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Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Seinfeld Life, Episode 2

A few days after the exit ramp incident, this same friend and I were going camping with a group of friends from town. She offered to come pick me up and I gladly accepted.


As she opened her trunk to receive my pillow, bag, guitar and luxurious camping chair, I was stunned by the way her bike rack clung to her open trunk. It appeared to be the same style of bike rack that I used to stick on Luie's rear, and I distinctly remember not EVER using my trunk in the summer because it was SUCH a pain to have to re-adjust my bike rack every. single. time.

As a matter of fact, I was SO mesmerized by the aptly placed bike rack, I even commented on it.

I determined to try this new method of attachment on Coby after I returned from the camping weekend and I proceeded to load my luggage.

When all things were in their place, I closed the trunk. At some point between my comment and the lowering of my hand, I managed to forget the bike rack was attached to the trunk. I also managed to be standing exactly where the the bike rack wanted to be. Consequently, it mauled me on it's way down.

Not. Cool.

The resulting damage consisted of a raspberry on the top of my forehead, a raspberry on the bridge of my nose and a faint-yet-perceptible red streak joining the two. It was like connect the dots. On my face. I also walked away with a bruise on my sternum and a mild headache that stuck around for about 2.5 days.

In the moment, the humor was lost on me amidst the feelings of surprise and mild pain. In retrospect, I have not been able to get over the humorous irony of hitting myself with a bike rack that I had commented on just moments earlier. Even Hollywood could not have foreshadowed that moment with such pristine clarity.


Tune in tomorrow for Episode 3: The Whimsical Asthmatic

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Seinfeld Life, Episode 1

My sister occasionally refers to her "Seinfeld life." Every time I hear her say it, I wonder if I have a Seinfeld life. I usually determine that I don't, but looking back at this past week, I wonder if I am on my way...


Last Wednesday, I made plans to go see the movie Up with some friends. Shortly before I left my house, I texted a friend (who I will later refer to as "Posse Friend A") and offered to pick her up. Somewhere between the time I texted her and the time I left my house, I began running behind.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I hate - HATE - being late to movies. And now not only was I going to be late, but I was going to make my friend late, too.

The movie started at 7:00.

It was 6:42.

In an attempt to get to her house quickly, I took a "shortcut" which may have been faster had I not hit all 6 lights just as they were turning red. Ugh. As I neared the last light, I was so anxious about being late I was literally learning forward over my wheel as if the mere attempt to lean forward into time could convince the world to turn back the clock.

No such luck.

It was now 6:50. I still didn't have my friend in my car and the theater was a solid 7 minutes away.

I crossed over the highway in what had become the most out-of-the-way shortcut I could have possibly taken and I turned on to the frontage road that would take me to her house. Several seconds later, while I was still accelerating like a mad woman, I realized that in my frenzy, I had turned one street too early. I pressed on, hoping that if I drove just a little further, I could use a cross-street to get over to the frontage road. Much to my dismay, the frontage road began moving AWAY from me, at which point I realized I was DRIVING THE WRONG DIRECTION DOWN THE FREEWAY EXIT RAMP.

It just so happens to be the longest and, arguably, the busiest exit ramp in NW Rochester.

By the time I realized my problem, I was well over half way down the ramp in what would be the left-hand turn lane (for those who were using the ramp in a proper fashion). My first thought when I realized my folly was, "Man, now I am going make us even later!" I pulled off to the side as far as I could, waited (......and waited.....and waited......) for a break in the traffic, and turned myself around.

I finally reached my friend's house, breathed a quick apology for being late and propelled us as quickly as I could to the other side of town.

But that's not the end of the story.

It wasn't until I was entering the parking lot on two wheels that my friend delivered the real kicker:

The movie didn't start until 7:20.

Turns out this friend also hates being late to movies. She wrote "7:00" on the email so that there would be a 20 minute "cushion" during which people could arrive without causing us to miss the beginning of the movie.

Of course.


Tune in tomorrow for Episode 2: My Face and the Bike Rack

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Doubting Thomas

Fact: I make music mixes that represent significant times in my life.


I like to call it "musical journaling."

People have lovingly teased me about how easily I throw out "the summer of 2004" as a marked time in my life, wondering how I can remember the year so well. I remember it because 1) those were three of the most transformative months of my life and, 2) I have a music mix titled "Summer 2004." It takes me back to that place, helps me remember what I learned and helps me see what I am still learning. Apparently it also helps me remember the date.

I have a "Seminary, 1st Year" mix that I LOVE and I am currently working on my "Seminary, 2nd Year" mix which is proving to be a bit of a struggle. It is perfect so far, but it is also only 4 songs long. So much has happened in the last 12 months and I am finding it difficult to find music that accurately represents the full range of thought and emotion.

But I just found song number 5.

A dear friend of mine recently lent me some CDs and I found this song on Nickel Creek's "Why Should the Fire Die" album. I have already listened to it 6 times today and I am officially in love with the song. It will serve as my "bridge" song between the "songs that represent the time that I was still in Seminary" part of the CD and the "breaking up with Seminary and everything that came in the aftermath" part of the CD.

I can't think of a song that could more accurately represent the sorrow I felt as I dropped out, the realization of my own lack of faith, the troubled nights where I would pray for a slap in the face while simultaneously begging to be spared, the need for "time to decipher the signs," the cry to be forgiven for time that's been wasted, and the resolution found as one moves from not feeling safe, to not knowing what is safe, to taking the promise even when faith is faltering.

I love the music. I love the lyrics. I love this song.

So I wanted to share it with you.

Enjoy.


EDIT: I thought I could embed the song here, but it didn't work, so you'll have to go here to listen to it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What They Call Me

I like to ask questions.

One of the questions I like to ask is, "How do your friends describe you?"

I have never really known how to answer this question myself, but recently it seems like my friends have been unknowingly offering me their own suggestions. Here are some examples of what they have been saying....


They call me constant.

I received an email recently with the valediction "Thanks for your constancy." I took it as a compliment and I am claiming the word as one of my own.

I am not a perfect friend. Not even close. And I am coming to terms with the fact that I can not be all things to all people, even when I want to be. But one thing I do bring to friendships is loyalty. Faithfulness. Constancy. This friend seemed to be referring to more than a private, internal commitment (although I do feel that internal commitment quite strongly...once I decide to like somebody, it is difficult to get me to change my mind); rather, the comment was made in reference to faithfulness in thought and constancy in action.

I like being constant.


They call me complex.

This one is a little harder for me to swallow.

Interestingly, the comment was made by the same individual who called me constant. The comment took me by surprise considering I have always considered myself a fairly simple, straight-forward person. But, then again, the comment was made after a 2+ hour conversation (if you can call one person talking for two hours a "conversation") where I hashed through every. single. thought. regarding Seminary: why I wanted to quit; why I didn't want to quit; why I felt like a failure; why I was excited to be done; what it meant for my future; what I thought I was supposed to be learning in the process; why it was the best experience I have ever had; why I felt like the last two years were a total waste of time and money; why I felt like I was being tested and why I felt like I had failed the test; why I felt like not being able to balance life with school meant I wasn't cut out to be a missionary and how that train of thought was really. messed. up.

Needless to say, the word suited me well at that moment.

I do still feel like the way I present certain things may come across as more complex than I feel them to be. Nevertheless, I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that I may be a little harder to figure out than I think I am.


They call me nerd.

One of my dearest friends called me a nerd several weeks ago.

It was all in good fun, yet I still had a visceral reaction to the label. I think the best way to describe the feeling would be fear. It was an all-too-familiar label in my childhood and every association I make with the term has to do with feelings of ostracism, rejection and being black-listed. The mere utterance made me sense the beginnings of abandonment by this unwavering friend.

It was totally irrational, but it was how I felt.

I am beginning to realize that it is a lot more socially acceptable to be a "nerd" at 25 than it is at 15, but I still try to closet my geekiness (although, let's be honest, I'm still not very good at hiding it....). Even the people who know I'm a nerd probably don't realize the true depths of my nerdiness.

It is a label I have not yet fully claimed, although I hope to be able to someday.


They call me stable.

I heard my mom talking about the three of us girls one time (I think somebody asked her to describe our temperaments).

She described one sister as going-going-going-going (sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months) and then totally crashing for a weekend before getting up and going-going-going again.

She described the other sister as always having either the best or the worst day of her life (that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but she is very emotive).

And then she described me as stable. Even-keel. Along for the ride. Never to high, never to low.

This incident occurred years ago (late high school or early college?) and I can certainly say that I felt more stable then than I do now. In fact, I have felt decidedly unstable over the course of the last 2 years but I contribute most of that to school. Sem had a way of rocking my boat that no other situation in my life has ever had. I still resonate with the "stability" label. I am hoping this break from school will see a return of that stability.


She calls me, laughing.

Yes, I realize I changed formats there. I can do that. It's my blog.

I would say about 40% of the time, when my sister calls me, she is laughing when I answer the phone. The other 60% of the time she is singing.

It makes me chuckle just thinking about it.

Sometimes I just wait for her to collect herself and fill me in on what is so funny. Sometimes she laughs so hard for so long that I start laughing, not because I have ANY idea what is so funny but merely because she won't stop laughing and that alone is pretty funny.

I LOVE this because it speaks to
1) my healthy sense of humor (that my sisters knows if she calls and tells me the story I, too, will not be able to contain my laughter) and
2) my deep love for my family (that my sister trusts me enough to call me doing absurdly funny things knowing that it will only cause my affections for her to grow stronger).

I love that my sister calls me, laughing.

He calls me Evon...

...but that's okay because I probably don't say his name right, either.

He is from Somalia, afterall, and we are doing the best we can to understand each other through our thick accents.

He introduced me to his family as "my friend, Evon" and if he is going to offer me the privilege of being called "friend," then he may call me whatever else he pleases. Maybe we should just both call each other "friend" since neither of us can say the other's name correctly.

In the meantime, I am more than happy to answer to "Evon."



What do they call you?

I Hate the Taste of Blood

"when you love somebody but bite your tongue all you get is a mouthful of blood."


~fruit bats, When You Love Somebody lyrics

Friday, June 12, 2009

Life Lesson #1, Courtesy of Buster Bluth

"That's what you do when life hands you a chance to be with someone special. You just grab that...that brownish area by it's points and you don't let go no matter what your mom says."
~Buster Bluth

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Life

It's been a long week.

A hard week.

A good week.

A week of sorrow and fear and laughter and celebration.

A week of heartache for a friend whose sister's battle with cancer has exhausted all conventional treatment options.

A week of concern for a friend whose mind refuses to allow her to see the depth of her beauty and worth.

A week of prayer for a grandma who is trying to adjust to a sudden loss of independence and a body that doesn't follow commands.

A week of sadness as I prepared to meet my colleague's family when they attended the memorial service we held for him - a 27-year-old float nurse killed in a car accident over Memorial Day weekend.

And I find the same thing in all of these situations -

cancer, depression, strokes, car accidents -

I find that I have nothing to say. That I feel inadequate. That I can't "fix" things because they were never mine to fix in the first place. That my feeble attempts at self-sufficiency are not enough.

But that's not the end of the story. There's more.

It has also been a week of anticipation as I prepare to spend the weekend with my family, celebrating my sister's graduation from residency - a celebration of seven years of hard work and discipline that culminate in her reaching her childhood goal.

A week of celebration over the uncomplicated birth of a healthy baby boy to a friend who, nineteen months ago, lay dead on a sidewalk after her heart stopped beating during her morning jog but, through a chain of perfectly-timed events, was able to be revived and now lives with the assistance of a pacemaker.

A week of amazement over the unspeakable beauty that results when trained dancers and talented choreographers end up making a show together.

A week of hope as my friend's sister was accepted into a clinical trial for a new, ground-breaking cancer treatment.

A week of laughter stemming from stories over birthday pie, watching a friend poke herself in the eye with a straw, taking pictures with creepy (but hilarious) men in the background, and playing the accordion in the Baker's Square parking lot at 10pm.



This. Is. Life.

LIFE.

It is messy.

And it is precisely the thing that I have been afraid to stop and think about lately.

Life is lived in the trenches where your inadequacies stare you down and your self-sufficiency laughs in your face.

Life is lived on the mountaintops where you celebrate the daily graces that sustained you through years of hard work and the miraculous graces that cause new hearts to beat and old ones to start up again.

Life bathes your cheeks in sorrow as you listen to your friend's tears shatter the silence, trusting that the deepest pains are carving out a space where the deepest joys can take root.

Life wells up from the deepest part of your gut and explodes in giddy cries of "YES! YES! YES!" as jobs are found and weddings are planned and goals are reached and babies are born and laughs are shared and dancers are televised. (Sorry, couldn't resist. Have I told you lately how much I LOVE So You Think You Can Dance?!?!?! Apparently I HAVE told my sister....:-D)

So, as I sit here reflecting on this life of mine...this beautiful, painful, humorous, privileged, tragic, blessed, grace-filled, terrifying, successful, confusing, redeemed, tear-stained life...I have come to one conclusion:

It is time for me to start living it.

I Almost Wet Myself

You gotta watch this.

Total Eclipse of the Heart always makes me think of Mr. Rowan, my high school algebra teacher. He played the song at the end of every class while we were working on our homework. Every day. With very few exceptions. So the song is already funny to me.

But then, oh boy, THEN, somebody went and made a total mockery of the video.

Quite possibly my new favorite.






HT: Matthew Paul Turner

From An Interview With Randy Alcorn

What do you do for leisure?

Tennis, biking, watching a good movie with Nanci. And I read and read and read. Every Monday night we go to our friends’ house where twelve of us, including two pastors and a church elder, gather to watch 24. We are praying that Jack Bauer will come to Jesus.



I've always liked Randy Alcorn, but I never knew he was funny. Now I like him even more.



HT: CJ Mahaney

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Conversation Went A Little Something Like This....

Me: I'm bringing my swimsuit!!

Julie: Actually, the pool hasn't been opened yet.
Me: Bummer!!
Julie: We could run through the sprinkler...
Me: Um....I can't really run through anything right now.....
Julie: Well. Hmm. Maybe.....I could just spray you with the hose. That sounds like fun.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I. Love. Conan.

"In the year 3000, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook will merge into one super time-wasting website called 'You Twit Face.'"