June, 2012

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After the fire

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

If you hadn’t heard, Colorado is burning.  There are at least a dozen separate fires racing across the state, some in very close proximity to major cities.  In Colorado Springs alone, 32,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. 

The images are astounding: smoke billowing from hillsides, flames licking the sky, familiar landmarks in the path of the blaze.  I hear about the “thousands of acres” that are on fire, and it’s hard to comprehend just how large an area we’re dealing with, or how long it may take to get it under control; the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins has been burning for 18 days.  Depending on which way the wind is blowing, Denver has often been enveloped in a haze.

For as stunning and alarming as the fire itself is, as I scroll through photo slideshows online, I’m more taken with the images of the aftermath: barren hillsides, burned-out tree trunks, quiet devastation.  After being ravaged, a small amount of clean-up can be done – but then, the only thing left to do is wait: for new growth, for new life, for a new season. 

And waiting can be so hard.

I’m in a season of waiting right now.  It’s tough, because my culture has conditioned me to expect quick results and instant relief – but I’ve weathered enough to know that this just can’t be the case all of the time.  If you’ve gone through a fire, it takes a long time to rebuild.

The last time I was in Nashville, I saw my friend Brynn Sanchez.  If you don’t know Brynn, you’re missing out, because she is one of the top humans on the planet.  She told me about singer/songwriter Audrey Assad, and later sent me one of her tracks.  Since then, “Show Me” has played at least 3 times a day – early in the morning, driving home from work, before bed.  As one who struggles with the concept of prayer (which is another post entirely), this song has been my heartbeat.

“Bring me back to life – but not before you show me how to die.”

My heart breaks for my state, and for the people whose homes have burned.  I am so sad for the death of dreams, and I feel for their long road ahead.

But I hope for redemption of what has been lost.

Things will feel better one day.  Things will BE better one day.  New life is on its way.  It just takes time.

While the iron is hot

Friday, June 15th, 2012

It’s been a doozy of a week, y’all – the kind that makes you take drives just to cry, and slam your laptop shut in frustration, and call your mom only to say negative things, and listen to your “Life Support” country mix on repeat. The stress has come from every angle, and while I wish I could tell you that I’ve handled it all with grace, I’ll just go ahead and admit that it’s pressed me down like a trash compactor.

But now it’s Friday night, and I’m posting a blog. No one reads blogs on Friday nights, or even on the weekends, but my blogging opportunities come so infrequently, I have to strike while the iron is hot.

So if it’s Tuesday and this is still the most recent post, well. You’re welcome.

I love lists, and while I tend to try to avoid list blogs – because does anyone really care about my lists? – they’re a good way to catch my people up quickly. In that (half-hearted) spirit, here are some of my happiest, most lovely, favorite things that have happened as of late – because life is too short to blog about the negative.

  • One of my not-so-nearest yet dearest, Christina, had her first baby this week. His name is Duffy, because THAT IS THE MOST ADORABLE EVER. It’s such a sweet thing to see your best friends become parents. I need to plan another trip to Boston as ASAP as possible (as possible) to meet the little mister – not that I mind, since Boston is my home in a parallel universe.
  • I’ve been super into “The Bachelorette.” It’s a disease – but who can blame me? Emily plays the part of the narcissistic Disney princess, and the guys are ridiculous, and it’s all for my entertainment.
  • My favorite Melaroose (AKA Mel, AKA “M” of the JAM House) did a heroic thing. See, I was in Nashville last week, and stopped into that Francesca’s store – “Frannie’s,” to the uninitiated. They have all sorts of cheap jewelry and cheesy gifts and dresses that barely cover the butt cheeks of a tween (I really hope I don’t get in trouble for saying “the butt cheeks of a tween”) – but when I was there two weeks ago, I found an awesome black and white striped tank. Which I didn’t buy. But a week later when I was still thinking about it, I asked Mel if she would go find it for me. Which she did. And then she sent to me. And I love it.
  • One time at a wedding in Austin, I met this guy named Brett. He had a mustache. I don’t know if he still does. Anyhow, he’s a contributor to the Corner Booth, which is written by several of my favorite people – and last week, he posted a story from his life. As a fellow fearer of dancing, it was among the greatest things I’ve read.
  • The lines on a Solo cup are FOR A REASON.

And with that, I’m off to clean the kitchen, file my papers, pay my bills, and pack my backpack for a hike tomorrow morning. Because what else would I do on a Friday night?

What I’m loving

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Everybody loves things. These are the things that I’m loving right now.

To kick us off to a boring start, I’ll tell you that I love a water bottle. But listen, this isn’t just ANY water bottle – it’s the Nathan Quickdraw Plus. It has a hand strap so I can take it on my 9-mile walks, and a pouch big enough for an iPhone and a set of keys. In short, it’s a life-saver – probably literally, since without water, I would surely die.

A few weeks ago, we cracked open a bottle of Isabela Malbec, and it ushered the kingdom of heaven right there into our living room. If you see this wine out in the wild, buy it. Spend the $12.99 and feel like a champion. I found it at Fairfax Wine & Spirits on Colfax (attached to Marczyk Fine Foods).

Last weekend, I bought the “Embroidered Eyelet Blouse” (its given, Christian name) at Anthropologie on sale for $39.99, and good grief, I love this shirt.

The Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” is my current favorite song. The first time I heard it on the radio, I cranked it loud – because even if I had never heard it before, the song just feels so good. Then I listened to the words, and felt my heart grow three sizes bigger. The video is a little cheesy, but sorry, that’s country music for you. At least they have a scene where they’re rocking in an alley with sparks flying behind them – a personal dream of mine (can someone arrange this?).

And while we’re on the subject of country music, Jason Aldean‘s “Fly Over States” is killer. Never have I so badly wanted to be blue collar. We all know that in a parallel universe, I’m a truck driver.

And finally, anyone who makes me laugh – you are my favorite.

Never wasted

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

I spent last weekend in Nashville, and it could not have been better – not even if Ryan Gosling had given me a puppy.  Not if I’d found a bucket of gold.

I’m at a loss as to how it happened, but in the two short years that I lived in Tennessee, I somehow developed the deepest of friendships with the widest network of people.  It’s like that song that kids sing in Sunday School, “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide” – except I won’t make you sing along with hand motions.  There is no dancing on this blog.

I was in town for three days, and every interaction, every conversation, felt meaningful.  Knowing how dry my spirit has been these days, my mom’s hope for me on this trip was that I would “only spend time with life-giving people” – which, given the folks I know in Nashville, is the easiest thing ever.

Miranda Runcie, Catherine Clement, Kelley Kirker, Kelli Liszka, Emily Konouchi, Ansley Quiros, Melissa Sproul, Julie Ott, Joy Beth Bodie, Cara Meissner, Hunter Lane, Duane Stephenson, David Nguyen, Zac Kubilus, Amanda Williams, Meg Souder, Joey & Brynn Sanchez, Annie Downs, Hitoshi Yamaguchi, Meredith Gruner, Paul Zimmerman-Clayton: time with you, no matter how short, is never, ever wasted.