Monday, September 28, 2009

The Sweater Song (Undone)

It is officially sweater weather!
I drove through northern Ohio and Indiana today. It was so so so amazing. I want to, one of these days coming up soon, drive around some Indiana backroads, maybe with my mom's camera, and take pictures of Indiana in the fall. It's absolutely unbelievable. Harvest time is the best time. Well, anytime is a good time in Indiana. But harvest time is particularly special. Especially when listening to Blackbird as done by Time for Three. Check it out. Seriously.
But it honor of the arrival of sweater weather, I have chosen a classic by Weezer. The Sweater Song. Listen to it loud, in the car.

The Sweater Song

Ah me
I am
I can
Sing and
Hear me
Know me

If you want to destroy my sweater
Pull this thread as I walk away

Oh no
It go
It gone
Bye-Bye (Bye!)
Do I
I think
I sink
and I die

If you want to destroy my sweater
Pull this thread as I walk away (as I walk away)
Watch me unravel i'll soon be naked
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I've come undone

If you want to destroy my sweater
Pull this thread as I walk away
Watch me unravel i'll soon be naked
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
Ive come undone

I don't want to destroy your tank-top
Let's be friends and just walk away
Hate to see you lyin' there in your Superman skivvies
Lying on the floor, I've come undone

Friday, September 25, 2009

Washed by the Water

Sorry this one is so long.

I had a rather delightful day today, really. Fairly productive. I stayed up very late last night just chatting with Bobby, remembering things about MasterWorks of the past … distant and not-so. Reminiscing about the trip with Halo and processing life post-Halo. Then I woke up at a fairly reasonable hour and went for a little jaunt around Little Italy. Half jogging, half walking. Sat on the balcony for a little while, took a shower, read some more of War & Peace … I’m almost finished!! Then I went grocery shopping for a couple hours … seriously … it takes a long time to get places and find things if you’re not used to the roads or the grocery set-ups. Then I spent a few hours in the kitchen getting dinner ready and failing at making a dessert, no big deal ... I learned about what sugar does if the stove is too hot, at least.
Dinner was pasta salad, apricot chicken and mashed potatoes. And I have to say it was quite a success! Hooray!!! Then I helped Andrew and Erica paint their attic in preparation of an exchange coming to live with them for a few months.
All in all, very lovely.

While I was painting with Andrew and Erica we were talking about life and God and plans, etc. Andrew pointed out that my blogs sound a little melancholy, which I thought was a nice way of saying that, and I reckon they do sound a little that way. Which is somewhat true, I mean, I am struggling a little with the home life mental attitude (mentittude). But all in all, really life is good. There are great things happening in my life. And I am surrounded by beautiful people, the frustration becomes that I can’t spend the kind of time I’d like to with all of them, because there just isn’t that much time, or our schedules don’t line up, or what-have-you. So really, to have the problem of too many people to invest in, is not such a bad problem to have. It threw me off a little when he pointed that out, because I’m not typically a melancholy person, though I have times marked by that mood … and I don’t always mind them. So I was thinking about why my blogs sound that way … and maybe part of it is, it seems more interesting to read someone’s blog who is struggling. I don’t know why, but a thought in my head says “who wants to read someone’s blog if they’re happy all the time?” But that’s totally untrue! Two women who have the most beautiful joyful spirits I’ve ever seen have blogs that I read and that are good and have deep thoughts and they are still striving, but they aren’t cynical or melancholy. Not that it’s bad to be those things sometimes, but … let’s be honest … cynicism is not a fruit of the spirit … but Joy is.

I’m not saying I’m necessarily going to change my blog posts from now on and only be happy. They probably will be somewhat melancholy for a time, until I have had more certainty from the Lord as to where I should be and what I should be doing. Or whatever. I may just be in this funk for a little while, but recognizing may help to bring me out of it … thanks Andrew.

I have also recently noticed a pattern in my life linking melancholy/depression and my nutrition. I know that there really is something to that … that certain fruits help to increase your feel-good hormones, etc. etc. And in general, being nourished leads to a better mental life. It makes sense, right. Everything affects everything else … as Rob Bell says, “everything is spiritual.” So this happened when I was in Ireland, too. I kept trying foods and spending money on foods that I would eat two or three bites of and not be able to finish. I didn’t like the texture or the flavor, or something would be off and I couldn’t finish. At one point it was so bad, I tried to choke it down … literally … to the point that I was in tears over it and paid my bill and went back to the bed & breakfast and took a bath. Praise the Lord it was the one night I allowed myself to not stay in a hostel when one was available. The bath helped me relax and settle a bit ... could not have happened in the hostel. And something similar happened here in Cleveland just the other day. I wanted a bagel, but I ordered something I didn’t want. I tried to eat it, and I just couldn’t bear the thought of it, so I took all the toppings off, ate only the bagel and threw everything else out. Almost swearing not to eat anything else for the rest of the day to make up for the $7 I spent on food I didn’t eat. Isn’t that ridiculous?! So last night I had burger king (not that that’s healthy, but I ate at least … and something’s better than nothing, unless you’re intentionally fasting). And tonight I had a delicious and nutritious meal. I’m not sure which comes first, the depression or the appetite issue or what starts them, but at least I can recognize them as being linked. That’s a start, right?

This song came on the radio while I was driving to Andrew and Erica’s. And I thought “I know this song, I know it. What is it?!” When they said who it was by, I remembered that I bought this album solely for this song and I have been listening to it lately, but not far enough to hear this song, so I completely forgot this song was even on it! It was a good reminder. I needed it.

Washed by the Water

Daddy was a preacher
She was his wife
Just trying to make the world a little better
You know, shine a light

People started talking
Just to hear their own voice
Those people try to accuse my father
Said he made the wrong choice

Though it might be painful
You know that time will always tell
Your people have long since gone
My father never failed

Even when the rain falls
Even when the flood starts rising
Even when the storm comes
I am washed by the water

Even when the ground crumbles under my feet
Even when the ones I love turn around and crucify me
I won’t ever ever let you down
I won’t go, I won’t go, I won’t fall as long as you’re around me

Even when the rain falls
Even when the flood starts rising
Even when the storm comes
I am washed by the water

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I had a strange experience today. I was going to say "the weirdest" but there are probably weirder experiences.

I continually forgot that I am in America where people speak English. Including myself.
The following are the potential reasons for this:
*I am crazy.
*I have been thinking about Finland a lot.
*I am currently in Little Italy in Cleveland, Ohio.
*I am in Ohio, staying with friends, and therefore not at home; thus, given my recent history and previous experiences, I must be in a foreign country.

Yup. It was strange. I told no one of this. Now I am sitting on the porch of the guys house, on a WAY too sketchy couch. Delicious.


His goal in life was to be an echo
Riding alone, town after town, toll after toll
A fixed bayonet through the great southwest to forget her

She appears in his dreams
But in his car and in his arms
A dream can mean anything
A cheap sunset on a television set can upset her
But he never could

Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird

His goal in life was to be an echo
The type of sound that floats around and then back down
Like a feather
But in the deep chrome canyons of the loudest Manhattans
No one could hear him
Or anything

So he slept on a mountain
In a sleeping bag underneath the stars
He would lie awake and count them
And the gray fountain spray of the great Milky Way
Would never let him
Die alone

Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird

Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird

A hummingbird

Sunday, September 20, 2009


The coolest thing happened during church this morning ...
I felt the Lord's presence ...
... just the same as I felt Him in Vivamo.

The Lord is the same, yesterday, today and forever ... then and now ... there and here

And His people are His people ... each one beautifully and wonderfully made, fully unique and completely loved, but His people still the same, carrying His image ...

I know in my head that God is the same, but today my heart knew it as well. And it was amazing. And comforting.

*deep sigh*

Happy birthday to Caleb Pallavicini born today down in North Carolina to beautiful Laura and Chris!

John Mayer

Is working against me
And gravity
Wants to bring me down

Oh I'll never know
What makes this man
With all the love
That his heart can stand
Dream of ways
To throw it all away

Whoa, gravity
Is working against me
And gravity
Wants to bring me down

Oh twice as much
Ain't twice as good
And can't sustain
Like one-half could
It's wanting more
That's gonna' send me to my knees

Oh twice as much
Ain't twice as good
And can't sustain
Like one-half could
It's wanting more
That's gonna' send me to my knees

Whoa, gravity
Stay the hell away from me
Whoa, gravity
Has taken better men than me
How can that be?
Just keep me where the light is
Just keep me where the light is
Just keep me where the light is
C'mon keep me where the light is
C'mon keep me where the light is
C'mon keep me where the, keep me where the light is

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I think I have a new angle on my Muncie predicament. Knowing that my story is infinitely more complex than just me, why has God left me in Muncie? What is left for me to do here, before I can go somewhere else? What is God doing in this town that I can be a part of, help finish, help start, help establish, before leaving? Eight months doesn't seem like a long time, but it could be a very essential time, if managed in the right way. So whose life needs investing? Whose ministry needs a push forward? What can I learn from this little town, to be used now and later?

This is a more constructive and optimistic way to view my time left here. The situation is still a little frustrating, but this will help, I hope.

I got a tweet from my friend Jessica last night just as I was going to sleep. And it was part of the lyrics to this song. And it came at just the right time. I will put into bold the line that was particularly meaningful.

John Mayer

Take all of your wasted honor
Every little past frustration
Take all of your so-called problems
Better put 'em in quotations

Say what you need to say

Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you'd be better off instead
If you could only

Say what you need to say

Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You'd better know that in the end
It's better to say to much
Than never to say what you need to say

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open

Say what you need to say

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Die (it's a song)

I got really sad for the world tonight while at work. For kind of no apparent reason. A little old woman came in for her "medium french vanilla cappuccino." She's a regular. She has dentures and her speech pattern reminds me of the former associate pastor at my parent's/my childhood church. And I started thinking about all her stories that she has to tell. I wanted to ask her why she comes to Starbucks every day for a french vanilla cappuccino. It's not really something you HAVE to have to live. Really, coffee itself is something you can live without in general (although many of my morning customers will deny that). I wanted to ask her about her life. If she had ever been married. Where her husband was. If she had any children. What she had done in her life. I wanted her to know that her life mattered and had made an impact. Of course, I didn't do any of those. I asked Alicia to make her cappuccino instead, while I got her pumpkin cream cheese muffin to go. Then I went to the back and started doing some dishes while thinking about all of this. I got sad about the world and what the world thinks matters. About the vigor with which people pursue meaningless objects ... pleasure, what-have-you. I tried to love that woman a little bit, but she also annoyed me a little bit, and I ended up pitying her ... that may be what annoyed me. I am not very good at balancing pity and love. I don't know how to do that. It's something I was hoping to learn this summer, but I'm starting to think it will be a lesson my whole life.
I was thinking the other night, also, about the pursuit of pleasure and how it would make complete sense if you didn't believe in and know Christ. It's the most sensible thing in the world, really. (That's all on that for now.) But it still makes me sad that so many people live without leaving a mark on people's lives. I suppose everyone does leave some sort of mark ... they just don't know it, or aren't proud of it, etc. etc.

I had a customer ask me tonight "what is the meaning of life?" I asked if he wanted the legal answer or the one I actually believe. He asked for the real answer. I gave him the westminster catechism. "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever." He chewed on that a little while, while his daughter gave me her drink order. His daughter, incidentally, always reminds me of Mrs. Duckrow, a teacher and friend of my parent's in Guam. I was friends with her daughter, Sandy, if I remember correctly. Anyway. Then he asked me for the legal answer and I said "Growth." He decided I must be a college student. I said I had just finished my masters. He said "that makes sense."

Iron & Wine

And though our fathers' fathers slept in stolen houses
All that's over now
And our babies never cry
And we can look you in the eye
And say, "we're not afraid to die"
And yes, our mothers' mothers saw in black and white
But all that's over now
And our children never lie
And no matter how hard we try
We are not afraid to die

Southbound Train

The temperature feels like summer. Everything else feels undeniably like fall. The world is preparing to rest.

I'm a little confused and frustrated about life right now. My heart is in so many places that I seem to be unable to actually be in any one place fully. First, my heart is with all the Halo people, so really, it's in last month ... which is not even a place! I want to be in Finland with all my Halo kids. The fellowship, the focus, the mission, the purpose, the fun ... even though it was pretty busy, it was somehow the most restful and relaxing time I've had in awhile.
Yet, I love Muncie and I want to be here with my church, with my small group members, with my parents. But I don't have the patience to be home with my parents anymore. That's probably a little bit okay. I am, after all, 25. In terms of American culture, now is an acceptable time to move out of the house. No one should really still be living at home with the parents. But I can't afford to live on my own quite yet, not responsibly anyway. I don't want to answer any of their questions. I don't want to talk to them, and yet I hate that I can't talk to them about many of the things I think and experience. Part of this town feels like it won't allow me to grow. "That's not acceptable. People don't change." It seems to say. But I know that's not true.
I want to be in the city of Chicago because I have so many friends there and it's a city I love in my mind, maybe idolize a little.
I want to be in Cleveland, because I also have now developed a base of support there ... and a job.
And it seems that every one of my places, everywhere that my heart is, decides to do activities at the same time.
So next weekend, my small group in Muncie is attending a church-wide retreat and I've been "kicked out" of small group (not really) so they can have 100% attendance, but I really really WANT to be there. Yet, I have to be in Cleveland all next week for an Erie concert and it's great to go up there and be with my friends ... but it's going to be terrible, because I know where my small group will be. And I feel I've grown very much apart from them, because that's what happens when you are absent from a place.
They are the same people that have always made up my small group, but returning to them makes me feel like I imagine I would feel returning to my Starbucks in Boston where everyone I know has left.
People in my church have begun relationships, ended relationships, had children, gotten married, gotten pregnant, made decisions, moved away ... and I've missed all of it. All. Of. It.
I have missed out on everything because I've been doing everything.

Southbound Train
Jon Foreman

I guess they'll say I've grown
I know more than I wanted to know
I've said more than I wanted to say
I'm heading home
Yeah, but I'm not so sure
That home is a place
You can still get to
By train

So I'm looking out the window
And I'm drifting off to sleep
With my face pressed up against the pane
With the rhythm of my heart
And the ringing in my ears
It's the rhythm of the southbound train

And the wind starts to look like her hair
And the clouds in her bright blue eyes
As the sea and the shore fall and rise
Like her breast as she breathes by my side
And the moon is her lips as the sun
Is headed on down to the sea
Like her head as she lays down on me
Until we reach oceanside
Over and over
I hear the same refrain
It's the rhythm of my heart
And my sleepy girl's breathing
It's the rhythm of my southbound train

*harmonica solo*
(also, why this song is awesome)

Oh, I suppose they'll say I should've known
Or maybe I'm just feeling old
Like a lawyer with no one to blame
I'm headed home
Yeah, but I'm not so sure
That home is a place
That'll ever be the same

So we're picking up our things
And we head out in the cold
And your eyes are where you carry the pain
When I hear the whistle weeping
It's crying to the sky
It's the rhythm of my southbound train

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Told Jesus

I resent expectations.
I don't like it when people expect me to behave a certain way, or have a certain idea, or BE a certain way. I don't even know who I am or what I believe or how I think or what I'm going to do, most of the time. You shouldn't think you know who I am, either. Some days I'm happy, some days I'm sad, some days I'm angry, some days I'm numb. Some days I'm all of the above and more.

Also, it might be time for me to leave Muncie. It might be past time for me to leave. It's hard to say, hard to think about, and hard to stay.

Today has not been a particularly good day, clearly.
And yet, I know I have the support of my friends. And Jesus. I know He is on my side. There is music and there are people who love me ... without expectations ... that's how I know.

Today's my sister's birthday. Happy birthday, Holly!

(I think lower case js are so much cuter looking that capital Js)

At MasterWorks this summer, a husband and wife did a dance to this song. I cried. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. The trust, the integration, how the two had become one, the message of the song. It was incredible.

I Told Jesus
Roberta Flack

I told Jesus
Be alright
If He changed my name
I told Jesus
Be alright
If He changed
Changed my name
I told Jesus
Be alright
Be alright
Be alright
I told Jesus
Be alright
If He changed my name

He told me
He said 'The world will turn away from you
Child, if I change your name'
Yes, He told me
Said 'The world will turn away from you
If I change your name'
I told Jesus
Be alright
Be alright
Be alright
I told Jesus
Be alright
If He changed my name

Then He told me
He said 'Your father won't know you, child,
if I change your name.'
Yes He told me
He said 'Your mother won't know you, child,
Child, if I change your name.'
But I told Jesus
I said it would be alright
Be alright
Be alright
If my father turns away, now
And my mother turn away, now
Yes, my brother, my baby sister
Turn away
Turn away
I told Jesus
Be alright
If He changed my name
Changed my name
Changed my name
If He changed my name

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What Sarah Said

My grandmother. Is 95. Her name is Dorothy and she's the mother of my father. She is a little bit of a hellraiser of a woman, or used to be in her day. Now she is 95 and only recently is every bit as old as that sounds. A few years back she had a major stroke which slowed her down significantly, but before that she would gallivant all around this country and WORLD even with her various grandchildren, loving people and loving life. My grandfather Harold returned Home about 18 years ago now. But he has never left my grandmother. And even though she lost a big part of herself then, she has stilled lived life just as much as anyone ever has. But now her body has finally caught up with her age. She is in an assisted living facility. It's marvelous there, really. But still. It's not quite the same. It's like a nursery, or a zoo, or an acquarium. Full of old people. Many of whom still have the spirit to live, but the bodies can't keep up. I don't go see my grandmother very often anymore. I can't stand to see her deteriorate the way she has. I know it's even worse for her, since it's HER body that won't keep up. Her mind is still pretty sharp, but all of her senses are letting her down, so she seems crazy, but it's just because she's not getting all the input that the rest of us get. Her responses and comments make perfect sense based on the information she's receiving.
I love my grandma dearly and I always WANT to go spend time with her, but then I think of how difficult it is for her to hear and speak and see and move. I get exhausted just worrying about it. I know how long it takes to have a conversation with her. But I know that I should go. I know she'd love to see me ... heck, she watched me grow, literally. She's lived in my parent's house since my grandpa died. But I just can't make myself go out there and see her. And smell the building, and see the old people that I can't do anything to help.
There's a Death Cab for Cutie song called "What Sarah Said." In it there's a line that says "love is watching someone die." And I know that's true and I want to have that kind of love for my grandmother, but it's so hard. So hard to make myself leave my comfortable world and go out there just to spend time with her.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Awaken ye Sleepers

Today has already been a stretch in my adventure of a week of no background noise. I have caught myself so many times just about to grab my iPod or open iTunes or hit the radio button when I take a shower. But I haven't done it. My father on the other hand, being unaware of my week-long resolution, does. And I didn't even realize that I sat at the kitchen table today for an hour with the t.v. on as background noise because he'd turned it on.
Unfortunately, I spent just as much time online and in a mostly unproductive state, regardless of the status of my background noise. I'm not sure what to glean from this as of yet.

Here is my question of ponderance for tonight, though ...

Are there people who just don't have souls that will be awakened? Can you awaken someone's soul if it so far dormant they seem not to even have desires beyond suriving? How?
It's a general world question and also a personal question.
I find myself thinking about moving to Finland and investing in people's lives there, building small communities and I was thinking about meeting people for coffee and talking. They would say something and I would respond like "why do you think you do that?" and then they would say either "well ... thought-out answer that reveals a deeper part of themselves" or "I don't know. I hadn't really thought about it." Then they'd go away and think about it. Now, I know that life doesn't really work out that way. And if that's what I want to do, I might as well do it in Muncie just as well as Finland. (But that's also another story.) But I also then find myself doubting whether I can actually help awaken someone's soul. I know it's really the Holy Spirit who does the soul awakening. He's the only one who can speak to us in the voice and the language our souls understand, but still ... I doubt that I can be that person. At least, I don't think I can be that person for people who don't already think along that line (and it sometimes baffles me to think that there are those people, because ... well, I think that way). I know I can be an aid to those who already think that way, because I have been. But can I help people think that way if they don't already? Should I even try to help them? Is it a good way to think? I assume it is, but is it?
Lots of questions with non-postcardable answers (to take an idea from N.T. Wright). But that's what I was thinking on my musicless bike ride home.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I decided today to spend this week without background noise. I always have some sort of noise going on around me ... sermons or music going in the background. Now, I recognize that we all have some sort of noise going on around us. But I'm talking about the stuff that I am in control of.

So what this is going to accomplish or to do, I don't know. What this is going to look like, I don't know. How it's going to affect me, I don't know. But it seems like a good idea; I've read a few articles and heard a few comments and sermons about the discipline of silence, so I'll give it a go. I'll try to keep you apprised as to how it goes and if you want to join me in it and let me know how it goes for you ... if you experience anything tangible or intangible, if you hear God's voice more clearly, if you stop hearing His voice, etc. ... you're more than welcome!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lars and the Real Girl

No song today, just a movie recommendation.

Lars and the Real Girl

It is so tender and endearing and incredible. I just love it. I want to watch it again with everyone I have ever met in my life. Thanks to Hannah for encouraging me to watch it. I was skeptical and it was definitely a little lower on the Netflix list, but because of her recommendation, I bumped it up. Good thing!

Today was a good day. Probably better than I am willing to admit. I thought of something to blog about just as I began my bike ride today. Of course, I forgot it. But I think it was related to a podcast I was listening to, so maybe I'll listen to it again and that'll spark my memory. Maybe tomorrow.

Make good choices!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Song For You

The moon looked incredible tonight on my bike ride to small group. Something about the way the light shone on it or ... let's face it, I don't remember anything about science, but something about it made the craters and shadows look exactly the same color and shade as the evening sky, so it totally looked like the moon was transparent, or had holes, like swiss cheese. It seemed you could just see straight through it.

There are a lot of things to say about today, again. And a lot of songs for today. But I'll choose the last one I heard that made me think of this blog.

A Song for You
Alexi Murdoch

so today
I wrote a song for you
cause a day
can get so long
and I know
it's hard to make it through
when you say "there's something wrong"

so I'm trying
to put it right
cause I want
to love you with my heart
all this trying's
made me tired
and I don't know even where to start

maybe that's a start

for you know
it's a simple game
that you play
filling up your head with rain
and you know
you've been hiding from your pain
in the way
in the way that you say your name

and I see you
hiding your face in your hands
so you won't land
you think no one understands
no one understands

so you hunch your shoulders
and you shake your head
and your throat is aching
but you swear no one hurts you
nothing could be said
anyway you're not here enough to care

and you're so tired
you don't sleep at night
as your heart is trying to mend
you keep it quiet
but you think you might
disappear before the end

and it's strange
how you cannot find
any strength
to even try
to find a voice
to speak your mind
when you do
all you want to do is cry

and maybe you should cry

and i see you
hiding your face in your hands
talking 'bout far away lands
you think no one understands

listen to my hands

and all of this life
moves around you
for all that you claim
you're standing still
you are moving, too
you are moving, too
you are moving, too
i will move with you