Dear Honor,

I miss you because we laugh like little girls together.
I miss you because you know how hard I cried that one night.
I miss you because you're still there long after you've left.
I miss you because you'd understand all that's going on right now.
I miss you because I love you.
I miss you because you're my pdiddy:)
I miss you because you eat lots of cookies with me.
I miss you because you call me stupid in an endearing way.
I miss getting up early to get coffee before school, just to have a little time with each other.
I miss the thrill of driving with you.
I miss all the stupid stuff we'd do.
I miss looking at each other to make sure we're thinking the same thing.
I miss you because no matter how long we go without seeing each other, it never feels any different.
I miss you because around you I remember things about myself I otherwise forget.
I miss hearing you call your dad faja.
I miss you because you have a pure heart.
I miss your teddy bear hugs.
I miss you so much.
Please come home.
I wish I could just keep writing about you until you're here.
I plan on giving you the biggest freaking hug.
I love you. I love you. I love you.

Go Away People Who Don't Understand

When I tell people I'm not in school, they usually respond something like,

"Ahh, cool. So you're taking a year off and figuring out what you want to do?"

I nod. But its not true.

Every day at work I get to ask people questions.

"How's life?" "Where ya headed?" "Five shots this late at night? What on earth are you about to do?"

I get to make their coffee and drink my own. When I get off work, I read and write and eat breakfast with my dad and go on runs and play outside. I lay in the sun and ride my bike.

So no!!! I'm not figuring out what I want to do.

For goodness sakes, I'm doing it.

The World Owes Me Nothing

Somewhere along the way I realized that the world owes me nothing. I think maybe it happened at college orientation to Iowa.

I never ended up going in the fall because nothing anyone said that whole day settled well with me. I listened to person after person behind podiums talk to me about credits and requirements and options and tracks and graduation and classes that would all prepare me for success in the "real world."

And all I could think of was all the unhappy people out there working jobs in the "real world" that college had prepared them for. It really got to me. So much so that on the drive home that day with my dad-it was early evening and the sun was sinking and melting all over the dash. I told him I wasn't going. I told him I just didn't think it would make me happy or anyone happy for that matter. I told him college was just a bunch of people telling me that the world owes me stuff, money and all that. And I told him I thought it was a lie.

The real world, I've decided is a bunch of bs. I want life.

Where Its at.

One day I learned from a sharp African wind that broke into my being

that I was not in control.

It took from me my analyzing and the map I had made for myself. Like a runaway ballon, it slipped from my grasp and flitted up, up and away. I had nothing to hold on to. And so I said, God, take care of me.

I looked at the grey sky, ready to drench the earth with the tears of its tantrum and I said, God, take care of me.

And I thought about Zach, my brother since playing in the mud and walking around naked. He used to be a short bobber of a kid, something mischievious always in his eyes, something wiggly always writhing in his hands.

And I was in this van with other people who had become my family over a week’s time in Kenya together. We were headed back to Nairobi, bouncing up and down to the beat of thick third world traffic. Fog was descending upon the mountains. I wondered if God was speaking to someone from within a cloud somewhere up there. The rain was wiggling down the windows like minnows or sperm.

And at that point in time, Zach was in jail. And I said, God, take care of him.

I just kept looking out the window then. The women became acrobats carrying baskets on their heads. The men’s faces turned into dusty stories. I saw laughter spinning on the children’s cheeks and blowing kisses out of their eyes. The whole world was coming back to life for me. I can’t tell you what it was about that moment but I became a child again. Something about the chemistry of it all beckoned me to let go.

And so I skipped back to my five-year-old dreams that are backed by nothing but imagination and took up a wide eyed faith that God will give me wings.

Jenta ja

Jenta ja jenta ja
All tobble out da vagon ya
He may matta kensa kata suro
Chempa hemlin
Carp carp!

My great-grandpa Buzz used to sing that to my great-grandma Doris back when they were dating. Doris is from Sweden and Buzz was born in America. When he’d spend days with her family, he mostly sat in a chair in a corner of the room. He couldn’t talk to anyone and no one could talk to him. He observed the way they spoke and made up that song that is nothing but Swedish-sounding gibberish to keep from getting bored.

About the same time he met Doris, he got job at a butchery. This other Swedish woman used to give him a hard time.

“She was a rascal,” my grandpa says.

She taught him to say vill du gifta dig med mig and told him to run home and tell his lady friend that.

So one evening they were sitting side by side on the front porch swing and my grandpa whispered, “Vill du gifta dig med mig?” to his sweetheart.

He was meaning to impress her.

Doris’s sharp blue eyes grew big and she tucked her chin down into her chest so that inky black bangs fell to cover her face.

“Do you have any idea what you just asked me?” she whispered without looking at him.

My grandpa was smug. He didn’t take anything too seriously.

When Doris looked up, her peachy cheeks were flushed scarlet, so my grandpa gave in and shook his head no.

“You just asked me to marry you, Buzz.”

Like I said, he never did take life too seriously and so just like everything else, he laughed his way into marriage.

Sixty years later, and my grandparents youth is long gone. Doris’s hair is a wispy white. Buzz’s chin has given into gravity and sags towards his lap. They’ve retired to wheelchairs and the mercy of people younger than them.

But the memory of their youth lingers: over the fields of their hometown country farm, in my grandma’s eyes, the same luscious bright blue they were when she was 17 and engaged, and in that song that somehow managed to slip through the gates of generations.

Grandpa can’t hear anything anymore but we’re still singin it. It was nonsense then but it has meaning now. It tells me not to take life too seriously.

It will come.

And be gone.

So laugh, I guess.

That’s what Grandpa did.

Whoa love!

God loves me. He loves me yesterday. He loves me tomorrow. He loves me. Loves me. Loves me.

And in the beginning, out of love, He curled my hair around His finger and kissed the freckles onto my cheeks. He sculpted the shape of my breasts and ran His hands over my hips to curve them. He loves me. He loves me. He loves me.

And today I saw Him weaving the late golden sun into my hair and felt it sparkling in my eyes. He showed me a woodpecker and a hawk, gently swooping against the blue sky. The misunderstood yellow moon and the gothic shadows against the pale snow. The dusty twilight of everything beyond. Everything mysterious. Everything dangerous. Everything precious. In everything, He’s trying to show me that He loves me.

Yet it wasn’t enough for me. All of it wasn’t enough for any of us. And so He went to His Son, desperate, crying, hands clenched, shaking and told him,

“You have to leave. You have to go down there and make a way for them."

And so His Son left His Father’s side where He had been forever, even before us, and showed up in a womb, came out in a stable, grew up and told everyone about His Father’s love.

But we killed Him. And God let us. And when I think of how God used all of his wrath and outrage at our sin to whip and beat His beloved, that's when I understand. Because of after that, what else could be done? After putting His perfect child through the worst pain imaginable, how could there be any punishment left?

There must have been a silence everywhere when it was finished. On earth. And in Heaven. And down in the fiery furnace, the devil must've fell to his knees and shrieked a bitter cry of defeat because he should've had us.

But God saved us from damnation because He loves us. So He could put sun in our hair and paint us blue skies.

The Beginning.

I work at Starbucks. A lot because I’m not in college. Because I believe in wee folk and dragons and people who believe in that stuff don’t go to college.

Anyway, I listen to lots of people order mochas and lattes and black coffee. They order right into my eardrum through the headset. Some people like to act like they’re in a hurry. Some people actually are.


I try to sell donuts and cinnamon rolls and make them sound as low fat as possible.

Mary, my boss, doesn’t understand why I don’t know who Barbara Streisand is. Sometimes I get in her way and she yells, “Why you all up in my world?"

Juan is always "very busy," he'll say sarcastically while chatting in the back room. He’s so sassy and one of the few people who can make me laugh, like have to bend over laugh, like no sounds coming out I can’t breathe laugh, like still funny three hours later laugh.

And Barbara. Oh, Barbie is a lady with bleach blonde hair and pink glasses. She’s had a hard life. She married young and was swept off her feet to live like a princess with everything taken care of for her. She got to pick out the furniture for their massive house and wrap gifts and organize reunions so family could come stay in their massive house and live happily ever after until she found out her husband was cheating on her. And now she’s back here working at Starbucks.

When I think of everything she's been through, "Blessed Be Your Name" comes to mind. The part that says, "He gives and takes away." She went from rags to riches and back again. But because of that everyone tells her their secrets. And she carries them around. They keep her company when she’s falling asleep to the T.V. rumbling full volume as to drown out the neighbors in her condominium complex.

I've learned a lot from working. And not working towards something. Just working. I've learned to take one day at a time and to enjoy each moment. I've become a much calmer, more peaceful person. I've learned to relate with people. Remember names. Sympathize. Even to love enemies.

I've learned to just be.