God and a Flower Pot

The other day I was pruning my hanging flower pot, as a few too many hot days had caused sections of it to die, and I thought of God.

I was pulling the dead branches and leaves off the plant, trying to be thorough and to get the task done as quickly as possible. Sometimes I’d pull off the dead section I was aiming for. A few times, though, I accidentally yanked off a good branch, full of blooming flowers, as I hurried to break off the dead branches.

It made me so sad to know that my haste had ruined those thriving flowers. And I wondered if that, perhaps, is why God is able to see calamity and pain and evil mix with His creation, His beauty, His love. It may be ugly, but allowing the coexistence ensures that none of His loved ones are accidentally torn away as well. To destroy prematurely might mean to destroy more than what’s already dead. And so, perhaps He is more patient than I, and more caring, for that which He is growing.

” ‘They will say, “…Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” …But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ With all the time in the world, God waits, tolerating the insults of human history out of mercy, not impotence.” – Philip Yancey

Gringotts! Good Bellatrix! Ollivander! Hagrid! Sirius’ bike!! And other thoughts on the new Harry Potter Trailer.

The first trailer has been released for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies – yes, movies. For those who feel no inclination to follow HP, they have decided to split the 7th book into two movies. When you are dragged to the theater with your HP-obsessed friend at midnight this November and are forced to stay awake listening to her commentary throughout, do not be alarmed when the movie ends on a cliff-hanger. Be alarmed instead at the fact that you WILL endure yet another long night with said obsessed friend to see how everything turns out.

That is, you will if you truly, truly, love your dear friend enough to accompany her. Again. 🙂

I am giddy with excitement over this first trailer, and chuckle at the “convenient” timing of the release – just in time to allow me to lose interest in the release of the third Twilight movie tomorrow night. Twilight can never be the brilliance that is Harry Potter.

And so…

My play-by-play of thoughts during the trailer:
Thought #1: I love you, WB, for making me this giddy on a Monday.
Thought #2: I still have to say it, though – I will always love the books more. Just a disclaimer.
Thought #3: Wow, really? First cameo is You-Know-Who himself? Interesting. Especially since this won’t be seen till the second movie.
Thought #4: Dang, way to show the end at the beginning.
Thought #5: Gringotts! Good Bellatrix! Ollivander! Hagrid! Sirius’ bike!!
Thought #6: Don’t remember the globe of fire around Hogwarts. Must reread Book 7 for verification of this.
Thought #7: I know we don’t see the Hogwarts Express in the book… hope this doesn’t turn into another Weasley house-burning like movie six. Still, for nostalgic purposes, so exciting. 🙂
Thought #8: Yay! Ron looking tough in a scene with Hermione!
Thought #9: Boo… scene of Ron looking terrified. Though considering what he goes through, it’s valid.
Thought #10: When the heck is Voldemort holding Harry by the face saying some memorable line? Soo not canon. But very epic and memorable. “Why do you live?” “Because I have something worth living for.” Whoop!
Thought #12: Jasara hates multiple punctuation, and therefore, I predict she’ll hate thought #11. No time to dwell on that now!
Thought #13: Part 1 is a little over four months away!
Thought #14: Who is Nagini attacking?? Pause…Play! Pause…Play! Pause…Play! Pause… (15 pause-plays later…) It’s Harry in a child’s bedroom. Should be in the woman’s-name-I-can’t-remember’s attic. Perhaps that attic was lightly colored and filled with toys. But I certainly don’t remember it that way.
Thought #15: Yes! Ron’s moment of triumph!
Thought #16: YES!! Harry and Ginny kiss in what looks like a much better moment than the book!! (I know, how could there be ANY movie moment that is better than the book? When I see it, I’ll know for sure.)
Thought #17: The ending music sounds like Harry Potter theme music turned Dracula. Still epic. 🙂
Thought #18: Of course it had to be in 3-D. Not my favorite -D, to be honest. I’m an old-fashioned 2-D girl. Thankfully, in the fine print, it lets us know that it will also be offered in 2-D.
Thought #19: Who will accompany me to see these showings and endure my commentary throughout?? Please please please!!

To enjoy the trailer now that you’ve heard all my thoughts in advance and therefore don’t have to endure them throughout (like you will at the movies, believe me, but it will show that you love me to endure it), watch it here:
(**If it’s acting slow, just let it load completely, then watch it. That way the glory won’t be halted for buffering every two seconds.)

Grumbling Skies and Intoxication

9:00 service has begun, and music from the main auditorium is floating into my Living Room where all my work “stuff” is planted. I love the solitude and the faint sounds of church happening, relationships growing, and hopefully, lives changing.

It’s a stormy morning here in ILM. Each time the lightning flashes, I pull my computer cord out of my computer so as not to get electrocuted, only to remember as the thunder rolls in that it’s the lightning itself that would cause any problems, and if I’ve seen its flash and am still typing, I’m probably safe. Ah, another sound of thunder… it seems to be rolling lazily through the sky today. Almost like the sky is grumbling, which I would probably do every morning if I was the sky and had to be woken up by the sun so early. 🙂

This weekend has been extremely eventful, filled with wedding festivities for my sweet friend and old roommate, Kristen. She was radiant and absolutely glowed on her big day yesterday, and her now-husband Cam was enthralled by her. I’ve never seen a man so openly captivated by his bride, which is what Jesse (the pastor) said a man should feel about his wife according to the bible. Captivated, or intoxicated. As Jesse read out bits of the vows for Cam to repeat to Kris, Cam stumbled over the first couple of phrases, as though he had not heard Jesse at all. The second time, as we all laughed, Cam shrugged with a huge grin on his face and apologetically explained, “I’m just intoxicated, I guess.”

It was a wonderful day, filled with sweet moments and lots of laughs, celebrating, and dancing. Today, I grumble with the sky about my sore feet, heavy eyes, and aching body, but the memories of the weekend are enough to keep a smile on my face. Congratulations, Kris and Cam – may you love each other for who you are, push each other to who you could be, enjoy each other thoroughly, and may God be glorified by your union.

Wicked and Weekend Adventures

Last year, on my 23rd birthday, my sweet older sister promised me tickets to see Wicked, which was scheduled to come to Charlotte in late May of 2010 (opening night on my 24th birthday, actually). She called it my 23rd birthday-Christmas-24th birthday present. Though I think she still sneaked in another small Christmas gift for me anyway.

So Mike and I left after work on Thursday for a weekend in Charlotte that would start off with seeing the show. We arrived in Charlotte a couple hours before we had to leave, which was good, as long car rides always drain me, and there is nothing better than sprawling out on couches, drinking tea, catching up with family, and waiting to leave for the show. In my case, waiting until the very last minute to get ready to leave for the show. Limited time found us rushing through the McDonalds drive-thru for dinner, where we ordered 3 cheeseburgers (one without onions), one hamburger, one Big N Tasty (extra pickles), one Angus beef burger, and three fries, and received 3 cheeseburgers (all with onions), one Big N Tasty (with 2 pickles – I suppose the second pickle was the extra), one Angus beef burger, three fries that ended up being way more than we needed, and no hamburger. I think Bon Qui Qui might have called out security for our complicated order

We arrived at Ovens Auditorium with 15 minutes to spare, got our tickets checked, then Mom and I decided to go to the bathroom – we only had a few minutes before the show began, and though the line for the restroom wasn’t that long, a mere three stalls and one woman who seemed to be having some issues slowed things up. We bonded with the women in line as we all panicked and cheered each other on to get out of each stall as quickly as possible – “go! go! go!”

But we missed the cut. The doors closed, and security announced that we would not be allowed in for 9 minutes. This has never been the case before, but we chose to use the bathroom, and I guess this punishment policy allowed for minimal distraction. Only 9 minutes turned into 12 minutes, at which point the boyfriend of one of our bathroom bonding sisters kindly asked security when we’d be let in, since 12 minutes had passed and they had announced 9. To which security man responded, “Well, now you have to wait 12 minutes.”

Except that 12 minutes turned into 15 minutes, during which 2 songs were sung and 2 transitions occurred, both of which would have been ideal for sending us in. Once again, bathroom-bonding-sister’s boyfriend requested that we be let in (about 35 people were waiting at this point, some of whom had been stuck in car accident traffic), and security man responded that the boyfriend and his girlfriend needed “to learn to exercise patience.”

Patience reached its breaking point for all of us at the 26-minute mark, and we began to corral both security guards, asking for explanations, management numbers, anything. My mother, who is one of the least pushy people I know, considered running past security, thinking that surely we could take them. After all, they can’t catch all 35 of us!

They finally let us in around the half-hour point, 3 great transition opportunities and 4 songs later (one of the most well-known, “What is this Feeling”). We were let in during the middle of the song, which was a successful perfect storm of disruption. I was fuming, and even though my father ran into the security guy later and he explained that there “may have been a mistake,” the explanation does not include any apology for his rude attitude, and for his treating us like 5-year-olds. Hmph.

But the feelings melted as Fiyero made his entrance, and Galinda shared her aunt’s hideous gift of a hat with Elphaba. I became entranced as Galinda giggled her contagious giggle, threw out witty remarks that had us rolling, and as she and Elphaba sang their way into Emerald City. I couldn’t stop the tears as Elphaba belted out “Defying Gravity” – it sent a wave of goosebumps through my body and brought to mind a vivid memory of Martha belting the same song during our trip to the vineyards in Chile. Martha sang, “And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free,” as the bus bumped along past the fields and the words felt so fitting in that moment. My heart beat more quickly as Elphaba and Fiyero sang of their feelings for each other, then broke as Elphaba tried to do good but was deemed a witch by the Ozzians. The tears flowed again as Galinda (now Glinda) and Elphaba sang their beautiful and chilling final number, “For Good,” before Elphaba gave herself up to the crowd hunting her down. The end was bittersweet, beautiful, and immensely satisfying. The acting was brilliant, and the production was phenomenal. Additionally, I determined that if Mike chose to wear tunics, tight pants, and suspenders for the remainder of his life, that would be all right by me.

The experience was followed with a trip to Emelie’s, a cute little shop that sold delicious treats, tea, and coffee. Mike described it as “a thrift store that decided to remove the clothing section and replace it with a cafe.” Not his decorative taste, but I quite enjoyed it.

Friday was spent recovering from the night before, and Mom and I did some serious shopping and put a dent in my birthday money. (Thanks, Oma and Opa, Grandma, and Mom and Dad for that!) We also stopped at Cook-Out, just as we did in the days of wedding planning, where we split a BLT sandwich, refreshed ourselves with soda poured over crushed ice, and talked about anything and everything. Mike enjoyed time at Smelly Cat Coffee Shop and going to the Apple Store with Dad. Dinner was steak, potatoes, and salad, and the house smelled like childhood, home cooking, and summer. We watched the movie Up, and as always happens when I watch that movie, I thought of three things: life is actually quite brief, I should really get into scrapbooking, and I wish we had our dog back.

We had our traditional Saturday morning breakfast on, well, Saturday morning – hard-boiled eggs and ham, cinnamon rolls, cheese, fruit, tea, and orange juice. I skipped out on tea to save room for Awake tea at Starbucks, where I met up with Emily and Ashley (my two sweet childhood friends) and we caught up on life, jobs, family, and TV Shows. I may have to start watching Grey’s Anatomy again after talking to them. After 14 years (gosh, I think we might actually be aging), it’s still one of the best things to hang out with them. Moments to cherish.

Saturday afternoon was more shopping, and a burnout of shopping, which Mom and I tend to hit at the same time, conveniently. We spent the rest of the afternoon resting, drinking tea, and eating homemade cheeseburgers on the back porch, where bugs were fierce and conversation was a fluctuation of intense then relaxed then energetic. Stef and Mea made the journey back to Wilmington Saturday evening with me, as Mike had left early Saturday morning to join his brother’s bachelor weekend. We arrived home at 11:00, and I didn’t get into bed until 12:30, because I can’t settle until I’ve unpacked and cleaned up from a weekend away.

May 19th – 24 Years Old!

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was absolutely wonderful. It actually started being wonderful this past weekend when Mike COMPLETELY surprised me with (1) a new point and shoot camera, and (2) a surprise birthday party! He had Hay and Kris take me out to the beach while he set everything up, and I was completely thrown through a loop and surprised when I came home to tons of friends and tons of FLOWERS! Mike had everyone bring plants as gifts so that we can start gardening, which I cannot wait to do.

Garden Party!

And so, good start to the celebrating. 🙂 At midnight on May 19th, I celebrated the arrival of my birthday with my husband and the Birthday Hamster… I would upload the video of it but I don’t know how. Check facebook for it instead. 🙂

When I got to work later that morning, I found flowers and a tiara on my desk – my sweet coworkers handed me new adornments every hour:

Birthday Hamster accompanied me to work, and through pictures from the rest of the day, we’ll share his adventures and mine.

Birthday Hamster with the beautiful lilies Debbie gave me:

Birthday Hamster calling some friends while I worked…

Smelled the flowers…

Checked facebook…

Discovered my secret snack stash…

Met my duck…

Then Kristen came to visit:

Birthday Hamster made a mess of her wheat thins…

Kristen scolded him for that.

So he stole one of my Little Debbies cake packs instead…

Then promptly got stuck in the filing cabinet:

And then I got a boa to add to my wardrobe.

Awhile later, I decided to make my rounds in order to look for Mike and show him my attire. Birthday Hamster came along. We checked Mike’s cube, but Mike wasn’t there…

We checked the control room, but Mike wasn’t there…

We looked over the balcony at the lighting board, but Mike wasn’t there either!

(At this point, when we shared this adventure with our friend Jasara, she pointed out that Birthday Hamster’s adventure was starting to sound quite like a children’s story.) Where was Mike?

We didn’t find Mike till the end of the day. Birthday Hamster and I were very happy to be reunited with him, and we all were also quite excited about going to Melting Pot!

Mike even let Birthday Hamster drive.

Then, as Birthday Hamster took a nap in my purse, Mike and I celebrated my birthday with cheese and chocolate fondue at Melting Pot!

We spent some time in Barnes and Noble before we met everyone at the movie theater…

And then went and saw Date Night with Kris and her friend Colleen, Haley, and Lee!

Birthday Hamster woke up in time to watch the commercials before the movie…

And he found two pretty girls to sit with.

After the movie we left the theater. I took a picture of clouds I thought looked neat. 🙂 The camera quality is phenomenal considering it determines the type of photo being taken.

I got to end the night chatting with Mike and Jasara, which was relaxing and just such a nice time.

Such a wonderful, wonderful birthday!

Drainy Day

I don’t know how, but in the past 1.5 hours I have suddenly been/felt sucked dry. Absolutely dry.

I had to deal with people I don’t want to deal with. People who are different; people I just don’t understand. And I got mad at them (in my head) for being different, and then mad at everyone else for being the same and for not being the type of people who would be okay with interruptions in their lives.

Just like I’m not okay with interruptions in mine.

And then the guilt started splattering over my thoughts, and I don’t know what it is about guilt, but it makes me want to do something right, or at least have something go right, to compensate for the offenses I perceive myself to have inflicted. At this point, I needed a good conversation, a little uplifting, a sign of approval. But by then I was already sensitive to my own shortcomings, and with each conversation, instead of feeling acceptance and approval, I felt only the other parties’ disinterest, distractedness, or downright disapproval. By the way, how is it that some people can be listening to you and, without saying anything at all, make you feel very judged and very small? I then have to wonder if perhaps it’s more my judgment of myself that makes me feel small, but no, I’m pretty sure it’s through their response that I felt the smallness in the first place. Maybe.

Perhaps the people I didn’t get, the people who were different, the people who received a drained response from me (whether they were the ones who drained me or not), felt the same disinterest, distractedness, and/or disapproval radiating from me. I can’t really say. But I have got to stop relying on the approval of people, and I must grow out of this habit of being happy and nice and sweet only when my circumstances are making me happy.

Cheese and a Mouse put a Smile on my Face

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Spring is coming, I can feel it. But, not so much today. 🙂 Oh well, as long as no more intense cold comes our way, I’m happy.

Today is busy busy busy, but I thought I’d post this commercial a friend of mine shared with me the other night. If you know my love for rodents (though more for rats than mice), you’ll understand why I loved this so much. I think you’ll get a kick out of it, too. Even if you do feel less than amiable toward these misunderstood creatures.

Contentment my foot

So, my word for this year is contentment.

Can I tell you HARD this word is?

These days, I’m all the more aware of those things in which I’m dissatisfied, and it seems like more things I never would have been aware of are coming out of the woodwork. Go ahead and say, “you picked the right word if it’s difficult for you! God is stretching you!” We’re all thinking it anyway.

But I feel like a crazy, crazy mess. My thoughts are crazy. My responses are crazy. The itch to want more and more and more is crazy. I feel quite unbalanced and feel as if I’m spiraling more out of control, but not in the “God has it” kind of way. In the, “I’m diving head first into the tornado of things I shouldn’t be thinking about or wanting” kind of way.

I think I’m just in A mood today. And do you ever feel like, when you’re in that “mood”, that there is no one to talk to? Even when you know in your brain that you have people you can talk to? I don’t know what I would even talk about… the never-ending list of the things that are causing discontentment in my life? All the things I know in my head I’m supposed to do but don’t seem to feel like acting on? And do I discuss my sorrows and woes until I bore people to death or they become just plain irritated by my whining? Is there ever a point that people are allowed to get sick of walking continuous steps backward with you? And what do you do when you have all the “right answers” in your head but just won’t follow through? (I’ll call it intentional back-walking.) I know that’s stubbornness, or pride, or both. But is there any way to find motivation again? Or will I just continue to feel lost and confused until I suck it up and just start doing *insert thing I should be doing but cannot think of at the moment or do not want to think of at the moment, here*.

Anyway, there’s the update on my one word, and how it is clearly ruining my life.

P.S. I apologize, English majors, for the run-on sentences and that one sentence, or maybe two, that ended with a preposition. My thoughts don’t convey themselves in the most proper english manner, which, I hope, is forgivable. 🙂

Finding my Congo

For days, I’ve been trying to write about Haiti, but it keeps coming out Congo. I have a friend who is tirelessly campaigning to get tents to Haiti, and she asked me to blog about it, and I’ve tried, I really have. I care about Haiti, and we’ve given money to relief efforts. But it’s not the same. Congo is more than a cause now. But what is it? I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. All I know is that I can’t write to you about Haiti right now, not with any real conviction or passion, you’d see right through me, you’d know my heart was saying Congo all that time, and while it makes me feel a little heartless, a little guilty, not to have enough room for both, what I really believe is that everyone has their Congo, whether they’ve found it yet or not, and we’ve all got to latch on and fight like mad to do something.

And there it is, the man who plays guitar until his fingers bleed, because he’s trying to say something. Something about life and about art, the way we couldn’t paint without dark colors, and there is a beauty about Bishop and his bottles of Coke and Sprite and Fanta that I will never find the words for. But I will not stop trying.

You’ve just read a blurb from the blog of my friend, Erin. Doesn’t she write beautifully? You can read the entire post for context here.

I keep trying to add my own thoughts to explain how much this segment impacted me, but they’re too jumbled to make much sense. Through her words, I’ve had light shed on the fact that I don’t have to be involved in everything. Instead, I want to find my “Congo”. And, coinciding with my word being contentment this year, I want to be content with what God lays on my heart, rather than trying to live up to what He’s laid on the hearts of others.

Thanks, Erin. Keep fighting.