Wednesday, December 31, 2008

free Ben & Jerry's advertising

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you each have a special way of saying good-bye to 2008 and welcoming 2009 :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

a few moments

There's something really invigorating after a hard, long day filled with more tears than seem necessary, to step outside into a windy night, feeling the gales blast around you, as if the wind will rip off your tears and sorrows and send them flying far far away into the night air, and the sky looms overhead, strangely still blue from the city lights, and small clouds are visible across the sky, and if you look closely, you actually see the clouds moving, quite fast probably, accompanied by the lone airplane moving in the opposite direction of these clouds, and it all seems so big, the wind, and the sky, and you seem so small in comparison, and there's an odd comfort in that, knowing that there is something so much bigger than you, and your sufferings are just a small piece of a much bigger, much grander story, and in light of eternity, this time is short, and realizing this maybe isn't enough to make you smile, but it's enough to make you pause, and this pause is good, and in this pause, you feel life.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

far as the curse is found

In my last post, I mentioned that I hadn't gotten sick at all this past semester. I probably spoke too soon, because now I'm sick today, some sort of cold with a minor fever. Great, on the Eve of Christmas Eve, which means that I'll likely be feeling somewhat icky during all my family's Christmas celebrations :( For some of these family members, especially on my dad's side, this is the only time of the year when I see them, so I pray that I have the energy to enjoy their company and keep up with conversations. I've been sucking down the Cold-eeze, and will probably head to bed early, as soon as the TCU bowl game is over. Could be worse. I could be jet lagged.

I've been enjoying a lot of Christmas music lately, and even when caroling around my neighborhood about a week ago. It's a neat experience, and if you haven't done it recently, I highly recommend gathering some friends and family, printing out song lyrics, wearing warm clothes (or t-shirts, if Texas is being fickle like it has been these past couple of weeks), and harassing your neighbors with your attempts at singing. They might even pity you enough to give you cookies or candy canes - our neighbors sure did.

I remember listening to "Joy to the World" back in June or July because it was on a Tom Conlon CD called "Eight Roads Home" that I had purchased after seeing him live. He performed this song, stating that it shouldn't just be a Christmas song, that we should sing it all year round, and I think he's right. As with a lot of Christmas songs, it sounds like "Joy" could be describing both the first incarnation of our Savior, and his return as king. Verses describing fields, floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeating the joy of men do remind me more of the second coming, as the rocks haven't yet shouted out their audible praises. I truly love the third verse, one that I hadn't heard very often until listening to the Tom Conlong version.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

This Christmas season, as I've heard more versions of this song, I keep getting the "far as the curse is found" part stuck in my head. Even when this verse isn't sung, I find myself hearing those words, "far as the curse is found," and I imagine every part of creation where the curse could be found, where sin and sorrow, death and destruction, are hiding in darkness. I visualize the blessings of Christ, His powerful victory of sin and death, salvation, redemption, flowing like a river over all the earth, into ever crack and crevice where the curse could be hiding and bringing light, goodness, holiness, justice, mercy, joy, forgiveness, freedom, beauty, and restoration. This is the hope that I celebrate this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas, brothers and sisters, dear friends :) I hope that this hope encourages you this season and is realized fully in your life. I love you and am thankful for you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

the semester I felt satisfied

I feel the need to summarize and reflect on my semester that ended about 11 days ago. Academically and life-wise (I could say socially, but it's more like, social-spiritual-emotional-physical), this has been my best semester so far at A&M. It's had its challenges, but overall, I've felt very content and satisfied and feel really blessed. It's also been comparatively stress-free. I feel like I've gotten a lot of great variety of counseling and assessment experience this semester through my program - counseling and assessing older adults at the nursing home in St. Joseph's, couples counseling at our clinic, learning how to administer and interpret intelligence and achievement assessments and write integrated assessment reports. I really feel like I'm growing and improving my skills as a practitioner, and this is the most important thing for me to learn from this program.

Unfortunately, I still feel like I'm floundering in the research area of our program. There have been a couple of research projects that were supposed to start or we did start, but completely fell through. I'm working on a manuscript to submit for publication with one of my professor's, but she's been too busy with other projects to meet with me about it lately, but we plan to pick that up in the spring. Part of me feels like I just need to suck it up and join someone else's research team and do something that I'm not as interested in, but part of me believes that I can find something to study that I'm truly passionate about. I have a couple of ideas of research projects that I might want to start in the spring, and a research grant that I'd like to apply for, and I'm sure now would be a good time to get started on some lit reviews and writing out preliminary ideas to present to my professors, but it's been more appealing to catch up with friends, bake Christmas goodies with my mom, plan my europe trip, and basically piddle around lazily and sleep a lot more than I'm used to doing.

But even if I'm kinda falling behind research-wise, in other academic areas, I'm doing quite well. As I've already mentioned, I feel like I'm really growing as a practitioner, and I've gained quite a lot of direct client hours this past year, that will be valuable when applying for internship in about two years. I have a great assistantship with a supportive boss, who's moving me into a better position starting in the summer, as a service coordinator for our clinic. There's a lot involved in this position and will definitely be more demanding than my current position, but the experience will be better, as I'll be doing things like phone intakes with potential clients to determine their therapy and assessment needs. Also, I have a good practicum lined up for the spring and another one potentially for the summer. Unfortunately, many members of my cohort have struggled to find practicum sites for the spring and a few of them left this semester still not sure where they would go, so I feel very blessed to have found a spot so relatively easily. It's not perfect, I'm not doing my best in every area, and there are certainly things that I'd like to change about this program, but overall, I'm very happy with where I'm at and thankful for the opportunities that I've had this past semester.

Life-wise, this has also been my best season living in BCS. I changed small groups within my church, and at first, I was against this, and even when I accepted the decision to move into another group, I mourned the loss of my previous group and was reluctant to hope that this new small group could be just as fulfilling. Thankfully, I was wrong. Within a month, this new group has blossomed completely, we share so openly with one another, we love to spend time with each other, and it's a group filled with love, concern, honesty, openness, hope, wisdom, and guidance. I've written about them before, but I'm been so blessed by my friendship with the leaders of this group, and I'm finding myself connecting more and more with the other group members. These are all wonderful people following Christ their Savior, people who are so full of life, so joyful and loving, but also so open with their brokenness and weakness and failures. These are exactly the sort of people that I want to surround myself with, and I look forward to being back with them, to receive their hugs and smiles and laughter and tears and prayers. I pray that our friendships will deepen and that I can become closer to them in the coming months.

Socially, I've made more friends this semester, but have also seen some friendships in BCS become a little stagnant. I live in a house full of girls who love to bake and watch Grey's Anatomy and play games and talk about their boyfriends and now fiance. These girls are delightful, but sometimes I feel a bit like an outsider, the girl who lives in the garage apartment on the other side of the house, the girl who's in graduate school, the girl who's 23 instead of 20, the girl who didn't work at Sky Ranch this past summer, the girl who is single and who isn't planning her wedding right now. But I know that below the surface, we have more in common than not, and I do desire to be closer to these women. In fact, I'm emailing them right now. Every little step counts, right? In addition to these roommates and new friends through my small group, I've gotten to know two first years in our program who are really wonderful young women and I connect so easily with. I'm excited about continuing this program with them, and getting to know them better in the years to come.

Emotionally, as I've said, I've been less stressed, and less distressed. Most of the time I'm pretty happy or at least content, and often really joyful and excited, though still sometimes frustrated, sad, angry, or jealous. This seems to be pretty typical, and much better considering how a few months ago I described for someone that I have having more lows than highs. I do still have lows, but they're not as frequent, and not as extreme. Whenever I do have some horrible emotional crisis, it doesn't last that long, and I feel more in control of my emotions.

Physically, I've been sleeping 7-8 hours a night, eating well, and riding my bike quite frequently. I have not gotten sick at all this past semester (knock on wood), which is a great improvement, as I got sick at least 5 times my first year at A&M, and I usually only get sick once a year. I attribute this to adjusting to the new climate finally and being less stressed. I'm convinced that emotional and physical health are quite intertwined.

Spiritually, well, I don't quite know the best way to measure spiritual well-being. I feel more free than I have been, and I know that fear and worry does not control me as much as it did. I think that I'm learning to trust God more, and to trust that His will truly is best, and that I want to follow that will, and that He is leading and guiding and providing for me and I have less fear knowing that He has conquered death and will not lead me to anything that He won't give me the strength to endure. I really have seen Christ work a great victory over many of my fears this past year, and I rejoice in that, and know that there are more fears and sins to be conquered. I have experienced the love of the church in many tangible ways, and I give and experience God's love when I participate in the loving community of my church. I feel free and renewed and I feel that my commitment to Christ is firm and secure, and I've been forgiving more and showing more grace to others, in ways that I see the Spirit working through me.

The other day, while with a dear friend here in DFW, I became very sad as I told her that "things just aren't the way that I'd like them to be." She started tearing up, sad that this was so for me, which made me tear up also. It's true, there are lots of things that I would like to change about my life in BCS, and my life here in DFW, but as I look back on this past semester, I see the good far outweighs the bad. I feel gratitude for God's faithfulness and all that he has given to me and even the things that he has withheld from me. I see that I'm being blessed and provided for, and I see that I'm growing and changing and becoming more the person that I'm meant to be.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

'tis the season for giving

I am proud of myself for having completed ALL of my Christmas gift shopping in a 24 hour period.

This was easily accomplished by the fact that I decided to only give physical, store-bought, traditionally wrapped Christmas gifts to my family members. Given my family make-up, this consists of my parents, step-parents, and stepsister and her son. I don't usually buy Christmas gifts for my stepsister or her three year old son, but she's going through some hard times these days, and he's my only nephew even though he's a step-nephew and we're not blood related, so I decided that I could buy some books for her to read to him :)

I'm very pleased with my decision to drastically cut back on my Christmas shopping. It was a hard decision, because I absolutely love giving and receiving gifts, but it wasn't such a hard decision because I don't really enjoy Christmas shopping. This seems like a contradiction, but it's not when you you think about. I love giving birthday gifts, having one special friend or family member to think about, brainstorming about what they would love, what would show that I cared, what gift would just delight and thrill her or him. It's a fun process, and I find it fulfilling to give a meaningful gift.

But multiply that one special someone by about 15, add the stress of finals into the mix, subtract funds because I'm a graduate student and most of my friends have real jobs and salaries 2/3/4 times mine, and add the crowds of the malls into the mix, and suddenly, gift-giving isn't so fun. When it comes time to buy Christmas gifts, I usually wait until after finals, and am then rushing to try to buy something for about 15 different people, and when there's that many people to consider, it's overwhelming to really spend time to decide on a meaningful gift for each one of them. I try my best, but usually wind up buying whatever strikes me for some of these folks. For the past few years, Christmas gift giving has become more stressful than it should be, and not the meaningful gift-giving that I would like it to be. I really, really like giving Christmas gifts to my friends, but it's the shopping for them that I don't enjoy.

An out presented itself when one of my high school friends (who I often shop for) suggested that instead of giving gifts to one another, we buy polo t-shirts for the poor students at her school where she teaches who's families cannot afford more than 2-3 uniforms for them. We all decided that this was a swell idea, and in addition to bringing food and drink and games to my annual New Year's Party, my friends are also bringing shirts to donate to her school. I think that this is a terrific idea that gives to others while relieves us of the stress of buying gifts for one another!

I still am trying to stay in the giving spirit toward those that I love. My mom and I have baked candies that I've given to some of my friends already, I'm spending time with them, enjoying their, helping them make Christmas gifts for their loved ones, helping them make dinner, trying on bridesmaids dresses with them, throwing them a wonderful New Year's Eve party. Even if I'm not giving them the traditional Christmas gift this year, I believe that I'm giving a lot of love, and a lot of myself to these dear ones. More than the funds, it's the time from not shopping that I feel most relieved to have back. My time is very loose these days, and that's rare for me, so I feel free to spend time with my family, my friends, and for myself, planning my upcoming trip to Europe, reading, and relaxing. This gift of time, for others and for myself, has been invaluable this Christmas season. I don't think that Christ ever intended us to stress ourselves out and empty our wallets to buy things that we really don't need when the word became flesh and made its dwelling among us. I'm sure I could be doing more this advent season to honor Christ and serve and love those around me, but, well, there's no but, there's no sense in wasting words to justify myself.

I've settled in quite well to the slower pace of this year's Christmas break. Wake up around 9 or 10. Pray and read my Bible. Check my email. Eat some breakfast. Maybe take a shower around noon, unless I somewhere to be earlier than that. Spend the afternoon with a friend, or my mom, planning my trip, or running errands like getting a hair cut or my car fixed. Come home. Eat dinner. Make candy, attend a church event with my mom, eat dinner with my dad, watch a movie, or simply relax together with my family. Stay up too late on the internet, and go to bed. It's a much slower pace than I'm used to, and I'd prefer to do more social things in the evenings, but I've decided to enjoy this time for what it is. It's rare that I actually have time to be bored, so I figure I should embrace it, boredom and loneliness and all, and it's really not as boring or lonely as I first expected. I do have some school-related things that I'm currently procrastinating, and next week is Christmas, the following week is New Year's, and then I'm flying across the ocean, so things will be hopping soon enough.

I've made most of my major purchases that I will be packing to prepare for the winter winds in Europe - the biggest one being a long, past my knees, black, poofy, down-filled, coat, and others being fake ugg boots, gloves, hat, thermal underwear, and a lovely black sweater dress with purple, black, and grey argyle tights that I plan to wear Christmas Eve, to the opera in Berlin, and probably back home seeing clients. I've got a few more random purchases at the the grocery to make, and I think the woman who is hosting me in Berlin wants some things from the US, but clothing-wise, I should be nice and warm. Texas weather has kindly dropped down to temperatures colder than Europe to help prepare me for the chill that I will soon face. It's not going to be an unbearable cold, but as I'll be spending a lot of my time wandering around outside, it's good to be bundled up and prepared. That is, as prepared as one can be for an adventure that is not yet written, an adventure that makes me feel excited and a little nervous but mostly thrilled to be a participant of.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

constant companion

As a musician, her guitar has become her companion. She tells me how when she's been lonely, she could play her guitar for hours. Song after song, her dear friend entertains and comforts her.

I am not a musician; I have never experienced the companionship of an instrument. Have any of you ever had an object, maybe not an instrument, perhaps a favorite book, or a hobby, or a favorite television show or film, that brings you companionship? Can you turn to that thing, when there is no one else present, and find comfort and fun and a fulfilling way to pass the time?

She's not an object, but I remember when I adopted my cat Gracie 15 months ago, and our first drive back to College Station together. She cried the entire way. I remember telling her, "It's you and me, Gracie, you and me." I remember thinking about how for many years to come, she will be my companion, traveling back and forth with me, moving to new homes and cities. I had no idea who I would live with the following year or where I would live in few years when I had finished my coursework or who else would ever make this drive back and forth between BCS and DFW with me, but I knew that she would be with me. I felt empowered, a 22 year old graduate student woman and her cat, ready to take on the world, ready to go wherever life takes us. Since that time, I've made many more friends in the BCS, young men have come in and out of my life, I considered a living situation that would not have allowed me to keep Gracie, but I've moved into a new home, and Gracie and I have clocked who knows how many thousands of miles back and forth together. She still cries the whole way, though not as loudly or as frequently, and sometimes I cry with her, but mostly I sing. I know she's just a pet, but it's comforting having a companion who will probably be with me for many more years, as I graduate, and move, and start my career, and perhaps marry and start a family. Maybe my oldest children will pet her when she's old and feeble, as I used to pet my parents' old cats when I was a child. Or maybe circumstances will prevent me from keeping her, but for now, she is a constant.

My True Constant is my God and Savior, and I find such peace is knowing that whatever changes happen, He is. I have to be honest though, that I rarely think of God as my companion. I've heard people speak of Christ as being their best friend, their husband, their lover, etc, but these images and metaphors have never really described my relationship with Him, and there was a time that I thought I was less of a Christian for not having Jesus as my boyfriend. He is my God, my Lord, my Savior, my Rescuer, my Comforter, my Confidant, my Shepherd, my Guide, my Wisdom, my Father, my Mother, my Love, my Strength, my Confidence, my Guardian, my Protector. He holds me in His hands, He guards me with His wings, He leads me with His light, and I feel confident in knowing that whatever happens, I want His will more than anything else I desire. But it's hard for me to call Him my friend. I want Him to be that too already, but I feel fortunate to have a lifetime and beyond to explore who He is and who He is not.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I've been "home" for about twenty-four hours now. It's strange, yesterday I packed up to leave my home to drive home. After 16 months in Bryan/College Station, I am now happy to say that I consider it my home, but that doesn't negate Keller/Fort Worth from also being my home. I guess it's ok for me to have two homes. There's not a rule against that, right? Who says that you must only have one home?

Leaving home to come home is bittersweet. I'm relieved to be done with this past semester (as incredible as it was, maybe a reflection post is due), and I'm thrilled about spending three weeks in this home with family and friends and then two weeks in Europe, but part of me is really going to miss my other home during this time. This past Sunday at church, as we continued to celebrate advent, as my comgroup leaders announced a Christmas party they were hosting, as one of our pastors urged students staying over the holidays to find church members to spend the holidays with, "Don't be lonely, we are here for you, so you don't have to be lonely over the holidays," I found myself wishing that I could be with this community, this church that I am a covenant member of, to celebrate the advent and Christmas season. It was hard to realize that I will be missing 5 Sundays with them. Since I started attending this church, this is probably the longest that I've been away from it. I mentioned this to one of my fellow church members, and she replied, "You can always come back and visit."

I'm not seriously planning on going back to visit during the break, but this internal desire to be back demonstrated itself as stronger that I realized today. This morning, I realized that I forgot my allergy serum at my house, and honestly was looking forward to making a trip back down there to go get it. Of course, I'd go on a Sunday, go to church, spend the night, and drive back Monday morning or afternoon. Unfortunately, my plans were spoiled when my mom asked if there were any friends still in town that were headed up to DFW anytime soon. Naturally, I soon found a friend who picked up my serum today, and we're going to meet up sometime in the next few days.

There was also a part of my spirit that cringed when I heard my pastor say, "You don't have to be lonely because we're here." I wished that he had said this at the beginning of the summer break. This past summer was one of the loneliest seasons in my life, and I wish someone could have prevented that loneliness. My church was there for me, and I certainly spent time with church members, but I still spent a lot of time alone, and I often felt lonely and left out, and I cried many tears just out of pure loneliness, and wished that people would have reached out to me more. I don't know, what happened happened, and one of the church members even encouraged me to spend time alone, and to spend time alone with God, and to be ok with being alone, and I think I learned a lot from that, and maybe would have grown more if I'd just accepted the loneliness instead of trying to fight it kicking and screaming.

And now I'm crying unexpected tears as I write this, and trying to figure out why. Last summer was really hard, and I wish that it had been different, and I wish that I didn't ever have to feel lonely again, but damnit, it seems like loneliness is just part of life, and I hate that. And I hate hearing my pastor say, "You don't have to be lonely," when that feels like a lie, and it feels like something that shouldn't be promised. And now I'm in a different home, and the relationships I have here are more deeply-rooted and older and more mature, but that also makes them more emotionally intense, and perhaps more exhausting, as there are more expectations from old friendships than from new friendships. Maybe it's just been an emotional day on a different front, and the tears are just coming out when I gave them the first opportunity.

I'm excited about these three weeks at home, but also partly nervous. I'm just not sure what to expect, especially with all this time on my hands. Most of my friends who live here work full time now, so what am I going to with my time during the day before Christmas? I brought home at least a dozen books that I may or may not read, books on therapy, books on Christianity, and fiction books that could be really enriching. I have a little bit of schoolwork to accomplish. I will have lots of time with my mom, shopping, and cooking, and seeing movies. I will possibly blog more. I will finalize my plans for my Europe trip. I will upload pictures. I will prepare for my New Year's Party I'm hosting. When I think about it, I suppose that's more than enough to do when I'm not doing scheduled things with friends and family. I suppose I should just soak it up and enjoy it too, because once it's over, it's going to be a while before I get a break like this again.

This isn't at all the post that I thought I would write when I first started writing it, but that's ok. I like it when the words just start flowing and what I'm writing just takes over, as if my fingers are just conduits for whatever should come through me.

I'm home again, but I'm away from home.

Friday, December 05, 2008

I'm not done with my traveling, so let's run, let's run, let's run

Final week of the semester. Two blog posts in one day. I'm not avoiding doing anything. No, never, of course not!

My classmate Daniel stopped by my office, not to collect a protocol, not to turn in a test kit, but just to say good-bye and wish me a good break! It really touched me that he thought of me in the midst of all of the preparations he must be making to leave town today. He informed me that him and his girlfriend are taking a motorcycle trip down to Panama and back in the next 6 weeks! On their way back, they are going to climb the highest peak in every Central American country - incredible! He gave me the address to his blog where he will be updating about his adventures throughout the trip. I'm thrilled for him and Lauren, and excited to see his updates on my google reader! Even though you probably don't know him, I encourage you to read along and see how this crazy adventure turns out with them:

As you know, travel is one of my great passions, one of the things that excites me the most in life! Why else would I plan a trip to Europe on a whim if it wasn't something that really ignites my being? I realized today how I'm managed to surround myself with people who also share this passion and desire to travel the world or even to live in another country. Even looking at the blogs that I follow, there's Emily who's living in Bangladesh with her sister's family right now, Ben who is a missionary in Berlin, Anton who has traveled around the world to many incredible places over the past two years and created video blogs to document his journeys, Cara who I'm pretty sure started her blog while she was living in Barcelona, Britt, who traveled with me around Europe summer 2007, and Amy who worked on a musical production in Germany a few months ago. And truly, all of you write of the places you travel within the US, of running marathons in San Francisco, of celebrating New Year's Eve in New York city, of adventures in Alaska, and each of you dream of travel, and write about where you want to be, and I share those dreams.

I feel blessed to have so many dear friends who also love travel, who I can share with in the excitement of their journeys, who can dream with me, who have traveled alongside me in the past, who will travel with me in the future, and who encourage me to go and do this thing that brings me to life and thrills me to my core! Brothers and sisters, let's run!

calcium sulfate

Every once in a while, this campus absolutely surprises, delights, and enchants me.

This morning, all over the sidewalks were chalk-written messages of encouragement and hope for students taking finals:

"You're prepared!"
"You'll do great!"
"Merry Christmas!"
"It's almost over!"
"If you're worried, say a prayer."
"God bless."

I wonder if these are all over campus. I wonder how many people were involved, and when they did this. I like to imagine a bunch of black-clad, chalk wielding vigilante Christians sneaking around all over campus at 3 am this morning to spread messages of hope and cheer. Or they probably just did it in normal clothes, and people saw them do it, but I like to imagine.

At any rate, it made me smile, and completely forget for a few minutes the scratches down my the side of my car that my roommate accidentally inflicted upon my vehicle at 5am this morning. I'm not mad, in fact, it's really just annoying that we'll have to take care of it. I'll probably wait until I go home before I get it fixed. Pathetically, the worst part right now is that in the rush and excitement of trying to figure out what had happened, I completely forgot my backpack, which contained protocols I was going to turn in, and even worse - my coffee. So instead of my homemade Starbucks brew, I'm drinking break room coffee mixed with hot cocoa to make it palatable.

But it's all ok, because there are good people out there who use chalk for spreading joy :)

It's almost over.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Cara

My friend Cara turns 23 today. In honor of this momentous occasion, I am dedicating this blog post to the story of our friendship together, complete with photographic evidence!

Cara and I met summer of 2004 in Longview through my cousin Laura, following my freshmen year at TCU and prior to her arrival at TCU. She was wearing cool green shoes that I had almost bought from Old Navy, so right off the bat, this friendship was off to a solid start.

This is us within our first year of friendship, February 2005, at the celebration of our dear friend Britt's birthday. As you can clearly see, during this time I was actually a ferocious unicorn and Cara was a triceratops. I was cruel enough to inform her that she was extinct, but she informed me that I actually never existed. Oh snap!

May 2005, at my birthday party. By this point, Cara had decided that unicorns are obviously cooler, and shed her dinosaur ways to join me as a mythical beast. Nonexistence is pretty hip, yo.

December 2005, Cara's birthday party. We decided to both become human, but this decision was fraught with tension and stress, which led to our mutual abuse of one another.

April 2006. After months of counseling and a hard night in jail, we gave up our violent tendencies and decided to pursue a kind, loving friendship held together by mutual admiration of one another's fashion sense.

May 2006, Mortar Board inductions. Making the decision to pursue nonviolence also led to academic success, as we were inducted into several of the same academic honor societies during our time at TCU. In actuality, it was my jealousy and admiration of Cara's academic success that inspired me to be a high achiever in college, so as not to be left behind by my formerly triceratopian friend.

September 2007. During this season of our friendship, Cara had developed a life-threatening disease that required her torso to remain hydrated at all times. Fortunately, the sounds of Regina Spektor and the Decemerberists at ACL proved to be the cure that she needed.

March 2007, no longer disease ridden, Cara and I were able to enjoy concerts together without the strange hydration apparatus. Freedom from this device allowed us opportunities such as partying with the young men of Phosphorescent. Unfortunately, Cara rejected my advances and our relationship has remained mostly platonic.

May 2007, we both got drunken tattoos together to celebrate Cara's graduation from TCU. Honestly, it seemed like a really good idea at the time, and now I have a constant reminder of our friendship.

July 2008, we gaze out into the great unknown of our lives together. What will the next months and years hold for us? Only time will tell.

Happy 23rd Birthday Sweet Baby Angle!!!!

Monday, December 01, 2008


She called to tell me that she was about 20 minutes away. My dear friend, whom I hadn't seen in nearly four months, was now only 20 minutes away from my door, my home, my arms. My parents and I set the table and filled the glasses with ice. I munched on some okra. By the time the dinner preparations were done, I checked my cell phone and saw that about 10 minutes had passed since she had called. She was 10 minutes away. I grabbed a few more pieces of okra. My excitement grew, as I knew that in just a few more minutes, she would arrive. I wished I could snap my fingers and let those minutes turn into seconds, so that she could be here - NOW! I didn't want to wait any longer, I just wanted her here. My longing for her intensified, as she was so close to my home. I recognized this feeling as the feeling of expectancy, and as the minutes passed, the feeling intensified. Any minute now, that doorbell would ring. I paced a little, trying to find something else to do in the kitchen. I looked at my cell phone again. Ate some more okra. I raced to the door when I thought I heard a car door slam, but no one was visible outside.

I finally gave up my pacing, grabbed a few more okra pieces, and headed back upstairs to my computer. Within minutes, the doorbell rang, and I heard my stepdad call out, "Someone's here!" I raced downstairs to find that my mom had just opened the door, and my sweet angle of a friend had just entered my home! I ran forward, in between her and my mom, and grabbed her for a hug. As I held her tight, I heard my mom laughingly say, "Ok, you can have the first hug!" That was indeed my intention, and maybe it was slightly possessive, but I was so excited to hug her, to be with her again, that I didn't want anyone else to hug her first.

As I waited for her to arrive and recognized this feeling of expectancy, I wondered if I could compare this experience to Advent, to waiting for the Messiah, to waiting for the coming of the kingdom and the time when Christ will reign and all will be set right. Could it be, that in these moments of waiting for a friend, there was a pale, earthly reminder of something holy and sacred?

Oh, and that okra was half gone by the time she arrived :/