Monday, April 30, 2007

with that kind of logic...

Last week I was at a middle school track meet, hanging out with my teenage friends. It was drizzly, gray, windy, and about 38 degrees. CHILLY. Of course, the vast majority of students who weren't running were wearing flip flops or some kind of sandal.
I was explaining to my friend Kelsie the reason their feet are never cold.
Me: It's because you're all growing like crazy. It raises your body temperature.
Kelsie: I didn't know that.
Me: Old people like me have cold feet because we stopped growing a long time ago. Now, I'm pretty much shrinking.
Kelsie: How old are you?
Me: Twenty-six.
Kelsie: (scoffing) That's not old. You're not old until you can no longer reproduce.
You heard it here first folks. Now, on some levels I question the merits of her wide-reaching statement... but when you think about it from a 13-year-old's point of view, her logic is basically flawless.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

indoor weather

There is a wind tunnel in the stairwell at work.

I understand that sometimes weather can worm its way indoors - humidity creeps everywhere, like some stealthy frizz-inducing villain. Excessive rain causes ceilings to drip and basements to flood. But how do 30-mile-an-hour winds end up in the 5-story stairwell of a university building?

The good news: I arrive at work every morning with a lovely, windswept hairdo.

The bad news: Due to the ferocious blowings of said wind tunnel, the already-heavier-than-normal fire safety doors (leading from the stairwell to the actual hallways and offices) become leaden. Seriously - the door to the second floor weighs about 275 pounds. Luckily, I work on the third floor - but due to poor planning in the restroom situation in this building (read: there is only one stall in the ladies' room on my floor), I often travel downstairs throughout my day (where the ladies' room has a much less awkward three stalls).

I thought the picture was appropriate, although it reminds me that I only have a vague idea of how those tall wind turbines actually work to produce electricity. Kind of like how my friend D asked me, "What exactly does it mean when they say 'You're in escrow'?" yesterday at lunch. I laughed, informed her I'm still not exactly sure, and told her what little I did know (which pretty much boils down to "The bank takes hundreds of extra dollars along with my mortgage payment each month and dumps it into their own account to pay my city taxes later. And it makes me angry.")

I know. You're marveling at my masterful ability to weave together stories of restrooms, wind tunnels, real estate terms, electricity and fire doors. And can you believe... I don't even have to try.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

waking up

In my own humble opinion, the absolute best way to wake up is with sunlight pouring in my window and playing across my face, birds singing outside (not squawking), and the warm body of my husband just a few inches away (or feet - not exactly a snuggler, that one). No alarms - just the delicious feeling of a good night's sleep.

I did not wake up that way this morning.

It was dark, for one thing. To be fair, it's virtually impossible for me to wake up to sunshine, unless it's a weekend in summertime. My alarm goes off at 5:20 most mornings. Instead of hearing birds, I heard rain. Now, I like rainy days and thunderstorms... mostly because it means it's warm enough to rain instead of snow. But the past few days have absolutely spoiled me - I just want sunshine, clear blue skies and lovely spring breezes to continue forever. Hubs was in bed next to me... but we were both making our typical grumbly-early-morning noises. Definitely not enjoying the pure sweetness of waking up next to the love of your life.

However... it struck me this morning (as I dragged my sleepy self around the house) that this is the way God works. This morning, He decided to wake me up and grace me with another day to live and love. He may choose to wake me up with annoying radio banter, or with sunshine and birds, or creepy nightmares, or thunder and rain. While I may have a preference, the end result cannot be ignored - and that is the gift of a life I did not earn, blessings I do not deserve, and second (third, fourth, seventy-fifth) chances. I know this sounds a little like "the end justifies the means" - which is something I don't normally buy into. But maybe with God - it's true.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

At any rate, I am grateful for a new day, and for a God whose grace extends beyond anything I can deserve or even imagine deserving. Thanks, Lord, for waking me up today.

Monday, April 23, 2007

on being known

We all realize, from a young age, that other people are important. Everyone wants to be loved by someone; everyone wants to have friends. But it's only as I've gotten older that I've realized the true extent to which God has created us as relational creatures. He made us to be known.

When I feel lonely or unknown, I have a tendency to feel wimpy. The fact that I am bothered by lonsomeness is a sign of weakness. I ought to be stronger, to have more faith, and to be one of those people who needs nothing more than knowing I am a child of the King. It feels like I'm failing. But I've realized that God's earnest pursuit of our love and devotion is not weak. It is a part of His very nature - a part that cannot be removed without dramatically changing God Himself. And as children of God, we've all been created to reflect Him. The desire for companionship - to be known and loved - comes from the Lord. It's no sign of weakness or failure. I only fall into my sinful human nature when I place the importance of having people in my life above God.

That being said, I've been thinking lately how important it is to have people that know you. Most of us have a number of friends, acquaintances, colleagues - people who care about us... but how many of us have a number of people who know them?

I'll be honest - I could use a few more friends. (I don't know anyone who would honestly turn away more friends, but I've been feeling a little lacking here lately). I like to sit at coffee shops and talk for hours. Going shopping and trying on crazy stuff you have no need of and no intention of buying - a fabulous pastime. I love eating out with friends and laughing until my stomach cramps and tears pour out of my eyes. But these are side effects - things that follow relationships where there truly exists knowledge and love.

Distance makes that hard - because no matter how much you love someone, it becomes tougher to know them when you're not a part of their everyday life. Proximity helps. That's when you hear about all the little things - stuff that seems to trivial to mention in precious emails or phone calls. It can't all be about big, momentous updates. Sometimes it needs to be about the fact that you've just discovered Eggo NutriGrain Blueberry Waffles - and your life will never be the same again. Or that there's a spot on the road in front of your house that now smells a little like Cherry Peach Salsa (mostly because you dropped a jar of it yesterday).

I may well have scared anyone who reads this (all three of you) off of ever wanting to know me... but it still holds true that while God knits each of us together in thrillingly unique ways, He weaves into all of us a need to know and be known.

I'm just saying.


Mark and I returned from Traverse City yesterday afternoon - the conference went really well (Mark is SO good at his job - it's always such a cool thing to watch him handle situations, big and small... I'm proud of him!)
I love coming home. I don't love unpacking suitcases or finding expired milk in the fridge or realizing that there's no fruit in the house (a tragedy at 422)... but I love to walk in the door and feel like I'm home. Yesterday was a lovely summery day - warm air, a great breeze, windows flung wide. Sitting on our couch, reading a book - it was such a nice way to relax. I was looking forward to getting to bed early and continuing to catch up on the sleep I didn't quite get to during the conference.
However - I tossed and turned all night, waking up from nightmares of being chased and attacked... there was actually a point when I woke up with my ankle hurting (I had been dreaming that I was hiding from some sort of deranged criminal/killer type person - and in the dream, they were biting my ankle.) Okay, I know that's weird (but it's a dream, people) - but it was unbelievably freaky to wake up with your ankle actually hurting. It made me not want to fall back to sleep, because I was afraid my dreams would pick up right where they left off.
(I'm sure I could psycho-analyze this to mean something about the level of stress I was feeling about coming back to work and my "regular" life, and how badly I need a real vacation with my hubby right now... but I'd rather not. Sometimes, you just have bad dreams).
Here's to hoping I sleep better tonight!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Traverse City, Here We Come

My husband is on his way up to Traverse City this morning, to the Grand Traverse Resort (a lovely place, by the way) for his 8th HOSA State Conference. I'll head up tomorrow with Jamie (a friend of ours, one of Mark's groomsmen, who I would link to, but is a big ole blog quitter). Here are ten reasons why I really love going to the conference:
1. Mark and I had just started dating when he got this job - and I've never missed a State Conference. It's definitely one of those experiences that you can't understand until you've been there to see it - and I love that I've been to every one of them with Mark.
2. We stay in the super suite on the 15th floor - and I get my very own king-sized bed and jacuzzi tub for the first 3 nights. (Mark stays in a separate room, for some very good reasons I won't get into here *smile*)
3. Mark's best friends come to help him out - and seriously - if you judge a man by his friends (and really, you shouldn't judge people at all, but if you did) - Mark is the best guy in the world. He attracts some of the most genuine people I've ever known. It's really fun to hang out with them for a few days each year.
4. I get to coordinate the power point slides for the huge (over 1000 people) sessions each night - I know it doesn't sound like much fun, but it is when you try to flash a slide with the word "poop" on it without anyone noticing. Ah, sophisticated adult humor.
5. Saturday morning, I get hooked up with a 50-minute massage. Oh, bliss.
6. GREAT food. We eat at Traverse City staple restaurants like Don's Drive In, Ponderosa, Red Mesa Grill, and TraVino. I know you're jealous.
7. The teachers can be really fun - I've known some of them for almost 8 years now.
8. If it's nice - we can play tennis and walk around the golf courses. If it's not - we go to the pool, play ping pong, and hit the workout room. And play tennis at the indoor courts. (All on Saturday, after the conference is over, of course...)
9. It gets me out of my own stressful job for a couple of days, and lets me focus on making Mark's job easier and more enjoyable for him.
10. It's such a cool, tangible way to show love and support for people you care about. Coming to work at his conference is really (pardon my use of a slightly cliche phrase) speaking his love language.

I won't be back in town until Sunday, so my blog will be a little slow for the next few days. Enjoy your weekend!!

six degrees of God

Through an incredibly complicated series of blog-linkings (I confess, I like to click on the "Blogs I Read" links of "Blogs I Read" links of the Blogs I Read and see if I find anything good... and I've found some treasures, let me tell you) I've stumbled (correction - God has led me) across an online community of Christian women that blow me away with their humor, candor, and genuine love for the Lord and one another.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 18th), BooMama is hosting a love offering for Heather, who recently received the news that she has a (most likely) inoperable brain tumor. Read "About Heather" and "Emma Grace's Story" to witness the journey that God has already led this family on. It's a blessing, to be sure. The strength and faith in her words absolutely blows me away.
Anyway - hospitalization, etc. can be awfully expensive, and Heather's family could use our support. So stop by BooMama's site tomorrow (minimum donation of just $1.00) and show some love.

Monday, April 16, 2007

not-so-little miss sunshine

Funny how some things that we enjoy SO much can actually be a little scary! I was thinking about how lovely it was to see the sun shining all day yesterday... so I googled "sun" to find a picture for today's post. This may sound silly, but I'd forgotten that the bright blue sky and warm seats in our car were provided courtesy of a gi-normous ball of burning gas. Yesterday's soft, warm light seems pretty intense when you look at it this way...

I was thinking that I could make some sort of deep, philosophical connection to the fact that we take for granted the true source of so many things in our lives - but I honestly don't have the energy for it right now. Maybe I'll make a note and blog about it some other time. :)

For right now - I'm enjoying my morning yogurt, catching up on the emails that came in over the weekend, and trying to wrap my poor Monday-morning-head around all the things that need to be accomplished this week.

Friday, April 13, 2007

can you ever just be whelmed?

(Before my post really gets going - who knows what movie the title of my post is from? Don't be afraid to reveal just how many mediocre teen movies you've watched!!)
I think being "whelmed" is my new goal. Underwhelmed sounds like it's always a bad thing - expectations aren't being met and nothing is turning out the way you thought it would. Even though it sounds bad, overwhelmed can be a good thing - if you're overwhelmed with the deliciosity (I like to make up new words) of your Cold Stone ice cream, or overwhelmed by how gorgeous the sunrise was today - but it still sounds like it's about to put you over the edge. A little bit dangerous.
I'd like to be whelmed.
Just the right amount of emotion, experience and passion - enough to wake you up, make you sit back and say "wow - life really can be pretty incredible," and just find joy in the moment.
Lately, I feel like I've been overwhelmed a lot. Big things (not so fun things) have been happening in my life recently, and I've been letting them get to me more than I should. My husband bears the brunt of my self-pity parties when this happens. It's a drag (mostly for him).
So, as of 7:17 this morning, I've decided to aim for being whelmed. For me, that means recognizing that I need feet to fit the path God has for me (not the other way around). It means that I need to allow myself to smile, laugh, and be cheered up - even when so many things feel unfulfilling, frustrating and/or just plain hard. It means that I can find joy in each moment, no matter what.
In case you've been wondering - the title of my blog, "A Heartful of Eternity" comes from Ecclesiastes 3:11.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I love that verse, for so many reasons. I find such profound comfort in the reminder that the Lord makes everything beautiful - in its own time. My occasional dissatisfaction with life/people/circumstances is my heart crying out for eternity - a reminder that we were created for more than this. God fashioned us in His image - and we are programmed to desire our home. And I definitely definitely cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. All I can fathom is my own little corner of the world - so big to me, so small to the rest of the world - yet still so important to God.
That verse helps me focus on being whelmed. So when I have to juggle many things, as everyone does (I know there is no sleep deprivation but such that is common to man... there is no struggle with work but such that is common to man...) - I can remember that juggling is fun - like all other things, it's what I make of it. This guy is pretty impressive - I mean, I've mastered the art of juggling two things at once (you may commence to "ooh" and "aah" at my jaw-dropping skill level).

the unveiling

Welcome to my new blog look!
Susie from Bluebird Blogs did a great job for me - I'm excited about the new look! If you're interested in updating - I highly recommend her - there are lots of different "packages" at reasonable rates, depending on how much "say" you want to have in how the design looks. I left this one totally up to her - and I'm happy!! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

such passion

When I was home last week, my Mom showed me this YouTube video (who knew my mom messed around on YouTube??)

Now, I took "piano lessons" (read: fought with my mom, who was trying to teach me herself) when I was younger. Honestly, I never got that into it, and I regret that. It would be fun to take it up again. I just don't know that I'll ever love it so much that I'll want to lay my head on the keys while I play.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

where, oh where could she be?

I'm here, gearing up for busy season. Or rather - trying to survive busy season. Between my work, Mark's work, WyldLife, and the normal family/friends/life... at least no one can say we're letting the days slip by without making the most of them!
I was in Chicagoland all last week with my family - my dad suffered a major heart attack on March 31st - he is home now, resting, recuperating - and doing awfully well, all things considered. Thanks to all who kept him in your prayers. God was really covering him - it was so encouraging to see!
We had a nice Easter - I spent two of three services at Riverview helping in the nursery, and thoroughly enjoyed the service I attended. Music was awesome, the message was great - and I felt like I was really connecting to Easter and its meaning for my life more than I had been.
The distractions in my life in the past 6 weeks have in some senses made it tough for me to wrap my head around stuff. Praise God for small blessings - unexpected emails, a LOT of laughing with friends at dinner, a chance to chat with people I haven't seen in awhile, and getting to bed early on the weekends. The Lord truly knows what my needs are - and He's got them covered.