28 February 2007

Some more on the domestic side of life

Tonight I made green curry for dinner. I LOVE green curry! I ate bowls full when I was in Thailand and I missed it excessively when I came home. Most restaurants don't serve it and I hadn't found a recipe for it. Then I discovered the joys of curry paste. It really is marvelous stuff. A can of coconut milk, a can of chicken broth, a few spoonfuls of curry paste, some salt, brown sugar and various veggies (bamboo shoots, pea pods, water-chestnuts and fresh basil) and meat (chicken breast) if you want it--heat till everything is cooked through and serve over rice. It couldn't be easier and it was FANTASTIC! Unfortunately, we didn't do any palate conditioning, and it was a bit too hot for the dear grandmother. After dinner we put another pot of rice in the rice cooker and Sara and I are set for the next two lunches at work. I love leftovers! They make life so beautiful.

27 February 2007

Encouragement for singles....

I do realize that most of you reading my blog are not single, so this does not necessarily apply to you. However, you all have single friend(s) , well, at least you have me, and this might give you a bit of insight into what life is like for a single person.

Please do check out this blog. She is excellent at encouragement, and fun as well. So, without further ado, click here to read more by Carolyn.

25 February 2007

I'm a poet!

Berea College's juried yearly publication, The Carillon, selected two of my poems for publication in the 2007 edition. This is TOTALLY exciting because it really does validate my somewhat tenuous claim to being a writer. For those of you who are interested, I am posting the poems here. If The Carillon goes online, I will eventually post the link as well. The Carillon will be published in a glossy 8x10 sometime this spring....!

On a bus: the south side of Chicago

Real fear. That is what moves me

to address a stranger on the bus.

Real, not affected, not artificial,

with a forced address.

Fear. Not friendliness, not

interest, not even curiosity.

Our difference is consuming

Understanding? Impossible.

I need to hear her speak

about family, about work

I need to hear the sameness.

Sameness in our difference.

If you can believe me you know

conversation is the mask of fear.

The woman on the bus, kerchief drooping

cracked shoes tapping the floor

fears my strangeness as I fear hers—

so I ask if she lives nearby.

She mentions her dog, waiting

impatient at the door, her grandson

who forgets him for basketball.

I speak of catching buses in the rain

standing at the stop far from family.

She belongs; I am foreign

she is returning, I am setting out.

If we could rid ourselves for one

moment of assigned roles and

boundaries. The hard plastic seats

could disappear and maybe we

would forget our fear and

our strangeness.

Maybe, we could talk.

My grandparents

the children see

grey heads remember

youth forgets

love belongs to those

who know

not those who think

quietly walking

side by side

is greater passion

than all night romps

on satin sheets

of those who think

but do not know

hear what love is

but children see

grey heads remember

and youth forgets

(Sorry for the funky formatting... couldn't get it to single space.)

16 February 2007

Now for some of the domestic side of life...

Life has become exceedingly more domestic in the last few weeks. Traveling back home to both my parents' and Sara's parents' homes meant things like cooking, cleaning, and laundry again. You will not believe how joyfully I greeted all of the above! I have decided that one of the top 3 things that I am thankful for is having a kitchen! You don't know how much you love it until it is gone.

So Sara and I are at the GPs and are taking responsibility for the main meal of the day. We get to cook again AND we have appreciative eaters. You can't ask for a better arrangement. But, we have to have meals done in under an hour, because we manage to get home later and later everyday. Once we start working full time, there will be a need for even more planning. The good part is, the GPs haven't eaten any of Sara's or my cooking recently, so it is all new. In addition, Sara and I both haven't cooked regularly since the summer, so we are still rarin' to go.

Now begins the hunt for good recipes. I am thinking of picking up a Rachel Ray cookbook at the library and see what I can find. I am also reading some cookbooks on cooking ahead and cooking healthily, both continual concerns;-)

Now, off to more job hunting, getting a new license, and hopefully, making a menu!

14 February 2007

Waiting, in a different vein

Today I woke up in a hotel room in Bloomington IL 45 miles from home because waiting is a lesson that I seem to never really learn. Sara and I had driven 9 hours to cover distance normally done in 3, because driving slowly through a blizzard seemed like a better idea than waiting out the snow in Waukegan.

God works in wonderful ways! It is unfortunate that I am so slow to listen to him:-)

We had a slight mishap on the road ending in the ditch. All things personal and mechanical were fine and the adrenaline rush was incredible. The State Police arrived in record time and both officers were young, good-looking and friendly. The hotel had free wireless and my parents' were not at all upset. You couldn't ask for better circumstances to be stranded.

Even when I had everything that I wanted, minus my own bed and shower, right at my fingertips, I still wanted more. I wanted more people to email me. I wanted certain conversations to happen more quickly and with more quality responses. I wanted something to eat and something to drink that would satisfy my particular appetites of the moment.

Waiting... I want to know the joy of satisfaction that accepts the gifts of the moment yet still lives in anticipation of the future. How can I find that balance? Any suggestions?

11 February 2007


This blog is not coming along as I hoped. I want it to be a place where some actually thinking, in writing, happens. However, I feel like it is more likely to become some sort of Day-Timer/diary/group letter-type receptacle that never gets any deeper than my last appointment. Have to do something about that now while I still can.

Trouble is there is not much time for typing in my life. This blog requires not only thinking, but also a record of those thoughts in some coherent fashion that can be negotiated by my important, albeit small, group of readers. I am a writer, an artist, and an individual. This blog should not happen if I don’t have anything to say. I am learning, however, that it is not only having something to say, but also the means and opportunity to say it.

Obviously, life changes have been a major thought on my mind lately. Money has become important, and therefore finding gainful employment has become an issue. But finding a job while one is traveling around marshalling ones possessions from several states and depositing them all in a single location is not an easy prospect. Every decision is contingent on some other decision and each one requires gathering information, talking to involved parties, and then negotiating results that satisfy everyone involved. And sometimes the information is not available, or the people are not willing or able to conversate. This is frustrating.

I want to know where I am going to go to graduate school, how much money they are going to offer me, where I am going to live, and when I am going to take up residence there. I don’t want to live in another temporary situation. I don’t want to try to explain what I don’t know to someone who doesn’t understand and who doesn’t need an answer. Most of all, I don’t want to wait. But waiting seems to be the way of life for now.

Waiting—that is probably the biggest issue right now—and it has been an issue my entire life. How does one live a life of active productive waiting? I have been waiting for one or more life-defining variable for my entire existence. Waiting for an experience, an award, a relationship, an accomplishment… and as soon as it arrives in my possession, I look for the next.

Waiting has always seemed to be a passive activity to me. One waits for the doctor, for the repairman, for the next cashier. One waits for the mail, for the water to boil, for the next train. If you have the resources, you may be able to conduct some business, talk to a friend, or read a book. But that time never seems to be very productive and it is usually resented. I have productively used wait time, as well as fussed and fumed. Is that enough? And what if the wait isn’t just a few minutes or hours of the day, but an entire lifetime?

In the inside of my Bible is a quote from Willa Cather that says, “The end is nothing, the road is all.” It has been on that page for 5-10 years, almost as long as I have owned the Bible, I believe. I collect quotes about traveling, roads, and other like topics and I don’t remember how it got there. Did I write it as an intentional reminder? Did it end of there because I didn’t have any other place to write it when I first found it? What did I think it meant when I wrote it? Did I even think about the implications?

The reality is that Will Cather’s sentiment is echoed by Christians throughout time. There is a lot of lip service given to the idea that God doesn’t care about the finished “me” because that whole idea is spurious. Instead, the focus is on my sanctification—the relationship that is growing between God and me as I come to understand who He is and what is important to Him, the growth in grace that comes as the Holy Spirit conforms me to the image of Christ. It is a never-ending process and I have to learn to appreciate the present moment of grace or I will live in a state of permanent dissatisfaction.

How does this relate to waiting? There are many simplistic answers, but I feel like this deserves some more serious reflection with some real-life application. I need it, and I am sure that those that I love that are reading this blog wouldn’t mind hearing how it develops. Besides, I need to see how some real thinkers have weighed in on this question, or my discussion won’t have much force

06 February 2007

Midnight ramble

This is from last night:

I am sitting on the floor in my grandparents’ guest room. It is after midnight and I am not sleeping. This is not a good arrangement. Tomorrow, Sara and I head to Missouri to pack up the rest of my worldly goods and somehow close that part of my life. It has been 8 years since I took up residence in Missouri. A long chunk of life. How do you bring closure to something like that?

My relationships have dwindled already. Being away at school has a way of making people lose intimacy unless it is fiercely maintained. I feel like I will leave the state with 2 real friends and a few acquaintances that I will keep for the rest of my life. All the rest of the people that I have known have moved on to something else. Do they ever remember me? What happens to the time, space, and thought that you have occupied in the life of someone else when you leave it? Are there gaps that remain, or do they somehow fill in with the rest of life?

Not to mention that I am not leaving my parents in that way. My body is relocating, and much of whom I am will be there too, but there is still a large part that belongs to my parents and to their farm. I learned to be quiet there, and to be happy. Missouri taught me to fall in love, and how to build a relationship in the rubble of a broken heart. Without that place and time I would not be the woman that I am today. But even with that connection, I know without a shadow of doubt that my life now lies elsewhere. New adventures await me in the Windy City.

I’ve never been particularly good at closure. You can ask any of my close friends or family members—I can’t end a phone conversation or IM chat to save my life. It is easier to leave than to close. It is easier to smile and hug someone than to take the time to think about what will happen when you are gone. No, thinking about the losses and the change is never a good thing. Not when the passing thought is enough to call for the Kleenex.

One thing that has troubled me about this whole situation is that I haven’t cried enough. I know that there are wells of tears that have not been breached. There are so many losses to mourn. There is so much fear to be flooded out. But where do you find the time to cry? I was at the monastery for 5 days and couldn’t manage to get it out. I spent 3 weeks on vacation with no release. Now I have to work and rearrange and plan—there is no time or space for crying.

Time or space. I don’t have either and I feel the strain. I love Sara. She is the best friend and roommate that a person could ask for. She supports me, encourages me, and teaches me so much about how to be a friend, a daughter, and a guest. But we have spent so much time together sharing our work, play and personal space and I don’t know how to create my own mental space in that arrangement. When she is here, I want to be with her, doing fun things and just living. However, there is a part of life that is just me and that part can’t only live in my head. It necessitates an outward expression that requires that I leave her for a time or a space. I am just afraid that taking that time or space will make her feel unloved. And that is the last thing that I would want to do.

I have been in this dilemma more times than I care to think about. When they are short-lived, I can wait them out with little ill effects. However, I have struggled through enough long-lasting ones to know that they only make me a worse friend and companion. There are times that I just need to go away. But how do you do it gracefully?

Another reason that I don’t want to process, that I feel I can’t, is that processing relationships requires a certain level of evaluation that I feel incapable of giving. I know that I am not completely inept relationally. My large circle of friends and acquaintances proves this. However, this is a weak point for me. I feel like I am a relationship disaster. My communication is bad, my staying power is often lacking, and I am so incredibly selfish that I am horrible at loving people in the way that they need to be loved. All this seems glaringly obvious when my relationships change and I have to look at them for what they are. How do you evaluate a relationship? How do you know where to pursue and where to let go? How do you gauge their importance?

Not only must they be evaluated, but I also must decide what I am going to do about them. Who is called and when. Who is written and how often. Who will see me when I come back to visit. Who will just ever so quietly drift out of my life. And then I agonize over how they will feel, and what my responsibility is and how diligent I am being about it. I suppose this is just a horrible mix of people pleasing and fear, but that doesn’t change the reality of how it makes me feel.

Enough of that for tonight. I need to go to sleep. The alarm will be sounding much to early, and I am I beginning to feel more sleepy.

01 February 2007

Interesting ideas

I know that I just posted, but I read something that really struck a cord with me. Boundless webzine had an article on Nancy Pelosi and her rise to Speaker of the House that contained this powerful little tidbit:

The reason, simply, is that God made us to live our lives mainly on a small scale. We spend most of our time relating to our families, our friends and neighbors, our co-workers, our churchmates. And that's where our achievements lie — if we regard them as "achievements" at all. (A better attitude would be reflected by words like service, and a still better attitude if we remember that service is something to regard with joy.)

Regrettably, some people have their priorities messed up. Nancy Pelosi may think "from the kitchen to the Congress" is a big promotion, but in truth, what she did in the kitchen was probably more valuable than what anyone (not just her) does in Congress. And that's not because women should be confined to the kitchen, but simply because it was one of many valuable things people do close to home, with their families, where real life takes place.

There are more thought provoking ideas in the article, which you can find in full here.

Moving Day!

Today Sara and I packed all our worldly goods (that were in KY) into a 16' Budget rental truck, hooked the car hauler on the back and prepared to set out for Chicago tomorrow morning. It is amazing to think that my 3 years at Berea are ended and that this is no longer my home. So much of me was invested here and still is in many of the people and places. I have been trying to process the relocation since the end of finals in December and much of the emotion has ebbed for the moment. It is exciting to look for apartments, jobs and a church. It is exciting to have the future open in front of you.

The sadness is tempered by the joy of meeting new people and jump-starting old relationships. The open unknown is less fearful because I have Sara, and we have pieces of security--relationships, familiar places, and the conviction that we are going the right direction--that removes a lot of the pain and anxiety.

There is so much more to write about, but let it suffice to say that getting on the road to the north is the best next step that I can think of and I am so glad that my God and my best-friend Sara are on the road with me!