oh, the places you’ll go.

Crater Lake, OR

Early mornings consisted of drinking black coffee as we meandered through the surrounding woods, looking for wildflowers. Once we harvested them, we took them back to camp to look at them closely for keying. Sometimes I was the designated ‘flower lady’ who carried our plants as we wandered.

The loot after a good morning’s walk!

We also went canoeing down the river for more specimens. We grabbed bunches of lupine, water hemlock, and other natives.

A close-up of Yarrow through the hand lens

The lovely Susan, in her natural habitat

the Redwoods

The Redwoods always seem to trigger within me some sense of awe and wonderment, and inspire humility looking up at these great giants.

Patricks Point, CA

We tiptoed and peeked over the edge of this cliff to look at the gentle evening tides before dinner.

Castle Crags, CA

Burney Falls, CA

I cannot tell you enough how a camera can’t truly capture the jaw-dropping size and scale of these falls, nor the almost un-real blue water below.

We ended up swimming under these falls! The water was ice cold, and my whole body was red-numb when I got out – but it felt so wild and refreshing.

Indian Petroglyphs

Captain Jack’s Stronghold

The Lava Beds National Monument

fill me.


Morning coffee steam billows, friendly shadows come and go, dish soap bubbles cover my forearms, and I wonder.

Sometimes I think we tend to fill ourselves with the wrong things. Wrong ideas. Wrong desires.

We fill up our hearts with what takes the pain away. For some, it’s drugs or alcohol. Others search desperately, in vain, for love from broken people, who, in turn, are looking for love in someone else. Some people exercise and workout all the time, while others drown themselves in hours of mindless entertainment or social media. I know a lot of the gifted, talented, who simply want to lose themselves in their music. Some of us who pour ourselves out – as mothers, as students, as missionaries, as friends – come to a point where we feel like we are running on empty – and some days, it just takes putting one foot in front of the other. We have become so empty, that we feel like we have nothing left to give. That we can’t pour from an empty cup. And we over-extend ourselves with our busy schedules to distract us from the pending emptiness within us.

How often do we walk in circles, in all the empty chatter and heavy traffic and endless due dates and frivolous rush of our day to day lives? The constant pursuit of soul mate (if there is such thing), as well as truth, beauty, justice, goodness, happiness, fulfillment – or what have you. But we’re all looking for the same thing. We just call it different names.

Maybe we don’t even realize it. Maybe we don’t even see the brokenness under hollow glances and tired smiles and fake hello’s. But we all know it, even if we don’t say it. We all sense it. Even more, we all live it.

But can I tell you something?

It isn’t until we’re completely empty that God can fill us with His love.

So stop filling yourself with useless things. Stop waiting for him to call back. Stop turning up the music to chase away your thoughts. Get yourself off the treadmill you’ve made for yourself. Let yourself empty. Don’t push away the pain – feel it. Even cry about it. Remind yourself that feelings are visitors – sometimes you just have to let them come and go.

Lord, empty me of me so I can be filled with You.

Take heart. Empty is just a sign that you can be filled with something else – so fill yourself with the right things.


this isn’t goodbye.


‘The leaves are changing,

and so am I.’

I can’t seem to put structure to my thoughts these days. In the past year there have been so many happenings, so many little and big things that have knocked the wind out of me and left me wordless. But please bear with me – it’s been awhile and feel like I’m getting my feet back under me. I want to start writing again.

It’s funny how you write things when you are younger, and how much your perspective changes when you are older.

Not that what you said was wrong, or misconstrued, but you start to see the world a little differently and – my goodness – who is that girl from a few years ago? What happened to her?

God’s grace just rains all over me. And I finally accept it. After so many years of trying to deserve His grace – running to and fro, trying to make sure I do all the right things and say all the right things to the right people at the right times – now, I feel like I’m finally just learning to accept it as the gift that it is.

I just let Him carry me.

It’s amazing revisiting those old posts, and reliving all the feelings and the emotions that I had at the time I wrote them. And – even more – how much I still struggle with the same things I did 5 years ago.

And, still, He just carries me along.

I think maybe it just takes a really, really long time before you just wear yourself out, and you realize you have no choice but to rest in His strength. And – even more – you realize that in all that trying, striving, flailing, you were still depending on Him, even without truly knowing it.

So now, instead of just trying so, so hard, I wake up and I don’t have to pretend anymore. I feel like I can just slip my hand into His, and we walk together in the storm.

So, this isn’t goodbye. But it is a farewell to the young girl who used to think she understood things more than she did. (And who still doesn’t.)


How can I pray for you this week?

ramblings from my thought-journal


Right now, these are my thoughts. I have no notebook or computer with me on hand, so I might write this down later.

One of my favorite things is watching the wind blow those little orange leaves gently across the sidewalk. Sometimes I even wonder if someone were to have to time (and the same strange curious bent that I seem to have), if they could count them all. But then, at the same time, I think it’s the mystery of not knowing that makes it that much more beautiful. The fact that you can’t count every single one of them makes you sit back and rest in the knowledge that a) you don’t really need to know how many leaves blanket the edges of busy streets, and b) why take all the time and work to count the individual leaves when you can just sit and admire them as a whole?

More often than not, I pick up one of those leaves, twist the stem between my fingertips, and not notice anything particularly special or different about it, compared to the other ones. And yet when they’re all collected, on the ground, in all their various shapes and hues, then it presses something in me that sees it as special. Like the exact moment you are looking at the whole scope of the street – with the man in a trench coat hurrying to a nearby cab under the promising sign of rain, the old vintage sign at the corner that probably needs repainted, a lovely woman getting out her little red umbrella – all of this to make one single striking picture almost as good to be on the cover of a glossy magazine like the ones in the tear-streaked window of the nearby bookstore. Almost. But not quite. Maybe some moments like this are better untouched by the flash and click of the camera.

So when I have a breath, I sit down for a spell on a wet wooden bench. But I don’t mind. It’s hardly a sacrifice when I get to watch an idyllic October evening unfold like this. Private contemplation is as necessary for me to function as chocolate and wine and bubble baths are for others.

I look down and see that I’m still holding the same leaf I was a half-hour ago, feeling it tickle against the palm of my hand. Strangers quickly pass by with their chin tucked under them, avoiding the rain drops that are now trickling from the edge of their coats. They only give me a swift glance, at first of judgement, I thought, but I think they are only squinting against the mercilessly harsh wind against their faces.

Maybe we are all leaves.