A Peek Behind the Scenes


Hi, friends! 

I've got some fun things to share with you today that will give you a peek into what I've been up to lately. I've been busy behind the scenes working on several special projects, and today I'm going to pull back the curtain and let you get a sneak peek at some of them. Sound like fun? I hope it will be as fun for you to sneak-peek as it is for me to share. :-)

So, first -- drum roll please! -- I'm so excited to share with you a new website I finished creating today. That's right, today! It now serves as my online home base to communicate who I am and what I'm about to people who meet me for the first time.

As a bit of explanation behind the decision for the site, sometimes I suspect it's a bit confusing to grasp who I am and what I do because I manage a couple different online spaces and keep tackling different projects. This new website will, I hope, serve to communicate in one concise place who I am, what I do, and where I do it.

So, here it is . . . introducing the site I've affectionately nicknamed CS.com: my very own URL at www.christiannesquires.com.


What a day of creative planning looks like for me.

Also, I've mentioned before that I'm developing my first online course, and this is really exciting to me, too. I never realized I would experience so much joy and passion from doing something like this, but joy and passion is exactly what I have experienced in great measure through this process. (This is the point at which Kirk usually tells me, "That's what we call a clue.")

In case you don't visit my spiritual formation site, Still Forming, I recently shared a video over there about how this first online course came to be. You can watch that video here. In the video, I also shared that I've named the course Look at Jesus: a Gospel immersion course, and I will be rolling out registration and more details about all of it in about a week. (Eeeep!)

So, for a sneak peek for you here, I thought I'd share with you a few glimpses into my creative development process for the course. Sound fun? 

What happens when I do a little creative planning.

One of the first things I did in creating the course was to clarify my heart for it. What did I hope people would experience in taking the course? What were some of the desired outcomes I had for it? What did I hope people would receive?

I spent some time getting colorful and creative in my journal concerning those questions, as you can see above and below!

More creative planning.

The next thing I did was ask the question, Who would take this class? I knew the course wasn't for everyone, but who was it for? Again, I let loose with the markers and allowed myself to brainstorm ideas and decorate the page with doodles concerning this question. (I really loved this creative process . . . can you tell?)

What I found so interesting about these creative brainstorms was that each of them seemed to have a single unifying thread -- a word that I felt summed up my answer to each question.

For the first brainstorm, the unifying thread was revelation. For the second, it was desire.

More creative planning today.

And then on another creative Saturday, I spent time writing down my assumptions about Jesus that I'm carrying into the course. You can see from the journal photo above that I have some pretty strong assumptions about one point in particular on that score. :-)

Throughout the process, I've also written down some of the things I believe about myself as its leader (instructor?), as well as my declarations about what the course is not. When it's time to roll out registration, I look forward to sharing more of those specific thoughts with those considering taking the course. 

Sketching a site plan for a new project.

Lastly, I'm privileged to be working on a very meaningful project at my church these days. I was invited several months back to serve as the project manager for an online resource that ministers to people facing a variety of emotional and spiritual struggles. It's been fun and invigorating to work with a talented and creative team of people on the site design, the content it covers, and some of the multimedia aspects we're creating for it.

Along the way, I've learned how to be a video producer . . . something I never envisioned I would learn how to do but that I've discovered I absolutely love.

Can't wait to share the resource with you when it goes live!

And that about sums up my world these days. I've missed posting here on a regular basis and look forward to getting back into a routine of sharing with you the dailiness of life and the ways God is continuing to teach and grow me.



We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Program . . .

Sometimes I just have to be reminded.

A sweet decorative art girlie that sits on my desk, 

created by KRR, who inspires me

Hi there, friends.

I've been slowly (slowly, but surely!) making my way through the story of my 5-day silent retreat and where it took me on my journey through the woods with Jesus. There are just a couple more installments to that story before I'll be ready to catch you up on all the goodness and life and light that has been happening in the more daily details of my world over here. I'm looking forward to catching you up on the current happenings!

But for now, I wanted to pop in with a little note that shares some words that deeply inspired and encouraged me deeper into my life's path today. They come from Kelly Rae Roberts, an artist and lover of life, who wrote these words on her blog today:

Recent gratitude . . . for being witness to other people standing in the center of their gifts and serving those gifts up to the world for our taking, our nourishment, our inspiration, our transformation. There is nothing more inspiring or moving to me than being witness to another who has found their truth, is living that truth, and offering it up for another in the spirit of serving, inspiring, changing people's lives.

Kelly Rae wrote these words about an artist she'd witnessed over the weekend, but as I read them, they lifted and encouraged me to keep going deeper into my own path right now. Because the truth is, I believe I have found the path I'm meant to walk now, and it is more deep and true than anything I ever expected to find.

It has to do with unashamedly speaking my love for Jesus. It has to do with writing daily contemplative blog posts over here for those who want to go deeper into their spiritual and inner landscapes. It has do with creating a course that invites anyone who wants to know Jesus better to come and take a look at who he is.

I'm going deeper into my truth these days, and it's an exhilarating and terrifying ride sometimes. Yet it's also the most at-home I've ever felt. Every time I lean deeper and deeper into it, I know it's a reflection of who I really am and my deep heart of love made as an offering to others.

It's so encouraging to hear that others find such standing in one's truth and offering it up for the benefit of others to be a needed, inspiring service. Thank you, Kelly Rae.



One of Those Kind of Days . . .

Settling in to do some art journalling with watercolors.

Getting out my watercolors to try my hand at 

art journalling for the first time.

Today was one of those days where I didn't get anything done that I'd planned to do but got lots of things done that weren't on the original agenda.

For instance, Kirk and I got to talking about our financial plans. Yesterday I completed my exit interview for my grad school financial aid and learned the total balance of student loans I'll be paying back for a very long time to come. That's what happens when you've been in school for four years straight, I guess!

Anyway, that got us talking and thinking and planning around our financial picture, which led to the creation of a truly geeky budget spreadsheet, complete with color-coding and formulas and easy ways to track where we're going over budget or turning up "found money" in different areas every month.

If you're familiar with the language of Dave Ramsey, I'm ready to go "gazelle intense" on this, baby. :-)

First watercolor art attempt.

My first watercolor, inspired by a revelation last night.

Next, I sat at my desk and stared at my to-do list for the day. On the facing page of my to-do list were three words I'd written last night after standing at my kitchen counter and having a lightbulb moment. Several different thought currents I've been mulling for a while collided at once, and I found God conversing with me about the work he's given me to do, the specific part I play in the body of Christ, and the way I'm to approach and do my work.

None of these realizations were anything new. I've known them about myself and my life path for quite some time. But there was something about these several different strands of thought coming together all at once that made me feel like it was a moment of revelation.

Seen and heard. 

Those three little words mean so much to me. They speak of the way I want people to feel when they're around me. They remind me of my part in Christ's body as his eyes and ears. They reinforce the path I'm taking to do more and more of my life's work online, seeing what people write in these spaces and hearing the heart and perspective behind the words that are shared.

The next thing I knew, I had turned the page of my journal to a clean sheet and began pulling out my brand-new watercolor set. (I was inspired to purchase a few art supplies recently in order to give art journalling a try when revisiting Karen Walrond's words and images about her lovely journalling process.)

The image above was the first result. Seen and heard. I want to remember that.

Watercolor #2: all is suffused with grace.

It reads: Suffused with grace

When I finished the first watercolor painting, I got to thinking about the Gospel immersion experience I'm creating for the Still Forming community this summer. Earlier this week, I met with my spiritual director and talked with her for almost the whole session about my heart toward this online course. One of the things I prayed during our time together was that God would walk step-in-step with me through the creation process and then the execution of this course.

The second watercolor painting, pictured above, started out with the image of a blue spiral. I was thinking about the course and my prayer for God's help in its creation, and then I began to paint simple blue spirals all over the page in different sizes and shapes. After painting several of them all over the page, I noticed they all spiralled around in the same direction: clockwise. The next thing I knew, I was cleaning off my brush and dipping its tip into the red basin so I could paint red spiral after red spiral all over the page, too, in the opposite (counter-clockwise) direction.

I knew from the start that the blue clockwise spirals represented all those who will end up joining the course. They each have a different journey, story, experience that will bring with them into our time together. The red counter-clockwise spirals, conversely, were the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit interjecting and encountering each person there. (God always disrupts and disarms, doesn't he?)

Then I added some green bursts here and there to represent growth and new life springing forth. And then I washed a bright yellow sheen over the whole of it, suffusing the whole process with the light and grace of God.

All of it, all of it, God reminded me, will be suffused with grace. 

What gift.

Uh oh ... the watercolors make an appearance for a third time today.

The watercolors appear . . . yet again.

Later in the evening, after dinner, I sat at my desk once more and began brainstorming and planning for the Gospel immersion course. I turned to a clean sheet in my journal and listed out all the pieces of the process that need to be determined to make it go, such as the pacing of the material, the various media elements to include, the login and registration process, and even the course name. 

I didn't concretely work through any of those items at this time, but that did get me thinking about what all this means to me. I'm moving toward greater and greater opportunities for meaningful work right now, for pouring my whole heart, mind, and self into what I do, for giving God the work of my hands as he then works through my hands to reach into the hearts and lives of others. 

I'm moving toward my life's work now. I can feel it. And it feels so very vibrant and good and invigorating and challenging and engaging.

Reflecting on that started me on yet a whole new painting kick, which led to the creation of two more pieces in my journal. :-)

I'm not an artist by any means, but I am turning more toward the truth these days that I love and need images and beauty. They light me up, and they make up a great part of the way God and I communicate. Words are my greatest home and always will be, but color and image and shape and line speak into even greater depths of me sometimes. They set me free in new ways. 

So that's the story of how my day turned out nothing like I thought it would. I am finding that to be a very good thing.

Saying Hello

Lily pads at Leu Gardens

February 2011

Hello, friends.

It's been too long that I've kept quiet here, and I'll be honest: that has been hard for me. Writing about my season in the woods has been so incredibly meaningful, and I have loved sharing the story with you as it happened. It has been hard to have left that story -- and you -- hanging.

When I went on silent retreat at the beginning of May, some really mind-blowing things happened, especially concerning my journey through the woods. When I got back from the retreat, I didn't quite know how to write about all of what happened, even though I knew I wanted to. The story is rather in-depth, and some of it intensely personal, and I just couldn't seem to find the right way to enter the story and go about telling it.

And then, right on the heels of that, came a whole lot of Big Things.

* Kirk transitioned into an amazing new responsibility at work, which created a lot of change for the way we attend to our life together and at home.

* I began working in earnest on the final research project for my grad program.

* We traveled to Michigan to celebrate the conclusion of my grad program with its graduation festivities.

* I closed out my responsibilities for some part-time contract work I'd been doing in order to make room for a new meaningful project that had recently emerged on the horizon.

* I finished out my training program in spiritual direction and celebrated that graduation process, too.

Whew! It's been busy over here. Lots of changes and transitions, all of which are good.

So, I'm here to say hello. And that I've missed you and this space.

I consider this a place where I can let my hair down and share anything and everything about life in my little corner of the world. It's where I like to share with you what I'm dreaming about and planning, what's happening in life with Kirk and the kitties and me, how God and I are growing together, while leaving room for any general silliness a random occasion might warrant.

In other words, I love that this is a space I can simply be me, whatever that "me" looks like, and to share that "me" with you.

Interestingly enough, partly in response to a long-held hope and partly in response to the work I did on my final graduate research project, I've started posting daily contemplative reflections this past month on my spiritual formation site, Still Forming. I say it's interesting because while this Lilies blog is a place I feel the freedom to just be "me," the Still Forming site has clearly become a place more centrally focused on you (or, rather, anyone who chooses to frequent it).

I recently made a commitment to write one contemplative post on the Still Forming site every weekday in order to provide a quiet oasis from the noise for whoever might need or value that kind of oasis. We're now almost at the end of four weeks of those daily posts, and I keep noticing and telling people that writing those posts each day feels like having found my joy.

That's pretty amazing, isn't it? I'm paying a lot of attention to the emergence and discovery of that joy these days.

You are, of course, welcome to stop in over there each weekday for your own daily moment of stillness, reflection, contemplation, or prayer, if that is what your heart and soul desire. 

In addition, today was an exciting day as I announced over there that I'll be offering a Gospel immersion experience in the next couple months for those who are interested. This, too, has been a dream of mine to do (so excited it's finally taking form!), and I look forward to sharing more about what that will look like over in the Still Forming space over the next few weeks or so.

I still plan to write here about the rest of my experience in the woods and what happened on the silent retreat. I will have to ask you to bear with me, though, as I suspect it may take several separate installments to do it well . . . and I may choose to spice things up with smatterings of posts about other things going on in my Christianne-sized world these days. :-)

I hope you are well. Thanks for being here.



A Time to Celebrate

Hello, friends.

I have been looking forward to sharing with you about my 5-day silent retreat, and there is quite a story to share with you about that. But for now, this is a weekend of celebration for me . . . I'm graduating from my graduate program this weekend!

It seems impossible that three years have passed since Kirk and I considered moving to Southern California and chose instead to stay in Florida. As a result of that decision, I enrolled concurrently in a graduate program in spiritual formation and a certificate training program in spiritual direction. I'm graduating from both programs in the span of just a few short weeks, and this weekend is the first of those graduation ceremonies.

Kirk and I are on a layover right now, en route to spend the weekend in Michigan with my cohort group for a special ceremony with our department and a few days of which I am sure will include lots of stories, tears, and a whole lot of laughter. Can't wait! I'm especially excited to have Kirk present with me for this special occasion.

I'll write more when we return. Until then, be well.


PS: I was going to post a photo of Solomon and Diva here to offer you a warm hello from all of us, but my iPhone browser isn't letting me post photos for some reason. Just imagine a big black cat totally chilling out on his favorite recliner chair and a petite little calico with beautiful blue eyes perched next to him, both of them holding down the fort and wishing you well from all of us in the Squires household. xoxo

Companioning Henri

Bricks at

Leu Gardens

February 2011

I've been studying Henri Nouwen for a course in my graduate program these last eight weeks, and it's been a great way to bring the program to a close. (I have just one course left -- a capstone thesis project -- before graduating in May.) I say it's a great way to bring this program in spiritual formation to a close because Henri, for me, embodies the essence of lived spirituality. He's been a great mentor and soul friend to me throughout the years through his books, and I know I am just one of thousands who feel this exact same way about his writings.

I'm not one to often enjoy reading books about a person. Biographies are much less interesting to me than memoirs or autobiography because biographies often feel so clinical, theoretical, detached, and fact-based. This is why, conversely, I love Henri Nouwen's books so much: though he wrote about the subject of spirituality throughout his life, he almost always wrote from the vulnerable vantage point and context of his own experiences. Most of his books are like reading memoir.

I say that I don't much enjoy reading about a person, but I will concede that one of the books written about Henri that I'm reading for this course has made an impression on me. If you're going to read a book about Henri Nouwen, perhaps to get a sense of his life in a comprehensive snapshot, I recommend you choose Wounded Prophet. It gets underneath his life and persona in a (for me) surprisingly substantive way and is filled with many first-hand anecdotes from people who knew Henri well. It offers an honest but compassionate look at his whole life.

I love Henri Nouwen's journals most of all. They take me on a journey into his life and heart, and it's a marvel to me that he not only journaled so prolifically but offered them up as windows for others so they could get a glimpse into what it looks like to live honestly and introspectively before God. I feel myself companioning with Henri as he goes when I read his journals, and I often find that his journeys in those pages often mimic and speak to my own journey in some way.

For instance, when I first entered my summer of solitude to study nonviolence and peacemaking in June 2009, Henri's Latin-American journal Gracias! was my very first companion that summer. The first many pages of one of my solitude journals from those summer months is filled with reflections on how the Gracias! journal spoke to me, taught me, and broke my heart for the abundant brokenness and violence in this world. At another point in time, Henri's Genessee Diary also became a true companion in my spiritual life.

I've found my affinity for Henri's journals to have remained true throughout this course I'm taking. Interestingly, my closest book companions during this course weren't even on the book list. I've been reading small portions of Henri's most raw and personal journal, the Inner Voice of Love, most mornings while sitting at my desk, and most evenings before going to sleep I take care to read several entries in another one of his journals, The Road to Daybreak.

The Daybreak journal, in particular, is speaking to right now. It chronicles Henri's journey toward being called to live among a mentally handicapped community, a life choice that ended up marking the last 10 years of his life. This journal is speaking to me as I contemplate my own vocation beyond the bounds of two programs that have equipped me for ministry these past three years and are both coming to a close in the next few months. Henri is companioning with me as I hold my own questions of calling and vocation in my heart before God. He is helping me learn how to do that, and that is especially meaningful to me, as I've not ever asked God about a specific next-step call on my life as intently as I am doing right now.

One thing I noticed today while doing some research for the final integration paper for this course that I found quite encouraging was how much God uses us and teaches us no matter what path we choose to take in life. He always is with us, no matter where we are. I've had this impression before, but it became even stronger today as I read some passages in Wounded Prophet that talked about Henri's struggle to integrate into the handicapped community at Daybreak that first year after he'd answered the call to make his home there. He never seemed to question his call there, but others surely did. For instance, one acquaintance said:

[Henri] told me that he was going to live in a community where people didn't know how famous he was, among those who couldn't read his books. I found that absolutely admirable in one way, but I wondered how natural it was for him to do that and whether he was making an enormous statement about something. The way he talked about it struck me as being rather like a pose or a statement; it didn't seem to come from the heart. I felt that if he really meant this, he wouldn't actually have told anybody. He would have just done it. 

What I find interesting about this is not the question of whether Henri was actually called to that community or not, or whether he had misjudged the purity of his intentions and was led to go there by some wounded or broken place inside himself that needed to do something grandiose and different, rather than a pure calling by God. Rather, what moves me is how much Henri's commitment to the Daybreak community forms a solid place in our minds when we think about his life. After teaching for many years at several Ivy League colleges (Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame), he gave up the academic life to live among this handicapped community, and that is a solid feature in his story when we think of the life of Henri Nouwen.

He went and lived among that community, and when he was there, he was truly there. He stumbled his way through much of it, especially at the beginning, and he struggled at times to balance his life there with the demands of life that his fame brought to him. Yet God used Daybreak and Henri's commitment to living there to form Henri more fully, to love others through Henri, and to teach Henri more about what it means to love and be loved by God and others.

In short, it doesn't really matter whether Henri was right or wrong in his intentions to live there. What matters is that God used it for the betterment of Henri and others, period.

This takes some of the pressure off me to find "just the right answer" to my question of specific calling after graduation. It helps me to settle in and trust that God is with me and forming me and using my life, no matter where in the world I am. He may lead me to a specific place once I leave these graduate and equipping programs, or he may simply use me wherever I am, in whatever I'm doing.

There's something simple and pure in that notion . . . one for which I give thanks.

This Loud, Profound, Pervasive Peace

Mount Calvary Monastery

Santa Barbara, CA

August 2005

With this joyful offering of my whole self last summer so that Jesus could become all that is seen in me, I came to closely identify with these words from Thomas Merton:

"For now, oh my God, it is to you alone that I can talk, because nobody else will understand. I cannot bring any other man on this earth into the cloud where I dwell in your light, that is, your darkness, where I am lost and abashed. I cannot explain to any other man the anguish which is your joy, nor the loss which is the possession of you, nor the distance from all things which is the arrival in you, nor the death which is the birth in you because I do not know anything about it myself, and all I know is that I wish it were over -- I wish it were begun. You have contradicted everything. You have left me in no-man's land."

-- The Seven Storey Mountain, page 459

I so loved (and still do love) these words from Brother Merton, who has become like a spiritual father to me in so many ways. These words resonate with the experience of light and dark, apprehending and distancing, leaving and arriving that this giving over of self has been like for me. There are so many contradictions here, and yet all the contradictions are true. It is strange to talk about, and there really are no sufficient words. Merton does as good a job as I could ever hope for, so I'll let his words do the talking.

It's been interesting to notice the peace that has descended upon me since those two spiritual friends asked me that momentous question about gift in the midst of my inadequacy. Once I realized God was answering the prayer I had enjoined with him over one full year ago, all the fiery anger and indignation and frustration and self-striving that had been my experience over this past year went completely out of me. I accepted the inadequacy. I began to welcome it. I even began giving thanks for it.

It was like my huge, indignant balloon deflated in that one moment. I became willing to learn to be emptied. After more than a year of fighting against myself and against God and against circumstance, I finally gave up the ghost.

Since then, I've noticed an increasing quiet taking up greater habitation inside my soul. This, too, is hard to describe, but it is as though I am present while absent at the same time, especially when engaged in my listening practice. I feel myself fully attuned and alert and present to the other person, but I also feel myself not present, in the sense that it's like I've stepped aside so that God can stand in my place.

It's a strange experience, at least when trying to describe it in words to another, but it actually feels like home. It feels like how my soul was meant to live in the dance of life with God. It's a loud, silent, profound peace that pervades the whole of my insides, and in this place I don't need to say anything. I don't even notice time. I don't need to know where things are going or have any answers. I don't need to feel awkward or worry whether I'm saying and doing the right things.

I simply hold the space. I stay present. And I let God and the other person talk and move toward one another . . . because, after all, that is what a true listening practice is all about.

This Inadequacy, This Gift

Laguna Beach, CA

November 2005

So, the story of this pruning year has developed quite a bit in the last several weeks. I'm gaining new insights into what God has been about these last 14 months or so. And I have to tell you, it's quite a marvel to me. It reminds me once again that God always knows what he is doing, even if I don't.

This is going to take a couple installments to fully articulate, so I hope you'll bear with me as I go.

As I've shared with you a bit before, I spent a lot of time in the last 14 months kicking and fighting against what was happening. I went from a pretty strong and beautifully fruitful place inside my soul to a place of utter chaos. I blamed myself for this chaos. I blamed my circumstances, too. Other times, I blamed God. I just couldn't seem to figure out what was happening, and I couldn't seem to get away from it or make it better. I hated it so, so much. I felt so weak and poorly. I couldn't show up for others in the ways I wanted to, and I couldn't seem to get a grip on everything vying for attention in my own life.

It was a hard year.

Then, as I've also shared with you, I reached a point where it was time for a change. I needed greater spaciousness and quietness for the restoration of my soul, but it had also become quite clear that the time had come for me to reclaim a direction for my life that God has clearly marked out for me. So Kirk and I agreed on some changes, and I set out into this new chapter inside my story.

However, I didn't expect what came next: I discovered completely new places of inadequacy, this time in places that had always been known and natural and familiar to me.

Primarily, this happened when I was listening. Listening is something that has always been like second nature to me, ever since I was a child. It is something I love doing for others, and it is something that somehow God always seems to use. For the last several years, I have come to embrace that truth more and more and have been walking deeper into the ways God can use this gifting in the lives of others more intentionally.

But here, in this new chapter of my story, a chapter that was to see me embracing that listening role even more, I felt inordinately clumsy at it. I felt like an old car lurching down the road because its fuel injection mechanism isn't working quite right. There I would go, lumbering in fits and starts down the street, lurching and then stopping, lurching and then stopping, with an occasional squeal of the tires and sometimes a blast of the horn.

It was so puzzling to me. And a bit alarming. Instead of being fully present to another's sharing, an interior monologue kept going off in my mind every time I was listening to someone, and that interior monologue kept chattering about all the things I ought to be doing or saying or not saying, and then doubting every last word and gesture and action and inaction I took.

In other words, I found myself far too focused on me in moments that were meant to be fully focused on the person before me.

This was not what I was used to experiencing in my listening practice with others. And so I would cry out to God in desperation, asking him to overcome my failings and my weaknesses, asking him to be all that was needed for them, since for some reason I couldn't do this listening thing well right now.

I kept bumping up against this fact over and over again: I was needing to relearn how to listen.

This bothered me because, again, listening has always been something I've intuitively known how to do. It's not ever been hard for me to focus on the other person, and prior to this last chaos year, I had begun to inhabit the sharing of other people's stories so much that I totally forgot myself while I was listening. I somehow came to feel and know their own experience as they shared it with me.

All of this distracted inner chatter and outer clumsiness, then, confused and frustrated me. I wasn't being the kind of listener I'd always known how to be.

A few weeks into this new (un)experience of listening, I shared all this with my spiritual director, Elaine. A few days after that, I shared it with another good friend who is training to be a spiritual director as well.

And both of them, quite separate from the other, asked me the very same question: Could there be gift here?

Gift . . . in this inadequacy? At first pass, I scoffed at their question. But then my mind turned directly to this: one thing every person kept receiving from me in this new place were those desperate, pleading prayers on their behalf for God to be everything that was needed because I couldn't know or do what was needed.

Yes, this was gift.

Those prayers were gifts that those individuals wouldn't have received otherwise, if I'd been in my stronger, more healthy place. When I listened to people before, I felt a distinct partnership with God in those sessions, and I certainly felt aware of his presence throughout and often asked for his help. God usually showed up in those listening sessions in ways that were unexpected and needed.

But this? This was new. Never has there been such a desperate cry for God to be everything because I felt myself nothing. All of this was utterly new. And I couldn't help but think those prayers on behalf of others, those prayers as a result of my inadequacy, were indeed gift.

Stay tuned . . .

Today : Begin

A screenshot of my MacbookPro desktop.

I'm taking a special class this week that I'd like to tell you about.

But first, I want to give you some context for how the class came into my life so that you'll understand why I'm doubly excited to be taking the class: because the class itself is amazing, but also because it seems evident I'm meant to focus on it right now.

So here's the backstory.

I've been following a great gal's blog for some time now. Her name is Marianne Elliot, and she calls herself a Zen Peacekeeper. (Isn't that a great name? That's also her name on Twitter.) I started reading Marianne's blog about a year or so ago, when I was relatively early in my exploration of peacemaking and nonviolence. At the time, she had a blog called Zen and the Art of Peacekeeping, and I voraciously devoured every single post in her archives when I discovered it. I loved learning about this remarkable woman who had worked in the Gaza Strip, in Afghanistan, and for the United Nations for human rights and who carried a fierce yet tender compassion inside of her.

I knew she had a lot to teach me.

Since that time, I've watched Marianne embrace yet another beautiful role for herself: that of teacher, and specifically a teacher of yoga. Sometime earlier this year she launched something called "30 Days of Yoga" that utterly intrigued me, as it was a class that customized your personal needs with a daily yoga practice Marianne created for you to do over the course of 30 days. It combined mindfulness, exercise, and community with a very personal touch, and I love the creative way Marianne found to use her expertise and experience as a yoga teacher to reach people all over the world in this personal and helpful way.

I've been wanting to take Marianne's "30 Days of Yoga" class for a while now, but the timing just never seems to work out right for me. And then last month she announced a very special edition` of the class she was calling the "Karma Edition." Not only was it special in its pricing -- you could pay what you wanted based on what you were able to do or personally thought the class was worth to you -- but 100 percent of the revenue generated by this version of the class in October would also be donated entirely to the Global Seva Challenge supporting people with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.


Except, no. Somehow with the trip to Portland and the flurry of activity due to my transition season, I totally missed the open window of registration.


But it's all worked out okay because the next thing I knew, a new and increasingly dear friend of mine, Christine Mason Miller, was blogging about a class she was going to teach the week of October 13th and would be donating the proceeds from the class to Marianne's Seva Challenge, too.

Now, here is something special about what greeted me when I clicked on the link for Christine's course. Not only was I greeted with the course title, but I was greeted with the same image you see at the top of this post. Here it is again:

You see, many months ago, Christine made available for free download a desktop wallpaper. Its beauty and simplicity really spoke to me, and it's been sitting on my desktop for almost the entirety of the intervening months. Every once in a while, I completely clear out the windows from my desktop on my screen just so I can stare at the print. It creates a still point for me inside myself. I love that.

And that desktop wallpaper? It was the same image and title used for this course. Here was an opportunity to take a class with the creator of the print, someone who has also become a friend in recent months . . . plus, I totally got inspired by the course description:

Online ~ 2 Hour Workshop ~ $25

Participants will give a dream, a project, or a creative idea some time and attention, with exercises to create a working to-do list, make a commitment to taking the first step, and then create an inspiring piece of encouragement. The purpose is to explore all the things that are holding you back from taking the first step and to encourage you to create your own "perfect time" to begin, rather than continuing to wait for some other magic moment. 

First of all, does that not just sound wonderful??

Yes, I agree that it does. :-)

But even more than that, it meets me in a perfect place in my journey. I do have a creative idea that's been staying with me in recent months, and it is requiring a little faith, some intuition, some creativity, and a bit of space to outline what needs to be done to bring it to life.

It needs some space to just begin.

So, voila! I'm taking the course this week. It will require about two hours of dedicated time, and I look forward to carving out that time in the next couple days to give this new and creative and special idea some wings.

Refreshed and Full

Cypress knees and light-tipped leaves at the 

Kraft Azalea Gardens in Winter Park, FL.

Hello there, friends.

Today was such a refreshing day, and as I sit here writing this, my heart feels very, very full.

It was the first day in a new chapter of my story that finds me paring back pretty significantly to the most essential values in my life. I said goodbye yesterday to a group of people I dearly love at a company I very much care about in order to focus more intently on the rebirth of life in my heart. Today marked a significant step forward, then, into this new chapter of mine. It marked a commitment to the reclamation of my heart.

That commitment will take several forms, the first of which is a transition to part-time work. I've been loosely connected to a local publisher here in town for a little while now, but we've never had an opportunity to work together until now. This time, the timing worked out just right for me and for them, so I spent several hours today getting oriented to the work they do and the specific role they have asked me to play in that work. I'm looking forward to what the days ahead hold in working with them!

It's such a gift that I have the opportunity to work part-time right now, as that's really what I need in order to attend to some other areas of my life and heart that need a bit of nurture. And what's more, the bulk of my hours are able to be completed from my very favorite working space: my little corner of our cute home!

I'm so thankful for this new space in life I'm being granted right now that will allow for the intentional cultivation and care of my heart. It needs so much love and space and time and quiet right now, and I can hardly believe the gift of that space and time and quiet is upon me. I am so, so grateful.

I said at the beginning of this post that I feel refreshed and full. It's true. The weather in Central Florida has been positively gorgeous this week: the skies are clear, the breeze is cool, the air is crisp, and there is virtually zero humidity. When I stepped outside at one point today, I couldn't help looking up at the clear blue sky and exclaiming aloud, "What a beautiful day!"

Already the gift of this new and more slow-paced season is producing incredible amounts of joy and energy inside me. When I got home from my new job today, I pushed through a number of household tasks with industriousness and enjoyment and have ended the day feeling full, refreshed, and like my presence in this world is perhaps, once again, a very good thing.

She's Re-Teaching Me How to Listen

Hello, my friends.

As some of you know, I've been on a bit of a difficult journey this past year. God has been teaching me much through this year about who I am and how he made me to exist and bring life into this world. I'm so thankful for what he's been teaching me, as I feel such joy when I'm embracing the life he gave me to live . . . but the road to getting there on this particular leg of the journey has been painful indeed.

So much of this past year's journey concerns loss: loss of relationships, loss of opportunities, loss of experiences, and simply the loss of being present to the people I dearly love. Now, as I turn round the corner of these losses to the other side, I'm beginning, slowly but surely, to re-embrace those relationships, those experiences, that presence.

I have a ways to go to re-learn these things. I am so terribly out of practice.

One part of who I am that I've come to cherish much in recent years is my ability to listen. It is so very important to me that people be heard and be seen, and particularly in ways that are only their own to hold, without any competition from those hearing them or seeing them in needing to be heard or be seen themselves in those moments. Just holding people as they are and where they are and with what they have to speak, being fully attentive to them alone in the moment . . . that is one of the most important values I hold in life. I love offering that level of presence to others.

This is one of those gifts that went virtually unused through this past difficult year. So I am now on the road to re-learning how to listen. I am re-learning how to offer presence. I am re-learning how to be with someone without my own agenda or need to speak.

Kirsten is re-teaching me how to do this through her journey. She doesn't even know she is my teacher right now, but she is. And I'm thankful, even as my clumsiness in this place so incredibly humbles me.

On the night they said goodbye to Ewan, I received a special call from Kirsten. When I saw her name displayed on my phone as it rang, my body immediately tensed and my mind began racing. Earlier that day, we had learned that he had an infection and that his body was rejecting antibiotics. We knew it would be a day of difficult decisions for Kirsten and James. And there was her name, displayed on my phone.

She told me they were indeed preparing to say goodbye to their beautiful boy, and all I could do in that moment was cry out and weep with her. Tears flowed between us. "It's not fair," she said. And out of my mouth flew the words, over and over: "I'm so sorry . . . I'm so sorry . . . I'm so sorry."

I didn't know what to say. How can we ever know, really, in circumstances like this?

But it wasn't until after that initial moment of pain and shock subsided that I became self-conscious and realized I didn't know or have the right words to say. I fumbled a few times. I am pretty sure I said several dumb and unhelpful things.

I was so out of the practice of offering presence.

Yesterday, Kirsten reminded me how to begin again. She wrote on Ewan's blog:

Many have been struggling with the desire to say something that will help. Let me take that pressure away: there is nothing to be said that will take away or diminish our grief, even though we know that we do not grieve as those without hope. We understand that, and we certainly don't expect it. One of the hardest (but best) things to do is to sit in silence with someone who is grieving -- simply to sit and to be present without the need to offer words. 

I am holding this reminder so close, and will continue to do so. She's re-teaching me right now how to listen, as it is what she most needs from me.

Video Challenge Day 9: On Saving Many Lives

Hello there, friends.

There is much to process about the story conference we just finished with Donald Miller, and Kirk and I expect it will take us quite a bit of time to unpack all the rich treasures it held for us.

Rather than try to process through the conference in one short video post, I decided to share one huge takeaway from the conference that I'm pondering and holding close to my heart right now.

And then tomorrow, we head home.

It will be a long day of travel, but I look forward to wrapping up the 10-day video challenge with a reflective closing post about this series tomorrow night when we get home. (And can I just say . . . I am really looking forward to snuggling with this little one and this little one as soon as we walk in the door!)


Video Challenge Day 8: The Storyline Conference

Hello there!

It's late here, and tomorrow is shaping up to be an early morning and very full day, so I'll keep this post short and sweet.

Simply put, I am loving this conference. In the video, I share my first four reasons why.

If you want to know more about Lucy, whom I mention in the video, click here for several posts on Don Miller's blog that he wrote from Lucy's perspective. (Isn't that fun?)

Also, if you're curious to know more about Storychange, which I mention toward the end of the video, you can get some of the backstory here, here, and here.

PS: I removed my glasses for this one because the lamp behind my laptop kept casting a glare on my glasses, and I thought that would be kind of distracting.

PPS: You'll notice I have quite a habit of reaching up to adjust my glasses, even when they're not physically on my head. :-)

Unveiling . . .

Hi there, friends.

I wanted to let you know that I've finally taken the plunge and published the website I was working on last year. (You know, the one I agonized over for months and talked about herehere, and here?)

It's called Still Forming, and it will be my new online home.

Since I've been away from blogland, I've been doing a lot of writing in various journals and doing a lot of typing on my new vintage typewriter (which I love dearly and have christened Brother Merton) . . . but there's something about the act of composing words for others that I miss so much. I think it's that writerly process of mentally organizing and framing a story in the just-right way and then using the just-right words and paragraphs to tell it well and make the experience real for others. While working on some projects I needed to get done last week, I suddenly realized how much I miss that process.

I also realized, when I became actively engaged in a conversation on Brett McCracken's blog last week (you can find the specific conversation here and here), that there are some subjects deep in my soul that I have to write and talk about. These subjects will not surprise you. They have to do with how we relate to each other and how we relate to God, how healing happens in the human heart and spirit, and what we are meant to be about in this world. And even though it was somewhat unnerving to sound a counter-voice to Brett's initial post, what happened as a result seemed fruitful for all involved. These are the kind of things I want to think and talk about more, and in a more intentional way.

So, yes. Please join me over at Still Forming.

It might also interest you to know that I'll be writing in the days and months ahead, too, more about my summer of solitude and what I've been continuing to learn and think about on the subjects of nonviolence, peacemaking, and social justice.

Cheers, friends, and much love. Thank you for being a presence and community in this much-beloved Lilies blog of mine over the past three years.

Summer of Solitude


I guess the last thing I have to say after writing my epilogue post is that I'm answering a call this summer into a season of intentional solitude. I'll be spending the next two and a half months with a lot of solitude and silence during the long hours Kirk spends at work. The time will be spent in prayer, worship, study, and reflection. There will be a lot of words written privately between me and God. I will not be posting anything here.

This pull toward a summer of solitude started to emerge right about the time I fell silent here in mid-March, too. Shortly after Kirk got his new job, I started putting together a new writing notebook full of notes, articles, quotes, poems, journal entries, and other scribblings I'd been amassing for about six months on the subject of peacemaking and nonviolence. This was a subject I'd begun to care deeply about exploring during the fall semester at Spring Arbor, when I'd read a book called The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser.

In this book, I encountered an idea that simply would not let me go. It was the idea that love is the only force powerful enough to overcome violence. Now, I've not spent much time in my life thinking about violence or the works of peace. It surprised me just as much as anybody else that I was feeling a pull to explore this subject deeper . . . much deeper, in fact. But there it was. It would not let me go.

In January, when I studied for my residency in Philadelphia, I encountered more ideas that kept stirring something within me. The books I was reading for the residency kept quoting the same people over and over again: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa. Everything they had to say resonated with a place rooted very deep inside of me. So before I left for Philadelphia, I made a commitment to spend this year studying the works of the great peacemakers of history. I knew I had to learn more about this subject that had its grip on me, and I thought the best place to begin would be to apprentice myself to the masters who had lived it out.

On the plane ride to Philadelphia, I happened to be reading the Jan/Feb issue of Relevant magazine and stumbled upon an article about the femocide taking place right this very moment in the Congo. This article was not for the faint of heart, and I cried deep wracking sobs while reading it on the plane. There was so much deeply disturbing news embedded in that article, and I found myself wondering if Rolheiser was really serious. What could it possibly look like to overcome violence with love in the Congo femocide? Was it really possible to overcome that level of hatred? Where would one even begin?

Then I spent my time at the residency thinking more and more about this subject. Over and over in my journal for that week, I wrote in big block letters these sorts of notes to myself: Cooperation accords human dignity. The primary principle of social justice is the dignity of all human persons. How is the heart changed? How do we help people grow in love? If Jesus is real, then God is for all people.

You might remember that I came home from the residency asking the question, "What is my Calcutta?" I was thinking about something I was beginning to call emotional justice, since my focus for many years has been the journey to emotional and spiritual healing in my own heart and in the hearts of others. But as I continued to think about emotional justice on a personal level, I also began to wonder if the kind of love that I have learned is the key to healing individual hearts is perhaps the same kind of love that has the power to heal the greater magnitude of ills in our big world. It might sound pie in the sky to say so, but it was the best connection I could make between the journey I've taken so far and this new subject that had gripped my heart, showing up quite unpresumingly one day upon the doorstep of my heart and asking me to follow where it leads.

I've been following the path in small increments this first six months of the year. But then, as I assembled all my notes and clippings and other scribblings into my dedicated notebook for this project toward the end of March, I started to notice something new. I noticed a pull toward dedicated time. I looked ahead to the summer and saw that time might indeed present itself in large doses while Kirk is away at work. Most of my usual commitments would not be in place in the summer, and my heart was growing in its need to pray intently and learn intently and think intently and journal intently about all of this. I began to wonder if this summer was indeed the time.

Over the last couple months, as I've been away from here, it has become clear to me that this summer really is meant for this. So today I am beginning. I don't know where this path will ultimately lead . . . and I'm completely okay with that. It has been such a joy-filled delight to watch myself embrace the mystery, trusting God with the outcome, contenting myself with mere obedience inside the process, not having to know what this is all for right now, just knowing I'm supposed to follow.

I won't be writing here this summer. I'm even going into this journey believing this could be my last post ever written on this blog. I just want to be open to wherever God will take me, no strings attached. For now, I'll leave this content open and accessible, until it becomes clear that the time to close it down completely has arrived.

In the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy the Irish blessing I've included at the beginning of this post. I found it many months ago and knew that it would be my wish for all of you if and when I ever did leave this space. Be blessed, my friends, and take care.

Much love,

Encouraging Words for the Day

Last night, I stayed up until 6AM and worked on my new website. It was such a great time to enjoy the quiet and focus and reorganize some things and write some new content I've been meaning to write for some time.

Things are getting closer and closer to being ready for all of you to see, which excites (and scares!) me, but more than anything, last night was a treasure because it was a time of pouring nurture into my soul. It has been a busy week, and I've not had a lot of margin. And as tired as I was when I thought I was going to bed at 1AM, it was almost like my heart and soul said, "Hey. We're here, and we want to work. We're tired, but we care more about the time we could spend in quiet creativity. That would actually energize and nurture us. Want to hang out and work?"

It was cool. I loved it. I was in the zone and got a lot accomplished.

So, to celebrate, I'm going to share some words I've found encouraging all week. Jen Gray is one of my favorite creative bloggers, and she never fails to find inspiring words to post along with her gorgeous photographs. Earlier this week, when I was frozen in the fear of taking this step publicly and putting ideas and words out there that are unfamiliar even to myself, I needed to hear this:

"Okay. It's like this. You don't necessarily have to make this gigantic huge step . . . you can do it in your own way, in your own time. Taking one wee little step. . . . Listen, at one time or another, we have all thought we weren't good enough . . . but at some point you have to make the choice ~ either you can stay frozen in this fear for another 40 years, or you can get on with your life and begin to learn that all that matters is you giving your soul a chance to swim in what it is curious about, and what it loves, and there is no grade or rating given to soul work.

Scared? I understand. You feel vulnerable and exposed. What if what you reveal makes others not like you or think differently of you? . . . I'll tell you what is 1000 times worse than feeling vulnerable, it is keeping all of those things sealed up inside you so they never see the light of day, and never giving your beautiful spirit a chance to speak up, and forbidding your life from exploring something."

Full post of these words found here.

If the Fear Could Speak

So, I shared in my last video blog post that I'm creating a new space. And that the process of doing this has been long and slow and somewhat painful. I have struggled with so much shame about this, and your encouragement to continue taking my time for as long as it needs to take was a kindness I needed to receive. Thank you.

The other night I was hitting up against some walls in the creation process again, so I decided to call my dear soul friend Sara to sort some of it out. Sara is the best person I know to call when I need to sort out my thoughts about a particular idea. She has an ability to hear me out entirely, and without any passing of judgment. In fact, I'm usually the one passing judgment on myself in the midst of all I'm sharing, and she's amazing in the way she speaks into my self-shaming by saying, "Just so you know, I don't feel any of those feelings toward you. I feel nothing but excitement to enter into this with you and help sort out what needs sorting out." The affirmation of excitement, total acceptance, and non-judgment helps free me up to share more fully what's going on in me.

Besides being such a great objective listener who knows how to ask the best questions in existence, Sara also has an ability to get underneath all the data we're considering in order to reach my heart. This last part is the most special gift of all because it's like she gives me back to myself. When I get all wound up inside my head and enter into the zone of passing judgment on myself for not reaching a conclusion sooner, she takes the time to sort through those shaming feelings with me. And then she ends all of that by saying, "What's happening inside of you right now is way more important than the ideas or the decision you're trying to make ever could be." It's something I don't always readily remember (or even receive when she says it), so having in her someone who believes it is true so fiercely and speaks it to me with such firmness is a real gift to my heart.

And that's exactly the gift she gave me the other night when I called. After we spent about an hour unpacking the thoughts and questions about the website that had been crowding all the space in my head, she suggested that perhaps the unexpectedly extended journey of creating this new space was due in part to a fear that was yet unvoiced. Perhaps because I've been trying so hard to just get the site ready for launch, feeling frustrated with everything that keeps holding it back, the unvoiced fear has gone subversive. Perhaps all the hemming and hawing and re-creating is partly the subversive manipulation of the fear, its attempt to keep me from the launch until I give it a chance to speak.

This really freaked me out. But it also began to resonate in a very deep place.

What if you honored that fear? Sara asked. What if you listen to what it has to say? What if its voice is more important than the launching of this website? What if the fear has something to say that is important for you to learn about yourself?

When she put it that way, I felt myself shift from being really freaked out to really wanting to know what the fear had to say.

If the fear could speak, Sara asked, what would it say?

So the next morning, when Kirk left for an early meeting, I stayed in the warmth of the bed and decided to enter into a conversation with the fear. I turned on my side and pulled the covers close and warm and said, Hi. I know you're there. I feel you. And I'm sorry I haven't listened to you. I'm sorry I've been beating you back, trying to quelch your feelings and your voice so that I can get where I'm trying to go. I am sorry. But I'm listening now. I want to hear what you have to say. And I will be with you, no matter how long it takes, to sort this through. You are more important than this website. So, I'm listening. What do you have to say?

One part of the new website is an intensely personal space. It is an altar of sorts, a place where I offer to God and to others the work God is doing in me. It is a testimony of my own ongoing formation process, and I regard it as a holy space. Several weeks ago, in fact, I decided it is too holy to receive any feedback on what I share. Criticism is not welcome, and encouragement and affirmation is not necessary. It's an altar, an offering, pure and simple.

But there is a whole other space on the site where I am beginning to articulate some of my convictions about the Christian faith and the ongoing journey of living inside of it. Some of these convictions have been building for many years, and some of them are new, still in the phase of asking questions and exploring their implications. Some of these things have made their way into the living testimony of my everyday life, and some of them are so new inside my head that they're nowhere near a lived experience yet.

I had intended that part of the space to be more like a dialogue, a place to continue generating community and learning from one another in concrete ways. I had looked forward to not only translating the fellowship of this community into that new space but also seeing what new friends might come along to join us.

But the fear has a problem with this. She helped me see that, for now, I need that space, too, to be closed to outside voices. We've lived some of these ideas, I felt the fear saying to me, but we've not written about them yet. We don't know what that will be like. We don't even know what our voice in that context sounds like. We might even discover that we don't agree with some of the things we think we believe once we've explored them more deliberately. Inviting other people into all this newness just feels too scary right now.

I heard in these words a need to grow into my voice and my convictions in that new space. I heard a need to strengthen in concrete form what has been growing intuitively within me for some time now without worrying what others will think or say. I thought of my friend Kirsten and her beautiful journey last year into (and then out of) fundamental Catholicism, how she decided she needed an open space to explore her thoughts out loud but with boundaries that kept exterior voices from speaking into her process until she was ready to receive them.

That's what I need right now. And it's hard to share that with you. Our community is such a safe, loving, and affirming collection of beautiful souls that I treasure beyond words. I don't want to lose that. And I also don't want you to think that I don't value your thoughts and encouraging words. I truly and honestly do. Again, part of what excited me about the new space was the opportunity to dialogue on ideas I care about and gain new perspectives from people I deeply respect and value. I guess I'm just coming to see that the time for that sharing and bantering about of perspectives is just not yet. I need time to strengthen my own legs beneath me, is all.

I will welcome (and need) your ongoing friendship once I make the transition. I will welcome your companionship in that space, your simple presence and witness of what I need to begin articulating. And I will be more than happy to receive your thoughts shared personally with me about those things, either through e-mail, phone calls, or even Facebook. But the open venue of the comment spaces feels too unwieldy, too like an open game for target practice that I can't contain inside myself right now.

Thank you for the grace and patience and friendship you continue to offer me. Much love to all of you, continually.

A Year of New Things

Tonight Kirk and I sat at the farm table in our front room, fresh off a competitive game of Phase 10 and contemplating how to spend the rest of our evening together, when I asked him: What happened this year that we didn't know would happen at this time last year?

As of last Thanksgiving, we didn't know we would seriously consider moving our life to California this year. We didn't know we would both apply for graduate school in California, begin the house-hunting process, and then make a concerted, hard, but unanimous decision to stay here in Florida.

This time last year, I hadn't yet met the group of girls who have now become good friends, all because we shared one friend in common and had a similar heart for ministry at our church.

At this time last year, Kirk and I didn't know we would both graduate from Full Sail with valedictorian honors. We didn't know that I would give my first public speech and, in doing so, find a way to share truths from my deep heart with a room full of strangers.

We didn't know that I would decide against birthing Storychange into the world, at least for now.

This time last year, we didn't know that I would find the spiritual formation program at Spring Arbor, and that I would love it so much. We didn't know I would feel like I'd come home.

We didn't know that Kirk would pursue a second master's degree in educational design and media technology, or that it would draw out his natural talent and love for the creative design process and educational theory.

Last Thanksgiving, we didn't know we would, together, embark upon a three-year training program in spiritual direction, or that we would do this with a diverse and loving and joy-filled group of 20 strangers who drive from all over the state of Florida one Saturday each month to learn together about the work of spiritual listening and companioning. We didn't know we would find our own spiritual directors and begin to meet regularly with them.

It amazes me what can happen in one year of life. I'm glad I'm sharing each day of it with this beautiful, talented, creative, strong, loving man.

all photos taken by kirkum and christianne

stone mountain, georgia

january 2006


There were so many times throughout the campaign season that I tried to set down into words all the reasons I was voting for Barack Obama. I made lists, started typing, and eventually tossed all those lists and words away. I couldn't find a way to share that comprehended all that mattered.

Yesterday I read an article that expressed another conservative Christian's perspective on voting for Barack Obama. I typed up a short little post that said, "Here. Read this. It pretty much encapsulates my view." Except it didn't. It fell short in many ways. Some of my views overlapped with his, but they didn't equate completely. I couldn't let his view represent or replace my own. I deleted the post shortly after I published it.

In the end, it still feels too personal. Not that my reasons are too personal to share, but that it is yet too close to distill into words. And I think this is because my journey to supporting Barack Obama is tied to deep-seated values that have developed in me slowly, subtly, incrementally over the past several years. How do I connect all the dots in a way that makes sense to someone outside my own head? The journey itself is still too large.

I feel disappointed that I couldn't write the essay I'd hoped to write. I would have liked to have it all laid out, a keepsake of sorts for my soul that also shared a greater glimpse into my take on the subject with you. But for now I have to be content with where I am, unable to articulate all that I think, intuit, feel, believe, and value on this subject, knowing that eventually, as I articulate all that I think, intuit, feel, believe, and value on a grander scale in the scope of life and faith, it will all come together, all together much easier to share.

Perhaps someday a fitting reason for writing that essay will present itself. Perhaps it won't, and I'll content myself with carrying it inside, unexpressed to all but me.

But for now, I celebrate. What millions had hoped for and worked for and voted for came to pass. A truly historic moment came to meet us on the road, swifter than most had expected, more declarative than many dared hope. Like so many, I screeched with elation when the announcement came and then immediately began crying tears. Kirk and I held each other with eyes glued to the screen, elated with the millions in the streets that were crying and dancing and hugging and laughing.

A new era has dawned. This fact is inescapable. We will pray for him as we go.

My friend Clayton has written a beautiful short piece on what this has personally meant to him to experience. I invite you to read it here.