Thursday, March 24, 2011

I like to do things backward.  For example, I am currently reading the Harry Potter series at age 23 instead of age 13.  Is this a waste of my time?  Most certainly not.  Every true lover of literature wishes secretly (or not so secretly, in this case) that his or her best friends were Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  Every single one.

Who doesn't want to visit Hogwarts?  Come on, People, come on.  If I had a Spring Break, I'd want to go here for vacation.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"... Yet you are..."

During Lent I am reading the Lament Psalms with my church.  The Psalms have fascinated me always.  Within this book we find every human emotion expressed in raw conversation.  And whether the passages are thankful praises or defeated cries, the words are never enough, but God always is.

Reading the laments help me see the power of expression.  This book contains real suffering and agony.  By naming and identifying their pain, the Psalters acted in great faith.  As they identified their pain and sat in it, the healing process could begin.  By writing their Psalms, they were readying their their wounds to be opened, cleansed, and healed.

In many ways reading the Psalms, expressing our grief, and dealing with it in a healing and restorative manner is extremely counter-cultural.  We are taught to stuff our feelings-that's what maturity technically boils down to, right?  Hiding what we truly think and feel in order to appease and push through-and not to express emotion too strongly, because this makes us weak.  As I read through the Laments, one phrase, one theme, one facet of God's heart keeps resurfacing:

"... Yet you are..."

Regardless of the magnitude of pain, confusion, and lack of confidence in the Psalter's own ability to get through it, God is.  And even when the feelings of abandonment and disillusionment are heavy and overwhelming, God is.  I am humbled that God feels our pain and wants to heal us of it, so we can be agents of healing and joy for others.  When we are at our worst, God sees and knows us to be our best.  This simple truth-"... Yet you are..."-that my heart's clinging to during this Lenten season is the same truth that God whispers over us in our weakest, ugliest, lowest moments.  

That's it; that's love.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Cleaning.

I'm not moving for months.  Maybe it is spring waiting around the corner.  Or the idea of being somewhere new but familiar with someone who's closeness I treasure.  Possibly it's the concept that frugal people are de-cluttered people who hold onto the necessities and valuables, nothing more and nothing less.  But I am in the mood to rid my life of things-physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual-weighing me down and cluttering my mind, my focus away from what is truly important and meaningful.  Distracting my heart from where it should be.  Blocking the sun's rays from shining hope into my soul that tiptoes on the brink of an uncertain, discontent, and tempting void.

So I'm simplifying.  Downsizing.  Outsourcing.  Letting go to trade for the lightness of freedom and simplicity.  

P.S. - Girls, you might be able to grab some things from my closet to spice up yours.  Check back with me in a few :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Got In!

I am happy to announce I will be a foundation-year student at the University of Denver in the Graduate School of Social Work next fall.  It is almost surreal, the thought of being a student again and structuring my life around classes, internships, exams, and papers.  I have no idea what to expect other than a challenge, but I am ready, I think.  And a little nervous.  This school could not be more unparalleled with my undergraduate institution, and I will need to learn to navigate an entirely different system.  But I am confident that by going to graduate school, I will have more opportunities to be involved further with the people, communities, and issues close to my heart.  It will help me do what I want to do (or think I want to do at 23), even if it means being a little boring for two years... and another five to pay off the student loan debt I'll incur.  I am eager to see what new experiences, relationships, and opportunities will come my way.  And I get to be a super nerd again or at least let it surface openly...

Stay tuned for the possibility of a personal finance blog about being a poor social worker/graduate student by yours truly!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Over the weekend I flew to Wisconsin for a day-and-a-half to celebrate my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary.  And now I must declare to the world that I love my grandparents.  They are the coolest people ever.  Ever.

After 50 years they still love one another and are committed to maintaining their marriage for the rest of their lives.  They are the old married couple we archetype, ragging on each other then joking about getting it on when the family leaves.  Yep.  And my grandpa runs; he's 70.  And plays banjo, which I've referred to before (see Basement Band post for details).  And my grandma is one of the funniest women I know, always making everyone around her smile and laugh at her ridiculousness, which includes monkey imitations and voices impressions.  She's not so good at the impressions, but her confidence in herself makes up for it.

(Pretty much sums up my family...)

All this to say, I love them, and if I have a marriage someday that is half as joyful, blessed, faithful, and loving, I'll be one lucky girl.
Any day now.  The envelope could come in the mail any day.  And I am real scared to open it.  But real excited.

But once it's open, it will be open, the answer laid bare in front of me, and that will be that.  And even if I don't like the response-or if I do-I will still be me.  Still be someone with a long way to go, but an incredible someone who has come through a lot as well.  All this waiting; I'm no good at it.

Even if the content doesn't say what I want it to, other possibilities wait.  Some I know nothing of and others I've considered for some time.

A trip to Kenya.  And maybe a detour to Uganda.  Or Senegal.
Two years in Mexico.
Jobs in other fields, places.
Living with one of my best friends again.  And two dogs.  And maybe with others.
Friends I have yet to meet.
Books to read.
Questions to ask.
Weddings to dance at.
Thoughts to consider.
Habits to break.
A love I have yet to love.
5Ks to Run.  This coming Saturday.
Money to save.
Projects to take on.
Areas to grow in.
Laughs to laugh and laugh and laugh.

Up to this point, I've lived in phases, waiting for the "next big thing."  What happens when there isn't a "next big thing?"  I guess that's now, and I'm learning to live well in the now.  In the monotonous mundane.  To appreciate every day for what it is, nothing more and nothing less.

But my heart is still wild.  And that is something I love, something I won't let go of ever.