Thursday, June 28, 2007

To Write Love on Her Arms

TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS by Jamie Tworkowski

Pedro the Lion is loud in the speakers, and the city waits just outside our open windows. She sits and sings, legs crossed in the passenger seat, her pretty voice hiding in the volume. Music is a safe place and Pedro is her favorite. It hits me that she won't see this skyline for several weeks, and we will be without her. I lean forward, knowing this will be written, and I ask what she'd say if her story had an audience. She smiles. "Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars."

I would rather write her a song, because songs don't wait to resolve, and because songs mean so much to her. Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness. These words, like most words, will be written next to midnight, between hurricane and harbor, as both claim to save her.

Renee is 19. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasn't slept in 36 hours and she won't for another 24. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol. She has agreed to meet us, to listen and to let us pray. We ask Renee to come with us, to leave this broken night. She says she'll go to rehab tomorrow, but she isn't ready now. It is too great a change. We pray and say goodbye and it is hard to leave without her.

She has known such great pain; haunted dreams as a child, the near-constant presence of evil ever since. She has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds. Six hours after I meet her, she is feeling trapped, two groups of "friends" offering opposite ideas. Everyone is asleep. The sun is rising. She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write "FUCK UP" large across her left forearm.

The nurse at the treatment center finds the wound several hours later. The center has no detox, names her too great a risk, and does not accept her. For the next five days, she is ours to love. We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her church, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms.

She is full of contrast, more alive and closer to death than anyone I've known, like a Johnny Cash song or some theatre star. She owns attitude and humor beyond her 19 years, and when she tells me her story, she is humble and quiet and kind, shaped by the pain of a hundred lifetimes. I sit privileged but breaking as she shares. Her life has been so dark yet there is some soft hope in her words, and on consecutive evenings, I watch the prettiest girls in the room tell her that she's beautiful. I think it's God reminding her.

I've never walked this road, but I decide that if we're going to run a five-day rehab, it is going to be the coolest in the country. It is going to be rock and roll. We start with the basics; lots of fun, too much Starbucks and way too many cigarettes.

Thursday night she is in the balcony for Band Marino, Orlando's finest. They are indie-folk-fabulous, a movement disguised as a circus. She loves them and she smiles when I point out the A&R man from Atlantic Europe, in town from London just to catch this show.

She is in good seats when the Magic beat the Sonics the next night, screaming like a lifelong fan with every Dwight Howard dunk. On the way home, we stop for more coffee and books, Blue Like Jazz and (Anne Lamott's) Travelling Mercies.

On Saturday, the Taste of Chaos tour is in town and I'm not even sure we can get in, but doors do open and minutes after parking, we are on stage for Thrice, one of her favorite bands. She stands ten feet from the drummer, smiling constantly. It is a bright moment there in the music, as light and rain collide above the stage. It feels like healing. It is certainly hope.

Sunday night is church and many gather after the service to pray for Renee, this her last night before entering rehab. Some are strangers but all are friends tonight. The prayers move from broken to bold, all encouraging. We're talking to God but I think as much, we're talking to her, telling her she's loved, saying she does not go alone. One among us knows her best. Ryan sits in the corner strumming an acoustic guitar, singing songs she's inspired.

After church our house fills with friends, there for a few more moments before goodbye. Everyone has some gift for her, some note or hug or piece of encouragement. She pulls me aside and tells me she would like to give me something. I smile surprised, wondering what it could be. We walk through the crowded living room, to the garage and her stuff.

She hands me her last razor blade, tells me it is the one she used to cut her arm and her last lines of cocaine five nights before. She's had it with her ever since, shares that tonight will be the hardest night and she shouldn't have it. I hold it carefully, thank her and know instantly that this moment, this gift, will stay with me. It hits me to wonder if this great feeling is what Christ knows when we surrender our broken hearts, when we trade death for life.

As we arrive at the treatment center, she finishes: "The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope."

I have watched life come back to her, and it has been a privilege. When our time with her began, someone suggested shifts but that is the language of business. Love is something better. I have been challenged and changed, reminded that love is that simple answer to so many of our hardest questions. Don Miller says we're called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly.

We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she's known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true.

We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home.

I have learned so much in one week with one brave girl. She is alive now, in the patience and safety of rehab, covered in marks of madness but choosing to believe that God makes things new, that He meant hope and healing in the stars. She would ask you to remember.


My friend Justin works on music videos in LA. A couple months ago, I had the chance to go with him to watch Joaquin Phoenix direct a video for the band She Wants Revenge. I had been hearing a lot about them, and their single was starting to get a lot of play, but more I was excited to see Joaquin Phoenix. This wasn't long after the release of Walk the Line, and Joaquin's brilliant performance as Johnny Cash. That movie moved me so much, watching love's patient victory over pain.

Seeing him work that day, I saw some of the madness that I remembered from his Johnny Cash role. Joaquin seems a guy who lives out there on that edge. In a single take, you would see him move from defeat to celebration, wearing both on his sleeve. And I liked that he was about the song, his leg always bouncing with the drum beat. I liked his passion.

But here's the thing that stayed with me: Joaquin writes things on his arms. By that I mean, he doesn't have a notebook (or an assistant with a notebook). Ideas, things to do, it's all there, in Sharpie scribble on his arms. It didn't make sense and I liked that. Here's one of the biggest guys in Hollywood, running around with crap written all over him, on a day when MTV was there to film. This isn't normal stuff. If you're going to write things on your arms, people are going to see. They're going to see what's on your mind and they're going to think you're weird. I liked the possibility that he didn't care what people thought. I thought it would be cool to live like that, to be about things and to be bold about them.

I came home and there was some hard stuff happening with my family. On a couple different days, I wrote "love" on my arm. It was for me, a reminder I guess, and I decided I was okay with people seeing it. Love is a pretty good thing for people to see.

A couple weeks later I met another fan of Walk the Line. She said she needed the movie, to see Johnny Cash beat his addiction meant it was possible for her. She watched it coming down, cocaine in her tears as she wept quietly in a dark Orlando theatre.

I think you know, but that was Renee...


It is estimated that 15% or roughly 17 million Americans suffer from depression.

It affects rich and poor, young and old, black and white.

2/3 are never treated.

They do not recognize the illness, and see it as a weakness or personality flaw.

Untreated depression is the most common cause of suicide.

In Australia, New Zealand and Japan, there are more suicides than murders.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people.

Depression is treatable.

Cutting was very much a mystery until 1996 when Princess Diana admitted that she had struggled with it.

Self Injurers use physical pain as an attempt to calm or numb the psychological pain or stress. They injure the outside in an attempt to release the pain on the inside.

Self Injury is an attempt to stop the hurting, an attempt to be clean.

Self injurers and addicts seek the familiar, even if its pain. This is completely foreign to most people.

Self injurers believe pain is their only option, using greater external pain as a relief from the pain inside.

There is hope.

Myspace - TWLOHA

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jennifer & Jennifer

I got goosebumps. Fred almost crapped his pants.

Monday, June 25, 2007

House for Sale!!!

My friend Peter is selling his house! It is in Nicholasville, KY. I've been to it, it's really cute!!
Here's the info:

Beautiful, Affordable Townhome for Sale (40356)
John Sutherland Dr (near Orange Blossom)
Square Footage: 1150

Why waste money on rent when you can own? Spacious 2 BR/2 Bath townhouse with vaulted ceilings, large living room and kitchen, and deck. Well-maintained - quick morning drive into downtown Lex/UK. Kitchen appliances, W/D hookup included. List at $87,500. If interested, please email or call 859/576.5708

Upcoming Movies!!

It's summer movie time!! These are the ones I want to see!!!

A Mighty Heart
Already Out
Image Source

Live Free or Die Hard
June 27
Image Source

License to Wed
July 3
Image Source

Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix
July 11
Image Source

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
July 20
Image Source

The Bourne Ultimatum
August 3

Quote for the Day 6-25-2007

"Is it any wonder that the Christian life is so often feeble and fruitless, when the very root of the Christ-life is neglected, is unknown? Is it any wonder that the joy of salvation is so little felt, when that in which Christ found it and brings it is so little sought? We must seek a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing so that God may be all, that the Lord alone may be exalted. Until we seek humility in Christ above our chief joy, and welcome it at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world.
-Andrew Murray

Dumb Ads

I had to add word verification to my comments because of those dumb ads that keep posting as comments.


Sunday, June 24, 2007


Okay, so I was looking for a video on youtube of It Ends Tonight by The All-American Rejects. And like 4 down on the list was a video for Spike & Buffy that was to that song. And I laughed really hard, but I loved it! So I'm going to make you watch it.

Quotes for the Day 6-24-2007

"In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these."
-Paul Harvey

"We may make mistakes--but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principles.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it in all at once."
-Audrey Hepburn

Friday, June 22, 2007


Lewis & Brooke really like this video.

They get on my nerves.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Book Reading for the Summer

This is my plan - in order...(I'm reading Atlas Shrugged right now)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy Birthday!!

This is my brother. He turned 20 today!! Yay!!!!!! Happy Birthday Josh!!!!
We're going to eat tomorrow night at BD's Mongolian Grill for his birthday and Father's Day!

Quote for the Day 6-19-2007

"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want."
- Margaret Young

Lewis & I are kind-of in a strange decision time right now. We've both been feeling God's call in ways we didn't expect and in ways we have been trying to push away or push back from and He's just not having it anymore. I'm not sure exactly where we will go from here, but I have to make some decisions by August. Please be praying for us.

The Big Day!!!

Kristen & David's wedding pictures are here!!!
Go to Kriech Photo for her Photographer!
She's great!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Quote for the Day 6-18-2007

"Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones."
-Francois de La Rouchefoucauld

The Break Up

Image Source

This movie makes me cry a lot every single time I watch it.

And I really don't know why.

The part where she walks in and he's got that girl dancing in front of him and they just look at each other and it's just really sad or that part where she's crying in the bedroom after he didn't show up at the concert...

I just can't handle it.

It really upsets me every single time.


I am so excited!!! He is such a cutie!!!

Subsidized Story Time 6-18-2007

Lewis just got a call.

Angry Old Lady: "Somebody needs to come down here and take care of things! There’s kids stackin’ up rocks on the sidewalk and tearin’ up everything! There’s a tenant livin’ with a jailbird and two boys. There also’s a half-and-half…[which evidently is a mixed black & white person]"

Lewis: "Excuse me?!?!"

Angry Old Lady: "Oh yes, and there's a lesbian! Somebody needs to come take care of everything!"

The nerve of those lesbians living in apartments!

I'm sorry, ma'am, your bigoted neighbor wants you out!

Equal Housing Opportunity to the rescue!!!

some people...goodness!

she calls him daddy

And it really makes me want to vomit...

...a lot.

[And this is not about anybody's real daddy. I'm not a jerk.]

Friday, June 15, 2007

Song for the Day 6-15-2007

Anybody remember this one?

Also - what's up with the dude's picture? Can anybody see that? haha

My New Best Friend

Paul Potts is just the cutest thing I've ever seen! I want to pinch his cheeks!! He makes me cry and get goosebumps everytime he sings!!

Check this out!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Subsidized Story Time 6-14-2007

Grandmother (who is my friend Emily's grandmother) is pretty much everybody's Grandmother at work. Her husband died 14 years ago. At work we have an award in his name, the Stanley Smart Award. They give it out each year to the person who has exhibited the best character, teamwork, etc. (Grandmother's daughter, Carol, is my boss. She owns the company.)

Anyway, Grandmother came in today and was talking to me & Emily & Brooke. She told us that Bobby (another man that works there) had brought her an apple pie from McDonald's today when he came back from lunch. She got kinda choked up and then said that she had stopped at McDonald's with her husband on the way to the hospital the last time, before he passed away, to get him an apple pie before he had to start eating hospital food again.

Me & Brooke started crying.

I didn't like that story.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Favorite Friend Quote of the Day 6-13-2007

Emily: "I think between you [me], Lewis, Fred & Kristen, you know more useless information than anybody I know."

Me: "What about Peter?"

Emily: "Throw Peter in there and we should start a useless information game show because the 5 of you would win it! OH! I'll be your road manager! Can
I have a phone with the headset?"

Yes, Emily. A phone with a headset.

Also at work:

Lewis: "Emily, I know what you can do with your life!"
(Emily is thinking, "Great! A li
fe plan!")
Lewis: "You could totally be a superhero!"

Emily's blog

I don't do Photoshop, this is the worst picture making ever.
Oh well it's still pretty hilarious in my opinion!


Seriously, now I'm crying.

The song on my myspace profile makes me cry pretty much every time I listen to it.

June 13, 2007

I have just had quite an emotional drainer of a day.

Big email

New clothes

Realizing (again) why there is so much turnover in Accounting

I sort-of just want to cry.

But Ichthus is tomorrow.

I'm excited about that.

See you there?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Citizen's Police Academy

I'm about to leave for my first Citizen's Police Academy meeting. I can't decide if I think I'm a big dork for doing this or if it's actually cool.

I will let you know!


I sent in a PostSecret today.

Let's see if it gets put on the site.

My New Favorite Tea

It's awesome. I've already had 2 cups today!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Britain's Got Talent

This guy is so cute and makes me so happy!! He is amazing!!

Subsidized Story Time 6-11-2007

We got a Lowe's receipt over the fax today. In the comments section it said:

"Receipt for shingles and ass"

Sunday, June 10, 2007

PostSecret 6-10-2007

just because i think it's true for so many

for hannah

Friday, June 8, 2007

my friends are cute

This is Kristen & David.
They just got married.
They are adorable.
This is the coolest picture ever.

Justice is Served

Isaiah Washington will not be returning to Grey's Anatomy.

T.R. Knight will be back.

All is well with the world of Grey's.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


These were my favorite songs in Dreamgirls...

The sound isn't that great, but the songs are!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Song for the Day 6-5-2007

Feel the pain teaching us how much more we can take
Reminding us how far we've come
Let the pain burn away from our hearts
We have time to start all over again

Feel the pain teaching us how much more we can take
Reminding us how far we've come
Let the pain burn away from our hearts
We have time to start all over again

Feel the pain teaching us how much more we can take
Reminding us how far we've come
Let the pain burn away from our heart
We have time to start all over again

Well if you would shine your love down here oh
Make our hearts as perfect as new
Oh if you would shine your love down here oh

I promise I'll reflect it right back at you
Oh I promise I'll reflect it right back at you
Oh I promise we'll reflect it right back at you

Inspiration 6-5-2007

He who loves boldly.

His love is not human. His love is not normal. His love sees your sin and loves you still. Does he approve of your error? No. Do you need to repent? Yes. But do you repent for his sake or yours? Yours. His ego needs no apology. His love needs no bolstering.

And he could not love you more than he does right now.


I have a hard time allowing myself to believe it, but he doesn't let go of me.
I run a thousand steps away and he's always 1 step behind, just waiting for me to turn around.
I'm turning.

Home Exchange!

[More from Ideal Bite]

Have any of you seen The Holiday?? I had no idea that the home exchange program was real!! That's amazing!! Ideal Bite promotes it because it is cheaper and you don't have to bring as much because the house is already stocked with the things you would need!

Check out these sites!


Home Base Holidays

Moviemakers and the Environment

[It's about that time again - I'm going through my Ideal Bite emails!]

The entertainment industry is the #2 polluter in Los Angeles. (#1 is the oil business.) It's important that we support movies and companies that are promoting eco-friendly measures. Here are some things to check out!!

The 11th Hour - a film written and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio about global warming.

Evan Almighty - the first carbon-free major comedy (starring Steve Carrell and Morgan Freeman)

Warner Brothers - the first big studio to build a green building

Ian is a Pirate

This is my friend Ian.
I'm not sure if what I love more is the look on his face...
...or the fact that he is dressed like a pirate.

Either way - awesome.


Today is my friend's anniversary!! Diana and Tom were married 3 years ago today!!
And they have 2 beautiful girls named Vada and Stella!
Here is a picture of them the day Stella was born!!

Today is also Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's 3rd anniversary!
They were married the same day as Diana & Tom, so I always remember!

PostSecrets 6-3-2007

I'm waiting for life to really begin. We're in a holding pattern right now.

I'm starting to realize that.


Strangely, I feel this way about Buffy.
And I'm not ashamed.


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