My Sacred Spaces: Pen and Paper

Author’s Note: Here is the second installment of my “sacred spaces” writings.


When I started this post, I was sitting on the floor and next to me were my newest journal and my fountain pen, waiting for when I was done blogging so that I could pick them up and record and reflect on my day’s moments. This is one of my sacred spaces: pen and paper. When I open my journal, a notebook, or notepad, and am greeted by empty lined pages, I cannot help but feel the potential, a welcoming sense in that openness. Like the page is waiting for me, holding its breath as it waits to see just what I will create on that open paleness.

As I write, I sometimes feel like my mind is just pouring out through the 11863455_10153060013348133_4766593114216941972_ncracks, flowing out through the ink in my pen. Some of those cracks are repaired, healed, and stronger than before, some are still healing, and yet others are just now nicks that I am trying to tend to before they hairline and snap. My pain, my joy, my creativity, my utter lack of spoons, whatever is going on in that particular moment, it all flows through the fissures in my humanity, filling the page with emotions, perceptions (correct or incorrect), rantings (impassioned or enraged), worlds, characters, fantasies, life decisions, prayers, dreams, and reflections.

As I let it all pour out, I sometimes feel those fractures getting lighter, as if my own flawed humanity doesn’t weigh quite so heavily on my soul. Whether I share that poured out humanity with others or keep it private, the lightening is still there. My heart feels a bit freer sometimes when I force myself into honesty. To answer your question: yes, honesty with one’s self is just as hard or maybe more so than honesty with others. When I sit down with my journal or my computer, I still sometimes struggle with the idea of being accepted, ie, the freedom to write whatever I feel like I need to write. I cannot accurately describe the force of will and courage that it has taken for me to press the “Publish” button sometimes, and the reception hasn’t always been great BUT I was true to my soul and what I felt I needed to write in that particular moment. And that is worth it.

There is a peace in putting pen to paper that I do not think I have ancient or perfect enough words in my vocabulary to describe. I have been filling notebooks and journals since I was in middle school. Geek moment: I once filled three notebooks in the writing out of the film “3 Ninjas” from memory. There are hundreds of pages filled with the story of my life, with the peace that I have found in reflection and pouring out my heart and mind through the cracks. I even remember particular favorite spaces to write. One of the is the booth all the way back, against the wall, on the left as you walked into the Student Union on the University of Evansville campus. From there, I had a great view of the rest of the union and, particularly, the corner that the theatre students had claimed as their own, and, from there, I could turn inward and fill pages with silver and black ink, the sweet scent of leather in my nose from the journal cover, as I worked my way through my undergrad years, those first few years on my own away from home.

I will forever call pen and paper home, safety, peace, and portal. A deeply sacred space.

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On Down the Road (or The Road Goes Ever On and On…)

Fourteen years ago this month, I packed up my life and headed off to college at the tender age of seventeen. I was excited. I was ready! I had visited the campus over the summer and had instantly felt at home and now I was here on a permanent basis (except summers) for the next four years. I was so ready! Ready for a new environment, new challenges, new friends, new life.  As the fall progressed, I was met with an entirely different style of learning than I had grown up with, challenges in the literature that I was reading, and the task of creating a whole new life and existence for myself.

I fell in love with the English department at my university, spending what free time I could spare between classes, homework, activities, and friends in the little lobby or in the office of my favorite professor, seeking his sage wisdom on a myriad of subjects or just having wonderful discussions. Dr. Larry Caldwell encouraged my discovery of Oscar Wilde and my love of Tolkien, we spoke in Elvish, sang in Rohirric, and honestly just enjoyed each other’s company. He was my Maiar in tweed and I still think he is just a wonderful person altogether.

I also embarked on the journey of making friends with complete strangers. During freshman Welcome Week ice breaker activities, we were told to find someone we didn’t know and hug them. I turned and hugged a young woman named Sarah, whom we would come to call Kietzie, who would become part of my integral circle of friends, composed mainly of a group of girls also in the class of 2004. We soon became known as the Freshman Gaggle or Catastrophe, depending on who you asked. Several of us were education majors, some Biblical Studies, and other areas of service, so we would see each other in class, in between, at meals, or just pop over to say hi and hang out. I loved that! Our doors and hearts were always open to each other in my large circle of friends, a hospitality that I have never forgotten and, I hope, learned from. There spontaneous trips to the movies, midnight shows to see Lord of the Rings before we all parted for Christmas break, snowfall ultimate frisbee, silly string pranks, shooting action movies around campus, and rewritten Christmas Carols.

In Student Christian Fellowship, I found a home for my faith and for my heart.  The servant family there took me in to their hearts and arms and became some of my dearest friends. The time that I spent on Focus Planning Committee was some of the best of my life, growing and laughing and serving with my friends. We spent Mondays planning and early evenings on Fridays setting up for services and then eating dinner together before everything got started. These people became my mentors, companions, my fellowship. And I have never forgotten them. Several of them and I are still in pretty frequent touch and see each other every few years. Life has taken us on our own paths, of course, but that doesn’t mean that we forget.

There are moments on the campus that were wholly unto myself. Like napping on the benches on the circle in between classes in the middle of the day (the bells would ring and wake me up in time, PLUS, I got to see Trent Tormehlon). Sitting on a blanket in the sunshine on the lawn behind Morton and Brentano, weaving a crown out of silk flowers and green pipe cleaner for the end-of-year costume party. Hurrying through campus on the first day of finals, the fog still on the flagstones and grass, dropping off bundles off cookies, still warm from baking, here and there for professors, friends, ministers, and mentors. Heading outside during the first snowfall my freshman year and just walking in the quiet night. Buying flowers to be delivered in secret on Valentine’s Day, sneaking into dorms to leave presents, or hurrying to the campus mail box that I knew was picked up first in the morning so I could send out notes of encouragement, cards, funny letters or what have you. These were moments I didn’t often talk about (though I’m sure I did once or twice) but they were precious to me and have stuck with me through everything. I smile just thinking about them.

Those four years in Evansville were some of the best of my life – the learning, the growth, the adventures, the challenges, the joys. I remember those years fondly and enjoy going back to U-of-E whenever I can. I can only pray that, when my daughter is grown and should she choose to attend college, that she will have as wonderful an experience as I did.


Back in 2004. Some of my awesome friends, who are still very awesome today! ^_^

NaBloPoMo Day 5: Taking a Risk for an Ace

Evansville, all hail to thee.

True and loyal we will be.

And we’ll fight fight fight

With all our might.

Cheering with pep and vim for white and purple.

And with every victory

Our hearts with praise will fill.

And we’ll back you with a Rah rah rah!

All hail to our Evansville. UE!

I attended the University of Evansville and I am an Ace through and through. Yes, our mascot is a gambler and it’s rather apropos honestly. I have had to take some serious gambles, some risks in my lifetime. Risks with big payoffs.

I left home for college at seventeen, traveled thousands of miles away from home to attend, far from family, friends, or anyone I knew.

  • I had a wonderful four years at UE, learned from wonderful professors and mentors, made equally wonderful friends, and learned about myself and of what I am capable.

I married my first and only boyfriend, a man whom God brought into my life only days after telling God that I was done looking for myself, that I trusted Him to show me who He had for me.

  • I have never regretted that decision, not for one moment.   Not from the first conversation Ben and I had, complete with my food-flirting (stealing fries from Ben’s plate at DQ).

I decided to stay home with Elizabeth for the first year after she was born, giving up my job and our second paycheck to do so.

  • Things have been tight, yes, but I wouldn’t give up the milestones, the stories, the giggles, the cries, the snuggles, and the walks for anything; especially if this is the only year that I get to do so, as is often the way of the world we live in.

Life is full of risks, full of gambles, but I have been very blessed that the risks that I have taken have paid off and things have turned out well. And even if they don’t in the future, I know that I have family and loved ones to lean on and help me through it.