Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dreaming of domesticity

Today my co-workers celebrated my birthday (it is on Sunday). It was so sweet and wonderful! We went to my boss’ house for lunch and I loved every minute of it. Being at her home reminded me that as of the past couple of months I have realized one of my favorite things ever is to be invited over to friends’ houses. I love to see how people live and the way their personality and life is reflected in their home. I love to see people in their “natural habitat.” I think you can learn and gain a lot from this. I’ve had the pleasure of going to my boss’ house, my boss’ boss’ house over Christmas, and another couple’s house once a month and I love them all.
I have become obsessed with the idea of people’s homes. This has become even more evident because I have changed my route home from work so that I can drive down a long street lined with adorable and unique homes. I love to pass my favorite ones every night and wonder what it would be like to own it and live there, as well as wonder about the lives of the current owners.
I think I have become so interested in this idea of homes and visiting people’s houses because I no longer live in a “home.” Obviously, I have a home in San Diego and enjoy that whenever possible, but the majority of my life takes place in my apartment. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like my apartment and I LOVE living with my roommates and we have created a “home,” but, we do not live in a home, nor does my apartment really feel like one. Homes are cozy and personally decorated and a reflection of family and memories and peace. The strange thing is that my roommates have been able to make our apartment feel like a home and become “home,” and yet, I have not been able to do the same, especially in regards to my bedroom. For example, I bought a frame nearly a year ago for 16 pictures, but I still have yet to hang it up and place pictures in it. I’m not sure what exactly this means, but I have to admit it bothers me. I am troubled by the fact that I can’t completely nest. I haven’t…ever. It has been five years since I lived in a home (my home) and now that I have the freedom to create a new one I’ve hesitated. I think it is because nothing feels permanent, and to me, a home is permanent. It is a place you invest in and decorate and care for and nurture, because it is stable. Life is not yet stable for me. It is stable enough, but not enough to fully nest. Does this even make sense? This post is beginning to sound much more depressing than I intended. I do not find this depressing at all. I think of it as truth, and a truth that is completely normal for my age and station in life. It is just part of my journey.
Someday I will have a home, and this has become much more a dream during this time of my life. It is nice. I never really craved domesticity or stability as much as I do now. When I was younger I wanted dreams and adventure and independence, but the older I get the more I want a small and quaint life. The more I see the beauty in relationships and family and stability. The more I realize that yes, life can be a series of adventures through travel and excitement, but I have also realized that life holds plenty of excitement and adventure in the day to day moments. The Lord created us to want community, and sometimes community is best formed through stability and in the home. It can be a beautiful thing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Working Weekend

Boy, am I exhausted from my crazy weekend! I worked at a conference with my old company and worked 32 hours in three days! It was crazy, but so fun. I love lending a hand and running around to and from in the hotel. It keeps me busy and keeps my mind off anything too serious, which for a constant thinker (thanks to Strengths) is a good thing. It was great to see all my old co-workers again. I really miss that place. As strange as it sounds, being and working with that group, despite the drama and usual office dysfunction, feels more like home to me than any other experience I’ve had since high school. You may think that I haven’t worked in enough organizations to feel this way, but I have had five jobs and I still think that group tops the list. I use to leave that job most days thanking the Lord that I worked there and thinking “I love my job.” Maybe I was too young and not there for a long enough time, but I still think my feelings mean something. Anyway, it was great. Today my body hurts and I am exhausted and also sad it is already over.
The last two weeks are beginning a very crazy next few weeks in my life between my birthday, my friend Amy visiting, going to Texas for my cousin’s wedding and going the next weekend to a friend’s wedding, and that is only the weekends! Not to mention school and work. Tomorrow there is a big meeting at work where our budget and salary and hiring pause will be addressed. After tomorrow I will have many decisions to make in a short amount of time as my job ends (at least as of today) on March 31st. We’ll see what March brings. What I do know is that keeping busy is fun given all the down-time I sometimes get tired of. I also know that I have to keep spending time with the Lord in order to make the right decisions that must be made this month. It would also be great if you could pray for me about that too!
In completely superficial and lame news, can I just admit that I loved the Oscars last night? Plus, I am so surprised because many critics still thought that show was a disappointment in its “updated” style. The parts they loved, such as the “Pineapple Express” comedy section, were the parts I hated. The only thing I agree with the critics about is the camera shots during the memorial review because you could hardly read the names of those who have passed – and there were a lot! My favorite parts were Danny Boyle’s acceptance speech for Best Director, Hugh Jackman’s opening number when Anne Hathaway joined him, Hugh Jackman in general J, bringing on stage past winners to speak about the present nominees, Heath Ledger’s family accepting the Best Supporting Actor award on his behalf while the camera panned the misty-eyed celebrities, the Best Actress presentation, and especially the fact that Kate Winselt won, as well as her acceptance speech. She looked beautiful, as did Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Marissa Tomei. Of course, Angelina looked gorgeous and it was fun to see her and Brad sitting in the front row. It is so interesting how celebrities are our American royalty. In England it is the Queen and William and Harry. Here, it is the celebrities, especially “Brangelina”, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Meryl Steep, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston and Will Smith (among others, of course). I wrote a paper about this in college. I guess my obsession with celebrity pop culture means I am okay with their “royalty.” I just think about this sometimes when the Oscars are the most watched award show of the year. It was also really nice to be home with the fam to watch together. This hasn’t happened in five years and I’ve missed it!
(Photo from People).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just a little update...

I know it has been a while since I last posted and I try to post once a week, so here I am! I really just don't have much to say today. Things have been busy and good.
I went home for the long weekend and hadn't been home in four weeks, which is pretty unusual for me. It was nice. I saw "Slumdog Millionaire" with my parents on Saturday and am one of the very few people who did not like all. Oh well. But, I did see "He's Just Not that Into You" again on Sunday (I have seen it far). I still love it. For those who love chick flicks it is a great movie and very funny. I think of it as my generation's "When Harry Met Sally." You should see it.
For Valentine's day I went to church (I love North Coast) with the family and then watched movies and made chocolate truffles. Well, I rolled them. It was a chocolate mess, but a great thing to do for Valentine's day! I had a good time. I had no idea how many great movies are on during Valentine's day night for all those "lonely hearts" (I guess). There were at least five good ones all on at the same time! It was really nice.
This week is busy with work. I also re-arranged my room and have run errands after work everyday. Tomorrow night I have class. We will be talking about Strengths, which is one of my favorite topics! It is a type of "personality" test. I am volunteering at a conference this weekend in San Diego with my old company and I am looking forward to it! So that craziness begins Thursday night.
All this to say, this have been busy, but I wanted to post and say "hi." :) I am still here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Two weeks worth of smiles

My beautiful, profound, and poetic friend, Jamie, says it’s good to keep lists. So, here is a list of two weeks worth of smiles:
*A mother walking her daughter to elementary school every morning.
*A phone call from a beloved old friend the exact day I was planning to call her.
*Facebook notes.
*Buying books for a baby shower.
*Answered prayers.
*Sisterly text messages.
*Cake recommendations from Mom.
*Two-buck Chuck.
*Rainy days.
*Electric blankets.
*Yellow tulips.
*“Family” dinner.
*Psalm 4:1
*Anne Lamott.
*Lunch with a favorite Professor friend.
*Wedding invitations.
*Montana’s on a Friday night.
*Spontaneity at 2am.
*Black and white pictures of my Dad and his family.
*A hand-made quilt.
*Movies on opening night (“He’s Just Not that Into You”).
*Ugg boots.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

“…peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet…”

I love to read. I have my BA in English, which should be a tip off right there. I try to only read one book at a time, but lately, that plan has failed. Right now I have started about five books from Anderson Cooper to a Christian book about when life hurts to a book about bio-identical hormones to a night-time devotional. On a good day, there will even be some fiction included in that list.
Anyway, every reader has their favorite authors. One of mine is Anne Lamott. She is a Christian writer, but she is different than any other Christian writer I’ve ever read or heard of. She is controversial and very liberal and non-traditional. And she says things that she shouldn’t, but that we all do sometimes, and she’s made more mistakes than most. Plus, she sometimes refers to God as a “she,” which I don’t like and you probably don’t like, but I honestly think she does it more to make people like you and me angry because it gives her a good laugh.
But, before you write her off, let me also say that she is one of the funniest, most-honest people I’ve ever read. She is the author you pick up when life sucks and people suck and your outfit today sucked. She makes you laugh and reminds you that life is messy and that is okay. She takes every bad day and makes it a teachable, endearing moment. She reminds me of God’s grace and love and forgiveness. She reminds me that God uses messes for His glory and His people for His plan.
So, here are the best Anne Lamott quotes from the book I am currently reading (which is Plan B: Further Thoughts On Faith):
“…peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet…”

“We start by being kind to ourselves. We breathe, we eat. We remember that God is present wherever people suffer.”

“The problem with God – or at any rate one of the top five most annoying things about God – is that He…rarely answers right away. It can take days, weeks. Some people seem to understand this – that life and change take time.”

“He teaches his students, and has taught me, to slow down, breathe, and take care of everyone, which is of course the same message Jesus taught – that breath is our connection to Holy Spirit, to our bodies, minds, and soul; and that if the devil can’t get you to sin, he’ll keep you busy.”

“You’ve got to love this in a God – consistently assembling the motleyest people to bring, into the lonely and frightening world, a commitment to caring and community. It’s a centuries-long realty show – Moses the stutter-er, Rahab the hooker, David the adulterer, Mary this homeless teenager. Not to mention all the mealy-mouthed disciples. Not to mention a raging insecure narcissist like me.”

“…when you pray, you are not starting the conversation from scratch, just remembering to plug back into a conversation that’s always in progress."

“I don’t know why God won’t just spritz away our hardships and frustration. I don’t know why the most we can hope for on some days is to end up a little less crazy than before, less down on ourselves. I don’t know why we have to become so vulnerable before we can connect with God, and even sometimes with ourselves.”

“Help’ is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn’t matter how you pray – with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, ‘Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.’ Prayer usually means praise, or surrender, acknowledging that you have run out of bullets. But there are no firm rules…I just talk to God. I pray when people I love are sick, and I prayed when I didn’t know whether I should have a baby. I pray when my work is horrible, or suddenly, miraculously, better…When I am in my right mind, which is about twice a month, I pray kindly.”

“Things are not perfect, because life is not TV and we are real people with scarred, worried hearts. But it’s amazing a lot of the time. Where there was darkness, silence, and blame, there’s now a family, and that means there’s mess and misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and sighs. But it is a family…”

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Morning

There is a song by Maroon 5 called "Sunday Morning" and it is perfect for a lazy sunny day. That is how today is. It is a gorgeous sunny day here in San Dimas. The kids are being loud and obnoxious outside, the windows are all open, the birds are chirping (I'm serious), and the apartment just looks pretty when the sun is pouring in.
I slept in until 11:15 and didn't go to sleep until 3:45am last night. I "slept over" in my roommates' room while we watched "Jane Eyre" until late and then talked about boys until we fell asleep.
Today is full of nothing except enjoying the sun, relaxing, and doing whatever bring smiles.
It's good to take advantage of these moments because sometimes they seem few and far between. So today is that day. No plans, not many people, just books and tv shows on DVD and music and food and easy conversations.
And, of course, the Super Bowl turned on in the background because I really don't care, but it is the Super Bowl. And because I want Arizona to win for Kurt Warner's benefit and the fact that some will say it is because of his faith in God. I really just want one reporter to eat his words because I read this guy's article a couple weeks ago and he wrote all about sports players who believe in God and how ridiculous it is to believe in God, let alone believe he helps you in your sport. I really want that guy -all the other reporters - to eat their words, and to again, have to deal with a winning player who will give glory to God when they make him MVP and hand him his trophy. Any win for the Kingdom is a good thing in my book.
Wow, apparently I care more about the "pointy end ball" game than I thought! :) So, happy nachos, happy beer and hot dogs, happy day with "the boys", happy sport jerseys and little kids blocking the tv, happy ladies' day out. Happy Super Bowl and happy Sunday.