glory glory glory.

There are days when all I can do is smile, laugh, dance.

Today was one of those days.
(Even while sitting still for an hour and a half in Voters and Campaign Strategies)

I'm so thankful for the Lord's blessings, for the friends and family He has given me. For much-needed conversation and for coffee with friends.... and, well, for coffee. For blue dresses and yellow slips of paper. For Nehemiah's lessons and a church body willing to delve into the hardest of truths. For beautiful music and the anticipation of snow.

I know that not every day can be today, so I want to mark it down.

Janelle, remember His blessings.


Anger vs. Peace.

I have never needed this more than I do right now.



on celebrating birthdays.

They left me
with your shadow,
saying things like
"Life is not fair."

& I believed them
for a long time.

But today,
I remembered
the way you laughed
& the heat
of your hand
in mine

& I knew that
life is more fair
than we can
ever imagine
we are there to live it.

Today is your birthday and I miss you. As usual. But today is also a glorious reminder of the work you did here, what brought our little family together. Obama is releasing his strategy to stop LRA violence and rebuild the communities in Northern Uganda today, Chris. You'd be so excited :) We all worked together and the day is finally here. Wish you could be here with me to celebrate. I'll keep an extra close eye out for it today and we won't back down if it's not up to par. Loving you always and loving the family we all became a part of. We're pushing on, we're celebrating your life, your legacy.

Happy Birthday, my dear friend. Love you.


Failure. Brokenness. Forgiveness. Repeat.

I would say that I fail at 10 out of 10 things that I do. There is not a single thing in my life that I have been great at and not messed up most of the time.

Today, I have broken down 4 or 5 times already and I'm sure I'm not done. And it's not that there has been nothing good that has happened. Work was fine and I can't describe how much I love those kids. Walmart rides with the internationals was a blast, as per usual. Got to wear my favourite coat for the first time this season. The weather is cold, but at least it's been sunny. But still, things hurt me more than usual, bitterness is swelling in my heart even as I type this, and I literally kicked my textbook across the room in frustration. As if you needed proof that I'm a sinful being, there you go. Total depravity of man right there. I get so angry at the amount of things that I can't do and the list piles up and up. Schoolwork, mobilization, prayer, consistency in my walk with the Lord, consistency in my friendships. I'll spare you the rest.

So it is with humility and disappointment in myself that I sit here and say (type?) that I am a failure.
Always have been, always will be.

It's a wonder that the Lord still accepts me into His arms and allows me to be a part of the work He is doing.
Really. I'm always in shock that He looks at me, and my track record, and still says, "Oh, hey, Janelle. I'm going to let you be a part of my mission in reaching the nations. Let me bless you with sweet time with Harun, Ilya, Victor & Maria." I'm still in awe that He has given me guidance from a sweet woman like Kelsey as I prepare to graduate in a month and a half. Though we've met together once and we only have a short time, and she doesn't think of herself as a good mentor, I'm already aware of the ways she will challenge me to meet with the Lord and apply His word to my life. I'm amazed consistently by how he takes every broken piece of me and uses it in one way or another.

I fail, and tonight I'm feeling it almost more than ever- and I'm humbly asking for prayer from those of you who read this. But somehow, I know that though I am frail and my humanity is so blaringly obvious at times like these, that God is good. He is sovereign. He made me this way for a reason and He is sanctifying me daily, and will use me as I grow in Him.


Movers and Shakers.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your ear:

I mean, you may not remember this or anything... but on May 24th, this little bill called the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act got signed into LAW. It was just a tiny accomplishment that took the help of just a handful of people. Practically like 5 or 6 people at Resolve and IC. Maybe 7.

... No...


Eff. That's not right at all. Screw the 5th of November... Remember Remember the 24th of May! (Though that doesn't quite have a nice rhyme to it. Work with me here.)
Guys, we ALL worked TOGETHER to pass that bill, and now, look how time flies. President Obama has 8 DAYS to get that plan of action out.

Did you see that?

8 freaking days.

The staff at Resolve Uganda, along with activists across the nation, have been working their butts off to ensure that this strategy that President Obama decides upon is not just a halfway thought through plan, but rather an effective and holistic strategy to end Joseph Kony's reign, and end the suffering that Central Africa has been dealing with for 24 years.

So, just like we needed your help in getting that bill signed into law, now it's time for some follow through!

We want 10,000 signatures on this pledge stating that we are waiting for that strategy and are expecting a comprehensive plan of action. Have you signed it yet? Go here. Now.

It takes less than 5 minutes to sign that. Use your voice to fight for those without it. We refuse to stand for injustice. So speak up. Be heard. If you don't say a word, everything will stay the same way.



on flirting.

Here's the deal, I want to flirt with my husband.

And I don't just mean when we're dating, or the first few years of marriage... but 50 years down the road when I'm frumpy and he's balding.
I want be 55 and still buy lingerie to wear for him, because I hope he still thinks I'm sexy.
I want to text him flirty texts and surprise him with his favourite dinner, served while wearing a catwoman costume... because why the heck not?
I hope we make fun of each other all the time, I know I'm ridiculous... and if he's married to me, he'll have to be.
I want him to bring me tulips and lilies when we are old, because he knows me well enough to not get me roses.
I want to dance with him.. and not just that wimpy swaying back and forth... I want to tango, to salsa, to waltz with him on into the night. Put on a long dress... or maybe just a nightgown, and dance.
I want to travel the world with him, and live overseas with him, keeping a record of all the places we've visited... or, well.. nevermind.
I hope we people watch. That sounds so silly, but you know it's fun. We'll imitate the new couples as they are first falling in love, and ooh and ahh over each other like the young marrieds do. We'll laugh at awkward outfits and funny looking puppies, and roll our eyes at the pulled together business man who walks with an arrogant strut.
I want to give him my "dear future husband" journal at our wedding... and start a new one: full of fun facts and cute things that made me think of him during the day, so that each week, he has something new that I reveal or a new secret I let him in on (like how smokin hot I think he looks in his old geezer glasses).
I desperately hope that our idea of a good time when we are 65 is not just watching a sappy movie, but that we have picnics, set up a hammock in the woods, hike, make matching tie-dye shirts.
I want to fall madly in love with my husband every single day, and I want to grow with him in Christ as Christ directs us. I want to be overwhelmed with how much he listens to the Lord in the hard times, and I want him to be the leader during rough patches. I know that there will be fights and anger, but I trust that having Christ as our center will help us get through our problems.
And I hope that even after all the sickness, laughter, tears, babies, headaches, joy, family losses, and arguments...
I hope that we flirt.


and thus I make it my ambition to preach the Gospel...

I get so angry with apathy, with ignorance that people don't even try to cure, with self-absorption.
Each week, I see it grow in our group, and it makes me want to cry. What has happened? How can you take what you read in the Word and in these books that challenge you, and then not actually apply it? We discuss them, we "ooh" and "that's so true" and "that really challenged me," but when are we changing the way we live our life because of it?
Get out and do something. Don't be so selfish with what the Lord has given.
We are blessed to be a blessing.
We are blessed to be a blessing.
We are blessed to be a blessing.
We are blessed to be a blessing.
Here in America, we just stop after "we are blessed."
You have a car? Give international students rides to Walmart. You have clean water? Drink it for 10 days instead of buying other drinks, then take the money that you would have spent and donate it to build wells (http://10days.cc). You have a free Saturday? Host a carwash/book drive/garage sale/etc for Invisible Children. You want to see the world reached for His glory? Pray for the nations. Go to the nations. Get out of your comfort zone. Go.

I'm sorry, I just don't want to explode on someone.... so I wrote this out. It's a mess, as I'm not focusing well. Don't expect any fluidity, any poetry or eloquent phrases. I'm just so frustrated with the state that American Christians are in. There are people who are dying without any sort of access to the Gospel, and what are we doing to change that? We are hosting game nights with our local church group and discussing theology with each other...
Good plan. Because when Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all nations, He really means to take what we know, grow it in our own lives, and then refuse to share it to those who are spiritually hungry. Because when we are told to serve the poor, the widows, the orphans, He really means to just serve the people in our church, because they are the ones who pour back into our lives... and really it's all about us. Please don't get me wrong here. It is GOOD to discuss theology. It is GOOD to grow one another within the church, and to have fellowship with believers. That's Biblical. But there is so much more. How are we applying it?
And I know that not all American Believers are like this, so don't be offended if you're one who stands up for justice, and takes Truth to the nations.
I also know that it can be a difficult balance- social justice and the Gospel. Trust me, I'm guilty of putting justice before the Gospel on multiple occasions, and have been convicted hardcore of that. But we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. We can't just assume that things are fine for everyone. That just because we are living in America means that we are loved more by the Lord, and thus we can choose to turn our backs on our brothers and sisters across the world who are living in oppression. Take Love with Truth. Take it to the Nations.
It's Biblical. I promise.


ten twenty. twenty ten.

 "460 miles later and that voice will never sound the same again." - Nathan Weger

I'm still blown away by how incredible Sufjan was on Wednesday night. I almost feel bad for anyone who has had to deal with me the past couple weeks, as I think it was all I've talked about. Music has such a power- It can draw people together, it can inspire, it can bring laughter, it can heal. Few musicians have been able to do for my soul what Sufjan has, and so the chance to see him live was just... insane. Clearly, I'm still not able to put into words how much I loved it, so pardon my poor sentence structure or the fact that this isn't the most interesting blog in the world. And I may seem like I'm putting a musician on a pedestal, which I try not to do, but his music has seen me through an insane amount of times: good, bad, weird, incredible, awful. And it was fitting that the concert was a couple days after the 3 month mark.
Bah. I'm sorry, I'm rambling.
I'm just..

When I die, when I die
I'll rot.
But when I live, when I live
I'll give it all I've got.


on losing your best friend.

At first, you shake. A lot. At least, I did. I could barely scroll through my phone to find his number. And call him. Twice. Because along with that shaking is the utter disbelief that the person you love so much is gone. Then, with realization, comes the scream. It's the scream that you hope they can hear... but no one else. I don't want anyone else to see that I just broke into a million pieces. Who wants people to actually see their hurt? You think to yourself, "If I scream his name loud enough, he will hear... he will come back". You cry. Uncontrollably. It doesn't matter how many arms are holding you. None of them are the ones you want. And you think at that point that no arms will ever matter again. 
The next few days, weeks even, bring you no sleep. Many a night spent face down in the prayer room, calling out to the Lord to hear and comfort you. You feel guilty when you laugh... which isn't a whole lot. You think no one understands. You get angry easily, and feel bad about it. You read through every text, or instant message,listen to that last voicemail. Once.... well.. twice.. okay.. all the time. It's almost funny how much you look at their FB... just in case you missed some secret message saying he is actually just hiding out- he always said you two would run away and move to Croatia... he just got a headstart. You think about it, and laugh, which makes you cry some more. Everything reminds you of him... or her. You have songs that you listen to on repeat. And you cry.


I think at some point, you realize that you can't continue on like this, but you don't know how to stop hurting. You know that you have to stop purposefully reminding yourself of them or else you will never be able to go on with life. But you don't want to lose their memory: how they brushed your tears away, the sound of their voice.

There is an emptiness that just doesn't seem to be filled. You wake up, and it's there, like a rooster that wont stop crowing. You can tell it to shut up, but it mocks you and crows louder. Sometimes, you forget. You wake up from a dream and expect a wake up text. And you feel the pain all over again as soon as that rooster opens its darned mouth. 
A week after Chris passed, I wrote his name in the sand. As the tide came in, it washed it out and I did absolutely everything I could to not scream. To not throw myself in and beg that the ocean tide took me away.  Almost every day for a month brought a moment like that for me.

But you start school again, you get into a routine. You cry a little less. You write letters to friends to say how much you love them. You write letters to the one you lost in hopes that they can read it. You ride a jetski by yourself for the first time, and when you feel like you're flying, you squeal a joyful "Thank you!" to the one who taught you to fly without fear. You laugh with a bit less guilt, but it's still hard to not cry afterward. You continue to think of them daily, but at least it's getting a little easier.
And then, after almost three months, you realize that you haven't searched for that last text conversation in a week or two. You watch Pride & Prejudice and don't want to throw a pillow at the screen. You let yourself notice the cute guy who is showing you attention. You laugh a deep, rich laugh that doesn't turn into a sob. Slowly, your ratio of bad days to good gets less and less. And you know in your soul that you are not betraying anyone for it. You find yourself more thankful for life than you've ever been before. Thankful for the precious, sweet time with the one you lost and thankful that the Lord is helping you.

And you realize that you're moving on. You don't love them any less. And sure, there are days that grab you or memories that take you by surprise and it's almost hard to stand. And though you never want to lose those memories or the feeling you had when he held you, you know that you don't have to hold on to them so tightly. They will always be there. You look around at the changing season, and take a deep breath of fresh autumn air.

You're breathing, you're smiling, you're finally alive.



So, somehow, I've never seen this video. It's from over a year ago...
Oh, best friend and little. We should sing together more.


what in the world? (pretty literally)

Okay, so I just found the "stats" tab on my blog the other day (maybe I'm a little behind...) and was pretty shocked by this. I mean, the US number makes sense. It's a bit higher than expected, though I bet quite a few of those times it was me coming back here, debating whether I had time to post or not. And I can see the 2 from Australia. Most likely Chad?
But how in the world did I get 14 views from Turkey?? And ALL IN ONE DAY? Those were all from yesterday.
This counter just blows my mind. Now I want everyone from another country to comment. That's just cool. You're free to think my blog is pointless, because most of the time it is, but I think it's crazy how people from nine countries have looked at this in the past month..

Okay, freak out over.

Have a good day. <3


just because you can't see the sun doesn't mean it's not shining.


Don't you dare.

We must make a choice: Life or death. I'm choosing life, every minute of every day.

It's dark, and there are waves hitting me that I can't even see. It's wearing on the soul, and it would be so easy to rest; to lay down. But if I lay down and let the waves take me over, I'll never be able to get up. I'll die on this beach. Don't give in. The shoreline is so beautiful when you wait it out until the sun hits the edge of the horizon. Wait for it to sprinkle it's light across the waves, and watch them dance underneath it. The sun didn't burn out, I promise. It's just hidden from view for a little while longer. Hold on.

We're here, if you'll open your eyes. Take heart, my little one. We understand.



“Mostly,” said the roof to the sky,
“the distance between you and I is endlessness;
But a while ago two came up here,
And only one centimeter was left between us.”



privilege is relative.

"There are those who expect
the unexpected.
Those who cast their vote
for hope.
Those who believe that good
will triumph over evil.
We are those people...
We are the masses, misfits, moguls, media, Millennials,
doing what we can now,
with what we have-
Our Voice.
Our impact is only limited 
by our willingness to change ourselves.
We are abducting ourselves
to pose the question to our leaders:
Is their life as valuable as mine?
We are shaping human history
by closing the divide between
resources and responsibility,
distance and disinterest,
awareness and action.
This is about redefining our role in the world-
putting purpose before profit.
It's about ending the longest running war in Africa,
setting the precedent for justice,
and finishing what was started.
We are here to amplify the chorus of their cries.
Rescue Joseph Kony's Child Soldiers."

 I work with some of the most precious kids ever. I mean, ever. There is a boy named Caleb who used to make me "special picnics" and would freak out when his sister tried to sit down. Katie and her cousin Lincoln apparently wrote a cheer for me when I was gone one week. Isaiah has the most contagious smile and beautiful eyes. And Avery... man... I wish I was as free-spirited now as she is as a preschooler.

Yesterday at work, I talked to my co-worker about my involvement with Invisible Children and Resolve. She told me she had seen something recently on the news about it and asked if Kony really did take young children, or if they were a bit older. I looked around the room and took in the sight of my precious four and five year olds, and suddenly pictured them trying to carry a gun... or run from one. It absolutely took my breath away. 
As it should.

It's easy to forget to put faces on the numbers of children affected by the LRA atrocities in central Africa. It's so easy to be so "patriotic" that you worry first and foremost about America and "the needs at home." It's so easy to make these stories of war simply that- stories. But how can I ever look at the kids at my work and not see our African brothers and sisters? How can I, one day, have children of my own and want them to be protected, knowing that I did nothing to protect the children of mothers just like me in central Africa? Mothers who hurt, just like me. 

 I believe it is our duty as members of a global family to rise up and fight against injustice. To use the voices that God has given us to cut loose the ties of poverty and slavery. Invisible Children has taught me that "some people are born into privilege... but privilege is relative. And what we have really been given is a responsibility to give back." I want to be one who gives back. What will you do with the life, the voice, the privilege you have been given?

"We're all here in this world for some reason or another. If you're aware of injustice, you can either ignore it, say there is nothing you can do about it, complain about it and not do anything, or put your energies into doing something about it... I don't believe that just because one person is born on one side of some imaginary line and another person is born on the other side means that a lot of people should be getting screwed through no fault of their own." -- Ben Cohen


wwjd bracelets, jelly bands, livestrong, silly banz, you.

I hate that you've become a fad that people want to take refuge in while they can. Your name becomes as cliche as... well, as cliche as cliches get.

My sparrow. My tree. The one who pushes me to fly, but the one I always fly back to. The one who helps me find my grounding, my roots.

To some of us, you are not a bracelet to be worn and shown off for status.
I have the dinosaurs, grapes, AND a soccer ball. All you have is the heart.

((i'll take the heart))


John 12.24

I carry you with me into the world,
into the smell of rain
the words that dance between people
for me, it will always be this way,
walking in the light,
remembering being alive together 

 Love you and miss you so much tonight. I'm jealous of you dancing with others as you praise Jesus... as He stands in front of you. Selfishly, I want you to come back. To sit on my porch and drink ice tea with me and eat ice cream. To skype me so I can hear your voice one more time. But nothing I can offer could ever compare to being with the Lord. "Well done, my good and faithful servant."- the words you always wanted to hear coming from the King of all creation. I know He said them to you. And one day, I will hug you again with all the joy we once had plus some. One day I will rejoice in heaven and praise the Lord of Lords with you. Until then, I miss you and will carry you with me all the way. I know that even in your death, so much fruit will come forth for the harvest. You sought to live your life as a testimony to who God was- and you did it, Chris. You shone so bright into the world, it was a bit blinding! Your life, your joy, your passion; I hold them so close to my heart that they mix with my own and overflow. I will never forget you and the legacy you have left behind. I love you, and I'm thankful everyday for the time I shared with you. What a wonderful man of God, what a wonderful friend, what a wonderful creation He made you. :)

"Please don't think I take it lightly to leave you. 
I love you and will miss you,
but know that this absence will only be temporary.
I'll see you soon."
-Chris Baillie
November 24, 1985 - Jul 18, 2010


The man who never tiptoed.

All around you people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip or dance, just don't tiptoe.

 Words fail me. So I chose to quote others.

I love you so much.

Thank you for helping me learn to jump. I was so excited to tell you that I'm doing it. I'm jumping. No turning back now. You always ran headfirst into life, Chris. Your life was an example of living boldly.
I love you for running, for hopping, for skipping, and for dancing. For being you.

I miss you already.


rejoice in the life.

What do you do when your heart is broken for your family? 
I mean, how do I even express that? It's just... stunning. My IC family is torn, and I can do nothing. 
I want to do something. Something to heal the wounds that today caused.

God, work in mighty ways. Nate's death- along with the many Ugandans killed today- will not be in vain. I don't understand your ways, and I never will. But I know that You are sovereign, Father. I know that You have a plan and that You use even the worst of events for Your glory. Be with the Henns, and with Lindsey, and the families of the Ugandans killed today. Be with the IC family in this time of brokenness, and move in the hearts of those left in the wake of this bombing. 

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" -John 12.24

I don't say enough how much I love you. If I could hold every one of you in my arms right now, I would. I beg of you, don't take today for granted. I thought today of the NY Times article I read not too long after the bombing. It said that "one American" had died. That's a headline I've read so many times. "Plane crashes in Bahamas. 24 injured, 4 killed." "Explosion at Auto Factory Leaves 17 Dead." Numbers.
But today it was a member of the family I hold so close to my heart. That "one" meant something. These numbers I read are not just random people. They are someone's child; someone's girlfriend or boyfriend; someone's teacher; someone's father or mother; someone's best friend. How often do I just assume that those people in my life will continue to be there tomorrow? 
Each one of you who reads this has shared in my life to some degree. Some more than others, but you have left an imprint on my life and I am so grateful every time I think of you. The beautiful hearts and souls I see in each and every one of you is absolutely breathtaking. I don't know why God has shown me such grace in giving me you, but He has, and I am in awe of the lives I am surrounded by. 
I love you. I love you. I love you.

Tomorrow, at 4.34 PM I will be joining Natalie Sheehan in dancing my heart out in memory of Nate Henn. It will be a celebration of his life, and his sacrifice. It will be a celebration of the life I have been given, and the friends I have been blessed with. Rejoice in the life, my beloved. We will not always have the chance to dance.



Please meet me here, Father.
I need You to meet me here.

Today was just challenging. And I'm so thankful for the Lord providing me a roommate out here who understands a lot of what I'm going through. She and I are very similar- not only theologically but also just in our interests and the people who we are surrounded by at college. I love that I can bounce my opinions off of her, and she helps me process what I'm learning. I'm looking forward to spending this summer learning and growing in the Lord with Kristen. Gracious Father, I praise you for Kristen. For her beautiful heart to serve you and glorify you. For her willingness to obey by joining SAI and really learning to love the sisters as Your children. I know that there is so much we can learn from each other, and I just ask that you bless our time together- let it be sweet, and glorifying, and edifying. 

Tonight, at church, I had a hard time just meeting with the Lord. So much was blocking my heart and I just found it impossible to fully focus. But I needed this. This time to see what I had on my heart and see what I needed help changing. It's like Claude said this morning-- We may have a completely pure ocean. No specks of garbage or oil. But the minute you put some debris in it, it becomes tainted. and no matter how much pure water we pour into that ocean, the only way to make it clean again is to pull the impurity out. When my heart has something that is not of You, I can't make it pure by pouring good things, but rather by repenting, focusing on You and Your glory, and asking you to help me.

So Father, meet me. Form my heart to be like Yours. My being cries out to you for you to come and speak in my stillness.

Only You are worthy of my praise, my longing, Lord. Fill me with Your presence.


summer girl.

Last Saturday, I said goodbye to my duplex. I left my handprint in an awful shade of yellowish tan paint called "Almond Paste." Don't worry, the handprint is behind the cabinet in the bathroom. As LB and I groaned over the poor choice of paint color chosen by our landlord, and as I scrubbed every last bit of the house clean, I decided I wanted to leave a mark on the house, as it had on me. So I decided that a handprint would be perfect. We had taken the cabinet off the wall so it was easier to paint, and staring at the white square on the wall where the shelf had been, it just felt right.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this house has seen me through a lot of things. A roller coaster of emotions, roommates, and seasons. I turned off the air conditioner that two years ago, I would have given anything for. Instead, we laid on the floor, listening to Ella and Louis, too hot to move. Books went into storage until August 15. Books about soccer that once held concert tickets and children's books about a bad hair day. I packed away the speakers that have been the source of a few of the best dance party days ever. I closed the blinds that were finally fixed only a few months ago and replaced the back porch lightbulb- you know, the fixture that was filled with bugs. And I had a choice to make. These flashbacks, these moments that I was running through in my mind, what would I do with them? Would I keep them with me, allowing the hurt I felt to hold me back? Or allowing the moments of bliss cloud my view of what I am blessed with currently?

And so when I walked out that door, I locked the door on the memories I had made inside these walls. It's time to move forward. To be thankful for the beautiful moments, but not dwell.

I set "Crooked Teeth" as my ringtone, as it was two summers ago. But, it will no longer be a reminder of... of anything. It's just a ringtone. And it's 100 degrees, so it's fitting.
I cut and colored my hair... for me. And no one else.
I heard Hide and Seek and sang along.
I watched Anime with girls I adore and had a blast.
I drove past Falls Creek, and smiled.

And most importantly, I realized that Winter is finally over. Summer is here, and I have never been more ready. Bring it on.



"Perseverance is a great element of success. If you knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”
-Henry Longfellow

It's all led to this.

5 and a half years of my life. Hundreds of phone calls and letters and explanations and prayers. Sleeping in churches and parking lots and outside the chase building. Countless tears and hugs and hellos and goodbyes. 

It's all led to this.

What is my heart feeling right now? I can't even explain a bit of it. (I mean, for one thing, I can have coffee again after tonight! And sleep in a bed for the first time since Feb 26!) It's so surreal- that this law that we have worked so hard for is finally about to be signed. In 15 minutes, efforts to put the LRA to an end will not just be a movement of young people, but a law signed by President Obama himself. Tears and smiles won't do today justice. Nor will the celebratory dinner and drink with Jessica and Liz. Today is monumental.

I am so honored to have been a part of this. To meet hundreds of others who have hearts like mine and who have sacrificed time, money, jobs, school for people they have never met, nor will most likely ever meet. Beautiful souls like Cacey Myrick- who watched the documentary on a Wednesday, came to the Rescue in OKC on Friday, rescue road with me to Wichita, and signed up for lobby days. Cacey continues to be a huge supporter of IC, promoting peace in Uganda whenever she can. We need people who see a problem and take action like her. Souls like my beloved Becky Dale and John Beaton, who have been fighting for this for what seems like forever. Who have logged numerous hours calling and writing and putting their lives on hold to see this war's end. Souls like every single person at the OKC hold out- giving up every bit of privacy and comfort to stand in solidarity with the children of Northern Uganda and to let Senator Coburn, and the rest of congress, know that we would not back down. And souls like Lisa Dougan, who inspires us all to fight with all our hearts against evil and to love without abandon.

But we must not forget why we have done this all, and who we are doing it for. As I've quoted Lisa before: 
"We are not heroes. We are just people doing what is expected of us and using our voices to help the voiceless. "
These children are the ones we are fighting for. For them and for the millions of others around the world held in bondage. Today is a huge victory. Finally these invisible children of central Africa are being seen and recognized by the United States government. I am an ordinary person. And most likely, you are an ordinary person. But we are ordinary people who have recognized that it takes people like us, working together, doing what we have been called to do to change the world. 
To do the extraordinary. 

This battle is won, and victory is ours. But the war rages on. Continue to pray and to seek justice for the children of Northern Uganda. Peace is within reach, it can be done. We've seen what a group of crazies can do. I pray that you don't stop now. That you never stop striving for peace.

Today, we stand, holding hands with one another and with the children of central Africa and issue a warning to Joseph Kony: "Your reign is almost over." Today, we lift high the families who have fled their towns and say to them: "We see you! Keep hope!" Today, we look down the track and can see a finish line together. 

Today is an extraordinary day. Congratulations.

Psalm 146:
 1 Praise the LORD.
       Praise the LORD, O my soul.
 2 I will praise the LORD all my life;
       I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
 3 Do not put your trust in princes,
       in mortal men, who cannot save.
 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
       on that very day their plans come to nothing.
 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
       whose hope is in the LORD his God,
 6 the Maker of heaven and earth,
       the sea, and everything in them—
       the LORD, who remains faithful forever.
 7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
       and gives food to the hungry.
       The LORD sets prisoners free,
 8 the LORD gives sight to the blind,
       the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
       the LORD loves the righteous.
 9 The LORD watches over the alien
       and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
       but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
 10 The LORD reigns forever,
       your God, O Zion, for all generations.
       Praise the LORD.


I am a terrible blogger.

It's true. But it's summer now, so maybe I'll take the time to transfer things from my journal into here or to just sit back and write. I've had a lot on my heart and mind lately, but don't expect too much of me quite yet. We'll see. :)


the way i am.

"I wouldn't want a boy to think I was pretty
unless he was the kind of boy who thought I was pretty."

-Everything is Illuminated, Jonathon Safran Foer

"I knew a clean man
but he was not for me.
Now I sew green aprons
over covered seats. He

wades the muddy water fishing,

falls in, dries his last pay-check

in the sun, smooths it out

in Leaves Of Grass.
the one for me."
-Lorine Niedecker


this is why i sleep outside.


"February 23, 2010

Dear Dr. Coburn,

My name is Bethany Haley, and I am the President and Founder of eXile international. I am also a psychologist who has a practice in Nashville, Tn and who does trauma work and art therapy with the children who have been tortured by the Lords Resistance Army. Please
find the drawings of the former child soldiers and formerly abducted children. I returned from Congo and Uganda three weeks ago where I heard stories of:

NORMAN who was forced to kill his parents, chop them to pieces and eat their flesh. He is 12. He wept uncontrollably as he told me his story. His name is NORMAN and he is real.

I listened to BARBARA’s story of how she ran from the LRA rebels, but was caught after they shot her in the head. She survived. The scar on her right temple proves it. She is also 12. She did not cry when she told her story. Her heart is frozen.

I heard RICHARD’s story of how he was abducted and also forced to kill his parents and hack them to pieces with a machete. His shirt was drenched with tears when he was finished. He is 14. He is real. He is a great leader and beautiful young man.

I heard ROSE tell of the children she works with in the trauma center in Gulu, Uganda. How the rebels of the LRA forced a boy to kill his brother by biting him to death, Forcing him to tear pieces of flesh off of his brother’s body while he was alive - until he died.

I heard how the LRA forced two other brothers to slice pieces of flesh off of their sister’s face while she was alive and then rape her. She survived – but one of the brothers killed himself out of guilt.

Dr. Coburn, these are real children with real stories. These stories are not new. This has been happening for 23 years. Twenty-Three years, Dr. Coburn. It is time to stand up for what is right.

Dr. Coburn, you are putting a hold on a bill that would finally call the United States to take action against such crimes against children. Some things are not ok. Some things are bigger than technicalities and dollar bills.

This is one of them.

We ask you to stand up for what is right and just and release your hold on this bill. These children cannot come to you with their stories – but we can. We cannot release the hold on this bill to get it passed – only you have the power to do that. We ask you to use your
influence in honor of these children and in memory of those who have lost their lives.

You can read more of these stories on the blog on our website:

Thank you for your time.

Dr. Bethany P. Haley, PhD, LCSW"

Some of the drawings that were attached with the letter, from the eXile children

So, if for some reason, you don't know yet- either by noticing that I look or smell like I've been living outside for a week, or by me telling you, or whatever- I have been holding out in front of Senator Tom Coburn's office since Friday Feb 26th. The hold out has now lasted 232 hours. Those of us who have been out there are standing in support of a bill that has gone before congress that requires the US to help end the 23 year long war in Northern Uganda, the longest running war in Africa, and to set up rehabilitation programs to help the recovery of Northern Uganda and set up sustainable economic opportunities. Currently the bill is blocked from passing by one person- Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who I greatly respect for his desire to keep our debt low and to maintain a responsible policy on overall spending. Let me stress that this campaign that we have been running is in no way an Anti-Coburn campaign. He held the bill originally because it increased spending by 40 million dollars. The bill has since been amended to say that the money would be pulled from ALREADY EXISTING funds for foreign aid through the state department, and thus the national debt would not be increased in any way. Let me rephrase that: whether or not this bill goes through, those funds will still be appropriated for foreign aid. No extra spending is added to the budget. That money can not go to "America's issues," because it IS set aside for foreign aid.
Though his demands have been met, he still refuses to withdraw his hold. I wont bore you with all the details, but feel free to comment and ask me about them and I will respond to you.

This letter was written to Senator Coburn by the president of eXile International. We read it every morning last week to remind us of why we are holding out in front of Senator Coburn's office and to help keep our focus on the children of Northern Uganda. The "sacrifices" we have had to make, though some are more than others, are absolutely nothing in comparison to what these children have been through for the past 23 years. The rain we are standing in today, the cold wind that has hit us every morning? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This letter hit me really hard, and I would like you all to read it. I encourage you to check out www.coburnsayyes.com and sign the petition asking Senator Coburn to release his hold on the bill that could help end the war in Northern Uganda. If you'd like to do more, feel free to join us out in Oklahoma City at Main and Broadway- the Chase Bank building. :) We will be out there until Dr Coburn releases his hold on Senate Bill 1067.


Lonely Home: Part Trois

For the third time in the past year and half of me living here, I sit in my duplex with an empty second room. Three times have I watched a roommate pack up and leave. Three times have I called on the Lord in desperation to show me my faults as a roommate and help me determine why they left. And three times have I scrambled to find a new roommate as quickly as possible.
I'll tell you one thing, it sure does mess with your self-esteem. Luckily, this time, I know who is moving in. A good friend of mine was hurriedly looking for a place to live, as I was seeking someone to move in. The phone call to her was a reminder that the Lord is sovereign and is watching out for me, even when I feel that no one else is. And though I couldn't be more thrilled to soon be living with Laura, a woman who encourages me in my walk with the Lord and with whom I can talk about my struggles and my joys in Him, it still hurt to see the door close behind Audrey after we packed her bookshelf into the car.

As I sat in my vacant house earlier today, as I feel I've done so many times, I began to look back on my time in this little place I call home:
  • It was on this porch that I sat with Cassie, talking about anything and everything, the smell of smoke strong and perfume sweet.
  • This living room saw the best relationship I've ever been in, and the hardest break up I've gone through.
  • It was in this hallway that I dropped to my knees and cried for two hours on the phone to my best friend after yet another frustrating day as a black sheep in the school of music.
  • This kitchen... and Audrey... saw me fail at new recipes and rejoice with successes.
  • These floors have held many a roadie and friend who needed a place to crash.
  • This bedroom forced me to face my fear of night head on, as I realized that the Lord could walk me through it.

This house is a constant reminder of what I've been through, and how the Lord has been faithful to provide. He has walked me through laughter and tears in this house and has used each relationship that has come out of it in a different way.
My nest is not empty long. A good friend of mine just got a beautiful bird tattooed on her foot. We talked about how we like that birds can make their home anywhere, and out of anything. Not just a house- but a home. This duplex I live in is small, cold, doesn't have a good dishwasher and my washer and dryer are terrible. There are holes in the corners and scuffs on the walls, but it is a home. Next December, after graduation, the Lord may pick me up and move me somewhere new-- but until then, I will be thankful for what I have. For the thorny vines in my nest just as for the soft cotton. I am excited about a new semester with a beautiful friend and seeing how the Father helps us rebuild our home together.