Thursday, December 20

What We've Been Up To

Well, first off, we had Thanksgiving with friends, Old and new.

We loved seeing our St. Louis friends again
And There were festivities with plenty of laughter, games, good food, babies and pups. (Although the children seem to be missing from these photos. They were most definitely there!)

And The RAs all dressed up for "The Hobbit" and the midnight showing!

And some were pretty darn accurate.
Anyone guess what Jess went as? Here's your hint: David is Frodo : )

Appropriate Snacks

And I couldn't get one without weird faces...I wonder if any of them thought they'd be on my blog...?!

Today we had our good friends and little Margaret over...I loved her captivated looks at the tree....

And then she proved once again to be the best natured child I've been around...

....As these photos were taken 2 hours past her bedtime...

....And she was still giggling

And one to leave you with...that crazy blur is me

Saturday, December 8


Advent  (definition)
1.a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: the advent of the holiday season.
2.the coming of Christ into the world.

Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. - Wikipedia

When I refuse to hide my honest questions, the things I’m really thinking, the places where I am most afraid and really need His help…He meets me there. And it not only doesn’t scare Him off like it does some people, it seems to please Him. That I am willing to go deep with Him. To wrestle. To endure and embrace uncertainty, recognizing it is such a powerful door He walks through. The longer I walk with Him, the more this is how I have to relate to Him.
Deanna Davis

Deanna Davis' last few (ok...I really mean ALL of her) posts have been a most profound experience for me. She is struggling through something very different than my struggle, but as she thinks and wrestles out loud, I think to myself, "Is the woman watching me? does she have ESP? How could she possibly write something that is exactly what I am thinking and experiencing?

Today she tackles the issue of "Ew. Messy blog. Messy life. Messy relationship with Jesus" and the inability sometimes for people to understand a Jesus who makes and meets us in a messy life.

Really, what I'm telling you is to read her blog. And espeically this post.

But I also thought this: She makes this point, "Not hiding the mess invites Jesus to speak into the mess. And sometimes heal it so beautifully, so personally…it defies description."

And I thought to myself, "Jesus I am waiting. Waiting for you to heal this mess, this disaster area that is my spiritual life. Come, Lord Jesus. Come Quickly. Heal me and clean it up."

And isn't that the heart of the  advent? Not only calling out to the Lord to come to us physically, but also spiritually and emotionally.

Especially when your spiritual life feels chaotic and questioning and weak.

Come, especially then, Lord Jesus. 

Tuesday, December 4


It's hard, sometimes, to write a post when I'm happy. If things are going ok, well, then, all the better. And If they're going well, or I'm feeling good, then I probably have the energy to clean the bathroom. Or exercise. Or do Yoga. Or finish some of the shopping that needs to be done. Or call one of the 10 friends that I haven't talked to in a month.

But I've been realizing how unbalanced my blog has been during that past few months. Yes, it's been honest. Brutally honest at times.

A comment on the following picture by my mother reminded me of something. Mom said it was so good to see me smile. I realized that so much of what she hears, and what my friends hear -  what you read - is the darkness, the sadness and the confusion that is often all mixed up in me.

But this is what I usually look like on Thursday Nights: 

(Too bad Emily looks like she's just about had enough of this night. She wasn't - and played some darn good hands!)

Ok, we don't play poker EVERY Thursday night - although that would be a Great tradition! But the RAs come over for their weekly meeting, Adam gets through the necessary business of managing the building, and then we usually have some form of fun. And Adam and I get to love a bunch of 20 year olds.

Sunday, December 2


Every 3 or 4 weeks (in this sad case, it was six before we saw each other), my very good friend Laura and I go out for coffee, catch up, support each other, laugh a little sardonically, and usually I cry a little. I'm a weepy one. (She's good with the tissues).

Today we talked about darkness. The darkness that visits every Christian who truly knows the pain of discipleship. The Darkness that visited our Lord. She shared a part of a fantastic book that I totally want to read. (After I finish with Henry Nouwen, CS Lewis and a history book on the royal cousins that started WWI. So many books! So little time!) The book - written by a homosexual Christian - touches on the feelings of loneliness and exclusion each person feels as they follow the Lord's call on their life.

We talked about the groaning that comes from discipleship. About the comfort that happens when you know someone knows the grief you're going through. And the ambivalence, the outsider-ness, the feeling of exclusion when you interact with others who do not know what the darkness of deep, soul-rending grief is like. And the thought occurred to me:

 I'm now looking at our Christmas tree. It's 4:30 in the afternoon, and daylight is flooding our apartment. The lights are glinting on the tree. But the sunshine - the streaming sunshine - it overwhelms the tree.

Now, I love the tree all the time. It represents Christmas, it represents the hope of a promise fulfilled. The ornaments sparkle. And the lights, they are there. And it's nice.

But the lights change when it's dark.

When it's dark, I sit. I ponder. I am calm.

Its my favorite time, and I've been excited for sunset, as of late. I take my cup of tea or cider and am still in the quietness of the dark.

Those little Christmas tree lights, they shine. They illuminate, even though the shadows, too, are deeper and darker.

To feel the joy of the light, we must be in darkness.  And the comfort in the darkness, the pain, the grief of life is that the lights may be small and unassuming.

But they are more beautiful in the dark than in the daylight.

On those living in the land of deep darkness
   a light has dawned. 

Isaiah 9:2

Saturday, December 1

Lamenting in the Barren Land

A year ago Thursday I had surgery for endometriosis. Oh, what the year has brought.

Not that I really believed that I would be pregnant by this time - after a while, when 15, 16, 17 months of "not pregnants" show up, you enter a strange place. A place where you can't even imagine what it would be like to see "pregnant" appear on that little stick. Grief also comes each month.

I guess you enter the place of the Barren Land. You look around and see nothing able to grow. It is unfathomable that anything can grow in the barren land. It hasn't for years. Years. Actually, in this land, it's apparent nothing has grown in centuries.

Hope is there in the Barren Land. But it's not the peaceful expectation that things will eventually go the way you desire. This is a Terrible, Desperate Hope: "Please God, please overcome the fallenness of my body. Please do the thing you have refused to do. I'm begging. I have nothing to give you. I can't do it, so you have to. Please. Please do it."

CS Lews in his book, "A Grief Observed," describes the feeling: "But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence."

I am comforted by Christ: "Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46). What a dark comfort it is. Yes, Jesus. I know that cry. You know that cry. We are in this together. Abandoned by God.

Or so it seems.

And if I stop here, two thoughts rise up: "Wait a minute, Hannah. What happens after Christ's cry? Aren't you stopping in the middle of the story?" Or "Wow. You are seriously depressed, girl. That is dark. stuff. Is that really what you think?"

Well, both of those reactions are good - because they are both true! Yes, there is more to the story - how horrid would it be if God's forsaking of his Son was the end of the story? Ugh.

And also, Yes, it is dark stuff. To know what it means to experience God's silence- it is not fun. But it happens (from our perception). It happened to Christ.

Psalm 44 and Psalm 88 and Matthew 27 are all in the Bible for a reason. They stop in the middle of the story to offer us the knowledge that, sometimes, we pause in the middle of the story.

And I pause here - not because this is where I will stay. I will keep walking through the Barren Land.

And maybe there is someone out there who needs to know that they are not alone in this long, terrible Trek. And that they are exactly in the middle of the Barren Land, with seemingly nothing else on the horizon.

And that Jesus has been here.


With octaves of a mystic depth and height