Stream of Unconscious

Often I wake in the middle of the night with thoughts and visions that must be written. A lot of it may seem like mere rambling, but I am a born writer; I need to see what happens to my words once they stare back at me from the pages of my computer screen. Since I am ususally more than half-asleep when this happens, I jokingly entitled the original document: "Stream of Unconscious." Now that I am finally starting to publish in a blog (as so many people have suggested I should do!), I thought the title remained appropriate.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Musings

Snowfall always makes me dream...

The first snow of the year, pure and beautiful outside my window. I feel blessed to be warm and cozy inside, to have food in my fridge, a fuzzy blanket around my legs. I feel blessed to have these moments alone to think and wonder.

I feel stirred and strange, as if I am growing out of my own skin, as if soon I will need to shed it and become someone new.

Winter affects me this way every year, for certain. I feel restless, and weary of my everyday. I am exhausted from living without the magic. I fear the mediocre, methodical rhythm of my days... years passing, unremarkable. Of living only half-heartedly, until desire is dead.

And yet it is never really dead, is it? Only buried alive. And now it stirs again, as something broken yet alive, or struggling for life. Do I have the heart to push it down again, heaping dirt on infant dreams that never had a chance to be? Do I call it unreasonable, unlikely, snuff it out before it sparks a ruinous blaze?

Dare I even desire?

Can it be so simple as chasing your desire? I have always wanted to travel, and write, and drink deeply all the experience along the way. I have always wanted to live a great story. I have waited, and feared it may have passed me by. But what if it hasn't? What if I still get to go? What if there is hope yet, after all?

My thoughts are chaos, while the night is still. Snow drifting gently down, settling on some inch of Earth to make it beautiful.

Is it really so simple as that?

I want to go, too...

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Mean Reds. Also, Brownies.

Once upon a time there was a girl who cared a little too much about what people thought of her. This was a double-edged sword, making her deeply introspective and insightful, and yet much too self-conscious to actually publish any of her insightfulness, which just happened to be her dream job. So, life was complicated. Despite her worst fear of winding up a lonely cat lady, she found currently that she was happiest living alone, with a recently acquired kitten. And so goes the story of my life...

Today I felt like little more than a robot at a desk, churning out production with no conceivable end in sight. It was also cold, dark, and rainy, with a chance of recent conversation weighing heavily on my mind; the perfect combination for some hard-core blues. Or, as Holly Golightly would say:

“No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The Mean Reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?” (Breakfast at Tiffany's)

Yes, I do. Today was a Mean Reds kind of day.

And so, I had to stop everything, read some scripture, burn some incense, play with my crazy cat and do some writing. These things soothe the soul. Also, brownies.

This past Sunday, we studied the beginning of Hebrews 12:

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God...”

Author and finisher of our faith, huh? I don't envy Him that task. Especially on days like this. I have spent oh, so many of these days wondering what the day was there for. Wondering what I am supposed to be doing. Wondering if I'm somehow screwing everything up. And yet, if God is really the author of the story of faith that is my life, is there really anything I can do to ruin it? That seems extremely unlikely.

So here I am, a complicated mix of desire and emotion, fear and frustration, dreams and doubt. I have no idea where I'm going, only that I am to run with endurance, for the joy of the finish line, Mean Reds or not. It is as complicated and simple as that.

After some reflection, I now think that caring too much about what someone is (or in this case, isn't) thinking of me falls under "laying aside every weight." It is all too easy on this kind of day to forget that the growth of faith is a long, and often difficult journey. Endurance really is key. With that in mind, I'm going to take a deep breath and do some letting go of my need for approval. Lord knows I don't need anything else hindering me.

If you, also, happen to be suffering some haunting despair in the midst of your journey, read Hebrews, bake some brownies, and endure. I have faith that I'll meet you at the finish line someday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cheetos For Breakfast

Well, in classic Jo style, I am light years behind the rest of the world, trying Netflix for the first time this past weekend. It is bittersweet; welcoming the new me and saying goodbye to the old. I know I am a changed woman, and will never make it back to the mere girl I was before...

But seriously though, I feel like a new person! In the midst of a self-induced 30 Rock marathonic coma (I think I finished the entirety of season 2 in one day...oops), I ran out to Walgreens to buy coffee and Cheetos like a true 20-something, semi-professional. I finished half the bag last night, and only saved the rest so I could have breakfast this morning. And then it hit me: I am actually happily single.

It's true. I am finding these days that the only time I'm really that dissatisfied with singleness is when there's something mysteriously wrong with my car, or I can't open a jar by myself, etc. No really, I cannot get that thing open! I've tried the hot water trick, the air bubble upside-down trick, the butter knife, the rubber grippy-things... I think God may have put this unbudging jar of zesty bean dip in my life to remind me that there are some things I still can't do alone...

Okay, maybe that's borderline sacrilegious. But my blue corn chips just aren't the same without bean dip, and it seriously frustrates me!

Anyway, I realized recently that people have been giving me bad advice for quite some time now. I distinctly remember in college all the dreamy-eyed alumni giving my shoulder a knowing little squeeze and telling me those were the best years of my life, and that I should be enjoying them. Those people could not have been more wrong. True happiness, I am finding, is coming to accept yourself wherever you are. I am much happier now than I have ever been.

That's right, I like myself these days. Oh, I know all my faults, still. It's not like I'm delusional. But it seems I've been making peace with the girl in the mirror, and life is becoming a rich, fulfilling, exciting thing.

So what's next? People are always saying that you have to be happy single before you can be happy married. I wonder if that's more terrible advice or if it actually has some truth behind it? I finally opened up this year to the wonderful world of dating, and so far it hasn't been as disastrous as I thought. Though I was hoping to get some funny blog postings out of it. Ah, well.

Although it's bound to be hilarious if I do it, I have fought against the pressure to try online dating for a good long time now. I think deep down the writer in me is still hunting for a good love story, one that doesn't involve blissful hugging on a TV commercial under Neil Clark Warren's smirky gaze. Is that really too much to ask?

But really, if I'm happy there's no rush, right?

(Rabbit trail: I'm no feminist, but someone please explain to me why it is that when men choose to live as singles they are bachelors, and we are stuck with "old maid" or "cat lady"? This makes no sense to me! Then again, I have been seriously considering cat adoption. Hmm.)

Here's to cheese puff stains on my pajama pants, weeknights with Netflix and a glass of wine, and all the other ins and outs of living single! Remember kids, these are the best years of your life... ;)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Earl Grey Gets Me High and Other New Discoveries

After ten-odd years of drinking coffee every morning, nearly without fail, I got up today and thought: "I'd like some Earl Grey this morning, instead."

The change was inspired by two things, the first being that I discovered I had grown bored with life, which is unacceptable for a Creative like me. I had been thinking it was time to make some changes, try some new things, breathe life deeply again, and find the magic. The second, and probably foundational inspiration, is that I met a guy from Seattle who claims that tea is better. The mere suggestion that I may be missing out on the best was enough to unsettle my security about coffee. What if I was wrong?

This morning was cold, and clear, and deeply beautiful. In this city surrounded by mountains, all the leaves changing and dropping, the wind playful, the rain unpredictable, the sun and clouds fighting for rein over the sky, I can't help but fall in love with Autumn in it's height of glory. My heart responds without effort. It was just one of those mornings that called for a break from the usual, and so I decided to have a cup of tea.

I made it in my French press, because I don't yet own a strainer, and started work. It warmed my fingers, like the coffee, and tasted delicious. My morning felt complete. An hour and a half later, I felt the buzz.

As it turns out, the body processes caffeine differently in tea than it does in coffee. I did not know this. So, even after a decade of steady, daily caffeine, I overdosed on one large, strong cup of Earl Grey. I literally had to take a break from work until my head stopped spinning, and I quelled the urge to call random people and sing to them.

I am convinced, by now, that meeting new people and building relationship is one of the greatest joys we have on this earth. It is refreshing to see life from another perspective. I am curious now about Seattle, and all the sights and sounds of it. I am eager to try the fantastically wide variety of teas that I now notice on shelves I used to pass right by. I am learning about religions I had never thought to give a second thought to. I am discovering how to share all of the best and worst of myself with someone new. In the blink of an eye, from one simple introduction, I am changed, and growing into an even better me.

I am eager, now, for new experience, new friends, and new days. Taking a break from the ordinary, and opening up to beautiful new, might just be the best way to steer your life away from terrifying mediocrity. I invite you to try a new cup of tea, in a manner of speaking. You never know when it might be the best you've yet tasted.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Every Purpose Under Heaven

I watched a leaf fall today, the wind spinning and tossing it about before it finally reached ground, and skittered along the pavement to find a resting place beside my car. I suddenly felt solemn, as I often do in Autumn, viewing the blatant beauty of death, and weighing it against the promise of the life that is to come.

I have lived long enough, and seen enough seasons by now to know that Spring, and new life, always comes. It is no longer faith, but mere expectation. Growing older, you gain wisdom, you learn the way things are... but you have to be careful not to lose your sense of wonder in the process. I feel that mine is threatened at all times.

I like to read Ecclesiastes this time of year. It is a stunningly beautiful bit of literature. I am searching different translations to find the the one I love most. But I recommend sitting down and reading it, in it's entirety, while sitting outside letting the leaves let go of life around you.

I don't want to be one of those fragile old women who weeps at everything, but I will be brave enough to say that, on my break today, with the breeze, and the leaves, and the poetry of the Bible at my fingertips, I shed a few tears as I thought about it all... life, and death, and the changing seasons... toiling under the sun, and the vanity of it all. I desire so deeply to leave some fingerprints behind when I go. I fear that I may never learn how.

I often think of my grandmother these days. I suppose it only natural, this being the first full season without her. But I see her in everything. I remember her every time the sun clears the wall of trees outside my window, and for a few brief moments of the morning, reaches through to touch my face with warmth. Every now and again, for just a second, I will start to remind myself to call her, and then realize... and painful as it is, part of me dreads the day when I stop doing that, too.

To everything, there is a season...

What this season holds, or what it's purpose may be, I cannot fully guess. I know only that I am being shaped, that I am growing, that I can see myself a little more clearly these days. Once again, I open my heart to Autumn, I drink in all the sight and scent of it. I take a lesson from the leaves, and try to let go, and see where the wind will take me.

I must learn to let go... so that a few seasons away, I can see the new life growing freely. I think I have enough faith to trust that there really is a time for every purpose under heaven.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Blank Page

Well, here I am again, trying to write but not finding myself with the clarity, creativity, or perhaps the inspiration to. Sometimes I need to write, but the words won't come at all, and sometimes they spill over my fingers like too much water in a small glass. Most of the time I feel that I just can't get it all down quickly enough, before it disappears. I catch a glimpse of the creative, but then it vanishes before I can pin it down.

I have had a lot of people ask me, lately, what I am writing, and I try to dress up my answer and make it look pretty. I am tempted to say what they want to hear and not what's real. The truth of the matter is, that I used to see a blank page and I could fill it past the margins with potential. Now, when I see a blank page I see a reflection of the creative side of my mind, staring back at me.

Blank. Ready for action, but currently sporting only potential, and no words. Is it mere writer's block, a quarter-life crisis, a simple matter of being out of practice? I wish I knew. I wish, also, that I knew my way out.

I guess all writers have to pen a lot of nothing before they can reveal something of value. I have never really known if I have anything that is worth putting down into permanence. That is the beautiful and terrifying thing about writing... the potential for permanence.

Perhaps I am still searching for what needs to be said most. I need organization in my mind that I have never found. I tend to spill everything, and then edit to see if there is treasure buried under all that mess somewhere...

That seems like the theme of my life these days... trying to find the treasure among the mess. Here's to making messes, and hunting for buried treasure!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Other Girl

Some days it just doesn't take much beyond the normal stress we endure as humans to push us over the edge. I have been worried about making ends meet, fixing my car, about somehow, some day, making some sort of future for myself... though when I am being really honest I have no idea how... and with that weighing heavy on my heart it didn't take much else.

It was just a text. Just a comment, made by a close friend, intended as a joke. And usually I can take a joke at least as well as anyone, if not better. Growing up with a brother and all the neighborhood boys taught me how to have a fairly thick skin to surround this tender heart of mine. But tonight I just needed a kind word, and I got the opposite. I just wanted to know that I was more than what I felt, and instead I was reminded of what I lack.

Perhaps a large part of it is my fault, for taking a bleeding heart to another broken human and expecting acceptance. But we are all stuck here together, til Kingdom Come, so sometimes other broken humans seem the logical choice. I don't know how to make it through a day here without some bumps and bruises to show for it. Maybe I'm just doing it wrong somehow, but that is life as I know it.

The Bible says we have the power of life and death in our words. Tonight I believe it is true, without doubt. I feel death shoving its greedy fingers into the hurt and lonely places in me, and I can't seem to get them out. Perhaps another glass of water and a good night's sleep will clear my head, but what will it take to clear the pain out of my heart? I feel a little lost and bewildered.

It was just a simple joke about another girl being prettier than I. But we live in a world where nothing is ever good enough, where there is always someone prettier, and richer, and better. I know by now, especially after this year, that we live in a world where I may never be enough. I am trying to face that reality bravely. I am trying to forgive, to move on. I am trying to be the best me that I can be, despite who I am not. But I am oh, so weary of longing to be the other girl...

I don't have much resolution for you tonight. Just a few tears that were 27 years in the making. I lie down and pray for healing tonight, and that one day a guy might look at me and not just see what I lack. Someday, maybe, someone will look right past the other girl and see me.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


May 29, 2010

To say that I'm not good at goodbyes is a serious understatement. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and regularly suffer the consequences of it. But I can't seem to help myself. There are times, occasionally, when I am grateful that I do. I suppose today is one of them.

We found out recently that my dear Grandma is very sick. This may be the last year we have with her. I still can't wrap my brain around it, and my heart is nowhere near following the news. Everything in me says we were never made for this. But oh, how sweet a reunion heaven will be! You never realize how much, until you lose someone... I guess that is just the way of it.

The hardest thing about this is not knowing how much longer we've got. Months? Years? Maybe days only. Right now she is napping in her chair just inside, and I could walk right in there and give her a hug if I want. We chatted over lunch today, and she told me more than once how proud of me she is, and it was just a beautiful day full of life and laughter and conversation.

It is strange to me to think that, very soon, time will move us past the point where we can just sit and talk. Someday, maybe not too far from here, she will have moved on to some other place, and I won't get to hug her, I won't get to make her laugh, or hear the “I'm proud of you, girl” until I have also left this space. So much to think about, and so much I don't know.

Life is such a crazy, unknowable thing. God must be such a crazy God to set us all down here, and let go, and let everything just take it's course. The living, the dying, the sinning, and the extraordinary love. Crazy, crazy Life and crazy God!

I have come so far this year, and learned so much. I don't care what anybody says about where I am (it seems everyone has had an opinion about me of late), I know that I am changed, I know that I am growing, I know, at long last, that I am okay just being me. I am finally someone I want to be around.

Grandma said this morning that when you're by yourself, at least you know you're in good company. She said it with that smile, with that dry sense of humor. And I felt a burst of love for her, something I wouldn't trade for anything. She has lived well, and shared herself well with us. I hope someday, that I am like her, that I can take these memories of her into the rest of my life. That someday, I may grow old and start to drift into the Otherworld, and someone who loved me may stay behind and want to love as I did. I hope I have someone to pass the love down to...

God, I want to write so badly. I want to share it all with the world. I want somehow to connect all the pieces and fill in all the cracks with life and connect us all through these words. I want to leave behind something that matters. Oh, sweet Life, I want to fit you into words that people relate to, and grow from, and live a little deeper because of.

This house, I will never forget. There used to be a tree out here, that I loved. It is gone now, but like Grandma, it will always be part of me. It's purpose has been fulfilled in my life, and I will take it with me wherever I go. I spent my childhood underneath it's branches, dreaming. I was part of it and it was part of me, and now we are inseparable. Someday I will write it into my stories and others will know a little piece of it too. That is the way of things. We live, and we share, and we move on to another part of life and leave the rest behind us. We take with us some of the things we want, or need, and let go of what we don't. I am finally learning to accept this cycle. I am not so afraid of the loss anymore.

So much to remember, and to set down for others to know too. The woods out here, so full of mystery in my childhood, are always the woods that come to mind when I read. Most likely I will never explore them again, they are part of the past now, and they will always be the place where the unknown exists and thrives. I believe without a doubt that the door to Narnia, or Wonderland, or some other strange and wonderful place lies within them. I may never find it now, but it is enough to believe it is there.

This house is full of things that sparkle. That is something I will always remember. The little figurines that sparkle, like the sparkle in her eyes. This is a beautiful, beautiful little piece of life I am living. I do not believe I will ever forget this.

The dogwood tree is gone now, too. The one that was always the backdrop for Easter pictures, all of us squinting in the sunlight, and ready for playclothes and southern cooking and football in the yard. I used to play with the boys for awhile, and then get distracted by the hunt for a four-leafed clover, or that swing that I never thought I could outgrow.

I have always loved the house across the street, with the red roof and the double chimneys. I have always wanted to know what's inside. Part of me is glad I don't now. Sometimes the experience of mystery is better than the mystery revealed.

The rocking chairs on the porch have aged, to where they are barely usable. I noticed when I was here last, that that tiny chair where I used to place whatever stuffed animal I was most attached to, has gotten weathered, and will most likely be thrown out before long.

What is the purpose of our lives, I wonder? Were we just meant to live out our days, and come home to Jesus, and do the best we can? I think that's what I've been doing of late... just existing. I don't know if it's enough, but honestly I don't want or expect anything from Grandma. I just want her to be her. I don't need her to do anything, I simply want relationship with her while she's here. I try so hard sometimes to be something or earn something... and I wonder if God doesn't just want me to be me, and nothing else. I bet he just loves me like I am, and doesn't need me to try.

Oh, how I am not ready to let her go. I think this is helping, though. Just being here, just writing a bit, and thinking about her and all the memories here. I hope and pray we get another Christmas. But I am confident about life in the future now. I am confident that living is enough, and I get to choose to some degree the how and where I am living. But living and loving and sharing may well be the point. And I am ready to do more of it.

I am ready to be a writer now. This year has been tough on me, and I have lost a lot of dreams I thought were just about to come true. I thought it was the end, and now I know... somehow, in this space, I know it is not. I know that it doesn't matter so much as I thought. I know that my life isn't ending now, that there is much more to be lived. And it's okay if it takes me a little longer to fall in love. I think it will be okay in the end after all.

I am looking forward to being on my own again, to connecting within myself. To writing, and loving God, and facing life bravely. This next season might just be the sweetest of my life. And I am ready. I am not quite so scared of life as I used to be. I think this season of self loathing and uncertainty is almost over. I am ready to embrace life, and embrace myself, and just be me. I think that is all I am supposed to be anyway.

Man, I remember the taste of rock candy here. I remember frilly, handmade curtains and butterflies and soap operas. This is a good home, and I am more okay with my life now. I am glad this is part of me.

I am glad, too, that she is moving on. No more struggling to get around. And if God is who he says he is, it will all be okay. She will be loved and taken care of, and we will see her again before long. We are so, so blessed. Because one day, we will be called Home. That memory of home that was imprinted in our hearts, that we've tried all of our lives to recreate here. God will call us by our names, and lead us home, and we will finally be together again. I trust him, right now, more than I normally do. I think his plan is alright. I think he knows what he's doing. I think we're in better hands than we imagine.

This is a beautiful, sunny day, and I love to just sit outside and write. What am I thinking, not doing this more often? I can do this pretty much whenever I like, I don't know why I don't. I think God is here, today, holding my heart and leading me through this. This trip may well be my goodbye, or at least the beginning of it. And I know right now that he is here too, and has not left my side.

Oh, how life will never be the same again! But that is how things progress, and more life waits around the corner. New life. And it will all be okay. We all have to move on someday.

I will miss that little church, and the unique way we sang “He Lives”. I already miss dresses with lace and bold color and sitting through a sermon that felt just a little too long. Ham with that brown sugar glaze and deviled eggs, and fantastic little rolls that leave me stuffed. Hard to believe it is all passing by, it is almost behind us. You never know, in the middle of them, the moments that are most important. But somehow they know to go ahead and hang on, in your memory, and you never really lose them.

Strange that life led me here, to this porch, when my grandmother was moving on to Heaven, to let me know that I am a writer. I know, right now, that I am. That I am born to be, meant to be, that no amount of publishing matters. I will write, and leave it behind, and someone else will find it. And it just matters. We don't even have to know why. I only know it does. God made me a writer, and I write. And that is all.

It feels good just to get it out. I don't know why I stopped. I hope I never stop writing again. I hope I do this every day, for the rest of my life... and time will make sense of it all someday. I don't have to know where the story is going yet. Only that it is still going.

Tomorrow, they will get here... Chris, and Lisa, and share with me in this. I wish Keri could be here, but circumstances did not allow her to be. It is funny how much a part of each other's lives we all are. I love them more deeply than I knew I could. Sometimes you don't even know, until you stop to think deeply about the lives around you.

And I know, now, that I am lovable. I haven't really known, this whole year. It has been a question in my mind for some time now, especially since... he... didn't choose to, and I cared oh, so much for him. I thought that maybe I wasn't lovable. But that is ridiculous. And someone will see it someday, and it doesn't even matter who doesn't see it. That doesn't change who I am at all.

He is crazy for missing out on me. I am many things, and I am a bundle of unfinished business even, but I am not unlovable. I really don't know what he's thinking. He could have been part of this with me. He could have met my Grandma, and been here for me through this. But his choices have led him down some other road, and it is one I don't care to follow unless I'm invited. And at this point, maybe not even then. Life is so very strange, though. I waited so long to fall in love, and still picked the wrong guy. But none of that matters now, I suppose.

I don't know why or how I'm supposed to make it alone. But here I go :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I am ready for sweet, summer days; for sunshine on my skin, feeling weightless in water, and hiking epiphanies... wisdom that only the woods can offer. My soul has grown weary of hunching in the cold, and is reaching out for change and growth and beauty I have yet to grasp. I am ready to let go of dead winter and see what comes, alive and new with spring. I am ready to be new again, too.

This week I discovered a pair of alternative folk musicians called You and Yourn, and they have changed me. I bought their album, and I have listened to it on repeat daily since it was purchased. I can't get enough... like a new relationship, when there is so much to discover that there never seems to be an adequate amount of time in the day. I am committing lyrics and melodies to memory, and singing along. It is by no mistake that I found them in this season. They are helping me let go.

I've found myself in a rather desolate place lately. It can probably be labeled depression, and I can probably get some pills to make it seem less enormous, but there are no cures for the underlying questions. They are meant to be asked.

I don't know that I even want to spell it all out. But I am putting my desires on an altar and watching them go up in smoke, because I found something better than even financial security, travel, marriage, a writing career... all of the things I thought I wanted so deeply.

Like Abraham with Isaac, I don't know what the outcome will be, or if I will be asked to sacrifice the things most precious to me. But I discovered that I already hold the keys to an unexplored kingdom and I can't be content with just these things anymore. Someone cracked open a door I didn't know was there, and the world I am in is now pale in comparison to the light spilling through...

I cannot go back. But all the stuff I've brought with me can't go where I am going. So I leave it here in embers and turn and face whatever is just beyond that door...

Faith is a radiant and terrifying adventure. But once it has gotten ahold of you, ordinary no longer satisfies. I want more.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Last Girl on Earth

I had a dream this weekend that helped me gain understanding about myself. I was alone on Earth; there was no one else, only me. I was just alone, taking care of myself, and wasn't worried about anything, or anyone else. I simply took joy in having sweet time...

I didn't have to work, so I finally had time to travel (apparently everything just worked electronically, planes, buses, etc. ...I love fantasy!). I wasn't afraid of what could happen to me, I didn't wonder if I would have enough money to make ends meet this year. I finally got to read all the books I want to read. I had time to write, and didn't have the fear of it being "good enough" or better than so-and-so's writing. I didn't have to live up to anybody's standards, or be the kind of girl that he would want...

During the dream I felt a sense of peace like I haven't known in a long time. I realized, upon waking, that I still care so much about what people think that it is almost crippling. I thought I had come a long way in that area, but it seems that lately I've been slipping back into the oblivion of self consciousness. I'm not entirely sure just yet how to get myself out of it.

Despite what I may want, I know that the nature of my humanity means that I will never be fully satisfied. So it is no surprise (or shouldn't be) that I am a touch unhappy with my job, that I am not too sure I want to be single, that I don't know exactly what I want or how to get there if I did know. These complaints are echoed by potentially millions. Does anybody know what to do about it, though? Even the wisest man on earth said: "All is vanity..." There is a little mix of comfort and despair in that for me.

I took a heart-wrenching walk down memory lane this past weekend, and my desperate need for some alone time to think through it all may have been what sparked such a thought-provoking respite of a dream. Perhaps I just need to take more time to myself, to get away, to think and write and just be. But I also feel such a deepening need for time with people, to get out, and talk, and laugh, and stop being too introspective... how do you know what you truly need most?

One of my best friends calls me an extroverted introvert. I think the creative nature in me pushes me towards division when it comes to categorizing these things. I get my energy from being alone, focusing in on whatever I am writing or creating, and also in being with people, learning and growing from them. It changes depending on the need of the moment. This morning, I only needed alone time. Right now, I am glad that there are others around me. And I have always been this way.

Coffee shops provide the perfect atmosphere for people such as myself. I can zone out and get lost in my writing, and in the next second look up and start a conversation with the guy next to me. I feel like I am going to be spending a lot more time here in the coming months...

I guess the good news in all of this is that I think I am finally unafraid of being alone. I have wanted to achieve this for so long now, and I think I have finally made progress. I know for certain that I am going to be paying much closer attention to how I am living my life in reaction to what other people think or say, and work on not being so afraid of rejection. My time alone with myself, though only in a dream, taught me that I'm not so terrible to be around :)

What is next? I never know. I am hoping and praying for change to come. My soul is growing restless again. I never know whether I should tame it or set it free.

I wonder... if I were the last girl on earth... would I know my story better?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A New Story

I felt different this morning when I woke up. I remember that distinctly. I remember feeling like the world was not such a dreary place, and that the morning sunlight filtering in through my blinds felt fresh, and new, and even a bit magical. I pondered writing a story about the magical properties of sunlight... I have missed it in these long, cold, dreary days.

I made a decision today. I started crying on my lunch break again, and wondered how on earth I could make it several more years at some desk in front of a computer, doing pointless things. I have not been inspired to write in so, so long. I don't feel there is much to write about. As a child I was filled with wonder and dreamed big dreams, only to grow up and find myself in a grey cubicle, going nowhere. These past years have shown a sad, slow death for my creative heart. And that is not the way it should be.

But I started crying today on my lunch break, and that little voice inside me grew into a roar, and I realized suddenly that my fear of risk, and the unknown, is nothing compared to my fear of the mediocre, and the life I have come to know. For I could choose this, and make ten dollars an hour for the rest of my life at a desk job, hoping some amazing guy is going to notice me and take me away from here. Or I can change everything, and go my own way, and pursue what I want, and find someone or something in the adventure worth writing about...

And so, I have chosen a new story. One that terrifies me, and therefore, is bound to be worth telling.

I think I will give myself a year to prepare. It may take that long for me to find a family who is a good match for me (I am seriously considering overseas nanny jobs), and there is much I still need to do here. And, truth be told, I love this city... I think I would like another year to say goodbye. But it will be a year that counts, and I will be moving towards something better, and that will make all the difference.

Although this is just the beginning, I believe a new chapter has finally begun... I find hope renewed in my heart. It seems a new story was just what I have been missing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Hand in the Fog

I feel like I am stepping into a great grey fog these days.

Many things are changing, and I know I need to be proactive about creating positive change in my life. So I am doing the obvious things; seeking God's face in prayer and in the Word, having conversations with people I respect, committing to work out and eat healthier, getting enough sleep to stay emotionally stable, saving to get my car fixed so that when the time comes, I can get a new job...

I am trying to rid myself of the things that hinder me from moving forward, from having the kind of life I want as a single. For it seems that God is content for me to be single. Just me... for now. I must frequently remind myself that His plan is not a consolation prize.

So I have been cleaning out and letting go of everything I can think of, from pounds to clothes to ads I will never read filling up my email inbox. It is an emotional and difficult task for me, but the end result should be well worth the effort. I desire to live in freedom to the best of my ability, and I am bogged down by all the extra stuff. It is everywhere, and I must be free of it soon. I find myself claustrophobic in my own skin some days. I crave change.

The biggest change I am making is hard to define. I guess you could say I am letting my best dream die. Although I have not spoken of it in such a public format as this, I will say that it was something I was hoping for, that I dared to want with a very large portion of my heart's desire. I do not often let myself want things on such a deep level, there is too much risk involved, but I made an exception. I thought something would come of it that has simply not come.

I grieve. But I must not remain here long.

It just doesn't look like the life I so wanted is God's path for me, and I must be obedient, with or without answers. I have waited and waited, I have cried often and prayed and talked to friends and literally begged God for answers, or for clarity, mainly for a conversation that has never come. And so it has become clear that I must let it go. Though I may lose some of my heart and my hope in the parting, I must let go, and be okay with the mystery once again...

My heart hurts. I am praying for healthy distractions, for a place to serve, where I can make a difference to people with my hugs and laughter, and possibly even my writing. I am praying for a place to put my heart, since it is not wanted where I had hoped it would soon be requested. I had hoped, more deeply than I had yet dared... but I must move on now.

C.S. Lewis said: "For broken dreams the cure is, dream again, and deeper." This time around, I am trying to dream smarter, as well.

I step, perhaps a little sadly, into the great grey fog before me. Just me, and my father God. Though I seek it, I cannot see His face. There is only a hand in the fog, reaching out, expecting me to trust. And I must step forward, and follow, though I ache for what I leave behind. But His hand is there to guide me, and that is infinitely comforting.

Perhaps on the other side, when the fog has lifted, I may be allowed to know why. Until then, I wish only to obey, and let go.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I am scrambling to catch up to the new year. It seems to have snuck up on me suddenly this time. I suppose I don't need to do anything in particular, but I would have liked to have thought through the accomplishments and failures of the year past, and try to move towards seeing this new year as a new beginning. As it is, though, I awoke to just another day that I'm not sure what to do with. I feel behind already...

Life is moving along, however, and I am trying to see it clearly. Most of the time I don't get the point of it. Not that I would like it to end or anything, it's just the age-old questions... I'm not sure what I am supposed to be doing. I am praying for direction, and praying for a vision for the future, a story worth telling to move myself towards. I am trying to be a character worth remembering. I don't know if I am yet.

I am doing alright, though. Continuing to see God as a Father, and myself as a valued member of His kingdom. I picture myself in a room in his fortress sometimes, resting and being restored for whatever lies ahead. I am craving a mission, a purpose, an adventure. But I have to trust that He is making me ready for what is next, and that this time is not a waste. I believe I will know when it is time for me to move, and I am praying for that direction to come clearly.

All I really know to do is the work I am given, to try to be a loving friend, to continue pursuing health and growth, and to stay close to Him. There are things that I desire more deeply than I thought possible, that don't seem to be my story, and I am grieving those dying dreams for this season. I do not understand. And yet, I want nothing that is outside of His plan and His story for me. So I must let them go, and ask for a new vision to dream into.

I think if I have learned anything in the last year, it is that I can't do much on my own. I can't figure it out, and I can't always get it right, and I can't keep people in my life if they don't want to be there, no matter what I may want.

It is encouraging to me, though, to see life as kind of a long walk down the aisle. We have been promised a wedding, and a wedding feast. So I am trying to look forward and just keep stepping towards that promise. At least I know I get my wedding in the end, even if only in the end. I am fighting hard to not see Him as only the consolation prize, for I know that that is not truth.

And so, a new year begins. And though I begin it with an aching heart, I know that I cannot predict what may happen next. The story isn't over yet. My hope and prayer is that it is only now beginning...

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.