ballet flats and truck beds

Today I borrowed a truck with a “Carryboy,” a hood on the back, to pick up a piece of furniture from a village known for its furniture and handicrafts. I’d discovered yesterday that the Toyota Soluna I have been using is not large enough to accommodate my purchase – a coat/purse/umbrella rack. After making the…

closing chapters

How do you close a chapter in life? I think it’s similar to finishing a really superb book – the kind of book where you eat up every line until the last line, consuming and enjoying every word and minute. It’s the kind of book you get lost in, where the characters seem as real…

call me rude

Rihanna’s “Rude” plays in the background of a darkly silhouetted bar. Western men lean in to whisper dirty nothings into the ears of petite and scantily-clad Thai women. These women work in Thailand’s sex industry. Many come from eastern Thailand to find work in the city. Some come under false pretenses. Some know what they’re…

twin grievings

Ten years ago I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, just like I am tonight. I was 14 on September 11, 2001. Now, I’m 24 (I’m great at math, can’t you tell?) and I am back in the Land of Smiles on September 11, 2011. I was getting ready for bed when the planes hit the…

washed in the waterfall

“I’m so happy,” John* said, smiling and shivering a little from the waterfall’s cold water. Angie* emerged from the water with a smile I won’t easily forget. I’m still recovering from a recurring case of glorious goosebumps. Today, my two dear friends from the red light district followed Jesus in believer’s baptism. We went to…

Gnomes and g(rumbling)

We’d just seen a gnome smashed into itty bitty pieces on the big screen. The floor suddenly started shaking. My first thought, “Is this retribution from the Capulets?” Watch out gnomish Montagues. In my next thought, I attributed the floor swaying to my imagination, which can sometimes be very active. We were, after all, wearing…

for auld lang syne

So long 2010. Every year flies in and out faster the older I get. My elementary years seemed like an eternity packed into 10 years. Middle school seemed to slink slowly by. Each year in high school went by progressively faster. College went by in light speed, or what is it called on Star Trek,…

Yes, Virginia, there is a God

“Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.” As I sat on my balcony this morning, sipping my gingerbread coffee and sampling my scrambled eggs, I realized I couldn’t see the mountain…

just the way you are

It’ll be nice to look back on this moment and know that it is over, that this culmination of emotion moved me toward and forward and I am going to be stronger for it and because of it. Right now, it was enough to stand up and leave the bridge. I found myself in tears,…

treasures in teak houses

I’m now sitting in my own apartment in Chiang Mai. It’s concrete, not teak, and I’m an adult now. Before, I’d banish the thought of ever becoming or calling myself an adult. But it has come. It’s the weekend before my 23rd birthday. I’m not sure how I got this old.

I do know that memories are funny things — they surface without a whole lot of notice. Memories surface for a reason and a season.

I also now know what treasures teak houses hold.

Security guards and doctors without municipal borders

One of our security guards is so sweet, so earnest. He spoke to my roommate and I our first day asking if we could write our names down. He wants to practice English. He capitalizes on every opportunity to speak with us. “It was a pleasure to talk with you,” he’ll say, beaming. He also…

It’s the Climb

Don’t look at mountains in your life and be dismayed and discouraged. Look at them as a chance to find intimacy, solace and learn lessons in your walk with Christ. It’s about running the race in a manner worthy of winning the prize. The mountains in our lives are there for a reason and a season. Allow God to use them to grow you and remind you how great His love is for you.