Sunday, January 25, 2015


I'm like Alice in Wonderland: "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it." I easily get caught in the quarter life crisis trap, where as a 20-something post-grad I'm a little miffed about my future, my purpose and the meaning of life.  Just a tad of existential thinking.  And like many others, I sometimes find myself at a standstill.  I stand on the street trying to decipher a map in a different language, and everyone else whizzes by in a blur, seeming to know where to go and what to say.   And you know in your heart that they don't know anymore French than you do, but they've learned how to live without a script, take chances and trust they've made the right decision.  It can be frustrating to be in this place where you don't feel like you're moving forward. Where the images in front of you are unrecognizable, indecipherable and confusing - where you've fallen into a moment where you're not sure how much more you can continue to have blind faith.  I know our lives are written in pencil but we get fed up, wishing it was sharpie, so we wouldn't have to work so hard to fill in the blanks.  But it's time to change and accept change. It's time to live before I die.

Wouldn't sharpie outlines constrict our freedom? Wouldn't they limit us to everything, everyone and everywhere we can learn and experience in this vast universe?

We weren't gifted with nicely wrapped packages, but we continually expect God to explicitly tell us what our gifts are and how they fit into His plan.  Instead we were gifted with free will, an abstract piece of art given to us to decipher and interpret.  It's our choice to allow him to guide us in that understanding.  All we have to do is accept this gift, decorate our souls with it, and remember that it's ultimately up to God to fill in the blanks if we are willing to trust his penmanship.  And with time, the image will fit into a mosaic of "the bigger picture." Live intently with this wisdom. Live fully with this wisdom.

Do you want to say you lived every day like it was your dying day, or like you were dead inside, waiting around for life to knock on your door and invite you into the great unknown? Without open-minded trust, it's almost impossible to stray from the latter.

Our gifts are constantly being renewed and transformed all of the time.  Take a step back and embrace life's inevitable change. I know it's hard. It hurts. But let go, and let God. Live before you die.

And most importantly, remember to remember who you are.  You know yourself better than you think you do.

"Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Slàinte, 2015

Last year I re-vamped my first official 'New Year's Resolution' list from 2013, hoping to create something tangible rather than overbearing.  This was the 2014 list:

1. Journal daily 
2. Read The Bible in its entirety (chronologically and cover-to-cover)
3. Start song-writing
4. Perform daily meditation 
5. Run a half-marathon or 5K
6. Don't let my happiness depend on the approval of others 
7. Constantly work toward having a selfless attitude instead of a selfish one
8. Search for a career outside of the US 
9. Stop dwelling on the good/bad times of my past and remember that each day is a fresh start
10. Save money for a cross-country road trip
11. Dive back into mission (whether it's by supporting others in their efforts or going on my own trip)
12. Instead of always trying to document moments on social media, give myself completely to the person and situation (more face-to-face communicating)
13. Travel to 3 new countries 
14. Learn something new every day outside of the classroom 

The items crossed out are the ones I've accomplished either somewhat, or wholly, this past year.  Although some were more along the lines of vague mood-changing, character-enhancing goals, I can safely say that 2014 was a year of vast growth, even if I didn't fully achieve certain resolutions. I'm so thankful for having another year to keep striving for some of the goals still unchecked from this list--and thankful for everyone who has helped me get where I am today.

The thing I love about New Years' is its universal celebration of life.  We take a night to reflect, reminisce and ruminate over the past 365 days, telling stories to friends over a glass of champagne in our sequined dresses and silk bowties.   As the clock strikes 12, we break out into Robert Burns' famous "Auld Lang Syne," a momentary wrinkle in time; its Scots language flows with a nostalgic, gentle lilt, bubbling over with bittersweet images of people and places we've shared in moments and memories.  After reaching another of life's highly magnified milestones, a lot of thoughts were swimming in my mind during the second verse as I jogged through 2014 memories, as well as aspirations for the upcoming year.

In 2015 I'm focusing on a more organic lifestyle with the hopes of getting more in touch with my roots (spiritually, physically, emotionally, relationally).  In a highly materialized and consumer-oriented society, it's extremely difficult to find, and maintain, happiness in the simplicity which God's creation offers us every day.  I always come back to my favorite verse, Romans 12:2: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will."  In order to keep faith and joy in a broken world, it's vital to be rooted in our creator; it requires sacrificing comforts or habits that draw us closer to our selfishness and drag us further from God's intended selflessness.  Sometimes when we feel unsettled, it's easy to slip toward the former and away from the latter.  It's important to recognize our struggles and focus on strengthening ourselves as humans.

That being said, here is my bucket-list of 15 resolutions for 2015.

1. Train for and run the Pittsburgh half-marathon in May, helping to create a lifelong physical health routine.
2. Focus on building up the youth in the church, whether it's powered through Bible study, giggle-infested movie nights or conversations over ice cream sundaes.
3. Spend time outdoors every day, inhaling fresh air and exhaling stressful toxins.
4. Travel to 3 new U.S. States/2 new countries. . .experience life from others' perspectives.
5. Minimize social media/internet (Facebook, instagram) usage to stop unhealthy comparisons with others; keep these resources for staying in touch with long distance friends, or as a creative outlet, instead.
6. Aim to be more present, reciprocal and respondent instead of sulking in the past, and floating toward the future.
7. Continue working toward an international career/graduate school.
8. Limit Netflix/tv to one night a week and spend more time in relation with others or reading/writing/studying, etc.
10. Learn 'Blackbird' and finger picking on the guitar/continue learning how to play the mandolin.
11. Have a "Seize the day" and "C'est la vie" attitude.
12. See the world through rose-colored glasses (or stained glass if you prefer).
13. Find how to incorporate love into areas of my life where there has only been hate.
14. Slowly start a writing project/launch new blog.
15. Make more of a personal effort to spend time reflecting on scripture/applying scripture to life's circumstances.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Augmented Reality (Christmas in the key of G)

Down on the flats in Cleveland

Music is magic, transcending time and space;  Music creates images and words we can't find on our coffee-stained papers, filling in the blank spaces in our lives that need illustration; Music augments reality, evoking tangible feelings only achieved through a perfect combination of measures and melodies.

When I was younger, I was the girl who'd post lyrics from her favorite song as an away message on AIM (and maybe I still do the same thing on Facebook. . .).  Any time anyone says even one word from a song, I'm the first person to start singing its lyrics.  Most of my life's advice for myself and others comes from Bob Dylan and The Beatles or one of my favorite hymns.  Music has been gifted to me through those who do it best. It's a daily inspiration and encouragement for every moment in my life, acting as a safe haven when I've experienced some of life's inevitable storms.  Music surrounds my favorite memories, and my worst memories.  It's helped me grieve, love, understand and grow. I think anyone who loves music can agree that it has the power to take our minds to a place that seems far away but instead is giving us the means to remain in the present moment when our minds are usually running in a million different directions.


Around this time of year there's a lot of a gift-giving that happens between friends and loved ones.  Seeing Johnnyswim in Cleveland this past Thursday reminded me how God gifts each person with a talent that often becomes our passion, enabling us to use it in creative ways as we interact with the rest of the world.  As a new fan of theirs, I entered the Music Box Supper Club with fresh ears, only familiar with their NPR Tiny Desk concert (see above^^, it's a must-watch vid!).  The band's raw talent and chemistry on stage fully engaged the audience as they went through some old tracks and current Christmas renditions. I was overwhelmed, as I usually am, by the simple, pure bliss of listening to live music.

Abner Ramirez, the husband of the married duo, inserted comments throughout the concert.  Among his jokes and stories, he mentioned how playing live and doing what he loves isn't about his personal enjoyment on stage, but the happiness and love of music that creates an aura in the room between the performers and the audience.  He continued describing how music brings people together, pulling us into its melody, creating harmony in our minds and carrying us to a place of utmost joy.  Music is the gift Ramirez was given, in order to give to others.  Throughout Jonnyswim's performance, it was obvious their hearts were set on fire for sharing their talent in the hopes that it might positively motivate those in the crowd.

winter old-fashioned; Mad Men anybody?

Everyone's gifts are different.  Some of us might still be searching for our niche, but it will be  revealed as we move throughout each stage of life.  Our gifts from God aren't meant for selfish reasons, but in order to create a better kingdom on earth.  This Christmas season don't just be thinking about the gifts you can wrap in a red bow, but the ones that create faith, peace, love, hope and joy.


I'm born to go where they tell me it's impossible
Fan the flame and walk on the water
I've got heaven locked up in these bones

Monday, November 17, 2014

Artist of the Day: The Ghost of Paul Revere (17 Nov. 2014)

Back in the first days of The Indie Attic Girls blog, I frequented an "Artist of the Day" post. It's time to bring back some tradition (After all, winter is the master season of remembering tradition!).

Today's artist is The Ghost of Paul Revere.

I stumbled upon these guys while endlessly clicking on Spotify's music suggestions. . .a task I'm not ashamed to admit turns from 10 minutes of music discovery to 2 hours.  The Ghost of Paul Revere is a 4-piece "holler-folk" string band from Buxton, Maine.  Their eclectic sound hones harmonies akin to Mumford & Sons and CSNY, while bringing the soul with gospel rhythms and lyrics. Influenced by the Beatles and Elmore James, they combine two unique traditional styles of music played in an untraditional fashion.  Max Davis, Sean McCarthy, and Griffin Sherry, childhood friends, formed the band in 2011 with the addition of Matt Young.

Their single "After Many Miles" showcases their solid three-part harmony accompanied by a simple heart-pounding foot stomp/hand clap combo; think about what it would sound like for Queen to do an acoustic version of "We Will Rock You" with the addition of a North American autumn-inspired lyrics and you've got The Ghost of Paul Revere.

This summer I'm hoping to see them perform if I make it back to Maine! The link below shows them performing in a studio interview in Portland, ME. . .they look like the perfect summer night (copyright YouTube and 'Live At The Studio Portland' productions).

Live At The Studio Portland - The Ghost of Paul Revere


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Branching Out [Vlog]

I haven't done a video blog post like this for 2 years so thought I would switch it up! Have had a lot of thoughts swimming around in my head the past few weeks as I've been reading "Praying Like Jesus" by James Mulholland.  One of those little things I say every Sunday but have never really examined what the prayer is requesting. Something I've been thinking about and hoping to get others to think about.

Have a fab weekend!!


“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” 
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Saturday, November 8, 2014

poetry corner #5

As I've hit a writer's block the past couple of months I scrounged around for some of my old class notebooks.  Junior year at Westminster I took Dr. Swerdlow's poetry class, one of my favorite courses during my 4 years of university.  In my class journal, I'd scribble down some of his best quotes that helped to shape the creativity of my writing.  Looking through the archives I was reminded that blank pages are intimidating, poetry is like religion, writing isn't always comfortable but it slows us down when everything else seems a bit hectic.  And for this, I'm thankful.  We can never be perfect at what we do, sometimes we'll hate our work and others won't appreciate it, but we should never give up on what we love just because we've hit a brick wall; just find a different way to break through it :)


“Nothing is as intimidating as a blank page.”
“Poetry is not unlike religion. . .pairing suffering with beauty.”
“Take time to reflect on what you’ve been doing, if your poems can slow you down and allow you to dwell in that moment. . .be thankful.”
“Maybe it’s not the comfortable poem to write, but maybe you get more texture.”
“It may be that you didn’t put enough of the world into your poem for us to see it”

In November country,
strangers sip coffee
beneath umbrellas
for one-lane dirt roads,
and grey, impending skies.

Yellowed novel pages,
autumn's brown debris,
rest between knobby knees
bumping against a bus window,
her awful bare bones draped
with whiskey shivers.

His green army jacket
conceals a black suit;
stained with mustard
and cigarette burns,
it smells of cinnamon and patchouli,
remnants from a visit
to his grandma's.

Exchanging green glass whispers,
they joke about the weather,
as it pitters, patters,
and don't question
where he's going
or where she's been.

xx Hill

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"She came in through the hostel window. . ."

I think I'll take a walk, leaving Liverpool.

Double gin and tonic please? 12:35 AM, their second stop on Mathew street. Saturday: full swing, full moon, glass half-full atmosphere, where stilettos and cuff links mingled with combat boots and wedding rings. 

Where are you parents, love, certainly you’re too young to be here.  Are you European? The 60-year-old sport-jacketed man pulled over a stool, accompanied by two others, most likely his mates since grade school having a lads’ night out.   The sticky coasters became occupied by three glasses of Guinness, the foam perfectly untouched by eager lips.  Giggling, she turned her focus back on the dancers, elbowing her travel companion.

The modpodged walls reverberated out-of-tune karaoke, allowing the middle-aged English to twirl on the floor between sips and whispers.  The 20-something wallflowers soaked in their energy. That’s it - the ticket to life, the ticket to ride. Simplicity. Simplistic happiness.  It was tempting to join the locals in their waltz, body language becoming the universal accent.

As their glasses emptied and eyelids drooped, the pair weaved through the effervescent crowd, craving a place to call home for the night. 


Her room reeked of man and she wondered if she was safe in her corner; she clutched a phone in sweaty palms, gluing it to her chest in concealment of a passport and cash.

Unwashed, her messy hair splayed on the pillow, weaving glitter into the cotton threads. How did I get here? her ears rang with existentialism, drowning out the drunken confessions and troubadour rhythms wallowing through the cracked March window.  The glow of fairy lights and pub signs made shadows dance across the stone cold walls, soaked in the fingerprints of strangers.  Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. It’s wonderful to be here, it’s certainly a thrill.

Rattling with the snores of a French native, the tangled sheets behind her masked a disheveled traveler, his lone Sperry the monster under the bed revealing his gender.  She slithered further under her duvet, protecting her foreign heart from unfamiliarity. 

She traced a figure 8 in the air, a ghostly image melting into the blackness. Restless. To infinity and beyond.  With a heavy exhale she released her shoulder’s tension, smiling and remembering who she was as she drifted into wonderland. Gonna let it burn, burn, burn, burn.