if you read this in a feed reader....

Saturday, March 07, 2009 / Comments (0) / by elizabeth

....please redirect to thewordsthatcarrythehope.com


best job in the world!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009 / Comments (0) / by elizabeth

within my first year in new york city i met this cool chick named angie. i don't really remember how/when we became friends, but one day we did and now we are. she is a big supporter of my travels and adventures and, even better, she understands them because she is a travel and adventure addict herself.

i love hanging out with angie. she's approachable and quick-witted and easy to talk to. there is never an awkward lull in our conversations because we always have something to discuss, whether it be this season of the bachelor or her way fun job or something one of us has blogged about or where an airplane will take us next.

also, she makes pictures look better because she's so pretty:
not sure what happened, but obviously it was a travesty.
or we're just dramatic.
the reason i'm sharing this with you (yes! i have a point!) is that angie is one of the 50 finalists for the best job in the world. that's 50 out of 34,000 applications. i truly believe that she would be excellent for this job and i'm glad that the judges agree with me.
please head over to the island reef site and cast your vote for angie DAILY for the next 21 days! and you can read more about her australia adventure here.

40 Days

Thursday, February 26, 2009 / Comments (1) / by elizabeth

Ash Wednesday was yesterday, thus beginning the Lenten season. I am not one for tradition or "doing" religion for the sake of religion, but I'm a fan of Lent.

This year I have done some research (read: looked it up on the internets) to figure out what exactly Lent is and why people do it, and here's what I've learned:

Lent is a season of fasting and prayer before Easter, usually celebrated by abstaining, which to me sounds like a great paradox. But more on that later. Fasting usually means abstaining from some (or all, though this is not a good idea for 40 days, in my opinion) food, and may be total or partial concerning that from which one fasts, and may be prolonged or intermittent as to the period of fasting. Some decide to pick one food to give up, like meat or sweets. Other people celebrate Lent by abstaining from things that could be unhealthy in their lives, like spending too much time on the internet. A good friend of mine is going to make a concentrated effort to not talk badly about people for 40 days and I think that's wonderful - and is definitely a challenge for most of us except for my roommate Katie because she is pretty close to perfect in the no gossip department.

Lent is a 40 day period that most commonly begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday(not counting Sundays).

BUT! I just learned that there are other ways to count the 40 days:
- Some start on Ash Wednesday and end on Palm Sunday and count Sundays as part of Lent.
- Others start on the first Sunday after Ash Wednesday and end on Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday). [AND! SIDE NOTE! For all of you who celebrate Maundy Thursday (like I do) and have no idea what it means (like i did, until today), maundy is derived from the first word of the Latin phrase Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos which is John 13:24, the words Jesus used to explain to the Apostles why he was washing their feet. LOVE IT!]

The number 40 is spiritually significant for many reasons:
- It rained for 40 days and nights during the great flood (you know, the whole Noah and the ark thing)
- Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai with God (WITH GOD! HOW COOL IS THAT?!?) and then another 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain WITH GOD a second time.
- The Israelites spent 40 days exploring the Promised Land and then had to spend 40 years in the desert before reaching the Promised Land (pretty much because they were complainy brats)
- After Jesus was resurrected, He spent 40 days with his disciples before he ascended into Heaven

And there are a bunch more in the Bible, check them out for yourself.

I tell you all of this because while I'm not a big fan of traditionalism, I am a big fan of symbolism...must be the English degree rearing its ugly head. Just like I love the Lord's Supper because it symbolizes the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It's a moment, maybe fifteen minutes, where we stop and remember what He did for us.

And I love the Lenten season because it's a symbol to the world (much like Advent) that we're waiting for something more. So why do we "celebrate" by abstaining? Because that which we pursue that is of this world is nothing compared to pursuing God. He is infinitely better than anything we can fathom. Abstaining does not show God how much we love Him and it does not make Him love us more, but instead helps to put things in a proper perspective - that He is greater than I.

I committed to spending thirty minutes a day in prayer for the next forty days. Though that might not seem like a lot of time to all of you super Christians, it is a big commitment for me. I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but entire days pass before I even acknowledge the presence of my Creator. I forget to let Him love me so that I can love other people. And my relationship with Jesus has GOT to be first, before my relationship with anybody/anything else (even the amazing relationship I have cultivated with sleep!)

So what am I "giving up" for Lent this year?


My hopes, my dreams, my desires. My future and my past.

I'm laying it all out before Him. I've asked Him to transform me. It's a scary thing for me, but I'm ready to jump off the cliff.

"Sometimes the only way is jumping, I hope you're not afraid of heights" - Gavin DeGraw


Saturday, February 21, 2009 / Comments (0) / by elizabeth

she likes attention. she wants everyone to know she has arrived and causes a commotion as the door to the nail salon swings wide open.

she rolls in slowly with the help of her assistant. she's wearing fur, of course, and tons of jewelry. her face is streaked with too-bright makeup: heavy blush (though she might call it 'rouge'), eyebrows drawn on, lipstick over-lining her lips and dripping into the deep-set wrinkles around her mouth.

she has just had her hair done, and it resembles a style from the 40's. she loves the lavender tulips in a jar by the counter and comments on them more than once.

she is 96 years old. she loves fashion. she is a former model - "i used to be tall!" she says. she's been watching fashion week on television, remembering the old days before "fashion died."

she is beautiful.

i watch in fascination as you engage her in conversation without hesitation. you ask her questions and really listen to her answers. you make eye contact. you treat her gently, like a friend, like someone you truly want to know.

you tell her you love her hair. you respond to her declaration that she used to model with a genuine, "i can tell!" you agree with her that the tulips are an exquisite shade of lavender.

you have 'love' tattooed on the inside of your wrist as if you need a reminder. in this moment, you don't care what is easy for you, you only care about her comfort. You aren't concerned with your own agenda, or your own time - instead, you are attentive to her needs.

you are beautiful.

as I'm swimming through the stereo, i'm writing you a symphony of sound

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 / Comments (1) / by elizabeth

welcome to can't! stop! listening! to! volume IV, the super special Valentine's Edition.

Volume I - what matters most? everything that you feel while listening to every word i sing
Volume II - sing us a song and we'll sing it back to you
Volume III - sing out, sing out, your voice is all you have

I'm a sucker for a good love song and especially for certain lines in a good love song:

1. Hero/Heroine, Boys Like Girls
And I feel a weakness coming on
ever felt so good to be so wrong
Had my heart on lockdown
And then you turned me around

2. Love Is Waiting, Brooke Fraser
I could write a million songs about the way you say my name
I could live a lifetime with you and then do it all again

3. The Minstrel's Prayer, Cartel
Just hold the hand and drop the knee
You're facing love
You're embracing melody

4. Stolen, Dashboard Confessional
You have stolen my heart
And from the ballroom floor we are in celebration
One good stretch before our hibernation
Our dreams assured and we all, will sleep well

5. This Year's Love, David Gray
This years love had better last
Heaven knows it's high time
and I've been waiting on my own too long

6. When the Lights Go Out, Derek Webb & Sandra McCracken
In the middle of this circus
You’re the thing that gets me through
So I dive beneath the surface and close my eyes and see you

7. More Than Anyone, Gavin DeGraw
Look in my eyes, what do you see?
Not just the color
Look inside of me
Tell me all you need and I will try
I will try
I'm going to love you more than anyone

8. Power of Two, Indigo Girls
You know the things
I'm afraid ofI'm not afraid to tell
And if we ever leave a legacy
It's that we loved each other well

9. Better Together, Jack Johnson
Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? and where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy
and sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing its always better when we're together

10. MFEO -Made for Each Other/ You Can Breathe, Jack's Mannequin
And maybe, we were made
We were made for each other
Is it possible for the world to look this way forever?

11. Lucky, Jason Mraz
They don't know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I'll wait for you
I promise you, I will

12. Honey And The Moon, Joseph Arthur
Don't know why I'm still afraid
If you weren't real I would make you up now
I wish that I could follow through
I know that your love is true and deep as the sea

13. Hamburg Song, Keane
I'd like to bring a little light
To shine a light on your life
To make you feel loved
No, don't wanna be the only one you know
I wanna be the place you call home

14. Falling In Love At a Coffee Shop, Landon Pigg
I think that possibly
Maybe I'm falling for you
No one understands me quite like you do
Through all of the shadowy corners of me

15. She Will Be Loved, Maroon 5
I don't mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved

16. Augustine, Nevertheless
Don't say a word
I hope that you know
There's truth in the way that we feel
The current is strong
I'll never let go of you

17. When It Don't Come Easy, Patty Griffin
But if you break down
I'll drive out and find you
If you forget my love
I'll try to remind you
And stay by you when it don't come easy

18. Such Great Heights, The Postal Service
And I have to speculate
That God himself did make us into
Corresponding shapes like puzzles pieces
From the clay

19. This Everyday Love, Rascal Flatts
Every afternoon I make a phone call
Listen to the voice that warms my heart
I drag myself through a few more hours
Then head on home to try and beat the dark
Her smile will be right there, when I step through that door
And it will be that way tomorrow, just like everyday before

20. Your Call, Secondhand Serenade
'Cause I was born to tell you I love you
and I am torn to do what I have to
to make you mine
Stay with me tonight

21. Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

22. Island, The Starting Line
Let's sail away
Find our own country
We'll build a house and beds out of palm trees
Let's get away
Let's push our lives aside

23. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone...

24. A Man and a Woman, U2
You can run from love
And if it's really love it'll find you

25. Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfukel*
When darkness comes
And pains is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
* Suggested by alison, because i was stuck at #24 (thanks, friend!)

goal for february --

Thursday, February 05, 2009 / Comments (2) / by elizabeth

blog more.

yeah, 5 days in, and i'm already behind. but i really enjoyed blogging every day in november until things got crazy, so this month i'm going to really try to write more.

it is healthy.

and i got a new computer, so i have no excuse.

but now, i'm going home because it's 6:00 (or rather, i'm going to have dinner and watch grey's with maria, because it's 6:00)


Tuesday, January 27, 2009 / Comments (2) / by elizabeth

i've been back in the States for 2 weeks and i feel like maybe i can start to put my time in Ethiopia into words. maybe.

The only other country (besides the US) i can compare ET to is China…and the similarities begin and end at the super long plane rides and the overpowering smell of pollution. Even the plane rides were different – the trip to China was quiet for the most part. People didn’t really talk to each other unless they were traveling together. On the way to ET, everyone walked the aisles, hung out with each other like they were family, and children were screaming (The. Whole. Way. There.) Imagine chaos and you’ve got the flight to and from Ethiopia. Yes, it annoyed me, and no I couldn’t sleep, but I couldn’t help but notice and appreciate the difference in cultures.

The first day we were in country we spent time at the House of Hope. The HOH is kind of like a halfway house for children who have been matched with a family. They leave their orphanages and stay there until their family (from another country) comes to pick them up. The anticipation, at least amongst the older kids, is palpable. They have been chosen! They are going to be adopted into a new family and get a new name and a new life and a new home!

While we were playing with these SUPER CUTE kids all i could think about was their impending adoptions and how like God it is to take a life that was headed in one direction and make it new. The Bible talks about adoption in several places but i’m not sure i understood it until that day in Africa. Not only was I chosen (Eph 1:11-12) but I was (and am) transformed! I got a new life and a new (eternal) home.

The part that struck me the most about adoption was that the children are given a new name. It’s such a spiritual concept. I LOVE this about God! In Isaiah 62, Isaiah prophesies that, although Jerusalem was spiritually corrupt, one day they would be restored to glory. The people of Jerusalem were familiar with feelings of desolation and abandonment, but God promised that the days of war and destruction would pass and they will know how much He delights in them. He even promised to change their name (vs. 2)to reflect their transformation.

All our lives we are labeled. As children we are called names on the playground and as we get older we start to believe the lies that we are told. We believe we are too much or not enough, that we are too fat, too skinny, too [fill in the blank], that we are annoying, that we’re ugly, that we just can’t live up to expectations. But we have to trust that God absolutely did not intend for us to live our lives as if these labels belong to us, to claim them as if they’re our own.

Instead, He has changed my name! I am no longer called insecure, anxious, fearful, ashamed, or worthless, but instead a crown of splendor, a royal diadem, delightful, worth rejoicing over!

The children at House of Hope eagerly wait for their adoptive parents. Because they were chosen, they believe that rescue is coming. They will be given a new name. And with this new name comes the faith that what once was ashes will become beautiful.