Saturday, February 7, 2009

I've moved!

My new blog layout is pretty. So go see it! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Hey everyone! Okay, so I'm going to be jumping on board Abigail Kraft's Monthly Poetry Mondays. I won't always be posting recent work (the poem I'm posting today, for instance, was written when I was 15), but I'll try to participate as often as I can. :)

So, here goes...


the moors lie, an open canvas
blown smooth by the wind --
barrenness, barrenness, barrenness that
gives birth to so much beauty.

the opening dawn brushes the heart
steals it away into the sweet, the familiar mundane
wavering chords of birdsong
weave through thick emptiness
fading, fading, fading
into the fog; straying,
waking in the rain.

lost hope is called back
and love wanders into the sun,
leaves its nest behind
to soar into heaven's sanctuary,

circling, circling, circling
over the gentle folds of the earth.


Monday, January 26, 2009

so much more


there is
a time to speak,

and a time
to fall silent.


we were meant to be
so much more than

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mathematical Musings

In the midst of exams here, sorry for my lack of posting! I've only got one to go -- math -- and I'm writing it Monday morning. I should be practicing my probability, which is a bit rusty still, but my brain is such a muddle of fractions and decimals and equations that I honestly don't know how I can possibly keep studying. It really does seem that the more I study, the less I understand.

I'm not overly worried about doing poorly on the exam -- I've calculated that, even if I get a low mark on it, I can still retain a 90-average because of other work that I've done in the course. My concern isn't that I'll bring down my mark; it's that I'll let my teacher down. Just a few days ago, he told me that he was really pleased with how I was doing in the course and asked if he could use one of my projects to show as an example to future classes.

This was a very pleasant surprise, considering how much I've hated math all my life. Oh, I know that most everyone "hates" math -- but I'm sure that few people have ever cried every day for a whole year before math class, as I did in fourth grade (we were learning long division -- now, I have a scientific calculator for that chore!). Math has always scared the wits out of me, and, even though I've always managed to scrape by with A's in the subject, I never really understood it or felt confident in it. It's only in my final year of high school that I've managed to find an aspect of math which I enjoy. I never expected to like math -- much less be good at it -- so this has served as a nice lesson in doing hard things for me.

The problem is, I still feel like my good grades aren't really representative of what I know. In many of the units, I only got high marks because tests were easy and I happened to memorize the right notes; not so much because I understood what I was learning.

And now I'm feeling the pressure. My teacher, who thinks I'm great at math, expects me to get an equally great mark on the exam, and I just don't think I'll be able to manage it. I've memorized all the formulas and practiced all the questions, but get stuck as soon as I encounter a new question, and only manage to understand it after I check the Answer Key. Plus, my brain's really, really about to melt.

So I'm really going to let down my teacher on the exam -- and I hate that feeling! We've all seen singers release not-so-great albums, athletes do sub-par on the Olympics, writers publish disappointing sequels -- I hate to think that I'm going to make someone feel that way with my own work. I really don't like letting people down; whether I'm blogging, Flickr'ing, or working on schoolwork, I'm always worried about how my work will measure up to all that I've done in the past. In fact, that's why I quit writing for several years after sixth grade -- I wrote a few good (for my age) stories that won me an award, and I stopped experimenting, afraid that I would fail to produce something equally good.

This fear of pressure is also why I stopped blogging three times (on other blogs, not this one) and quit art in middle school. It's ruled a lot of my life. I've learned, in time, to overcome it, but it's getting the better of me tonight. And it's making me wonder.

Why do I care so much about what my teacher will think of me if I fail, and so little about what God thinks when I disappoint him? God has seen me as a devoted, trusting, and on-fire disciple, and now he sees me slipping away, running after the transient, emphemeral charms and deceptions of this earth instead of stepping closer to him. He sees me trip over the world's worthless lies, and fall so, so far below what he wants and expects me to be.

Why do I care so little?

Granted, there's no pressure. In God, I am free from pressure, competition, deadline, and stress. He wants me to work, rest, and commune with him out of my own will, not as a response to prodding or force. It's my choice to serve God, and it's my choice to care.

Tonight, I feel at peace. Whether I do poorly on tomorrow's exam, or whether I hear another "Good job, Oksana," I know that only one thing matters: it's whether or not I will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Only one thing matters.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


i've talked of heaven's gates in terms
of geometric patterns --
the golden bars, pearl-laden and parallel --
repeating, repeating, repeating
their endless panoramas raced through my mind while i sat
mastering the equation
and missing the entrance.

but you

you haven't learned arithmetic yet
and your faith makes me restless.

i believe 
when i see your fingers reach for mine
the lines in the palms of your hands, 
which you clutched so tightly 
in the womb --

are your patterns.

lift them, child,
leave your imprints in the air; 
our unseen fingerprints are 
His to breathe in
His to remember...

and He will collect your patterns,
guard them tightly between the pages of His book 
save the songs you spun in worship

forever and ever and ever and ever
and always.

it is a pattern, child

and it's dancing.

Inspired by Brooke Fraser's song "Seeds." Read its lyrics -- they're amazing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

and in the midst of the christmas frenzy, she crept out the door for a breath of silence

steal away, 
steal away, 
steal away to Jesus...  

steal away, 
steal away home...
i ain't got long to stay here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Stable

"There was no place for them at the inn." -Lk. 2:7

I used to be an inkeeper. My life was so filled with the temporary guests and transient visitors of this world that I had no space for Jesus. It wasn't that I cared about the people and things upon which I lavished so much time and care; it was simply that I could not afford to let them go. What a cost to my reputation it would be if I stopped swearing, stopped laughing at crude jokes, stopped dressing in the latest, revealing styles! Who would stop by my inn if I made room for Christ? No, I had an image to uphold: I was the keeper of an inn that invited all the latest trends, all the coolest people, all the riches of the world. A young wife gasping in labor and about to give birth to a child? A baby, still in the womb, lauded as the perfect Son of God? 

Sorry, no space here.

"When Herod the king heard [the wise mens' news], he was troubled ... he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem." -Mt. 2:3, 16

I used to be a ruler. Herod was my name, and, although I didn't personally know this Jesus, I had heard enough about him to decide that he was my ultimate enemy. A King who would grow to be greater than me? Could anyone dare to even think of pushing me off my throne? No, I was the center of the universe. My needs came first, my glory was sought before anyone else's. Could a carpenter's son tell me otherwise? I would not stand for anyone trying to rule over me. To be my guide? To make me conform to a standard other than my own? The thought disgusted me, and I set out to destroy anything that even mildly smacked of this Son of God. Prayers and hymns were put out of my mind. The name of God I dragged through the dust, trying to empty it of its glory. I was certain that the Messiah had to exist somewhere -- in organized religion, maybe, or in stained-glass windows, in nativity sets, or perhaps in the syllables "Jee-zus." So I slayed those things, taking care that not even a fragment of them should remain near me.

I was an innkeeper and I was a ruler. I rejected my savior and persecuted my God. Salvation was for the weak; I sure didn't need it. I had all I wanted: I was rich, and powerful, and important.

Or, at least, I thought I was. But, in reality, I was a sad, sorry sight. A dirty stable, cold and worn to bits, with loose boards and a caving roof. I was smelly and full of waste. My walls were stained and my floor was a sea of wet, sticky mud. I was a foul, disorganized, broken mess.

And God chose to lay the Savior in me.

In my empty manger, God placed the Bread of Life. On my dark, shivering floor, God placed his warmth and light. Into my dirt, God placed the world's purest soul. And into my lonely silence, God placed the sacred cries of a child who would become my King. 

It's then I realised that my famous inn and my great kingdom were but illusions. Suddenly, my riches seemed like dust in my hands, and I saw that all my past glory was nothing but a foolish mirage. That knowledge broke me; it hurt to feel my poverty and see my ugliness. But that night, as the star shone over me and as angels sang above my roof, I felt myself starting to become rich in a whole new way. I, the run-down stable, had become a dwelling place of God. My worthlessness was being transformed into purpose, and my affliction into peace.

The innkeeper in me vacated his rooms and the Herod I'd been stepped off of the throne, because now, the King of the galaxies was alive in me. 

And, even if I'd had the whole universe laid out before me for the taking, I couldn't have asked for a better gift than that.

Merry Christmas.

Photo from JupiterImages. Verses from ESV.