Thursday, August 27, 2009

ahh vacation.

sometimes you never quite realize how badly you need a vacation until the whole thing has ended and you return to normal life. my vacation was perfect. a pleasant mixture of discovering new places, seeing new sights, and relaxing in the pool and jacuzzi, cocktail in hand.

i mean just look at these places...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the past three years

three years ago today, my mom and i packed up my camry and headed south (after a stop to bob evans for breakfast, of course). that's right... i have called nashville my home for the past three years. i will try my best to briefly summarize my thoughts and feelings about living here since my moving day.

i was excited. i had known for several months that i was going to move to nashville after i graduated college, but i didn't know where i'd be working, or where i'd be living. i didn't even know why nashville. i just sort of... picked it. thankfully, my good friend stacy had moved here a couple months prior, so i at least had a place to stay temporarily, and more importantly, a friendly face. i came down here with whatever fit in my little car (sidenote: this trip is where she was finally given a name - old faithful) and still allowed room for myself, my mom, and my mom's luggage. it was a sunday. monday morning we hit the road and started looking at apartments and i put my resume in who knows how many day cares. tuesday, more of the same. by wednesday morning i had signed a lease (which i couldn't move into for another month) and accepted a position in an infant classroom in cool springs, and my mom flew back to michigan.

looking back i can easily see god's hand at work in all of that... a job and a place to live within three days?

that month before i could move into my apartment, stacy and her roommates (lovely ladies... regan and erin) allowed me to sleep under stacy's bed on my (deflating) air mattress. i fell in love with their home and their neighborhood (and their personalities, of course).... and their coffee shops. oh, their coffee shops.

that first year was trying. i absolutely loved living in nashville (well, i technically was living in a suburb on the southside of nashville after i moved into my apartment). i also loved the area of cool springs, where i was working at the day care. i met a lot of great people at the day care. co-workers, parents, and children alike. but after almost a year... i couldn't take it anymore. my infants were turning into toddlers. they grew from a class of eight to a class of twelve. i was working almost 60 hours a week at times, with no lunch break. it was too much. there were many times i considered turning in my two weeks notice.. but i chickened out. and then i was let go (the reason is a long story... which you can ask me about if you know me. i promise you i did not harm any children or break any laws or anything horrible like that). again, looking back i see god's hand working in my life here in nashville. i wanted a new job, but was afraid to leave the one i had. so he took me out of it himself. and three weeks later, i had a new job.

i was also adjusting to living on my own. i had roommates all throughout college, and now here i was, by myself. for the most part i enjoyed it, though it was boring at times. and i was far away from everyone and everything i loved in nashville.

year number two. i started my job as an admin assistant and six months later was promoted to accounting clerk. i worked. a lot. a lot of overtime. and i learned. a lot. (both thanks to an audit.) and i was making quite a bit more money than i had been at the day care. overall, life was good. i guess that's all i really feel i have to say about that year.

this past year has been by far the most interesting. late summer of '08 i had several friends move away from nashville, all within about a month's time. it was hard to say goodbye, though i knew i would still be keeping in touch with them (well, most of them anyway). later that fall i started to feel really discouraged. i was frustrated with many things, and come winter i was ready to give up. i had seriously considered moving back home or back to anderson when my lease was up (in march). then came january.

with the new year came a renewed sense of spirit. i finally began to get to know people at my church (which i had been going to since i first moved). i had (finally) joined a small group, i got to know another group of friends and joined them for lunch almost every week (at the same little mexican joint every time), and they brought other friends (not from our church) to lunch with them. i also began to meet more people in random ways. i started going to the coffee shop more (read: at least two times a week). things were looking up. and then my lease ended, and i moved into a house with roommates and near the neighborhood i fell in love with when i first moved here. i finally began to feel like this was the nashville i belonged in. close to friends, close to the places i love, close to coffee (my fido love is being taken over by a coffee shop which is only two blocks from my home). having roommates again, being able to walk places... i am so much happier now than i was eight or nine months ago. a year ago. two years ago. three years ago.

nashville, you're stuck with me.

live is good.

and i guess that wasn't brief after all. oh well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

a glass can only spill what it contains

sunday in church we talked a lot about conflict. i had always considered myself as one who tends to avoid conflict. but leave it to randy to turn things upside down on me. he started talking about how there are people who say they hate conflict and so they push everything down inside until if finally explodes. in the past he has used the illustration of trying to hold a beach ball under water... you can only hold it there for so long before it jumps back up and breaks the tension of the water's surface.

and that, my friends, is where i am in most of my relationships. obviously some relationships are healthier than others, but i can count several specific times when i have held everything down until i couldn't contain it any longer.

so there you have it. my confession: i need to learn how to confront in love.

a glass can only spill what it contains. what does my glass contain? love?

in other news, i want to congratulate my old* friend libby on her recent move. i it is a breath of fresh air to live in a place where you can really feel at home.

more on that next time... when i blog about my past three years in nashville.

*libby is not old. she's just an old friend. i believe we are going on 23 years of friendship now. crazy.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

30 (i don't remember six).

no, not the age. the people.

a new girl is moving into my house today. this makes 30 roommates that i have had. 30. kind of nuts. all since starting college.

3)stacy h.
11)stacy l.
13)jen e.
14)jen b.
16-21)i don't remember their names*
24)sarah p.
27)sarah b.

*i don't remember their names. the summer before i moved to nashville, i sublet my friend rachel's room for two months. there were seven other girls living in that house. i remember kristin, because we were acquaintances before i moved into the house and we had both gone on the trip to japan with our college. but i don't remember the names of the other girls, and as i think back (three years ago), i don't think i even knew all their names at the time. how horrible is that. i lived with these women for two months, and i don't know their names.

i guess that's all.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

hope enough (to make a grown man cry)

i've been thinking about hope a lot lately. in anticipation of writing this blog i went back and listened to the podcast of an old sermon from midtown (sidenote: i love technology.... by old i mean 19 months ago)... i re-listened to the first part of a 2-part sermon. i brought out my journal and looked over my notes from the first time i heard it. on that page i had written the phrase "hope enough".... i wrote the title of this blog entry before i pulled that journal out. "hope enough."

i had remembered that dave (the pastor) had played this music video - the song "glosoli" by sigur ros. and then he cried. this video represents hope to dave, and to myself. hope enough (to make a grown man cry).

i am not going to define hope for you in this blog. i think it is something we all need to define for ourselves. i will, however, give you a few of my favorite quotes regarding hope.

"hope is like the beat of that drum." (dave burden)

"i find hope and it gives me rest. i find hope in a beating chest. i find hope in what eyes don't see. i find hope in your hate for me." (hanson, great divide)

"we are prisoners of hope, y'all. you are going to die full of it. if you think you can escape it, and if you think there is something you can do to quench it, you're wrong." (dave burden)

"if hope were a person, it would be a child. no matter the tragedy, circumstance or misfortune, its true nature always seems to find a way." (taylor hanson)

"hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. you wait and watch and work: you don't give up." (anne lamott)

"every day of your life is a battle for hope." (dave burden)

"hope deferred makes a heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." (proverbs 13:12)


hope enough.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

whispers of who i am - the spider web.

i should probably start this off with a disclaimer -

i have a couple things that i need to say just to get them out of the way and help me focus on the main issue at hand. here they are:

a) it's storming. only a few short years ago i would have been pretty uneasy right now. i'm not sure what caused the change, but now i love storms. i'm hoping it lasts long enough for me to fall asleep to the sound. (let's be honest. it's almost 9pm... it doesn't need to last too long. 'cause i'm old. i have an early bedtime.)

b) i stumbled across this blogger named annie. today she blogged about her one-year "nash-versary". in a few weeks i will be looking at three years in nashville. her blog got me thinking about the past three years, and even more specifically the past year. more on this later for sure... probably on the date of my own "nash-versary" (8/20 if you're wondering).

anyway. onto the "meat" of tonight's blog -

over the past few weeks, randy (the pastor of my church), has been reminding us all that god speaks in still, small whispers. today, i heard his whisper.

as i was heading back into the office after my lunch break today, i saw a spider web. now let me just say for the record i am the biggest wuss when it comes to bugs. however, i looked at this spider web and saw beauty. and then i remembered a story i had heard several years ago. at the time (spring 2005) i was attending a church in muncie, indiana. one sunday morning, guy (the pastor) told us a story of when he was starting to question what god was doing with his ministry. here's a quote from the story as it is written on the church's website -

As a beautiful web began to emerge from what had originally appeared to be a random mess, he began to understand that there was something intentional this spider was doing. This thought broke his former line of questioning and he asked a new one: "God, how does this spider know how to create that precise web?"

And the still, small voice of God's Holy Spirit spoke clearly to him, "That spider is doing what I put within it to do."

"That's nice," he concluded, satisfied with the answer, but not making the connection. "But God, what have you called me to do? Are you going to do something here?"

God replied, "Guy, I shaped you and formed you in the '70s and I made you who you are. I put within you to do what I want done here at MAC. You're about to give it all up and throw it all away."

Later that overcast morning as he walked to the church from the parsonage, the sun was burning off the fog and up in a tree he noticed another spider web. This one was covered in dew drops and as the sun shone through it, the drops sparkled like diamonds. The brilliance caught his eye and in his heart, the Lord asked, "What do you think of this one?"

"It's beautiful, Lord."

"I put that there for you to see this morning."

(i suggest reading the full story here)

this afternoon i saw the spider web, and i was reminded that i am who god created me to be. i might not always like (or even know) what that means, but it's truth. i need to live in that truth. over the past several months i've been trying to remind myself of my own story, trying to remind myself of who i am. this is a journey that will likely never end, but i feel as though i finally embarking upon it for the first time. this spider web was a gentle whisper.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

i'm sorry, so sorry.

i would like to apologize to.... well.... all two-ish of you who read this thing.

i did not blog at all in july. oops. it was kind of a whirlwind month. let me give you the brief lowdown.

a. 4th of july was fun. i got drenched, but enjoyed running around downtown barefoot in the downpour.
b. i dog-sat for a co-worker and stayed at her house as i did such. this lasted about a week and was sort of like a mini-vacation, just in that it put me in a semi-new environment for a bit.
c. those hanson guys were in town for two weeks mixing their album. ran into taylor and isaac at starbucks. fun times.
d. lots of trips to lots of coffee shops. i drank a lot of coffee in july. not that this is 'news' to any of you.
e. i'm starting to make journals again like i did in college. i'm hoping this will be a good creative outlet as well as a source of extra cash.

well. there was more than that but that's the gist.

in other news, let's look at what's really going on in my life right now. church was good this morning, and it provoked a conversation with my good friend erin at lunchtime. we talked a lot about finding that line between living in god's grace and the freedom that we have in him and becoming legalistic. i don't want to go into a whole religious spiel on here, but there are two definite extremes there. and along those lines i've realized this past month (as i have been importing, and thus re-reading, my old [read: 2004 and 2005] blogs) that i have become fairly cynical and jaded towards a lot of things. so i am going to try to spend the next chapter of my life uncovering why... what happened... where do i go from here... and with that, remembering (or maybe truly discovering for the first time) my story.