August, 2009

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Static

Friday, August 28th, 2009

If you happen to be one of the people who has attempted communication with me recently and heard nothing in reply, I AM SO SORRY.  I owe you a more personal apology at some point – but for now, I am just trying to dig myself out.

Sometimes, all we can do just has to be “good enough.”  I look forward to the day when I can do well again – when I have time to read and write and think and dream, when I can fill up my spirit, when I can work toward some things that I find important, when I can be witty and quick and heartfelt, when I can catch up with people.

But lately, all I can summon the brainpower to do is to sit staring at the dining room wall and spelling the word “queue” out loud.

Q-U-E-U-E.   Q-U-E-U-E.   Q-U-E-U-E.

Instead of reading my words, I highly recommend that you go read my friend Sarah’s story.  She has posted every day this week, and has kept me on the edge of my seat.  Start with Part 1, and then move to Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.  I am flattened by her candor, and inspired by her courage.

Life lessons from hiking

Monday, August 24th, 2009

As inspired by a solo-hiking trip in East Tennessee on Saturday.

When you come to a fork in the road, and one sign points to “scenic overlook” and the other points to “short cut,” take the short cut.  There’s a chance that the scenic overlook will be spectacular – but then again, it may just result in losing the path altogether and wandering around the woods completely discombobulated.

Being alone may sound like a great idea, but when the going gets tough, you will be thankful to run across other people – even if they are burly, camo-clad men named Frank and Jackie.

Double-check.  When the trail is called a “loop,” it might actually be a straight path in for miles, with a small loop at the end – like a balloon.  Or, in my case, a noose.

A white tank top is either wet or dry – there is no in between.  If it looks like it might rain, err on the side of caution.

There will be spiders.  There will be cuss words.  And sometimes you will face-plant.

Loved

Friday, August 21st, 2009

I don’t always believe that Jesus loves me – even though the bible tells me so.

Oh, I know that Jesus loves me – in a “whole world in his hands” kind of way.  But do I believe that he loves ME?  That he sees ME?  That seems impossible.

It’s this thorn in my side, this snag in my otherwise fairly confident faith – which is interesting, since the love of God is what the gospel is centered on.  When I have a hard time trusting the central truth of the Christian faith, it has a ripple effect on the other things that I believe.

I find myself swinging like a pendulum between an inflated sense of self-importance and a groveling sense of shame.  Driven by a strong need for justice, I still buy into the lie that I can earn my worth, and that if I don’t secure my merit by my own accomplishment, then I’m done for.  I miss the whole grace thing, over and over again – and then just beat myself up for being a loser.

It’s hard to believe something that I can’t feel.

But lately, I’ve been coming back to that passage in Matthew 6 where Jesus talks about the birds of the air, and how they soar and glide and don’t worry about their lives because they are provided for – and that if God loves them, how much more does he love you and me?  For some reason, that has felt like a good line of reasoning – something that I could latch on to – and so a few weeks ago, I prayed that God would help me remember that.

Specifically, I prayed for a visual reminder of that truth.

And last week, I received a birthday package in the mail.

Greta’s note was short and sweet, simply saying that she knew that this was an enormously impractical gift, but that she saw it and just wanted to send it to me.  I unwrapped it, and found a doorknob.

It took me a second to put it together – because there’s no way she could have known.  Why on earth would she have sent me a doorknob – especially when I don’t even have a bedroom door?

But when the pieces fell into place, my heart almost burst.

Because the love of God will open the door and set me free.

picture-1

Powerless

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

When I got home from work last night, the power was out.  It didn’t come back on for 15 hours.  FIFTEEN HOURS.  Right as I was walking out the door for work this morning, all of the lights kicked on – so then, I had to put down my purse, put down my Vera Bradley quilted lunch bag, put down my laptop, put down my gym clothes, and do a walk-through of the house to turn everything off.

My bedroom is upstairs, where, sans air conditioner, it is at least 12 degrees hotter than the rest of the house.  Needless to say, last night was sheer misery.  But that’s all I’m going to say about that, because this summer, I haven’t been complaining as much about the heat (proud?).  It doesn’t mean that I’ve been enjoying it any more, or even hating it any less – just not verbalizing my suffering as often or as strongly.

But just because I won’t talk about the heat doesn’t mean I won’t talk about other things.

Yet another brilliant segue by Annie Parsons.

But.  I don’t know where to take it.  So I guess that this is the end – unless you’ll allow me to add these things: it’s really difficult to read white letters on a black background, crouton rhymes with futon, and vote for Gabe.

Watching / Listening / Reading

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Speaking of entertainment… not that we were, but let’s do…*

– – – – – – – –

I cannot get enough “Friday Night Lights.”

I have never so badly wanted to be a) a Texan, b) a football fan, or c) named Tami Taylor… sadly, none of which I will ever be.

This show is so good.

I was going to write more about it, but that’s honestly all I can say.  This show is so good.  I am still on season 1 – but I watch it before I go to bed, I watch it when I am getting ready for work, and am already planning the upcoming weekend around watching at least 12 episodes.

Welcome to my glamorous life.

– – – – – – – –

One of my favorite singer/songwriters, Gretchen Peters, just released a greatest hits CD.  Not available on iTunes, I ordered it off her website – and I am so glad that I did.  A double disc set, the packaging is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and last weekend, I sat in a comfy chair for over an hour, listening track by track, and reading through the liner notes.

I mean, when was the last time you did that??  It is joy-inducing, I swear to you.

I’m also listening to Mindy Smith’s “Stupid Love” on repeat.  No one has ever made heartbreak sound so good.

– – – – – – – –

Books sitting in a stack beside my bed but haven’t been reading because I’m too busy watching “Friday Night Lights”:
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” – Audrey Niffenegger
“Acedia and Me” – Kathleen Norris
“Eclipse” – Stephenie Meyer
“On Beauty” – Zadie Smith

The only book that I’m actually devoting any time to is “Oxymoronica” by Mardy Grothe.  Okay, fine – so this is just basically a long list of oxymorons and paradoxes.  One liners.  It is fantastic.  I read it every night and laugh.  I have another book by Mardy Grothe called “I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like.”  Come on – THAT IS AWESOME.

– – – – – – – –

*my favorite phrase for changing the subject.  It works every time.

But what does it all MEAN?

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Last night, I dreamed that I was driving a logging truck in an ice storm – storms aside, I am fairly certain that truck-driving would be my ideal vocation.  When I finally arrived home in Montrose, Colorado, safe and sound, someone knocked on my door.  I opened it to find a man standing in the swirling snow; he told me that he built his own boat, and he really thought I should come see it.

“But – I’m not wearing any makeup!” I protested.

“You look beautiful,” he said.

“But – I don’t have any shoes!” I challenged.

“That’s okay – I brought you these.”  He pulled out high-heeled leather boots, lined with sheep’s wool.  They were his mother’s.  They were size 6 ½.

He won me over.  What can I say – it doesn’t take much.

– – – – – – – –

This week, I promise to write about the following things:
–    “Friday Night Lights”
–    My 10-year high school reunion
–    How a doorknob reminded me that God loves me

This is my brain

Friday, August 14th, 2009

fried_egg

No drugs required.

I have 5 different possible directions to take this post, all of which are saved as fragments of Word documents on my desktop.  I have been trying to write for days, but quite frankly, everything that is coming out is baloney.  All I can do is stare at the wall.

Y’all, I am exhausted.  And when I am exhausted, I get super pessimistic and woebegone.  Another car honks at me, and I burst into tears.  I find myself presented with chocolate peanut butter brownies, and immediately eat 4.  And then I eat half a frozen pizza.  And tortilla chips.  And maybe some cream cheese on a spoon.  My mind wanders when it should be focused, and I am serious when I should be playful. When I feel overwhelmed, human interaction is the first thing I cut out.  I criticize my body, my abilities, my decisions.

I do not like who I become when I am exhausted.  And I do not like how other people experience me when I am exhausted.

So I’ve been staying quiet.

I’ve been writing in this open venue long enough to know that there are certain things that I should not share.  There are certain times that I should not write publicly.  There are certain emotions that should not be accessible to just anyone.

I make my insides far too available.

But I’m learning to protect my heart, trusting it only to those who have earned it.

So forgive my silence as a simple act of self-preservation.

Contrary to popular belief

Monday, August 10th, 2009

I love to send cards in the mail.  I am always on the lookout for witty, pithy, quotable cards – and when I find a good one, I buy it, regardless of whether I have someone to send it to or not.  Sooner or later, a situation warranting the card is bound to arise.

About a year ago, I saw one of those square cards – the ones that cost extra for postage – with a George Eliot quote on the front:

“IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BE WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN.”

As a person who is all about pursuing dreams, I bought it, thinking that someday, one of my friends would have a huge career change, or do something crazy just because it brought them life.  But for all of the wonderful things that my friends have done and are doing, for some reason, this card has sat in my stack for months.

I had no idea that it was for me.

There is a God who says that he is making all things new.  And it recently occurred to me that it is never too late to be what I might have been.  It’s not too late.  I’m not too old.  I’m not too broken.

Be encouraged.  The same goes for you.

It’s sad when this is the only piece of noteworthy news in my life

Friday, August 7th, 2009

I’m back on Facebook.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it’s already stressing me out again.

Love/hate, Facebook.  Love/hate.

See you around the Wall.  Sigh.

Thoughts for a Thursday

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Let me just get it out: I feel like a terrible blogger these days.

Okay, now I feel better.

– – – – – – – –

Saturday is the 6th annual Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville.  This is of note for 3 reasons:

1)    Sound the trumpets: I am making my triumphant return to running, as I’ve registered for the 5K in the early morning.  Nashville Miranda and I plan to run together and catch up about life – and if that means running 15-minute miles, so be it.
2)    I’ll be singing backup for the beautiful, the talented, the VOICE – Wendy Jans, at 12:45pm on the main stage.  It’s supposed to be 96 degrees out.  So much for glamour, and/or happiness in general.  But seriously – come hear this woman!
3)    At 3pm, Seth will be entering the Red Head Contest.  For those of you who have had the honor of beholding Seth’s gorgeous (and all natural) locks, you know that he is going to win that ribbon.  He will hold the title of “Tomato Red” soon enough.

Also, I just love tomatoes.  They’re so fat and wonderful.

– – – – – – – –

I wish we said the same thing about humans, because I have some amazing birthday cheeses in my fridge.

– – – – – – – –

“Amnesty” is just another word for “grace,” and I think that deep down, that’s why we are so moved over the story of Laura Ling and Euna Lee.  It makes me cry to think about them being pardoned and allowed to return home – mostly because it reminds me of the undeserved kindness and generosity I have been shown in my own life.

Sometimes, I feel just like those girls.