Monthly Archives: September 2008

twenty-eight: an ode to self-obsessed poets

may you see beyond yourself
the world at hand
never ending in its
eternal bliss
made possible by eternal sacrifice
once, for all
one, for all
see the beauty
larger than you
larger than life
reality: truth

With the best of the self-obsessed poets, I find myself faltering in my own self-obsession. But on the days when I stop and look beyond me, sometimes the most ordinary of moments emerge as beautiful.

The photos collaged for today, shot in the midst of the mundane, are my favorite to date that I have posted here. A slowed down pace allowed a few clicks of the shutter to capture lovely light and ordinary moments of beauty. I love that.

I, in the midst of my busyness and chaotic pace, need to slow down, to breathe, to see. In so doing, grace emerges. I love that.

Here is my ode to self-obsessed poets: may your self-obession force you beyond your own skin and into the reality of this big, broad world, inviting something more, refusing something less. For self-obsession, unless it leads to humble change, leads only to emptiness, and perhaps ultimately, death.

I think there is something more…

twenty-seven: a thirty-word poem

forever our hearts
revised by love
given and received
away from home
making new home
far and away
this ground beneath
feet dirty and
shoes brand new
joining our hearts

Thursday I leave for Vamos Tamaulipas, a colonia in Mexico that teams from Grace Vineyard visit a few times a year. We will be measuring the feet of the children of the colonia and bringing back their footprints so that church members and friends of our church can purchase new shoes for the kids for Christmas.

I think it will be a great trip. I am going with eight others, and we get to be the ones to go this year. Last year I went with my friend Heather, and though we’ve been visiting the colonia for the last four years, everything changed with our last trip. EVERYTHING. The lines between ministry and friendship blurred. We arrived to measure the kids’ feet, unsure of what to expect. We departed with a new family, our hearts joined to theirs, unexpectedly powerfully.

I love missions. I love church. I love getting to take people from church to the colonia. I love travel and places and people. Mostly, though, I love seeing how God uses his children to bring redemption to the world. He lets us be a part of what he is doing.

That inspires stories and faith and poetry and imagery. What a life. I am thankful.

twenty-six: a movie review of the movie…

I realized I do not know how to write a movie review, so here are some things I love about the movie Once. I decided to write about Once because it is the movie I have watched the most times in recent history.

First of all, it is shot in Ireland, which is my favorite place. Here is a photo collage of my visit to Ireland a few years back. I started to learn my way around my camera in Ireland.

On to Once… If you have not seen this movie, watch it. Please. It is a different kind of movie watching experience. The film-making is bare bones, gritty, real. The storytelling is simple, touching, and compelling. The acting does not seem like acting. The characters do not seem far off from people in life. All of these things help make a great movie.

The thing I really love about Once, though is the music. It is part musical, part movie-driven-by-background music, like if Moulin Rouge and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest got married and had a baby. In Ireland. Which seems like a great idea.

This is the story of Girl and Guy, who stumble around falling in love as they are building a friendship. The backdrop of their story is Dublin and music. I love the opening shot of Guy playing his guitar. It is my favorite opening scene in a movie. It looks like a photo I would hang on my wall.

The movie was shot on a budget with a storyline and very little script and some songs. It is unique. I love it. You should watch it. Trust me.

And you should also go to Ireland. Trust me.

twenty-five: this is what i write about when i write with my left hand:


it is not easy
and i feel like a child
learning something new
even though i could
with a change of hands
do this better
i catch a glimpse of
BEAUTY
in the chaos of this
handwritten mess
it is not easy
but it is new
and i love new

I took photographs of my left-hand writing and posted them before scripting out the words I wrote. And though they are what came to mind while I was writing with my left hand, I find some truth in them beyond the explicit meaning. I do catch a glimpse of beauty in the chaos of this handwritten mess. And I love new.

I also like how writing with my left hand makes writing slow to a scrawl of sloppy little kid writing. So often I feel like a perpetual two-year-old in the kingdom of God, really wanting to please my father but tiring quickly and resorting to tantrums. Little kid writing fits, then. My desire to be a disciple seems to stay at the maturation level that still requires a three-hour afternoon nap because I played myself out in the morning. How on earth will evening happen?

Maybe I will start writing with my left hand when I am trying to process and need to do so from a place of childlike wonder instead of trying to figure everything out.

Here is a (most random) assortment of photographs today including the ones I already posted.

I like how they are chaotic and don’t really go together and are all in my apartment. I love the way the light falls just so on Naty’s face then falls off.

It’s late, and I am tired. Maybe tomorrow I will feel like a child and learn something new. Maybe with a change of hands I will do things better. Maybe in this chaos there really is beauty. Maybe I’m just rambling because I’m tired.

That’s what I’ve got for today.

twenty-four: cloth napkins

I use cloth napkins.

See. I told you. Oprah (yes, Oprah) inspired me to make some environmentally friendly changes a few months ago. So when I went to Ikea during the women’s retreat at Grace Vineyard, I picked up some cloth napkins. It was an easy change, 4/$1.99. I bought 12.

I quickly realized I didn’t have enough cloth napkins, but they are not cheap at anywhere other than Ikea, so I did not buy more until I went to Austin in July. Ikea is far away from where I live, but I drive right by one on the way back from Austin. I got some more, picked up a basket at World Market, stuck them on my counter. And now I am a believer in cloth napkins. I prefer them to regular napkins.

Because it is late, and because I am tired, that is all I’m going to say for tonight.

twenty-three: coffee

After or before and during a weekend with friends, coffee is important.

I became a coffee drinker in the midst of my YWAM days, when I spent a winter in Colorado. The cold combined with a strong desire for caffeine first thing in the morning drove me to drinking… coffee. Initially I required a lot of creme and a lot of sugar to get the stuff down. Eventually I shifted to skim milk, no sugar.

Now coffee is deeply embedded in my morning routine. One of the things I love most about my life right now is that I usually own my mornings. I wake up. I hang out with God. I eat breakfast. I read. I do all this before I head out the door for a run and in the process of waking, hanging out, eating and reading, I drink a couple of cups of coffee. I love it.

Some day when I have a family and am required to think about more people than just me when I wake up in the morning, I will miss these lingering beginnings to most days. So much of my processing, my praying and my planning takes place in that first hour or so of the day. Coffee accompanies me.

Sometimes on Saturdays if I don’t have photo sessions scheduled in the morning, I’ll make a second pot of coffee after I get back from my run. It’s not because I crave more coffee. It’s because I crave more morning. Coffee helps ground me.

Pun intended.

twenty-two: southerners vs. yankees


Today’s topic will be skipped in favor of this:

i’m gonna catch you if you fall
i’m gonna chase you if you run
i’m gonna run hard for your heart
i’m gonna spend my life on all
this insanity
you and me, given each
other and all of us
together fall hard
and run harder
and spend our lives on all
this insanity
to be together

You don’t get to choose your family. But you do get to choose how you relate to them. You don’t get to choose your family. But you do get to choose what of you will be defined by them while discovering that some parts of you are unique, different.

We are many, my family. We are many, and we are different. We have our struggles. We have the things we do well. We have two distinct looks. We have one distinct Sam. Sometimes we are good at loving each other. Other times, not so much.

It is our normal, this family.

Tonight I had dinner at the house and hung out with the crew for a while, and I forget sometimes that one of the reasons I moved back to Texas was to be able to hang out with whoever was home. Whoever was home happened to be everyone who lives there now. I do not know how long I’ll be here, and I do not know how long my schedule will be so uniquely self-defined. I am thankful I remembered to go over there tonight to eat and hang out (and make everyone take photographs).

I often say that the best way for me to understand grace is through the people God has given me. And that is true of this crazy, over-sized family of which I am a part.