Friday, April 21, 2006

spring in the LEX

i love spring. even when it rains... except when i have to walk a couple of blocks to or from my car. anyway, spring has sprung in KY, and that means dogwood trees and horses. and lots of frappuccinos (huh?) at the BUCKS. i should probably know how to spell that but who cares... not me.

i started a conversational spanish class at the literacy center last week. i suck. but that's pretty much why i'm in the class. it's been a long time since i had any spanish classes, but the hardest thing is that my brain defaults to Krio when it tries to think spanish. the two are not similar at all, which you probably guessed. so i sit there and stutter and get red-faced for an hour and a half every thursday night - but i guess it's helping me a little. it is at least exposing me to some mild humiliation on a regular basis. that is good for all of us occassionally. combine that situation with my favorite question - "would you like room for cream in your cafe estima?" - every 20 seconds and i'm more humble now than i have ever been in my life!

al stuery was in town this week, so that was fun. we did some apartment hunting, but i'll continue to look around for the next few weeks. she's coming in mid-june, so we have a little bit of time to figure it out.

i'm starting to look for job part 2. have found a couple of things that seem interesting, but i need to work on a resume. i keep putting it off, but my goal is to get it done this weekend. if you call this weekend, you need to ask me about it. if i'm not finished, hang up on me. my future is in your hands.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

the winter of grief

i made an emergency trip back home last weekend. on thursday i received a voicemail message from my mom - my heart started racing before she finished a word... i knew it was bad news, i just didn't know who it was regarding. i called her back and learned that it was my uncle john - mom's youngest brother. i'll spare you the details, but he died unexpectedly in his sleep at the age of 43.

john was burried exactly six months from the day that my grandfather died. it rained most of the day, and that somehow seemed right. i will never forget the image of my mom and aunt standing on either side of my grandmother - each of them with a rose in hand, a shared umbrella keeping their heads, but not their eyes, dry. they walked through the mud from john's gravesite over to grandpa's where the dirt hadn't yet had time to settle. it was a disturbing but honest picture of the last year in my family's history. so much pain. so much loss. so many things to mourn and attempt to accept, if not understand.

but this sort of thing doesn't get easier with experience, and this situation was so much more abrupt and harsh in its nature. with grandpa's death we were given time to prepare ourselves and say what we needed/wanted to say. we were given an opportunity to celebrate a life well-lived. but we didn't really get that chance with john. too abrupt. too harsh. i still can't wrap my mind around the fact that he's really gone. i'm harrassed by the memory of my last interaction with him - he attempted to give me some uninvited relationship advice around Christmas and i was a total smart-ass and blew him off and i felt bad at the time but didn't make it right. and that was it. now he's gone. i didn't get to say that i love him and appreciate his perspective. but more honestly, maybe i didn't choose to realize that i love him and need his perspective. a lesson learned, but the regret is still with me. having a random well-intentioned soul (who i've never had a real conversation with) tell me that uncle john is dancing in heaven (while i'm staring at his body in the casket) doesn't exactly make me all cool with my caustic attitude a few months before. i still feel that i hurt him and i still feel that i deserve to be avenged in one way or another... that's a weird personality issue of mine... we'll save that for another time...

but the funeral was filled with a million trite little phrases and sayings and word-pictures about heaven that we Christians use to make us feel better. it's like pain medication. it will ease the discomfort, but it does nothing to actually confront the source. why can't we sit still and think about the bad stuff for a second? the truth is that this world is really ugly sometimes. yes, there are many beautiful things, like life itself for one, but there is so much suffering and pain. and we really can't pretend like it's not there. i think one of the most harmful aspects of the holiness movement is it's tendency (not accross the board, but please hear me out) to step right past good friday and into easter. sorry, but that's not how it works. i think that we really miss out on a huge aspect of the character of God when we are afraid to look at the suffering. i mean, the cross is the symbol of our religion, yet we have such little regard for what that means. this has all been said a million times and million times more elloquently than i can say it, but it is very real to me right now. if we cannot find God IN our disappointments and sadness and suffering - not just on the other side of those things - then we cannot know God completely.

i have mentioned before, maybe not on this blog, but on several occasions, that the last 9 months or so have been filled with little and big lessons about grief. i won't say that i have "a calling" because i still don't really know what that means despite 25 years in the evangelical world, but i think that i am in the process of learning the importance and value of our lament and tears. i think that i am strangely wired to handle the weight of this load, and somehow feel that in the same way that we should seek to use our hands where God's are already at work, we should also allow ourselves to mourn over the things that break God's heart - the things that were never intended for a single one of us on this earth.

so i mourn the loss of my uncle, my mom's little brother, my grandmother's baby boy. i cry because this isn't the way God intended things to go when adam was given life. and i grieve because i know that God does too. only when i am able to see God's reflection in my tears, hanging from the tree on that friday afternoon... only then can i truly celebrate the risen Christ who defeated death on our behalf. there will be joy in the morning, but there is sorrow tonight. the darkness may make God more difficult to see, but God is no less present.

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

-from The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


as i mentioned before, i started my training at starbucks this week. it has been surprisingly fun thanks to my 'learning coach', stephen, who is both exceedingly patient and witty. yesterday we were talking about our corporate giant sugar-daddy of an employer and he aptly noted that ours isn't your typical coffee-house. "i don't envision any inspired poetry being written in this setting."

unless it would be some bitter, 'i hate the man' slam poetry, i think he's right.

made a cappucino today, which is quite an accomplishment in case you didn't know. i mean, it's not something that should end up in the papers or anything, but it is worth mentioning in my little blog that no one reads. for me, an undetermined length of time from this point on will be filled with the making of cappucinos, so i felt that the first one was note-worthy. the rest will likely never be mentioned.

it is kinda hard to think about what i was doing 3 months ago as compared to what i am doing now... i had plenty to fill you in on then, and now i'm writing about hot beverages. but the consistency is that i feel like both settings and situations have provided me with an opportunity to build good relationships with interesting people who i might never have met otherwise. i hope i can maintain the learning posture that i was forced into in freetown. there are still people to learn from and questions to ask. the Jesus who i found around every corner in freetown is the same one i will find on the corner of west main and broadway.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


what is it about a $5 pay-in that suddenly makes me crazy about NCAA basketball? i'm so competitive sometimes... it's a little embarassing. but my bracket is shot and ohio state is out already, so it's not as fun as it was a couple of days ago.

i went to visit mi familia this weekend. it was really fun. thursday night tyler and i met nate and the skidmore trio in columbus for some rotten fun. for those of you who don't know the skidmores, you are totally missing out. they are all rotten and hilarious. i laughed a lot. friday i watched the ohio state game with my grandma. she really gets into it and knows the stats and personal stories of all her fave players. she never ceases to amaze. my mom and i watched pride and prejudice - LOVED IT. i need to get a pay check so i can buy it! my dad and i watched some basketball but we refrained from any debating this weekend - except for me defending myself against his disapproval of my decision to put duke in the final four in my bracket. last night i went to visit dara and brad in westerville which was great. i hadn't seen dara since june i think, so it was fun to just sit around at her house and tell stories. she thinks i'm really funny for some reason so she just lets me talk and laughs at everything! it's quite affirming. today i listened to my dad give an excellent sermon, i got saved, ate some good food and then drove back to kentucky. other random happenings of the weekend were visits with my other grandparents and girl scout cookie binges.

tomorrow i will finally start my training at starbucks. it's been a loooong road, but i have an actual job now! i've never wanted to work so much in my life.

i hope everyone is doing good. peace out.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


things in kentucky are fair... not great, not awful. the job situation remains frustrating, but i have been able to do some kind of income-earning activity at least a few days each week. legal things, of course! i realize that sounded a little shady. still waiting for something reliable and profitable to start happening. today i substitute taught for a kindergarten assistant in the AM, and then a kindergarten special ed teacher in the afternoon, and then i substitute waitressed at a local resturant during the UK SEC tourny game. i'm not sure which environment was louder or more exhausting. i just know that i am really tired, yet i'm still awake because of wireless internet...

i guess i've been back in the US for almost 3 months now. that's kinda weird because i still don't quite feel at home yet. didn't expect that. i've heard that this happens, but it's so strange when you're going through it. and i'm still not caught up on all of the pop-cultural pleasures that come with US citizenship. i feel like every time someone asks if i've seen some movie or heard of some band, i have no clue what they're talking about... i'm so not cool anymore! i probably never really was... :)

let's see... i'm currently reading 'the bookseller of kabul' which i really like, but am not gripped by. so it's taking me forever, but not because i don't like it. i'm just not into it enough to make it a priority. but i do like it! don't get me wrong. 'the kite runner' is probably next on my list. it's been recommended by just about everyone so i guess i should get on board.

i realize that these random updates are totally boring... sorry about that. i am still feeling a little disoriented and caught up in a transition. and it's really getting old! i feel like i just need to stay in one place and hybernate for a while and then i'm sure i'll be at it again. pulling out the soapbox and ranting about my chosen injustice of the week and hopefully planning my next escape across an ocean or maybe south of the equator... i haven't done that yet!

okay, who knows when i'll post something again, but thanks for checking in on me.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

i miss kentucky and i miss my family...

for anyone interested, that is a line from a ryan adams song, and the following line is "all the sweetest winds, they blow across the south."

okay so i guess i should update since a lot has changed since December 18... over new year's i made a visit to lexington, KY to visit my friend Jenny and her husband Stevie. at some point during that weekend we decided that i should move in with them, and amazingly everyone in my life thought that was a pretty good idea. so here i am, living in Nicholasville, Kentucky (NickVegas) and happy about the decision. i got here on january 16, the day before my 25th birthday (which i wasn't too excited about). i was sick with strep-throat for a week, but have since made a pretty descent transistion. i am really sick of transitioning. i've done a lot of that in the last 8 months. i know that that's what life is, but it takes a lot out of you after a while... but i really have missed kentucky since i left nearly 3 years ago, and i'm happy to be back.

you might be wondering, so here's your answer; NO. i do not currently have a job. however, that should be taken care of very soon. i completed all of my paperwork to start substitute teaching and i have an interview at starbucks soon.

because i haven't had a job, i've had a lot of time to think. i don't know that this is considered an actual activity to many people, but it is for me. so i don't feel like i've wasted a lot of time by not having an actual job because i really have been working hard up there. i've been reading some, but that usually just sparks more thoughts and the book gets set aside while i stare out the window. sometimes i write. most of the time i don't. a lot of times i end up crying. more and more often i want to talk about it. i'm afraid that i'm becoming one of those "when i was in freetown" people, but i can't help it... i finally want to talk about it and i haven't felt that way much. so maybe you'll hear more about it on this little blog. speaking of which, i thought it was time for a face-lift. maybe i'll eventually put some pictures up here. no promises. :)

i finally got my library card (which is a much more complicated process than one would expect), so i will be able to e-mail and hit the old blog more often now. sorry that i've been out of it for a while.

much love to you all.