Friday, June 28, 2002

well, this is it: my last official blog posting for the next several days. my internet connection is being cut as of sometime today and i will not have access to the web until sammie joy gets established in charm city. i regret that i did not write more yesterday; i think i simply had too much on my mind to find anything coherent to communicate. silence, sometimes, speaks louder than any words.

i had a huge 'issue' this morning. the salvation army, whom i am NEVER calling again, came to pick up my ikea sofa. because the cushions were worn, they refused to take it. i mean, COME ON! there is some family somewhere who could use a couch that's a bit worn because it might mean that it's the ONE piece of furniture they have. it disgusts me, frankly, that this thing may not make it to someone who really needs it because of that one small detail. a 100 dollar slip cover from pottery barn would make the thing look practically as good as new. in addition, of course, we are out of here in 2 days, and the chances of me finding some 'service' to come and retrieve this monster is unlikely. the one potential shining hope in all of this is the fact that sammie joy has a co-worker who may take it. please, God, let it be so.

i have a lot weighing me down right now; i'm really not sure how to sort through it all. i suppose i shall have to resort to actual journaling while i'm unable to blog. the horrors!;) monday's my birthday and i'm hoping that something remotely fun happens; i'm sure that with sammie joy behind the wheel, things will turn out groovy; they always do. but every year, right before the big day, i panic a bit, wondering if anyone will remember.....wondering if anything bad will happen....wondering if i'll go to bed that night filled with regret and dashed hopes. i'm definitely in that place right now. a lot of women my age have anxiety about adding another number to their age; me? i'm afraid people will pass me by. everyone's anxious about something, i guess.

being depressed on one's birthday is never cool. in fact, any major (national or personal) holiday that is marred with sadness just plain sucks. i've spent more holidays than i would choose to admit feeling really bummed about my life in general. but one thing i do know - the older i get, the more choices i get to make about how i spend my time. that's such a beautiful thing....i think of it as kind of a reward for all the times i was forced to comply with someone else's wishes. sometimes, it even feels good to say 'no' just because you can....not that i'm an advocate of randomly refusing things for the sake, but more that it's important for me to remember that i'm my own person. and of course, i'm not referring to God's desires for me - those i fight against myself to accept and follow sometimes.....but the things that other people try to put on me. guilt and fear are, i think, the two most motivating factors in people's lives. people spend a lot of time complaining about things they don't want to do but are doing because they don't want to upset so-and-so. i say let so-and-so be upset; make decisions based on your personal convictions and then let things happen the way they're going to happen. i have a really low tolerance for anything that even smacks of guilt these days. besides, how does that actually honor God - to do things only because you'd feel like crap if you didn't?

i think of this passage in isaiah 1 where God commands the people to stop with their burnt offerings and empty sacrifices because they are detestable to Him. also, david writes in psalm 51: "You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

in other words: love God. seek to obey Him out of that love for Him, not because you feel guilty for NOT obeying. Christ didn't come to set us free so that we would be all wrapped up in ourselves, but in Him....i need that focus today. i need to be reminded all the time, really. thank you, God, that you're not satisfied to be adored out of some kind of obligation on my part, but instead because you are WORTHY of that adoration.

peace to all....i'm out.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

i got a note in the mail today from someone i'm not in close touch with....but it meant a lot. it also made me sad. or maybe it was that i was already sad and it just allowed me to feel it. i think the latter is more accurate, really..... so what is it that is bothering me? there's not enough time or space for all of that, but i have been thinking about the issue of regret. i have a lot of it. and one of the things that i regret in life is having allowed myself to be silenced by fear or embarrassment....taking stuff on to me that had nothing to do with me....withdrawing when sometimes maybe i should have fought back. it's taken me a long time to realize, even, how much i've loathed myself for doing that. how much i still do loathe myself sometimes.

i wish so much that i weren't still so afraid of so many things. i wish so much that i didn't over-analyze things to the point of driving myself mad. i wish so much that i didn't feel so sad so much of the time.

i know that God is close to the brokenhearted, the downcast....and i feel Him close to me sometimes....but sometimes i cannot find Him in the midst of a moment. i know He's there, but His presence isn't palpable....and then i find myself still wanting more than simply to know He's there. the question i so often find myself asking is this: is it okay to want more? i have a hard time answering this for myself; sad people are not often rational people.

the words of nichole nordeman's song 'small enough' speak better to my current state of heart than i could utter myself:

oh great God, be small enough to hear me now.
there were times when i was crying from the dark of daniel's den,
and i have asked you once or twice if you would part the sea again.
but tonight i do not need a fiery pillar in the sky.
i just want know you're going to hold me if i start to cry.
oh, great God, be small enough to hear me now.

oh great God, be close enough to feel You now.
there have been moments when i could not face goliath on my own,
and how could i forget we've marched around our share of jerichos?
but i will not be setting out a fleece for you tonight.
i just want to know that everything will be all right.
oh great God, be close enough to feel you now.

all praise and all the honor be to the God of ancient mysteries,
whose every sign and wonder turn the pages of our history.
but tonight, my heart is heavy and i cannot keep from whispering this prayer:
'are you there?'

and i know you could leave writing on the wall that's just for me
or send wisdom while i'm sleeping like in solomon's sweet dreams.
but i don't need the strength of samson or a chariot in the end.
i just want to know that you still know how many hairs are on my head.
oh great God, be small enough to hear me now.


there is nothing more beautiful to me than the cry of another soul who thirsts for God....may God hear the cry of my wretched heart this night.

have mercy, Lord......have mercy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

okay, how adult am i? it's all about taking these quizzes when i'm bored. i've taken other ones, but frankly, i don't post results unless they seem either a) accurate or b) really, really interesting. so, here's my theoretical movie rating:


PG

You devilish little tearaway, you - you require
parental guidance. That means mummy should hold
your hand before you do anything. How cool you are


"Which Movie Classification Are You?"
Test created by Jamie - take it here.




isn't it a relief to know that you would be someone that people could bring their children to see? i know I'M relieved....

i didn't do much today, i must admit. tomorrow i need to make some important calls. the only problem: i'm quickly running out of minutes for the month on the cell phone. yikes....must find alternative local phone source....anyone want to invite me over?:)_
man, i was so tired last night....so very, very tired. i'm not sure why, really, except that the heat yesterday just plain exhausted me. i wonder why that is. all i know is this: i'm NOT subjecting myself to any such thing today, that's for sure. here's something strange: my left arm is getting totally freckled from, i suppose, the few times i have ridden with the window down while tooling around in tennyson (that would be my jetta's name, for those of you who don't know). okay, this is so weird, because i never used to freckle like this. i mean never. burn, yes. freckle, no. i'm gonna have to figure out a way to get a bit of sun on this right arm of mine, otherwise i'm going to be lopsidedly spotted for life!

so it's tuesday....only 6 more days until i'm officially out of derwood. i'm realizing more and more that this is so crazy. never in a million years could i have imagined that my life would be shaping up to be what it is now. and yet, in the realm of God's sovereignty, it's not wholly unexpected. one thing i will say is this: i couldn't ask for anything even remotely as good as God's grace and peace in my life. i heard a sermon once given by josh harris at new attitude in which he spoke on the fact that we could never have thought up something as lavish as God's provision of salvation for us. in all of our cries to God about what we need, our sinfully deceived, God-underestimating hearts could never have even been able to conceive of asking to be saved from ourselves. and so it is with the peace of God that passes all understanding. i couldn't even comprehend what true peace is without God helping me to understand it by giving it to me....in the end, you don't know until you KNOW.

so, on the cusp of leaving this place after three years, it's very easy to wonder what it's all been about. i can say that before i moved to the 'burbs, i thought i knew what lay ahead of me. i was convinced that God, in His perfect, little, cut and dried plan was moving me down here to become part of covenant life church (that was, in fact, THE one reason i picked up and moved from baltimore). even after a year or so, when things just weren't 'clicking', i still clung to the conviction that this was His purpose for me. was i being foolish in my clinging? i don't know. but isn't God sovereign? absolutely...so it was not without purpose. along the way, i was privileged enough to meet michael, grow in my relationship with salimah, and all throughout, God, in His mercy and often despite myself, was teaching me volumes about what it means to truly follow Him....and what it doesn't mean. He gave me the eyes to see how easy it is to just 'go with the flow' of what all the other Christians around you are doing, how truly quickly i tend to do things only because i know i should do them and not out of an overflow of worship and love for Him. not that i think that self-disciplining is bad, but if your whole walk is based on being reactive rather than proactive, there's a problem.

and in the midst of me realizing these things, i also began to realize that my whole life was one big reaction to something....or someone. so many of my decisions, actions, and even thoughts were in response to something rather than being out of my own opinions or desires to see things done or accomplished. i'm not talking self-sufficiency here; i'm talking being able to stand on one's convictions and make decisions for one's self rather than basing everything on other people's feelings and actions. this had confounded and frustrated me to the point of breaking. God let me break. over and over. and i'm still breaking. i need it. i am thankful for it. it hurts. i'm changing.

maybe no one reading right now has any idea what i'm talking about....and that's ok. this is more about me and my relationship with God than it is about someone else 'getting' me....and yet i know that there are some people who do 'get' me. wow. what an amazing thought....that someone could understand my ramblings. either way, the Lord Himself knows....even before my thoughts were formed, He knew them.

so, the simple, well-packaged plan i was sure God had for me has been anything but. and even though it's been one crazy ride, i'm thankful for all of it....because i will return to baltimore next week with a different heart, and as i walk around that city, my eyes see things differently. even the face i see in the mirror every day looks somehow different. and God? He's the same, both now and forever....but to me, He's even wider and deeper and higher and stronger and more THERE than before......and all of this makes me know that He loves me. that i'm going to be okay. better than okay. renewed, even. thank you, God.....thank you, Jesus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, June 24, 2002

i know i'm breaking tradition, considering this is my THIRD....count it....THIRD entry here today, but i mustn't hesitate a moment longer; there is something on my mind that is burning to come out.

okay, so here it is: i have found a new favorite thing for the summer: soft frozen lemonade from mcd's. i was out driving around in my car earlier running errands, etc., and although the a/c was on, it is still hotter than something or other outside....so i decided to stop and get a bit of liquid refreshment. while i'm in the drive-thru line, i suddenly remember that the golden arches sells this frozen lemony goodness (i had never had one before, but i assumed it would be good...it IS lemon, after all:)). i pull up to the window to pay my tab and the woman looks at me as though i hadn't ordered anything....so, i remind her what it was that i had just said to her not 20 seconds before. i was able to make out that she was telling me they had no regular frozen lemonade (BUMMER!) but that instead they had strawberry lemonade (SCORE!)....i, of course, was not about to refuse such a thing....so i paid and left. although the outside of this little tube was totally covered with stickiness (i wrapped it in a napkin, of course), i thoroughly enjoyed every frozen biteful. how completely refreshing! and for only a buck!

it's looking like a frozen lemonade kind of summer, folks:)
okay, also, in keeping with sammie joy, i took this quiz....


I'm Time


"Napoleon is weeping in a carnival saloon...."

Which Strange Little Girl would you be?



If you were in the perfect career, it would be something like nursing or counselling. You have an innate desire to help people, and often try to give advice. You're also inclined to ease people's suffering as best you can, although sometimes, all you can do is listen. The world is a painful sight to you, and you often wonder how we can do such horrible things to each other. You may be an activist, working to right injustices. You believe very strongly in the healing power of love, and treasure every minute, because you are well aware of how quickly our lives are over.

"It's time time time that you love...."


if you know me, tell me what you think. e-mail me here.
so, here we are and it's monday again. i am pleased....no, thrilled to report that the move went off without a hitch. we had a few close calls with the utterly unprepared employees at u-haul (whom i will never be patronizing again), but in the end God came through, and so did the people from my church small group. the weather, incidentally, was also beautiful.

so now i'm sitting here in the middle of my mostly empty room on an air mattress. the first two nights, i thought it was gonna be all fun to sleep on this thing. ('how novel!'.) okay, now what i'm thinking....ouch. i don't know that my back could hurt any more if i tried to bring about the pain. the muscles from my mid-back down are clenched into this mass....it's not a good thing. not in the least.

this novel idea has gotten old already. now i feel like a refugee. a refugee with air conditioning and cable tv.

one short week from today, i will turn 27. i'm not sure how i feel about all of that....not about the 27part, but about the fact that it's my birthday again. every year, i silently recount all the birthdays i can remember and exactly how they were spent. a few bring me happy memories....some nearly bring tears to my eyes. one in particular disturbs me enough that i try not to think about it too often. i won't go into details here. there's no need to bum out everyone's day. i will say this: becoming friends with sammie joy has changed my perspective on birthdays. i always know that, if nothing else, SOMETHING will happen on that day. even when we were totally broke 3 years ago, she still managed to scrape together some cash and bought me presents. but under normal circumstances, birthdays are an event. the first year we were friends, we had such madcap fun. even though the majority of my friends totally flaked out on participating in my surprise birthday plans, sammie still managed to pull everything off, and she and i had fun together....just the two of us....which is how it often ends up in my life.....

so this year, my reflections are a bit different. i'm not thinking about the distant past as much as i am this past year...the things i have learned, the people i have come to love, the ways in which God has shaped my heart. i've learned so much about myself....learned so much about the things about me that still need so much work....learned to take everything in stride....to not be sorry for my decisions, my affections, my desires. like i said before, i feel like i'm becoming my own person finally...and it's only taken me 26 years to arrive at this point....:)

so, in other news, michael and i went to see 'the bourne identity' last night. it was good....made me jump in my seat a few times, good car chase scene...matt damon did a decent job....interesting story line, etc. all in all, it was enjoyable. didn't rock my world, but i wasn't expecting that anyway. tonight, i will go and hang out with my friend cindy from church (with whom i had to break plans on friday because i was too much of a slacker and didn't get nearly enough done beforehand). this week is all about trying to keep myself from going insane while i'm here at my empty, refugee-esque apartment;)

i'm outtie.....

Friday, June 21, 2002

i know - i haven't written anything in 2 days, but can i be frank? i have very little to say. this whole move has COMPLETELY occupied all of the space in my brain.... here's an update: other than the fact that i'm going to have to go and unpack a couple of boxes to find the checks (that's right...checks!) that i packed the other night, i'm nearly done. i don't know what i was thinking on that front - packing changes one's brain chemistry. maybe i should write a thesis....hmm....

anyway, the point of this all is that i will be sublimely happy (okay, well maybe at the very least satisfied) when this is all over. i'm tired of looking at the things that i own. i have contemplated on more than one occasion over the last several weeks taking all of my things and putting them into a large dumpster. yeah, yeah - all of them except my cds, movies, pictures, etc. once again, this is where i get myself into trouble:) ah well....c'est la vie i guess!

in other news, absolutely nothing is happening:) i've been e-mailing and reading other people's blogs like a fiend. also periodically doing web searches for potential baltimore jobs for sammie joy. on the docket for today - go to the cleaners, the post office, and my new storage facility. hang out with a friend from church this afternoon. spend the evening with sammie joy (perhaps out?). TRY to get to bed at a reasonable hour to prepare for tomorrow's "festivities". please, God, let it not rain....

oh, and one more thing while i'm on the topic of nothing - getting one's hair highlighted is a major decision and requires serious commitment (especially if said hair is not short in any way). my hair, specifically, grows like a weed, and so while other people get theirs highlighted every 4 or so months, mine could really use it every 2. in other words, i'm due for another job....can i afford this? in no way....ah well...at least my base color isn't dark. that would be bad. i'll just be streak girl with slightly darker blonde roots for awhile:) this is my bed, and i'm lying in it, folks:)

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

i'm all about unadulterated, uninhibited loving of other people.

i would like to take a brief moment to showcase someone that is currently underappreciated in today's work force: miss sammie joy herself. frankly, if even a small percentage of the population could grasp this chick's verbal prowess, they would offer her a job on the spot. if they even knew for a moment how loyal she is, they would not hesitate in the least in order to bring her onto their team (let me mention briefly that this woman sat in her office planning strategies in which she would defend me if i ever got attacked, even practicing the physical maneuvers required to reach from the front passenger side of a vehicle into the back seat to grab said potential attacker's head to begin bashing it furiously into the back of her seat's headrest - that, my friends, is someone who would lay her own life down for another's). if these poor, uninformed people took into consideration the generosity she exhibits (i will not even go INTO the ways in which God has provided for me through her - there are too many to list), they would beg, steal, or borrow to win her over with a huge salary and amazing benefits package.

all of this to say that i am committed to doing everything in my power to help sammie joy in her journey toward professional satisfaction and financial security....and at this point, that likely means getting on my knees before my Father and asking for His help with this whole situation. but i am not too proud to use the internet to proclaim something that is true...and the truth is that this woman ROCKS! so please, if you're a praying creature, please speak to the Lord about this issue. it's not that she's unemployed now - more that she needs something in her new hometown (baltimore) that will more than pay for her sweet new pad. thanks for your consideration.

oh yeah, and if you're someone with any authority to hire (and you happen to be in baltimore) and are looking for a creative, intelligent, witty, hard working, honest, knee-slappingly funny kind of gal to come and work at your fun, interesting, diverse, pioneering company, please e-mail me here. all serious offers will be considered:).

and one more thing: sammie joy, you have my unswerving support and love...and my verticals....philippians 4:4-7 ALL the way, girl....all the way.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

i need to get real right now.....

here's something that confounds me: people in life who go on and on about how much they adore you but then NEVER call, write, or do anything to get in touch with you.....EVER. i'm over it. frankly, it takes too much emotional energy to keep some things going. for the longest time, i would have kept trying, kept beating myself up in order to stay connected with some people. but i don't want to do that anymore. it stinks, though, because there are some people in my life that i just frankly love, but i am tired of being the only one to do any of the 'work' in the relationship.....so i've made a decision: i'm letting the chips fall where they may. it's a hard line to tow, but i'm towing it nevertheless....

for some reason, all of that made me think of that voltaire quote that says something about not agreeing with what someone says but being willing to defend to the death their right to say it. can i be frank? the only thing that i will defend to the death is the truth of the gospel. i'm all for free speech and everything, but sometimes it's best to know when to keep one's mouth shut.

now don't get all riled. i'm not in any way supportive of the idea of oppressing people into silence....but there isn't enough that's kept private these days, you know? every time i turn on the tv, it seems like someone's airing their dirty laundry out in the public arena. of course, how ironic is it that i'm writing in this blog, right? but here's the thing: i will share my heart and mind with those who come looking to find me, but i'm certainly not going to force myself on other people - not going to put my past on network television, not going to cry my sad, sad stories for montel or the national enquirer. furthermore, you're not going to find me discussing here the painstaking details of things that are, frankly, too personal to bring up without getting to the point of being inappropriate. in the words of kenny rogers in his song, the gambler, 'you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run. you never count your money when you're sitting at the table. there'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.' this man was a genius. i bet he didn't even know.

clearly, i'm having a ranting day. not sure what that's all about. perhaps it's due to the fact that i rarely slept last night. i'm a bit cranky this morning, and i was awakened early with a raging stomach ache. not cool. not at all.

i think being in my apartment is giving me issues....i'm feeling myself slowly going crazy. i need a change of scenery.

my life is about to change in a big way. and on the one hand, i'm ready for things to be more in limbo, to not live in this apartment anymore, to ride out the adventure of this season of my existence....but on the other hand, i'm a bit scared and not ready for things to become something else - not right now. i feel like i want more time....and yet not. what's up with me? i need an epiphany about my life....

Monday, June 17, 2002

it's monday ALL over again....

well, sammie joy's move went smoothly; lots of people showed up and more than pulled their weight on her behalf. what a relief to have that leg of the project completed. my mother, a.k.a. 'the packing queen', showed up on saturday afternoon and basically packed ALL of my kitchen stuff. now, you may be thinking 'what's the big deal about all of that?' let me assure you - it was no small task. first of all, i love to cook; it is one of the great joys in my life. it allows me to express myself creatively in a way that brings pleasure to other people - and it's fun, too! anyway, the point of this is that i have a lot of my own kitchen 'equipment'....but the story doesn't end there. a few months back, my grandmother, fellow kitchen fiend, was in the process of moving out of her home after 30-some years there and she was divesting herself of the majority of her things. here's where i stepped in:).....i had gone to visit her for the weekend with michael and, per the instructions of my mother and other family members, walked away with a FULLY packed trunkload of cookware, bakeware, and generally more things than i knew what to do with.

BUT! my rationale is this: they don't make cookware like they used to, and there is NO way that i'm ever going to be able to afford to stock myself up with the quality stuff that my grandmother had, because truly good cookware costs an arm and a leg these days. and even though i currently don't have room for all of this stuff, i would kick myself some day if i hadn't kept it, because i hope to eventually have a house....and a family (a.k.a. lots of people to cook for)....and a place to put all of these wonderfully fun things.

and besides, it's not the things that are important, but instead what they represent: some of the best times in my life. the house that my grandparents lived in was simply paradise for me as a young girl. first of all, it was far enough away from home that i was able to escape from everything for a few weeks every summer. and sure, i got homesick for my parents once in awhile, but being with my grandparents was just so purely enjoyable, it far overshadowed anything else. plus, their house was in the middle of the mountains in pennsylvania - nestled in 150 acres of forest and green pastures; my grandfather had horses and barn cats and there was a huge garden to weed and plant veggies in and an old swing hanging under a big, cool pine tree....berries to pick.....trips to a mountain lake for swimming and picnics....lots of time spent having long conversations about what really matters in life, about caring for other people, about working hard and being helpful to those around you. i felt loved and free during those summers, and in the midst of the hustle and bustle of daily chores and obligations, my grandparents were also teaching me lot about who i wanted to be as a person.

those were the days that i found myself side by side with my grandmother in her kitchen helping her prepare all kinds of things for family reunions, garden club luncheons, small dinners at home, church bazaars, birthday parties, and on and on. and while she cooked, she hummed these happy little songs and went about the business of planning ahead for meals later on in the week, calling relatives to check on them, doing loads of laundry, and keeping my grandfather in line. she never seemed to tire. and she loved every minute of it. and me? well, i learned more than any cooking class could have ever taught me....and i fell in love. i learned the virtue of things being 'homemade'; i helped scrub and cook and can and jar and pickle bushel after bushel of garden fresh vegetables from my uncles' summer crops; i mixed batter for dozens of cookies she would bake 'in case someone dropped in'; i rolled meatballs for the big italian meals we would have when the new york relatives came down for a visit. i had my hands in every step of the process; she never failed to let me participate, even when i was really young. and when things were finished, i knew that i had played a part in something that would make other people happy. talk about gratifying....

these days, i've worked my way into my own style of cooking, but my roots still go back to that house in pennsylvania....and even though the number of guests i currently entertain could never stack up to a full-fledged dinner with my extended family, i, like my grandmother before me, still relish the occasional personal challenge of cooking for a huge crowd, or planning a meal for unexpected visitors....this is why i like to read cookbooks - not so much for recipes, but they keep me inspired in case i need to ever throw something together on the fly....in any case, i would do well in my life if i could live up to the example my grandmother set for me so long ago. it's not about the food itself or the mastering of culinary technique so much as it is about the importance of putting your heart into what you do for other people, making them feel welcome in your presence, letting them participate in the things that interest you....it's not a lesson of preparedness, but of love.

Friday, June 14, 2002

okay, it's official: i am losing it. it is 10:50 pm on the night before sammie joy's stuff leaves this apartment, and the atmosphere around here is a bit....shall we say.....less than preferable. first of all, i am coughing up a lung from all the dust flying around. secondly, sammie's dresser pretty much BROKE tonight (the drawers have ceased to perform their function - don't ask). third - and this is probably the most important element - we're not totally DONE yet. i'm tired. i wanna go to bed. i want to watch tv and just chill out and pretend like none of this is happening. i hate moving....

i've been speaking less than helpfully to some of our belongings - calling them names that i won't repeat here. i'm frustrated and over it all. salimah's monitor is an evil, evil thing. it used to be my monitor, but i don't remember it being quite as LARGE as it currently is. perhaps it has morphed during the time she has been in possession of it. and i will not even mention the maneuvers we had to pull to get it into its box. did i mention that i hate moving?

on the bright side (because i believe that there's ALWAYS a bright side), i did find my old microphone, so now i can have hours of friendly fun making weird sounds for my computer. yay!! sound recorder, here i come!!

goodnight, world. stay tuned for updates. this all will happen again in just one short week - prayers are welcomed....

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

i am sorry. i cannot resist - just one more:

"come see what i've done....the MAGIC!" - sammie joy, in a psychologically unstable state brought on by certain heat exhaustion, requesting my presence in the living room and referring to the sheer volume of boxes that she managed to haul up the aforementioned stairs into our apartment while still partially clothed in non-casual work garb.
yesterday, i received my first e-mail from someone i have never met before - someone who actually READS this blog. yay!! if you want to know who in the world could possibly be interested in what i have to say, visit her blog here. anyway, for those of you who are curious as to the identity of #51 in my post below, michael j. hall is the 'michael' to whom i refer in many of my other posts; he's not famous (yet!) and in no way resembles anthony michael hall:) he's a french horn player and someone with whom i can be seen regularly performing culinary miracles, laughing like hyenas, talking in strange voices, and generally causing a tremendous ruckus; in short, he is one of the star team players in my life.

anyway, brief update: i'm packing like a mad fiend. sammie joy's team of burly men (and women) will be arriving on saturday morning, and then my mother makes an appearance shortly after to help me continue packing my own stuff. she's a stellar packer, and it's all about her handling my kitchen stuff and helping me fold clothes into a trunk. i'm hoping that by this time next week, i will be completely done. will let you all know how it works out.....in the mean time, i'm going to need some coke (that's the soda, not the illicit substance!) to help me along....that and some billy joel.

okay, quote of the moment: "OH....SWEET.....GOD...." - sammie joy, sputtering out words from the sheer exhaustion of running up and down the stairs with empty boxes to be packed. people, be thankful you're not here. it's only going to get more interesting as the days go on:)
as you may have noticed, at the bottom of each entry is now a link where you can add comments. go ahead. click on it. you know you want to:).....
okay, so awhile back, sammie joy and i made lists of 50 of our favorite things. we were both supposed to post them on monday but both forgot. i noticed that she has posted hers today. if you want to see them, go here. and, for your reading pleasure, here are mine:

50 of My Favorite Things (in no particular order and by no means inclusive)
1. lots of ice in my drinks
2. fresh, sweet, juicy fruit (oranges, peaches, pineapple, berries, mango)
3. singing in close harmony
4. driving with the wind in my hair
5. silver rings and earrings (plain, understated)
6. a prayer for owen meany by john irving
7. clean-shaven skin that smells nice
8. crusty bread with a soft inside
9. being under my down comforter (especially when i'm cold)
10. a really crisp british accent
11. sunday afternoon naps
12. a well-marinated, outdoor-grilled piece of meat
13. the smell of lemon verbena
14. a good cry
15. having someone really know me
16. caramelized onions
17. coca-cola (with lime)
18. buying new cds
19. bookstores
20. my cuisinart and kitchen-aid mixer (both cobalt blue!)
21. deep crimson red and sage green
22. long talks about God
23. burned cheese on the edge/top of a casserole and/or crunchy topping
24. hearing my grandpa call me 'sweetheart'
25. southern sweet tea with lemon
26. clean, crisp, cool sheets
27. breeze off the water
28. cashmere wool
29. coloring with crayons and markers
30. a clean sink and countertops
31. personalized mix tapes
32. clothes fresh from the dryer
33. letting my skin air dry in the sun after a swim
34. hearing excitement in someone's voice at the sight of me
35. a back, neck, foot and/or hand massage
36. getting my hair and/or nails done
37. getting my teeth cleaned
38. receiving handwritten letters in the mail
39. warm peanut butter cookies and ice-cold milk
40. strong, 2-armed hugs
41. crate & barrel and pottery barn and williams-sonoma:)
42. mary engelbreit
43. cheddar cheese
44. cookie dough ice cream
45. fun handwriting
46. christmas
47. the love of Jesus/the cross
48. 'reformed' theology
49. being an adult
50. the coast of maine
51. michael j. hall (but he's not a thing) :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

i'm sitting in a sea of boxes yet to be packed. the stuff i've accumulated in my life sits around me. moving stinks. there's really no way around it. the whole process makes me want to throw everything i own in the garbage. okay, maybe everything except my fun kitchen stuff and my cds and my music and my movies. see what i mean? it's awful. this is how things wind up following a person around.

the concept of accumulation is so interesting.....i realize that at various points in my life, i have accumulated different things to protect myself. from an early age, i've had a weight problem, because i think that, even without knowing it for a long time, i was accumulating a protective covering so that i could shield myself from things that scared and hurt me. but the more i got hurt, the more i put on to protect the me that was suffocating inside. later on, i added the accumulation of academic accomplishments, because people who are smart are saved from being hurt, right? wrong. along the way, depending on my financial situation, i accumulated more 'stuff', a way to distract and protect myself from the reality of my own pain. then, there are the areas of personal avoidance - being funny to hide how sad i really am, being accommodating to hide how scared i am of rejection, and the list goes on and on.

now, though, things are changing inside of me. i'm facing the fears that have haunted me for my whole life. i'm starting to spend time with myself, something i was never able to do because it caused me too much emotional discomfort. i'm starting to express OUT LOUD how i really feel about things, to state my needs in relationships, to look at where i've gone wrong and make amends if i can. there are a lot of people in my life that i have not been upfront with. i'm sorry. i'm working my way through the list of people i know and i'm finally getting the courage to say who it is that i've been all these years. i'm sloughing off the emotional dead skin, letting go of the relationships that have reached an organic end, letting myself grieve for what is gone and rejoice for the things that i have. wow. God is working a miracle in my life. each and every day.

i have a few people in my life that deserve a lot of love for the way that they have treated me through this whole process....two in particular come to mind:

sammie joy, you are my dearest friend. you are a true sister to me, the family that God Himself has given to me through the fellowship of His Spirit. your unwavering encouragement of me has been a lifeline, a balm to my soul. you are the consummate cheerleader of my life. you are the one who brings me back to the truth of God's word in a way that has NEVER made me feel condemned. that is the heart of Jesus. thank you for being the person i can be more comfortable with than anyone ever before. thank you for knowing all of my really ugly faults and sins and the parts of me that need so much work, all the while calling me beautiful and telling me that you love me. regardless of where i am and how many days of life i have lived on this earth, yours is the number i will always know by heart.

michael, you have helped me to do things that i never thought possible. your support has enabled me to take the hardest steps i have ever taken in my life. every moment of our friendship has taught me something, whether it's that i need to be more bold in saying how i really feel, or that i'm actually funny once in awhile, or that it's possible to really trust someone of the opposite sex without having to fear that i'm about to be rejected, or the million other things i feel like i realize on a daily, hourly, minutely (i know, not a word!) basis. you bring me such joy; you understand and know me; you support my decisions; you are worthy of my respect; you make me feel safe when i'm around you; you have never ONCE judged me for things i have shared with you; you grieve for the things that hurt me; and you make good chocolatey desserts;) (just had to throw that one in there for kicks!).....i could say so much more, but i think you probably know how i feel. the bottom line (isn't there ALWAYS a bottom line?) is that i'm so honored that the Lord put you into my life. i'll never stop thanking Him for how He loves and cares for me through you.

now, i hope the two of you are able to maintain your characteristic humility while reading the above; i'll be praying for you that you do:) i just want other people to know that the Lord God Himself has mercifully provided for me in my life through these, and other, friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. but at the end of the day, if everything else faded from view, i still have my Father in heaven, the King of my life.....

oprah will tell you that you have to love yourself first before you can change anything about yourself; i will instead speak the truth - the only reason i am able to love another person, and the only thing that has pierced my heart to make real, life-altering changes in myself is this: Jesus Christ. there's nothing i could ever accumulate in my life that could surpass Him:

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:7-14

amen.

Monday, June 10, 2002

just in case anyone is wondering, here is my result for the "which 100-acre woods character do you resemble?" quiz:


Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!


i'm not sure that this completely applies to me...at least i hope the part about being slow doesn't apply. but sammie joy says that sometimes i remind her of winnie the pooh, so i'm sure she'll be pleased as punch to note this result.

also, on the "which peanuts character are you?" quiz, here's my result:



I am linus

Which Peanuts Character Are You Quiz



i'd be interested to know if you think either of these apply to me. to send me your thoughts, please e-mail me here.

not much else to share tonight. i'm kinda sleepy, so i'll turn in earlier than normal, i think. perhaps i'll have something more interesting to say tomorrow:) g'night!

Sunday, June 09, 2002

sometimes i'm amazed at how quickly time passes, and at other times, a week feels like a year. in the end, it's all about perspective.

i have never been where i am right now. i feel like i'm starting to live my own life; i know, some people may be wondering - how can this be? you're almost 27.... true enough, but i can attest to the fact that my 27 years have not all been filled with me making choices that sprung from an assurance that either way i was gonna be all right. i've allowed fear to rule my heart. i've let myself agree to too much out of a fear of being rejected in the end. i've kept my mouth shut when i should have yelled from the rooftops. and so many times, i've talked when i should have kept silent. what has this yielded me? a lot of heartache. a lot of pain. a lot of wonderings of what else i could have done with my time. and a lot more questions about who i really am.

not anymore.

27 marks the year that i am throwing off the crap and living a life that is authentic to who i was created to be. the fact that i've had authentic moments thus far has been solely by God's grace, and i'm done with those few-and-far-between moments of true living. and you know what? some people may not like who they see. and that's fine with me. it's a risk i'm willing to take. i've been set free by the shedding of righteous blood on my behalf; God alone is my advocate. i answer to Him.

silence kills; Christ saves. i'm alive now. hello, world. it's about time....

Friday, June 07, 2002

"YOU are the genius of my life!!!" - sammie joy to me, 9:02 pm, friday, june 7, 2002, after i had just finished regaling her with some examples of broadway showtunes i could write about contemporary Christian 'culture'.

i think i'm going to write a musical. yeah, that's it. a musical. (i can hear my parents saying, 'hey kids, let's do a show!' in my mind even as i type those words). it's going to be all about what it's like to be a 20-something, single Christian in this day and age. i am not lying when i say that i have come up with so many schematics for musicals i could create and produce, it's not even funny. i won't even mention them here, because surely SOMEONE is reading who would steal my brilliant ideas:).....must. keep. quiet.

we ate "chinese" appetizers for dinner. i'm over "chinese" food. you know the kind of chinese food i mean. i'm not talking about authentic, real-deal stuff here; i mean that poser chinese food sold in american restaurants (hence the " "s). i'm SICK of it. i just KNOW i would feel differently, for instance, if my friend derrick's mom showed up on my doorstep with some of her homemade creations. now THAT's some chinese food. anyway, the one good point of the meal is that we ordered some orange soda. okay, little known fact about me: once in a bloooo moon, i get a hankering for some orange soda. please don't ask me why. normally, i would never order the stuff, but tonight, it's all i wanted. so strange. maybe it's something in the spring rolls:)

tomorrow morning, it's early to rise for us.....we must pack the rest of sammie joy's stuff for her move next weekend. yikes! i still have so much packing to do. ah well. it'll get done. i still have a few weeks left. i'm off to have mad cap phun with the lovely miss perkins. yay for the weekend!!!!!

Thursday, June 06, 2002

okay, i have a question...what is up with the "blogs of note" on the main blogger page? if you go to www.blogger.com, there is a list of blogs that they've "noticed" recently. can i just say something? most of these are NOT worth looking at. now, i will admit, i have found a few good ones on there, but most of them are boring and frankly not that nifty in any way. sammie joy and i should get on there. i wonder whom it is that we would have to bribe....hmm.....*scratches chin*

okay, seriously, another thing i'm wondering is how you get onto the most recently updated blogs list. i have clicked my publish button and gone immediately there a bunch of times and i have never ONCE gotten on. sammie told me the other day that she made it onto the list. hmm....salimah, are you developing blogger connections i should know about? watch out for her, folks. she's sneaky:)

as you may have guessed, i have nothing interesting to say. see what i'm doing? creating "intrigue" just for the sake of it.....how cheesy is that?

in other news, my stomach has been rebelling against me since yesterday. i'm not sure what it thinks it's trying to accomplish by acting up in this way. how can it receive anything worth noting if it's rejecting that which is good for it to have? which brings me to my next point....this reminds me of a line from rich mullins's song 'hold me jesus': "surrender don't come natural to me. i'd rather fight you for something i don't really want than to take what you give that i need....." how often is that sentiment true? how often do we, do i, tell God that i'd prefer my way over His? sure, i wouldn't ever say that OUTRIGHT (i'm not quite that dumb!)....it always comes across in subtle ways - a slight 'attitude', some fear that i nurse in my heart, a lack of focus on who He is in the midst of a difficult situation. i need work. at least i have the rest of my life to be changed and molded. the question is whether or not i will submit myself to the kind of changing and molding that requires a real exercising of the faith that i have been given.

God, i believe. help me in my unbelief.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

well, today i got some things done. made some calls. looked at a storage shed. got a p.o. box to which my mail will be forwarded. paid some bills. attempted to call some people. failed in several attempts, succeeded in others. all in all, a fairly productive day for me. by the way, i LOVE snail mail, so for those of you privileged enough to be on my earlier e-mail in which i detailed the location of my new address, PLEASE feel free to send me cards and letters of love and adoration (oh yeah, and my birthday's on july 1!!) am i subtle or what??

anyway, i'm meeting this lovely woman from my church for coffee in the morning. i'm really looking forward to spending time with her. she's just so pleasant; it's hard not to really like her. not that i'm trying, mind you....

only bad thing about today: my lungs are filled with dust. i helped sammie joy pack a bunch of stuff (after going to pick up LOTS of boxes earlier this evening). unfortunately, most of the things we packed had been sitting around for quite some time and were coated with a thin film of lung-clogging junk. not a fun thing, especially when it's bed time and lying down makes it worse. inhalers are good things.....

in the midst of going through sammie's stuff, i found a poem that i had written at the end of april, 1999. so strange. i had completely blocked it from memory. it wasn't the greatest thing i've ever written, but after reading it, i remember exactly how i was feeling at the moment i put pen to paper. strange how even simple, vague images can return us to a moment long since passed.

anyway, i'm off to bed. more tomorrow after warm beverages and pleasant conversation:)....

Monday, June 03, 2002

"sarah, it's almost midnight. i haven't gotten any sleep for SIX YEARS...."
-sammie joy, drama queen:)


sleep deprivation is a mighty interesting state. people will say things that make them seem like lunatics, when really what they need is a nap. for the four years i was at hopkins, i rarely slept, and i must admit that sometimes, i chose social interaction over rest because i wanted to connect with people.

speaking of connecting, i watched a documentary tonight on the learning channel that featured conjoined twins. they followed this couple, pregnant with girls who were joined at the heart, and documented their painful but faith-filled journey to the birth and, 30 minutes after, death of their children. what impacted me the most about these people was their desire, above all else, to bond with these little people, to somehow communicate their love for them, even though their infant minds might not have comprehended any of it. when the girls emerged, their hearts quickly began to fail. the father told the doctors not to pursue aggressive measures to keep them alive, because he didn't want he and his wife to lose even one precious moment with these babies. as the parents held them, and just before their entire family arrived on the scene, the girls died. the family spent some much-needed time with their children, just looking at them and thanking God for the time they were given. in a later interview, the father said something that impacted me the most: that in the 30 minutes his children were alive, they taught him more about the value in trying to understand and know a person, to connect with them emotionally, rather than viewing individuals through the lens of any obvious imperfection they might have. he said that after his children had died and he looked at them, he didn't see babies with a serious medical defect; he saw his two daughters, mary grace and elizabeth.

the beauty of life is that God knows each of us long before He knits us together in our mother's wombs. He doesn't just know each hair on our heads, but He knows the thoughts in those heads and the cries of each heart. and in His marvelous plan for each of us, He gives us to people who can come to know and love and understand us even just a bit - a mere glimmer of the true Knower and Lover of our souls. i thank God that, even though not many people in my life may ever understand who i really am, He knows me more intimately than even i could know myself. this is the reason i live - to know Him and understand Him more - to really connect with the One who's been here and sustained me all along.

there's nothing better in all of life.
let me say what has always appealed to me: the telegram.

hello. stop. want to tell you that i adore you. stop. must fly to the coast for the weekend but want to see you desperately. stop. (you get the point)

it's all about some succinct language, incomplete sentences, and forced, abrupt punctuation. love it. absolutely love it.

don't get me wrong. i love to elaborate as much as, if not more than, the next person, but sometimes you need to 'bare-bones' it, saying only the essential words that will get your point across. sometimes, we get ourselves into trouble by saying too much. sometimes, just a word will do.

okay, enough of that....

in other news, i did, in fact, go back to sleep. i re-emerged at 10:45, feeling quite a bit better rested, although my stomach still had some things to say about the whole scenario. it is now 12:30 and after spending the interim doing some web research on various topics, i am now preparing for a quick pick-me-up of a shower, a brief lunching time, and then i'm off to an appointment at 3:00. i must say - there is something nice about having some semblance of a schedule in one's life, although some days, it's also a HUGE relief to have nothing on the docket.

i talked to my beloved nigel (this is a long story and needs much explanation, so if you don't already know, i'm sorry to be keeping you in the dark about who this mysterious fella is) last night; it's funny - ever since he went to pearl harbor and is now thousands of miles away, i speak to him more often than i did when he was right down the east coast from me in south carolina. next month, he's underwater for a long stretch of time. it will be hard not to be in contact with him, but that's the breaks when one of you is on a nuclear submarine. all i have to say is thank the Lord for e-mail and cell phones....

when i get my main webpage (www.braincommercials.com) more up and running, i shall have to do a tribute page to this anglophile amigo of mine. he's a bright light, lemme tell ya....

quick confession: i want barry manilow's new album, 'ultimate manilow' - a collection of his 'greatest hits' (although i must say that most albums of his seem to be all his 'oldies but goodies'). okay, i know. you're thinking, 'how is this possible?' i have two things to say to you about this: the late 1970s were my childhood. 'weekend in new england' ROCKS. please forgive me.

at some point in the midst of last night's sleep, i became very aware of the fact that my stomach was in a tremendous amount of pain, but i was so tired, i did nothing. even now, i'm half asleep as i type this, and there is a war being raged inside the pit of me. something has upset my system - that's for sure.

spent last evening with sammie joy and our friend holly. we told lots of stories that recounted God's faithfulness to us, to His people, and shared memories of ways He had spoken to us in the past. it was a soul-edifying evening, ended appropriately with a lengthy time of prayer. one question on my mind this morning as i seek to come out of the sleep shroud i'm in: how can people not believe that God is real?

maybe i'll go back to bed for a bit. i don't think i'm ready to emerge just yet....

Sunday, June 02, 2002

thursday night, sj and i went to baltimore on the fly and stayed at the hyatt regency downtown. we got a cheap deal through priceline, and since she was paying, i couldn't pass up the offer for a night out of town. i needed a hiatus from my bedroom.

so anyway, we had this psychadelic dinner (something about the whole thing made us both feel strange) and i crumped out around midnight. we got up the next a.m., had a leisurely breakfast, and then headed off to an orientation she was having for her new apartment in the city. driving around the streets of that old familiar town made me nostalgic in a way, but the pollution that inhibits your ability to breathe on a hot day (as friday was!) made me grateful, once again, for the tree-filled 'burbs that i currently call home. don't get me wrong - the city has its charm and its moments of beauty with all the noise and craziness that the outskirts cannot muster, but at the same time, it's that lack of parking and orange hazed nighttime sky that i don't really miss so often.

i've been asking a lot of questions lately. where am i supposed to go next? what am i really doing with myself? what does God have for me to do? i've never really been in such a situation before - having no inkling whatsoever of what direction to take. usually, i have a bit of a clue, and things get clearer as time passes, but this time, i'm finding myself completely without, and hoping that God will spring something on me at the last minute...in the mean time, there are moments of excitement with fear all mixed in...this is definitely messing with my desire to have things settled:).

last night, my friend lisa drove up from va to visit me for the evening; it was good to see her, but i must admit that i wish i had had more time with her. i'm hoping, though, that there will be more times ahead of getting to visit and catch up. i've known this girl longer than anyone currently in my life, and it's fun to reminisce about elementary school; we can create a composite sketch, of sorts, with our respective memories of how things went down back in the day. so fun to recollect. a bit sad, too, i must admit, but i'm definitely thankful that i'm an adult now. we were both talking last night that we'd never want to go back to our childhood; i've never understood people who long for their youth. personally, i prefer the independence of living on your own, making your own choices, and having the emotional fortitude to make a stand for yourself, apologizing to no one. it's a beautiful thing.

i'm tired. i can feel my mind getting out of control with exhaustion. it's bad to be maniacally sleepy; much better to give in than do something foolish:)

i surrender:)