Saturday, December 31, 2011

Win.

At the beginning of the year I put together a 2011 to-do list, and I thought I'd wrap up the year by telling you what I actually accomplished.

  • I made baby blankets for Mara (Dan & Rachel's little girl) and Conor (Nikky & Yan's little man).
  • I gave away a lot of books and things. Lots.  Still lots more to give.
  • I made a lot of mixes for a lot of people.  
  • I wrote a lot more thank you's
  • I kept stamps on hand (I very much plan to continue this and the writing thank you's)
  • Amber, Regina & I did get the Swan painting Nikky did for me hung up in the apartment.
  • I found a good job working for the Oregon Healthcare Pharmacy.
  • I've been trying to give more money or use money in more charitable ways.
  • On June 17th, I actually got to pay for the moving van that was in the toll line behind Amy and I on our way back from MN Camp.
  • I did a three day green tea detox.  I don't really want to do that ever again, but I'm glad I got to do it once.
  • I bought myself an external hard drive.
  • I took another couple sets of pictures for me "Every Girl Wants to be the Exception" project.  
  • I watched "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist" with Regina
  • I did better about calling people when I said I would and calling them back.
  • Tried to encourage Cynthia (and hope to continue that for a long, long time to come).
  • Have tried to tell people I love them a lot more often
  • Done a bit more with the Radical Honesty bit.
  • I have burned more candles.
  • I took quite a few trips and did so as often as possible.  Visited OH, MN, SC (numerous times), IN, and a lot of other places.
  • I did get to go visit Nikky & I was there to help with she and Yan's wedding.
  • I bought a whole slew of foam weaponry and had an epic duel with Jake during FUEL, and then continued to use them on everyone for quite awhile after.
  • Also bought Anais Mitchell's amazing Hadestown album.  So, so, so good.
  • Wrote in my blog fairly often.
  • Did a lot better in believing people when they gave me compliments.
  • Tried some new recipes and made up a few of my own.
  • Went through my iTunes and got rid of everything I didn't want.  I have more of that to do.
  • Did more to encourage the other ABC students and the staff too.
  • Took lots of pictures.
  • Said yes more often.
  • Took a sabbath from the interwebz.  Several actually.
  • Shredded the financial stuff I needed too.
  • Called home more.
  • And I bought my mom a copy of The Happiness Project.
Yep.  I did a lot of stuff.  And this year, I am going to try to do more.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tiger Lily

When I was growing up, we had this tape from a group of nationally known story tellers.  I don't remember the name, but many of the stories have stuck with me and I still think of some of the lessons they taught from time to time.

One of my favorites has always been this story told by a woman about when she was growing up.  She never quite felt comfortable in her own skin, and she spent a lot of her growing up comparing herself to her cousin who was known to be beautiful.  One of the lines from the story was, "She had a waist so thin men could wrap their hands around it...and they did."  I, even as a kid, could relate to this sentiment.  I was picked on for being chubby from kindergarten on.  And this woman talked about how she had tons of freckles whereas her cousin was fair skinned.  I am covered in freckles, again, I could relate.

As a girl, the woman's grandfather would tell her she was beautiful, that she didn't have to look like her cousin.  Every person was their own different kind of beautiful, and she was her very own beautiful flower.  She didn't believe him.

So that summer, she sent away for a cream that claimed it was going to get rid of her freckles.  She kept it hidden from her family because she didn't think they would understand.

She had a summer job out working in the fields near her home, so before she got up she slathered the cream all over her body.  Then she went out to the fields.

By the end of the day, her freckles were much darker than they had been and there were more of them.  When she got home, she realized she hadn't noticed that there was a warning not to use this product and spend a lot of time in the sun.  It just about broke her heart.  Here she'd spent all this money on something that she believed would change her into what she wanted to be, fair skinned and like her cousin, but it just made her freckles more a part of her.

Her grandfather figured out what had happened and tried to comfort her.  He reminded her that she was her own beautiful flower, but she didn't want to listen.  She told him, "You've never seen a flower with FRECKLES!" She cried herself to sleep that night.

But in the morning...she found a tiger lily on her pillow.

I tell you this story because it reverberates deep in my heart and soul.  I have spent years and years and years...practically all 25 of them thinking I was not good enough.  That I am not pretty and that I am not worthy of dreaming my dreams and achieving them.  My parents, like the girl's wonderful grandfather, have tried to remind me that I am something beautiful.  My own kind of beautiful, but I have never really believed it.

Recently my best friend in the universe, Nikky, pointed out to me that I really needed to have a goal, a dream, something to work towards.  I have been thinking about this for probably about a month and a half now with no real success.  I realized I no longer had anything to work towards.  I have given up on most of my dreams because I am afraid to fail or because I don't feel like I am good enough to accomplish them.


Are you noticing a pattern here?

I am not good enough.
I gave up.
I am not beautiful.
I can't.
I won't.
I don't believe.

There is a pattern.  And it is one I want to break.  I have never liked myself, and it needs to stop.  Today while I was at work I was trying to figure this out what I could possible set for myself as a goal.  It's been driving me crazy and keeping me up at night, and people have tried to give me suggestions: get healthy, learn Italian (that was one of my thoughts), plan a trip, get out of debt, lose weight.  All of these are good suggestions, and they do all kind of fall together at some point, but I needed one goal.  Just one.

So here it is:
I am going to learn to love myself.

I would say like myself, but I want it to go beyond that.  I want to love myself enough that I stop doubting myself all the time.  I want to recognize my beauty and worth.  One of my favorite quotes talks about how God didn't create us to play small.  He created us to be fantastic and beautiful and powerful.  We can't hang back and hide in the shadows.  How could that benefit God?  It can't.  And that's not what I want.  I want to be someone who knows her own worth so that I can, in turn, bring out the best in others.  To show them that they are their own kind of beautiful too.

I want to believe that I am something good so someone else can believe that too.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lucky

I miss that boy.  Well, I miss all three of those boys, but mostly I miss the one on the left.  He was closer to my heart than anyone had been in such a long time.  I loved high laughter and the crazy faces he made.  I loved talking about poetry and art and God and relationships and family with him.  I loved that he would with me luck and he was my own personal lucky cricket.  I loved that we use to talk late into the night about everything and anything.  He had my heart in his hand, and I don't think he ever knew it.
Now...it has been a long time since we've had a real talk.  Probably not since he was with me at FUEL this past summer.  That was maybe the best week I ever had.  Even better than CWS last spring or my first FUEL.  I miss my friend.  

What I hate though is that I still feel a little undone when I see pictures of him or here news of him.  It gets less painful and less noticeable with time, but it still aches.  I sometimes wish things could have stayed the same, but it's not my place or my path.  He's not meant to be one of the main characters of my story.  Maybe he's just someone who was a key element of my back story or something that pushed me in the right direction.  

He did teach me some things about myself that maybe I wouldn't have realized otherwise.  He taught me that you have to be willing to fight things out till the end and that just because someone touches your soul doesn't mean that they'll ever let you see their's.  Just because someone tells you that you're important doesn't mean anything if they can't back it up with their actions.  And I learned that I need to be needed, and I need someone to see me as beautiful.  I should not be doing all the work or be giving all the compliments and kindnesses.  You can only be in love alone for so long before it starts destroying who you really are.  Sometimes you really do just have to let go and run.  You gotta see if someone's gonna follow you, and you have to accept it when it becomes apparent that they don't even notice that you're gone.

Sometimes the hardest thing to take is the truth: they never loved you.  You weren't important...not to them.

And that's when I realized something else, just because he never saw me, it doesn't mean that I'm not important.  

I am important.  I am loved.

This last picture is from last Christmas.  Just before break we had a Christmas part at the college.  I have loved this picture every single time I have looked at it because it reminds me of the general hilarity and awesomeness of the people who truly do love and miss me.  You've got Amber in the middle there who was about a second and a half from cracking up entirely because of a. Garble's hilarious reaction to Mitch's present and b. to the general silliness of the fart noises being made the the putty Mitch had been given as a gift.  I am reminded of Mitch sitting next to me on the couch making us all laugh, and I remember all the sing-a-longs and the fact we got Kristen involved super quickly with everything and that even though I'd never really met her, I loved her almost instantly because she's just an awesome girl.  I remember Regina and I making faces while Mitch took pictures and I remember Cynthia being hilarious and insane while playing ERS with us.  I remember that I am loved and missed by more people than many can ever hope to know, and I am reminded of how lucky I am.  

I may not be married or have kids yet.  I may not have traveled to Prague or France or China or Rome or any of the places I have always wanted to go to.  I may not have an important job out in the public eye or having my Bachelor's in theology from ABC or anything really beyond my Associates in Arts in English from a local community college painted gray.  I may not speak a foreign language or have published a book (or even finished one yet).  I may not live in my own home or even have a guy who thinks I'm what he wants in life.

I may not be a lot of things or have accomplished the things I expected to by 25, but...

I am loved.  And I love many people.  I am truly living up to my beautiful name: Jaymin.  I am "lucky" and I am a "special helper" to many people and I am "good luck" for many.  May that never change.

We're going to make it.  And this Christmas is going to be beautiful.  It already is.

Santa, Baby

Dear Santa,

I think this is the first time we have ever had any kind of real contact, so I guess I should tell you, I am a huge fan of your work.  Giving for the sake of giving to reward the good...I like this.  You do good work.  If only we could make sure that kids get THAT part of your whole deal and not just a bad case of the "GIMMEES"...that would be good.  I digress.

I wanted to write you a letter like I never did as a kid.  We just never did that in our house, but I feel like I'm ready to finally be honest with you about what I want for Christmas.  Now, if you can't supply me with my wishes, I will understand.  I know you do your best, so thanks in advance for all that you do.

Here goes:

  • Self-Confidence.  I realize you're not the Wizard of Oz, but if you have any way of helping me out in this department, I would be grateful.  
  • Hope.  Don't get me wrong, I believe that Jesus died for my sins and that when he comes back, I'll be part of the party in the Kingdom of God, but...I could use some short term hope.  I've lost track of it somehow, and I don't know how to get it back.  Or even what is worth feeling hope for.  There's just been so much bleak and bad.  I could use a little tangible now hope.
  • To Feel Wanted.  The last time I felt wanted was probably back when Ben and I were dating, and he would hold my hands and wrap his arms around me.  He always made me feel safe and wanted.  It has been a long time since anyone wanted me.
  • A Reason to Believe.  You might be sensing a theme here, but yeah...
  • The Drive & Strength to Take Better Care of Myself.  I already have PCOS, and I need to take care of my health.  There is a good chance I will never be able to have little ones and that breaks my heart enough.  I am tired of feeling frustrated with my own apathy and lack of change.  I need some help here.
  • Financial Stability & Independence.  I think this is one I am actually heading towards, but any additional help you want to provide would be an added bonus.  
  • More Reasons to Laugh.  There are never enough.
  • Love.  I feel there's no need to explain.
Yep.  It's a steep list, but hopefully you will be able to help me out a little.

Thanks, Santa.  Merry Christmas.

Love,
J

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Worth Waking For




Tell me you’ll come back for me
Tell me there’s a way
I’ve been waiting here forever
and I know we’ve been together
in dream after dream after dream

So tonight before my eyes begin to wake
tell me this isn’t going to remain a dream forever
that there is something out there,
someone out there,
worth waking up for

Because if you are only a dream,
if this can never be,
I am not getting out of this bed

There will never be a reason to wake up
if you aren’t real

So please tell me,
tell me you will return for me,
and walk through my door

soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful: God is SO Good

I realize Thanksgiving is one full week away from today, but I thought I'd get a head start on discussing some of the things I am most thankful for at the moment.  So here are a few of the things I am thankful for today in no particular order:
  1. Basket Beginnings in Oregon, IL.  I am working here for a couple hours today.  It isn't much, but I love it.  The store itself is beautiful and you can get anything from yarn to basket supplies to handmade jewelry and bags to gently used clothing to candles shaped like wine corks (I bought one for Nikky & Yan for part of their wedding gift) to horse tack to Linda, the owner, is an incredible lady full of crafty talent that I hope to attain to much like the talent of my Grandma Cheatwood.  I may even learn how to weave sometime in the near future.  I am pretty excited about that prospect.
  2. Oregon Healthcare Pharmacy Services, Inc.  Another wonderful place that I work, and today I found out they should be needing me full-time through the rest of the year which is wonderful since I have been home and without work all week because I finished the project they had hired me on for.  I'll have normal hours again starting next week.
  3. Brisk Unsweetened Ice Tea.  I stopped at the Mobil in the village today and was planning on getting a crazy large soda simply because I could, but instead ended up getting myself a healthier and tastier alternative in this tasty tea.
  4. Feelings of accomplishment.  I managed to schedule my gym orientation for at the Grove, set up a dentist appointment and a doctor's appointment as well all within about 20 minutes this morning.  Things I should have done a long time ago, but I have been worried about money and time amongst other things.  I am glad to have this done though.  I makes everything a little easier. 
  5. Yarn.  Especially from Basket Beginnings.  I bought five more skeins today to work on a very special blanket for a very special little boy who will be coming into the world for his big debut in about 6 weeks.  This blanket will be soft and durable.  It will also be machine washable and dryable, so that will make this a little easier.  Plus it is in a nice set of lovely but not overbearing colors.  Hopefully he'll like the blanket and his parents will too. 
  6. Conor.  I shall soon have a nephew named Conor.  My very best friend in the universe and her husband are going to be proud parents very, very soon, and I will be an insanely proud aunt who has a hard time not spoiling her nephew.  This special little man has already brought me more light and joy this week than I have had in a long time.  I cannot wait to meet him.  If this list was in order of things I am most thankful for at the moment, he would be at the very top of the list. 
  7. Having a little money.  I am not rich.  I am, in fact, quite broke, but I have just enough money to take care of my immediate and most pressing needs at the moment.  I have no idea if/how I will pay for returning to school if I head down there in the spring, but for the time being, and partially because of item #2 on this list, I will have the money I need to take care of my car, my doctor's appointment, gym membership (which I really do need, I am so horribly out of shape), and Christmas presents.  It may not be much, but it is enough.  God is good.
  8. Christmas shopping.  I realize many people have very negative things to say about Christmas shopping or they find it stressful  and overwhelming, but I adore Christmas shopping.  I love finding things or what I need to make gifts for the people I love.  I do not believe you have to spend a ton of money on the gifts you want to give people, but I do believe good gifts deserve some thought.  This year I am already looking forward to the look on my mom's face when she sees I finally found her a copy of a movie she has loved for years and years that we've never been able to find.  I am also looking forward to seeing my youngest brother reading a book I bought him.  ACTUALLY READING!  Considering how brilliant he is, you'd think he read all the time but that isn't the case.  I found out that there is a fourth book in a series he absolutely loves, and I know he will read it.  What's there not to love about a book filled with pirates, adventures, hilarity and ham?  It will be great. 
  9. My ears.  They may not be my favorite physical feature, although I don't mind my ears, but what I love about them is their glorious ability to hear.  Music and laughter are two things I would be sad to live my life without hearing. 
  10. Warm blankets.  I love making them, I love cuddling up with them, and I love that they make it hard to get out of bed in the morning.  I may stay in bed for as long as I can on Saturday.  I thought about it this morning, but the idea of coffee pulled me out of bed long before I expected.  This thought leads me to #11...
  11. Coffee.  God bless the wonderful individual who realized that coffee was something a person could drink.  It makes every morning a little easier and warms me up on cold evenings alongside a tasty slice of homemade pie.  As Shane points out in Agnes & the Hitman, it reaches up into the brain and presses GO.  What's not to love about that?
I think I will leave this list at 11.  This makes me think of Spinal Tap which makes me think of Sam which makes me glad I have this list of things to be thankful for.  Ha.

Be blessed and recognize those blessings big and small.  God is so, so, soooo very good.

Love,
J

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Poem by e.e. cummings Which I Love

You Are Tired (I Think)



You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.
Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)
You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.
But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.
Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.
e.e. cummings

Sunday, November 13, 2011

(1)

I need to reset.  I need a fresh start.

Time for another round of confessions, I think.

I've never really cleaned a bathroom.  Not the formal way you are supposed to, I don't think.  Bathrooms just freak me out.  I never feel like I clean them as well as I am supposed to.  I've always gotten lucky enough to have roommates who are willing to clean bathrooms while I do more of the kitchen and general house cleaning.

I thought I was fat in high school, and I really wasn't.  Maybe I wasn't toothpick thin, but I was beautiful.

I am afraid I will someday weigh somewhere in the range of 400 lbs like one of my beloved aunts.  I have seen her struggling to move and breath and be comfortable and own normal clothes for years, and I am perpetually afraid that is what I will become.  And yet I never seem to do better at taking care of myself.

I don't really want to give up.

I am afraid that I will live in my parents' house forever.  Or, just as bad, that they will kick me out because I am too old to live at home.

I really don't know what I want to do with my life.  I want to write children's book or just books or something, but I feel overwhelmed and discouraged at the thought of publishing.  I don't know if I believe in myself enough to put myself out there that many times...it is so rare to be published early on.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I'm a good enough writer to be published.  Even if I do have a little freelance published and have won an award or two for my poetry.  I still struggle to believe it's anywhere close to adequate or what someone really wants to read.

I have an empty Boone's farm bottle that I put cash in to keep myself from spending it so that I will have money to pay for groceries right after I get down to Atlanta.

...or if I go back to Atlanta.

Returning to Atlanta may not happen.  I haven't discussed this with anyone outside of my mom and I emailed Nikky.  I still have barely been able to admit to myself that this may be what happens.  I don't have any money.  I don't budget well, I barely try, and my full-time just became hit or miss because the project they hired me for is done.  I feel overwhelmed all over again.

Plus, to be honest, I am not sure I want to put money back into an institution that has recently become terrible about treating my family well.  Do I really want to pay them when I am not sure I trust them at all?

If I decide to not go back, what do I do?  That scares me too.

Let's be honest, I am just uncertain and I am scared.  Frustrated with myself on top of it.  And I know God has got this.  Please don't give me the cliches, I don't need them.  But I am not yet hearing His voice or feeling His nudge.

I am afraid I will be looked at as the family flake.  Or that my friends will think I am wishy-washy.  Maybe it seems shallow to have this worry, but really...I was supposed to move to SC, to Ohio, to ABC, to ABC, and possibly to ABC again...and I have had things change those plans so many times.  Apparently I just make the wrong plans.  Or just don't hear correctly the first time around.

And I don't know how to classify what is happening with my heart, but I let Sam go.  He doesn't need a girl like me hanging onto him when he's not mine to begin with.  I don't need the heartache, and he doesn't need the awkward situation.  It's not his fault that I created this sideline fantasy that deep down he really was looking for me, well not entirely.  He did have a little to do with it, but the fantasy I concocted was confusing his trust for admiration and his putting me in the friend zone (big time) for his need to have me in his life.

I've allowed our relationship to trail off a little.  I've tried to avoid initiating texts.  No pet names of any kind. No letters.  No messages via Facebook.  No notes or wall posts of personal-esque nature.  No compliments beyond what is casual between friends.

The mix I posted was one I have been working on for myself.  Something to remind me that this is the end and that it's the right thing for me to do.  No, it's not really what I was hoping for.  I was hoping for something good.  Something for forever.  For me.  But this isn't mine.  Sam doesn't belong to me.  Which makes me a little sad, but the great thing is this: I don't belong to him either.

I am still free.  No one can tell me where to live.  What I can and cannot do.  That I shouldn't paint my fingernails blue.  Or cut my hair off again.  Or that I should turn off the light and go to sleep instead of being up till ridiculous hours of the night writing or reading or watching whatever movie I want.  I don't have to answer the phone.

Those things all sound ridiculous, but being able to do what I want...that is a bonus.  I should enjoy that for now.

As Kim reminded me recently, there is a time and a season for everything.  And I hate the idea of a "season of singleness" which people always say and then say things about how blessed it is, buuuuut, there's something to be said for that.  I just hope I make the best of it.  Never sure if I'm actually learning what I am supposed to be learning.

I am Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Tom from (500) Days of Summer or Ilsa Fischer's April from Definitely, Maybe.  Or, on my more frustrated days, Jacob Black of the Twilight series (books, NOT the movies).

I have barely been reading my Bible lately.  Prayer has been bizarre.  I've been praying for the people I love because there's been so much pain and frustration and sadness and hurt, but I'm struggling to pray for myself.  I don't know what to ask or to say.  And I haven't been nearly as thankful as I should be.  I am working to reclaim my faith.

And now...I desperately need sleep.  And tomorrow/today (I guess) is day (1).  That's something to smile about.

Love.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Small Sparkles

Favorite things of this moment (3:53 pm CST), a long overdue list:

  • Coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream Creamer in it
  • ZOEgirl singing "What Child Is This?" 
  • The cheerfully insane joy having bought myself a copy of the "Breaking Dawn" soundtrack this morning brings me (the soundtracks have been consistently awesome even if the movies are completely silly, and this one is no exception)
  • Apple cider candles...*happy sigh*
  • Two sleepy cats and one incredibly inquisitive kitten
  • Susan Boyle's beautiful voice
  • The way our living room lights up to a brilliant gold color late in the afternoon and makes everything feel like it will work out no matter what I may have been feeling before.  The beauty of that color takes my breath away
  • Real Simple...I picked up the December 2011 issue at the library today and I've already read it.  Such a great magazine
Today I worked for an hour.  The only reason I feel even slightly bad about that is because I probably could have skipped today and they wouldn't have to worry about paying me at all.  I went in and took care of everything they had for me.  As it is Veteran's Day, nothing new came in, so I didn't have anything else to do.  So I left and drove down to Dixon.

The reason I choose that moment to drive to Dixon?  I wanted the Breaking Dawn soundtrack.  I have bought the others as soon as they came out, and I came close to making the drive down to Dixon in the dark immediately after work on Tuesday night.  Talked myself out of that bit of silliness.  Especially since I was recovering from being sick and Morgan wanted to go to dinner.  Instead I chose to drive down today since I was without plans.  

Went down, bought the soundtrack, some sparkling juice, and a pair of candy bars (one for me, one for me to drop off for Mom at work).  Got myself home and listened to the whole cd while writing some letters, and I am thoroughly glad I bought it.  I realize I am a nerd, but sometimes you gotta take those silly joys where you can find them.  Mine are often found in finding just the right music.  I mean, look at how many mixes I have used to tell stories over the years.  Good music and good mixes...they just make the world a little better.

The rest of the day has been spent trying to do some little things to bring others joy: doing the dishes, making Forrest some lunch, taking my mom chocolate, scratching kitty ears, writing letters, working on a Christmas mix...

Sometimes it really is those little things that make life wonderful.

Again, be the good.  Little or big.  

Love,
J

A Fool's View from the Fire Escape:

1. Lost Love - Mindy Smith
2. Fire Escape - Matthew Mayfield
3. Kill - Jimmy Eat World
4. What I Know - Parachute
5. I Caught Myself - Paramore
6. You Keep Me Hanging On - The Supremes
7. Make Me Wanna Die - The Pretty Reckless
8. Missing You - Tyler Hilton
9. The Kill - 30 Seconds to Mars
10. Leave the Pieces - The Wreckers
11. Hopeless - Train
12. Your Time is Gonna Come - Led Zeppelin
13. Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk - Plain White T's
14. How's It Gonna Be - Third Eye Blind
15. Your New Twin Sized Bed - Death Cab for Cutie
16. So Close - Jon McLaughlin
17. Moonlight Kiss - Bap Kennedy
18. Coffee & Cigarettes - Michelle Featherstone
19. (If You Want It) - Relient K
20. I'm Gonna Find Another You - John Mayer



It's been a long hot summer and I'm still trying to leave you alone.  I heard the cold wind say I was a fool to stay, but I did.  I did. I know what I should do, but I just can't walk away. I can't help it, baby, this is who I am.  I can't just turn off how I feel.  And I'm not certain of the way it was.  And I'm not sure what I could have done... I had to stop myself from saying something that I should have never thought.  You're not the one I believe in.  I don't know what I want.  You don't want me all yourself, so let me find someone else.  You don't really love me.  You just keep me hanging on.  And I'll never be good enough.  Every time I think of you, I always catch my breath.  I'm still standing here and you're miles away.  And there's a storm that's raging through my frozen heart.  It's my heart that's breaking down this long distance line tonight.  You said you wanted more, what are you waiting for?  I'm not running from you.  Look in my eyes, you're killing me, killing me.  All I wanted was you.  You're not sure that you love me but you're not sure enough to let me go.  Baby, it ain't fair to just keep me hanging 'round.  It's alright, ya, I'll be fine.  Just take your love and hit the road.  There's nothing you can do or say, you're gonna break my heart anyway...  Everything has changed around here.  I'd tell it to your face, but you lost your face along the way.  And I'd say it on the phone if I thought you were alone.  Why do things have to change?  One of these days, and it won't be long, you'll look for me and I'll be gone.  Do what you want.  I can't feel you anymore.  You can say all these beautiful things, but they mean nothing.  You gotta back it up.  I'm only pretty sure that I can't take anymore.  How's it gonna be when you see that I'm not there?  It's the silence I can't ignore.  I use to think that someone would come along and lay beside me in the space that they belong, but the other side of the mattress...the box springs they stayed like new.  What's the point of holding onto what never gets used?  All that I wanted was to hold you so close, and I almost believe that this one's not pretend.  We are so close, so close and still so far.  I can feel my heart.  It's fit to burst.  I tried to clean it up.  But it just gets worse.  I wish I could fall, on a night like this, into your loving arms for a moonlight kiss.  I hate to say it hasn't helped me yet.  I thought my problems would just disappear and all my pain would be in yesterday.  I watched my bad habits get flushed away.  I thought that would keep my head on straight and all my pain would be in yesterday.  But it's true, I'm still blue.  But I finally know what to do.  I must quit.  I must quit you.  I can't keep a straight face and say this is not the end.  Cuz this is the end if you want it.  You're not the first thing in my life I've loved and lost.  There are worse things that I might be less inclined to just shrug off.  I am convincing myself that I'm worthwhile because I know that I'm worth what I convince myself to be.  I took the fire escape and made it out.  I still burn from time to time, but I am healing.  It's really over.  You made your stand.  You got me crying.  But when my loneliness is through I'm gonna find another you.  You might have your reasons, but you will never have my rhyme.  I'm going to sing my way away from you.  I'm gonna find another you.  I hope he's nicer too.  So go on baby, make your little get away.  Now I'm going to dress myself for two.  Once for me and once for someone new.  I'm going to do some things you wouldn't let me do.  And I'm gonna find another you.

Here's to hope.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Be the Good



Tonight finds me dancing along to The Bravery's "Ours," and fighting the urge to open and drink a whole bottle of Moscato by myself.

Does anyone else constantly what to scream when they watch the news because it never seems like there are good things?  Sex scandals, abuse, murder, shootings, robberies, kidnappings, disappearances, war, death, rape, and natural disaster.

More than anything, we need Christmas.  We need the hope and light and joy of the Advent.  A reminder that 2000 years ago God sent us hope in the form of a little baby boy that would change everything.  He came to bring us light, forgiveness, love, peace, and joy.

Jesus.

What a truly beautiful name.  A name that means that someday this will all be over.  There won't be anymore of this terror or horror or pain.  You won't wake up to find that your best friend is dead, people you love are having kidneys fail, someone's house has burnt down, your car is broken again, your family is broke, you've lost your job, you're sick with a disease that may kill you, or that children have been abused and no one stood up for them.  No, none of that will happen ever again.

Instead you'll be standing hand in hand with the people you love smiling out into eternity.

May it come soon.

I realize this may seem early, but I'm wishing you a Merry Christmas tonight.  If your day, week, etc. has been anything like mine, I think you deserve a little Christmas early.

So let's make it feel like Christmas tonight and from this moment onward.  Let's find a way to do something good for someone else tonight, tomorrow and each day.  Let's make sure that everyone has a bit more good.  We all need more hope and good news.

Be the good.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

On the Loss of Five Heart-Shaped Ice Cubes

















Sometimes at night
I still wonder
Why couldn't this have worked?

And then I remember
all the little failures
And I am glad

There have been
many names
many faces

But they
are not
You.

And the ache that resounds
so deep in my soul
echoes

When reminded,
I remember nothing fills it
but You, Lord.

Sure, there are times,
and places
and seasons

but
it is not
today.

When I stop trying to fill
my heart with things
and people who will never satisfy

and start remembering
You, Lord, only You
can ever fill in

these cracks
and breaks
and old wounds.

Only you
can heal a heart,
can heal a soul.

Then I will see
that the loss of so much,
the loss

of five heart-shaped ice cubes...
though sad,
was never meant to be the end

or anything too great
to be born
but instead

it was just
a new
beginning

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blargh

It has been another one of those totally bizarre days.  A mix of good and bad.

Good: Slept in and then got up and made Dunkin Donuts Mint Mocha coffee (my FAVORITE) and sat and watched the Today show with my mom while wearing my pj's and my sweet, sweet slipper boots.  Got to hang out with my mom for a long time today because we were both off work.  Got to work for about an hour at Basket Beginnings which just meant that I sat and worked on a blanket while talking to my mom.  Had some McDonald's for lunch (and yes I realize that's really not good for me, but it was a junk food kind of day).  Watched some good movies and played some computer games.  Played with my crazy cats.  Went to play practice that really just ended up being a sitting on the stage with scripts in our laps ladies' only brainstorming session.

This was all kinds of great.

On the bad side, some dear friends of mine went to court today to get a divorce after being married around 10 years.  They have two little girls who I love above and beyond almost all other children in the universe, and this whole deal just breaks my heart into bits.  Just as bad is seeing Jay have to deal with this because this couple has been a huge part of his life and some of his closest friends for as long as I can remember.  He's their eldest daughter's godfather.  It's breaking his heart too.

Oh, and then a friend of mine who has been like a little sister to me for years got married today.  She married the boyfriend I have been hating since pretty much the first time I met him when he refused to actually ever meet my eyes, who got her pregnant when she was in high school, who makes me super uncomfortable, and who I am darn near certain is abusive.  Yeah...somehow I can't be happy for her.  I want to be.  I want to be able to celebrate her marriage.  Her little boy's parents are finally married.  This should be great...buuuuuut...I just can't be.

Today has been so very weird.

Eh.

Tomorrow will be better.  It will be.  It will be.  I will make it so.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Note to Self:

Sometimes it is better not to ask because sometimes it really is what you think it means and it is better to not know because it doesn't result in your heart feeling like someone just tripped it and knocked the wind right out of it.  Sometimes you should just let it go and ignore the leading statement.  Life is not a movie, and just because someone is a huge part of your world does not mean you take up that much space in theirs or that, even if you do, the space may not be labeled the same.  Also, no matter how much time you've spent in "the friend zone" for someone or how use to it or normal you've convinced yourself it is or feels...it will never be enough or okay.  It will be one of those wounds that doesn't ever seem to heal.  Maybe now is the time to make a clean break for it and clean the hell out of that wound.  If it gets stitched up and given some real closure...maybe it will have a for real chance to heal.  Maybe.  And stop beating yourself up and thinking you're not good enough.  This isn't about you not being worthy, it's about the other person not being the right fit.  Stop being someone's sidekick or bet or nurse or addict.  Lead your own life.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Learned

Things I learned yesterday:
  • Jay was raised by centipedes
  • Beans, Books and Beliefs is a fantastic coffee house
  • Jay's songs sound even better live than they do on the recordings (so much talent in that one)
  • Applebee's half price appetizers after 9 is a wonderful deal
  • I now can recognize Barry Pepper.  He's in everything.  Honestly.
  •  A bowl of bacon is a glorious thing
  • (something that was simply reinforced) One way streets are of the devil
  • Shady guys smoking cigarettes will probably not be a real threat to you if you have your car doors locked
  • Having Heather with me when I get lost is hilarious
  • "Young Frankenstien" is even hilarious when you can't hear any of the words
  • My friend, Chris is, in theory, moving to Nashville in 2 weeks
  • Jay & Donna (not the same Jay as my tall best friend who was raised by centipedes and who is an amazing musician) are absolutely hilarious and wonderful to have dinner with
  • Bruce Campbell has a book called If Chins Could Kill (which Donna brought me this morning at church so that I could read it...glorious, glorious day)
  • Canadian football is the weirdest thing...so similar to American football, but so very different
  • A good commercial for light beer would point out that a person should drink light beer so they could save all the calories for when they eat bacon
  • Bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon
  • The idea that there are 6 degrees of seperation to Kevin Bacon should be replaced by 6 degrees of seperation to Father Jeremy (still weird to call him that...I mean, I met him at a friend's party my freshman year of college...ha)
  • Heather may have found a place to live in  Chicago
  • Having a watch makes me happy
  • Sometimes you really just want people to ask you the right questions
  • That I really need to figure out what is best for me
  • That Heather is a phenomenal friend (I knew this before, but it really was reinforced last night...I thank God for her every time I think of her)
  • You can carry a rosary in your pocket
  • My mom is the best and easiest person in the world to shop with
  • Pop fluff can be used as another name for pastachio fluff
  • Tennis shoes are lovely
  • Heather doesn't really like John Mayer
  • Having someone use one of your inside jokes from the stage and then sing a song you love is one of the coolest things ever
  • Jay is someone to be incredibly proud of
  • Bacon

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Wind Was Right

















If I knew you would show
I could wait forever
but that light in your eyes
makes me think never

The porch is cold
and all the lights are out
you'd think the stars would show
but they're not shining now

So I'm reeling in these hopes and dreams
packing up my wishes and schemes
because you're not coming to meet me
anymore


True.

"The little unremembered acts of kindness and love are the best parts of a person's life."
-William Wordsworth


Amen.

Monday, October 24, 2011

This is Madness

BACK OFF!  Ah.

Alright, now that that's out of the way, let me explain.

For the past few months I have had an increasingly weird sense of deja vu.  Recently multiple members of my family ranging from my grandmother to siblings to parents to cousins to youngest brother's ex-girlfriend to one of my ex's younger brothers to close friends all tell me I am going to date or marry my friend Jay.

To this I say, yeah right.

Let me explain something to you wonderful people.  I spent about 3 years trying to win his heart.  He was aware of this by the end and he rejected me not once but 2 times.  There were words and kindness and he never meant to hurt me, but he never meant to love me either.

Jay is a fantastic guy.  Someone my life would be much quieter and lonelier without and not nearly as silly, but that's where this has to end.  He may be one of my best friends, but I am not going to marry him.

Yes, I know I am always telling people they should marry their best friends, and I am not changing my position on this.  I just don't intend to marry Jay.

So much would have to change.  And he would have to actually pursue me.  I refuse to be won over easily and I refuse to let this just happen.

On top of which, he hasn't changed at all since then.  I mean, not towards me.  As a result, what are these people seeing?  I have been told we work well together and have chemistry.  That may be true, but I have had "chemistry" with other people in the past and never married them.  Chemistry is not enough.

So...I guess what I am saying is, I am tired of this.

I don't want to marry him.  I don't ever want to be something someone settles for and I don't want him to be either, and that's the only way I can see this happening right now.

I want to be needed and I NEED to be wanted.  He can't do that.  The end.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Other Woman


I realized recently that I have someone how become the "other woman" in a friend of mine's relationship.  He's been dating this girl since the beginning of April, and I am not a fan.  I am sure she's lovely person in the grand scheme of things, and God loves her, so she can't be all bad, right?  I just know she's not good for him.  The seem forced and fake and awkward and everyone feels uncomfortable around them when they're together.  It's not good.

The odd thing is, he hides that he talks to me from her.  I didn't realize this until recently.  For a long time, our super close friendship was highly public knowledge, even after they started dating, but then things shifted.  She sent me a weird email telling me that my relationship with her boyfriend made her uncomfortable and, without saying it directly, to back the hell off.  She sent me a friend request on Facebook at the same time.  I ignored both because I was afraid I would say something mean.  I don't want to fight with this girl.  Not really.  I just want to continue being a friend the way I have been all along.

After that our relationship cut off for awhile.  I told him I'd be here when he wanted me, but that I didn't want tangled up in this mess because I knew his new girlfriend didn't like me.  It lasted about a month...and then I couldn't take it any longer.  I missed him.  He had been (and is still) the one person I feel the need to talk to EVERY day.

Now we talk on a daily basis, but his end is kinda sporadic.  A few weeks ago, I realized that he was texting me whenever she wasn't with him.  Is it bad that I find this hilarious?  We don't do anything creepy or inappropriate or super weird.   We just talk about life.

Tonight I find out that not only does he really only text me when she's not around, but that he put auto delete on his texting.  Yeah...

Seriously, am I the "Other Woman" now?  This is so unreal.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

50/50


I am very tired.  It is very late.  This evening made up for a couple of weeks of blahs all in one swift movement.

Tonight I went out with my friends Heather and Morgan.  We met at Red Mango and had delicious frozen yogurt, and then went to see "50/50."

Go see "50/50."  It is easily the best movie I have seen in ages.  Definitely the most real.  Definitely the most hopeful and gracious while dealing with a topic that scares just about all of us I think: cancer.  It is based on a true story.  It is actually based on the writer of the movie's life.  It is brilliant and witty, and it reminded me that even when you don't have a clue how to deal with life...people come through for you.  Just not always who you expected at all.  When it comes out on DVD, I think I am actually going to have to make a point of purchasing it.

After the movie, Morgan had to go home to sleep (she has to be at work at 6), but Heather and I went to Steak & Shake.  I hadn't been there in ages, and we had some tasty dinner and just talked.  About everything and nothing.  We talked about the Catholic church (Heather is Catholic) and we talked about the fact that I don't believe in the Trinity and how exactly that works since I am Protestant.  We talked about the fact that I dated the guys Heather wanted to in high school, and we talked about how it was so great that she never dated them because they would have been just as wrong for her as they were for me.  And I apologized to her for that even though we didn't know each other in high school.  We talked about death and the people we miss.  We talked about how we are both trying  to get back to school in the spring and how scary it is trying to get financial aide and scholarships and money in place.  We talked about how we both need to go to the doctor and we talked about how scared I am of all the testing that I need to have done and that I am afraid they will tell me something is wrong that will keep me from going back to school in the spring.  We talked about how sometimes it feels like we are the only people in the world who are actually trying to maintain purity and not have sex before we are married and how frustrating that is.  We reminded each other to hope.

Oh, and then we got pulled over 3 blocks from my house by the one cop in town that really freaks me out because one of my headlights makes my car look like I am trying to send up the Bat Signal into the clouds...

So it was a slightly skewed ending, but I did walk away from my time with Heather and Morgan feeling better about life.  The movie was inspiring and funny and heartbreaking and beautiful and so full of hope.

I am a mess, but this isn't over yet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Weakness I Feel I Must Finally Show

I don't even know at the moment.  I am tired and frustrated on a couple different levels.  I am scared.  I am heartbroken.  I am trying to not think about the fact that in certain dreams...there really isn't any hope, and I am trying to remember that just because what I want isn't happening, it doesn't mean that God isn't in control or that life is going to be bad.

Tonight I realize that there is a good chance that a guy I have been friends with since early in high school may have died from cancer and I never found out.  I'm hoping I am wrong and that he'll get ahold of me in the next day or two and it will just prove to be my crazy imagination and a result of the tired and the lost feeling inside me.

I sent the guy I have been fighting for every day a mix on Monday.  He should get it tomorrow in the mail or maybe Friday.  I am guessing he won't see what it really is: a letter.  Because I have come to realize that the only way I can really tell him what I feel is by sending him a mix of my heart.

And will it matter?  Probably not.

And I wonder...is he it?  And if he is...how long am I going to be waiting?  Forever?  How long do you wait in love before you realize that you have befriend St. Jude and his lost causes?

Death, unrequited love, and I made the mistake of looking through old pictures tonight and realized that I really did let myself go completely in the past 7 years.  I got out of high school and became a moose.

Tonight is death and depression and self-depreciation night.  No biggie.  Well, the death part is.  That just freaks me out, and I don't know what to do about that except pray and hope I find an answer and figure out how to deal with it in the meantime.

My amazing friend, Jay made me a mix.  I have been needing it.

Can you tell I am disconnected?

On a positive note:

Favorite things of this moment (11:07 pm CST):

  • "Awake My Soul" by Mumford & Sons
  • Jay's mixes...he's genius
  • Encouragement from good friends
  • Reminders that maybe I am not seeing everything clearly and should review
  • God's glorious, glorious mercy & grace & love & timing
"Where you invent your love, you invest your life." - Mumford & Sons

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Put Back the Moon, Demon Waif!

Favorite things of this very moment (11:11 am CST):
  • The Tick, Season 1 ("A terrified city cringes in its collective pajamas.")
  • Gin Wigmore, check out her voice
  • Cheesy pictures of myself and others
  • My new glasses
  • Feeling like an adult
Today I put a couple of checks in the mail.  Odd as it may sound, this was glorious.  I paid my phone bill, and I paid off the last of my bill from ABC.  I also sent a little money down to ABC to start paying for the coming semester.  It was just really phenomenal.  For once I feel a bit in control.  I'm excited to be moving forward. 

Me.
I guess I have become perpetually surprised by the places and things I have found happiness in recently. I mean, who gets excited about their phone bill?  I think I just needed to find a way to participate in my adulthood.  I mean, I work full-time and have a couple part-time jobs, but I live with my parents.  And even though Terrence gave me a great pep-talk recently about how this is going to become more and more common within my generation and beyond because people will find that it is more financially responsible and family friendly...it still makes me feel like a bit of a failure to be 25 and living with my parents. 

But now I have bills to pay and bills paid off.  I am trying to budget more, save more, and actually participate in the creation and building of my future.  I want to be generous and alive and moving forward and hopeful.  I think in order to do that, I need to find more ways to open myself up and to actually save.  Use what I have, give what I don't need away, and figure out what is actually important to me.  What I actually want.  

Slowly but surely...I am gonna get there.

And I leave you with this parting with/thought: 
Yes, yes I wish it was.  Thank you Candy Chang for your brilliant ideas that end in such hilarious results at times.  :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My 9

Favorite Things of this Very Moment (7:34 pm CST):

  • "Magic" by Leagues
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
  • Unsweetened ice tea
  • Having my window open but my room being just the perfect temperature for me to be curled up typing this without being too hot or two cold
  • The sleeping cat curled up behind me
  • The letter from Sarah from my family group at FUEL this year
  • Sarah
  • Marisa
  • Emilee
  • Jamie
  • Malorie
  • Ashley
  • Haley
  • Cheyenne
  • Julia
My awesome family group girls
They were incredible

I miss these girls
These pictures are of my girls.  I had 9 beautiful, hilarious, wonderful, sweet girls.  I probably haven't said much about them before, but I miss them.  They gave me 9 good reasons why youth ministry really is what I want to keep pursuing.  Working with girls like this was a new experience.  Last year I trained with an incredible lady named Julie Driskoll to be a counselor, but taking on a whole group by myself was totally different.  I learned a lot.  For instance, make sure you have snacks.  Also, foam weaponry can be dangerous when in the hands of 14-16 year old girls (or 25 year old girls...for that matter).

Most importantly, I learned that God will always give you the words you need to say what He needs you to say.  I really had no idea what I needed to be doing with these girls, even the training didn't give me a definite idea.  You kinda gotta feel your own way and figure out how you want to approach these kinds of things, and God gave me my own way.  I did a lot of praying that week that God would help me to not say too much or too little to the girls, but to help them find what they needed.

God always comes through.

We talked a lot about Romans 12:9-21.  It's one of my favorite bits of the Bible, and there is so much there to talk about.  We kinda jumped around in it, and then I talked about it all week.  It was amazing how well it tied into our theme this year which was TOGETHER.  

We talked about how we needed to be acting.  And I gave them little assignments, and made sure to do them myself.  We tried to notice all the amazing blessings God gave us big and small each day...all the things we could be thanking him for.  We also tried to do acts of kindness wherever we could.  It's amazing what something little like that can do to your perspective and your attitude.

What really blows me away?  The letters and notes and Facebook posts I get from the girls.  They have made lists of things they are thankful for, they have told me fears, hopes, dreams, and asked for prayers and advice.  They have told me how much they love and miss me, and I don't think I could ever express how much I love and miss them back.  I am so blessed to have these girls in my life.

God is amazing.  My girls are amazing, and I hope I get to keep them in my life as long as I am living.  They amaze me.  

Who are you blessed with?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Week in Review: It Wasn't THAT Bad! No, Really!

I have been a major downer this week, and I want to apologize for that.  Until yesterday, the week had been one grey, rainy, cold, colorless week.  Or at least that was how I was feeling about the whole thing. 

So let's refocus, shall we?  Instead of whining anymore, I would like to tell you about the AWESOME of my week.

Pie... 
Starting with PIE!  Yes, this week I made pie.  Two of them actually.  The one pictured here was the one I made for my family.  It was a bit of an experiment (as many of mine are anymore).  I put blueberry and cherry pie filling in it, but then I added fresh pear and some dried cranberries.  I realize that probably sounds really, really odd, but the combo was actually really perfect.  We ate this delightful pie while drinking some tasty decaf on Wednesday night.  I made this pie and a second one that was just plain cherry.  The cherry pie actually went to the church on Thursday night.  Autumn on Parade is this weekend and I had agreed to make a pie for the church's booth.  But we at this one here at home, partially because I needed to make pie, but also partially to celebrate the fact my mom had a successful first day run of "Quilters" which is the musical she is currently in through PAG here in town.  

Mom is the sweet, sweet Prairie fire there in the middle!
My father and I actually went to see "Quilters" last night.  I really hadn't wanted to see this musical.  That may sound a little rude or harsh or mean, but one of Mom's monologues was the most depressing bit of a musical I have ever heard, and I have seen Les Miserables...  Honestly, she has this monologue about this little girl's 7th birthday and her mom is already dead, but then during the monologue both the girl's dad AND sister die.  It's 30 below, she's 7, it's her birthday, she becomes an orphan, and she's alone in this dirt house on the prairie.  Honestly.  *shudders*  That one is awful, but the rest of the musical was great.  I mean, Mom did a wonderful job with her monologue, but the rest of the musical was, for the most part, far more upbeat, and it was often really funny.  That I really didn't expect.  The funny was a glorious touch.  If you get a chance at some point, Quilters is a musical well worth watching.  Just make sure you take Kleenex.  

Handsome Rob (erta?)
Ah yes, and then there was one more surprise addition to the week.  On Monday night, Joel was taking stuff out to the garage, and when he came back in he said there was a kitten in the garage.  Sure enough, out in the rain was an adorable little kitten.  I named it Handsome Rob even though we are now pretty sure it's a girl.  This cat is adorable and sweet, but sadly we just don't have the money to take her to the vet for her shots so we can keep her.  We are currently feeding her, and she is currently living on our porch.  We're working on finding her a good home where people will love her as much as we are all coming too.  So...*hint, hint,* if you want an adorable, cuddly, purring kitten of your very own, please let me know.  I would love to see Handsome Rob(erta) to a good home.  The good thing is, the vet we take our cats to told us that if we can't find her a home by the end of next week, he will take her in and find her a good home.  This definitely makes me feel better.  I just want this little one to be loved.  She's so sweet.

Anyway, today is sunny and glorious, and my mood and brain have finally gone back to where they need to be.  Sure...life isn't perfect, but it never will be.  But, I can smile because I got to sleep in this morning, my mom made chocolate chip banana muffins, I am listening to Jamie Cullum sing to me about how weird your 20's are (AMEN!), and in a few hours I will be having dinner with my friend Morgan and some of her friends for her birthday.

Life is going to be just fine.  


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Time Is Wrong

Bah.

The past two days have been super weird.  Nothing unusual happening in life itself, but I feel horribly off.  Maybe it is the grey skies or rain or just the fact that I feel cut off from everything.  It finally hit me that I was here.

I am here.

I am not at home in Atlanta, living with girls that might as well be my sisters, going to a school I love (no matter how screwy the people running it can be at times), babysitting my cousins, and loving my life.

Nope.  Instead I am at home in IL.

I am trying to make the most of this.  Honestly, I adore my family and the people here.  I love being here, buuut...it's the smaller bit of me now.  Unfortunately the bigger part of me is wishing like crazy that I was in Atlanta.

I hate feeling like this.  I hate feeling ungrateful and sad.  I hate that I am feeling an ache and avoid yawning inside me.  It is killing me.

So I work hard to find ways to make other people happy.  I have always found that if I work hard to make other people have better days...my days go better.

Today I made pies.  I made one for my family (blueberry, cranberry, pear, and cherry) and one for my church's AOP booth (just cherry).  I wanted to write some letters, but considering how frumpy and whiny I am, I didn't think anyone would want to read the letters I felt like writing.

Why am I letting myself be this way?

Again...bah.

But...to end on a cheerful note: a list.

Favorite things of this very moment (9:54 pm CST):

  • Pie.  Delicious pie.  
  • The younger cat always showing up when I put together my sandwich for tomorrow's lunch (she will someday sit on command)
  • Clean clothes fresh out of the dryer
  • "The Tick" cartoon show...ah the joys of my youth
  • You.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Change of Heart


Sometimes the darkness really is a terrible thing.  Sometimes it finds you looking through old pictures and seeing yourself a long, long time ago with a boy that you, at the moment they were taken you were certain you would be spending the rest of your life holding onto.  And he thought that too.

But no matter how long you look at this picture, and no matter how happy you both looked in this picture, you know now how that story ends.  The way so many of our stories end.  It ends with a lot of tears, and questions.

Why didn't it last?  Why didn't this love work?  What was wrong with it?  What was wrong with you?  Why couldn't they love you anymore?

And then you realize it just wasn't meant to be.  They weren't supposed to be the center of your universe.

God was.

And the more I look at this, the more I realize this was just one of those beautiful bits of my story.  I bear a lot of scars from the boy in that picture, but I also learned so much about myself because of him.  And as angry as I was for so long at him, it wasn't his fault things didn't work out.  We just were not what the other one needed.  The closer I became to God and the stronger in myself I became, the farther from him I became.

This is good.

Now I know that God is the center of my universe, whatever love I am meant to keep for mine for forever...he will be standing at my side searching for God with me.  We'll be journeying through life together with all the hope and joy and courage we can muster.  Holding each other up and not letting one another fall away.

My deepest wish is that we all find that.  The wonderful, beautiful boy in the picture with me does too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Am Loved

Beautiful letter care package sent to me by Kim, Amber, Hilary, Regina,  Garble & Jeff
 I am so loved.  The picture above is the care package that came for me last week.  It came with instructions on when I could read each my beautiful letters and gave me a full week of love from some of the crew down at ABC who I dearly love and miss.  I have been writing letters back the rest of the week.  Every time I look at those letters or that envelope or write a letter back...it is impossible not to feel like I could explode because of how incredibly loved and filled with love I really am.  It blows me away, and it's a joy to know that I am as loved and missed by these amazing people as I love and miss them.

Amy holding Mara with Colton & I

Mara & Colton holding hands...how cute is that?
 The two previous pictures are of my wonderful friend Amy holding her niece Mara (my psuedo niece) and me holding our friends Carrie & Jerry's little boy, Colton.  I include these pictures because I am missing Amy like crazy today.  I got a letter and a mix cd from her in the mail today.  It is hands down the best mix I have received in ages.  It reminded me just how very much I am completely and totally loved.  I needed this love today because I have been home feeling a little like death.  But Amy's mix and the note that I am so very loved...it blew me away and reminded me of all the awesome times we had this summer.  I am so loved.

Adios for now.  Remember...YOU ARE LOVED!  By me and by God.  <3

Monday, September 12, 2011

This I Remember


When I was a senior in high school I was in this amazing class that truly changed my life.  It was an English class.  We would read poetry or stories or novels and then write response papers for the next class.  Then the 7 of us would sit in a circle of desks with our teacher who was this incredibly crazy, but brilliant bald man by the name of John Vincent Young, and we'd discuss our ideas and thoughts and feelings about a certain piece.

But, though that did a great deal to improve my writing and my appreciation for the written word, this wasn't how the class changed my life.  No, what changed me was the giant boy with long curly hair that was so dark it was bordering on black who was a poet and a romantic to the truest extent.  His name was Jacob Zuniga.  And without ever really intending to, we became best friends.

It still amazes me.

Zuni was one of the most popular boys in our school.  Formerly a football player until a knee injury made further play impossible, he knew everyone and everyone loved him.  He was a born story teller and comic, and he could make anyone feel important.  His girlfriend once used a quote from "The Big Lebowski" to explain him, he like "that rug really pulled the room together."  Odd as that may seem, that's probably the best way to describe him that I have ever heard.

I miss him every day.

Today is September 11, 2011.  And I remember what happened 10 years ago.  I won't ever be able to forget it.  I was 15.  I was a sophomore in high school.  I was in first period algebra with Mr. Rolondo when the first plane struck.  We were watching coverage on the news when the 2nd plane struck.  I saw it happen.  Those images never go away.  I remember the questions and the crying, and I remember, very distinctly wondering if this meant we were going to war and what that would mean.  I remember wondering if the guys surrounding me would be going to war, and even worse, if my brothers, my best friends, and the boy I was sure I wanted to marry (I was 15, remember) would go to war too.

And we did go to war.  We're still at war.  Sometimes I wonder if this war is in competition with Vietnam to see who can be drug out longest without any kind of satisfying conclusion.  And many of my friends have gone to war.  A friend of mine just finally got out of the air force after being in for 6 years.  I hate this war.  I hate knowing about the things my friends have seen or gone through trying to protect the United States.  And I hate knowing that people are dying for this thing all the time.  Innocent people, good people, bad people, poor people, rich people, children and adults.  All kinds.  People are dying.  10 years of this.  Is this worth it?

All I know is that I remember.

But what I want to remember is the good.  What I try to remember is the way this amazing country pulled together.  How we donated blood and clothes and food and time and energy to help people rebuild.  How we searched the wreckage for survivors and cheered when they were found.  How we mourned together over the dead, those we knew and those we didn't.  How we supported the men and women who serve in the armed forces, even if we didn't believe in war.

We have gone through so much as a country in 10 years.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, plane crashes, blizzards, landslides, and so many disasters, but if we learned anything from tragedy it is this: we will survive and we will take care of each other.  The love I see in this nation is overwhelming.  We are learning to take care of each other a little better all the time, and I find hope in that.

Beyond all of these memories, this day reminds me very much of all the people that I have lost in the past 10 years. A best friend, a girl who might as well have been my little sister, several classmates, 2 kids who were best friends with my youngest brothers, several great aunts, a boy who I had taught in youth group, and several very beloved elderly church members.

Zuni is what I remember and think of most.  I ran across something he wrote for me just a month and a half before he died.  My best friend was a genius, especially when it came to matters of the heart, and this particular letter was no less a gem.  I ran across it again this evening when going through some old papers, and it made me miss him so much my heart about burst.

So as a parting thought, something good to remember, something that my brilliant, amazing, wonderful best friend once said to me that I hope will do you as much good as it does me:

"In closing thoughts, love is blind.  We don't choose who we love, or who loves us back.  It's something we can't explain.  When you're away from your love, you start thinking about it.  You sit back and wonder what the hell it is that makes you work, that attracts you to them, and although you have a few ideas, it's nothing solid.  You've bunches of friends with the same qualities.  What makes them so special?  You sit and you wonder, but it's all in vain, for when they're back and in your arms, you know.  What, I'm not sure, but you know that this is right and that you were wrong for questioning it.  I guess that's true love, above all else: having faith.  Right now, I don't know what I'm doing.  I'm living for my weekend binge, for those few choice hours when I'm there and she's there and something as old as the sun but as new as our lives is there enslaving us.  I know that I die every time I see her because I know I have to say goodbye.  I know that I die every time I hug her, every time I kiss her, every time I look into her eyes and see myself.  I know that sometimes I don't remember what I've done during the day because all I've done is think about her.  I know that she's the last thing in my mind at night and the first when I rise.  She literally is the girl of my dreams; she visits every night.  I've sat on the sidelines and wondered why her, why this, and I should never have done that, for when I see her, when I talk to her on the phone or read her e-mails, I know.  I can feel it in my heart and in my mind, and I know this: this is real.

Have faith in yourself and your love.  Know that no matter what happens, you will be together again.  There is no end if it is real, no stop and start.  You'll become so entangled that you won't be singular anymore, won't be alone.  There will come a time when the roots of two trees will connect underground and form a vast village of matter, until there no longer are two trees, but one singular unit living via the other.  That's love, or at least, that's the best way I can describe it."

This I remember.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Passion, You Disarm Me



My problem is, and probably always will be, passion.

Passion that wants to change the world from the inside out.  Passion that wants to share a life with someone else starting at this very moment.  Passion that wants to feel deeply and run free.  Passion that wants to hold the heart of another person tightly and lavish it with everything I can.

I am drawn to the passion of others.  I find people most attractive when they are discussing what brings them the most joy.  I love listening to my friend, Jay talk about music and recording.  I love listening to my friend Amy talk about ministry and God.  The same can be said of my friend Jake.  With Jordan it is languages and computers and theology.  With Nikky it has always been about art and love and movies and language.  Sam undoes me when he sings or plays and talks music or people.

Each person, as Neil Gaiman once said, is full of their own secret worlds.  They may seem quiet and subdued, but each one of us has something inside of us that makes us beautiful.  We are all full of secrets and magic and light, but so few people will ever take the time to see that.

It's this secret inside the hearts of others that I find so beautiful.  What draws me most to people is when I see glimmers of this.

I cannot help but feel a little overwhelmed when I hear someone sing and I can hear the words resonate deep inside them.  It makes me ache and wish that I could find a way to see what make those words or that song mean what it does for them.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Are We Done?


I miss this.  I miss him.  I miss this version of him.  My version of him.  The one that is one of my closest friends.

On the other hand, I still don't understand why I am making a face that looks that stupid.  Ha.

Life is strange and interesting.  I always find it interesting that texting can make someone seem right their with you and also a million miles away at the same time.  Because of the texting it seems like Sam and I are back where we started.  Talking every day.  The difference is that I can tell he is holding back and that I am no longer a main focus in his life.  I miss this.

It's time to grow I guess.