Jetty Night

The photo above is from 2015, from the first day I spent at the beach with my Curly Haired Wonder. It’s been our place ever since.

IMG_7213Do you want to go to the beach tonight?

She has a tendency for impulsiveness.

But, then again, so do I.

A mutual need for freedom found us at Surfside beach past ten at night, bundled into human versions of a seven layer dip you might take to a party.

Layers upon layers upon layers didn’t keep our extremities from going numb. I suddenly understood what was meant when cold is described as “numbing.” And it wasn’t even my cheeks or my nose (as are often tied to the phrase). No, it was my thighs and my rear end, friends. There were sharp little pinpricks driving into my derriere and legs, and there wasn’t anything to do to stop it.

So we walked all the way out to the end of the jetty, right? Imagine this: a short, curly haired pixie play-acting as a mobster, twirling a baseball bat with the hood of her jacket pulled so far forward it nearly hid her eyes. Said pixie appeared to be escorting a taller, less agile hippie shining a miniature flashlight over the edge of the woven blanket wrapped around her shoulders. We jumped at basically every noise.

We being me, of course. My Curly Haired Wonder is a much less fearful creature than I am. She didn’t jump at the foghorn (which we agreed is a silly name for something that is used even when there isn’t any fog), or the folding chair left abandoned on the rocks (which we agreed looked suspiciously like some evil ocean-monster climbing up the jetties to eat us).

Which led to: the waves crashing against the rocks hit at just the right angle to appear to be clambering their way up the rocks, and I have a scene for a story looping in my head about a road into an abyss or the darkness or something sinister sounding, and DOW mermaids are probably evil because the chemicals have turned them toxic.

The version of this that I told myself as I fell asleep after she brought me home was much more eloquent. I hate that I didn’t get up to write it down.



I’m not dead. I know, you were probably wondering. Like, where’d she run off to for so long? The Bahamas? But let’s be real, if I was running off to anywhere, it’d be Europe. Take me to the Isle of Skye, please…

Here’s a brief run down: I worked ahead and got literally every assignment that I could completed and turned in. All that’s left are the lab assignments and Skype sessions that only open the week they’re due.

The Gulf Coast Student Success Conference came and went. It was a blur, really — which is the only thing I hate about big events. There’s so much to do leading up to things, and then it’s done in a flash. But it went well; most who came said they couldn’t wait until next year. Yay!

I have finished all of my Christmas shopping. Just waiting on some things to come in the mail, then I can start wrapping. Our work Christmas party is this Friday, and I’m very excited for my Secret Santa to open her gift (even though it is a little silly).

Oh, and…I dropped out of NaNoWriMo with 10,001 words written. My heart broke having to make that decision, but I knew that my priorities (work projects, homework assignments, relationships…) would suffer this year. There wasn’t enough time. So I dropped, but I started using this website called 4thewords to make writing a daily habit.

This website is addictive, honestly. It’s taking writing and turning into an interactive video game. There are quests you fulfill by battling monsters (writing x number of words in x amount of time) and keeping “streaks” (writing every day).

It does cost money. It’s about $4/month, which I wasn’t willing to pay until last week. And now I’m glad I did because I’ve written more content with less stress than I was during NaNoWriMo (typically the only way I get any substantive writing accomplished).

Expect a more thorough review later on — right now I’ve got to get ready for work. If you’re interested now, though, check it out! I linked it above.

(and this is my referral code if you decide to make a purchase: QWWXO53984. We’ll both get some crystals out of the deal (they’re how you pay for things)).

I’ve been busy,

and neglectful here on sempiternalheart.


It’s a Tuesday. A rainy Tuesday, with gray skies and an almost-cold breeze that’s tantalizingly fall-like. The rain brought us relief from the roasting heat we’ve been feeling lately.

I’ve almost finished all of my home work for the week — all that’s left is a 500 word essay relating a psychological theory to my life and a Skype session with my Spanish professor on Friday afternoon. That will give me all the way through next Monday to continue working on the reason for my quiet here.

I’m pulling my life into order. I’m getting rid of the things that clutter up my life, things that I have no genuine interest in. Sometimes those things look like books I’ll never get around to reading, a degree or a plan that I’m not going to utilize or put into action, and — yes — sometimes even people who don’t make my heart feel bubbly with laughter or who don’t push me to love Jesus more.

All of that extra energy is being focused in on one Big Project, into launching something that I’m really excited for — but I’m not posting details until it’s closer to being finished.

Stay close. I’m still around.

The Aftermath

I’m currently at work; my stuff is spread across enough of the table to make it look like one person is taking up two of the computer stations. I’ve been hole punching and sticky noting and highlighting in my planner and semester binder, trying to tie my life into something that looks organized.

Harvey left a mess, in a lot of ways. The streets that saw flooding are lined with soaked sheetrock, with ruined lumber, with furniture that can’t be used any longer. And life, for those of us in the academic world, was put on hold for two weeks.

It feels selfish to be struggling with this, with playing catch up.

It would help if I could find a decent planner. But The Panda Planner didn’t work — the excessive boxes that had to be checked each day were overwhelming. And the Ink + Volt is beautiful, but there’s not enough space for writing notes, or even day-to-day activities.

Somebody remind me not to buy $35 planners unless I know with everything in me that it will work (she says as she researches The Passion Planner — $30).

My brain has been spacey all day

It’s kind of like my head is floating. Maybe it’s from exhaustion. Maybe it’s from staring at the TV all day, trying to finish what I thought was a final season only to find out there’s another next year. A happy ending today was too much to ask for.

The creek has decreased by half an inch, and the Brazos by two inches. Or maybe it’s the other way around. I’m pretty sure that’s right, though.

Maybe we can stop worrying so much. Maybe we can stop asking if the rivers have crested or if there are any road closures or which gas stations are actually offering fuel. I can’t wait until I can go to a grocery store without asking the cashier if they’re safe, if they’re dry and then, the follow up if they say no, ‘how bad is the damage?’

But our Marshall told everyone it was safe to come home. Mom is coming back today. I’m bringing my journals and embroidery things back in from the car. There are books on the bottom shelves of my bookcases again.

All that’s really left to do is wait for the water to go down so we can get into houses and start tearing things out.

One Word

I don’t even remember what it used to be. But there was one. One word that encapsulated what I felt I was.

It was my favorite conversation opener: describe yourself in one word. I loved watching the expression on my conversation partner’s face as they sifted through their mental dictionary, the struggle as they tried to settle on one word that encapsulated who they were.

I heard intelligent, creative, messy. A personal favorite (points for creativity) was euphoric, until he changed his mind about a year later, the same night I asked him what it was he wanted to be and he whispered “clean” with a desperation that imparted a considerable measure of sorrow.

Joyful was the most recent response, and I saw it written on his face, shining through from his heart, and I felt warm — like sitting outside in late spring or early summer when the sun is thawing the frost from winter.

Chaotic. That was it — mine. Two years ago, when my mind was full of static and there was an elephant clinging to my chest. When my behavior was erratic and and I was living in what I would come to call “The Dark Times.”

Sometimes I think it’s still relevant, but maybe not as much as it used to be. The chaotic moments are further apart than they were, praise the Lord. They come at night, when it’s cold and I’m alone, when I’ve gone too long without rest or contact or Jesus.

Hopeful. That’s it. My now-word.

Please, Jesus

please, protect my state. Protect my county, my town. My family and neighbors, friends and strangers… 

It feels a bit like being in El Salvador again.

My muscles hurt, the backs of my legs and my shoulders mostly. It’s hot and muggy outside. I’m washing my hair every night, partially because I don’t know for a fact we won’t lose power and partially because I’m so sweaty by the end of the day to not scrub every inch of my body feels like a crime against myself.

We drank a lot of Gatorade in El Salvador. It was like “honey from the promised land,” according to Alyus.

But really, it was. And it is again, now.

9 days. 9 days since Harvey touched down. I don’t think I’ve slept well since this all began. And it’s not over. We might have come home too soon. The rivers are cresting and flowing into places they’re not supposed to be. My mom has already gone back to my aunt’s house; my dad and I are waiting it out as long as possible. We both have faith it won’t reach us, but it’s not so far off that we feel comfortable enough to leave our “go bags” empty.

Some of my dearest friends have water in their house. It’s in my church. The creek looks like a river and the rivers look like lakes. No, the pasture lands look like lakes. It’s eery — vast expanses of silvery water with oak trees growing right in the middle, roots and half of the trunk entirely submerged.

And there’s nothing to do right now. Those who needed to evacuate have evacuated; there’s no point in getting cleanup and recovery started if the water is just going to come undo any progress made.

When this burden is lifted, I’ll give thanks to your name
But until it is finished, I’ll give praise just the same

For we have this hope as an anchor for our soul
You are with us; we will never be alone

I know it’s only for a moment and everything is working for your glory
But I need your perfect love to hold me
safe within your promise ’till the storm has passed

(Elevation Worship, my friends, have seriously been a little life preserver helping me cling to my king)