Friday, February 25, 2011

a little giveaway

remember this post? after i shared the pages i love to get lost in, many of you expressed an interest in one book in particular, love is a mix tape. and i don't blame you. this book is gorgeous. the love story between rob and renee is a real one. it's beautiful and serious and playful and funny and feel-it-in-your-gut sad.

so i started thinking. over a cup of warm hazelnut coffee. because that's where i do my best thinking.

what if this book could be passed around between us? around the states, around the world? what if the same spine and dustcover could travel thousands of miles, all in the name of a good story? would you guys be up for that? 

i present to you:

here's how it will work:
  1. leave a comment on here and tell me your favorite love story, along with an e-mail address or link to your blog.
  2. at midnight on march 6 (sunday), i will randomly choose one person and mail you the book. {note: this is a new book, not my own copy.}
  3. read the book. go ahead and read it slowly and savor it.
  4. pass it along. to anyone you choose. you can do a giveaway on your own blog, or just pass it to someone you think will enjoy it. but the catch is that everyone has to pass the book along. no bookshelf dust collecting!
{the really fun part: i'm going to put a little sticker in the front of the book with my name, e-mail, blog URL, and a request for new "owners" to e-mail me a brief note whenever they get the book. this way, we can keep track of where this baby ends up, and possibly do a sort of Flat Stanley series with pictures of the book in various places around the world}

i just love the idea of sharing the gift of reading. because you're all my friends, and if you can't share something like this with your friends, what are you going to do with it?

p.s. that picture of me looks a bit like a mug shot and for that, i am sorry.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

all i want

i'll kiss you awake, and we'll have time
to know our neighbors all by name
and every star at night.
we'll weave our days together like waves
and particles of light.

i want only this, i want to live

i want to live a simple life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

a stroll down the road

i needed to get out outside yesterday. to free myself from the white walls of my office and breathe in God's air. seriously, there are times when i just go outside, breath and feel the heavenly spirit wrap around me. this usually happens in the morning, when the sun is just peeking its head up and the world is chilled, fresh and stark.

so yesterday evening, robert and i walked pablo to my grandfather (nanno)'s house for supper. it's only about a quarter of a mile, but it's my favorite stretch of land anywhere, hands down. the road is perfectly flat, great for riding a bike on warm summer nights. it's rarely traveled, flanked by fields on the left and older homes on the right. it's the kind of street where people live for 50 years and don't move. where neighbors grow up together and wave from their yards. i feel at home there.

wooden mailbox posts

 pretty manicured shrubs

sweet cottages by the roadside

 log piles and hay bales in the sunset

sometimes i forget just how calming fresh air can be. its innate ability to snap me out of a funk or give me some grand new idea. and i love the way God whispers through the tiniest of movements, like fluttering leaves. 

yesterday morning, i watched a squirrel perched on our well eat an acorn for about ten minutes. i sat nearby and watched its little jaw work furiously at the meat. it was spectacular and downright adorable.

sometimes i forget that humans aren't the only part of this immaculate creation, and the center of the world is more directly aligned with nature than structure, with feeling rather than facebooking.

and i thank the heavens for a God who reminds me of these things and forgives me when i cling too tightly to my walls, nudging me ever so sweetly outdoors, outside, among His creation, to really start living, one small walk down the road at a time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

a fairytale

i watched a special last night on william and kate, britain's royal couple. the lavish guest list, her speculated attire and all the lush, beautiful, things that will fill their newlywed life. i watched in awe, in admiration, and yes, with a tinge of jealousy.

then i looked at robert sitting next to me, and pablo sprawled out to my right, and i decided that this, this right here, is all it takes to make me happy, to create a feeling of contentment inside me so deep i believe it could sustain me all the days of my life. this blessing above all blessings, that of love.

and give me:

a deep kitchen sink by the window
warm flannel sheets in the winter and cool cotton ones in the summer
strong coffee with store-brand creamer
the first whisper of spring on my cheek
a great vintage steal 
flowerpots on my front steps 
the exhaustion of a good day's work
blue collars and white fences

over horse-drawn carriages, tiaras and mile-long veils any day. 

and i wish them the best, a lifetime filled with love, and i actually believe in theirs. and if fairytales are what it takes to keep us striving, reaching, for that love, then thank God for them.

but sometimes, fairytales don't look like fairytales, and that's okay too. because sparkle will fade, but laughter, truth and happiness are always, always beautiful. and the best part? they aren't reserved for princesses.

Monday, February 21, 2011

preserving the stains

i cleaned on saturday morning. that kind of deep clean that takes a few hours. i opened all the blinds, turned up ray lamontagne on pandora, and got to work in the sunshine. feeling like my mama and my grandma with my spray bottle and washrag.

and it was good. it was fulfilling and easygoing and productive. but i tell you, there are few things more fabulous than relaxing on the couch, taking in a clean home, putting your feet on a freshly dusted table and just stopping. satisfied that the work is done. i took in that moment. turned to face the sunshine smiling down on me, and laid my head on a floral pillow.

then i looked down.

at my couch. and saw the stains. the spots and scratches. the smudges and smears. and my heart sank. it didn't matter how much i vacuumed the rug it sat on, or mopped the floor around it, that couch wasn't going to look any better. i've cleaned it, scrubbed it and swept the crumbs out of its deep folds and crevices. but it's still marred.

i gave in to a little pity party by myself in the morning light. then i thought some more.

about the late afternoon in september when we first brought the couch home. to our first house on the grassy cul-de-sac. on the back of robert's grandfather's truck, on a wooden trailer. it took three grown men to carry the sectional inside the doorframe. the same doorframe robert carried me over as a newlywed. and later, when we moved into the little cottage, taking the couch apart piece by piece and spending an entire night trying to fit it into our new tiny living room, collapsing into exhaustion, frustration and laughter on the cold floor.

and i thought about the late nights in both houses. staying up far  past a reasonable hour just to be with each other, to soak up this new sleepover called marriage. the movies we watched nestled into it, and the greasy popcorn we devoured on its arms.

when we first got pablo, he was shaved and cold. we wrapped him up in a big crocheted blanked and let him sleep on the chaise lounge portion. that's still his favorite spot. a majority of the stains are from his dirty, wet paws. his licks and his nose nudges spattered all over.

so my couch is stained, but all is not lost.

all is not lost, indeed.

one day, we will inevitably get rid of that sofa, the one the salesman said would "wear like iron." we'll replace it with a new one, and make new memories on its cushions. but saturday morning, with noon rising outside and a little bird perched outside my window,

this couch was impeccable.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

a rebirth

and i’ve lost my way to the fields in late summer
to mama’s vegetable soup and tire swings
reading alice and wonderland under the shade tree out back, where the flies buzz and sweat pours slow and
sweet like honey
to the school bus and paper airplanes. the whistle of the driver to quiet after-school giggles
swing-sets and merry-go-rounds
to dad in the driveway. hugs in the doorway
to days spent with grass between toes, dodging sharp rocks. and mud puddles
first dates and last kisses
riding my bike down the country road by our house
warm wind resting at my feet like a basset hound

all replaced by the rusty gears of morning and faceless, busy phones
so i search. in early evening, dawn and late, slow afternoons
for that feeling to heal me again
to restart, even if just for a day and taste, savor and devour this life all over again as a child
so today i lift my head to heaven and pray for rain to run in
or maybe just sun to warm my heart back to infancy

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

my own little world

currently listening to this song.

the lyrics get me every time, especially these:

Father, break my  heart for what breaks Yours
give me open hands and open doors
put Your light in my eyes and let me see
that my own little world is not about me

i want to remember these words. more than as lyrics. more than as rhymes. as a mantra that i can chant silently and actually live. because it's so hard to. live unselfishly, that is.

to not wait for opportunity to knock, but to walk up to the door, break it down, and meet opportunity face to face. to minister, share and love on people, because that's what we're called to do. to listen and fellowship and give.

because if i wait until i have "open hands" chances are i'll always have a tightly bundled fist. the hard part is opening up my own hand, not waiting on others to reach out to me in need.

the challenge is to live like our Father in a world that tries to inundate with the idea of self. to maintain that root, that special tie, to the heavens when walking on the pavement.

one of my favorite Christian t-shirts says "be ye fishers of catch them, He'll clean them."

i'm casting my net today. and slowly, fearfully, but faithfully, leaving the shore.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

a flirtation

i really hope this isn't a tease.

this breath of spring. this whirlwind of warmth. driving with the windows down, hair rippling in the setting sun.

it better not leave me, for i am already much too addicted to it. much too intoxicated by its charm to return. to winter and its sad bones. 

this is curly hair weather. lipstick weather. pretty paisley dress and open-toe wedges weather. flowers emerge from hibernation and stretch their pretty heads to the heavens.

and last night, it was picnic weather. under the shade tree in our front yard, by the country road to my grandpa's house. 

it was soft blanket, pass me the salad bowl, lay on our backs and look at the periwinkle twilight weather.

and it was beautiful. we made a simple vegetable couscous and spring salad. drank water out of plastic cups plastered with our alma mater.

and just like that, valentine's day was complete.

don't leave me, sweet hint of spring. instead, come just a little each day. just a smidgen. inch your way toward our little cottage until one day, mid-june, you arrive in all your glory.

and i'll thank you by basking in you, all summer long.

Monday, February 14, 2011

writing home

i could write about the circus.
the way the cotton candy smell danced around the stadium and the children smiled and spun their lighted wands in the air. the peanut shells at our feet and the trapeze artists with their eyeliner and glitter.

and i could write about the food we ate. 
the creamy ricotta cheese pizza, oreo ice cream and crispy scallops. the crab cake sandwich i waited for since last february. at that little cafe by the sea, with windows on every wall. the movie popcorn and pepsi. the sweet indulgence of vacation.

or i could write about the ocean.
the emptiness of the shore in winter. the shell fragments under my bare feet and the wet sand between my toes. holding my shoes by the side of my rolled up jeans. the warm, salty wind blowing my ponytail. 

or the images. the beautiful, unforgettable images.

but really, the best way to sum up this long weekend happened on the drive back.

i had my bare feet on the dashboard. my seat leaned back. i shut my eyes and felt the sun, hidden for so long. the darkness behind my eyelids turned to a shade of honey, then amber, then ruby. and i felt the warmth on my cheek.

i turned and looked over at robert, driving us home in the sunset. and i knew. this was my favorite part of the trip. driving home together. knowing that no matter how much fun we have on vacation, nothing beats the day-in, day-out beauty of our normal life and the happiness it brings us. and trips are awesome. but no hot tub, dinner special, or late check-out time can trump the simple joy of coming home.

and that's the only thing worth writing about at all.

Friday, February 11, 2011

guest post: five things: life in general, by lynn

Adoration salutations fellow vintch readers! I'm Lynn from hearted girl and Courtney has graciously invited me to guest post here today. I am honored that someone I respect so much and who has in many ways assumed the role of depth coach, in my mind, asked me to consciously create a little list for you all. I've been spinning my wheels and pruning my answers on the topic of:

Five Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About...Life in General

1. Record your meaningfuls.
Time isn't just a magazine, but it could be a video! The older I get the faster time seems to move. We aren't always sitting on the edge of our seats with excitement, counting the days until "the next" big WOW or plunged by the suction of a light bulb moment. Reflectively speaking, various occasions in our lives have a dullness which somehow seeps into our highlighted hours and can chill them out.

I experienced this wane of energy in the weeks leading up to the day my Dad died. No amount of preparation can brace you for the impact of a parent’s death but we were thankfully given 6 months with the knowledge that they would be his last. This was a stress filled juncture, mostly for Dad, who tried his best to be "uppy" while assuming the lead role on our life's stage.

Blessed with the knowing still didn't equip me for what I would miss after; the way his brow would furl into a lined formation across his forehead, the wisdom in his eyes when he was about to impart some noble information but mostly the sound of his voice. Just the very tone and timber which was his alone.

I have but one regret; the limited recordings I have that document these irreplaceable things. Back then it was a VHS world, we didn't have the kinds of gadgets we do today. The something I wish I knew then would be put it on tape! Have something on video in case there comes a time when they aren't around anymore. Yes, moments together are precious but you won't be able to retrieve them off the coffee table one day, those stacks of magazines from the memories in your mind will eventually fade and tatter as their counterparts would. On the days that you need them, you'll be thankful that the option of pressing play is there.

2. Put yourself in a place where comparison isn't a go-to option.
The trappings of comparison - we all do it; look at others and feel less about ourselves. "Comparison is the thief of joy" The whereabouts of this quote I'm unable to determine but it's been something I've said to myself every day since the first time I heard it.

Many a self-pity-party was held because of this toxic "c" word. My folks embedded a bit of peace treaty knowledge by helping me understand that you are inevitably who you surround yourself with. So if you are feeling a comparative study coming on one too many times it may have something to do with your setting. Take a good look and be mindful of the ambiance. Moving to a new neighborhood, symbolically speaking, could be a step towards a sturdier stance for your psyche.

3. Develop deal-breakers.
Leaving a person or situation can be extremely difficult and sometimes paralysis sets in, making it impossible to move out of the way. If you already have an established personal manifesto with easy to follow rules in place than you are one step ahead of the game. 

People make lists all the time: grocery lists, to do lists and of course "ideal love" lists but the one I'm talking about making is specifically targeting the "nope, this isn't good enough for me" list and sticking to it with all your might. This kind of a guarded fence provides enough self-awareness against the culprits who try to scale it. A good, solid NO is as effective as a figurative ZAP.

4. Friendship isn't based on a mood.
Circuits misfire sometimes and your cluster of bf's or bff's shift courses. Whether a reason is given or not, it can suck when you're left to wonder the whys while performing an autopsy of the situation. I wish I'd known not to have sweated over a definitive answer, it's usually a waste of time and energy but the basic fact being a true friend always has your back. Winds of change may blow and distance or years apart happen; still when a bona fide temple is built you can return to visit and it is as it always was. That's how you know the rest were only a mirage.

5. Be careful about the trends you follow.
Oh boy, I've been through a potpourri of hair styles, make-up techniques and fashion cataclysms. Most have understandably stunk! Attempts to create the perfectly fabulous carbonated look fell flat and I'm sure Mr. Blackwell would have had a hay day upon reviewing these disasters.

I wish someone had told me that it's okay to have blunders so I wouldn't have beaten myself up so much in the moment and taken to tossing out some unperceived treasures. Just because they were once flops doesn't mean they can't make a reinterpreted comeback. There's undeniable logic behind why men are the hunters and we ladies are the gatherers. I should have used that wisdom, maybe then I'd still have my Elizabeth Taylor-like slip dresses that cost practically pennies; now sold at hot spots like La Perla for centuplicate amounts. 

“Wherever I go low or high places, I have to represent the truth…once the lights are turned on you realize you’ve been in the dark for a long time…I want to let young people know that it is not a burden to love him & to represent him & to be who you are as fly & as hot & as whatever & to still love God & to serve him…it’s not a contradiction…It Is Not A Contradiction!”
~ Lauryn Hill ~

images via weheartit
thank you, lynn! be sure to check out her blog and leave her some weekend love:)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

guest post: five things: living together, by dacia

Greetings fellow vintch readers! I am Dacia from The Ruffly Owl, and I’m beyond excited to be guest posting here today. I recently told Courtney that she is my ‘chicken soup for the soul’ and I sincerely meant it. So when I was asked if I’d like to join in on this series I was honored. Here are five things I wish someone would have told me about living with your significant other, but consequently have learned along the way. xo, Dacia

1. You still need to clean up after yourself. The rules of living with your significant other are similar to the rules when you were living with your parents. You shouldn’t expect the other person to pick up your slack and your mess, and you should be mindful of your contribution to a clutter free and peaceful living space. After all, you’re not the only person living there. 

2. Grab your own towel. How many of us have jumped in the shower only to realize we’re out of soap, shampoo, or have no clean towel waiting for us on the hook next to the shower curtain? How many of us then shout out across the house (still in the shower) to our significant other for these things we forgot? Sure, we’re all human and forget or need silly things all the time. But if it becomes a habit and we begin to rely on the other person too often it can be a nuisance. 

3. Alone time is important. We’re a couple and now living together. We sleep together, eat together, and possibly spend all day together. That’s great, but we should still spend some time alone. The thought of being alone might be scary for some. Let’s be honest, it can be boring at times, but we should embrace it. Take this time to redo the polish on your nails, catch up on Oprah, read that book you’ve been putting off, take a bubble bath, or organize your shoes. Do something for you.

4. Have hobbies of your own. This is similar to number 3. Oftentimes we share so much of our lives together that we start morphing into each other. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s equally important to have your own hobbies and interests. Think about it, your s.o. goes out to ride mountain bikes with his friends (as is the case with my husband), and you partake in something you love to do. Maybe it’s crafting, having lunch with your girl friends, or shopping (as is the case with me on all of these). The point is you are an individual who has much to contribute to this partnership. Stay true to yourself and enjoy the things you like to do.

5. Be considerate of the other person. Of these 5, this is probably the most important. You’re in a partnership and you’re sharing a home. This partnership and home require work to function smoothly, and part of this work is being considerate of the other person. Did he/she have a long day; therefore, maybe we should take our turn to make dinner instead? Are we listening to each other, not just unloading our own stress? Are we checking in with each other about our schedules before planning things? If you think about it, being considerate for the other person is acting selflessly. After all, you’re not the only person in the relationship.

thanks, dacia! be sure to check out her blog, the ruffly owl, and her etsy shop here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a series: five things i wish someone would have told me: the real world

1. the cliques are still there. girls can still be hurtful and boys can still bruise. that doesn't end with high school and it certainly doesn't end with college. the challenge is rising above it all and staying true to how God made you. because david whyte was right. the truth is, anyone or anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

2. schoolwork is over, and full-time work typically only lasts until five, but you still have to balance and schedule. i thought when i graduated that i would just have tons of free time to lay around and be lazy with my new husband. those times are there, but they take careful planning. i've rediscovered mornings. with all their dewy grass and songbirds. i get up earlier, read scripture and focus myself, giving me the energy and clarity i need to arrange my day the way i want it.

3. you've got to work to maintain your friendships. high school and college are like little bubbles. you get to spend so much time with your friends! you are all experiencing this adventure together, maybe living together, staying up late together, and just inhabiting the same world together. when the school stops and real life kicks in, people move away. separate. lose touch. and it's so hard to maintain that connection without the connecting factor, that common ground of school. so you work at it. you write hand-written letters to each other. you facebook. you drive halfway across the state to see them. whatever it takes. because female friendships are sacred.

4. you've got to work at your love too. work can be stifling and overwhelming and i often find myself knee deep in proposals and papers and just the computer in general, that i take robert and his sweet presence for granted. go on dates. just do it.

5. the only way to get through this crazy, beautiful, immaculately chaotic life is with the help of our Savoir. He is, after all, what makes this world so gosh-darn real.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the books of my life

last week, the ethereal beauty that is amber blue bird graced me with a sweet award, the honest scrap, with a challenge to write five facts about myself.
amber's blog is one of my daily reads. i swear the girl could wear a burlap sack and i would wonder which agricultural feed and seed store she got it from. she's just that pretty, and just that stylish.

i'm supposed to list five facts about myself, so i'm compiling my five favorite books of all time. because honestly, a person's favorite book choice speaks volumes, and mine will tell you more about me than my favorite color or restaurant, hands down.

they are:

1. the Bible: because it's a map, and for someone terrible with directions, it's a daily necessity. and because it's the most tangible connection i have to my Father, and like an old pocket watch handed down generations, it has meaning and history to me that is deep and personal.

2. of mice and men: john steinbeck. the first book that made me cry. i sympathize with lennie so much. with loving something so tightly, so feverishly and so overwhelmingly that you crush it. and squeeze it. that steinbeck, his words get me every time.

3. love in the time of cholera: gabriel garcia marquez. the movie was an utter disappointment, but this novel is breathtaking. i've highlighted and underlined almost every paragraph in my worn copy. i lost it for about six months when robert and i moved into our little cottage, and my heart broke. imagine my great joy when i found it in the basement! that taught me a valuable lesson: take care of the books you love. yes, you can get a new copy from any barnes and noble. but your original copy, the one held between your fingers as you read the words for the first time-that is special and sacred and irreplaceable.

4. the way the crow flies: ann-marie macdonald. this is a lengthy, thick, doozy of a book. one that should take whole months. but i read it on a long train ride to visit a friend. it was that engrossing. a beautiful study on how children interpret their environments. how the little intricacies weave together with the big events to play on and manipulate their psyche. heartbreaking and honest, and holds all adults accountable.

5. love is a mix tape: rob sheffield. never before has love transcended pages so deeply. and the funny thing is, rob doesn't get mushy or romantic in this book. but the way he describes the way he met, courted and lost the love of his life is as tender as it gets.

these books are my heartbeat, and to share them is special. cherish reading. savor it. because life is life. but sometimes, we can escape into an adventure. and who doesn't love that?


i'm passing this fun award to:

1. shalyn of laugh until your cheeks hurt
2. melissa of perfect peace
3. becca of adorable optimism
4. kristin of kristin in america
5. jenni of jenni austria germany

Monday, February 7, 2011

conclusions and illusions

he wore a red golf shirt every day. his hair, graying, was parted on the side, tucked behind silver glasses too big for his face. he was older, almost retired, and walked slowly, deliberately.

to talk to him was a game of roulette, to chance a good mood or a sour one. his office, at the end of the hall, never had visitors. he was quick with a snappy comeback, arched eyebrow of suspicion, and sigh of defeat. but he was excellent at what he did, so no one bothered him. no family pictures decorated his office, only a whiteboard and clock.

it was my first job, one of my first co-workers. my heart was too tender for his caustic demeanor, and i tried to avoid confrontation, only running into him in the kitchen, pouring black coffee into his stained mug. he smugly laughed at my optimism and "have a great day" salutations.

then one day, someone told me something about him. about why he avoided family pictures and corporate christmas parties, with all their spousal small talk. 

the tragedies, deaths and losses that hung like broken limbs on his weeping willow of a family tree.

all of a sudden, i began to see his abrasiveness as hurt. as agony. as a grief too hard to bear and contain internally, so it spilled over outside of him, onto his clothes, his expression, his pursed lips and his feet that dragged.

and i felt so bad for judging him.

because we never, ever know all the burdens people are carrying. stories can be personal, deep and hidden.

if you pull up beside me in the car and see me singing, i appear like a silly, 20-something girl. primarily because it's probably katy perry or kesha. and i'm probably drumming on my steering wheel. 

but did you know it's because when i sing, it's the absolute only time i don't stutter? and i'm a terrible singer. oh my goodness. so awful. but i sing all the time for relief. of the glottal blocks and brick walls that rear their nasty heads when i speak. but you didn't know that, and you can't get that from a stoplight encounter.

and you sometimes can't even get that from years of experience with someone. from working with them. shoot, from living with them.

everyone's fighting a battle, whether obvious or not. but we're not mind readers. sometimes we don't have the luxury of peeling away those layers. we just can't do it.

but we can love them. and accept them. and go about our day without questioning or judging how they live theirs. because sometimes a song isn't just a song, and a mean-spirited snap isn't just a bad day. and sometime we're going to need that exact same acceptance.

i don't work with that man anymore, but i hope he's happy somewhere. and singing.

Friday, February 4, 2011

the nook of love

there's a place i go where nothing but love, warmth and rest can reach me. where the outside world, with all of its stresses, deadlines and expectations slowly melts away to nothingness.

it's called a nook, and robert has been making it for me since we got married almost three years ago.

as soon as i hop out of the shower and see it, in all its lamp-lit glory, i am powerless to deny it. robert always drapes the blanket over the back of the couch, so all i have to do is crawl into position, and he'll wrap it around me. sometimes pablo curls up in the bend of my knees. other times he snuggles under the blanket too.

and i'm out like a light in about five minutes. he'll wake me up later and we'll go to bed together, but in the early evening, when it's too early to sleep but my body is screaming otherwise, the nook is the perfect solution.

and it's really not much, honesty. just the corner of our couch. a white blanket from target. three pillows propped up against each other. two from ikea, the other found in an antique shop. i'm certain they make softer blankets. fluffier pillows. couches that aren't stained with, well, life.

but that's not the point. i think i love the nook so much because of the love that goes into it. the special thought that has to occur in robert's mind before its created. because i never ask for the nook. it's just always there. kind of like these notes that keep popping up all over the place:

and the fact that he knows me so well--knows exactly what i need to recharge and soothe my soul? well, that's the most comfortable thing in the world.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

losing my way with words

i love words.

i love the way they play, dance, move across a page. their rhythm. ebb and flow. up and down.

and i love writing. primarily because i'm so lousy at speaking. i love being able to attach a noun, adjective, verb, to an idea. 

but some things aren't that neat. some emotions, like the ones you feel in your gut, have no equivalent words. like when i wake up in the middle of the night and just get sad. and think about the brevity of life, and how precious and fleeting it is. and whisper a second round of prayers up to Heaven from under my blankets.

some things are just too heavy. i don't know how to write about the look in robert's eyes when he asked me to marry him. the bittersweet melancholy when we left my sister at college. the punch in the stomach when i found out a friend died in a car wreck. because to even try is to cheapen it. happy and sad just don't come close.

that's why this is my favorite bible verse. i was reminded of it driving home last night and it's been playing like an old familiar movie in my head ever since.

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
-John 21:25
even an eternal library couldn't use up enough words to capture the soul of the Creator. the power and beauty of it all. it transcends everything. even my meager attempt here to write about it.

but those emotions. those deep, heart-wrenching feelings. those are beautiful. and special. and worthy of washing over you. even if words aren't worthy for them.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

cutting corners

sometimes i take the easy way out, it's true. well, maybe not the easy way, but the practical way, which often seems to be the same thing. and it's crazy. i'm creative, passionate and ambitious about some things. but others, eh. not so much. sometimes saving time and money trumps being free-spirited, and i cut corners. in fact, i cut corners twice this week, and it's only wednesday.

i shall explain.

cutting corners #1
yesterday morning, my hair dryer died. it would not even start. and i realized this only after i washed my hair. so there i was, six in the morning, sopping hair dripping down my cold back. and all i could think of was my mama, and how she chided me for going out of the house in the winter with damp hair, and how horrified this situation would make her.

then i started scheming. of a morning trip to wal-mart to get a replacement. i thought, hey, i can make this fun! i'll go right now, super early. grab me an coffee and granola bar from my favorite organic bakery. get to work before my boss. catch up on writing letters at my desk. watch the sunrise on my drive.

instead, i went about my morning as usual, puttering around the house until the last minute, and i dried my hair with the heat vent in my car. static ensued.

cutting corners #2
the other night, i had ambitions of going to the gym. actually using that monthly membership, because right now it's just looking like a pretty expensive "free" t-shirt.

what did i do instead?

exercise on demand. from my living room, in front of the television {did you know there are like 50 free shows to choose from?} i did pilates and hip hop classes and learned the audition dance from cats, all in about 45 minutes. i didn't run on the treadmill, do any crunches, or even really break a sweat. it was kind of pathetic, but i never see robert during the day, and wanted to be home with him.

so my days didn't go exactly as planned. but i'm still just as blessed today as yesterday.  and the creativity and energy will come again, just as smoothly and effortlessly as it went. 

and i thank God for today. for the chance to be me, even if that means cutting corners every now and again.

hey, at least when you cut corners, you're not square.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

like a pair of bookends

the older i get, the more i realize the importance of self-preservation, often unfairly veiled as selfishness, though it's anything but.

it's stepping back and exaimining the many hats, roles and personalities we women are blessed to carry. and saying no to some of them. not comitting to every bake sale, jewelry party and volunteer activity that happens to make its way onto our path.

as a pleaser, i struggle. how to i maintain my sense of likeability and sweetness while putting my foot down? how do i say yes to some and shake my head at others without looking like i'm picking favorites? how do i maintain professionalism without becoming a professional doormat?

{the very fact that we ask ourselves these questions and carry the struggle within us reveals so much about our desire to please.}

yesterday was a day when i just couldn't do it. not for the life of me could i commit to one more thing.

i stayed up until 3:00 in the morning sunday staring into a work assignment glowing at me in the dark. i got to work and realized my hair was held up by a rubber band. not a hairband.

i logged into my online classroom and saw a sea of forum posts. i looked at my yoga mat rolled up in the closet. i stared guiltily at my tomatoes, rotting before i had time to make sauce with them. 

so many stresses and challenges and commitments and requirements and expectations.

so i let them go. instead, i went to a pizza restaurant and stuffed myself silly. i took a long shower and stretched deliciously under the water. i snuggled into the nook of my couch and watched the bachelor until my eyelids sunk. i needed a good cry, a good man, and a good dog.

because we're not bookends. we can't always hold ourselves together. rather, i like to think of women as the books in between. the beautiful, adventerous, tragic, happy stories that make up a pretty fine collection. 

even if we're not always collected.