Friday, April 30, 2010

a girl needs a dad

when a girl is moving, she might need a truck. dads tend to have that sort of thing. dads are kind enough to let them put 33 hours of driving time on the truck for free, which is very convenient when the girl is already spending money on other moving expenses. her dad even gives the truck a quick wash before she leaves so that it's all spankin' shiny for her to drive.

when she's pulling off crazy driving hours to make appointments on both ends of the state, she needs a dad to remind her to have fun on the trip and, most importantly, stay awake. he can call her and tell her cool things he's discovered at truck stops and tell her he'll call back in a few hours to make sure she's still doing ok.

when he calls back, she can tell him something rather big she's been thinking, and ask him for advice. he can take the time to listen to the whole thing (even though it's 1 a.m.). he tells her she's going to have to decide what she really wants, because it's going to take a lot of courage, grit, and (quite possibly) battle scars to make the scenario happen. if she really wants it, he's going to support her, but he doesn't want her to regret a decision she'll have to live with for the rest of her life. meanwhile, he tells her she's doing the right thing now... reaching for and accomplishing today's dream.

give a girl a great dad, and she can do anything.

the funny thing about growing up is that dads and girls have to figure out how to both be adults and still be dad and daughter. it takes work. i'm glad that my dad and i both keep learning how.

because i might be grown up, but i'm still a girl. i need a dad.

he's taught me how to work hard. to respect people. to live life with dignity. to not be afraid to break the status quo.

a girl needs a hero.

a girl needs a dad.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


...time may change me
but I can't trace time...

Lovely oldies song, that. I heard a contemporary rendition at a gas station, but it lacked the... passion... or maybe grit... and definitely the struggle... of David Bowie's delivery.

Disclaimer: I don't necessarily endorse the lives or complete works of many artists, Christian or non. If you listen to music as you would mine a canyon, you'll find some sweet jewels.

But yeah...

(turn and face the strain)

They're happening.

For the benefit of those of you who were not lambasted with the news via facebook or email, I received a call from the agency yesterday. They are "very interested in hiring" me! If I pass the physical exam and drug screening, that is.

Dave told me he doesn't think I'll pass the physical. "Anyone who shrieks like that when they get off the phone must have something wrong with them," he said.

Lauren asked me if this means I'm putting in my 6-months' notice at Kauffman's.

Julie K. gave me a pouty smile.

I'm going to miss my co-workers and being a part of the best corporation EVER, even though I will miss very little about e-commerce management. It's interesting work, but does not coincide with any goals or dreams of mine.

But yeah... did I mention I'll miss all my peoples here in Lancaster?

Despite the negative aspects of this change, I've been wearing my smile out since 4:00 yesterday afternoon. This opportunity is the chance of a lifetime for me. A tangible dream-come-true. To say I'm excited would be a minor understatement. ;)

Roughly eight weeks since starting this process, I am leaving this evening with my last truck-load of stuff. One more bon voyage on asphalt, and then I'm done. My wonderful dad has let me borrow his truck three times, and I've eliminated the need for renting a moving truck. :) After taking the physical tomorrow, I'll head back here to Lancaster, then await the call to begin training.

pretty soon now, you're gonna get a little older
time may change me
but i can't trace time

A monumental "THANK YOU!" to the many of you who have encouraged me to chase this dream, to hang onto faith when the jump felt like a free-fall. You're the best, I tell you. The best.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Trying to Follow

A misty rain veiled the city this evening. A spring rain. A running rain.

I couldn't resist.

All the tension of waiting all day for the call that hasn't come. All the questions I've been asking that haven't seemed answered. All the frustration of waiting and silence drained through the soles of my running shoes.

"Howdy, mum! Off for your run?"

"Yessir! It's beautiful!"

He laughed from his porch. Laugh as big as his white smile in stunning contrast to his skin.

"Sorry." He returned to his phone conversation. "Dat was my neighbor. I tol' you about my neighbors, Clair and Anna? She's their sister."

I smiled as I ran on. Because I am proud to be his neighbor. Because I've never been able to convince the whole block I'm not related to Clairs'... and because I love belonging to the "family" that does make me their "sister".

Reverently through the paths of bejeweled trees and flowers of the park, stopping to kiss a dogwood bloom. The cross-shaped white blooms with rusty edges and rough-crowned centers. The azalea bush an unspeakable hue, rain-dropped and lit by a watery sun. The persimmon tree's new baby leaves.

On down to the river, with its river-otter mudslides and my favorite tree, all newly green.

Back to the road, for the pure joy of running. Of feeling more alive than I had all day, hunched over a computer.


All the hopes, frustrations, dreams, and fears of late solidified into a question a friend asked me once. "What do you want to be the sum of your life?"

My answer came back to me: "I want a lot of people to know they are loved."

I want to run with that news, to follow the trail left by the greatest Lover... to glory in the immensity of His wake. I want to teach others to run... for the sheer joy of it.

It's too big for me. I can't master the pace. About the time I think I do, I take my eyes off my feet and see I'm far behind. I don't have this loving this down pat. I am less and less confident in my ability to do it myself, much less teach others.

At the end of my street, I waved to a lady I often see as I drive by but never have talked to. She yelled something about diabetes, and I crossed the street to talk to her. How lonely does one have to be to tell one's complete medical history to a complete stranger? When I made my leave, she said, "Thanks for talking to me!" I thanked her as well, and felt my face as lit as hers. In her lined and toothless face, her waist-length iron and white hair, her wide, faded blue eyes, I saw Jesus.

I've been asking Him to teach me to follow, to teach me to love. Begging Him to show His face. He did. In the beauty of people, in the beauty of nature. I saw Him.

And now I'm wondering if making disciples is as much about being taught as it is about teaching... receiving as much as giving.

A quote by Shane Hipps in "Flickering Pixels" has been niggling the interior of my cranium since I read it. "We are called to make disciples, not believers."

Good thing, too. Because the I've found the whole "making believers" thing to be a fine line between ethnocentric bigotry and total irrelevancy.

In the left-brained, logical, sequential thinking formed by the written culture following the printing press, Christianity became a set of doctrines to be embraced mentally. Hence, fundamental evangelical churches. Fulfilling the Great Commission involved dispersing written words.

Now? Who cares what you think in your head? With the advent of technology, our thinking patterns are reverting back to the visual, right-brained mode. Somewhat similar to the culture in which the stories of Scripture were told both verbally and through stained-glass windows and paintings, it's less important to us (culturally speaking) if someone believes in predestination or believes in hell. It's irrelevant to now, to today's triumph and tragedy. Trying to argue someone into the Kingdom is like "trying to nail jello to a wall" (S.H.). It seems as though the only way we, as followers of Jesus, are able to tell the Good News is by getting involved and getting dirty. Loving.

I'm glad. Because, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's what Jesus was trying to show us how to live the whole time He was here.

So before this post evolves into a full-fledged book review (which would hardly be coherent due to the hour), I'd like to thank all of you for reading the mosaic that is my blog. I keep meeting people I barely know who tell me they read this site. Your telling me that my writing encourages you humbles and blesses me. I'd like to hear from some of you, either by commenting on this page, emailing, or, better yet, telling me in person (if possible)... where have you seen Jesus? How is He teaching you to love? I'd love to hear it because I have an astonishing amount to learn.

Peace always...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lisa [i]

Oh, lovely! Yes, her... 
...and the afternoon we spent shooting her FBEP grad pictures and sitting at Square One.
There is nothing quite so revitalizing as a good talk and many laughs with a friend who knows you well enough to know what you're saying even when you're not actually saying it. 

You're a lucky man, Art! But I suppose you know that already. :) Seeing Lisa blossom since she's dating you makes me think she's a pretty lucky girl, too. 

More of Lisa to come later...

Friday, April 23, 2010

earth day

so i was going to do something really cool to celebrate earth day.

i smiled at all my little tomato, zinnia, daisy, poppy, oregano, basil, and parsley babies growing at my window. and poked at the pepper seeds which have germinated but have yet to show their faces. wait, i do that every day.

i stopped at goodwill and brought home a huge wooden serving tray (for $1.97, i might add), two picture frames, and a small mirror. see? instead of buying things new, i upcycle them. oh. true dat. i do that a lot, too. the spray paint i used on everything couldn't have been just super for air quality, either. (but it was fun spreading newspapers on the dark, quiet sidewalk and spraying the last coats in my bare feet under the street light. even though my neighbor three houses down stood at his door and regarded me strangely.)


TODAY will be my earth day. i finally found one of these on craigslist: [!]
no fossil fuels or air (or noise) pollution required to mow my little lawn. i won't mention the fact that not having to worry about the engine having obscure problems is somewhat of a relief. there. won't even have to talk about it. driving half an hour to pick up something you bought for $20 that retails at $75 is permissible in observing earth day. 


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

mystery of sacrifice

no words left
thoughts spent
You've heard it all
and still we sit here


all i offer is silence


in reality
is all i have

and even that

isn't mine


for the facets
You bequeath me

Saturday, April 17, 2010

simply... Saturday

Despite the vast amount of staggering truths I'm absorbing from Flickering Pixels; How Technology Shapes Your Faith, by Shane Hipps, I'm expressing myself through media twice in one day. Shocking. Excellent book, that. A review is in rumination. 

Meanwhile, here are some things that made my Saturday sunny:

Zinnia sprouts

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."
-Agatha Christie

Ita & Tama

"Until one has loved an animal,  a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless us with discomfort
at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships
so that we may live deep within your heart
May God bless us with anger
at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people
so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace
May God bless us with tears
to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war
so that we may reach out your hand to comfort them and
to turn their pain into joy
And may God bless us with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in the world
so that we can do what others claim cannot be done
to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Friday, April 16, 2010

They've Sprouted!

While watering my seeds this morning, I dug around a little. The daisies and zinnias are pushing fresh, clean, white and green. (Oh, wow. That sounds like a commercial.) I didn't have time to check the rest. My window facing the street gets pretty good afternoon sunlight, which seems to be doing the trick.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

growy things

Words are so limiting. They describe so little of the depth of some joys. Smelling lilacs. Blue, blue rushing into your soul. Planting seeds.

I tamped a bunch of little possibilities into growing trays this evening. Peppers, tomatoes, daisies, poppies, zinnias, oregano, parsley, and basil. A first for me, I procured some heirloom tomato seeds: Pink Brandywine. I can't wait to see the first baby green growy things poke their heads above the soil. Even more exciting will be transplanting them to new beds at my new house in a few weeks.

As hippie as this might sound, something deep within my soul is refreshed... remade... reconnected... when I dig my hands into good dirt and play a small role in the magic of growth. I (rather romantically, perhaps) like to wonder if the few drops of Native American blood in my veins contribute to my need to cultivate connections to the earth and the rest of creation. Made by the same Life-giver, we humans are intrinsically linked to nature. Why do we like to pretend our well-being does not rely on the health of our natural world?

I recently read a fascinating article emphasizing soil health. Both agriculture and horticulture have given little regard to replenishing the nutrients and minerals depleted by plant growth. Sticking seeds in the ground and spraying synthetic fertilizer on the plants to make them grow might produce fruits and vegetables, but our fruits and vegetables are slowly losing their nutrient value. Yay for composting! :)  Another article I read (I'm great at forgetting sources) suggested the need for pest control is a sign our produce is worth little to our bodies. The author cited bugs as nature's scavengers, eating what is unfit for human consumption. Interesting.

Another growing (sorry about the pun) interest of mine is urban community gardening. How cool would it be to reduce a city's waste by establishing neighborhood composting sites and transforming vacant lots into cooperative gardens? Someday, when I'm big... For now, I'm daydreaming about how my garden in town can be used to bless and establish relationships with my new neighbors.

Life in spring is intoxicating.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

love is a place

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

- ee cummings

Friday, April 9, 2010

trash to treasure

I have a confession. I stopped at Goodwill this evening on my way home from work. I wasn't going to, honest. Then... well... traffic was backed up and at an utter stand-still (tourist season commences again) and, um, my alternate route took me right past Goodwill. THEN... I remembered saying to myself last weekend when unpacking dishes in my new house, "I could use a few more serving dishes." Of course, this remembrance necessitated my stopping, just in case. Whaddayaknow. The cutest vintage green-glass serving bowl. Too perfect. Oh! A California carafe to match the one I got last time... only this one has a lid! I always feel like a gold prospector when I'm in a thrift store. If you look hard enough, or see the potential in the less-than-pretty, who KNOWS what you might find!

Of course, half the fun is transforming the less-than-pretty. Here are a few of my recent projects:

Spray paint and I are fast friends. The chronic paint stains on my hands and nails are my witness. After I finished up a few other pieces one evening, I was still in spray-paint mode... and felt compelled to find out whether or not a glass soda bottle would be cuter if opaque.

I think so.

This guy is one of those metal silverware servers... way awesome for entertaining. I couldn't believe my good fortune at finding one for $1. Yes, there were strings attached. Not strings exactly... rust. A coat of Rust-oleum primer and several coats of spray paint later, he looks as good as new. I prefer off-white to shiny (almost) stainless steel, anyway.

Next up... the chalk board! I picked this painting up for free at a yard sale last summer.

Initially, I thought I'd refinish the canvas and paint another picture. After I got it home, I saw that the canvas was a strange, flocked fabric. The fuzz was jumping ship in several places. The frame was rough and splintery.

Trust me, it put on its best face for the camera. 

A few weeks ago, I got contracted a deep need for a chalkboard. How French is a chalkboard in a kitchen? Price-comparing soothed the need considerably... until I saw my ugly-duckling frame still sitting forlornly in a corner. How hard would it be to turn it into a chalkboard? 

I sanded... and sanded... and sanded the frame. A few coats of paint, then more sanding and a little distressing for the edges... and an acrylic spray sealer. Done. I bought a board from Lowe's and primed it with Rust-oleum magnetic primer. Two coats of Rust-oleum chalkboard paint and...

A magnetic chalkboard. 

As I worked on the frame, I wondered how I could have thought it ugly.

The notches add some pretty cool detail. 

Oh, yes. The biggest frustration came when I excitedly assembled it... but it wouldn't assemble. The board was an eighth inch too long for reasons unknown to me. I did measure before telling the Lowe's guy what I wanted, I promise. Sooo... I finally found the time a few days ago to ask my friend David to take 1/4 inch off with his trim saw. Because the chalkboard surface is so hard, I was afraid cutting the board would cause the surface to crack. It didn't... and the chalkboard was put into the frame, and they lived happily ever after.

This sad little veneer nightstand became mine after I gave the Goodwill lady $4-something. The top was bubbled and the backing needed re-attached with finishing nails rather than masking tape, but it was sturdy.

Kirsten and I tackled the beginnings of a make-over head-on. I consider myself honored... she forfeited her bed-time story to watch me lightly sand the veneer and help put on the first coat of paint. ("But why are they called 'coats', Becca?") 

I must include this:

Like sister, like brother. :) 

Lots of paint, a new knob, and...

...she has a whole new outlook on life.

I just realized all the projects in this post turned out ivory. That's ok. I like ivory. It's more comfortable than white, but just as fresh. I promise, I have been using other colors, too.

For the front of the drawer, I watered down brown paint and glazed the ivory for some interest. 

All I have left to do is seal it with 
Krylon Top Coats-Sealers

my secret weapon, and she'll be ready to join the load of furniture going to Meadville this weekend. I use matte-finish acrylic sealer on everything from finished art pieces (to prevent smudging) to... nightstands. 

My apologies to those of you who visit my blog expecting poetry and thoughtful things. This week was full of both, but the poetry belongs to Langston Hughes and the thoughtful things were told only to the stars... and the God who made them. I'm happy it's warm again... I'll miss my city rooftop when I move...

Monday, April 5, 2010

[sic] tree stomp

Listed "for sale" on Craigslist today is a "tree stomp".

I haven't a doubt the poster was referring to one of these:

...but, for some strange reason, I had to wonder if, back before he would "spend a week just breathing", soon after he was created by Yavanna [possibly around 1050 of the Years of the Trees], 

Treebeard had not yet learned his "do not be hasty" motto...

and [on occasion] threw a tantrum.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"My God, my God!"

"Why have You forsaken me?"

Jesus' anguished words from the cross...

In unimaginable pain, His heart longed for the comfort of His Father. Of all the times He needed strength, needed comfort, it was then. But He says He's been forsaken.

I always hated this part of the story of Jesus' passion worst of all. I mean, it's one thing for the egocentric, nasty, misguided people to kill Jesus. He's forgiving them as they do it. It fits His mission, fits His model for us. It's another thing for evil to kill Jesus. That's to be expected, that it would try to conquer Good while vulnerable, incarnate in limited flesh. But God? If He forsook Jesus while Jesus was dying, was God a co-conspirator to Jesus' torture and death? How could God forsake a part of Himself? To be honest, the theory that God had to temporarily hate Jesus because of Jesus' taking on the sins of the world confused me as a kid (and for many years afterward). If God focused all His "holy fury" on an innocent Man... even if that Man was, in essence, Himself... He was hardly just and merciful... or even very holy.

Where was God as Jesus approached death? Did He withdraw Himself completely from the cosmos, off somewhere beyond comprehension, unfeeling and unseeing?

My friends' newborn baby boy nearly stopped breathing and was life-flighted to the hospital. The father described recently the experience of watching his tiny son receive tracheal intubation. Having to stand by helplessly and watch his son's anguish as the tube was shoved down his throat was more than he could take. His own anguish at his boy's suffering so overcame him that he nearly lost consciousness. He had to leave. And he knew what the Father heart of God was as His Son suffered on the cross.

I can't stop thinking about that picture. It offers a more holistic view of God and enables me to enter more fully into the brokenness of the ultimate sacrifice... the ultimate love.

For you. For me.

"My God!"