Tag Archives: writing

Return to Writing


It’s been months since I penned a blog, months since I wrote outside of my journal or work blog, months since I played with poetry because I can. I miss writing. Collin told me he thinks of me as a storyteller.

Not just a writer.

Not just a photographer.

A storyteller.

I know he’s right. The mind formed within me thinks in stories. My heart beats story. I try to retain the stories I see passing me by when I run. I watch families through my camera lens and most love the sessions that tell a story. I need stories.

I’ve taken a hiatus from storytelling, in written form anyways. I’m not sure why. I’m writing tonight as something of a confession. I’ve stopped doing this thing I’m made to do. It’s time to start again. Story is how I process life, see God, love others. I don’t want to miss out.

Life is full of doing the stuff of life: cooking and cleaning and running and being in relationships and going, going, going- always going. I’ll say it again. I don’t want to miss out. So I’m returning to writing. I’m returning to telling stories. That will soon look like a new space and new ideas, but for now I just wanted to put some words on the blog. For now I need to commit.


today: a round of revisions

It’s just one of those things. If you want to write a great story, you have to write it. Then you have to read it with honesty and take out all the parts that suck. They might suck because you put too much of you in the story. They might suck because you didn’t put enough of you in the story. Or maybe you just don’t know how to spell or have a tendency overuse commas. Some parts are probably really good but need a little tweaking. Some thoughts require clarification; others, removal.

If you want to write a great story, you revise. Honestly.

And I believe God is writing a great story in and with you and me. Unlike the harsh editor that tears your work to shreds, though, God doesn’t force necessary revisions. He leaves them up to us. And that is grace, because he lets us get involved in writing the story right alongside of him, misspelled words and overused commas and all.

The process generally removes some selfishness, adds compassion, compassion for others and compassion for oneself. The process makes a person more able to receive and give love. The revisions of our lives, when God is allowed to be Himself in the midst of them, produce the fullest, best kind of life- a soul more fully alive.

I am feeling a little scrutinized of late, like God is showing me the places where I need some revisions. His patience and willingness to overlook faltering mistakes and slow progress makes me thankful, hopeful. This is not just about me. It is about redemption. And he is doing it. And somehow we get to be a part of it. Sometimes that means staring at the page we are on and realizing it needs some extensive editing. Some reworking, a little rewording, and random pieces of story begin to fit.

Gotta love a God like that in world like this.

thirty: what i see, hear, taste, smell and touch from my thirty-day writing challenge

First of all, I see, hear, taste, smell and touch writing. Which is nice. I rediscovered an old friend these last thirty days.

Second of all, here are some photos from today. They make me happy.

For the last few years, writing has defined me. For the last few months, that definition got lost amid busyness and tiredness and boredom. Complacency allowed me to drop my pen in favor of distraction. Thank you, David Taylor, for helping me to pick my pen back up.

The last thirty days have given me this gift back. I write. I have written. I will always write. Writing is as ingrained in me as being me. It is a crucial part of who I am. So this thirty day writing challenge has reminded me of that. I feel reintroduced to a key part of my identity.

Tomorrow I leave for Mexico, where I will be until Monday, measuring feet so that my church can buy shoes for up to 500 impoverished kids in a community we have grown to love over time. These past thirty days have produced in me a hunger to share what I see happening all around me, including during this time I will be in the colonia.

I had not been writing for quite some time prior to taking up this writing challenge. Now I find myself leaving for Mexico a bit sad that these next few days will be without internet access. I will live without reporting here. But when I get back, I will return to writing. All will be well. Thank you for journeying with me these past 30 days. May the next 30 be equally as amazing.

Oh yeah, and if you think of something you would like for me to write about for these next 30 days, post a comment or send me an email, and I’ll do it.

sixteen: tony hyden

I don’t know Tony Hyden. Upon googling his name, I discovered a guy named Tony Hyden exists. He is a graphic designer. He graduated from the Art Institute of Dallas. That’s all I know.

Tony Hyden, the graphic designer, artist type becomes the subject of my blog in an odd turn of events produced by a writing assignment I found here when I decided to follow a thirty-day assignment blogger David Taylor wrote for a friend. I assume Taylor and his friend know Tony Hyden.

So that’s what I’ve got for today. Nothing profound or entertaining. I had hoped that upon googling Tony Hyden’s name I would discover some interestingness about which to write. I also hoped to take some photos today which would have had nothing to do with Tony Hyden. But google led to a dead end, and I forgot my camera this morning. Bummer. I remembered, though, some photos Naty and I took yesterday while feigning work at church. So I posted them. Why not?

Well, Tony Hyden, wherever you are, I hope you are well. If some day we meet we can have a compelling conversation about how I wrote about you once before I knew you. (It will be compelling. Trust me.) And then I could blog about it and post your picture. Because I would want to take your picture if some day we meet. Just so you know.

Life is good around here. Busy and good. Mostly good. I get to do a lot of photography this week and plan a trip to Mexico, and both those things are life-giving for me. That makes me feel fortunate, blessed.

Tony Hyden, wherever you are, I hope you get to live in such a way that is life-giving for you. If you are a graphic designer and artist, you’ve probably got some creativity in you. Go for it.

eleven: of belly buttons

Before we get to belly buttons I want to say that I love how the best parts of life often remain constant even when things get crazy or hard.  And that is grace.

That said, what is there to say of belly buttons?  We’ve all got one.  And they are funny looking.  Baby ones.  Grown-up ones.  All of ’em.  Funny looking.

I suppose belly buttons remind us that we are all dependent on other people, because before any of us allowed our mug to be seen for the first time, we were connected to someone else.  And that’s how we stayed alive.  That is kind of amazing.

Belly buttons come in innies and outies, and I do not know if Adam and Eve had them, nor do I know that it matters.  I do not know how you get an innie or an outie.  I think outies are cooler.  Mine is an innie.  Bummer for me.

As it turns out, it is hard to write about belly buttons.  I am on the phone with Amber, and she really could not thing of anything to say about belly buttons either.  I mean, what is there to say?   Maybe God made belly buttons just so that we would have conversations about how random they are and laugh about it later…He could have made a different way for babies-while-they-are-only-bumps to be sustained.  I am sure of it.  In case you have not noticed, God is good at innovation.  But he went with the belly button.  So there you go.

five: ten

so much happens in one day

barely enough time to play

but so often lines get blurred

and happy is my heart today… (cheesy, yes.  true, yes… and descriptions after photos.)

1.  First thing in the morning I make coffee and hang out with God.  We have a routine, He and I.  I make breakfast.  We talk.  I eat.  I read.  He speaks.  Sometimes I hear him, sometimes not.

2.  Most days I run.  Saturdays I get to run long.  I could not figure out how to get running shots, so I haphazardly held the camera over my head and stretched my arms out as far as I could and shot down… and there you go.

3.  I swung by my parents house to pick some stuff up.  My older siblings give me a hard time for only ever taking pictures of the little boys, but they are the ones who are consistently home.  Jono reading on the couch is oh so Jono.  And Jake, well, he wanted to get in on the photo taking.  Mom and Dad arrived home from a walk as I left.

4.  I had coffee with Liz today.  We hadn’t hung out in a long time.  We talked about family and life and mostly steered away from politics.  I love sitting down with an old friend, catching up and realizing that the passing of time simply means more conversation to have.  We lost no time filling one another in, and the man sitting next to us stopped by and told Liz to read a book about quantum physics.  He said we were two of the most intelligent young women he’d ever heard talk.  That’s what happens when you hang out with Liz.  You get some intelligent conversation.

5. Most days I write.  Today I wrote at the office.  I wore my Tom’s.  They’re shoes for tomorrow, you know.

6.  Ryan and I worked on a talk we are giving at church tomorrow.  We have never done anything like this before, so it will be interesting.  Ryan is the youth pastor at the church where I work.

7.  Amber and I did a photo shoot today.  Then we shopped.  Then we ate.  We get to hang out all the time and do the kind of work that bleeds into play.  She even let me take her picture.  Amber is one of my best friends, and she is strong and funny and beautiful.  We make a good team.

8.  See, I told you we make a good team.  I know God’s kindness to me best through the people he puts in my life.  I remembered that tonight looking at these photos.

9.  Amber and I met these girls in Mockingbird Station, and they let us take their photos.  They weren’t too sure about it though.

10.  What would a day of photography be without a few random creative shots?  When I read the subject of today was ten, I decided to photograph ten parts of my story today.  So there you go.  That’s my day.  I’m off to bed.

three: red apples

if it had been me,

she’d still be same eve

from trust to temptation

sinner seeking reprieve

the moment she bit

eternal fall…

Today I told Naty, the fabulous German/Russian intern who works with us at Grace Vineyard, the church where I am on staff, that I had to write about red apples.  “Will you write about Snow White?” she asked.

I bought some red apples at Target while Naty and I wandered around looking for stuff we definitely needed.  I knew I’d be hanging out later with Mister and Miss N, kids belonging to a friend of mine.  I thought perhaps we’d eat the apples together and that I’d photograph our healthy snack consumption.  The anecdote snacking would produce would be amazing and beautiful.

Our snack time looked like this:

The fudge pops tasted so yummy, and the apples made some nice photos.

The kids and I played until their mom came home from her meeting.  They went to bed, and she and I talked over a glass of wine.  I came home, excited to have some photos to process though I lacked a lot of thought as to what to write for today about red apples.

I prefer pretty much any other kind of apple to the red apple, so I left the apples with the Ns when I left their house.  I am glad they were what I had to write about today, because I picked up my camera to take photographs that were not for work.   The apples didn’t get eaten, but they inspired a poem, some photos, some prose.

Maybe this creative exercise is working.  I think I should buy David Taylor some apples.