Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm very tough.

On Friday, I gave blood! This is a big deal, considering the last time I tried to, I passed out. My friend Cassie was nice enough to come with me and distract me. I was all fine and dandy at first, made it through the medical history and screening without freaking out; the nurse found my vein (not too hard, cause I'm pretty pale) and started. I was good for a few minutes and trying to talk to keep my mind off of the bright red blood coming out of my body. All of a sudden, Cassie was like " don't look so good. Are you ok?" I answered, "I feel a little lightheaded." No sooner had those words passed my lips and the nurse was at my side, ice pack in hand. In a matter of seconds, her and another nurse had put my feet up higher, put an ice pack on my neck, gotten me a Sprite to sip and started fanning me. I immediately felt better. The second nurse that had come to fan me was a ridiculously funny black man and he talked to me and made me laugh until I was done. Then I got to eat Little Debbie snacks and was ordered to eat at least 2 more hearty meals that day (it was already 2pm). Sorry Weight Watchers. I happily accepted this order.
They gave me an awesome lunchbox and a bright green bandage to show how tough I am.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Adventures in swelling

A couple of weeks ago, Travis and I went out to dinner.

This is me at the beginning of the night. I'm modeling the jacket my sister sent me.

This is me about 2 hours later after dinner. I had a
Thai chicken wrap and my lips swelled up.

It was really attractive.

We were supposed to go to the movies. Instead we had to come home and I was sad.

Mind you, Thai is my favorite; I've never had an allergic reaction to anything I've eaten, either Thai or not. Now I'm scared to eat anything Thai-ish. Boooooo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

$$$ and teeth and injustice

Sometimes life isn't necessarily hard, it's just not fun. Yesterday I went to the dentist yet again because I still have just a screw in my jaw (I'm supposed to have a crown put on top of it). This is the 3rd time I've been to this dentist. It seems like every time I go, there's another problem. This time he hadn't got in touch with my dentist in Orlando, so he couldn't proceed. Since I was already there (and since I hadn't had a cleaning in like over a year), he squeezed me in for x-rays and a cleaning. I don't know if that was such a good idea. He found like 3 cavities! I don't get it! I brush and floss as much as anyone else (ahem, Travis) and yet I still get cavities. I know it can have alot to do with genetics, but STILL. Ew. I don't mind getting the fillings done, per se, they're just so freaking expensive.

So I get home from the not-fun-dentist and try to pay some bills. I had to make a call to fix something with one of our bills and I ended up on hold for over 45 minutes. No thanks. By the time Travis got home, I was so frustrated. He's so good at letting me vent and then calming me down. I usually need some time to just be mad; only after that time can I look at the situation rationally (well, relatively) and move forward. All this on Monday. Mondays are supposed to be relaxing.

Life isn't bad or even very hard. School can be stressful and having no money is definitely a difficult place, but overall everything is really good. It just seems like there's not enough time in the day for crap and menial stuff AND fun and productivity and sanity. And guess what gets taken out of the picture first? That's right, cookies, TV watching and reading gossip magazines. A.k.a. my sanity.

In my spiritual formation group (small group "class" that all 1st year div students take) this morning we were talking about discernment. And by "talking about", I mean our leader Shane (serious black man) talks and we stare tiredly at the ground or nod when he looks at us. But anyways, this morning was a little more casual and we were actually talking about situations that require discernment. Recently in Rocky Mount (a small town near Durham) two women were attacked in the kitchen of their church while preparing food for Meals on Wheels. One was killed when the man slit her throat. The other is still in ICU. There is a lady in my group who pastors a church near Rocky Mount and she was talking about how alot of people in her church are having a knee-jerk reaction to the attack; they want to lock up the food pantry and basically have church behind bolted doors. How do we respond in this situation? Should we ask the church to put themselves in danger to do God's work?

My simple answer is: yes. Now, I'm not claiming that we should purposely put ourselves in harm's way. What I'm saying is that fear is paralyzing. If we are unable to act, to serve, to love, because we fear harm, then we're letting violence have the last word. We're saying that we are subordinate to the evil in the world and act (or don't act) because of the actions of other, ill-willed people. Redemption is happening all over the world, in a million ways. If we don't open ourselves to be vehicles of redemption and reconciliation, how will God move? How will the church remain alive?

This takes courage that is beyond our own. It requires reliance on greater Grace than we can create within ourselves.

But they knew it was love, it one they could understand.
He was showing his love, and that's how he hurt his hands.

~Nickel Creek

I don't really care about my stupid teeth now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

glory, weight, and the music of it all

Joni Mitchell always puts me in a certain mood.
It's a strange mood; one that reminds me of the summer of 2005, of Cambridge and the beach and mistakes and novelty. Her music brings with it a kind of ache that is hard and knocks the wind out of me.
I have to remind myself that there is more to music than one time. There is history, but there is also history to be made. I can love a musician or a song, but not necessarily have to relive previous times.
I associate both pleasant and unpleasant memories with music. The common thread of these music associated memories is always strength .
Sometimes they hit me like a cool wave. Like a wind that smells of a cold morning.
And sometimes they hit me with the force of a too-strong drink. With the weight of a slippery river rock.

Music used to hit me all the time. My emotions seemed almost at the mercy of songs. I don't miss being so affected all the time...I wonder if it's still possible. It feels like it's been a long time since a song has brought me to tears; a long time since I wanted to play it over and over, sing it at the top of my lungs, yell it, make it my anthem or credo. I miss that connection. I don't want to chalk it up to young adult angst.

I don't want to be unnmoved; and I mean this in terms of more than music. I want life to move me. I want to cry and laugh at movies and conversation and wake up breathless and roll in the grass and stare at the sun too long.

"and please remember me, my misery
and how it lost me all i wanted
those dogs that love the rain, and chasin' trains
the colored birds above there runnin'
in circles round the well, and where it spells
on the wall behind St. Peter
so bright on cinder gray in spray paint:
“who the hell can see forever?” "

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I started into this blog thing all gung-ho and such and then real life set in and I was a bad blogger. Forgive me.

Now it's Reading Week (aka Fall Break) and I have no excuses. Just precious time and space. Most people went somewhere for the week: home, vacation, etc. But alas, Travis doesn't have a break and even if he did, we'd still be broke and traveling costs money. So, I'm having myself a nice Durham fall break, which is nice. Yesterday was my home day; I knew there was cleaning that needed to be done, so I made myself do it first thing. 5 sinkfuls of dishes, one bleached and mopped kitchen floor, 3 loads of laundy, and one vacuumed house later, I am done. One plus: since it was home day, I feel no guilt about not showering and staying in a t-shirt and soccer shorts all day.

Sunday night, we went out to dinner with some people from church. It was our 3rd Sunday at Emmaus Way, and I finally feel like I'm starting to know people, at least surface-level know, which is how it begins. It was a small group, which was good for conversation, and included a missionary couple who was in town for the weekend. Steve and Amy were around a couple of years ago when the church was starting up, but have been in South Africa for about 2 years now, working with an organization called ServLife. They work with orphans and neglected children and help women start up their own businesses. Listening to their stories, I realized how little I really knew about the country of South Africa and its history. I mean, I know about apartheid and Nelson Mandela and how the country is portrayed in the Poisonwood Bible, but that's where my knowledge ends. Over dinner, they graciously answered our questions and told us about their life there.

And now it's Wednesday and I am stuck in the rut that I get when I have too much time on my hands. It's not that I don't have many options. There's the schoolwork that I'm supposed to get done, there's the million little things at the house that I've been meaning to get to, I could get my butt to the gym...the list goes on. Then there's the attractive possibilities: thrift stores, walking in the park with the pup, reading (NOT for school), watching movies that Trav doesn't want to, spending ridiculous amounts of time at the coffeeshop, etc. Most of the things that I associate with relaxing involve money and I need to separate these. Things like getting a manicure, going shopping for clothes or house things, going to the movies or out to dinner. I need to see true relaxation as just that: time and space to let go. Yes, I might always enjoy indulging in things like a good haircut or new outfit, but those shouldn't be the things I turn to when I need to unwind. For one, we don't have the money to spend on extras, and two, if I learn to rely on things or places to unwind, what does that say about my attachment to material things. It's no coincidence that the book that I have to read over break is called by Abraham Joshua Heschel a Jewish (ahaha, clearly) scholar. I'm only a few pages in, but we've been studying the concept of Sabbath in most all my classes and so my mind is already on the subject. Our Spiritual Formation retreat that I posted about a couple of weeks ago was centered on this idea too. I think it's really amazing that the idea and practice of Sabbath is at the center of the curriculum and life in my first semester at Duke Divinity. It seems to be something that is taken quite seriously by the faculty and, at least attempted by, the students.
I think the most significant thing I've learned about Sabbath thus far is that it is a command of God; it is not a suggestion; it is not a thing to do when we feel like it or when we have time; it is a must, like honoring one's parents or giving to the poor. Why have we let it slide? Why isn't it more important in churches? How have the Jewish people managed to remain faithful to the Sabbath, but Christians haven't? Obviously, I know there are many answers to all of these questions; just thought I'd share some of the things running about in my mind.

There is so much about my life here, in Durham, at Duke, about the first year of marriage, that I want to write about. Honestly, I don't know where to start. But I am thinking and processing. Maybe I'll be inspired soon. Maybe actually taking a Sabbath will release the floodgates. Watch out crazy internet world, watch out :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oh Etsy...

My current obsession is Etsy. It's fabulous and if you've never checked it out ,DO it! Mind you, only if you're willing to give up lots of time looking at all the amazing things and money to buy those said things.

I'm in Broad Street Cafe, where I usually am on Monday mornings. I come here to try and get some work done, but today has not been so successful. Last week, I somehow managed to knock out a paper before noon, but today's time has been eaten away by music, checking email and the black hole that is Facebook. Don't get me wrong, I love knowing about my friends' and classmates' personal life in a pseudo-stalkerish way, but I think I might need to limit my Facebook involvement. It creeps me out how much I care about what is going on in that world.

I'll leave you with a few things that I desperately want from Etsy right now:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Even though our guest speaker is Scottish...

I am in class and supposed to be paying attention, but alas, I am not. By Friday, I am so saturated with information and have given so much rapt attention, that I cannot even pretend to be a good student.
This weekend is my Spiritual Formation retreat in Chapel Hill. Apparently, the whole retreat is supposed to be silent: no cell phones, no computers, no Ipods, no schoolwork, no talking. I can deal (obviously) with the no schoolwork and technology rules, but I think it will be quite difficult to refrain from speaking. I know that the point is to silence our selves and the world and to focus wholly on God. I know that I need this. It’s just that there are really only two things that can result from that kind of silence; either you rest or you wrestle. I crave rest. I want to rest in God’s goodness and blessing and attempt to calm my soul in the midst of this busy new life. What I fear is that God will take this time to reveal something in me or to me. It’s not that I don’t want to listen to God and to know His heart; I would just really like to rest. Perhaps this is selfish. I just feel as if this has been a season of revelation, and I need some processing time.

Travis began his new job this week at the North Carolina Center for Death Penalty Litigation. It’s quite random that this job just fell into his lap. But then again, was it really random? I mean, what a unique experience. I have to say, I’m a little jealous. Here I am, going to school to eventually work at a place like that, and Travis already is. I am excited to hear the stories that he will come home with and to be challenged by this process and how God’s justice is working.

Well, it’s come to that time again; I want more tattoos! Well, I at least want to add something to the heart on my right forearm. I got the outline with the intention that I would add something soon after, but that was a year and a half ago and it remains just an outline. Ideally, I would love to add text in or around it, but I don’t know if it will work because it’s pretty small.

I also feel like I am in the mood for all new clothes. I don’t feel particularly attached to any of the things I own. Of course, that requires money, which I don’t have. So I want to buy pieces slowly. I am torn between my various tastes and styles. Some days I feel like dressing classically, RL oxford or polo, nice jeans or khakis, you know, J. Crew and such. Other days I love the trendy look: drapey shirts and chunky jewelry and loud patterns. Basically, I don’t know what to invest in. I was watching the Today show this morning and they had a segment on the particular pieces that every woman should shell out the big bucks for bc they never go out of style. They chose a nice brown leather bag, a tailored blazer, fitted designer jeans, a classy cardigan and charcoal gray trousers. I loved all the pieces they chose, so I think I’m going to take their advice. Several of the things were from J. Crew and Banana Republic, two of my favorites. Bahhhh, I'm such a girl.

Got to go pretend to pay attention.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The end is like the beginning

So yet again, I begin. Blogs and I have an on-again, off-again relationship. I want to be faithful to writing. I want to write thoughtful, witty posts. But I also want to try to get two masters degrees in 4 years. We'll see if either of these two goals actually happen.
It's mid-September and I am in the fourth (i think?) week of my first year of divinity school at Duke. If anyone is unfamiliar with div school, it's helpful to know that my husband, Travis, calls it Jesus Academy. It's where you go to learn how/why to do ministry. Or to read and write about it, at least. Most people there want to pastor a church. I don't because a) that scares me and b) I think I'm supposed to do something else. Don't ask me what that something else is, cause I sure as hell don't know. My hope is that I'll be accepted to a dual-degree program that includes two years at Duke (for a Masters of Divinity) and then two years at UNC-Chapel Hill (for a Masters of Social Work). At the end of four years, I'll either be dead, or be equipped to serve as a counselor, at a non-profit, etc.
One of the best parts of going to Duke is living in North Carolina. Seriously, it makes every day so much better. The greenery, the weather, the way people here care about recycling, the way that it doesn't take 6 hours to get out of the state: all wonderful. Living in a house also really rocks. It's quiet and cozy and I don't have to climb any stairs with groceries and we have a backyard. Simply amazing. I want to start a garden it the backyard. Just some flowers, herbs and things that can survive no matter what. You know, to boost my gardening confidence a little bit. We'd like to put a grill and some patio furniture on the deck, but to buy any of those things would mean not eating or paying rent. Alas.

I want community. For some reason, I had this picture in my head that we would move here and automatically have close friends and we would hang out at each other's places all the time and go to flea markets and on roadtrips. While I've met some really cool people, even clicked with a few, I don't feel like we get to see each other, or really have even gotten to know each other better. I want to foster that community, but I don't know what the next natural step is. I know that I can't create community by my own actions, but I want to be proactive. I feel like Travis and I have alot to offer. I know that sounds funny, but we do! We'd love to have people to pour into and to be challenged by. And we have a great house for hanging out, a fun dog and great tastes in music, movies, books, food :)
So potential friends, step right up.

I like my classes. But writing papers still sucks. My scottie dog is napping and I want to join her. Booooo.