Friday, December 30, 2011

Help



Working at my invisible flawed character cage this past month has been about as productive of a method as this here camel chewing a hole through the fence. Pretty soon you just take to blowing spit bubbles all over it, hoping your apathy will disolve the wire for how tired you are at gnawing with feverish hope. And all the while the tantalizing view of freedom and discovery is held at bay by the all familiar boundaries that were self inflicted.
Now I've had about 10 trantrums this past week, all 10 having been set off by me, because I am so sick of me. So sick to the point that I'm looking on my calender for when I get get away from me and how long I can stay away. I'm starting to think that the only reason I can't get away is because God knows I'd never come back. The line of admitting weakness and self disgust is invisable to me and the journey to see it and learn to feel God's love in times when I don't want to receive it becomes impossible. I can't do it. This is the one trial that I can see, straight away, will only be won by Christ. Why pull from a well that is delusional and empty when I can take from God's? To just let Him talk for once. To stop my ears to my own disappointed chastisement and listen to His great voice instead.
This time I'll keep the post short. Because it's plain and simple. All it is is just to say that I share in my fellow man's ever present struggle to grasp eternity, fulfillment and the feeling of "having arrived." It takes time. But I'm learning that is what makes the change so definite. It was not made on a whim. And it was done right, because Christ led the way.



Monday, December 26, 2011

New old post

August 2011


"It hasn't plagued me for years. I've been able to walk around the house in the dark numerous times with a feeling of complete safety. But one over active imagination mixed with one scary movie preview, not movie, but preview and I am once again reminded of why I refuse to watch or read anything scary. I simply cannot handle it.

A familiar fear came into my imagination as I walked down our pitch black hall at 2am. The randomized creaks of the house, the sound my own feet were producing and their echo within the enclosed walkway. I began the normal process of talking bravery into my near crazed mind, "...breathe....breathe....there is nothing to fear. You're fine. It's okay. There is nothing to get spooked about. All it is is dark. And so what if the worst should happen? So what? What if, when you turn on that light, there is a figure there reflected in the mirror that isn't yours? In all the years of talking down this paranoia never has it come to reality...so why do you treat it like it is? Just calm down. You're okay. Huh, why is the fan on in the bathroom but the light off? Perhaps someone forgot to turn it off. Oh come on self just turn on the light and stop being such a baby."
On the light came and off my heart went. There, at the end of the wall was a figure hunched over. My blood stopped entirely and fear gripped my lungs like death, leaving the feeling of ice at my finger tips as they stayed the light switch. Oh dear circulation, how your silence nearly kills me at times!
If ever my mind is abused with disheartening thoughts, discrouragements and distractions, for some reason the essence of fear and surviving it acts like an AED on my heart and kicks it back into a normal rhythm. No sooner did my system get shocked with that wave when it came back to life with full force of relief and near hysterical glee.
It was mother. She had wondered from her room and seeing that dad and I occupied the other two bathrooms had sought out the third to use and, as is normal for someone blinded by sleep, did not turn on the light. What a horror for me though to see her hunched over on the toilet with a bloodied eye (it had a broken blood vessel). Her punishment was that she had to stay and wait for me to dispell my near horror story to her. This was more to convince myself that she was real and not a ghost or demon of some kind. Oh bless me! I showered with my eyes completely open, despite the running shampoo and soap, and turned on every light I walked past on the way to my room. Thanks a lot, mom! But as the illustration stated, it shocked me back into a normal rythm. Despite discouragement, stress, spiritual warfare, loneliness and worry I fell asleep laughing that night and laughed all through the next day. The odds of mom playing an involuntary prank on me when that idea of a figure in the dark hadn't bothered me for years was just too ironic. Especially with her half crazed eye.
Turns out I wasn't the only victim that day from her involuntary attacks. She had facebook messaged her gay hair dresser, complimenting him on the job he did with her hair and was asking for more advice on hair styles with chop sticks. Seems innocent enough. Until she realized that she was signed in as my brother.
For those of you who don't know, this his current profile picture with our cousin
"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"I Love You"



Not one of those days.
The entire week had been doused in the suffocating ambiance of failure. We owned every reason to be pessimistic, discouraged and even depressed at the lack of progress the month was threatening us with. What really bothered me that day though was the low blow to my peace of mind that satan had taken and my spirit of fighting was getting low. But, then... God cheered on. 

I had never seen such a sunset and for the 360's my head was making it was a miracle, a miracle I tell you, that I did not get in a car accident; But I had to try and grasp every inch of the desert sky to lock into my memory. I have toyed with the popular idea of imagining colors that have never been seen and this sunset... blew all my attempts clear out of the water. Imagine every framed sunset photo scenario on a seamless canvas at once.Shall I attempt to convey? To the west was a rich fairy-gold fire that followed the sun who appeared to leave a trail of color behind its 12 hr trip across the sky. A purple cloud haze layered the open blue atmosphere above (I made due with sticking my head out my window and peering as far up as I could) with lit ethereal pink clouds to the east. Such transitioning hues were impossible to describe and the full blue moon that glowed through those eastern clouds? Let's just say I have never been more of a fan of blue and pink together than in that moment. Both sun and moon were present in their richly colored glory and I couldn't choose which one I liked most. It was like they were doing a dance and their turns and steps were met in that transition with the rest of the earth in symphony and applause. Because each mile I drove was a new landscape of desert mountains that were soaking in what the sky was sharing. Purple, blue, orange and pink overtook familiar mountain and saguaro formations and each mile driven felt like a desperate attempt to be content with the fact that I could neither stop and own nor chase on to achieve each scene that I was viewing. The desert is an incredibly gorgeous place in the winter and words cannot do it justice. And my heart was pitiful in its attempts to express to God and His creation how much in love with it I was. What else could I do? With this song playing and my heart unlocked... I proposed. I did. Perhaps if I memorized more Shakespeare or had the talent of instantly forming my own lyrics to "Just Around the River (mountain) Bend" I could have come up with something more realistic to the emotion. But all I knew was that along that open freeway with countless directions my fairy tale imagination could take off in, I couldn't care less what my day was, my week was, or even this year. I loved that moment, that sunset and I never wanted to leave it.
If you would, take a moment through that sunset and listen to the words of this song and hear His beautiful voice encourage you.
And that, dear friends, is our God.
A sky on fire to whisper His unfailing, "I love you," and such motivation to usher us through the fight.



From Phoenix to Mansfield






Vagabonds


"The Plan"

Leave Thursday at 6am and drive to Tulsa.
Pick up Sam's brother and drive to Mansfield on Saturday.
Know better than to make such an efficient plan.


"Friday (not Thursday)"

The trip started out simple enough with no extreme tale of mishap or woe, just three children parading as adults behind the wheel of a stick shift car who's endurance across the states, especially at the hands of two first-time manual drivers should be properly acknowledged. Leaving the city in humor of our attempt at punctuality we resigned to the fate of watching the sun set at rapid speed behind us, little knowing this would be our perpetual departure time as the week would follow.
...And so our adventure began.

It did not take long for eternity to set its ambiance on the open desert road and the feeling of meeting with no mere human being was potent amongst us travelers as the conversations often turned to God  and history. It was the "world between worlds" on four wheels and we, especially Jamie, drunk in the Sonoran desert scenery. For her it would soon be a homesick memory.
Already the need for a promise of future meetings instigated talk of our next reunion and my dream of a dinosaur museum visit. As scientific curiosity, unplanned fate and the good nature of the soon to be newly weds would have it, along the highway was such a museum and I awoke out of backseat slumber to hear them whisper with glee over their discovery of a museum located right off the freeway.
Unfortunately New Mexico does not hold many understanding museum employees. Though 15 minutes till closing us overexcited travelers were denied entry, leaving us confused and frustrated. It seemed the town's created appearance of patience for an abandoned atomic bomb testing caused an odd sense of "unreasonable" in the poor civilian museum workers that didn't know the kind rules of society and "15 minutes till closing" as a relative term. Despite Sam's brilliant ideas we decided that robbing the gift shop would not help to show them it would only be reasonable for them to let us in and he was resigned to simply wishing them a "No thank you," and we were back on the road.
As the hours drug on the humor became more potent and left us with aching stomachs and heads by the end of the first 8 hours of travel. Albuquerque was the night's shelter but a sure scene of unrest for Jamie as she endured about an hour's worth of torture of a cactus quill that she acquired in her foot from, you guessed it, running through the desert in flip flops... again. Sam had brilliantly whittled a spear from a zipper and after drawing blood, successfully pulled a quarter of an inch of cactus from her poorly abused toe. Arizona's last gift to one of its favorite residents. With a fight averted and a foot relieved, God gave us rest for the next day that we failed to plan for.

"Saturday"

The next morning I did everyone a favor by supplying drama in the loss of my ipod. Digging through each piece of luggage atleast 15 times and battling with "Locate my ipod" the only logical explanation was to blame it on theft from one of the Mexican workers in the hotel parking lot (where I last saw it). Sam grilled each of them to no avail and we left, me with a heavy heart and the couple with sympathetic worries. Since Sam was a mastermind, however, we put our trust in his promises of winning substantial amounts of money in a casino that would be sufficient enough to buy everyone new ipods.

Ah, so thanks to my little diversion we once again, drove into darkness, around 3pm. This was unfortunate for all as Nathaniel, our waiting party in Tulsa, was strung on added hours of estimation for arrival and our expected 8 hr trek morphed into a weary 10. All the enthusiasm from the previous day had dissipated as the hopes of a promised apartment seemed to run farther and farther away with each driven mile.
The jokes were ridiculous, laughter was way too generous and each of us felt the reality of being between Arizona and Ohio surreal. It was both misery and joy; Joy for me as I drove stick shift for the second time in my life.... misery for Jamie as she was forced to bring it to an abrupt end for her need to puke (we blame the 5 hr energy drink). Joy for Sam and Jamie as they were reunited with their brother; probable misery for Nathaniel who, despite having had about a week's worth of all-nighters, had to wait about 6 hrs past ETA for our arrival.
Yet hope remained while our company was true and we took shelter in the free arrangement of an empty apartment that we could overtake in the absence of a very sweet girl that half of us had never met.
Odd thing about staying in a place that isn't yours without the host, it leaves you feeling like a post-apocalyptic character, rummaging through what was abandoned.
In truth, our characters probably would have preferred the reality of a zombie infestation in comparison to the beast that awaited us there.

Gargantuan, fat, dander filled cat single handedly claimed rest from us all that night. I'm sure Jamie felt heroic as she neared death with cat allergies that claimed her exhausted self and despite her exclamation of being "fine" it was obvious it was going to be a long night. Laughing at Sam's high rise fort of kitchen table chairs for a bed was a mistake. I can now say that he was the smart one. Jamie, allergy stricken with a system full of Benadryl, tried not to die on the love-seat couch, Nathaniel on the floor at apathetic random and I... well I locked myself in the bedroom with the cat that I had foolishly and stupidly thought a good idea to make friends with. Perhaps you think that a cat is no threat to someone who is craving a bed and if the only one in the place is offered to you you might not think twice about what accompanies it. This is false hope of rest. You forget, dear reader, that a cat, especially one as large as a big cannon ball (I do not exaggerate), owns everything it sees... and it can see in the dark.
As soon as the light was out this cat played a genius game of breaking me down slowly. There is just no way to control, train or bribe a cat. No way to ignore it when it attacks you, especially when it's your head and especially when itself weighs a ton. No way to breathe deep in sleep when it visits its full litter box way too frequently and timed to not convince you it's deliberately diabolical. And there is no way that natural hunger would drive it to bring an individual piece of dried food all the way across the room to the bed to chew so obnoxiously in such timed increments. It kept to this cyclical schedule for about an hour and I weighed my option of killing it over locking it in the closet; figuring the closet to be the more merciful. But cats have the most annoying moan and I unfortunately granted it freedom whilst trying to be rational with the now more probable and zealous option of killing it or at least tossing it over the balcony.
My rationale proved idiotic as the battle went on for hours and I, in tears, observed the sun's rays become visible through the bedroom shade. Ten hours of uncomfortable driving only to be denied simple rest by this little domestic jerk that should never have been domesticated in the first place brought me to defeat and I surrendered the room along with all my will to prove dominance. Of course, since this cat is the devil, it escaped just as I was leaving and I had a severely difficult time in catching its fat self in the dark and in silence as it dodged and taunted me with loudly obnoxious cries amongst, around and between my sleeping companions. With the room still successfully asleep and the cat back in the bedroom, I took refuge under the kitchen table, ignoring the potent smell of old cat pee somewhere nearby and the familiar cry for freedom behind the closed bedroom door, and grabbed whatever few hours of fading dark that remained as the hour of 5:30 dawned on my new least favorite city in the world.

"Sunday"

Needless to say, for the next day's stay in Tulsa a hotel was planned for the second night. Jamie had at last come clean about her inability to stand that which was sending her into anaphylactic shock.
The cat had fully won and we replaced the appearance of our gracious absent host's abode, and bid its dander filled aroma a definite farewell.
With no driving for that day and Nate at work we three ate at a glorious southern cajun (which had heated bathrooms) with leisure and laughed about the previous night as Jamie's sinuses and allergies cleared immediately in the open crisp air of Tulsa (which was looking less dismal in that restaurant). Then, at a clean hotel, and with the boys off for brother time, the scene was set for Jamie and Jesus to be the sole witnesses for my joyous reunion and discovery... of my ipod. (Oops?)
Yes, it seemed as if the iCloud tracking would, in fact have shown that its location would have been making its way east across the states, hitchhiking in the bottom of my backpack. Apparently it was as much attached to me as I am to it. After my exclamations of true love and a happiness that will never be topped, all seemed right with the world as us two childhood friends reveled in the perfect setting of doing nothing; which is what we liked doing best.

So with Sam back, Nathaniel gone (again) and inadvertently prank calling a pizza place...



"And your name?"
"Sam Joooossephine?"

then inadvertently visiting that exact pizza place we called and inadvertently staying an hour past closing, we got ready for the next adventure. For though my ipod was "back in possession" Sam stayed true to his word and we went to a local casino where we stayed just long enough for the brothers to lose about $20, Jamie to get caught in the web of (not addiction to gambling) but the ADD black of hole of shining twinkling lights on the Wizard of Oz machine and for me to discover with unexpected joy that casinos provide free coffee.

"Monday"

It wouldn't be right to include Nathaniel as an official fellow passenger without sharing blame with him over our late time departure. So we will. His class caused the car load to depart after 3pm with the sun setting behind en route to Cincinnati. And I don't think anyone was truly doing their math when estimating arrival time because if you stop and think - what will be the time of arrival if we leave point A at 3pm and drives through six states for an estimated total of 13+ hours to point B? - You will find that we were made to be liars since we told our new expecting party (brother Andrew) that we would be staying "the night" at his place.
The two brothers were gracious enough to attempt supplying the beginning of this long journey with a fictitious tale of the identity, nationality and personality swapping brothers named Denny and Luther. These two characters had a habit of encountering very strange things on very pointless adventures that were intermitted with sleeping and waking into the REAL "And so their adventure began" story that Jamie and I were continuously awaiting. This repetition of pointless strange dreams lost our enthusiasm quite quickly until our traveling reality started to mirror their mindless tale of fiction.
We could not tell you all the eerie horrors that the night put us through with the prophecy of those ridiculous characters, yet we braved it with bewilderment, fatigue, and near insanity.
Darkness had set when we stumbled upon the employees of an empty Hardees that denied with vacant weak smiles the existence of a shrieking murder meat grinder that screamed from the back of the supposed kitchen...
"What's that noise?"
"What noise?"
"That metal shrieking."
"What do you mean? What noise?"
"I guess I'll have a blood burger?"
... After eating rapidly in defense mode we escaped its horrors and drove on, into the six state 13 hour fog. Literal fog. That was the only scenery. For 13 hours.
Awakening to a scene of black night shrouded in this foreign fog is an unsettling thing when we discovered that for the first time, thanks to an abrupt light notification, the car was on empty. Poseyville was "luckily" a near enough exit to hopefully find a gas station. An old town, quiet as death, no sign of life except for the one 4 pump gas station lit up in the night haze. Relief! Now if only to fill up and get our rear in gear. But the pump wasn't pumping and there was no one inside. Entrusted to Nathaniel's GPS we drove further along the lightless street in search of fuel and in growing uneasiness watched the vague outline of each old house materialize through the night into a vision of either sudden abandonment or dark hidden secrets. Porch fan's going off at random in the middle of a November night, no cars or people to be seen, weary lighted candles left in every window of silence ...
"Where to now, Nathaniel."
"It says we're here."
"The gas station is here?"
"Yes."
"Where?"
"To our right."
"You mean that old abandoned house?"
"Yes."

Discovered was a single pump in the decrepit backyard of this haunted house and I don't need to tell you that after one look at that backyard we abandoned the gas and high tailed it out of there. Ironically, once out of Poseyville's borders the fuel light turned off and up went the gauge.
So we found gas in the furthest town from Poseyville that was obnoxiously lit (we chose this for safe measure) and were motivated from the gained distance between us and Poseyville's siren beckoning call. It seemed with our paranoid senses heightened after Poseyville and Hardees every stop we made there after had a character or place that carried the title of "creepiest thing I have ever seen." And the hours drug on.... and our exhausted minds with them.
On we drove, always with the sight of fog lit green by some unrecognized distant town to welcome our crammed, restless and delirious selves out of sleep to either more tales of Denny and Luther, Nathaniel's impersonations of a broken record or the joke that HE thought was funny of perpetually having 3 more hours to drive. Then, for the first time since Friday, we saw light on our journey. The sun's rising presence over Cincinnati very well could have been the most beautiful thing we had ever seen and I could not help but liken our arrival to Andrew's to a scene from Tolkien. Like the hobbits traveling through the Old Forest we had finally found rest at the house of Tom Bombadil (at 6:30 in the morning).

"Tuesday"

We slept from 7am to 2pm and getting up was near impossible if it weren't for the people that made being awake so entertaining. With no need to hurry off anywhere we went out to spend a good few hours at a greek hole in the wall restaurant and I, personally, took joy in watching the family that my friend was marrying into. Leaving her was going to be hard, being so far away from her, making our habitual spur of the moment get togethers impossible was unfathomable. But I could happily do it with knowing that I was leaving her with them. If they made her laugh then I had no worry of her changing. Incidentally they made me laugh too and despite the previous night's survival, the end of the week was not becoming a welcoming sight.
Anyways. After eating good food and visiting a local mansion the four of us left Andrew under the familiar cover of night to conclude the official last leg of our poorly miscalculated journey in just a few measly hours and at last ARRIVED in Mansfield.
About 4 days later than planned but we did, in fact, arrive. With the trip's odd adventures and horrors still close in our memory we stayed up till a ridiculous hour recounting everything, plunking around on instruments, finishing the tale of Denny & Luther and having melt downs ;) .


Welcomes from Poseyville

Is this a long story? Yes it is. But so was the drive. And I promised a report should anything interesting happen which is usually the case in any adventure which involves my pal Jamie.



"Wednesday - Friday"

So here we are caught up. My gorgeous and wonderful Leimgruber cousins picked me up and I spent Thanksgiving with them in their Cleveland house, a home away from home, which was quite the thing to come to after the drive we had. Just to be with them, even if time did not allow for substantial "catching up" was enough (there never is enough time). If Cincinnati was Tom Bombadil's then the Leimgrubers' was Rivendell. Of course, just like the fellowship, I could not stay forever. And back Mary drove me to the Stahlke's on Friday for my flight home.
I hate goodbyes. Who doesn't, really. It always sucks whether it's family, new friends or an old one.
We tried to both change the flight and then "miss it" by making several unnecessary stops along the way.
I made it on time though, unfortunately.



This song was the one song that never got old during the 5 day drive from Phoenix to Mansfield. It soundtracked our sudden break from the city on the freeway to the open desert, and it soundtracked my solo ride through the clouds back home 7 days later.
Thank you, Coldplay, for once again giving life a tangible re-livable memory. It was a good one.



Can't wait till Jamie and Sam come in February, and I can't wait till March when our other fellow Stahlke sojourners get to travel west and hopefully liken it to some place grand. I dare them to drive the distance.



A little post trip production from Andrew  -
 
 


 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving and I'm not home. Nor am I eating a turkey.
Surprisingly enough I'm so thankful for it.


I went on a sanity pushing, whirlwind, relaxing, much needed road trip and find myself at my cousin's (one of the most comfortable houses in the world) now who are waiting on their son to celebrate their Thanksgiving tomorrow. After our lunch I will depart for the airport and continue my journey home through the clouds. Truth be told I wish it wasn't tomorrow. I wish I had a few more days. But that feels like escaping reality and responsibility and only boring people do that (Boring people also blog when they should be baking pies).

Today I am thankful for God.
I'm thankful that He never changes, that He instills dreams and brings them to pass. I'm thankful for His patience and wisdom that He graciously shares with me to prevent me from my idiot impulses and/or fears. I can't explain it, so I basically won't try. I'll just paint this once in a lifetime scene.
It's cold outside, extremely green grass in contrast to the bare trees that await snow and a sunset to give us gold before the blue of winter comes. My cousin, Kathryn, has just returned home from two months in Zambia for her nursing and even though stricken with malaria she is the most beautiful and comfortable person to sit next to as she shares her pictures and tales. Can God get any more romantic (aside from her illness)? I never dreamt that I'd be hearing first hand her God ordained encounters with the beautiful people of Africa. My heart is so thankful. And baking pies side by side with Mary? Gah! How does God DO this for me??
I'm basically at peace with gratitude for this year and all the blessings that came out of disappointments and dreams that came out of broken ones.

Now if only I can fly.


PS: Tales of the road trip will follow once home. Because that is when I'll be missing it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Worthy


I so want moments in my life that are worthy of being soundtracked to this kind of epic. 



I don't know how to find them, or create them or even achieve them. Not sure anyone can formulate their life into something that awesome. It seems to simply be their reactions in life and to God.

Well. Here's to hoping that I'm counted worthy this week. Off on an impromptu trip across the states. If anything adventurous or poetic comes up I'll be sure to let you know.

Monday, October 31, 2011

To Autumn!!

It is not the summer heat that makes me feel frustrated with living in the valley of the sun, but the lack of a Rochester fall. A beautiful season with all my favorite colors and smells and we find ourselves debating whether we want to drive 2 or 4 hours to get to it. The farther we go it seems the more of a season it becomes with the number of colored trees matching the hours you spend driving. But I suppose the pros of home outweigh the cons and even the day trips to find pumpkins satisfy the longing of an officialized change in season. So really, I can't complain. Certainly not this year :)
Our adventure began with the decision to drive 2 hours to obtain view of a pumpkin patch :). I felt like my 8 year old self again, unable to choose just one pumpkin when they all looked like its purpose in life was to grace your front door and resemble the season we fight to obtain. It was the disney store all over again, only instead of homeless depressed Eeyore's lining the shelves it was funny looking pumpkins lining the patch (It's those darn pixar movies).  
Well so the weather was gorgeous and the orange speckling the desert dirt was a welcomed sight with the horizon lined with giant cottonwoods (are those cottonwoods?). Perfect spot for my mind to continue in its recent epiphony of letting God out of my tiny comfort box ("All cosmic power! Itty bitty living space"). It's good to have Him out of there and with me as we strolled past each pumpkin, marveling at its unique character. I really did enjoy all that that single day offered and the opportunity to accept His grace that covers all my mistakes, even the mistake of my attempt to shrink Him into a confined space.
I don't know how He does it but somehow, when you are seeking His best, He makes sure you don't miss it.

I only left this pumpkin because Leslie said it had plenty of friends.


On a side note:
I went to Walmart the other day to find contributions to my halloween costume and tried on some failures. Point is I was in the dressing room. As I was putting my pants back on (the same pair I had worn the previous day) I noticed a sock all rolled up lying on the floor, confused because I had worn that sock the previous day and came to Walmart in flip flops. 
Somehow that sucker had hitchhiked a ride all over town with me and decided to reveal itself at Walmart, like it was soooo hilariously clever. Thank you, considerate sock, for keeping your revealed location to an audience of one. Because of that, I was certainly able to enjoy your practical joke. 

itouch sucks for pictures... but those are my pumpkins :)


Friday, October 21, 2011

Isn't it a wonder...




(I found this old entry of a few months in my computer journal and took comfort from past comfort. I hope it does the same for you)


"The Peter Pan syndrome is an interesting and potent one (as Jamie will attest to). No matter how many times I marvel at God's ability to give me more of a childlike joy than when I was an actual child, I still cannot pass an eve of my birthday without panicking ovver the situation of "growing up" and moving farther away from the years of adolesence. Each eve is a night to sit in view of the night sky and ask God for courage to brave the next year and all its discomforts, growing pains, change, seperation and estrangements. But the Lord knows me well. And instead of shaking His finger at me to dismiss my illusion of paradise of innocence in age, He speaks to that very part of me that is confused and ends up using that syndrome to show me how much of a real adventure it is to grow up. So as I sat in my usual birthday eve spot (on Toby's bed, bothering her :) ) I looked out at the stars on this clear winter night, 23 February 4ths later from when I first came into their view, and recalled the thoughts that I shared with God the night before when listening to John Williams.
Creation is an unbelievably fascinating and epic thing and each bit reflects something of God's fascinating character in a mind blowing and uncanny way. Because it is, I often wonder that if creation is so closely connected to God, and we are sharers in Christ's inheritance, then don't we also have a connection with that creation? Stewards, but also heirs. This song brought a thought to mind in relation about how God uses His creation as an avenue for His love.



I don't think we can see all the gestures He makes for us in love, and I can only imagine how many there are. What if there really was a star in the sky for me? One that had my name and story written all over it and put in the sky to shine out as a symbol of hope and true love from my own Creator. Wouldn't it be like Him to make such a gesture for every soul that He created whether we knew of its existance or not? If He sent His son for us then how tiny of a task would it be for Him to create a single star in the sky, lit for you? And if this would be true (for there are more than enough stars to go around) how many other gestures and gifts have I not seen, simply because I am too caught up in my own little world of boring dismay? The Lord knows. Oh, He knows. It's a fanciful thought, but one that allows me to see that even when I push my imagination about God it doesn't even come close to all that He does and how who He is is closer and dearer to my heart's existance than I could ever imagine.

I wasn't looking at the year of 23 as a very hopeful, promising or enticing one for everything in the last 3 months had changed my pending plans to a completely new and unfamiliar road (welcome to adulthood I suppose). Now, with my old plans no longer welcome, and my every day life at His complete mercy, I would expect this year to be one of true surprise."



Pleaides (my favorite)






Psalm 42:5

Fulfill Thy Will
By:
Amy Carmichael


O my soul, why art thou vexed
And disquited in me?
Why cast down and sore perplexed,
Goest thou so heavily?
Hath the Lord thy God forgot?
Can it be He careth not?

Nay, He careth. Clouds of sadness
Quick dissolve in gracious rain.
God of all my joy and gladness,
I will tune my harp again:
I will sing Thy love long tried,
And Thy comforts multiplied.

I have proved the heavenly treasure
Sustenance in desert land;
I have tasted of the pleasure
Stored for us at Thy right hand.
Now right joyously I praise
Thee, the Succor of my days

Surely peace, like some fair river,
Reacheth even unto me;
And my leaf need never wither
For my root is hid in Thee
Ever let Thy love fulfill
In me, Lord, Thy welcome will.




Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dear Jesus,
I'd like to go soon.
Love, me.



One day, dear India, I will get my feet on your soil and my skin into your air. Perhaps very soon, perhaps not soon enough. Either way you can bet that my day dreams are frequently adventuring your streets, hills, jungles and shores (along with an accompanied and conveniently placed bollywood fan for those bollywood moments) alone with my God, hanging on His every word, but until then... Be patient with me. For I cannot wait until that moment I, from there, will write home and say, "Nothing could prepare you for this place in all its ancient complexities." All I'm waiting for is the way He's prepared.










It is so frustrating that we have such a propensity for fickleness. Not even a week ago I gladly and happily told my Lord that "Whatever is Your timing, I have no problem. I feel I have all the patience in the world. I could go now and I could go in 10 years. It's up to You." 
Then just TWO days later, "I really want to go now. Now? How about now?" Like a kid who was happy to just get on the train to get there but is suddenly overwhelmed with impatience at not having reached its destination. It just keeps going along the tracks at a nice easy pace.
Well when you're overwhelmed with a desire you often beg God to either satisfy it or take it away because its torture tends to be unbearable. But He is too good for He satisfies it with Himself.
In a moment of desperation I lamented that Amy Carmichael was not alive because I felt that writing to her and hearing her direct encouragement to my direct problem was the only thing that would help. In a way it was. Because God who works outside the limits of time, inspired her to write a piece of encouragement during her life that fell on that night's reading and into my empty hands.
Here is what it said.



3. THE QUARRY

"His thoughts said, 'The time of preparation for service is longer than I had imagined it would be, and this kind of preparation is difficult to understand.'

His Father said, 'Think of the quarry whence came the stone for My house in Jerusalem.'"

4. THE TOOLS

"His thoughts said, 'I wonder why these special tools are used?'

His Father said, 'The house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither; so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building.
'If thou knewest the disappointment it is to the builders when the stone cannot be used for the house, because it was not made ready before it was brought thither... then, if thou knewest My purpose for thee, thou wouldst welcome any tool, if only it prepared thee quietly and perfectly to fit into thy place in the house.'"






Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Love me, Love my dog."



Toby


She exists in the realm of eternity (like a Tolkien character) and knowing her, you'll know she allows you to be whoever you are. It doesn't matter. She'll stick by you because your likes, dislikes, pet peeves, annoying habits, lack of volume control or lack of words doesn't matter to her. She's just a dog, and she's here to love and be loved.


I thought that this semester of being confined in a room for hours and days with my mind emersed in homework would make this the most boring and lonely of semesters in a long time (accellerated classes are more time consuming than you expect). How would I find the motivation to study? My world would become "stuck" in monotony and seclusion when I really needed help to socialize and expand my little world. Here it would shrink. Things would just have to suffer for a while.
Turns out God doesn't bring you into a place without providing everything you need. You just have to be open to it.
Now Toby isn't a new blessing. She's always been my best friend (5th grade through college). But I guess God used her specifically, among other constant blessings, as a vessel these past 8 weeks to keep me more sane and content than I have been in a long time. Was it Toby? No, it was God. But that's why it worked. I needed a confidence boost and I needed simplicity and I got just that. Here was a predator sent to look out for my safety and prove that even though she could probably eat me, she was going to submit to the fact that I invade her personal bubble, give her baths, clip her nails and leave her outside longer than she'd like. Her choice and character to love reminded me of what a gift she is. I'm glad she doesn't mind that I can go days without saying a word and then days of constant talking (especially when I haven't left the house for half of the week).  I'm even happier that she has no idea what I'm saying because then I'm not paranoid about filtering. She's not going to tell anyone or get the wrong idea because she has no idea herself. But she is the best listener and she is concerned. Bad days? She sits right at my feet. Happy days? She is ready to share them. No guilt or expectancy between us. Just friendship.



She really is sunshine (with that golden blonde coat, no wonder! :)). I couldn't have asked for a better companion to vent my homework frustration on, work through thought processes with, make confessions to and most importantly, gab about H20: Just Add Water and Downton Abbey to. She couldn't care less. But she'll look at me anyways from her rudely awakened slumber as I tell her all about Branson and Sybil. I guess it's the little things.
I honestly think that Toby would have been the better candidate to share Christ's selfless and unfailing love to the world, goodness knows she has shared it with me. It is no wonder dogs are called man's best friend, and so it is no wonder that I have learned a lot from her selflessness.
She is, after all, only a dog, and she can't replace human companionship, but her simple faithful friendship has shown me more of Christ's love than I can explain. Isn't it amazing how God uses the simplest and most obedient of creatures to teach the most eternal concepts?
God knows how I love her and the comfort she engulfs of steadfast and constant simplicity. I wouldn't trade this semester for anything. 





Friday, September 16, 2011

A Review

Downton Abbey

 
Despite my American bred distaste for the supposed "Jane Austen-ness" of British drama, I am transfixed by this English drama's world enclosed by the walls of an old Abbey that contain a family clad in mystery, exciting dynamic and mouth dropping gorgeous frocks. Oh, and their adorable and intriguing servants who appear more pure hearted and also more sinister than their masters.
Alright. There are several things that are not perfect about this show and, quite frankly, are disturbing. There are some things I could do without, some characters that I wish I could throttle...but what keeps me hooked are the characters that I am instantly attached to. I am simply waiting in agony for the second season to see what will happen to my own favorite couple. Whether or not anything ever does happen (knowing my luck it probably won't) is what also keeps me holding the upcoming season at arms length. What if my hopes are dashed? What if my favorite characters let me down? What if the wicked and cruel are not brought to justice? So many cliff hangers!! Typical Masterpiece Theater. The end of the every episode is what really keeps your mind hooked on it until the following episode can come about and unfortunately, I am awaiting season two.




One good thing about its haunting cliff hanger characteristics, I have never been so aware of my posture. Let this be a printed review in the mail box of the bungalow post :). My dear sisters! I cannot wait to shriek and gab behind clutched pillows again! Until then let's keep rewatching the first season.




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gone

The mind's living status. Isolated and imaginative.



I am living in a magical euphoric world where not even stress can get to me. This, however, is a very bad thing. Sometimes when "busy" over stays its welcome my mind checks out regardless of the need for it to stay. Come back, mind! Come back!!




Ah, it's too late. She's gone. Living in this room with all her sketches, novels and wooded and epic walkways about in her grasp. Away from civilization. Away from the outside world.






I'm being so productive right now.... writing about my unproductivity.




Get into my brain! "Undertanding" Pathophysiology? Ha! More like "How to Confuse Anything you Ever Learned in One Chapter or Less"
I wish Dr. Crimando had written this class' material.




The view during my run yesterday. Today it was raining as well.
I don't know how I'll ever get my mind back when God hands us days like these. Stay inside and study? Near impossibe.




Cured



My best friend, Toby, has been a bit depressed. Seperation anxiety could be the complete diagnosis or perhaps it's jealousy over having to share attention with children (adorable children!). Whatever it is, Ender will solve all her problems.



















Saturday, September 10, 2011

It starts




The effort put into remaining patient for fall has proved beneficial for now in my hours of desired escape from pathophysiology my thoughts find solace in all the little things that allow me to say, "So long summer!" It would only then be a perfect world if our autumn season copied upstate New York and then stuck around all through November, allotting "winter" only to December and January. Then I want spring in February. Spring all the way through May. But since I cannot change the seasons I'll revel in what is already here. :) It's not that I'm under the delusion that it's here (forecast is still over 100) but I can now no longer feel guilty when making plans of creating an autumn world since the weather change is "around the corner."

My family is rallying together to redo the outdated dining room and living room for my mom as her Christmas present and it takes all my self discipline to keep my thoughts from picturing its future beauty when diseases and ailments are calling to me from the worst text book I ever attempted to read. Sunday we will include her in on the plans and I cannot wait to start picking out paint with her! Out will come the daytime running schedule (the heat turns us into nocturnal exercisers) and out will come the melancholy music to soundtrack our artistic efforts exerted on our house of 20 years.

In attempting to escape monotony that school and work often inflict I asked mom if I could get a kitten. She said, "Absolutely not." Darn. There goes my last attempt at a new pet. I threatened to move out. ...At 23 I think that threat starts to lose its potency. Darn!
So off I went to seek advice where it was received from my sister. Art seems a beautiful outlet that we shall once again pursue. What a wonderful way to turn off my school infested mind.
Speaking of which, I now must return to.
Enjoy James Newton Howard :) He's the best.

Have you heard of this guy? His pictures are unbelievably gorgeous!









Sigh no more

So you've been wronged or got the fuzzy end of the loli-pop (well said, Marilyn). So the attack came from what you thought was the safety zone. There is only one reason to rise above the disappointments that life gives and I will point you to that. Never mind the particulars. What do you or I care of those? All we can agree on is that they seem to come in relentless waves of attack. It takes a couple days for me to sort through the facts and know that it is satan who is attacking and using simple and subtle pains to mask his identity. But take a lesson from my cousin's tactic, "I know it's a lie if I say the absurd, 'I'm afraid of failure.' and it hits home in my heart." Part of the blow is him telling you the lie and you shrugging it off because, through your logic, it sounds ridiculous and you know it isn't true. Yet it still plagues you because you never give it to God because you never acknowledge it for what it is.
I find my own believed lie to be that I am too sensitive or that surely something must be wrong with me. Maybe. Perhaps I am. But that doesn't make it go away. It still hurts. I could reason every hour of every day about why it bothers me but, we will still find ourselves at the core of the issue: our hearts were not made for this foreign place, apart from the ever comforting and humbling full, unveiled presence of our God. In the end it has nothing to do with who did what, instead I can only be honest with my Lord and say, "I cannot expect eternal content from a fickle and hurting world. You are the only one to bring me full and confident peace."
It's a desperate yet brave battle tactic; to put aside all human reason and run to the arms that hold the most basic truth that appears to hold no relation to the situation at hand. Salvation. The cross. What He did. But oh, it applies every single time. Are we willing to look the part of a fool or an extremist for the sake of just catching that much more of a glimpse of His face? If we do wrong then may the Lord correct us and make us moldable in what we strive for. But if it is right, then let His truth be the only assurance we need. We're brought up in a world that legitimizes everything in numbers, despite the fad of "going against the crowd" it is still won over by majority ruling. But God does not work that way. He works in consistency. He never changes, He sees His work through to the end and out, so we can always recognize Him.
There is a fine balance between seeking justice and giving forgiveness and every time I think I finally have it I'm at its cross roads again. You want God to comfort you  when you know you've been wronged so justice can be brought about and you can forgive. Oh but the same God is on their team too and what you end up dealing with is another person with hurts like yours. Maybe God will take your side? Haha! Ah an honest hope. But if they are subject to God's correction then so are you. So here is the simple truth that brings peace:

"I do not have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us." Who cares if you lose the whole world but gain Him? What is the prize? Seek His face. And in so doing you will find that His blood has covered everything and that everything will be dealt with at the right time. Until then, you get to spend time with the Creator.




I still struggle and though the Lord gives His truth it really is up to us if we are going to follow Him into that peace. And one of the main reasons I post this is to share this well known song who's truth has really comforted me. He will never disappoint, never abandon and never betray. And that truth and who He is is enough to keep bitterness out of your heart, to leave you free to move on in His will and to give you wisdom on how to handle life's disappointments. Technically it isn't a quick fix, but it's better. It is redemption. 



Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Time


video





On a side note: Today my little 3 yr old cousin introduced himself as batman...if I had known this option was available for myself in meeting people or announcing my presence...well I certainly wouldn't be afraid of crowds then.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

5 reasons to be patient for fall

It is mid August, my favorite month. The cicadas make the heat audible, the bordering massive cumulus clouds offer the teasing illusion of relief from being blinded (they never seem to actually make it to the valley). My skin is also more than happy with being able to breathe instead of being smothered by layers of clothes that are not doing their job in keeping me warm. Ah yes, summer is sill here, keeping its promise of all the ambiance that I miss and look forward to 5 months out of the year. So you will understand that I am thouroughly frustrated with myself that we have till late October before our temperature changes and my poor self is nearly driven mad right now with my eagerness for it to be fall. It's retarded really.
Yet here I am wanting to shop for winter clothes, light fall candles and bake pumpkin pies. So to slow the heck down and live in the moment that God gave us I've applied my thoughts to these things to savor in these last days of unbearable heat.

  •  Monsoon rain, oddly placed, beckons you out under its showers and storms instead of threatening your precious heat inside on a dreary rainy cold afternoon. Releasing the smell of asphalt and creosote, summer rain is the most welcomed visitor that we have.  You would gladly give a day to chase those storm clouds despite their warning calls of rolling thunder and lightening storms threatening calm. This is the time of year to escape the city. This is the time of year that you can watch the sky at night without the weather chasing you inside.

  • To hide from the sun rather than hide from the cold is my only preferred version of hide and seek. In this version you are clad in simple comfortable cotton and bare feet. Too hot? Simply find a fan or water and say hello to instant relief. Air conditioning takes less time to cool down than it does for the heater to warm up. Watermelon, blueberries and grilling are the seasonal food that I crave year round.   



  •   Believe it or not I love owning bragging rights for these little buggers. They're a welcome site because they mean no crickets and no cockroaches (even though winter brings the absence of all creatures). Also, you will learn a lot about my mother's personality with them around. Her desire to loop her family into her encounters with these scorpions are gradually rising to new levels. How she managed to kill this scorpion by keeping it in such mint condition is beyond me. If you are ever a guest in our house in summer time...beware...you may find one of these, carefully placed in a plastic bag and stowed away in your luggage as a "thank you for visiting 'surprise'" from mom. 

PS: The "him" mentioned in the note is Ender, not the scorpion. Though I wouldn't put it past mom to have the next level be apparel for the scorpions.

  • Probably one of the best things about summer, very simply, is that you don't have to prepare yourself for running away with all your belongings when you simply leave the house. No jacket, no stuffing jeans into boots, no scarfs or frustration at finding that all your winter over clothes are fashioned after a hobo. Just a t-shirt, jeans, grab your bag, slip into some flip flops and run out the door. 

    • And finally...Going to the store without the impending feeling of doom at becoming broke over holiday expenditures.

    (3D glasses for 3D cards of Avatar are amazing. Even more so are the glasses' ability at making the whole world 3D)

    Yep. That should hold me over for the next month or so.


    • Classes start Monday! :)
    • Reading "The Troubled Heart of Africa"
    • Looking forward to fall 
    • Looking forward to possible cousin reunions in the winter
    • SO eager for season 6 of Psych!