Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Eve of an Eve

I could technically use my new planner I bought for 2010, since the 1st is on a Friday, and today and tomorrow are visible on the first page. But I'm not quite ready to let go of my old planner yet. We've been many places together, and I wouldn't change any of them. The past year and a half of my life is represented in that book. I could let it go today, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

Today, as I was walking home, I passed by this certain pizza place down the block that has outdoor speakers that play the radio. Meat Loaf's "Two Outta Three Ain't Bad" was blaring, which definitely takes me back. I tend to go through phases of music. Like two years ago, I listened to the Eagles, and only the Eagles, for about two months. The songs just made sense, you know? In high school I had a Meat Loaf phase. I used to love to go on long drives, and I would listen to Bat Out of Hell from beginning to end (back in the day when gas was cheap!). I'd take the car, pick a direction and drive until I felt like turning around.

Certain songs just remind me of driving so much. Like "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. I used to listen to that song so much in the car.

Something I love about Meat Loaf's songs are they are all so epic. I mean epic! songs here. They all tell a story in this power ballad-esque fashion. So dramatic. Love it, love it. And have you ever seen the videos? I watched "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" online. Intense!

I am reading The Count of Monte Cristo for book club. This book is so compelling! And gripping. Parts of it I just read and read and can't put it down. We are reading the unabridged version, so getting through all of the obviously extra stuff has been a bit hard. Have definitely gone through a lull, so glad that's over. It's my brother's favorite book, and I can definitely see why. I'm nearly halfway through, so only 700 pages to read by Saturday (gasp!). I can do it.

The Bears won today. Woot!

I so enjoy listening to Pandora. I have a station called "Southern Comfort" and it always manages to play the most perfect songs. Yes, I did just say "most perfect."

I so want to learn to play the guitar. So I can play "Classical Gas" and have it sound absolutely amazing. In my dreams though.

Today's quote (can't believe I keep forgetting a quote!) will come from Mr. Aday:

"And some days I pray for silence/And some days I pray for soul/Some days I just pray to the god/Of sex and drums and rock and roll"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

British Period Pieces

Today is another sick day for me. As was yesterday and will be tomorrow. But no worries - I am going to make it. I need to slow down, I need to relax. And now I'm doing it. Last night I watched Gosford Park and today I watched A Room With a View. Both are absolutely fabulous movies. I'd never seen A Room With a View. You know how you can watch the first 30 seconds of a movie and know, just know right then and there, that you're going to love it. Bam. I knew it. "Love at first sight" style. It opens with a woman singing beautiful Italian opera, and the credits give not only the actor/actress but the character name as well. Works for me.

I love Gosford Park. Every time I watch it I learn something new. Probably because you're never really introduced to the characters, you're kind of just thrown into the mix, trying to figure out who is who.

I feel like it's still summer right now. I'm seated on the couch, reading the newspaper. A truck outside has it's radio on very loud so I can hear it. So far we've listened to:

"Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" by the Backstreet Boys
"You Make Me Wanna" by Usher
"Battlefield" by Jordin Sparks
"Hey Mr. DJ" by Rihanna

Classic stuff right there. Anyway, it feels like summer because it's still very nice outside, still got some blue sky. I have time to sit and read the paper in the afternoon. Nowhere to be, nowhere I need to go. So, so grateful I have a job where I can take a sick day (or two). If you know me, you know that is representative of some serious growth. Serious growth.

I have only felt like eating Spaghetti-Os for the past two days. I haven't eaten them in years. Like about ten years, no joke. They just sounded right today.

I have also consumed huge quantities of orange juice in the past four days as well. Every other time I'd rather just eat an orange, but not this time.

I don't get how everyone seems to be pulling Obama in two completely different directions. First, people are saying he's doing way too much, he needs to focus his energies on just a few key issues, and then people say he's not doing enough to address this (small) issue right here that absolutely needs to be dealt with. Qu'est-ce c'est? People, the man has been in office eight months. It takes time to undo eight years of someone else. Plus the world's problems are compounding and collapsing on him all at once. Every issue is critical or every issue is secondary. Pick one.

I never before realized how often I start sentences with some variation of "I read this article in the paper..." until someone pointed it out to me. True. I read the paper every day. I absolutely love it. I'm trying to get the Bible to be that routine as well. But I just love reading the paper. And I love reading the paper I currently subscribe to as well (for over a year now). I think everyone should read the paper. I'm such an old person sometimes.

But seriously, I read this article in the paper just now about civility and how our society is often lacking in it. Couldn't agree more. Of course, I manage to be a walking contradiction of both bluntness and old-fashioned-ness (perhaps balance or harmony would be a better word here?) but I do believe in telling the truth with grace. Putting a pink flamingo in your yard is an acceptable level of tackiness. Grabbing the mike from Taylor Swift is not.

Must be off now. I'm sure there's some medicine I need to be taking right now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Football Season

Something else I love about fall - FOOTBALL! I know I already mentioned this, but I do love watching football. Sunday night, here I am, watching the Bears take on the Packers. Great rivalry. My team had better do well. The Redskins have already lost today, so lets go Bears!

I could hardly believe today when I looked out the window at 7:45 PM that it was already pitch black out. Whoa. Fall is definitely here when the sun sets before eight. Something so exciting about the crispness in the air. You can smell cold, I firmly believe this. I think it smells pretty good.

I have been hacking up my lungs for a while now, so I am definitely heading to the doctor tomorrow. Thank You God that I don't have work tomorrow. You know how much I hate the doctor's office.

Woot! Green Bay just missed a field goal.

T is always asking me why I say "woot." I think I go thru phases of phases. "Woot," "Fabulous," I have my catch-phrases. That's fair.

Dunkin' Donuts finally re-opened, and there was definitely a long, long line. So funny.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dunkin' Riots

My neighborhood has a lot of old people. I love old people. They have their habits and their routines (Monday is post office day, Tuesday is grocery shopping day, etc.). Now, our local Dunkin' Donuts is the hangout for the over 65 crowd. A few weeks ago, they closed the DD for renovations. They put a sign in the window saying when it would reopen. I remember walking by the window, checking out how the construction was going and thinking to myself "there's absolutely no way they're going to finish on time." Sure enough, when that original re-opening day came around, another sign was put up with a new date. This continued for about two weeks. Now they just have a sign in the window saying "Tomorrow." Quite creative.

I've noticed the DD regulars have been hovering around the store, bickering about its closure. I'm ready for one of them to throw a cane through the window.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The First Day of Fall

Many a journal entry and short story has been written by me about the first day of fall. It rarely falls on September 22 (or whenever the "official" start is), but rather it begins whenever I notice something "fall-ish" happening. Today T and I played baseball in the park for a couple of hours. When I was in middle school, I wrote a short story about the first day of fall, and it involved me playing softball in the yard with my mom. Something about sports and autumn in my mind are linked, as I am also watching the first NFL game of the season right now (Tennessee v. Pittsburgh, eh, don't mind who wins).

I've been wanting to write another blog since about March (my last entry) I'm sure. I love to blog and journal, and I will think during the day "oh, I want to write this down" but for some reason I don't. Hazard of not working around a computer all day long - which I absolutely LOVE! I could never work in an office or at a desk. Never. Would lose it pretty quickly.

Since March, so much has happened. Attempting to catch up.

Stopped nannying for K and L at the end of May. Still miss them.

Nannied for A and T during June.

Another summer at camp. I absolutely love being a camp counselor. Another year of four-year-old boys. There is something just magical about four-year-olds. I think it's the best year ever. Old enough to be aware of the world around them (not always true for three-year-olds) and young enough to not be in school yet and still be very attached to adults. Probably speaking from my own growth, but I loved this year so much more than last. I felt so much more aware of myself and of my boys and of my co-counselors. I could set boundaries with people I needed to set boundaries with. I could love my kids in a good way. Overall it was a fabulous experience. I love my job.

Nannied for K for two weeks. Forgot how exhausting yet rewarding it is to spend the day with her. Our last day together was magical. We spent most of the day at the park. I love the park by her house. So many kids, so diverse. There's this one family of boys that is there all the time. Their grandmother watches them, this overweight, heavily tattooed, deep-voiced woman whom I aspire to be one day. Always wearing a tank top. She plays poker with two of her friends on this certain picnic bench, she has a cooler full of drinks and a picnic basket full of snacks and she isn't afraid to yell at her grandkids AND their friends. Anyway, K and I watched this man attempt to rescue his blow-up rocket ship from up in a tree. It was waaaay up there in the tree, and at first he tried to throw a soccer ball at it. Then he got creative and filled up a water bottle halfway with water and tied a string to the cap, then spent almost 45 minutes throwing this bottle up, trying to shake the limb the rocket clung to. It was amazing. K sat on my shoulders for a while, both of us watching. We made friends with a six-year-old boy, and he and K played together for nearly an hour, running around together. It was absolutely adorable, totally love and first sight.

We also spent one afternoon at a birthday party, and did you know there are houses in Greenpoint with legit backyards? It was amazing. Just like being anywhere else in the country.

I have applied to Teach for America, and I made past the application round to the phone interview round. I am so excited! I am more than excited. I am full of a deep joy that can only spring from my Savior and my God. Only from Him. I m so intensely desirous of this opportunity, this moment, I can hardly justify any attempt to put it into words (yet here I go again). I want this so badly. So, so badly. Everything about this makes sense, it makes sense on some level I cannot even know or understand. I want to do this. Not for me, but for these children. These children deserve something better than what they're getting. I plan on becoming a teacher no matter what TFA decides. If they don't select me, that's not going to stop this epic quest to become a teacher. But I really do want TFA. I want to work in the rural South - that would absolutely be my first choice. Rural regions are so ignored. Urban poverty is broadcast everywhere. It makes the news. People want to help because they want to live in those areas anyway. No one wants to move to the middle of nowhere. But I do. Not that that desire makes me better or more capable or more ready, not at all. I am still a weak, flawed human vessel. Why the good Lord would choose to use me or work through me, I still have absolutely no idea. I wouldn't choose me. I know I'm going to fail. Any successes I do have are all His anyway. So why do I do this? Because my God has called me here. He has said to me "Be My hands and feet here on earth." Just like what He said to Peter in John 21: "Feed My sheep."

I have started nannying for T and A this week. Absolutely love these two kids, but they can definitely be a handful (as all kids can be). T and I have spent the last two days together, as A is in school now. He's been asking me lots of questions about death and God and Heaven. I am a bit stuck at how to answer these questions. I tell him that God loves him so, so much, that God knows him very, very well, that he can talk to God whenever he wants and ask Him anything at all. T is just going thru a "death phase" right now I guess. I'm trying to tell him the truth, and honestly he's looking for comfort right now. He asks if his mom will be in Heaven. What can I say? I have no idea. I tell him yes, of course she will be. I tell him that all of his family will be there. Then, this evening, he tells his mom what he learned about Heaven today, and she gives the perfect response for who she is. She says that Heaven, like religion, is up to the individual person, that people have different beliefs, that no one knows for sure, etc. Typical post-modern, culturally Jewish thing to say. I am silently screaming next to her, wanting to yell "Give him some hope! That's what he's really asking for!" It's amazing that to this young child, concepts like "heaven" and "God" totally and innately make sense. He can take them as a given. What an example of child-like faith. I totally don't have this. I ask God all the time to explain Himself to me. Like the end of Romans 11, "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?" I just want to be able to start with God and go from there.

I have been reading the TFA blogs, and I am totally obsessed. I love reading those blogs, thinking to myself "Yes! That is absolutely what teaching is like!" I am so not ready. I know this because I feel ready. Which means I am so unprepared.

I have watched the first four episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 on Netflix. The original. Circa 1990. Oh yeah.

I plan on blogging more often now. Epic entries will of course still be included. Quote for the day:

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I am still waiting to hear back from City Year. I am having a heck of a time with one of my references, so of course I feel like a flake. Plus the people at the office have been so patient with me about all of this paperwork and such. I really, really want to do this. I've been praying over the last couple of days for a renewed sense of desire for what God wants. Where is His heart in what I am doing? What does He care about? What does He like?

Today has been a really good day. Excellent. So was yesterday. K and I had a great day together, playing at Mamalu's and reading fairy tales when we got home. I love walking from their house to the B61 bus stop in the evenings. I take a long route there, and it's during the early evening when the sun is setting. It is so beautiful. I really love Williamsburg and Greenpoint. And I especially love not taking the L train. I'd always rather take the bus. So much more to see.

I've gotten into this TV show Jericho. It was a show about a town in Kansas dealing with a nuclear attack that destroyed 23 American cities. One of those post-apocalyptic shows. It only lasted for 29 episodes, but it was such an incredible show. I never watched it when it was actually on TV, just over the last couple of months on Netflix. I think I got started in November or December. Anyway, I finally watched the finale last night. Fantastic. Loved it. The thing I love about this show (among other things) is how it is structured. I find incredible parallels between the show and the Gospel. The first season was all about rebuilding Jericho and what that looked like, about getting a town put back together and getting it right again. Season two was about foreign attacks, dealing with outside influences, maintaining wholeness found. If my heart is not right towards God, I cannot fully love other people. Like this quote in Boundaries I keeping coming back to: "To know what to ask for, we have to be in touch with who we really are and what are our real motives." So, so true. Two separate things are going in: God is fixing individuals and God is fixing His creation. God heals us for a purpose. The healing is not in and of itself the final end, but rather it is a part of the ending, a part of the final redemption.

Also, I am so struck by the incredible passion in the show for the redemption of the world, for the full truth to be told and to be known, for a rebuilding. I know I am not passionate about God's kingdom, not as passionate as I should be. I am too inward looking, to self-centered, to me-focused. I hate it. I need to look up more. I need to look at my Creator and His mercy and grace as much as I consider my own failure and sin.

Yet again, I feel like I cannot convey what I am actually trying to say. I feel like I am so poetic in my own head, but that's because I don't have to communicate with real words. Sometimes a feeling is enough. I wish I could play the guitar, so my fingers could strum out a melody that my mouth could never put words to. It would be exactly what I am feeling right now.

Speaking of feeling right now, I am in general so excited about the future! I'm not sure why, only because I know a God who brings delight and who has promised hope and a future for all of us. And the best part is He knows me and will never forget me nor look past me. I still think this is absolutely incredible. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry has to miss the softball game because of a funeral. George is trying to talk Jerry out of feeling guilty about not going to the funeral and says to him "If you're a spirit, and you can travel to other dimensions and galaxies, and find out the mysteries of the universe, you think she's going to want to hang around Drexler's funeral home on Ocean Parkway?"

If I was the God of the universe, would I care so much about this one planet in this one galaxy? And these people who lived and died on it? It's like me now taking an equal interest in every single ant that's existed ever on this planet. What?! Crazy. Crazy, crazy, crazy how much God loves us. I guess all of this connects back to John Piper's Desiring God. If God truly was the best thing in the universe, He could not be a good God if He did not offer Himself to us. Something like that. Part of that.

Once again, I am thinking of moving to New Orleans. I'm going to apply in October for Teach for America and Teach NOLA, as well as NYC Teaching Fellows and Mississippi Teachers Corps. I know I want to be a teacher. God has definitely been growing in me a heart for New Orleans for a long time. Who knows. He does.

I just felt like writing a bit in the journal. Not a whole lot to say. Pretty content with life right now. In love with Jesus, but only, only because He was in love with me first.

Quote for the day will come from Jericho:

"It's not about convincing one man he's wrong. It's a whole system."
"You think it's impossible? This has all happened before. If the names weren't Jennings & Rall, it would be names like the British East India Trading Company. If it wasn't Ravenwood, it would be the Hessian mercenaries. It all comes down to the same thing..."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Daughter of the King

I have been meaning to update this blog for a month now, and I'm still not quite sure how I never got around to it.

I feel like my life has been a roller coaster ride this past month. Or this past six months. I've been growing up. Learning a lot. Life is good, it always is, always will be. Doesn't mean it doesn't hurt or isn't painful, but that ultimately it is good. Because God is good. Not only is He good, He cannot be anything but good.

I had this revelation on Monday night. The Holy Spirit just flooded me/floored me with it. First off, I too often gloss over the idea that I am in a relationship with God. I'm not quite sure how I manage to do this, but I do. I think of God up there and me down here, and I never consider the idea that we are together. Because if I was Him, I'd totally have already broken up with myself. But He's sticking with me, for better or worse, forever kind of thing. I realized I had been treating God like I was a bug and He was waiting to squash me if I stepped over the line, if I didn't measure up, if I messed up at all. Like God was a mean kid with a magnifying glass, waiting to burn me up. I treat God like a slave driver, like a miserable old man. How awful! What am I doing? That is not the God I worship. That is not the God I follow.

What got me thinking about all of this was considering money and my budget and City Year (more on this later). I was researching the size of the stipend corps members get from City Year and whether or not it would be enough to pay my rent. If not, I was going to ask my parents for the money, if they could fully support me during those ten months if there wasn't a stipend sufficient to do so. And I got to thinking, I'm not 100% sure if they would say yes, but I would never hesitate to ask them because I know they love me. I would have no qualms about asking. I know they would still love me and I would still love them if they did say no. So, if I am this confident in my relationship with my earthly parents, why do I not have the same confidence in my relationship with my perfect heavenly Father?

I got to thinking about Matthew 7:7-11, about the giving of good gifts:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Of if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?"

Wow. I know I am incredibly selfish person. I realize it more and more every day. To think that I can ask God for something to me sounds both humble and selfish, if that's even possible. Like, why should I ask for something in the first place? Do I really need what I'm asking for? And humbling because I actually have to get on my face before God and proclaim that I am needy, that I am incomplete. I just think of growing up how my dad used to call my mother "needy" all of the time. How growing up I never asked for anything. Either I would get it myself, I would just take it or I would do without.

My dad grew up poor. Like, really, really poor. Dirt floor poor. He would tell me and my brother stories about growing up and we would always cry because they were so heartbreaking. And at the end he would always say "But we don't have to live like that anymore!" And D and I would never believe him. We would feel we had to do penance for having food on our table or something like that. We as children could not get past the heartbreak of the past to actually live a better life in the present. All we would see was the hurt, never the healing. Maybe that's because healing is hard. It's never perfect. Maybe because our dad was never healed. This is making me think of the movie Magnolia, how the movie is all about the beauty of being broken. But ultimately the movie is never satisfying because there is no healing at the end. There is just brokenness. When William H. Macy's character says "I really do have love to give! I just don't know where to put it!" part of me screams at him "Put it in Jesus!" and part of me screams "I know exactly what you mean!"

You know the phrase "'Tis better to give than receive?" Yeah, it's true. But it is so much harder to receive. At least for me it is. I remember being in third grade and my teacher, Ms. Bradley, complimenting me in front of the whole class. I remember hiding under the desk until she was done. Of course, I was just being a good, modest Southern girl. That's what everyone told me. But really I just had a boundaries problem. I couldn't let the good in. And when I was in second grade everyone used to tell me how much I looked like my mom. I used to get so angry, one because I didn't realize it was a compliment, and two because I didn't like my mom back then.

This is kind of an emo blog entry. Promise, I'm actually doing well. Except for a bit of a sore throat. And the realization that I am addicted to caffeine. Not a whole lot, not enough to make me a fiend, but just enough to miss my three in the afternoon cup of black tea. I have given up caffeinated beverages for Lent. No more coffee, Americanos, black tea or hot chocolate. It's been a week, and my brain is letting me know it's not entirely thrilled about this.

So City Year! This is exactly what I want to do! Since about August I have felt God strongly calling me to stay in New York, so I have decided to apply for City Year New York. It's a program with NYC public schools where I will be a mentor/tutor in an elementary school classroom. Basically America Reads but also including the afterschool program as well. I am incredibly, incredibly excited for it! I would most definitely appreciate any prayer for this. I truly feel led to this program by the Lord, and I definitely would like to dedicate a year of my life to service.

I actually am loved! What a concept! Thank You Lord Jesus for Your perfect, perfect love. I know I spend too much time looking inward at my own sin and not enough time considering the God I follow, the God who breaks me so He may heal, and not just me but the entire world, fallen as it may be, He has deemed it worthy of redemption. The phrase "it's not about me" takes on so many new levels here. Live like you're loved, because you are.

L's family is on a cruise this week, so I had Monday and Tuesday off from work. Did they pick a perfect week to get out of New York!

This entry may not actually make any sense. It may not be true. But it is the thoughts inside my head. I love my God, my family, my friends, my life, my job. I embrace the future God holds for me, and I long for nothing more than to glorify my Lord, my King, forever. I long for nothing more than to know Him and make Him known. I long to be His vessel here on earth, to pick fruit and shepherd sheep. I long for nothing more than Him Himself, for all else is empty and He alone satisfies. I know He is good, I know He is great. Thank You Jesus. Thank You Jesus.

Life is good. Today's quote comes from Magnolia as well:

"I lost my gun today when I left you and I'm the laughingstock of a lot of people. I wanted to tell you. I wanted you to know and it's on my mind. And it makes me look like a fool. And I feel like a fool. And you asked that we should say things - that we should say what we're thinking and not lie about things. Well, I can tell you that, this, that I lost my gun today - and I am not a good cop. And I'm looked down at. And I know that. And I'm scared that once you find that out you may not like me."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Yellow Submarine

Good morning everyone. This week is my first week of being a nanny four days a week. Mondays and Tuesdays I'm with the two-year-old, and Wednesdays and Fridays I'm with the four-year-old. So now I need to brag on my kids a little :-)

L is the two-year-old boy I watch on Monday and Tuesday. Cutest child in life. He has this 60s-esque bowl haircut which is precious. He talks just like a two-year-old talks, so I only understand about half of what he says. The rest I try and figure out. You know what I mean. He can't really say the "th," "ch" or "sh" sounds. In fact, he can't say them at all. Like "sare-ees" is "cherries," things like that. He has the best memory of any child I know also. Like I met him one week before I started as his nanny, and he remembered my name. That never happens. Ever. And especially not with a two-year-old. And he knows all of his letters, numbers and all 50 states. He loves to play with trucks and listen to music. His favorite songs are "ABC" by the Jackson 5 and "Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles. So of course over the past two days I've heard them about 20 times, haha. Good thing I love the Beatles. He loves to repeat the song lyrics, and "sea of green" sounds like "see-uh-geen." It is so cute! He doesn't really like to go to the park, which was so sad because Monday was absolutely gorgeous. Plus he's two, so he does get cranky sometimes. Meaning he's a normal child. Love him.

K is the four-year-old girl I watch on Wednesdays and Fridays. Gorgeous blonde who only wears dresses. Loves the story of Hansel & Gretel, so much that I now have it permanently stored in my memory. Loves princesses and dressing up like one. She pretty much has free reign of the house, and her stuff is everywhere. Very creative with an incredible imagination. She loves to make up stories. Plus she is going to be a great artist. Her mom is an art professor, so I guess it runs in the family. Usually, when a four-year-old colors, he scribbles in big circles. That is what coloring is. But she actually draws, and draws so you can recognize what she's drawing. Her parents don't believe in television, so I don't think she's ever watched it before. Watching a movie is a very, very special treat. She loves to eat pears and yogurt, too. So energetic and physical. Playing with her is a full-contact sport. Loves to go to the park, so I find myself praying more and more for the weather to be nice.

Those are my kids. I love being a nanny. It was hard at first, not going to lie. It was just different than I expected. I'm not sure what I expected exactly, but thinking about being a nanny is a lot different from being a nanny. I am getting better at it, that's for sure. No one can tell you how to be a nanny or what to do when you're a nanny. It's totally something you have to just jump into. I'm glad I'm one of those people who is very comfortable doing that, jumping in. I like to "wing it" more than anything. I know preparation is important, but usually I'd rather not. Or only do minimal.

My confidence with kids is much better than it was. I always knew I was good with kids, but now I actually really know I'm very good. It sounds so not humble, but I don't know how to word it the right way. I am very confident when it comes to children because I know my God-given talent is being developed and cultivated by the Lord. It's like I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm learning so much and it all makes sense. Plus having read Boundaries came at the exact right moment. Now I actually understand, like really understand, concepts like "discipline" and "consistency," things that I used to talk about but not realizing how abstract they still were to me. Okay, reading back over this paragraph, my writing is not exactly conveying what I truly want to say. I'm trying here, but I am a much better in person speaker than blogger I guess.

I guess the real thing is I have a deep desire to be a wife and mother, but since I didn't have much experience with kids when that desire became real it seemed so impossible. I thought to myself, "I'm never going to be a good mother. I won't know how to deal with my own children or how to raise them properly." Now I know that while I still won't know what I'm doing (because no parent actually does, really) at least I'm closer than I was. Meaning I know a little bit more than I did. Which is to say I still don't know anything, but at least I know that I don't know anything.

Looking back at all God has done and knowing what He is doing and will do in my life is both very humbling and very uplifting at the same time. It's uplifting because I know He loves me. The God of the universe, the Creator, cares about my heart and my character. He wants me to look like His Son. He actually cares about the decisions I make and about my personal growth. What?! It's humbling for all of the reasons I just mentioned as well. Love is humbling. It really is. Plus, all of this growth is humbling because, at the end of the day, it is not about me. It never was, it never will be. All of this is about something greater than me, something so much more worthy and beautiful. God's glory is so much more worth it.

I feel like I am trying and failing to convey this concept in this blog. I know what I'm trying to say, but there is this disconnect between the actual idea, my brain and it's limited understanding, my heart and it's limited knowing, the struggle to put something so amazing into words and my fingers on the keyboard. I will keep trying, but this is something I can better say face to face.

And now for something completely different...

I cannot believe Gran Torino was not nominated for a single Oscar. Zilch. Zip. Nil. What? Really? People, what were you thinking? Did any of you actually watch the movie? Did you not sob at the end, did you not realize how Clint played the Christ-figure to near perfection? Also, I still don't understand how The Dark Knight was not nominated for Best Picture. Again: What? Really? Definitely one of the best movies of all time, one of the best movies ever made, and no nomination. I just don't get it. I really don't. Every year I say I'm never going to watch the Oscars again because I just can't get my head around how they choose the same four movies to give all the nominations to. Every time a Holocaust movie is made, instant nomination. Can we please have a little movie diversity? This tirade could go on for pages, but I just don't think the Academy is worth that much.

I am so feeling the love from people based on my Skype status on Facebook. I really do love my friends. Like really love.

Alright, I have more to say but I've got to leave for work. I'm not sure the exact form of this quote, but you get the idea. Quote of the day is:

"The more you learn, the less you know."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

25 Things

I just posed this note on Facebook, but I also wanted to post it here. I think it's cute.

25 Things About Me:

1. I usually eat the same foods every day. This does not mean I do not enjoy new and interesting things, it just means once I know what I like, I stick with it. Which means a lot of tomato soup and peanut butter.

2. I save all of the birthday cards and thank-you notes I've received over the years. Yes, there are a lot of them and yes, they take up space. But I don't want to throw them away.

3. I look back on things I used to believe in so strongly and laugh. A lot of it is political, some of it has to do with spirituality and more of it has to do with myself and how I viewed life/love/ideas/truth.

4. I have saved every single movie ticket stub from every movie I've seen in theatres since 1999. My very first one is "Never Been Kissed." It is quite a collection.

5. I do not like tea infused with any kind of red fruit. I will eat a raspberry, but I will not drink raspberry tea.

6. Some brand names I am intensely loyal to. Things like Tide laundry detergent, CVS pharmacy, Secret deodorant, etc.

7. I do three crossword puzzles a day - the Metro paper, the New York Times and the USA Today.

8. I started a community kayak club in my hometown in high school. I am proud to know it is still going on.

9. I read multiple books at one time. I can pick up a book I haven't touched in weeks, open it up where I left off and still know what's going on.

10. I am becoming more and more impulsive as I grow in Christ. I used to be a hardcore planner, but now I'm not. It is so wonderful.

11. My dream house would have a huge wraparound front porch, a wood shop and a darkroom.

12. I think yoga is incredibly spiritual. I know the Lord is with me in my downward dog.

13. I prefer talking on a phone with a cord on it to a cordless phone. I'm not sure why, I just like being attached to something. Plus I pace when I'm on the phone, and a cord keeps me more in one spot.

14. I've been to Provence, to the Scottish highlands, but some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen was in my backyard in Navarre, FL. During the summer, every afternoon black thunderclouds would roll in from the north. I love the color of those clouds contrasted with the green trees.

15. For all of the reasons I am going to be a teacher, for everything God has called me to do in education, one of the coolest things is a summer vacation for life.

16. I could spend hours looking at the stars.

17. I never take medicine. Not for colds, not for headaches, not for anything. If I have one foot in the grave, I might take one Advil.

18. I very much enjoy doing laundry. It makes me feel so domestic.

19. When I was a kid, I used to drink about 3-4 Cokes a day. When I was in 4th or 5th grade, my dad told me I could only have one Coke a week and that was it. He totally followed through, and now I don't drink Coke at all. I can't even remember the last one I had.

20. It annoys the heck out of me when people say "pop." It's Coke. Soda is also acceptable.

21. My Southern accent comes out strong when I'm nervous. I can't even turn it off during those times. When I'm in the South it's always on, and people ask me if New Yorkers like it or not.

22. When I was a kid, I had the hardest time saying "drawer." It wasn't until I was about 15 or 16 I could say that word without thinking about it. I had to consider the word carefully and set my mouth just right.

23. I know I could work at any place, do any job in the world, as long as I like the people I worked with. I'm always reminded of Roseanne season one when she works at the plastic factory. If I worked with my friends, I could do that as well.

24. When it comes time to name my own children, my favorite names all come from characters in books or movies.

25. I am absolutely addicted to Carmex. I have about eight little containers of it so that one is always within reach wherever I go.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday's Child Has Far To Go

I was actually born on a Thursday. Plus that's a line in a Harry Nilsson song, "Here's Why I Did Not Go to Work Today." Very slow, jazzy, New York-esque song. Love it, love it.

I have had such a good morning today. Both today and yesterday I had a nice cup of tea, Irish Breakfast actually. Today I picked up the always-present New York Magazine on our coffee table and started flipping through it. I've never actually read it before, but today it just felt right. I actually loved it. It just felt right on my day off. And then I had this urge to knit, so I busted out the knitting needles and cheap yarn I own and got to work. Of course, since it's been almost two years, I did have to look at the book to remind myself how to cast on and knit, but it came right back. Like ridin' a bike. And I still do not know how to purl. It drives me nuts still. I just am incapable of doing it. Now, that could be because I am trying to learn via a picture book, which is not the best way for me. Once I actually do it with my own hands I will never forget, but until that happens purling will be my elusive unicorn stitch.

"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
-1 Corinthians 10:12-13

I've been thinking a lot about temptation and what that looks like in my own life. I mean, I totally know what it looks like, and it is very attractive. It takes the form of something I deeply desire and long for. But temptation is not beautiful. It's not actually worth anything. Thank You Lord for Your Word. It is something still so relevant in my life. Even the same verse, one year it can mean something and the next year it can speak to something completely different. Beautiful.

I am grateful to God for His faithfulness. He is always faithful. He cannot be anything but faithful. So I have to learn from my own past, just like Paul talks about. It reminds me of a sermon I heard back at CCCN, way back in... 2004 or 2005, during senior year of high school. S was talking about self-confidence v. God-confidence. I don't remember the nuts and bolts of it, but I do remember that comparison, confidence in myself v. confidence in God. And how I understand more and more what that actually means. My confidence, my strength, my assurance, none of that is actually "mine." It all comes from the Lord. He gives me strength because He is my strength. I know I am weak. I know I do stupid things for dumb reasons. God rescues me, and He tells me that I know the truth. I know what to do, so I just need to do it. I don't know all of the truth, but I know enough to make a decision. And this particular decision hurts a part of me to make, but at the end of the day I know it is the right one. T and I used to talk a lot about "counting the cost" and what that means/looks like. It is something I am growing to understand. God is my Redeemer.

I wish I could write more, but I've got to jet. I can't believe I just used the phrase "got to jet." Quote for the day comes from my man Harry:

"Now/If you haven't got an answer/You'd never have a question/And if you never had a question/Then you'd never have a problem/But if you never had a problem/Well everyone would be happy/But if everyone was happy/There'd never be a love song"

Monday, January 26, 2009

First Time

Here it is, my very first blog on this new site. I've been blogging since 10th grade, me and my LiveJournal. But then that expanded into a Xanga and a MySpace page. Updating everything just got too involved. So now I am excited to have consolidated everything into one page.

My posts tend to be random. I write like I talk, and I talk like I think - I just jump around.

Yesterday K messaged me on Facebook, saying "explain your status." My status mentioned blogging, and I told him about how I used to blog and now I'm looking forward to starting again. He said he would like to read my old stuff, so I sent him the link to my LiveJournal. And then I started to read the old entries. Wow, it was the best thing ever! I'm thinking to myself, "what the heck was I thinking?" Some of it is profound, some of it is melodramatic, most of it is just what I did during the day. Classic stuff right there. It's just great to see this progression in my life from 16 to 22, how much I've grown and changed.

Speaking of growth, I felt like I stretched and grew yesterday afternoon. In the morning I had Sunday school. We actually had about seven babies in the nursery, so it was quite active in there. There was a new kid, G, this absolutely adorable one-year-old I am kind of irrationally in love with. He has these chubby cheeks and shoulder-length blonde hair. Fantastic. Anyway, my friend D from church is a costume designer for theatre, and she designed the costumes for this show on Barrow Street called "The Whale." She and I and another girl C went to see it. It was actually really good. It was a one-man show about Moby Dick. The actor was really into it and really physical in the role. After that I just went to Bobst and then to Starbucks uptown to journal before evening service. Something just clicked when I was journaling that evening. I'm reading Desiring God by John Piper and The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. Both books have changed my life and are continuing to do so. I've just noticed how more honest my journal entries are becoming. Ever since last November when I started on Boundaries.

I've been thinking a lot about desire and what that means in my life. Why I am a classic avoidant and afraid to ask for anything I want. Yesterday when I went to see the show with my friends, it was just nice to spend time with friends from church. And how working in the nursery at church is getting easier. I just feel more confident and assertive. I feel like I'm standing on something that won't crumble and won't drop me. If the Lord is my foundation, I cannot fall. It is just so beautiful not only to realize this but to live it out.

Church service was great, and coffee hour afterwards was the best. It was nice to catch up with everyone. C (the pastor) uses a blue razor scooter to commute to church. Pretty much the best thing ever. It felt like family. Next week is a membership class I'm going to be a part of.

I just got a new clock radio that not only plays my iPod but it also charges it! Yay! I bought it in Florida two weekends ago at the B/X. It took me two mornings to figure out how to get it to actually play my iPod, but now I have done it. It's nice to be able to choose the song I wake up to now. I love the radio and waking up to music, but I just can't get up happily to a commercial or to talk radio. I just can't do it. I admit it. And this new alarm does not have a snooze button. I didn't know it when I bought it, and for the first day I thought "what?!?!" but now I'm actually glad. I get up faster now.

Netflix just put Cool Hand Luke on their "watch instantly" list. Or else it has been on it for a while but I just never noticed. Love that movie, absolutely love it. I had forgotten about the part in the beginning with the parking meters. I remember the first time I saw that movie. Tenth grade over Thanksgiving break. I was in Foley, AL at my grandparents house. My brother and I had driven over Wednesday after school let out. I remember that she had a satellite TV we could watch.

Wow, Cool Hand Luke. Chain gangs. I saw them all the time when I was a kid. I remember when my uncle Jeff lived with us in Florida, back when he was a construction worker. He used to have to call the supervisor "boss-man." He would tell us about his day and all the stuff "boss-man" did or said. I'm pretty sure I though "boss-man" and "shop chief" were the only names you could call your boss. No one in my house ever had a "manager" or "supervisor."

Now I'm starting to think about all of the prison movies I love. Cool Hand Luke. O Brother, Where Art Thou?. The Shawshank Redemption. Something about redemption and second chances I just love.

I played Guitar Hero for this first time with J and W on Saturday. It was actually kind of amazing. I totally failed my first try, but then I got the hang of it. Plus we unlocked "Mississippi Queen," so there you go.

I actually went out and bought some eye cream, and I used it for the first time last night. I can't believe I'm doing this, and by "this" I mean writing about it and using it. L'Oreal Eye Defense. Haha, what am I turning into? It reminds me of Steel Magnolias where Shelby says she noticed the beginnings of crow's feet. Then Truvy says "time is marching across your face." Shelby is only, what, 24 during that part of the movie? She's 22 when she marries Jackson, I think. Anyway, I'm doing it. Pre-emptive strike.

I'll write more later. Got to get to the gym and do the dishes.

Quote for the day, in honor of Paul Newman:
"He's a natural born world-shaker."