Sunday, December 5, 2010

The TRUTH about popping your back.

So we've all heard people debate about whether popping your back is good for you or not. Well, I've got the answer. More like my Natural doc has the answer.

When you pop your back, the ligaments surrounding your spinal column are actually SPRAINED. Ironically, this is what causes the discomfort that urges you to pop your back in the first place.

Short term effects? Minor.
Long term? Back problems.
Experience minor pains already and frequently pop your back? Perhaps this is why.

So what's the alternative? Spinal stretches and strength training.
Great yoga stretches for the spinal column: Cobra, Cat, Cow, Downward dog, Bridge, and many others. Cobra is my favorite. And yes--if you are unfamiliar with yoga--those are the actual names.

Stretching to release toxicity and align muscles/ligaments is a much better route.

This is a sad discovery as I pop my own back (and am quite skilled at it) nearly everyday at LEAST once. However, I look forward to being able to tell you how much greater it feels to have a strong, well knit back with ligaments perfectly in place.

All this to say: Sorry, I will no longer be of service to pop your back :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wedding Dress (Derek Webb)

Ghandi's words sting deep: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

So do Christ's: "
So you must be careful to do everything (the Pharisees) tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach" (Matthew 23:3).

I, too, am guilty.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer."

While sitting in Moe’s Kitchen (a healthy & delicious restaurant in Green Hills) for several hours earlier today, my pen rapidly began to scribble down the cries of my heart.

There have been phases in life when I have questioned the act of prayer; how and why we speak in order to somehow communicate with God--a "being" that even the best theologians struggle to articulate concrete statements about. Over the course of time, I have found myself in several different roles in relation to the act of prayer: the one being prayed for, the pray-er, the by-stander in the presence of a group where prayer is taking place, the doubter as people pray; the list goes on…

But the more time goes on, the more convinced I am of how powerful it is.

Particularly when we speak or write words with very identifiable questions/claims/praises/proclamations etc., unexplainable things take place. Even when "answers" do not look as we expect them to, prayer ALWAYS sparks revolution and healing; in one way or another. It is often only in hindsight that we see the ways that God reveals Himself. And it’s REMARKABLE to review the way life unfolds itself in correlation to prayer.

It is only as I have been away from home for a couple of years and reminisce through journals of the past that I recognize the depth of this truth in my own life...

I have seen the "impossible" become reality TIME AFTER TIME AFTER TIME.
...Why am I so quick to forget?

Saturday, September 4, 2010


"Balance is Beautiful"
--Miyoko Ohno--

"Balance is the enemy of art"
--Richard Eyre--

"Every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it"
--George Santayana--

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Slowing down is difficult.

Without a doubt, I should be sleeping. At 10 I could have collapsed into bed due to lack of sleep, but for whatever reason I am sitting in front of the computer four hours later. I even canceled plans with good friends so I could go to bed, yet here I sit.

This summer has been an attempt to reverse the unhealthy patterns that have begun in my life. At several points throughout the past year, I have come to the realization that if I don't learn to slow down, I will crash (While this seems obvious, I had to learn the hard way). I realize there are many physical things I am dependent on that cannot be ignored.

Air. Food. Rest. Sight. Hearing. Taste. Touch. Smell. Other people's contributions to life.
All things I am very dependent on.

There is a lot of beauty in the fact that I have no control over many things (air, the actual growth of food, the art of seeing, etc.). These things serve to remind me that life does not and CANNOT come from myself. However, there are also a great deal of things in life which I have an element of responsibility to take care of, whether it be through taking care of my health by eating and sleeping, allowing my mind to stop so I remember that I am human, or taking care of the environment which represents some of where life comes from.

As basic as it sounds, I have been confronted anew with the fact that I do not always treat the life that's been given to me with respect. I quickly forget that I am dependent and assume I have no limitations.

False. From headaches to fatigue to having worms in my stomach for several months, I was forced to slow down for awhile. With iron deficiency and a nutrient robbed body, it has required patience to build back up the health I once knew. But now that I am feeling better, I find it is exceptionally difficult to maintain that healthy pace of life.

All that to say, this summer has been a very deliberate attempt. And it hasn't been easy.

Consciously backing away even from volunteering and some of the things I love most, I realize its hard to admit life goes on without you; that needs are still being met when you aren't there. And while I miss it, and know that there will be a day (hopefully soon) where I find myself in some of those same places again, I also recognize how much healing is taking place.

And, I see where it's not. But, the summer's not over yet. And neither is my life.

Oh, the joy of finding balance.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Oh, that we never become numb.

Tears streamed down Ruthann’s face as she covered him with a blanket outside the East Nashville Co-op. After recently getting out of the hospital, IV fluids were leaking on the ground and it was obvious he was in pain. “Leave me here; I want to die; God hates me,” were his repeated words; “Nobody cares; just get me some vodka.” Meanwhile, his best friend sat next to him threatening to slap some sense into him if he remained ignorant. “You know I care,” were his friend’s repeated words.

Just moments later the ambulance arrived on the scene and the paramedics recognized his face all too well. Obviously not phased by the event, their response as they loaded him in the vehicle was, “He never keeps his IV bag clean; he knows.”

It was as I watched the juxtaposition of Ruthann’s response with the reaction of the paramedics that I recognized myself in the shoes of the paramedics. There was a day when my heart would have been torn in two at the realization that someone could feel so alone--so worthless--that they would just as soon die and not clean a bag than live. But that day, I had simply written it off as a daily occurrence; something he had brought upon himself.

But don’t we all bring terrible things upon ourselves at different points of life? Isn’t that why we need community with each other and with God; to CONTINUALLY remind ourselves that life is not always as it seems?

So my prayer today is that we never give up; that we never stop hoping; that our hearts never stop breaking when confronted with the realities of life. Oh, to continually believe that God still makes himself known in the darkest of situations; that he is that best friend screaming at us to wake up from our alternate state of reality.

May we never be too blind to see what is before us and never too hardened to enter fully into the tensions of life.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In prayer, we commit to action.

Lord, open our eyes, that we may see you in our brothers and sisters.
Lord, open our ears, that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed.
Lord, open our hearts that we may love each other as you love us.
Renew us in your spirit Lord, free us and make us one.
--Mother Theresa--
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
--Mother Theresa--

Monday, February 8, 2010

The world truly does get smaller every day.

A couple of conversations with good friends brought Africa to the forefront of my mind. In hindsight I really don’t feel like I hold romanticized ideals about the way things were. Don’t get me wrong; there are certainly things I miss about Africa, but there are also things I would pay not to go through again.

I don’t miss being the nameless white girl that can’t walk anywhere without being noticed; I enjoy feeling like I can get some alone time without being hollered at by all who pass. I don’t miss being befriended because I’m from America, getting cut in line EVERYWHERE I GO, sleeping under mosquito nets, constantly being asked for money, or having to explain myself twice over to a man. But there are, quite possibly, more things that I do miss. I miss the kids on my walk to school; laughing and speaking in broken Luganda while getting peed on by a baby and getting my sandals fixed for 25 cents (perhaps minus the pee). I miss the obvious: the weather, the food, the avocados.

But most of all I miss those I had come to call my family. I miss our “dance parties” which ended in a “well done” to Dani and laughter directed toward my attempts. I miss working in the garden until every part of my body is sore and my nose is burnt to a crisp. I miss cooking over fire and continually being told to “Be patient; it‘s not finished yet.” I miss walking home from class to hear Mama singing Christmas carols with the ladies from the church in accents I have to listen closely to understand. I miss hugs and kisses on the cheek with those I’ve just met. I miss the good conversation that comes when you talk to people you will never fully understand.

Though it is good to be back, a piece of me remains there. My new suite mate Ann Marie is from Cameroon, Africa so I still feel like a piece of last semester is here with me. And she definitely reminds me of the students at UCU. It’s funny; all the places I’ve been blur together more and more as time goes on. It was when I was in the Mexican Market on Nolensville the other day that the realization came. It seems unreal that within a matter of minutes I am speaking Spanish to buy groceries, passing by the roughest part of Nashville while waving to my friends on the streets, entering onto a beautifully kept campus, enjoying the company of my roommate, and laughing with an African. The world truly does get smaller every day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Another one of those things that just don't have an answer...

Perhaps death is never an easy thing for those of us still walking around, but some forms of death seem far more difficult to take in than others.

Wesley; a man who could talk. If you were his friend, he would kill to keep you safe. On the contrary, you'd better watch out if you were on his bad side. I had seen him laugh; I had seen him cry. Glimpses of love were undeniable in some of his most sincere and sober moments.

But his greatest love of all was alcohol.

Upon returning to Nashville, I soon discovered that Wesley had frozen to death on the streets this winter. Recurring tears came as I realized the depth of the underlying truth. Anyone could find a place to stay in Nashville if they needed one. With Room in the Inn and various shelters, there's always somewhere. And then it struck me; he must have been drinking and thought he was warm.

My papa away from home; that's what I called him. And in his most sober moments, I really respected him as one. I sincerely hope he's "resting in peace."

I am Because We are.

I keep waiting for a day when there is an abundance of free time to sit and write; it's funny how those days never really sneak their way into our lives unless we force them to. And when we do intentionally lay them aside, sitting down and writing a blog is not the first thing that comes to mind.

So today I sit, finally making it a priority to communicate with those of you who keep up on my life, faithfully praying in the midst of your lives. And though this is a disconnected and electronic sort of "general" communication, I feel oddly connected to you all; particularly those from Antioch, the church I grew up in. I am continually recognizing so many of the subtle ways your investment in my life has impacted me, especially my interaction with generations both older and younger than myself. You all demonstrated a sort of love and hope in the lives of us young folk that I cannot ignore. Because you believed (and continue to, even when it's difficult) that God could do anything through us, I now believe it's true. Likewise, I now believe it about the little ones I see running around.

And today, that is the best encouragement. Because if I were the only one that believed God is still at work in the world, it would be terribly difficult to have any sort of faith at all. Especially in times when the country with the highest poverty rate in the world gets shaken by an earthquake not once, but twice. So it is that we lean on each other when weakness overtakes us, allowing Christ to make Himself all the more known as that weakness is transformed.

It's funny how such simple concepts take on so much meaning when they are lived out.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I've been back a month now and everything seems clear to me.

Just kidding.

Perhaps the reason I sat staring at the computer screen for 30 minutes before typing is because the opposite is true.

I am still sorting through the texts we read over the course of the semester, still gaining new insight as I read portions again, still agreeing with some parts while discovering I disagree with things I thought I agreed with. Still, on some days, refusing to open any books at all.

I was attempting to pack for second semester when I decided I ought to sit down and attempt to write about this portion of my life before going back to Nashville. More than just coming back from Africa to be at Trevecca again lays ahead. It will be strange to be back in Nashville and not living in the basement of a church, working for CSM and seeing all of the familiar faces throughout the city.

I mean, who ever ENJOYS packing for college, right? haha. But it somehow seems heightened.
Hearing Mama's voice over the phone or receiving text messages from my African friends seems strange. Though these things would have happened very similarly while there, I now gently touch a screen in order to text as opposed to using my screen-cracked punch-button phone from the same town. The relationships, though still between the same people, seem somehow different.

I had a pretty decent case of parasites, for those of you who desire to know. Going the natural route of colon cleansing and herbal remedies, I used the age-old remedy that's been around for centuries now: Wormwood, Black Walnut Hull and Cloves. But I'll be honest, the process of getting healthy again was longer and slightly less enjoyable than it would have been to simply pop the antibiotics.