but freedom comes on may 31st…the day my costco membership i used for work expires!!

(choirs of angels sing)

no longer will i have to face the temptation to buy this every time i go in there:


actually, they have the whole show boxed set, not just season one…and i look at it longingly every time i go.  too much, too much!!!

it takes a special artist to create things for children that tug at the heart strings of adults too.  i wonder how jim henson did it and i think he just honestly saw so much dignity in even the littlest lives and worked really hard to get people to believe it was in them.  not a bad gig, huh!?  so beautiful and silly and fun and true all at once!

this is probably my all-time, most favoritest.  i needed to hear it today, maybe you do too.

It’s not that easy being green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold…
or something much more colorful like that.

It’s not easy being green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ord’nary things.
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re
not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
or stars in the sky.

But green’s the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain,
or tall like a tree.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why?
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful!
And I think it’s what I want to be.

-jim henson-


broadcast delay


i have a delay.

it has up-sides, for ince, kitchen fires:

  • in college, while pulling something out of the oven, my oven mit caught on fire.  i calmly announced “my oven mit is on fire” while i held out my hand, fingers aflame, walked through the living room and out to the Berkeley Place concrete porch where i could stomp it out.
  • a few months ago while sitting in my living room reading, my roommate D calls out from the kitchen, “we have a small fire.  and it’s ok.  do you have an extinguisher?”  i call back, “yes, it’s under the sink, but just try keeping the oven closed.”  i finish the page i’m on and walk into the, now fire-less, kitchen.  then we have a good laugh because we realize how eerily calm we both were and wonder if it may be less than safe to have two of us quasi-stoics under the same roof.

so, basically:  if you get in a car accident, fall off a horse or become lost in the woods, i’m the gal you want with you.  i can count the times i’ve truly been scared to the point of not thinking clearly on one hand.  and it was terrifying to feel that way.  (i.e. clicking up the hill of my first roller coaster ride on the scream machine at six flags.  begging to get off, my dad calmly reminding me that it was too late for that.).

blessing as it may appear, there is always the other side of the coin.  if i go on a trip, though i know what i experienced, it may be weeks or months before i feel what i experienced.  and explain it?  certainly a few weeks or months more.  so back off, i’ll post pictures and tell you about it when i’m good and ready :)

or i may not miss you for months after you’re gone, so i certainly won’t tell you that i anticipate missing you.

it blew my mind when i told a friend about my moving to england and, with misty eyes, her instant response was telling me she would miss me.  i completely believed her.  i felt so loved, even though i totally fumbled the response.  by fumbled, i mean i basically sat there with my jaw open, marveling at her ability to communicate emotion instantly.  (note:  find friends like her to have in your life!)  in my head/heart struggle, my head naturally overpowers my heart.  it’s just the way i was made.

we see this idea of head/heart and the outworking of love, related to loving God in Matthew, Mark and Luke.  i don’t think it’s a coincidence that in all of those accounts, the first vehicle for loving that’s listed is heartmind always comes later.

as most of my life thus far was spent exercising my thinking muscles,  i now find myself in a season of exercising my atrophied feeling muscles.   sometimes (ok, most of the time) it feels like too much.  like i’m clicking up that roller coaster again, looking for a way to get off.  but again, it’s too late…thankfully!

my training aids?  the trifecta:  poetry, music and art.

take something like Easter week, for example.  i know the events of palm sunday, passover, good friday, resurrection.  at one time, knowing was enough for me.  now i want to know and feel the events.  no longer am i content with head knowledge versus heart knowledge.  we all need both.

here is some good stuff i enjoyed around Easter:

“death be not proud” by john donne:

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

“between worlds” by hyatt moore:

and it’s no coincidence i’m just getting around to sharing this with you…a full two-ish months after easter.

baby steps.

Oh the girls all dance with the boys from the city
And they don’t care to dance with me
Now it ain’t my fault that the fields are muddy
And the red clay stains my feet
And it’s under my nails
And it’s under my collar
And it shows on Sunday clothes
I’ll do my best with the soap and water
But the damned old dirt won’t go
But when I pass through the pearly gates
Will my gown be gold instead?
Or just a red clay robe
With red clay wings
And a red clay halo for my head?

-Gillian Welch-

Location:  Appalachain Trail, Section 23, the Roan Highlands

early in may, i headed out on the AT with some amazing women.  we planned the trip months in advance, as several of us will drift off in different directions with the quickly approaching summer…

any given minute, i’m both a wild dreamer and a cynnical realist.  so, sometimes when i plan something so far in advance, the build up and anticipation leads to disappointment in reality…

not this time.

it was amazing:

we hiked in friday night, smellin good and lookin pretty, and tent camped at the apple house shelter.



amazing woman #1:  jane, on the trail at hump mountain.  jane is a friend of ktjo’s, so this is the first time i got to meet her.  from one weekend, i know she is a strong, yet gentle and cheerful lady.  she asks great questions.  she’s a counselor and i admire her ability to listen and care for students during the most stressful time of their lives.  plus, she has “miss” at the start of her email too, so she’s mad cool off the bat!


saturday morning our hike started quick and steep, gaining 2k ft in the first mile.  one way to get the heart rate up in the AM!  we arrived at the top and were greeted by the mayor of hump mountain:



amazing woman #2: julie, with the view from the bald of hump mountain.  julie is a caring listener; she has the gift of making you comfortable the moment you walk in her home.  she is my number one partner in crime when it comes to whimsical adventure:  buying plane and concert tickets or an impromptu pajama wearing, documentary viewing.  equally valuable in my repertiore!


after hump mountain came little hump, and then the balds.  it was a cold, whipping wind and rain… but we were walking along, our only task for the day, silently in the clouds.  honestly, for me, it doesn’t get much better…




a few more climbs and the sun came out.  we had the first view of our destination: (the aptly named little white roof in the distance) overmountain shelter.

apparently there is some good eatin’ up in the mountains because we saw (several) of the largest worms i have ever seen in my life!


life at overmountain shelter:



our loft:


well deserved afternoon tea:


yummy camp food:


nutella smores!  (ok, aside here to single guys:  you can’t bring your cute chick-magnet dogs on this portion of the trail, sorry.  however, you can do the following:  quit your job, begin life as a thru hiker, meet up with your 10ish year old nephew at the stop previous to join you for a few days and have him bring homemade brownies, smore supplies, chili, etc. to the shelter.  you will be an instant lady killer and every other thru-hiker’s hero of the day.  and no, we wouldn’t have accepted “special, homemade brownies” on the trail from anyone over the age of 15.)



we met a lot of thru hikers and heard bits of their stories.  oddly to me, the AT shelters recreate their own kind of high school cafeteria segregation.  i observed two groups of people:  the silent-serious-snobby and the contemplative-candid-calm.  most of the young twenty-somethings fell into the first group (note to my generation:  i’m disappointed in you).  so, we gladly hung out with the old timers.  they were worn and wise.  one man seventy year old man had already walked the entire trail in segments over his life, so he just decided he’d start again.  every year he comes out and does a couple of weeks.   hmm… tempting thought.


amazing woman #3:  ktjo, with the view of the valley from the shelter.  i love that ktjo is incredibly introspective and also wide open.  she is free spirited yet grounded.  she is one of the most wildly peaceful people i’ve ever met.  she’s shown me it’s possible to be both.  she shares her thoughts of the weekend here.


we slept in the shelter with a few mouse friends and about 20 other hikers.  we hiked out the next day in the rain, over another bald and ended through a high country pine forest.  the smell of the heavy wet pine flirted with the air, but it was too early in the spring to reveal its full power.  i knew we were nearing the end because the trail turned to gravel…

i’d walked in the back most of the trip, and it was no different now.  we got to where we could see the car at carver’s gap, my heart dulled and i just stopped walking.

i called out to ktjo in front of me, “you guys go ahead, i’m just going to turn around now.”  and i was more than half serious.

backpacking is funny like that… all day, my only task is to walk.  very simple.  and the end reward is reaching the destination, setting down the pack and getting a hot meal.  inevitably though, when i finally get to the end of the trail, i just want to turn around…

i think heaven will be just that, the turning around and getting to go back.

over and over and over again.

and in that case, a red clay halo and wings will suit me just fine!

best buy has some solid indie music on sale right now for $7.99.  this is right at my goal price at used CD stores, so this week i’ve twice withstood the sensory overload and big blue box nightmare that is the mega store… in the name of good tunes i can finally check off my list:

oh the fun didn’t stop there….

but the following scavenger hunt into musical geekdom is for those who also own the fleet foxes album.

go get your album, re-read the cd sleeve (yes, “re” because you should’ve already read it once, you true music fan you!).

now, i wrote the following in 2005:

i am pretty sure my first memory is going to get slush puppies at the gas station with my grandfather, codge, in his really big car. i know it is a true memory because there aren’t any pictures of it. you know, sometimes i think we remember things but i wonder if it’s just because we’ve seen pictures. i am confident this particular memory is real because there are no pictures of it…”

and, it keeps going, with lots of other non-photoed memories…

am i not completely destined to love this album?

sometimes music is just too good to me.

don’t get me wrong, i love south carolina.  i called it home for 1/7 th of my life to date.  but i just don’t know what to make of it sometimes….

statistics from a day at Landsford Canal State Park, where tillman and i left our cares forgotten among the thousands of blooming spider lilies which only appear for a few weeks each spring.  no prose today, just some observations from the great state of south carolina.  conclude from them what you may:

  • number of miles i had to drive to find a gas station once my gas light came on as i exited the interstate:  16
  • number of gas stations i found: 1
  • number of gas stations with “pay at the pump”:  0
  • number of semi-automatic rifles in really fancy cases i saw being viewed inside said gas station:  1
  • number of times google maps did me wrong trying to get to the park:  2
  • time spent at the park:   120 minutes
  • time it rained at the park:  110 minutes
  • number of other people also viewing the lilies:  approx 70
  • number of people running to get out of the pouring rain:  0
  • number of people with european accents (german, irish, you name it):  7
  • number of people who ogled at tillman with eyes or words:  approx 60
  • number of ogglers who were grandmothers with rain caps and said “oh my word!  what a cah-ute puppy dawg”: 4
  • number of people who said “well now, your dog is bigger than you!  hardy, har, har.”: 4*

(*this grand total is now up to about 57.  every person thinks they are the first one to point it out.  i used to be able to say, “actually, i still outweigh him.”… until march when tman hit triple digits.  i’m drinking shakes and pumping iron to try to catch back up.)

  • number of spider lilies:  thousands.

“…I went out from myself,
leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.”

John of the Cross

google maps = wrong.





I wanna dance the tango with chance
I wanna ride on the wire
Cause nothing gets done with dust in your gun
And nobody respects a liar
So goodbye for a while
I’m off to explore every boundary and every door
Yeah I’m going north.

as a reward for quitting my job and surviving the year that was 2008, i treated myself on a trip to clear my head in a new state: colorado!

it was amazing.  i could ramble on about my experience, but lucky you, i always choose a theme song (or entire soundtrack) for my trips.  and my years.  and my days.  and i take lots of pictures.  so those two together will say everything i wanted to, and probably better.

i haven’t yet decided if i want to give wordpress money to let me post mp3s, so for now, you can listen to the song  going north by missy higgins:

while these tell the rest of the story:

salida, coIMG_3909

san isabelsan isabel


IMG_3973IMG_3955waterdog lakes trailsummit at waterdog lakes (12k)IMG_4178IMG_4182


IMG_4260red rocks


3 hours before plane ride home.

people are strange


volume 1, issue 1

venue:  test taking

people are strange.  i see it all the time.

my friend, luke, recently hypothesized i might be a magnet for this strangeness, as it always seems to happen to me.

to that, i say: no, no!  it happens to and around all of you too.  i think i just notice it because i’m more likely to be watching, observing than i am talking both when alone or in a social setting. …and now i sound creepy.  but i promise it’s not, i’m just taking it all in.  observing.  analyzing.  introvertizing.  or as my neighbor g says, “i am just always lookin’.  i just look.  and i say, huh?”

onward and upward.

people are strange.  today’s venue:  a final exam.

it is amazing the quirks that come out in a silent room when the pressure is on. today’s strang-er:  a test taking lad.

he sets out blank paper, pen, waterbottle, pen, pencil, extra pen, pack of gum.  removes three pieces of gum (stick gum), sets them to the right of the paper, puts gum pack to the left of paper.  goes up, gets his exam.  sits down.  (right now i am watching the gum, positively dying to see what his next move is.  his black and white modified houndstooth polo shirt tipped me off he might provide some entertainment). the play by play:

unwraps one stick, puts it in his mouth.  crinkles wrapper, places to left.  unwraps second stick, puts in mouth, wrapper discarded to left.  (surely, he’s not going to go for…) unwrap third stick, in mouth!  discard.  begin exam.  THREE sticks of gum.  really?  really?  plus, the entire pack there just in case.   and i know you’re justifying, but no, it wasn’t even juicy fruit which runs out of flavor in 23 seconds.  it was extra.  and was going to stay minty a while.


i mean, doesn’t everyone rip one stick in half and place the other half back in the gum package for later just like me?

one of the best things about being out of the college bubble (i say that like it was yesterday, even though it’s been 6 years…)  is getting to spend time with families and their kiddos.

well, my dear friend sam turns the big 0-2 today!

top 7 things i love about sam:

7.  he lets me come over and build a snowman with him on snowdays.sam & me on snow day

6.  his mom and dad are amazing and some of my favorite people on the planet to spend time with.  they are missionaries waiting in the gates to go to prague.  please read about their calling and consider supporting them.

5.  he LOVES to read books and provides awesome sound effects.

4.  he surprised me at work with flowers (in a mason jar!) on valentine’s day…two years in a row!sam the valentine

3.  he makes me homemade birthday cards.  (yeah, he’s setting the bar pretty high.)

2.  he learned how to say my name:  “ja-da-da”

1.  he has the uncanny ability to make everything cute, even a georgia bulldog hat.

sam go dawgs

happy birthday, sam!!!  see you soon!!!

(and i happen to know sam loves the pew-de-de (computer), so i hope he gets to see this).

(or installment #1 of:

america, here is why you should get out of your car and walk, because you’re missing treasures like this)

on my walk to church this summer, i knew i’d get to enjoy this:


but had no idea about these:


blackberries!!  and from what i can tell, they belong to no one.  D rightly pointed out that they probably belong to someone, but my argument is an odd, overgrown triangular sliver of land between a sidewalk and a gravel access road most likely belongs to no one or the city government.  therefore, it’s actually no one or everyone (who pays taxes).  which equals me until somebody stops me.


now accepting your favorite cobbler recipes.

tillman just threw up his dinner.  as i peer over to inspect contents before cleaning up (like any good mom), i think “are those feathers?  and a beak?  ugh… and i think that’s the eye.”  confirmed:  another baby bird bites the dust.

it’s springtime here on woodside and the street name rings true as the trees are in full splendor, limbs straddling each side of the avenue.  even my sickly fifty year old oak in the back yard is bustling with vicarious life;  most mornings i sit at the kitchen window, watching all the animals come and go amongst its juxtaposed leafy and barren limbs.  with all of its temporary residences, squabbles and mixed up love affairs, this tree is the melrose place of my backyard.  ok, not just of my backyard, my entire yard.  including the house.    i may or may not have names for the animals that live there… but i shall save that for another day…

this aviary provides countless hours of entertainment for our dogs.  in the winter, the leafless limbs allow them to watch as the nests are built.  in the spring, the chirping, and the hunt, begins.  ferocious hunters that they are, their prey are the baby birds which are shoved from their nest too soon.  several times this week, i’ve watched them take off across the yard and gulp down one of these little fellas the instant they hit the ground.  one of those times, tillman actually tried to get into the house with one still in his mouth.  i saw him pick it up and run towards me so i knew it was in there.  short of having a foot or feather hanging out of his mouth, dude was guilty.  we battled it out on the step for a minute until he finally “dropped it”.  then he picked it right back up and looked at me.  i shut the door in his face until he decided he wanted to come in the house enough to “leave it” outside.  i win.  obviously the bird he caught today, which i am now wiping up, made it farther down the esophagus.

cleaning up this dog barf is the low point of my day.  right now i’m supposed to be at a free outdoor concert.  i love all three of those nouns, but combine them?  it is against everything in me to miss it.  alas, i am tired.  that “my brain is all swimmy in my head tired”.  and i have 2/3 of a paper to write tomorrow.  of course i procrasitnated.  so i’ve hunkered down for the night, committed to going to bed by sundown.

as i take out the pukey-monster trash, i pass by my little garden.  on march 7th i started 12 seedlings each of:  roma tomatoes, basil, cilantro, peppers, broccoli and lavender.  i had medium to great success with all of them, except the lavender.

i knew when i  planted it it the lavender was a luxury.  it was purely for my enjoyment.  i love lavender.  shower gel:  lavender.  lotion:  lavender.  drawer sachets:  lavender.  dryer sheets: lavender.  i discovered it my freshman year of college, when the girl next door to me had a lavender eye pillow.  i remember we would stay up late in her room analyzing bob dylan albums and audrey hepburn movies.  i’d sit in her papasan chair with her lavender pillow.  we laughed, we cried.  it turned out later that she was a little bit crazy… still, good times.  come to find out, my nanny (grandmother) also loves lavender.  so, maybe it’s genetic and i was always meant to love it.

now these little seedlings.  i started them before the danger of frost was over.  so, they were wrapped in plastic, carted out of the house for warm sunshine and in during cold rain.  it was so exciting to see their little sprouts pop up one by one by one.  except the lavender.  for weeks this went on.  i had 95% germination rate with everything but the lavender.  so, i rechecked the seed packet and found it had a germination time of up to 28 days.  so, i keep caring for them… water, sun, protection until i transplanted the rest of my seedlings to their permanent home.  this was two weeks ago, a full 68 days since planting.  i discarded all 12 lifeless lavender pods into the compost rubble of remains.  disappointed, but comforted by the fact they weren’t providing any food anyway.  they were my splurge.  a bonus.  my neighbor has a huge lavender plant that hangs over my driveway, i can just cut some of hers when i’d like to.  thankful for what i have.  moving on.

so, as i’m taking out the trash tonight, a little green sprout in this heap of remains catches my eye:

there he is:

a lavender seedling.

toppled over, shoved askew and growing strong.  and not just one… but at least 4 others in the heap.

i cared so much for these silly little things.  why in the world would they only grow once discarded in a rubbage pile?  why the moment i tossed them aside, neglect them, give up did they finally decide they were ready to greet me? why was i still letting that bin of dirt sit in my driveway- why hadn’t i thrown it away?  and if i was really “ok” with them not sprouting, why in the world am i teary eyed now?