Friday, January 28, 2011

The Little Things

It's Friday.

It's 70 degrees in Norman today. The heater is off, the windows are open.

I'm almost done reading the fourth Harry Potter book. My favorite characters so far are Sirius Black and Dumbledore.

Mumford and Sons' Sigh No More is resounding loudly in my small room.

My roommate's mom brought a vacuum. My carpets are finally hair-clump free.

And Grahm got accepted into one of the top mechanical engineering grad schools, the University of Minnesota.

It's the little things in life that make life sweet.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter, the greatest season

No one actually likes winter. You may think you do, but really, you like wearing scarves, knit hats, and big, comfortable jackets. Not to mention all the different coffee flavors Starbucks comes out with around this time of year.
Think about it. During the spring, every one wants to be outside. Being cooped up inside your house is just strange. You can take a pleasant walk outside [emphasis on pleasant], go for a picnic, jog around the park.  Same with summer. We get tan, buy new sunglasses, go swimming, bike ride, etc. Even fall has its perks. I love taking walks with Grahm and crunching the colorful leaves underfoot.

But winter??
Who actually likes standing outside, going for a walk in this blustery weather? You don't.  While it may be fun to see your car iced over and cold, white slush on the ground, these pleasant thoughts almost immediately vanish from your mind because all you can focus on is HOW STINKIN' COLD it is.

No matter how many long-johns you bulk yourself up with... you're still going to be frigid. You're still going to shiver. The last place you want to be is outside, de-icing your car until you can't feel your fingers. But you are, because your "favorite" season left a little present for you while you were sleeping.

Right now, there is less than two inches of snow on the ground, and it's a snow day.  Welcome to Oklahoma. We close down schools at the mere mention of snow, even the smallest of possibilities. 

So as much as [really] we all loathe being cold, having numb fingers and toes, and shivering incessantly ... winter is by far the best season. Sure, no one likes it. Not really. But at the end of the day, it's the only time of year that provides unexpected days off, an excuse to be utterly and wonderfully lazy.

And any season that does that, well, I guess I can get on board with.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ten years ago, today

Today, most people [normal people] think of Martin Luther King Jr. and his unwavering passion for African-American equality. Me? Well, I think of baby swings.

Ten years ago was... well, it was an interesting day to say the least. Like every other ten-year-old, I was enjoying the freedom of no school. My mom [oh so wisely] took all of us to a popular park in Mesquite where we could properly embrace this freedom without breaking anything, or killing anyone.

Once there, I decided it would be fun to slide my child-like thunder thighs through the small holes of a baby swing. And let it be known, the nostril-size holes were from one of those old-school baby swings, the ones that look like giant brown diapers.

A few seconds later [or however long it took me to realize a ten-year-old in a baby swing really isn't that funny] I decided to ditch the swing and move on to bigger and better things. But there was a slight problem with that.

You see, I couldn't move. No amount of wiggling could get me out.
I was, in every sense of the word, STUCK.

My eyes grew big as I realized I was trapped. I started thinking
"OH my gosh! They are going to have to chop my legs off! I'll never be able to walk again!" Keep in mind, I'm ten.

I yell at Blake to find my mom. She, of course, takes her sweet time because I "did this kind of thing all the time." By the time she finally made it over to the swing, I was convinced my legs were turning purple and would fall off at any moment.

It didn't take her long to assess the situation. This time, I wasn't faking it. She gave my body a few jerks, trying to free me from my
diaper chamber. But nothing.

She ended up calling 911, because what else could be done?
I'm sure they loved getting that call, "Yes, we have a juvenile stuck in a baby swing..."

What seemed like an eternity later, the paramedics finally arrived. By this time, a crowd had started to gather. Parents and children all sat around the jungle gym and watched the poor, idiotic girl trapped in the baby swing.

The paramedics tried to calm me down, but that effort was pretty futile. First, they tried to cut the swing. But underneath the leather covering was metal, so cutting through the swing wasn't an option. Then they flipped the swing [me along with it] entirely upside down. One man held my feet, while another tugged on my arms trying to release me. I felt like a human tug of war.

They then splattered petroleum jelly all over my white legs, much like they would prep a pregnant woman's bulging belly. Flipping me upside down, they pulled, tugged, yanked... until FINALLY,
I was free!

I stumbled out of the swing, crying from the relief that I wasn't going to lose my legs and the embarrassment that I had just been the playground spectacle for about sixty people. It was a horrific, terrible experience. But now, it's hilarious and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

So here's to freedom this MLK day, freedom of all kinds.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Simplicity at its finest.

Today after hitting the gym [Is anyone else's New Year's Resolutions kicking them in the buns?], I had some extra time on my hands. Grahm wasn't going to be home for a while, so I didn't need to be ready for date night just yet.

Free time is my favorite, mostly because there are so many options. Should I clean the bathroom for the second time this week? Work on diminishing my ever-growing laundry pile? Watch season 8 of Friends?

Instead, I decided to do some journaling. The old-fashion form of blogging, where I am the only "follower."

I used to be really diligent at putting pen to paper and recording my thoughts, however frivolous they may be. There is a dusty cardboard box in my old room at my parents' house that holds eight bound books brimming with my carefully written ideas, emotions, hopes, etc.

There's something about reading your words from so long ago. It's more than an old facebook status or an ancient blog post. It's more real, more personal. My first one was from age ten, when my only aim in life was to be a famous singer. And my last one is filled with prayers from a heartbroken girl who was angry at God.

Life happens. We change. Our URLs disappear. But our words will forever be written down. In an age where everything and anything is electronic and fast, I think there is something beautifully simple about journaling. Simplicity at its finest.

And I, for one, don't want to give it up.

How about you? Ever journal?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Skim...And I'm not Talking about Milk

Are you the kind of person that reads every word on every page?

This past week, I've started three books. Give or take, I've read about fifty pages of each. For whatever reason, I decided none of them were actually good enough to plow through. My philosophy on reading is: life is too short to read bad books. So, I only take time with the good ones. If you think about it, this is actually a terrible perspective.

My reading habits got me to thinking.

You see, I'm a skimmer. My eyes quickly scan the words on a page, line after line until I grasp the big picture. It doesn't matter if I skip entire sentences, or even paragraphs at a time. Just as long as I get the gist. Just as long as I have a sense of what's going on. That's all I really need, right? Unless there is some brilliantly written prose, I don't need to be bogged down by every word.

Yesterday, after I put down "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" for the hundreth time, a question popped into my head.

What if I treated people the way I handle books?

I start and stop so many novels, it's ridiculous. I lose interest quickly. I skim, until I find something worthwhile. Gloss over the text until I get to the "good part." Pick 'em up, put 'em down until I find one worth flipping pages for... if I treated people this way, I wouldn't have any friendships, any real relationships to speak of.

The beautiful thing about life is that every one of us has a story, words on pages. And every word is important, it all matters.

Aren't you glad Christ doesn't skip the pages of your life? He doesn't flippantly decide whether or not certain parts of your story are worth reading or not. He cares about it all.

If we are truly loving people, skimming isn't an option.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Like 30 other million Americans, I tuned into the quaint little television show, "The Bachelor," last night. Grahm and I sat on my uncomfortable, green couch for a solid two hours watching the premier of this comical program. It didn't fail to deliver.

Now, I don't exactly think this Brad fellow [even if it is his second time on the show] is going to find his soul mate amidst the plethora of quirky women. [What's up with fang girl?] But in some ways, I understand why the show is so popular. It embodies almost every normal person's dream, finding someone to love. Someone to marry and start a life with. Add a little drama, a handsome millionaire, and what's not to love?

Well, lots.

This got me thinking about marriage. I'll be honest, it doesn't take a lot for that topic to bounce around this tiny brain. But I decided last night that this show goes against just about everything I believe a marriage should be.

I think the premise of this show is not "finding love," but finding "someone." Anyone will do. Select a random group of beautiful women and your soulmate is bound to be one of them, right? I guess that's the point... there are no soulmates. It's all chance, good looks, and who, in the end, is going to be the best for me. Spend a few "alone" sessions with them, and BAM, you're engaged.

I don't think that's the way God works.
I think he brings people together [not in a gameshow], purposefully and decidedly.
There is only one person out there for each of us, and God knows who he/she is. Unlike the "Bachelor," it's not a matter of simply finding someone you're attracted to and "making it work."

Marriage is a huge decision. The biggest one you'll ever make, ever. And it shouldn't be taken lightly. Now, who's to say if you've dated long enough? My grandparents dated for three months before tying the knot, and they have a strong, wonderful marriage. My parents, on the other hand, dated for two years. Likewise, they have an amazing relationship that I can only hope to emulate. Point and case, it took them a little bit longer than a few "one on one" dates for them to figure it out.

In the end, I think this show is a sad [although very humorous] attempt at finding love.

What about you? Do you believe in soulmates?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolute [unwavering] in the Resolutions [a decision to do something]

This is my favorite day of the year. January 1. A fresh start, a clean slate. A day in which every one suddenly becomes a bubbly optimist. Nothing can bring us down.  We all are suddenly full of personal goals, brimming with the hope that we will actually accomplish them this time around.

Today, anything is possible. We can lose that twenty pounds that's been encircling our waists for the past five years; we can quit smoking cold turkey. We can get in shape [one that's not round], get better eating habits. We can start going to church. We can be a better friend, daughter, co-worker... we can just be better at this whirlwind of life.

Sure, it may be just a cheap day of reflection. Another dumb holiday our culture has created. And you may forget whatever stroke of brilliance you had on the Resolutions list by January 2... but I think there is real value in trying to better ourselves, reflecting on ways we can live an abundant life that Christ has called us to. After all, when did a little optimism ever kill anyone?

So for 2011, here's my list.

1. I'm going on a fruit/veggie diet for [at least] two weeks. Starting now. It's detox for marathon training. I think I may start dreaming in cheeseburgers, but it'll be worth it.

2. I'm also going to start a food journal, a good way to keep track of all the sugar-coated crap I shove down my throat. Another idea that I think will help with marathon training.

3. To go with #1 and 2, I want to be diligent in training this year. This will be my third marathon, and I want to give it everything I've got.

4. [Bet you saw this one coming...] I will run the OKC Memorial marathon in May. [I have a secret goal of qualifying for Boston.]

5. I will watch all the Star Wars movies... for the first time.  Yeah, yeah, I know. That's why it's on the list -- to get you people off my back.  ;)

6. Read all of Harry Potter books... for the first time. This will help boost my goal of reading over 50 books this year.

7. Read the entire New Testament.

8. Go skydiving.

9. Road trip to somewhere I have never been.

10. After graduation, work in publishing. I don't care where. Big girl job here I come.

I'm sure there is a lot more that I want to do in 2011, but here are some silly things that I want to specifically get done in the next 365 days. I'm excited about the upcoming chapter in my life.

What about you? Do you have some NY Resolutions?