All your doubts in the dark
Friction into a spark
That burned into a light
Now you see all the ghosts
From a past you’d supposed
Out of mind, out of sight

So if you have to break her heart
At least the break’ll be clean
It might just heal in a week or so
And if you see her in the street
At least she’ll still say hello
But only ’cause it’s too late to say goodbye

It’s too little, too late
She kept saying to wait
For the results to show
For a year, maybe two
She kept looking at you
Like somebody she knows

Goodbye, goodbye
You knew her when
And you wore her thin
Didn’t even try

Goodbye, goodbye
She’s out the door
Should have been before
You believed the lie

So if I have to break your heart
At least the break will be clean

If I have to break your heart…


right now (july 2017)

(format stolen from Mighty Girl, who in turn stole it from someone else, I don’t remember who)

Making: Still cranking away at that blanket and scarf. Lots of garter stitch, lots of a mindless thing to do while I’m watching TV or whatever.

Cooking: I made some pretty decent barbecue chicken to take to community group on Sunday. I threw together a thing the other night: ground turkey, rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and green onions. Not fancy, but it was pretty good and did the trick.

Drinking: I got a stomach bug a while back and got some ginger ale, and now all I want is ginger ale and Sprite and other clear soda. This is maybe not the best thing for me, but it’s doing the trick right now–it’s kind of refreshing while it’s so hot outside. And bad work coffee.

Reading: A lot about the congressional health care shenanigans, which is kind of making me crazy and isn’t helpful, but that’s life in 2017. *shrug emoji* Just started 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You and The Leavers.

Trawling: For a couch, still. I’m thinking I’m going to wait until the Labor Day sales come around.

Wanting: A better storage system for my coffee mugs, because they’re out of control, y’all.

Looking: For churches in the Houston area; I’m compiling a list so I can recommend places to folks that I know. If you know of good ones, please feel free to pass them along.

Deciding: What to eat for dinner.

Listening: Lots of podcasts, including a new one called 36 Questions that’s a three-act musical starring Jonathan Groff(!). The new Sho Baraka EP, Pianos & Politics.

Buying: Boring things, mostly. I need to go get new filters for my Brita pitcher, for example.

Watching: Father Brown on Netflix, based on the G.K. Chesterton books and made by the BBC.

Marveling: How in the world did the book of Esther get into the Bible? I mean, I’m glad it’s there, but it’s such an odd duck of an episode in the biblical narrative.

Cringing: I think my jeans are past due for a wash. And there’s something in my trash that smells like death.

Needing: To get up and go grocery shopping and do some laundry, but I also don’t want to leave my apartment.

Questioning: Why I have not done anything productive today. (Well, mostly. I did load the dishwasher earlier.)

Smelling: See “Cringing.”

Wearing: Lots of dresses, even though it also means having to shave my legs every other day, but it’s so dang hot outside. Also, I bought a pair of red pants not long ago and I’ve worn them a lot this week because they’re bright and happy and go with more than you’d think.

Noticing: “Hey, brain, why does my head hurt?” “You haven’t eaten anything today, dummy.”

Ever-Faithful One (The Hebrews Song)

Download here!

words and music by Amanda McClendon, 2013

vocals and acoustic guitar: yours truly
electric guitar: Austin Dobbs
bass: Chris Doss
drums and production: Michael Brown

Higher than the angel hosts
And greater than the prophets
His is the name in which we boast
The Son of God who loved us

The better King and Priest of God
And sacrifice appointed
Let all the saints with joyful heart
Come praise the Lord’s Anointed

Jesus, ever-faithful One
What do we have apart from you
Keep all your people in your truth
Oh, ever-faithful One
Oh, ever-faithful One

How could we leave behind the Lord
To cling to lesser glories
We know his promises are sure
And he holds redemption’s story

So let us raise our hopeful eyes
To the Author of salvation
And to the Father’s heavenly throne
Come without hesitation
We come without hesitation

right now (june 2017 edition)

(format stolen from Mighty Girl, who in turn stole it from someone else, I don’t remember who)

Making: In the middle of a scarf and a blanket.

Cooking: Just made a giant thing of rice for community group (used this recipe). I have some pork chops in the fridge for dinners and lunches this week and will probably also work up a batch of these meatballs

Drinking: SO MUCH COFFEE. I’m also curious about the new mango-pineapple frappuccino, but they were out of the syrup at the Starbucks I went to today, so I’ll have to wait. (Have I confessed my frappuccino weakness here? I love them so much even though I know they’re terrible for you.)

Reading: Let’s see–still in the middle of Lectures on Revivals (it’s good, but that nineteenth-century prose is not fast reading). I just picked up The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue, who wrote a book you may have heard of called Room. I’m also reading An Extraordinary Union, a Civil War-era romance novel, which I wouldn’t have picked up except my Twitter friend @emilyjanehubb read it and recommended it and it’s really good. I’m reading Finding God In My Loneliness for an online book club and Still Life as part of wading my way further into mystery novels. I’m waiting for Lord Peter Views the Body to come in at work, too, and I have The Underground Railroad waiting for me to pick up as soon as I get done with one of these other ones.

Trawling: For a couch. I inherited my old roommate’s sleeper loveseat and it’s doing its job, but I would like something in a grey. Also still looking for a desk.

Wanting: This t-shirt.

Looking: At all the pictures of my friends’ new baby that they keep posting on Instagram. *all the heart-eye emojis*

Deciding: On where to go on a road trip, and whether or not I should go to the Canvas Conference in August.

Listening: Not so much listening as perpetually stuck in my head, but “Waving Through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen. Also, the new Jason Isbell album, but especially the song “Anxiety”.

Buying: Not so much buying as window shopping, but I’m definitely looking at blouses and shirts for work.

Watching: The Bible Project’s series about how to read the Bible–the latest video is on the different literary genres and it’s just lovely. (Watch here.)

Marveling: Two things: The Tony performance from Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. (There are so many people! Oh yeah, and Josh Groban.) Ben Folds writes a song in ten minutes with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Cringing: My nail polish is so chipped, you guys.

Needing: Probably to go to sleep soon so I don’t hate everything in the morning, but here I am writing this blog post anyway.

Questioning: Lots of things, most of them too weird to write about here.

Smelling: I have this basil mint candle that I got from Target that is pretty strong and so I can smell it all the way over here even though it’s not lit. It’s really nice, though–really summery and herbal.

Wearing: Shorts and a plaid shirt. As hot as it is already, and as hot as it’s probably going to get, I’m of a mind to just wear skirts and shorts for the rest of the summer, but then I also work in a building with very strong AC (books don’t like heat or humidity), so I dunno about that. 🙂

Noticing: I’ve been using this app called Headspace to help me fall asleep at night, and y’all, it works.

[i can’t think of a title for this one]

(based on Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Romans 10:8-9)

Let all God’s people hear
The Lord, He is our God
Let all God’s people hear
The Lord our God is one

And may we love the Lord our God
With all our heart and all our soul
So may we love the Lord our God
With all our mind and all our strength

So bind Your Word upon our hearts
That we might walk in all Your ways
So form Your truth around our lives
That we might love You
That we might love You

Let all God’s people say
The Word is near to us
Let all God’s people say
He made His home with us

So we confess with our mouths
That Jesus Christ is Lord
And we believe in our hearts
That God raised Him from the dead

for you and for your children

I don’t remember the day of my baptism.

I don’t remember much of my childhood–
not in the usual way, that you just forget
as the years and days get scattered behind
you like breadcrumbs leading to the present.
No, I remember my childhood as a form full of blanks
that were never filled in–one day passed over
to lead to another.

So I don’t remember being dipped underneath the
water, white-robed, little girl, nose held,
immersed for half a second in the chaos of death
before being pulled back into light and life.

Somebody once told me that the correct answer
to the question “when did you get saved?”
is “2000 years ago in Jerusalem”
or “before the creation of the world happened.”

I don’t remember.

But I don’t really need to.

stuff I want to do this summer

  • Get to the beach (it’s not the best beach, but it’s our beach, dang it)
  • Get to the MFAH and the Menil and the Contemporary Arts Museum and the Printing Museum
  • Road trip somewhere (maybe Austin or Waco?)
  • Survive the summer reading program season
  • Submit a piece of writing somewhere
  • Try to read 20 books between Memorial Day and Labor Day
  • Go hiking
  • Go on a picnic with friends
  • Go to a show at Miller Outdoor Theatre
  • Get to a farmer’s market at least once a month
  • Start a monthly movie night
  • Do a worship night with my church
  • Buy a popsicle mold
  • Get somewhere dark to go watch the Perseid meteor shower in August

ascension day: matthew

I keep thinking of the prophet, the words
I heard in synagogue when I was young, before I
Turned traitor and started working for the Romans:
“You ascended on high,
leading a host of captives in your train…”

You have gone where we can’t follow you, not yet anyway,
Just like you said forty-three days ago at supper.
And all of us that you have taken captive
With your truth and with your great affection
Are left here to wait for You to send some sort of help
Our way, to see what happens next.

You gave us one last word before you left, though: We’re
Supposed to leave here eventually, go tell the world
About You, the King of Israel, now ascended to Your rightful throne,
And bring more people into this kingdom You promised.
But I can barely leave this hill, because I keep thinking
That You’ll change Your mind and come back to be with us,
And the weight in my chest tells me, yes, You will,
But not yet.

right now.

(format stolen from Mighty Girl, who in turn stole it from someone else, I don’t remember who)

Making : A lot of graphics for my work’s Twitter account, because it’s about to be Summer Reading Program time and we are doing a crapload of programs, you guys.

Cooking : Lots of roasted veggies and chicken, because my friend Steph and I are doing a Whole 30 until next Wednesday (I am allergic to all of the things and she gets migraines a lot, and so we’re trying to figure out what food-related things make us feel like crap). I want a bowl of pho and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when this is done. :p

Drinking : Right now, coffee (French roast from HEB, pour over, with coconut milk out of a fantastic Beatles mug I got as a bridesmaid gift a couple of years ago). I also recently discovered Topo Chico Twist of Grapefruit, and you guys. It’s so good. Target also has a brand of LaCroix-ish sparkling water (Simply Balanced, in the blue cans) and the black cherry flavor is magic.

Reading: My Bible reading plan has me in the book of Job, which is coming after a stretch in the minor prophets, so I’ve been immersed in judgment and calls for repentance and now questions of theodicy and God’s righteousness in human suffering. Nice light reading material (ha). I’m also a chapter or so in to both Lectures on Revival by William Sprague (a large influence on Tim Keller’s work on revival and renewal, which is why I picked it up) and The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp.

Trawling: The internet, for a desk (I don’t currently own one; this missive is coming to you from my couch) and for deals on mattresses because mine’s not really working for me. Also, in the near future, resale shops and other places for a new coffee table and dining table.

Wanting: Tickets to Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, which are practically impossible to procure these days, but a girl can dream.

Looking: At my feet–I got a foot mask, which is this magical liquid that you let your feet soak in for an hour or so, and after a couple of days all the dead skin will start falling off of your feet. It’s slightly horrifying, because it comes off in giant flakes, so the soles of my feet look a little gnarly right now, but once it’s done my feet are going to look and feel awesome. That being said, I plan to wear shoes with socks in public for the next few days so as not to horrify anyone else.

Deciding: On what fiction I’m going to read next, on where I’m going to go for Labor Day weekend, on whether or not I’m going to Mbird Tyler next winter

Listening: Right now, Give Up by The Postal Service. Been loving a new podcast called The Red Couch, hosted by the rapper Propaganda and his wife Dr. Alma Zaragoza-Petty, and the sermon series another church in town is doing on revival (all of the local Sojourn churches, for you Houstonians).

Buying: I pre-ordered this decal for my laptop recently.

Watching: I’m trying to work my way through the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and catch up on Doctor Who. Also, I’ve somehow never seen The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi and so that’s on the docket for this weekend. (I know, I know.)

Marvelling: It’s late May in Houston and it’s only 70-odd degrees outside, thanks to the rain that came through earlier this week.

Cringing: My dead skin is so gross, you guys.

Needing: To make an appointment with a dentist, my eye doctor, my regular doctor, and my counselor, not necessarily in that order. Also, I should probably get up and make my dinner for tonight at work here in a minute.

Questioning: When my friends’ baby is going to make an appearance–he’s due today and so every text I get I keep expecting it to be his mom or dad saying “WE’RE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL!” He’ll show up when he’s good and ready, I guess, but you know. Also, I’m wondering why in the world I decided to buy so many bananas last night.

Smelling: Method lime + sea salt all-purpose cleaner (I just wiped down my kitchen counters).

Wearing: Jeans + flip-flops + this shirt, although I should probably go change my clothes to something more work-appropriate here in a second

Noticing: That my mouth tastes terrible after that coffee

*opens can of worms*

Let’s talk about white privilege!

I think part of the problem of discussing white privilege is that it can be easy to misunderstand what folks mean when they use that term; people can be pretty defensive about it based on a misreading of it. The following is what I’ve come up with as a definition, thanks to discussions had with people and listening to other people talk about it.

(By the way, let’s be real here: culturally, I am a white evangelical, even if I am not actually racially so. I am trying to be more aware of my own inherited white privilege, which I realize makes this conversation really weird for me to have. But I’m going to try anyway.)

White privilege does not mean:

  • Every white person has had an easy life.
  • Every white person is rich/comfortable/has not had to work for what they have.
  • People of color want white people to hate themselves and feel guilty for things they didn’t do, or they want them to be eliminated entirely.
  • All white people have intentional personal malice against people of color or don’t have friends or family who are people of color.

White privilege does mean, as far as I understand it:

  • White people in America have, in general, had more systematic advantages and fewer systematic disadvantages than people of color. For example: American white people are more likely to be highly educated and have land and other assets; white people are less likely to be prosecuted for certain crimes than people of color who’ve committed the same crime; media tends to normalize “whiteness” over and above other ethnicities; people of color face prejudice, hostility, violence, and other problems simply because of their race exponentially more frequently than white people do.
  • People of color don’t want to be superior to white people; they want to be equal to white people. And there are still so many ways that they are not seen or treated as such in America.
  • White people need not hate themselves for their privilege, nor even necessarily apologize for it (although of course one ought to repent where repentance is due). God has given them the life He has given them for a reason. What they do need to do is be aware of it and use it to work for justice and the full rights of their fellow citizens. This is especially true of Christians.
  • It is imperative that white Christians, as the party with the most cultural and social power, take it upon themselves to assume a posture of humility and teachability when people of color talk about how they’ve been treated or how they see injustice in our society, instead of ignoring, dismissing, or condescending to them. This is especially the case when what people of color say is uncomfortable or convicting, or even if it does not apply to you personally. Why? This is a way to love your neighbor as yourself–to treat them the way you would want to be treated in their position, to mourn with those that mourn, to be a peacemaker. You may not always agree with them, but you can love and honor them in your disagreement.
  • And it’s also imperative that you take responsibility for educating yourself–watch movies, read books and articles, listen to podcasts. Meet people and get to know them. The folks over at Reformed African American Network are a good jumping-off point.

I know that in these days this kind of thing can seem very political and polarizing, which is a shame; if we’re called to love our neighbors regardless of who they are or what they’ve done, I think that transcends politics. Or maybe it is an alternative politics–over and against the systems of the world, which encourages us to be tribal and alienated from one another, we follow a King whose kingdom embraces people of every color.

So what do y’all think? Would y’all add or correct anything?