this is life 20.0

i didn’t exactly plan for my twentieth ‘this is life post’ to fall on my twentieth birthday, but i’m not complaining that it did.  my funky digit sensibilities are rather happy that it worked out that way.  =]

i wish i could say that i had some deep revelation or something to propound today.  that the wild emotion and confusion of the last year was somehow magically gone when i woke up this morning.

but i can’t.  if anything, i’m feeling more confused than ever.

see, life this year has been more crazy than i ever knew that it could be.  so very much has changed…in my family, in my walk, in me.  and sometimes i just feel desperate for the familiar.  i have this very strong desire for home, which is funny because i spend most of my time home anyway.  but i think what i am wanting is not just home, but Home.


we used to have three definitions for home when we were little.  home was being at our house,  home was being together as a family, and home was heaven.

i’ve had a fair bit of the first lately, and while i long for the third, i am quite content to let God control when i experience it.  but the second…i long for that.  for the security of it, for the closeness of my family, the closeness of dear friends who live too far away, the closeness of friends who live close but whom i don’t see often enough.

it’s funny, i’ve always run a bit warm, never needing a coat in the winter, never much liking hot drinks, wearing flip-flops every chance i could.  but this winter, i’ve been craving warmth.  pulling my sleeves down over my wrists.  wearing scarves just around the house.  curling up under my down comforter when i talk on the phone.  wrapping my hands around a warm mug of tea.  i don’t know if that has anything to with anything…but there does seem to be a correlation between when i feel coldest and when i feel most alone.  like i try to fill that need for closeness by wrapping up in physical warmth.


but here is the conundrum.  as much as i yearn for Home…there is another part of me that is very much ready for a new adventure.  for wide open skies and windswept clouds and roads that disappear in the distance…

the other week, driving home from church, the sky was an infinite swath of gold and silver, and the air smelled of rain and promise, and i felt this urge to just ‘miss’ my exit and drive and drive and drive…i didn’t, but oh, i wanted to.

i’ve been a sucker for discovery channel shows lately, the series on africa and india and south america.  i was realizing that we know people all over the world…we know missionaries in various parts of india, in kenya, in sudan, in venezuela, in indonesia.   if i had a spare ten thousand dollars, i think i’d pick up and visit them all.

since i don’t, though…i would settle for just a mountain trip.  camping in the woods.  long dewy hikes that end in trailmix and laughter.  campfires that send embers up to dance with the milky way…oh, yes, i would settle for that.

i’ve been addicted to this song lately.  i’m not sure i get what it means, or at least, not fully…but i find myself hitting repeat again and again.

i’ve never been much of a beach girl.  i have always enjoyed trips to the ocean, but i never quite saw what was so special about it…especially not in northern california, where you can get your feet wet but you definitely don’t swim in it.  but the last several weeks i’ve had a distinct longing for the sea.  i want to run down the beach with waves pulling at my bare feet.  i want to sit in the sun and bury my toes in warm sand.  i want to watch the waves and think of absolutely nothing except for absolutely everything.  i want to throw my arms open to the wind and let it blow all of my anxieties away.

a dear friend called it wanderlust.

i think she is right.


‘there’s a smell of adventure in the air. red roofs, green trees, blue sky, white road—i could fall in love today.’

(a. a. milne, once on a time)

and as i’m writing this, i’m thinking how funny it is because i am tired.  i feel like i’ve been running long and hard and i just want to rest.  but somehow, i can’t help but feel that the rest that i need, the security that i crave, lies in some new adventure.  perhaps i’ve just been doing the same thing for long enough that i’m tired of books and study and teaching piano and am ready for a vacation.  but i think this is something more.  like there is something just around the corner, beckoning me on.

and though i am exhausted, there is something inside that wants to throw open the door and run somewhere, anywhere.  and i have the strangest feeling that in doing so, i would be running Home…


today we went out to the coast.  i was hoping to get a chance to run in the waves and sit in the sand, but the weather decided not to cooperate.  it was cold and windy, and the sand kept whipping up from the beach into our eyes.  so we hopped back in the car and drove on a little further to a rockier bit of coast.  the sand wasn’t as nice…more pebbly than sandy, but at least it didn’t fly around as much.  and though i did take off my shoes, the beach was too hemmed in with rocks to do much running.  so instead i climbed to the top of the biggest rock i could find, up where the wind blew strongest, and i shaded my eyes and watched the ocean for as long as i dared before the tide came in.


it was not the calm and relaxing day that i had hoped for, but it was absolutely beautiful.  i had to shade my eyes from the sun, but the light washed in with the waves on the beach.  the wind was strong, but i was grounded on the rock.  it was glorious.

and i couldn’t help but think in terms of metaphor.  that perhaps God’s glory, like the sun, is too great for me to fathom, but the waves that crash, they don’t destroy, they only wash in the glory that otherwise i cannot see for its brightness.  and the wind that blows exhilarates instead of frightens me, because i am firm on the Rock that does not shift.  because He has grounded me on Himself, on His stability.

‘for this reason i bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.’

(ephesians 3:15-19)


(sandy toes…a sure sign of a good day)

perhaps i’ve extended the metaphor too far, but i couldn’t help but think that perhaps this is the key to my conundrum.  that i can rest easy in the face of so much change, because my stability lies in Him alone.  that, being grounded in Him, i can view all uncertainties with the certainty that was purchased for me on the cross.

‘Your love is wide open spaces where i can run
and yet we’re tangled up roots in the warm broken earth
Your love is sure…’

(audrey assad, ought to be)

i don’t know what God has for me in the coming year, but He does.  He holds my future in His sovereign and loving hands.  so that though i feel alone, i find my shelter in Him.  so that when the wind blows, i stand on the Rock.  so that though i am tired, i find strength in His joy.  so that when my adventure comes, i may know that He is my guide.  so that when He breaks me, i know that it will be with infinite gentleness.  so that, being secure in His love, i am free to run in His will.

i saw a big frontier in front of me and i heard somebody say ‘let’s go!
saddle up your horses, we’ve got a trail to blaze
through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace
let’s follow our Leader into the Glorious Unknown
this is a Life like no other — this is The Great Adventure.’
(steven curtis chapman, the great adventure)

so, yes, i may be tired.  well…i know that i am.  and, to be honest, i am frightened of what twenty will bring.  i am weary of change, of uncertainty, of questions.  but my Savior knows.  He holds all things in His sovereign and loving hands, including my future, and i know that He will work all things for both our good and His glory.

so that i think this is the part where i throw my arms open to the wind and say:

let’s go.


‘…so hold high how faint your reasons
that wind is calling my name
 i won’t wait or i will never get on…’

(blind pilot, half moon)


3 thoughts on “this is life 20.0

  1. every word, it’s like you were quoting what I can’t find words to say. thank you, carreen. i’m not sure, but this could be my favorite of all your posts. wow.

  2. Rebekah Carniglia 1.28.13 — 6:41 pm

    A great deal of pondering, wanting (oh, so familiar), and searching. That’s you, Carreen, and I think that your posts present your readers with tools to dig deeper, to find Him, to enjoy the blessing of family, and to walk away with the reminder that life is calling.
    That wanderlust…it comes with the confinement of Winter. You are doing all of the right things, though. Bring the scarves out, hold close your cups of warm tea :) And of course, do keep posting. Happy Birthday!

  3. carreen… i have no words to write because everything you wrote echoed my thoughts and my feelings.


    yes. let’s go on an adventure.

    this post was beautiful and one of your best. happy birthday, my dear friend!

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