Friday, July 30, 2010

"Say what you need to say."


I have to get up early tomorrow. Like I have been for the past two weeks. How is this happening? I'm not babysitting anymore. It's not tournament season. Why the early rising?!

No really, I love it.

But anyway. I have to get up early tomorrow. And so I am scolding myself for indulging in that forty-five minute Hulu sidetrack when I should have gone straight to bed, and I'm wrestling with my, what Malcolm Gladwell would say is a problem with my ventromedial prefrontal cortex, in deciding to haul my limp body off the couch and upstairs into bed.

But not without first casting a line into the universe. Hello, hello.

I've existed in my own little world for a week, a world of VBS and piggyback rides and chores and cupcakes. And before that, a world of "staycations" and visitors and bike rides and museums. I am glad to be occupied. But I can't help but reel with the slightest bit of vertigo. Where am I standing? I thought it was right here!

So, speaking of Blink, did you know some director dude is making it into a Leonardo Dicaprio movie? I think this is a very bad idea. Also, way to steal Lie to Me's gimmick! Blink is an intriguing book, not bad for nonfiction. I'm not saying to go read it, but I am saying that if you do chance to read it, it probably won't bore you.

Oh, I want to work in a book store. I know, retail is a miserable thing to work in, I've heard the horror stories, but there's just something about showing someone around a bookstore . . . !

I apologize for this insubstantial one-way communication.

Never mind.

Psst. Jeremiah is awesome!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Spiritual Anorexia

I remember when I was 13 and Mary-Kate Olsen was on the cover of People magazine over her anorexia. She was so gaunt, and I was very baffled, because while I understood hating the lumps and bumps of squishy fat, and that persistent desire for a different shape and a different pant size, I didn't understand the strength of resolve, the unbending willpower that takes any person to that point. It's difficult for me to identify with a self-discipline strong enough to go against instincts of self-preservation.

I suppose that's why anorexia is classified as a mental illness, a disorder that has more to do with control and self-perception than nutrition and dieting. On the one hand, that kind of intense commitment and willpower is inspiring. And on the other hand, we are so often a slave to our stubbornness.

Why would we cut ourselves off from the food that gives us life? [And here I say "we" but I really mean "they" or maybe, "me".] A thought spins slowly in the backs of our minds, that perhaps our resolve is self-destructive, but by then the self-determination is too intoxicating and deviation is failure.

With this in mind, here is my confession, my tripping efforts towards James 5:16.

I haven't been doing my devotions. I don't know why. I've had ample time. I was in the habit of doing them, too, but I just sort of stopped. No reason. My Bible sits right next to my bed every night, and I glance at it, and think, "I need to do devotions," while my heart scoffs at my brain, knowing intuitively that I will do no such thing. And each night, before I snap shut my computer, I pull up and drink in the verse of the day, sneaking in little slivers of the living word to sustain me until I actually start daily devotions again. Like a girl with an eating disorder swallowing vitamin supplements to keep her health afloat.

Scripture is not a painkiller or a sedative. I hate treating it like one, my small daily dose so I can fall asleep each night, my chalky and lifeless substitute for real nutrition. But I'd rather take its comfort in spite of my hypocrisy than spiritually starve to death. As though there should ever be such an ultimatum . . .

I am a little girl behaving badly to win attention from a Father who never stopped guiding me. I've been making myself sick to my stomach over my own stubbornness because submission has been too difficult to me, as if giving in is weakness and the strength of my resolve is more important than life. My perspective has become warped so I couldn't even see the true reflection of my health in the mirror, and I became enslaved to a mindset I couldn't break away from on my own.

And what is the slave's prayer? . . . Jesus, set me free.

We starve ourselves so often. We say, I don't need people. And we starve. We say, I can't be forgiven. And we starve. We say, I'm doing just fine. And we starve. Sometimes our resolve is so strong we don't even notice the hunger pangs. We are stubborn and possessive of our sin, finding a sick comfort in taking account of our mistakes and insisting that gauntness is what we want, or at least, what we deserve. Our perspective distorts reality so that we don't recognize the truth when we see it.

And then He intervenes. For we cannot live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God.

Tonight, Jeremiah 1.

Thank you for praying for me.

We are hungry, we are hungry for more of You.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It was all left left right left right

Today, Sarah said,

"It bothers me that you don't always follow the driving rules. But I think that's because I'm a J. Because you're a safe driver. I never feel nervous driving with you."

This is partly only a comparative compliment, because our mom drives kind of, crazy. I'm not trying to slander her, it's just a fact. Sometimes she gets a little aggressive. I've picked up her bad habit of crabbing at the car in front of me. She's a safe driver, but sometimes I feel like I am in a movie car chase when she's behind the wheel. It's exciting. And somewhat frightening.

It meant a lot when Sarah said that, because she doesn't give idle compliments.

Though I'm not sure her trust is justified, because I must say I meet the stereotype of women drivers. I don't react well in high stress situations, unless I accidentally cut someone off or pull out in front of them, in which case I feel mildly guilty and am mostly oblivious. I hate that I perpetrate the stereotype, but I can't help it.

I've been really distressed to discover the inherent limitations of my gender. My nutrition book is explaining the metabolic differences between men and women, and I just think it's so unfair that guys have more natural upper-body strength. Even if he doesn't lift anything heavier than a remote control on a regular basis, a guy will still have greater muscle mass in his arms than most girls. Unless you're like, Jillian.

It doesn't make sense. Because if the woman's biological function is the care of children, why do we not have the upper body strength to hold them? Babies are heavy, yo! I'm just saying.

It's also unfair, because this means that with higher gross muscle mass men have a higher caloric intake requirement. Which means they get to eat more to service their inherent muscle. Lame. What do women get? Higher risk of osteoporosis and anemia!

Not that my nutrition book is sexist or anything, only factual. In other news, nutrition is pretty interesting. That's all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I won't indulge an emo & angsty teen rant.

I hate the heartache, the seemingly unjustified hurt.

But I'll take it. Because if I felt good all the time, then I would never grow.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I've been thinking about so many things lately! Vegetarianism, and psychopathy, and evangelism, and missions, and languages, and music, and the Holy Spirit, and the church, and how awesome Inception is . . . [honorable mentions for How to Train Your Dragon and the Psych premire, which didn't get their deserved recognition from me due to falling in Inception's shadow.]

This past week I was weaned from my computer, if only marginally. I think I cut my average time on the computer in half. Which meant decreased chat socialization, but also less time spent inhaling episode after episode of any inane television show. I don't know, for the first time in a long time I've found the internet to be boring. And I feel intellectually healthier. Hopefully I can keep this streak going?

It was a good past week. Hang time with friends, driving around in the dark, weeding with a vengeance, organizing and throwing things out and tidying, reminiscing, wonderful conversations, swimming in pools! I still hate summer, but, it does have its advantages.

Hard work feels so good. Physically it feels terrible. I couldn't walk properly for two days. But emotionally I was in dire need of some hard work. There's hope for my character, if only marginal hope.

You know that comic strip Foxtrot? I miss it. I was never a huge comic person, but I really liked that one.

The car search rages on, and I feel keenly my inadequacy in this area. I'm itching to buy a book called "Auto Mechanics for Dummies" or "How to Fix Your Car" or anything that will decrease my ignorance as to what goes on under the hood. ["This Boy" just came up on party shuffle. I'm amused. I do, I want a car.] Mostly I am distressed that the whole car purchasing process is so complicated, partly because I feel as though it doesn't have to be complicated, I just make it so, like I do with most things.

My iPod earbuds are falling apart a year after purchase. My old ones had been going three years strong until I "lost" them, and so I want to know, why was Apple's earbud design change for the worse?

I ate a veggie burger for supper in preparation for some Year of Questions video research, and it was kind of, um, stereotypically mushy and gross. Either, there is no end to my hypocrisy in this area, or, if one must make veggie burgers they ought not be of the frozen variety.

I looked through my box of random paper memories yesterday and felt decidedly unsentimental when I realized that half the scraps and booklets help no emotional value and were only random things I thought I ought to save but could no longer remember why.

I am optimistic today, trying to remind myself that this is what contentment feels like.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fruit of the Spirit

I love people who can laugh at themselves.

The best thing you've ever done for me is to help me take my life less seriously.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

John 6:68

I feel like a popped balloon. My buzz has been killed, my emotional high has worn off. I feel, disillusioned. Disenchanted. Discontented. I feel hurt, overwhelmed by every awful thing I have ever known.

I get so brought down by imperfection: when I see myself in the mirror, when I see another's facade slip. For a while the world is wonderful, and then in an instant it's all too much. Stress and insecurity and tension and deception and pettiness. If it were one thing I could take it in stride, but I see it all at once and it makes me want to curl up inside myself and have a pity party.

And when I am so consumed by this perspective, it's difficult for me to raise my head. With my eyes fixed on my feet I can't bring myself to move. It's hard for me to hope, to persevere in the promise that when we are weak He is strong. It's impossible for me to see that His grace is sufficient. That this is why He came. To save us from ourselves.

How many times have I dwelt on this same realization? How many times have I run the gamut through this cycle? When will it stick? . . . When I solidify the habit of running to Jesus first. He is my hope. To whom shall I go? Who else has the words of eternal life?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I'll never second-guess the little voice I heard, it's just a whisper sounding like a scream . . . [Needtobreathe]

i think, though, that the saturation of our souls/hearts/minds in scripture and meditative prayer is vital to our eventually carrying out our calling to love...tangibly...
like, a hardcore spiritual awareness
we gotta have it
to understand what we must do [Katie]

"We say that the Holy Spirit is our conscience to convict and helped write the Bible, but do we recognize His prompting in our day-to-day lives?" [Joost Nennie]

Prayer helps me abide in God. How on earth can I pray for my friends unless I am in tune with what God would want for them? By praying for people I have to think about God's qualities and about his grace and everything! Pray in order to abide. [Kristen]

"You have to be in communion with Him at all times in order to see opportunities for how He wants to work through you. If you're not abiding in Him, you're going to miss it." [Mom]

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. [Jude 1:20]

Monday, July 5, 2010

"It's a flawed work of art."

I love fireworks. I love them more the older I get, now that I'm not afraid of explosions or listless in staring at the sky. This seems to indicate to me that I'm slowly ceasing to be a kid, but I can't be sure. Either way, fireworks are mesmerizing. The bang, boom, crackle of the explosions . . . the twinkle and sparkle and intense light of all the colors. A choreographed show that can't be practiced ahead of time, but depends on the most intricate of precise planning for success.

Fireworks are the most sacred kind of beauty because they can't be captured, because it's the way they move and grow and change that makes them so spectacular. They're temporal, in a flash they're gone, but still, in that flash you see all the stages: the genesis, the peak, the sloughing away into ash and smoke. You can't freeze a firework in time; even just a well-timed snapshot somehow steals away the brunt of its majesty.

Fireworks remind me of the end of the world. something that fascinates me. I tend to side against TS Eliot and anticipate the end of the world coming with a bang. It doesn't matter if it will or not, that's just what I think of. There's just such sheer power and force and light in the fireworks, it awes me. I saw the fireworks this year in Boston. A city that never ceases to charm me into irrationality.

So yesterday morning, one of my dear friends had been telling me about the engineering study abroad program at Boston University, where she'll be going in the fall. I felt the slightest twinge, and once on the MIT campus in Cambridge for a better view of the fireworks, the twinge throbbed more consistently. Boston is primarily a college town, and in this I have no part.

It is not that I am discontent with URI. Not only has God provided abundantly in terms of financing my education, but I'm also excited about the academics and confident that this is where I'm supposed to be. I'm certain after two months there I'll love it as much as if it were my top choice. I treasure this gift. And yet, the dream was always to go to school in Boston.

I applied to three schools in Boston, crazily competitive schools I didn't stand a chance with. I did that terrible thing where you fall in love with something you can't have. My friend got into my top choice, Boston University. I got wait-listed. So in her preparations to go to school in the fall, I see what I wanted to have, could have had. And it makes me nostalgic, and a little melancholy. Perhaps a little jealous. As spectacular as the fireworks were, I saw the summer school kids watching the show from their dorm room couches and I felt the absence of something that was never mine.

And so I wonder how life is supposed to work, which dreams we're supposed to pursue, whether disappointment is a choice. Also, I'm realizing that Boston is a short car and train ride away. And visiting is probably cheaper than living there. Contentment is not so unattainable. The right attitude is within reach.