Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A little hope

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope ~Martin Luther

In just a few short days it will be upon us. Christmas. I find it almost hilarious how fast the holiday comes....and then leaves. No matter how early I start listening to Christmas music. No matter how many nights I enjoy the glow of my Christmas tree (and try to keep my cat out of it). No matter how early the Christmas shopping gets done. No matter how many sugar cookies I frost....or eat. I never seem prepared for the day.

Each year I find that Christmas comes quicker and leaves without a trace of even being here. I find that I somehow "hang up" pieces of my Christmas spirit as each new year dawns. It's almost like I'm consistently outgrowing that tacky wool sweater....and I have to keep on coming up with appropriate substitutes.

Maybe, you say, this is all a part of growing up. Yes, the mystery of Santa never lasted very long for me. We can all thank my logic driven childhood for that (gracious parents). One can only stare at brightly colored lights for so long. Right? And too many cookies would inevitably lead me to diabetic coma. Sure. There is always excess. Maybe that is where childhood memories refuse to connect with adult ones. Maybe Christmas is never "quite as good as....(fill in the year)" because we "excess". Maybe, we've lost hope.

Strip it back. Break it down. Christmas, at the root, is all about a little hope. But, not for the cynic: that associates "hope" with an intellectual breach in reality. I suffer from cynicism at times.

Just a little hope. One bright spot in the year. Where families try to get along. Where friends come home. Where we gather around a table and look at people....and thank God for them. A little hope. That cause us to count blessings. To give from the heart. Sit down excess. Sit down commercialism. Let it rest. A little hope. That causes us to become a little child-like. What's so wrong with that anyways? Hanging up lights and ornaments and stockings and feeling....joy. A little hope. That causes us to parade through the snow singing obnoxious Christmas carols. A little hope. One time a year where we can celebrate peace and sit down the problems of life. If just for a little while.

A little hope. That causes me to remember I have hope. It lives in me.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A little thanks

"Holiday, oh, holiday! And the best one of the year...."

With this being only a few short days before Thanksgiving.....I thought I would be as cliche' as possible and compose a list of some of the lovely things I am indeed thankful for.
I pondered how to go about this: should I use the alphabet as my guide? I mean, letters are fun. Should I only do the top ten? Or maybe the top 25...to coincide better with turkey day? An acronym. Yes, that's it.

With that, here is the list with none of the above.

My God. Poke fun if you want. But, I am grateful for Jesus and mercy and not getting what is fair. And I intend to live every day of my life striving to represent that. Loving others and following truth. And guess what? I'm not too worried that it isn't popular.

My Husband. Please see previous post for the extended version. Simply put, I am grateful he is in my life.

My Parents(biological and "adopted"). Shout out to both sides. So grateful that my parents raised me to be aware of life. A great gift. They have done more for me than I could ever give back. So grateful for my in-laws: I have gained another family.

My brothers. Two of my favorite people. They make my life a happier place. I'm grateful for all the memories we have had.

Diabetes Research. I am so blessed to have the aid of technology and information to help control my disease. I have the chance to live a longer life because of it.

My guitar. There are so few moments that I enjoy more than just playing by myself. The ability to enjoy music is such a privilege.

My Kitty. Honestly, some people may not get this. But, she has brought so much laughter into my life. She is my buddy and pal: a part of my family.

God's Word I am not thankful enough to have access to the Bible on a daily basis.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, November 15, 2010

Money, Money, Money


"To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it." -G.K. Chesterton

My mind was turned to the idea of money this past week as I was reading a magazine. The editor was discussing three ideas that surround the green stuff itself.
1.) Money costs time
2.) That experiences are more important than money
3.) Giving money away makes you happier.

Naturally, this sparked some thoughts in my own mind that I thought I would share. I am, by no means, rich. This isn't because my husband and I don't work hard. As I elaborated in a previous post: my husband is one of the hardest workers I know. I have come to the conclusion, quite a long time ago, that I will never be "rich" in the world's eyes. I will never spend thousands and thousands of dollars on surgery to preserve my twenty-something self. I will never own a multi-million dollar home. Most likely I will have to forgo those luxurious expenses that the green stuff can buy.And the list could go on. Amazingly, I'm doing just fine with the previous revelations.

I was thinking that the editor of this magazine made some good points. Money does cost time. It requires that you spend more hours away from home. More hours away from friends and family. More hours at the office or pursuing education or running after the promotion. The more money one wants to make: the more time you better be willing to put in. And with our culture's obsession with having stuff and more stuff and new stuff and better stuff than the neighbors down the road....well, that is a lot of time. Is it worth it? Obviously, we all have to put in some time into our jobs to provide for our families. Basic needs here. But are we seeking excess at the expense of relationships?

When I look back on my life (what I have lived so far) I can easily see that the experiences I've had mean so much more to me than the checks I've cashed. Simple things: watching a movie with my hubby, playing music on a Sunday morning, camping up north ect. Mind you, some experiences cost money, but there are simple pleasures in life that are sometimes lost in the pursuit of having more things.

Lastly, I know that any time I have given money away there is a sense of fulfillment in that. Maybe one reason why I love Christmas so much is because we are challenged to give. To think about someone else. To get past our needs and wants. To sacrifice self. In this economy, there are so many people that are still in need. That are still working hard and not making ends meet. This holiday season is the perfect opportunity to think about using our resources for something good.

While I may never fall under the category of "financially successful": I am blessed. I have more than I could ever want or need. I refuse to live my life in the pursuit of money: how I can make a lot of it quick and fast. The love of money replaces some of the simplest joys in life: faith, experience, giving, and family. It robs us of joy when we feel like we don't "have enough". It sets itself up in our lives as a false security. It pretends to give us value. I wonder, if at the end of the day, we are giving a piece of paper more power than it deserves in our lives?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hug a tree


I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines - Henry David Thoreau

My husband and I were driving down a familiar road on our way to church this past Sunday. We've put a lot of miles on this road over the last few years. But,to my dismay,something looked out of place during this particular trip. The road had changed. It looked different. Felt different. Almost barren. It didn't take me too long to realize that the large trees that had once lined this familiar road were now all missing.

As we drove further down the road my eyes drifted to the stumps that remained. There had to have been at least twenty-five to thirty of these beautiful trees that had been cut down to mere stumps: these lovely mature trees. I suppose that the city decided they were getting in the way of power lines. Or roads. Or they were too much maintenance. Or they wanted to put in another gas station. I remember them trimming the tops every spring as they continued to grow.

I have an odd affinity for trees. They fascinate me in a way. Such tall and magnificent pieces of nature that always let us know when the seasons are changing. I love the blooms and green buds that peek out when Spring begins to arrive. Just that small sight of green after a long dreary winter is refreshing.
I love the full bodied trees in the summer. The vibrancy of life all around. I especially love watching trees change into acts of color as fall passes through. They paint a landscape and allow me to drive underneath them: their leaves floating all around. Trees in the winter stand as structural pieces of art. Their arms twisting and turning up to the sky.

I find that trees make the seasons extra special. They can grow and grow and grow....and just keep on existing. Trees will be around when people have come and gone. Trees seem to be a piece of history. I like to imagine what trees would say...if they could speak. What stories would they tell about the area in which they are rooted?
There are very few things as enjoyable to me as spending an afternoon among nature: walking through paths of trees.
That road has lost a piece of it's charm. It no longer has the same "welcoming" feeling to it. It seems more stark and empty. I am reminded that we are called to be good stewards of what we are given. Once nature is stripped away, it's not as easy to "put back". I am challenged to be thankful and aware of what has been created. Even trees.

Monday, November 1, 2010

for my husband...


"What's so wrong with being personal anyways...if anything else we should begin by being personal."

Today was my husband's 25th Birthday. I feel as we get older, Birthdays lose the personal touches that made them so special when we were younger. The fact that we don't get toys anymore is a little disheartening. Blowing out candles is no longer a good time to see how close to fire we can get. Or how many wishes we can make. We grow up. We become cynical. We despise getting older. Time starts to go by faster. We change a little. Today my husband marked 25 years. And for some odd reason I have been unusually thoughtful about this particular Birthday of his.

I have been reminded of how extremely grateful I am just to be a part of his life. To walk side by side with him. My best friend. I apologize now if this is a little too sentimental for you. I normally have a low tolerance for this kinda' stuff as well. So, lets take a deep breath and keep on going. Shall we? There is a deep appreciation that continues to grow for who my husband is and what his life represents.

Undoubtedly, he is the most selfless person I know. For the last four years he has given up his life. Quite simply: for me. He has sacrificed one of the most precious things we have: time. He has worked harder than any one I know, and I know he has done it for me. For us. For our marriage. For our life. Self sacrifice at it's finest. His alarm goes off every morning at 4:30. I view this as the middle of the night. And that is when it begins. He travels thirty minutes to a job that is anything but pleasant and works around people that do anything but care about their employees and he puts in those 50-60 hours.

He has fought every negative emotion that goes along with performing a job that makes you feel anything but self satisfied. He has fought compulsive fatigue and physical exhaustion. He has fought the urge of frustration that working for the next pay check creates. He has fought the emotional bankruptcy that comes when you can't see the end of the tunnel anymore. He has fought.
Four years may seem like such a small span in the last 25. But time is precious no matter how one measures it out.
Publicly and personally: thank you babes for fighting for us and for loving me enough to lay down your time so unselfishly. I love you.
happy birthday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

.....

Unintentional Living

I have neglected to consider certain aspects of my life...because I am distracted by them. Have you ever felt that feeling? One day you just consider something you never considered before? You think about it. Anything really fits into this "category" of sorts. Simple to complex. We forget to consider the life we are living....because we are blinded by it in a way.
I don't remember the first time I realized that I grew up in a small town. That moment where I got a glimpse of it's insignificance. I don't recall when I connected that very thought with my own life. I suppose it started when I left for awhile. I heard once that the best way to understand one's own culture is to be immersed in a completely different one. I feel that way about my hometown. I remember driving to Saginaw for the first time: petrified. One doesn't grow up in a place with three stop lights and naturally adapt to four lanes of traffic.
I lived on a dirt road. A dying breed. It was natural to watch billows of sand dip and swirl through the rear view mirror. I could make it to my place of employment in exactly three minutes. Or less. I never considered it odd that my brother and I found entertainment in driving to the library or scouring local stores that no one would ever recognize by name.
Was it unusual that my friends and I would take special trips to the local thrift store in search of unique finds? Perhaps we were looking for a way to express ourselves in an area that left little room for difference.
Growing up in a one mile radius of extended family was not considered unique....but quite normal. I found literal significance in walking through the woods to Grandma's house.
It never crossed my mind that I was immersed in simplicity and there was a huge world outside the windows I looked out. Even now, years later, I'm still overcome by a feeling of impact when I return. Almost dumbfounded. That I never considered my life. Never questioned it. Never examined my roots. Never thought of anything outside of it. Lest you get the wrong impression, I do not equate simplicity and smallness with negativity. I don't consider myself better for leaving. I simply find my hometown a constant lesson to myself. A reminder that one can become so consumed with their world (no matter how tiny or big) that they forget to consider it . The smallest amount of hind-sight is all it takes to learn from living.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Workin' it Out

There is probably one hundred and one things that I should be doing right now...besides writing this post. But, oh well. There are probably one hundred and one things you, the reader, should be doing as well....besides reading my post. Don't bother. Keep reading. This could get interesting.

I went to the doctor a couple weeks ago. I know, not the most ear catching intro sentence, but sometimes I need to rely simply on the facts. Anyways, so I went for my usual check up in regards to my diabetes. You know, the reason why I wear a "pager" all the time. That would be it. To my dismay, I was informed that I supposedly have high cholesterol. What has my body come to? A breeding ground of inconvenience! That's what. Apparently, my addiction to cheese has caught up to me. Well, like a good patient I asked to have six months to get my body in order before they try and medicate me. Even more.

Side note: what is up with doctors and medication? I think they enjoy scribbling on those little pads of paper words that we can't read. And even if we could...we still can't make out their hand writing. So the whole thing is pretty much not legible..... then we get the ferocious signature at the end and "rrrriippp" you are handed a piece of paper with all the answers. Thank goodness for professional post-it notes.

Back to the point. So, I have changed my cheese addiction into a "once a day indulgence" and that has been.....difficult. I have also succumb to the cheerio band wagon. You know, eating cheerios may help you lower your cholesterol. I pour a murky watery substance on them now instead of milk. But, my favorite new development is trying to run. This has proven to be more hilarious than anything else. I can officially make it mile....but not without soaking every piece of clothing on my body and gasping for air with every thud of my feet.

I am not sure if all this will do any good in the end. My doctor seems to think the post-it note is the best way to go. But, I have resolved in my mind, that even if I only lose one point off my total cholesterol: I tried . I didn't just reach for the easy answer. And I refuse to think my body is only capable of swallowing pills. So, five and half months to go.....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

For the love of coffee

What does an addiction start out as? I wonder. I mean, do we just play with an idea or engage in an activity a few times to spark a slight obsession? Because I was confused as to why my thoughts kept on wandering to coffee.

It started innocently enough: the occasional cup here and there. I was a college student for most of my life you know. I was bound to be exposed to coffee at some point during that endeavor.

I can't recall my first taste of iced coffee. But whenever it was...well, it seems like a dark, faded memory now. The barb of iced coffee has sunk into my psyche and I have become....addicted.

So, I was pondering this the other day as my craving was getting, well, let's say: "especially noticeable." And I have determined that coffee (specifically iced coffee from starbucks: double cream, one sugar, and a splash of vanilla) has become more than just a simple addiction to it's caffeinated powers. While enticing, there remains a larger meaning.

Simply put: coffee releases happy memories in my mind. The mere smell is enough. I am transported back to college classrooms full of bustling minds and early mornings with crisp newspapers and fall days with cool air and orange pumpkins and special corners in coffee stores where I could sit for hours in a nook of earth tone paint.

I am reminded of relatives and their small houses that I would visit in the small town where I used to live. I think of favorite mugs and the simple comfort that comes from something warm in one's hand. I think of late nights...writing that endless paper. Coffee was sustenance. And now it is memory and something simple and aesthetically pleasing.

And so my pondering mind came to the conclusion that the senses of taste and smell can really invoke a memory...or a flood of memories in coffee's case. And how wonderful that something so simple can bring such a tickle of happiness that makes us stop and appreciate the intricacy of human life.

So, by all means, go drink some coffee.

Monday, July 12, 2010

...........

Well I suppose it is no secret. I am sure the word has gotten out. Everyone must know by now. I have come to admit it. I have indeed hit a dry patch. Months of having little to no desire to write about minor details. I conclude that I have had nothing that sparked my interest enough that I would want to write it down, discuss, or think over it. Simple as that.

So, what? I think I can come back to the written world and just plop out some thoughts after months of ignoring anything remotely related to blogging? Not exactly. See, I don't feel fully recovered from this patch of "nothing to write". And while I have had writer's block many times in my life, this has felt way more personal.

It's as if my inner writer has been on strike and pouting for months now. The inner critic has sliced into my thoughts and I have been too generous in giving up on ideas. Where once I jumped at the chance to write about nothing. I now see my "nothings" as really nothing. Peculiar. Odd. Not enjoyable. I am unsure what the cure for this type of written turmoil is.....besides just writing regardless.
And so I did.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The test to any relationship.....

Barf. Puke. Whatever you like to call it.~~ Disclaimer: if you have a weak stomach, just stop reading. I don't want to be responsible for this post ruining your lunch.~~

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes, talking about the one thing that causes most of us a lot of fear. Or just plain discomfort. I am not a fan of puking. I am not a fan of nausea, or the stomach aches that go along with both. I can think of a number of things that I would rather "have" or "do" than puke. So, now that we understand my pure hate for the act, let me explain the point of such a grotesque post.

Just a few short weeks ago my husband and I left on vacation with my parents. We were flying to Atlanta from Michigan and then from Atlanta to San Juan. To make a treacherous story much shorter: I hate flying as well. Almost as much as I hate puke. But, nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen next. Only a hour into my first flight did I receive the urgency to puke out everything my stomach held dear. So, while my father was taking his time finding a little white bag. Not sure why they make "puke holders" white. To make us feel more clean? Validated? Anyways, I decided to tackle my mother on her way out of the plane bathroom. Ironic. And you can imagine what happened next.

Flight #2. I am given an insane amount of Dramamine which is supposedly there to help with motion sickness. And if I haven't mentioned before: that is my problem. I board the second flight nothing short of delusional. But, delusion could not save me from the inevitable. Only twenty minutes into my second flight I pummel the women next to me in order to make it to the bathroom on time. Unfortunately, I was too late. While I struggled vehemently with the bathroom door...I was puking...and we all know that one's cheeks can only expand so far. It was a lost cause. I was panicked. Until I turned around to find my husband standing there and with a ease that made me look ridiculous, he opened the bathroom door. My hero.

Well, I won't tell you that the next three hours of that flight were enjoyable. Because, I would be lying. Probably the closest thing to torture I have ever experienced. My point in this post was not to gross everyone out...even though I'm sure some of you thought you were bold and continued reading after my disclaimer. But, to simply say that you know someone reallllly loves you when they are there to open that jammed bathroom door in an airplane when you are in a puking panic. You know that someone really loves you when they are willing to sacrifice most of their vacation to take care of the lame sick person.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Home

Ok, I admit it. I have been one of those people. A "home hater", if you don't mind me saying. I have suffered dearly with the syndrome for awhile now. The place that I call "home" normally gets a thrashing from my tongue at least once a day. And if it is not verbalized I allow thoughts of revolt to play through my head.
Don't act like you have no idea of the type I speak of (technically writing of). From my own personal experience, I know myself to be unloyal to my home. Willing to betray it at a moments notice. I am constantly plotting and drawing maps of my escape. I have scoured the land in search of an appropriate distance from the place that I now reside. Yes, many elaborate measures have been taken to plan out the escape plan that I now deem as my own.
But, until I can become more diplomatic this does not stop me from commenting on "home" as if it were a dirty, filthy rag that remains attached to me at all times. I scoff at it. Poke fun. Come up with witty banters that I can share with other "home haters". Make up stories about the grass being greener on the other side.
What happened next, I have no explanation for. I have been honest about my feelings, until this point. I went away. I got on a plane and went far far away. And I remained that way for about 11 days. During this extended time crazy things began to happen. I would look at a map and feel twinges of anxiousness. I began to compare and contrast exotic locations to....home. And to my surprise, they were not winning or standing well in the contrast. I began missing things. Simple things. Things I normally made fun of. Routines that my husband and I lament on. Areas that had become common place and dull. I started to miss. And we all know that missing leads to this dull ache that one can not quite explain...but we are fully conscious that it is there. And it was there.
I'm not sure what to make of those eleven days as I softened towards the place I have bantered against. I'm not sure that much of the bantering has or will change as routine sets in. But, it left room for a pause. What is "home"? What does it really mean? What does it consist of? And I doubt "home" is the same for everyone. As cheesy as the old saying goes: "Home is where the heart is". I find some truth in that. When you are gone for a long time where is the one place that tugs at your sleeve? The one place that when you are sick you want to run back to. What place has become a comfort that you might not even recognize but you carry it around anyways? Home holds an element of consistency (as much as it can) and even the foulest hater of routine learns that home, in all of it's repetitive nonsense, becomes the double-edged sword that we can not fully escape.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Day the Music Died.

I have known for a long time that this post was in the making....but like any other process things need to marinate before they are just spewed out onto the page. So, here is my spew.
I actually started thinking seriously about this topic when one of my favorite bands tweeted their disgust with the music charts. Basically, he lamented that we are living in sad times. And I thought, 'so true'. So, why do we live in sad musical times? There are many reasons my friend, but here are a few of my takes on why music in our generation is dying.

1.) We have no need for true musical talent anymore. If one has sat down to watch American Idol this season for even half a millisecond (which is about all I can stand), there is repeating theme of people thinking they can sing. Ok, I'm not trying to get all Simon Cowell on everyone, but honestly no one understands the limits of their own voice. No one can HEAR the tone in music. This could be a result of the mindless pop charts that tell us a musical artist is all about sounding good on a CD (thanks to auto tune and every other voice over) but once we hear them live....well, lets just say the lip syncing shouldn't surprise us anymore people.

2.) On top of pure vocal talent, we have lost the need for instrumentation. Now, instead of seeing the artist write their own music, we have a bunch of musicians standing in the back pushing the "star" forward. It seems like the only requirement in today's realm of being considered a musician is to be able to shake one's body on stage hoping that it proves as interesting as a well thought out guitar solo. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

3.) Lyrically popular music is killing brain cells. I was almost at a loss for words when I heard the recent "chart topping hit": "Blah Blah Blah" by a girl name Ke$ha. What?! Again I say, 'What?!' Not only does she fit my last two points perfectly, the lyrics to this song are vulgar, pointless, and take less musical insight then what my cat could write. This is what is considered chart topping music nowadays. This is what pumps mindlessly over popular radio stations. What kids are singing in school. Criteria: the song must talk about (in some form): sex, a party (any kind), alcohol (or better yet, 'a bottle of Jack' as pointed out to me yesterday), and any other ridiculous pointless encounter. Now that is talent.

4.) Music has been lost as the appreciation of an art form. Quite simply put. Our generation values what anyone else tells them is popular. Well, if you are hearing it on a popular radio station, it most likely fits into the previous categories. Very rarely do you hear music with any in-depth instrumentation, or lyrics that speak to anything other than your sex-drive on the radio or "music tv".

Now, am I saying that all music needs to be a life changing experience? No, not necessarily. Music sometimes needs to be fun....void of too many points. But, the problem arises when the music we see as valuable (that seems harmless) really preaches that a life of partying is the answer. Or how about the fact that women "artist" have more of a need to wear no clothes when they sing, versus sitting down and writing some worth while lyrics. And we wonder why the youth of America seems to value an outward appearance over anything else?

Now, for those of us that still value the art in music. The experience that powerful lyrics can give. The way that music can literally transport our mood or speak directly to it. The history behind it. The work that it takes to produce a true lyrical masterpiece. You know, that one song you wish you had written. The art that is present when playing an instrument.
For those of us that still value these things. We are going to have to look harder. There are still amazing artists out there, developing. There are still amazing songs from the past. But, you wont hear them booming through the tanner the next time you decide you need a "little sun." No, you won't be able to find their CD at the top of the rack. Their lyrics won't be present on facebook statuses. And you most certainly will not see them on popular shows receiving rewards. No, you and I will have to search for them. We will have to scour the history books so we can continue to remember what the word "music" truly means as related to art.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fear

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." -John 14:27

I've been reading in John lately. And I find it amazing when I come across verses that I have read before...but sometimes they just hit me in a different way. I've been thinking lately about how debilitating fear is. It's amazing how many things really stem from fear. Maybe we have a tendency to think of fear in specific ways. But, as of late I am realizing that my tendency to want to plan everything, my tendency to get anxious about details really stems from fear. My fear of not having control of time. My fear of not having control over how my plans will "pan out".

Interesting. So, I found it especially interesting when I read that verse the other day. Those words, straight from Jesus. And it made me think how I know I subconsciously and sometimes very consciously seek peace in the world. We look to money for security. Or maybe it is having a closet full of clothes. Or maybe it is our dreams and plans. Maybe it is escaping into a hobby. Maybe it's our friends or family...sometimes our animals. Education. Status. Jobs. Maybe I'm the only one that feels this way, but at the end of the day all those things (while enjoyable and sometimes great blessings) feel very void. If that is all they are. And I'm not satisfied with that.

Anyways. As soon as I open God's Word I find comfort. Peace. I read those words straight from Jesus, and I'm ok with taking him at His word. I'm ok with admitting my fear. I'm ok with giving it up.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Perfect Spring Fling

So there I am. Snuggled in my bed...under a mess of blankets. I like layers. I'm half dreaming...because I dream a lot. My head is enjoying a "perfect fluffy pillow" moment. And then, I hear it. It moves through my apartment distinctly. Birds. I can hear them chirping. The songs they like to sing in the morning versus any other time of the day. Personally, I respect birds for that. Because if there was ever a time of day that I normally did not feel like singing (and this is rare) it would be in the morning. It could be because I am not a morning person by any means, and I wouldn't want anyone to get the false impression that I was by singing. Or it could be because I feel like everything should be quiet in the morning. A time of peace. Or maybe it's because I can't seem to sing a single note without a negative fluctuation in my vocal chords in the wee morning hours. Apparently birds do not suffer from morning voice.

Anyways. I heard it. And that is a sure sign of spring. And call me sentimental, but there are specific things that give me instant warm fuzzies along with a flood of happy memories...and birds singing in the morning do just that. So, while I know this "spring fling" we are having probably will be crushed by at least one more snow fall, today is going to be 50 degrees. And that is lovely.

On days like today I just want to hop into my car and roll the windows down. Put in my favorite CD and just drive down random roads as the sunshine pours in. This driving excursion requires me to put on my favorite sunglasses of course...and I need a beverage by my side. Something about spring makes me want to drink iced coffee. Extra ice.
So, on this almost-spring day I'm wondering what signs of the season make your heart beat sentimentally and you just have to do: . Fill in the blank.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Where I want to be.

It has been quite a long time since I have last posted anything. Somewhat of a drought in the ability to write. But, that is what happens when one is busy searching for something to do with their time. In my case, looking for that job that has yet to appear to me.

I have had a lot of time to think though. Which I am not sure if I enjoy that or not. Too much time to think allows one to feel slightly insane versus thoughtful. Which I would prefer the latter. I am a planner. I like to plan. I like to write lists. I like to organize. And because of that, I have a slight tendency to have big plans for the future. Everyone has a vision of where they would like their life to go. I'm not sure if that qualifies me as a dreamer, because along with my planning remains my stark practicality that prevents me from reaching "too far".

So, I have been thinking a lot lately, about where I want to go. Where I want to be. And I can see the goal in the distance. Not to get all emo on everyone...but I sometimes feel it is very out of reach. That sinking feeling where one feels stuck and they are trying to push through. To be honest, I have felt that way when I look ahead towards my plans.

And then I remember this: "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." (Proverbs 16:3). I can not think of how many times I have worried about where I want to be. I have made the worry of my future plans a security blanket that I have a hard time shedding. It is so easy to become bound by worry. It so easy to become bound by the negativity that nothing is going to move.

And then I remember this: "...But the word of God is not bound!" (2 Timothy 2:9b ESV)
So whatever I feel in bondage to, whether it be my concern of the future, or my lack of job prospects, or even the thought of where I want to be: my future plans.....God's word is not bound. God is not bound. And He came to set me free. And there is power in speaking that into existence.

So, when I look at where I want to be and all the financial and situational things that need to happen. When I look at my plans for the future and the ideas that I have....when I take a hard look at my plans:it can seem stark. Almost unattainable. Unreachable. Not quite fathomable. Not practical. No reality. Too much.....

But then I remember.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kitty Surgery

It was inevitable. I could only put it off for so long. Three long years went by...and kitty still had her ovaries. Now, let this be a disclaimer: if you hate animals...or cats...stop reading this post right now. Walk away. Shut off the computer. Do not read another line. Because this post, inevitably, is all about the one thing you hate.

Back to the point. So, after years of putting off the dreaded ovary removal. It was time. I could only take so much torture. And as you may have noticed from my last entry...kitty was torturing me with her pain. Siamese cats are known for their...ahem..unique personalities...but try having a unique personality go into "heat" for a week. That is seven days. So, I swallowed my ability to overlook kitty's flaws and I did the unthinkable. I called the vet. Her appointment was set into stone upon my stark white calendar. There was no going back now.

Unfortunately, kitty's big day did not come without inflicting pain upon me as well. I had to crawl out of bed at 6:00 a.m and drive on dark roads to a destination that was, in the boonies. Horror movie material. Not to mention, I got lost. Because I have such an awesome sense of direction. The back roads were just too much for my frail spirit to handle at that time.

My emotional state was unstable. And as if kitty new this, she started letting out this pitiful cry when I finally pulled into the driveway of shame. I couldn't handle the thought of leaving my fuzzy companion my little "kibosky" (yes, I just name dropped her nick-name) at the mercy of strangers. That lived in the sticks no less. What was a reputable vet doing out in the middle of no where? Maybe I should have got some references? Wrote out a list of the things she hates? My clock on the dash told me it was time.

I walked into the deserted, slightly abnormal vet office. Kitty looked like she was ready to pass out in her cage. Which made me wonder if she knew what was coming next. The lady made me sign a piece of paper. Signing kitty away. Then I made the pass. The lady swept the cage out of my hands and I caught a glimpse of kitty huddled in the corner, hiding next to her stuffed reindeer. My bottom lip quivered.

I thought it best to make a b-line for my car, as I whimpered and let the tears fall. Pathetic? Yes. But, necessary just the same. I had betrayed my friend. I had just left her there. I didn't say goodbye. I didn't comfort her. Oh the guilt.

Needless to say I spent the day moping waiting for the kitty surgery to be complete. Once I got the magical call I sped back to the boonies in search of my furry friend. I was greeted by a drugged and slightly pathetic version of my cat. She donned neon pink stitches, which I made a mental note of just in case I ever needed stitches. I brought the fuzz home and watched her struggle to move, she was in pain. And changed.

And I thought how painful it is to watch something you love go through pain. Even necessary pain. Even when it is for the better. Even when you know it will not be forever. Just a little cat. But, still my little companion.

Needless to say, she is back to normal now. Terrorizing my rug. Eating all the time. Talking back. Licking everything. Fetching her reindeer. And biting erick.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A case of insanity

It seems like there is a case of insanity going around the Jurek household these days. Now, lets not get carried away. I do mean the immediate residence of this here apartment. Anyone outside of "apartment A" that calls "Jurek" their last name I can not speak for.
And I suppose if we want to get even more personal...I should narrow this insanity down to myself and kitty. This could be due to a number of things. The current list is narrowed down to these items:
1.) kitty is in "heat" (a fancy term for: "kitty wants to have more baby kitties with a male kitty and subsequently will overtake the earth with her spawn"). This is naturally a scary thought for anyone sane. And anyone that has met/lived with kitty.

2.) I am trapped inside a 900 square foot apartment that has little window to the outside world. This becomes an issue as I get to listen to kitty slowly slip into insanity every minute of every day.

3.) I do a religious 'job search' every day that proves fruitless every time. I think I have somehow got myself to believe that a matter of hours should change the 'job postings' section on my computer.

4.) My new wardrobe consists of pajamas and over sized fuzzy slippers that do wonders to my figure which in turn does a wonder to one's self esteem and the ability to think motivational thoughts.

5.) I am not sleeping at night. I feel tired. I end up listening to Erick snore through the whole alphabet and spend most of my free time finding new ways to quiet his throaty nostril noise. This results in hours of diabolical planning that culminates in me kicking him repeatedly...only to have him roll over and start the process all over.

I am reassured that kitty does not have an opinion on the matter and would rather me find a job so she can spend hours alone in her self misery. Unfortunately, soon I will be the only one with a case of the crazies in this living space as I am calling the veterinarian tomorrow: to destroy kitty's ideal of taking over the world with mini versions of herself.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I live vicariously through the movie: "You've Got Mail"

It comes as no secret to those that know me well. I am addicted. I have no pressing excuse to why. I don't consider myself a "movie buff", actually I prefer hands on activities versus laying in front of my TV. But, just the same I have watched this movie an uncountable amount of times. Uncountable. Does it ever get old? NO. Do I ever get bored? No, again. This is also odd because I normally watch movies once and I am done with them for all eternity. Or at least a few good years. Not this one.

I have often considered getting psychological on myself to find the real reason behind such madness. I actually saw the movie in theaters at the tender age of eleven. I remember going to see it with my mother after we had the "rights of passage into womanhood" weekend. Memorable.

I am unsure if it's the old whimsical music that pumps throughout the whole movie. I do have the soundtrack. I mean it doesn't get any better than this cd on a sunny day when one just wants to walk outside. It has such hits as "Rockin' Robin" (Bobby Day), "Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours" (Stevie Wonder),"Dreams" (Cranberries) and my personal favorite, "The Puppy Song" (Harry Nilsson). Amongst other older classics.

If not the music maybe it is the nod to simpler things present in the movie. Meg Ryan (Kathleen Kelly) seems perfectly innocent with her pixie cut and clothes that nod to old woman meets classically understated. I tried to get a pixie cut once.

Maybe it is the oldness of the movie. They parade down these classic back-streets with older apartment buildings lining them along with the trees. Kathleen Kelly herself lives in an old "shabby-chic" apartment with old moldings and intricate details. Her "Shop Around the Corner" becomes the epitome of whimsical bookstore that also has "age" written all over it. I do love old things.

If not all that, it could be the scenes of the Upper West Side of New York. The cafe's, the no-name restaurants, the down town feel that makes one want to drink coffee. One views all these locations in the midst of 3 distinct different seasons. Yes, the movie glorifies fall, portrays Christmas/winter, and makes us all wish for spring. One can watch it in any season and feel a new respect for the temperature outside.

Or it could be the characters that seem full of so much wit that I want to steal it. Tom Hanks (Joe Fox) has a dog named Brinkley. I fully intend on stealing that. He also makes such comments like "Don't you love New York in the Fall? If I knew your name and address I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils". Or such thoughts of wisdom as, "The Godfather is the I-ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question. What should I pack for my summer vacation? 'Leave the gun, take the cannoli.' What day of the week is it? 'Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday.' "

I haven't nailed it down. But, whatever the reason, the movie allows me to dream a little. Maybe all the things I like so much are represented in the movie in a right way? Or maybe it becomes a nod to a life that I hope to live. And we all know that "hoping" pushes us forward.

"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void." (Kathleen Kelly)
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