Sunday, December 28, 2008

End of year ramblings

My cousins Kevin & Austin

It's Sunday morning and I am playing hookey from church. After I go have brunch with my dad and grandparents, I'll be taking down my Christmas tree. Yesterday was our family party out at my aunt's house. I love playing with the kids, but other than that I don't really talk to anyone, even more so because this year my dad wasn't even there so I was the only person without an immediate family member there. So it felt like I was crashing in on a family celebration I wasn't really a part of.

Austin & DJ

Kiley reading Cinderella

I did finally get something I've been waiting for. When my cousin's got married, their 1st Christmas my grandparents bought them nativity sets. A few years ago I told my granny I didn't have a set because I hadn't gotten married in order to get mine. When they were at my place on Christmas it came up again. So Friday, my dad took them to the store and they bought me and my sister nativities. It was a wonderful surprise. The pieces are wearing actually pieces of cloth, which make it quite unique.

Now that Christmas is finally over, it's time to start looking forward to the new year. Of course, I'm going to keep training at gym. I am getting very close to my goal. In a couple weeks I am going to the theater again to see Legally Blonde. In the spring, I want to go visit a friend in Myrtle Beach. This will serve two purposes. First of course to see my friend but also to be in S. Carolina for the first time. I would also really like to get back to Africa sometime in 2009.

The future begins now...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Where are you Christmas?

It feels like a lifetime since I last wrote. I guess I just haven't had anything blog worthy to say. I've been busy. Not doing anything specific, but just busy. Last week I was feeling very Christmas-y and excited, despite the fact that everyone around me seems to be in a bad mood. (Ok, so there have been some moments where I was overwhelmed and utterly bitter) Oh and Santa (or I) has been really good to me this year. I've got some presents under my tree, a new haircut and even a guitar! On Friday night, I went with a bunch of my friends to see Wicked and had such a great time. My heart was over-flowing with gladness.

So why this morning when I woke up did I feel like the magic was gone? Maybe I'm just tired, or the horrible cold weather and snow have effected my brain. I am hoping to find that joy again sometime this week.

To all my blog reading friends, I truly hope you have the merriest of Christmases. I am so thankful that God was willing to send his Son to earth for me and for you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day

"Nothing is worth more than this day." -Goethe

"Live ever in a new day." -Emerson

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Emerson

Being thankful has to be about more than one day a year pausing to see the blessings we have. We need to learn to make it a daily event. No matter the pain, lose, heartache, unfortunate circumstances we find in our lives, every single one of us can also find blessings and moments of joy. The choice is ours, is always ours, for what we focus our lives on.

This time of year has extra meaning for me since it's when my age becomes another number higher and a year of my life begins.

What am I thankful for? I've been asking myself that over the last few days. Of course there's always the obvious things like health and home. I am very thankful for those things. But what specifically about my life in this last year am I thankful for? This is the harder question. There haven't been any concrete "wow" events or major changes to pinpoint. In fact, I feel like I've lost more than I've gained recently. So, I am thankful that there seems to be something new on the horizon. For those things I've lost, I will gain something new.

Additionally, I have been challenged to write out something I'm thankful for that I don't feel thankful for right now. Trusting that God has a purpose for it in my life. This is even harder. Maybe you could try it too.

Happy thanksgiving. Today and every day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

This started out as a blank page

I wrote the following about 5 years ago. I've update a few parts, but mostly left it is as written. It was the start of something I never finished, but in finding it again, perhaps it is worth adding to. So, in the meantime, I share these thoughts with you and in the process share a bit more about myself.

This started out as a blank page. It has been given to me as a gift to be able to fill it with my own thoughts and feelings. Much in the same way my life has been given to me as a gift and in every experience another paragraph is added. Someday that story will end, but the words, thoughts and experiences that I fill this page with have the potential to live on well after I have ended. That is what is beautiful and dangerous about words. I have never started with a blank page in writing before. Usually, when I begin to write I already have a thought or phrase from which I build upon and around. This is a gift still wrapped up waiting to be opened with somewhat anxious anticipation. There is always the chance of excitedly tearing into a gift only to find inside the dreaded, embarrassing gift of underwear. This gift could very well turn out to be that. But there is always the chance that you open it and find that one thing that you can’t imagine how you have lived without. I hope this is that kind of gift.

I don’t know how or when my connection with words and the sounds of putting them together began. Certain lines and phrases I read would seem to explode somewhere deep inside me, almost creating a music of their own to form the soundtrack of my life. When words fit together and create intricate harmonies and counter-melodies I get excited. I learned quickly that it isn’t like that for everyone. Some people like the sound of words and some people breathe them. Some people like to read and others live what they read. I think I live and breathe words and books; they become a part of who I am.

In school I studied psychological biology. Not something you would normally expect from someone who just went on about her passion for the written word. But I was also fascinated with how the mind works and the relations between that and our behaviors. One semester I found myself in a class called Why Modernism being the only science major in with English majors. To this day I don’t think I understand what I was supposed to have actually learned in that class, but I remember the things we read. It was in this class that I was introduced to Wallace Stevens. We had to read an essay written by him called The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words. Perhaps this was the fist time that I realized that someone else experienced the same excitement with turning words into music as I did.

On the list of “things to do in my life” that I keep in the back of my mind is to write a book. I’ve written many poems, only a few of which I consider to be any good and several essays, written mostly as assignments, but there is something monumental about writing a book. If poetry is a window into my soul, a book would be the revealer of my mind, my thoughts, opinions and perspective on the world. I always thought I would write it on my research of dolphins and already had a title for it: I Wrote This With a Porpoise. Still might someday.

There isn’t a lot on my list. Life has already surpassed my expectations. Growing up while most of my friends were going to Florida or the Bahamas, the farthest I ever got outside of my home state of Michigan was a school trip to Toronto, Canada. I never thought my life would have taken me the places I’ve been in the years since high school. In spite of my mother’s anxiousness, I moved to Southampton, New York for school. There was a 6-month stint in Honolulu where I worked at a dolphin research facility before returning to New York to finish my degree. I know I was there – I have the pictures to prove it, but the memory of it seems like a movie now from another lifetime. Last summer a friend and I drove across the country to California and back. Most recently I took a two-week missions trip to South Africa. It was my trip there that inspired me to sit down and begin writing that book.

I tend to be a perfectionist. While that can on many occasions be a good quality to possess, there are just as many downsides as well. Finding that perfect word or phrase to convey an idea, writing and rewriting a paragraph until there is nothing left of what you started with can be extremely frustrating. In preparation of writing a book, I have been reading many books to get a taste of different styles and setups. What I found was that most often in a book, the author takes one thought and repeats it as many times as he can think of different ways to say the same thing. Not only am I a perfectionist, I am practical. I have a hard time seeing a purpose in saying the same thing over again. I think in school the one consistent comment on my papers was that I didn’t expand on my ideas. I simply stated them and moved on. But I am learning to expound on my ideas simply for the sake of writing and making sure the point is firmly made, if not implanted into the readers head. Ironically, when a something is well written you don’t even realize the repetition, and that is what is considered to be great literature. Of course I want to write “perfect” literature, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be perfect. I am willing to settle for something that is worth reading.

There are other things on my list. I would like to have a least been in all 50 states. At almost 32 years old I only have 15 states left. I would assume that Alaska will be a challenge to get to, but I would never have thought I would ever go to Africa either. In addition to that I would also like to visit at least one place on each continent. Mostly I just want my life to have meant something, to make a difference. As each thing on the list comes and goes and others are added, I am busy living now.

There are those days that I don’t feel alive or even have any desire to be. But as Flaubert says, “The most glorious moments in life are not the so called days of success but rather those days, out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life and the promise of future accomplishments.” When I’ve spent time in the dark, the light becomes all the more glorious and all the joy and wonder life holds is renewed. I’m thankful that I preserved and came out better for the struggle.

Like most people, I am always trying to become a better person, whatever that means in practicality. I find it fascinating that when I reflect on my life, it’s as if a whole part of my past was lived by another person altogether, but in the present I am completely unaware of the changes occurring. At the same time I still see myself as the same person I was. It’s hard to convince my mind that the person in the past isn’t me while it still remains a part of me. When I was little, we had a table and chairs that were painted green. I don’t know much about painting, but I do know that when you want to change the color of something often you first remove the paint that’s already there. Well whoever painted these chairs didn’t do that. Over time the red paint underneath the green paint began to show in places, specifically those places that got bumped and banged the most. I look like those green chairs. On the outside I look different but underneath are all the previous coats of paint. Where life bangs and bruises me, different parts of me begin to show through. In the end, both the chairs and I have a pattern made of many layers different from the look of any one color. That is what makes us all unique.

A friend of mine had a similar revelation shortly after hearing me talk about my green-chair life. She recalled getting a new dining room table with chairs that scratched if your legs weren’t covered. There was one chair that had a screw coming out of it. Everyone knew about the chair and tried to avoid it. For ten years that screw continued to poke whoever might be sitting there. In the end it turned out that all that was needed to fix the problem was to turn the screw a couple more times because it wasn’t in all the way. That’s how my friend saw her life. Sometimes there is a simple solution and all that’s needed is a few turns and the problems are fixed, but for whatever reason we don’t look for it. So we suffer through things when we really don’t need to.

I mentioned Wallace Stevens great American poet. I thought I would include one of my favorite poems by him.

The Poem That took the Place of a Mountain

There it was, word for word,
The poem that took the place of a mountain.

He breathed its oxygen,
Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.

It reminded him how he had needed
A place to go in his own direction,

How he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,

For the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:

The exact rock where his inexactnesses
Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,

Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,
Recognize his unique and solitary home.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The truth is out... I'm old

According to a teenager, that is. It's been an interesting weekend.

But first a quick life update:

Over on my photo blog the theme for the month of November will be thankfulness. So hop on over and check it out. Feel free to comment on things you are thankful for.

My little sis ran a half marathon last weekend and finished! She rocks. But now she wants me to run it with her next year. I'd better start training soon or else she'll be leaving me in the dust.

On the day my sister ran, I went to the SYTYCD tour. FABULOUS!! So much fun. Can you say perma-smile?

Back to this weekend...

I attended a 50's sockhop thrown by a young friend of mine. It turned out really well. I am pretty sure I was the oldest person there, but I do pretty well at fitting in. Then the moment of truth came. I was sitting next to a young girl and somehow we came around to my age. I told her I was turning 32 in a couple weeks. Word for word this is what she said to me... "Really. I wouldn't have thought that, you were so active out there." There it is folks, after 30 I'm supposed to be inactive and well, old.

I've never been one to follow the norm, so I think I'll continue acting like I'm young at least until I'm about 80.
Here's a couple photos from the dance

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Theme Song

I have a new theme song. It's Incomplete by Alanis Morissette. Not so much word for word literally but more of an overall theme of striving for something more.

"One day I'll find relief
I'll be arrived and I'll be a friend to my friends who know how to be friends
One day I'll be at peace
I’ll be enlightened and I'll be married with children and maybe adopt
One day I will be healed
I will gather my wounds forge the end of tragic comedy

I have been running so sweaty my whole life
Urgent for a finish line
And I have been missing the rapture this whole time
Of being forever incomplete

One day, my mind will retreat,
and I'll know god and I'll be constantly one with her night dusk and day
One day I'll be secure,
like the women I see on their 30th anniversaries

I have been running so sweaty my whole life
Urgent for a finish line
And I have been missing the rapture this whole time
Of being forever incomplete

Ever unfolding
Ever expanding
Ever adventurous and torturous
But never done

One day, I will speak freely
I'll be less afraid And measured outside of my poems and lyrics and art
One day I will be faith-filled
I'll be trusting and spacious authentic and grounded and whole

I have been running so sweaty my whole life
Urgent for a finish line
And I have been missing the rapture this whole time
Of being forever incomplete"


Rule of thumb: There are two topics that are not to be discussed, and I assume that applies to blogs too. But I'm not one to always follow social norms so I'm going to tackle both subjects. Politics and religion. Ok, take a breath in case your heart rate increased and your defenses kicked in....

I actually can't stand poiltics, but it's not something we really can ignore especially right now with this momuntental election hanging over our heads. At least that's what the media and various camps keep saying. I do believe it's important for us as people with a choice to be informed and cast our vote.

Enter religious part of topic: I also believe that God uses governments for his purposes. And ultimately I will answer to Him for who I vote for. It's important to me.

The problem I am having now is that neither candidate really gives me much hope for the future. I won't wax political about my opinions of the candidates and the issues here. I know Obama has youth and some good ideas to bring but there is a smoothness about him that gives me a not good feeling in my gut. Almost slippery and snake-like. His beliefs do concern me. Then McCain and Palin are painted as idiots by the media and somesort of saviors by other groups. What is one to do? Vote for Ralph Nader? Hardly a very realistic option, better to just not vote at all.

So.... I found myself in bed praying for the candidates. Praying that God would show me who I should vote for. A bible verse came to mind. It's found in the 1 chapter of 1 Corinthians and it says, "...For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. ...But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

Who knows what the outcome of this election will be, but God knows. I'm going to try and trust His wisdom.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The plumber and the dancer

It's an absolutely georgeous day outside. After I ate lunch I planned to go outside for a run and enjoy it. But then the maintenance man showed up to fix my dripping tub. He's been here about a half hour now and says the handles are so corroded and not on straight, so he's gonna fix me all up nice and new-like. So here I am just sitting and waiting for him to be done. I guess I could leave and let him lock up when he leaves. If I hadn't been here when he arrived, he would have simply let himself in. But since I was here, it doesn't seem right to just take off does it? Maybe I should just ask him when he returns in a minute from turning the water off.

My day at work yesterday had an interesting moment when I was at the counter with a resident and realized my hand had blood on it as I was experiencing that wonderful thing called a nose bleed. So I quickly excused myself from the customer and went into the bathroom. After a minute and it still hadn't stopped bleeding, I got someone else to help the very confused man I was assisting. I would have been thoroughly embarrassed but I don't even think the guy realized what was going on at all.

I did go to my gym class last night and as I suspected we are back to the orginal program of a total body workout, which I don't mind either (except the yoga part I can't do right) but it's not quite as fun. About 2/3 of the way into the class this woman joined in and decided to stand right next to me. The class was pretty full so there wasn't a lot of empty space. I wish I could just post a video of this woman as I fear my words will not even come close to describing how everything went. She's next to me and has missed learning the first half of the dance and now we are putting together the part we just learned with the rest starting from the top. So I moved over and behind my friend Nat, leaving this woman plenty of space while also giving myself some extra space (If I was good at judging distances I would tell you but I'm horrible so we'll just say about 6-8 ft away I was) Twenty seconds in there is a turn move that takes about 2-3 ft of space. This woman spins herself all the way over to me, almost into me, quite off balance. No matter where I moved, forward, back, sideways she kept lining herself up right next to me. I can only laugh and say this about her because God bless this woman for reminding me I'm not the only one who looks like a fool. If I actually had video footage of her I'd have to put video of myself right next to it and I don't think the world is ready for that.

The repairman said it's ok to leave, so I'm off for a walk.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

When I Grow Up I Wanna Be a Pussycat Doll

(* Disclaimer: I am not endorsing this group.)

This will be a fairly short post, as I am busy watching reruns of SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance) of which I am going to see on tour in a couple weeks (and yes, I know what a nerd I am) But speaking of dance, I have recently discovered that I actually like dancing. Although that doesn't mean I'm very good at it, at least in my opinion. In college, I did a lot of swing dancing and really enjoyed it. But since then I haven't done much of any kind of dancing, not even at weddings. But I've been slightly addicted to watching dancing on TV.

A few months ago, a friend and I decided to do a class together at the gym. Part of the class was aerobic dancing. I liked it but it took a while to learn and there are parts that I still haven't quite gotten. But 2 weeks ago the teacher decided to try something new, which was an hour of dance in the style of the Pussycat Dolls. This is definitely NOT the kind of dance I would typically attempt or think I could ever pull off. Sexy, is not an adjective I would use about myself. So I go to class and the first thing I realize is that most of the people who are usually in the class have decided not to come this week. And for the next hour we all struggle through learning the steps.

This Thursday, I show up and there are only 3 of us from the previous week (this isn't looking good) So the teacher has us vote on what we want to do. We end up doing the dance again. One by one people keep dropping out. By the end of class there are only 5 of us left. This probably means that next week we will go back the regularly scheduled program, which I am a little bit saddened by. See, I was actually pretty good at this. One of the other women in the class even told me I was good. I don't know why this actually comes easier to me then the other dance. Perhaps because it's because it's more musical and I can sense and anticipate the rythym better. Or perhaps my perfectionism kicked in and I'm determined to learn it and not look like an idiot. Or a combination of both. But it looks like my pussycat dolls days may be numbered.

Now only if I could figure out those silly yoga poses!

Friday, September 19, 2008

If we all could love the Wicked Witch

Over the summer I watched 2 little girls and I thought I'd introduce them to you. They fulfill the (very) brief need I have to do some girl-y things like tea parties and dressup.

Ali "underwear" is a little spitfire in a tiny package. She loves to put on lots of layers and then shed them as the evening progresses. She knows all the words to the Camp Rock songs at the age of 5 and is fiercely independent. In fact, she reminds me of myself as a kid. Oh... if only I could warn her about what's ahead. And oh..... her poor mom!

Hannah is a caring and precious. She likes to be close and will snuggle in and hug you much more readily than Ali.

You would have thought I took the kids to Disneyworld for how excited they were to play in the backseat of my car.

I brought the movie Enchanted over for them to watch. Little girls love princesses, don't they? I was a little concerned about them being scared by the wicked witch. Instead, all they kept asking throughout the whole movie "When is the witch going to be on again." We actually fast forwarded to the end to see the witch's big scene. When the witch appeared as the old woman, Ali was afraid and turned her eyes. I asked if she wanted me to turn it off because it could get scarier. She said, "No, I just won't look." But then both girls just came and sat on my lap. When the witch turned into the dragon, Ali says to me, "Is that all that happens. This isn't scary."

So much for the princess, these girls love the Wicked Witch. I started to think about this. Shouldn't we all find a way to love the wicked witches just as much as the princesses? Even better, we could just view everyone in the story life as a character that has a place and a part, each equally important and valuable. I hope no one tells the girls they aren't supposed to like the witch.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Can't Turn Down a Good Deal

Yesterday morning I drove in the yucky rain to check out the guitar. It was in beautiful condition, I still can't believe he was selling it for only $75. (Either could his wife) I played on it a bit, while his little girl shyly kept looking at me and smiling. After a few minutes, the mom realized that the kids had only ever seen men playing guitar and never a girl. The husband and I talked guitars for a little while. He has (had) 12. He really liked the guitar he was selling but had to get rid of it to make room for children's toys.

It didn't take me long to decide to go ahead and buy it. Basically, i had already decided before I even got there. Then a shocker, he said, "ok. I'll go get the case." An amazing guitar and a case for less than $100 -unheard of! He comes back up with two cases. He puts the 12-string in the case for me and pulls out a Taylor 6-string - just for me to play on and hear the sound of while I'm there. It was so nice of him to do that. It did sound beautiful, but it didn't change my mind.

I like it, but it still doesn't feel like "mine" yet. It doesn't quite fit the space right yet but I think it will in time.

happy strumming....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dueling Guitars

Last month I went on a little bit of a theater rampage and decided I needed to buy tickets to three different upcoming shows (plus that little weekend getaway to Toronto). And I am very excited to see said shows, but not so excited to see my credit card bills. It actually looks worse than it is, since other people are paying me back. For someone who tries very hard not to carry a credit card balance it's a little disconcerting.

Then just as the law of nature predicts something goes wrong. My guitar decides to break. I tried in earnest to fix it, but it's not going to work. It actually broke about 2 years ago and you would have thought I was losing a child or something when I thought it wasn't fixable. But I've had it 8 years, so I can't complain. It's given me great joy and I think I am ready to let it go now.

I've been looking for guitars online. I am not the plain kind-of-girl. I need something unique and "pretty" (But not pink!! .... refer to post Not so Legally Blonde) After many days of searching, I found it. It's price tag though is a whopping $600. This is much better than the first one I picked out which was $2500. (and ridiculously less than the $7000 ones someone else showed me) But $600 is still more than I can swallow for a guitar, but I love it much more than any other one I've looked at. In fact I already have a name for it and I don't even own it yet. I tried to convince myself that it's ok to have a big balance on a credit card and pay it off over several months time, but it wasn't really working. I also was having a hard time settling for something more affordable that I didn't like as much.

Today on a whim I decided to check out Craigslist. Let me stop you here before you get all excited. No it did not have my guitar for really cheap. But I did find a 12-string acoustic for $75 that I am going to check out this weekend. A brilliant plan emerged! I can afford $75 now (and it's probably equal or less than what I would be paying in interest on that credit card). I can stop playing my guitar before it really does break into more than one piece. I'll have a 12-string to play on while I pay off my current debt and then save up to buy the $600 6-string or find another one I want. In the end I get 2 guitars. If guitars were like relationships, this 12-string would be like my re-bound.

I'm so happy about this, it's like Christmas without the cold and snow!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Toronto - The Land of Very Good Looking Guys

Let me say first off, unfortunately I have no photos of said good looking guys. I was so shocked by their plentitude that I didn't even think to take pictures of them. I did try and follow one or two, except Nat pulled me back. Oh well. Plus I wouldn't want to seem like a creepy stalker.

It was a wonderful weekend. My new car (on it's first road trip) did fabulous. We made the whole round trip, over 400 miles, on about 1 tank of (really) expensive gas.

Friday: Our road trip started with a little rain, but cleared up by early afternoon. It was me and Nat, some great music and the open road. A traveler's dream. We arrived in downtown Toronto right in the middle of Friday rush hour. Good thing Nat was driving, fearless as she is. There are so many pedestrians it's a wonder any cars make it through intersections. We found the hotel, but didn't know where to park. This was our first adventure. We went in a few circles trying to navigate the one way streets to get back to a parking structure we spotted. Just when we gave up on turning left and got into the right hand lane, the next 5 streets would be "no right turn." After checking into the hotel, the clerk told us to move our car ASAP because where we parked was really expensive so after quickly changing clothes, we got back in the car. The 35 mins we were parked there cost $20.

Normally, I am good at reading a map. The map to get to another cheaper parking garage which involved only 3 turns. Somehow I got ahead of myself on the map and so we did a few more circles. Front St and Yonge St we got to know really well. We did end up in the right place (which from 5 pm Friday to 10 am Sunday only cost $29. Thank you Mr. hotel clerk!)

Then we spent an hour walking (in circles again) around the city until the conference started. This is when I really started to notice all the good looking men!

At 7:30 the convention center started rockin'. It was very hot and humid, especially with jeans on. (This is important for later.) And for the next few hours, we sang and danced and soaked it all in. For those who may not know, Hillsong is a church in Sydney, Australia. Hillsong United is made up of members of their worship team. They have a large influence in the christian market all over the world.

Saturday: We slept in as long as we could in the morning and trudged our way back to the convention center. Today I wore shorts and a t-shirt, except apparently they figured out how to turn on the AC and put it at sub-zero. It was soooooooo coooold in there. We did our best to stay warm. I was thankful for lunchtime, so I could get outside and warm up.

This is when we discovered something very interesting about Toronto. Most of the businesses, including fast food type restuarants were closed. On a Saturday afternoon. Lunch choices were basically Tim Hortons or a roach coach on the side of the road. Neither one seemed very appetizing to me. We ended up at Tim Horton's, just in case you wanted to know.

I just read thru this post and realized that it's incredibly boring. I'll try and end your misery quickly.

If you want to see christians behaving badly, just watch them in a line waiting for good seats to worship God. It was insane, people cutting in line and not caring, others getting overly frustrated by the situation wanting justice. It's like line-rage. Ok, in reality all people are like this, I just happen to think people trying to live like Christ should act differently than the rest of the people in the world. The experience was a little hard for me to shake off. At the same time, we were able to meet and laugh with the people around us in the line. That part was fun.

The trip home was beautiful and uneventful. Monday I was so worn out that I stayed on my couch like a zombie. Thus endth the boring-ness.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Speed Racer

It's been a while....

It's not that I haven't has anything to say, I just haven't had the time to write it. what's been going on? Well, my sister is back up in the UP looking for an apartment, I think, and training to run a half-marathon in Oct. After she left, my dad celebrated his 59th birthday and my grandma her 80th. In between there I had a wonderful weekend with my friend's 3 boys. We played hard and watched lots of Olympics, but I payed for it afterward. By Tuesday I was so exhausted I moved through the day in a fog. But after a night of 9.5 hrs of sleep, I was re-charged.

The rest of this week has been jammed packed and each time I cross something off my list of things to do, i think of 2-3 more I need to add. But it's okay 'cause next weekend I am going on a road trip to Toronto. My friend Nat and i are going to the Hillsong United Conference (right now some of you are going who??? and some of you are the tiniest bit jealous) I am glad to be getting away. I love being in the car driving, listening to music that puts a soundtrack to the journey. I calms me in a way nothing else does. By the time I get wherever I am going, all the things clogging my head have been cleared out and the stress that has all my muscles tensed has eased. And add to that a good friend and the chance to deepen a friendship. It's gonna be great!

In the meantime life is dragging me along at breakneck speed and I'm just hanging on for the ride...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Yesterday, I spent the day at Oakland Hills Country Club watching golfers practice for the PGA Tournament. Hence the title... but just so you know I'm not even smart enough to know that it was spelled f-o-r-e I had to ask someone. And I just learned yesterday that a pro-am match is a pro playing with a group of amatuers (the am part).

Basically my purpose in going out is to scout out the young, good looking golfers. In my limited golf knowledge, I've discovered most of the golfers worth looking at are Europeans. There are some Americans, but not as many. For this reason, our first order of business was to seek out Sergio Garcia, whom I have affectionally dubbed "my sexy spaniard." We appeared on his scene as he was approaching the 18th green. My dad showed me where to stand so that I would be able to have him sign my visor as he walked by. Of course there were tons of people crammed up against the rope, including a young guy in front of me who had been following Sergio for 9 holes trying to get his autograph and a very nice woman and guy who'd been waiting there an hour.

Here's what I remember in the moments between my heart racing so fast and forgetting to breathe. The afore mentioned people all had flags to be signed and I just my visor which kept getting buried underneath the flags. I had to keep trying to move it on top of the flags. While doing this I was also holding my camera with my left hand trying to take a picture even though my hand was shaking. And then he was there, he grabbed my hat and kept walking past the nice woman and man behind me. When he reached back to hand me my visor, he did sign both their flags. I was glad. I would have felt really bad that they let me squeeze in and didn't get signatures.

And I got my picture....

Here's just a few other photos

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Few Reviews

In keeping with the theme of musicals, let me recommend the movie Once, but only if it doesn't bother you that the main characters don't have names and the story is really all about the music and not really the story. Having said that, the music is great. (a new obsession of sorts, as I'm trying to learn the songs on the guitar) I can't believe I accidentally stumbled upon this movie recently and no one bothered to tell me about it earlier.

Another movie I accidentally found (the same day as Once actually) is The Namesake. It's about an Indian family in New York, especially the son Gogol as he tried to balance his parents culture with his American life. Nikolai Gogol is a Russian author of a famous short story The Overcoat, which is also a main theme of the movie. I enjoyed the movie so much, I thought I should read The Overcoat, thinking perhaps it might add even more insight into the movie. (I am fully aware it's a little odd) In case you decided to see this movie (which if you like a good clean drama, you should) let me spare you from then going to research this story. DON'T. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense; it's one of those deeply philosophical metaphoric stories, and because it's Russian, you actually have to read what the smart intellectuals say about it just to make any sense of the story... and by the time you've done all that, the charm of the movie is gone. So just watch the movie and enjoy it. I know that's what you were planning on doing anyway.

Finally, the review I've been wanting to write even before the book came out. Where the River Ends. READ IT!! This book has the potential to change the way you live and the way you love as you take a journey down the river right along side of Doss and Abbie. It's definitely emotional, but oh soooo worth it in the end. There were two parts that really jumped out and spoke to me. The first was at the very beginning, the moment I knew I was going to fall in love with this book.

"She lifted my chin again. 'Band-Aid, are you hearing me?' 'Why you call me that?' She pressed her forehead to mine. 'Cause you stick to me and you heal my hurts.'"

Then towards the end of novel. The words we would all do well to really understand and live.

"You don't have to be beautiful to be beautiful."

So if you're ready for an adventure, curl up with this book and let it take you to the place where the river ends.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Not So Legally Blonde

I am obsessed with musicals and have been my whole life. Everything from the cool '40s movies, Gene Kelly, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (true musical lovers know this is one of the classics) to modern day movies and Broadway shows like Connie & Carla, HSM, Les Miz and Wicked. I will watch a million times, memorize the songs and sing them until everyone around me is sick of it.

My last obesssion was with Wicked. And I'm very excited because I finally get to take my sister to see it in a couple weeks. Since we've always shared a love for musicals, often staging our own, I finally get to share this one with her too.

But more recently, I fell in love with Legally Blonde.

Those that know me find such irony in this. See, I actually hated the movie. It's the whole pink, perky mentality.... not that it's bad, it's just not me. But there is something about the musical that transcends - that grabs a hold of me. I can't help it and I'm sucked in. It's the power of music. And I love it.

Even if pink isn't my signature color - there's still something to be said for being blonde.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Come check it out!

My really cool friend Lauren asked me to do a photo blog with her. Of course I said yes, even though she's a way better photographer than me. It's fun and helps us share our small portions of the universe with each other. Plus who doesn't like looking at cool photos!

It's called the space between overlapping differences. (I've also put a link on the sidebar) We decided to have rotating themes, so feel free to leave a comment if you've got a good idea for us or captions for the photos.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Need to breathe

I wonder if a study has ever been done on the relationship between good stories and breathing.

I've never really noticed it before this week. Perhaps it's because lately I've been discontent and desperate for some escape that I became conscious of this phenomenon.

This week, amidst all the hustle and bustle, the pressures and pains, the confusion and questions, I opened the pages of a brand new book... began to lose sense of the world around me. I took in a great big deep breath.... realizing I had been holding my breath all this time. Have you ever been in that place?

Sometimes life's rhythm is too monotonous and the story causes us to hold our breath. All to remind us that we are alive. We need air to survive and to not take it for granted.

Breathing is the flow of life. To be healthy, we must learn to inhale the elements that give us life, grow us and encourage us onward. Tandemly, exhaling all that doesn't. It is give and take; being filled up in order to pour out. Just maybe, one reason good stories remind us to breathe, is that they fill us with a newness and give a desire to share it with others.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The truth about love

I used to have a prayer group that met on Saturday mornings. There were 4 of us, bonded initially by a passion for missions work, but eventually by something much deeper. Our times were filled with sharing our hearts, funny stories, stupid moments, and on occasion deep hurts. Then we would go before the throne on behalf of each other. God was always faithful to meet us. It was a time I treasured.

One evening several years ago, I had these women over for a dinner party. Of course we took some pictures. Here's where I have to explain the pants I was wearing, because they became quite significant in the story. I have a pair of jeans that are covered in painted pictures and words regarding travel type things like the Eiffel tower, etc. So, we took a picture of us all crammed into my big reading chair.

I emailed the photo to each of my friends so we could use it to remember to pray for each other. Heather noticed something about the photo - in the corner where my knees were, in my totally cool jeans, it looked like it says "Angels of Love." In reality it was the words Los Angeles and Love that got squished together by the way I was sitting, but who cares. To us it said Angels of Love. And we dreamed big about what God might have brought us all together to accomplish some day.

And then, one of us dropped out. Nothing felt the same. We still met to pray, but the sense of someone missing was always there. And then another one was gone. And then it just ended. It's season had come and gone...

Last night, the 4 of us were together in the same place at the same time for the first time in years. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about what it would be like to all be together again. And for a short time I didn't even want to show up, but I did. And it was good. It was light and fun, we got caught up on each others lives. As the evening closed, we touched on the subject of friendships. The "leaf" people who come and go in seasons. The "thicker branches" you can lean on. And the "roots" who build you up and serve you in love.

As I got in my car to drive home, I left with this thought. True love is deep, deep down in the roots where you don't always see it.

Last night, perhaps my roots got some much needed watering.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Where the River Ends

Today is my first official Friday off. I don't really have any great plans for the day until this evening when I go to child sit for 2 adorable little girls. I do plan on doing some reading. One of my favorite authors is Charles Martin and his new book Where the River Ends just came out. I'm very excited about going to get it! He's one of my favorite authors and if you haven't read any of his books, you should (i know most of you reading this already have, but just in case you've stumbled onto this blog I had to say it) Maybe when I'm done reading it, I'll write a review on it.

Starting this blog has been a journey of knowing what to write and what not to write. It still doesn't feel entirely comfortable to me. I want to be true to myself and be able to share the events in my life and the feelings I have about them. But in some cases that's hard to do when the situations involve other people. This morning, as I was contemplating what I may have to say today that would be "safe" to say in this place, God very gently reminded me of something. He said if you don't feel right about blogging it, then you probably shouldn't be saying it all. I think lately I have let my words and feelings run away without much consideration for those around me (all part of that selfish bubble). I don't want to live my life in that way. And to those of you who may have been affected by my words and attidtude recently, I apologize.

When I was young, I listened to Kids Praise albums (yes albums, and some cassette tapes). One of them was Charity Churchmouse and on it she learned the lesson of how dangerous our words can be. One of my favorite songs on it (based on Psalm 19:14) says "May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be acceptable to You." This is my prayer for this week; that I, that we, would learn to use our words in the right ways.

I was just about to publish this blog and I looked up at the title. I thought, what does this title have to do with talking about words. Maybe in the river of life, encouraging and truthful words will carry us through to the end with less of a rocky ride.

May your ride through today be smooth and refreshing for you and those around you.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

On This Night of a Thousand Stars

It's been a week of extremes, in an emotional sense I mean. Ever been so stuck inside your head, as you turn up the radio to drown out your thoughts, your thoughts just seem to proportionally get louder. That's the place I was in as this holiday weekend began. But I had things planned and it was going to be fun and all the stress would just fade away. YEAH RIGHT!

I couldn't relax, I was antsy and frustratable. Everything was negative. After rushing from one place to the next, I finally arrived in the middle of nowhere to watch some fireworks. The fireworks were good, but it was the stars that brought me back to earth. There were so many.... Not just the bright ones, but all the teeniest pinpricks of light that made the sky look a little fuzzy on a brilliantly clear night. It reminded me that God is so much bigger than my frustrations and my little selfish bubble I sometimes wrap myself up in. And He loves me regardless of it all.

Our plans might not work out the way we want and people may disappoint us; we can chose anger, resentment and rejection or we can look for God to do something bigger and better like show us a sky numbered with the thoughts He has for us.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Embracing Brokeness

Today I broke a bowl and sat down to put it back together. The idea for this "therapy" came from a challenge I read to do this and see what God might say to you through it. I knew as I read it that God wanted me to do this. At the time, I didn't have anything to break, nor the time sit and listen. This afternoon, for $8.00, I got 3 hours with my Father, some much needed downtime, and an original piece of art.

Just taking the bowl and throwing it onto the pavement in a light rain was a release of the stress and frustration from the past few weeks. Once I was back inside putting it together, I began to doubt any purpose in the exercise. I was about half-way through putting it back together when I began to see the lessons in it...

1. Even though I will have a bowl when I am done, it will still have pieces missing, chips and gaps. Some things that it used to be able to do it won't be able to do again - Painful experiences, broken dreams, and the consequences of sin change us.

2. Sometimes the pieces do not fit back together perfectly. But I want them to and find it frustrating when they don't. I want it to look perfect again.

3. In the process of gluing back together other places might get chipped.

4. I may not figure out where all the pieces go, but God never leaves one out without a reason. He knows where every piece came from and where it goes.

The top part of my bowl broke into larger pieces with fewer chipped and crumbled pieces, while the bottom was more shattered.

5. Sometime the more visible parts of our lives don't look so bad on the outside, but down at the bottom, there can be a shattered life with many gaps and lots of glue. Some times we have to look deep inside to see this part in ourselves and others.

6. God is big enough to bridge the gaps, even the big gaping ones! I don't have to worry about making it all fit or trying to cover it up.

7. Putting something back together takes time and purposefulness. You can't just put glue on everything and leave it in pile. Well, you can but all you'll end up with is a petrified pile of brokenness. I don't want to be this kind of person. God wants to re-shape my brokenness back into something beautiful.

Now, I have a piece of "workmanship" to daily remind me that I am God's own work of art.
I'm learning to love my new bowl - brokenness and all.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Today I worked my last official Friday. I will be embarking on the phenomenon of a four day/ 10 hr work week. We celebrated in the office with hot dogs on the grill and all the sides to go with it. I'm not sure what I am going to do with my free Fridays. Most likely I will end up spending money and driving around more than I would have working 5 days. And I'll love every minute of it! No more TGIF's for me.

My brain is fried from work (in fact I have more of it sitting in front of me waiting to be finished before Monday) So I'm using this time to try and refocus a bit...... it's hard though as the TV is on and the air conditioner is running and I keep zoning out. But What Not to Wear is doing an update episode and I can't seem to turn it off. Speaking of TV, my show of the moment is So You Think You Can Dance. It makes me smile and feel happy. Certain dances just affect me in some way, like a great song or quote. This week it was a hip-hop routine about a work-a-holic done to the song Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. Just thinking about it makes me smile even now. **smile**

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Camp Photos

Here are some of the photos I took at camp. No I did not do the ropes course (I'm afraid of heights)

Monday, June 23, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

Camp this year was a whole different experience from last year and unfortunately it wasn't for the better. I don't even know how to really explain it. There were many good parts. The kids and I had fun together most of the time. The game that they enjoyed the most was called Fork over the Chocolate. At one table you sat and rolled dice. If you got a six on either one, you ran to another table and began cutting a giant bar of chocolate with a plastic knife and fork. If you managed to cut a piece off you could eat it. But you couldn't touch the chocolate with your hands at all. While whoever was at the chocolate was trying to eat it, the other kids were still trying to get a six. Once someone got a six you took over on the candy and sent the other person back to roll again. And once the candy bar was gone, I gave a few extra pieces to the kids who didn't eat very much during the game. The other big hit was the water fight with noodle squirters. It wasn't so much that the kids enjoyed dousing each other, they all ganged up on me (in my clothes) and then the camp staff who happened to be around.

One thing about being in the woods is that there are an abundance of bugs. The misquitoes were huge and poor Emma is allergic, so after the first day her ankles were swollen and I had to keep puttng hydrocortizone on them so she wouldn't itch. The bugs also provided quite a bit of entertainment in the form of catapillars. I don't know how many we found, but they were played with and passed around. Two even got names. The first was Tickles and the second was Sticky.

I should tell you about the kids I had. Emma and Natalie (the twins), Jackson and Abby (older siblings of the twins), Nathan and Madeline, and Luke.

Emma and Natalie are not identical twins. The first night Madeline says to her mom, "I know they say they're twins, but I don't believe them. They don't even look alike." But my favorite was overhearing Madeline on the playground on afternoon while all the kids were playing house. I was sitting on the tire swing just watching and I heard Emma say, "Mom, I am going to the tire swing and Tia's going to push me." Madeline responds, "Tia is your great-grandmother." OUCH! I don't get to just be grandma, I have to be great-grams! I guess I really am getting old.

What wasn't so fun about it, was literally not having any breaks from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed. I didn't get to participate in a single thing outside of what I did with the kids. In four days, I managed to take one 10 min shower. It really wasn't anyone's fault, there just needed to be more than one person taking care of all the kids. Plus were were confined to just the camp for the whole time. Not really a good set-up. For those of you with kids, you can relate to having to go thru a buffet line and get your food and your childs. Have you ever tried taking 4 or 5 thru? And have a line of hungry teenager behind you that have no patience or consideration. By Friday night, I was completely fried. That's when I was ready to walk away and cry. Instead, I talked to one of the parents and we figured out how she could take some of the kids over to the beach on Sat after lunch, leaving me with just the twin girls. Then, God completely blessed me. Lila took the twins and entertained them for about 45 mins and I got to just sit and relax. Ahhhhhhh. After that I felt completely refreshed and the twins and I had a really good day together.

There were some ugly moments and I did get angry about some things. I don't want to be a complainer or harbor any bitterness so I'm making a conscious decision to let it go. I do need to speak my peace about a few things and this is a good place to do it. If I decide to go to camp next year, I will not agree to watch the leaders children. Because of the responsiblilty they have to the campers all day long, I don't think they should have their families with them. They have no opportunity to spend time with them and the kids don't really understand why they can't be with mom and dad when they are right there. Secondly, if someone is taking care of your kids for 14 hour days, 4 days in a row and it's free to you, the least you can do is say thank you. That might be what upset me the most. Of the three families whose children I had, the two I had the least were so thankful and appreciative.

I want to end this post on a good note. In spite of a melt down evening where the twins decided they never wanted to see me ever again (i didn't take it personally, I was probably feeling just about the same at that point) the next morning on the playground, Natalie called my name and came running over to tell me something very important. "Tia, I love you so much. Give me a big hug." That right there makes everything else worth it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Honey, I'm Home...

I survived camp, barely... It was insane. One day I was ready to just sit down and cry. But now I am back in my own space, my nice QUIET space. And I am exhausted. It's a good thing I already took tomorrow off work because there is no way I'm getting up early tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will write about some of the better moments at camp and post some photos of the kids I chased around the last few days. Might even throw in some of the not so better moments.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How to learn new words

I love crossword puzzles, but not the really hard ones like in the newspapers. Just medium hard ones, where I can figure out most of the them, but not all of them. Recently I came across the word 'pismire' as a clue. I didn't know what the word meant, but I liked the way it sounded and couldn't stop repeating it in my head, rolling the word around on my tongue. Pismire. Eventually, I learned that it means 'ant.' Maybe I like the word 'cause it almost sounds like a swear word, but really isn't. And with work being stressful lately and highly frustrating, it was a good word.

Remember the show Ally McBeal and how her shrink Tracey Ullman told her to get a life theme song? I believe in doing that. Certain songs just seem to reflect the exact point you are in in life, or how you feel. (Mine change often) Well maybe we can have "theme words" too and right now mine is pismire.

Maybe the next puzzle will have a more uplifting word.

I've finally crumbled

Well, here it is. The first official post of my very own blog. After spending months following a blog (or two), I decided to be brave like others and share my thoughts with the world. Hopefully, someone will find them useful, funny, or encouraging.

Tomorrow I am leaving to go to summer camp. To work at summer camp taking care of 7 children all on my own while the other adults deal with the teen campers. (Even though it's a lot of work, I still think I get the better end of the deal) When I return next week, I'm sure I'll have some good stories.

Until then...