consistency and needs

I have a small obsession with just about any food comprised of cheese, tomato sauce, and a type of carbohydrate.  I’ve noticed this pattern before, but it’s quite apparent in my diet for today.  One of two school lunches that I like is Italian Dunkers, so I paid $3.85 for that one today.  Then I came home and found myself with a craving for pizza…  solution?  Pizza made on English muffins.  Then, when my mom decided that she was going to use the leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, and veggies to make a Turkey Pot Pie (which I, as a non-meat eater, will not participate in consuming), I looked in the fridge for an alternative.

And what do you think I found?  Tomato pasta sauce.  Yep, it’s going on pasta tonight.  Maybe I’ll add some parmesan to keep things consistent.

It’s a perfect trifecta – the fruit, dairy, and carb combo – that can be used in a million different combinations. I would love to send a thank you card to whoever actually invented pizza, because it’s the one staple in my diet that I would not be able to survive without.

Speaking of other things that go well together – heat and winter go really well together.  As in, having heat indoors and winter outdoors.  Right now, we’re missing both.  Furnace guys came to today to do a “tune-up”, which turned into my parents being told that we have to replace our furnace.  (hooray, we’ll get another new inanimate object, AND WE CAN NAME IT!  any name ideas?)  Also, winter is missing outside.  I keep checking the weather to see when those flurries are coming – which is never.  the 7-day forecast has nothing for us.

I think that Minnesotans will go crazy without snow, literally.  It’s part of our identity.  MinneSNOWta, right?  We define ourselves very closely with the weather of our state, and though we complain about it, we still take pride in the fact that we can survive and thrive in a cold state.  Cold is an understatement most winters, really, unless you consider thirty below “chilly.”  Without the flakes from November through March, we won’t know what to do with our shovels.  Our snow boots will get lonely – we might start wearing them just because we miss them so much.  We’ll sing “Let It Snow,” and gaze out the window with wistful expressions, feeling as though we’ve been sent back to childhood when snow actually was magical.  Funny, the people who wrote the song didn’t have anywhere to go.  They were just going to sit by the fire and pop corn.  We Minnesotans have places to go, people to see, school to attend (even on days when any other state would issue a snow day), but we still need snow.

Sure, when it comes we’ll complain about how slippery it is.  We’ll groan when we see our driveways covering quickly in inches of wet snow (the heaviest kind).  We’ll say in February how ready we are for spring to come.  But without snow, we have an identity crisis.  December and Christmas can’t come without snowflakes.

Jesus, that was a cry to you for some whiteness.  We’re losing it here.

window boxes and closed doors. also, Justin Bieber.

I came downstairs to hang out while my parents have their small group meeting upstairs and found that Justin Bieber was playing on our computer. I didn’t start that. There are two other Chloe users in my house – by name, Mom and Dad… I’m not sure which one has become a JB aficionado, but I hope that was just a freak mistake.

Today, the Vikings played again. I don’t even know who they played. I just know that they always lose now, something that has become an expectation for us Minnesotans. My dad actually watched a good portion of the game after we decorated our Christmas tree (my mom and I wouldn’t let him leave to watch the game until we’d thoroughly covered our Christmas tree, named – just like we name every inanimate object in my family – Harry with all our special ornaments.), and when he finally came back upstairs the question was, “have the Vikings lost yet?”, not “did the vikings lose?” It’s forgone conclusion now.

At least there are some certainties in life.

The saying, “When God closes a for, he opens a window,” has proven to be very true lately. I’d lined up a babysitting job for Saturday night, income that is much needed as I’m trying to raise a 4-digit sum for my trip to India, but since the poor little girl had food poisoning on Thanksgiving, they went to see family on Saturday.

Door, closed.

Around 12:45 on Saturday, as I’m sitting on the couch after going for a run, I got a phone call from a lady who has four boys and needed to take her husband shopping for some new suits.

Window, opened.

Last week I found out that since I’m planning on going into college as a transfer student I’m not eligible for as much scholarship money anymore. One of these scholarships that I can’t be a part of anymore was a competition that was going to take place the first weekend in March. I had applied to the United States Senate Youth Program (which happens to include a $5,000, one time scholarship) back in October, a week in D.C. that begins that same weekend. The door to the competition had closed, but if I get accepted to the USSYP, there might be an open window. I like that image of God opening windows when He closes doors. I get this picture of a really happy guy opening some windows to water his window boxes of flowers.

Kind of like these.

can't you just see some really smiley guy opening the windows to check on his flowers?

I may have taken that illustration a little too far, but I’m still grateful for the windows.  Sometimes they’re a little harder to climb into or out of, and sometimes we have to provide a ladder to get in the open window, but hey, it’s open.

Loss of energy, Gain of perspective.

This is my reward for taking a quiz.  I get to blog.  My secondary reward is getting to eat the second half of my dinner, and then I might open my backpack again to see what else must be done.

I’ve made some observations today about kids.  I’m (obviously) not a parent, but as a frequent babysitter, sometimes I feel like one.  I’m just a temporary parent with a smaller amount of authority, sometimes considered a novelty in households with small children.  I also have less experience and get paid for my parenting.  Parents really do expect parent-like behavior from a babysitter – at least, some do.  They’ll ask me to not just make the kids finish their homework before they play video games, but ask me to sit with them as they do it, reminding them that the more they do now, the less they have to do tomorrow.  I’ve helped kids clean their rooms before, on the desperate petition of a tired parent who just needs to do some grocery shopping.  I obviously don’t mind.  If I could tally up all the hours I’ve spent babysitting from age 11 (I really have no idea why parents felt comfortable hiring me to watch their young’uns at that age, but they did) until now, the number would be significant.  If I could count up all the diapers I’ve changed, screaming children I’ve comforted, strange questions (usually from 4-year-olds) about life I’ve been asked, or times I’ve wanted to keep the child who fell asleep on my lap while I read them a story and started snoring, the stats would be pretty impressive… for a 17-year-old, that is.

But then I remember that I’m not a parent, that I don’t spend weeks, months, or years with these kids.  Sure, some of them I see at least once a week, and many of them treat me like a surrogate parent, but who am I kidding? I’m no where near parent level.  I have to think about the same things, accomplish some of the same tasks, but on a limited level, a temporary basis.

So, about what I realized today while watching four boys – triplets, plus one more – that they have way too much energy.  Maybe that’s just little boys, but as I watched these kids run around  (three more came over midway through for a short playdate… with some quick addition you will realize that we’re at 7 kids now), the constant movement was astonishing.  When there was no Wii action going on, they’d be jumping up and down in place, like they just really needed to be expelling energy.  They’d chase each other in a big circle around the sofas, and if no one was chasing them, they’d run in circles anyway.  hmmm, nothing else to do, I guess I’ll just run around in circles!

I really wonder where that energy went.  As I sat on the couch, watching for injuries and making sure that no one got the bright idea of driving the mini police car down the stairs (who let them have motorized vehicles inside, anyway??), I was feeling that 3:30 coma, the mid afternoon urge to take a nap that usually hits around then. I don’t have that boundless energy.  If someone asked me to play tag with them, I’d do it – but not for 45 minutes.  Then I’d go take a break, rest a little.  Not jump up and down, awaiting the next big expulsion of energy.

Maybe I was more energetic as a 5-year-old.  Maybe the years of sitting in a desk at school drained out my pizzazz and replaced it with focus.  I wonder if I should mourn the loss.  If I should be regretting the loss of this amazing desire to move constantly.

I think my conclusion is that I’m in a different phase.  Theirs is the experiential one, the part of life where everything must be experienced for the first time and reveled in.  Mine is a more reflective one, where I wonder about those first experiences, whether or not my impressions of them were true.  And I wonder what impressions I give.  Less movement, more thought.

I’m all right with that.  And I think I have to be.

The Thanksgiving epic: an illustrated narrative.

Since I’m sure that everyone wants to hear about how I spend this day of gratitude, I’m not only going to post today – I’m going to keep a log of what I do ALL DAY.  Get excited.  When something exciting (or disastrous, or mundane, or funny) happens, I’m going to write about it immediately – time stamp and all.  And I’ll post at the end of the day!  LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN.

11:10 AM.  

I came downstairs to re-fill my bottle of hair gel from the Mommy bottle in my mom’s bathroom – and I ended up blogging.  This is the life of an aspiring writer.  I’ve been up for three lovely hours filled with coffee, watching the parade with my mom, Awesome Abs, rollerblading, and getting distracted by WordPress.  It’s T-2 hours until Stella & Co come to eat the feast with us, and I still have to clean my bathroom.  As I sit on the yoga ball that serves as our desk chair, I wonder what my sister is doing in Philadelphia (cough cough, Brooke, this is your hint to text/call/let me know you’re still alive) for our first major holiday apart.

I never really realized this before, but the times I spend with Brooke are really definitive of my holidays.  I remember most the things that I do with her.  For example, our 4th of July song and dance performed for our parents complete with American flag waving and stepping up and down on our little stepstools, the 12 days of Christmas puppet show that Brooke wrote, made puppets for, directed, and graciously allowed me to sit in on, playing with our giant wooden “paper dolls” under the christmas tree, baking together, and a host of other strange activities that I don’t think I should post online.  I think I write on this thread quite a bit, but I love my sister quite a bit.  Life isn’t the same without her, but transitions are good – they help us realize that we have to be intentional about staying in touch.

My next task is to do what I came downstairs for, then shower, drink some water (no eating until 1pm), and clean my bathroom.  Then my parents and I will run around doing all the little things we forgot.  Stay tuned.

12 AM – T-1 hour.  The bathroom got cleaned.

armed with paper towels and windex

I believe in full-size images at all times. which is why you have this lovely pic of the mirror cleaning.

then, I got clean.

That’s all for now.  Next step: add makeup and deodorant.  Then, start playing jazzy music and put on some socks so that we’re all ready for company.

Did I mention that I’m so thankful to all of your who read my musings?  Even if you don’t read every post or subscribe, I still am amazed that people want to read this stuff.  :)

I love writing.  Over and out for now.

12:30 – my mom just requested “all trivets on deck!” which means the food is coming out.  We’re getting things rolling here.

our table is all set and ready to be laden with food and surrounded with 8 hungry people

That's Squanto. He squats by our incredibly tall - by comparison - Pilgrims.

food is all staying warm...


The fun really began at 1:30, when our friends arrived, bearing challah bread, Russian potato salad, meringue cake (I spelled it “merengue” the first time I wrote that), green beans, and this amazing cream/garlic combo spread.  Broccoli was quickly steamed, potatoes and butter were put into serving dishes, and bread was sliced up so that the feast could begin.

At our house, Thanksgiving is as much about the initial meal as it is about the leftovers, so though we definitely ate our fill, no one had to put on stretchier pants or skip dessert for lack of stomach capacity.

As a non-turkey eater, the mashed potatoes and other carbohydrate items hold a special place in my heart.  I was the proud potato peeler last night – of an entire bag of potatoes, thank-you-very-much – and the taste tester.

I put my Grandma-made apron on to complete that happy task.  Then I proceeded to inform my mother that they needed more butter.

Both of my parents are initially from the south, which is probably why we use about 8 sticks of butter in our thanksgiving feast.  Maybe more.  It’s hard to say.

As avid leftover consumers, immediately after we decided that we were full, leftovers were split up into tupperwares to be re-enjoyed over the next couple days.  The rest of the afternoon consisted of dessert consumption, catching up on each others’ lives a bit, Apples to Apples, and more conversation.

our table, complete with what little food would fit between the many plates...

All good things must come to an end, so after we hugged our goodbyes to our friends, we waved goodbye to Autumn as well and put up our Christmas lights.

And now, let the most wonderful time of the year commence – right after I eat some more mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and reflect a little more about what I’m thankful for.

This year I’m most thankful for the little things that sound cliché, you know the ones I’m talking about.  They’re the cop outs for when you can’t remember what you’re actually thankful for and you have to say it right away.  umm, I’m just really, like.. I’m just super thankful for… umm, my friends. *sheepish smile* yeah, they’re just really awesome.  Then the next person goes, someone who’s actually thought about what they’re thankful for, and you wish you could sink into the floor.  You’re second place in the gratitude category.  But I really am thankful for my friends.  Certainly the fact that I will be away from them – and my family, and all the little comforts of home like having my own room and car – next year in college makes me more appreciative of them right now.  It’s said that you never know what you have until it’s gone, but I think it’s more until there’s a threat that it will be taken away.  That’s when I want to cling to those things at least.  Maybe I’m in the minority on that one.

Besides my friends, I am thankful for my parents.  I’m grateful that they sacrifice financially so that I can be in private school, that they have set such a great precedent as godly parents, that they have always supported me in EVERYTHING.  I can’t think of a time when they copped out of going to something I was participating in for lack of interest or desire to be there.

You already know that I’m thankful for Brooke, that part of my heart is gone when she’s away.

I particularly like heat.  I love ibuprofen.  Carbohydrates are a fabulous part of my life that I would miss greatly were they taken from me.  I’m thankful for Chloe, our iMac, since she helps me blog more easily than Larry did.

Beyond all that temporal stuff, I’m thankful for hope.  For the fact that my fate, my life is not my own. That I am not alone.  That I live for a purpose far greater than anything that humans come up with.  I cling to that more than anything – yet there is no threat of it being taken from me.  And that’s the best part.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


This is your typical webcam picture minus four inches of hair.

This is your not-so-typical webcam photo, plus earmuffs that are rather hard to keep on.

This is what happens when I don’t hang on to those puppies… they become cheek muffs.

These earmuffs have a story that does not include being worn outside.  For one thing, they don’t stay on my head very well – I’d have to clamp them to my ears with my hands to make them do their job correctly.  So, I’ll tell you their tale:

A couple years ago, my dear sister – in a valiant effort to be creative with Christmas presents – gave me a lovely pair of white gloves and white earmuffs (pictured above).  As any good sister does, I exclaimed with delight when I opened them.  (I really was delighted, but it was a little shocking at the same time.)

You can picture me holding a beautifully wrapped box, shaking it and saying, “ooh, I wonder what’s in here” as I peel the paper off.  Then, as I move the tissue paper, “ahh, it’s….  Earmuffs?!”

Thanks, Brooke, they’re adorable!

(and they are.)

Brooke was shopping for my personality.  I love earmuffs.  When I was younger, I had a pair of bright blue earmuffs (who am I kidding, I still have them and wear them when I go sledding).  They were headband-style, and I wore them to my figure skating lessons.  At that point in my life, as I had just about zero percent body fat, they were necessary in the  ice rink.  When I got older, I got a pair of bright pink earmuffs, the kind that go around the back of your neck, that took the place of the blue earmuffs.  They were on the slightly more classy side – can you really say that earmuffs are classy? – and didn’t stick out from my head as blatantly as the other pair, so I switched.

So you see that Brooke is totally redeemed in her gift choice.  I’m an earmuff girl, and those are cute earmuffs.  I’m also not that practical – at least not in the trivial things.  So, they seem to be the ideal gift.

About once a year, when we clean out our shoe closet, the puffy, white earmuffs make a cameo appearance.  I put them on for the duration of the cleaning.  While we decide what stays and what goes, those earmuffs stay on my head (not without quite a bit of help, but they stay).  They remind me that my sister knows me well, that she considers me appreciative of the more silly and fun things in life, that she wants me to keep my ears warm during our cold Minnesota winters, and that she loves me.

They’re also reminding me, as I start to decide what to give all the people on my list this Christmas, that it’s not always the usefulness of the gift that makes it meaningful.  Granted, sometimes it definitely is.  Sometimes you have to give practical gifts, like kitchen supplies and clothing’s – and they are well-appreciated.  But, it really is the thought counts.  When Brooke was shopping, she was thinking of me.  She never would have picked up those earmuffs otherwise.  And I hang on to them because of all the warm fuzzies they give me, knowing that Brooke loves me.

As I type this, the first snowflakes of the season are falling outside, and I’m listening to some of the best worship music ever written.  If you have not listened to Hillsong United before, make yourself a playlist of every single song they have ever recorded on Spotify, because they are so full of God.  Last night, my girlfriends and I spent the best two hours of the year (or maybe even our lives) worshipping with them.  They didn’t banter like normal bands do, didn’t make jokes about how cold Minnesota is, like artists usually do.  They just magnified God’s name and lead us in worship.  Experiences like that are my favorites, but at the same, they frustrate me, because words fail me when I try to describe them.  My Bible teacher described that as “Spirit-taught” words.  Like when you have to say, “I don’t have words for it!”, only people who have had similar experiences, being molded by the Holy Spirit will be able to understand it.  There were some really precious moments, standing next to some of the best friends I have on this earth and lifting our hands in worship.

Jesus bonds people together in ways that nothing else can.

Lotion, excess, and some mixed feeling about snowflakes

Tis the season when my hands turn purple (for uncertain reasons possibly pertaining to bad circulation) and crack and bleed with the slightest of scratches.  So, along with that, tis the season of moisturizers.  Everywhere.  I’ve got at least two in my bathroom, and we’re not talking Bath & Body Works smelly stuff here.  One is a heavy-duty jar of CeraVe cream (sounds really fancy, doesn’t it?), and the other is a giant pump of Lubriderm.  Then – we venture into my car, where there are two almost empty tubes of lotion, nearly used up from all the hasty rubbings-on at stoplights.  Go back inside, and you’ll find that lotion is everywhere.  It’s in my kitchen, a drawer in my sister’s bed, on my bedside table, in the guest room; there are at least three different ones in my parent’s bathroom, and goodness knows how many in my mom’s stash.

We like lotion here, mostly because we have very dry skin.  I just examined my typing fingers to see that my hands are, indeed, purple.  And there are some very rough spots where the skin is threatening to crack.  Sometimes I feel like my skin: a little off-color and with areas that are perforated, on the verge of breaking apart.  My whole body doesn’t suffer from that dryness, just a few spots: knees, elbows, hands, sometimes my nose too.

I find that to be very true in life, that we’re very rarely all dry.  Or maybe I should speak in the singular.  I rarely find myself in a desert, but then again, the oases aren’t exactly plentiful either.

Maybe it’s better illustrated with a story from my childhood: I didn’t love raisin bran.  The raisins felt weird in my teeth, and the bran part was barely tolerable to me.  But when the cereal company started putting little Sesame Street (by the way, that’s the only show I’ll ever let my kids watch. Just in case you didn’t know.) beanie babies in the boxes, I would eat through a whole box to get those little prizes.  It’s like living through the mundane, stressful, or frustrating parts of my day because there are beanie babies to be found.  Not literally – usually – but in the small blessings of the day.  For instance, even though my homework load is nothing to scoff at (or procrastinate with) tonight, I have no other obligations.  And there is a delicious chocolate cake in my house.  And I get to park my car in the garage for a couple nights.  But, then again, the reason I can is because my dad is gone on another business trip.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that life is a mixed bag.

And it took me a good three paragraphs to get to that.  I think I have issues with conciseness.

Either way, I’m grateful (highlighting the grateful, because I’m focusing on thankfulness this week.  and I should just focus on that all the time) because though the ratio of desert/oasis experiences sometimes fluctuates, there is always something redeeming.

Snow is forecasted for Saturday.  On the one hand, I’m excited that before we decorate our Christmas tree next Friday there’ll be some whiteness on the ground.

BUT, I hate scraping off my car.  And I don’t like wearing snow boots.  And my warm winter coat is too small.

Then again, snow is magical.  It’s not all bad.

It’s not all good either.

And now I need to start my homework.

alive against all odds.

Okay, so getting teeth pulled isn’t supposed to be that big of a deal, but I would compare it to when it’s a hot day and the swimming pool looks like it will be refreshing – then you get completely submerged and realize with shock that it’s actually like 30 degrees in the pool.

30 degrees, it’s about the temperature that I’ve been trying to keep my inflated face at for the past few days.  After a little incident where we found out that next time I need painkillers we’re not asking for Vicodin yesterday, I have a new pill to take and am keeping mushy food down just fine.  Healing is on the way.

I have to just make a little insight here about attitude.  For one thing, really strong narcotics affect your mood greatly.  For another, when you don’t see the end to your pain, smiles are hard to achieve.  I so admire people who suffer through long illnesses now.  After just three days of being puffy and in pain, I am pretty sure that my parents were sick of the morose Ashley, the one who despaired of ever being pain-free.  The one who kept thinking about all the homework she had to do still and wondering when she’d be able to eat solid food and read again without nausea.

A good attitude is necessary for healing, as are good medicine and good nurses (shoutout to my parents).  So, now with a good attitude, I’m going to heal super fast. I’ll be able to eat the pizza that I’ve been dreaming of soon – and not a blended up version, it’ll be the kind you have to chew.  mmmmmm.

I’m pretty sure the odds for me living through wisdom teeth removal were pretty high.  So, I’m not alive against all odds physically, but spiritually, I am.  Emotionally, the odds are always stacked against us.  When I look at all the horrid things in the world, all the things that bring people down, I am amazed that the entire world’s population hasn’t given in to despair yet.

But then I remember Jesus, and how the fact that He is alive against all odds gives me a reason to live and hope.  Few people have died and come back to life, and I don’t know of anyone else who has been dead for three days and come back to life.  I definitely don’t know anyone personally who has been resurrected.  (If you do, please let me know.  I want to interrogate them.)

So then, after realizing that Jesus’s alive status makes my life 100% more worth living, I wonder what exactly drives the people who don’t believe that He is Lord.  or that He loves them.  what possible purpose could there be in living if there is no redemption in sight?



I don’t know how wise this will be, but it’s time for some honesty, while on Vicodin. This might be a complete joke when I read it later, but I’ll take that risk. I feel pretty lucid.
I really hate oral surgery. I hate the fact that everyday things that I love like eating and talking hurt really badly. Plus, i can only eat mushy foods, and there is a shortage of salty mushy foods in the world.
Also, Vicodin makes me cry. I have no idea why it affects me that way, but it does. I just sit there til it stops. Then the Vicodin wears off, and I actually have a reason to cry.
I also have to sleep sitting up tonight so that my face doesn’t swell any more than it already has.
Wow, I sound like an American brat.
Change of tune: I will deal with the applesauce and mashed up food because at least I get to eat. I can handle crying from Vicodin because other people cry for more valid reasons. I can handle an awkward sleeping position because I know that in India tonight thousands of girls who are sex slaves aren’t exactly having sweet dreams either.
I’m so blessed.
And all it takes to see that is having a global perspective.
I love my ice pack. I love my stack of pillows. I love my dentist even though he didn’t sedate me as heavily as I would have liked, and the pills he prescribed make me weep. I love my mom and my dad for keeping the mush coming and the ice pack frozen.
I love my Jesus for not counting me as a lost cause because I’m so selfish.
Life is good, and I won’t have bleeding gums, stitches, and unexplainable tears forever.

crunchy wisdom.

Beware: this post is mostly about teeth.

People talk about how when they get their wisdom teeth pulled out they’re about to “lose all their wisdom,” but mostly I’m concerned about the part where they take the teeth out.  Then the part where my whole mouth is numb, and I can’t drink normally.  Despite the fact that I’m a little nervous about possibly having an enlarged face, I’m ready for the headaches caused by those suckers trying to get out of my gums to stop.

The other day, when my dentist’s office (in case you didn’t remember from this post:, I LOVE my dentist.  I get inspired to be a better person there.) called to remind me about my appointment, I answered the phone.  They must’ve thought I was my mom, because we were referring to me in the third person.

“Hi, this is Generic Dentist’s Office, calling to remind Ashley about her appointment at 9:30 on Thursday.”

I don’t remember what I said; something like thank you.

“Make sure you have her eat before she comes, because she won’t feel like eating afterwards.”

She?  oh, I see.  You don’t know who you’re talking to.  “Okay, thanks I’ll make sure she does.”

That happens a lot.  I’m either my sister or my mom, but I’m usually not me on the phone.  Apparently our voices sound similar.  My grandma is the only one who gets it right every time.  Anyways, the real point of recounting my conversation with my dentist’s office was the part about eating.  Remember how I eat a lot?   I’m headed down Mushy Food Lane for the next couple days, into the Land of Unsubstantial Cuisine.

I can’t complain about that though, since I’d rather have the extra teeth out of my gums.  I think it’s time for a list of all the positive things about this situation to make my attitude better.

1. I get to se all those great people at my dentist’s office.  YES.

2. I get to eat a lot of ice cream and such (never mind it’s not healthy and it’ll get old quickly).

3. The headaches will stop!

4. I’ll get to get rid of my big sleep debt.

5. painkillers?

I ate a bunch of crunchy things for dinner tonight – chips and salsa, popcorn chicken.  It’s important to take advantage of good things while you can.  I’m not sure if that’s a good maxim to live by, but in the case of crunchy food, it works.

Other things I’m taking advantage of before I leave for college (which will happen before I know what’s going on, I’m sure): my lovely classmates who make me laugh daily, taking college classes while they’re free, having my own bedroom to escape to when I’m feeling extra introverted.

I guess I’ll be taking advantage of Minnesota snows too – I just checked the weather and it’s coming.

This calls for hot chocolate.

eating my feelings.

I’m not really a feeling sharer.  Well, sometimes I do, but I end up exhausted and frustrated that I 1) shared too much and now that person with whom I shared won’t be able to sleep tonight, 2) I didn’t share it right, so now they have a skewed perspective of my very complex feelings, and 3) I probably don’t have a solution just from talking to them about it.  Not saying that getting advice isn’t good, but sometimes it doesn’t work too well.  There are few moments where I can express my heart coherently to another person – at least in a reasonable amount of time.

I’m a bottler.  And an eater.  Really, I eat my feelings.

Like when I got home from school today, checked the mailbox for the mail (one of my favorite afternoon activities) and found that my mom had already gotten it.  Right about then, I wanted to eat a donut and wash it down with caramel apple cider.

Then I got inside, saw two huge envelopes sitting on the staircase and realized that my long-awaited (okay, so it’s been like 3 weeks) acceptance letter was sitting right before my lil blue eyes.

so I took an excited picture of it (notice I haven't even taken the time to take off my jacket yet...)

The donut and apple cider still sounded good, but since we don’t have a full-service kitchen with a self-restocking pantry, I had to settle for the cider.  Soon afterwards, I was feeling like procrastination of my homework was a good idea, plus I was craving salt.  There was leftover guacamole in the fridge, but no chips – what do we do when we’re out of food?  We go to Cub.  This is a 3-time-a-week occurrence, at minimum.

I was going to recount everything I’ve eaten since I got home from school, but suddenly (as I’m listing the things off in my head) that doesn’t sound like such a good idea anymore.  I’m starting to feel the weight of the things I’ve eaten, and now I wish I had gone for a run instead.  That actually sounds appealing right now.  (you know something’s wrong when going for a run at 8:00 – when it’s pitch-black outside and rather chilly – sounds like a good idea.)

Speaking of throwing off weight: At a youth event I attended yesterday, the speaker recounted a story about throwing cats that really stuck with me.  Not just because I don’t particularly like cats, but because of what the cat represents and because he was a very gifted storyteller.  (I’m told that I don’t possess the storyteller gene, so I envy this guy.)

So this guy went to Turkey on a trip to study the Bible.  Apparently there are stray cats all over Turkey, and when he arrived he was told that under no circumstances was he to pet the cats.  Long story short, he did the unthinkable one day and pet a cat.  The cat proceeded to purr and look very happy… then it jumped up into his lap.  (stray cat.  diseased most likely.  yucky.  taboo.) By this point he wasn’t too comfortable with having a cat – that he wasn’t supposed to even touch – sitting on his lap, but before he knew what had happened, the cat had leaped up onto his HEAD and started trying to eat his ear.  The guy freaked out and ended up flinging the cat down fifteen rows of the outdoor amphitheater where he was listening to a lecture about Ancient Ephesus, right past the lecturer.

It’s like the sin in our lives.  When we first encounter it, it looks harmless enough – actually, less than harmless; sometimes it looks beneficial! – but soon after we give in to those temptations, they ensconce themselves in our laps and eventually wrap themselves around our heads, eating away at the things in our lives that are valuable to us: our morals, relationships, priorities, our connection to Jesus.

It reminded me of Romans 6:6-7

6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin.

We’ve all got cats to get off of our heads.

I’m so glad that speaker told a bizarre story about cats, because now I might actually retain the essence of his message.