Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Do Believe It's True

I close my eyes.
And I am where the land meets the sea, I'm on some train or bus; I'm walking barefoot.
Salty waves are crashing onto the beach in Muizenberg,
They are beating the rocks in St. Ives into polished black beads,
They are spraying the grey pier at Whitehaven.
The Indian and Atlantic oceans are stirred together along Cape Point.
There are people around me who I don't and never will know, maybe they don't speak my language. I'm half alone, I don't know what will happen next, who I will meet, or what I will be.

I open my sore red eyes.
Those beaches, rocks, sand, salt, water, the people on the train- they're all in my computer in a file called "Pictures," they're in a white frame on my wall, they're a pile of papers, letters, and postcards in a shopping bag on my floor. So contained, like me. I know pretty well what will happen next, I know who I will meet, and what I am becoming.

I really long for the beautiful, lonely uncertainty of travel.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


In times like these, I think the world shrinks. I can touch the four corners of the map from where I sit, and they're like cement walls. At once I see the twenty four different hours: it's sunset, it's noon, it's ten pm.
Or maybe it's not that, maybe life is exploding and pieces are everywhere, scattered over thousands of miles.
Only sort of everywhere all at once?

Monday, December 27, 2010

216 Hours

And today I realize that I don't particularly want to go back there, I don't want to stay here, I don't want to revisit anywhere either.
I want to go somewhere new.

After Taking Pictures of Myself Wearing Dad's Sweater....

....I want to paint!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Will Say,

I will say I'm happy.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


The more I know him the more I feel like I know him so little.
Francis Schaeffer calls our creator an "Infinite-Personal God."
To me that term is almost paradoxical, the idea of someone
uncontainable yet always reachable. But I think that's the beauty
of God, that He is so vast and immeasurable, and He wants to
spend time with a little girl that only speaks one little
language that has 26 little letters in it.
I'm not sure if this makes sense to anyone,
but I guess God is just showing me these days how big he is.
And I feel tiny.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Broken & Poured Out, not Trampled and Stolen.

This is the point in my life where I learn that there should be a sincere difference between things falling away and me falling apart. I always try to make them go together, but they don't have to.
I've tried holding onto things, and have half-willingly just given up on others, and now I'm realizing that those things weren't all really necessary, maybe some were even some terrible Hannah-schemes I've dedicated years to forcing into occurrence.
And there's definitely something brighter ahead.
"Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness"- Psalm 37:3(ESV)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is God Building With Bricks Or Stones?

Last night at Bible Study we got talking about the subject of fellowship, a common theme I've noticed bouncing around quite frequently lately. I'll try to briefly sum up what came of last night's discussion. By the way, please note that this isn't my original "message," I'm simply blogging my notes on other people's ideas (especially my dad's, he brought the main core of this to our group last night).
Genesis 11 tells the story of the tower of Babel. The tower is an image of forced fellowship, a group of people united under the concept of man-made glory, the deification of self, ambition based on pride and selfishness. The tower of Babel was built with bricks. "'Let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.' And they used brick for stone...."(v. 3)
Bricks are man made, they are made by a process of crushing, stirring, compressing, and ultimately, burning. The bricks were then glued into place with tar. In the same way, when the Holy Spirit is not the one building the Church, our purpose as the stones that build this fellowship becomes a process that crushes us, compresses us, glues us in place so that we can no longer breathe, and causes us to ultimately burn out.
Let's face it, we're not meant to be bricks! We're not meant to look the same!
Throughout the course of the Bible we see that God has always desired his dwelling place to be made of natural stones, first in a literal sense in the old testament stone altars, and later in the new testament where we are called Living Stones (1 Peter 2:4-6).
My dad builds stone walls from found stones he takes from the forest. He never cuts them and never uses cement or any kind of mortar, but simply takes the time to look at them one-by-one and finds the perfect space where they'll fit. These stones have a special unique shape, color, and size, but somehow he finds a place for them to be useful for the purpose of making a complete and beautiful stone wall. In the same way, when God builds us into something, he doesn't need mortar to stick us there and make us stay put. The shape that we are, however unique it may be, is the perfect shape for one particular place. Alone, a stone is just a stone, but together, the different stones create something that is both natural and unique.
In light of this, it's good to know that we're all equals, we're simply stones. While we each have a specific purpose and gifting of our own, in the end we're only pieces of rock until Jesus places us in any position. This should help us rid our minds of the mentality that is so pervasive in modern Christianity which condemns those who don't prophecy in front of thousands, heal tens of thousands, or have a million dollar ministry. Our place is only for the support of the whole body, not just to sit on top of the other stones and say "Look, I'm in a higher spot than you, therefore I'm more special to God!" Our gifts are not for flaunting, not for condemnation, for self-inflation or pride, they're tools God has given us to build up our neighbors! Some helpful passages that show this concept are found in Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 1 Corinthians 13, 2 Corinthians 10:8 (where Paul really puts AUTHORITY in perspective...), 2 Corinthians 12:17-20, Romans 14:19, Ephesians 5:15-21, John 15:13, 1 Peter 4:7-11... There is pretty much an endless supply where those few passages come from...
The only stone that should stand out above the others isn't the stone that's the pastor, youth leader, the worship leader, the missionary, the teacher, the prophet. It is our Cornerstone, Jesus, (1 Peter 2:7) around which He is building a foundation for his Church. Can we get back to the perspective that our Father has? Our whole focus should be Christ glorified! The thing God our Father is building is not made with human hands. It is a dwelling for his Holy Spirit. It is the Church: The Body of Christ.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Prolonged Dream

I've tried so many times to imagine up some sort of thesis about all that has happened surrounding the loss of Daniel Schaeffer.
All I can offer right now is some fragile construction of pieces of thoughts........

It has almost been a year since the accident. The day. The moment.
I can not imagine what moments others are transported to at the thought of it, and I don't want to.
For me, when I think of it, I am sitting in some dark room in England.
I am yelling "NO" into the phone.
But there are some things we cannot say "No" to.
Somehow, through this year-long season of fall, the Schaeffers, my family, and the whole town have been learning what it is to accept loss and pain.
We can't say "No" to the pain, but what about God, trust, healing, facing the future?
We are cautioned now to be more real with God and one another, to value things differently, and to cherish. We are challenged to face the ugliness of the world, the grief which strikes our earth daily; to face an ounce of the immeasurable heartbreak God feels. We are challenged to trust God and lean not on our own understanding in a way we'd never expected. We are to somehow expect to heal.
The danger doesn't simply lie in denying pain, it lies further ahead, in denying Him who would heal us.
More seasons are coming, spring will be here, although I know it's hard to see.
My heart's saying "Yes" to the future, to God, to trust, to healing.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

And I Complain? REALLY?!

Just read this on

• The United Nations estimate that over 12 million people worldwide are trafficked for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Other sources estimate the number to be up to 27 million

• 32 billion dollars is made every year off the bodies of young girls & women in sex trafficking.

• 80 % are female and 50 % are children, the large majority forced into the commercial sex trade.

• Modern-day slavery is said to be the second largest criminal industry in the world.

• The average cost of a slave around the world is $90.

• The estimated profits from one trafficked woman alone averages around 250,000 American dollars per year.

• The average victim trapped in the sex trade victim is forced to have sex up to 20 times a day.

• According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.

• Between 2001 and 2005, 140 defendants have been convicted of human trafficking in the U.S. which is a 109% increase from 1996-2000.

• Around half of trafficking victims in the world are under the age of 18.
• More than 2/3 of sex trafficked children suffer additional abuse at the hands of their traffickers.
• Trafficked children are significantly more likely to develop mental health problems, abuse substances, engage in prostitution as adults, and either commit or be victimized by violent crimes later in life.
• There is only one shelter in the U.S. designed specifically to meet the needs of trafficking victims, and it currently only houses a total of seven to nine victims.
• Trafficking victims normally don't get help because they think that they or their families will be hurt by their traffickers, or that they will be deported.
• An estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States each year. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country is even higher, with an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry.
• An estimated 2.5 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion dollar commercial sex industry
• 95% of victims experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking (based on data from selected European countries)

• Estimated global annual profits made from the exploitation of all trafficked forced labor are US$ 31.6 billion
$ 15.5 billion – 49% - is generated in industrialized economies
$ 9.7 billion – 30.6% is generated in Asia and the Pacific
$ 1.3 billion – 4.1% is generated in Latin America and the Caribbean
$ 1.6 billion – 5% is generated in sub-Saharan Africa
$ 1.5 billion – 4.7% is generated in the Middle East and North Africa

• 161 Countries are currently identified as affected by human trafficking:
127 countries of origin; 98 transit countries; 137 destination countries. (Note: Countries may be counted multiple times and categories are not mutually exclusive.)

Sources:Polaris Project; UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns: April 2006; Initiative against Sexual Trafficking; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence ; U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007; UN.Gift; United Nations; Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves; International Labor Organization; United States, Department of State; UNICEF; U.S Department of Justice Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons; Source: U.S. Department of State, The Facts About Child Sex Tourism: 2005.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Little Car

Worship services, intimate conversation, and crying always seem to occur when I'm on the road. All good things.

Friday, August 27, 2010


im tired of reading a beautiful sentence and only seeing the grammaticall errors and misspeled words.
I want to realy love. Just luv.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


i just wonder if this is me evaluating the hell out of everything or you devaluing the hell out of me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


... all I want to do is create things, make things.
I think it's the fact that I've come home from constantly being "on the move," and am suddenly back in the land where employment is a joke and where I no longer have a clue of my place in things.
So I'll sew, cut, paste, and paint my place I suppose.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Not who they are, but who you are.
Who you are not isn't the focus.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

As The Ruin Falls

Yesterday I left Carlisle in much the same way I came to it, climbing into a train with this gaping sadness of leaving much behind and some feelings of bewilderment, excitement, and sometimes horror of what could lie ahead. But this time, the horror ate away at the excitement like some sort of parasite or acid. What on earth have I become? What am I bringing home with me? Can God always be this real? Where have these six months led me to?
Then, after the journey on the train, I settled down, I prayed. I prayed some selfish prayer. I prayed, ironically enough, more selfishly than before I came to Carlisle in order to learn how to pray. “God, I want this, God, give me this, God, O GOD, why don’t I have that. -Oh, and since I know that this is the attitude I should have about a Saviour who gave all for me- by the way, I want to want you in my life most of all, help me with that too.” The latter request became some sort of a side note, a trite recitation of a few lines… like extra paperwork that people sign in order to get what they really want. I said I wanted God most, simply as a means to gain the first and more selfish demands.
I’ve prayed this kind of prayer before. I remember one night in Africa I had a similar conversation with God. It was a little less desperate, and a little more humble than the words I nearly spat at him yesterday. That night in February, He spoke then more clearly than I have ever heard his voice before. He said that what I ask for isn’t wrong, but that he simply wants me to desire him the most. Basically, my priorities were wrong.
I was calling this conversation to memory last night, and I wondered what he would say this time. Would he say once again to want him the most, to get my priorities right? I already knew that was what I needed, but I realized now that knowing is very different than understanding and meaning. How could I desire him the most, what would my motive be? I have tried giving myself so many reasons to place God in the first place, talking myself into loving Him. But it was his voice again last night that brought clarity and understanding. He didn’t condemn me, he didn’t yell at me for being blind or weak… he simply said “You are my desire.” As if to say, “It’s not your idea, Hannah, you didn’t think this up for yourself. I was the one to make the first step, I was the one who died to be with you, I was the one calling out to you first and not the other way around. I love you, can’t you accept it? I loved you first, don’t you remember that?”
Is it that easy? Have I frantically flown through six months of fabulous teaching and left the main point to be realized mere days before going home? Have I been jumping around reaching for a hand that has been in front of me all along? Have I accumulated 24 weeks of revelations and memories only to find that this was the main thread running through it all and holding it together? Have I rambled and ranted to God so much, and never given him the chance to tell me he loves me? I suppose that God’s voice last night was articulating what He has been teaching me over these weeks and months. Through the incredible joys and sorrows, he was leading me back to the simplicity of a relationship with Him. It was he that brought me on this six month journey. I wasn’t the only one trying to get closer. It’s not about my constant striving and working, it’s not about my whining and complaining. It’s about the fact that he loves me perfectly, beyond my understanding. So, there, Hannah, there’s your motive, that’s what you’re bringing home: love.

As the Ruin Falls by C. S. Lewis

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love --a scholar's parrot may talk Greek-
-But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Six Months Later

I haven't posted since September 17th, last year. Wow.
I've decided that the name of my blog is very inappropriate, first of all, I usually talk/write before I really think, and in general I don't repeat the process for a long time.
It should be called "Write/Whenever/Whatever.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Here Hear!

Reduced to the person that lives on the speck that lives on the clover: my tiny voice says, "I EXIST!"

Friday, August 14, 2009

How it feels not needing a distraction, but desperately looking for one.

I have decided that the words "ready," "prepared," and the like are simply not applicable to me.
I always imagine that I'm ready for something, I'm ready to be gone, I'm ready to be in love, I'm ready to make huge choices, I'm prepared for this.
Suddenly, my head and heart are spinning around like juggling balls in someone's hands, stable for two seconds as they land safely in the palm of his hand, then flying in the air again, afraid I'm going to hit the floor (or worse, never come down at all). Suddenly, I'm leaving in six weeks. Suddenly, silence.
And I am so not ready.
We always imagine ourselves to be sure of things until they occur. But nothing is ever the way you imagine it to be. Anything subject to human emotion immediately is out of control.
I am out of control.
Catch me.

Monday, August 3, 2009


I have come to see that being in a prayer meeting amongst people pouring out their hearts before God is one of the most beautifully intimate experiences.
Sometimes the faith of others is so humbling to me. The humility which I feel is not an intimidated or belittled humility, but an inspired humility in awe of the bold fearlessness, the open-heartedness that I see before me.

I guess that I have had this idea tumbling around in my head for a couple of weeks, but didn't put it down like this till now. I hope the thought makes sense?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Writer's Block?

I never write. Right. Rite. AAAAAAAALRIGHT. I think I've already used that play on words, another sad sign that I am starting to repeat myself regularly. Which is probably why I haven't written...
I imagine that if I were in some sort of encyclopedia, my entry would be something like this:
"Hannah Hempstead, born September 28, 1989. Nationality: USA. Current Residence: A long and narrow hallway. Interesting Facts: Hannah wanders from the north to the south end of her hallway constantly. Each time she reaches the north or south end, it's as though she has discovered it for the first time. Unfortunately, she doesn't realize that she's seen the same wall several times before. Also, she hasn't grasped the idea that a hallway is nothing in comparison to a house. Or a 100 story building. Or a town. Or a city. Or a world. Or a universe."
The idea that I am unoriginal is even getting unoriginal.
How... pathetic.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Is it the uncertainty that you love or is it the love that you're uncertain of?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Left right wrong right denied right

Today i feel like that stupid deer, caught between the east and west highways, headlights and racing cars going two different ways, trying to choose which car will and which car won't hit me.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I never thought I would battle bitterness.
For years I've always looked the other way, always been desperate enough to forgive those that I want in my life. But lately I'm finding myself to be constantly battling something I have always feared: hatred. Not the sort of hatred that comes from some distant dislike or difference, but the sort of hatred that comes from the constant hurt and selfishness people give out. Unfortunately, my own bitter indignance at people's nearsightedness has begun to make me nearsighted, and I constantly say, "They're only looking at how things affect them" while I am, in fact, myself progressively backing into my own little shell; taking off my own glasses.
Where can I find the balance? How can I be honest to myself about people's faults without committing the same faults myself?
This morning I read a good answer to that. Oswald Chambers writes:
"The reason we see hypocrisy and fraud and unreality in others is because they are all in our own hearts. The great characteristic of a saint is humility-- yes, all those things and other evils would have been manifested in me but for the grace of God, therefore I have no right to judge.... We have judged our fellow men as sinners; if God should judge us like that we would be in hell. God judges us through the marvellous Atonement of Jesus Christ."
There, indignation.
There, bitterness.
There, hatred.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Big Picture

Now zooming out a bit... I've been far too introspective/cryptic of late in my posts, I appologize for the past few posts that really seem emo and pathetic.
Not much to write really.
A couple resolves: to not be resolved about much else but my resolves to make some creative/wearable/pretty/hannahesque skirts and start doing yoga.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Go. Stay.

Half of me wants to tell you how I wish I'd never met you.
The other half is begging you to stay.
I don't want to miss you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Does this sound bitter? Or is it just fact?

It's not all that hard to maintain that which you care about.
So there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Not a resolution, but a thought.

I need to change it, to untie all of the strings I use to make meaningful connections between a song, a picture, anything, and you.
I'll take those loosed strings and put them in a box somewhere, or tie them into pretty little bows that I can admire for what they are on their own:
a done creation, something which has existed before and still does, but something which no longer grows.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


NO WORDS. No words.
Just thoughts.
A whole pile of thoughts cut up and scattered on some old chipped tabletop.
I am wondering where the pattern is, but I have a sinking feeling it is cut up with the rest of those shredded thoughts.
So there I am.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Iced Coffee is much safer.

To start off my day, I successfully did a typical clueless-hannah thing: reaching my arm over a steaming, boiling, hot pot of tea water.
"Hannah, steam is a higher temperature than boiling water..." My mother observes.
Something I'd much rather not learn first hand, but there it is. A burn the size of a golf ball inconveniently situated on my lower left arm (with which I write) is today's lesson which seemed to repeat itself in many different forms throughout the day: an old adage I have retained from my early reading years: "Look before you leap."