Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What is this Anyway?

I use Google to see if anyone reads this - not sure why I care, but it's kind of cool to see where people are reading it from and what pages get read the most. Then I had a revelation, why do I care? I re-interest in blogging came from a writing course in the school of ed - a discussion of teachers as writers and writers needing to write. This happens to be more natural for me than writing in a notebook thus it becomes my 'writers notebook.' But if it comes up in conversation, the likely response is "weird, I would never write like that so other people could see it." or "Why do you want people reading that crap?" and most common, "not like anyone cares." All of which may be completely true. Yet thousands of people blog across the world...why?

I comfort myself with the idea that it's just a desire to see our thoughts in print. For some of us it is an outlet, a place to experiment almost anonymously and for people to read - anonymously - occasionally offering feedback - and still be anonymous. For others I think it may be like a diary and for some a self-focused newspaper. I like the idea of it being a writer's notebook but that still doesn't solve the question of why I don't just make it private so only I can read it - if I had a writer's notebook for things as long as my posts tend to be, you can bet I wouldn't have copies of it lying around for friends to read. So why blog? 55 people read my blog in the past 30 days...does that matter in the big scheme? No, not at all. Did what I wrote make a difference? Nope. Ok. Still stuck.

How about this - what if by writing our ideas, musings, written experimentations, and creative juices and then reading those of others, we are 'stretching' and widening our perspective. Whether we are hearing about other parts of the world or considering opinions that may be counter our own, we are strengthening our experience, our thought patterns, and even perhaps our knowledge base. OK - but still, why bother?

You got me there but I think it comes back to thoughts in print - there it is; my thoughts matter to at least *me* because they are in print and in this day in age if something is in print - or digital print, it matters to someone somewhere. Even if the majority of the people who see it are in CT or CA. (thanks google - that's cool too).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snapshot 3:12pm Saturday

I'm seated at a desk my dad made when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, it faces out a large (5 feet by 2 1/2 feet) window where tall leafy green bushes block a clear view of the back neighbor's yard, 2 tall but skinny redwoods stand several yards back and the sun is poking in between them, if I tilt my head just right, it glistens on my eyelashes and nearly blinds me but makes me smile. It is reflecting off my back and to the right neighbor's chimney, making Mount Baldy hard to spot but still there. The sky is blue with whispy and somewhat studded clouds that seem to stand still. Things are turning a spring green as the rain becomes consistent.
I'm a little chilly, a sweater, ballet flats, and jeans is a perfect outfit but the house stays cool longer than the outside and the heat isn't on yet. Mom's in the living room by the tree on the phone and the boys are out. We are heading out with Dad to the city tonight. The air smells clean, cool, and fresh but not lung-freezing bitter.

Brain snapshot:
I love being home. How much longer will I come home for all of break? What is everyone doing back East? What should I get Jacob for Christmas? I miss Duncan. I love bagels with cream cheese - especially garlic bagels. Decorating my room for Christmas made me feel more ready. The house is cozy and pretty decorated - even though I miss a real tree. Two Christmases seems weird - will it always seem weird? Baby Mama was hilarious and worth renting. Do cell phones really cause brain tumors? I don't want one anymore - that's fine with me. Both brothers are now taller than me - yikes. I can't believe Jacob is 16, he was actually nice to me today but still wonders what I was doing at 16 and wants to make sure it's all fair. I'd go for a walk if I had a dog right now. Will tonight be awkward? What can we do for New Years? This is not my style of writing at all...can't add to the list anymore.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Travelling Thoughts


Starbucks, this morning, a man behind his laptop eyed me as I waited and then proceeded to the bathroom, I wondered if he was people watching and if my entrance in his frame of view might somehow affect or appear in his writing. Now I hide behind my laptop on the end seat at JFK Airport, watching sun pockets blind arriving and departing passengers and eying pairs, families, and singles as they walk with purpose to their destination. The confident and determined, tired and meandering, frazzled and rushing, and just sitting and musing all in one place. A peak-ceilined terminal that hums with movement but is relatively quiet otherwise. The TV behind me plays news over speakers and I just heard that Clinton will be Secretary of State. To my right is a genius invention, “10:minute Manicure” a business for travelers in a hurry who want their nails done or a massage – I may walk over in a minute.
Starbucks in front of me, appears to cater to a large crowd but I resist the red holiday cups, remembering the Peppermint Mocha Twist I had this morning. Cellphones ringing, bags in hand, and eyes wandering, there are friends and business associates slowly making their way out. Few seem to not see anything around them. A couple with an infant, strapped to its mother’s chest, she sporting a cowboy hat, the father a small black velour beanie; a man, tall, handsome, in a long black trench coat and bright opaque blue sunglasses; final boarding call to all passengers at gate 7 to Barcelona; pigeons flying across the terminal; families with strollers and toddlers walk at the speed of their little legs, a pace not dissimilar to that of older passengers, taking their time and being careful; If you are traveling to Capetown please proceed to gate 6-your flight is ready to leave; flight staff and pilots looking trim and official make their way to gates, toting baggage marked with 9/11 stickers. There is a strong smell of body odor, the news is highlight a woman who weighed 375 pounds and is now 175 and riding in a hot air balloon; a man in a rodeo jacket, cowboy hat, and boots rushing towards gates 19-30…I wonder, do people think about why people are going where they are going? Do they take in the facial expressions of exhaustion, excitement, wonder, concern, and contentment as they pass? And the shoes – so many shoes from all over, clicking, stomping, shlepping, sliding, and tredding lightly on a speckled white and grey floor that glows with a nearly setting November sun. Travel is something everyone must experience and airports represent a sense of transition, change, and departure that is unique to a place that transports people to areas as far away as Cairo and as nearby as Providence. The hum consumes my thoughts and the blur of people constantly moving distracts me, I can’t think about anything other than moving – sitting makes me dizzy, people watching is tiring here; perhaps, like the man this morning, I would do better in a small town cafĂ©….

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Month and Twelve Days

For someone who loves to write and reflect this post finds me having thoroughly neglected my space to write. But I developed a new love for a Writer's Notebook. Something we have talked about in my literacy class to use with writing students in a writer's workshop setting, but that is apparently also enormously effective for adult writers, thinkers, or whoever. I happen to be both - and I crave places to record or share the random insights I observe or infer throughout the day but really there are few people around who are willing or really care to listen. So, since my laptop isn't always with me (and therefore my blog which I suppose is a virtual writer's notebook), I purchased a small orange notebook that says 'thoughts' on it and fits nicely in my backpack or purse.

Before one pictures me as Harriet the Spy and carting my pen behind my ear and my notebook in my pants pocket, writing down awful things about people - stop - that's not me. In fact I don't write in it nearly as often as I'd like. But I've found - since discovering this medium, that there are moments that actually * require* a notebook or something blank to jot down - not even in complete sentences. And all by themselves, they are art or at least a representation of my frame of mind at the time. Certainly the purpose of the notebook is to later go back and develop some thoughts, snapshot images, descriptions, questions, heart maps (a list of things important to me) into greater written works but right now I don't have the time for that and maybe later I will.

Still not sure what this writer's notebook looks like? Still skeptical that I'm that nerd with a pencil and lined pad?

An entry from 9/8:
crystal clear blue skies with no clouds amaze me.
one of the last frappacinos before it gets cold.
my apartment to myself and the freedom to cook.
schools smell the same, i love that smell, it's familiar and inspiring and just feels right. I guess that's a good thing.
daydreaming wit ha friend I've experienced the last 4 years of my life with - ready for what's coming but unsure of what that means.
Usually I hate Mondays.
What should I make for dinner tonight?
I'm in an art room - funny I never had a good experience in art - bad teachers, lack of a classroom, no encouragement in creativity but then I taught it, now I love it!....hmmm.

And From 9/30
Wilbur Cross - absolute silence but for the occassional flutter of paper and clearing of throats.
the girl next to our table is reading Iraq and the lessons of Vietnam.
The guy on my right sneezed and was embarrased.
An owlet is a baby owl.

And from 10/1
I love music of the 60s and 70s
Also the leaves are beautiful
My first graders couldn't sit still.

So you can kind of see there's no rhyme or reason to what goes in - but a snapshot or words (from a crossword most likely) a quote or perhaps a question. It is not a diary and I wouldn't care if someone found it and read it - I keep a prayer journal for the things just for me and God but this is something different, new, and somewhat unknown. I'm really enjoying it and I've only filled 6 pages....more to come.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Orangina is a fantastic beverage, I love the glass (the only thing still in glass - except sometimes Snapple). I love the sound it makes when you unscrew the cap, and I love the orange texture on the top of the bottle. I like that you can shake it even though it's a little fizzy and that if you don't there are pieces of orange concentrate on the bottom. I love the sweet after taste and the feel that you're drinking something healthy when in fact it's only 12% juice, 2% pulp and the rest water and yes, high fructose corn syrup. It's right up there with Yoohoo in nutritional value and childhood appreciation. It pretty much made my day.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


On the way to teach 1st grade in Hartford today (that will have to be another entry another day) I saw trees that were not just starting to turn but were that breathtaking funfetti of colors that you just want to be in the middle of. A radiant yellow orange treetop iced in brilliant red seemed to jump off the side of the road.

It seemed that during the day and it became even more fantastic - perhaps it was the glisten of rain on its boughs but on my way home it took my eyes from the road for longer than it should have. I wanted to take a picture but as I am becoming aware, if I did that it would look no different than any other tree here within the next week. What a treat - it is remarkable and at the same time depressing if you spend time really thinking about it - the trees are setting off their last fireworks, using every last ounce of energy to wow the world before they sleep in ugliness for the winter. Certainly snow has its own beauty and I'm always in awe of that as well but I have to just enjoy the color while it's here without considering the dreaded cold months coming.

I love the awe in the first graders' eyes when they go outside and say, "Miss! Look the leaves are turning colors!" There are others who share my joy : )! And that makes it even greater.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Leaves...and other New England-ish Thoughts

This is a great way to procrastinate.

Outside my desk window are lots of trees and today I noticed they are starting to turn, right now only about 4 are turning yellow and 2.5 are a little orange. I'm excited! I LOVE fall - even though I'm allergic to fall, it is the most beautiful time of year in New England - spring is a close second.

It is amazing how all of a sudden the leaves just start to go and nearly in a day you can see the color work its way through the leaves. It starts on the edges, some of the trees have yellow middles and just orange edging while others are yellow on the edges and still greenish in the middle and I'm sure within a few days they will be a stunning red/orange. The phenomenon of color in the fall is really unique to this area and I think we sometimes take it for granted because we expect it. At home, fall doesn't bring any drastic change to the color of the landscape until it starts raining and everything turns green again. Mom says it does change smells and she said she can actually tell it's fall this year but to an average visitor - or someone like myself - it's warm and very much alive unlike our own surroundings which are preparing to shut down for the winter. Ok so I'd prefer to not think about that right now.

New England - as small, possibly least friendly, and very separate part of the country - is really and truly beautiful and unique in its history which goes beyond any other cluster of states. The Big E I suppose is a celebration of that history and the aspects which make New England special. Each state has its own trademarks but across the board every state house served maple something, ice cream of some kind, and fudge. And EVERYWHERE there are handmade crafts, potatoes, chowder, and farm animals.
The closest equivalent to the Big E in Marin County (home) is the County Fair and they highlight fresh fruit and veggies, lots of green initiatives, and musical artists plus rides that are free with admission to the fair (unlike a whopping 4 dollars to ride the ferris wheel!). It's a very different feel.

I think New England has a strong sense of tradition, history, and a methodical way of doing things - very rarely is there something *new* introduced to the Big E, even the location of the sales tents is the same year after year and people flock to those gatherings with a sense of dutiful obligation and remembrance of every other year they did the same activities, ate the same food, and saw the same parade. I fall into it as well and I think at times it's almost a sense of pride, ie "I've been coming to the Big E for X years" or "We've had a stand selling Chamois for 25 years!" Interesting though that in other parts of the country there is not the same sense of permanence and appreciation for history that we New Englanders in 'the frozen chosen' as they say, cling to and celebrate.

Now about those leaves...what a distraction they turned out to be!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Through My Lens

So I was attempting to go to sleep early tonight and instead find myself musing...

a few sporadic thoughts I'll eventually pull together:

We talked about what art is in my social studies methods class today - that's a broad concept with no real definitions - but I was thinking about it quietly and just realizing how often art reflects the way we respond to what we see, feel, or think and we respond in a way that helps us come to terms, understand, appreciate, or enjoy. Ok so let's map out the idea there - bear with me for a second.

God creates nature --> God creates man --> Man sees nature and other people and feels certain ways or feels the need to express emotion through creation --> man creates something out of what he sees, thinks, and feels

....and it cycles back to God. cool - simple - basic - but cool.

As for me? I realized that when I'm looking at something through my camera lens, I am capturing something that caught my eye, usually some part of creation or maybe a person, that caused me to stop and appreciate it whether for it's weirdness, beauty, unique design, or the like. My lens is like a small window to who I am, if you go through the pictures I take when I'm just enjoying photography as art, it would say a lot about me as a person and beyond that, how I internalize and express my place in God's creation. My camera is not only my art medium but a form of praise. whoa now that's cool.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another Semester....

It's been a really long time since I wrote and I would imagine few people are really paying attention so I'm going to take a risk of being personal today. The following text is on the frame of my bedroom door and it is my sincere prayer for the semester.

My Prayer for Fall 2008
God teach me to seek only your approval: “But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:17-18
Make my interactions be meaningful: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” – 1 John 1:3-4
I desire JOY: You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
- Psalm 16:11
Give me wisdom, insight, and discretion: “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”
– Proverbs 2:10-11

Thank you for your majesty! “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven anad earth is yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” – 1 Chronicles 29:11
Give me patience for the future: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." –James 4:14-15
Let your presence and grace be enough: “My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” - Psalm 75:26
Guard and purify my heart: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” – Psalms 51:10
Then sings my soul: how GREAT thou art!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oh Santa Cruz - You're Not That Far!

So I really don't have much time for this right now and I miss just sitting down to write - that's the hidden English major in me.

Time is winding down out here (less than 2 weeks now) and so my thoughts are consumed by finishing camp, packing, getting stuff to CT, flying to North Carolina and a reunion I've been excited about for 3 months. At the same time struggling with leaving home and with the realization that who knows how many more summers I'll spend at home.

That being said, we went to Santa Cruz overnight on Saturday and had a blast and on Sunday morning we went to Vintage Faith Church which is in an old Presbyterian Church/Abbey space and is apparently somewhat known for the community they have and after briefly mentioning my experience to my pastor at school, learned that the lead pastor writes books as well. But I was blown away by my experience and really was just in awe of the vast range of people involved and the way their community totally plays out the Acts church - it was incredible and I was refreshed and excited by it. It is energizing and thrilling to go somewhere new and feel at home in a church that is unlike anything I've experienced before....pretty cool. And the combination of an old space with candles, pews, and traditional central isle, entry way etc, with the post denominational service made for a welcome card FULL of notes - for my own personal quiet time and to bring back to St. Paul's, seriously every inch of the card. It's also encouraging to know that it is possible to move, or look around and find a church that is great and alive even in Northern California. That is something I've started thinking about for the future and wondering how you 'happen' upon a church that fits since I didn't really have to hunt at school and fell into St. Paul's through a variety of odd off-chance connections and decided to stay.

If you're curious check out and see what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

the fiddle?

So I play the fiddle now...yeah I'm spontaneous. I came home and was hooked - and have been - on celtic and bluegrass with a strong fiddles - specifically reels. I almost immediately found a band out here - Culann's Hounds and found someone on Craig's List offering lessons. After emailing that guy I called a music store and asked for a recommendation and they gave me a phone number to call - turned out to be the same guy. And he's the fiddler for Culann's Hounds (saw them perform at a local bar two weeks ago and they were GREAT! Check them out on itunes or on

So I pick up a brand new instrument - having only dabbled with the flute and played piano (for 8-10 years). Haven't read music or played at least since early high school. I became determined to play and play well before I left and practice like crazy. The result? Now on my 5th lesson I can sight read a piece and play it - and yeah it squeaks but it's getting there and since an average student doesn't pick up a fiddle for at least 2 months (practices music, rhythm, and plucking) I'm doing pretty great. And know what else? I LOVE it, I love the way it feels to play, I love having something to work on, something I want to get better at, something that is a challenge and has a definite goal (to play celtic and bluegrass!). It's frustrating to start from scratch at something and it's a feeling I haven't had to experience in awhile and I think it's really healthy.

Have a sport you always wanted to try and didn't? Or a guitar laying around that you never learned to play? Maybe a trumpet? Try it - it's worth it and it's definitely not too late :).

Now about a teacher when I get back to school...haven't found one yet but I'm determined so I will keep trying. And my roommates better invest in ear plugs.

Oh and the accusation that fiddles sound like cats? Apparently not far fetched as the strings used to be made from cat intestines - ew - but ok.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Majesty (Here I Am)

Here I am humbled by your Majesty
Covered by your grace so free
Here I am, knowing I'm a sinful man
Covered by the blood of the Lamb

Now I've found the greatest love of all is mine;
Since you laid down your life;
The greatest sacrifice.

Majesty, Majesty
Your grace has found me just as I am
Empty handed, but alive in your hands
Majesty, Majesty
Forever I am changed by your love
In the presence of your Majesty

Here I am humbled by the love that you give
Forgiven so that I can forgive
Here I stand, knowing that I'm your desire
Sanctified by glory and fire

Now I've found the greatest love of all is mine
Since you laid down your life
The greatest sacrifice.

Middle English maieste, from Anglo-French majesté, from Latin majestat-, majestas; akin to Latin major greater
Define: 1: sovereign power, authority, or dignity2—used in addressing or referring to reigning sovereigns and their consorts 3 a: royal bearing or aspect : grandeur b: greatness or splendor of quality or character

We sang this song on Sunday and it has been stuck in my head and I was thinking about the word "majesty." It's not a word we use much - occasionally when watching a movie that takes place in a castle or a modern day spin on royalty (ie Princess Diaries) but in general it's not a common word. So I looked it up because I usually hear it used as a title and I was curious plus I'm a word nerd and love to know where things come from. Thankful for my background in Latin, I see it is an adjective and actually is feminine - but that's besides the point. So we are fairly likely to sing this song in agreement with the fact that God is Majestic - we have other songs declaring that and many Psalms as well. He is A majesty as well as deserving of the title which gives him power, authority, and dignity. As they did back when they addressed kings and queens, calling someone Your Majesty would be form of admitting service or submission to their will and wisdom - whoa whoa, all I did was sing a song?! But yes, we should declare God as our Majesty and praise him for being Majestic and recognize his Majestic work around us. But there's a part of that definition that I noticed and wonder how it ought to affect us. Granted it's from the dictionary, written by fallen humans and not from God's word, but I think it still works.
The line is italicized and it is "And their consorts." So I checked on that word to make sure I had this idea right - consort would be anyone in partnership with the person who is considered majestic - anyone trailing behind the king would still be addressed by "your majesties" - I think? So if we claim partnership, following Christ then we would also be included in the 'consort' of God's majesty. Whoa that's a bold statement. I'm not sovreign or divine for sure but royal bearing? My mom calls me a princess - but in reality, I am a daughter of the King so that works. But greatness or splendor of character? Not so much....

Our message on Sunday was about humility and being Christ-like (see Philippians 2) and the difference between being a doormate and being humble. So the balance between a character of greatness and splendor and an attitude like that of Christ as a servant is super fine and I don't have it all figured out, I'm just musing I suppose.
But it is food for thought - and Majesty is a really cool word...and the song is my current favorite.

Check out this Wordle Cloud I made of the song!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I got the Joy - Joy - Joy - Joy....

Church was about Joy today - well actually it's about joy all summer - based on Philippians. Specifically joy that overcomes: circumstances, adversaries, and personal agendas (whoa whoa whoa...what?). It stemmed from Philippians 1:12-26. And our pastor made an interesting comment about spontaneous incontrollable laughter that generally occurs when we shouldn't be laughing (ie a wedding, church, interview, meeting, class, prayer, family gathering....and I have experienced that in all of those places except a wedding) but that we're really wired for that type of overcoming joy that cannot be stopped.

He said Paul would have been on an 18 inch chain with a guard at all times - the same guard for 6 hours at a time and there would have been no privacy for either man (ew?!). Paul decided that since the guard could always see what he was doing, that he would write and preach God's grace and wound up converting the guards - but the verse says something a long the lines of "it was no secret among the guard that I am in chains for Christ" - really? No kidding, they must have thought he was nuts. But he was joyful - cool.

Joy is in the perspective - so if that's the case then it is, in theory, always possible to be joyful. I know I'm not so what's up with my perspective then? The thought being "How is God working in this" or "To live is___ and to die is ___" ..... that is going to take some more thought I think.

Fill in those blanks - I spent some time making a list and it looks something like this:
to live is:
love, success, happiness, companions, coffee, random good times, photos of good times, good music, long chats, good worship
to die then is: loneliness, disappointment, hunger, boredom, no communication, not enough sleep, poor sound quality, songs I don't know

Well look at that! Right there is part of my issue - the joy is in the small things which is ok but it's temporary and short lived joy. Paul said - and actually in the Greek there was no "is" as if he was so pumped he had word vomit, but he said "to live is Christ and to die is Gain" - yeah that's not on my immediate list today...ouch. But even the list he read from Chuck Swindoll was different. What would that look like?

joy is a cool word - better than happy and seems to connote, for me, an emotion that is not superficial or invisible but that takes over - makes you beam, jump, yell, cheer, laugh - without inhibition and sometimes uncontrollably. Pretty cool - but how often do we experience TRUE joy?

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Yakety Yak!" (Don't Talk Back)

As of today, I am an art teacher for Camp Edventure More - an arts and science camp that I have worked for every summer for 3 years now. Previously I was a counselor but am thrilled to be in a real teaching position and have my own space to make and use - an actual art room!

I never felt like an achiever in art, could not stand my art teacher in elementary school and never pursued anything remotely artistic aside from photography. I found myself considering what went wrong and what it would take to help a camper - student - random kid - love art and really believe that they are an artist and succeed at being creative.
My solution? Well not complete yet but today with the younger kids we read a story called "Dot" and it's about a girl who 'can't do art' and her teacher tells her to just make a mark and sign it - so she makes a dot and signs it. Turns out they frame it and make a big deal about so she makes a bunch of different kinds of dots - and it's art and everyone loves it. Point being, anything you do and are creative with and excited about is art and it may be different than what I drew or the person next to you drew but let's get excited about it because YOU did it and YOU put work into it - so be proud!

What does that *really* look like? Pulling details, " Cool wings on that bug!" or "Check out those colors!" "Wow I love that habitat!" etc.... but does that really seem effective?
I really believe children are naturally creative and imaginative and just need places to effectively use those skills - fine tune them perhaps and appreciate the outcome. So the project begins - learning how to teach art, love art, and make kids into artists.
More thoughts to follow...

Along those same lines is the idea that art can be a form of worship - whoa wait I'm working at a secular camp so how does that work? Well I definitely cannot talk about it but it's worth my sanity to keep it in mind, what these kids perceive to be the world around them and how they interpret it, change it, and represent it is a glimpse of the fingerprint of God on each of us and our perception, imagination, and appreciation in the world we live in.
hmmm more food for thought.

PS the title? That's my 'call and response' for the classroom to pay attention and get quiet - kinda fun!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lover of My Soul

I'm going to take a risk - according to Google, no one is really reading this except me anyway but it's a place to write. I'm going to go personal for a minute...

I am 3400 miles away from someone I care very much about. Someone in fact, that I love. In the past two summers I have operated under the mindset that a countdown, work, and spending time on the phone make it easier, while also trying to enjoy being home. It was ok - we survived and here we are, summer #3. I left with some tears this year but got on the plane out of my mind excited to come home. I am still so thrilled to be home and with my family and my attitude is very different. I am clinging to the time I have here at home because I was more than ready to be here and because I know I'm running out of "just being home" time. I didn't have the heavy lump in my throat when I called him the first day here, I didn't feel sad, lonely, or depressed because I have a summer ahead of me - I was content to be home. I am.

But tonight my family is off doing other things and my plans fell through so I am home. It is beautiful, finally getting cool, and smells wonderful of California plants and dry air. All of a sudden, while cleaning up the kitchen, it hit me. The dull ache and longing came back and I thought I might cry spontaneously with no warning. I turned on loud music and scrubbed the pots harder. I sent a text...two...three. It wasn't going to get better in my mind unless I magically wound up in his arms within the next 10 minutes.

Then I realized that the feeling itself is ok - it's good to 'miss' someone, I think it makes for a healthy relationship and makes you appreciate the time you do have. It's what I do with that feeling - so I directed it up. Yes up - to the real love of my life and giver of life. I prayed. I asked God to be my wholeness, my love, and to hold me. I asked him to be my love. And as soon as I finished cleaning and eating, I took off on a walk to enjoy what he has given me - love gifts if you will - and settled up on a hill overlooking Mount Tamalpais to journal. A 'date' perhaps.

So am I ready for this summer - and to be alone? I don't know... I like the idea sometimes but other times something is really missing. I LOVE being home but it still aches. But I think I just need to turn that ache over - and I know I'll have to do it repeatedly - so that God can use it to draw me to himself. He loved me first and I can't properly love if I don't love him back - first.

I'm sure it seems elementary but for a girl in love...profound!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Divine Dogs

Bear with me...
I'm not being sacrilegious but in light of the fact that our family dog is gone and the more time I spend at home, the more I am aware of his absence, I really believe dogs are given to us by God - I don't mean in a sappy "Precious Moments" way but in that dogs are created to be companions and that there is a fingerprint persay, of God himself in a dog.

Take for instance the dog I am borrowing for the night to keep me company. His name is Billy, he is a mutt with a brown body and a brown and white head and white 'knee-high' socks. He is medium sized, skinny, and short haired. He also has ears which stick straight up or out depending on his mood. Billy is very sweet, enjoys life, loves other dogs, and walks like a slinky. I'm not kidding - his back end is constantly trying to catch up with his front end and he runs in a zigzag manner.

My dog, Duncan (who passed away in April), thought he was a person, or at least equal in abilities and respect as a person. When I would walk him or sit at home with him I could literally talk to him, ask him how he was feeling (he had arthritis) or if he wanted to play or walk or be loved etc. Before you make judgments about my mental stability, liken it to the way we talk to small children, cheery, smiling, in love, and with the realization that they probably don't understand most of what we say. But Duncan seemed to realize I at least needed to just hear my own voice and would sit and look at me intently as I spoke, as if he was listening. You could say his name and his attention was on you until you dismissed him. I loved that and I suppose I took it for granted.

Billy? You say his name and he looks for .32 seconds to see if you have something he wants or is immediately making it worth his while. Then he goes back to being a dog. Conversation is not possible and I wound up looking stupid talking to him about the difficulty of our walk. He didn't show interest or even entertain me by pretending to listen. Billy had a different gift, making someone feel loved and needed and moreover, missed. I had to restrain him when my mom left for work and anytime I moved rooms in the house, he had to come except he can't walk on our wood floors so I had to carry him. Billy made me feel like I needed to take care of him, like he needed me - even while he was sleeping at the foot of my bed because he wouldn't leave me. My brothers are too old to 'need' me in the house when mom's at work, I'm just a fire marshal, referee, and lunch packer. But Billy needed me.

So are dogs divine? Do all dogs go to heaven? I'm finally able to toss those thoughts around without getting choked up.
I do believe God blesses us through our dogs - however different their roles, abilities, and personalities. I don't have a clue about whether they are in heaven but if they aren't, we won't miss them. But that doesn't mean I'm not hoping my sheltie is standing and waiting for me someday, eager to listen and love me.

...and I don't think I'm ready to get another dog unless he can converse.

I'm curious:
Do you have a dog? What does it 'divinely' offer you when you need it? Have you lost a pet?

Sunday, June 08, 2008


If you haven't heard the song or seen the Discovery Ad please do so: Watch Now
It pretty much sums up life.

Marin County is sunny, warm, dry, always clear, healthy, delicious, and expensive.

My Thoughts and snippets of commentary since Summer Really Started a week and 4 days ago?
* SFO is the cleanest airport
* I am in love with the Golden Gate Bridge
* It seriously will not rain until September
* I have to drink more water here
*I like being lazy for now
* I love being home
* Mom and I have tons of fun
* Good coffee
* Good food
* Good Wine
* I love seals
* Seriously dogs don't belong in baby snugglies
* Chiuahas are horrible
* Parents dating is .... strange
* I look at a mountain from my bedroom
* it's great to be away from everyone
* but it gets lonely sometimes
* everything is more expensive - except organic food
* fires are a major worry
* I check the earth quake map daily
* Oleander is very very poisonous - but beautiful
* plants here are jurassic in size and look like they only get miracle grow - huge and blossoming
* people use more mass transportation
* fifteen year olds are awful a lot of the time
* life is empty without a dog
* cats love you - only if you nap

more serious thoughts later...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The quiet hole in my life....

For almost week now there has been a quiet hole in my heart.... the shape of a medium sized sheltie with a perfect white neck mane and tummy and a white stripe up his muzzle, a brown sable body and fluffy long tail, and the sound of a high pitched bark are cut out in rough cookie-cutter shapes from my life, and it aches with tenderness.

I knew I loved him from when he came in our front door a tiny little fluff ball that came home from work with dad and stayed for 11 years. His first weekend with us, I snuck him out of his kennel and into my room so we could play at my sleepover and that was it, I was in love with my dog. Duncan was brilliant and I'm not just biased! He required very little training and was smart enough to 'heel' without a leash. The standard dog tricks he seemed to do just to please us but it was always clear he thought himself too good for 'laying down' and 'rolling over' although we did it repeatedly to make him sneeze.

I'm not home yet but I know when I walk through the gate and he's not sitting there barking and waiting for me to notice him, the tears will come back - he was the most excited one to see me every time I came home. Without sounding like a Hallmark card, I need to list or rather describe those things that I miss now and will always miss from the dog that I loved like a member of the family. I never expected it to hurt this bad...

his ears were the softest part of his body and they showed his character more than any other part as well - when he wanted food they perked up, if we said 'w-a-l-k' they stood up straight, if he was 'asking' a question with his head, they would flop over in the middle - picture perfect.

He loved to give me 'kissies' he knew I hated being licked, so he would just tap my face with his nose and nuzzle me.

Recently he's been my companion at sunset walking to the seminary or downtown San Anselmo - so eager to walk and loving every compliment of "what a handsome dog!" (Which he heard all the time)

When you rolled him on his back he would make 'rat face' and his bottom teeth would show - after a few seconds of tummy-rubbing, he would inevitably flip back over and sneeze violently which we found hilarious. He was so eager to please but he loved to be loved on - little grunting and talking noises while you pet him and talked to him - as if he really wanted to communicate.

I loved to towel dry him when it rained - I would wrap a bath towel around him and just rub him all fluffy dry...he loved it too.

I really do sound like a Hallmark card and maybe this isn't a good idea.....I'll come back to it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Look before you cross

Ok I know you have the right of way but I have the massive weapon.
I don't want to hit you and wouldn't go fast through a pedestrian cross walk but I might have to 'bump' into you if you're in the way and that wouldn't feel good, I drive a tank.

Rules your mother should have taught you but may not have - so I'll help you out:
1. Look BOTH ways before you cross.
2. If a car is coming either A. wait for it to go by or B. Look for eye contact and a signal with the driver
3. Hold hands with the person - adult - next to you
4. Walk QUICKLY across the street
5. Turn back to wave or in some way, thank the person who let you across.
6. Repeat as necessary across multiple cross walks, especially in an intersection.

Any Questions?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Numb Feet Under the Desk....

Back at my school desk from spring break - my feet are tingling as they go numb...there's no heat. Funny how ironic 'spring break' is when I'm wearing a sweater and want to be under my covers!

I have to vent somewhere today, I just finished reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf - and someone PLEASE tell me why we still have this book in print? I'm not just whining, I'm not writing it off, I am asking a serious question.
Here is the premise since I don't know a single other person who has read the book....

Orlando is a boy who loves nature, has deep thoughts, and is apparently a servant to the Queen and is therefore obsessed with her hands. Orlando grows up -in a home with 400+ rooms which he walks through every night all the way through his life. He has a romantic fling with a Russian named Sasha during which time London is frozen - so much so that that river becomes the center of social life. Then suddenly amidst a rain storm the river melts and floods everything and his planned escape with Sasha doesn't happen. His heart is broken and for an undetermined amount of time he sulks, in nature, in writing, in admiring other artists from afar. Then he takes off as an ambassador and while away he falls into company with a gypsy. Get this - then he falls asleep and sleeps for 7 days, when he wakes up, he is a WOMAN. Yes he mysteriously underwent a sexchange in the 18th century.

SHE now enjoys being female and spends 50 some odd pages comparing life as a female versus that as a male and then decides to return home to England where no one questions her. She shares in the company of accomplished artists like Pope, Swift, and others - learns to be a hostess etc. She watches the century change - still only barely 30 (how?) and sees a whore who he reveals his masculine side to... weird. Somehow amidst various role-changes where She/He choses when to be male and when to be female, she begins to wear the skirts that women wear when they are pregnant and then suddenly feels compelled to be married. She runs outside and decides she must be nature's wife and trips and falls among roots. Suddenly a man appears and they fall in love and get married within what appears to be 9 days although is described as a few minutes. He sails to Cape Horn and she remains some point seems to have a child - at which point it is March but then it is October on the next page.

Her manuscript of a poem she has been working on for - 3oo years?! - is published by a dear old friend who she describes as literature itself. Then she begins to talk to her different selves and naming them and pulling in different habits and phrases from other parts of her life into the life she is currently living - and only at the age of 36. She begins to talk of a wild goose and suddenly it becomes clear that the entire novel, with it's random and informal direct words to the reader from the 'biographer' is a commentary on the impossibility of art and achieving greatness.
Or is it?
I finished the book unsure of what I read - all 339 pages of it.

And at 6pm I will go to class to discuss it. Hmmm

Meanwhile my feet are growing numb and I have two papers to write - this doesn't count as academic work. So welcome back to school cold feet and oh Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Open Mouth - Insert Foot....

Some progress I've made here - haven't written yet. Well here goes....

What do you say out loud? What are those times when you open your mouth and what feels like 'word vomit' comes flying out? Why does that happen and what is the effect on the people around you or on what happens? Better yet what you NOT say out loud? Why do you manage to keep your mouth shut then and how does it affect the world around you?
Think for a minute - seriously.

If anyone is reading this, besides myself, do you appreciate language and words for how dangerous they really are?

I'm in the process of developing a paper for a class I's due Monday and I'm actually nervous and excited at the same time, something I have never felt for an assignment in a class. I am delving into the idea that with our words we "play God" and are able to create something by solidifying it into existence. If we can find words to express something in our heads then it is real - at least to ourselves; right? You feel something about what that politician said or perhaps that speaker and respond with an opinion and therefore, once you share it, that opinion exists. You notice the way the snow sits on tree branches and seems to muffle all sound; once you say to the person you happen to be walking with, "hey check out that snow!" It exists - previously it was there but it was just in the background, unimportant, unnoticed.
Relationally a problem or discussion doesn't become until it is said aloud - until you approach someone and point out a flaw, issue, or situation. You *speak* something into existence, similar in fact to the way in which God spoke all of creation into existence.
I am by no means trying to liken what humans are capable of with what God has done - that would be outrageously blasphemous and too often what we speak into being causes problems and are mistakes - God on the other hand created life, perfect beauty, and mistakes there.

I am fascinated by language, I love to listen to conversations of strangers in the airport, train station, bathroom, and even walking to class. Wow we are an outspoken bunch of people! Really? Do you want the 30 people in the train car with you to know what you did last night? Do you want the person in the next stall to know that you really can't stand certain kinds of people? Does anyone need to know that you got so drunk you puked all over your friends car? What we say out loud creates judgments, scenarios, and later on real situations. Whether we are reiterating an idea to make it true and nearly convince ourselves of its correctness (i.e. I know he's sorry; we really are just going to be friends; that professor must suck at grading, I deserve better) or trying to convince someone else, we are making something real.

Pay attention to the next 3 conversations you have...what do you SAY - what do you NOT say - and what happens? Maybe you won't see that calling the other person a lier or stubborn actually makes them behave a certain way later on, maybe you won't see that person decide to agree with your opinion, you probably won't hear that person talk about what he or she talked about with you - to someone else - but it likely will happen. You may hear that person convincing himself of something that may or not even be true, maybe they will state something they've never said to anyone else - now it has actually happened.

Food for thought .... more to come.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

And So it Goes...

Haven't blogged since high school but my finger itch with the desire to write for fun not just for a grade. I do seriously love to write and I love to notice things around me and find the right words to describe it. When I sit down to do that I tend to appreciate what I've written but I haven't really done that since I was in Panama last I start again.