Quotes

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“Nothing can be necessary that he withholds”

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Last Friday, I listened to Taylor Swift’s 1989 for the entire 9-hour drive from Denver to Kansas City. Collectively my favorite record I’ve heard in ages, it just might have the power to pull me out of athletic retirement and train for another half marathon. Running would probably be good for me, seeing as how these days I’m wound as tight as a guitar string one pluck away from snapping up and whipping you in the eyeball.

In the past month, I’ve been in a lot of airports – Denver, Minneapolis, Austin, Atlanta, Kansas City, Chicago, Rochester, and Baltimore, to be exact. Between work and my far-flung family and friends, I travel more than the average person – and I’ve found that the only way I can survive the aggravation of airline travel is to wear earplugs at all times. Not ear buds – I don’t want music. No, I want to drown out everyone and everything, even at the risk of appearing rude to my fellow passengers. Oh, you just introduced yourself? UNACKNOWLEDGED. You’ll get over it one day.

But despite the irritation, airplanes get me where I want to go – which, this weekend, was upstate New York for 24 hours. While I’ve been a bridesmaid more times than I have fingers, “godparent” is a new role for me – and there was no way I was going to miss Colin’s baptism. He is 6 months of chubby, flirtatious perfection, and I’m honored beyond words that his parents would choose me.

Colin1

When the service was over and the reception was in full swing, I stole away to the edge of Will and Miranda’s dock on Seneca Lake. Their property is beautiful – it’s been in Will’s family for generations – and I needed to be by the water. At the risk of sounding all woo-woo, water affects me spiritually. It cracks my hard heart wide open. It’s a shame that Denver is so landlocked.

There on the dock, I thought about the stories that the majority of my friends are living, and how different mine is turning out to be. I tried to tell myself that it’s okay, I’m okay, that not having a family of my own is actually far less complicated and I should be happy for the simplicity of my little life. After all, as some well-meaning friends have told me, it’s dangerous to love someone so deeply – because then you have so much to lose.

Well. I’ve never been divorced. But I’ve never been married. I have never lost a child. But I’ve never had a baby. Hope unrealized brings with it its own invisible grief, one that doesn’t fit into an obvious category, the kind that solicits cards and casseroles. Could it be that things that haven’t happened can hurt as badly as things that could?

Because it’s one thing for all of your friends to get married. It’s another when they start having kids. It’s entirely another when they decide to be finished having kids… and you’re not sure if you’ll even start.

I know, cue the sob fest and the weeping ovaries. Except.

Here’s what I’m discovering: joy is found in connection, and connection comes in all sorts of forms. I might not be a wife, but I’m a friend who can and will hop on a plane at a moment’s notice to fly across the country. I might not be a mom, but I’m an auntie, and a dog lover, and now a godmother. I’m a daughter and a sister. I’m a hard worker who cares about the well-being of the people I work with. I’m a writer and a wanderer and a hoper and a dreamer, and damn it, I want to be one who celebrates the things worth celebrating, even if they’re not happening to me.

And until those celebrations are my own, I’m clinging to John Newton’s words: “Everything is necessary that [God] sends; nothing can be necessary that he withholds.”

Given that, I’m really thankful that God has sent Foxy Brains and Colin Warder and Southwest Airlines and red wine and Taylor Swift.

Characters

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

We are all watching. We are all watched.

To some people, this could seem glamorous. The whole idea of being in a novel or film or reality show is quite appealing.

We know what kind of people they are. We see the shallowness, the superficiality of their self-love. But for some reason, they can’t. For some reason, none of us can when we are set on making asses of ourselves. Listen to your dialogue. Look at your thoughts. Be horrified. Be grateful that God loves characters, and loves characters on journeys, characters honestly striving to grow. If someone else was delivering your lines, would you like them? If someone else was wearing your attitude, would you be impressed?

:::::

I’m a few chapters into Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl. Don’t you love it when familiar things are articulated in a completely original, true-but-not-trite, non-sentimental way? I’m savoring this book.

“Everything that made you so different”

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

“At a certain point in your life, probably when too much of it has gone by, you will open your eyes and see yourself for who you are, especially for everything that made you so different from all the awful normals. And you will say to yourself, ‘But I am this person.’ And in that statement, that correction, there will be a kind of love.” -Phoebe in Wonderland

Patience

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

“How’s your writing going?” he asked.

It’s the question I’m coming to dread more than any other (except for maybe “Been on any good dates lately?” – bless your heart), because whether songs or prose, the answer is “It’s not, really.” The thing I love to do more than anything in the world is bringing nothing but disgruntled resentment these days. Inspiration is nowhere to be found. The well hath run dry.

Of course, I’ve been through this kind of thing enough times to know that the drought isn’t permanent – at least, I hope it’s not permanent. One never quite knows for sure. Surely, at some point, writing is going to bring me joy again? My thoughts are going to arrange themselves in some sort of semi-organized fashion? Or maybe it’s going to take me grabbing them by the horns and wrestling them to the ground like a cowgirl, the kind I used to watch at the Montrose County Fair when I was a kid.

Life is fairly daily these days. The rhythm has become predictable – which, how is it that I can both appreciate and despise routine? Foxy the Wonder Pup is growing, we go on a lot of walks, I ride my bike to work, I grocery shop. There is coffee in the morning and a crock pot of food at night. I haven’t been on a plane in a month – an abnormally long stretch for me. I see friends, I clean the house, I rearrange the money in my bank accounts. And I think ahead to 2014, wondering what it might bring, praying for the things that I hope for.

Hope is hard – because I’m a person of action. If there’s something I want, typically I make it happen. Time waits for no man, and especially not a woman. But some things aren’t up to me, and no amount of posturing or positioning will make a difference in the ultimate outcome. This reduces me to – okay, tears of frustration – but also a reliance, a faith, a giving over of myself, a trust that something, whatever it is, will be.

“I have to write these things now,” I told her, frantic. “If I don’t, they’ll pass by – I’ll lose them – they’ll spoil.”

She smiled at me. “They won’t spoil. Maybe they just need to marinate for a while.”

This is an “in between” time – in between the exciting moments, in between the sowing and the reaping, in between the preparation and the meal. And in the quiet, slow rhythm of it all, I remember one of my favorite quotes by Frederick Buechner:

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

All moments are key moments. Life itself is grace. The humdrum is valuable, if only I can find the patience to sit with it for a while. And in the midst of the mundane, I want to engage with life with the same enthusiasm as this one – because she is bringing me a lot of joy.

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foxy_snow

Ideas I like

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

“If you don’t have doubts you’re either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants-in-the-pants of faith. They keep it alive and moving.” –Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking

“The folk singer’s job is to comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.” –Woody Guthrie

“No matter what your job, you’ll always find yourself in one of four stages: unconsciously incompetent, consciously incompetent, consciously competent, or unconsciously competent.” –Dave Fisher, my boss man

“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” –Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

I’m not an expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’ve only read one of his books (The Great Gatsby, obviously), and from what little I do know about his personal life, he kind of seemed like an cad.

But I keep running across quotes of his, and there’s no denying that I like the way he strung words together. I like the way his brain worked, the way he spun thoughts. And because this blog is where I collect things that I love, if for no other reason than so I can revisit them while sipping cocktails like Daisy Buchanan, here are some of my favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald quotes.

“A great social success is a pretty girl who plays her cards as carefully as if she were plain.”

“Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

“Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go according to any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds, they’re more like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material.”

“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.”

“In the real dark night of the soul it is always three o’ clock in the morning, day after day.”

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

Tuesday love

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

BOOK
I just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I can’t tell you what this book did to my heart.  I can tell you that wherever life takes me next, I’m going on a major backpacking trip first.  If you know me at all, you’ve already heard me talk about it.

SONG
Say what you will about Taylor Swift’s latest album, but I can tell you this: “All Too Well” is classic Taylor, and it hits me in the gut.

QUOTE
“How we spend our minutes is how we spend our lives.”  I don’t know who’s credited with coining that phrase, but it’s hitting home for me these days.  I want to spend my minutes well – which means, ugh, maybe I need to stop watching “Dawson’s Creek” on Netflix.

PLAN
I recently volunteered to be bumped from a flight in exchange for a travel voucher.  I’ve decided that I want to use it on a solo vacation somewhere peaceful in early 2013.  Requirements: a beach, a kitchen, and plenty of quiet.  Any ideas for where I should go?

Seasons

Friday, May 25th, 2012

For me, the year is split up into four different “seasons.”

Fall is running.
Winter is gym.
Spring is walking.
Summer is hiking.

When it comes to exercise, these are my natural inclinations – during that particular season, the corresponding activity just feels RIGHT. They’re not mutually exclusive – I’ll still go on walks in the fall, or to the gym in the summer, or hike in the spring – but by and large, the weather and the air dictate my workout, and this spring, I’ve found myself a 9-mile walking loop.

I start at home, and head south through the Sunnyside and Highlands neighborhoods until I hit Lohi. Then, I cross the pedestrian bridge to downtown, and wind down Platte Street past REI. With the rollercoasters of Elitch Gardens off to my left, I walk underneath the Speer Bridge and past the Denver Aquarium, cross back over I-25, and through Jefferson Park. It’s a mile to Sloan’s Lake, which I circle, and then make the long trek north back to the house where I drink a gigantic glass of water.

Last night, my friend and former co-worker Anna joined me on this walk. If you know Anna, you know that she is something special: kind and generous and authentic, an insanely hard worker, and uniquely talented. Also, if you know Anna, you know that she will probably be embarrassed that I wrote those things.

Sorry, Anna. I would say you’re lame, but that would be a lie – and I’d rather go to heaven.

Anyway, Anna has been in Denver since last September, and has done such an amazing job of embracing this current season of life. She, like many of us, finds herself in some unexpected circumstances – but has marched forward and done the things that feel right – for right now. Her current season is helping to determine the direction that she goes, and she is rolling through with such grace and aplomb. For a girl like me – often hell-bent on bulldozing my own path, come hell or high water, with nothing but The Future in mind – it’s so inspiring to see Anna live in the moment, enjoy the simple things, and take each day as it comes.

There are seasons to life, and adaptation is key. Like my exercise-of-choice, different seasons call for different routines, different practices, different processes. Little by little, and with friends like Anna, I’m learning to embrace my current season, shelving my expectations for the future, and experiencing the Now.

Except I’m really excited that it’s almost hiking season. You understand.

[Quote by Gabrielle Blair. Who made it into art? I don’t know, because sometimes Pinterest fails us. If this is your picture, let me know so I can credit you (and tell you that you’re great).]

After Easter

Monday, April 9th, 2012

“So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute.  Love the Lord.  Love the world… Love someone who does not deserve it… Give your approval to all you cannot understand… Ask the questions that have no answers… Be joyful though you have considered all the facts… Practice resurrection.”

-Wendell Berry, from Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Security or peace?

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety.  For peace must be dared. Peace is the great venture. It can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security.”
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What do I want more – security or peace?

Today, I’m choosing peace.  And I hope that I always do.