Wednesday, April 30, 2003

approaching day 3

okay, i have an announcement to make: i have started an exercise regimen. yikes! i know - this may sound normal to most people, but allow me to assure you that i'm a slug and in need of much help for my out-of-shape self!

it is now 1:18 in the morning, and i will be getting up around 9 for day 3 of my new program. michael is committed to doing this with me, so i'm hoping that his motivation will spur me on if mine should wane. i do feel the push of an impetus from God, and i will say that i have sustained a desire to do this for more than 2 weeks now (my exercising before this week was merely sporadic). breakthrough? we'll see....

i'm a little sore tonight from lifting my free weights, but i'd rather be in pain from this than some other things i could think of [read: dental surgery, sprained ankle, heart attack!]. from this day forward, i pledge, dear reader, that i will try not to obsess about this topic in this particular space. you must forgive me, though, if i wax poetic from time to time about the sheer joy of enduring physical pain for the sake of personal improvement. i will attempt to avoid discussing my aching muscles if you, faithful ones, will do one thing for me:

send me encouraging notes/comments/whatever, will ya? i need all the help i can get!!

thanks! < /shameless plug for attention>

Sunday, April 27, 2003

i cannot tell a lie; i am looking forward to being married. i find myself more and more in a place where i can imagine sharing a lifetime, a home, my cookware with the same person, dealing with his -isms, having him deal with mine, seeing each other at our best and our worst. i'm pretty much over this whole 'single women living together' thing. don't get me wrong. women are fine, but there should not be more than one adult female per household. in fact, it should be a law. federal, if possible. too much estrogen eventually begins to destroy the domestic infrastructure. i have developed something resembling a scientific theory based on all of this. don't question me, here...i'm not wrong.

now, please hear me....i don't just want a man. i'm thinking about one in particular, and i believe that one is the only one i'll be needing, thank you very much. there's something rather fabulous about coming to the realization that you're comfortable enough to want to set up a home with someone on a permanent basis. i thought i was ready a million times in the past. i know that i'm not 100% ready now (who is ever really ready anyway?), but i'm definitely farther down that road than i've ever been, and i feel that, given the learning and growing experiences i've had in the last few years and the sheer faithfulness and beautiful grace of God, i could be a pretty decent wife.

i'm not touting my own attributes here. this is, by no means, a kind of resume for emotional fortitude or relational prowess. it's just about laying my cards on the table and calling a spade a spade about how i feel. at the end of the day, honesty really is the best policy, and the truth is that i've come to the end of my rope as far as pretending is concerned. so, take me or leave me, this is my story and for today....or forever.... i'm definitely sticking to it.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

if i told you the truth, would you think any less of me?

confession: up until very recently, i have always been ashamed of talking about girlie things. some women have this endless ability to sit around and discuss matching bra & panty sets, manicures, hairstyles, the latest fashions, etc. frankly, i have never allowed myself to even THINK about enjoying these things, because i figured that if i did develop some kind of interest in them, that would be stupid of me, so why bother? i've never had much confidence (and i don't mean that overly inflated crap, just your basic healthy self-concept), even in areas where i have gifts and talents...and certainly not when it comes to beauty or outward characteristics.

it began occurring to me that i'm not actually honoring God by continuing to hide from the rest of the world, and specifically from the people whom i love and care for the most. to be someone other than yourself gets you nowhere. for me to fear the reproach of others more than i embrace my faith and my desires and my WOMANHOOD renders me in a state of much confusion, shame, condemnation...you name it, i've been there, done that.

so, as much as i feel dumb as heck doing this, i've started talking more about things i think are pretty or particularly 'womanly'. i try not to avoid admitting that i'm embarrassed when i am, and i share my fears and insecurities with my closest friends. and as i receive their affirmations and notice how unfazed they are by my emerging femininity (other than the pride they express in me for finally being myself), i am starting to feel more and more normal - increasingly certain that THIS is what i should have been able to do from the word go.

so, please do not be alarmed if i suddenly break out into some girlish swooning or flowery language....do not bat an eyelash at discussions of hair or nails or (gasp) lingerie. okay, so maybe i won't talk about THAT here, but you just never know....

i'm surprising even myself these days:)
is it so wrong?

there's this scene at the end of 'never been kissed' where the main male character (michael vartan) walks confidently up to drew barrymore's character and, without saying a word, pulls her close and kisses her.

i want to be kissed this way.

preferably sooner rather than later.

Friday, April 25, 2003

please, for your own safety, do not try this at home....

i am in the process of implementing a high-level tactical maneuver: tri-floor laundering. yes, yes...i know what you're thinking. it's amazing. yes...i know. but i'm remaining humble, just fyi. i thought that would make you feel better:)

in other news, i'm heading down to montgomery county in a few hours to retrieve sammie joy from her last day on the job at the company of death. then, we will be supping and cinematically bonding with some friends from church in g'burg. tomorrow, my parents will be in town for a late lunch to celebrate sj's new job, and then in the evening, michael and i will dine and visit with friends. sunday will bring much of the same, and then the week begins all over again. i'm gonna need a rest after this is all over:)

last night, i made some couscous with a curried yogurt dressing. i don't mean to be obnoxious here, but it was quite yums. i've made a mental note to save this particular recipe for when i open my cafe some day....a girl can dream, can't she?

and, just for kicks, here's my take on today's edition of the friday five:

1. what was the last TV show you watched? that would have to be my half-hearted attempt at paying attention to the last 20 minutes of survivor last night. other than that, oprah.

2. what was the last thing you complained about and what was the problem? probably my toe hurting. last thursday night, in an exercising frenzy, i kicked a free weight lying on the floor and cracked my toenail, which bled immediately. it's been threatening to fall off for days but isn't man enough to make the break. punk.

3. who was the last person you complimented and what did you say? definitely michael. and who knows what it was? it could have been anything. 'how do i love thee?....'

4. what was the last thing you threw away? junk mail and other papers that were clogging up the desktop. i can't think straight when my workspace isn't tidy...hence the reason i'm rarely clear-minded!

5. what was the last website (besides this one) that you visited? yahoo mail. i'm a slave to e-communication. sad, but true.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

um...yeah

i'm not sure about all of this....(besides which, there is a usage error. it should be 'who killed whom.' ah well....)



lancelot
Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who!


What Monty Python Character are you?
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exit stomach ache, stage left. enter butterflies.

actually, the butterflies in my stomach are multiplying by the moment. why am i all a-twitter? hmm...wouldn't YOU like to know?

actually, i'm feeling rather nervous...but a good kind of nervous. i know that sometimes i can be rather close-lipped about myself on this blog. i speak in generalizations, theories, metaphors - always without revealing too many details. and, to be honest, i think that's normally a good thing. no need for ricki lake-type confessionals. but can i be real here? (of course i can...it's my blog!) i feel that this medium has only all too often fed into my need to hide. now, for those of you who know me, you might think that's rather absurd. i'm certainly someone who tends to speak her mind.... mind, YES. heart, NO...especially not when it involves people i care about in a way that makes me feel scared.

i'm dancing around the issue here.

it's love, ok? yes, yes...you probably guessed that. you, my dear reader, look like a smart person...or at least you masquerade well;). in all seriousness....even though i've been rather interested (interested? that sounds so scientific to me) in someone for over 2 years now, i've never really admitted this to a lot of people. but i don't really care what anyone thinks at this point.

i'm falling, and please don't try to help me up....i think i'm down for the count:)

Friday, April 18, 2003

that day

luke 23:26-49
as they led him away, they seized simon from cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. a large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. for the time will come when you will say, 'blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' then ''they will say to the mountains, 'fall on us!' and to the hills, 'cover us!' for if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?''

two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. when they came to the place called the skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals --one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. and they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
the people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. they said, 'he saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.'

the soldiers also came up and mocked him. they offered him wine vinegar and said, 'if you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.'

there was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

one of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: 'aren't you the Christ? save yourself and us!'

but the other criminal rebuked him. 'don't you fear God,' he said, 'since you are under the same sentence? we are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. but this man has done nothing wrong.' then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'

Jesus answered him, I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.

it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. when he had said this, he breathed his last.

the centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, 'surely this was a righteous man.' when all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. but all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

**************************************
today the sky is overcast and the air is cool. cold, even. rain has fallen intermittently. it is not the kind of day that one would want to be outside celebrating 'spring'. and yet this is how it ought to be. this day. in remembrance of that day. i wonder what the air felt like, whether it smelled of rain, whether all of creation was somehow preparing for the Son of God to be crucified....

every year on good friday, i find myself asking what i would have done if i had been there. would i have cried out, pleading with Jesus to save Himself, or would my voice have joined the throng of those who clamored for His death? am i saddened that it happened? more than i can express. am i sorry that it happened? no. it had to. it was the only way that i (and countless others) would ever have been able to gain access to God Himself. if Jesus had not died, there would be no hope for my life - for anyone's life. those people heaped a horrible punishment on an innocent man, humiliated him, and murdered him so that i, guilty in my own sin against God, could be set free from ever having to pay the penalty, which, according to the law, is death. to think: in exchange for His suffering, i get to LIVE. Jesus hung on the cross so that i would never have to know a moment outside of God's presence. His punishment is my peace; by His wounds, i am healed.

it is good friday, the day the world mourned the death of Jesus. and if all He is to you is an historical figure or someone of literary proportions, then i can understand how you would be in mourning, too. but for me, it is a day of joy, a day of expectation, the day that hope began to blossom. it is the day the Son of God purchased me with His blood. i am forgiven. i am loved. i am free.
sho' nuff....

i would be remiss if i didn't blog before my day officially ends. yes, so technically, it's friday, but not for me, people. i haven't been to bed, so it's still yesterday to me...or today, rather. you get the drift....

i have now officially exercised TWO DAYS in a row! allow me to mention that this is unprecedented! i wasn't sure if i'd pull anything off today, because throughout the course of my afternoon, my body began to slowly descend into a serious level of soreness from yesterday's efforts. i spent the evening feeling rather yucky and uncomfortable, but managed to take some ibuprofen to help ease my aching self. after it kicked in, i felt better, but then i was hanging out with michael and sj for awhile. after he left, she went to bed, and i decided to go up to our workout room and ride the bike for awhile. afterwards, i came back down, did some yoga-type exercises, lifted some weights, and then did some stretching and relaxing breathing. afterwards, it was all about the hot shower and chilling out (which i am, in fact, doing now).

i feel SO good and just know i'll be able to sleep tonight. but i'll admit i'm a bit nervous about how potentially sore i'll be in the morning, and i'm supposed to do this again around noon....

it's all about pushing through the pain....

note to self: all of this is actually all about that....

Thursday, April 17, 2003

in case you were wondering....

i'm sorry - i'm being redundant (not that many of you would know this, mind you....), but i just have to say that i love a certain person....

boy, do i ever.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

pinch me

well, once again, God came through (why does my foolish heart ever question this?). not only has my unemployment been extended until the end of may, but i'm getting a tax refund. apparently, i made so little money this last year, the feds and state are giving me all of my withholding back. let me tell you - it could NOT have come at a better time!

in other news, i'm making huge personal strides these days. last night, i took a risk with someone very dear to me and exposed part of myself that i didn't think i could ever share with another person. i was terrified. part of me thought that it might ruin me somehow. but that could not have been farther from the truth. what it has done, in fact, is bring us closer, allowed me to feel more freed up, and God has planted a seed in my heart that things ARE changing for me - that i will not always be the way that i am. and tonight, this person and i had a long talk, and it made me feel more and more secure that my decision was the right one. i am truly astonished at God's love for me....

i've wondered a few times if i'm going to wake up and realize that i've dreamed the last week of my life. thankfully, i don't think anyone, especially me, could sleep that long!

Monday, April 14, 2003

will wonders never cease....

i have actually gotten some things accomplished today. i filed my taxes, paid some bills, threw out a bunch of papers, and shaved my legs. frankly, i feel so much better. i do, however, need to eat something...clean up a bit...figure out whether i have any clean clothes to wear....life is an endless series of chores, isn't it?

i did some watercolor painting this weekend....that soothes me quite a bit. doesn't take my mind off of things, per se, but it calms me down and helps me to not feel so tense. some interesting things are coming up this week personally. can't get into it here, but suffice it to say that times - they are a-changin'....

Sunday, April 13, 2003

to my un-named doll, long departed:

i don't know if you even remember me, because it's been years and years since we've seen each other. but we were close once...i took care of you, made sure you had pretty dresses to wear, kept you warm, comforted you when you were sad...when i was sad...is there a difference? you had light brown hair and big blue eyes, always blinking, always smiling. you drank from a small bottle...small hands...small feet. you were so tiny, fragile. you were mine.

i remember the day they took you away from me. gave you to another child. they didn't ask me. nobody asked me. i wanted to be driven to your new home, steal you back, tuck you safely under the covers of the little cradle in the corner of my room where you belonged. i know...it's not as though i really played with you that much anymore, but you were mine, remember? mine. i cried and cried, alone in my room, so angry....so aware of what i had lost.

i thought of you as a friend, you know. in a world where very few people seemed to want me around, you waited for me to come and pick you up, hold you tight, wipe away the tears i imagined you crying. when you left, i altogether stopped trying to soothe the other dolls...and that part of me, kept alive only by your presence, began to disappear.

i'm almost 28 now...that's so hard for me to believe. i had nearly forgotten about you, but the other evening, my heart recalled the pain of your going. and i realized something: a part of me is still looking for you, some 20 years later. i am looking for what i have lost, for what i have been missing all this time.

i am looking for me.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

genius

sj: i'm trying to write this resignation letter and all i've got is 'hi, i'm leaving....'

Thursday, April 10, 2003

'did you know [s]he is broke? broke. broke. broke. and working for YOU for FREE!'

sammie joy got a new job!! yay!!!!!!! now she'll be actually living AND working in the same city. God is so good....:)

in other news, i have no money. in fact, the way things have shaken down this month, i'm fairly certain that i don't have enough to pay my bills. oh yeah...that and my unemployment just ran out. are you tracking with me here? i feel that you are....

this is an interesting time for me to be feeling as desperate as i am - more interesting than ever, it seems (and no, in this case, i am not speaking of money). Lord, i'm hanging on by a very thin thread....

Monday, April 07, 2003

'no one pours new wine into old wineskins. if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. no, he pours new wine into new wineskins....' - mark 2:22

there's a crack in the wall over the desk where i sit typing this entry. i'm not certain how far up the wall it extends, because somewhere a few feet from the ceiling (at least from this vantage point), the fissure seems to disappear into the white. but the break in paint may still be there, imperceptible to the naked eye...and if the wall had feelings, it would no doubt know that part of it was marred, would feel some measure of pain, or at the least a vague 'discomfort'.

and so it is with me - i am cracked....broken, even....and i almost always have been (at least since the age of 3, i would say), but for such a long time, it wasn't obvious to anyone around me. but i always knew. i always felt the fissures, constantly being aggravated with the salt and lemon juice of life....the harsh words and judgmental looks and manipulative actions of those around me. and with each hurt, the gape inside widened and widened, continuing until one day about 15 months ago when the floor under my feet gave way and the well inside swallowed me whole.

and every day since then, i have crawled and fought and scrambled to make my way back out...to look at the sun again....to breathe the clean air of forgiveness and healing. as it is, there is much to be fixed, many patches that need repairs....a new floor must be laid and fresh paint must cover the walls where cracks have been sealed. and as much as it hurts to tear down and rebuild, to uncover and clean out, without these reconstructive efforts, i would continue to reside in a broken and rotting life, unable to produce anything but discomfort and disappointment for myself and those around me.

psalm 127:1 says that unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. God, help me trust You to create a suitable dwelling in me and for me. help me to submit to Your light shining through the cracks in my heart as you reveal to me those places that You intend to fill. You are the ultimate healer, fixer, builder, redeemer. it is in You and You alone that i am made whole.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

'break on through to the other side....'

i'm planning another dinner extravaganza for the evening. when i'm feeling as anxious as i currently am, i find that it always calms me to cook for other people. whatever it takes, you know?

we're having a reprise of the butternut squash bisque from this menu of the past. for the main course, however, there will be spicy, yogurt-marinated, grilled (or roasted) chicken with couscous, raisins, and other fun goodies and a salad of toasted walnuts, pears, and goat cheese over baby spinach leaves with a balsamic reduction. perhaps some wine. if there's dessert, it won't be up to me this time around.

i've been up for a little while, but i don't feel like i'm yet living completely in the world of the awake. my dreams were so vivid and awash with tenderness that part of me wishes i could have remained there enjoying the love.

moral of the story: it's theoretically nice to avoid reality for awhile, but it will eventually come and interrupt your reveries, bite you in the butt, remind you that you've got miles to go before you sleep (for real this time). this is why i am, in general, an avoider of fantasy. it's harder to bounce back to the way things are. real life can tend to feel, then, like a cruel joke, mocking and tempting you to retreat to your rose-colored-glasses state of being when things get rough. me, i'd rather just plow ahead, get through the bad times, come out a bit cleaner in the end.

*dusts self off*

so....i've chicken to marinate and hair to wash and i suppose i should do all that i can while there's energy in me to do it. there may be light at the end of this particular tunnel after all....

Friday, April 04, 2003

there's more where that came from....

part 1: randomness on parade
i love my hair straightened. it makes me happy. sure, i know...curls are the natural state of my mane, but there is something so fabulous about being able to run my fingers through my hair without it getting all frizzy and wacko. of course, getting it to that point involves some actual work, but i always feel that the results are well worth anything i need to do to get it that way.

i'm all alone at home this evening. sj is out with a friend, and it's rather pleasant to be here alone - to watch junky tv talent shows, eat a brownie or 2 that i baked last night, and think the thoughts that are far too often pressed deep and away from the living room of my conscious mind. i guess i should be reading or cleaning or doing something 'productive', but my heart is too syrupy and sentimental and my mind too wandery and pondering just now for things such as scrubbing sinks or ingesting literature.

part 2: the pith
it's sinking in (as i hear the dishwasher churning in the background) that i find myself at such an odd place tonight. there is a part of me that is truly satisfied with my important relationships (especially one in particular); i am learning to allow myself to be loved in a way that i really never have before, making myself vulnerable and feeling the weight (and rewards) of that risk. it occurs to me that i am actually worth someone wanting to be with me for the rest of his life, and i must say that it's a total challenge and joy to find my niche in navigating the intricacies of male/female communication 101 (it really SHOULD be a class!). there is a boy who makes me smile. a lot. right in this moment, even.

okay, well, all of this is good, right? right... but then, there's this other part of me that feels like i could easily spiral out of control at any moment....the part of me that clings to the cragged edge of 'normal', nails bloodied from holding on for so long, crying inside for some kind of relief. this is also the part of me that doesn't want to show herself....doesn't want the ones i love to see the truth, to see the pain inside of me. because somehow, maybe, it would make them run the other way.

but you would say come on, sar...you've come too far to let that fear stand in your way. think of all you've accomplished this year. think of all that you've shown of yourself and how enriched and deeper your relationships are because of that.

ok, yeah, but i've got to be honest: the things i've shared of myself, while difficult and definitely what i would define as 'risks', weren't THAT BAD...at least not from my perspective. there's so much more waiting behind the closed doors inside of myself. and if i open them now....

just a little, even....and if the oceans of pain break into waves and flood my world, will i be able to stand? God, will i be alone again? please don't let me be alone again. You were there...in that place....in that time...and You will always be there....but will there be arms to hold me? will there be feet and hands and voices to Your love this time around? i'm so scared. i'm so scared.

i'm.

so.

scared.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

hot pan = blank canvas

i dig my fingers into oil-filled jars, extracting the deep crimson peppers, fat hunks of marinating artichoke, plunge them into the hot pan and smile as they sizzle and dance, their skins popping and releasing caramelized sweetness....whole, plump black olives burst with fresh saltiness....then minced garlic, pungent and spicy, mellowing as it browns. diced tomatoes. white wine. fresh herbs, toasted pine nuts. simmer. reduce. add more wine. reduce again.

rescue the fusilli from its cauldron of foam and bubbles. sauce over top. lots of crumbled feta cheese. iced water in a wine glass (all 'normal' receptacles churning away in dishwasher's hot, soapy whirlwind).

windows open, breeze pouring in to further mess up already tousled hair. afternoon sun kisses my cheek. prayer. lunch.
off the top of my head:

1. my baby blue satin pajamas, smooth and cool against my skin, are rocking my world.
2. there is a distinct rumbling in my stomach that i am going to quell with something tasty and good, if it's the last thing i do today!
3. i love my silver puzzle ring.
4. i am nearing completion of 'blue shoe' by anne lamott. i WILL finish this book, even despite my lack of literary commitment of late.
5. i love being someone's last phone call before bed.

that is all.
delayed

i'm starting to wonder if i've hit some kind of writers' block. for whatever the reason, i'm finding that i have little to say lately. in my personal life, i keep having conversation after conversation, but none of it, sadly, is blog-worthy material.

my dreams have been strange and arresting, causing me to wake startled and unsure of my surroundings. and subject-wise, they have run the gamut, but most of them involve some kind of situation from which i need or want to escape. hmm....ring a bell to my life? you betcha.

all of this still adds up to the fact that i'm tired...very tired. and i've been tired for quite some time. and no, this kind of tiredness has nothing (or next to nothing) to do with the amount of sleep i have or have not procured for myself. it's a deeper, all-encompassing exhaustion that requires spiritual and emotional intervention. and God has been the ever-present companion, leading me down path after overgrown path to places i haven't wanted to go for years and years. and it's been painful and eye-opening and amazing and the hardest thing i've ever done and it's wearing me down. and over the last year, my hair has started to slowly turn white....stress is making me old.

but i know this isn't a life and death sentence....it's not my destiny. it's a moment. it's a season. it's the long, cold winter at the end of which, i am sure, there will be a spring. the birds are chirping outside the window even as i type this...it's all begun again for them, and i huddle deeper under my blankets, waiting for the chill to dissipate. i am not there yet.

i have not yet arrived.