Archive for the ‘THOUGHTS ON…’ Category

  • March 11, 2012

    thoughts on :: bad days and good news



    I had such a crappy day friday. my job just keeps getting harder and harder to handle. insecurities and doubts flooded over me like a dam had broken. nothing seemed to go right. and the day dragged on and on like it would never end. I felt exhausted and sick. a little lonely and a lot frustrated. I sat on the metro thinking I might be ill and wondering, for the hundredth time today, what it would be like to make the change I am so desperate for.

    and then I got off the metro. and I had cell service again. and I was walking towards the ticket gate and my phone buzzed with a text message. and I opened it to news from one of my very dearest friends. good news. the kind of news that made me stop in my tracks and laugh out loud. because I just couldn’t believe it. because I wasn’t surprised at all.

    I called her as tears began to form and when I heard her voice I just started crying and laughing uncontrollably. my fellow commuters glanced at me with confusion and amusement but it was all I could do to hold myself together. I didn’t really notice anything except for her voice and our joy and all the memories of our life together flooding back to me like a different kind of dam had broken.

    and now I can’t stop thinking about all of it. I can’t stop thinking about how we used to walk to new seasons on rare sunny days and buy olive rolls and strawberries and dark chocolate to eat on the bench outside our apartment with our legs tucked under us and the sun warming our rain-soaked skin. I can’t stop thinking about how we used to sit on each other’s beds with arms and legs and fingers intertwined talking about things as silly as the boys we had crushes on. talking about things as serious as the pain of our families and the suffering of children in Africa with horrible diseases like AIDS and poverty and the terribly corrupt world around them. and we would dream about the kind of men we would someday marry and the children we wanted to help right now. I can’t stop thinking about traveling to germany and sleeping in the same bed and seeing the same amazing and devastating things and realizing that it was possible to get sick of each other after all. but I still missed her a week after we got back and I stopped seeing her everyday. I can’t stop thinking about the months we didn’t talk and about how it almost killed me everyday to think that she might not continue to be in my life in the same life-changing way as she always had been. I can’t stop thinking about the day she met that boy who would become her husband. how she was cautious and a bit nervous but full of the same joy and patience that always seeps from her and covers everyone around her. and I can’t stop thinking about their wedding and how it changed the way I think about love and marriage and life with someone else. because it was a day that I saw the perfect love of Christ mirrored in a more real way than ever before and ever since.

    and now I can’t stop thinking about how good she is going be at being a mom. and I can’t stop thinking about how good he is going to be at being a dad. of all the people I know in all the world, I am most excited to see them as parents. of all the people I know in all the world, they are the two who were made to be parents. just like they were made, unequivocally and perfectly for each other. I don’t believe in soul-mates really. but I believe they are soul-mates. and I believe that whatever happens, that baby (and any baby of theirs) is going to know the love of the Lord from this moment until, well, forever.

    and I can’t stop thinking about how we used to talk about how we would live together and raise our kids together and be sisters forever. and I can’t stop thinking about getting back to the pacific northwest. because being apart from her for this journey might just kill me. missing the growing belly and the pregnant-lady hormones and the awe-inspiring way that I just know that husband will care for her might just kill me. only having photos and letters and the occasional phone call might just kill me. lincoln city to washington, dc just seems like an unfathomable distance now.

    and what I really can’t stop thinking about is this. how great God is. how undeniably cool and perfect and amazing he is. because friday was a bad day. but in the end, it wasn’t. in the end, I remembered that at the same time everything falls apart everything comes together. we are broken but we are redeemed. and one day we will live with new life restored. and while bad days may happen too often. good days are right around the corner. that text message with a picture of a positive pregnancy test is right around the corner. and thankfully. wonderfully. new life is right around the corner.

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  • March 3, 2012

    thoughts on :: really high up

    photo by luci laffitte

    they tell you to make the most of your leap day. and so I did. but I’m glad I didn’t actually leap. because I would have had a long way to go.

    most anyone can go on a tour of the capitol. it’s actually something I would recommend to DC first-timers. especially if you like a good statue (there’s two for every state in the building) or are particularly interested in checks and balances and that sort of thing. but what most people don’t know about is that, if you try really hard and have an inside connection (or are not too lazy to contact your congress-person), you can actually get a tour of the capitol dome. so this week, on the most auspicious of non-holidays, my super cool friends and I got to go on a super cool, top-secret dome tour at the capitol building. okay, maybe it’s not top-secret. but sometimes I like to feel like one of those top-secret agents running around this little town. especially when convincing myself that walking up about a million stairs and over 200 feet in the air is something that I actually want to do.

    some fun facts about the dome: the capitol dome is over 280 feet high. when inside and looking up at the striking fresco (called the apotheosis of washington in case you were dying to know.) you are looking about 180 feet up. the statue of liberty could fit inside the captiol dome. with room to spare.

    one fun fact about carrie: not a big fan of heights. not a big fan at all, friends.

    it was not until about 10 minutes before our tour actually started that I realized that the fun facts about the dome and the fun facts about carrie were not at all compatible. but it was too late for that. so up I went. the stairs were narrow and the ceiling was low (we were climbing up the side of a big arch after all) and the descent was almost straight up. plus there was some sort of remodeling going on so in some areas plywood was in the place of actual platforms. I was about 98% sure I was going to die. but up we went. we came to the first viewpoint area. only about 100 feet up. no big deal. I gripped the banister and tried not to look down. I admired the 36 windows in a perfect circle around the dome. I gazed up at the fresco, so much closer now, and so full of detail and color. but for the life of me, I did not look down. here is my really detailed picture of the banister. you can kind of make out all the people down there. I sort of (really) wished I was down there with them. but it wasn’t over yet.

    somehow I willed myself to follow the group back into the stairwell and up the stairs that were more like a ladder. inside I felt hot and claustrophobic. I was sure death was imminent. but as long as I didn’t faint I was fine. I mean there was a congressman from kentucky (or was it kansas?) in there with us. I had to make a good impression on my fellow conservative constituents (haha). so I kept my wits about me and continued into the abyss. then we got to the second viewpoint and I about lost it. we were directly under the fresco that I had just been told was higher than the statue of liberty. I was almost touching the ceiling and below me were all the people who I would potentially crush when falling to my doom. it was all I could do to grip the banister as far away from the edge as possible. I focused on the fresco, which was absolutely stunning when so close to it (sure, anything is stunning when you are about to die). I focused on the intricate carvings and the 14-carat gold stars around the entire circumference of the dome. I focused on the words of the tour guide as she went on and on about the symbolism behind every part of the dome. I didn’t get even one good photo. but I did manage to capture my fearless friend, SY, waving to the people 180 feet below. I sort of (really) wished I was waving back to her. safely. with two feet on solid ground. oh, but don’t worry. there was still one more level to go.

    we climbed back into the staircase and, despite my clammy hands and legs that felt like jello, ascended to the very top of the dome, directly under the statue of freedom. right before we went outside to the observatory deck (yes, outside), our tour guide really assuaged my fears: “oh, do be a bit careful. it’s quite gusty out there and the rain may have made some areas a bit slick.” thanks for the pep talk. I timidly set one foot unto to the platform outside, gripping the side of the open door. and I immediately felt better. my fear of heights went straight out into the gusty wind and was replaced with a strong sense of how truly unique this experience was. I could see for miles and miles in every direction. all the monuments. the pentagon. all of DC. it was amazing. and I didn’t feel so claustrophobic anymore. I still was too shaken up to snap a photo, but that wonderful girl, luci, let me steal one of hers (that first one above is from her too.) so at least I have something to show for my leap day adventure.

    photo by luci laffitte

    just as I began to relax I realized that there was still the matter about getting back down. I almost asked if there was an elevator or something I could take. but like I said, I had to remain cool with the congressman from kentucky (or was it kansas?) hanging out nearby. so down we went. and I was about 99% sure I was going to die. but I didn’t. and I have never been so happy to get back to a stuffy room full of statues and tourists in my life.

    but here’s the crazy thing. and here’s why this post is not just a story about my near-death experience on leap day and actually has thoughts attached to it. I have done this all before. when I was in college, just a few short years ago, I climbed the dome of the berlin cathedral while in germany. that thing was pretty darn high up too. and I do not remember being even half as frightened as I was climbing those steps of the capitol dome. and it was at that moment, wondering when I had become such a scared loser that I realized I should also be wondering when I had become an adult. I look at things differently now. even though it’s been less than 5 years since I climbed those steps at the berliner dom. now I asses risk at every turn. I know that bad things happen all the time. too much of the time. I know senseless acts of violence or suffering or just plain brokenness enter the world on a daily basis. and so I am more cautious. more responsible. more like an adult. and it’s weird to think that my fearlessness is leaving me as I get older.

    then again, maybe I am just becoming fearless in different ways. not in ways that are about heights or skiing too fast through the trees or not wearing sunscreen. but in ways that are about choosing to love fiercely in the midst of all that brokenness. choosing to trust in a time table that I don’t fully understand. choosing to let go of all the expectations I have for a life that I don’t even fully control. I can try my best to be fearless in those ways. I’ll leave the heights to the young kids.

    p.s. in the end I figured out that my congressman friend was actually from kansas, not kentucky. better luck with your political expertise next time, carrie.

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  • February 17, 2012

    thoughts on :: being sick

    the last few months have been full of not feeling like myself. lots of doctors appointments and prescriptions and struggling to get through days that feel lethargic and unending. lots of wondering and worrying and fighting off an internal hypochondriac convincing me that I have some sort of chronic and serious illness. I was sure I had melanoma after accidentally watching very informative PSA. okay, maybe more frightening than informative.

    last week it all came to a head and among many things, I got to experience my first ride in an ambulance. and my first time entertaining eight large paramedics. all of them were men, and according to kim at least one or two of them were attractive. and although I do not know how to get there (as I was preoccupied in the back of an ambulance), I can assure you that the closest hospital is less than t five minutes from my house. on a related note, shout out of thanks to those very nice men from the firetruck and ambulance that showed up at my house. and to the friendly doctors and nurses and virginia medical center. thanks for making sure I was not dying.

    this week it’s been all about the cleanup. back to the doctor who doesn’t seem to think much is wrong. she’s not concerned so I guess I shouldn’t be either? back to more tests and the crook of my arm turning black and blue from hypodermic needles coming and going. back to finding dark shadows of bruises that remind me that if I start feeling like I’m going to pass out I probably should not go looking for water and lose consciousness against the open door of my refrigerator. yes, that happened. I cracked an egg on the way down and woke up with my head banging against bottles of salad dressing and jars of strawberry jam. I mean it is a little bit funny when you think about it.

    so the emergency room doctor could not figure out what was wrong. and my normal doctor cannot figure out what is wrong. and I would be more worried about this if I did not know what was wrong. but I do know what’s wrong. the common theme in all of these consultations and diagnoses (or lack thereof) has been one word: stress.

    ah, stress. the most underrated and, in this crazy place I live, probably the most common cause of illness. when questioned about why this part of my body is failing or that part is hurting, general practitioners and specialists alike have nonchalantly noted that stress can be a factor. and their casual mention sets off a huge red flag because it’s making me realize that I live inside a huge bubble of stress. not in the way that I am depressed and living in a dark cloud of anxiety. more in the way that I can’t even tell anymore. I barely notice it. I live happily consumed by stress, not really realizing it’s out of the ordinary. not realizing that the constant clenching of my jaw and constant dull ache in my stomach are not things I should be experiencing. I am blind to it except in the most extreme cases. I am happy and excited about life. and stress is my normal. but if there’s one thing that’s emerged out of all this doctor drama it’s this simple formula: stress + inadequate release of this stress = carrie feels crappy.

    but here’s the great thing. if the formula for the problem is simple, the solution should be simple too right? try to like my job more. rest intentionally and well. stop letting the chaos that is my life permeate my physical well being. be. less. stressed. seems easy right? sometimes.

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  • January 18, 2012

    thoughts on :: sunday night

    okay people, it’s about to get real. sentences have been forming in my head for days. erratic thoughts have lodged themselves somewhere and the only way to get them out is to write them down. and I have written them down. in every place but this terribly public one. but I started this thing to write more honestly and share more honestly. I started it to prove to myself that I could be real in someplace other than the most hidden part of my heart. so here it is. mom, don’t freak out.

    growing up is hard. growing up when your family is falling apart is hard. growing up when you feel really freaking alone is hard. God is good. but life is hard. being broken and longing for Home in the capital H sense is hard. when I put #19 on the list I wanted to understand what it’s like to rejoice – truly live a worshipful life – in the midst of all that is hard. I wanted to understand how joy could remain when happiness faltered. I wanted to understand how God is faithful when everything and everyone else is not. although it was a goal for 25, I sort of thought it would take a long time. I sort of thought I would end the year with the words “work in progress” beside it. and yet here I am.

    and I never expected it to happen quite like this. for it to take marriages ending and lives ending and things to change so quickly. I never expected everything to get so turned inside out and upside down all at once. and yet here I am.

    here I am driving home with tears overflowing to the point that I wonder if I am a danger to my fellow evening travelers. and here I am feeling like the jigsaw puzzles I used to put together when I was young. everything seemed so pretty and neat and together until my little brother came over and threw everything asunder with his chubby toddler hands. but it’s not his fault this time. it’s no one’s fault this time. I am a mess and I am in a million tiny pieces.

    but here’s the crazy thing. the sort of amazing thing.

    I may, in fact, be having a complete and utter emotional breakdown. but I am not actually feeling as melodramatically despondent as it may sound. my heart aches, yes. I am completely broken, yes. but more than that – so much more than that – I am whole. or rather, I am hopeful that I will be soon be whole. I am not happy but I am joyful. and in lots of ways that doesn’t make sense, but in one really big way, it makes perfect sense.

    because I am learning that the joy of the Lord is a gosh-darn real thing. it’s not about happiness and fun and laughter all the time. I was never promised that life. but I was promised that when I walk through fire I will not be alone. the fire’s there for sure. but I have someone bringing me through it. bringing me through it in one piece. better, even.

    and I am learning that if I can praise God in the midst of the innumerable blessings I experience every single minute, I better be able to praise him in the crappy times too. and what’s even crazier is that I cannot believe how happy I am in this realization. how blessed am I that I have been counted worthy enough to praise him in the midst of my brokenness?

    and I am learning that it’s not about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses – although I would never say no to a pair of those. it’s about seeing the world as it is and still knowing that it will be better. seeing the world as it really is and knowing that it will be otherwise. and it’s only because of that persistent joy of the Lord that has been sticking on me like honey lately. it’s only because of that faith as tiny as a pin-prick that things begin change and perspective shifts from illusion to reality. because it’s not about how much faith I have. it’s about who I have faith in. thank goodness for that. because most of the time my faith is way smaller than a mustard seed.

    and here’s one other thing about the joy of the Lord. it’s there because I am also learning how to pray without ceasing. and when I say without ceasing, I mean without ceasing. I am praying even when I don’t know I’m praying. because here’s the thing: what other choice do I have? nothing else works. not talking about it until I’m blue in the face. not ignoring it. nothing else. not one thing.

    and so now I am home with tears still coming. but they are full of a million tiny pieces of me mixed with loads of hope. and loads of grace I don’t deserve. and I made it home without seriously injuring anyone. so there is joy in that too, I suppose.

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  • January 2, 2012

    thoughts on :: being myself

    it’s a strange and satisfying feeling to suddenly realize that you are comfortable being yourself. I spent years and years worrying about how people were thinking of me. years of keeping my mouth shut for fear of saying something wrong. years of trying to shave off parts of myself so I would fit in and not be as awkward as I really am. so my brokenness and messiness would not be so painfully obvious.

    and then I spent more years and years unlearning that. fighting against comparisons and perceived inadequacies and forcing myself to be…myself. but you see the irony in that, right? I mean for one thing, it sort of defeats the purpose when I am still trying so hard to be someone. plus, how can I make myself be who I am when I don’t even know who that is?

    then, all of a sudden. I was sitting there, talking to someone at a party and it hit me. I was actually saying what I was thinking. I was actually doing what I wanted to do instead of what I thought other people wanted me to do. and when I did something terrifically awkward (which, let’s be honest, I am prone to do quite often) I was okay with it. I was being myself. and it was actually kind of easy.

    it turns our that being true to who I am is not the hard part. the hard part is figuring out who that is. now that I am finally discovering and embracing that, the “being myself” part comes kind of naturally. I sort of wish I had figured this out sooner.

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  • November 24, 2011

    traditions of gratitude

    its officially thanksgiving and I am sitting in the dark in the bathroom in a house in tennessee. nashville to be exact. the furthest south I have ever traveled and full of that wonderful southern accent I have come to love. that accent so charming in a quirky sort of way. that accent I have been trying to perfect all day by drawing out my vowels and drawling in a way I never thought I would be able to do. it’s a beautiful thing.

    this year marks the third spent away from my family and with one that has adopted me for the holiday. and although it feels unnatural and a bit unsatisfying to be away from my own, it is always such a lovely surprise to be apart of a family on a day like today. one in which happiness of being with one another abounds and food and conversation rule all. it is fun to be a little piece of furniture observing the comings and goings of a family on a day of such high honor. tonight – the day before the big day – was a night of giving thanks in a simple yet significant tradition of gratitude. we sat around the room, sharing couches and overstuffed chairs. legs intertwined. feet touching feet. heads on shoulders. soft light settling around us. and we just talked about what we were thankful for in the past year. for community and health and new life. for help with family projects that seem to be lasting forever but will end with new family traditions and space. for learning how to choose love and positivity and joy. for learning how to let go of expectations. we talked over one another and into one another and with graciousness and love.

    and now, maria is asleep in the room we share – hence the dark, cold linoleum floor and my futile attempts to press these keys just a bit softer. I have to wake up in a few hours and would love to get some sleep before overdosing on tryptophan and extroversion tomorrow. but of course, despite all my best efforts, my mind will not settle. I find myself thinking about gratitude and wondering what the next year will bring for me to be thankful for. to find joy in. to find humility in. because when it comes down to it, thankfulness is the best antidote to pride. it reminds me that I am blessed. and it reminds me that I did nothing to earn it.

    so here I am, back in my own little tradition of gratitude. of painting a thank-you on my palm.

    (context here and here).

    pinkie: I am thankful for seasons. this year has been one of distinct seasons. not just as they are marked by the changing of fall leaves or blooming of cherry blossoms. but as they are marked by the placement of people in and out of my life. by the lessons learned and relearned and the moments shared and forgotten and remembered again and again. this year, I have learned how to fully rejoice in the seasons of delight. of true fullness of joy. and in the same way, I have learned how to be content in the seasons of waiting. of uncertainty. of grief. change will always come. few things will remain the same forever. and that is scary. but also kind of great.

    ring: I am thankful for laughter. I know. this is sort of a no-brainer. but think about it. how often do you take laughter for granted? I do it all the time, friends. because laughter is so easy. but it’s also essential. necessary almost like breathing is necessary. this year has been one for the books when it comes to things for me to be sad and anxious and frustrated about. but laughter reminds me that in the midst of it all, there is so much to find joy in. even if for just a moment. even if it’s by watching kristen wiig and amy poehler. even if it’s because of something completely ridiculous and nonsensical. laughter really is the best medicine. that and extra-strength excedrin.

    middle: I am thankful for teenage girls. this year I am spending my thursday nights with seven girls all in their first year of high school. and let me tell you, I was no where near as self-aware and intelligent as they are. it’s actually a little depressing to think how far behind in mental development I was when I was their age. but with all their poise and maturity, they are still 14-year old girls. dealing for the first time with (gasp!) crushes on older boys. with (gasp!) homecoming dances and pep rallies. with (gasp!) drama and gossip and everything else that comes with the joy (or despair, depending on who you are) that is high school. and what fun it has been to work through it all with them. to experience with them, all the fears and excitement and giddy anxiety that comes with being young. it is a great way to be gaining perspective on how fun life can be. not to mention the fact that I am getting pretty darn good at pre-dance makeovers.

    pointer: I am thankful for joy. again, seems somewhat obvious. who isn’t thankful for joy? but this year has been one of learning to find joy in everything. of learning to see the true, unyielding, unfailing joy of the Lord in the midst of every single situation. this year, God has not just revealed his steadfast goodness (a term I was wrestling to even believe just a year ago) to me in obvious ways. he has also been faithful to remind me of this goodness in small ways every day. his goodness shines through in all the details of life around me (hence this blog) and helps me rest in unceasing joy. I may not always be happy. happiness is a feeling dependent on so many things I cannot always control. but the unending joy of the Lord. a joy that is not dependent on emotion but is a gift from One who pours grace over me to the point of overflowing. that is something I am finally beginning to understand.

    thumb: I am thankful for words. let me tell you something, friends: words are just the best. the bees-knees if you ask me. the way they somehow string themselves together to form comprehensive statements that convey my message to the world. the way they fill up a blank pice of paper in a lovely, accomplished sort of way. if all I could ever do was process my life within my own mind, I would go crazy. without a doubt. certifiably insane. but words. they save me.

    so while I think of it,
    let me paint a thank-you on my palm
    for this God, this laughter of the morning,
    lest it go unspoken.

    the joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
    dies young.

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  • October 15, 2011

    thoughts on :: the train

    it’s almost midnight and I am sitting on a train traveling from new york city back to dc. after two weeks of traveling from one coast to the other I am finally heading…home. yes, I just called dc home. it feels sort of weird. anyway. lately, words have come and gone at the strangest times. they have eluded me when I most needed them and then have filled my mind to the point of over-flowing when I most needed to do things like sleep. and so it is now. I would love to sleep. to have this train rock me to sleep as we pass through new york and delaware and maryland. yet words and sentences keep coming to me with such force that it is all I can do to type them out and give them a permanent place to rest. tonight, only writing will do the trick.

    in the past 10 days I have traveled from one coast to the other. dc to san francisco to dc to new york with a few stops in between. I have spent more time than I care to count in transit – four airports, two train stations, and one white mustang convertible driving down the california coastline. I have walked through chinatowns in two cities separated by 3000 miles. I have seen the golden gate bridge and the brooklyn bridge within seven days of one another.

    in the same way, and with similar velocity and speed, I have traveled from one emotion to the next. the calm of peace and joy before the storm of confusion and grief. extreme cities that have overwhelmed my senses. extreme emotions that have knocked the wind out of me and hit me from all sides all at once. and I am tired. tired in the way that sleep won’t fix. I am fighting to keep my head above water but survival mode really is an exhausting way to live. of course, there is always someone to blame. but let’s be honest – there is really no one to blame. we are broken people. this is not what we were created for. but this is where we are.

    and yet. in the midst of our despair there is always an opportunity to experience something outside of despair. with my heart feeling like stone and my stomach like jelly. there is always hope. there is always the odd moment of beauty that reminds me that I was made for more than this. we were made for more than this. we are broken. but it won’t be this way forever. we are grieving. but one day joy will come and it will not leave. by the grace of God. we are a glorious ruins.

    and if there’s one thing I know about all this, it’s that I just have to thank my lucky stars for all of the people who have loved on me like it was their full-time job over the past two weeks. because thanks to them just as there have been lots of tears, there has been a whole lot of laughter too. and while they have encouraged me to face the moments of pain and confusion, they have also made me embrace the moments of silliness and joy. laughter truly is the best medicine. especially when it’s because of something ridiculous and nonsensical.

    so here’s to you, friends. those of you who have sat with me and cried with me and let me use up all your kleenex. who have given me excessively long hugs and let me pick the movie and even have ice cream for dinner. who have let me turn up the heater and made me dinner and baked pumpkin pies so the house smelled delicious. who have helped me notice little bits of beauty that still float all around and pop up out of nowhere like fireflies. who have called and emailed and prayed from thousands of miles away. I may not have called or emailed back, but please know how incredibly thankful I am.

    because here’s the thing: all of it fed my soul like water. every single word and gesture and hug has lifted me a bit more out of survival mode and a bit closer to healing. even when you didn’t know what to do or say, just knowing you are there has made all the difference. that has been more than enough. and I have been completely blown away by how God has shown me his love through you. I am overwhelmed. in the best way.

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  • September 10, 2011

    this is it

    a lot of times I wish my life was neat and tidy. I wish I was settled in one place. I wish I knew what I am doing with the next 60 years of my life. (60? is that all I have left?) I wish I had a clean mind and a clean heart. sometimes even a clean room would be nice.

    but then I think of this thrift store. I walked in and was instantly overwhelmed. but I also thought, yes. this is it. what an adventure. I had every intention of visiting the dozens of other hawthorne shops. every intention in the world. but this is where I ended up. for more than four hours. labyrinths of recycled hats and handbags and homemade scarves. racks upon racks of shoes and shorts from the 70s and shirts with pictures of sonny and cher. vintage typewriters and traditional record players tucked in corners. lamps and leftover armchairs and even a few sets of legos. I would discover different versions of the same thing in a million different places. I would leave something in one room and never be able to find it again. every where I turned there was something else to get excited about. spending only $12 was nothing short of a miracle. and a necessary sacrifice considering I had to get on a plane back to dc in a few days.

    there was stuff everywhere and yes, I was a bit overwhelmed. at one point I actually had to sit down and take a break. on a discarded card table bearing the face of one elvis presley no less. but here’s the thing. it was amazing. amazing to always be finding something new. amazing to spend minutes marveling at a previously loved porcelain doll that would haunt my nightmares, only to turn and marvel at a discarded painting that I would pay good money for. amazing to turn around and find my friend smiling at me from under, what I’m sure, was a very genuine ushanka. it was messy. and unorganized. and probably a little bit dirty. and I could not get enough.

    and so I will remember the house of vintage and its lovely chaos. I will remember how I reveled in its horribly flawed organization “system.” and I will rejoice in my own lovely chaos. in co-workers that are flawed just like I am. in plans for the future that I have yet to even freak out about. in a mind cluttered with bon iver lyrics I do not fully understand and the occasional philosophical enlightenment. in a heart full of a lot of heartache and a lot of joy. I will even rejoice in a clean room once a week. fine. once a month.

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  • August 12, 2011

    thoughts on :: home.

    this is about recognizing the details in myself. the ones I forgot were there. it was nice to have them come back and greet me. nice to be reminded that they are there and surely they’ll always be there. forever and ever amen.

    what an odd feeling it was to return to a place that I love and slowly begin to have pieces of myself return from the places I have tucked them away. and to realize that the self I am in one place is totally different from the self I am in another. not any less real or less me. just different.

    I did things I used to do all the time but never find time for now. I smiled at strangers and people-watched. and I’ll tell you something, I don’t think I saw one person rushing around in a suit. actually, not one person even wearing a suit. except when it was a hipster and they were wearing a crazy vest or bow-tie with it, of course. I took my earbuds out and listened to the sound of the world humming around me. it hummed with much less force than the car horns and idling buses and electronic buzz currently filling my mind and causing me to reach for those earbuds right now. I thought about something other than work and what I need to do tomorrow. I hugged the people I love with intention and I let them hug me as much as they wanted to. I actually might have overdone it a bit. if you can overdo something like hugs. which, luckily, I do not think is possible. my shoulders loosened. my jaw unclenched. my breath came back in deep, satisfying gulps.

    let’s just be clear here, people. I actually enjoy my life as it is right now. I have friends who are fun and real and teach me how to live fully. I am exploring a city and drinking lots of wine and eating lots of really good food with lots really great people. I am productive and I am growing and for the most part, I am myself. most of the time I am pretty content. and for the times that I’m not, the joy of the Lord is a wonderful thing I am learning.

    but you never can beat the feeling of being home, right?

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  • June 3, 2011

    thoughts on :: the ordinary instant

    lately I’ve been thinking a lot about focus. my life seems so disjointed so much of the time. I run from place to place. friend to friend. moment to moment. but according to dr. clifton, I just can’t function without some level of connectivity. I need continuity. I thrive knowing that “we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it.” I see everything in relation to something else. I find meaning through connection.

    I’ve also been thinking about focus in terms of this blog. I feel as though I need a more distinct purpose for it. a reason to write even if it’s just for me to read. I am not particularly good at do-it-yourself crafts or around-the-house projects. I barely have time to eat, let alone cook and write about it. I am not yet brave enough to share the copious amounts of stories and poems I have written.

    but I notice the little things. the little details that we miss if we don’t look carefully. the insignificant moments that are not so insignificant.

    the way a book or short-story or poem can bring us back to memory or even to new life. the beauty of words strung together like twinkly lights strung around a room ready for christmas. simple words that paint an image so complex and real in our mind. the single sentence in a book. the single repeated word.

    the way a silly little piece of music can convey so much life – for better or worse. the melody that reminds us what it is like to grieve, to hope, to love, to grow. the sound of a song that brings us back to specific memories in such a real way we could swear it just happened yesterday. the live show that is a moving work of art – less permanent than a painting, but never to be removed from our experience with it. the way a song makes you feel everything around you more distinctly and deeply.

    the unnoticed gesture of kindness. the unseen movement of character. the forgotten tree. the lonely fountain. the afterthought. these are the details I love. the details I thrive off of.

    joan didion talks about “the ordinary instant” and how it is not so ordinary. for her, the ordinary instant changed everything. for her, the ordinary instant ended a life. for all of us, the ordinary instants are all the details. the ones we overlook in our busyness to reach our goals. to progress.

    so in an effort to focus, here is what I will focus on in this little corner I have claimed for my own. the details. the little things that inspire me. the ordinary instants. as anne michaels says, the “gaping life” that is poised in the casual moments. I will observe. I will notice. and I will share it with you. and I would love it if you wanted to share a bit with me too.

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