Monday, September 27, 2010

Pure Delight.

Autumn has arrived, and it is beautiful.

Colorado's aspens.  Nothing quite like them.

Echo Lake.  I want to kayak here sometime.

I want to skip work and sit in the woods all day.

Crunchy leaves.

This picture expresses my current emotional state.

And to celebrate the arrival of my favorite season, I baked pumpkin bread last night for my friends and watched Sunday Night Football.  


Friday, September 24, 2010

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

For a day or two, I was embarrassed.  Now I am smitten and not one bit ashamed about it.  I love Friday Night Lights.  I don't know if it's the small-town dedication coupled with neighborly compassion, Coach Taylor's unconditional love for his wife and girls, the contagious enthusiasm for the Dillon Panthers that ultimately brings the most diverse individuals together, or the perfectly-succinct soundtrack by Explosions In the Sky, but I'm taken every episode.  I've teared up countless times.

What's even more amazing than my addiction to a fictional television show about a high school football team in a small, Texas town is my craving to go to a football game on a Friday night to cheer.  And love a man and raise our own kids who might play football on Friday nights in our future.  Then I could cheer them on, too.

Oh my.  Oh my.  Even if I do want a meaningful job and a life full of traveling adventure, I still want the simple, traditional things somewhere inside me.


Anyone with clear eyes and a full heart absolutely cannot lose, whether in football, love, family, or social entrepreneurship.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's that Crispness In the Air

Fall is here.  And to celebrate, I'm writing this under a tree at St. Mark's with a mocha while admiring the nerdy boy in a cardigan.  (Side note:  If only he were wearing plaid, and I had the guts to say hello.)  And going to Oktoberfest in the mountains tomorrow.  I hope the trees have turned.  I'll still love them if they haven't.

This changing season and crispness in the air makes me miss the Midwest terribly.  Words I never thought I'd utter.  For the first time in a long time, I want to go home.  To the place where I grew up, where the family that chose me lives.  To the land of dairy aroma, traditional family values, and small town boys and girls.  For the first time in a long time, I might be a little homesick.  Or possibly very nostalgic.

I'm also bored.  Proof of said boredom?  In the past six days, I've tried three new recipes with tofu.  I get on (what my sister and mom call) a "kick," where I go crazy with a concept or idea and beat it dead until it seems normal, as though it were always part of my convictions and lifestyle.  I made meatballs, mousse, and stir fry.  Next week I might try a cheesecake or "meatloaf."  Secret?  It was on Manager's Special at King Sooper's for 89 cents.  And I was bored.

And I miss writing.  In my lit classes, I always felt a little out of the loop.  My admiration for Tolstoy never surpassed my love (borderline obsession?) for Donald Miller, and smirk from Whitman's wit never trumped the laughter inspired by Billy Collins.  Plus, I didn't scheduled writing into my iCal like I did for the elliptical or girls' night.  Regardless of the facade, I'm a nerd.

Even though I don't handle boredom well- and my restlessness often transitions into discontent and preoccupation-I'm determined to learn to live with it, learn from it, and become a better woman from it.  My life feels like an extension of yellow:  Nothing has stopped (I'm still dreaming and thinking), and I'm preparing to go... somewhere, although the destination hasn't clearly arrived.  So while I learn to live better in the moment, enjoy opportunities authentically, and appreciate a pause, I conclude that this missing things means my significance is in a different world, a bigger vision, and an eternal kingdom.

Love from beneath an umbrella.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Comprehending and Processing

Now that the final wedding of the summer is over, and I'm back "home," it's time to hit the gym with brutal force.  Somehow paying $30 every month motivates me to utilize 24 Hour Fitness, and, unfortunately, I have no excuse.  After all it's open all day, every day; however, I've concluded that I go to the gym for the future... reducing future medical costs, preparing for future, outdoor endeavors, staying healthy for the people I love and will love.  I go because it's good for me, but 24 and I haven't bonded to the point of unconditional love or even unwavering addiction disguised as commitment.  No, we sort of have a love-hate connection going down.  

I understand why everyone looks like death on a Stairmaster.  Who knew climbing 80 floors in 20 minutes-I'm sure the pros do more than 20-could be that taxing.  My friend and I want to go to Peru next summer on a hiking trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  It's been on my list since high school Spanish, and Donald Miller did it, so that means I can do it, too.  But everything I've ever heard, read, or seen about this hike leads me to believe that the Stairmaster could be real helpful.  If I do 30 minutes a day until we leave, I might not collapse in Peru.  Logical thinking.  And who wants to pay $500 to pass out on the trail?  Not moi.

(Hikers on the Inca Trail:  Damn, that Random Hill setting on the recumbent just wasn't enough...")

All that ranting about the gym was a long (but apparently necessary-hello Stairmaster anger!) tangent, which proceeds to the more pressing concern:  Precious.  Despite warnings from friends and family ("you're going to cry and might not make it through in one sitting), I'd resolved to see the film.  I wanted to relax after my Stairmaster experience, and Precious wasn't the right choice.  Not only did I have a good cry, I ruined my 80-floor workout with a large bowl of ice cream (whatever... I work out, so I can eat what I want).

All over the movie, it says, "based on the novel," but we know that Precious is a composite story.  People suffer from similar abuse, illness, and poverty daily down the block from my cozy apartment.  My reaction to the film made me think about the professional route I want to pursue:  social work.  If I can't hack a movie, how will I ever do my job?  Am I cut out to hear people's stories day in and out and find some way to help them out of the downward spiral?  Who am I-broken and ill-equipped-to "handle" others' problems with some formal training and compassion?  

But what amazes and encourages me beyond my frailty is the beauty in the tragedy.  If I choose to go into social serves, my heart will be broken.  And it might be nearly impossible to completely separate from the people I serve, because they are people.  Individuals with feelings, hopes, dreams, fears.  But that relationship, that vulnerability is beautiful, and tragedy can be healed into restoration.  It might be difficult.  It will be tiresome.  It will be unnerving.  It will be underpaid.  It might not yield tangible results.  But I want to experience a better, fuller life with all people everywhere.  And I believe it is possible, even in the darkest situations.