Friday, December 30, 2005

15 Again

This morning a strange phenomenon occurred. I rose before the sun. My alarm went off and I made a groaning roll to check the clock. "Thirty minutes more," I thought to myself and set the alarm on my phone. Ten or fifteen of those additional minutes were spent coaxing my body back into sweet slumber. I drew the blankets closer to my face. The only exposed parts of my body, a cool, dark air played impishly across my cheeks and nose, whining for me to wake and start the day. Stubborn as I am, however, I managed to fall back asleep, only to be awakened, once again and all too soon, by my phone alarm.

Sleep and my bed, being two of my favorite things, begged me to stay within their warm, comforting embrace. I listened to their tender song, their siren lullaby. The sound melted in my ears, seeped into my consciousness, whispered for it to cede control once again to unconscious bliss. I lay there listening for a moment or more. I heard the call and felt the need to obey. I wanted to obey, to drift back into the quiet land of Nod.

Sadly, that tiny bit of my brain controlled by responsibility proved too strong for the temptress Sleep and her cohorts Bed, Blankets and the ever nefarious Pillow. I pressed the vixens from my body and let the cool air rush around my entire body, resistant though it was to such stimulation. Weary hands rubbed wearier eyes as my leaden feet directed me toward the shower.

Far beneath the horizon, the Sun hid still.

The shower was hot and it felt good. Clean felt good. I finished getting ready and had some breakfast before the telephone rang. Just like when I was fifteen, a dear friend, a friend far better than I probably deserve, was driving out of her way in order to pick me up and give me a ride. Just like when I was fifteen, I am carless. Well, not exactly. Just like when I was fifteen, I have a car sitting in the driveway, waiting for me to drive it. But just like when I was fifteen, I have not the where-with-all to operate the vehicle. Then it was the lack of a license. Now, it is the lack of knowledge and confidence in driving a manual transmission.

Just like when I was fifteen, I am at the mercy of the kindness of friends to cart my bum around, even if that means committing crimes against nature such as rising before the sun. Thank you friends. I appreciate it greatly.

(but please pray God will bestow the knowledge and confidence of driving a stick shift to me soon!!!!)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New Day

Well, I suppose it's time for a new post. Even though I have a million thoughts in my head, I'm going to instead leave you with a quote I found quite satisfying.

Think what a better world it woudl be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.~ Barbara Jordan, civil rights champion

of course, my milk would have to be soy...but still. mmmmm.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sky Light

I saw a "Simpson's Sky" this morning as I drove into work. It's the kind of sky that's a brilliant blue beyond the horizon with cumulus clouds, the white, fluffy kind that look like cotton balls, spread out across the atmosphere. It was a clear morning. Crystal and cool, the aftermath of yesterday's storms.

Do you know what makes the sky turn different colors? Why some days are clearer than others and some sunsets and sunrises more fancifully displayed than others? Particles. Particles in the air. Today's sky was so visibly clear because yesterday's storm swept away the gunk in the air.

Last nights sunset, however, last nights sunset was phantasmical. Pomegranate pinks bled into deep, bruising purple-blues. Particles remained in the air still; many dusty water droplets from the calming storms. Sunlight bounced from one particle to another, refracting and reflecting light, breaking and bending the colored waves until the sky lit up in splendor near the horizon, the black curtain of night rolling slowly to a close.

Isn't it amazing how beauty comes in so many different forms? Today, the sky was beautiful because it was so clear. Last night, it was beautiful due to all of the gunk. I feel like too often in life, people think beauty only lies in the clear and uncluttered. Houses are only beautiful if they are dusted, vacuumed and mopped. Clothes are only beautiful if they are dry-cleaned, starched and pressed. Women are only beautiful if they are slender, painted and polite. Men are only beautiful if they are virile, muscular and courteous.

In other words, people are only beautiful if they are neat, tidy and mess-free. And yet, as we see every day when the sun rises and sets, beauty can be greatly altered, magnified or minimized by the clutter in the air. Think about the deserts. Why are the sunsets there so beautiful? Because the wind kicks up all that sand, adding to the sky even more particles onto and through which sunlight might bend and break like a prism in an open window.

I'm learning more and more that, while outward beauty may be admired, it is within the mess that beauty may be fully appreciated. I am learning that clear skies come only after cleansing storms and storms build from the clutter and the mess. Sometimes the only way we can truly appreciate clear skies is to survive the storm and a storm lurks within us all.

After all, as Dinah Shore said, "Trouble is part of your life, and if you don't share it, you don't give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fine and Dandy

I've been going through a rough time lately, but it's been good. I feel like God is drawing me closer and closer and I cherish that. I've had a lot of questions and just as much turmoil, but God has been with me through them all. He's been more than with me, He's carried me.

I love control. Scratch that, I love being in control. I'm not a huge fan of control if it's out of my hands. Lately, God has coaxed me into relinquishing control to Him. I have kicked and screamed and cried. A lot. And yet, through it all, God extends His arms and allows me to burrow my face in his chest, wipe my tears on His immaculate robes.

I don't think God gets annoyed with our questions; with our frustrations. I think if they bring us closer to Him in the end, He sees them as good things-- as tools, even. For, after all, did He not say that He would not set upon us temptation that we would not be able to overcome? And did He not assure us that, through Him, we are able to do all things? Has He not told us to boldly seek out and own His promises?

To me, trials, tribulations and questions all lead to this. To me, it takes faith to be able to boldly come before and question the God of the Universe, knowing that He has promised to withhold nothing from us. I am learning this more each day and with each and every question. I thank Him for these questions and trials, for I know, even these are happening so that I may better understand Him and so that He may be glorified. Amen.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Come Pick Me Up

D.L. Moody is famously (and oft) quoted as saying, while passing a drunkard on a curb, "There, but by the grace of God, go I." Unfortunately, I think people often interpret his quote as meaning "If not for God's grace, I could be that drunkard." Over the past few years I've begun to think a bit differently.

Am I incorrect, or are not all sins equal? Is not each sin simply an act of going against God, no matter what the exploit (or thought or intention) might be? Don't get me wrong; I understand the sentiment. If it weren't for God, we could all be on that street corner, passed out and filthy. Yet, here's what I'm getting at: isn't there a possibility we are, in some figurative sense, hugging that curb?

I have interviewed many people over the past few years that have fallen on hard and grievous times. What I have found in every story, however, is a piece of my own story. I cannot look at these men and women and haughtily sneer, "There, but by the grace of God, go I." I hear their stories, look at them and whisper, "Yes, I understand, I have been there, too." Our situations may not have been remotely similar, but our hearts prove identical mirrors.

No matter what they have been through; I have seen a bit of myself, a bit of my own rebellious heart in each and every heartache relayed. After all, what is sin, but heartache? The Bible cautions God's people to guard their hearts above all else, for the heart is the wellspring of life. Out of the heart comes life. Why? Because that is where the Holy Spirit resides. When we turn against the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are turning against, and in turn hurting, our own hearts. We are creating heartache.

I may not have lived a life so utterly downtrodden as others I have known, but I have allowed my soul to live there. I have allowed my heart to dry up, to crack like parched soil. And yet, the grace of God allows me to return, to drink again and again from waters that will not run dry, no matter what. So, no, I may not be a drunkard, hugging the ground with all my might, but my heart, my heart has. Therefore, I thank God for His grace. And I thank Him for redemption. I thank Him for continuing to teach me, for not giving up on me, for not passing me by as I lay on the sidewalk-- for offering me a hand, for picking me up.

Maybe, just maybe what Moody meant by, "There, but for the grace of God, go I" wasn't that without God's grace he would be a filthy drunkard. Maybe what he meant, and what I know is true of myself, was that it is only by the grace of God that my drunkard heart would never be left alone on a dirty curb. For He will pick me up and carry me to safety, away from public, prying eyes. He refuses to leave me or forsake me, no matter where or how I stray. That is the grace of God.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


So, lately I've been attending a class of sorts at my church. We're a Presbyterian church-- a reformed church. That means a lot of different things, things of which I am learning in this class. One of the beliefs of the reformed church is that God predestined His people. We, as humans, are utterly depraved and therefore can do no good work on our own. As a matter of fact, even becoming a Christian is an act of God moving our hearts toward Him through the Holy Spirit.

Now, I know there are "free will" believers who read this, as well as "predestination" believers. Free Will verses Predestination is an age-long debate; one that I am not so foolish as to intend to solve here on my blog. Therefore, that is not the question at hand.

I am, however, looking to spark some conversation about a question burning in my mind. It is a question that has been eating at me for some time. It is a question that someone else posed in a manner of sorts-- someone who wasn't a Christian, but had great questions about Christianity. It is a question that may never be answered.

I have, for some time now, believed in the idea of predestination over the idea of free will. That is, I believe that God chose who He would save from the depths of hell, in order to spend eternity with Him-- not because He didn't give us Free Will, but because, as humans, the free will we have is so corrupt, we *could not* bend it to choose God. So, I believe that we have the ability to make our own choices, but we are incapable of making the ultimate decision to follow God.

I can see that, that's easy for me to see. I can see it because, on a daily basis, I choose multiple things over God. I have many idols, myself not the least of these, that I make higher priority than God. So, my question here today isn't whether or not to believe "predestination" or "free will."

My question is as follows: I know that the depraved state of man makes going to hell "fair." Being redeemed is "unfair" because we deserved worse. But God didn't have a "Plan B." He knew from before time that Man would fall and He would send Christ to redeem us. He knew He would send the Holy Spirit to bend the hearts of His chosen people. So, if He knew all of this from before day one, He basically brought Man to earth knowing that he would fail and many would end up in hell. He brought Man to earth knowing that we would never deserve to be with Him and only a select few would be able to escape eternal damnation. I understand God saving me is an act of mercy but, if He knew all of this to begin with-- how is any of His plan "Just"?


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why I should have been a "Cat Person"

Most people would agree that there are two kinds of people in the world... or at least in the U.S.: Dog People and Cat People. Growing up, my dad bred, raised and trained dogs, but we always had a cat, too. Therefore, I thought of myself as an equal-opportunity pet lover. I will have to say, however, that as much as I loved playing with puppies, my pet was always a cat.

Always, that is, until a freak accident occurred in high school and I ended up being allergic to cats for the rest of my life. It's kind of like Spiderman or Static Shock-- except instead of getting super powers, I got super allergies. eew.

Since that time, I have feigned hatred of cats and settled into my destiny as a "Dog Person." More specifically, I love golden retrievers. You know how they say pets and owners look alike? Well, I think they might have similar personalities, too.

Take my love of golden retrievers, for example. They are really wonderful, sweet, albeit slightly neurotic, dogs. I wouldn't say that label is too far off from myself. The other thing about goldens, and a lot of dogs, is that they want to please and appease their owners. They are, in affect, people pleasers.

Ouch. That arrow hit the bulls eye dead center.

Even though I am a confessed people pleaser, myself, there are so many times when I just want to hide away from the world; do my own thing. These are the times I wish I was more like a cat. Dogs follow on your heels looking for love and attention. Cats, well, cats do their own thing. They get pet when they want affection, fed when they are hungry and left alone when people are the last thing they want to see.

Yeah, I really wish I wasn't so allergic to cats. I think I'd make a great cat person. But, I guess I'd still need a dog, too. Oh, well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

True North

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. ~Matthew 5:8

We've focused on this verse over the last couple of weeks in church. We're in the middle, or perhaps toward the end, of a series on the Beatitudes. The first week my pastor spoke on this verse, he prayed a prayer just for me. He may not have known it, but he did and I told him so afterward. His prayer was that some in the congregation may not even want to see God, but that He would be with them still.

In college, I learned a worship song called Open The Eyes of My Heart. The premise of the song is that it is a petition to God to open the "eyes of my heart" so that I could see Him. I don't know how many times I have sung this song with altered lyrics, or not at all, because honestly, the thought of seeing God "high and lifted up, shining in the light of [His] glory" terrified me. I mean, think about it, Saul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus and was blinded for days. Moses met with God on the mountaintop and came down so luminous that the Jewish people begged him to go away-- just from being in the presence of God! And let me tell you, verses like this one have not helped in my stigma of fearing the sight of God.

I spoke with my pastor about this and have been mulling over our conversation. Last night I prayed for the courage to even ask to come into His presence-- an honor Christ's death and resurrection has told us to proclaim boldly. As I was praying, it hit me: I still cling to the tenements of law. Now, I know that I have been saved by grace through faith, it is a gift and "not by works so that no one can boast" as stated in Ephesians, but somewhere, deep down inside, I still believe that I have to do something in order to earn God's trust, His love, His presence.

I look at verses like the one above and I see an "if, then" equation, a cause and effect. When I read it, I read "if you purify your heart, then you can see God" or "because you have purified your heart, you are allowed to see God." Honestly, with that sort of stipulation, no wonder I fear the presence of God!

My pastor said that in the Greek, "pure" means undivided, whole. I can never cause my heart to wholly and soley seek God. Therefore, I fear entering into His presence because I know I can never purify my own heart. What's more, I take verses such as this and set my sights not on seeing God, but on making my own heart pure. How tricky is my own self idolatry! I've taken even the word of God and made it about me.

In truth, I have steered my efforts away from seeking God, and more toward "perfecting" myself. Realizing this led me to think again on the sermons related to seeing God. During the last sermon, the pastor stated that our Christian lives "start in mercy, proceed in mercy and end in mercy." Our lives are a journey begun and finished by God.

Most journeymen will tell you the most effective tool to have on any trek is a compass. However, if you've ever seen a compass, you'd know it has two readings for North. You see, the earth's gravitational pull offsets the readings of a magnetic compass ever so slightly, thus effecting the compass reading. In order to counter-balance the gravitational pull, compass makers began to make two positions to read for North: Magnetic North and True North.

Just as the gravitational pull of the earth effects the readings of a magnetic compass, my own divisiveness effects the actions, intentions and proceedings of my heart. In this my greatest fears are both justified and waylaid. It is 100% true -I cannot purify my own heart; I cannot steer it wholly toward God-- clearly my own attempts to navigate the path continue to pull short of True North.

However, it is only by God's work in me, through the Holy Spirit, that I can even have the courage to ask to seek Him. And in *that* journey, He will purify my heart, refine my inmost being. He is, after all, the Alpha and the Omega; the Beginning and the End. I can begin no good work that He has not already begun in me.

Tonight when I think I will pray for direction on this journey; I will pray for the Holy Spirit to steer me past My North, straight on to True North.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Shades of Grey

As I Christian, I often want to think in "black" and "white." I want absolutes. Honestly, it's not that repugnant of a demand, is it? After all, being a Christian means that I believe in One Absolute Truth. Having one's world set to the tune of a single Truth, the desire to see everything else meted out as "good" or "bad" really isn't all that strange.

However, the more I learn about this faith, the more I learn that Truth is not so much a line dividing "right" and "wrong," but more a beacon of light, a focal point from which light emits, illuminating those objects closest to the light and falling short on things further from it. The further we progress from the light, the darker, fuzzier, less clear objects (or objectives) become. The light doesn't just drop off, like an ocean floor, though. It gradually fades into the darkness; gradually succumbs to shades of grey.

So are the decisions and choices we make day in and out. Sometimes, they are brought into the light, shown for their true worth (good or bad). Sometimes they are too far into the darkness to explore or pursue, lest we lose ourselves in the darkness, as well. No, Truth isn't the fulcrum of a seesaw, it is a lighthouse island in the middle of the ocean.

Nothing on this earth is purely good or purely evil. There is always a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Take those schools in Georgia who shut down due to gas prices. People were enraged, were they not? I can hear the initial reactions (even in my own head), "Education should not have to suffer so you can save a buck!!!" But, what do you think that buck saved went to pay for? If those buses continued to run and guzzle gas at such significant prices, how deeply would it cut into the school budget? What program would suffer for the cost of gas? With public education funding already stretched tightly across the nation, what would a gouge like that do to an already slim budget?

There are so many sides to everything. So few choices between right and wrong these days. How can we really expect to stand on a line and dole out decisions to the left or the right? No, I believe there are many shades of grey to investigate; many levels of light and dark.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Build Me a Fire

Autumn finally hit my city today. The rains came last night, sweeping aside the curtain of humidity, revealing a stage set with clear blue skies and crisp temperatures.

I know Spring is supposed to be the season of love when the world is awakening from its icy slumber, emerging from hibernation, ready to seek interaction again, but Autumn might just outdo Spring for me. Spring's ardor is so blatant. Bright blooms cry out for attention. Wild creatures buzz and purr as phermones draw them out of their solitude. Hormones run rampant as skirt lengths recede up thighs.

Autumn, however, Autumn's allure is found in its seduction. Autumn draws you in. She sneaks up on you, like any temptress might. She offers you succor from the sweltering heat of her sister Summer. Autumn coos and whispers, "Cross my threshold. Enter my embrace, here you will be safe. Here you will find comfort from your weary days."

Her breath sweeps 'round your ears, cooling the senses. She entreats you with chilly nights warmed by crackling fires, toasted marshmallows and mulled wine. Her game is slow and deliberate. Unlike her brazen sister Spring, Autumn does not herald her arrival. She creeps in purposefully and, like the rising tide, arrives upon the stoop of your sand castle before the bridge is drawn. She rolls around the moat, breaches the outer wall and crashes your inner sanctuary only to ebb away with the sinking tide, leaving behind a wreckage fit for her barren sister Winter.

She is a vixen of the most wily kind, this season Autumn. With cinnamon and cider on her side, she coaxes you into sweaters and scarves and close-toed shoes. She awakens carnal instincts. She begs to be kindled, stirred, stoked and allowed to blaze freely, her light reflected in our eyes. But in the end, she dies away, leaving only embers, ashes and that smoky smell that lingers in your sweater for weeks and your mind ever more.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

But... You Don't Even LIKE Children

It was laughable, really, me getting a job at a day care. However, I'd rather laugh with a paycheck than continue with my sobering stint of unemployment.

It was the summer after I graduated from college. I had neglected to inform my boss that I would be around for the summer before moving off and starting a new life. As luck would have it, I finally got around to telling her the day *after* she had hired someone to take my place. I don't think I even realized she was interviewing for my position. Of course, as I had worked in the office for two years, including the previous summer, she would rather have had me around than have to teach a newbie, but alas, my procrastination (and a lacking budget) truly worked against me.

Speaking of lacking budgets, I attempted to find a "respectable" job for about a month before the funds ran depressingly low and I broke down, applying for the first guaranteed prospect: working for the campus day care. You may be able to guess my friends' reactions from the title of this post, but I reassured them that everything would work out swimmingly. After all, I had a nephew whom I loved and he was a kid. Therefore, if a=b (I love my nephew) and b=c (my nephew is a kid), then a must equal c, right? Surely, I must love kids, right? Wrong.

I was the last person they hired for the summer and ended up being the "floater." Basically, I would go wherever a person was needed. At first I was "stuck" with the two and three year olds. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings we had 18 of the little buggers, most of them ESL (English as Second Language). In the afternoon on those days, we had 5 kids, also some ESL, with one little boy who would NOT. STOP. CRYING.* Honestly, I don't know which was worse, the morning or the afternoon.

It wasn't until I this job that I understood the allure of "Happy Hour." Honestly, chasing after rugrats all day really wore me out and ran my spirits ragged. In a couple of weeks, though, I was moved to the four and five year old class. I *loved* it there. If you don't understand the different developmental stages of kids, let me help you out. Younger kids like to explore and learn on their own. They might have one or two bosom buddies with whom they will share their experiences. If you are not one of these people, back off-- or at least enter with caution.

Four and Five year olds, however, were fascinating. They played with me. They talked to me. They explained the inner-workings of their minds. Even the ESL kids could speak English for the most part and they even came out of their own worlds every once in a while to ask my name, to wonder who the heck I was and why I wanted to play with them.

Then my worst fear realized itself and I was switched back to the twos and threes. After playing with kids who would respond, I thought this sheer torture. That is, until Kevin repeated "truck" and Sam echoed "giraffe." At that moment, the moment where I realized they do pay attention and they actually want to learn from me, at that moment, my heart broke open and those chubby little hands massaged my soul into a play-doh-like goo.

I can honestly say those few short months at the day care changed my life forever. I loved playing with the four and five year olds, I even had some fun with the six to twelve year olds (though they work the nerves a bit themselves), but after I finally peered into a two year old's eyes and saw a little genius waiting to be taught, struggling to learn, inviting me into his independent little world-- after that, my heart was never the same.

Isn't it funny how that happens so often? You go somewhere to "teach" and end up "learning." I hope that never changes.

*Incidentally, this little boy did finally stop crying-- his last day at the day care. It was funny. He finally adapted and played and had fun. Then he had to leave all over again since he was just visiting the States for the summer from Korea. Poor little guy must have been so traumatized. = ( He taught me a lot, too.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Two Years Plus

Wow, it's been over two years since I started PRE. That's really odd to me. It doesn't feel like it's been two years. As a matter of fact, PRE was my second blogging endeavor, so it's been much more than two years since I entered the blogging world. Crazy, man, crazy.

I'm not as artsy as I used to be. I mean, on this blog. Actually, if I had to be honest, I'm probably not as artsy in real life, either. That's kind of sad. It's not that it takes much more time to be a little more creative, it's just that it takes just enough more time that I don't care to put the effort in to it.

I used to draw. With chalk. Not on sidewalks, although I did enough of that around my college campus in an effort to advertise events. But what I'm talking about is taking art chalks/pastels and a large sheet of paper and making something out of nothing. In college, actually, I wanted to decorate my room but didn't want to just buy posters of random things to put up, so I made my own. I took posterboard and old posters and covered them with pictures and phrases that inspired me. When I left college I left them behind.

Sometimes I feel when I left college I left too much behind. Granted, there are some pieces of immaturity that I was wont to leave-- thrift store chic can only get you so far in life before you have to "grow up." Even more so, thrift store chic mentality can only get you so far in life before you have to grow up.

I didn't think the chalk posters would wear well on the trek. And, honestly, I wouldn't have put them up again-- they aren't "me" any more. But sometimes I look at my chalks and I miss sitting on the hardwood floor of my little college apartment, music blaring, hands covered in color, art forming in front of me.

Today my artistic side tends to express itself most in fashion-- clothing, accessories, makeup. Especially makeup. It's the reason I'm a makeup addict, actually. I don't wear gobs and gobs of it, but I love the idea of creating with it. Makeup is an artistic outlet for me. I go into stores and before I know it, my hands are covered with shades like when I sat on that hardwood floor. Sitting in front of my mirror, I play and watch art form on the canvas that is my face.

And then I wash it away. I don't put it on my wall or save it in a scrap book. I watch it swirl down the drain or smear across my towel. So it is with my creativity these days. It is not so much documented here or in some journal, as it is painted into a flourish in my mind at night, only to be washed down the drain of forgetfulness by the maiden sleep. And what a detergent she is, for she leaves no trace of the masterpiece, save for a line or two smeared across my mind, a haunting residue of the art that was.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Simulation Poverty

I don't know how many times a day or week I tell people I'm poor. I know I'm not actually poor. I'm not impoverished. I don't live on the streets and dig in dumpsters. So, I came up with a slant on the claim of being poor. Now I say, "I'm not poor, I'm indebted." In fact, that saying is more true than I could ever know.

Myles wrote a post recently about attempting to simulate poverty based on the HHS 2004 Poverty Guidelines. While an admirable challenge, I find at least one major flaw in his effort: it is an effort.

You see, I've worked with the poverty-stricken for a number of years now and if there's one thing I've learned from it all, it is this: circumstance plays such an enormous part of poverty. I have spoken to many men and women who have found themselves on the street and I only know of one who has really made an effort stay there. Granted, many men and women who find themselves on the street may give up trying to get off of them; they might succumb to the feeling that fate has cast them aside, but mostly, there is some attempt to rise above poverty.

Whether they be victims of natural disasters (such as the Katrina victims), drugs, alcohol, failed marriages, overwhelming hospital bills or run-aways from physical abuse, there's a feeling among a majority of the homeless and impoverished that poverty has beset them. They did not seek out poverty, it landed upon them. This leads to an attitude no simulation can ever replicate. It's the difference between being hit by a drunk driver and driving yourself into a pole. Both are tragic, but one is a choice and the other inflicted.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Someone Paved the Sky

While we rested unaware
Warming neglected beds
Vandals tricked the starry hunter
Washed him with cement

Orion where were you,
Where was your bow
Faithful guardian on high?
Not satisfied with fields and forests
They went and paved the sky

The sun won't rise or call the moon
To offer hope of light
They're trapped beneath the stone horizon
Where highway becomes sky

No longer simply under foot
But heavy over head
Eyes fall on steely monochrome
No green, no blue, no red

The world's faded into grey
Apparently over night
While we rested unaware
Someone paved the sky


Monday, September 12, 2005

I Left My Heart In...

I was Saturday night. The heat of the day had finally ebbed into a respectable temper. Overhead, a nearly half-sated moon cast a surprisingly bright light for its dark, maize-colored demeanor. Not a cloud dared vandalize the ebony canvas, though stars smattered about defiantly here and there.

Windows rolled down, the still night air forced to movement by my speeding vehicle, I allowed my senses to soak in the world around me-- including those emitting from my stereo. And then, with six simple beats of a song, it hit me: I have given away or inadvertently lost so many pieces of my heart that I'm surprised I have any love left to give at all.

It's funny how a beautiful night can remind you of love; how a simple song can remind you of times gone by. With those six beats I remembered someone who had stolen a piece of my heart that I may never see again. That memory triggered others and before I knew it, the cool breeze through my windows began to bite instead of refresh and the dark, open sky signaled loss instead of opportunity.

And yet, I continued to remember and with those memories came relief and gratitude, for even though my heart has traveled where my body never has, it still has more to give. Instead of despair at the love I have lost, I thanked God for the love I've been blessed to give and receive, and the ability to continue to do so.

With that realization, the horizon burst open once again as one of opportunity. The road unfurled before me leading to new adventures. My heart, rising and falling within my chest to the rhythm of the night once more. The song ended and I rewound it, listening to it with fresh, appreciative ears; grateful to be able to feel at all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hiya Boys and Girls

hmmm, that headline makes me feel like Bozo the Clown, or some other creepy clown, I don't think I like that.

Speaking of Bozo the Clown, my elementary school used to have carnivals for fundraisers (I think that's what they were for, for me it was just fun) and my mom would volunteer and always ended up manning the "Bozo Buckets" game where you had to throw pouches into buckets and you got a prize depending on how far down the line (and farther from where you stood) you could get the beanbag in the bucket. Yeah... welcome to my unbridled stream of consciousness.

Have I ever told you that my parents used to make me "ding" at the dinner table? It's true. Actually, I think it might have been my sister's idea-- sounds like something an older sister would think of. Anyhooo, yeah, I was encouraged to "ding" when I changed subjects because my mind would run along at a speed beyond that of normal human comprehension. Therefore, I would be talking about school lunch and then switch to what happened on the bus ride home before my family had any idea what was going on. My mind kind of works in a "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" type way where I associate two random events based on a string of occurrences without actually going through those occurrences with the people around me. yeah. that's it.

I don't know why I'm rambling today. Maybe I just need to "purge" my mind a little. Get out the random stuff so I can actually focus on what needs to be done. This is helping.

What I really wanted to say here, today, is that I really appreciate everyone's support of my decisions-- whether that be to run a marathon, or to realize that it's not going to happen. Thank you. I appreciate your support more than I could iterate at this moment. It means a lot to me. AND, if you got through all that mumbo jumbo at the beginning of this post, then you deserve an extra thanks. ;-)

as a side note, I had to "ignore" a lot during the spell check of this post. that makes me laugh. (especially for an aspiring copy editor type person such as myself)
the end.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Or shall I say "de-feet"? Yeah, it's a bad pun, I know, but I'm feeling bad enough to use it.

After much counsel, prayer and debate, I have chosen not to recommit to the Nike marathon. There are many, many variables to factor in to the equation.

It was a very difficult decision, but am now certain it was the correct one. Thank you for your support. 100% of all donations already given will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which is actually better than the 75% they would have received had I continued. So, at least that's good.

I'm going now. Talk to you later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I Need a Hero

In eighth grade I dated a boy named Dave (and by dated I mean we mutually liked each other for a few weeks and once held hands during a school basketball game). Dave was a ninth grader and the typical class clown. He was goofy, outgoing and mischievous. I don't remember when it was that I first noticed him or how we came to meet, but I'm pretty sure I will always remember him.

I will remember Dave in the same way I remember my elementary school boyfriend, Randy. You see, one day during our fun class hour some guy made fun of me and Dave beat him up. In the same way, Randy once tackled his best friend because he was chasing me down. Granted, I do not condone fighting, it is not a solution to anything, but those might have been some of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me.

I have no idea what those boys are up to now, but I will remember them as heroes. I will remember that they defended me, regardless of the consequence. Dave got kicked out of his favorite class and Randy faced the wrath of choosing to side with a girl over his best friend, even in second or third grade. They found defending my honor worthy of receiving punishment of their own.

On the recommendation of a friend, I just started reading a book called Captivating. Normally, I'm quite skeptical of Christian self-help books. So, I was happy to read that this wasn't one, but just seemed like one. Being that I just started, I will not, as of yet, give my endorsement of this book, but it brought up a point that I wanted to share.

At the very onset of the book, the authors, John and Stasi Eldridge, state things they believe are true of all women. One of those 'universalities' is that all women want a hero. Over the past few weeks, this concept has been becoming more and more apparent to me, more and more real.

I know I'm not the only woman who was brought up on fairy tales filled with princes sweeping fair maidens away, revealing the true princess hiding inside even the most commonplace of girls. Throughout the years, however, I've become jaded to ideas of white knights slaying hideous captors, rescuing me from my isolated turret in order to ride off into the sunset. Really, it's not fair to hold men to such fantasies, is it? Maybe not.

Not only do the authors state that women want a hero, they claim that men desire to be a hero. Like Dave and Randy, men want to be able to stand up for and defend a worthy woman. (There are obvious Biblical allusions here to Christ standing up for and defending His Bride the Church even unto death, but I won't go into that) According to the authors, men want something worth fighting for and women want to be worthy.

It's an interesting concept and I'm still soaking it in. I'm made to desire to be worthy of the affections of others. And I'm made to give affection. I'm not only made to want a hero, I'm made to be worthy of one.

Monday, August 08, 2005


So, I've hit a mega wall with my marathon training. Not only have I injured both of my I.T. bands (something that can be worked out, but takes extra time and money), my asthma has been kicking my butt this summer and my fundraising hasn't been going so well (to say the least).

After much debate, I thought about bowing out of the race. However, I have received a little more affirmation and would like to recommit to run the 1/2 instead of the full-- IF I can get the required funds in by TOMORROW!

I don't need 100% of the funds in order to recommit, just 50%. That's $1,600-- compared with the $575 I have already raised.

Here's where you can help.

If you ever thought about donating to the cause, now's the time. Go here to donate now. I'm really looking for a sign here in order to continue.

Please help. = (


p.s.-- thank you very, very much to those of you who have already donated! you guys rock! = ) If I do have to bow out, please know that 100% of your donations will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am really hoping to be able to go on, though, with renewed energy and spirit.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Here's to time

I am a rather selfish person. I know this and admit to it. I like to have things my way. I like to be in control. Most of the time, not being in control agonizes me to the level of nightmares and threats of ulcers. I just like to look out for number one. Over the Rhine sings a line that describes the sentiment quite well: I know I'm not a martyr. I wouldn't die for anyone but me.

Ok, unfortunately the line isn't completely "spot on." Because, you see, in all my vanity and selfishness, there are times when I am not selfish enough.

Time. Actually, there's a great example.

Some may see my time schedule as hectic, impossible, overbearing. Some may get frustrated with my being late here or leaving early there because they think I am not respecting their time enough. Maybe I'm not. Maybe that's my selfish side. I, however, view the chaos in a completely different manner.

I don't fill my schedule in order to "have my cake and eat it, too." Rather, I try to do as much as possible to see and please as many people as possible. In all honesty, more than I am selfish, I am a people-pleaser--or, as I have heard it more appropriately named, an approval suck.

I want your approval. I want you to like me. I want to make everybody happy.

I have been like this for as long as I can remember. In my relationships, in my friendships, with my teachers, with my family. All I ever wanted was for everyone to be happy.

The only problem is, sometimes elating the world leaves little time for one's own enjoyment. I know, if all I want is to see everyone else happy, wouldn't doing so make me happy? Not when the task I've set before myself is so impossible. It is rather empirically improbable, if not impossible, to make everyone I know happy. Not only because I am not the only force and influence in their lives (although my vanity might argue otherwise), but also because sometimes--if you really, truly love someone-- what you have to say will not make them happy.

In truth, I cannot love you without disagreeing with you. I'm not even sure if I can love you without hurting you. Sure, I have comforted people out of love, but I have also angered people out of love. I have lost friendships out of love. That stings the most.

I didn't say the things just to be right. As a matter of fact, hurting people I love doesn't feel right, at all. Granted, I will admit that my tact in these situations isn't the greatest, but if they really love me, then they should understand, too. They should know that I realize how selfish I am, but what I really want is their happiness.

In this way, I am not selfish enough. I spread myself too thin. I have allowed others to walk on me in the name of keeping a friendship-- but is it really a friendship then? Or a lie?

When it comes to boys, I don't think I could ask someone to choose me over all else-- because I want him to choose me. I want it to be his choice, not my ultimatum. And I want him to be my choice, as well.

I won't even get started on how much I want to please my family.

All of this, however, wears me out. It drains me. And when something isn't "right," I want to fix it. I run scenarios through my head all day and horrible dreams/nightmares haunt me all night.

Noticing all of this, a friend recently told me that I don't know how to relax. Perhaps there's truth in this. And in this way, I am not selfish enough. I need to learn how to take time out for me. However, I believe it is a lesson that will take time in itself. So, here's to time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Music for My Life?***

Got this survey through Dave.

This was really difficult for me!

***After further thought, I had to make some changes. check it.

Your Life: The Soundtrack

Created by aiko and taken 31746 times on bzoink!

Opening creditsNot Alone- Patty Griffin
Waking upNew Year- Death Cab for Cutie
Average dayWe Go On- The Normals
First dateBe Careful- Patty Griffin
Falling in loveAnna Begins- Counting Crows
Love sceneSo Are You To Me- EastMountainSouth
Fight sceneNever Get What You Want- Patty Griffin
Breaking upAt This Moment- Billy Vera and the Beaters
Getting back togetherWhen it Don't Come Easy- Patty Griffin
Secret loveGreen and Gray- Nickel Creek
Life's okayFriday, I'm in Love- The Cure
Mental breakdownCome Pick Me Up- Ryan Adams
DrivingRomeo on the Radio- The Normals
Learning a lessonPoughkepsie- Over the Rhine
Deep thoughtHappy- 100 Portraits
FlashbackQuite Often- Trent Dabbs
PartyingAll Night Long- Will Hoge
Happy danceMy Sharona- The Knack
RegretingToo Far To Walk- Andrew Osenga
Long night alonePlease Do Not Let Me Go- Ryan Adams
Death sceneGive Me Jesus
Closing creditsPeter Pan- Patty Griffin/Requiem- John Rutter

Create a Survey | Search Surveys | Go to bzoink!

yeah, yeah, so I like Patty Griffin's stuff a lot. deal with it. = )

Monday, July 25, 2005


I've told you this before, but let me say it again: I think in pictures. I wonder what it would be like if I lost my sight. Have I stored up enough visions in my short twenty-six years in order to continue thinking in pictures? Could I ever store up enough images, soak in enough beauty and splendor from the world around me?

Perhaps the movie-screen of my mind would become more Wonka-esque. In the absence of reinforced visual reality, maybe my imagination would finally be free to wander into other worlds and dreams. Greens might thrive more vividly and blues might swirl into greys and purples and blacks until they merged, finally and indefinitely as one.

I like to imagine even the most ordinary, mundane tasks as pictures. Breathing, for instance. I like to close my eyes and take deep breathes, imagining the air flooding into my lungs as water released through a valve. It plunges in a sense, my breath. As I inhale, air swirls down my windpipe, plunges into my lungs, pooling for a moment in an oxygen eddy before the next batch of fresh air moves in, displacing the old.

Unfortunately, however, that sensation occurs mostly on good days. Then there are days like today. Today my breath stops short, just before reaching my clavicles, and turns around immediately. Days like this I tend to constantly yawn. Days like this, I wish I could go back to bed and not deal with any pictures or words or any form of cognizance, really.

Sure sounds like a Monday to me.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Bottom line, I have had an eating disorder. No, it is not currently "active" but, yes, it will probably be something I fight with for the rest of my life. I know this. I am *painfully* aware of this. I am not trying to hide it from you or from myself.

And yet, every roommate I have ever had has questioned me about my eating. Every roommate I have ever had has accused me of not eating. Granted, sometimes I eat more or less than other times, but there are really only about three or four roommates out of the (counts on fingers--takes off shoes--starts over) approximately two dozen roommates that I've had since I headed off to college who were actually living with me during the "active" times.

No, I don't make it a habit to gorge myself in front of others. I eat out-- a lot. I have generally had the good fortune of working places that provide food or have a lot of free food available to me. I have friends who make me food and eat out with me.

Also, given my eating history, I do tend to eat alone some. Sometimes I get food when no one is looking. I am not using the marathon as a weight-loss tool. If anything, I've gained weight in training and it will only make me eat more in order to stay healthy and fit!

I know people are only asking because they're just worried about me and care about me and are looking out for me. But, seriously, I already have a nutrition doctor. Please, just be my friend instead.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005


So, in case anyone aside from my mother was trying to get to my archives and noticed about a year missing, they are now on the side bar. That is all.

News on training: well, I've already succeeded in having an old injury flare up. It's actually an injury that will probably never go away, but will hopefully subside enough through certain measures. I'm getting extra exercises in to strengthen the muscles and am going to try to get it massaged out, because that's about the only way to stretch the muscles. bah.

On top of that, humidity is horrible and strangling. That's that.

Fun fun fun. woo hoo.

At least it's a great cause and the people have been super cool!

OH! And, if you'd like to donate online, here's a link to my page. Remember, it's for the kids. :-)

Ok, I'm outie. Perhaps I'll write something that has nothing to do with weather or running soon. But probably not. ;-)

Friday, July 08, 2005

In the Light of Darkness

I posted those pictures two days ago. Then, yesterday, London was attacked and I almost took them all down because the smiles looked so rude and out of place.

And yet, I left them-- if only to be a reminder that there is still joy somewhere in the world.

I was complaining to a friend yesterday about some trite matter and he said (somewhat tongue in cheek, I believe) that I should think about people in London who have real problems right now. To this I abashedly bowed in defeat.

You see, the thing is this: I *want* to think about the world problems, and yet I *do not* want to at all. There are just so many of them! Terrorism. AIDS. Poverty. Natural Disasters. Ecological Damage. World Economics. Social Security. Homeland Security. Foreign Security. Moral Security.


Which of these things is greater? Which of these should I worry about now? Today? Honestly, I can't worry about all of them. It would crush me. Even Atlas bowed under such weight. I only know of one Man who could carry such a burden and even He cried out to God, "Why have you forsaken me?"

This may sound incredibly shallow-- but it's just so much easier to think about what's going on with me-- and even there lies a root to every one of the problems listed--- sin. There's enough darkness in my own heart. If I thought about the darkness of every heart of the world, I may never smile again.

Thankfully, there was One who did consider every dark heart and who took the weight of it all. One who shouldered the burden and rose in triumph over it. Because He did so, we do not have to be eternally crestfallen. Because He has promised to wipe away every tear one day. And that gives me hope enough to smile.

Friday, July 01, 2005

It's Friday, I'm in Love

I've been marinating this post for a little while, but after reading Dave's about favorite song lines, I decided to pop this baby on to the grill.

I listen to a lot of mellow/sad music. When I want to get hyped up, I have to search through my music for something appropriate-- and it may only be a song here and a song there. There are only a couple of cds that I can pop in and let run without running into downer mode somewhere along the playlist. (no, I don't have an ipod or an mp3 player to make playlists-- or even a cd burner to make mixes. yes, I am bitter about it, so please don't bring it up. thanks) ;-)

Any hooo...

There are certain songs, though, that can make me smile at almost any time- such as The Cure's Friday I'm in Love, or for that matter, basically anything by The Cure. What are the others, you ask? Well, let's see, shall we? (now, remember, these make me happy- so even if they're lame, I hope you understand and will not rain [too hard] on my parade)

Songs That Make Me Almost as Happy as a New Lipgloss:
  • Drop the Pilot--Mandy Moore's version

  • Short Skirt, Long Jacket--Cake

  • Bye, Bye, Bye--N*SYNC (I know, I know)

  • Anna Begins--Counting Crows

  • Guero, E-Pro and Girl--Beck

  • Come Pick Me Up--Ryan Adams

  • Righteously--Lucinda Williams

  • This Is How We Do It--Montel Williams

  • When You Come Back Down--Nickel Creek

  • Love Fool--The Cardigans

  • Kiss--Prince

  • There are probably more, but these come to me off the top of my head.

    What songs make you smile?

    Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    Stone Cold

    While running the other day I learned it's better for your joints to run on asphalt instead of concrete (ie, the road instead of the sidewalk). It was one of those insights where I kind of went, "duh, that makes sense, why didn't I think of that sooner?" However, due to the slant of the road, it's not always good to run on there either...

    Any way, the whole thing got me thinking about the physical attributes of concrete vs. asphalt. I once read a joke about Wisconsin that said it only has three seasons: football season, winter and construction season. I don't remember when, but I learned a long time ago (probably when I was working for the city parks dept) that concrete and asphalt have to laid at a specific time of year and at specific temperatures in order to provide the highest quality and safety.

    You see, all objects expand and contract with the weather. It's a physical attribute of matter: when molecules heat up, they move at a faster speed and the substance of which they comprise, expands. When they cool, molecules slow down and compact a little more, causing the object to sort of shrink. This is why I can't make rings pass over my knuckles in the summer that will fall off of my hands in the winter.

    Have you ever wondered why there are man-made partitions in sidewalks? It's so they can inhale and exhale with the changing temperatures. If they were one big slab, they'd break apart in the winter or crunch together like teutonic plates in the summer. Asphalt has a little give and take in its composition, so it breathes better throughout the seasons. It also gives a little more underfoot for runs.

    God states twice through the prophet Ezekiel that he will remove hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh. Usually when I think about a heart of stone, I think about being stubborn, about putting up walls to try to keep things in or out. I never really think about the inflexibility of a heart of stone. A heart of stone can't expand and contract without cresting or cracking. It is unable to "breathe," or more importantly, unable to beat.

    When I harden my heart, I'm not just putting up walls, I'm closing off my life lines-- literally. Figuratively I'm cutting off friends, family, God. Literally, a heart of stone can't swell and fall with the pressures and depressions of life. When heat comes, it will crust up and when cooled, it will break open- revealing chambers suffocated by the swell. It has no give and take. It has no respite and requires a consistency found only in death-- a fate all too assured for such a heart. For in the end, all stone can do is fracture, fragment and fail.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2005

    What's that? You Want a CD Recommendation? Alrighty Then.

    So, if you haven't heard of Aqualung, I'm sorry. However, the good news is that I just told you! yay!

    For those of you who have already heard of the greatness that is Aqualung and are currently saying, "duh, I could have told you that." Well, to you I say, "why didn't you?"

    Although the album, Strange and Beautiful released in March, I just picked up and expect it to haunt my CD player for quite some time. After numerous attempts at band formation, and a couple of record deals for said bands, Matt Hales finally branched out on his own. If you can remember far back enough, you might recall Hales' launch pad into fame with 30 seconds of haunting music in Volkswagen's 2002 (or was it 2003?) ad for the new Beetle.

    Haunting? Maybe I should call it "strange and beautiful." At least, that's what Hales called it. That's right, it appeared on his 2003 release and is the title track of my current new favorite CD. Wait, did I just say "2003 release?" Yep. He's a Brit, so the UK got first dibs and then apparently there was a Japanese release of Still Life in 2004. Meanwhile, we didn't get the Strange and Beautiful release here in the states until this past March. And now he's playing here in Nashville this weekend. mmmmm.

    What does he sound like? Well, Rolling Stones put it this way, "Hales delivers keenly focused keyboard-based drama that blows away all pretenders trailing in Coldplay's wake," and then gave it four stars. For those of you well accustomed to my musical pallet, no great surprise lies in my enamored review of Matt Hales' drowsy, whimsical style. Therefore, I highly recommend you check it out for yourself.

    The end.

    Monday, June 13, 2005

    They Must Not Know Me

    I am a weak person. When it comes to my "spiritual life," I don't have a "thorn in my flesh," I have a freaking briar patch. Honestly. They may not all prick at once, but they're still there-- always. They don't go away. They're like incurable cancers for my soul. They might go into remission-- but they're still there, bidding time until the chance to become active arises once again.

    Depending on how I move and turn, a pricker is there to remind me of my faults. And you know what? Sometimes the pain feels good. No pain, no gain, right? bah. And yet, it's true that sometimes I relish the pain; I play chicken with the pain. I see how far the thorn can dig into my flesh before I cry uncle and crawl back into the only Healing Hands I know.

    Yesterday was Communion Sunday. Usually I *love* communion Sunday. I run to the altar, ready to lay my wretched self before my God. Yesterday I felt hobbled. I prayed for God to meet me where I was, to pick me up and carry me to the table-- to cradle His beloved between His shoulders. I prayed to even be that beloved one.

    Eventually I shuffled to the front, briar patch in tow, and cried and hugged friends and took the body and blood of Christ to my sour lips. I felt as if my body might reject it-- or worse, it might reject being in my body. I prayed that it would, like a drop of soap in a pool of oil, dispel the darkness, displace the yuck.

    And people asked me if I was ok. No. No, I'm not-- but I will be, hopefully, someday. Someday.

    Then, in the wake of feeling so inadequate as a person, much less a Christian, one of the Church elders suggested I lead a class or something! Say what?!? I had sent him some of my writing and he loved it. From these short essays (things I've published here), he determined that I have a lot to teach the women, the people, of our church. To teach our church (since the people are the church). I felt like running and hiding. Me? You've got to be kidding me. You must not know me that well.

    I wouldn't know what to say! I wouldn't know what to "teach"! I'm far too inadequate to teach others! I once asked my dad to teach me how to golf. He said no and that there was too much wrong with his stroke to teach me.

    People, when it comes to spiritual strokes, you might as well call me Happy Gilmore--I have my own, not-so-graceful, form, etiquette and style. He asked me to pray about teaching; about leading some sort of small group or however it is that God would want me to lead others. hmmm, I guess that means I *actually* have to pray... something I don't seem to do much. So, I'll pray. Um, and freak out. And then try to pray some more-- or at all.

    Who knows. Maybe God wants to teach the Church about taking sloppy strokes, replacing monstrous divots and cute plaid pants. Maybe nothing will happen at all and the whole silly idea will just slip away. Or, maybe it has nothing to do with anyone else, maybe He just wants to work on my stroke... we'll see.

    Monday, June 06, 2005

    Whudda Thunkit?

    So, I've hit a few milestones as of late. I believe they're share-worthy.

  • I took my first real vacation as an adult two weekends ago. Since college, I've gone on missions trips and spent numerous weekends heading back to the motherland or attending to wedding festivities, but two weekends ago I got to go to Florida and sit around doing nothing but soaking in rays, reading and enjoying the fellowship of some great friends. Now *that's* an actual vacation.

  • As of last Saturday morning, I am officially signed up to train for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, October 23 with Team in Training. Over the next five months I will not only get to kick my butt in gear (Saturday was my first run in about a year... four miles, not too bad) and get a Tiffany's Necklace for a medal-- I will also get to raise money to help Leukemia and Lymphoma research-- and yes, I will set up an online account so that you can all help me raise the $3,800! This is a big step for a girl who would duck out of the mile warm up in 8th and 9th grade track practices! Whatever, I was a sprinter! Remind me to get new shoes and refill my asthma inhaler... Seriously, I don't know which thought seems most daunting right now, running 26.2 miles, raising $3,8000 or having to be at group runs at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings in order to prepare. ;-)

  • Thanks to Teacher Dave for letting me know that Relevant picked up my Skydiving essay! It's my first time being published!!! yay!!

  • fun times, friends, fun times.

    Thursday, May 19, 2005

    The World's Got Me On A String

    My freshman year of college I decided to go skydiving with a group from my dorm. Being that I was already 18, I didn't need parental consent, so I didn't tell my parents until after I had done it, which allowed them to freak out but be happy for my safety. It was actually a rather safe process. We had to go through extensive training. We spent one night watching safety videos and then an entire afternoon practicing on-site before they let us anywhere near the plane.

    The kind of skydiving we did was called "static line." Basically, your ripcord is attached to the plane so that, when you're at the end of the static line, your parachute is pulled for you. A large portion of our training involved "what to do if your static line fails to pull the ripcord." Every jumper pack was equipped with a primary and a backup parachute, you know, just in case.

    Due to weather conditions, our foursome didn't make it into the air that day and had to come back later, but when we did, there were so few people around we got to go up twice each, if we wanted. And, honestly, who doesn't want to jump out of a plane twice in one day?

    Looking back, I can pretty much view the actual act of skydiving in four phases. First of all, you have the anticipation: riding up into the sky, huddled on the back floor of a little plane, waiting your turn. For me, this phase involved a lot of praying. "Dear God, please don't let me die." The second phase is the actual jump: the fear of stepping out into the sky and letting go of the plane. Here, there is actually too much attention being paid to the actual process and being prepared for "plan b" should the static line fail, that little attention is being paid to anything else.

    Third, after the anticipation of the jump, the shock of the jump and the relieving jerk of an opening parachute, comes the wait. This is the most peaceful part of the jump, if you're not impatient. I remember sitting up in the air thinking, "wow, the world looks amazing from up here," and "wow, this is taking forever!" You can toggle left or right here, maybe do a little circle or whirly gig, but, especially for a novice such as myself, you just wait and keep your eye on the landing ground.

    Finally, fourth and last, comes the landing. After the seemingly endless stint of sitting on top of the world, you have to focus in again and prepare for the quicker-than-you-ever-thought-it-would-come-at-you landing. The closer you get to the ground, the faster it comes at you and if you're good (or lucky), you'll hit the ground running. If you're not, you'll end up like me, on your hands and knees in a mound of muddy snow: twice.

    Right now I feel like I'm in the third phase of this particular stage of life. I've been anticipating big things, I've mustered the courage to let go of the plane and I've felt a little tug of assurance at my back, opening to a canopy above. I'm just waiting like a kite on a string, trying to not let my impatience ruin the view and focusing on landing, hoping it doesn't come too quickly or too fiercely.

    Monday, May 16, 2005

    Thrown by the Unthrown

    I've been thinking. I know, it's a dangerous activity, but I've engaged in it, nonetheless. I've started wondering what those famous words in John 8, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," and "go and sin no more," really meant to the woman caught in adultery. So often these passages are preached as ones of freedom. These words freed the woman from her accusers, freed her from debt, freed her from her sinful life... the only life she may have ever known.

    I think these words wrecked her life. It may have been a shamble of a life, but what it was wrecked, nonetheless. I've heard it preached that the adultery was a set-up: how else could all of those godly Pharisees know where to catch such a sinful act? I've also heard that perhaps the woman wanted to get caught. Perhaps she let down her guard. Perhaps she was in such a horrible state that she didn't care who knew anymore.

    I've had this feeling. You may scoff but, honestly, if no one sin is graver than another, than I can feel that anxiety, too. And I have. It's a strangling feeling. It's a feeling somewhere beyond lonely. It's isolatory. It's a deadly silence.

    Even if she didn't abide by the laws of Moses, she clearly knew them. In such a saturated environment, it would be hard not to. This woman knew where her acts would lead; she knew the consequence. I think she let down her guard because she wanted to be caught. She wanted to be stoned. For her, death was the only way out.

    Finally, her day out had come and she was caught. Maybe standing before Jesus wasn't as hard as we all think it might have been. Standing there in her shame. Maybe she was relieved; relieved to finally be released from her suffocating secret. Perhaps she stood there relieved that her hellish life would finally be over. She stood there awaiting the stones.

    And then came those words, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," and her accusers turned slowly away. Her hopes of release slipped from their reluctant hands as her heart fell with every stoney thud to the earth. And the tears probably streamed faster and harder now, her face turning red with anger towards the man who stole her only way out.

    Then Jesus looked up. He met her eyes and her fever cooled, her hands began to tremble in a way they never had before. He confessed he would not condemn her, he would give her freedom. Freedom to return not to the life she's always known, but to something else-- what she did not know. "Go and sin no more," he said.

    And with those words, her hollow lifestyle shattered, revealing a tender, new child. The life she had known was over, just as she wanted, but she was not yet released. Now she had to learn everything anew. But something in those eyes both calmed and riled her soul. Just the fact that she finally felt the presence of a soul was enough to stir the butterflies in her stomach. Now she had a new skin, one delicate and pure, yet stronger than any of the surrounding stones.

    Her old life was wrecked. Her whole sense of being was wrecked. The only way she could think of to get out of this world was no longer an option. And yet, Christ had given her a new way out, one she could have possibly never imagined: one difficult to comprehend even after the fact.

    As a child of God, myself, one who has heard, "go and sin no more," I still have a difficult time accepting the saving power of grace. I still expect stones and lightening bolts, plagues for my misdeeds. I expect penance. I expect to do my part. Grace takes most of that away. God says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation... but you would have none of it." (Isaiah 30:15) Grace wants me to repent and then rest in it's faithfulness.

    This sort of revelation wrecks my world. It takes away my control, leaving my mode of operation in a pile of rubble-- a heaping pile of uncast stones.

    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    But You Have Such a Youthful Spirit

    This past Sunday I had lunch with a new friend. We've known each other for quite some time, but we don't really know much about each other. We've hung out in groups, but this was our first one-on-one. It was nice.

    We got to learn more about each other, including ages. Since she just moved to Nashville a short number of months ago, I suppose I assumed she graduated recently. Well, you know what happens when you assume, right? yeah. What's funny, to me at least, is that she thought I was about 21 or 22-- a few years younger than herself, while I am, in actuality, a year her senior.

    She was shocked. Was it my wife-beater tank and my cute little skirt? My sparkly self-tanner? (which, for the record, I would prefer to not have sparkles) No, she's seen me in more refined attire and a paler complexion. I mean, she doesn't even know about my snickerings at the President's pronunciation of the word "assume." She just thinks I have a youthful way about me. I'm ok with that.

    This test is pretty right on, though. The age I act changes by a year depending on whether I answer that I watch The OC or CSI. So, the question begs to be asked: What Age Do You Act? Holla...

    You Are 25 Years Old


    Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

    13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

    20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

    30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

    40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    Excuses, Excuses

    I do my best, most creative thinking at night. Right before falling sleep, I lay in bed, my mind reeling and twisting around colorful imagery. My brain rattles off deep, intellectual essays expounding upon theological and psychological revelations. Well, perhaps not to you, but they're awfully revealing to me.

    Well, they might bring you revelation, if only I posted them for you. You see, the thing is this: my words never seem to flow as well by morning's light. I know, I know, I should write them down at night so that I can then share them with you in the morning. I thought of that last night, but it seemed too much effort at the time. It really is the weirdest thing. It's like my mental word processor shuts down when I fall asleep, without saving the project on which I was working.

    I have a lot of great thoughts. Thoughts about waiting. Thoughts about singleness. (those two are actually not connected) Thoughts on emptiness and echoing. Thoughts about how God takes all that away. I was just about to say, "if we let him," but it's not even about letting him, it's about realizing that he can... and has. It's funny how we lock ourselves in imaginary cages like that.

    It reminds me of a quote from The Last Battle; Chronicles of Narnia, Book 7, "You see," said Aslan. "They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out."

    We are all so selfish, prideful and independent that we don't see the beauty of being weak, dependent on someone else's strength-- especially when that someone else is all-powerful. I suppose all of this is to say that I realize my own god-complex more and more with each bedtime, mini-revelation. If only I could carry those lessons through the night.

    Monday, May 02, 2005

    What I Shouldn't Say

    Does anyone know of a good exorcist? I swear I've been inhabited by the demon known as "a-12-year-old-boy's-sense-of-humor," "heh heh, heh heh" for short.

    For instance, I was at a friend's house during President Bush's press conference the other night. She was on the phone. Our dear president would say something about the nation's conditions and assets and I would giggle. And did anyone notice how he pronounced "assume?" Just not right.

    What's even worse is that during church yesterday our pastor was talking about prayer and faith and the such when he said something about our duty. At this point I tittered and poked my friend whispering, "he said 'doody.'"

    I'm really kicking against the goads of aging hard, aren't I?

    As a matter of fact, I just wrote "tittered." heh heh heh heh

    Thursday, April 28, 2005

    More Secrets Revealed!

    Ok friends, one more confession... I have been seriously delinquent in updating my links and in doing so, have kept some amazing people from you. I'm terribly sorry. I think I may have doubled my links section today! Sheesh. That's a lot of peops. Well, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

    These are mostly people I know from college and they all have wonderful, funny and perhaps wonderfully funny things to say. :-) I have also added my cousin because she rocks and because perhaps if I have a link to her, she'll write more. Perhaps even about her newly announced pregnancy!!! Maybe she'll follow in Dooce's footsteps and recount the process for us. Then again, do we really need to go through that again? ;-)

    Ok, ok. There are the links. You see them. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, April 27, 2005


    Stay away from me, I'll be gone soon... It's just so hard to let go once you've grabbed hold. ~from Twenty Three Places by Matt Wertz

    I have a confession to make: I shut people out, push people away. Now, I'm not so naive or self-centered as to assume that this confession is mind-boggling or that I am alone in such tactics. I guess I just needed to get it off of my chest: to confess.

    Obviously people tend to push away and shut out others whom they might find annoying or crass. However, this is not the offense to which I am confessing. I am speaking of the more heinous, more negligent misdemeanor of closing one's self off from the ones he or she loves. And this, my friends, is a crime I believe more of us than not commit.

    It is an offense I hold near and dear. It is a defense mechanism I cherish. After all, isn't life more about self-preservation? Survival of the fittest? Hammy. Perhaps. Unless, of course, you believe in the healing power of community.

    You may not know this but you, my friends, have become a community to me. And yet, by not posting or by posting inane trivialities, I have pushed you away, shut you out. It's not that I don't want your advice, your help, your succor. It's just that I don't think you *can* help right now.

    All too recently I have learned the draining effects of spilling all to others who are in no position to help. Since I know you are in no position to help, I have simply left my musings to those nearest me. I'm not going through any problem of great consequence, just living life. And those day-to-day decisions can be difficult sometimes.

    So, I post randomly and beg you not to forsake me completely, while, at the same time, giving you no real reason not to do just that.

    Perhaps this is just another of those misleading posts. One of those pleas to love me even when I'm inaccessible. Or possibly to begin to love me, at all.

    In truth, you don't have to love me. I know enough people do. I know God does. And I am learning to even love myself.

    In short, you may come or go; do as you please. Just know that I'm out there somewhere, even if not at the keys.

    Friday, April 22, 2005

    The Hardest Thing

    What I've learned so far in life is that rejections are not the hardest part: disappointment is.

    Whether it's disappointment in one's self, disappointment in someone else or disappointing someone else, the presences of disappointment takes the reins far too often in my life.

    My mom would say that she spanked me when I was growing up, but I don't remember that. What I remember most, and remember fearing the most, was disappointment. While most kids feared the phrases, "Bend over" or "Get the paddle," I feared the phrase, "I'm so disappointed in you."

    There were times in my life when I knew I did something wrong or had information my parents should know. Usually, I would hide. At least, at first. However, after a few minutes in the dark closet or under the bed, I would feel the threat of impending disappointment. Knowing that I my faults required discipline, I also learned early on that running from the inevitable discipline only increased it's term or severity. I also knew that if I didn't face up to responsibility, my father would be "very disappointed" in me.

    So, I squiggled out from under the bed or pushed through the pleats and sleeves to face the music: face my responsibilities.

    Lately I have regressed to that little girl who runs for cover when things go awry. I know I have a responsibility to step up to in this life: to live and be joyful. This is probably the greatest responsibility I will ever face and if I don't, the repercussions will surely devastate. I need to face my responsibility and take whatever consequences result from my decisions-- be they good or bad.

    Unlike that little girl, however, I am not going to simply sit on my bed and wait for a punishment. I am not going to sit by in fear and trepidation, stiff-lipped and blurry-eyed. I don't have to wait with steely conviction to appease my accuser and confess my errors.

    No, this time I won't wait for disappointment to threaten my character before I step up. Because this time I know the accuser has no power over my intercessor. I know impending disappointment is rebuked by grace, rebuffed by mercy. I don't have to fear because I love and am loved. And, if I'm not mistaken, there is no fear in love. Nor is there disappointment or guilt or shame.

    There are, however, actions and reactions, causes and effects, consequences and responsibilities.

    And that is okay.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2005


    When I tell people I'm from Wisconsin, they generally respond with a few different things. My responses/commentary are in parentheses.

    A very nasal, "You mean, Wis-KAHN-sin?" ("Did I say it like that? I didn't think so.")

    "So you're a cheesehead?" (or some other equally unoriginal comment about cheese. yeah, Wisconsin makes cheese, get over it.)

    "Do you like the Packers?" ("I'm pretty sure I'd be disowned if I didn't.")


    "How'd ya git down here?" ("I drove.")

    or, my personal favorite:

    "You don't sound like you're from Wisconsin." ("Thank you. Thank you very much.")

    Conversely, when I visit Wisconsin and tell people I moved to Nashville, I hear the following:

    "Do you like country music?" ("I did. Then I moved to Nashville and found better music.")

    "What are you doing down there?" (And a bunch of other questions like that.)

    "What brought you to Nashville?" (too long to answer here)

    and, of course my favorite:

    "Do you have an accent, yet?" ("Does it sound like it? Ok, ok, only on certain words.")

    I attribute my lack of midwestern or southern accent to music (and perhaps my over all love of the English language and its grammar-- yep, I'm a nerd and I don't care). I grew up singing in choirs and taking voice lessons. You don't really get to have a personal accent when you sing choral music. You take on the accent of the piece. You absorb the accent of the choir; the phonetics of the language in which the piece was written. I've had the priviledge of singing in German, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Hebrew and Swahili, to name a few.

    I've also had the priviledge of singing in a cappella. I don't think you understand the necessary absence of personal accent until you're trying to get a group of fifteen women to pronounce such phrases as "bwah bwah dop," "bwher neher lerhder der der" and prolonged vowels as one voice. I can't tell you how many hours we spent in rehearsal just matching words, vowels and consonants. But it was worth it.

    Therefore, when I took a short accent quiz today (as seen on Perfect Blue Buildings), I wasn't really surprised at the results:

    Your Linguistic Profile:

    70% General American English

    10% Dixie

    10% Upper Midwestern

    10% Yankee

    0% Midwestern

    Although I find it "Upper Midwestern" kind of offensive to be lumped in with the Dakotas and the U.P. (you would too if you'd ever heard them)-- at least it's only 10% and I'll attribute that to me saying that I drink from "water fountains" when I'm not having a "soda." I also fault them for not having some sort of West Coast language classification.

    So, there are my results. Now how about you? What kind of American English do you speak?

    Friday, April 08, 2005

    Because I Love You

    I had to tell you about Ray Lamontagne's Forever My Friend. For some reason it has struck a chord with me (no pun intended) and I just want to listen to it over and over and over again. It's amazing.

    Give it a listen.

    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    Once again the world around me struggles to overcome one season with another, birthing a new sense to its scenery and skyline. The comparison of seasons stands stark as the winter-grey sky rumbles and rolls its clouds over the spritely green lawns and flowering branches.

    Spring rain bothers me not as it brings the promise of softening the frozen earth and encouraging the emerging buds. The air, itself, eases with the release of spring rains, as though Spring herself laughs at the final tantrums of Winter's reign before he at last subsides before her gentle smile and countenance.

    This is the time of year when Demeter might savor and rejoice in the company of her daughter, Persephone, released, if only for a short time, from her Underworld Kingdom. The ground bursts into flower at the passing of her dainty footfall. The air lightens by her very breath. The wind calms himself by weaving ever so delightfully through her tresses.

    No, Winter has no power in her presence, though obstinate he might be. Soon he shall succumb to her radiant beauty. Soon her song will leave no blade unfurled, no branch unheralded. Soon Winter shall be denied his tyranny till she at last returns to her husband and master below. Till then, he must quit the earth and bother us no more. Till then, we might think of him no more and in her homage find delight unforeseen in her absence.

    Welcome her friends. Welcome Spring's fondness and mercy, at last.

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    Hello There Stranger

    I know it's been awhile. I'm feeling much better and thank you for your well wishes.

    I apologize for my absence, and for that matter my lack of substance prior to my absence. It seems, however, that life has been far too real lately to spin imagery for you.

    I finally saw "Finding Neverland" recently. I understand J.M. Barrie's desire to retain childhood wonder so much. I fear with each waking day I become less imaginative and more real, if that makes any sense at all. Just as the character Barrie says in the movie: "Young boys should never be sent to bed... they always wake up a day older."

    I fear I've seen too many nights sent to bed and too many mornings awoken to a lessening wonder.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2005

    Life as a Pariah

    Since it has been a while since I have posted or even been around, perhaps I should explain. I think I have been sick for about a month now. First I had regular old sinus problems, and then the flu attacked me, only to ebb away into sinus problems again. Now, I apparently have strep throat.

    I cannot remember the last time I had the flu. Aside from being born with a strep bacterium, I have never had strep throat. Needless to say, I am not really sure how to deal with these things and have spent a lot of time on the phone with my mom and sister in the past few weeks.

    My friends have been good. One even brought me popsicles last night. He and my roommates are about the only ones who have not treated me like a leper or social pariah. Honestly, my friends and (especially) my roommates are the ones who should be most afraid of catching whatever ails me! I got some penicillin yesterday and feel better already, but my co-workers look at me like I am Satan reincarnated for coming to work! I am not contagious anymore! Especially since I do not plan on sharing fluids with any of them.

    Any way, I still feel bad for being here in case I might give someone else something. So, I guess I should go home. I am far to exhausted to argue or reason with them anyway.

    Friday, March 11, 2005

    Paradise and The Pit

    The street on which I grew up dead ends into a small body of water the owner named "Paradise Pond." The rest of us call it "The Pit."

    The Pit was to my childhood what the old abandoned house and creepy cat lady are to more notorious childhood legends. According to neighborhood lore, the owner barred the entrance to automobiles a few decades ago after three drunken teenagers drove themselves down our road, making The Pit their own personal graveyard.

    Stories like this one and rumors about drug deals and satanic rituals made The Pit off-limits to us kids, unless I was walking the dogs. Of course, making it off-limits also made it our favorite place to hang out. My friends and I spent many afternoons and weekends exploring The Pit and its surrounding marshland swamp. A few of our favorite hangouts were The Wall, a rusty, abandoned crane and a little fort we made in the nest of some hills.

    The Wall was just that; a rugged cement remnant of some long-forsaken building covered with graffiti and over run with trees and weeds. In retrospect, it sort of reminds me of the Graffiti Bridge in Purple Rain. The wall is where the "big kids" hung out and where the drug and satanic action supposedly took place, so it was specifically off-limits. Although it was generally strewn with beer cans and cigarette butts, I have only one memory of seeing a bunch of trashed teens standing around a fire at The Wall and they didn't seem to be offering any sacrifices to me.

    The crane wasn't really in The Pit, but in the marshy swampland on its outskirts. Every once in a while we sought out a dry trail through the reeds and spent hours climbing in and around the crane. Others might have seen it as an unsightly wreck or a case of tetanus waiting to happen, but to us, it was our very iron-oxidized fortress of solitude, moat included. Sometimes we would even bring a boom box and a picnic out there to make a day of it.

    Our most secluded place, however, was a nest in the crown of a few hills, hidden from the prying eyes of the nearby trail. Here my friends and I would nestle down in the long, dry grass and share our lives. We would twitter about boys and vent about family. We would divulge our personal stories and unfurl our dreams of growing up and getting away.

    Lately I dream less frequently of growing up and more frequently of getting away. However, the more I dream of getting away, the more I realize I have no stable place from which to take off. I have no crumbling wall of graffiti, no rusted fortress, no batted nest from which to take flight. The more I dream of getting away, the more I long for a take-off point. Perhaps, while in a state of growth, we dream of leaving the nest, yet in a state of being grown, it is the flight we dream of leaving behind.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005


    1. Linger~ The Cranberries
    2. Trouble~ Shawn Colvin
    3. Fast Car~ Tracy Chapman
    4. Nobody's Cryin'~ Patty Griffin
    5. Poughkepsie~ Over the Rhine
    6. On Fire~ Switchfoot
    7. Oh My Sweet Carolina~ Ryan Adams
    8. Title and Registration~ Death Cab for Cutie
    9. Love Songs~ Fleming and John
    10. When You Come Back Down~ Nickel Creek

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    Lyrics Quiz

    So, I've been wanting to do this for a while, but someone said I need some tougher lyrics... so, here are 10. Give me artist and title.

    1. "If you, if you could get by, trying not to lie, things wouldn't be so confused."
    2. "You don't have to drag me down, I descend."
    3. "He says his body's too old for working. His body's too young to look like his."
    4. "He jumps in a taxi for the sky. He's off to slay some demon dragon fly."
    5. "There are those who know sorrow and those who must borrow and those whose lot in life is sweet."
    6. "I'm standing on the edge of everything I've never been before."
    7. "All the sweetest winds, they blow across the South."
    8. "'Cause behind its door, there's nothing to keep my fingers warm."
    9. "Paint me a picture with images blurred, so I can see what I want to see."
    10. "I'll be the other hand that always holds the line connecting inbetween your sweet heart and mine."