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

Monday, April 27, 2009


Eyes downcast
To that scar
On my hand
Careful glance
At the clock
The second hand
Screams betrayal
Slipped away
To a land
Time forgot
Reality suspended
Say everything
I wait to hear
One chime
Breaks the spell
Of wishful thinking

Monday, April 20, 2009

she loved.

Why do we like to hurt so much? -Paramore

I wish I knew the answer to that question.

Why is it that the people who hurt us most are often the same people we pursue most fervently? I found myself getting so frustrated when a friend told me how much he cared about a girl who basically used him and hung him out to dry. Far be it from me to ever pass judgment on someone who falls into that trap, though. It is hardly even a temptation to judge him for that. Because I've been there, too.

We are all gluttons for punishment in that respect. And if we are not, it is because we have shut out the world and have hoarded our hearts away where they won't be endangered. On the other end of the spectrum, we leave our hearts on the curb and offer a piece to anyone and everyone who passes by. And when the pieces have been left in the sewer or flattened by traffic, we scramble to salvage them and mold them back together. But we are never really the same after that. Our bandaged hearts still perform the functions necessary to sustain us, but the rhythm is different. We heal, but we are warped.

It is so hard to find a balance. Because we can't love in moderation. It's all or nothing. But either way, we pay a high price. Either we leave this world with nothing to show for it, or we are laid out with scars exposed.

If there is one force of nature that science can never explain away, it is love. Love isn't a machine. It isn't an element on the periodic table. It is the be-all, end-all of our existence. It is the one driving motivation in life that can simultaneously push us to euphoria...drive us to insanity...

After I have left this world, there are two words which I hope will be the summation of my life:

"She loved."

Sunday, April 19, 2009


So this is where you are, and this is where I am. Somewhere between unsure and a hundred.

Man, when I go for it, I don't hold back.

I came home in December with very little hope of ever having a social life here. I was dreading these last few months. But I'm too busy now to feel trapped or out of place.

Somewhere inside there is still a part of me that feels incomplete. It started as this tiny puncture, like a needle through fabric, but I feel it stretching ever so slightly with each day that passes. I know God is taking care of it but I get tired of waiting for Him to patch it up. But then I stop myself, because I have felt this same hollow ache before and all my shallow attempts at relieving it have failed miserably.

I still think He should hurry up though. Seriously. Come on. I know I still have some growing to do but could I just take a peek behind door number one?

So this is where you are, and this is where I am/ So this is where you are, and this is where I've been/ Somewhere between unsure and a hundred -The Fray

Friday, April 17, 2009

hearts in hands.

Oh, heart of my heart
At your core
You're still beating
But your walls
Are so thin
The things you pushed out
They are punching holes
In your defenses
Far above is the brain
It's buzzed
Light as spongecake
Deliciously dizzy
And full of dying dreams
And if the eyes are
Windows to the soul
Then I tint them
Squeeze them shut
Behind cheap shades
And expensive eyeliner
Hoping the world won't see
I shed a tear for him today
If my feet are vehicles
To places I've never been
I'll squeeze them into skates
Roll out of this town
And if my hands are caged birds
I'll set them free
To fly
To create
I'll show them all
What it means
Even if I'm just making it up
As I go along

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


My feet are not ready for summer.
My hands are not ready for anything.
I stuff them in my pockets.
Stuff my feet in my shoes.
Stuff my heart full of acoustic melodies.
Pumped full of estrogen.
Hold my head a certain way.
Raise my cup to uncertainty.
Hide my eyes in a magazine.
Wrap myself in punch drunk dreams.
Fabric tears, rip out the seams.
Never the type to play ball with the boys.
Longed for a pony, lost in her toys.
Never made a living with lemonade stands.
Grass-stained feet, Crayola-stained hands.
Indian summer, bare hands and feet.
Kool-aid grins were saccharine sweet.

More later? Maybe?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

six degrees.

Six degrees of separation ... refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth. -Wikipedia.com

Or, as they say in Disneyland, it's a small world after all.

Today I went to Coralville with Lauren, a wonderful new friend of mine who moved here from Colorado in December. Her dad pastors a local church.

Our day together was a lot of fun, and to my relief we both managed to leave the mall without doing any major financial damage.

However, things got truly interesting when our shopping excursion was over. Before heading home Lauren and I paid a visit to Coldstone Creamery. We had settled in at a fairly clean-looking little table, Lauren with her cup of cake batter ice cream laced with gummy bears, and I with my less adventuresome treat, listed on the menu as "Cookie Doughn't You Want Some."

It always amazes me how a conversation evolves. When my friends and I are on a roll, we can weave together topics that would seem totally unrelated. I think it started when I mentioned that a friend of mine used to work at a Coldstone. This friend often wears polo shirts with cowboy boots. But otherwise he is fairly capable of putting together an outfit. From there we launched into our gripes with fashion and the average male. But some of them can't be blamed for their style choices, as I pointed out. Like my dad, who is somewhat colorblind. Others...well, they're too busy checking out what the opposite sex is wearing to really care what they put on their own bodies.

Which brought us to the subject of my ex, whom I called out one day in chapel at ORU for wearing navy pants, black shoes and a brown belt with a very tacky shirt -- after he'd criticized my haphazard fashion sense for about the millionth time.

"At least I match," I had retorted.

But let's face it, many men who are as obsessed with hiking as my ex-boyfriend really don't spend too much time perfecting their wardrobes. I added as a side note that this particular ex is from Colorado.

"Where in Colorado?" Lauren asked.

"Brighton," I told her.

I added that he, too, is a pastor's kid as I filled my spoon with more ice cream.

"Wait...what's his last name?" she asked, a note of hysteria in her voice.

I told her. The spoon sank back into the ice cream, forgotten for the moment as I watched Lauren's reaction.

"No way!"

She started to laugh. Then I started to laugh. I laughed even harder as she spewed a mouthful of ice cream down her chin and then rushed from the table to get another napkin. Meanwhile I nearly fell out of my chair, laughing more hysterically. The woman behind the counter shot us several wary glances.

After Lauren had cleaned up her mess and I had regained my equilibrium, I found out that she met my ex's brother, Nathan, at an airport a few years ago when her sister, Kristy, went on a mission trip with him. Lauren and Nathan crossed paths again on PK retreats and still keep in touch.

The giggling never fully subsided during the rest of our time at Coldstone. And on the way home I spilled my guts about the whole ordeal with...well, I've made it through this entire entry without using his name and anyway, it isn't worth mentioning.

Maybe that whole six degrees of separation thing is truly bringing Lauren and me closer together. Or at least I'd like to think so. It gave me a chance to impart some wisdom I gained out of that messy experience. I think we both opened up a lot today.

But if nothing else, at least Lauren got to hear a really funny story involving a bird and a pan of beef stroganoff.

Monday, April 13, 2009

the remedy.

In an attempt to break my writer's block I am blogging. To anyone who would rather have a root canal than write, it may sound like an oxymoron. But it has been known to work for me.

So if I ramble a bit, like I usually do, at least I have an excuse.

When I got home from school in December I started reading again. I mean, reading for my own enjoyment. Textbooks don't count. Recently the bookworm in me has crawled back into the damp earth, because usually by the time I am able to sit down and totally relax I would rather get online and talk with friends, or flip on the TV because I'm too braindead to do anything else.

I was home by myself for a couple of days late last month, and that was when I picked up the last book I read. Whether you like Bill O'Reilly or not, his memoir, "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity," is really interesting. I agree with him most of the time, though, so I'm probably just biased.

Things have gotten weird since I finished that book, however, and the next one I'd planned to read is still lying (laying? my grammar is sketchy sometimes) on my bedroom floor, unopened. Family issues, stress over my job situation and some minor concerns in my personal life would normally have me on emotional overload. But I've found that in some ways I have run out of the energy necessary to really care. I mean, I do care to an extent. I care about doing a good job at work. I care about serving God and being with the people I love. But maybe I am taking on too much lately. Maybe that is part of my problem.

Or maybe I'm just disorganized and somewhat irresponsible. And maybe I'm still using that as a crutch for why I never follow through on things.

This would explain why I am sitting in my room, surrounded by small mountains of discarded but clean clothing and other paraphernalia. In my bathroom closet is a laundry basket that is filled to capacity. My Bible is waiting patiently but forlornly upstairs in the TV room.

I guess that next book will just have to wait until I can get my act together.

Friday, April 10, 2009

now hear this.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" -Isaiah 30:21

I have incredibly sensitive ears. Whether it's the high-pitched drone of a muted TV several rooms away, or "muzak" wafting through the mall corridor, I don't miss a beat. It drives people crazy when I stop whatever I'm doing, cock my head, make a face and say "I hate that song." Or I just start singing along. My music nerdiness has something to do with this, too. (So if you ever see me stocking shelves by myself at Hy-Vee and my lips are moving, I'm not talking to myself. Usually.)

And yes, the whole selective hearing thing...I have a knack for that too.

Lately I've also been hearing things that aren't so audible...things God has to say. For a long time I've wanted those spiritual ears of mine to open up, and boy is He ever speaking.

If ever there was a time when I needed to hear from my heavenly Father, I need it now. I'm at such a crossroads with my career, my family, my relationships that I can't afford to let His counsel fall on deaf ears. And there is just always something about this time of year that makes me feel more...alive.

Could be something to do with the fact that this is Easter weekend. But it goes beyond even that. June 23rd of this year will mark my 10th "re-birthday." At 13 I gave my life to Christ one night at church camp and He has been doing a new thing ever since. It really doesn't seem like it's been a whole decade, having taken one step forward and two steps back quite a few times. I will never really be "there" until the Lord finally calls me home, but that doesn't make me any less excited about the opportunities He's been placing in my life lately. And really, all He desires of me is that I strive more and more each day to be like His Son.

See...He really doesn't require more of us than we can offer Him. It may be challenging in a world that is spinning at a dizzying pace, but all we have to do is listen a bit more carefully above the noise. And prayerfully, that "still, small voice" becomes anything but still or small.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Frustrated. Insatiated. Infatuated. Underrated. Relegated.


If I could name myself after a song, I would henceforth be known as "Chelsea Dagger."

I hate talking on the phone. I think maybe I always have, but I will blame it on Cassidy, who over the past two years has cemented my addiction to texting.

Always, without fail, I must have some anchor of eccentricity in my life. At least one wide-eyed, blog-writing insomniac who says things like "meh" and "bleh" a lot. Such friendships nurture the Emily Dickinson in me. But I think if I am left to my own devices long enough, my worst nightmare (wildest dream?) of becoming a crazy cat lady will be reality.

So the daydreaming types are complemented nicely by the ones who relish the benefits of a full eight hours of sleep, who seem to have their heads a bit more firmly affixed between their shoulders. They may cast a longing glance or two at the uncertain and potentially dangerous, but barely stray from the tightrope.

In my brief life, I have been a little of both.

What is my point?

I don't know. I just felt like writing something. Sometimes it feels good to write and never really make a point. Especially when I go back later and realize I'm not as crazy as I thought I sounded.

Not that crazy is always bad.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

i'm ready.

I like making lists. Correction. I like starting lists. Finishing them is another story.

Kind of like this.

Things I want to do before I die
1. Write a book
2. Get a tattoo

You get the idea.

Facebook has an application that allows you to make mostly useless top five lists of albums, books, movies, etc.

Only five?

Well, it's not like I can do much better at list making.

Anyway, one of the lists I made just couldn't stop with number five. In no particular order, I present "Songs That Saved My Life."

Number one was an obvious choice.

"I'm Ready" by Jack's Mannequin
from Everything In Transit, 2005

I discovered Jack's Mannequin in the spring of 2006, totally by accident.
It was the best accident ever. Their debut album "Everything In Transit" became my soundtrack. With finals looming in the near future, I was slipping further into mediocrity. At first glance, it seemed like I was getting everything I wanted. Sure. And it all kept slipping away as quickly as it had reached my grasp. The things I wanted most were the things I needed the least. If "Everything In Transit" was my soundtrack, "I'm Ready" was my anthem:

I wake up to find it's another
Four aspirin morning, and I dive in
I put on the same clothes I wore yesterday.
When did society decide that we had to change
And wash a tee shirt after every individual use?
If it's not dirty, I'm gonna wear it.
I take the stairs to the car
And there's fog on the windows.
(And I'm finding the words...)
I need caffeine in my blood stream,
I take caffeine in the blood stream.
I grip the wheel and all at once I realize:
(And you're getting away...)
My life has become a boring pop song
And everyone's singing along.

Sophomore year of college was supposed to be a turning point. A life-changing experience. But I'd gone home for Christmas feeling spent and disillusioned. Trying to find fulfillment (yes, there's that word again) in all the wrong places and people. ORU or SCC, the environment made no difference because my perspective on life was the same.

But spring came! And everything was new again. I was given a second chance, or so I thought.

It was "Dark Blue" that I heard in my head in an empty parking lot late one May evening on South Memorial Drive. But long after that night lost its sparkle and the phone stopped ringing, "I'm Ready" was in heavy rotation.

I am aware, I've been misled
I disconnect my heart, my head
Don't wanna recognize when things go bad
The things that you'll accept
Except that I am finding the words...

Oh Andrew McMahon, how well I can relate.

I can't say that I haven't disconnected my heart from my head a few more times since then. But every time I do, this song comes back to haunt me.

Next on the list: "The Scientist" by Coldplay. But that's for another post.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I want it all. I want it now.
But You keep telling me to wait.
I want out. I want to run.
But You tell me it's all for my sake.
How long, O Lord? How long must I wait?
Everything within me is crying out.
You say, "I am sufficient. Find your fulfillment first in Me."

It's all too much, Lord. But it's not enough.

You say, "It seems like too much now. But I promised never to give you more than you can handle."

This is a test. This is only a test.
Will you turn and seek My face, and praise Me for what I am going to do in your life?
Or will you continue to argue and complain?

But I have so many questions, God.

And I will answer them, daughter. But not in your time. For you, time is measured in such short intervals.
My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.
My ways are higher than your ways.

O Lord, how I know it.
I am so broken and flawed. I still don't see it. How can You use such an imperfect vessel as myself?

That is why you need Me so much. I make all things new. Place your life once again in My hands.
It's not a quick fix.
And it may be painful at times.

Oh how I know it.

But trust Me, child.

I do trust You.

Do you, really?

Well...I guess I haven't. But I want to. It's just so difficult.

These things take time, beloved. But I am here for the long haul.
Maybe it's not the open road you need -- not yet, anyway. But this process of trust is a journey in itself.

I don't know if I can make it.

Not on your own. And that's as it should be. In the times when you are weak, then you will see Me work most powerfully -- because I will carry you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

from the vault: my new way of expressing frustration, or "life goals"

I wrote this on Facebook almost exactly a year ago (3-15-08) and got a huge kick out of re-reading it just now. Thought I'd give it new life here on my blog. Enjoy.

I've come to the conclusion that most of the awkwardness I experience is self-induced.

That is why I am not returning to ORU after spring break. Instead, I've decided to become a nun.

I'm pretty much cut out for a life of habit-wearing, chastity, and praying the rosary at 5 am...hopefully I'll wind up in an order that allows undercover lounge singers who perform Motown songs during mass.

That would be wicked sweet.

Unfortunately, I'm not Catholic--nor do I care to become one (no offense to my Catholic friends). Also, as much as I really wanna run away and not live under the expectations of having a career and/or a family after having nearly earned a bachelor's degree, I'm pretty sure I could never be a nun.

So instead...I think I'll aspire to becoming a crazy sweatsuit-wearing cat lady who drives a station wagon, has 20 cats, and wants all her groceries double-bagged. In paper. And I'll write nutty poems on those paper bags and stow them away under my tube socks and rain bonnets, and someday I'll be hailed as a modern-day Emily Dickinson.

Also, most of my poetry will be dedicated to my cats. It's not like I'll have anything else to write about.


A friend of mine received this in an e-mail and posted it as a note on Facebook. It's just too crazy not to pass along. I found it a bit too ironic after we talked about credit card bill collectors last night in our Financial Peace University class at church...

This is so priceless, and so, so easy to see happening, customer service being what it is today.

A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but now somewhere around $60.00. A family member placed a call to Citibank.

Here is the exchange :

Family Member: 'I am calling to tell you she died back in January.'

Citibank : 'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'

Family Member : 'Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.'

Citibank : 'Since it is two months past due, it already has been.'

Family Member : So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?'

Citibank : 'Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!'

Family Member : 'Do you think God will be mad at her?'

'Excuse me?'

Family Member : 'Did you just get what I was telling you - the part about her being dead?'

Citibank : 'Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor.'

Supervisor gets on the phone :

Family Member : 'I'm calling to tell you, she died back in January with a $0 balance.'

Citibank : 'The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.'

Family Member : 'You mean you want to collect from her estate?'

Citibank : (Stammer) 'Are you her lawyer?'

Family Member : 'No, I'm her great nephew.' (Lawyer info was given)

Citibank: 'Could you fax us a certificate of death?'

Family Member : 'Sure.' (Fax number was given )

After they get the fax :

Citibank : 'Our system just isn't setup for death.. I don't know what more I can do to help.'

Family Member : 'Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. She won't care.'

Citibank: 'Well, the late fees and charges will still apply.'

(What is wrong with these people?!?)

Family Member : 'Would you like her new billing address?'

Citibank : 'That might help...'

Family Member : 'Odessa Memorial Cemetery, Highway 129, Plot Number 69.'

Citibank : 'Sir, that's a cemetery!'

Family Member : 'And what do you do with dead people on your planet???'

You wonder why Citi is going broke and need the feds to bail them out!!


At long last, I have dusted off my blog again. Yes, it's been a whole six months since I've contributed anything of substance--scratch that--anything at all. I'm a little further off the mark than I thought I'd be right now, having finished school three months ago. A couple dozen job applications and one job interview later, I'm still living at home but building up my financial independence one paycheck at a time. I returned to my "first real job," running a cash register at a grocery store, still only part time.

As you can tell, lately I've fallen into the habit of measuring my success in time and numbers. It's easy to do when I'm waiting for something and I don't know what it is. With every day that passes without a single response to the scores of applications I've sent out, I get a little more restless. It seems funny to me that I'm not making enough money right now for Obama to deduct federal tax from my paycheck. Like he's doing me a favor. Like that's any consolation for the fact that I have a college degree and very little to show for it. Like I need a handout from the "rich."

Is this what being an adult is all about? Scrounging away every dollar I can squeeze out of my paycheck? Succumbing to the welfare state or fighting to rise above it?

An hour or so ago I was chatting on Facebook with an old classmate. We've known each other since preschool or kindergarten and truly brought out the worst in each other at times. But like most kids are prone to do, we've grown up a bit. He's learned some kindness and respect and I've learned to keep my chin up and keep a tighter rein on my tear ducts. Now we can talk to each other like civilized adults, something I would never have foreseen back in high school.

Anyway, in the midst of encouraging one another in our individual pursuits, this person said something that astounded me:

"You've always seemed scrappy. I'm sure you'll kick some a** once you get your foot in."

This is high praise coming from someone who used to tease me until I was in tears. Life really does come full circle.

So I guess maybe I'm scrappy enough to make something of myself, even if it means I'll be counting back change and stocking shelves for a little while...it's just a season and a time to discover why I'm here...

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