I have a lot of family, and I love them very much. Since my move to Atlanta, however, I find myself torn trying to keep in touch with my other family, the one I have made out of friends and neighbors, while struggling to create a new one here.

Let me go back a bit. When I was in college, I made a lot of friends, friends who are still an integral part of my life. After we graduated, most of them stayed in Houston, and so did I , cultivating and cementing the friendships we had begun in four years of living together, studying together, and playing together. The girls I spent my time with then became sisters to me, and, as I had no siblings, I welcomed their presence in my life. However, in 2013, they were scattered across the country, and I had a choice to make. I chose to leave Houston, but I also chose to do whatever was necessary to keep those friendships strong.

I made other friends through the life I had in Houston, and again during my brief stay at home, in Austin. But I moved again, and left those new friends behind. And now I am in Atlanta, meeting new people, and putting the same effort into caring for them that I exerted before.

I don’t love Atlanta. Some people do, but I am not one of them. And I know I will leave here at some point. I am struggling, at this point, to maintain all of the important bonds I have cultivated in other places. And I am still trying to expand my circle here, to make a family for myself so far from home. But, with each new person I meet, a problem lingers at the back of my mind: Will this person be someone I care for when I move on to a new place, start a new life? Will I have to bear the dreadful disquiet of missing this person when I am gone?

I know how some others approach such a problem. “Missing” is not an issue for them; whether by personality or lifestyle, they are unhindered by that burden. And some people naturally fall out of our lives. But I regret each wonderful, worthy person whom I have let go. And those bonds are not easily reforged. I miss the people I have loved, and terribly. Am I to go through life this way, feeling acutely the pain of distance or the heartbreak of regret? Will I leave behind a piece of my heart in every place I choose to call home?

I don’t have the answers to these questions–I don’t even have a way to start sorting the problem. But I thought that perhaps you, Reader, have felt this pain and could commiserate. Or maybe I just felt that I had something to say again, as this horrible year finally begins to fade.

#dfw2lax, Through the Lens of the GoPro…

So…people have been clamoring for #dfw2lax pics. This is the first round–various locales across the West, as seen through the odd lens of the GoPro (not mine–didn’t know how to use it–sorry about some poor framing :P). The truth, however, is that pictures could never possibly capture the things we saw on this trip. I stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon, and my own eyes could not appreciate the height and depth and diversity of the landscape. No postcard could do it justice, let alone a hasty snapshot taken from the side of a trail. Nonetheless, I tried.

In Nevada, we went to the Valley of Fire, about an hour outside of Las Vegas. We climbed on some of the rocks (although I was a wimp and eventually sat down to read my book, not yet having recovered from hiking the Grand Canyon). The colors here looked like casual splashes of rich pigments on an otherwise bland and scrub-dotted canvas.

Finally (for the nonce), we tried to hike up to the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately, the trail was closed. We were, however, able to go to the observatory (featured in Rebel Without a Cause!) from which one may view the sign. We caught it at sunset, and it was lovely.

So that’s all she wrote (for now). I hope you enjoy some of these. :)


I’ve been asked how many times I’ve cried in front of other people.  It’s surprisingly few, but it made me think about the types of crying that I do.  Weirdly, I found a lot of categories, and I’m going to describe a few.  Fyi: this is not a sad post.  I’m not generally a sad person, and I haven’t been crying an inordinate amount lately (mostly); I just like to share my thoughts (obvs: I blog).

I Just Don’t Know Why I’m Crying: Of unknown origin.  You might be sad, but you can’t be sure.  Or you might just need to squeeze out some tears.  Who knows?

Click for scene.


Happy Crying: Things are so unbelievable good.  You feel relief.  The fear is gone.  There are so many wonderful things that can bring us to tears.  Sometimes life overwhelms you with goodness and grace.  And that’s the real beauty of the human condition.


HappySad Crying: “I’ll be right here.” “‘Mo cushle’ means, ‘My darling.  My blood.'”  Sally Field at her daughter’s grave (see Gut Crying, below).  Christian Bale yelling for the American plane.  ‘Although I will be lonesome for you, even in Heaven.’  You do it at movies.  You do it at lines in songs.  You do it at the funeral that punctuates a long illness.  You do it when forgiveness washes away a bitter period of resentment.  It’s those incredible moments when hope breaks through tragedy, when life is hard and good, and when you are reminded of the incredible power of love.


Church Crying: Go ahead.  You can let the tears drip.  People will assume you’re overcome by the power of God or that you are deeply convicted.  It doesn’t matter what you’re crying about.  And you don’t have to hide.  Just get it out before the sermon starts.


Stoic Crying: Those tears will not fall.  Your throat closes.  Your eyes, open as wide as possible, start to burn.  You can barely talk.  You will not let them see you cry.  You will not deny your pride.  If the tears start to fall, you get angry; you beat your eyes trying to make them go away.  You stare at a fixed point on the wall.  You’re not okay, but you’re not going to show that.



Sad Crying: The most common type of crying, this one is pretty straightforward.  It has a specific catalyst and tends to be pretty rational (as outpourings of emotion go).  Something happens.  You cry.  It subsides by itself.  You don’t cry about it again.  It’s just a way to process hurtful events.

Buffy has the saddest cry face. When she cries, I cry.


Public Crying: Yeah, you’re pretty sad.  No one is around who will ask you what’s wrong or about whom you care.  Life is overwhelming sometimes.  Common locations include the therapist’s waiting room, public transit conveyances, and fast food establishments.  Have some more fries.  Life is worse than calories.


Shower Crying: This is pretty pitiful.  You may just be trying to hide the sound.  Or you may have been left alone with your thoughts (speakers not loud enough), and the tears have finally come.  Either way, you’re doubled over or sitting in the tub, and you’re…real sad.  It’s a tough one, but it’ll pass.


Shocked Crying: I think that this is most common with an unexpected death or life event.  You’re not ready for the pain, but, more importantly, you’re not ready to process something like this.  Tears are an automatic and cathartic response.  They may not be connected to any real thought or feeling.


Gut Crying: This one is the worst.  It can stem from a chronic pain or from a deep wound with no immediate balm.  Eventually the tears just aren’t enough.  Your stomach twists, and you feel like your body is trying to force your guts out through your throat.  You are probably doubled over, hacking.  The tears may even stop.  Your body just needs to get the feelings out–do anything to stop the pain.  It will not subside quickly, and it may be accompanied by small showers of tears afterwards.  I am so sorry for your pain.


Misery Crying: Everything is simply awful.  You may have clinical depression; your life might suck right now; you could be a tragic figure; or you may be worried that consumption will get you before you can get all of your beautiful words out.  I won’t tell you that it gets better.  I will tell you that the prayers of the saints are with you.  Be blessed, and may you know peace.


Wow, that actually was kind of depressing.  Maybe this will help.

Click for scene.

Analogies for Christians

[Normally, I would want credit for the perpetuated use of these, as with my coined terms. Here, however, that would make me a bad Christian. These are for your use, Dear Reader, as they are meant to be helpful in explaining some aspects of Christian life. Note: these are not yet Scripture-verified (although they have been honed through conversation and teachings), so be aware of the context in which you use them (if you deem them worthy of usage). If I am diligent (and we all know how that goes), I will update this post as Scripture demands.]

ON LOVING OTHERS: The capacity of a Christian to love should be defined by God’s love for you. He can love you without limit (1 Peter 4:11), and you should spread that love. Think of yourself as a giant cup (Psalm 23:5b-6). God pours his love (John 4:14) into that cup until it overflows. You can let that water splash over onto the ground, or you can collect it in other cups and give them to others.

ON ENDURING TRIALS: You, like me, may have experienced a time of many trials, when it feels like one thing is happening after another, and crap is piling up. It can be hard, in these times, to trust in God or feel at peace with a God who would allow these things. A friend once said to me, “I see God’s provision so much in your life, because you should be homeless, on the street.” At the time, I could not appreciate that, as I was stuck in a mire and could not see the light.
But the truth is that God has made each of us different, and he has designed us for his specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10). That process is ongoing, throughout our lives. God is honing each of us to be his perfect instrument for his specific purpose. Trials are the forge in which he shapes us (Isaiah 48:10). You are being forged (Job 23:10). Yeah, it sucks. But we must embrace trials as part of the higher purpose to which each of us is being called (1 Peter 4:12).

OTHER GREAT VERSES: 2 Cor. 1:3-5, Isaiah 54:11-17, and (of course) Romans 8:38-39

I hope you find this helpful, for yourself and for the others whom you seek to supplant.