C'est La Vie

What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be. Lord knows we've learned the hard way all about healthy apathy. And I use these words pretty loosely. There's so much more to life than words..
I really think I'll be ok. They've taken their toll these latter days.
-- Over the Rhine, Latter Days


2001.04 2001.05 2001.06 2001.07 2001.08 2001.09 2001.10 2001.11 2001.12 2002.01 2002.02 2002.03 2002.04 2002.05 2002.06 2002.07 2002.08 2002.09 2002.10 2002.11 2002.12 2003.01 2003.02 2003.04 2003.05 2003.06 2003.07 2003.08 2003.09 2003.10 2003.11 2003.12 2004.01 2004.02 2004.03 2004.04 2004.05 2004.06 2004.07 2004.08 2004.09 2004.10 2004.11 2004.12 2005.01 2005.02 2005.03 2005.04 2005.05 2005.07 2005.10 2005.11 2006.02 2006.03 2006.04 2006.05 2006.07 2006.08 2006.09 2006.10 2006.11 2006.12 2007.01 2007.02 2007.03 2007.04 2007.05 2007.06 2007.07 2007.08 2007.09 2007.10 2007.11 2007.12 2008.01 2008.02 2008.03 2008.04 2008.05 2008.06 2008.07 2008.08 2008.09 2008.10 2008.11 2008.12 2009.01 2009.02 2009.03 2009.05 2009.07

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Contact Me

by email
change to proper format: pattyt81 at hotmail dot com
(I hate Spam)

By mail
(contact me for my new address)

Other Weblogs I enjoy
(In no particular order)

Katy Raymond


Recommended Readings

A Grief Observed

Wishful Thinking
Frederick Buechner

Divine Conspiracy
Dallas Willard (may never finish)

Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven
James Bryan Smith

Recommended Listening
(from my collection)

The Hymnal, Arkadelphia
Randall Goodgame

Land of the Living
Eric Peters

Laryngitis, Longing
Katy Bowser

Walk [EP], Carried Along, Clear to Venus, Love and Thunder, and live bootlegs
Andrew Peterson

In the Company of Angels
Caedmon's Call

Delusions of Grandeur
Fleming and John

The entire CD catalog
Eddie From Ohio

Bootlegs including Eddie From Ohio, Rich Mullins, David Wilcox, and Andrew Peterson

Things I love
(AKA: Ways to win my heart)
Music, gift certificates, ice cream, music, chocolate, meatballs, music, books, knowledge, music, good movies, music, animals, art supplies, music, cotton candy, fajitas, music, safety, music....

Things I wish I owned and could listen to or read
found at Relevantmagazine.com,
and at pastemusic.com, too

Friday, June 29, 2001

(i did actually use spell-check on that last post.)

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The swelling has gone down. The scraped part is starting to scab and look REALLY ugly, so it's a bit more noticeable. It's not nearly as stiff or painful as I thought it would be, which I'm very glad for.

I probably had some sorta dream about horseback riding gone bad last nite, but I don't remember any dreams I was having. This is good -- I don't like remembering bad dreams, because they somehow always end up quirking your conscious thoughts.

I have now driven with jr. highers in my car, which was my big hesitation when I first started driving this car. I would never want to put such precious creatures at risk -- riding with jr. highers makes me more responsible than with adults -- that is, if they get hurt, it would be worse than, say, a roommate or such. Not that I want my roommates or other adults to get hurt, nor myself .. but jr. highers would be worse. But this is a very good thing to have gotten over, as in just less than two short weeks, we'll be doing our jr. high camp here, which means that I'll be driving a car or van full of jr. high kids around -- if I knew which vehicle I'll be using, and it was going to be an automatic, I wouldn't really have much concern about it. But if I take this car, or another stick, it would have been nerve-racking had I not driven with jr. highers in the car previously.

At any rate, I am so very glad that God provided a car for me for the summer, along with the MANY other blessings -- financial, recreational, etc -- that He has provided for me recently.

And I will probably always remember the wonderful day of riding a horse through trails and whatnot that I had yesterday.

My arm will definitely always remember it.

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Thursday, June 28, 2001

As I sit here typing this, the elbow-part of my left forearm (that is, not my wrist or the 4 inches towards my elbow, but the rest of my forearm) is swollen to almost twice its normal size. At least a good one and a half its normal size, anyway.

I got to go horseback riding today, which was extremely exciting for me because it's not something I get to do very often anymore. Not that I ever did *very* often, but at least one week a summer I went to some form of horse camp, and throughout middle school and my freshman year of high school, I worked at a program called Horses and the Handicapped which was a theraputic riding program for handicapped children. One of the perks of that program was that during the summer camp, we "counselors" got to ride a little on Fridays. That helped to make the experience that much more enjoyable.

At any rate, I hadn't been riding in quite some time when I got on a horse last september, for one glorious evening of trotting and fun. That was the last time I'd been riding 'till today. So, the excitement was great.

I was riding a beautiful, massive Tennasee Walker gelding. His name is ebony. He has a beautiful "trotting walk" that's so smooth you barely feel like you're moving, except that the landscape is rushing past you much more than it does at a normal walk, or when you're standing still. It's a wonderful feeling. He also has this rediculous attempt at a canter that he goes into before going into the trot, so that you feel like you're going to fall off or be thrown as he continously bounces you out of the saddle. It takes every bit of horsemanship to stay on through the canter, but the trot is so smooth and wonderful that it makes a fine reward for staying in the saddle.

So I was running him through the canter excersizes trying to get him to smooth into the trot in this large field that he and his fellow horses graze in. He didn't like this idea (we'd been on the trails for maybe an hour before that, so he was tired, granted. But even so, he could have just done the trot and I would have been satisfied and given him a nice hosing down to cool him off. It was a beautiful day for riding, though.) and was making that pretty clear to me. At one point, I almost had him going into the trot, when he suddenly decided to duck into the wooded area to one side of the grazing field. He was not spooked, this was a concious decision on his part in his (successful) attempt to desaddle me. I made it for a few yards (or meters for any international readers there may be) through this large thicket of sorts, with tree branches and weeds and vines and spider webs and all sorts of things waking me in the arms and face. Fortunately, I had a helmet on (I much prefer the feeling of riding without one, but wasn't about to leave one off when I was with two jr. high girls and their mother, who suggested the helmets in the first place. In this case, it was VERY much God's provision that I was wearing one throughout the day.) and wasn't seriously injured. At one point, though, I had my right hand up moving one branch out of my way (fortunately, it did move) and my left arm found its way into the sharp end of a large tree branch section that had come off the rest of the branch. It was VERY sharp indeed. So I kinda hung onto the branch with my right hand, and left the one in my left arm push me off the back of the horse, doing some semi-cool move reminscent of the gymnastics section of the '96 summer Olympics. I landed on my feet, which is a definite plus.

My arm is not broken, probably not even fractured. Majorly scraped, significantly swollen, will certainly be stiff in the morning. But for now, I'm alive.

They say that you need to be thrown from a horse three times before you're a real master. I don't know if this counts as being thrown, but it certainly made adrenalin go charging through my veins faster than the horse went charging through the woods. Made the father of my jr. highers half-panic, too, when he saw his horse come out of the woods without the rider that had been on it a minute ago, but heard me call out my "I'm OK" shortly after to save him from a heart attack. At any rate, if this DOES count as being thrown (and that's my vote, folks), than I'm one away from being a master rider, and I think I'm pretty content with being a mediocre or "advanced" rider and would rather stay put than be thrown again. The first time wasn't fun, and getting back on that time was one of the harder things I've ever done. That was when I was about 13 years old, and 90 or so pounds. Now that I'm older and heavier, so are the horses I ride, and being thrown off in the midst of a fight with a tree (the tree won) isn't anymore fun than being thrown by a horse gone buck wild.

So, here I sit, with my left forearm swollen and scratches on my fact and arms, which will make a great and professional impression on people when I interview for jobs this week, and when I network and whatnot in coming days. Yay.

But I DID get to ride, and did get to experience the wonderful walking-trot during the trail rides a few times, and have had a wonderful day despite injuring my arm.

Anyone that sees me within the next few days, you'll probably be able to see my arm from across a large room, so just look for the large, swolling, multi-colored mass of tissues and whatnot, and you'll know I'm there.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2001

So I'm working on becoming a Career girl and/or a student. Seems like they'd be two entirely different things, eh? But in my life, they're both similar goals. One or the other will get me into some form of DOING something in the fall that will last for longer than a month or two and that will hopefully help to satisfy some of my goals and contentify (I, too, can make up forms of words) some of my desires. In other words, either path would help me to make something of my life.

I went today to the community college here (having never started college and being out of school for about 3 years now) to re-apply and see if I can FINALLY get all this financial aid hassle worked out. Being under 24 and yet independant, with living parents who did not give me up as a ward of the court during the transition of my turning 18 or graduating from high school, are not compatible in the eyes of the government. I cannot get financial aid without my parents' tax information unless I meet one of the other requirements. However, today I walked in there with the tax return information for the past two years (when I filed my own taxes) and talked with a financial aid counselor, as well as handing her a note from my last high school guidance counselor, explaining what my family situation was like at the time that I left school and eventually moved up here. She walked into her supervisor's office and moments later came out, telling me to file independantly. Yay!

Meanwhile, on the other path, I have found out many things that I, a broke young woman, can do to become a concert promoter without winning the lotto. So, there's a good chance that within the year I may even actually have business cards with my name and the title "Concert Promoter" on them, which would excite me beyond all get out.


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Monday, June 25, 2001

I have this habit of taking naps on my kitchen floor, on the floormat we have there. It's a thick woven mat (the kind that's made by spiraling large cords of something-or-other) and so it's really comfortable, a nice piece of firm padding on which to relax. It's great for my spine, too, or so I think.

I also have this quirk that often (if not always) when I fall asleep, the blood/color drains from my skin, especially in my face but also in my arms and legs and wherever. And I don't breathe all that visibly (sometimes because it's shallow, sometimes just because I don't move all that much) and be very still overall. I've had several experiences in which people have commented that I looked as if I had died.

The other night, I had just finished a very nice quiet time and I had Shakuhachi (a Japanese stringed instrument) music playing and candles burning. The other lights in the room were off. I laid down on the mat after finishing quiet time, and I guess I was in a somewhat unusual position, with my knees bent (so that my feet were flat on the floor) and my arms out kinda weird, I suppose. I had almost fallen asleep, when my roommate walked in. Without her contacts in, at that. She's pretty blind without them. So she walks into this dark, candle-lit room with somewhat eerie music playing, and sees me lying on the floor, pale as can be, not moving and seeingly not breathing.

She gasped. I half-woke up, and murmured something or other. She had all but gone into shock, but when she recovered she told me that I scared her and she thought I had keeled over right there in the kitchen.

There's a little piece of my life for you to enjoy.

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Saturday, June 23, 2001

How long has my counter not been working?

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"I can drive for a full day (and then some) without stalling!"

I now can say that I CAN drive a stick. Seeing as how I was gone for a good 5 days out of the two weeks and three days that I've had the car, it's really been about one and a half week that I've had this stick-shift, and I can drive it now. I'd never driven any stick 'cept for the half hour lesson that the owner of this car gave me the Tuesday before letting me borrow it.

Yes, I like driving stick. It's fun. It's powerful.

There's a "cheat light" on the dashboard that tells me when to shift, but the light was made to save energy and gas milage, and so it comes on at a low shift radio (telling me to go to 3rd when I'm doing maybe 25, and telling me to go to 5th when I'm doing about 38) which just isn't practical for driving around town. Trish, the owner, kept an inspirational wallet card thing over the light because it annoyed her.

I've put a prayer card for one of my Missionary friends over it now. Helps me to remember to pray for all my missionary friends, while also fulfilling the need to cover this light. It served its purpose very well, and I'm VERY glad that I had it while learning. Now that I know when to shift, though, I don't wanna see it come on so early all the time.

Meanwhile, I still use my emergency break to start on hills.

A friend of mine learned on a stick and she wasn't allowed to get her license 'till she could start her engine and then move the car from a parked position uphill (that is, the car was parked facing uphill, on a fairly steep hill) without using her emergency break.

I admire her.

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*gasp* I'm updating my template. *end gasp*

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Friday, June 22, 2001

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you've all been waiting for: the semi-comprehensive list (give or take a few unscheduled shows) of who Patty saw at Onefest.

I was gonna be really ambitious and link all these artists to their websites, if I could find them, but I'm just not that skilled. Nor do I really have the time. However, if you're interested in an artist, please visit the Onefest homepage and find the link from there, or do a web search or something.

Thursday: Waterdeep, Matthew Perryman Jones, Mitch McVicker, Sandra McCracken, Phil Madeira, Kate Miner, the Choir, Justin McRoberts, Iona. Saw Tremper Longman speak.

Friday: Pegtop, Vigilantes of Love, Waterdeep, Tickle Penny Corner, Steve Bell, Cush. Saw Tom Rozof speak and attended the Roundtable discussion with Don and Lori from Waterdeep, Tom Rozof, and Chris Houzer.

Saturday: Trump Dawgs, Chris Taylor, The Normals, Bebo Norman, Waterdeep, Havalina Rail Co., the Crossing, Danielson Famile Worship, and Josh Zandman (formerly of Burlap to Cashmere). Saw Chris Seay speak and attended the Suint Entertainment "Fear and Loathing in the Music Business" question and answer session.

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Thursday, June 21, 2001

Remind me to post the people that I saw at Onefest soon. I was gonna do that tonite, but I got too much stuff to catch up on with emails and what with actually having access to AIM for a night.

And if anyone's going from the NC/VA area to Cornerstone please let me know! I don't wanna take a car that I'm borrowing, and I can't rent one, but I could help with gas.. :)

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So Blogger has added a new spell check feature. I could use it, I know. I could have less typos and other misspellings scattered throughout my posts, if any at all. Yet, there is something wholly appealing to me about the fact that you know how bad I am at spelling, and which particular words are my "quirks", my words that I just can't seem to spell right any time that I type them.

When I was in high school, I did most of my papers and reports in one draft. I would think a bit about what I wanted to write, get on my computer, and type the paper or report all at once. I'd print it out and turn it in, rarely even running the spell check and never the grammar check. I usually got very good grades on my papers.

Somehow, perhaps being out of the practice of having my spelling matter significantly, or perhaps because I type faster and on so many different keyboards now (I really like the one I'm using right now.. it's a medium-click sorta thing and set up just the way that I like keyboards to be set up, rather than having weird keys in the wrong place) I make a lot more typos and misspellings than I ever used to.

Perhaps I don't wanna use the spellcheck just because I'm afraid of how many mistakes I make.

I used the spell check.

There was nothing wrong with this post.

On top of that, I remembered one of the many reasons I never really liked spell checks a huge amount.. they don't know slang, and they don't know many of the words (such as Blogger) than I use in the average post/report/paper/email/etc.

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There's this massive storm over my town right now.

If I stand in the middle of an area and move slowly around in a circle (that is, staying in place but looking any direction) I can see lightening and storm clouds regardless of where I'm looking. MASSIVE storm. But it's not raining here, where I actually am, or anywhere along my drive here from the home at which my jr. high Bible study took place tonite.

It was bizarre, though. I was in my car (you know, the one I'm borrowing for the summer 'cause God's provision and the goodness of the girl to whom the car actually belongs are both wonderful things) and I could really feel the electrical charge from the storm. I almost thought of going home and bunkering down, but what kinda fun is that? I'd rather come hang out at a radio station and use the computer. Hopefully, though, we won't lose power.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Ok, so it's been a while.

I went to Onefest this past weekend, leaving Wednesday morning and arriving back home Sunday night.

When I went to get online Tuesday night before leaving, I found out that my internet account had been disconnected. Thus, anyone that has me on their AIM list won't be seeing me there for a while, and I was unable to check things from home that night. I went/came to the local college campus Wednesday morning before the friend that I was riding with got her, so that I could check my email for important last-minute stuffs having to do with the festival. Since getting back, I've been using the computer lab here, too. Which means no more 3am entries (the lab closes at 9pm during the summer) and less access .. I actually have to drive somewhere now.

At any rate, that's part of things. I have to go home now, 'cause I've got a pork chop lunch (made by one of my roommates) waiting for me, and an afternoon of helping said roommate look for a wedding dress ahead of me. Ah, to be a bridesmaid twice in three months..

I'll be posting more about the festival, thoughts, and other things over the next couple of days. For now, though buhbye.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2001

I was checking one of my two hotmail accounts (one for personal stuff and one for business stuff) and logged out so's I could check the other. (Do you ever say things in other dialects, such as "yous guys" or "so's".. I'm not really sure how to spell that so that the pronunciation comes across.. soz, soze? Whatever.) Anyway, on the log out/re-sign in page, I see the following:

Things to do on MSN
Make friends, find love
Find a lunch date or maybe your true love online

Now, I'm a big enough skeptic of the personals ads and hotlines and all sorts of other things that we have in this world of codependancy. And I'm a much bigger skeptic of personal-ad type ventures online. Being somewhat of an internet veteran (having been connected in some way or another for the past almost 7 years, plus other small bits on prodigy WAY back in the day -- as in, '90 and times surrounding) and having met well over 20 online friends, as well as having my father meet, move in with, and eventually "marry" a woman that he met online, as well as myself moving in with an online friend and her roommates when I moved here, I feel that I have some voice of experience in this. I just don't get the whole thing of going to an area specifically to meet someone that you think you may end up spending the rest of your life with.

I don't get singles groups that have that focus, either. Opting out of one of the singles house church small groups I could have joined (and have been a part of in the past, and don't by any means think they're there for the purpose of meeting someone to date or marry), I instead joined one comprised mostly of familes and other married couples, with a few single or engaged folks as well. I'm by far the youngest there, which is fine with me. That's usually the case in anything I have a part in, anyway.

I have known people that have met through singles groups, personal ads, etc and have gotten married or had otherwise relatively decent relationships. But I've never been able to understand the concept of asking a person out just because they look good ("dating is a time to get to know someone" they say .. I disagree. I think dating is a time to get to know a person better that you already know better, and to get to know them in a different way). I've never been able to understand why people feel so incredibly incomplete when they're single (not that I'm never lonely, nor that I think everyone or even the majority should be single forever, just that when you are you are and that's that).

Most of all, though, I've never been able to get how people in this world can say "Gee, this personals ad or this online matchmaker result sounds fun or that person looks good, so I think I'll go have dinner with that person." You can drive seperately, you can leave seperately, and you can STILL be harmed severly. Not to mention that they could be a really bad person that pulls of a good person act for one or two dates, or however long it takes 'till you trust them, and then something comes out .. codependancy, mental issues, a weapon. Surely people are aware that there are viscious people out there that act plenty nice enough 'till they have a chance to do real damage? Whether that's emotional, sexual, or physical damage, it's not anything I ever wanna be a victem of.

I'm not just feeding into paranoia, I'm speaking from experience, or the fortunate lack-there-of, depending on how you see it. As I said, I've met dozens of my online friends. I have yet to have a bad experience with that. There have been some awkward meetings, but never any that I regretted or during which I was harmed.

So why would someone want to set themselves up for such a risk? Apart from all that, why would someone believe that they're gonna meet their soul-mate through an online matchmaker?

But then, why would I believe they can't?

I guess that I'm just more practical than romantic (and I can be plenty romantic, but I can be a whole lotta practical) and don't see how all of those risks, the cons vs. the pros, can add up well enough to be worth it.

Ah, well. That's why I have an option of whether or not to click on the link, and that's why I don't click on it.

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If anyone that's reading this will be at One Fest, look for me there. I'll be wearing a skirt made out of neckties on Thursday, and other skirts on other days. Plus I'll be working at the Grassroots booth there, which would be the most likely place to find me if you don't see a necktie-skirted girl walk past you at one of the folk concerts there.

Very excited am I about this festival, and about the rest of the summer.

And about all the prospects that I have open to me for the summer and fall. I'd say for the rest of my life, but I honestly just don't think that far ahead. My life has moved in small increments (1 year here, 1 year there.. time to change schools, time to change churches -- not since I moved to VA and found the most rockin' church I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of -- time to change jobs, time to change something drastic in my life) and has included so many different career, location, and other options that I just can't fathom thinking ahead to 5 or 10 years from now.

I often have a hard enough time thinking to 1 year or even 6 months from now.

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Monday, June 11, 2001

Top ten reasons I should read the bored more often (for a certain group of friends -- you know who you are)

10. It's been in my life for the past 5 years, or at least some of you have.
9. I am, after all, one of the more quantative posters there, usually.
8. I didn't wanna win Boredey's and then run away and hide. Really.
7. I miss you guys!
6. When we meet at Cornerstone, we're not even gonna know who eachother is anymore if I don't start posting again.
5. mel asked me to.
4. Steve asked me to.
3. I asked me to.
3. Can I put two three's in just for the fun of it?
2. There has been a lot of fun stuff going on in my life, and you all are starting cool things (ie, video club) that I wanna still be part of, and let you know my thoughts about them.
1. Because I want to.

Top 3 reasons I haven't been reading the bored much lately.

3. Blogging is addictive.
2. I really ought to have better lighting here so I don't get headaches and vision problems from using the computer at night when the hallway light is burnt out.
1. I'm a Slacker!

Not that I'm proud of being a slacker or anything, but..

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Today (Sunday, May 10th.. or Saturday, May 9th, depending on how it's counted) marks the one year anniversary of when I shaved my head.

I've been thinking about redoing that page to talk all about the experience of shaving my head (what with being a girl and all) and everything that has anything to do with it -- people's reactions, my own comfort, the experience of re-growing hair, etc..

I may still do that. For now, I'll say that one year (no trims, and 6 inches of hair growth) later, I would still very much recommend this to anyone. Especially when your poney-tail is 10 inches longer or more, so that it can be made into a wig for little girls that can't grow hair of their own. If you're not sure about shaving your head, cut your hair as short as you're comfortable with, and then cut off half of whatever's left. ;)

Seriously, this is something that I would recommend to anyone that has the confidence to not worry about not being accepted all the way -- and in reality, I'd say that I was a lot more accepted because word spreads quickly when people know that you shaved your head "for a good reason" and so that wasn't even a problem. But I think that for someone that isn't hugely confident (as long as there's some basic self-esteem there to build on) doing something like shaving your head or cutting your hair really short, or making some other fairly major identity/appearance change (that doesn't involve surgury) could be a very good thing. It would force you out of your comfort zone and the known identities (my hair was a BIG part of my identity before.. my lack of hair was a big part afterwards) that you've come to depend on more than you could possibly notice (much more than I did, anyway) and force you to be confident of *yourself*, rather than good hair days. It does wonders for self-esteem, in my experience. And I didn't have low-self-esteem in that sense, but it still really helped me a lot, especially in establishing my own identity in myself rather than my hair. Just as when I was younger, one of my other identities was that I was a runner.. it was a lot of my life, and I really was good. I had coaches from different high schools trying to recruit me (not in the "give her a car, jim" way that football coaches at really competative schools do -- just asking me if I'd go to their school, which was perfectly legal and reasonable without me having to move) and won more awards than I could've found room for, most of which ended up being destroyed, lost, or given away within the past few years. I don't say that to brag about myself -- to be honest, I was probably one of the worst runners as far as practice and discipline that you'll ever meet. It was God that gave me that gift, not myself. I say all of that to illustrate that it was an identity for me; throughout many years of my childhood, there was a 5K race to be run almost every weekend (two on some weekends). It was just what I did, who I was. And by the way, to give my parents credit, it was what *I* wanted to do, not something they forced on me. There were a few times that I thought about quitting and then thought against it partially because of what they would say, but the biggest reason was always that I still wanted to run. I still do these days, but it's a lot more difficult now. When I quit running, I gave up a big part of me (for a while -- you can take the runner off the road, but you can't take the road outta the runner -- I still tried to run from time to time, still wore my running shirts, etc) that I had known for about 6 years competatively, and for my entire life as a fun thing. It was good for me to find something apart from that that was ME. I did all my self-searching before leaving high school, which means I won't need a mid-life crisis. :)

There's a hard line to find in between something that you *do* or *have* that makes up part of your identity, and something that you *are*. After all, at the time, I would have said that I *was* a runner. In fact, I really think that I was.. it was a very important part of me. However, it was something that I could live without. I guess I'm not quite as complete without it (seeing as how I still want to go back whenever I can) and so maybe running was right on the line of what I do and what I am. My hair, on the other hand, I do sorta miss, but I'm glad I shaved it off. Of course, it's not *gone* now, the way running is. It's simply different. Shorter. Still present.

I feel like I'm rambling about nothing, but I also want to make some sense out of this whole identity thing. There are so many aspects and facets of it, and so many angles from which one can look at it.

But anyway, happy anniversary, head.

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So I was thinking that I could use on of my suggested topics for future posts tonite, about my episodes in stick-driving land. But I didn't quite make it around without stalling today. However, I did take an extra little drive between church and work (a whole nother topic for another time) all around back roads where I could look at mountains and fields and stuff. Very nice. And lots of good practice with stop signs and that sorta thing. I did make it through stopping on some minor inclines and then starting without rolling back OR peeling out.. but I also stalled a couple of times.

Progress is swifter than it seems, though. I've only had this car for 4 days and I figgur I'm doing well enough on it.

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Sunday, June 10, 2001

There comes a time when one may realize that her priorities are not what she's always been told they ought to be, nor what her boss or roommates or others hope they are. There comes a time when one has to examine why her priorities fall in that order and what's REALLY important.

There comes a time when one may realize that her priorities SHOULD not be what she's always been told they ought, nor what her boss or roommates or others hope they are.

Even when she gets yelled at and hurt for that fact.

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Saturday, June 09, 2001

The car God provided me with last year was named Herbert Gandalf Longfellow. The car I'm borrowing this summer, since it's just borrowing and I have to give it back and thus don't wanna get too attached to, I know fondly as George. George is a common enough name for cars (I'd say maybe 1 in 20 cars is named George, whether its owners know it or not) but this car looks like a George, the way my friend Stephanie (ah, a good band as well as a phrase oft used) just looks like a Stephanie. Her parents chose aptly, as did George's. I'm not really sure if that's what he likes to go by, perhaps he prefers his middle name -- but so as to not get too attached, I've opted to only ask for his first name, and that is George.

Herbert was a beautiful car. I'm very glad that I got to know him. He was named well, after some many greats in this world.

I do so wish that I hadn't gone and let Herbert have a fatal accident. After all, just 'cause the other car called him a name didn't give him any right to go crashing into it like some hooligan savage.

George was raised better, it seems. Of course, I don't know the man that mostly raised Herbert, but I'm sure he was a good adoptive father. Perhaps Herbert had some medical problem I didn't know about, perhaps his violence was genetic. George is guaranteed to not be violent.

And of course that has to be the way it works when George has full coverage insurance while Herbert only had liability.

I didn't even get anything to cover his funeral expenses. He was too old and had too much mileage to sell his organs .. I mean, parts.

Humanizing cars can be an amusing thing.

That, or I just REALLY need to get to bed.

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5-speed. Standard. Stick-shift. Manual.

Ok, I haven't actually *heard* anyone call a stickshift car a manual.. but one figures that if the alternative is automatic, than it must be manual, right? After all, you're manually shifting the gears rather than leaving that to the car.

Well, that's the theory, anyway.

I'm not so good at manual labor.

I guess I did better than many people do when first learning. Of course, I have driven automatics enough to be at least familiar with that part of driving, and I was always able to tell when my car last summer was about to shift gears and when I needed to lighten up on the gas peddle or give it a little more.

But I've stalled the car of this summer at least once every time I've driven.

How in the WORLD does anyone learn to drive a stick without having serious damage done to her self-esteem? I mean, it SHOULD be easy. I guess it WILL be easy. But I just can't seem to get it right.

Of course, I've only had it for two days and only drove it once before that.

See, one of the woman from my church is in Kazakstan as we speak, working on a missions internship there as part of what our church is doing, which is working on planting a church there. Of course, that sorta depends on what happens with the Kazak government's new fear.. er.. I mean, dislike of evangelistic Christians.

At any rate, she'll be there (along with 5 other interns plus two full families that are supervising the project) for two and a half months, and didn't wanna just leave her car sitting around.

So she asked the people she was meeting with regularly for prayer and discipleship who they knew that needed a car, and a few of them said me.


Which brings me to the moral of tonite's story: when you're driving around, pretend that everyone else on the road is learning to drive stick. You'll be a lot more understanding, and you'll drive much more defensively. If you've never tried to learn to drive stick (most people that successfully learn seem to be very loyal to sticks and will go on about the pros of owning a stick the way mac users rant about mac superiority over other options.. however, there are those that can't continue, such as a friend at work that has hip trouble, and there are others that learn enough to do it when needed, but not enough to really enjoy it .. and maybe there are some that are darn tootin' good at drivin' stick and yet prefer automatic. I have yet to hear of any such folks) then you really ought to try if only for the empathy value. I'm finding that driving my automatic around last summer was not a test of road rage or road worry.

I am not understanding a lot more about my roommate's comments directed towards other drivers, though I still hope that if anyone ever hears me calling another driver an idiot, than that person will wash my mouth out with soap. Just don't make me swallow it.

Ok, so that's where I'm at on learning to drive stick.

Look forward to future installments of this series: "I can drive around without stalling for one full day!" .. "I am now confident in my stick, and can even start on a hill without rolling back!" .. and, eventually, "I like sticks a lot more than automatics and would even buy a stick .. or not mind at all if that was the option that God presented me with as provision for my need for a car."

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Leaps and bounds, folks. Leaps and bounds.

That's the unofficial measurement by which I'm growing in skill levels and variety of skills this summer.

I can sew, and I'm going to be learning more about that (ie, using patterns) at some point in the next few months.

I'm learning a lot more about business and music and all sorts of things along that line.

I'm learning more and more about standing up for my rights as an American, and moreso standing up for my responsabilities as a Christian.

I'm depending less on the support of human beings and more on my relationship with our Father.

And now, I'm driving stick shift.

Or at least attempting to.

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Within the next.. 20 hours, he'll be married.

I really wish that I could be there to celebrate with him the greatest day of his life. After all, he was there with me for some of the worst days and nights of mine.

Angie, I haven't met you or even really heard too much about you, but I certainly wish you the best and hope that he is more loving towards you than he could have been towards me. (That is to say that as much as we were very good friends -- best friends, indeed -- and as much as he is the human that I have been closest to, and as much as he was the best example of human love in my life to date.. we were not getting married, and he could not love me as much as he should and surely will love his wife.)

I wish you both the best. I really, really do.

I'm still very glad for the two and a half years during which I had the honour to call myself your friend. I will never be able to forget that time, and how much you helped me. Perhaps we can one day be friends again, though not quite the same as we once were. That's ok, though, because I don't need you the same way now, and you couldn't be that person for me anymore anyway.

Cherish eachother and any children you may be blessed with. Seek God throughout your marraige and in your individual lives. Grow together in your own intimacy and in your intimacy with God, always keeping Him first and eachother first-among-humans.

Surely you'll get better advice from a married person. You certainly already have, as I'm willing to bet (oh, wait, that would be gambling) that you've attnded some pre-marital counseling sessions. Likely, you'll never even see this. Either way, congratulations and God's blessing on your marraige.

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Monday, June 04, 2001

Andrew gets married on Saturday.

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The sign read "Ohio: 3 miles". A few minutes later, I crossed into the state of Ohio for the first time in my life, over three years too late.

I was driving from my home to Illinois to attend Cornerstone Music Festival, which was a good 15 hour drive. Since I was driving alone and had only just gotten my license and first car (both of which I got when 19), I decided to take a little detour in Ohio and stay at a friend's house. I'd've had to drive through Ohio anyway, but I've looked forward to my first time there for far too long to just pass through.

As I mentioned, I was driving by myself. I had some music on, but that's never stopped me from thinking a whole lot, and driving seemed to bring that out in me even more than usual. I had about an hour and fifteen minutes after crossing the Ohio border before arriving at my friend's house, so I had a lot of time to think. And to cry.

I was 13 when I really got online, several years ago. It was shortly before my 14th birthday that I found a niche in a little group on a Compuserv forum. Sometime before or right after my 14th birthday, I became friends with a guy there named Brian. After I'd known him for, perhaps, 5 months, he told me that he had Muscular Dystrophy. His particular type was Duchenne's, which is a relatively quickly-progressive disease that will take a perfectly normal kid in his youth and start limiting the funtioning of his muscles from his legs up. By the time he's 12-15, he'll be in a wheelchair, and likely won't live past 25. (The oldest then-currently living guy Brian knew of was 32.)

Brian was in his early 20s.

We became very good friends throughout the next year that we both had Compuserv. We talked about possibly meeting at various points, but I was living in FL, and that's a long way from Ohio to a kid that can't drive herself anywhere. Online, Brian had legs and could do all sorts of things that he couldn't REALLY do. We danced, we ran around, he "joined" me in the 5K road races and cross-country runs I really did do at the time. We said that if we ever did meet, we really would dance, somehow. It would be awkward, of course, because wheelchairs just can't move the way legs can, but that was what we had decided we would do. Maybe ballroom, we said, or perhaps Shag. That was before Swing dancing had gotten popular, and I didn't know there would ever be a popular way of dancing I'd actually like.

We hoped that somehow they'd find a cure for DMD.

At any rate, I moved to CA when I was 16, and Brian and I were still friends. There came a time while I was out there that I didn't get to get online very much, and hardly ever got to use the chat programs that we had used (such as ICQ) after getting rid of Compuserv. We still did email eachother, but not as often as before. It was hard for him, because by that time his arms were not so functional, and we both knew too well that it was only a matter of time before the disease would get to the muscles in his brain or heart and he would .. yah.

When I was almost 17, I ended up in foster care for three months (mid-january through Easter). At school a few days after going into foster care, I emailed Brian (whom I hadn't heard from in a while) to let him know what happened and that my computer usage would become even more scarce. A week or so later I wrote him a long letter (on paper, even) and mailed him that along with a school picture from that year. A month or so later, I hadn't gotten a reply to either, and started worrying. In an attempt to calm down about it, I looked for his old website, which was still running, though it hadn't been updated since he had to start using the voice controlled computer programs when his hands stopped working. I emailed him again.

At Easter that year, I moved back to FL. I emailed him when I got there. The email was bounced back to me.

At some point in the whole journey, he had "introduced" me to a friend of his with a different kind of Muscular Dystrophy (one that wasn't so fatal) named Joe. Joe and I had exchanged a few emails as well, and I figured that he (as a close friend of Brian's family, and the co-worker with Brian on a web-based support group and other such resources of MD patients and their loved ones) would probably know what was going on. I emailed him asking if Brian was ok, and he replied.

Brian had passed away about 6 months before, probably just before I went into foster care.

We had shared so many stories and jokes and memories. We had had so much in common, probably more than myself and anyone else in that forum's group, some of whom I still have contact with. We had been very close friends, and had wanted so much to meet on earth. I'll have to wait 'till Heaven.

In some eternal way, we've already met and are in the midst of praising our Jesus together right now, face to face with eachother and with our Saviour.

But I finally made it to Ohio, two years too late.

The entire time that I was in Ohio (for a day and a half, over a span of two nights) I looked at everything through the memory of the fact that that was where Brian lived. Well, not quite, since he was from Cinci and I was in Akron, but even so.

It's been almost a year since that trip to Ohio. I was at my former roommate's wedding Saturday, and was talking to a friend of hers who has some use of his legs, but not quite the use most of us take for granted. He mentioned at some point in our conversation that the one thing that he considered unfortunate about his handicap (he used the phrase, folks.. I tend to stay away from it) was that he couldn't dance much, or the way he wanted. Boy did the memories of Brian and of our talk of dancing together flood my mind. Many people cry at a wedding, but usually out of joy seeing the happy couple get married. Watching my former roommate and her husband (a wonderful guy) say their vows almost did get me, especially when she turned enough that I could see her face. She didn't cry, but she sure came close enough. Talking about Brian, though, brought tears to my eyes.

I don't think very many people knew how wonderful he was .. ironic in a way, since he was somewhat of an outcast in "real life" because of the metal accessory he was bound to keep with him, and an outcast online for who knows what reason. Plenty of people knew he had MD, but surely no one feels that it's contagious online, and most people (including myself) didn't really remember that part about him when not actually talking about it. It wasn't who he was, it was just part of how he lived.

And then, how he died.

Apart from my grandmother's recent passing, and my dog that passed away actually within a few months of when I met Brian, his (Brian's) death was the greatest loss I've faced in my memory. Anything more traumatic has been blocked out.

Brian, I look forward to when the time-bound me is freed from time, and the wheelchair-bound you (having been freed from your wheelchair) can spend an eternity dancing for joy at our Salvation.

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My computer freezes a lot. Sometimes in the middle of a blog entry post typing attempt. Sometimes during 4 conversations via IM and/or ICQ (which I've had longer and very much prefer, but can't run for long at the same time as AOL lest my computer freeze.. wait, it does that anyway.) Sometimes in the middle of a good chat on IRC. Sometimes while typing long emails to friends I don't talk to enough.

Sometimes at rather convenient times, sometimes when I need to go to bed.

Either way, I wish that it was my choice. Stop freezing, computer!

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Saturday, June 02, 2001

Last night (Thursday night, that is) my jr. high youth group met as we usually do on Thursdays, for our time of Bible study and/or prayer and/or whatever else us leaders may decide to throw into the group that week.

This week we were praying.

We split off into pairs or "groups" of one leader per one or two jr. highers, and first prayed for my church's missions internship this summer in Kazakstan. My church is working on planting a church over there, and working with the existing churches to create discipleship and prepare the ground for planting. So we prayed for one of our Jr. high leaders that's on the team going over, as well as our youth pastor and his family, and the rest of the team.

Then the younger set switched leaders and we split off again to pray for the transition this summer as some folks move up into the high school group and new 6th graders us, as well as for how the leadership dynamic will change over the summer with our youth pastor and one of our very active leaders gone, and how camp (we do our own) will go.

Then we came back into the large group and had some time to pray altogether. Let me tell you, one of the sweetest experiences of being a jr. high leader is sitting in a room filled with jr. highers and adults, and having one of the boys ask if he can open the prayer time, and then listening to various jr. high students (and one older sibling that was in 7th grade when I started helping and is now finishing his freshman years of high school) pray for all of these things that we did. Just as sweet is sitting in a room with one or two students that I've been working with since they were in 6th grade and listening to them pray, in their own words, for things you never thought they realized were important.

This past Thursday night is also when it REALLY hit me that at the end of the summer, the girls that I've known for two years and some months now are leaving the group, along with several of the guys that I've enjoyed getting to know a little but haven't been working with as much as the girls. We'll be getting some new folks (in each grade, but especially 6th grade) in throughout the summer, but the loss of the current 8th graders is more pressing on my heart. A gain is pleasant. A loss is.. but of course, I'm not really losing them. They'll be in the next room over on Sunday mornings, and many of them will continue coming on Thursday nights to step into leadership positions within the group, as last years 8th grade guys have done this year. And I'll still have their numbers and will still be some part of their lives, I'm sure. But not the way I have been. They won't be part of my life the way they have been for the past two years. There's almost the sense of empty nest syndrome, except that my nest is still plenty full. Perhaps changing nest syndrome, then?

It's an interesting thing to watch which of the jr. highers will slide into the various positions within the group (the clown, the leader, the organizer, the teacher, the confidante, etc) as those spaces are opened when the elder students move up. Last year, there was discussion among the leaders about who we thought would become the next ________. I don't think there will be as much discussion this year, because we realized last year how much we were way off and that many of the positions actually remained emptier than we thought they would. I guess that in a group where those positions aren't necessities means that the only people that will fill them will be the people that .. well, just do. The people that it's most natural for, rather than someone that's the closest fit.

Fortunately, we didn't try to force anyone into them. I like the way our group is. The way we're run, the way we do things, the way the students respond. We're a different group than almost any I've heard of while talking to other jr. high youth leaders both locally and nationally. We're not traditional. But then, neither is our church.

I think that last nite summed up everything I could hope for as a leader. There should be sadness when you know that people are going to be leaving your group, because that means that they matter, that they have come to mean something, and each and every jr. higher should mean something to each leader. There should be joy when you hear them taking off on their own, praying for things that are so essential and yet that most folks their age (and a whole lot of adults, even many that have gone to college) don't have the slightest clue about. There should be this sense of "they really are different" when you reflect on who they were when you first met them and who they are two and a half years, or one year, or 5 months later. These guys and girls have grown. Many of them know our Jesus more than I could have hoped they would. They are aware of what our church is doing in Kazakstan, and what we leaders are doing in jr. high. They are aware of what they, as students, ought to be doing in their own lives to help friends find the joy that they have.

I cannot express to anyone the joy that I felt last nite listening to them pray. Nor the sadness that accompanied it, the knowledge that I wouldn't have that priviledge with about half of them in a few months.

This is a special group. These are special, eternal beings. Their parents should be glad. I know I am.

And I can almost see our Father smiling down on them, with good tears in His eyes at how much they want to know Him and how much farther along the way they are than most Christians in this world.

And true amazement comes when I realize how many times I've been a very bad example of the love they display. I'm so glad that they didn't learn from me, but instead from the Spirit dwelling within them, from the Saviour that teaches them through His Word.

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Just an hour or so ago, the Harry Chapin song, "Cat's in the Cradle" came on. I actually didn't know it was his song 'till I did some pokin' around on the web. (The internet is a wonderful thing.)

I was in 7th or 8th grade when Ugly Kid Joe covered the song and it became popular on radio. I used to love listening to that song, as it expressed what I (or my brothers) felt with our emotionally absent father. Within a year of two after that song was released, and shortly after the peak of its radio play, my father left, and the song became all the more true for us.

I don't know that I've ever heard the original before tonight. I knew that it was a cover, but knew nothing about Harry Chapin and had no idea who had written the song. It's been years since I've heard Joe's version, though I have thought about it from time to time, as it's come to mind and gotten slightly stuck there.

As I listened to the lyrics, not only did they themselves present a whole new time of relating, but listening also brought back the memories of all the times I used to listen to it, the times my older brother would tell me about the band Ugly Kid Joe and about what he thought of their lyrics, particularly on this song. I think, perhaps, I saw a video for it once, but I may be wrong about that. If I did, I don't really remember it much.

It's beyond me how a parent could so much take for granted what they have in a child. After meeting my niece, and now as I'm getting more involved in the lives of some of the families from my church (including a few with very small children) I just can't imagine not being involved in the lives of my own children were I a parent. I can't imagine not being involved in the lives of these children that I have no relation to, much less walking away from a beautiful creation full of so much potential, that I myself had taken part in creating.

There will never be a day when I am not very aware of how fallen our world is, but looking at the lack of positive interaction between parents and children is one of the most blatant examples. Between husband and wife is right beside that one, and between man and God is the most blatant, of course.

Lord, we need help. Bless the children without fathers. Be their Father, as You were, and still are, mine. Teach fathers to be the men they're supposed to be. Teach all parents the love for their own children that You have for Yours.

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Friday, June 01, 2001

Time to alert the papers! Patty is domesticated!!

Anyone that's known me a particularly long time, especially people that didn't really know me all that well (and some that thought they did), would be rather surprised by that.

I can cook at least 5 full meals from memory, along with plenty of other snacks and things. In fact, I can use a blender to make a smoothie. I know how to clean almost any household thing properly. I even sometimes actually DO clean. I learned a lot about plants from my grandmother, and tend to be able to keep them alive for a while given a place in which to plant them. And as of today, I can sew clothing! I learned how to use a sewing machine a few weeks ago, for the first time actually sewing on fabric. See, I'm making this skirt out of neckties, and I sewed about 3 or 4 of them together that night. But today, I sewed them all together and have temporarily attached the waist-band. Tomorrow I'll be sewing that on right proper.

I've been able to sew buttons and handstitch minor things for years, of course. I don't really feel particularly noble for that. I even earned my Girl Scout sewing patch, though I'm not really sure what I did to earn it.

But today was an exciting and monumental day in my life. I sewed myself a skirt. Next step, the woman whose machine I was using and I will be sewing tank tops together so we can both learn how to use patterns. Doesn't that sound exciting?

It sure does to me.

I can sew.

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Am I the only one that likes parsley? No, you get me wrong, I don't mean those little flakes you can put on a potato or in soup.. I mean the bigfat fresh parsley, still on stems, that often comes with a burger in a real restaurant, or with many other dishes there. Yes, I eat it. I have a feeling this is something that, even if people did the same, they wouldn't admit to in public. Far be it from me to ever be to ashamed of something like eating parsley to admit it in public. I mean, I like the stuff, and it's got a lot of good nutrition that I don't get from other foods. So what's wrong with snacking on that yummy little garnish when you finish a meal of cholestoral and caffeine? Oh, right, most people don't admit to thinking it's yummy. It's got this flavor that I'm not sure how to describe.. it's sweet in a way, and tangy, and just good.

I don't know where I picked up the habit of cleaning my plate right down to the green extra, but I don't remember a time when I didn't eat parsley. I wonder if I horrified my grandparents when we went somewhere nice and I ate it. I resisted the urge when I went out with my grandfather after my grandmother's service, but only because I was significantly full and had been eating a lot of healthy stuff all weekend. Most of the time, though, it makes a great snack. And they say it freshens your breath, too!

I'm not trying to make some sorta big political statement or anything, but I just want to know: Does anyone else out there eat parsley?

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Ok, so sometimes I'm about to post some bigfat epic post, and my computer freezes. That happens at least once a week. I think (and hope) it has to do with the virus that my computer carries (what?? a virus? oh no, she's an online leper!) that makes it rather quirky, but either way, that's what happens. So what I really think is that God is letting me know what does and doesn't need to be posted. Sometimes it's very frustrating. Sometimes I think that I'm posting something great, and then that old familiar sound starts up and I realize that I'd have to type it all over again if I really wanted to post it.

So much for that idea.

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Hippie: (after hearing Max wants to avoid the draft)You still have options man.
Max: Yeah, jail or Canada and they both suck. I mean I could never come home, so what is it, it's a choice of a 6x4 cell or an endless wasteland of frozen tundra.
Hippie: Montreal is cool.
Max:Man, they speak French there.
Groupie: So learn French. Learn French or die.
-- Across the Universe

"So how do i do normal
The smile i fake the permanent way
Cue cards and fix it kits
Can't you tell - I'm not myself
-- Frou Frou, Hear Me Out

"It's been known for a train to jump its track. It's ok, so you'll know, most times they come back. It's ok to lose your life, when you finally see your birth. It's ok to say, "I love you," and figure sometimes it's gonna hurt.
Don't forget to bring kindness, don't forget to say thanks. Don't forgot to spend your love, no it will break the bank. Don't forget to bring some empathy, for the saints and the sinners. Don't forget to bring encouragement. Yeah, we're all just beginners."
-- Bill Mallonee, Bank

"As a comedian, you have to start the show strong and you have end the show strong. Those are the two key elements. You can't be like pancakes, all exciting at first, but then by the end you're sick of 'em!"
-- (The late) Mitch Hedburg

"Hey, this is weird! I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?" "I love it!" "You're kidding! What a crazy random happenstance!"
-- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

"Only one more trip," said a gallant seaman,
As he kissed his weeping wife,
Only one more bag of the golden treasure
And 'twill last us all through life.
Then I'll spend my days in my cosy cottage
And enjoy the rest I've earned;
But alas! poor man! For he sail'd commander
Of the ship that never returned.
Did she never return? She never returned,
Her fate, it is yet unlearned,
Though for years and years there were fond ones watching
Yet the ship she never returned.
--The Ship that Never Returned, Henry Clay Work

"It was Flannery O'Connor who said that 'grace must wound before it heals.' Her words help me to separate what is most true about life from the things we want to be true. We want life to be painless. True grace is a hard sell because in order for the human heart to understand forgiveness and love, it must first experience darkness and isolation. A life lived under the rule of grace is a life of need which allows us to receive an appreciate the gift of the giver of grace. This is why we will always have the poor with us; this is why God will not allow us to ignore injustice; this is why we are called to a life we cannot handle alone, which can and will break us in the effort to live it -- because grace must wound before it heals."
-- Justin McRoberts

Regarding 2007:
"the year has gone quick, but most of the days haven't"

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup !
And surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
And gies a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie-waught,
for auld lang syne.
--Robert Burns, "Auld Lang Syne"

I thought Christmas Day would never come. But it's here at last, so Mom and Dad, the waiting's finally done. And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up, it's Christmas morning.

Did my sister get a baby doll? Did my brother get his bike? Did I get that red wagon, the kind that makes you fly? Oh, I hope there'll be peace on Earth, and I know there's goodwill towards men, on account o' that baby born in Bethlehem.
--Rich Mullins, You Gotta Get Up (Christmas Song)

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie,
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray,
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels,
The great glad tidings tell,
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel.
--L.H.Redner, "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Walk humbly, son
Walk humbly, now
And cherish every step
For a life well spent
On this earth we're lent
Will be marked by the void you have left

May you conquer (not curse) challenges
May you hold back the dark like a dam
May you lead your life with lion's roar
May you leave it like a lamb

Don't await rewards for your good deeds
A reward won't make them good
Don't await judgment of any foes
They'll receive just what they should

When you find the axis of this world
Don't tread too far inside
Run away as far as you think you can
Be well and enjoy the ride

Walk humbly, son
And store your pride
When you need strength later on
For your life's work will be judged if earth
Is saddened when you have gone

Walk humbly, son
Walk humbly, how
And forget not where you are from
May you go further than those before
And provide for those to come

Will you walk humbly, Son?
--Eddie From Ohio, Walk Humbly, Son

Strings of lights above the bed
Curtains drawn and a glass of red
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

Saxaphone on the radio
Recorded 40 years ago
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

When you play my song
Play it slowly
play it like I'm sad and lonely....

Weatherman says it's miserable
But the snow is so beautiful
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

It would take a miracle
To get me out to a shopping mall
All I really want for Christmas is you
--Over the Rhine, from Snow Angels

"In a little while I'll feel better
Gonna travel around the world
Gonna see it all

Gonna go to Paris, maybe Rome
But I'll feel better miles away from home,
Gotta figure some things out

So sell all my things, I'm not coming home
There's nothing there to keep me there
Just heartache and panic and worries and things that'll bring me down
My head feels much clearer being here

In a little while I'll feel better
Gonna spill my heart to every stranger in every town
I'll visit castles in Ireland, have some fella play the violin and play a song for me

So sell all my things, I'm not coming home
There's nothing there to keep me there
Just heartache and panic and worries and things that'll bring me down
My head feels much clearer being here
--Rosie Thomas, Sell All My Things, from Only With Laughter Can You Win

"Please tell me once again that You love me. That You love me. Please tell me once again that I matter to You and You really care. Please tell me once again that You're with me, forever. It's not that I could ever doubt you, I just love the way it sounds. I just love the way it sounds."
--This Train, I think it's from a song on Emperor's New Band.

"Every once in a while, a bannerzen posts."
--Me, during the 2002 Boredeys at Cornerstone Festival

"7:30. What kind of people have to be at work at 7:30?"
--Mr. Holland's Opus

have you seen my love
is he far away
have you seen the one for me
whose face lights up my day
i won't let one boy steal a kiss
or call me his instead i'll wait
for his voice to call out to mine
and carry these daydreams away
have you seen my love
is he far away
have you seen the one for me
who won't let me get away
please tell him that i'm
waiting for him praying for him
night and day for now i'll be a
lonely girl just longing for his sweet embrace
--Rosie Thomas, Have You Seen My Love, from When We Were Small

Traveling is significant because it takes so much effort. Either you're going to some place you love, or you're leaving some place you love. Usually it's both.
--Friend of a friend of a friend

I think I have Bond's ability to get into trouble but not his ability to get out of it. Someday I'll be in some foreign country with 5 thugs with automatic rifles pointed at me, and I'll just.... fart
--Peter, my twin brother, while we were talking about bicycle accidents.

"You had no alternative .. We must work in the world. The world is thus." --- "No .. Thus have we made the world."
-- The Mission (a movie)

The summer ends and we wonder where we are And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car And you both look so young And last night was hard, you said You packed up every room And then you cried and went to bed But today you closed the door and said "We have to get a move on. It's just that time of year when we push ourselves ahead, We push ourselves ahead."
And it was cloudy in the morning And it rained as you drove away And the same things looked different It's the end of the summer It's the end of the summer, When you move to another place
--Dar Williams, End of the Summer

Looking out the bedroom at this snowy TV.. ever since commencement, no one's asking 'bout me. But I bet before the night falls, I could catch the late bus.. take small provisions and this Beethoven bust. I could find work in the outskirts of the city, eat some fish on the way.. befriend an old dog for a roadside pal, find a nice couch to stay -- a pull-out sofa, if you please!"
--Eddie From Ohio, Fifth of July.

Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dying
Play me a song to set me free
Nobody writes them like they used to
So it may as well be me
Here on my own now after hours
Here on my own now on a bus
Think of it this way
You could either be successful or be us --belle and sebastian, Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying

"The trouble with folks like Brownie is they hold their life in like a bakebean fart at a Baptist cookout and only let it slip out sideways a little at a time when they think there's nobody noticing. Now that's the last thing on earth the Almighty intended. He intended all the life a man's got inside him, he should live it out just as free and strong and natural as a bird."
--Leo Bebb in Frederick Buechner's "Treasure Hunt"

"Life is a phantasmagoria .. It is a pell-mell of confused and tumultuous scenes. We try in vain to find a purpose - to bring an order, a unity to life. I suppose that is the appeal of art. Art is the blending of the real and the unreal, the conquering of nature. It is real enough for it to reflect life, but has the unity that life lacks."
--D., in a recent email.

"in time memories fade.
senses numb.
one forgets how it feels to have loved completely."
--Pedro the Lion, The Longest Winter

I've always had this feeling about Patty that she's complex and intriguing...I like Patty alot. She's got a good heart and tells terrible squirrel jokes.
--Julie, from her blog on 4/8, after a large group of friends from all over gathered at my house for the weekend.

"Try to remember that world-weariness isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the book of Mark, I think its Mark, Jesus looks at a blind man and sighs. Jesus sighed before even telling the man he would be healed. He sighed, and I'm not sure that there's a much more human expression of frustration than this. Faced with the horrid picture of a cursed earth and looking into the white eyes of a man blind from the day he was born, He sighed. The Creator of the universe in human form was sad "of the evils of this world," the world He created. Your Creator sighed for you in the same way before He healed you and made you His."
-- Jesse, in response to my Weltschmerz blog entry

"After the last tear falls
After the last secret's told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves
And the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that's just too hard
There is love

-- Andrew Peterson, After the Last Tear Falls

"when you most need people, you don't need perfection - just to know someone gives a damn"
--Jamie, during a recent IM conversation

How will you answer when, years from now, your child asks you: 'Mom or Dad, what did you do to combat the evil of squirrel hazing?'"
--From Dave Barry's Blog

"My brother's always [telling me], 'You should be more mysterious--boys like that.' But I'm not good at that. It would just make me more uncomfortable."
--Rosie Thomas, in an interview with Kathleen Wilson

"Loners want to kill you, but not for any particular reason, and they'd probably like you if they weren't being guided by the violent voices in their head."
--The non-box result from a random quiz I took today. (No, I frankly can't recommend this quiz site, but if you're really bored and you're not seeking to remain pure, go right ahead..)

"No one wants to oil a snake these days!"
-- Emmett Otter, Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas (Found under the Specials section of the TV section of the Henson website.)

Jamie: "I am one of the greatest criminal masterminds in the world."
Her mom: "We're all safe."

-- Jamie Bevill and her mother during Christmas-Decorating dinner, December 20, 2002

"and if i were a jetson
i'd throw out all my shoes
i'd set up cans for friends
to dump their shoes senseless shoes
a pioneer of callouses
lordy-be and bless my soul
i'd be a barefoot spaceman
the first you'd ever know"
-- Eddie From Ohio, If I were a Flinstone

"The best way to have God's will for your life is to have no will of your own!"
-- Charlene Potterbaum, Thanks Lord, I Needed That!

"Generations circle and each one atones. The sins of the father are seperate from my own. In Pilgrim's Progress, it's forgiveness that makes whole, and as time levels and consoles, I place the daisies in your bowl."
--Jan Krist, Daisies in Your Bowl

"For a moment he just stared at her. Then, with an urf-urf-urf of laughter, he turned back to the controls."
"They made good time, despite the lingering tenderness of Mara's ankle and the distractions inherent in a faceful of itch."
-- Timothy Zahn, Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

"It's on the internet.. so, then, it must be true."
-- Five Iron Frenzy, The Untimely Death of Brad

"Be at least as interested in what people can become as you are in what they have been."
-- Steve Griffin

Blessed be the rock stars!"
--Justin Dillon Stevens

Get up for the shower.. wash and scrub and scour every part as if a cleaner man could better bear the shame..
--The Waiting, Look At Me

"She was eating gnarly amounts of calcium."
--Samuel Hernandez

Homeless man to girl trying to give him money: "No, thanks, ma'am. I never work on Sundays."
-- Amilie, the movie.

"Wow! I never thought I'd need a radar-guided spatula!"
-- Larryboy, Larryboy and the Angry Eyebrows

"Isn't it great that I articulate? Isn't it grand that you can understand? ... I can talk, I can talk, I can talk!"
-- Wilbur, Charlotte's Web (the movie)

I believe that people laugh at coincidence as a way of relegating it to the realm of the absurd and of therefore not having to take seriously the possibility that there is a lot more going on in our lives than we either know or care to know... I suspect that part of it, anyway, is that every once and so often we hear a whisper from the wings that goes something like this: "You've turned up in the right place at the right time. You're doing fine. Don't ever think that you've been forgotten.
(and in another entry)
When we close our eyes to the deep needs of other people whether they live on the streets or under our own roof -- and when we close our eyes to our own deep need to reach out to them -- we can never be fully at home anywhere.
(and in another entry)
Maybe at the heart of all our travelling is the dream of someday, somehow, getting Home.
(and in another entry)
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. -- Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC

When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, "Peace, child; you don't understand."
-- C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

CCM: You've spoken a lot more about crying than I ever thought you would.
JK: Oh, I've cried a lot. Truthfully, I've cried a lot more this past year than I've probably cried in five years.
CCM: Why?
JK: It's fun to feel.
-- An Interview with Jennifer Knapp in the January Issue of CCM Magazine

"Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old when he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul. Preoccuptaions, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death. You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good, and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God. If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic, and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on your old man's soul."
-- General Douglas MacArthur

""Don't go matchmaking for me, Ilse," said Emily wit a faint smile... "I feel in my bones that I shall achieve old-maidenhood, which is an entirely different thing from having old-maidenhood thrust upon you."
-- Emily, from the Emily books by L. M. Montgomery

"I wish Aunt Elizabeth would let me go to Shrewsbury, but I fear she never will. She feels she can't trust me out of her sight because my mother eloped. But she need not be afraid I will ever elope. I have made up my mind that I will never marry. I shall be wedded to my art"
-- Emily, from the Emily books by L. M. Montgomery

"Tomorrow seems like a long ways away. But it will come, just like any other day... Deep inside, where the wounded creatures hide, I am afraid. Maybe I got lost somewhere along the way somehow. Please rescue me... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the dark shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me... Though I fear, though I am afraid, You are with me. Though I'm angry, tired, broken down and confused, You are with me. Though I sin like I've never sinned before, lose myself right out an open door, You are with me."
-- Waterdeep, You Are With Me

"The invisible people agreed about everything. Indeed most of their remarks were the sort it would not be easy to disagree with: "What I always say is, when a chap's hungry, he likes some victuals," or "Getting dark now; always does at night," or even "Ah, you've come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain't it?"" -- C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

"When People object... that if Jesus was God as well as Man, then He had an unfair advantage which deprives Him for them of all value, it seems to me as if a man struggling in the water should refuse a rope thrown to him by another who had one foot on the bank, saying, "Oh but you had an unfair advantage." It is because of His advantage that He can help."
-- C. S. Lewis

"But, you know, as a Christian, one of the big questions you always ask yourself is, "So we believe in Jesus, we believe in the teachings of the church, but what does that look like when it's lived out?" Because surely, one of the things that Jesus said that I think we often overlook is, "The person who hears my words and does them is like the wise man who built his house on the rock." He didn't say "the person who hears my words and thinks about 'em" or "whoever hears my words and agrees with it." But he said, "Whoever hears it and does it."
-- Rich Mullins, during a radio interview, as quoted in An Arrow Pointing to Heaven

"find that which gives you breath and grants you more to give
because life ends not in death but with what dies inside while we live"
--Christopher Williams, Breathe

"I have packed all my belongings. I don't belong here anymore. This pair of sandles, one pack to carry, this old guitar and this tattered old Bible. And I know I won't be afraid. 'cause I know, I know Home is where You are."
--Dog Named David, Heavenly Rain

"Open up your weepy eyes, everyone is dancing. Angels peer through sweet disguise, through a fire of cleansing.
--My Brother's Mother, Finest Hour

"Long hair, no hair; Everybody, everywhere: Breathe Deep, breathe deep the Breath of God!"
-- Lost Dogs, Breathe Deep

"You may be bruised and torn and broken, but you're Mine!"
-- Asiam, Relentless Love

"I don't deserve to speak, and they don't deserve to hear it. It's makin' me believe that it's not about me."
-- Justin McRoberts, The Story Stands Alone

"Kickin' against these goads sure did cut up my feet. Didn't your hands get bloody as you washed them clean?"
-- Caedmon's Call, Here I am Again

"They say God blessed us with plenty. I say you?re blessed with poverty. ?Cause you never stop to wonder whether earth is just a little better than the Land of the Free"
-- Andrew Peterson, Land of the Free

"Computers will know everything in the 21st century. They'll be like me in the 20th century."
-- Crabby Road