Coming back.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking this morning.  I spent half an hour on a massage table, feeling more relaxed than I’ve felt in a while and so grateful for the woman who was making all the tension go away.

If you are a massage therapist, let me tell you, you are God’s hands to the world.  Really.

I came out of that massage room feeling like all my worries and cares were manageable, partly because I spent most of the half hour thanking God for that wonderful massage therapist and praying that He would be all over her life.  Like how I now have aromatherapy oil all over my arms.  I’ve been anointed, I guess you could say.

I don’t think people go into massage therapy just to make people feel good. I think they want you to feel renewed, to feel like you’ve been given a new lease on your day with which to pass along the gift you’ve been given.  I think they want you to have half an hour to refocus, to recharge.

Because, really, you only charge things so that you can use them.  You untangle knots in your jewelry so that you can wear it.  You untie your shoelaces so that you can put your foot back in the shoe at a later date.

I’m ready to be used again.  I’ve been recharged, renewed; my knots have been removed.

So, today, this is my song, “I Am New” – Jason Gray

Snowy silence.

I’m still in the phase where winter is okay by me.  It’s cold, yes, and tonight as my friends and I walked to our cars in the cold, we complained a little.  Or I guess I should say that we “commented” on how cold it was.  It wasn’t really complaining.  We just kept ourselves in our own little huddles of self and coat til we got to our cars.

And the snow was falling steadily all evening long.

It’s been a few weeks since the last big snow, so the coating we had on the ground was starting to look a little dingy.  We needed a couple inches to clean everything up again, to renew it.

Nights when it snows are some of the most silent that I know of.  I mean, sometimes there are sirens of the people going to take care of the car wrecks and people honking at others who have forgotten how to drive in snow and therefore do dangerous things.  But it’s almost like the snow absorbs the noise of the night.  All the animals are hibernating or have migrated, so there’s no noise there.  It’s just peaceful silence.

I forget about silence sometimes.  I forget that it’s a good thing.  I forget that it can exist since my world is so noisy.

Noise wakes me up in the morning.  Coffeemakers are noisy, but necessary.  I listen to music all the time, since I love it, but I forget that sometimes silence sounds better and renews more.  I can mute the sounds on Matilda, but even as I type or click, there’s noise.  Click click click click.  taptaptap.  Click click click click clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick.

Before I know it, the noise has taken my day.  Even if it hasn’t been a particularly busy day, the noise has occupied the whole thing.

The silence during a snow recalls me to Psalm 46:10.  Be still, and know that I am God.  Be still.  Breathe in, watch the glittery snowflakes cover over the slushy brown stuff on the ground.  Know that He is God, that He renews, that He brings life.

Glittery snowfall, silent snowfall.  Slowly renewing what has been defiled, bringing a silent night to a noisy world.

Remember the post a while back when I said I was going to figure out what the purpose of winter was?  Well, maybe it’s so that we get quiet.  Maybe it’s to give us a change of scenery – more inside than out.  Maybe to give a little silence, to offer beautiful snowy nights.  Maybe.

That filthy, scabby feeling.

I need to take showers more often.

And I mean that in an entirely figurative sense. Totally figurative. You don’t have to worry about me keeping up with my personal hygiene – I’ve got that covered.

No, in the figurative sense, I need to take baths, shower, wash up more often.

This is going to be another one of those maybe I’m the only one, but this is how I feel scenarios. So, no offense taken if you don’t follow my thoughts or if the following does not describe you. I’m pretty sure that normal doesn’t describe me anyways. (But does it really describe anyone? And would I want it to describe me? Getting off track here…)

I have many a hangup. I have sins that follow me around. Or maybe I push them around. I think I might have a wagon that I don’t always dump out. I cart my sins around. They waft a layer of sooty dirt on to my soul, onto my attitude and my actions while I carry them. It colors how I act. I feel dirty. And I don’t like it.  Who would?

Still, in spite of this dirty, nasty feeling, some days I don’t empty my wagon before my Lord and ask for a new, clean wagon in which to carry beautiful things like the fruits of the Spirit and such. (It’d be like a divine farmer’s market…  can I get an amen?)

No, sometimes I feel as though I have to hang on to my stinky, smelly, dirty wagon and keep pushing it around. As though it is penance for having them, I have to continue to hold them. I have to let them bring me down because I picked them up.

Have you ever heard a more twisted thought process?

Who’s to say that because I just snapped at someone I can’t ask for forgiveness from them (and Jesus) and finish the conversation in a civil or maybe even friendly fashion? My God certainly doesn’t say that.

Who’s to say that just because I’ve been crabby towards my family this weekend at times, that I have to continue? Do I think I have some sort of bad reputation to keep up? 

I need renewal, a washing, a peeling off of the scabs of sin (even though I NEVER pick off real scabs… Nasty). Just like that downpour we had tonight. I got home from church and just stood in the rain, thinking about how good it felt to be rained on. I told myself that it was cleansing rain. That it was washing away my impatience, my irritations, my lack of graciousness, my stress, my anxieties, and my unbelief. Jesus who washes that away, and the picture of rain is such a powerful one for me. Because it is a catalyst for new life. And THAT is what I want to tote around.

Cleanliness. Newness. Life.

I want to carry that around and accept the invitation to offer Jesus my yucky wagon every day, every hour, whenever it gets defiled. I’m so glad that this Christian life is a process, a journey, and not a destination. If it was a destination, I’d be hopeless, because I’m certainly not there.

Jesus, bring the rain. Bring the renewal.

Stop and go and in between.

One of the best features about Pearl (my phone) is her ability to get me anywhere I need to go.  I may have mentioned before how directionally impaired I am – I know which way to go, but not right when I need to go that way.  It’s usually right after I pass the exit/turn/driveway that I realize it was where I wanted to be.

Funny how there are so many driving parallels to life.

I noticed something about myself today as I was trying to find my way to my hair appointment from my nannying job.  When I know where I’m going, I hate red lights.  Not many people like red lights, so that’s probably not surprising.  That feeling when you’re about 100 yards away from a light, seeing it turn green, then by the time you get there, it’s red.  Then you have to stop.  And sit.  And then when the light finally turns green, you’ve gotten on this cycle of hitting red lights, so you spend another two minutes at the next light.  And then another two at the next one.

It’s a horrible compounding system of wasted time.  Granted, I’m glad that we don’t just have to hope for the best when we go through intersections.  I’m grateful for the order that it provides.

On the other hand, when I don’t know where I’m going and Pearl is giving me directions, I’m grateful for the red lights.  It’s time to catch my bearings, read the street signs, make sure I’m not going onto a one-way the wrong way or something.  It’s time to pause.

I sometimes forget that the forced pauses – the red lights – are good.  That when I can’t do my homework because it’s at home and I got stuck somewhere else with time on my hands, it’s okay.  There must be something I need to think about or pray about.  Or maybe I just need time to sit and think by myself.  I’m such a champion of efficiency when I have a to-do list (except if cleaning my room is on the to-do list… then that’s an exception) that any unplanned break is an annoyance.  It’s a wrench in my plan that was going to help me get my homework all done by the time Bones came on.  It was going to enable me to go to bed at 9:00.  Whatever the lost benefit, it must have been something I didn’t really need.  Maybe I just needed that moment of peace.  Time to take a deep breath and remember that I wasn’t meant to hold my anxiety in.  I wasn’t meant to function on my own.  I wasn’t meant to bear burdens that I have no idea how to handle.

Or maybe it’s raining outside, and I just need to open the windows and let in the fresh, wet smell of renewal.

Ah, renewal.


How to get blueberry stains out of car upholstery.

My most sincere apologies to those of you who waited around for a post about pie on Wednesday.  I wanted to post it, but each day I tried to, there was so little time at home, and none of that was intended for blogging.

So the whole thing started with pre-made crust, something I would normally not do, but since I had actual calculus homework and a test the next day – this was just an extra nerdy part of calculus, not graded… – I forwent the homemade crust.

But I did make the filling from scratch, using lovely frozen blueberries.

And made the top look pretty by weaving the crust strips.  (My mom likes to remind me of how I used to call them “dough straps” when I was younger and would watch her make pies.)

Then I sprinkled a little Cinnamon Sugar on it from Penzey’s (nothing less than the very best in the organic spice world) and put the beauty in the oven.

We celebrated pi day quite well.
Minus the fact that the blueberry pie threw up on the seat of my car on the way to school. So, after I gave it a good four days to seep in, I grabbed my Spot Bot, and we went to clean Audrey.
It worked.
So now it’s just a beautiful day, one where there is hope for me to abandon the paleness of my skin.
That’s what you’re supposed to do in spring break, right? It doesn’t matter than I’m not in Mexico, Hawaii, or Italy. I can change my skin pigment right here at home. Slowly but surely, with this strangely warm and beautiful weather, I will use these weak northern rays of sun to my advantage.
Ah. The smell of spring. The feeling of sunshine on my arms and legs so long shrouded by layers of fabric. No more. It’s time to smell the flowers even though they make me sneeze because the simple action is a time to pause and breathe in something wonderful. To renew.
That will be my theme this spring break, renewing. Breathing deeply, enjoying the little things, spending time with my sister, reading my Bible, and getting filled up.
Recharging batteries. And I guess ill be productive on the side. Like cleaning Audrey. I guess cleaning fits in with the theme of renewal. Getting stains out of my life, getting clothes up off the floor, doing laundry, taking a deep breath, and making things as good as new.
The whole week is ahead of me. Here. We. Go.

Your typical spring/new beginnings post. or maybe not.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

frozen for so long,

ice and snow explodes

into a river,

flowing down my street.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

picking up debris

as it flows.

not a clean melt.

it wets my feet.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

like an awakening

bursting out of deadness

into new life

with a new beat.

the pulse goes drip, drip, drip.

After weeks of cold, winter winds, icy coatings on my windshield every morning, and surprise snow showers, things are melting.  Granted, tomorrow it’s supposed to snow again, but today is beautiful.  This is what March is supposed to feel like – 55 degrees is perfect.  I’ll take that any spring day.

I probably think about this every spring, along with 80,000 other thoughtful people in America who happen to like to write, but it’s still worth remembering: spring is a time for new beginnings.  Winter is the time of hibernation, deadness, less sunlight, and much less warmth, but spring is a wakeup call.  She says: Wake up! Feel again.  Clean out your heart and life and closet.  Feel the sun on your face, and don’t hide when the light exposes your failures.  Begin fresh again, even though you tried to do that on January 1st.  Such a pleasant lady, that Spring.

I watched the water run through the gutters as I went for a run today.  (It’s so interesting to me that there are SO many parallels to life and emotion in nature.)  The water was coming out of these huge piles of snow and running through the gutters, picking up all the silt, sand, salt, and dirt that accumulated there over the winter.  It’s not like it escaped the frozen life for a pleasure trip down the street.  There was certainly some yucky stuff in there, things I’m sure I don’t want to have delineated for me.  Isn’t like renewal in our lives?  We come out of darkness, being frozen to emotion or God, and we don’t immediately find a nice little pond surrounding by flowers where we can rest, right?  We have to push through the dirt that accumulated while we held off God’s spring cleaning or while we shut out all feeling so we could be safe.

Renewal isn’t pretty or easy, with all the things we have to get past in order to get there, but the end result is gorgeous…  if we can manage the upkeep.

Thank you, Jesus, for the bright sunlight and that there isn’t any need for a winter coat today.

Ahh.  Lovely.