Snow road rage


It was Sunday morning, and it had been snowing all night. When I drove home from my sister’s the evening before, it had been snowing for hours and the roads were already hazardous.

So you can understand why an unbridled rage came over me as I approached the highway on Sunday morning, in Minnesota where it snows in the winter, and the highway hadn’t been plowed.

Not at all.

(I say “not at all” and mean that there was no evidence of any plowing. The road roughly resembled a plate of mashed potatoes. I have no proof other than my word.)

So here I am, in my lightweight little fishtailer of a car, trying to get to church, cursing myself for moving more than five minutes away, cursing MnDOT for not plowing (they have 1 JOB in the winter. 1 JOB), and cursing the universe that I got up earlier than normal, left my apartment earlier than normal, and I still wasn’t going to make it to the choir warm-up. I was driving safely, with the caution that would get me there alive. But none of it would pay off in the ways I wanted it to, the way I’m planned it.

I do not kid you with the words “unbridled rage.” If you know me very well, you can probably picture that. If you do not, you may not be able to imagine the growling.

I tried to calm down. I brought Jesus into it. “Jesus, be a snowplow,” I said, as another truck with 4-Wheel Drive zoomed past me without any caution at all. Jesus was not a snowplow in that moment.

Oh, yes, another object of my rage: people who drive like there is no snow and tail you for going 40 because if you go any faster (and believe me, I’ve tried), you will spin out and die.

There was a lot of rage. It wasn’t really a great start for a Sunday morning. Headed to worship with these wonderful sentiments on my lips, “STAY BACK. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. WHERE ARE THE DARN PLOWS?”

Winter is a good time for me to remember how little is in my control. That I can’t make the traffic behave. I can’t get the highways plowed. Sometimes, even allowing way more than enough time… isn’t actually enough. I can’t control other people’s driving (OH THAT I COULD). I can’t control the temperatures or when the wind blows and how cold it is when it does blow. I can’t make my car heat up any faster than it does. I cannot stop it from snowing when I have to drive somewhere.

Will winter teach me to be laid back? Will she show me the insanity of my ways, always thinking that I can fix things?

Possibly.

Most likely not.

I think I might just try to drive in snow less.

s”NO”w day


I lay in bed this morning, watched my roommate take a picture of the snow out the window, and went back to sleep without fully realizing that there was snow – both on the ground and more coming down.

My instant response to inclement weather out of its proper season shouldn’t be to pull my covers tighter around me and decide firmly that I’m not leaving my apartment. (Well, maybe some inclement weather could warrant this. Floods, for example, or an inordinate amount of snow)

I reasoned through what would be required of me if I were to, say, work out as I usually do on Monday mornings. That would require getting out of bed, putting on workout clothes instead of my flannel pajamas, walking through the snow across the street, and actually doing the work of working out. Then I’d need to shower. Gosh, life can be so demanding.

I told myself I was going to stay home and do work and not do anything else. I was going to skip classes and study for my comprehensive exam and write. Drink as much coffee as I wanted to, gosh darn it!

But I remembered that living requires participation. Taking days off is good, but not because it might get my feet wet or make me shiver.

I’m embracing the day, not because I like what’s going on or because I’m enjoying the many inches of wet, sloppy snow that were dumped on me today or because I like feeling busier than the common drone in the hive, but because this is my life. This is where I’m living right now: in a busy season, a season that isn’t spring yet but should be, and without hope that the busyness will let up before the semester ends. This is where I am.

I may go on a few junk food rampages, may have some lapses of willpower to do what is needed at the right time, may throw multiple fits about the snow, but it’s time to live in the here and now.

Snowy day.


It’s one of those days where everyone walks around with their hoods up (if they are so fortunate as to have one) and their faces facing down, away from the pelting, abnormally piercing snowflakes that are flying sideways today.  It’s one of those days where most people are inside.  Actually, unless you’re one of those people unfortunate enough to be in the pelting snowflakes, you are most definitely inside.

You’re probably praying that your shift at work will be cancelled tonight, too.

Maybe you’re also trying to convince yourself that when you say, “DANG, it’s cold outside,” it’s not really complaining.  And yes, the snowflakes ARE piercing.

There’s a pretty fine line between complaining and stating the facts, but I think there’s a place for both.  In my estimation, complaining includes a little bit of a whiny tone.  You may look a little wistful or disgusted.  Or perhaps you rant for a bit.  Rants are always complaining.

Then there are comments, often said in a surprised tone: “Look, the snow is coming down really hard on that car outside.  I bet it will be unpleasant when we leave this warm building.”  Or in a resigned tone, “Well, I need to go brave the snow now.”

Today it’s cold outside, but it’s warm in the library.  I have a paper to write, but I’d rather write that than be forced to stand outside for more then half an hour while the snow continues to pester the world.

Oh Jesus, if you just wanted to bring spring…  Not that I’m complaining.  Winter kills the bugs.

 

Not about salsa.


You know you have “cold-brain” when you catch yourself about to post about how people are just like salsa.  I almost did that last night.  It was one of those posts that seemed a little hair-brained when I composed it, and since it was about midnight when I was ready to hit the publish button, I decided to wait until morning and re-think it.

Needless to say, we’re not going to talk about how people are like salsa today.  Or about how I wish that the common cold wasn’t so common for me.  (I think I get it in every season of the year, at least once.)

No, instead let’s talk about how to make the most of the rest of winter break.  I’ll be honest, it puts a knot in my stomach to think that I only have a week and a half left at home.  It’s not that I haven’t gotten to spend quality time with my friends and family here, not that I need more time to see people, but it’s comfortable at home.  It’s quiet here, I choose my responsibilities, I’ve gotten to cook more and with a fully stocked kitchen, and I have a car at my disposal most of the time.

Not to mention that it snows here, like God bought the entire supply of glitter at Michael’s and emptied it on my neighborhood.

One of my coping strategies in times of anxiety is to make lists.  In this case, the list will be of things I want to accomplish before I leave.  Then I’ll make another of things I want to bring back with me.  And another of things to do in my first week of being back.  And even though I know that making a list doesn’t guarantee that the desired task will get done, I at least can’t worry about forgetting it.  And part of my resolution for 2013 is to worry less.

And also to learn to live on a budget better…  But that’s a topic for another day – when I’ve actually created the budget.

So, with that, I’ll make my lists.  I’ll put all the ideas that float around in my brain, nagging me and entreating me to not forget anything, and I’ll trap them on paper.  Then they can’t get away from me (unless I lose the paper…)

Productivity and lessened anxiety awaits.  Happy Thursday, folks.

 

 

Waiting to be home.


image

This is my view today. It’s raining, so my baggy, men’s flannel pants are more than appropriate. There’s a bookcase to my left, and boxes and suitcases and lamps and bicycles all around.
This is moving day.
The three of us barely fit in here. On top of that, our conversation has to be squeezed into all the nooks and crannies of the vehicle. Gun control is under the driver’s seat, gender roles are in the glove compartment, injustice is on top of the bookcase, and comic relief is in my backpack.
We’re waiting for the car to take us to a place where there’s snow, and it feels like Christmas. We’re waiting for a world where love is the reigning news story. We’re waiting to be home.
Home in the sense of the place where our souls belong. Home, as in the place where there is no fear, and God lives in the middle of everything that goes on.
We’ll just say we have a long ways to go, but hope is not lost.

The best kind of ridiculous.


Two things before we talk about how weird this one little phrase is:

1. It’s raining in Chicago, not snowing, and this is making a trip to MN – where there is snow aplenty – even more attractive.

2. Thank you to all you wonderful people who read this.  And share it.  I’m amazed to say that Journey to Who I Want to be will probably hit 10,000 views in the next couple days!  Thanks for journeying with me… and Jesus, because He travels with me, as you know.

Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous than these two words, combined together: Newborn king.  It’s okay, we can say it’s ridiculous, even though it refers to Jesus.  I think He did that on purpose, flipping the order of the way things normally go on its head when He came to earth. It wasn’t just a trip to see how things were down here, you know.  Looks good, guys, I’m going back to Heaven now.

But, for real, isn’t that WEIRD? Newborn king.  Jesus was king FROM BIRTH.

As a little baby lying in a feeding trough, Jesus was beginning His reign.  From the very start, He was initiating the coming of the kingdom of God.  I find that wonderfully absurd.  I bet Herod can’t say he was king from birth, even if he was next in line for the throne.  He wasn’t ON the throne from birth.  No baby is capable of that.

Well, no baby except the Son of God.

The choir at my church was singing about that this morning.  “Hark!  The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn king, peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.'”

All from a baby.  Which makes little sense – even when you’ve grown up seeing little nativity scenes your whole life and known that the little baby is God (because He has a halo) – because babies aren’t kings.  Jesus’ mission of peace on earth, mercy mild, and reconciling God and sinners started from birth.

Isn’t is amazing how God keeps doing things exactly the opposite of how we’d expect him to?  Many of the Jewish people expected a man (not a baby boy) to come to conquer the Romans by force or by might.  We wouldn’t expect the God who created all things and directs the angel armies to be born of a common, teenage girl in a stable (yucky place).  And we certainly wouldn’t expect Him to humble Himself to the point of a death as a criminal.

It’s all ridiculous.  The best kind of ridiculous that there is.

Snow and peppermint patties.


Well, there isn’t any snow on the ground here, but it’s snowing on WordPress.  It doesn’t make it all better, but it does help a bit.

My parents just bought me a peppermint patty latte at Beijo and drove off to Minnesota.  Note to self: goodbyes are easier with tasty coffee in hand and a reunion in sight.

I’m really horrible at goodbyes.  Maybe you can relate to this: accidentally saying goodbye to someone too early then seeing them again and not knowing whether you should re-goodbye or just count the first one.  Or maybe you’re like me in that the goodbye never ends.

Okay, well I need to get going.

Yeah, me too.

Have a great time with your grandma this weekend.

Oh, yeah, thanks… you too.  Oh I mean, not with your grandma, but have a good weekend…  I mean…

*awkward laugh* yeah, I know what you mean.  Thanks.

*both start walking away.* *lots of awkward laughter and smiles*

I’ll see you later.

Oh, yeah see ya.

Or I’ll text you.

yeah, that works too.

It takes FOREVER to say goodbye.  And if you start too early – before you can actually walk away from the person – then you have to keep going.  Or maybe you say goodbye to someone as though you won’t see them or even have contact with them for months, but then you talk to them again the next day on the phone.

Goodbyes are just awkward sometimes.  But when it’s your parents, and you know you’ll see them in two weeks, the awkwardness isn’t an issue.

I’m going to work on making goodbyes less awkward. It’s a worthy endeavor for a Monday.

unofficial winter.


Remember when we talked about how darn confusing weather is?  How I thought I was all ready for cold weather but then it got warm again?  Well, the weather decided to take a turn for the cold and windy and cloudy on Thanksgiving night. It’s seeming permanent now.  So, promptly at 6:00 at the next morning, my dad and I headed out to shop for a big, puffy, long, warm coat that will help me to weather the winter.  (and a few other things along the way.  I’m proud to say that I saved much much more than I spent and did not trample anyone in an attempt to buy more things)

It may be incredibly narcissistic of me to assume that you’re interested in my coat, but I’m going to show it to you anyways.This coat is not only long enough to keep the tops of my legs warm, but the hood actually fits over my head.  That may be normal for you, but as a gal with a resemblance to a giraffe, it’s rare for me.

So, there you have it, my official declaration that I am ready to brave the winter’s cold.  I’m decked out.  Add a pair of socks, a scarf, and some pink mittens, and you have the full package.  I’m determined to figure out exactly why winter exists this year.  What benefit could there possibly be from having 5 months of snow, ice, bitterly cold winds, and people getting sick from being inside with all the germs too much?  Maybe nothing, maybe something.

So far, all I can think up are:

1. drinking more hot beverages.

2. Christmas happens during winter

3. snow looks pretty when it flutters down (notice the word “flutters”… I don’t think it is very pretty when it blows all over the place and blizzards to the ground)

4. more appreciation for spring, summer, and fall

5. appreciation for heat

6. ice skating on real bodies of water

We’ll add to that list, hopefully. Welcome to the unofficial start of winter, folks.

 

The annual Thanksgiving extravaganza post.


8:59am

I’m celebrating my second Thanksgiving of blogging – currently from the comfort of my very own bed.

Last year, I kept a running commentary of everything that went down on Thanksgiving day and posted it at the end of the day, with pictures of course.  If you want to re-live (or read it for the first time) the joy of that day, be my guest.

Eventually I’ll get out of bed so that there are more exciting things to share with you.

11:40am

I kept my promise and got out of bed.  And, let me tell you, it was worth it!  It’s my daddy’s 50th birthday today, he made pancakes (it seems backwards, but he enjoys making breakfast.), and Brooke and I gave him a subscription to a really neat gift-of-the-month club.  They’ll send him a box full of fun, gourmet snacks every month for the next three months, AND with every box they give him, they’ll donate a meal to a child in need – in MN they give them through Second Harvest Heartland.  (Interested in giving that? Got a foodie philanthropist in your life? check it out here)

At breakfast there was more catching up, which was great, but – more importantly- there was BUTTER.

there were pancakes. and, as always, my daddy put chocolate chips in some, just for me.

that’s real butter. so good. sooo good.

Since breakfast ended, I’ve been continuing to take advantage of the free laundry offered at this Bed & Breakfast (I like that… I might start referring to this place as the Home B&B. we’ll see if it catches on), rollerblading around the neighborhood, running into neighbors who stop their cars to graciously chat with me for a few minutes – until more cars come, and breathing in deeply the aroma of home.

It’s nice to be here.

Next up: shower, another cup of coffee, and getting ready to go to Stella’s for the food extravaganza of the year!

1:11pm

As my blood sugar got low, I caved and warmed up leftover macaroni.

No regrets here.  I’ll be just as hungry as I was a few minutes ago in about 30 minutes.  Yay for metabolisms.

1:42pm

If my dad is ready, we’ll be leaving in about 3 minutes, with 6 or so dishes of food in tow.  Most likely that won’t happen since my dad is notorious for not being ready to go on time.  But, since it’s his birthday, we don’t give him grief for it.

7:36pm

Garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, whole wheat rolls, quinoa salad, pumpkin pie, meringue cake, and turtle cake (no turkey for the only vegetarian at the table).  Now you know how I spent the last 6 hours.  Just add one of my favorite families, great conversation, and a snowstorm, and you have the whole afternoon.

I’m so thankful for those traditions that stick around year after year, like the garlic mashed potatoes and meringue cake and Thanksgiving with people who aren’t family by blood but are integrated  into our hearts like family.  Tradition is great in times of transition.  I’m thankful that my family includes food in every tradition, nearly.

Yet, along with the tradition, I’m thankful that my life isn’t stagnant.  I’m grateful that God is taking me places – literally and in my walk with Him and in my imagination – that are new and fulfilling.  I’m thankful for new friends, for the transitional experiences with them that build us together.  Transition seems key to growth, at least when I look back at my life.

Garlic is close to the top of the list, but I’ve got so many more meaningful things to be thankful for.  You’re one of them, since you’re taking the time to read this.  It’s nice to have companions on this journey.

Rejoice always; pray continually, giving thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Snowfall, sort of.


Couple things you need to know before I get going:

1. This is post number 302, which is a prompt to me to thank you so very much for reading.  Maybe you go way back to July 2011, when this puppy got going.  Or maybe you started reading yesterday.  Or maybe you’re in and out.  Either way, I’m glad you’re here, and I so appreciate you.

2. It snowed last night.

There aren’t any traces of snow left, as far as I can see out my dorm window.  Granted, I lifted up the shades like 6 inches to check.  But I’m guessing that it didn’t stick since the weather is now headed towards 40 degrees for today.  In six months, this will seem like shorts weather.  But right now it’s use-extra-lotion and don’t-forget-the-mittens weather.

Facebook was my indication that snow was happening last night.  Thank goodness for social media.  I was writing a paper after work, taking breaks to check facebook after each section (I’m a kinesthetic learner, apparently we need study breaks… also a social media junkie).  As soon as the first post indicated flurries, Kathryn and I dropped what we were doing and each clambered to our windows to see for ourselves.

It wasn’t much, and at first, we both tried to act like we were annoyed by it, but the little excited children inside of us won out.  I played Snowfall by the Manhattan Transfer, and we got back to our homework.

In that moment, I got a little bit more homesick. My favorite place to be when it’s snowing is either outside (but only if it’s not windy) in a place where there are some twinkle lights and hopefully somebody to enjoy the flakes with OR in my living room, with all the lights but the Christmas tree ones off.  The soundtrack is the same as the one I played for Kathryn and myself.  And there are likely smells leftover from cookie-baking earlier in the day.

Winter before Christmas is more bearable because of moments like these, little snows that make Christmas and a month to spend at home a little bit closer.  We’ll save talking about winter after Christmas until then.

Oh, snow.  It takes me home.