Tuesday, November 24, 2009


What's in a name?
We are bitter, victorious.
I am a pearl,
I say, with a hint of apology.
As if I know that immediately
You will say,
Quietly and in false sincerity:
I am not the pearl.
I am the tiny grain of sand--
The source of irritation
That produces a thing of beauty.
It was only in jest,
I know it was.
But it worked its way into my fragile shell,
Rested in my subconscious,
And it's fighting for my attention,
Destined to become another pearl
On a fraying string, tied so tightly
I can barely breathe.

Friday, November 20, 2009

With a little help from my friends

The holidays are quickly approaching and I'm so excited! I love this time of year! Christmas is still five weeks away, but hey, the earlier I start celebrating, the longer I can enjoy it!

Who's down for some...

Heck yes.

So if I seem a bit hyper, it's because I'm super happy about spending time with friends. I've been quite socially deprived of late and last night I FINALLY went to Fuel again for the first time in about a month. (Fuel is a young adult group that meets for study and worship every Thursday night at The Crossing in Quincy, IL. Crazy awesome.) I went with my next-door-neighbor Jordan...I've mentioned his sister Lauren in at least one previous post...anyway, it's always great to fellowship with people closer to my age. At my home church we have a young adult group, but it's mostly comprised of married people in their 30s. Obviously, I'm a minority in that group. And they don't seem to get together too often, obviously because of kids and other stuff that most fully-grown adults deal with on a day-to-day basis. Most of the crowd at Fuel are college-aged/20somethings, so I fit right in :p

I haven't had much social time lately, outside of work...oh wait, work doesn't count as social time, my bad. I've made tons of friends there, but most of them don't wanna invite me to their parties or whatever because I don't really enjoy watching football or playing beer pong. You know, that's just not my scene. So I feel like a junkie or something whenever I do get the chance to hang with friends. Last night I was so wired after Fuel...actually, I've just been downright loopy lately. As much as life sucks sometimes, God's been constantly reminding me of just how much He loves me...I finished a Beth Moore Bible study on Esther a couple of weeks ago and even though I sometimes felt like I was totally lost, it was a huge blessing. I've had some really great conversations with people lately, Christians and non-Christians...nothing earth-shattering or super profound, but just the kind of stuff that makes me think, "Maybe I'm really not that crazy. Someone feels the same way."

I know I'm just rambling now. Usually I have some sort of direction for what I'm gonna write about, but you know, that's why I never blog. Because I usually feel too scattered. But I've decided it doesn't matter. (I know that totally rhymed, and I didn't even do it on purpose. Awesome.)Some of my best writing has come from places in my mind and heart that I never knew existed.

P.S. I promise I am not on drugs right now. Although I kinda sound like I'm tripping or something, right?

So, yeah. Tomorrow I'm going to lunch with Lauren and then Mara and I are going to a young women's conference at The Crossing. Sunday is church and work. Monday night Mara's coming over and we're making cookies! The rest of the week will consist of working (32 hours, woot woot!) and helping out at home with Thanksgiving preparations. My grandparents, my pastor and his wife are coming over on Thursday for the big feast. On Saturday I am going to the Hy-Vee Christmas party with Mara, Aaron (possibly) and Jordan. And eventually, Mara, Lauren, Jordan and I are gonna see "New Moon"! I am convinced that all four of us need to see it together or else! So...yeah! Good things!!!

I have been contemplating lately the idea of taking on a pseudonym. You know, a pen name. Something like "Lucy Goosey," "Chelsea Dagger" (with apologies to The Fratellis). I am open to suggestions.

Also thinking I should try fasting from Facebook. We were talking last night at Fuel about the importance of fasting and you know, it definitely wouldn't kill me to spend time with Jesus instead of Facebook stalking my friends.

That is all for now. Peace out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

what the world is missing?/Veteran's Day/Christmas tune-age

Back again. Between work, church, Bible study, trying to sort through the disaster area that is my bedroom and bathroom and just generally slacking off, I seem to keep forgetting my blog.

I've decided to establish a bit of a theme for my blog, to keep me coming back to it...keep the ball rolling, so to speak. Yesterday I was reading a blog on Conversant Life and stumbled across this funny post about cheesy/bizarre album covers. One of the covers shown gave credit to a website, bizarrerecords.com. Being a lover of all things bizarre and music-related, I had to check it out. It's been a source of amusement, but I admit I'm saddened to find that most of the crazy vinyl album covers listed on the website are the work of forgotten gospel groups and evangelists. There are SIX selections from Tammy Faye Bakker and her family listed, to give you an obvious example. I was glad to see that no one has dug up anything from the archives of the Roberts family...yet.

We Christians are a peculiar people, indeed...but to our credit, I think everyone looked strange back in the era of vinyl. Heck, I'm already laughing at photos of my friends and myself from a decade ago.

Without further ado, here is today's Strange Album Art, brought to you by The Griffin Family Singers.

Yes, it's painfully funny and embarrassing...but I have to agree with this fashion-impaired family that nonbelievers truly don't know what they're missing -- and it has nothing to do with following the latest styles.

It would be out of line for me to blog on Veteran's Day and not thank our vets for the sacrifices they've made to preserve our freedom. In this day and age, I wonder how many more Veteran's Days we'll have before we forget what it's like to be free. So thank you Floyd, Lowell, Ray, Daddy and everyone else who has served in our military. Whether you've fought for us overseas or guarded us stateside, we would be lost without you.

Christmas is about six weeks away, and I'm getting uber excited about it. A decade or so ago, my mom gave away/sold a basket full of Christmas cassette tapes we'd been listening to every year since the mid-1980s. We had finally joined the digital age and we had no use for tapes anymore -- huzzah! For a family that always seems to catch up on the tail-end of technology, CDs were the wave of the future as the new millennium approached. However, two of our favorite Christmas tapes, which we later regretted parting with, have been nearly impossible to find on CD/MP3 until recently.

To quote the liner notes, "Inside Fezziwig's...the Spirit of Christmas Past" by Ed Sweeney is a collection of "reels, waltzes, rounds, jigs and slip jigs ... perhaps, something you may have heard if you were at Fezziwig's party (in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol")." In 1990, my parents picked up this album on tape in the Amana Colonies, after my dad heard it playing in one of the shops and fell in love with it.

The last couple of Christmases have gone by with us wondering where we could find "Inside Fezziwig's..." again. Mom and I did some digging on Amazon and learned that it was released on CD in 1994 and later discontinued by its manufacturer, Kicking Mule Records. Only one copy was available on Amazon. The seller was willing to part with for the low price of just $94.25. Meh. We looked elsewhere on the Internet and found that a handful of brand new copies were being sold on music-disc.com, a place out of Denver that sells hard-to-find music and memorabilia. We prayed the site was legit and ordered the CD, which arrived about a week later in mint condition. With shipping and handling, it cost only about 20 bucks. It sounds better than ever, now that all three of us have it on our iPods in crystal-clear digital format :)

I just searched for "Inside Fezziwig's..." again on Amazon and found that another used copy of the CD has been put up for sale...only $35. I'm glad Mom and I didn't wait for that one.

"Music Box Christmas," from the collection of Rita Ford, is another album we've sorely missed. Mom had "Music Box Christmas" on a vinyl record, which slipped out of her hands in the early '80s. She and Daddy later found it on tape at our hometown Disc Jockey (which closed in the late '90s and is now known elsewhere as FYE). Over the years since we discarded our Christmas tapes, we've bought at least two CDs that appeared to be the long-lost "Music Box Christmas" -- only to find they were sorry substitutes, recordings of cheap, tinny music boxes fit for the shelves of a dollar store.

Amazon came to the rescue this time. After reading the customer reviews (all of them positive) and listening to track previews, Mom downloaded the MP3 version of "Music Box Christmas" from Amazon. Listening to it brings back such sweet memories of decorating the tree and learning to wrap presents on the living room floor in our old farmhouse.

As much as I love the pubescent holiday cheer of Hanson's "Snowed In" and the stripped-down, folksy melodies of Sufjan Stevens' "Songs for Christmas," "Inside Fezziwig's..." and "Music Box Christmas" are two of my favorite Christmas albums simply because of the memories they hold for me. They help me relive the years when everyone actually came home for Christmas, when Grandma and Grandpa's house was lit up and packed full of laughs and suitcases and enough food to last until my birthday (two weeks after Christmas). When I used to play with the porcelain Nativity set (the one with only two wise men because Balthazar got broken) on the hearth. When I used to trace patterns in the fog my breath left on the picture window, cut snowflakes out of typewriter paper, shake all the gifts with my name on them under a tree decked with crocheted angels and plastic candy canes and cookie-cutter ornaments covered in watercolor paint and glitter. You know, the kind you make from cookie dough that's not meant to be eaten. Do kids even make those anymore? Probably not. They're too busy writing letters to Santa, asking him for all the coolest toys with the most hard-drive memory, playing on the Wii in their Hannah Montana pj's and drinking Bug Juice.

Wow. That's a tangent if I ever heard one.

Well, now that I've done a thorough update and given you enough links to choke a Shetland pony*, I'd better get back to work. I still need to eat lunch. Today's menu: Stovetop Stuffing! Or Campbell's Chunky Soup! I know, we're such gourmet chefs. Mom and I need to make a Walmart run to finish our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, which have to be turned in by Sunday. Nothing like putting it off until the last minute. I need to figure out what I'm gonna do with all this crap that's taking up unnecessary space in my room and bathroom, and then vacuum, dust, and clean once I can see the floor and shelves again.

And at some point, I need to get an iTunes gift card so I can buy the New Moon soundtrack. Finish re-reading Twilight and New Moon before the 20th. And figure out who I'm gonna go with to see "New Moon." Because I'm just so popular in the tri-state area. Ha. Ha. Seriously, my phone is just ringing off the hook right now. And finally, I need to finish this strange to-do list so I can hit "publish post" and actually start my strange to-do list. OK. Hitting "publish post." Right. Now.

*no Shetland ponies or other animals were harmed in the writing of this blog

Sunday, October 18, 2009

look what the cat dragged in.

What is belief without doubt?
I've been knocked on my face
Turned inside out
Out of the shadows I call for You
When all else has failed
What more can I do?

That's right, I have returned. (This sounds oddly familiar, doesn't it?) I attribute my latest burst of creativity to having attended my fifth Hanson concert in St. Louis on October 1. As always, it was face-melting, magical, etc.

Also, my return to the blogosphere comes as a result of cracking open the cloth-bound journal I bought at Border's in Tulsa two-and-a-half years ago. I've filled only half of it. (My journaling, like my blogging, is fickle and sporadic to say the least.) The stuff I've poured out on those pages fills me with a mix of nostalgia, embarrassment and wonder. Mind you, two-and-a-half years ago I was a junior in college. It's safe to say a lot has changed since then. There's more than a few entries that I barely recognize as my own work. I would like to know who is responsible for forging this eccentric fodder, dated 2-27-08, 3:10 p.m. (it's really long and really crazy; brace yourself):

I was wrong
Always wrong
Always flawed
On a blanket
in an ugly dead field
with best friend
And Jack's Mannequin
Weird bugs and
big sunglasses
and awkward couples
in the shadows
of an awkward
What is hope?
What is fear?
Why am I
still here
and can't breathe
Can't find the
words to catch
your ear
Can't make the
right moves
Or cut my
own bangs
So I'll hide
behind them
and smile back
at you
A little shy
and unprepared
and the right
words don't
come easily
The new feeling
trips me up
every time
You wink, I blush
You touch, I jump
You smile, I melt
When did I get
so fearful
Always been
a bit clumsy
A bit ill-equipped
But I never wanted
to fall inside
so completely
Never wanted
to run so badly
and everything
I wanted before
doesn't shine
so much anymore
It won't hurt
to split
The pain is
The wound
won't matter
for very long
The scar
won't forever
remind me of
forbidden kisses
and desperate hands
Clawing through
bedhead and
dresser drawers
for the right look
the perfect mask
bloodshot eyes
full of sleep
and the ghosts of
It's OK
just another
red-letter afternoon
knee brushing mine
Another brush of
a calloused hand
Another smirk
Another knowing glance
To pierce the veil
I hide behind

Oh, the memories that flooded back when I came across that piece. It makes me wish I could always be so faithful about writing down my thoughts and feelings. That was a beautiful afternoon. In fact, I even took a picture:

Oh, mai Razberri Creem Puff. How I miss thee.

I suppose the point of this blog entry was to let the world know I'm out of my slump, at least for the time being.

More to come.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

hints and allegations.

You say there's three types.
Which are you?
Which one conceals himself
behind the screen
so far from my reach
and yet too close
for comfort?
Which one makes me laugh
without making a sound?
Which one has begun
to permeate these four walls
without moving further than
the fridge?
Here's a hint,
do with it as you will:
I am waiting for the right moment.
It's electricity
on the tip of my tongue,
in the curve of my spine.
It is fighting to be heard,
dying to be read.
It is facing down a declaration
that may never come.
It is daring you to speak,
but fearing the words.
And it is wearing thin.
If my head is a balloon,
then you're the glass ceiling
I encountered on my flight
to the wild blue yonder.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

walking in memphis.

Put on my blue suede shoes, and I boarded the plane/ Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues/ In the middle of the pouring rain

During my break at work yesterday, I heard the song "Walking In Memphis" by Marc Cohn for what was probably the thousandth time in my whole life. As a kid I thought, "Why is this guy so excited about Memphis?" Of course, the only Memphis I knew of back then was Memphis, Missouri (pop. 2,061 as of the 2000 census). Anyone from around my neck of the woods knows that most small towns in northeast Missouri aren't much to rave about. (No offense to my friends in Clark County; you know I love you.)

Here I go again, waxing poetic about my all-time favorite movie, so if you've heard all this before then be patient with me. In the movie "Elizabethtown," the main character Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) takes a road trip that begins in his father's Kentucky hometown and winds through some of the most unexpectedly beautiful places south of the Mason-Dixon Line (and later through the Bible Belt, which I grew to love during college). These are places I hope to go someday, because I am a romantic who doesn't yearn for the glitter of the Eiffel Tower or the artificial glamour of Times Square. I'd rather lay my money down for a ticket to Memphis, Tennessee.

Which seems crazy, considering I've never really seen much of the South with my own eyes. But something about that part of the country just captivates me. The place where rock 'n' roll, country western and blues intermingle. The eye of the storm during the civil rights movement.

I won't be heartbroken if I don't make it to Graceland.

I guess it's only right to put in an appearance there, as long as I'm in the neighborhood, but I won't linger too long in front of those wrought-iron gates. Seeing as I'm not a diehard Elvis Presley fan, it's just not a priority.

More than anything I want to walk down Beale Street.

I want to look out over Wolf River Harbor where Jeff Buckley breathed his last.

I want to step inside Sun Studios and strain my ears for the sound of a steel guitar and the low, gravelly voice of Johnny Cash and Elvis in his better days.

And at the end of the day, I'll stretch out on a bed in the Peabody Hotel.

The next morning, before I hit the road, I'll pay a visit to Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., awoke for the last time.

So maybe Memphis is nothing too fancy or grandiose, but that's never really been my style...maybe it's not such a great place to live, from what I've heard. But all I'm hoping for is just a couple of days to breathe that air a little further down the Mississippi. I don't know how or why, but it runs deep in my veins.

They've got catfish on the table, they've got gospel in the air/ And Reverend Green will be glad to see you, when you haven't got a prayer/ But boy you've got a prayer in Memphis

Monday, May 4, 2009

pretty. static.

Pretty average.
Pretty average hands.
Pretty average hands can.
Pretty average hands can create.
Pretty average hands can create something.

All the so-and-so's
Line up around the block
And here I stand
Just another one of them
But I cut in line
Fashionably late
And under-dressed
Their eyes, full of questions
Fall critically
I'm a counterfeit
A not-so-sorry substitute
Another dot in your Morse code
Another blip on your screen
Full of static
Love the sound of static
How it churns and crackles
Even in static
I find a rhythm
I find a niche
Lulled to sleep
Taken to another place
Where I didn't pay the bills
Didn't sing for my supper
An apple tree and three channels
The rest was static

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