Tuesday, September 11, 2012

16 Hours In A Greyhound

"Include your environment", this was a piece of advise Conrad's kindergarten teacher, Ms. Tina, gave her class before they began their journal entries; it was my volunteer day in the classroom and I was able to be in there as she dispensed writing techniques to my son and his peers that I gladly took mental notes of myself.

Sitting in a Greyhound bus in Coalinga, California including my environment is the very opposite of what i've been trying to do since 6 o'clock this morning when I first stepped onto the bus-still dark outside, but somehow completely full inside. The only open row was in the very back near the very thing I dreaded to be next to: the toilets. It's evening now. I've been traveling this entire day via "the bus". This means of transportation was hardly, nay, never the plan. A missed flight from MFR to LAX on a carrier that only flies in and out twice a week resulted in my present state of 'mind over matter'. Now I wait in the parking lot of a Burger King as my co-passengers trickle back on from their hamburgers and sodas inside.

Coalinga stinks, in the very literal sense. A mad dash across the dusty lot behind the bus to the Valero station for the pencil and papers I am now utilizing prompted, and was the cause, for me to hold my breath the entire brisk walk over there. In here, it kinda stinks. Out there, it really stinks. A few years back while driving from Texas to Oregon, in some small town along the I-5 corridor, quite possibly Coalinga, I asked the gas station attendant where we had stopped to fuel up my RAV4 and restock our Milkdud and Beverage stash out of sheer ignorance,"so what is the culprit for the awful stench?". He replied with sheer honesty, "what stench???".

Since changing buses in Sacramento I must admit it isn't so bad anymore. I no longer have to use my bandanna as a breathing mask against the odor wafting from underneath the doors in the back of the bus (I was able to claim a seat near the front during the transfer)-aka-the lavatory-aka the shit can; the crackhead vigorously rubbing his gums and smacking his lips earlier this afternoon behind me is gone, and the Bob Marley look-a-like discussing the bogusness of his most recent assault charge disappeared into the streets of Marysville to do Lord knows what. They have been replaced with a milder, crack-free, most likely "violent offender" free mexican Grammas and a women with some sort of mental disability still eating her fries oh so slowly. I have the entire row to myself and will till this bus comes to a stop, which is the final stop for me in this desperate attempt to redeem myself as cheaply as possibly and reunite with my family, home. Since realizing how incredibly screwed I was it has been an incessant battle with my inner thoughts not dwelling on how unnecessary this was; how I should be home already; how I should have been more proactive in ensuring better timeliness instead of being overly confident and laid back; how I shoulda, coulda, woulda.

The memories I am taking back with me from my time in Southern Oregon and the Trinity Alps do indeed greatly ease this present state I am in. I was honored to have seen and held the miraculous (no exaggeration there) Frederick Flynn, catch up with some of my favorite Oregonians, make two of them there first cup of coffee for the day, have the world's most flawless mocha at Noble, backpack! the Canyon Creek Trail all the way to the Upper Lake with the Zen Master herself, dive into the lake and at the bottom of a waterfall, sleep under the twinkling lights of heaven, and be humbled and blown away by it all; then once back into town again I had the privilege of attending church at Mountain, pick blackberries on a stroll through Jacksonville, and say farewells to people I adore.

All day long i've been trying to pretend this is all just an adventure; that I am on my way in some far away place-perhaps Peru (it's up there at the top of my list and has been a topic of discussion lately) or Turkey; that I am a world worn traveler, as I am already outfitted in my hiking clothes from the weekend, now with a green and white retro inspired bandanna around my neck and my, as Jon refers to them, "Ferris Bueller" sunglasses perched on top of my head as a headband of sorts; that I am en route to a small village perhaps where I will be observing the villagers to write a piece for the New York Times, or Conde Nast on what i'm not quite sure. I will have most definitely brought organic American candies for the children there and a jar of nutella for me. It's definitely closer to how I envisioned my life would be say tens years ago or so than it's current reality. However, it is the reality I did not expect that excites me to be home. Now, to combine my reality-my role as mother and wife-with a vision of heart led, purpose driven adventure...

Dreamy. Epic.

Two more hours. I've repeated that promise to myself several times already since writing it down moments/an eternity ago. This just might be the longest portion of the trip yet, which speaks volume to my restlessness and anxiousness considering i've had periods today where my sense of smell was violated by the stench of rotting fecal matter stewing in a pot of scented disinfectant just feet from me, or where i found myself situated next to a man who was possibly a rapist and in front of man with enough crack in him to make crack lines all the way to Los Angeles. Never less, i'm ready to be home now more than ever. I've read an entire book from page 1 to page The End, and now i'm writing (written) a future blog on it all.

My thoughts are waiting. And there, to the possible places in my thoughts, I presently tread lightly. There is much on my heart, and much more in my mind. Some are safe for exposure and mulling through but some need time to be my buffer between 'it' and I. Ridiculously coded, and almost certainly will be inaccurately deciphered. Most people think, or assume, that I am some sort of open book, and I, for the most part, encourage that perception if not mislead to it. But the truth is I carefully (and sometimes with mistakes) only reveal portions. I suppose we are all a little bit like this to one degree or another, but I know for me, in terms of relationships, it's what really makes my communion with God so special, so important, and so unique. There is no one else-not a best friend, not my sister, not my husband who truly and deeply knows me, all of me. But He does; He gets me, He understands me, and He is gracious to what all that entails. And that right there, for me at least, is the ultimate love language: To be known, To be Understood. To know, To Understand. It's why when a friend tells me they're going through X and X that I go and pick up some books on X and X; I want to better understand them, to better know them, and hopefully-perhaps ultimately-to better love them by helping them. I long for deep and meaningful relationships where I love that person from a place that understands Who that person is, and naturally, I long for the same.

All of a sudden I realize it is dark. Outside my window the grey of early night collides and mixes with the blackness of void in the distance. A few lights here and another set of lights over there. My reflection looks back at me as I look at it.
 Yep, still looking.
I have since pulled the green and white retro bandanna back up over my mouth and nose. Either the sewage in the bus has had it once and for all or this must be the Most Disgusting Smelling Part of the I-5 Corridor Yet (I didn't know such an accolade was possible). I honestly can't tell the difference anymore.

Some people are falling asleep-heads bopping around as if at a good rock show, eyes closed, mouths slightly open like a dog patiently waiting for dinner scraps, shuffle, shuffle. I wish I could fall asleep too but I know it's an impossibility. At the very least I would need a pillow. Oy! These bumbs!

Again, we stop. "A cigarette break", announces the husky voiced women driving this beast of a vehicle. This is just one of many such breaks/stops made today. I swear I would have been home by now if it wasn't for these (and the missed flight of course). I wonder if Greyhound will ever be sued for encouraging and enabling nicotine addiction by some lung cancer patient or a family of one. I can see it happening, and after 14 hours on this bleeping bus, I hope someone does.

I still have some water from the Upper Falls in my canister. It is my little piece of the Trinity Alps and in a few sips it will be gone. Gone. The likelihood is that I won't be back till next September , especially after this haiku.

Planning my trip I wondered if, when arriving back in Oregon, I would want to return on a permanent basis to Oregon, but, apart from a simply idyllic afternoon walk around Jacksonville with Sabrah (aka Zen Master) and her children, the area felt finished for me. Indeed I miss my friends, certain relationships that only close proximity can properly facilitate; I miss the friendships my children crafted with other little ones; I miss summer days spent leisurely and always communally at the spray park on a quilt with everyones picnics a free for all; i miss picking blackberries on bike rides, drive thru coffee stands, sparkling creeks, farm stands, and that sense of belonging to get when you run into someone you know at a yard sale or the grocery store. Community.

After reading a sociology book about community earlier today I no longer feel so bizarre for my infatuation and love lorn desire for it. Still, it took me several years in Oregon to create one, and nostalgia aside, only barely and meagerly. Dallas, if i'm to be quite honest here, was hardly any better though I did have my family (as wide as we were spread) there. Again, upon speculation, perhaps it's why i've always admired and pinned away for a life abroad. In my experience, it seemed to me that in most European towns, communities were just what the name implied. They were these networks of people, closely knit and woven together over generations who shared their lives together. The richness of it-the depth-I crave.

Currently, and depressingly, we live in the suburbs-a "commuter town" as Wikipedia referred to it when I researched Agoura Hills back in January. There is no unifying force here-no "town center", nothing really in fact to bring us all together to form the relationships that create community. And perhaps those "town centers" are why I love cities-that while the probability for closeness in relationships with those with whom one lives in proximity with is still unlikely, considering the components of a "town center": the cafes and coffee shops, the book stores and theaters, the novelty shops and pop up green spaces, all places created to travel on foot whereas one has the opportunity to meet another, does seem more likely than a suburb where people get in their cars in their garages and go to work or to eat or to play hardly ever living amongst those they do in fact live amongst.

Forty More Minuets.

I didn't know I could still write this much, or I didn't know I could ever be so without errand and without someone in need of me or in need to go somewhere that I would and could write so much (again).

Wow, random tandem galore.

"Remember that good stories have a beginning, middle, and end." It's doubtful this diatribe could constitute as a story be it good or bad, but again I recall the advice Ms.Tina gave Conrad's classroom while I sat in as a volunteer that day. My prison sentence on the bus is over-it ended last night at 9:45 when it finally pulled into the downtown LA terminal. Jon was waiting for me out in the parking lot. Truman had fallen asleep somewhere between Cahunega and Melrose, but Conrad pushed through and was bright eyes and smiles when I opened his door for a hug. Jon told me to "hurry up and get in the car before we're hijacked" and once i was in the car that I should "hand sanitize" and that I smelled "like port-a-potty disinfectant". It was true, and I was happy to be hearing it in our car with our kids in the backseat on our way Home. Home Sweet Home.

Friday, August 10, 2012

being of good cheer, belated

the air conditioner hums it's artificial tune and further in the distance, a whole hallway down, "clifford the big red dog" can be heard on the television set in the living room. the boys are in screen time heaven today- i am laid up with an injured back, a sad and immobile excuse for a mother. i don't do well when i'm like this. it's hard to 'rise to the occasion' when i can hardly rise at all. i'm certain most moms with a tweaked back would find a way to be more creative in such a situation-i know my own mother would have had me and my sisters painting or organizing buttons in muffin pans, but i'm completely deflated on the proactive front. pbs kids seems good enough to me. the half empty/full bag of frozen corn on my back is a permanent fixture until it thaws and then the heating pad will take it's place.

less than a hour ago my sister left in a town car set for the airport. her company had her out here working an event and she was able to stay afterwards and spend a couple days with us. we got pedicures, of which prompted us relating to this video later on in the evening, we brunched at a very brunchy place, strolled the scene, got unimpressed at LACMA, went to church together, rode the ferris wheel, ate at a legendary hot dog stand, and had dinner on our patio every evening. it was so much fun that my back in recovery couldn't bare it, literally.

i was suppose to restart my training this evening at a local restaurant, now i no longer have the job. it's a very interesting development, and quite honestly, i'm having a hard time making much sense of it other than i'm really not suppose to waitress. which sounds ridiculous, i know. but if you read back on the previous entries, and then you take into account i finally do get a server position but the day before i am to start i wake up unable to get out of bed so the next day i ice/heat my back all day, get a massage, and muster up the mobility to go in-of course i'm not able to lift anything so they tell me to go see a doctor and when i'm better come back, which i do on friday-planning to restart that coming monday; only to wake up monday morning with my back in spasm, again. needless to convey, i no longer have the position.

so what is next, i ask God-i ask myself, and, where do i go from here???

i feel perhaps that i need to stop thinking, debating, making pros and cons lists, and just Do. do something, do anything... not waitressing, clearly, but something else. there are desires and interests out the wazoo, some so Big and some so Epic that the practicality has always presented itself as unachievable for a mother of young children or, as in the past, a twenty something with limited oppurtunities. if God is in it then of course that argument goes flying out the window, but oh the challenge of knowing and then the courage and tenacity to act on such knowledge.

unlike last time when i encountered a similar set of obstacles, i'm accepting this time around with a more positive outlook. we either get stronger or weaker, and i'm thankful at least i'm stronger having gone through the confusion and disappointment before-knowing He works all things together for my good and i don't need to understand it for it to be so.

on such a thought- i'll end this post and think upon this poem:

"We may wait till He explains,
Because we know that Jesus reigns."
It puzzles me; but, Lord, Thou understandest,
And wilt one day explain this crooked thing.
Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Thy best--
Its very crookedness taught me to cling.
Thou hast fenced up my ways, made my paths crooked,
To keep my wand'ring eyes fixed on Thee;
To make me what I was not, humble, patient;
To draw my heart from earthly love to Thee.
So I will thank and praise Thee for this puzzle,
And trust where I cannot understand.
Rejoicing Thou dost hold me worth such testing,
I cling the closer to Thy guiding hand."

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

F for Imagination

rummaging through a large box of childhood mementos my mother recently mailed to me i came across multiple graded papers from my school years. most of them deserved the grade or comment they received, but some of them, well, it’s no surprise i’m refusing to send my own child to an “one size fits all” sort of school.

in 1988 i was nine years old. i was too young to be pretentious and too old to care whether or not i was perceived as “cute” anymore. i was sincerely me. i’m thankful i had a few good teachers in the swell of awful ones, and i’m more thankful my parents did what few others did for me as a child: encouraged my individuality and celebrated my uniqueness. next to this elementary poem my sweet mother added a few more comments on a small post-it,

“Your teacher meant to say,
‘Impressive Work!'
‘Original and Creative!’
(my favorite) ‘Future Author"

may our words be life, a slice of light! thanks mom.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

the saga continues (thank heavens).

for those who didn't grow up with sunday school lessons on flannel boards, read the story them self, or never saw the epic The Ten Commandments film, well, there is this story in the book of Exodus about how God divided the Red Sea so that His chosen people could cross on foot and avoid being captured by Pharaoh and his army-returning them to the slavery and bondage they were recently absolved from. in this story, prior to their being freed, God performed a bunch of strange and spectacular signs and wonders in order to soften Pharaohs heart and demonstrate to Pharaoh that He meant business. the Hebrews too witnessed all this, but when they stood there against the waters edge as Pharaoh and his army drew closer and closer, they doubted. i use to hear this story and marvel at how they could do such a thing considering Everything. i use to imagine if i had been there i would have been hanging out with moses saying things like, "seriously. can you believe these people!!?!?".

today, as the boys and me were driving to the beach, inclining to that point on Kanan Rd where you catch your first glimpse of the Pacific- all glittering and blue, misty and bright- this story was brought to mind. i humorously appended an additional scene to the established narrative: in it some boats came along and the people all cheered and sighed a great sigh of relief thinking this was the plan, this was how God was going to save them and get them to safety when suddenly, right in front of their eyes, all the boats sprang leaks and sunk.

the Hebrew people, while just a smidgen more dramatic than me, have something in common with each other: we both had observed the hand of God on a situation but when things got confusing we both went here:

"Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!"

i wrote a blog sometime ago, one i have yet to publish, that is about how love is a choice. as i reflected about the story in Exodus and how i was no better than those faithless Hebrews that i realized, just like love, faith too is a choice: (as someone obsessed with patterns and analytics, i can't believe i failed to see the similarities in love and faith.)

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

right there in the car, five more minuets till beach side, the boys in the back intermediately interrupting my train of thought with requests for the goodies in our picnic basket or informing me how the other one was wronging the other, i knew, regardless of my ability to understand or the tattered emotions involved, that the faith needed wasn't going to come naturally this time, but if i was going to access it, then i had to, point blank, chose to.

i can't see it. i can't feel it. but i'm going to believe in it: i know Him, i know His voice, i know He is good to me.

and during the meantime i'm going to take that same advise Moses gave the Hebrew people,

"just stay calm."

Saturday, May 12, 2012


remember the last post i wrote? read it real quick if you haven't then pick up right back here.

ok, well earlier this evening i got a message from that restaurant that....(drum roll)..... they no longer need me (something to do with restructuring).

this seems both dramatic and fitting:

"And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

i've cried. i've tried to make sense of it. i've even googled, for the sheer sake of entertainment, "dear God, what do i do now?". i know He works all things together for my good, i just don't understand why, considering everything the last blog i trust you read went into that i had to get the job in the first place. i would have much preferred to have never perceived His provision and goodness for us only to then find out there never was any provision. it just seems...cruel. i know God isn't cruel, and i know that from the bottom of my heart, but in my limited understanding, that's definitely how it feels right now.

going over this process with my dad on the phone earlier this evening he pointed out a very interesting pattern- how it appears the doors keeps getting shut before me, and maybe, just maybe, i should think of going in a new direction. i tell ya, i don't even care what i do at this point,  i just don't want to be rejected anymore; i don't want promising leads that lead me to a huge waste of time, i don't want to be fed any false hope via great interviews that end up futile, and i don't want positions offered and then taken away.

additionally, i'm confused. are we, or aren't we, suppose to be here?!?! i mean, had you asked me yesterday i wouldn't have thought twice about it: it was an answer to prayer, i was given a word of promise regarding it, and i witnessed Him orchestrate the whole thing. but now, considering it appears that He is shutting doors that i need to walk through (for the sake of us living here and us worshipping Him with everything we have) before i can even get to them, i'm totally baffled. we literally can not live here on one income. it's not a "well it would be more comfortable if we had a little bit more cashola so i think i'll try and find a job". no. it's for real ya'll.

this isn't my first time down a road of this sort, which is probably why, this time around, i'm such a mental mess right now. but for the first time ever, i don't feel i know Him. and you have to understand how stomach tearing, waterfall shooting out my eyeballs that is. i've never not known Him. He was my second best friend (my little sister being my first). we walk, we talk...

if i ever i needed to see Him, now would be the time. i believe. i do. i want to.

blessed be the name of the Lord.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


we knew the day would come, the day when the extra money in our bank account would be consumed by trips to ikea, the dentist, the optometrist, h&m, tj maxx, and chic-fil-a. on this day we knew, i would have to find a job and i would find it fast or we would be up a creek without a paddle.

that day happened a few weeks ago.

the last few times i've gone to find a job i've found one fairly easily, and in the end, persuaded myself out of accepting the offers given to me. this time around i knew i didn't have such false luxury; i was going to have take what i was given. the thing i was not expecting was that it would take me plastering the surrounding area with my resume, having great interviews with no call back, or applying to places i felt myself above only to receive emails notifying me they went with a "better match". 

it was after yet another rejection email to a restaurant...in the mall! that i had my rock bottom moment. the saving grace for my hope was knowing God sent us here, knowing He doesn't lead you and then leave you; still, the rejection was beating down on my confidence and optimism. i don't necessarily want to wait tables. before every place i walked into with a resume in my hand, before every hand i shook with my warmest smile, before every great interview, i pep talked myself into it, "your doing this for your family" i would tell myself, "your doing this so we can have health insurance, so we can tithe, so we don't have to move". of course, i would rather begin to tally some experience in a career that will take me where i feel lead to serve, but then, just as my husband pointed out and God reminded me, waiting tables is that very job right now. it's not at a design firm, or a magazine, or a music label, or a church that shares the same super cool vision for communicating and sharing the love of God in real practical and relevant ways...it's in a restaurant waiting on people wanting a great dining experience.

as i mentioned above, the need for me to work involves a desire for us to tithe. we weren't always able to do so at our church in southern oregon, and it killed me. jon and me fought about it till we were both backed and ready to swing in our corners till my father counseled me on how serving in the church was acceptable "payment" while we were piss ass broke. never less, i yearned to worship God with everything i/collective we had, and would do so when i knew doing so wasn't going to result in us bouncing ten other checks.

after it appeared that jon too had settled on reality la being our new home church that i began to itch to tithe. but, just like in southern oregon, it, along with a few other necessities, wasn't there. on sunday morning as they announced the ushers to come forward to take the mornings tithe and offerings, i made a great leap of faith decision: we were going to tithe and God was going to cover it. end of story. and we did, and while part of me wondered if i could call the church office on monday morning and ask them to hold it for a few months, the other part of me was filled with peace and joy in that act of trust and worship.

the sermon that morning only confirmed my suspicions that God was going to come through; that because He had brought us here to this land where only those with dual incomes survive that I only needed to pray for His favor, and to keep trying to find a job. i would, i surely would.  well, at least, that's what I took away from it.

then a couple days ago i had another interview. i prayed on my way out there (in topanga!) that if this was the place God would use me to serve my family and be able to worship Him in all areas of my life that i would have favor and that the position would be mine. i felt like the opportunity was Gods provision for us, but then, the interview was one of my worst yet. i apologized to jon when i got home for him having taken off time from work for me to go down there. it seemed like a total waste.

then yesterday as i was on my way out the door when i heard the message: they loved me...i got the job.

where He leads He will provide (make no mistake about it).

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

hello beautiful.

if i were a youth worker this is a message i would want to give young girls because i remember being a young girl, a very different sort of young girl who was terribly the same underneath it all.

i didn't have a horrible home life. i had a great one and i know how unfair that is, and how undeservedly blessed i am for it. see, i knew my parents loved me, i knew my Creator loved me, and between those two sources of knowledge i had a fairly competent self esteem of who i was-was just fine. which was good because when your a young girl going through the throngs of junior high and high school every little bit of sanity and grounding is precious.

now as a coming of age young women it didn't take long for me to realize my male peers did not consider me one of the "pretty" ones, and while i wished they were deeper in their conceptualization of beauty, i never wished to succumb to their idea of attractiveness. i was who i was, goofy and sarcastic, unabashedly individualistic, with a zany approach to fashion, mod style haircuts that my male classmates referred to as 'lesbo', and that great Italian nose of mine. for those 6 years i watched as my friends had boyfriends, had valentines, had admirers; i listened to their stories of love requited, of french kissing lessons in the band room closet, and of heart-ache.

*though, hmmm, as i write this i do recall i wasn't completely without an admirer... there was one. and if he should read this i will be completely mortified because then he too will know he really was the only one to ever pin away for me, or to write letters of admiration to me, or to call my dad and tell him how he thought i was the bees knees. even more shocking to this plot was that this guy was one of the "hot" ones who also led worship for his youth group in small town, texas. which if you've ever grown up in a church you know the love burning madness of all single females that revolves around a single male worship leader, particularly if he is good looking in the slightest. it's bonkers, and so was i because i didn't reciprocate those feelings to the sort of guy any girl in her right mind would have been honored to be adored by, a good one (sorry R.).*

honest to goodness, i didn't feel legitimately desirable till well after high school...which is also when i had my first boyfriend. i had let the resounding notion given to me in school and in youth group of me not being the sort of girl guys liked because of my looks and my very odd personality; even later on in life i still allowed that bologna to stunt my ability to be truly loved.

while i was secure in who God made me was okey dokey, and i was not in need of oodles of male approval, i did long to be liked back when i liked. still waters might run deep, but bubbly brooks come from springs deep within the earth and i felt constantly over looked because i didn't try to sell myself as desirable. none the less, i badly coveted for someone to see the whole picture of me: the seriousness underneath it all, the devotion, the sensitivity, the thinker, the sincerity, and the vulnerability of someone who just wanted to be loved in spite of who she was and was not.

but boys are just that, boys. and i don't even think if i had met my now husband in jr. high or high school if he would have been man enough to go there for a girl who wasn't considered 'pretty'. it's just the way it is.

year after year our society becomes increasingly obsessed with looks, vanities. i can't fathom how difficult it would be to be a young girl a margin less than what the world perceives as perfect, or as desirable, beautiful these days. if it was tough then, it must be practically unbearable now.

with that in mind, hear me out:

young girl, you are beautiful and not because guys think you are, your parents think you are, or because you posted a picture of yourself and you got like a thousand "likes" on it. you are not beautiful because your a good person, or because you give to the homeless, you volunteer your time for great causes, nope, you are beautiful because God designed you and He thinks your beautiful, and He doesn't make less than pure perfection nor does He lie. see, even the meanest, the rudest, the most selfish, the most glossed up, heeled up are beautiful too (although i admit i have to really try to see past all the stuff and things they put in the way to see their beauty).

so, and but, please don't end on the receiving end of the stick, take that same vision and apply it to the people around you, see them as the Creator does: beautiful! and don't fret about the boys or allow the lack of adoration get in your head as some reality about yourself, some of them grow up and become men and those men understand that not only is beauty skin deep but that there is so much more to attraction than the outer appearance (and that the "weird" ones are actually the really interesting ones, and some awesome men actually find that more desirous than a "pretty" face).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

when i was a kid my dad and me use to lay out on sleeping bags in the backyard and watch the stars- naturally it was more than merely watching the night sky- it was a time and a special way for my father and me to bond. of course, anytime you hang out with rick harbst you are bound to go away with some new knowledge, or factoid that you were not in possession of prior; hanging out with my dad is like chilling with an interesting (yet zany) encyclopedia (that has legs and arms of course). it was no different as a child of his. on those starry summer nights i learned about astronomy, greek mythology, and theology. if i was not already a lover of the night sky, i soon became one; however, i don't recall ever NOT being amazed by it...but then again i don't recall those first few times i looked up into space without my dad by my side. for me the heavens were, and are, a portal into the ancient world, a beautiful page out of a story book, a brilliant chasm of endless curiosities, and a vessel for awe and wonder at my Creator and his creation.

this past christmas the boys decided jesus was the brightest star in the night sky. i think it originated with the story of His birth in the manager, and the star that showed the way for the three wise man to Him. and while it's not theologically sound, as they sat perched by the huge windows in jons and mine room with the lights out starring up and talking to each other about how He was looking at them right then, it was just too darn cute to correct.

over the weekend we took off, got out of town, and went camping. there are a few things i didn't expect southern california to offer, one of them being, great camping, but lo and behold! i was wrong. we got to our campsite on saturday and left sunday-it was an one day wonder. the boys would have camped the rest of the month if it were possible (they said so themselves), but not knowing how socal'ers coexist out in nature we felt it best for our first go to be a short go.

we played in the creek that ran behind our site, the boys swimming where it was wide and deep enough, climbing over and around boulders that got in our way, and spying on fairies in a sparkling crevice of a trees raised roots; we set up our tent, wrestled on the air mattress, made a fire, roasted marshmallows over said fire, took walks around the campground, and star gazed.

jon and truman had already retired for the night but conrad and me weren't quite ready for our great day to be over. the fire was still crackling and we sat on some rocks positioned around the fire pit. dusk had turned pitch black within a walk to the restroom and putting our food into the back of the car. along with great camping i also wasn't expecting the night skies near or around southern california to be impressive, but lo and behold! i was wrong.

outlined by pines and giant oaks and hills was a dark canvas of countless bright and twinkling stars shining through. for awhile conrad and me strained our necks looking up at them, then we decided to lay on the hood on my car and use the windshield as our pillow. we made up constellations as i have since forgotten all but the big and little dipper, i reminded conrad how the scriptures say God measures the universe in the palm of his hand, and we mutually marvelled at how stunning it was. finding the brightest and biggest star conrad again made comment on that being jesus. i asked him if he really thought that star was jesus and he informed me he did not but that-that brightest and biggest star was like jesus. according to conrad, not only was it the biggest and brightest in the sky, but like jesus, it could see everything, even us.

now, instead of my father teaching me about the wonders of the heavens i have a five year old assisting me in seeing it in a very personal way. count me the most blessed star gazer there ever was.

Friday, April 20, 2012

CBW, also known as Compulsive Butt Wiping (archive)

deleting my myspace account and came across this blog i wrote some years ago on there. i had to save it. enjoy.

Jan 18, 2008

here is something only two people in the world know about me: i am a compulsive butt wiper.

up until yesterday this "illness", as my husband refers to it, had never resulted in any sort of catastrophe. unless of course you consider an occasional asshole bleeding from over-wiping; in which case, my asshole might.

i'm not going to lie and defend that i'm normal. i came to terms with my strangeness in the second grade, i will, however, put out there that at least i don't strip down to my birthday suit just to take a crap like a certain somebody who went to shady grove did, and probably still does.

now, as to my incident, it should be noted that more had gone on than just a single bowel movement. the night before i had, as pregnant women do, woken up various times to go tinkle. yes tinkle not pee. because to pee one would actually have to pee, and tinkling is what happens when all you have in you is a couple drops of urine, though it feels like a full bladder due to a peanut sized baby hanging out on top of it.

being in the middle of the night, with a 18 month old not too far away from the bathroom, i decided to wait till the morning to flush. morning comes and conrad isn't awake, but my morning bm is. i make the choice to go ahead and take my bm in the toilet anyways. which i do.

the afternoon rolls around and conrad and me already have been out and about, but now we are home. he is napping, when lo and behold my afternoon bm comes requesting my attention. i lift the lid to see the most horrific sight: multiple uses. i'm quite aware i HAVE to flush it. as i do the swirling brown and yellow water chokes on it's descent-it makes an upward swirl before it goes tumbling back down in defeat again. i wiggle the handle in Morse code, it reads: go down damnit. but the code is lost, deflected perhaps by the abundance of defected used toliet paper. before i have time to realize what is going on the water has risen over the seat and is pouring down to the shiny taverntine marble, it is a faucet, it does not stop. as i dance from dry spot to dry spot i try to reach the handle i have seen my husband turn in previous fixer up jobs; "lefty loosey, righty tighty" i repeat to myself. but righty isn't working and the water has now left the bathroom and is entering the mini-hallway. i jump out and run to the bedroom for a pair of shoes. the blue dansko clogs will do. i roll my jeans to my thighs, it seems perfectly normal considering how much water is coming from the toilet-fountain. i'm back to that magical handle, but righty still isn't working. by this point the water is in the living room and our bedroom. i'm cursing like a mad women with six swine in her. i run to find my cell phone to call jon; i'm imagining the entire house being flooded, conrad floating by me still sleeping on his mattress. jon doesn't answer. and i'm back to the not so magical handle. i try lefty loosey and it works! the water stops! i keep calling jon to inform him on why he should always answer the phone when i'm calling; i run through the series of events with him. jon knows it's not my first time to clog the toilet because of my need for my asshole to be perfectly clean of feces, but it's my first time to flood the house because of it. before i can finish the part of me effortlessly turning righty he reminds me once again how well he knows me when he asks, "so did you end up trying your other right?"

here is something else only two people know about me: i often confuse my left from my right.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012



the pictures are hung on the walls, the dishes are stacked in the cabinets, the backyard is littered with shovels and water guns, and daffodils from easter dinner with the bucks still reside in vases around the living room and kitchen. a rhythm, faint but audible, has begun to emerge in the months since moving to southern california. the boys run through the courtyard and into the library every wednesday, they have items to return, mostly tom n' jerry dvds and books about reptiles and insects, in their arms and they go without hesitation to the return slot and slide them down the ramp; they know the names of roads around here, favorite places to eat (habit, chic-fil-a, the natural cafe), and that it's always best to check the weather and wind down at the beach before going. we've found a church, a dentist, a mechanic; visited the school conrad will be attending next year; signed up for swim lessons at the nearby calabasas swim and tennis center for next month, and have weekly tot soccer obligations. i made cookies tonight, some for us, some for our friends, and some for our neighbors. the settling in has successfully commenced.

of course, the trajectory from relocation to acclimatization hasn't been a total picnic. the first few weeks in our place were a comical tragedy: the place was left in such a state of filth that we had to spend the first day and a half here cleaning, then once unpacked we started to see numerous problems and then the heater broke, the tub busted a hole, the disposal stopped working, there was a leak from our hot water tank going under our room, the carpet had to be replaced because of mold in it, and so on and so forth. still it was only temporary and more importantly God has been showing his goodness and His provision for us through it all. the manna is enough.

jon is enjoying his job. he works right down the rode from where we live, so close that most days he walks home, crossing the golf course behind our house before he swings through those rusty gates. as to how he is liking it here, well... he is for sure doing better than i thought he might. it's not oregon, and he brings that to my attention quite frequently; none the less, to the degree i know he misses oregon, overall he is coping well, even embracing what southern california has to offer-at times. we've tried to seek out a fishing hole suitable for him and conrad to no avail. the trails, while there are many and many felicitous for a good day hike, they don't really compare to the enchanting trails through the wilderness of oregon. however, what we do have is southern california beaches and the pacific ocean lapping up onto it. i'm hoping to put conrad in surf camp this summer, take paddle boarding lessons myself, and score some ocean fishing gear at a yard sale this spring for the boys. when in rome, do as the romans do.

this move is so different from the move jon and i did some six and a half years ago to oregon. foremost, we're in a healthier place in life: relationship sound, with children, a steady job, and community. but the biggest difference, other than the copious amount of sunshine i thank God for every day, is the fact that we knew this is what He wanted for us, and we were in a place in our lives to hear it and to obey it. to know your where He wants you makes all the problems that pop up, the longing for something familiar, and the missing of dear ones not just bearable but happily bearable. southern california doesn't make it to hard to happily bear it either.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

i was designed for here, and then, i was also designed for There. and when i get There i can hardly wait to fulfill that purpose in me, to kneel there and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry at His feet. i have no idea why 'that' but i do-i feel like i was created with that exact purpose in mind.

Friday, March 16, 2012

sermon on the chair, dear church of westboro

my heart is for God to be glorified in all things; this is the driving force behind everything i believe in and everything i wish i did/do; try to.

when i see God being used to glorify ones personal convictions, when His heart is misrepresented, when believers use Him to further political agenda, i get irritated. super irritated.

the reason:

if your not adopted, imagine you are. now, you have other brothers and sisters but they haven't met your adopted dad, who by the way is the most wonderful father in the world. some of these other siblings of yours have heard about this guy who claims is their dad, wants to be their dad, whatever, and some of what they've heard is good and true, but some of it is completely inaccurate and false. these siblings of yours need their father, and there you are in a relationship with him. so, would it make sense to introduce your siblings to their dad by first telling them all the things (you think) dad thinks their doing wrong?! or, perhaps, should you tell them about how loving and caring and kind dad is-about all the wonderful things dad has done for them and has in store for them, and when their ready, and dad will know it, dad can discuss with them those areas of their life that might not be good for them. it's a no brainer. no person in their right mind would be responsive to the first option, unless of course, i guess, that person has serious self-esteem issues that would bizarrely relish in that sort of criticism and perceived authoritarianism.

i see the above happen more often than i can stomach. i see it with how the church interacts with community and culture and how christians parade their politics. this seems absolutely asinine to me: what is our objective with the world around us then if not to bring those in it into dynamic relationship with their creator by means of demonstrating the power of His love?!? i can only hypothesize based on the design of the purpose that the purpose is creating a world in which "christian ideology" is preserved in both culture and government. which too seems totally and sadly, off.

God created us an individuals, unique beings each wonderfully and fearfully made. He also made us with free will, allowing us to choose Him instead of forcing us by omitting our will from the equation. now, why then would we, who have been given free will, decide it's necessary to assert our beliefs, beliefs attained through free will, on those who don't share the same beliefs?!? this seems completely hypocritical and contrary to His design. furthermore, how does this sort of power struggle advance His kingdom?! there are of course common absolutes, like all life is created equal, but these sort of ideas are natural pre-dispositions of humanity versus taught religious specifics (of course a perfect argument can be made, as was done by cs lewis, that said dispositions of human kind is evidence of a moral genesis). the church need not waver in what is right in the eyes of God and what is wrong-this is not a call for shades of grey to be exonerated, however, i do believe the church, certain churches, need to evaluate how His message is being delivered...and in certain churches cases, what the capital letter F message are you delivering?! because i'm pretty sure it came straight from down you know where.

remember, according to cornithians 13:1-13,

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

it seems pretty clear to me, deliver love with love and love God above all.