't we do those things that will open the world's eyes to how beautiful a life is, how much they're depriving the world, the universe, the creation, themselves of a human life--the greatest miracle?
A few passions of mine, and some thoughts that have been screaming to be let go.XO.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
not my photo: source, unknown
She bit her lip in confusing conversations. She would slump in chairs when she knew others were gossiping. She cried, forsaken, in her dorm room, every night.
She was alone.
She played the ukulele, hummed Keane, and drank too much tea. She would chew on the ends of her hair, and on pencil erasers. She hated snow, loved summer, and adored people.
She was lonely.
People were her art. She studied their quirks, their mannerisms, their likes and dislikes and what made them human, without ever speaking more than two words to them.
Her only friends were books.
She scribbled in margins, and dog-eared the pages of all her books, and memorized her favorite lines of Shakespeare, just because. Her favorite book was Mary Oliver’s ‘New and Selected Poems’, and her eyes shone whenever she read J. R. R. Tolkien.
She managed to get through college without speaking to more than a handful of people. She was shy, but yearned to be an extrovert, that the happy people around her would understand her, accept her.
She wore washed out jeans, vintage t-shirts, oversized sweatshirts. She hated perfume, hated too short hair, and couldn’t stand skinny jeans.
And all she needed was one person, one person to step into her life and say hello, say the ‘how are yous’ and invite her to coffee. She needed a friend, because she had no friends. She needed a family, because she lived a thousand miles from hers.
She’s that girl sitting all by herself at lunch.
She’s that boy who tries to fit in, but no matter how hard he tries, he can’t.
She’s that girl who can count all her friends on one hand.
She’s that boy who just needs strength.
She’s that girl who just needs a gentle nudge in the right direction.
Go. Reach out. Touch a life. Invest in people. You have more influence than you know.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
It was the moment after the long sigh he gave, and he said it again, running
his fingers through his gray bleached hair: “You won’t know. It could happen
anytime: tomorrow or two years.” His face was honestly sympathetic, and I
No emotions tumbled out unexpectedly. I just sat there on the doctor’s
examining table, stunned.
He nodded awkwardly, and ducked out of the room. He left me there, alone.
After a few minutes of numbness, I picked myself up, brushed back a wisp of brown
hair, and walked out of the office. I found my blue mini in the parking lot, and got in.
I sat there for three or four minutes, staring straight ahead. I’m dying...I can’t
accept this....I’m too young....what is God doing to me? I felt something wet slide down
my cheek. I hadn’t known I was crying. I wiped the dirty tears from my face with the
back of my hand, and breathed deep. I gritted my teeth and told myself not to cry,
not yet: and started the car engine.
Be strong Brynn, I commanded myself, You have to be brave for Eric.
Yes. My husband was waiting for me at home. What would he say? How would
Those thoughts were almost enough to put me into tears again, but I
managed to pull out of the parking lot and drive to our little house in the country,
about fifteen miles outside the city, where everything was quiet, everything was
It was two past four when I pulled my mini into our driveway. I patted my
messy bun and smoothed my faded dress, and choked out what I hoped I could say
to Eric without falling to pieces.
I stepped out, gingerly. So many terrifying, stark thoughts raced through my
mind. There wasn’t enough time in the world to take time to think through all of
them. A flash through our recent wedding barreled through my shaky mind. I had
barely noticed the dappled light on the woodsy floor when all of a sudden, there was
Eric, bounding towards me before I was ready. He hugged me, asked how the
doctor’s appointment went.
He didn’t know. He had no idea.
A huge wave of emotions surged over me, and I let out a throaty sob as Eric
held me close. I looked up into his gray eyes as he wondered at me, and then I said it.
“I’m dying, Eric. My heart is failing due to that....problem I told you about.” I
choked on the last few words, unable to say anymore.
He gazed at me wonderingly. It took him a minute to wrap his mind around
what was happening. “I...we...” And, to my surprise, he broke down crying too.
He breathed in deep, settling his emotions, pushing them down where they
belonged. And then began crying again. He squeezed my arms tightly, and rocked
me, as if I were going to die right then and there.
I looked up into his eyes. He flinched, and looked away. He looked angry, and
despairing at the same time. Was it too hard to accept? What was going through his
I buried myself into Eric’s shoulder and cried, pouring all of my emotions into
that simple act.
How could this happen so fast? In less than an hour? How could God be doing
this to us?
That night, Eric said he had to run an errand for someone at our church. I
think he was really reluctant to leave me. I smiled weakly and told him I’d be alright,
and that I hoped he wouldn’t worry about me. He gave me an aching look, like he
wasn’t sure how to respond. He left, and I stayed. I changed from my dress into a
flannel shirt and some leggings, and pulled my hair into a high bun.
I could feel tears coming on already. I tried to push them back, but it was
I was dying. I still couldn’t understand that. I was dying.
I was only twenty-two and I was dying
Before I could think any more about that dreadful, untouchable thought, I ran
outside. My bare feet pounded the ground. I was half blinded by my tears, but I knew
where I was headed: I could have walked that path with my eyes shut.
I had read my Bible and prayed there, on that wooden bench in our woods
ever since we had moved into this house. It was the perfect spot. Through a break in
the trees I could always see the sunrise, and the little grove of old, old trees around
me made me feel as if I were in some sacred spot.
I collapsed on my bench and cried until I could cry no more. It was so freeing
to cry, it’s hard to explain. It leaves me feeling empty and ready to be filled with
something good again.
I lifted my head and let the soft wind lick the tears from my face. Right then
and there, I prayed so, so hard. I prayed to God that he would let me not die, and that
if he did want me to die, to let me not be miserable for my remaining days.
Finally, I felt a hand on my shoulder, and there was Eric. He wore a look of
surprise and anxiety.
“ I was looking for you, and I was so...worried.” He looked ages older. “Of
course, I should have known you’d be here.”
I smiled tensely.
“Eric...” I paused. I thought the tears were done coming. “I don’t know
how...to...to accept this. It seems like some nightmare, or some deep pit I can’t climb
I watched as he knelt besides me and buried his face in his hands.
“Yet, I know what the doctor says is true. I can feel what he says is happening
to my heart. It sort of hurts to breath.” I buried my face in my hands, afraid to say
For a few minutes, the only sounds were Eric’s muffled sobs mingled with my
own, and the breeze in the shadowed trees.
“I’ve been praying,” I said awkwardly, still trying to catch my breath, “and I
really think that God wants me to die.”
“How could he let you die?” Eric said suddenly. “You’re too young! We’ve only
just been married! How could he take you so soon?” He was shouting, and I was still
“Eric, I know he’s in control. I was just reading in my Bible this morning about
how....God....does everything for our good....and...” I couldn’t help but start crying
again, right along with Eric.
Eric took my hand. “He can’t take you yet. I still need you!”
I rose, feeling a tear slip from my right eye. I hugged Eric’s shoulders, and
locked my arms around his body.
We sat there, for who knows how long, rocking each other, crying together,
whispering together, feeling the warmth of each other’s bodies.
And above us, the stars shone on.
I think it took us both a few weeks before we could accept what was
happening to me—the news came so fast it left us both shocked and numb. I was
suffering from a rare case of Lyme’s Disease, which was causing slow but sure heart
failure. The doctors couldn’t do a thing for me. Neither could I. Or Eric.
And that’s what bothered Eric the most—that he couldn’t keep me from
dying. That first week after learning about my heart failure was a time of hurting for
Eric. We cried together, prayed together, went to church together and were prayed
It was so hard to accept my heart failure. Left alone, I would have probably
spent my last days in fear and misery. It was truly God who upheld me. I can’t
describe the beautiful strength he gave me, which enabled me to help Eric find
strength in God as well.
I found myself constantly staring at Eric when I had the chance, smiling a
secret smile, like we were back in time, about to get married. I couldn’t take my eyes
off him. I wanted to remember every single detail about him when I got to heaven.
He had to go to work every day, like usual, so I was alone all day. I read the
Bible over and over that first month, drank thirty cups of tea, and stayed up late
with Eric to watch stars on the bench in our woods.
We went to the nursing home numerous times to visit our elderly friends
Eric surprised me once with a cake he had made himself, only he put salt
instead of sugar in it. We went to the same movie twice, just so we could hold hands
and stare at each other in the darkness.
We talked late, late into the nights, about everything, as if we weren’t going
to ever talk together again. We told each other about our thoughts, what we
were learning, surprises, secrets, and our weaknesses. It was so beautiful and so
wonderful to be able to talk with my best friend.
I tried with all my might to enjoy the simple moments, to be present, to give
and love extravagantly. Of course, life held those gritty moments that you sometimes
wished weren’t there at all.
Sometimes I would break down crying in unexpected moments during
the day, just knowing how much I would miss living on the earth. Of course, dear
Eric was always there for me. He always made me feel brave, feel thankful for the
years I did have on this earth.
I would occasionally get angry, too. I would suddenly feel this boiling anger
fester over my heart sometimes, and just start yelling and crying at God for why did
I have to die? Why did I have to go so soon? Why didn’t he just go ahead and kill me
and get it over with?
But usually, I smiled. I smiled because life was beautiful. Gritty, but
beautiful all the same.
Eric stood, and silently left the pews, alive and throbbing with weeping and
sobbing people. He moved towards the podium, just in front of the casket.
He scanned his audience, noiselessly. He bowed his head for a moment, and
then lifted it.
“Let me tell you a little secret Brynn shared with me before she died.” Eric
felt a tear slip over his right cheek as he smiled. Inside he felt so dead, so empathetic,
so vivacious. “She taught me two things: first: a quote by George Eliot: “It is never
too late to be what you might have been.””
Eric stopped, and broke down crying. His body quivered.
“And secondly,” he said, “to live life to the full. Live well. The night that I came
home and found her....” His voice caught, and a sob melted his words. “ Her Bible was
open to this passage:”
Eric cleared his throat. “ Isaiah 40: 28-31: Have you not known? Have you
not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives
power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even
youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who
wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like
eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”