Tuesday, June 28, 2005

a plate broke today

i had a week off work, and when i went back, i hit the ground running. it's good--it's actually fun. we're launching some new things; i'm getting to do some stuff i really love doing. but it's crazy busy. i've felt a little like the guys who try to spin the plates on the poles. i've kept them up for almost two weeks, but today one broke.

i flew to my hometown for work. the plan changed while i was working on plane reservations and i ended up making the return reservation for the wrong day--a day late thankfully. it's not all that bad of a mistake, but it has left me in my hometown without the knowledge of my friends or family--except the aunt & uncle i stay with when here. it's just not the kind of mistake i usually make. and being here on my own, free to wander w/o feeling like i should be spending time with someone while i can, i find that i feel lost.

it's odd to feel like a stranger in the town i grew up in...and pretty much lived in until i moved away five years ago. much is familiar...streets are in the same place, major landmarks are still there, none of my friends or family have changed homes. but the business that line the streets have changed. there are new restaurants--chains have come that weren't here five years ago; a few favorite local places have disappeared-- there's a freshness to the city. it feels familiar and strange all at the same time. i feel a little lost and melancholy and even homesick here. tonite i was to be home, seeing a friend who'd pick me up at the airport, seeing the ocean, smelling the salt air before heading inland towards the valley where i live. i'd have stopped by my neighborhood grocery store to pick up some fruit & yogurt for breakfast in the morning. i'd have slept in my own bed with the windows open, the breeze coming into my room. instead i sit here in a borders, catching up on some work things and noticing i feel out of place... a broken plate amongst the spinning ones.

i wonder what it would take to make a mosaic of the pieces.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


nope...not tonite.

last sunday morning, i'd been awake for all of 10 minutes and was standing in the kitchen waiting for my toast to pop up from the toaster. there was a loud thud and the wall shook. my first thought was 'stupid neighbors!' then i realized the apartment was still shaking and that my spices were falling off the back of the stove. it was an earthquake--not the noisy neighbors. we had another one midweek while i was at the office.

tonite, i came home after 9 p from friends where i'd been in the hot tub and out by the fire pit. i took a quick shower and then curled up on the couch to watch a movie. i was relaxed and comfy and dozed off while watching my movie...and i awoke to a loud thud and things vibrating. after this week, my first thought was 'earthquake!'. then i realized there was a pattern to the thuds and vibrations... it's back to 'stupid neighbors and their surround sound!'.

it's after midnight now and they're still at it... i'll chat with our complex manager tomorrow. maybe i should be extra chipper in the morning and rock out while i get ready for church.

Friday, June 17, 2005

blog book tag

i saw this on a friend's blog (thanks youthguy) and thought it was fun--especially since i'm a book junkie.

how many books do you own?
i have no clue...there's a stack on the end table, a few on the kitchen table, a couple stacks in my room, a bookshelf full...

what is the last book you bought?
the mermaid chair by sue monk kidd...just last friday.

what is the last book you read?
real sex by lauren winner...great read--best treatise on saving sex for marriage that i've ever read. i'll be rereading this one.

list five books that mean a lot to you:
dangerous wonder by mike yaconelli--the book that opened the door for me to think differently about my faith...it helped choose the path that has brought me to where i am.
the secret life of bees by sue monk kidd--quite a few revelations about myself came about through the reading of this one.
life of the beloved by henri nouwen--i should probably read this regularly. for some reason, it's often hard for me to remember that i am beloved.
gone with the wind by margaret mitchell--first read this for my hs freshman ap english class and fell in love with the romance, the characters, the history. still one of my favorite books and movies.
little women by louisa may alcott--first 'grown-up' book i read...my mom gave it to me about 4th grade and this was the book that turned me into a lifelong reader. i loved the four sisters...i couldn't decide which of them i wanted to be most...

if you decide to answer these q's on your blog...leave me a comment...i'm always looking for a good read...

Monday, June 13, 2005

choosing to love

according to an online dictionary, one of the meanings of seduce is 2 : to lead astray usually by persuasion or false promises

when it comes to love and marriage, i think we as a culture have been seduced. we've believed the fairy tale that love starts with fireworks, followed by an initial conflict that once overcome is followed by happily ever after which is easy and comes in a nice, neat package. when things don't work out that way, disappointment and hurt happen. but rather than work thru and forgive and continue to work thru the conflicts and fight for happily ever after, people simply call "do over", file for divorce, and start the cycle again--waiting for the fireworks.

and sadly, in christian culture, we've simply followed the path the secular world forged. we have christian guides to dating, to sex, to marriage. we have christian romance novels and we have christian dating websites. most of the time, the only difference between the christian version and secular are the jesus, church and bible references.

i want to be married and to have a family. it's something i've dreamed of as long as i can remember. today that dream rattles around my heart, my head, my soul as a longing that sometimes feels as though it might suffocate me under its weight. at the encouragement of friends, i joined a christian dating website. at first this was fun, i began emailing guys i thought were interesting and people emailed me. with a few guys, it progressed to im, using personal email addresses, phone calls, and a coffee date. but the longer i've been in it, something has just felt off about it, uncomfortable, like i've bought a pair of jeans on sale and marked irregular. you can't see the irregularity when you look at them, but when you wear them, you can feel it.

yesterday a friend was talking about something that our pastor said in the sunday service. our pastor pointed out that when people write their own wedding vows, they use the language of i love you today, i'll love you more tomorrow, but that in traditional (old-fashioned some would say) vows, the loving part is worded as i promise to love you. i've been thinking about that. a promise implies a choice of emotion, in this case love. in other words, i'm choosing to love that person and i'm promising to make that choice to love them. this version of love makes more sense to me than the fireworks & fairy tales that we're taught to believe. choosing to love someone makes sense. i choose to love god daily, i choose to try to follow him. i don't always follow him well or closely. some days i wonder if i really love him, but i choose to keep trying. it's the only choice that makes sense to me. this choosing to love is what i think we've been seduced away from, both as a culture and as christians.

choosing to love requires being brave enough to be vulnerable and express your choice in loving ways. choosing to love requires tenacity--a willingness to continue in the face of challenge and adversity. choosing to love requires responsiblity in fulfilling the promise to make the choice to love daily.

i think this is why the dating website, and often times dating in general, for me, feels like an irregular pair of jeans. we're looking for the fireworks, for the opening line of a fairy tale. when it isn't there, we simply move to the next person on the site. i'm not wired this way. i'm wired to be willing to choose to love a good man. i have several good guy friends about whom i've thought, this is the kind of man i could fall in love with. the 'falling in love' part hasn't happened and we've become friends. i think, though, what i mean by 'falling in love' is that this is the kind of man i could choose to love.

so much for this rambling musing... i'm not quite sure where to go with it or what to do with it from here...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


i was sitting here watching the wb news at 10. during the entertainment segment, they aired a report that for the upcoming movie, herbie fully loaded, that lindsay lohan's appearance had been digitally altered. apparently test audiences felt she was too sexy so disney computer animators digitally raised necklines of her costumes and they "reduced her breast size by two cups".

i also read in a friend's blog tonite an article on the value of a hooters girl. (http://godverbs.com/2005/06/02/how-much-is-a-hooters-girl-worth/) while moore gets closer to a healthy response, i think there's still a piece missed in how the church and culture responds to a woman's body--in particular a woman who has large breasts. and for years this has frustrated me. tonite the frustration feels fresh because of these two instances occurring in the space of an hour.

to begin to understand why i'm frustrated, you should probably know a little something about my awkward junior hi years. as a long-time friend puts it, my bra has always had its fair share with some to spare. by 7th grade, i was a c-cup and weighed maybe 90 lbs. i was top heavy. junior high boys teased me mercilessly. i tended to be shy and this made me even more so. one day, a boy popped my bra--i gave him a black eye. the assistant principal just saw the part where i slugged him. i was so embarrassed by what he'd done and frightened by my own reaction it took forever for me to explain it to the principal through my tears. during this time, i somehow came to a conclusion that nice girls--good, christian girls-- had small breasts--ones that didn't call attention to themselves by their mere existence. girls who drew attention to themselves using their breasts weren't nice girls and since i didn't have to do anything for mine to attract attention, i worked at trying to hide them. i chose clothes that would help disguise my build. i learned to roll my shoulders forward so that if you looked at me from the side my arms hid my chest. since then i've struggled with my body image--mostly because of my breast size. i've considered reduction surgery for purely cosmetic reasons. i still have a hard time buying anything besides t-shirts. if they fit me through the arm and shoulder, they usually don't button across my chest.

our society has decided that big breasts deserve attention in and of themselves and this attention is automatically sexual in nature. as a result, we have young women who have distorted views of themselves simply because of their bra size. we end up with young women who don't think their breasts are big enough so they have enhancement surgeries--one of the top cosmetic surgeries for women under 25. we have young women who end up defining themselves by their bra size and allow themselves to be objectified. we have young women who, like me, end up feeling ashamed of their bodies, enough so that it's hard to understand when we're told biblically that we are beautifully and wonderfully made. it's only been in recent years--in my 30's--that i've begun to understand this concept and be comfortable with my bra size--enough so that i've given up baggy shirts and sweaters for ones that fit properly.

so tonite i'm frustrated for lindsay lohan, that her body has to be digitally reduced to maintain a nice-but-not-too-sexy image. i'm frustrated that moore's article focused more on the externals for girls--how they dress--than the internals which got only one direct mention ("what would it mean if we insisted that our young girls insist on being treated with the dignity with which they were created?").

in my little corner of the world, for my goddaughter, for my friends' daughters, for the girls i encounter in student ministry, i try to model as much comfort with my body as i can. but i find i'm frustrated that, on a broad scale, there doesn't seem to be a way to make bra size irrelevant to one's identity or image for the generation of girls growing up today. if only bra size were no more important than hat size...

Sunday, June 05, 2005

growing up, growing old

this afternoon, i was talking to a couple friends about a thought i'd had in response to a situation that's currently a bit challenging in our church small group. one of them, one who i look up to as an 'older brother', remarked "wow, look at you min, being all mature!". it was meant as a compliment, but i couldn't help but note the bit of surprise in his tone and expression.

part of me is pleased with the fact that he liked how i was responding, that i'm being mature, that maybe it means i'm growing up. part of me feels a little sad--that a mature response has any element of surprise can't be a good thing. this is one of those things i wrestle with in my process of 'becoming'...

as a kid and even young adult, the "grown-ups" in my life were entrenched in patterns of life for good, bad and/or indifferent. to this day, many of those patterns are unchanged. while there's a measure of security to those patterns (my godparents will be in their same house and my room will still be there, my dad and stepmom will be dressed alike, my mom will be apologizing for something and saying a rosary or prayer under her breath), they've also always frightened me. there's something about them that said to me, "this is as good as it gets, this is all there is" and for me that isn't enough. i'm a dreamer, an idealist who struggles with being pessimistic so that i'm land close to realistic and less likely to be hugely disappointed.

but i've confused growing up and being able to respond in maturity with outgrowing the capacity to adapt, to grow, to learn, to change. as i'm learning the difference, i hope i can continue growing in maturity while maintaining a childlike curiousity and openness to the world around me.

i'm glad i'm not alone on this journey of becoming...i'm grateful that god desires me to grow in maturity and provides these friends to help me along the way (even if they might not realize it).

Saturday, June 04, 2005

surround sound

the bass is thumping. the walls are vibrating. the pictures are now hanging catawampus. i sure hope my next door neighbors are enjoying their movie. i'd fix some popcorn and go join them, but it's 11:30pm and i'm already in my jammies. *sigh*