A few days ago I shared about my journey through depression and anxiety. As I continue to engage with Jesus about that, the scripture that has been very prevalent in my life is Mark 4:35-41. Join me in the processings as I take the passage and compose a what's called a "found poem" where you use lines from the scripture or passage to create the whole poem. 

a found poem

Go across to the other side. 
Let us go across to the other side. 
Evening had come. 
Great wind arose. 
Wind, storm, arose. 
Waves, sea, arose. 
Waves beat into the boat. 
Great storm! 
Boat swamped! 
Wind, storm, arose. 
Waves, sea, arose. 

Do you not care! 
We are perishing?! 
Do you not care!? 
Asleep on the cushion. 
Do you not care. 
Wind, storm, asleep. 
Waves, sea, asleep. 

He woke. 
Woke up and rebuked. 
Rebuked the wind. 
Spoke to the said. 
Peace. Be still. 
Wind, storm, obey. 
Waves, sea, obey. 
Rebuked. Peace, be still. 
Wind, storm, calm. 
Waves, sea, calm. 
Dead calm. 

Let us go across to the other side. 
Evening had come. 
The other side. 
Jesus. Was asleep. 
He woke up.
Peace be still. 
Who is this? 


Montana (and Washington)

The summer travels continue. Started with a flight to Seattle and then driving from Seattle to Glacier National Park (to visit Jenel). I grew up right next to LA in Pasadena and I never thought I would be anything but a city girl. I mean I love camping and the outdoors and nature and all that jazz. But after just a few days in Montana, I could see things shifting. Of course this was summer weather (although it rained the entire time I was there).

(Pike Place, Seattle)

(The waterfront in Seattle)

(Mount Rainier National Park, Washington)

(Mount Rainier National Park)

(Mount Rainier, covered in clouds)

(Glacier National Park, Montana)

(Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park)

(St. Mary, Glacier National Park)

(Logan Pass, Glacier National Park)

(Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park)

(Glacier National Park)

(Glacier National Park)

(Glacier National Park)

(Visiting Jenel while she works at Glacier National Park)



For the past three years I have battled off and on with depression and anxiety. I don't talk about this much but this week has affirmed that not talking about it, is only more harmful.

It started after college, when I got my first "real" job as a middle school teacher in San Bernardino. I lasted only six month there because it was full of classroom management problems, kids fighting and cursing in the middle of class, and a principal who was anything but supportive. I dreaded going to work every day. I cried in my principal's office and I was told I was failure. I became sick, depressed, and anxious. I was living in what felt like hell to me. I quit the job because of what it was doing to my physical, emotional, and mental health.

I don't talk about that experience much, because I'm filled with shame about it all. I feel the shame of not being able to handle my first job out of college, filled with shame for failing, filled with shame for quitting.

So I went to counseling, I found a great new job, moved to a new city, and rented new apartment. Working with InterVarsity allowed me to have supervisors who cared for my soul and my leadership development. I got to work with students who chose to be there every day. I didn't dread going into work anymore. I thought that the storm had passed. I could sleep again, I could eat again. I felt like a normal human being.

Still in the midst of all the healing, the storms of depression and anxiety would creep up on me during the years following. I remember one time when I was preparing to teach for our Spring Conference, I got so nervous about being in a classroom like setting again, that I almost threw up the week before we left. I had nightmares and fears about the students talking the whole time I was trying to teach, not listening to me or each other, even throwing things in class. And even know I knew none of those would actually happen, I couldn't stop myself from believing all the lies about how my grown, adult, college students would behave.

Even though I am now three years removed from this San Bernardino teaching experience, I still feel the effects of the anxiety and depression. I still have days when I feel the deep emotions that come with anxiety and depression. When a wave of anxiety crashes over me, it makes even the most mundane decision like what to have for lunch paralyzing. My heart races, my palms sweat, and it feels like a reel of every stupid decision I've made in the past is looping through my head. Then several hours later, peace comes and my heart slows down to normal and its gone. When the clouds of depression press upon me I feel apathetic and sometimes hopeless. I only want to stay in bed and sleep. The cloud weighs down on me and I want to wrap myself inside; to hide from everything and everyone. And then several hours later, the fog has lifted and its gone.

Most days are good. Most months are good. As time has gone on, the amount of depression and anxiety I've felt has been so much less compared to those months back when I was teaching. But some are not. Some days it feels too overwhelming just to even get out of bed. Sometimes I find it hard to pray because I doubt whether God could hear me in this mess I'm in. I wonder why God would allow this kind of emotional storm to happen in the first place. I doubt God's goodness, because surely a good God wouldn't allow people to face things like depression and anxiety.

In the midst of this emotional storm, I'm reminded of when the disciples where Jesus and disciples are stuck in a physical storm. They are out on the sea and a massive storm comes upon them. Waves crashing down on their boat, water everywhere, so strong, so overwhelming. Filled with panic and fear, they rush down to where they last saw Jesus, only to find him asleep. Voices shaking they exclaim: "Teacher! Do you not care if we drown?! Do you not care if we perish!?" Just when they feel as if Jesus has abandoned them, he calms the storms. The rain ceases, the waves calm down, and the boat comes to a still.

Depression and anxiety feels much like this storm. It comes out of nowhere and feels so overwhelming that it is almost paralyzing. That's what the past few days have been for me. A storm of depression and anxiety and it appears as if Jesus is nowhere to be found. The emotional storm carries on outside but where is Jesus? Does he not care that if I drown?

In the midst of all the emotional storms, the depression, the anxiety, I have to remind myself that Jesus does in fact care. In Deuteronomy God affirms that, "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; not be discouraged." I don't know why the emotional storms of depression and anxiety still come even three years later. I do not know if they will ever go away. But what I do know is that Jesus has not abandoned me to drown in this. I do know that Jesus promises to bring me to the other side. And even though it may feel like Jesus is asleep, I know that he will come and calm the storm.


Graffiti Park

While on our summer traveling, we went to Austin, TX. There they had this amazing art gallery called "graffiti park" where artists could do graffiti work. Once a year they strip the whole thing so that artists can start all over. It would be cool to come back each year to see how things have changed.

Here is what we saw:


Austin, TX

The summer travels are only continuing. My best friend, my dad, and I have gone on a summer trip every year for the past five years. Three years visiting Portland/Seattle, then Nashville, and now Austin. We are just slowly exploring the country.

Although I purpose next time we visit some place cold.

Here are some things i learned in Austin:
  • Austin is "fake Texas", it's not real Texas. 
  • Brisket tacos are the best damn thing. Ever. 
  • Breakfast tacos are a staple in a Texan's diet. Especially in Austin. 
  • Texas humidity is no joke. We may think we have it in California but we've been lied to. Our dry heat is amazing. 
  • But every place indoors is air conditioned.
  • Afternoon naps. You need them. 
  • It's normal to have a beer while you watch a movie in the theater. If theaters don't do that, they are weird. 
  • Austin is the live music capital of the country. I don't believe it yet because we didn't see any live music. 
  • There is bacon in almost everything here. They like their pork. 
And here are some highlights of our photos during the week. I'll have a separate post about the graffiti park we went to (because the pictures are so cool). Stay tuned for that.