another Narnia poem

… since I’m the biggest nerd you know.


You cannot convince me that you have wholly erased
the lamp-post, the summer constellations, the Lion Himself.
You were there, saw the knife, heard the table crack like a giant’s plate.
When your great desire stood before you like a golden beacon,
how could you turn from joy to other invitations?
I refuse to believe that you have plucked from your deepest heart
righted wrong, vanished sorrows, the very death of winter.
You will awaken one day, I am sure, when pain claps your heart,
when British railways tear up your world of nylons and lipstick.
Grief will bring you back to solid ground, to your first love.
After all, once a queen, always a queen.

Meet my sister Kristin!

On November 23, 1984, I met a girl who would become one of my best friends.  Her name was Kristin Ann, but I wanted to call her Tustin, who was the boy who lived across the street from my aunt and uncle’s house.

Kristin was three years younger than me, an age gap that didn’t always bode so well for us while we were growing up.  We fought a fair amount (although not as much as Kristin and our brother Kevin did!), and she always felt left out.  I have these hilarious memories of her– I would get to stay up/out later than she did, and when my dad and I would drive down the driveway, Kristin would be waiting up for me, staring out the window.  Dad would get mad because she was supposed to be asleep, but how funny and pathetic is that image?  Little sister waiting up for big sister to come back home!

We shared a room from the time she was three until I graduated from high school.  We have so many RIDICULOUS memories of this– from the way we would decorate our room (her half was Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls and Taylor Hanson posters; mine was devoted strictly to Zac Hanson), how it would get so messy that we’d get in BIG trouble with the parents, how we’d read by the “amber light” coming in through the window after our lights were off (it never occurred to us to turn the light back on at that age), playing Princess Pat while dangling upside down from our beds, and when we were older, having Kevin tantrum every night, “TURN THE LIGHT OFF!!!!”

Now that we are older, we get along GREAT!  She is one of my favorite people– so loving and caring, so FUNNY, and my prayer warrior!  She loves God and books and family time.  Kristin is the one who will always instigate, “Let’s go around the table and say something nice about one another,” which has become a family tradition.  Speaking of traditions, the girl holds to them like the world will end if we don’t do our EXACT ROUTINE every holiday.  She is a delight, and I absolutely adore her.


I made it through last week!  PRAISE THE LORD!!!

There are all sorts of changes going on at my workplace, but I’m through the worst of it for now (I think/hope!).  I felt as if God were taking my hand every morning and walking me through each day without letting go.  So lovely.

No one wishes for hard times to come, but I find that when they do …

* I am driven into my Bible
* I cling to God more savagely
* I am forced to reevaluate my life and choices

… and it usually ends up working out for my best.

I am so grateful for a God who stays and sustains me, for the wisdom of Scripture, family, and friends, and for incredible new opportunities!  It’s not a perfect analogy, but this week, I kept thinking of the story of Joseph– how his own brothers sold him into slavery, how he was wrongly accused of rape and sent to prison, and yet rose to power in Egypt.  I love when later he says to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”

Amen and amen, yes?

the future has arrived

Shhh, don’t tell … I am actually writing this blog on Sunday, May 20th, and scheduling it to post on Saturday, May 26th.  I usually write all my posts for the week over the weekend, since I rarely have time to blog during the work week.  It’s interesting how sometimes I will write a post nearly a week ahead of time, but something will happen in real-time to line up with what I blogged about days ahead of time that was only posted on that day.  Weird.

So, here’s the deal: I am anticipating that this upcoming week of work is going to be terribly difficult for me.  But who knows what will happen?  By the time you all read this post, the work week I am so nervous about will actually be OVER.  It will be fun to read this post on the day it is posted and see if my predictions for the week were true.

I am reading The Time Traveler’s Wife right now, by Audrey Niffenegger, so this whole wonky idea of predictions and foreknowledge and skipping over a large chunk of time actually doesn’t seem so strange to me.  It’s the world I’ve been living in.

That said, here is my message to my future self, my self who is six days older than the self this is writing this post:

Hello Jackie. You made it. You survived the week, and now you can enjoy your long holiday weekend. You probably don’t have any more answers to your problems than you did at the time of writing this– but then again, maybe you do! I can’t guess what will happen in the next six days, except that I do believe that you will make it to next weekend, that God will hold you in the palm of His hand this upcoming/past week, and that He will work all things out for the good of you who loves Him. Love from yourself from last weekend.


a fixer

I am a fixer.  If someone comes to me with a problem, my first inclination is to FIX IT.  I have to force myself to sit back and just LISTEN because my head is already ahead to solutions.

I hate leaving things un-fixed.  I want to solve all issues NOW, to dive headfirst into creating a solution until that solution is in place.  I hate to have things hanging over me.  (Some of this is very strongly connected with the obsessive-compulsive part of me.)

But not everything can be fixed immediately.  Sometimes there are issues that we need to sit with before solving.  We grow simply from the patience we have to exert as we WAIT for all the ducks to line up in a row.  And sometimes there are so many ducks, and they all seem to be on crack, and to get them to line up is a long, tedious process.

I want to be able to do steps 1-26 in one hour.  But sometimes the person you need to connect with for step 1 is out of the office till Tuesday, and steps 2-4 can’t be done till after that, which pushes back steps 5-10 because they can only be done on weekends, and you can’t do the final step until you have a haircut and your stylist is booked a month out, etc.  I HATE THAT.

That’s all I’m going to say about this, except for that this fixer is struggling with and learning patience this week.

Are you a fixer?

Meet Ashley

What would I do without this girl?  I find myself thinking that question over and over again throughout the week.  She is one of my go-to friends, an absolute delight, so funny, so friendly, so loving, and she teaches me so much!

Ashley and I had a rocky start, back in 2001 (oh gosh, Ash, has it really been over a decade?!).  At that time, she was a spunky, sassy high school student, and I was the camp counselor who could not say anything right.  We were pretty wary of one another for about six months, but when January 2002 rolled around, the new year brought with it a new friendship that I would come to treasure as one of my favorites.

After six months of non-friendly aquaintanceship, Ashley and I were forced to spend some time together at a church retreat.  Although neither of us wanted to do so on the front end, by the end of the weekend, we were okay enough to exchange email addresses.

Remember, this is 2002.  Exchanged email addresses can only mean one thing: MSN Messenger!

We ended up chatting quite a bit– especially about boys– and forging this strange online friendship that we kind of marveled at, considering our rough beginnings.  By that next summer, we were fast friends, but our friendship was entirelyonline … until we met up again at camp.

I remember I was nervous about how it would go.  Would we clash in person again?  Would it turn out that we would just butt heads when we found ourselves in a real room together?

But we got along great this time around … and ever since!  Over the years, I have been blessed to watch Ashley graduate from high school, go to Bible college, fall in love with my friend Tim, graduate from college, marry Tim, buy a house, and move to the Twin Cities.  Now we see each other almost weekly, just the way I like it.

Eleven years is such a long span of time … Ashley went from being this sassy-mouthed punk teenager I was afraid of to being one of my very best friends, one of my favorite people!  She is everything I want in a friend: kind, unselfish, honest, brave, COMMITTED, hilarious, loving, a good listener, and godly.

I love you, Ashley … see you in an hour for taquitos at Eir’s!


I have been reading the book of Proverbs in my search for wisdom/guidance, and here are some of the things that are standing out to me, over and over again:

1) Foolish people hate feedback; it’s the wise people who like to be corrected– then they learn from it.

2) It’s better to be poor and happy than rich and unhappy.

3) God hates lies and deception and loves righteousness.

Now to put all these things into practice … to truly embrace constructive criticism, to rejoice in happiness, to rid myself of my deceitful ways.  I want to be a better, wiser woman.

some more Billy

The First Dream
by Billy Collins, my favorite

The Wind is ghosting around the house tonight
and as I lean against the door of sleep
I begin to think about the first person to dream,
how quiet he must have seemed the next morning

as the others stood around the fire
draped in the skins of animals
talking to each other only in vowels,
for this was long before the invention of consonants.

He might have gone off by himself to sit
on a rock and look into the mist of a lake
as he tried to tell himself what had happened,
how he had gone somewhere without going,

how he had put his arms around the neck
of a beast that the others could touch
only after they had killed it with stones,
how he felt its breath on his bare neck.

Then again, the first dream could have come
to a woman, though she would behave,
I suppose, much the same way,
moving off by herself to be alone near water,

except that the curve of her young shoulders
and the tilt of her downcast head
would make her appear to be terribly alone,
and if you were there to notice this,

you might have gone down as the first person
to ever fall in love with the sadness of another.

Photo credit: Jane Pak Oh

which view?

The last couple days have not been easy for me.  I have some big decisions ahead of me that are causing me HUGE stress, and I’d appreciate your prayers.  I am looking for wisdom– actually BEGGING God for wisdom, for direction.

When you look at this picture, what do you see?  Some people see an old woman, wrinkles around her eyes, wart on her nose, looking kind but maybe a little sad.  Some people see a young lady with a strong jawline and a necklace, looking into the distance.

I am trying to remember during this time of great upheaval in my life (I hope to share more details soon) that this scary, scary time might actually be a huge blessing, a time of positive change.  I am hoping that even though today my life looks like an old lady, soon I will look back on these days and realize they were young, vibrant, fresh, and beautiful.  It’s all perspective.

Still, I’d appreciate your prayers.  I feel heartsick and sad and lonely and distracted.  Very shaken and hurt and disappointed in myself and upset and humiliated.

Please, God, use this time to accomplish Your plans for me.

a room of one’s own

Have you read the book?  Virginia Woolf wrote a whole book (compiled, I think, from some lectures she gave) based on the premise that in order for a woman to write, she needed two things: 1) an incandescent mind (freedom from worrying about life) and 2) money (in other words, a room of one’s own).

My freshman year of college I wrote a research paper that violently argued against this idea– a very convincing and well-written paper, if I do say so myself.

Years later, I began to doubt myself and agree with old Virgie.  Man oh man, if only I had enough money so that I wouldn’t have to worry about how to support myself (how to pay rent, how to buy groceries, which career option is best, etc.), I think I would write SO WELL.

Anyway, this is my public apology to Virginia Woolf.  Although I still think she was wrong to attack Charlotte Bronte.