Saturday, November 29, 2008

Random Thoughts from a Traveler

It's dark outside. Really dark. Of course, it's midnight-ish, so obviously it'd be dark. (I say "ish" because to be honest I don't know what time it is. I'm central time, converted from Eastern time back to Central time now on Eastern time, and my computer is confused, and apparently so am I. And, I could check my phone, but I just don't wanna. That's why I say "ish.") In addition to the lateness of the hour, I also happen to be in North Central Indiana. (I think that's what this area is called.) The "BIG" street outside my house is a two lane highway that runs into Michigan. The truckers just hop on the Big 13 and right that baby north. Oh yes, so do the Amish. There are no streetlights. Just dark. And quiet. And it's home. The duck farm is upwind. (Oh yes, that means we're downwind. That means- well, you don't need me to explain. Trust me, it ain't pretty.) There is the cornfield behind my neighborhood, and the other one across the street. Oh yes, I am home. And I love my home.

But then there's my other home. The home in Illinois where I live. Where I've been living. Where I've made my life, my friends, my work. The lights are always on. It's Chi-town. Even though I don't live in Chicago, it's close enough to carry the traits that come with a big town. Loud, bright, busy. Oh, and traffic. I love, love, love traffic. The more the merrier. )Um, no. Kidding.)

I have two different worlds. Two different places that I can go to and call home. There are differences and there are similarities. There is of course where my family lives. (In reality, I could also throw Texas out here too, but I'll save that for another day. GO COWBOYS!) The place where I grew up. The place that holds my past. It holds my memories. My secrets. And, in the basement some boxes full of trophies. It is the place that I can see that shaped me to be me. The place where I learned to drive and aced trigonometry. (May that A from back then help me with my math class now!) It's the place I hung with my friends, played games with my family, and walked around the neighborhood alone. It is home. Then there is the place where I live. Where I have new friends (new meaning less than 6 years). The people that I see daily and weekly. The place that I had my first apartment and bought a car all by myself. The place that I work. The place where I fought to become a better me, and still fight. It is where I learned to not be afraid and to enjoy the dark and enjoy my own quiet space. Oh, it is home too.

Tonight is my last night here, at my home, with my parents and family. Tomorrow I will travel back to my other home. I am always sad to leave and happy to arrive. I am at the same time reminded how this home here, on earth, isn't really supposed to be our home. It can be easy to fill misplaced or forgotten as I have so many times throughout my life. The one thing that I should remember, and yet so easily forget, is that there is Someone who always has a place for me. Why is it then, that He's the first one I forget?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

¿Qué le hace feliz?

Oh, Happy Day!
Today did not start off quite as I had hoped. I woke up late. (Really only by 3 minutes, but those three minutes really do a number on my drive.) Fortunately I always figure out what I'm wearing the night before, otherwise, I'm standing incoherently at the front of my closet, bleary eyed and squinting unable to figure out what to put on. At least I had one thing going for me. I arrived to work, five minutes late, but at least I arrived. As I was sitting there I was discussing my choice to be happy. Happy's competition, Cranky, was beginning to win me over. Then I thought, maybe I should come up with a list of things that cause me to be happy. The difference is that I decided to think of weird, eccentric things that bring me some level of joy. There is God, family and friends, but there are also smaller, every day things. In no order of importance here are some things that I thought of:
  1. Chipotle- For those of you who share my feelings toward Chipotle, you know just what I'm saying.
  2. My teeth- I know it's been months, but I can't help it.
  3. Stickers- haha! My fave sticker, "Vote for Jimmy" from Jimmy Johns (of course)!
  4. The smell of leaves burning.
  5. Quiet.
  6. Grape Koolaid.
  7. Bamboo and beavers in the wild.
  8. Flowers- I'm a Lily, Star Gazer, fan.
  9. Cleaned off counters.
  10. My favorite beach in Kenosha.
  11. The word "akin"- Finding different uses for it recently has been quite the challenge, but entertaining in the least.
I am sure that there are others, but those are some for now! Feel free to add your own!

Miscellaneous things to note:
  • I have been trying to figure out how to post a video on this here blog thing. Someone even sent me directions, with pictures! Um, yeah, I don't know. I am determined, however, to figure it out.
  • Based on the clothing I have hanging in my closet I decided to try something new in order to make sure that I cycle through all my clothes. I have all my sweaters/shirts hung down the row in my closet. I am going to wear one right after the other. (I guess that's usually what people do- hard to wear them all at the same time.) But this way there's no choosing. It's like a surprise every day. We'll see if I can keep it up.
  • It was pointed out to me that I have begun to start every sentence with the word, "so." I even find myself typing it. If you happen to experience me using the word so- please wack me.
Random Picture of the Day
Me making dumplings! Also a happy day!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Random Picture Day

On my drive back from church today I took some random pictures. It is a beautiful day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Purple Pants and a Well Worn Sweater

Oh yes, it was my favorite outfit through my freshman year in high school. The pants were purple. There was this faint black patterny design- so light that by the time I got rid of the pants, the black design was no longer visible. The sweater was red- yes red- with patterns of black, green and purple. The purple in the sweater is what tied the whole outfit together- well, in my mind at least. The beauty of those purple pants- they were very versatile. If I needed to dress down I had another shirt- horizontal stripes of gray, pink, blue and purple. In addition the versatility, these pants were extremely comfortable! Nothing like perfection!

How funny is it, that there are certain things we pick out in our mind as "perfect" and then later we realize that whatever it was, wasn't so perfect after all.

I have decided that I am really good at perfecting imperfection. Oh, the glory of being human. The messes we make in our life on a daily basis; from ordering a burger instead of the Quesadilla Explosion Salad (I recently experienced this), to, of course, wearing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, thinking the wrong thing...I could go on and on. Point being, I have experienced the imperfection that comes with day to day living.

This week I started thinking about my desire to be perfect. It is difficult to say the least. (Okay, it's impossible.) I try though. I try to please everyone: my friends, my family, my coworkers, my boss. And then what's funny is sometimes I forget to look to please the one person who really counts- God. It's hard to please everyone at the same time. Especially, when you have people who have conflicting ideas and opinions. God, however, is always consistent in His direction.

I've been reading one of my friend's blogs. This week she talked about Galatians 6. In the last paragraph she says, "It isn't easy doing good. It isn't easy to examine every moment of the day to see if it is "keeping in step with the Spirit." But, it is worth it. It is what we, Spirit-filled followers of Christ, are called to do. We won't be perfect... we will continue to make mistakes... but we have to try..."

The purple pants, and the sweater, and the horizontal striped shirt are long gone. In their place I have found other substitutes. (Namely things that actually match.) It is my hope that as I continue living day to day, I will continue to learn more about God, and I will become more of who He wants me to be. If only being perfect was as easy as changing a wardrobe. Unfortunately it's not. The good side, being dressed in an attitude that comes from God is free!

A random picture from my last week in Charlotte:This "Sticky Bun Dough Blast is (obviously) from Sonic. And while, I've not tried it, I've heard it was good. And who can't help but laugh at the name?!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Doowap doowap... (Spelling anyone?)

I have now been back for a week from Charlotte. This hasn't been the quietest week of my life, but it has been good to be home. The hardest adjustment is the time difference. Because of the time change, and then the time change, there's a two hour difference. I know, I know, two hours is not really that big of a deal, but it's messing with my mind.

A few miscellaneous things to note.
  • My little buddy Joey now says a lot of new words. "Mebow." That's elbow. "Mouf." Mouth. "No." Self explanatory. (That's his favorite word- everything is "no" when you are almost 2.)
  • I hallucinated driving to Iowa on Wednesday. I did not know it was possible, but as I was driving down the road, fixin' to get off on my appropriate exit, I put on my turning signal and exited... well, I thought I did. Another ten miles later I realized- I was on the SAME road! I never exited! Keep in mind, that in Iowa ALL THE ROADS LOOK THE SAME! I can say that without getting in trouble. I grew up in Indiana. The roads are the same there too...corn...cows....tractors...corn...more cows.... pigs.... You get the picture. On the same trip I was also cut off by a tractor! The thing just pulled out in front of me, like he owned the road! Of course, when you take up a lane and a half, and you have round spikey things sticking out from all sides- you can do what you want.
  • I turned on my heat today. Each year I will refuse to turn on my heat until the temp dips into the 30s. Today it dipped. The heat came on. As soon as the temp hits 40 in the spring it'll go off. I can't wait until then. I love when the temp is in the range that you don't need hot or cold.
I leave you with a random picture.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Lasting Hope

We called ourselves "The Fam." There was a good size group of us. Many came and went, but once we designated ourselves with a name, it stuck.

Years later the name still sticks. The group, however, is spread far and wide. While once upon a time we knew exactly where to find each other, corner table in the CBC caf generally, we are now in different locations, leading separate lives. Yet, even still we are all still tied together by the name we gave ourselves so many years ago.

During the college years we encountered a variety of trials and tribulations. Many of us were thrown into a dumpster (or maybe that was just me). There were exams, books to read, and the cafeteria food. We played cards and hockey. (Well, I more watched and tried to stay upright on my Rollerblades.) We went camping, caving and canoeing. We ate together, and laughed together- and we occasionally cried (okay- me again!).

And then, this week sadness struck a few members of The Fam as a brother died unexpectedly and tragically. And I know that over the last few years since we have all been apart, this is not the first tragedy. Unfortunately over the next sixty years it probably won't be the last.

Last night I found myself sitting in this small church in a small town in Iowa with this reality washing over me. The reality that we only have one life. The reality that we are none of us immune to heartache and disaster. The reality that life is short, and there are no guarantees.

But I have this hope. I have this hope and faith and belief that God does hold us in His hands. That He works all things for good for those who love Him. And I have this knowledge that no matter how far I fall, if I reach my hand out toward Him, He will life me up and hold me tight. And many will disagree with me, maybe even you as you read this. But as I sat and listened to Jason's sister-in-law, my friend, explain what happened, explain the sorrow and the brokenness this family has encountered over the last few days, and what they will continue to encounter, there was something else on her face, another emotion, and a light behind her tears. She has peace. Peace that only God gives. And as I listened to her talk, heard how she believed God has a purpose in the midst of this tragedy, not knowing what the purpose is, I myself prayed and am still praying that I have that same type of faith, and that type of light in my eyes- NO MATTER the situation.

I am at the same time reminded to take advantage of today. To live like today is all I have to live. I am reminded to tell those that I hold dear, "I love you;" to laugh with all my heart and to cry when my heart is broken; to forgive those things that I have held onto for too long. I need to take risks despite fears. I. Need. To. Live.

Laugh with all your heart.
Smile with all your face.
Hug with all your might.
"Live life with arms wide open."
We only have today.

To the Goodwin family, our prayers are with you.
And to The Fam- All my love.

Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way, and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted the earth." The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

This is my hope.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I am home...

And I had intended on writing a few things, but they will hold for now. I am asking for everyone to pray for some friends of mine. Click here for information.