Monday, December 5, 2011

The Little Red Squiggle

Is it not strange when all of a sudden you find that your eye has found a strange fixation with a squiggle on the floor? It's a dirty little squiggle - partly dirt and partly pink. It could have come from a shoe or a drop of red kool-aid. Will we ever know?

Of course, it could be something much more. Perhaps, that squiggle has adorned my kitchen floor for years only fading now. This squiggle slightly in the curving line of a drop of liquid might have been a drop of blood from another resident before me. That drop must have come from a dangerous duel with kitchen knives. I'm certain that my resident survived by cutting the thumb off of her attacker causing the attacker to flee.

Yet, the squiggle could simply bit of left over cherry kool-aid from that one party that my roommate decided to have while the rest of us were completing weekend activities. That squiggle dribbled into existence when a random boy visitor bumped into a next door neighbor in my kitchen. The impact of their bump caused her cup to fly from her hand. Thankfully, only a drip of red kool-aid remained in the bottom of her cup. This is the smudge left on the floor sticking to every tennis shoe or sock to pass over this squiggle. Did I mention that this lil couple is deep in date-love now? It all started with that little smudge of red kool-aid.

Sometimes, I think that the little squiggle may have been left by a joyful fairy with a drawing utensil on hand. While my roomies and I slept, this little fairy must have leapt from her hiding place to skip around our apartment, to recline in our Christmas tree, and to laugh at our large shoes. Surely, Miss Fairy discovered one of our red pens. Dragging it through the air, I think she must have dropped it just so over the kitchen floor resulting in a red squiggle. You know, that's probably how that pen got on the floor that caused my poor roommate to lose her footing the next morning. She's clumsy already, but random pens just don't help the situation.

Little red squiggles on kitchen floors can come from anything - not just kool aid or food.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Thankfulness is the kind of thing that just strikes you in the gut when you least expect it. Chilling in the car, driving through the hills to my hometown, I'm just blown over by the absolute contrast of the trees against the sky. My heart lifts - ballooned by thankfulness. I have so much to be thankful for.

I watched Zombieland this week. Not the best movie, but it does leave a good feeling in your toes. One of the rules shared in the movie to survive the zombie infestation is simple. Enjoy the little things. EnJOY the little things.


That's where attitude and gratitude and gratefulness come in. Life stinks, right? Well, choose to focus on those small little things. For example, I'm swamped with papers all due the same day (yeah, I know. what prof would do that?! Three of mine). In which case, I just have to choose to enjoy using my favorite pen as I read stacks of journal articles and scribble all over them. A pen is such a little thing, but it gives me cause to be thankful.

If you read this today, then please enjoy the little things. But, I'm actually hoping that you don't read this today (Thanksgiving Day) - why? Because I think you should be out, enjoying people in your life that love you best. Or maybe you ought to just be loving others better than you've been loved.

May you choose Gratitude always.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Living Lovely

Hands on the steering wheel and eyes trained on the road, I sat slouched in the driver’s seat headed towards home for a wedding. One of my best friends from high school sat next to me and her boyfriend lounged behind her in the backseat. Conversation flowed easily around school activities and life as we tried to make up for the months of minimal conversation and no visits. Sitting next to {J}, I could not help but notice that she and her boyfriend always seemed to be touching. Nothing was inappropriate. They just reveled in the other’s presence. An hour away from our destination, {J} climbed into the backseat with her boyfriend {P}. Suddenly, I became chauffer. I took the opportunity to ask them, “What have been the most challenging and growing thing about your relationship?” {P} thought for a moment and replied, “I have never been so known by another human being. It’s both good and terrifying.”

Reading through Crazy Love by Francis Chan, a chapter that resonated deeply with me used this title, “When You’re in Love.” As far as I know, I have never been in love. Yet, I see what love looks like. My mother is forever serving the widows on my street by doing chores for them, bringing them food, and just visiting them. That is love. My father sits on the couch every night and rubs my mother’s feet. That is love. The chapter gave the example of Grandma Clara who spent many hours in prayer and how just the sight of that space “would bring joy-filled tears and a deep anticipation of the next morning spent kneeling in His presence” (Chan 100). Upon reading that, I circled it and wrote in the margin, “May I be like this please?” During the summer, I delighted in spending hours with Jesus. One specific occasion, my cousins grumbled at the amount of time I had spent in devotion to my Lord Jesus. I could only smile and say, “This time is so good because during the school year I just don’t have the amount of time that I want to spend with Jesus.”


When people see {J} and {P} together, their affection is apparent. If people cannot see their exchanged small smiles and eye connections, they can most definitely see their desire to be always touching. This is how I want to be with Jesus. I want my love for Him to be full of small smiles, heart connections, and hand holding.

Part of loving is giving. It means serving your neighbors, your friends, your spouse, and your co-workers. In the chapter entitled “Your Best Life … Later”, Chan talks about giving liberally and generously and God will bless it. With a red pen, I boxed this paragraph in writing beside it, “What does this look like?” Truly, I want to know what it is to give liberally and totally as often as possible. Giving of yourself and loving your neighbors is not easy. You have to go out of your way to find a way to serve those around you. When my family first moved into a new neighborhood, we knew no one. People did their own thing. Yet, when winter rolled around, my mom began a secret mission. When it snowed, we all bundled up and shoveled our elderly neighbors’ driveways. We were eventually found out, but not before we earned the name “Snow Angels.” My mother always had time to serve our neighbors. Now that I am not at home, I have to find new ways to serve. I don’t live in a neighborhood, but I do live in a community of a dormitory.

I deeply desire to be obsessed with Jesus and His heart. Francis Chan gives a “Profile of the Obsessed” in a chapter. With each section, I have underlined and scribbled notes by sections – each a plea that I might become a picture of this profile. Yet, it is so scary. Of course, I do not become obsessed in one day. It’s a step by step process of love. My father tells me often, “I love your mother more today than I did yesterday and even on our wedding day.” I always ask, “Really?” I just cannot believe that love can keep growing. My dad responds emphatically to my doubting question with a firm “yes”. If my father knew the difficulties, he would face in his marriage to my mom when they first started out he wouldn’t have been able to deal with it. Step by day, my dad loves my mom more deeply because of this daily journey. Human love is very different than the perfect love of a savior; however, this earthly love and examples of it from my parents have hugely influenced me to love more like Jesus in my own life.

Forever, I seem to disgust myself with my selfishness. Living in a family, you are always given a chance to serve family members. College is such a me-focused place. Of course, homework should be finished. Sleep is necessary. When I have the opportunity to serve, school seems to interfere. A lot of people would probably describe me as loving; yet, I know that I have so far to go. I desire to live in the Spirit and love people as Jesus did. If I love Jesus, generosity and obsession shall follow. Already, I love Jesus and I am generous while occasionally being obsessive. Of course, I want to be crazy in love with Jesus – that’s different than being a good person or good Christian.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Obladi Oblada

Here's the thing. I've never been more busy than I have this semester and some things have fallen by the wayside - like this blog. Every day, things happen and I think to myself, "I need to blog about that." Or a funny rambling thought will narrate my walk from dorm to class. Yet, I just don't have the time to blog it.

I am sorry. I am sorry for me and I am sorry for you since I like to be present in everything that I do.

Let me give you some snippets from my life:
+ On Tuesday, I put on vibrant red lipstick before I changed out of my pajamas. I may have bummed around the room doing homework and the like just in pajamas and lipstick for an hour or so.

+ On Sunday, I had three choir concerts. Yes, that is quite the feat. I also want to share with you all that I decided to wear teal India pants underneath my floor-length black choir dress. Only the girls knew of this unusual under-things for my dress.

+ This morning, I could have gone outside without a coat. But guess what, a cold front moved in. Therefore, by evening, I was shivering even in my coat.

+ On Saturday, I played with three kids at a host home. At the end of our playtime, the children were all proclaiming their love for me and saying, "Will you be our nanny?" I've never really considered being a nanny before.

+ I figured out recently that I'm taking an equivalent of 30-some hours of school and such. This is why you never see me on here anymore. I'm hoping for a respite mid-December.

Obladi Oblada.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I might as well be a 12-year-old boy

I find farting hilarious. Yes, I'm one of those people. Perhaps, you think it's gross. I think it's funny. It causes such awkward and amusing situations. And this is not the first time that I've talked about farting. Curious? Yeah, I thought so. Just go search the word "fart" in the above search box for my blog. You know you want to.

If that story is not enough. Then, you need to go check out this link for more reading on farting.
Pull my finger. Oh, I'm sorry. That was immature. (The link is in the phrase, though, so go click it)

A friend and I went to Barnes and Noble late one night. I found this book.

It's amazing that we made it out of that book store alive. I was crying I was laughing so very hard. There are stories from confirmed farters. There are stories from those who are married to Farters and from those who were innocent by-standers. Yes, I just turned the word "fart" into a noun. Life just got a bit more funny.

Have a lovely day! Don't forget to fart.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Giving Life

Do you give blood? I give blood. No, not every time. When I can, I give blood. Generally when I tell girls that I plan on giving blood, they get all shivery and squirmy on me as though by saying "give blood" I have physically become the nightmarish needle.

Hey, I don't like needles anymore than the next person; however, why should I be afraid of something that I will have to deal with at least annually at the doctor's? Shots and needles will plague us so do the mind-over-matter thing. It's more or less worked for me.

I give blood when I can (usually I can't give blood because I've traveled out of the country). I give blood because why can I not suffer the pain of maybe ten minutes to an hour so maybe another person can be given some of life's blood? If I were dying or in dire need of healthy blood, I would want people to willingly donate their blood so I might live another day.

My experiences of donating blood have not been rosy - actually far from it. You see, I have small veins. A majority of the time, the needle must be moved while in my arm to get the vein since it is missed upon the first try. To say that the pain is not bad would be a terrible lie. I have a high pain threshold. The pain of that small needle being moved in my arm has taken me very close to fainting multiple times.

Why do I still give blood?

I consider my discomfort and pain small compared to the pain of the person that needs my blood.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ask An Author: Pursuit of Dreams

Less than three years ago, my aunt decided to chase a dream. She began writing. Every time that our families got together, she'd spend a portion of her day sitting at her computer writing. It's not really until now that I actually realize the importance of chasing one's dreams.

My aunt pursued her dream to write a book.

She did it.

If you want to see evidence of this, go to Barnes & Noble.


To honor the pursuit of dreams, I'm going to do a giveaway.
More to come soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Short Story: (it's about a cookie)

Annie-Lynn tugged on my hand. "Momma, please may I have a cookie?"
"Let Mommy count her money."
five dollars.
enough for milk, cereal, and a cookie.

Walking out of the store, Annie-Lynn grinned happily with cookie safely tucked in bag.
Two feet away, a homeless man sat. Annie-Lynn gave him the cookie.
That's my daughter.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Autumn Song

After a valiant struggle with my laptop over the installation of a new internet security program, I finally won. It took four hours. Did I ever mention that I'm not the most computer-savvy? Yeah, that would be my brother's realm. Also, I tend to be stubborn so I was not about to admit defeat to a computer that is basically a very smart inanimate object. So I didn't ask for help. Ergo, four hours later, I did a happy dance in the middle of my living space meaning that I fell over backwards with satisfaction onto the floor - to an onlooker, I might have appeared to be a dead possum. Staring at the ceiling, I sighed heavily before I started the scariness that is my homework.

Currently, I soothe the wrinkles that might have become permanently etched in my forehead by listening to Nat King Cole croon "Embrace me, you irreplaceable you." Perhaps I'll waltz around my kitchen space by myself - it might be reminiscent of an elephant - but, hey. We can't all be angelic ballerinas so pardon me while I go thump out a beat.

Embraceable You with Nat King Cole
Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you
Embrace me, you irreplaceable you

Just one look at you
My heart grew tipsy in me
You and you alone
Bring out the Gypsy in me

I love all the many charms about you
Above all, I want my arms about you

Don't be a naughty baby
Come to papa, come to papa do
My sweet embraceable you

I love all the many charms about you
Above all, I want my arms about you

Don't be a naughty baby
Come to papa, come to papa do
My sweet embraceable you

p.s. this post is called "Autumn Song" simply because I talk about a song and it happens to be October (wait. when did that happen?).

Friday, September 30, 2011

Operation: Grilled Cheese

I'm not much of a cook. I'd rather bake, eat someone else's food, or read a book - no, seriously.

Also, have you ever noticed that if you get a bunch of women into the kitchen and they all like to cook that a strange tension occurs because they all want to contribute something? Suddenly, you've got a bunch of women fighting over one oven and limited counter space. It's a turn off. Therefore, I steer clear of the kitchen and cooking and lots of women in small spaces.

Anywho. I recently discovered that I like experimenting (in empty kitchens without many women about). I'll take a normal recipe and funk it up (I like doing that with clothing and outfits, too).

Yesterday, I discovered a new favorite cooking experimentation. It includes the following ingredients: onion, garlic, egg, bread, cheddar cheese, butter, and tomato.

Basically, I make a gourmet grilled cheese sandwhich. Saute up the onion and garlic. Drop an egg in the pan with the onion and garlic. Cook it. Remove from the pan.

Then, do the normal grilled cheese deal (I had never made grilled cheese before this time) which means a buttered piece bread with butter side down on the pan and cheese melting on the other side. Once the cheese is sufficiently melted and the bread is wonderfully browned, scoop the bread off the pan. Place sliced tomato on the cheese and then cram the egg mess that you made before on top of this bread-cheese-tomato-conglomeration. Then, put another bread lid onto it. AND SHHHHhhh-bam, you've got a delicous, filling, and semi-healthy meal waiting to be eaten.

So I'm not much of a cook. But, this sandwhich really makes me happy. So you should probably try it or experiment with your own. You know...somebody has probably already created this sandwhich before.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Lately, my life has been a series of unfortunate events.

1. My phone took a dive into the toilet. Although we resuscitated it with the prescribed rice bed rest, the poor thing suffered a post traumatic stress disorder induced heart attack and died.


2. Phoneless, I got stood up at a date with a friend because I couldn't remind her via text that we were supposed to meet up. It's cool. I'm good at being alone most days.

via (no, i don't smoke)

3. After grocery shopping the other day, a gallon of 2% milk tried escaping my trunk. It did. It escaped, but it's side split as it came in contact with the concrete. The milk gushed all over my shoes and my friend's shoes.


4. I picked up my face wash pump and it slipped from my fingers falling to the floor. The neck of the bottle broke when it slammed into the bathroom floor. I'm just a killer of inanimate objects.

via (poor lil guy)

5. My friends and I went dumpster diving. We came back with a bag full of blue plastic forks and a spidery thing. Dumpster diving...the treasure hunt of college kids. Right. Do you want a blue fork? We've got plenty.


And now, I should stop. Why? Because if I keep writing, eventually I'll have to share all the good things that have happened in the past week or so. Not to mention that complaining can just be plain boring! Hopefully, this has given you a chuckle or two. If it hasn't...then, you'd better go back through this and laugh a little bit more.

I've learned that laughing makes the most terrible situations a little bit better.

so laugh already.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rainbow Signature

This morning, I rolled groggily out of bed to go jogging with a friend. As it draws closer to winter, it becomes more and more difficult to get out of bed so early in the morning with the cool darkness still holding the world. My friend and I jogged our usual. At the end of it, we were greeted by a splendid spillage of light streaming forth from the sun’s awakening.

We gasped in awe of the beauty streaking around us. When we turned back to return the way we had come, the contrast of sky struck us. We had jogged from darkness and had run to the light. Unfortunately, our path called us back to the darkness we had run from. As we walked, the light followed us - slowly overpowering the darkness.

As my friend and I approached the place where we would leave the river, a rainbow began its ascent into the sky. Every color of the rainbow stood out vibrantly – even a deep shade of indigo and violet. My friend and I wrapped our arms around each other. Gaping in awe and grinning in giddiness, she and I wondered at this colorful signature of God.

For it could be nothing less. We ran from darkness, but we were called back to it. And with our faithful steps, God promised that He would never leave nor forsake us. And then, HE signed the sky with a full arch of a rainbow and a gossamer gleam of another rainbow.

He is faithful.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


All of this week, I feel that I have walked around with a permanent crease in my forehead. I have been thinking about what joy is and how it could ever factor into suffering. I don't even know where to begin in all of this.

Recently, I have been musing over blessings and what God's blessing looks like which brings me to the song "Blessings" by Laura Story. Truly, it requires me to redefine what I consider to be blessing.

Another thought bouncing around in my head has to do with Job. A speaker yesterday said, "I've heard other preachers say that it's okay for us to be angry with God because HE can take it. Oh, He CAN take it. Of course, have you ever read Job? God sits him down and takes him to task."

God can taking our yelling. Oh, yes. But, can we take HIS? I don't think so.

Job 40

Friday, September 9, 2011


A small pinprick of light burst through the heavy curtain hanging across the window. The beam firmly landed upon Justin, who curled around his knees with his hands locked in front of his shins. The star of light drilled into the fabric of his shirt. Eyes shut. He felt the slow, incessant warmth of the light on his chest.
Justin’s eyes burst open and zeroed in on the light that glowed on his shirt. His hands tightened and then let go. Uncontained by these clasped hands, Justin exploded into a spasm of movement. Like a gawk-ish and injured adolescent, he leapt towards the window. His breath grunted forth from his lungs. Justin’s hands shook as he gripped the thick blackness overwhelming the window.
Jerking the fabric, Justin tried desperately to pull the curtain back over the pinprick of light that spewed forth. His arms bowed and his back curved making it difficult for him to adjust the blackness. His breath wailed from his lungs and hissed through his teeth. With one mighty pull, Justin tried to shut out the light.
The black fabric gave. A terrible tearing ricocheted throughout the room. Light spilled through the shredded curtain into the blackness of Justin’s created cave. Justin fell to his knees covering his eyes with his hands. His mouth moved frantically but no sound came forth.
The warmth of the light illuminated the piles of crap and puddles of urine that covered the floor. The walls, smeared with excrement, glowed an eerie green-brown. Justin in the presence of the light shivered in a cowering huddle on the floor. Although clothed, Justin’s clothes and skin seemed to be as one.
Eyes clamped firmly shut, Justin reached out desperately for the thick black fabric. A strip languished by the window barely holding on. The rest lay in a heap on the floor near Justin. His wandering fingertips brushed the fabric and like a striking viper, Justin quickly grasped the curtain. Pulling it to himself, Justin rocked onto his heels comforting himself with this thick blackness.
Rising to his feet with his eyes still shut, Justin felt for the pegs that held the fabric. Finding one, Justin looped the curtain onto it. Shuddering, He tried to stretch the fabric to the other side of the window. It did not reach.
Justin squeaked in agony. Hands gripping his shirt, Justin tore the thin fabric. It came apart like tissue paper. He flung the shirt over the other peg. Light speckled through the tattered shirt. Justin moaned. Clawing at his skin, Justin’s nails tore away layer upon layer of dirt and flesh.
With renewed desperation, Justin stumbled into the piles of crap that littered the floor about him. Softening the excrement with the fresh urine, Justin piled bit after bit into the window. He worked methodically. Layer after layer, the room filled again with darkness. Yanking the scrap of dark curtain across the top sliver of light cutting through the excrement, Justin banished the light.
Eyes shut. Justin dragged himself back to the place across from the entrance of light. Crumpling down, Justin locked his hands around his shins. His chin fell to his chest. ........................................

Friday, September 2, 2011

Excusing Senioritis

I'd like to think that I'm an avid observer of the human population. Yes, I am one of those people who would happily discard a good book (and I love reading) to people watch in an air port or even a shopping center. You see all kinds.
Allow me to share an observation and a thought.
This year, I am a senior in college. This does mean that many people have begun to ask me many questions in relation to the future. Let me give you my best answer. I don't know. Now, that we've gotten that figure out, I'll move right along.
As human beings, we have a way of allowing ourselves to permit seniority to fill our brains with dreams of glory and esteem. Suddenly, we think that we are on top of the world (sure we might be on top of our itty-bitty college world but that's nothing). This moment is very dangerous.
This moment is dangerous because if we buy into the idea that we are, in fact, pretty hot stuff, we might begin to believe that the world always meant to hand things to us. Rather than work for excellence in everything we do, we figure that Seniority is enough.
We lose our desire to learn.
We lose our desire to work hard.
In essence, we expect age to matter. We expect seniority to matter. Oh, it does matter. It means that the rest of the school is almost rid of you. If you are expecting everything that you ever desired to fall into your lap, then people might be happy to rid themselves of your slovenly and lackluster ways.
Really?! Get over yourself. Senioritis is so not attractive.
Seniors have the unique opportunity to pour everything that they've learned from previous years into their last year. Also, seniors can reach out and encourage freshman and newbies in ways that they haven't before.
Senior year is not the time to slack off. The end of anything is not the time to slack off. Gosh, darn it. Finish Strong.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ode to the Male Species

I like men, I'll admit. They've got some pretty cool things going for them. Here's a list that I've compiled in honor of some men in my life.

1. Muscles – They’re nice to look at, but I can appreciate them so much better when they’re in action (I like them more when they’re helping me).

2. A Strong chin – We can only really enjoy this if you actually take the time to shave.

3. Chivalry – I can get the door myself; yet, it’s so much better if you make a point to get it even before I’ve considered the fact that I need to go through that door. This goes for other things, too (“Let me take those heavy bags for you. Oh, they’re not heavy? Let me take them anyway.”)

4. “Wait, that’s your sister?! (you treat her so well that I know that you’d treat your girlfriend even better. Sign me up!)”

5. Intentionality – Choose one girl and pursue her. Don’t go playing with every available heart. Nothing burns like the anger of a woman (or many women).

6. A Man who cries – You get more man points for this because we don’t doubt your manhood. In my mind, you're identity as a man is sealed because I appreciate a man who can be real.

7. Cleanliness – I love a man who takes care of himself. It shows someone who’s serious about all realms of life. Also, the smell of such a man is real nice. I’ll stand near to him.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I'm not much of a memorizer. That was always my sister. This summer, I memorized this entire chapter from Isaiah. It was a different version. However, I decided that I liked the expounded version of this one compared to the one that I memorized. I think this chapter is rich because it spills forth the promises of God. He doesn't think like we do and still He promises so much to us. So be joyous for there is a God in Heaven who desires to fulfill promises to us.

"Hey there! All who are thirsty,
come to the water!
Are you penniless?
Come anyway—buy and eat!
Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
Buy without money—everything's free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I'm making a lasting covenant commitment with you,
the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.
I set him up as a witness to the nations,
made him a prince and leader of the nations,
And now I'm doing it to you:
You'll summon nations you've never heard of,
and nations who've never heard of you
will come running to you
Because of me, your God,
because The Holy of Israel has honored you."
Seek God while he's here to be found,
pray to him while he's close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.

"I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work."
God's Decree.
"For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don't go back until they've watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They'll do the work I sent them to do,
they'll complete the assignment I gave them.
"So you'll go out in joy,
you'll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
no more thornbushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
living and lasting evidence of God."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teddy Bears

My great aunt loves them. Children love them. We've got stores devoted to them such as Build-a-Bear and then all the knock off stores. We've got Winnie the Pooh. Teddy Bears (dubbed so after Theodore Roosevelt) are a favorite of America.


People love teddy bears. Honestly, we're trying to incorporate them into everything these days. Check out some of the following creativity.


Don't want a teddy bear coat? Well, then. You could get a teddy bear lamp.


If that doesn't sit well with you because you find it truly horrifying, we'll move on to a sweeter type of terrifying.


Now, if that was much too haunting for you, we'll go for a more European look. This teddy has a good if random life. I'm wondering if he's a photo-bomber.


Yes, I think I want to be this girl with her teddy in the woods with balloons. After all, anything can happen. Balloons grow on trees.


Although I know a fair amount of child-at-heart adults, I still think teddy bears look most at home in the arms of a child.


This may seem quite random to you. However, I visited my aunt this week and I admired her teddy bear collection. I thought it was only right that I might do a bit of blogging about these wonderful teddy bears. Of course, this post focused more on the fun and random. This blog is like my brain sometimes (but, not always - so don't freak out, mom).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Short Story: Tears

Once upon a time, there was a girl who hated to cry. Bad things happened in life, but she refused to cry. When her heart broke, tears refused to surface.


"I cry in my heart." Her plaintive, but pathetic voice excused her lack of tears.
Then times would come when she knew that she ought to cry. The girl wanted to cry, but couldn't seem to. In the quiet of an empty room, the girl whispered to herself, "It's okay. Now, you can cry." No tears ever came.

To this girl, tears portrayed weakness. Tears were for those who could not take care of themselves or who wanted to manipulate others to their own desires. And for vanity's sake, tears made one's skin motley, red, and puffy.

As this girl journeyed through life and continued to refuse to cry, she met many people. A curious thing happened. Some of these people were not afraid to cry and some shared the girl's own feeling of distaste toward tears. Yet, this girl found herself drawn to those who shed tears openly. They seemed freer somehow. These tear-shedders walked lightly and were not ashamed of their vulnerability.

In time, the-girl-who-could-not-cry discovered that she had begun to respect these others who felt no shame in crying.

"You must learn to cry." These told her.
"I hate crying?" The girl tried to say emphatically but ended in a question. With the passing of time, tears began to entice her. Crying seemed to hold such freedom and release.

Life brought this girl pain after pain. Never did a tear slid down her face or fog her eye. She went staunchly on; yet, out of the corner of her eye, the girl wistfully caught sight of those who freely shed tears on her behalf.

She wanted that.

The girl desired to cry.

On rainy days, the girl sprinted out to meet the teardrops of the sky. As these fresh water tears splashed on her face, the girl pretended that these drops of water came from her own heart. The rain danced down her cheeks as the girl spun in the rain with arms opened wide finally accepting the crying of the sky. Her pain seemed best expressed through this sky encapsulating cry. Yet, only the fresh water of clouds cascaded down her face.


Still, salt droplets did not come from the girl's own eyes.

Life continued bringing the girl both new pains and renewing old ones. And yet, things had changed somehow. No longer did she face these hurts in the same way that she had before. Before, she had chosen to be strong and show no weakness. Now, the girl wanted to embrace the freedom that she saw in the tear-shedders.

Even with this desire, no tears came.

On a day with no rain but lots of wind, the girl climbed a hill and considered her life. Abruptly, she sat amongst the tall grass. Looking at her hands, the girl noticed a small yellow bud of a flower by her knee. The flower's petals were crushed, bruised, and ripped. Yet, the flower still sought the sunshine. Just like she did.


The girl's throat tightened as she stared at the flower. Her mind raced. Surely, she would choke and die. Breathing seemed difficult with this strange tightening of the throat. Emotion rushed to her eyes and a liquid warmth filled her eyes and spilled over. The girl let the tears come. She did not wipe them away. She did not laugh in embarrassment. She cried freely. Her skin became blotchy and red. Snot dripped from her nose. And you know what? This girl was beautiful in her tears.


"A princess's tears are prized the world over. For centuries, caravans and traders traveled across sand and sea looking for this rare find. Like invisible ink, they are used to compose the sweetest of songs, the most beautiful poetry, and the most adoring love letters. For break-up letters or insults, use crocodile tears."
The Secret Lives of Princesses

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Captivation: Perfectionism


(more on Perfectionism)

It eats my happiness.
Perfectionism creates a fear within me that I shall not be enough and that the work I do will not be enough to please those around me. Sometimes, it freezes me up so much that I can't move even a teeny tiny step forward.


I'd love to be perfect. To be perfect would mean no mistakes and no fear of anything - after all, I would be perfect.

Perfectionism - "a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less." (found at

The pursuit of perfection is life-draining, throat-numbing, failure-focusing, hand-trembling, brain-short-circuiting, depression-inducing, workaholic-making, and just plain unsatisfying.


Mistakes are rarely world-ending. After all, has the world ended yet? Nah, it still seems somewhat intact although it does seem to be hanging on by only a few threads in some places. Mistakes create learning experiences. Mistakes remind us that we are imperfect individuals (we can relate to complete strangers in our imperfections).


Perfectionism. It puts a bad taste in my mouth. I am not perfect. I shall never be perfect. My desire to reach perfection is like trying to reach Nirvana. Impossible.


I hate that I'm not perfect. I hate my brokeness. I'm not perfect and I have nothing to offer. And yet. And yet, a flawless and perfect God loves me. He chooses to pursue me, a girl who terrorized babysitters and teachers alike with my stubborn, pig-headed ways - a girl with a sullied heart. Although I was once a curse, He's has turned me into a blessing. This Creator God who could have turned away from His creation chooses rather to turn toward His creation with love. He bought my heart with His life (when I give it away for much less). He died for me. He scarred Himself for me.

I am imperfect meaning that I'm a bit broken in places. It's a good thing that this God who loves me is in the business of healing.


Instead of chasing perfectionism, I think I will chill in the presence of a perfect God who accepts me in my imperfection and is making me into something new.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Girl's Perspective on Rambo

A couple of nights ago, I had a date with John Rambo. Sitting in the guest bedroom that I’ve called home for the past three months, I sat riveted to the television as I watched Sylvester Stallone in First Blood. Truly, I’m a chick flick kind of girl when it comes to movies. However, I asked my cousin recently for his favorite movies. He proffered The Hunt for Red October, First Blood, and First Blood part II. I found The Hunt for Red October to be right up my alley (I like to think) – it was described as a giant game of chess with the chess pieces being the navies of the United States and the Soviet Union. First Blood, on the other hand, chilled my blood. As I told my cousin later, my stuffed elephant, Horton, ended up in my lap for the latter half of the movie because he was scared. Yes, this is my creative way of saying that I might have been a tad nervous – maybe scared.

For the past couple of years, I have noticed that my friends have a propensity to compare different people to Rambo. For example, “Dude! Did you see that girl? She’s crazy like Rambo.” Now, I had no idea who this Rambo was. Apparently, he is crazy. Obviously, he’s got great fighting skills and a bit rough around the edges. I didn’t know this. I was just assuming from the comparisons that had been made.


After watching First Blood, it all becomes clear. Rambo is a manly man. We’re talking muscles, deep voice, scars, a mysterious history, a decorated past, etc. Did I mention the muscles - as in Rambo has more muscle in his one muscle than I do in my entire body? He’s America’s favorite type of hero. He’s misunderstood. Rambo chooses to place himself against the world or perhaps it’s America that put Rambo in that position. We sympathize with this brooding, muscular man.

Will Teasle, the sheriff who awakens the inner beast of Rambo, is also a man. He’s a man with a family, a town, deputies, and a respected position. He wants to protect what he has. The sheriff hates drifters for the trouble they could stir up so he moves them right along. Although more common in America than Rambos, the movie displays Will as ignorant, discriminatory, and frankly just plain dumb. We don’t sympathize with this domineering, angry man.

Both Rambo and Will are overwhelmed by blood lust and pride. Their dispute with each other does not begin so much in words as it does with action. Rambo requests a meal and Will drives him right out of town. Will strips Rambo of all dignity and in return Rambo does the same to Will. Neither one is willing to let go of their blood lust and their pride. Throughout the entire movie, I kept thinking to myself, “Will is a dead man.” Rather than follow the advice of people who were familiar with Rambo and his nature, Will refused to back down (I suppose this is a quality that would make him a good sheriff). However, it marked him as dead and foolish for not following wise advice.

At the end of the movie, Rambo breaks down and speaks more than he did in the entire first hour and fifteen minutes of the film. His iron exterior hid a broken individual. I cannot help but feel awe for this character that showed extreme ingenuity and strength throughout the film. It is appealing. However, a lot of trouble, death, explosions could have been saved if Rambo had simply started the movie with vulnerability and humbleness.

I suppose this would not have made much of a movie, though. Rambo is the epitome of masculine inspiration. The less talking, the more explosions, the better! Rambo might be able to go through his movie existence like this, but I sure hope men aren’t taking their cues from Rambo. Life will be less difficult if they share a bit more and drop the iron exterior more often. As a girl, I definitely found Rambo pretty amazing. No, I don’t wish to have his muscles nor do I want his voice (neither do I find super-muscle men very attractive - ever heard the phrase "all brawn, no brains?"). However, that savvy nature knowledge I could go for. Yet, I think Rambo and Will reminded me the snares of pride, judging by appearance, and the necessity of vulnerability.

Don’t worry about my stuffed elephant, Horton! Although he got nervous at parts, I know he’s excited about watching First Blood part II. I, on the other hand, might be hiding under the covers of my bed.


Friday, July 29, 2011


I've got this itch. It starts in the valley of my knuckles and slowly spreads to take over my entire self. This itch dances across my skin and skitters through my brain (yes, through my brain!). My fingers don't scratch this itch. This peculiar sensation is alleviated by time spent dreaming. This itch seems to intensify as I place my head amongst the clouds and begin to think of traveling the world.

For now, I state-hop. I like to think of it as my strange little jig where I meet fun people and see strange sights. It's like the preparation for the country-hopping I'll hopefully do one day.

My summer shenanigans have included adventures in Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Texas. Yeah, this was all pretty much somewhat planned by yours truly.

Since Texas has been the most recent adventure, allow me to share a few sights that greatly amused me.

Upon my first evening in the hotel, I walked down to the lobby and passed the indoor pool. Sitting as cool as you please in the jacuzzi were two cowboys in swimming trunks with cowboy hats set squarely upon their heads. I exclaimed, "LOOK! Cowboys wearing their cowboy hats in the jacuzzi." I'm really glad that the indoor swimming area was enclosed. Hopefully, they didn't hear me.

A favorite thing of Mississippi is how a majority of people use "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am." With their southern purr, I feel as though I'm being wooed with these two little words especially since they keep saying "yes" to me. I also love seeing all these baby cows everywhere. They are just TOO cute!

Missouri reminds me of my home state. It's full of hills and mountains. When I see hills covered in trees and quaint homes, I feel right at home. My heart warms and a smile of contentment fills my face.

My state-hopping shall soon come to an end. In some senses, I don't mind. However, I have to say that my itch to travel abroad has picked up. Here's to dreaming and to funny people!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Inspired by People: Family

Priorities, priorities.
Get your priorities straight.
I've heard that line a lot. Mostly in movies to irresponsible characters and sometimes to myself. Over the past couple of months a thought has been very much on the fore front of my mind.


I am thankful for my family. Because we're crazy. Because we don't get along perfectly. Because we know how to irritate each other in the least amount of time possible. And yet, we love each other. I don't know how or why we love each other, but somehow we do.

In my family, I'm the oldest child - the guinea pig, the test drive child, the one that the parents learned on. I had 18 lovely years at home in the security of the family nest. I had 16 years with my sister where we lived under the same roof and only 13 years with my brother. I adore these kiddos.

via (I mean I don't look exactly like this. Maybe a bad hair day)

My mom - she drives me crazy (yep, she'll probably see this). We're very alike; yet, we're not. She speaks her mind always (a blunt honesty that makes me cringe, but i'm also slightly jealous of). My mother has a servant's heart - that is how she chooses to love on people. My mother is a solution-finder. My mom is the one who carries home-made bread to the neighbors - not on a yearly basis, but more on a weekly basis. She's a good steward of the things that she's been given.

via (bread. isn't this just awesome?!)

My dad - he's a quiet soul, but there's a lot more to him than meets the eye. We're also very alike; yet, different. After all, I'm a girl and he's a guy. Growing up, people commented on how much I looked like him (except that i was a girl). My dad has the gift of encouragement. He uses words. He uses hugs. He uses music (did i mention that he recently decided to relearn guitar?). I have never doubted his love for me or his belief in my ability to succeed. He's steadfast.

via (watching my dad put forth the effort to relearn guitar was pretty inspirational.)

My sister - another quiet soul with a charismatic creativity. She's the type that walks into department stores, eyes up the clothing, returns home, and creates the desired item (why didn't I get that ability?!). She's a listener. She's sweet in an innocent and loving way. I like to say that she's my built-in best friend (on a side note, when we were youngsters, we rarely fought. But when we did, it was fast and furious).

via (So my sister's sewing isn't quite like this. But, you get the idea)

My brother - a technical friendly genius who likes to help people. My brother has befriended a good handful of elderly neighbors and is aiding them with their computer abilities. Never have I met such a boy with such a heart to serve other people. He's always been a smiley person with an eagerness to please others. Although he leaves me in the dust with his technical talk sometimes, he definitely is a help to have around when one can't figure out the TV, DVD, and Dish (seriously, tech-savvy brothers should be a part of the package for these things).

via (this looks exactly like my brother. well, except for the caricature part!)

I am thankful for my family.

It's so easy to take the things right in front of you for granted. It's easy to see everything bad about these people who live so close to your own life. It's so easy to complain about what we don't have or what we do have. But, can you practice thankfulness even when you don't feel like being thankful? Life moves quickly. So be thankful.

What kind of awesome family do you have?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Captivation: Women of Gaza

I am captivated by this image taken by Tanya Habjouqa in her series entitled Women of Gaza.

I implore you to go look through the Women of Gaza photography HERE.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Wild Flower Walk

Feet in hot pink mud boots with a basket on her arm, my cousin set out with me on a walk. We went in search of wild flowers. For days, we'd been driving down these country roads watching black-eyed susans nod their heads at us. For days, queen anne's lace sophisticatedly taunted us from the windy freedom of the side of the road.

Yesterday afternoon, we went in search of beauty.

As the hot sunshine made sweat slide down our backs and our mud boots plodded along the road, our eyes searched out bright bits of colors. Like children (for we are children sometimes), we hunted out these treasures of color.

Long before our walk had ended, our basket brimmed with flowers. My cousin walking beside me sighs and says to me, "I feel so relaxed right now. I don't really know why I wasn't relaxed before, but now I am."

I looked at her oddly. Musing on her words, I could only thing that sunshine, flowers, buzzing flies, sweat, and a comfortable camaraderie are therapeutic. More than that, we were participating in an activity that girls had done for decades. We sought beauty.

Summer begs for idyllic adventures and simple activities with those one loves. It's so easy to appreciate pictures of nature from the view of our couch and computer, but there is nothing like a personal snapshot of nature that one sees in the midst of the bugs, sweat, and sunshine. Perhaps a personal snapshot won't last as long as paper and ink; however, a personal snapshot is like a slideshow that never stops. Keep creating these moments for yourself and others.

In twenty years, I might not remember this wildflower walk. But, I will remember this summer spent with my cousins. And who knows, my cousin might recall this walk.

Go pick some wild flowers and revel in the beauty that has been granted us on this earth. And have a lovely Independence Day!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fear As We Know It

Clad in a large t-shirt
Hair swooped out of face
Toothpaste on toothbrush
Rug under bare feet
Hip bones pressed against sink
Leaning in towards the mirror
One light bulb
Illuminates the girl in reflection
Pretty of eye and ear

Shadows shift
The reflected eyes peer fearfully
Into the world behind the breathing

Only Shadows
Both girls breathe deeply
reflected girl

One staring into the face of the other
The other staring into shadows
never parted
always together

Picture found here
and there's also a story called A Parable of a Lightbulb if you want to go check it out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Bookworm vs. Athleticism


When people say "sports," my response is without a doubt, "No thank you."
I considered myself to be the epitome of un-athleticism. I took a basketball gym class this past semester. I told my friends that "I humiliate myself by the minute." I thought it was funny. When these friends asked me why I didn't take bowling or something for the less athletic, I responded, "If I'm going to take a gym class, I want to take a gym class! No faking for me." Going to that class once a week truly tested my resolve and my pride.

I may have a body, but I'm not naturally good at athletics. No, sir. I'm more of the type that will sit by the sideline reading a book while fans are on all sides of my cheering their little hearts out.

This summer has changed all of that.

I'm living with my cousins. Did I mention that they are all quite athletic and sports minded? Yep, that was a huge adjustment.

I surprised myself.

I'm jogging three times a week with my boy cousin. I can do some men push-ups. I've played soccer and basketball. I didn't die. I may not be amazing, but apparently I've got a bit of a competitive spirit. Twice a week, most of the family goes to play basketball at a small Christian high school. Nicole and I play even though she's barely hit middle school and I'm in the exit lane from college. We get drenched in sweat. I'm talking that I sweated through 2 shirts. Yeah, I'm still grossed out about that.

For a long time, sports and I were not friends. Perhaps it had something to do with my dislike of sweating. Perhaps, it had to do something with my pride and desire to do everything that I tough perfectly. I don't know.

However, I think sports and I may have come to a truce. Sports help me to get past myself. Suddenly, I need to think about the team. If I worry about myself too much, we all lose! I lose because I didn't try and my team loses the use of one player. Sports are supposed to be fun. right? Well, I'm going with that idea.

Challenge of the Day: get over yourself and try something new and be a good sport even if you're not very good at said thing (it's a stretching experience!).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Singing a Melody

A sock landed near my face. As the stench wafted towards me, I groaned and rolled over.

“Isaac, don’t throw your dirty socks at me.”

“But, Mommy, I want to play.”

Laying on my back, I turned my head to see my five-year-old son staring at me with big pleading eyes. He was the spitting image of his father, the man that I had loved who had left me five years ago leaving me with a newborn child. Shutting my eyes, I tried to block out the flood of painful memories.

“Mommy, can we play?”

“Yes, dear. Go grab your cars.”

As Isaac scurried out of the room bumping into furniture, I sat up. Working nights tended to be difficult on a person; however, it was the only way that I could spend time with my precious boy. Thankfully, caring for the elderly usually wasn’t that difficult. Every once in a while, Room 234 gave me a couple of issues but that was rare and far between.

Isaac toted his bag full of hot wheel cars into the small living room. Our apartment consisted of one bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and a small living space. For a single mom, it wasn’t bad. It helped that my brother had been friends with the owners of the building. Running my hand through my hair, I felt the greasy residue of not having showered for a couple of days on my hand.

“Hmmm. Mommy needs a shower, Isaac.”

“Noooooooooo. I wanna play cars!”

“Okay, let’s play.” Playing cars allowed us both to escape into a world where there were no tired mommies and no bad little boys. Together, we just got to enjoy life through colored pieces of metal.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Silly Fear, Get Out of my Life!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves 'who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. "
~ Marianne Williamson

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one."
~ Elbert Hubbard

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."
~ Dale Carnegie

"Thinking will not overcome fear but action will."
~ W. Clement Stone

Most of my summer so far has been me experiencing new challenges in every area of my life. Suddenly, I'm realizing that somehow I need to balance growth in every area of my life. How do I manage all of this? I don't know. Mostly, I'm just afraid. I'm afraid of failure. I'm afraid of disappointing those I love. I'm afraid of wasting peoples' time. I don't sing in the shower anymore. I brood. I don't dance much anymore because I'm afraid people will see. I stare into the sky. How glad am I that God is not legalistic and that I don't have to follow a bajillion rules to please Him. I'd fail or never start following the rules because I'd be afraid of messing up. Silly me, allowing fear to sap the strength from the bones and the smile from my face. Apparently, I need to get busy and not dwell on this fear. :)

May you live in freedom today and kick the spirit of fear out of your life.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Funny Stories from Life

Did you know there is an Ultimate Goat Fansite? Now, you do.

I've never been around goats before except at petting zoos, but apparently, I live at a type of petting zoo these days. I went down to where the goats were with my cousins and this one goat, Dunston, decided that my bracelet must be food. Thankfully, he only tried lipping it.


This past week, I went into work at the university. I stopped to talk to a ph.d student. Halfway through the conversation, he asked me what I usually do for lunch and then followed up his question with an offer for lunch.
My inner reaction: "Wait, what? Me? You do know that I'm in undergrad, right?"
My outer reaction: "That would be cool. I can't today, though. I'm going to talk with Dr. So-and-So. Maybe another time!"
I got back to my desk and sat in shock for a good 2 minutes. Shrugged and went back to work.


Have you ever confused body lotion and regular lotion? I have. Generally, I end up covered in body lotion only to realize that it's not rubbing in as I would expect. Looking like a poor beach bum who bathed in sunscreen, I frantically try to come up with some solution to this spectacular new layer of lotion on top of my skin. Tip to other confused individuals: A towel.


Sitting in the stands for my girl cousin's softball game, my boy cousin (who happens to be 5 years younger than me) says, "I wonder how many people here think that we're dating." I laugh off his statement.
On our return drive home, my girl cousin turns to me and chirps, "Guess what! My friend though you were my brother's girlfriend."
What could I do but laugh?


Walking into the bathroom while talking on the phone with my dear friend (who happens to have a cooking blog - check it out!), a spider slightly shorter than my pinky finger lounged on the floor of the shower. After informing my friend about the spider and unsuccessfully trying to kill it, my friend suggests that she yell at it. So while she yelled through the phone at the spider (distracting it), I killed it with my green flat shoe. Now, that's teamwork even when separated by a couple of states.


Hopefully, these little tidbits have left you with a small smile on your face. Have a lovely weekend and I hope adventures find you in your biggest moments of ennui!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Saxifrage School: College Re-defined


Maybe a month ago, I posted about the idea of The Saxifrage School. A couple of you seemed interested in finding out some more information about this college. Luckily for all of us, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette decided to check into this idea themselves. If any of you are interested in what they found out, click HERE to go to the article.


In other news, life goes well for me as I get to work alongside a professor seeking to polish up a textbook for publication and I have the opportunity to work on a manuscript with my uncle for a novel. Honestly, I'm not sure how this summer shall all turn out, but so far it's been pretty fun. Hopefully, after summer is over, I'll be able to get to my regular postings!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May Flowers

April showers bring May flowers.
Flowers are something that I cannot get enough of in their natural space. Okay, I admit that sometimes I sneak some away to my room because I can't get over how beautiful they are!

Tulips are popping up everywhere. However, if I saw them in this amount, I might swoon.

I didn't know that tulips could be fringed. Then, I went to the Indianapolis Zoo with a friend and found some fringed tulips!

Walking and driving about town, I keep coming across these crazy gorgeous trees. I cannot get over them. They stop me in my tracks and make me want to perpetually stick my self amongst the tree's blossoms. Do you think they make tree houses for these trees? I want one.


Daffodils are by far my favorite spring flower. Once as a child, I visited my great uncle and he has a large field of yard that seemed devoted to this laughing flower. From that moment on, daffodils became my favorite.

You know, I love daffodils so much that I just love if I could have some year around. I tripped over this delightful DIY Daffodils while skipping through google images.

Now, we mustn't forget this Dandy Lion of the sidewalk cracks and front yards. Adults always seem to only see the peskiness of this flower. However, dandelions inspire the imagination of children. I used dandelions for countless bouquets, stews, and salads. I like this lil guy who happily reflects the smiling face of the sun!
The Dandelion has lots of uses, too! Click here!

Best of all, the seed dandelions are best known for their whimsy and the way that the breath of a child or person can send the seeds swirling into the air!

Now, that you've enjoyed this beautiful array, go spread some dandelion love! Nothing indulges your inner child more!