Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm Just Gonna Do it

I've really been slacking on my posts. Just about every day, I pull up my dashboard, check out any new posts on the blogs I follow, click 'new post', look at the empty text box for a while, and close the window. That, my friends, is good practice. I don't want to forget how to use my mouse!

So..... I'm going to do another post-every-day month in August. I know quantity certainly does not equal quality, but I need to make myself write or I get rusty and make excuses and I don't do it. Some of what I post in the coming thirty-one days will likely be total crap. There will probably be a lot of partial poems, scatter-brained ideas, and random ramblings. BUT, at least I will be writing and I will not be making excuses for my lack of inspiration.

As my four-year-old would say....

Here goes nothin'.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Looking Glass

I know there are very few people who ever read my blog, but I've been working on this poem and I'm not sure it's working. If you read it and you have time to make a comment or two on what you think does or does not work, that would be most helpful.

Lights and background
show as perfect replicas,
yet the gaze is unfamiliar.
Blink hard in attempt to focus and
examine the features.
Seems impossible to discern anything
that bears resemblance to the truth.
If only a gaze could
pierce the mortal
to unshackle the intangible.
Safer to retreat.
Avoid the fate of Alice.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Hate Ketchup (Catsup? Catchup?)

I think ketchup is disgusting. Why anyone would want to eat perfectly good food accompanied by a glob of overly-sweet, sticky goop is beyond me. No one even seems to know how to spell it. For my purposes I am going to spell it 'Ketchup' because 'catsup' should be pronounced cat-sup and 'catchup' looks like a typo of 'catch up'. I don't really remember when I realized that I disliked ketchup. When I was growing up I always ate cheeseburgers plain or with mayo (not miracle whip) and I ate my fries with only salt. I actually do not like anything sweet on my meat or vegetables. I don't like Honeybaked Ham, I don't like sweet-and-sour chicken, I don't like baked beans. Any kind of protein or produce with any kind of sweet sauce is completely gross to me. And ketchup is, in my mind at least, the poster child for all sweet and disgusting sauces.

Although I don't remember when I started disliking ketchup, I have a good idea of why. Things were tight a lot when I was growing up. We ate a lot of banquet pot pies or spaghetti. When my dad was growing up, things were even worse for his family. One thing they ate a lot of was this atrocious dish of nastiness that, for some reason, he had fond memories of and would request my mother to make for dinner from time to time. I have no idea what it is called, but the recipe goes something like this: Sauté cubed Spam and some onions in a skillet. Once the onions are soft, dump a bunch of ketchup in the skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Serve on top of over-cooked, mushy white rice. Enjoy! Or vomit. This is so vile that just the memory of it makes me feel like gagging.

Of course, at this point in my life, I know that I was extremely lucky to grow up in a house where we had something to eat for every meal. I never knew what it was like to have to go days with an empty stomach or to actually look forward to school lunches because that was the only nourishment I would have all day. Sure, things were really tight sometimes, but my parents always had something to feed us... even if it was the grossest thing to ever be presented on a table in the western world. I shouldn't complain, and I'm really not. I am grateful my parents were able to provide for us.

But there are just some things that if you have a choice of what to eat, you would never, ever eat them. I'm pretty sure I will always blame that vile excuse for a meal for the fact I can never enjoy a beautifully sliced sweet-coated ham at Easter or that I can't eat most kinds of chinese food. And I certainly blame it for my deep-seeded hatred of ketchup.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


My email application at work has reminders that pop up to remind me of things on my calendar like meetings, calls, and tasks to complete. When I'm working on something else and something is on my calendar 15 minutes out, a little box pops up saying what is coming up, at what time it starts, and the location or call-in number. Although it's annoying, it's good because it helps prevent me from missing a meeting or forgetting something for which I'm responsible. Some people can keep everything they have going on and everything they should be thinking about all neatly organized in their head. I am not one of those people. I need reminders.

Sometimes I need non-email reminders about things I haven't thought about in a long time. I tend to get really preoccupied at times and forget about things I already know. I feel like I've had so much going on lately -- all this stuff about my writing and my faith and the way I communicate and work. And then I start getting really dissatisfied with myself that I am juggling too many things that take up too much space in my head and I can't seem to concentrate and focus on one thing. I was driving to work today and I got a reminder. A reminder that while I should still wrestle with all my questions and try to figure out where I'm going and what I'm doing, it's not about where I work or what I wear or if I can even put together a coherent sentence. There are more important things. I can deal.... probably even with being an office-worker posuer for a while longer... as long as I don't lose sight of what really matters.

PS. My reminder was part of the song 'Let Me Love You More' By Misty Edwards

If I never walk on water,
If I never see the miracles.
If I never hear your voice so loud.
Just knowing that You love me
is enough to keep me here.
Just hearing
those words
Is enough is enough to satisfy...

'Cause when it's been said
and when it's all been done.
When the race is run.
Well, it all comes to love.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I was in Whole Foods the other day to buy yogurt. Surprisingly, the kind of yogurt I like is much less expensive there than at Kroger. I was wearing dark-brown dress pants, a pink (Pink! Seriously?) short-sleeved sweater, and brown strappy heels. I hate wearing dress pants. I usually wear dresses to work in the summer, but it is excessively cool for July and I knew it would be about 40 degrees in the office so I just wore pants. Here is the bad thing about wearing dress pants... they always make me feel like I'm pretending to be an adult. I was walking down an aisle in Whole Foods thinking to myself, 'What am I doing? Why am I dressed up like a business person?" It was so weird. I felt completely uncomfortable. I had the impulse to run out, buy a pair of jeans, put them on, and burn the dress pants in the parking lot.

I finished up my shopping, but couldn't shake the nagging feeling that I was a total poseur. That I'm "a person who adopt[ed] the dress, speech, and/or mannerisms of a group or subculture" but who does "not share or understand the values or philosophy of the subculture." Yes, I have a college degree to pay for and yes, I need a good job with benefits to pay for that degree and for my mortgage and for my other various bills. But I just feel like such a fake. I dress up every morning and drag myself to work and sit in a tiny cubical near all these other people in tiny cubicles who take their jobs and the business world in general very seriously as though business is actually important in the grand scheme of things. As though someday they will look back on their lives and be happy that they gave the majority of their life to a corporation. If working at a big, heartless company truly makes them fulfilled, then I am happy for them. However, I just can't believe they all love the business world as much as it seems they do.

I know it sounds like I hate my job, but I don't. I actually think it's a great job. I learn new things all the time and get to talk to lots of different people and try to figure out why something went terribly awry and what we can do to fix it/prevent it from happening again. But despite that I like my job, it's not as though it really matters to anyone other than some of the people at this company. I'm not helping people or doing something meaningful or for the greater good. I'm just here. Sitting in a cubicle. Wearing dress pants.

Later, I read my friend Irena's post in which she discussed her current gainfully-employed-yet-unfulfilled status and that just added fuel to the flame. I stared at myself in the mirror for a long time the next morning, thinking back to when I was just finishing up high school and who I was then and why I went to college instead of floral design school and how I ended up here instead of somewhere else. It's kind of weird to look yourself in the eye and try to picture what you should be doing instead of what you are doing. (Just to be clear, this isn't an "I want a different life" crisis. I love my family. This is strictly a personal/occupational crisis.)

When I picture myself doing what I'm supposed to be doing, I'm standing in front of a table full of flowers and scissors and floral tape and wire. I'm wearing a black t-shirt, well-worn jeans, and chuck taylor's. My hair is longer and pulled back to keep it from bothering me while I work. I know it would be delusional to think that if I was doing that I would be perfectly happy and never stressed and everything would be great, but I just think I would feel as though I was doing something that I liked and something that was meaningful to other people.

There is no good place for me to go from here. I can't just quit my job and join the circus (or a flower shop). I guess I need to take baby steps to something else, even if it's just on the side. And I think I need to do more things that make me feel like myself and not a different, office-worker-poseur version of me. Today, I wore a purple t-shirt with a koi fish and flowers on it with my dress pants and heels. Tomorrow it should be warmer and I can go back to wearing dresses, which are nothing like dress pants. I can get away with wearing a dress with a funky or mod pattern and heels and look professional enough without feeling unlike me. I know this isn't really about what I wear, but I guess I don't like the thought that I even look like I fit in here. Anyway, I'll figure it all out somehow. One step at a time. Wearing a pair of Chuck's... at least in my mind.

Red-handled scissors
and tan walls
closing in,
Endless drone of
out the window.
People going places,
not trapped.
Not trapped here.
Likely trapped
where they are going.
is far too

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Misfortune and Faux Words

I was driving on I-71 to work one day last week and I passed the site of where I saw a terrible accident one morning about a year ago. I hadn't thought of it in a long time, but something made me think of it that morning. After I passed the accident I saw over a year ago, I got to work and tried to look up what had happened. I found a little blurb on about it. (Very little is reported on the news about accidents that happen on I-71 north of the 275 loop because apparently things that happen in rural areas don't matter.) Per, a pick-up truck struck a deer and someone stopped to help them and then someone else hit that car that had stopped and ended up on their top, in the middle of the median. No fatalities were reported, but I can tell you that from how bad the car looked and how close in proximity they landed to the edge of gorge that goes down to the Little Miami River, it was probably a close call for someone.

So on the recent morning when I was thinking of all this, I started thinking of some other car accidents I've witnessed and about all those white crosses on the side of roads that indicate where someone died in a car crash. I thought about all the people that have died on the stretch of I-71 I drive everyday and decided I didn't really want to be driving on the same road were all those bad things happen. Not much I can do about it. I just makes me feel weird and sad.

One hates the thought
of driving on blood highways,
but how else do we get
from there to here?
Oh, cumbersome thoughts.
Oh, misfortunate musing.
Perhaps better to coast.

Am I allowed to use made-up words in poems if I know they aren't really words, but they sound like they should be words?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I started playing keyboard in a skater band and got a Harley-Davidson half-sleeve tattoo. Then I was afraid I'd get kicked out of the band because skater chicks can't have Harley-Davidson tattoos. Our coffee table was covered in used, wadded-up Kleenex and supplies to make fake-IDs. But I didn't need a fake ID and neither did anyone else in the house so I don't know why I had that stuff or where it came from. I went to this beautiful hotel with a marble lobby and got shot by an old man using a gun that looked like a set of Lexus keys. I was there with my sister and trying to protect her from getting shot, but she wouldn't run away.

This is just a sample of the totally crazy dreams I've been having lately. I can kind of explain the Kleenex and fake ID one. The boys were sick last week and our table was covered in used Kleenex. I felt like I was constantly picking them up and putting them in the trash and reminding the boys to do the same. That same week I was carded at the supermarket for a bottle of wine, and the clerk looked at me and then my ID several times. I've actually had people tell me they thought it was a fake ID because it looks nothing like me (My hair is much longer now and it is just the most odd-looking picture). As far as the band and the Harley-Davidson tattoo and the key gun..... no idea.

There is no point to this post. Well... maybe a little. I was driving to work Tuesday and thinking about how I have terrible writer's block and that I have nothing to write about. And then I thought that I do have things to write about but a lot of them are kind of scary and that I get concerned about putting too much craziness out there for people to read because then they will see that I really am crazy and that it's not just something I say. I guess if I'm going to get over my writer's block, I'm going to have to stop self-censoring so much.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

1 Corinthians 13:8-10 in Two Translations

"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears." (NIV)

"Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled." (The Message)

1 Corinthians 13 is arguably one of the most well known passages in the Bible. We've all heard it in numerous sermons and quotes, as well as in more wedding ceremonies than we can count. Many people are familiar with it. I even considered 'The Message' version of verse 13 'Love Extravagantly' for a tattoo (but eventually settled on just the word 'Love' to represent many 'love' passages, Colossians 3:14 specifically). I still think 1 Corinthians 13 is quite meaningful, despite that it is overused and over-quoted.

Anyway, I was looking for something else, but noticed this line in 'The Message' version of verse 9 "what we say about God is always incomplete" and I've been repeating it over and over in my mind. I think this is a great balance to my near-obsession with the verse in I Peter 3 that states "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." I've been driving myself a little crazy about that, because despite my studying and praying, I still often find myself at at loss for words when it comes to talking about my faith.

I'm certainly not taking "what we say about God is always incomplete" as an excuse to stop searching and studying and practicing and trying, but I think the realization of it has reminded me of God's grace a little and made me realize that when we try to use mortal, finite, earthly words to discuss the immortal, the infinite, the heavenly... well... there is always going to be more that you just can't express.

I was thinking about these two verses this morning and thinking about how it's like the difference of knowing someone or knowing about them. Take my friend Shanen, for example. I can tell you about her, that she is brilliant and caring and beautiful and fun and funny. I can tell you that she has the most compassionate, open heart and that you always feel better about yourself after talking with her. I can tell you that she looks like the love-child of Niki Taylor and Faith Hill. I can tell you that she has been through some really terrible and difficult circumstances in her life, but despite that, her faith remains steadfast. Yes, she sounds like a pretty great person and I know that she is because I know her. But chances are, anyone reading this doesn't know what a great person she is because you don't know her. Anything I say about her will be incomplete for you because you don't have that relationship with her to fill in the gaps between my words about her and who she actually is. (And for those of you who might be lucky enough to know her, you know that what I've said about her doesn't fully express what an amazing person she is.)

I know this probably seems completely elementary, and that something like this has probably been said many times. But for me, for right now, this is a big deal. The more I know about God, the easier it will be for me to talk about him. But there will always be that bit of incomplete unless I'm talking to someone who knows him.

I've been working on this post for days now. I guess it's fitting that I can't seem to wrap it up. I'll just leave it.

1. lacking part: lacking something such as a particular part that should be present or available
2. unfinished: not yet finished or fully developed

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Rework

Oh, for a crystal ball
in which
to view the future.
Knowing what comes next
would appease my
faint-hearted nature.
Ambiguity weighs
and I stumble.
searching for
invisible light.

I don't know what to write about. I wish I could come up with something other than rework and random thoughts. Soon I'll be doing rework of my rework.

I need to go in search of inspiration.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Don't Know What to Say

It's been too long since I've posted. I just feel so strange and disconnected. This past Sunday night I received some news so sickening and horrifying, I've been hesitant to even write about it. I can't stop thinking about it so I will write about it. I received some messages to pray for Evan, the three year old nephew of one of my very dearest friends. He'd been found unresponsive in his grandparents' pool and paramedics were working on him. When I received the call from my mom that he wasn't able to pull through, I just lost it. It is one of those things you never want to have to process.

I've known this family since Evan's aunt and I met at Kindergarten registration when we were five. I have almost no memories of my life before we were friends. Of course, I hate the thought that anyone would suffer a loss like this, but the fact that it happened to this family just breaks my heart. Evan's parents (my dear friend's younger brother and sister-in-law) are some of the warmest, most generous people you'll ever meet. They are good parents who love their children. This was a horrific, tragic accident.

Last night was the visitation. There are a group of five girls, including Evan's aunt, who accumulated each other over the years. At various times, we've all been closer to one or the other, but we've stuck together for years... through many ups and downs. The four of us not related to Evan all met in front of the church to attend the visitation together and offer some extra support to our dear friend. So many thoughts are going through your head at that point. We stood outside for a good twenty minutes, trying to make small-talk as though if we delayed long enough going inside, then none of it would be real.

In a situation like this, there are no words. There is nothing you can say to provide any comfort or make the pain any less. Certainly you can express your condolences and let the family know they are in your thoughts and prayers, but that doesn't help. All these thoughts are running through your head, pushing you to the brink of breaking down despite your best efforts to remain composed for the sake of the grieving family. Parents should not have to adjust their routines to a reduced number of children. They should not have to go through birthdays and holidays and milestones and vacations with a smaller family than before. Coffins should not be made that small. A six-year-old and a three-year-old twin should not have to grow up minus their brother. It's horrifying and heart-breaking.

I managed to compose myself enough to hug Evan's parents and to mutter something that at the time seemed appropriate. I hope it was. But, when I got to Evan's grandparents, I broke down. Oh how I love this couple. How many hours of my growing up years had they spent shuttling me to and from Wilmington? How much of their lives had they invested in me and my school projects and my 4-H projects and the crazy ideas their daughter and I cooked up together? And just because that's what great parents do. They become like parents to their kids' best friends because in a way those best friends are extensions of their own children. I just hated having to see them under these circumstances. Hated this whole thing for the whole family and I can't help but question God on why he couldn't have intervened for them. Why he couldn't have just made someone look sooner or made them realize they'd had a miscommunication over his whereabouts or made someone lock that stupid gate. If something isn't God's will, but it happens anyway, where does that leave us?

I guess it leaves us with questions. It leaves us as human. It leaves us living in a fallen world and hating it, but not being about to do anything about it except hope for the days when there is an new heaven and a new earth and no more sorrow and no more pain. It leaves us choosing if we are going to believe the promises of God and cling to them or strike out on our own to find a different way. I've considered the alternatives. I'm going to cling.

And I'm going to pray for Evan's family for the rest of my life.