Monday, December 13, 2010

Waiting by the phone . . . again

I'm sitting at my practicum office, just waiting. Waiting for the phone to ring. Again. I have things to do but nowhere to be for another hour and a half, so it's not a total waste of time to just browse webcomics and write on my blog and sit and wait. And it's a good time reflect on where I am.

I'm waiting for another internship site to call me back. I applied to 16 different sites, have interviews with 9 of them, was rejected by 2 of them, and am still waiting to hear from 5 of them - which will happen by the end of this week. It's that crazy time when if I sleep past 8am on a weekday, the first thing I do is check my email because there could be an invitation for an interview in my inbox (and last week one morning there was). I answer my phone at unknown numbers now because it's usually an internship site (though on Saturday it was actually a wrong number). I've been playing phone tag with this one site since Friday, and that's the call that I'm waiting for. The receptionist said that she was just finishing with a client and would call me soon so that I can schedule an interview with this site, and that's what I'm waiting on.

It's a nervewracking and exciting time for me, but mostly exciting. It's kinda stressful looking for low-cost plane tickets and figuring out all the scheduling and travel arrangements, but mostly it's exciting. In January, I will be traveling to at least 5 different states, 2 of which I've never been to before. And one of them could be my new home for a year. Having never lived outside of Texas, this is all kinda crazy for me, but also exciting. I want to move away, at least for a year. I want to experience life somewhere else, with people who think and act different from me, surrounded by a landscape and maybe a climate that is nothing like what I'm used to. I crave this change.

Fortunately, right now this excitement is overshadowing my sadness of leaving, but the sadness peeks out sometimes too. Like last night when I placed my left hand on her shoulder at church, my dear friend of 2 and 1/2 years who is graduating and moving. We spoke a long, beautiful blessing over her and tears filled my eyes. Mostly it was sadness to be saying good-bye to my friend, but it was also sadness for myself as I realized that in five months people who love me will be speaking this same blessing over me as I leave.

Even crazier is this relationship that I'm in with a man that I'm starting to fall for. I told myself that I didn't care if I dated or not this year because I'm moving next year, and maybe I'll meet someone when I move away to a new place, a bigger city maybe, with new faces and other fish. And I really believed that, but I was still open to romance, I'm not going to close any doors because of my impending move. I'm happy and feel such peace that if this relationship is "meant to be", that it won't matter if I move across the country. Yet the timing of it is weird. It's kind of weird of God to put two anxious personalities together in a relationship right when one of those personalities is about to move. But maybe that's the point.

Even crazier about this relationship is that if things do pan out, if we do decide to spend our lives together, my life is going to change drastically. How I imagined my future, my career and the life that I envisioned, will be completely different. I don't know if I'll be able to make that choice and make that change, but now is not the time to decide. Long before meeting him, I've continued to surrender my desires and plans recognize that God could have something different in store for me than what I could dream up, and that is good and exciting and great. But now that I'm faced with this possibility, I'd be a liar if I don't admit that it freaks me out sometimes.

Ok, no call yet. It's time for me to pack up and go. The phone will ring when it will ring, and all of this will work out somehow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I don't miss you

This evening, while driving home on my bicycle, I thought about one of my best friends, a classmate, who went home early last week for Thanksgiving. I wished that she were still in town. I wished that I could see her before this upcoming Monday. I missed her. So I sent her a text message telling her that I missed her.

Which made me realize, I don't miss a lot of people. I don't miss my dad. I don't often miss my friends who live in other cities and states. Worst of all, I don't miss the guy I recently started dating who lives in another city. And all of these people, at some time or another, tell me that they miss me.

Am I cold and heartless? Am a horrible daughter, friend, significant other? Am I too selfish and absorbed in my current life that I fail to think about the people I care about who are far away?

Maybe. Probably not. I think the key is that the amount I miss people is almost directly related to how often I see them. My friends who live in town, who I'm used to seeing on a regular basis, those are the people I miss the most when I notice their absence. On Sunday, I saw a friend at church who had been out of town for a few weeks. I had missed her. Things happened that I wanted to include her in, but I couldn't. I wanted to talk to her at times, but I knew she was busy. I missed her and I was excited to see her return. My classmate I mentioned above? I see her 2-3 times a week, so after 6 days without seeing her, I miss her. Whenever I move or someone else moves? For a time, I miss those people a lot.

This applies to the friends and family who live in other cities. How much I miss them is related to how often I see them. The friends I see almost every two months? After 3 or 4 months, I start to miss them. The friends I only see every 6 months? Sometimes sooner, but by 9 months I start missing them. I'm used to these people not being a regular part of my life. I don't expect to see them more often than I do. So, how much I miss a person has less to do with how much I care about them but rather how often I expect to see or talk to them.

And the guy I'm dating? He says, "I miss you," and I say, "I'm excited to see you again." I don't miss him that often. I think this is two-fold. First, we've never lived in the same city and I don't expect to see him more often than we see each other. If we continue dating and I move to another state (which I hope to do next year), then I'd miss him. I imagine that if we were to go a day without talking, then I would miss him. Second, this relationship is so new and I'm not diving in headfirst like I usually do with relationships, so I'm still not quite used to him being a regular part of my life. In the past year and a half since my last serious romantic relationship, I've become quite happy and content with the single life I've been given here. Back in the spring, I recognized that I was happy and though I wanted to date, I don't want a guy coming in and messing with all the good things I'm enjoying now. I realized that any guy I let into my life in a significant manner better really be worth it to let him in and let him start messing up my daily routines and future plans.

But isn't this horrible not to miss the guy I'm dating? Shouldn't romantic love be all-consuming? Shouldn't I be swept off my feet and can't stand to be away from him? Maybe. Probably not.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

sin pena

Tonight, I reflected back on this past year, thinking about what I am thankful for. Looking back a year ago, I feel like I am in such a different place. Compared to a year ago, I feel healthy, whole, and free. Those seem like such vague words but they feel so true. I doubt that this post can capture much of what I reflected back on this evening, but perhaps in the near future I will find better ways to express these things.

Looking back on this past year, I have no regrets. My eyes filled with tears as I spoke those words to my church small group, my family, tonight. I don't know when in my life I could ever say that. This past year, I've experienced pain. I've been hurt deeply by people I care about. I've been taken advantage of. I have sinned in big ways. Repeatedly.

And yet, each time God has healed me. He has opened my eyes to who He is and who I am am. To teach me about myself. To sharpen me. To free me. Repentance. Submission. Freedom. Every pain, every sin, he has used for His good and for my good. And I'm thankful for every bit of it.

He is so gracious to me. The tears flowed as I choked out those words. I don't usually get emotional when I talk about spiritual things. But tonight I did, and it's yet another thing that I'm grateful for.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the highs are high

Thank all that is holy!

Lol yes!!

Thank God!

These were some of the text responses from my classmates when I gave them the new that our adviser is finally writing his recommendation letters for us, after we complained last night about how they weren't done and he was texting us about SEM. Who gives a crap about SEM when we have applications due this week and next? Why are you bothering with that, Dr. E? Just write the stinkin' letters!

And so I was happy to pass the good news along when I received his text about having to stay up late tonight to write recommendation letters. This was just the last of several good pieces of news that I've received since yesterday regarding my application and dissertation proposal process. Last week was a low in this process, several things were stressing me out, and in the last 24 hours, they've all been reversed. It's incredible really, what a big difference things like recommendation letters, deadline extensions, transcripts finally in order, and helpful feedback on my essays makes.

And right now I'm utterly grateful. I still have a lot to do and a ways to go, but I'm energized and encouraged. God is answering prayers. Things are clearly working out as they are meant to, and in a good way. Peace and joy and hope have been restored to my heart, at least for now. I recognize that this process is a roller coaster and the next low could be right around the corner, but for now, I'm riding this high as far as it will take me.

And I'm not alone. In this past week, I've received so much support and love from my community. Friends have hugged me, prayed for me, laughed with me, cried with me. Friends, classmates, colleagues are helping me with my essays, giving me helpful feedback and helping me learn more about myself in this process. I realized today that I'm going to have so many people to thank come February when I match at my internship site. There is no way I could accomplish this by myself. It makes my heart swell with love and gratitude just thinking about it. Thank you.

I'm reminded of an odd but inspiring Bible story from Exodus 17. Moses was up on a hill, watching his people fight a battle and they would win as long as he held up his hands, but when he lowered his hands, their enemies started winning. But he wasn't alone. His brother Aaron and his friend Hur were up there with him, and when his arms grew tired, they lifted his arms until they had won the battle. They literally supported him and carried his burden when he was too weak to do so.

And so I feel like Moses in that story. I get tired, and weak, and anxious, and afraid, and depressed, but God has put people in my life, on my left and my right side, and you are supporting me in those weak moments. Thank you.

Though as I write this, I'm filled with a little piece of fear. Why am I moving away from these people? Why am I going someone where no one will hold me up when I'm weak? But those fears are utterly untrue. I'm going to another place where others will continue to support me, where I will work with great supervisor and peers and learn from them. And there will be another family waiting to embrace me when I arrive. It has to be true. I'm not going through all of this to just to fall when I get there. And this family I'm leaving behind? I feel that they are sending me forward. I wouldn't be going where I'm going without them, without you. And some of you are moving forward too, and I'm grateful to support you in your battles, to send you forward in your journey.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

cried a river and drowned the whole world

Yesterday, after hearing "Story of a Girl" pop up on Pandora, I was walking to the parking garage and felt the urge to sing it outloud. Except there was a guy walking in front of me and I was convinced that he would turn around and stare at me if I were to do such a thing.

Once in high school, while walking through the crowded halls in between classes (that must have been against fire code), someone started loudly singing, "Why do you fill me up Buttercup?" Someone else joined in. "Fill me up, Buttercup!" Several others started singing too. "Just to let me down, let me down!" I started singing, and pretty soon, the entire hallway was singing along as we shoved past each other on our way. This was before High School Musical, before the library musical Youtube video, before Glee. We had created our own spontaneous singalong.

More recently, in San Diego out and about celebrating our friend's birthday, suddenly the Michael Jackson music we'd been enjoying dancing to with an autistic guy (seriously, he had some sort of mental/emotional problems, but he was the funnest dancer we'd come across all night) halted a little too early for closing time. "What time is in?" the birthday girl asked. "It's birthday song time!" my friend, the former UT cheerleader exclaimed. She and I started belting "Happy Birthday" at the top of our lungs, and the entire bar joined in.

Remembering these experiences, I walked out of my residence hall, and started singing "Story of a Girl." I finished the chorus, no one was around to see or hear me, but I felt like it was a step.

Who says my life can't be a musical?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

here we go again

Today, I was relieved to start my period.

NOT because I thought I could be pregnant (let's not start any rumors), but because I thought I could be getting depressed. So I was relieved to discover that I'm probably not depressed, but was probably PMSing. I really should start charting, for a variety of reasons, one of them being that I won't be so worried about my emotional wellbeing when I find myself feeling depressed and overly emotionally for a couple of days.

And I realized that the emotional roller coaster of internship applications has begun. In the week, my moods rapidly change as I've felt accomplished, overwhelmed, anxious, relieved, depressed, proud, apathetic, excited, hopeful, despondent, competent, failing, and so on and some forth. Sometimes I feel despair for a few hours only to feel exhilaration and hope a couple of hours later until the next low comes. And this feels all too familiar. Almost four years ago, while going through the graduate school application process, I wrote this in a post -

It's amazing what a rollar coaster this application process has been and continues to be. One week, I'm stressed and worried that my applications won't make it in alright, and the next week I'm elated to receive two phone interviews. One day I'm relieved and joyous to turn in my final application, and the very next day I'm turned down by one of my top choices. I had no idea how emotional this would be. But I should have known. If it's not a boy, it's this, or a job, or a death, or a friendship, or a fight, or a trip abroad, or an illness, or a child. This is life. My one constant is my Creator and Savior who understands all of this and leads me, despite my fears and doubts and fickleness.

And so it begins again. I've strapped myself back into another roller coaster for another crazy ride for the next 5+ months of applications, interviews, rejections, rankings, heartache, and accomplishment. An intern recently described this process as like the graduate school application process on steroids.

Maybe I'm kidding myself, but I think I'm better equipped for this process that I was four years ago. I have great, knowledgeable people supporting me. I'm more accomplished and have clearer goals for my career. I have a cohort of classmates going through this process also. And maybe, just maybe, I'm older and wiser and less emotionally reactive than I was four years ago. I know that's true, and maybe this is a refining fire that will show me how I've grown and continue to mature me through the process. I already feel like I've been growing in self-knowledge and awareness in the past few weeks since I started this process.

Four years ago, this blog really took off as an outlet for me to write about that application experience. My supervisor today asked me how I was coping with this stress, and I have some things in place, but I realized that I haven't been writing about this experience. Talking and thinking and praying, but nothing tangible down on paper or on a computer screen that I can process and reflect back upon. So, maybe this is the beginning of a revolution without dancing renaissance in which I become a prolific writer once again. Maybe, this blog will become my partner once again, riding alongside me as I'm strapped into this little cart that at times feels awfully shaky but it will still get me to where I'm going.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

joyful tears

Tonight, I cried for joy for a dear friend. I don't know if I've ever cried tears of joy before, but if I had, they weren't like this suddenly overwhelming feeling of joy and excitement and shock and love that had to express itself in the most human way possible.

A lot of things have been on my mind this evening. I'd already planned on writing an entry when I came home tonight. But those things can wait. In the middle of everything else in my life and soul, it's a blessing to pause and remember this.

Tonight, I cried for joy and I want to remember that moment. Tonight, I experienced that I can love another person enough to move me to an emotional display that swept both of us away. Tonight, that is enough.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Winifred Napers Nephew

I have a few drafts of unfinished blog posts saved. I just browsed through them, and found that this post was pretty complete. This one was from 2/8/10, about a month after I'd returned from a trip to New Orleans with some friends. After watching Inception last week, it's kinda fascinating to me again . . .


I had an interesting nightmare last night. I was flying home from a trip with some friends, going through airport security, when a female TSA employee asked me a strange question, something about petroleum engineering, that had one of two answers. One of the answers seemed obvious, but I thought about it a little more, and decided that the less-intuitive answer was actually the correct one, though I knew that I had little knowledge about petroleum engineering. Apparently, I gave the "right" answer, and then was asked to come into a small room for further screening.

At this point, a man who's personality reminded me of the US Marshall on LOST began interrogating me, as the answer I had given was suspicious given that I'm not supposed to know anything about petroleum engineering. He asked me who I was, and claimed that I was not who I am, but instead a woman named "Winifred." He showed me a card, that had the name, "Patricia Napers Nephew" on it and asked me to read it. I read it, "Winifred Napers Nephew," and he said, "Aha, you are Winifred! You just gave yourself away!" And I said, "No, I just misread it because you had just said the word Winifred, you mislead me. And I used to live in Naperville, so the word 'Napers' was familiar to me." He did other things to try to trick me into saying "incriminating" things. He asked me about my parents and what they did. He sat me in front of computer with a recording device and asked me to say "important things" about myself, then left the room. I spoke into the computer and talked about being a Christian, my church, being a doctoral student, and my career goals. He came back in and asked me again how I knew the answer to the petroleum question if I wasn't Winifred. I told him that I was a doctoral student and very smart and was able to make an intelligent guess about it. Then, another student from my program came into the room and told me that another friend of ours had picked up the friends I was traveling with. Then, the man interrogating me said that my trial would begin next week. "Trial?!" I exclaimed, "What did I do besides answer a question?"

At this point I woke up. The entire nightmare was more interesting than scary, until the very end. At the point when the man mentioned me being put on trial, I was struck with fear, set into some sort of Kafkaesque scenario in which I was falsely mistaken for someone else and unable to prove my true identity. Now awake, I looked around, and reminded myself that I was still in bed, and told myself that this nightmare was just a dream.

Monday, July 19, 2010

iced coffee and Grizzly Bear, in which our heroine, big surprise, continues to coffee shop crush

I'll invite him to the movie with me and my friends. That's pretty casual, it's not just me, it's a friends thing. It's an open invitation. Any friend can join, and he's a friend right? Friends talk about sociology and Narnia and couchsurfing and good music and stuff. If he comes, it won't be awkward, because I'll have other friends. And if he can't come, it's not a big deal, he'll know that I extended an invitation, and we'll see where it goes from there. If nowhere, then no big deal. This is a good idea. A simple plan.

Ok, how to implement the plan. I'll need to go back in side. Hmm, I need to go to the bathroom. And get some water. I'll talk to him when I get the water. If we get the chance to talk, then I'll ask him.

Ok, I'm pouring water. I actually am thirsty! He's right in front of me. But his back is turned. I'll linger for a couple of extra seconds. He's still not turned around. Should I say hello? He's busy with something. This is getting awkward, I better sit back down.

My friend wants to move inside. I look his way, and he greets me with a smile as we make eye contact. We set our things down. Great, I've got a good view of where he's standing. He's talking with coworkers. There aren't any other customers. He's not busy, I could go talk to him again now, but I'd have to talk to his coworkers too. No, I can't ask in front of them, that's too awkward.

He's at the end of the bar now, by himself. Now would be a good time. I'm lifting myself off of my seat. And gravity pulls me right back down into my seat. It's time for me to leave, I gather up my things, hug my friend, say my goodbyes.

I'm walking toward the door, looking over at them, his back is turn, but if I can make eye contact with any of them, then it's an excuse enough to go over and say goodbye. No one looks my way. I'm out the door.

I step out onto the sidewalk. The door shuts behind me and I halt. It's time to work against what's natural. I turn around, and walk back in. I walk up to the bar and am greeted by his coworker.

"Hey, I was wondering, does so and so still work here?"
"Yeah, let me look at the schedule . . ."

We converse about my friends and have a pleasant conversation, but he's still in the corner of my eye, still with his back turned, and I'm still wishing that I was having this conversation with him instead. Though the guy I'm talking to is a perfectly nice guy, always friendly and smiling when he sees me, and I enjoy talking to him too, he'd probably go to the movie with me and my friends. But that would actually be me extending an invitation to a friend. I wouldn't get worked up about asking this guy to join me for something. I wouldn't be as thrilled if he said yes.

The conversation ends, and I walk out, and this time I make it to my car.

How to guys do this? It continues to astound me. I'd like to think that I would have asked him, had we actually had a conversation after the idea popped into my head. I'd like to think that it would have been no big deal, that I would have been confident enough for that.

Or maybe there's a reason why I'm not a guy. Maybe I'd rather him be asking me to join him and his friends for something fun. Maybe that would work out better and feel more natural. But maybe I'm not patient enough to wait for that. Maybe I'm tired of waiting for the tide to come in and I just want to get off my butt and throw a stone into the water and see where it lands and what kinds of ripples it causes. I don't see the harm in initiating something when I just want to get to know a person.

Oh well, we'll have other opportunities to chat and get to know each other. They'll be some other invitation to extend. Plus, movies aren't a good way to get to know a person. Plus, I can think of many possible reasons why he's not a good idea. He's probably too young. He's probably not a Christian. He's probably flakey and noncommittal. He's probably married. I can always write a blog post to entertain you and release my frustrations for not having acted when I wanted to.

Coming soon, Iced coffee and Grizzly Bear Part II, in which our heroine discovers comically that her coffee shop crush is a gay married Satanist who is moving to Antarctica. Or just another immature college boy who doesn't know what he wants.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

yellow, red, green, and blue

Yesterday I had a day off. Not just a day without work or practicum like a weekend day, but a true day off. A day without anything scheduled. A day with no where to be. A day without obligations, work, academic, or social. A day in which no one expected anything of me. A day all to myself, on my own terms. I can't tell you the last time that I had a day like yesterday or whether I even enjoyed that previous day off.

But yesterday? Oh yeah, I enjoyed it. I savored and relished it, deciding that this day was a gift, not to be wasted, not to obsess over, but just to be lived however I see fit. I didn't try to pack in a ton of things nor did I beat myself up over what I should be doing. It was a day to be lived no matter what did or did not happen.

The only things that I had set to do were to ride my bike and work on a manuscript. This left me open to spontaneous fun moments like finger painting with my friend's three year old. On my bike ride, I decided to stop by their house just for a little bit before showering and making my way to a coffee shop to work on that manuscript. But then her precious son looked at me with his big blue eyes and asked me if I was going to stay and fingerpaint with him. I hesitated to answer and I'm a little ashamed at that hesitation. Even on my day off, there was still this drive for what I "should" be doing. I should take a shower and work on the manuscript. But I soon recognized that there was no room for shoulds on this day and I joined him in painting. "Do you think any other grad students in your program are finger painting on their days off?" my friend asked me. Probably not, but maybe it would be as good for them as it was for me.

As I sat next to him, helping him paint, I thought about the memory of children. Two months ago, he saw a dead headless pig on the side of the road and still talks about that pig. Next time I see him, and probably two months from now, he'll probably remember that we fingerpainted together. But what about two years from now? What about when he's 18 and I'm 40? Will he remember fingerpainting with his adult friend when he was three years old? Will he ever remember me gently wiping the paint off of his face with a wet cloth while he gazed at his painted face in the mirror, giggling at the sight of himself? Will I, for that matter, remember these moments and images with him without reading them on some old blog I had once?

And today I realized that it doesn't matter. A young child's memories may disappear and change as he grows older, but these experiences still impact him. He may not remember the specifics, but as an adult he will look back on his childhood and remember feeling loved. He will remember having adults in his life who cared enough about him to spend time with him, who were patient with him, who wanted to play with him and teach him and listen to his silly made up stories.

Yesterday I came out of a funk I'd been in for the past couple of weeks. A funk of stressing about comps, then still stressing after they were over, frequently feeling tired, unmotivated, judgmental of myself, and dissatisfied. I did fun things this past weekend, but I didn't fully enjoy them because I was frequently worrying about what thing I was going to do next. I wasn't present.

But yesterday was different. Yesterday I was present to my experiences, awake and alert, nonjudging. I lived that day like a child who just lives moment to moment. Though my young friend and I talked about going to the rodeo next weekend to see the cowboys and animals, he wasn't dwelling on his anticipation of that fun event. He wasn't playing with his fingerpaints thinking, "Yeah, this is fun, but that rodeo is going to be awesome." No, to him, in his world, what he was doing in that moment, yellow paint oozing between his fingers, was the best thing he could be doing. There was no dead pig in his past. There was no rodeo in his future. There was just yellow, red, green, and blue.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


New Long-term Goal - get a picture of my husband on this blog. Ok future honey, if you don't already have a awesome beard, man up and grow one and let me bake you some delicious cupcakes! Babe, I really hope I don't have to seduce you with cupcakes and 15 minutes of internet fame to get you to grow some hair.

I'm taking my comprehensive exams tomorrow and Tuesday. 8am-5pm. Sitting at my computer, surrounded by notes and books, trying to write something coherent and impressive about diagnoses, case conceptualizations, ethics, multicultural issues, theories, constructs, research design, statistical analysis, internal and external validity, etc, drinking coffee, eating sandwich wraps and greek yogurt and trying to stay calm and confident.

Then I'll be free from this madness, and will celebrate my freedom with happy hour and swimming and cycling and Toy Story 3! My new to me bike sits in my living room, waiting for me to ride it again once this is all over. Oh, and then it's back to writing manuscripts and dissertations proposals, but I'm determined to reward myself with some proper summer fun once these exams are over. And writing for myself again. I want to write about money and sexuality and cycling, but we'll see what I'm actually inspired to write once I'm no longer tied to these exams.

I could look back on this examination time as one stressful part of this Ph.D. process that I'll be relieved to be done with, but there will also be good memories. Memories of how my friends and family have supported me and surrounded my with love during this time. How they prayed for me, spoke words of encouragement to me, emailed me their notes, loaned me books, cooked me dinner, made a study play-list for me. How though these exams are a test of my individual learning and accomplishments from the past three years, how it's so obvious that I'm very much not alone during this time. Though physically alone at this table, you are all beside me, incarnating Christ into my life, breathing the Spirit into me.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Good News

What is the Gospel?

I struggle to define it, to describe it, mainly because I immediately think of the definitions and words and phrases that I've heard my whole life. There is probably truth in these recollections, but they feel a little stale and feel like I'd just be regurgitating something I've heard somewhere else instead of truly describing what the Gospel is to me, what I believe it to be, what it means to me. What words do I put together to describe that? Or maybe words aren't it. Maybe there's an image.

As I sat outside, pondering this question, I looked down at the grass. There was a small, orange, delicate butterfly perched on a blade of grass, gently opening and closing its wings. It wasn't a Monarch, but it was just as brightly orange, beautiful contrasted against the green grass.

And there was my image. It described to me a creation, a people, an individual utterly renewed by God's mercy and grace. It pointed to a coming Kingdom where all will be made right and all conflicts and disputes and lawsuits and wars and complaints and demands will cease. A Kingdom yet to come fully, but a Kingdom that can be present now. A Gospel that tells me that I am both a sinner and in need of grace and change but that I'm also fully accepted and fully loved, a Gospel that I can surrender to and that I can display as I love my family and strangers, as I love myself fully and receive God's love, as I advocate for myself and others, as I approach stresses and conflicts seeking God's grace and peace and compassion. There, I will find that delicate butterfly, renewed and beautiful.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

one week

I'm glad that I challenged myself to write one blog post a day this past week. I'm thankful for my friends who have encouraged me along the way. Looking back, I would say three of those posts I'm pretty proud of and really glad that I wrote. A couple of the others felt more like filler, but that's ok. I didn't challenge myself to write a spectacular post each day, just to write a post, and see what happened.

Beyond the end product, there was a process to this writing exercise that I'm glad that I engaged in. Before this week, I generally tended to kick around blog posts in my head for a few hours or a couple of days before I wrote them down. But this week has been different, because often I struggled to find inspiration to write something. Only one or two posts were really running around in my mind before they found their way out through my fingertips. Some were just me sitting down reflecting on my day or current status. Others emerged as the result of a friend's suggestion or essential conversations. It was these last that I'm most proud of. So, I've learned that that creativity can flow more spontaneously. Instead of trying to perfect something in my mind before giving it life, an idea can spark and lead to more associations and ideas that result in something I'm glad to have created.

I had a feeling that some days it would be more difficult to write than others, but overall this project was more difficult than I anticipated, mostly because I'd been sick this past week and much more tired than usual at the end of the day. The bacon post was the most exhausting day, I just wrote flippantly something to fill the void so that I could surrender myself to sleep as soon as possible. Interestingly, I also began another daily discipline this week by beginning a workbook that my church is going through together, which has also been difficult. I'm not usually big on workbooks, but I like the conversation that our church is having and doing this helps me to be more a part of it and has got me thinking more consistently about things that should more often be on the forefront of my thoughts.

So, what's next with my writing? Well, I've got some academic writing tasks ahead of me, writing a manuscript draft that I've been dragging my feet on and writing my dissertation proposal and writing answers to my comprehensive exams. All of those intimidate me, but I'd like to think that this past week of blogging has lessened my anxieties and apprehensions about those writing tasks just a little. Tomorrow I'm going to tackle that manuscript and I don't need to be a perfectionist about it. I can just write and bring things together and get moving on it. Sometimes, I need to move past my fears or my concerns about not knowing what to say and just challenge myself to keep moving ahead.

And my blog? Well, I hope that this has sparked a revival in my blog writing, but only time will tell. Will I do this sort of exercise again? I'd sure like to. Maybe again by the end of this summer, or later when I start my new job, or 6 months from now. Strangely, I like the idea of doing this again during a particularly busy time in my life (such as training for my new job or while interviewing for internship positions) as a way of forcing myself to stop, slow down, collect my thoughts, and reflect. I'm a fairly thoughtful, analytical person, but it's still easy for me to just get going and not stop to truly think about what I'm doing or learning.

Thank for reading and being on this journey with me. I look forward to writing again soon, tomorrow, in a few days, or next week. See you when I do . . .

Friday, June 11, 2010


There's a me who's kinda crazy and fun. Who wants to be spontaneous, who wants to do things because they're exciting and out of the ordinary. The me who wants to be sexy and a little wild. The fiery redhead. The party me who wants to make my own decisions as an individual and who doesn't want to be told what to do.

Then there's a me who is grounded, and wants to make wise decisions. Who wants to surrender, who wants to be giving and sacrificial. The me who wants to submit to my community and seek God's direction through them. The planner. The me who wants to do the "right" thing.

Then there's God who loves me. Who accepts me. Completely. Who created me and loves every part of me. And yes, He also wants to change me, but not in a way that I'm not me anymore.

And I recently recognized that unconsciously, I've believed that God didn't love that "party" side of me. That He didn't value my spontaneity as much as my sacrifice. And I've felt guilt over that part of me, that it was wrong or sinful and needed to be changed or needed to go away. And I'm coming to see the error of that way of thinking. There is much that is good about my "party" self and much that would be good about receiving God's love for all of me and for loving myself completely. I think that it will bring great freedom for me and freedom for me to love others more fully.

At times, I've found myself divided. Different people, different cultures, different circumstances bring out different sides of me. I feel like a chameleon at times, not that I've been acting fake or untrue to myself, but that I only show certain parts of myself at certain times and with certain people.

So I want my selves to be integrated. I want to love myself for all that I am and all that I'm not, I want to love myself in the way that God loves me, I want to remember and really recognize that He loves every part of me that He created, not just the parts that fit more closely with the religious culture around me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Today, I found out that one of my father's best friends committed suicide. I was shocked, but not shocked. This man had been chronically depressed, suffered from a chronic health condition that caused him constant pain, and his father committed suicide by shooting himself in the house.

But this was also a man that I will always remember as wearing an unruly beard and overalls even though he worked as a pharmacist most of his life. He was kinda strange and lived an unconventional life in many aspects but there was something endearing about the image that I have of him.

And now he's gone. He bought a shotgun and two days later used it on himself. My father spoke with him three days before he died and said that he knew that he was doing "worse" but he gave no indication of suicide. I don't want my father to feel guilt or regrets, but I wish that him or another one of his friends had asked, "Are you thinking about ending your life?" when they saw their friend deteriorating.

I can talk about suicide as a clinician. I can ask clients about it. I can refer tell them to call 1-800-Suicide. I can ask about risk factors, plans, methods, intentions, previous attempts. I can talk clients through a safety plan. I can talk about my QPR suicide prevention training. Assessing for suicidality is almost second nature to me at this point in my training.

But to think about this man I knew ending his life, to think about what my father might be feeling or thinking, though it's all filtered through this clinical training, this news, these facts, the images I imagine, I don't know what to say or think. In some ways it passes right through me like a ghost, like it didn't really happen to someone I know, like I just heard about it on the news, and it other ways it reaches inside me and swirls around in my chest, never quite settling anywhere.

Suicide isn't really second nature for me to face. I hope that as much as I may encounter it with clients, that I never lose touch with how precious and fragile life is and how tragic and ugly and horrible the taking of one's life is.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

salty and sweet

Godiva chocolate bacon . . . really disgusting? Or insanely delicious?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

the relationship between bananas and Jesus

"Peel, bananas, peel peel, bananas!"

He towered over the toddlers, arms stretched overhead, as he began singing and dancing in the motions of a banana peeling. They didn't dance or sing along or even giggle or smile. They just stared at him, mesmerized by this tall dancing man.

"Peel, bananas, peel peel, bananas!"

Somehow remembering this from some days at camp long ago, I began singing along and laughing as we sang as his wife laughed along with us.

"Go bananas! Go, go, bananas!"

I was there in the walkers and crawlers (a technical term referring to children under the age of two who can crawl or walk) class a couple of weeks ago because our church small groups alternate taking care of the kids during church services and I had missed a week I was supposed to serve because I had been vacationing in New Orleans. After being barraged with mass emails stating, "You missed a Sunday serving, we need YOUR help this Sunday to fill in," I finally gave in and volunteered for this Sunday after seeing that other friends of mine had volunteered too.

"Peel, bananas, peel peel, bananas!"

Round two of the song, and the kids still weren't showing any sign of wanting to sing or dance along, but continued to stare up at my tall friend. I grabbed the hands of the curly-haired blonde girl on my lap and moved her into the motions. She just stared at me with her huge blue eyes, with the same serious expression that she'd held throughout the evening. I never saw her smile and the most emotional expression I saw from this stoic child was when I sat her down on the floor prematurely and she looked up at me seriously, grunted a little, and began flapping her hands, which I took as her communication for, "Please, I urgently need you to pick me up again!" Of course, I was happy to comply with her nonverbal requests and she spent most of the evening on my hip or in my lap.

"Peel, bananas, peel peel, bananas!"

Myself and my two friends in that class helping would readily admit that we're not kid people. As I've written before and before, I feel kinda awkward around kids. I like kids, some more than others, but I often have trouble relating to little people who don't talk like adults. I think I'm getting better at this and find that I can connect with my nephew or kids from my church and it's actually pretty fun. And strangely, I've been feeling more maternal urges lately, when I've never felt like a very maternal person. Strangers' kids on the street catch my eye more often, they seem cuter than they used to, and the idea of me having my own kids sometime in a few years sounds pretty nice to me these days.

"Go bananas! Go, go, bananas!"

So, my friends and I were serving these kids. We carried them, we fed them, we held them when they cried (which thankfully all but one didn't cry too long), talked to them as if they were adults (because we didn't know how else to talk to them), sang to them, played music for them, and I even assisted as my friend changed a diaper, too much of a wimp too change it myself. Though none of us would claim to be great with kids or eagerly volunteer for babysitting, we did pretty good with them that evening. As best we could, we were Jesus to those kids.

"Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there."

Jesus valued kids and stated that the kingdom was for them, much as he valued other marginalized people groups and showed special care and concern for them. And so I'm called to show love to children, to old people, to the mentally ill, to drug addicts, to rape victims, to cultural minorities, to the homeless, to people who have been victimized or marginalized by society or somehow told that they weren't worth it. These are the people to love for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. And it challenges me. It doesn't feel natural to hang around a kid. I have friends who make it look so natural, who love being with children, who know exactly what to say or do or not say. But natural or not, I'm still called to love them.

"This is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!"

We decided to switch it up, and brought in a G-rated version of Hollaback Girl to sing and dance too. And as much as we were Jesus to those kids, they were Jesus to us.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

They were Jesus to me, accepting me, being patient with me, challenging me. And I'm so thankful that I had the chance to go bananas with them.

*Inspired by and dedicated to Katie

Monday, June 07, 2010


I caught a virus, and my computer did too. Or, it almost did. I don't like being sick yet I also kinda like it. I like it because it feels like my body screaming, "SLOW DOWN," and gives me an excuse to sleep as much as I want and watch movies and tv and have friends cook for me. Though mostly I don't like it, and as I relax and take care of myself and down kombucha and coldeeze, I keep hoping that I'll get better as soon as possible. I also don't like that I seem to get sick much more than I used to, which makes it seem like there's something about my lifestyle or maybe just the horrible pollen here that's breaking down my immune system

One of my friends last night told me, "Stop getting sick so much!" which annoyed me at first because really, it's not like I chose to get sick. But we talked about multivitamins and things I could do to help boost my immune system year round. I feel like I can hear a parent's voice saying, "Slow down, you're so busy, you're wearing yourself out," which also annoys me. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been out of town more than I've been in town these past couple of weeks. So perhaps all of this travel and driving north and south and east and west has worn out my body. Perhaps multi-vitamins would help. Perhaps more exercise would help. Perhaps being done with grad school would help. Perhaps. Perhaps.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

keep it weird

It's a city that engages my mind, body, heart, spirit, and all of my senses.

A city where I receive the best massages that leave me with bruises. A city where I dance giddily with partners, laughing as if I've never smiled so much while dancing. A city where I slip and fall while dancing. A city where the guy I ran into while falling asks me to dance next.

A city where I enjoy music outside in the heat as sweat drips down my thighs. A city where music invades me as rain pours down. A city where I dance to the music I love the most. A city where I sit quietly, in awe of the sounds and sights that I'm experiencing.

A city where lost loves are mourned. A city where romance awakens. A city where I last enjoyed my grandmother.

A city where one moment I'm sweating in the heat and the next I'm shivered in the cool, invigorating spring waters.

A city where the best sushi is served from a trailer. A city where donuts are gourmet foods. A city where the best coffee is an artform.

A city where the strangest of strangers become friends. A city where I realize that great friends are more similar to me than I could have ever imagined.

A city where I experience just how much God loves me. A city where God shows up on a green hillside or in the hands of a homeless man or in the eyes of a friend or in the lyrics of a song.

Maybe it's a city where I'll reside someday, but for now, it's a city that I love. A city that I've been blessed to get to know over the past three years.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Any of these could be the opening lines to a legitimate blog post

"Girls start out more mature than guys. Their biggest weakness is their hearts, but girls just go through a few heart breaks, then they become women." "Hmm, I've been through some heart breaks, am I a woman?" Pause. "Yes, you're definitely a woman."

Are you a lover or a runner?

Since I've moved into my summer house, I've spent more nights away than I have in my home for the summer. It's been fun and exciting (very exciting at times), but also tiring and nomadic. I want to get settled in and feel at home, but I'm not sure if this summer will let me. I may have to fight my summer schedule to really feel at home, like I did last summer in a way that came so naturally and easily to me.

Packing to go to a conference on psychotherapy with men, I had a hard time deciding what to wear. I didn't want to wear something that was too "feminine." Wait, why does this matter? Gender is funny, and I've been thinking about it a lot.

Christian belief and Christian practice. The past several years, I've been very turned off from studying or thinking or talking about Christian "doctrine." Even writing the word now makes me uncomfortable. But I'm recognizing again (somewhat reluctantly) that it is important, that what I believe about my faith is important, and why I believe it is important. I readily and eagerly embrace that Christian practice is important, and I'm coming to see (and hope to learn more) how doctrine is essential to practice, that right beliefs drive right actions. I'm a reluctant theologian.

I'm recognizing how much I love dancing and how closely it relates to my confidence in myself in other areas of life. A week ago, for the first time I can remember, a friend told me that I was a good dancer. Then a few days ago, a dance partner told me that I was a confident dancer. I'm thankful to be at this place with my dancing and myself.

I'm going to teach my good friend how to ride a bike again. Sometimes, "It's just like riding a bicycle," isn't an accurate metaphor.

Just some random spattering of thoughts. This week, I'm beginning a writing exercise, I'm going to write at least one blog post a day for this entire week. Let's get into gear.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Featured on academichic blog!!!!

A link to my recent blog post plus one of my photos was featured on academichic because of my participation in their Dress Your Best Week! Hehe, I feel a little famous, and I'm thankful that the academichic bloggers noticed how many of us wrote about learning to love our bodies in ways that don't fit the norms of what society tells us is beautiful.

Monday, May 17, 2010

waiting for the storm

As soon as I stepped outside, books in hand, I knew that the storm would arrive any minute. As I sat down on the patio table, the powerful wind pushed against my back. I decided to ignore the imminent weather and carry on as I planned, beginning with journaling. As I began writing, the weather soon became hard to ignore. The wind continued, building speed. A small branch broke off of the tree and hit the roof, tumbling down to the ground. Instead of ignoring the storm, I embraced it, using it to fuel my writing. I wrote my thoughts and prayers. The wind picked up. I wrote my desires and hopes. The trees shook. I wrote of my trust and surrender. The hairs on my arm bristled as the temperature dropped. I continued writing, covering pages with emotions and truth. Another branch landed on the ground. The wind picked up and blew a magazine off of the table. The bush behind me leaned forward, tickling my back. The clouds grew darker, then strangely lighter.

I looked up from my pages. Dark clouds raced past the lighter ones. I looked down again. The glossy cover of the book next to the journal was dotted with moisture. I continued writing and determined to stay outside until the storm began. My hopes that the storm would come before I finished writing weren't realized. I opened my book, found my place marked with a receipt, and hadn't read two paragraphs before I started noticing one, two water drops on the pages. I read a little further, and the drops increased. I closed my book, left the table, and stood on patio. Drops of rain began to land on my hair, my arms, my clothes. The cold wind soared past me. Thunder began to crack. I kept waiting, waiting for the rain to come in full.

I expected it to come on suddenly, drenching me without warning, but this storm crept in softly. The raindrops increased. I felt them on my cold skin. I put my books under the porch to protect them from what was surely about to come. And it came.

I stood on the patio, I stretched my neck back, letting the rain hit my face. I spread out my arms, and began to pray.

Lord, forgive me. Wash me, make me clean. Baptize me, wash my sins away. Wash away all my sorrows, my disappointments, my insecurities, my fears, my pride. Wash it all away, clean me, free me! Make me new!

I began to move as I prayed and as I received my answers. I spun around, slowly at first, but soon faster. I smiled. I laughed. I threw my arms above my head. I threw my head back again and again, smiling upwards at the clouds above me.

A fat raindrop plopped into my eye, and I decided this was my cue to return inside. I walked back under the shelter of the porch, but realized that I hadn't had enough. I went back out onto the patio, and spun, and danced, and laughed some more. More satisfied, I walked inside and wiped the rain off my face with my hands and arms and listened as the storm raged outside.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dressing my best - Tuesday, May 11th - Legs! Fair skin!

I have a love/hate relationship with my legs, but this week has encouraged me to try to show more love to my legs. Sadly, I have spent much of my life feeling ashamed of the perpetual paleness of my legs, often feeling uncomfortable wearing shorts or skirts the showed too much skin, exposing the blinding whiteness of my legs. From my friends, I alternately receive comments that I shouldn't be so shy about showing off my legs or comments that my legs are so pale, and "Gosh, can you even tan?" making my pale legs a great source of embarrassment.

When I first saw this picture from Tuesday, I was embarrassed at how pale my legs look compared to my olive-skinned, Italian-descended friend. However, thinking about it more, we're both gorgeous women, we just have different looks and body types and skin tones.

It's time for an attitude change. Though not radiantly tan, I have great legs. My legs are long, lean, and muscular enough. My legs are beautiful, functional, strong, and sexy! And I'm also coming to appreciate the alabaster shade of my skin. I often observe pale beauties, such as this model from with envy that they can look so strikingly beautiful with their paleness.

I've decided to stop envying these models, and enjoy the fact that I can also look strikingly gorgeous as a pale-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed, thin woman! A big reason why I can pull of the henna-dyed red hair is because of my fair complexion, so I'm thankful that I have a look that is so versatile. I think that redheads are absolutely gorgeous, anytime a redheaded man or woman walks by, I'm always checking them out. It's been exciting for me to embrace the look in the past several months. So, I decided this week to show off my great legs, with this dress from H&M -

Trying to show off my dress at the bar where I sang "Bohemian Rhapsody" at karaoke night with a few friends -

A pretty "leggy" shot from this angle -

Lovin' on my ivory legs -

So, I'm thankful for this exercise to love my body for all that it is. I hope that in the future that I will feel less shame about my fair skin when I'm surrounded by tan friends, but instead feel thankful and blessed that I have a such a unique, beautiful look. I hope that my friends reading this post can also be challenged to love the parts of themselves that they may not always see as beautiful.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

other people's love stories

I often feel like I just keep playing a weird part in other people's love stories, over, and over again. I'm that girl the hero thinks he's in love with, and then he meets someone else, or he realizes he's still in love with that other girl he thought he wasn't in love with anymore. Or I'm the quirky friend urging the heroine to follow her heart or stay careful or chase her dreams. Except in this rom-com, the quirky female friend doesn't fall in love with the awkward male friend. Not yet at least.

And likely someday I'll have a love story of my own, where I get to play the heroine and I get to share romantic adventures with the hero. And those who's parts I've played in their love stories? They will be the strange characters in my love story, the boys who didn't love me enough or who lost my love, the boys I fell for but who weren't meant to stick around. They will be Sally's Joe, or Prince Humperdink (ha!) or Kathleen Kelly's Frank Navasky. Some of them will be Franks, the dutiful boys who would have stayed with me had I not let them go, but more of them are Joe's.

But for now I'll be Parker Posey or Judy Greer or (worse) James Marsden before 27 Dresses.

This is the story of the boys who loved you
Who love you now and loved you then
And some were sweet, some were cold and snuffed you
And some just laid around in bed.

Some had crumbled you straight to your knees
Did it cruel, did it tenderly
Some had crawled their way into your heart
To rend your ventricles apart
This is the story of the boys who loved you
This is the story of your red right ankle.

But wait, why does my story have to revolve around love and romance and relationships? Who said that the only story worth telling is about a man and a woman falling in love? Ok, everyone says that, it's all over our culture, everywhere you turn around. But do I have to buy that, hook, line, and sinker? Why should I write my story around someone else? What kind of a frail human actually holds that kind of power in my life, that I would want to write my story around him? Why should I believe that my biggest desire, my greatest source of fulfillment is in falling in love?

The first few paragraphs of this blog are sadly easier for me to feel and believe at times, but despite all the confusion I feel, I really do believe that the above paragraph is more true. That I have a life to live, and purpose to pursue and it's happening NOW, whether I'm single, engaged, married, a mother, a daughter, a student, a psychologist, a sister, whoever I am, I am me and I have so much to give and offer to those around me. I'm just as much me now as I would be me if I were married or with a Ph.D. in my hand. Why do we keep believing that single people are just married people who haven't found their "better half" yet? Why do I swallow these lies again and again?

Sometimes, I'm freed from those lies. I spent most of this semester remarkably happy to be single, loving my life and my relationships, and not even really desiring to be in a relationship, because having a dude around would just mess up all the good things I've got going on, and he's got to be really worth it for me to mess my life up for him. I wish I felt that happy and content this consistently now, but lately it still comes in moments and waves. It comes in moments when I'm surrounded by my family that loves me, when they wrap themselves around me with love and support. And it comes in quiet moments, when I sit on my bed and type and contemplate these things and when I stretch back onto my pillow and pray and remember that I have all that I need, that my Father doesn't withhold any good gifts from me, and that this is good. That it's good to be me, a student, a counselor, a friend, a sister, and I don't need to be anyone else right now. It's good. And those boys that loved me or who didn't love me? Well, it's good for them to be themselves, they're not some pawns in mine or anyone else's story, they're valuable humans created by God, just as I am. If I'm just a character in someone else's story, it's not a silly human fable, it's a divine story, a sacred story.

Besides, Parker Freakin' Posey is pretty freakin' fabulous.

Dressing my best - Monday, May 10th - Eyes & Hair

Monday, May 10th I gave a pre-proposal presentation before faculty and students about what I intend to study for my dissertation - a perfect opportunity to dress my best! I decided to highlight my blue eyes and henna-dyed red hair.
To do this, I chose to wear vivid colors that make a nice contrast to my colorful features. I'm glad I did too because a couple of the other young women presenting wore all black dresses, so I enjoyed standing out and showing my personality with color while I presented!
  • Green lace top - New York & Co.
  • Black skirt - H&M
  • Gold shoes - Cato
  • Pearl necklace - Gift from mom
  • Coral scarf - Bazaar in Cappadocia, Turkey
Thanks to the travels of myself and friends, I now have a growing collection of international scarves, which I decided to try out with this outfit . . .

Inspired my Academichic's recent post highlighting "tight" color combinations, I've been playing around with pairing colors that are close together, such as pairing this forest and lime green scarf (also from Turkey) with my lighter green top -
Staying with the cool colors, I paired it with this turquoise scarf from Bangladesh, a gift from a dear friend. I like that there are some green threads that mingle with my green top. I also think this color of great for highlighting my eyes, something I played with later this week.

Another contrast with this orange and yellow striped scarf my friend gave me from Spain -

But I'm quite happy with the coral scarf I chose to wear that day, and I'm also quite happy with how my presentation turned out and the gracious comments and suggestions that my colleagues offered me.

Which is your favorite scarf color combination with this outfit?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dressing my best!

I'm participating in Dress Your Best Week with with Academichic. Stayed tuned as I add fashion posts about how I'm dressing my best to highlight the aspects of my body that I love the best - my eyes, hair, legs, butt, and feet!

Friday, April 30, 2010


10 more days!

1 more year . . . 2-2&1/2 more years . . . 3-4 more years . . .

Countdowns aren't as exciting when I realize all the other things I could be counting down toward.

Translation - Time . . . until I'm done with this semester . . . until I'm done with classes . . . until I earn my doctorate . . . until I become licensed . . . unless I move out of the country or get knocked up before any of those things happen, which under the right circumstances, neither would be bad at all.

Perhaps it's crude, and I wouldn't use the term to refer to my friends' pregnancies, but if I ever get pregnant, I will refer to myself as knocked up. I love the phrase because it usually refers to an unplanned pregnancy, and to a certain extent, I believe that all pregnancies and most of life's other events are unplanned. Even when planning a pregnancy, there's no guarantee that a couple will conceive exactly when they want to. Without getting into too much of a soapbox, I think birth control methods give us the illusion that we can control our life events completely around our plans.

Screw my plans. I put too much stock and security in them. I'll make my plans and carry some of them out, but I still want to remain completely open to getting knocked up. I want to be open to whatever God brings into my life without my planning, be it a new opportunity, job, career, ministry, relationship, whatever those things are that could tear into my life, assaulting my carefully made plans in such a way that my life course is so radically different than what I anticipated, but better, stronger, more rewarding than anything my boring head could have dreamed up.

So go ahead, knock me up! I'll probably start kicking and screaming and try to run in the other direction when you do, but maybe I'll remember writing this post and it will help me to surrender.

Sigh. 10 more days!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

tears held gently

I should be in bed.

I've been telling myself that the past 6 evenings. Meaning that I've spent almost a week staying up past my bedtime, past the point when I'm tired and my body and eyes and mind tell me that I should sleep. I hate this, it's silly, I feel like going to bed, and going to sleep will be good for me, but I fight what's good for me - why? I'm not sure. Anxiety? Distraction? Sleep doesn't seem distracting enough right now.

So, I will finish this brief (I hope post), read the Psalm I'm praying through this week (a neat idea that someone shared Sunday), and enjoy the sweet embrace of sleep and tell myself once again that I will not do this tomorrow night and maybe I'll mean it this time.

Tonight, I sat with a dear friend, tears held gently in both our eyes, and she looked into my eyes, with such a look of love and empathy that I knew that she was truly seeing me, and then this friend told me how God is doing something really special in my life and it's been a blessing for her to be a part of it and watch me go through all these things in the past two years. She told me how I've shown her how to balance giving to others and asking from others.

And I write it down because I want to remember those moments forever. I want to always be able to close my eyes and remember vividly the expression on her face and the precious words she spoke, but mostly I hope to remember her face tonight.

"For to see your face is like seeing the face of God . . ."

Monday, April 19, 2010


Here I sit, on the patio of a beautiful coffee/wine bar, sipping on mint hot chocolate, listening to the bubbling fountain under the auspices of working on statistics homework. It's about 5 degrees too cold and 3 mph too windy to truly be comfortable, but the slight chilly breeze is keeping me alert and aware. I've been here many times before, in various circumstances, with new friends, dates, family, enjoying music, and by myself. Today this recalls a time when I came here one evening last summer, by myself, enjoying the warmth of the sun still in the sky on those long days, reading a book that spoke to me, no, sang to me, about the love of God. On that evening, like this one, I felt lonely, but felt the need to embrace my solitude.

So there and here I sat and sit, part of me longing to reach out to a friend, part of me wanting to just be. left alone. but the inner part of me knowing that God is here in these moments of aloneness and pain, just as He's present with me, in me, around me in the moments of friendship, laughter, music, and dancing. So I breath deeply the cool air, straining my neck toward the dark sky above the trees, knowing that He is here. Guidance, answers, healing, laughter, music will all come later, but for now, all I need is to know that I am here and He is here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Apparently a big, important, fancy bill was passed today.

How has the public at large responded?

Have I witnessed crowded parades cheering? Mothers crying tears of joy? Or men and women taking to the streets, crying, "Fascism!"

No, not really.

Have I felt a tangible wave of excitement in the air among the individuals I walk by? Or a cloud of dread hanging over their heads?

Not exactly.

Just some facebook comments revealing mildly excited praise, a couple of good-tempered debates, and muted criticism. No angels singing. No devils cackling. Just one anarchist friend ranting, but he'll always find something rant about as long as we have a government, now won't he?

I'm sure in due time there will be emails and symposiums about What This Will Mean for Our Dear Profession, but right now we're more concerned about passing statistics and deciding where to apply to internship.

I have a feeling that someone is sad that she wasn't the mother who birthed this bill, but dry your tears ma'am, there are still problems in the Middle East to attend to, and you could get 1/4 credit for solving them if you keep your chin up and roll your dice right.

By the way, I'm still here, in the blagosphere.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

looking forward a bit

It's been a fun first week and a half back in CS, filled with dancing, nertzing, good weather, biking, photography, shopping, cooking, flea killing, flirting, yogaing (yoging?), and catching up with my family that I love here. Truly, I couldn't ask for better times in the BCS than these.

But all good things must come to an end as the semester begins in earnest this week. And as fate would have it, the first week that I actually have things due is the same week that my computer starts freaking out on me, periodically shutting down for no good reason and then refusing to start until the next day. Fortunately, I have a new battery traveling on a UPS truck headed for my house and my roommate's computer to borrow as a backup on the days when my computer decides that it just will not start. Also, last week I backed up all of my school-related documents on dropbox.

I'm excited about this semester, for nothing else but the fact that I have more flexible time than I've possibly ever had in grad school, allowing me to schedule things like yoga classes and swing-dancing lessons during the week instead of having to plow through 12-hour day and after 12-hour day waiting for the weekend to take a breather. Still, it's an odd schedule, and I still have many things to accomplish this semester, forcing me to figure out how to structure my time in a productive manner. I'm busy almost every evening of the week until 8 or 9, but I have most of my mornings free. I tend to be more productive during the day time, but I also have great difficulty getting out of bed when I don't have somewhere to be or an imminent deadline, so I'm scheduling yoga classes, meetings with professors, and appointments with clients to ensure that I get my bum up and out and moving and doing. Hopefully I can make the most of my free time in the afternoons and mornings and not get stressed out trying to make deadlines at the last minute. Which I'm kinda doing today.

And I'm writing a brief blog post instead of reading or writing for another 10 minutes :P

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rubber and canvas

After working up my courage for three or four songs, I finally approached the attractive young man also looking out of place sporting Converse sneakers at a country and western dance hall. With a tap on the shoulder and a, "I like your shoes," our very brief conversation began. Immediately, I got a gay vibe from him. He didn't ask me to dance and I didn't ask him, and our conversation soon halted. He turned a smidge back towards his friends, and I quickly turned out and walked back to mine without even saying good-bye. Which I guess wasn't too rude considering that we had never said hello.

I don't know how guys do it. Err, at least sober guys. The drunk ones seem to have no trouble flirting, as they forget or mishear my name and call me "Debbie" and "Casey." Just the idea of asking someone to dance, not expecting more than a dance, makes me nervous. Sometimes I wish I were a guy and had the opportunity to be more forward with the opposite sex, but often I realize that it's harder than it looks, taking a certain gutsy vulnerability that I sometimes possess.

Looking back, I wished that I'd stayed and introduced myself to him and his friends. They seemed like a good bunch, just a group of friends having fun together, like my friends and I were. We probably would have found some things in common. Oh well, I'll keep dancing and keep my eye out for other fellow Converse souls and keep myself open to more possibilities of friendship and romance.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Things to do in 2010

I dislike the term "resolution" because it invokes a sense of dreadful pressure, that I have "resolved" myself to do something, to carry out some new task or habit, which if I don't live up to it, I will feel defeated, guilty, and discouraged. True, we should feel sorrow when we disregard our word, break promises, and fall through on commitments, but this western tradition of New Year's resolutions seems to bring more negative emotions than necessary. To avoid unnecessary shame and defeat, this is not a list of resolutions. I am not resolving to doing any of these things in the year 2010. Instead, this is a list of things that I would like to do in the coming year. Hopefully in 2011 I will look back at this post and rejoice that I did most of these things. Also, these are just a list of activities I'd like to do, not any goals about my character or inner person. For more on that, please refer to my previous post, which relates to how I would like to be a better lover in the coming year.
  • Be more active - take yoga classes, ride my bike more, and swing dance again.
  • Grow an herb garden that stays alive.
  • Start an investment fund.
  • Propose my dissertation.
  • Get a new job.
  • Find a new roommate. (One of mine is graduating, I love both my roommates!)
  • Clean the catbox more often.
  • Have less boy drama. (I probably say that every year, which is why these are just things to do, not resolutions)
  • Bake bread every now and then.
  • Apply for internship OR decide what to do and where to live in 2011.
  • Buy a used roadbike and ride a marathon/race on it.
  • Read more non-fiction, non-academic books than I did in 2009.
  • Complete the Celebration of Discipline by Foster with my church small group, and start to practice more of those disciplines. (I'm sure there some fodder for some good Lenten practices in there)
  • Take a daily photo. (check out my facebook account for the link to my flickr account, or comment and I'll email you the link)

Yup, those sound pretty good for now.