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aren't weekends for relaxing?

Sunday, April 30, 2006
I don't quite know where my weekend went. I know yesterday was mostly spent relaxing, but today was a busy busy day.

I actually went to church at Central this morning which was shocking, but I made it. Then the rest of the afternoon was spent getting ready for the lock-in this friday for the youth group. Somehow I volunteered myself to help plan it. Standing in the line at Smith's today, Jeremy told the check out guy that we were planning a lock-in... 13 hours with 15 13 year olds. When you say it like that, its just exhausting to think about. But it should be fun. Really. No, I'm not convincing myself...

I've been here 9 months now, and I have to say that saying that is truly surreal. I can't think of my life without Saranam and without being in Albuquerque. I've changed a lot in 9 months, and I feel like there are a lot of changes ahead of me in the next 15 months. I could decide to stay here, but I just don't know. I'm starting to feel like I need to know what's next, and that makes me increasingly nervous. I suppose it also has a lot to do with a lot of the changes of a lot of my friends both here and home. People getting married, people moving away and going to seminary, it is all happening all over the place. I'm here in this period of life that is full of changes, sometimes good and sometimes bad and I want nothing more than to cling to something that is unchanging. I'm well aware that I've got a God that is completely unchanging and always loving, but clinging onto that while I'm changing is a struggle. Sometimes I just want to let go, walk away, deal with a job where I don't have a broken heart sometimes. But the reality of the matter is this; that is what life is all about. We live, we breathe, we're hurt sometimes, sometimes were ecstatic with joy. I wouldn't trade the reality of feelings for a world where we couldn't experience things like loss and pain and sadness. (The Giver anyone?) I guess it all goes back to needing to experience rough times in order to truly appreciate those times where we are showered with blessings. It may not make those hard times easier, but it definitely makes me thankful that I have the ability to experience all of these things.

Working with people is something I love, I love to witness change, but sometimes it is just plain difficult. No matter what, I'm learning to lean on things outside of myself. If I ever stop learning from others and think I know everything there is to know about working with people, I'll back down. Until that time, I know that working with people and helping them deal with struggles, and rejoicing in their joys is what I want to be doing. There is nothing more real than being there for other people.

We watched this video during US-2 training that was probably the worst video I've ever seen about helping others. I'm choosing to end this blog with a quote from that video mainly because I need a good laugh. So here you go, from a video about helping... "By realizing the helplessness of your helping, you become a better helper." While this may be just about the worst way to say it ever, it is totally true.

random cause it is late

Thursday, April 27, 2006
Ok, I should be headed toward bed but I had a couple of things to gripe about.

I spent $30 to fill up my Saturn for goodness sakes. IT IS A SATURN! I wasn't happy. Nope, not at all.

I won't divulge what time I got home from work tonight. But it wasn't early. Hanging out in the pediatric unit in the hospital is no fun when there are no magazines and the tv does the squiggly line thing. Thankfully our kiddo that had a fall is a-ok but gets off school tomorrow just to rest. No monkey bars for 10 days and that is a direct order.

Speaking of monkeys, Curious George the movie was adorable. And yes I am totally secure with the fact that Leah and I did not have a kid with us and totally were the ones giggling at how cute George was.

Having my swamp cooler turned on would be awesome.

My schedule for May kind of makes me want to cry a little bit. How in the world can it be almost May already?

Sometimes I wish I had the power to change people. And then I think about Bruce Almighty and realize that maybe it is best that I have no control over anyone else. That doesn't help feeling sad about work issues beyond my control, but it makes me remember my purpose and I think that's important.

So sometimes I can't think in full thoughts, but only in small outbursts of isolated and seemingly completely random musings. Though entirely random, such posts help me clear my head enough to sleep or just stop thinking about all of the random junk that I'm trying to deal with right now. Hopefully it will also keep me from grumbling too much about too many things.



Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I'm holed up in my office right now trying not to scream.

But in the meantime I'm reading through a book of prayers for inspiration with our promotion ceremony for our people on May 7th.

One of my favorite poets is Rainer Maria Rilke, and this one just hit me:

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves...
Don't search for the answers,
which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

er.... tagged!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I got tagged by Daddyo to tell some more about my life in the way of a meme. So here it goes!

Four jobs I've had:
1. Hot dogs! And shake maker extraordinaire! (Jaenicke's)
2. web developer/data entry nerd (Keynet Online)
3. Peer Minister
4. MC (Ministry Coordinator for Mtn TOP)

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Empire Records
2. The Royal Tenenbaums
3. Dumb and dumber
4. Labyrinth

Four places I've lived:
1. Gardendale, AL (well sort of, I think we might have lived in a smaller town outside of Gardendale)
2. Rockford, IL
2. Kenosha, WI (can't that year disappear?)
3. Bourbonnais, IL

Four TV shows I love:
1. Arrested Development
2. Grey's anatomy
3. Lost
4. Numb3rs

Four concerts I'm glad I went to:
1. Ani DiFranco at the Aragon Ballroom
2. Ben Folds at the Copper Dragon in Carbondale
3. Third Eye Blind at the Canopy Club
4. Sister Hazel at the House of Blues

Four places I've vacationed:
1. New York City
2. Portland, Oregon
3. San Jose/San Francisco
4. Dallas, TX

Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Green chile cheeseburgers
2. My mom's tuna noodle casserole (and I don't even like TUNA)
3. Chicago style pizza
4. strawberry goodness (strawberry jello with some cream cheese type substance on a pretzel crust)

Four sites I visit daily:
1. statcounter
2. bloglines
3. google
4. questionablecontent.net

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Grad bible study in Champaign, IL
2. an Illini game
3. hanging out with the gang in Illinois at Murphy's
4. playing ultimate on the quad.

Four bloggers I am tagging:
2. Joanna
3. Jeremy
4. JMW

Those I tagged don't have to really do the meme, but I had to tag someone. I posted links cause really why not see some of what I read? :-)

i miss Illinois.

Monday, April 24, 2006

My parents sent me this picture from home today. I can almost smell the tree outside my house just by seeing this picture. Don't forget to scroll down for today's content blog.

My reaction to my day today and this picture while speaking to Drew: "it is like on a scale of 1 to emo how emo was i today... and the answer would be... i nearly cried at a picture of trees."

taking that a bit deeper

I just had a great conversation with my friend Todd from home who always has decent advice and keeps me on my toes on things. We were talking about being vulnerable and open and honest about things, and he said to me, "It's okay to be vulnerable, I can't do it myself, but it's true."

How true it is, how true it is.

So back to honesty and intimacy. I've always been interested in people. Sociology was fascinating to me, as was psychology and anthropology (but only cultural anthropology). Part of that is wanting to explore myself better, part of that is just an overall fascination with how we are linked and how intricately woven our relationships are. Why are we motivated to do one thing or another? Are there parts of us that are connected before even we know it? Of course I could probably go on some sort of existential speech here, but I won't. My point is that people and their wants and needs and desires, motivations, successes and failures are all fascinating to me.

That's partly why I read postsecret. It is a collection of postcards that people send to this guy Frank when they need to share a secret and can't with anyone else. I own the postsecret book and talk regularly with my friend Jodie about the postcards when they're up. Sometimes the postcards can be really disturbing, but in everything there is beauty. There is this sense of urgency for some of the postcards, like these people desperately need an outlet. They change every Saturday/Sunday, and there are probably countless books waiting to be written. I am often inspired by others confessions. I think that making and sending postcards has to be therapeautic in a lot of aspects. There are so many things that we hide from others about ourselves. Compelled confession loses something, but I think this kind of confession can be really powerful.

But this begs the question again, are we isolating ourselves so much from each other that we need to send anonymous postcards to some guy in Germantown, Maryland? People are seeking to be heard. Most every week someone writes in to postsecret and says that a card inspired them to tell their secret to others, or that they made a card and instead of sending it in they shared it with someone who needed to know. This is fantastic, but I just wonder about those who are out there lost and alone and hurting inside and their only outlet is making postcards. Communities that cared about each other would sure help. As much as I love postsecret, I pray that the people who share secrets can be real and open and honest with those around them.

honesty and intimacy

Saturday, April 22, 2006
Brought to you by the tunes of dustcast.com, way to be podcasting, way to be.

There has been something that I've been thinking about more and more, and I just can't go without expressing what I'm thinking for too long. Jessica Martin-Weber, my good friend, confidant, and mentor posted something earlier this week that I had been trying to formulate thoughts on for awhile. Every once in awhile, people ask me what's going on with all of this emergent stuff, and I reply yadda yadda community, yadda yadda, different, and blah blah blah. Well truthfully that was all a happy and good answer, but I had no clue why I was saying it and I had no clue why I was so drawn in.

Frankly, I do think that it all goes back to honesty. I am desperately seeking to be more and more real and honest with people. I want to connect on levels that just don't exist in formal modern church settings. People ask me "how are you doing?" in church on Sunday mornings and my answer is going to be no less than great even if I am having the struggles of a lifetime. Why is this? I suppose it is because we're conditioned to not be weak because we could knock people off track. I suppose it is because we're conditioned to keep from truly feeling emotions in church because if things are sour our relationship with God must be suffering (I do not agree with that one bit). Jessica says it beautifully in that post, "Community is a beautiful thing but community that neglects the harder side of life isn’t really a community, it’s a country club." Here in ABQ, I am part of a community that is more comfortable with that honesty, and I love it. I love that when I've had a rough week people want to know why, and that I really do feel cared about. We're making steps slowly but surely.

On the way back from Santa Fe, Tracy asked me how I thought one of the therapy techniques would be different with people in my age bracket. Most people my age communicate almost exclusively via the internet and instant messaging and text messages. We are not present with each other, and the more and more I begin to reflect on it, the more and more I see that somewhere down the line this type of communication is going to produce some negative effects. I say that I want to be real and honest with people, but my constant online communication provides me with filters and screens that are somewhat disturbing. My closest friend live in Illinois, I talk to them every day, but in some ways, I am isolated from them and from everyone around me. Is this healthy? I can't say for sure, but upon analysis it can't be that great. What would I do if I weren't talking to my friends in Illinois for hours a day? I would probably get out more here, explore more, make friends in interesting places. Sure, I've kept friends over the internet that I would have definitely lost touch with upon leaving home, but is that positive devastating towards my life and my future? I don't know, but I do know that this will be an issue that I will really begin to wrestle with because of where I am in my life. I want to be real, honest, and present with others, and right now I feel further from that than I could have ever imagined.

talking a lot about therapy = you think you need it

Friday, April 21, 2006

And that might not be all bad.

So I was in Santa Fe Tuesday through Thursday for a conference with a bunch of counselors, psychologists, social workers etc. It was really enlightening, but like I said, getting that internal about ways to help people really makes you reflect on your life and what you're going through.

I'd love to outline everything for you, but apparently travel either made me come down with the worst case of allergies I have EVER experienced or I am sick yet again. I'm hoping for the allergies, but I've yet to find anything that works to get rid of that. Fatigue and sinus pressure make me not very happy.

So we wandered around Santa Fe when not in the conference and it was pretty cool. Of course everything is so ridiculously expensive it was hard to stomach. Some guy tried to get Tracy to buy a pretty expensive necklace (by no means the most expensive in the store I am sure), I gazed upon a $70,000 4x6 photo for a couple of minutes and overall it was a good time.

The coolest thing was the Loretto Chapel staircase which I was totally enamored by. You can read the story about it on the wiki I linked to. The engineer in me that is rooted pretty deep still wanted to figure that out, but instead I just stood there in awe and wonder. There is something about things that are seemingly miraculous that draws me in. When I was in Costa Rica last year, I was enthralled by The Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels which had healing spring waters. It was the same experience with the Loretto Chapel, suddenly I felt like I was on Holy Ground. I've got more to say on that, but it will have to wait for a post about Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis which I just finished.

I've got a long list of blog topics to hit up, so hopefully I'll find time to be writing this next week, or my list is just going to get longer. I suppose that is the upside to me being in a very internal state, I'm thinking too much for my own good and content comes spilling forth.

on social justice and cupcakes

Monday, April 17, 2006
I will likely be absent from blogging for the next few days, but expect something Fridayish.

I had today off which was wonderfully pleasant. I'm to the point where I can't actually sleep in anymore, so I got up and did some apartment cleaning and whatnot, though I'm nowhere near done with that.

I've waited since late March to eat at Cake Fetish , mainly because the people I would enjoy it with had given up sweets for Lent. So today was the day to give it a try. I had the half-baked in case you were curious. And no, the cupcakes weren't nearly as amazing as Magnolia Bakery in NYC, but the varieties make up for it.

As Tracy and I were waiting for Nicole and her girls to show up, there was a homeless man sitting in the corner of the restaurant. He had come out of the restroom, wasn't bothering anyone, and was just sitting in the corner talking to himself. He had ordered a cup of coffee, so was rightfully there, but he got kicked out anyway. A man from a store down the way (I'm assuming) came in and asked him to leave as the lone girl behind the counter didn't feel like she could do it. It was interesting to sit there and listen to it all happen. He wasn't treated poorly, but just got kicked out. Of course, I'm not sure how long he had been there, but after he left it was apparent that he used the bathroom for quite some time.

Now there are places in town that turn those living on the streets away outright, and there are those places that let them hang around so long as they don't disturb anyone. I was sort of taken aback with the reaction of the woman in the store, but I understand that before we set foot inside she was alone with him. Even though I rarely think of the families I work with as homeless, they teach me a lot about reactions. When we're out and about doing things, their reactions to people and situations are eye opening to me. Before I started to get into social justice and really investing my time and energy in mission, I know I would have ignored most of the people I meet on the street here and would have been terrified by them. Through my work in Tennessee and here and the many different opportunities in between, I've learned that everyone is a person and deserves to be treated like one. Yeah, you have to keep yourself safe, but the services in this city are few for a large homeless population, and what does it matter if he used a whole roll of paper towels in the bathroom. Humility is something that isn't always instinctive, so I just hope that the woman who has to clean up his mess might reflect on the experience and realize that this man was a person too.

Understanding and compassion could go a long way towards ending homelessness.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 16, 2006
Hallelujah He is risen!

Or more like hallelujah this week is over!

It is amazing how that even being in ministry that isn't technically church work, this week was one of my busiest and I definitely didn't finish everything that I wanted to do. I had all of the normal stuff, plus planning and executing dyeing easter eggs with our kids (which by the way I will rethink next year), as well as all getting people to and from Pretzel Day at church (which was harder than it sounds when the van disappeared), I just want to crash.

I spent yesterday in silence mostly, to try and rejuvenate my soul. It was almost time to be an Easter person, and I wasn't ready yet, I wanted to rest and not rejoice. I felt like last week I spent hanging on by a thread, so my goal this week is to make that thread a bit stronger. That will be easy if I can spend it seeing things like this sunset. That will be easy if I don't feel lost in the mix. That will be easy if I constantly remind myself of the joy there is to be had now that we're through Lent.

I took this picture on Thursday night, and the picture doesn't do the sky justice at all. It didn't help that I was trying to drive and take the picture. But there was more beauty in that sunset than I could have ever imagined. As I move out of Lent and into rejoicing, I want there to be more beauty in my life than I could ever imagine. That is what Easter is to me. Take this time to be blessed by those general revelations.

When I was a freshman in college I came across a quote that will forever be marked in my memory. I don't know who the author was, but it was in an article that described one of those experiences where the face of Jesus is seen in something, you know, like a grilled cheese sandwich. For Ella Huffin, she found Jesus in her tree. A tree that had stood outside of her kitchen window for years. The author wrote, "Ella Huffin sees God in her backyard tree. I see God in stars and sunsets. You have your own ideas. It's a funny thing, faith - it can't be measured by microscopes or grown in a petri dish or even explained by a pie chart. But it's there, just as real as anything else."

frivolous posting

Thursday, April 13, 2006
So people ask, Laura, what do you listen to? Well it changes a lot. And it is so eclectic that I can't name one genre. So here is a little taste of my listening pleasures of the moment. As drew says... "i don't like to get too specialized." Precisely.

Create your own Music List @ HotFreeLayouts!
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