Friday, October 22, 2010

You Are Here

I often dream of God showing me a map of my life and placing a star on the point where I'm currently located. I don't want a lot of time to study this map. I just want a glimpse. I want to know how long this phase is? What point am I at now? When does the next part come? Looking at the facebook profiles of some of the people I went to high school with, I realized how unique we all are. Some people are "built" to settle into what will be the rest of their lives at 21. I'm not. "I've got things to do before I die." (to quote Sugarland) These profiles also bring to mind how blessed I am to be where I want to be. I still at times, okay, a lot of times, feel its unfair that I lost my dad. I look at the beautiful wedding pictures and baby pictures and I'm only reminded that Daddy will not see those things. It's not that I'm jealous of those events happening right now, just of the people in attendance. Daddy died two years ago Sunday. There are things in those past two years I wish he would have seen. But most of those regrets are actually dreading the future. But these are things I cannot change.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another Manic Monday

I am NOT a fan of Mondays. Well, let's be honest. It's not the day I dislike as much as the first day of the week. Today is my mom's birthday. This is the first birthday since I've been alive that I haven't been there. I called and chatted with her and she seems to be doing well. I'm a little sad, but I'll never admit that. Then come the grandmothers.
Mamaw has been at Genesis elder care for several weeks now. She takes so many medications she just simply can't keep up with them anymore. When she misses the especially vital ones she literally goes crazy. Alas, no more will this be a problem as my mother informed me this morning during the birthday call that she is officially going to Assisted Living. She will either stay where she is or go to another facility across town. Mamaw is the perfect old lady for an assisted living center. She wants attention, her hair done, and someone to do things for her. Check. She has them all now. Many people would see this transition as a sad thing. I'm actually glad. I wish she was still getting along fine on her own of course, but in her condition she is better off this way and so is the family. We couldn't possibly meet all her needs all the time. And of course we want the best for her.
Then there is Mimi. Mimi will openly tell you she would rather go to her grave than be put in a nursing home. Mimi's sisters ALL had Alzheimer's. She is sharp as a tack still. Mimi does have osteoporosis and you can hear her bones creak when you hold her hand. Broken bones? Of course not. Today she fell against her washing machine. She landed on the kitchen floor. (A less than cushy landing pad.) After a brief visit to the hospital she has no major injuries. She amazes me. We thought hearing the news that her only child, her world for as long as he was alive, had died would kill her. It didn't. In some ways she did better than the rest of us.
I have the blood of both these women running through my veins. Won't it be interesting to see how I age?

On a brighter note: Mamaw's possessions will have to be dealt with. In anticipation of such an event, my uncle and mother have her house in their name. My mom told me they were going to have to sell it. Papaw built that house. I don't want to see that leave the family.
This school year is a completion of many freshman year hopes. Kindall and I are living together on West End. We live in a fabulous apartment building with fabulous neighbors. After this year where does that leave me though? Kindall will graduate and continue on with life and I will be left here for another academic year. I'm not worried about living alone. Been there. Done that. The whole finding another roommate thing is less than appealing honestly. There is pretty much no one who could live with me and be as undisturbed and undisturbing as Kindall. There are other high school friends that I would enjoy living with. We wouldn't see eye to eye as much as Kindall and I, but we'd have fun. They aren't here. That is the glitch in the plan.
But...Mamaw's house is mine if I ask for it. Well, mine if I pay rent and eventually buy it, but mine nonetheless. In short, plans are coming together. There are pieces falling into place or those that could fall into place.
God and I are currently in the middle of a lesson on trusting Him to meet my needs and fulfill the desires of my heart. It's like today is a little glimpse of what is possible. I am a very small child. If you don't show me what's in your hand I will tell you its not there.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Constant State of Crisis

I watched Blood Diamond today. I just signed up for Netflix and Leo got the privilege of being the first leading man to show up in my mailbox. There is very little to laugh at in this movie. The story is horrifically true, at least the setting. But somewhere in the middle the only woman seen multiple times in the film says, "3 out of 5 ex-boyfriends recently polled, said I prefer to be in a constant state of crisis." This is funny and surprisingly true. I have no desire to hang out in the middle of a war or to make friends with diamond smugglers. In some since though, I prefer a state of crisis. I am rarely completely satisfied in my current situation. I am rarely, actually I don't think I've ever been, at peace with every part of my life. Nobody is, I know. But maybe I enjoy it. Maybe I like being a little confused. A little uneasy. I think it keeps me aware. Part of me is glad that my life has not followed the typical timeline. I am graduating a year late from college then going to Grad school. Even during grad school, I have no idea where I will be. If there was the supposed "high school sweetheart" it is very possible I would not be typing this in a Nashville apartment.
I use the term "crisis" loosely here. I don't mean an identity crisis where I decide I'm meant to be a nun. (goodness no.) More of a constant state of uncertainty. Admittedly, I fight this all the time. But the movie Blood Diamond, one quote anyway, gave me the words to describe my outlook. My college years, and most likely the years that directly follow, are made up of small crises waiting to be averted. It's okay. I've got this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kindall Duke's 20 Reasons to NOT Sleep with Criss Angel

1) Lisp
2) Accent
3) Butt chin
4) Scorpions!!
5) Cat
6) Lips
7) "I feel this presence."
8) Stupid hat
9) Facial Expressions
10) Hand Gestures
11) He's Nick flippin' Calderwood with a bad dye job
12) His mom's lisp is WORSE!
13) He doesn't really speak English
14) When you wake up he might have disappeared
15) Black leather should be reserved for bikers and it should NEVER have dragon-type pictures on it.
16) He's a tease
18) He's a liar
19) Kisses other girls
20) Just 'cause

Thus readers....Make good decisions.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Safe Haven No More

When I was young, too young to remember, our pastor left our church. The drama comes in when several years later, which I do remember, we learned that he had abruptly left his wife and son. He was in the midst of running a Christian school. Fourteen years ago our current pastor arrived. It understandably took a little while to become united with the new family and among ourselves. Once again we are losing our leadership. The difference is I understand this more than I'd like to. I'm well aware of the individual influences within the church, leading to certain decisions. Although I'm here in Nashville going to school First Assembly is my church. It is the family that got me through losing my dad. And it is dissolving right before my eyes. Beyond the injustice I feel personally I see a bigger problem more now than I ever have. We "aim" to bring people into Christianity. We offer them unconditional love and protection from judgement. This is complete B.S. We are the most hypocritical people on this Earth. We may as well have "sin detectors" at the door to keep out those who are not fit to sit on our pews or stand in our pulpit. We reject those who have found a worldly comfort in drugs, alcohol, and sex to fill the hole left from a lack of God. The sad thing? Most of them will never be acknowledged. They are dirty and will only pollute our "righteous" atmosphere. If someone, be it leadership or our fellow Christians, point out such failures we seek to squash any influence they may have. How dare they accuse us of being less than perfect Christians? Does a leadership position mean anything if it is never used for God's benefit? If it is only a tool for manipulating the church into what we desire it to be? It is useless. It doesn't benefit anyone not even the holder of the position. If you are not tested how do you know where you stand? If you are not open to new lessons how will you grow? I don't want to be stagnant. This world is changing at a pace the church cannot keep up with. Our most recognized public leaders blame a nation's sins for their natural disasters. God is only out to punish paganism. Then tell me, why does the US still exist? Why has Louisiana been touched by retribution and not Hollywood or Nashville? Where are the landslides destroying the mega-churches preaching a fake gospel? Spreading the message that God only accepts the perfect and that he always works in blazingly apparent miracles. What happens when God doesn't show you a burning bush and speak openly to you to tell you where to go? What happens when suddenly it's not that easy? We have nothing to offer those in such situations. Doubt is not allowed in our churches. No one who truly has faith would ever doubt. The suffering we experience is only an answer from God to our utter failures.

I'm unhappy. I'm tired of feeling that I must pretend to be perfect when I am not and never will be. And I'm tired of others pretending the same and rejecting any who admit the truth. That we fail. We make mistakes. We sin.

The Rest of Us

Do you feel better now
Feel lighter on your feet
Did you make life easier for yourself

What about the rest of us
Left standing in the dust
We never had a say in any of this

Left to live as you decided
There is no way to hide it
Any doubts? I hope you don't mind them

The verdict made, the deed is done
Is this how you show Christ's love

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Every Girl's Crazy 'Bout a Sharp Dressed

I will happily admit my attraction to older men. Those that are on TV that is. This is important for several reasons. First, the chances of me marrying someone 40 or older is quite slim. For one thing, my parents couldn't even be their parents and I have the "old" parents of my generation. Second, if I saw them in person, my dreams would probably be instantly shattered. With all this being said...Jeffrey Donovan, Mike Rowe, and I have to admit House (not Hugh Laurie himself, but his character) are sexy to me. Thus I would love to see Mike Rowe host SNL. He's hilarious and an ordinary guy who's "not afraid to get dirty." Luckily, there are others who also have such a dream. I don't care if you like him and his show or not. Help a girl out and "like" this page on facebook.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Waiting on God

If something seems too good to be true I have found that most often it is. Take for example the lovely little life I have set up for myself for the next year or so. Money has always been tight. Money will probably always be tight. Today I looked at my bank account to see red numbers. The most frustrating part is that a refund check is somewhere between Sallie Mae and my checking account. I wish they would converge already. After class I called my mom to ask about some temporary funding. She has none to give, but my grandmothers are graciously generous. I could tell something was wrong the minute she said hello. Her leg isn't better. The spinal injection didn't work and that puts us right about where we were this time last year. About the time I was making the faithless decision to go to ASU instead of back to Belmont. About the time my mom and I were both asking why all of this had to happen. Here we are again. Only this time I'm not there. I'm in Nashville where I know I am supposed to be. Although feeling certain about that is much easier when all is right with the world. My mom seems so helpless on the phone. Okay, maybe that isn't the best term. She is just strongly opposed to asking for help. Multiple times in the conversation I reminded her she is my only parent. She is all I have. Sure, I have a brother and grandmothers and an uncle and cousins. But the brother is married with kids, the grandmothers are, as harsh as it sounds, nearing the end, and the uncle and his family have each other and lives of their own. Me? I have me. And my mom. Take away her and that leaves me. Just me. Whenever my mom is in danger or not in the best condition, so to speak, I feel incredibly alone. My wedding day flashes before my eyes. No parents of the bride. No mother to cry during the ceremony and then beg for grandkids at the reception. No dad to walk me down the aisle. Then I realize I don't even have a fiancee much less a wedding planned. It seems that everyone in my family and many of my friends are adding to their social network. I feel like mine only works in negative directions. I remember this part of the trial last year. There was an interested guy and I hung on for dear life. I really didn't even like him. But it felt more secure than just dangling over the edge alone.
I don't want to do that again. So this time I cried and asked God in the most convincing way possible to keep my mother healthy. I added an extra clause this time concerning myself. Don't let me create something from nothing. This is when I walked into my room and saw my cat curled up on my bed. This may sound ridiculous, but she is a reminder from God. For years, I begged my parents for a kitten. I already had the name picked out. Chi-Chi. (After the salsa of course.) Each time there was a sign in a pet store window offering kittens I casually led them in and longingly stared at the cage. I always came out empty handed. They had a number of valid reasons. We already had one cat and a chihuahua inside. My mother was strictly opposed to anymore fur living amongst us. My claims of feeding and caring for the kitten were rightly refuted as I had made similar claims for our other three animals with little follow through. About two months after my father died my mother and I walked into a pet store. There were kittens! They had just been brought in and were "on special." I asked to hold one. When the worker opened the cage and asked which one I pointed to a little striped gray one at the very bottom. She was in the middle of a very deep nap. As soon as she was in my arms I was hooked. My mother knew there was no going back. She caved. That day I brought Chi-Chi home.
Even though that seems like such a small scale story to life's bigger problems, Chi-Chi came when I needed her most. Playing with her (and taking care of her) took my mind off losing my dad. She is very much a therapy cat. So this afternoon when I walked in and saw her lying on the bed I knew God was and is in control. I still worry about my mother. I worry about the money. I wonder why God does not see fit to instantly cure my mom's back and fill my bank account with a million dollars. Occasionally, I wonder why God is keeping the guy meant for me out of reach still. The reasons aren't the same as they were in high school. I don't worry that I will never get married and have kids. Instead, I worry about being alone. About losing another parent alone. Then I realize God is always with me and when it is the absolute perfect moment for him to change my life he will. Until then I'll try to keep a lid on the worries and try not to overfeed my cat.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Every Girl Loves a Real Good Cry

I didn't cry on Father's Day. I felt sad, but there were never tears. Maybe last night was just my emotions catching up. I just finished a book called Second Guessing God. It caught my eye in the bookstore because I still have questions about why God allows things to happen. This book didn't answer those questions directly, but it did help me to see the good that can come of them. The last chapter is what brought the tears. Chapter 11 was "Heaven." The author listed all the things that make heaven great. Things we know for sure even though heaven is beyond our comprehension. Children never attend their parent's funeral was one of those things. Needless to say, I immediately pictured Daddy's funeral. But I also pictured him in heaven. I pictured seeing him again. Seeing him at the end of my life with many stories to tell. Many accomplishments to share. Children to share.
After I finished that book, I started Captivating. My cousin told me to read this book. So when I saw it in the bookstore I grabbed it. After only reading the introduction and first chapter, I'm a fan. It talks about God-given femininity. I'm not a girly girl by any means. But I'm not a Tomboy. Where does that leave me? At times I try to hide the fact that I want a "prince." As the Facebook bumper sticker says, "Where the hell is my prince?!" Now given I've shed the images of the white horse and shining armor. But I would like to keep the guy underneath. I go through stages where I'm happy where I am and times when I look forward to the future, but know there is changing to do before I get there. If I had met "my man" two years ago we would now both be drastically different people. The book also talks about a woman's desire to be romanced and to unveil beauty. So, here are my thoughts: I'm in the process of learning to value myself. Learning what I want out of life and accomplishing some of those before its too late. Occasionally, I'm overwhelmed by the idea that my life is only settled for the year. After the lease is up where will I go? I won't be done with school more than likely. What if the friends all leave and pursue jobs and other things and I'm left here? The reality is there is still a YEAR left for things to happen. For directions to be given. For things to fall into place.
The most honest prayers from me come in times of uncertainty. I may be finding out where I stand on a lot of things, but I still talk to God and I still want his approval. Last night I had a literal "come to Jesus meeting." It wasn't as dramatic as it sounds, but sometimes its necessary, let's be real. God knew what he was doing when he separated Kindall and I and then through us in this West End apartment together. We've had new experiences. We feel different about some things. We both still want to be beyond this single phase, but we are both happy here as well. Now if I can just remember that God knows what happens next so I don't have to...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Road Maps

I was just looking up directions to a church. Just before I was discussing Grad school with my roommate. When did THAT happen?? I'm realizing that this is the time in my life to experience whatever I want. I can go wherever. Do whatever. Learn whatever. Eventually, God is going to send that man along that will stop me in my tracks. Until then, I am FREE. All of the things that I've ever wanted to do, I can. God has given me a road map. It's my heart. So here goes everything.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thank God, I'm Free At Last

The title may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. This time last year I had to make a choice. I could go back to Belmont and trust that my mom and family would be okay without me and I without them. I could stay close to home and pick a career I knew for sure I could do and that would come easily. I chose the latter. Wrong. God was and is capable of handling things without me there to keep an eye on them. He has equipped me with everything I need to go wherever He wants me to go.
A year later I'm sitting in the cutest apartment I've ever seen on West End, living with Kindall! The best part is that I'm finally where I'm meant to be. For ASU, nothing came together easily. I had a hard time finding somewhere to live, getting moved, getting registered, and the biggest issue was financial aid. Everything fell into place for Belmont. I'm waiting for the job to fall into place as well. But for now I have what I need to live. The truth is I don't know exactly where I'm going, but I like it this way. God is asking me to trust Him COMPLETELY. So here I am Lord. Show me what, where, when, how...

I have to confess that I'd like to meet him. Whoever it is that I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. I may have already. Who knows? But thats another security blanket and I don't need it. God knows the desires of my heart. I get the easy part...sit back and enjoy the ride.

Also, Chi-Chi, I am happy to report, has accepted her new home. Now if I could just teach her not to hiss at the guests or the roomie...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two Steps Up, One Step Back

Oh how much heavier mistakes are than accomplishments. They seem to last so much longer, burn that much deeper. All the prayers prayed under the assumption you were above something were said the wrong way. The strength is there, but so often we don't lower our pride and take it. There is strength to be found in such moments. It takes God telling us. Whispering in our ear. If you listen you realize he isn't yelling his disapproval, but whispering his forgiveness and his love. In the end it doesn't matter the size or subject of the mistake. God forgives them all and mercifully casts them into a sea of forgetfulness. The hardest thing to admit is that we need him. Eternally. Physically. Emotionally. In every way. So here it is Lord. I know I messed up. You are teaching me slowly how to build true, Godly relationships. Let this be just another step forward and not another two back.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ending the Drought

It has been nearly a month since I blogged last. You could interpret the meaning to be that my life was too busy to allow for it or too boring to create anything to say. I'm going to concede to some combination of the two. Here I am sitting in the ASU library. It is my last full week of classes. Right now my mind is preoccupied with the debate I am forced to take part in at 6pm. I have a partner, who should be here soon, which I don't know very well. Actually, we've only seen each other in class and communicated via email. Yes. I admit the 21st century has robbed me of what few people skills I had. My general rule is to avoid speaking as much as possible. I take that back. My goal is to be noticed as little as possible. That does not always keep me from speaking here and there when I have something to share. That isn't often, but that isn't the point. (Seth just called and for some reason when I pressed the answer key it sent him to voicemail. So...I called back and left an awkward message describing my current location in the begins.)
I am enough of a nerd to enjoy college classes. I took this night class simply because it interested me. Our debate tonight is between three teams of two: Neo-Lamarckians, Cuvierian Special Creationists, and Darwinians. I much prefer to sit back and watch the sparks instead of causing them or getting burned by them. (Contact made. He will be here "very shortly then." He seems nice enough. Maybe there will be no heart attacks or social strokes involved.) Anyway...back to the class. My father instilled the value of knowledge very early. I was not allowed to use a calculator because my brain was all I needed. (Seth is here. He is gone to print a few things. It relieves the stress to share with you my current events.) I was also inspired by my dad to know everything about everything. Whether it was something he supported or opposed, believed or denied, Daddy seemed to know the subject in-depth. My brother is very similar in his ripe old age....thirties. I like to be able to pull my own weight during family gatherings. Point in case I signed up to sit in class for 3 hours of my life every Tuesday night to learn. We are documenting the rise of evolution in its many forms and eventually the rise of creationism as its opponent. I want to understand the things I believe. I want to know why I believe them. Most importantly, I want to believe them because I think they are true and not just because someone told me.

So on to the education half of my afternoon. Two weeks from now I will officially be done with Appalachian. It is bittersweet in that I can no longer slack off and blame it on unhappiness. The sweet part is that in a month I will be in the process of settling in a lovely West End apartment with Kindall and hopefully returning to the way I think my life should be.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

To Remember or Not to Remember

I'm sitting quietly in the dark at Jack Huff's Motor Lodge in Gatlinburg, TN. My mom is asleep already. At the beginning of the evening I would have guessed I would be the one asleep and she the one unsettled. Without even thinking, apparently, she made reservations here for us to stay on our way home from Nashville. The big thing is this: we haven't been here since my dad died. Staying in the same motel, eating at the same places, seeing all the same things. She said she thought that it had "been long enough" and that we would be okay. We ate supper at the Applebarn restaurant. There is a picture hanging on the refrigerator door at home of my mom and dad walking out of the same building, victoriously holding soup (the best thing in the world to my mother.) I sat in the van while she paid and went to the restroom and then I watched her walk out, alone. We drove out of the parking lot and onto the parkway and on into Gatlinburg, just the two of us. It's strange to think that you would subconsciously expect someone who died a year and a half ago to walk in the door. To open the door from the balcony. He loved to sit out there, especially at night and early in the morning. I can see the back of his head just above the window sill, still in pajamas and waiting for the rest of us to get up. I haven't gone out there. My mom went earlier, but I just can't bring myself to do it. It's too much him.
The staple of our annual pilgrimage to the Smokies was of course my parents and I. But at some point in high school there came to be a tradition of bringing a friend. One of those friends no longer holds the same place in my life and the memories of my father with her are the hardest to bear simply because it is one more thing that has permanently been ripped away. The other friend is simply in a different spot in life, as we all are, but one that affects his ability, and rightfully, his desire to be a part of the trip. To some extent these thoughts leave me wondering where that puts me at. Fortunately, the purpose of this trip was to prepare for the future. Being in Nashville, near Belmont, with the friends that I made before my life was turned upside down felt so good. I could never explain to these people all that they mean to me. Not to mention how anxious I am to come back there.
I haven't cried about losing Daddy in a while. I'm not sure I even cried on my birthday even though there was a noticeable absence at all the celebrations. But I have learned that when the need is there it is best to let it out. You can't live your life fighting back tears.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


To say I am looking for myself and the direction I want my life to take is too cliche. Everyone seems to be "finding themselves" in college or at the end of high school. I constantly battle for balance of my hopes, dreams, and goals. Occasionally, I find that I get too worried about missing something and I miss everything. Today I am making a decision. To some it may not seem like much, but to me it will prove to be a big deal. I don't necessarily have a bucket list. I have an idea of things I'd like to do before I miss the chance. I want to drive cross country, from NC to California, from New York City to New Orleans. You can't take three weeks off for a random road trip when you are employed full time. I don't know why, but employers seem to frown on that. I want to go to Australia and London and Paris (during fashion week would be amazing). I want to live in downtown Nashville. That goal looks to be crossed off the list this summer and the next few years. Of course, I do want to get married and have a family, but I'm realizing I don't want that now. I don't want to find myself at 40, with one kid on each arm and one attached to each leg, having accomplished none of my goals. The awesome thing about this is that God knows. He already sees my life as it will be. He's just waiting on me to make up my mind.
On to today's decision. I want to pursue writing. I want to write more than my blog, more than the research papers for class, more than an entry every so often in my journal. I want to write as my job, or at least one of them. I already write for suite101. I really enjoy it, but it isn't something I'm making money from. I take that back. I have earned a quarter. I'm a good writer. (My blog may not always demonstrate this, but the blog is an emotional out.) I want to have things published. I love finding new, unknown bands. I want to write CD reviews. I am not ashamed to say that I am a fan of writing a nice girl power anthem now and again. I have written several short stories. I want to write more. Writing is taking its place as a major part of who I am. Now is my chance to get better at it and to see just what I can do. So with Writer's Digest at my side, I pick up my pen and begin.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We Sing, We Dance, We Eat (way too much)

Since probably fourth grade I have been living to eat, instead of the right way around. My sophomore year in High School I finally got a hold of myself and my appetite. I lived the healthiest I ever have my freshman year in college, despite fourthmeal. The last eighteen months have understandably been the most emotional I have ever experienced. The catch is I'm living on my own right now and thus no one has any influence over my eating habits. I did pretty well for a while, but Reese's Cup Valentine hearts ruined that spree. Now there are Easter eggs. What do they want from me???!!! I was running several times a week in warmer weather, but the winter has interrupted that. Point in case...Spring break approacheth. Not far behind it is Summer. I've spent a lot of time here feeling isolated and depressed. BUT things are looking up. In two months I am moving to Nashville. Wholly and completely moving with my belongings and even my cat. I get to move in with one of the best friends I've ever had and one of the few friends who have stood by me through everything. A friend that I am extremely similar too.
The point of all of the above is this. My life is about to change pretty drastically. A new major. A new city. A new home. A new job. This is a second chance. Luckily for me I didn't have to nearly die to get it. I just got an opportunity to write ten articles every three months for New opportunities are coming up all over the place. So to my body and mind (particularly my appetite): the war is over. I will win. We will get fit. We will not leave cookies and chocolate alone, but it will not run our life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

As the Crow Flies

In forty minutes I must head out the door to my Tuesday night ritual of my evolution vs creationism class. The class itself is pretty interesting. The most upsetting part is the three hour duration. Not to mention my professor signs every email with "have a productive weekend." Not a safe or restful or even just good weekend, but productive. It's just not right I tell you. Beyond that, life is good. The past couple days I have been thinking a lot about this summer. A week from tonight I will take the midterm for that class. I'm not excited about the test, but the midterm means I am halfway done with my last semester here. Here in the place where there is always snow, mud, and annoying people. Ok, maybe not always, but this semester got off to a pretty rough start. I actually like to jog along the path near my apartment. I didn't do it much when it was warm and now I wish I could. Call me crazy, but I'm not into staying outside voluntarily when it is -8. God opened a huge door and lifted a heavy burden last week. I finally got the annuity settled from my dad's death. Until I turn 22 I will have a little source of income outside student loans. The most immediate effect of this was filling up my gas tank completely and not stopping at $10. An overall result is my recent investment in a treadmill. I have been living by myself for six months now. I'm still trying to learn how. My grocery list is a little more consistent. My days are a little more organized. For a while I was on a fairly good exercise spree. The groceries I buy are in a somewhat healthy range. I've interviewed for jobs, although I've yet to get a call back. Considering the economy, I won't take that as a personal rejection. Haha. Basically, I can feel my life organizing. It's a very comforting feeling. I have an idea of where I am going, but no specifics and I like that. calls.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

[check box here] Reconciled

You know when you balance your checkbook online and you click "reconciled" beside each item as you find it in your register? This morning I checked a mental reconciliation box. In geography, we started a discussion on illegal immigration. Understandably, there are many differing opinions about the appropriate actions to be taken against such visitors. Personally, I feel that we should have a better system aimed at controlling our borders. I also know that these people are not taking as many jobs as most Americans say they are. On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is Bob Smith to take a maintenance job at McDonalds? How likely is Jose Suertos?
Ok, so this in itself is not life changing. However, directly after leaving said class, I proceeded to plan my 21st birthday. I'm talking to someone whom I would like to date. I'm planning a move in the summer. All aspects of my life came together for a day. Often I feel that I exist in separate states. I am one persona when I am in school, the student. I am one persona when I am at home, the 20 year old with her own place. I am one persona when I am with Reagan, the nanny. I am one persona when I am with my friends, the college student trying to figure things out and having fun. My hearing, sight, and comprehension are often one-track. This morning I found reconciliation between all these parts of me. I am a young adult who often keeps Reagan on breaks, has actual opinions on world events, currently lives in Boone while attending school, and loves to spend time with friends. Maybe I have passed the stage of self identification. Maybe I have moved on to improvement of self. Again, in a clash of personas, last night I wrote an essay for a history class on human desire for progress and knowledge. As an example of my own theories I am seeking to move forward with my life through education and experience.
Twenty-one has become an important milestone in life and not simply because it means legal alcohol consumption. In fact, drinking is what I have thought of least as my birthday approaches. I am free to surround myself with the people of my choice. I am able to choose who deserves my time and who does not. Who makes me a better person and who brings me down. Most importantly, I know the signs of people from each category. In the most cliche terminology possible, I lived and learned.
I have many more options available to me now than I could have comprehended my senior year in high school. I can go to school online from my mother's house. I can go to school in Nashville, at a place I love (which is obviously the winner). I can date. I can refuse to be "tied down". I am pursuing a career based on new found interests and a desire to challenge myself. To most people my age, this would be unheard of. I often thought of teaching as too easy. A repetitive career. I love children and I would have loved learning about new students every year. Beyond learning, I would lose touch with them. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I can influence children who are reaching for the sky against tidal wave. Best of all, I can see it. I could never quite form a mental picture that included life as a teacher. I think I would be good at it and I would enjoy it, but its not meant for me. It was a simple solution to a life long question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"
I can see my total self as a therapist. I go to work and discuss the Grammys and the election over lunch. I come home and take and change into the perfect little, black dress from my amazingly cute scrubs. (Ok, maybe that's overkill.) I date and I find my husband. The one man that God has been working on for me all this time. The one that God is transforming me now to be with. The man who fits into this plan. God's plan for my life.

Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you says the Lord."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Definitely, Maybe

The past few weeks have brought some random occurrences into my life. The good news is I don't mean that negatively. My passion for writing which had lacked since Christmas has reignited. God is beginning to open a few doors. Now, I must wait. Wait for something to change. In the words of Dr. House, "It's one of the great tragedies of life. Something always changes." In my case, I'm looking forward to change. I'm at a place where I can simply sit back and enjoy the ride. I have a nondescript semester as far as my classes are concerned. I have the next few months to truly think about where I'm headed. It's a luxury that most people don't have when they go straight to college from high school. Matters of the heart are currently at my fingertips and heavy on my mind. I have resigned myself to be indifferent until there is at least a tiny bit of certainty. I learned from Charlotte Lucas that one must not be too indifferent to achieve Scarlett O'hara's goal "to catch a husband." Although somedays it seems like that is the game we are playing, I want to play the game of life and love. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose..."sometimes you turn your back to the wind." (You should always throw in lyrical references when possible.) I'm trying hard not to let my bad experiences define me, but to allow all my experiences to shape me. God, I know you are in control. Change my heart or change the situation. Direct me and point me to your ways. I really get lost without you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jane Austen Ruined My Life

I have been devouring a novel titled "Jane Austen Ruined My Life" for the past few days. It is not a difficult read, but it speaks increasingly to my heart. The main character, Emma, finds herself in London in search of the missing letters of Jane Austen. She ends up running into her long lost best friend, whom she lost contact with after marrying Edward, the jerk she caught cheating with her teaching assistant on their kitchen table.
The idea of being born to be Cinderella is not far from the minds of most little girls. When you get older you discover life is not a fairy tale and guys are not princes. Given we are not princesses either, life is far from a Disney movie. At times I find myself incredibly critical toward the thought of falling in love. Other days I am completely immersed in the search for my happy ending. A character in the book replies to Emma's desire for happy endings like this, "Is that what you look for in relationships? An ending?" I've never heard it put better. I have never been engaged or married and I cannot comprehend the emptiness that must come from a divorce. I have, however, been cheated on and lied to. It was not a pleasant experience. In the last few months I have discovered that unexpected betrayals of a more complicated kind are harder to deal with. At least cheating is easy to understand. They went to someone else in place of you. Having friends just walk away for a secret list of long-coming complaints is harder to comprehend.
I find myself drawn to someone right now, but completely insecure about allowing those feelings to show, even if only to myself. Vulnerability is a captivating state. Once there, it is hard to recover. This book also follows Emma's personal desire to write. Edward discouraged it during their marriage as a useless activity. As Emma finds new strength and hope, she finds her pen and her voice once more. I am reminded of the joy and release that comes from allowing your own thoughts to flow through your fingers and be collected and embodied in a physical state. The more I learn about myself, the more I have to say and the more I desire to write it down. Keeping the worry, fear, pain, joy, and expectation inside is emotionally lethal. Writing is my anti-drug as the commercials would say.
Luckily, I have many years to go before I give up on a happy ending or should I say a "happy forever."

Friday, January 15, 2010

In My Opinion

I have known for some time that I am physically capable of speaking what is on my mind. A more recent development is the action of actually doing it. I am currently discussing, unashamedly, my differing opinion on my facebook wall for all to see. Not only that, but the conversation is between me and a guy from church that my dad worked with in Rangers. AND it is concerning one of my dad's all time favorite people, Rush Limbaugh. Rush made a comment to a caller on his radio show about Americans already helping Haiti involuntarily through income tax. Is this really the time to argue over taxes? Do I think the government is quickly reaching an unsafe level of power and say in our lives? Sure. Am I going to use this disaster as a platform to demonstrate that? Heck no. Don't even get me started on Pat Robertson. If ever there was a deterrent to the Christian religion it is this man. I believe the Bible is 100% true. The Bible clearly records God destroying cities for their disobedience. The flood, a natural disaster, purged the Earth of evil doers. One could also point out that these events occurred in the Old Testament before Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to give us forgiveness. I don't think it is our place to judge which people should be swiped from the face of the Earth or suffer for their misdeeds. I can nearly guarantee America is number 1 in many crimes and addictions. Robertson also made a similar comment after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Wouldn't Las Vegas go before the coast of Louisiana?
I have lived through three horrific events which I can clearly recall. I was in seventh grade, Ms. Knox's science class, when the first plane hit the WTC. I can still see the teacher walking in the door and whispering the news to Ms. Knox. Most of all, I remember her saying they had been instructed not to tell students, but we "[needed] to know." I remember the devastating pictures streaming from New Orleans and in even recent months video of mobile homes still occupied by Katrina's victims. This week I am watching terrifying events unfold across an ocean. Haiti is not the other side of the world, but it's not my backyard. Still, there are children, wounded and orphaned, sleeping on the streets. People are becoming frustrated in their frantic search for survival necessities. What sticks out most to me at this moment are the thousands of volunteers rushing to the aid of strangers. Although we are constantly bickering economically with China, US soldiers and relief workers are working side by side among Chinese teams.
For Christians, this is an opportunity to show the LOVE of God, not the anger. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive and comfort. I don't feel comfortable saying ANYthing about who should be/was an object of God's wrath. I have sinned multiple times today, but I'm still sitting here on my bed, in my home, in a free country. God is not in this business for revenge. "Vengeance is the Lord's." The dictionary adds an important phrase to the definition of revenge. It makes a point to include the presence of a "vindictive spirit" and also adds "to gain satisfaction." I personally believe, and I am NO Biblical scholar, that the End of Days will be God's vengeance. An article on, a Christian based research tool, notes this:

The fifth seal judgment of Revelation 6:9-11 describes the souls of those martyred during the Tribulation “because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained.” They will correctly interpret what they see going on around them during the Tribulation, calling on people to repent and believe the Gospel. The Antichrist and his followers will not tolerate this and will kill them. These are people who must have been alive before the Rapture, but who were not believers until afterward. Therefore, there will be opportunity to come to Christ after the Rapture.

I have to believe that these events I've seen are results of the imperfect world we live in. We all suffer when there is a world crisis. Every person on this planet makes up humanity. When there is a great loss of life it is a fatal wound to that humanity. It brings humility because the outsiders are just as susceptible as the victims. If America became the helpless and Haiti the strong would we not prefer there help in time of need over their judgement? Treat your neighbor as yourself. It's the first thing you learn no matter your background. In school we are rebuked for calling names or hitting. Why should a six year old listen to a teacher telling them to stop? Because they wouldn't enjoy the tables being turned. I have a problem with those that think they have reached the highest heights. None of us are perfect. None of us are protected from temptation no matter the sin. We are not immune to societal pressure just because my friends and I believe in Jesus and long to be like him.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
In the past few months I have become keenly aware of my need for God, but also how quickly people are to judge. My failures resulted in the loss of relationships I thought were strong. Others have put themselves above me. I want God to change me. I want Him to be constantly at work in my life. If I am busy correcting others' mistakes I will undoubtedly miss the plank in my own eye.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

And So It Begins

Unfortunately, the new semester starts tomorrow morning at 9am. I have a different schedule this semester which does not permit such long weekends. As crappy as the beginning of the semester is seeming, the pros and cons are pretty even for me right now.
1) ASU's website says to be prepared for hazardous conditions all over campus, recommending "yak-trax" for shoes, and yet does not cancel or delay classes at all.
2) I have to replace my tires on my car. I love run-flats and they make me feel much better when I'm driving from state to state, but they cost an outrageous amount. The mini has to be left at home this week.
3) My classes, although my choice, are random and apply very little to my now intended major other than electives.
4) My advisor actually admitted he read my email, but was confused by it and did NOTHING to resolve the situation.
5) They begin showing my apartment the first of February which means no sneaking in the cat.

1) I got a new zero X-posure coat for Christmas. The weather in Dirty Mo has been too warm to wear it with the fleece layer. Wind chills below zero promise better days for the coat.
2) My brother has a pathfinder that he doesn't drive often. Therefore I get to master the snow in four wheel drive and take all of my clothes in one trip.
3) I picked my classes so if I don't like them it is my fault and no one elses.
4) After a five minute conversation my "advisor" caved and sent me my pin so I could register.
5) I AM GOING TO NASHVILLE IN JUNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thus, I am able to begin this freezing Spring semester with a somewhat positive attitude. More time at my own place means I will eat better and exercise more. AND in less than 5 months I am done with ASU FOREVER.

Friday, January 8, 2010

College: The Best 7 Years of My Life

Ironically, when I bought that mug at the Great Escape in Nashville I was unaware of how relevant it would become to my life. The past week has been a whirlwind of changing mental and emotional tides. Fortunately, they have been positive thus far. When we ask God for a sign, as we often do because we don't trust ourselves to listen for only His voice, we have no idea what we are looking for. It is a definite case of "I'll know it when I see it." Monday night I set out for Nashville to be part of Textravaganza. But the Mini, as fabulous as it is, could not take snow and uphill motion combined. I turned around and headed home. The next night I arranged a nanny night. I enjoy stealing Reagan from her mother because I am second in Reagan's eyes only to her mommy. Thus, when you eliminate the mother, nanny becomes #1! Later that night I was sitting on the floor playing with Reagan when Tonja nonchalantly commented, "you should work in pediatric occupational therapy. That's what they do, get them to crawl thru tunnels and other fun games." At the time I was attempting to entice Reggae to crawl through a mesh hamper that the bottom had been cut out of and eventually I succeeded. (Because I am Nanny, obviously.) At the time I thought, "it wouldn't hurt to look up some info, but whatever." On our way home my mom voiced her agreement with the suggestion. Right then I realized that on our way to their house just a few hours earlier I had made the comment, "I think I would like Tonja's job if you didn't have to deal with mean old people." Sure enough, my OT aunt, changed my life. That may be slightly dramatic, but my thinking did change. Over the next few days I looked at photos, videos, read articles, and anything else that related to pediatric occupational therapy. I loved what I saw. In my education classes at App I've always been drawn to the courses on Special Education. Pediatric OT is bringing the most basic dreams of parents and children to fruition. I will spend my days playing games with children as small as infants to adolescents. Games that will enhance their everyday life. There is no room for complacency in therapy. The goal is change.
So as my coffee cup says, college will in fact be the best 7ish years of my life...until I go to work.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Contrary to what the title may suggest, I will not be critiquing the above mentioned film. However, I did just go see it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd rank it second to Two Weeks Notice (which is a pretty big deal).
This may just be a strange habit of mine, but I tend to analyze my own life and perspective while watching the movie. Most of the time I don't know I'm doing it until I walk out of the theater and realize I feel different than when I went in. I'm sure the movie makers would chalk that up to their films, but I don't see many truly life changing movies these days. Tonight when I entered I had no specific struggle or plan. I wasn't concocting a scheme of world domination. I just went to see a movie with a friend. When I got home I somehow ended up reading my first couple blogs. I started this right when I started college and there is a significant change between now and the "early years." The amazing part is that I am not negatively affected by said changes. I am actually encouraged.
There are, of course, the obvious points. I am a parent shorter than I ever expected to be at twenty. I am a year behind in school and enrolled at the one university I renounced for four years in high school. On any other day these considerations would weigh me down. Instead, I feel a sense of accomplishment in keeping my sanity. I don't like where I'm going to school, but I'm on my way somewhere else. And "else" keeps getting better everyday. Perhaps I am still on a friend high from Kindall and Nashville. Whatever the reason, I like it and I want it to stay this way. After all it is only the second day of the year. It would be such a shame to become negative so soon.