I Am The Silence

i am the silent one, currently. the restless one, always. 
the one who is now scraping by throughout her days, so full of testing and tempering. 

i am wildly in search of joy, wildly in great need of it.

and somehow i forget to glance around for the gifts to behold. and i fail miserably to count it all grace, to name them, to list them, to count the many gifts i see.

i struggle to live out this chosen one word: peace. 
it rings simple, and it is true. i want to be a peace-seeker.

desperately. ever so desperately.
i want this elusive thing, this being of peace, caged and housed within me.

and i struggle daily to live this newborn eucharisteo life, because it has become harder for me to see through this silence, this fogged life-haze.  

and yet i keep count anyway, despite the black.
i count gifts given, and thank Him back.

and yet i still scrounge for joy and hope in this silent place.
i wrestle for answers when silence and encompassing thoughts are all there is.

i am silent, as my words seem to fail me here. my dreams, my plans, they are attacked by vicious lies, lies spewed forth from the vociferous viper. he is hungry, the harbinger of death, for this soul, my soul. the soul that wants to count it all joy, to live peacefully. to fly.

no, i am not done releasing words and heart and soul here in this place. this, my place of solace and sanctuary. this is my temple of sweet release. i find myself in words written first, and then He speaks. and then He speaks.

i pray until my eyelids are heavy laden, rimmed raw with salty bitter fears released, and then He comes. and then He comes.

i am the silent one, having simply taken time to breathe. to seek out my Lord. oh, and He speaks. oh, how He speaks over me...such marvelous things. He proclaims boldly a future and hope and a joy for me, all my own.

He is there. my joy, my stream in this darkened desert place.
and He speaks of a future as I remain silent before Him now.

new challenges have found their way to me. and many choices to come have shown themselves. these burdens...or are they gifts?...are being prayed and poured and wept over ten fold. but what choices and steps shall i make now, dear One?

your knees. my knees. i seek. He seeks.
my heart cries out from this bottomed-out desert place, and i make my plea. 
and i know He has a plan for me, His restless child.

and He answers me, in a myriad of ways, ways of which i could never foresee.
through thin highlighter-ridden pages, sweet song, scrawled words and a prayer on lips of a daring warrioress on my behalf.

oh, how He begins to move in this time of silence.

the viper flees at the sound of His name, slithering off with my fears gnashing at its heel.
i have been made stronger in Him through my weakness.
 though i know the testing and questions will continue, i feel at peace.

i do. yes, i do feel at peace, at ease.
so full of joy, covered in gifts of time and family and love.
then this silence falls, if only for a moment.

in this constant battle, this ebb and flow, i am made free.

i. am. free.

yes, i find Him when i'm on my knees. i find Him when i'm in this silent, dark place. 
i find Him when perspectives become shaped anew, and worry dies to beget no more suffering.

He is my peace-bringer, my joy-bringer, my hope-bringer.
and He speaks to those who are fallen silent before Him, always.

{linking up imperfection with emily today. won't you join us there?}

From the Library of C.S. Lewis {Book Review}

Genre: Christian Living / Literature
Release Date: 6. 5. 12.
Pages: 402
Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Summary (snagged from Goodreads): C. S. Lewis was one of the most influential thinkers and writers of the twentieth century. But who influenced C. S. Lewis? What were the sources of his inspiration? Who were his spiritual mentors?      
Drawn from Lewis’s personal library, annotations, and references from his writings, this book includes more than 200 selections from literary giants such as Dante, Augustine, and Chaucer, as well as more contemporary writers such as G. K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers, George MacDonald, and J.R.R. Tolkien, providing a vast array of inspiration from those who have shone forth as messengers of light in Lewis’s own thinking, writing, and spiritual growth.

What I Loved: I absolutely loved discovering and savoring the writings of which were C.S. Lewis' main circles of influence, in the literary and theological sense. This book is awe-inspiring. Just to glimpse those bits of influential story and theology and unique perspectives on Christ and on life that C.S. Lewis took to heart, and assuredly to his own desk when writing his own great works, is greatly enlightening and full of such wisdom. That said, these bits and pieces of faith and life, shown from the very writings of countless writers who had inspired Lewis so very deeply throughout his life, in turn, have had me as equally inspired and influenced.

I will be keeping From The Library of C.S. Lewis as a dearly beloved part of my own personal library, as I feel that returning to its unique words from time to time will most definitely be found as quite becoming of myself and my Christian walk with the Lord. This book houses a vast collection of brilliantly thought provoking bite-sized masterpieces, and simply cannot be taken in in one or two or even three sittings with it. This is an influential book that rightly deserves to be revisited and pondered upon for the years to come. And I, for one, am looking forward to returning to it from time to time. 

What I Didn't Like So Much: This book took me forever to read through, not because I didn't find it interesting, but rather because I found it to be so moving and deeply thought provoking. This book must be taken in sips and not in large swallows, as this is not an easy light read. But this collection of writings is most assuredly a worth-while one, if indeed you are looking to embolden your faith and perspectives on life.

I'm Recommending This Book... If you happen to love the works of C.S. Lewis, or are looking for glimpses of varied texts, drifting from mediums such as poetry, life, theology and some fantasy even, then you will find this collection of writings to be a rightful breath of fresh air.

About The Authors: 

James Stuart Bell (pictured at left) wrote his master’s thesis on C. S. Lewis, receiving his M. A. from University College Dublin, in Ireland. The owner of Whitestone Communications, the former executive editor of Moody Press, and director of religious publishing for Doubleday, Bell has authored several books, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Bible. He is married with four children and lives in West Chicago, Illinois.

Anthony Palmer Dawson has served on the Marion E. Wade Center Steering Committee for nearly two decades and provides technical and editorial support for SEVEN: An Anglo-American Literary Review. Dawson is currently the associate director of computing services at Wheaton College. He is married with two children and lives in Oswego, Illinois.

Check Out These Other Links...
Click HERE to read more about James Stuart Bell
Purchase From The Library of C.S. Lewis HERE
Click HERE To Read An Excerpt

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

road trip happenings + visit with my love // a story in recapitulation

this is me and my handsome-love
{ Part One }

>> friday <<
>> the adventurous road trip happenings <<

road trips are fun when you have tunes to entertain you, though the minutes seem to slowly roll by when you are in desperate want of seeing your someone special already!

road trips are fun...until the city-born-now-mountain-country girl drives into the busy metro cities.

ahem, standstill big city traffic in no fun. but at least i didn't have to go pee and i had a full tank of gas. there's always a bright side to things, right? ;)

thirty minutes later, said standstill traffic starts getting to me. and now i am peeved *and* i have to pee.

traffic starts to move again, inch by literal inch, but no one will let me get over into the right hand lane (probably due to the fact that i proudly sport a certain *political candidate* on my back windshield) where i need to be. ugh, is right.

i finally make it to my first leg of my two leg drive. i get to eat a taco dinner with my grandparents and then drive onward to Jared after stopping for gas.

i arrive unscathed, yet super tired, after the long *somewhat hectic* drive. i then calmly melt into my man's arms.

/ / /

{ Part Two }

>> the restful visit with my love <<

>> saturday <<

quiznos + american eagle + barnes & noble + shopping in raleigh + watched the island and the angels take manhattan 
(Doctor Who episode)

>> sunday <<

church + lord of the rings + afternoon nap + church again + watched taken

>> monday <<

lunch at arby's + convos about faith, love and politics + browsing in hobby lobby + fall clothes shopping at target + wal-mart movie run + random stop for mechanical pencils at office max (stayed for 45 min due to ensuing monsoon outside) + watched the avengers, jumperpush

>> tuesday <<

smithfield's/wendy's for lunch + target again, to buy a jacket + got a call about Jared getting *the job* + date night: pizza hut and went to go see frankenweenie in 3d + watched the iron giant 

>> wednesday <<

my love checked my car + packed it all up + kisses and hugs goodbye + slammed a monster khaos + four hours driving + singing at the top of my lungs to TFK "old-school" rap songs in a british accent all. the. way. home.

le sigh.


>> best time of my life <<

On Packing , Road Trip Necessities And Discography

heya folks! i am headed off to the other side of the very beautiful state in which i live, to go stay with my love and his family for four-point-five days. so, i thought i'd share with ya'll about some of my more silly road trip preparations. ready, or not ready, to hear 'em?

{ on Packing }
and why i hate it

i hate packing. i really do. and i'm pretty darn sure that i've written about this very fact on more than one occasion on this very blog of mine. however, as much as i hate packing, i also *love* being overly prepared, which results in three vedy vedy crazy things...

1 ) i pack anywhere from 2-7 days in advance for most trips

) i pack excessive amounts of clothing that i usually end up not even wearing

( 3 ) when i'm done packing a suitcase you're really gonna need a fork-lift!!!

honestly, i live up to the H family motto which is "toujour pret." see translation: always ready

so, maybe i over-prepare a little bit too much. maybe packing stresses me out because i feel as if i must take the entirety of my closet, and my world with me for some reason? i dunno. me and packing? yes, it'a major love-hate relationship, and this fickle gal will admit it! but wouldn't you rather have too many suitcases to carry than to forego bringing *more* and end up having to go re-buy things that you might just need after all at the local shopping establishments because you forgot to bring *everything*? or let's say that the weather doesn't align with those stylin' pair of capris you brought along... uh huh? yeah, you know you are going to need to bring tank tops and cardigans and hoodies. and, oh! you'll be needing a skirt and a good pair of jeans and capris too, because preparedness is next to sarah elizabeth-ness.

clearly i'm insane.  scratch that.

yes, it's true... i obsess over packing. i obsess over what are essentials, and over what are sarah-elizabeth-essentials, and i argue with myself over these things incessantly. call it a silly little *packing* quirk if you want to. because i'm pretty sure "overly-quirky" is my middle name. laugh at me even, if you dare, but know this... when i go on a trip, i may just get a hernia, or two or three, or even pull my shoulders out of their sockets, from the weight of over-excessive amounts of  the *shtuff* i bring with me, but i'll always be the one living up to my family's motto and sleeping soundly because i didn't have to go to wal-mart.

yup. always at the ready.

pea ess, 
i do love singing while packing though. yes, singing is about the only thing that makes gathering *everything* for any trip a bearable feat.

/ / /

The Bare } Necessities
for driving purposes of course

monster khaos // because everyone needs a little energy boost, especially when you are driving for 5 hours straight for the first time in your twenty-something existence!

a GPS // because i get really lost without it, and only kind of lost on occasion with it.

my owl tumbler // because who doesn't love cute birdy things that hold aqua, right? Right!

tons of CD's // because this girl *has* to sing at the top of her lungs when she's in the car every.single.minute. spent driving.

chewing gum // preferably cinnamon or sweet mint. because this mountain-girl's ears pop like crazy when she goes back down to the flat-lands.

/ / /

{ my road trip Discography }

left & right & up & down

dark is the way, light is a place *anberlin* // the phantom of the opera // vice verses *switchfoot* // 21 *adele* 
// ceremonials *florence + the machine* // (500) days of summer // absolution *muse* // cities *anberlin*

et. al.

/ / /

{ my on-the-go Bookstack }
for this go-around at least

everything by mary demuth // guardian by heather burch // one thousand gifts by ann voskamp

/ / /

and, because i'm curious by nature...
what sort of clothes and music and books do you like to take on your roadtrips? do you have any silly road trip or packing quirks that you'd love to divulge?

ahem, i look forward to reading your crazy comments later! but for now, well, for now i'll leave you with this rather random post to ponder. by the time you find yourself reading this very post i will be hitting the road, khaos in hand and lungs ready to belt out some serious tunes! 

au revoir, restless ones! wish me luck!
 xoxo, sarah elizabeth 
a.k.a. the "restless packer/road traveller"

First Flight + The Sanctuary of Time // One Thousand Gifts // Chapter 3 + 4 Reflections

I know. I missed last week's Book Club link up. Sigh.  Forgive me? I was sick last Thursday.

On Chapter Three

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

This is the brilliantly beautiful quote that Ann opens up chapter three with. 

This chapter was extremely highlight-able. I highlighted so many wonderful, beautifully poignant thoughts from Ann herself, but this quote up above really struck me the most, mostly because I know that feeling. And sometimes I let myself forget that feeling too. Yes, I know that feeling, the one that searches constantly every day to find and count the gifts given; and when they are found they transform instantly into joy and epiphanies and those grand moments of awe inspiring. Yes, it is in the simple moments, the seemingly mundane that we find blessings and joy hidden in wait for us. It's that moment when I constantly thank the Lord for His many gifts throughout my day that I find myself drawn closer into His wings. This act of counting gifts is very much so an act of transcendence. This new found conscious act of thankfulness changes things, it changes me, it has been changing me and I pray it will continue on. 

...and so my list of gifts given grows...

My big hips, that will one day carry many little ones

New tires, that will surely take me on many new adventures

Granted grace-cards given...to the rude mechanic from Buffalo, NY, who was just confused and hungry

Hearing Tommy's (my boss) roaring laughter as I stock many books on emptier shelves

The blue-green moon that plays a teasing game of hide and seek behind floating clouds by night

/ / /

On Chapter Four

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
J.R.R. Tolkien

 It's funny to me that this was the week that God had me read this chapter on the "Sanctuary of Time," because this week I have wanted nothing more than for time to fly swiftly by. To be honest, I just wanted my vacation time off of work to just get here already! But I think God wants me to take to heart that time is indeed a gift. What we do with that gift, is for the most part, entirely up to us in the end. So, after having read through this chapter this week I decided that even if all the nights I've worked at the bookstore this week were slow (which they were, ridiculously slow in fact) that I was going to purpose myself not to moan and groan over slowly rolling time and work, etc, because TIME is a GIFT.

I've been waiting for today to get here for over a week now...because today is the day before I head out on the open road and drive for five hours to reach my dearest love, Jared. It was honestly hard to not wish the time away this week; for me to slow way down and commit my days to seeking after gifts given, instead of wasting my time wishing it all away. The task of searching out gifts is not as hard deciding daily to reflect upon them, to decide to learn something from them, from Him. But I am learning much through this new found perspective, this new perspective seen through gratitude filled eyes and sanctified daily hours given.

I am learning more and more, and day by day, that God is in those still quiet moments. And He is also found in the midst of those hectic, rushing-by-days, the days where gifts are harder to look for, to count and to keep track of. 

"In our rushing, bulls in china shops, we break our own lives."
One Thousand Gifts { pg. 66 }

I've found the quote above to be true. Those days when I want nothing more than to just rush through the day and forget *my* world, forget everything, I find myself to be a little bit more broken than I was before. I miss out on counting the gifts given. I miss out on communing with my God. I miss the gift of precious time given altogether because I do not count every moment worthy, or a blessing.

So, what is my point, after all of the extreme wordy-ness above? 

My point is this: I do not want to waste the time God has given me, so I must count it consecrated.

...and so I count the mundane and the precious, and continue to count the gifts...

Excellent neck-cracks and back-cracks at the Chiropractor's 

Grandma's delectable apple cake, that tastes so sweetly of Autumn

Watching the last 3 episodes of Once on Netflix and exclaiming "SERIOUSLY!?" over and over again

Possible job opportunity news from my Jared

Freedom of Speech / Watching the Presidential Debate with my family

/ / /

 I'm reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp for the next little while alongside Annie & Margaret. Would you like to join The Book Club too?

September in Retrospect // Hello, Beautiful October

September came out of nowhere, and that's pretty much how I felt throughout most of the entire month, like I was suspended in a dream or something, never fully able to grasp a hold of things.

The Good:

I joined The Book Club with Annie + Margaret and started reading through One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. 

Note: giving thanks every day does really bring great joy, but changing your perspectives around every single day is a little bit tougher.

We celebrated my little sister's 18th birthday last week. 
Note: I feel really old now.

Jared came to visit my family and I for a three day stay. We had a date day up in Asheville that consisted of Olive Garden, random bookstore visits and surprising J's grandparents.
Note: It's days like those three in a row that make all the other dull ones manageable.

I joined the Go Teen Writers 100 for 100 Challenge
Note: we write 100 words for 100 days, so far my current WIP has a hunk of new words written already!

Snow White & The Huntsman was finally released on DVD/Blu-Ray.
Note: I bought a copy AND I loooove my copy!

finally finished reading through Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.
Note: I really disliked this book! Ahem, that is all.

The Bad & The Ugly:

My boyfriend moved back in with his parents towards the last week in August. 
Note: his parents live about 4.5 ish hours away from me and I am still adjusting to not being within an hour of my guy.

My momma has been having chest pains...went to a couple of different doc's and they told her to go to the ER.
Note: This totally stressed me out! Luckily, it wasn't a heart attack though, but rather some seriously pulled muscles and her asthma acting up again.

I've been feeling not-so-hot for the last couple of days. 
Note: sore throats and an ear aches are the worst. 

So, you see? September was pretty good after all. Life always comes with its ups and downs. But I gained much laughter and love and new perspectives on life along the way, and for that alone I wouldn't change a thing.

October has always been one of my favorite months. Lots of magical-like things always seem to happen in October. Like, for instance, where I live at, the stars always seem to shine deeper and sparkle brighter during the month of October. October is also the next month in which I got to see Jared after four months of only sending and receiving e-mails back and forth from one another. Jared came to visit me in person on Halloween 2009, and well he's been around ever since. I guess I didn't scare him? And October is also the most perfect month for taking long walks or hikes, buying new sweaters, digging boots out from the backs of closets, crafting s'mores by the fire and sipping Lake Lure's spiced apple cider. 

I am joining a Creative Group, that will hopefully meet up a couple of times a month to. We'll be studying/discussing/doing things like Zentangles, writing, photography, etc. The group is being started up and headed by a lovely woman, named Ruth, who came strolling into the bookstore a couple of weeks ago with her best friend, Victoria. God couldn't have had me meet up with Ruth and Victoria at a better time! I am really looking forward to growing in Christ and stretching my Artistic Muscles with these ladies!

This Friday I will be traveling to stay with Jared and his family for a couple of days. I am really looking forward to spending time with my guy and his family!! But, I will admit, that I am a little nervous about driving for 5 straight hours, as I've never driven more than 2 hours anywhere, alone, before. This should be an interesting, yet rewarding trip, I think. Prayers for safe travel would be very much so appreciated! *wink*

/ / /

I am really looking forward to this month already! So, what did September bring you with its end? New perspectives? Good times? Not so good times? I'd love to hear about it! What are YOU most looking forward to in October?