Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

And I'm back. Ok I've been back for a couple weeks. But I've not had the words to start writing again, until right now. If you know me at all, then it's probably hard to believe that I don't have words at any point about something, but there it is. Basically, I just didn't know, and still don't know, just where to begin. Things are just so very different since my mission trip, and really the events immediately preceding it. It's difficult to pick that starting point and go. So, here. we. go.

My personal legend. This is the central concept of this whole blog endeavor. What is it for which I am living life. Ok, I cannot completely answer that right now. It's too existential. But, I can tell you that the way I'm living my life is changing, and my ideas of a legacy as well as just the simple day to day is fundamentally refocused. This is going to take me days to articulate.

This verse from Romans 12 keeps coming back to me. It came up before I left, then during a daily debrief/devotional time in Belize, and again and again. "Do not conform any longer to pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
Cognitively I got was this was saying, but it took a while to really grasp what it means in my life. I think both my mind and heart have been undergoing the transformation and renewal. I'm seeing my world and priorities through a new lens. A totally simplified way of describing it is that I'm no longer happy with "normal". And really, I don't think I ever was happy with "normal".

I'm reconsidering "The American Dream" that we all work so hard to achieve. It's recently dawned on me that I have no idea what it even is, and I've been busting my butt for years to get it. Is it the 2 story house with a picket fence and 2.5 children and an SUV? I recently heard about a study that people who make $25,000/year say if they made $54,000, they would be living the American Dream. People who make $90,000/year say if they made $190,000 they would be living the American Dream. So essentially, the American Dream is described in monetary terms as twice whatever it is that you have.

So our dreams revolve around how much stuff we have? One remarkable thing I saw in Belize, is how much joy a person can have in their lives, when they literally have nothing material. We played with children who don't have x-boxes, TVs, ipods, cell phones, toys, or sometimes even shoes....and they were the happiest children I've ever seen. They are creative and imaginative. And social and loving and affectionate. They are poor and happy. How many wealthy, depressed people do you know?

This is what we'll call the tip of the iceberg of what's going on in my mind and heart. I'm tired, and getting sleepy so I want to take advantage of my fatigue. I've not slept well since I returned from Belize. Well, there are exceptions, but less than you can count on one hand. I'll get more into this another time. But when I get sleepy, I sleep because it's so difficult to come by these days.

One last thought on the renewing of my mind. Giving is a huge part of this story. Today, for the first time in my life, I gave $2 to a man holding a cardboard sign on a freeway offramp. I've had soapboxes and opinions on this. But I've realized that as a believer, when I'm stopped at a light, and there is a person asking for money or food or whatever, I tend to avoid eye contact and justify reasons not to help. Then I wrestle with the conviction I feel in my heart and try to explain it away to ease my mind. Today, I had the two dollars in my purse. Two dollars makes essentially no impact in my world. But for this man, it does. And perhaps he will use it foolishly, or perhaps he's lying or faking misfortune. But I decided in that moment I made eye contact, that I need only search my heart. Whatever this man does is between him and God. God asked me to help, and I did. That's as far as that story goes for me. I drove through the intersection without conviction, without apology, and without guilt. My heart was at peace.

The conviction I experience when I turn my head in these moments come from a warning and an encouragement in scripture:
Proverbs 21:13: "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered."
I need my Savior too much to be ignored.
Micah 6:8: "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
What do I want to do with my life? To do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. (yes, this is the official "mission" of Mission Community Church. I don't think they'd mind my borrowing it. In fact I am confident they encourage people to live it).

Friday, November 5, 2010

Preparing for Radio Silent

In less than 24 hours, we will be well on our way to Belize. Or at least Dallas, but you get the idea. That first step of getting on the plane, will be big. I'm too excited to really find a word better than "excited". It's sort of surreal. So much planning, anticipating, praying, preparing. Finally coming to fruition.

It's going to be interesting to be "unplugged". I know this is part of the experience and challenge, to leave the electronics at home. But after the hurricane, we're not even positive if the option is available to plug in as power is intermittent at best. No phones, no computers, no radio, no hair dryer. We are truly unplugged.

I am definitely of the generation of people whose smart phone is a lifeline. It's how I connect to people. I can call, email, text, facebook.... I'm never more than a few taps away from pretty much anyone with whom I'd like to interact. It's also entertainment, organization, planning. It tells me when my bills are due, when I have appointments and meetings, what the weather is doing (everywhere). I'm even in touch with God on my smart phone (come on, you all know the Holy Bible app on the iphone is awesome!).

But guess what, billions of people around the world get by without a phone. Or really anything but the true essentials. Food, water, shelter, and each other. Some have even less. This feels like a huge culture shock and being drop-kicked out of my comfort bubble, but when I really think about it, it is silly to even give a second thought. I can surely survive a week without it. I will connect with the people around me, and with God. It will be such an adventure!!

That said, I also will not be blogging, obviously. The plan is for a group blog, but again that depends on the electricity situation. If you're interested in what I/we am/are up to...there are several places to look.

First, the group blog. csmissions.wordpress.com and follow the links for "Belize 2010 team".

This is where I will be. It may not look quite like this after the hurricane.

This is the mission website with more photos and information

I bought a beautiful journal to take with me. I'm not huge on journaling in general, as I prefer the implied audience of blogging. It opens up my creative mind for writing. But now that I've been doing it consistently, and have people reading it, I feel inspired to journal in lieu of blogging to document my trip, experiences, emotions, and everything in between. I will certainly share some of it when I get back.

Many of my loved ones are worried for me (even more are excited). They are nervous or afraid of the travel to another country. Of people who hate Americans. Of hurricanes. All I can say is that I have faith to core of my soul that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I am not afraid. If it's meant to be the end of my story, then I trust God in that. However, I also have faith that God isn't done with me. This is the beginning. I'm not finished here. I take comfort in trusting it to Him to protect me and bring me back home. And with everything going on in my life in these past weeks, I have joy in the fact that I have something to come home to.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 28:11

Monday, November 1, 2010


Be flexible. We'll plan but be ready to be flexible. Flexibility is key.
This has been the resounding message from Day 1 of planning for the Belize trip. What? So I should go to yoga more often? No, silly...they're saying Type A-ers shall have an extremely difficult time letting go of control and adapting to the inevitable changes in "plans" for a mission trip.

I tend to be more on the side of "go with the flow" when it comes to, well everything. I know this is part of my personality that people around me love, as it drives them crazy. But, I figured it will be advantageous will the whole "be flexible" thing.

So....we haven't even left yet and things have changed. And changed some more. And changed yet more. And guess what....probably not done with the changing. I'm not freaking out yet, but some of the changes make me a little sad. I've learned to trust God in these moments, but it's still a bummer. Unfortunately we had another team drop out for personal reasons, and our fearless leader was replaced with just under a week before departure. I don't know the details, and if I did, they're not mine to share. All I know is that they are not going, and I wish they were.

For me, I think it is God continuing to challenge me to lean on Him alone. I could see that I was starting to lean on this person for comfort and strength going into the trip, as he was our leader and a friend (well he is still a friend, but not one who is going on the trip). I'm certain this change was not brought only simply because of my journey and struggles, but I do see how it will directly impact me in this trip. I have always considered myself an independent person, but I see now the pattern of codependence in emotional matters. Yes, I can change a tire, smash a cockroach, and hang a painting. I can build a bookshelf, move a couch, and unclog a drain. Yes, yes, we're so impressed. But whether things are going well or really bad, I lean heavily on the people around me for support. I know I don't have all the answers, and I can't do it alone....however, my inner circle doesn't have all the answers either, and sometimes I am just too much for them to hold up (I am six feet tall, after all...). I feel God pulling me towards him for this support, love, and clarity I seek. And with the call the be uber flexible this coming week, I think I will need to reach to Him more than ever.

In my sadness and bummed-ness, I am thankful for the lessons learned. I hope, no I know, that the other people involved will come through at some point with better perspectives of why things turned out the way they did, and that they and we will be stronger and closer to God because of it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Will Survive, Keep on Survivin

1 week. 7 days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes.

Made it through 1 week. Sleep deprived, lonely and 5 pounds lighter. But 7 days stronger. 168 hours wiser. 10,080 minutes closer to God.

I'm gonna make it.

The Guitar Story

As time goes on, I'm losing the details of the guitar story aka Best Birthday Ever. So I think it's time to document it.

Way back in the day I wanted to learn how to play guitar. I made a weak attempt involving a dvd and a friend who played by ear, and never really got anywhere. When I started college I pretty much gave it up.

Fast forward 10 years and I think I'm too old to learn such a skill. However, some gentle encouragement of a dear friend helped me realize that this dream wasn't dead.

I knew it would be a while before I would be able to buy a guitar, an amp, lessons, etc. Then my birthday rolled around. A group of my closest friends and I went out for an awesome hibachi dinner. I knew I wasn't getting a guitar for my birthday, but the surprise was so much better than just opening up my dream guitar. My new bf at the time had orchestrated my family and friends, whether he had met them yet or not, to make it happen. I didn't get the electric guitar, but at present time I did receive funding for the lessons, the guitar or whatever other accessories I wanted....and then of course was the fischer price guitar. Trust me, that's the only was to learn how to play.

No one had ever done such a sweet thing to surprise me. I was able to arrange to start lessons with my good friend who is an amazing guitarist and teacher....a stark contrast to my HS friend who just played then handed me the guitar and said "ok now you do it!".... I started shopping for the perfect (beginner) guitar, I consulted with my rockstar uncle for suggestions. The suggestion led to an offer to borrow one of his guitars that were yearning to be played. I politely declined learning on the Warren Haynes signature Les Paul, despite the fact that it happens to be exactly what I want to play. At this stage I would be afraid to touch it. He sent instead the perfect sleek royal blue semi hollow body. I couldn't have picked a guitar better suited for myself.

I suddenly had everything I needed...
I've now been playing for about 3 months, and while I certainly have a long way to go before I can start touring, I have come quite a long way from figuring out how to hold it and tune it. Today I even figured out how to play one of my favorite worship songs (now two for two...). I'm picking up some the "Best Rock Guitar Songs Ever". Seriously that's the name of my book....And you better believe that includes Crazy Train!

Sister Christian is next on the list, by popular demand. ;)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

No Diggity, No Doubt

**disclaimer** this quickly became quite tangential, personal, and full of God. It is not even close to what I originally intended when I opened my computer. However, I am not editing it. Read on if you dare....

I'm trying to figure out this self-destructive tendency we employ when we are hurting. I can't quite tell if it's intentional, subconscious, or what. Is it because emotional pain is so intangible that we need a physical source to legitimize it? These questions come to me because I am a total girl (contrary to popular belief especially of certain guy-friends of mine) and I find myself doing stupid girl things in sad times.

There are certainly productive ways to distract ourselves and even move towards healing, but even in the midst of those things there are either over-compensatory behaviors that become destructive, or more subtle actions that undermine the process. Here's what I'm talking about....some people work out, HARD, when they are upset. Ok fine...I'm a PT. I get that exercise releases endorphins, calms us down, and improves our overall wellbeing so sleeping and energy come more naturally. But hitting the extreme of that can cause exhaustion, malnourishment, and actual musculoskeletal injuries.

On the flipside, you may find that you just don't have the physical or mental capacity to go run or whatever your sport is. So then you get more lethargic and achy and fat. Throw in comfort food, and we all see where this path leads. This coming from someone who has had frozen dairy products for dinner on three occasions over the past week...

Sleep deprivation also is not helping my cause. I've slept fewer nights than I've eaten ice cream. This clearly is not a choice. I love sleep. I typically love dreaming, but even my vivid dreams are forsaking me right now and I wish I could forget them when I wake. Boo. I honestly can't tell you if I've showered every day this week. I have made it into work every day, but somehow I've reinstated my caffeine addict status. It may, or may not have something to do with the not sleeping.

I'm getting way off course with my own examples.....there are many other things people do to "cope". Driving too fast, skipping out on work and responsibilities, drinking too much, having sex with inappropriate people, breaking things and destroying memories. Why do we do this? We are only harming ourselves more in the long run? It just doesn't make sense.

I'm trying so hard to reach out and fall into God's loving arms, and let Him take care of the hurt. Unfortunately in the context of eternity, the result can feel like it takes foreeeeeeeeevvvvvveeeeerrrrr..... But still I trust, that in His time, my heart will be healed.

Is it that simple? No, nothing is ever really simple. But I think hitting the pain head on with the Creator of the Universe in your corner is certainly more productive than punching walls or dabbling in early onset diabetes.
All we have to do is trust. Not obey first. Just trust. I have been listening to sermons, reading scripture and other text all week, and received so much love and advice. It's overwhelming to put it all together. The common theme....leave it to God. Every bit of it.

A lesson learned here is that my heart craves love and acceptance. I have abandonment issues and have suffered with loneliness off and on for as long as I can remember. When I find love, I have a paralyzing fear of failure and losing it. And then I fail and lose it. What I'm finally realizing, is that no person will ever fulfill that need in me. Only God. I will elaborate on this later....but for now will end with this:  1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect loves drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

New topic.....You may or may not have noticed how much I pay attention to music. Song lyrics and titles plague my brain like a natural soundtrack to my life. I take comfort in relating to songs, and more recently in creating music. Now back to my being a total girl, I am drawn to music on an emotional level. I often hear a song that just captures my heart at that moment, and I like to share it because it feels like I'm letting people in to what I'm feeling inside. It's come to my attention that No Doubt, one of my favorite groups for years, has two prominent break up songs, and I can't decide which is better. I kind of want to take a poll. One is heart-wrenching, soulful, vulnerable and true. The other is the in your face, screw you, I should have known better anyway message. One aims to commiserate, the other to get over it. Both make me sing.

Don't Speak

You and me
We used to be together
Everyday together, always
I really feel
That I'm losing my best friend
I can't believe
This could be the end
It looks as though
You're letting go
And if it's real
Well I don't want to know

Don't speak
I know just what you're saying
So please stop explaining
Don't tell me cause it hurts
Don't speak
I know what you're thinking
I don't need your reasons
Don't tell me cause it hurts

Our memories
They can be inviting
But some are altogether
Mighty frightening
As we die
Both you and I
With my head in my hands
I sit and cry

Don't speak
I know just what you're saying
So please stop explaining
Don't tell me cause it hurts
Don't speak
I know what you're thinking
I don't need your reasons
Don't tell me cause it hurts

It's all ending
I gotta stop pretending who are are

You and me
I can see us dying
Are we? 

So that is quite a contrast from......


I kinda always knew I'd end up your ex-girlfriend
I kinda always knew I'd end up your ex-girlfriend
I kinda always knew I'd end up your ex-girlfriend
I hope I hold a special place with the rest of them
And you know it makes me sick to be on that list
But I should have thought of that before we kissed

You say you're gonna burn before you mellow
I will be the one to burn you
Why'd you have to go and pick me?
When you knew that we were different, completely

I kinda always knew I'd end up your ex-girlfriend
I kinda always knew I'd end upyour ex-girlfriend
I hope I hold a special place with the rest of them
I kinda always knew I'd end up your ex-girlfriend

I'm another ex-girlfriend on your list
But I should have thought of that before we kissed

Your wildness scares me
So does your freedom
You say you can't stand the restrictions
I find myself trying to change you
If you were meant to be my lover I wouldn't have to

And I feel so mean
I feel in between
Cause I'm about to give you away
For someone else to take
Am I making a mistake?
All the time that we wasted

I'm another ex-girlfriend on your list
But I should have thought of that before we kissed

We keep repeating mistakes for souvenirs
And we've been in between the days for years
And I know that when I see you I'm going to die
I know I'm going to want you and you know why
It's going to kill me to see you with the next girl
Cause I'm the most gorgeously jealous kind of ex-girl

But I should have thought of that before we kissed

Either way...I adore Gwen for so eloquently capturing what girls feel like when they are rejected. Maybe I'm immature for agreeing with it and sharing it, but if you're reading my blog, it's because you are curious about me and what I'm thinking and feeling. This is what I'm thinking and feeling today. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Listen to the Music

Alternate title: "Guitar Hero I am Not"

*almost* skipped my lesson this week due to being super duper lame. Thankfully my good friend providing said lessons convinced me that it was precisely what I needed yesterday. "get lost in the music girlfriend!"
Love it.

I feel re-energized in learning and playing after the lesson. For the last week or so, I walked past my guitar repeatedly. We stared each other down like it was the Old West....ugh, you again. No, I don't want to play you. Oh, you don't want me to play you? Well good! Cause I wasn't going to! That list of songs scribbled down that I want to learn? No, I didn't really want to learn those either. Fine...fine!

This later gave way to guilt and stress about going to my lesson. Ultimately, the lessons are for my own good, right. I have someone to teach me and help me and correct me. But it's also accountability. If I haven't played all week, then I have not improved, and am probably worse than the previous week. So it was becoming extra stress the closer I got to the lesson and the less I felt like picking it up. The wave of relief at the response to the question of whether it was worthwhile to go to the lesson was one of the best feelings I've had all week....which later was overshadowed by how good I felt after the actual lesson.

I picked my blue beauty up out of the case for the first time in over a week. It felt nice to hold it, but I was still nervous. But as I placed my left hand and started plucking away with the right, I felt so relaxed and relieved that my fingers remembered what to do. I still remembered how to count and keep rhythm. I can still play....

The technicalities of the lesson are nothing too exciting to write about, but the lesson at the end was priceless. Just play. Play more. Find solace in playing. Have fun. Make music. Find peace.

Listen to the music. All the time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

Song titles and/or lyrics keep jumping into my head as I feel compelled to write, so I'm going with it for titles. :)

Now if only I could play them...

I am less than two weeks from departure for Belize. I am heading out with the team from Cornerstone on November 6th. I am nervous and excited. I knew this would be an interesting, challenging endeavor, but I, and pretty much everyone else who is going or there, have been met with more challenges than I would have anticipated. There have been at least a few circumstances come up that have to be more than coincidence.

In my faith, I don't believe in coincidence any longer. Early on in planning for a mission trip, I have been warned several times, by several people, to be mindful of things that will happen that may derail our efforts. Christians call it spiritual warfare. I can appreciate how crazy that sounds if you're not a believer, so I'm just going to leave it at that, but I can tell you that I'm seeing it for myself, repeatedly.

We have already had a handful of team members drop out for various reasons, and that is their own story to tell of unforeseen circumstances. Now for myself, a few weeks ago I was wrestling with insecurities which are the chink in my armor that were slapped into my face with awful timing for being out of the country. Although I recognized it for what it was and was able to quash those insecurities and continue on with prepping for the trip, it eventually became self-fulfilling prophecy. I've now found myself in an uncomfortably fragile emotional state, which initially made me feel, "great, now I have to go on this trip and try to smile and help others." However, I am finding the timing is perfect (big shocker there, God) and that it is giving me something outside of myself to pour into and hopefully come back with a new perspective, and renewed faith. Further I am being challenged to trust that I will even be able to go, because I have found raising support to be more difficult than I had anticipated.

You may or may not pay attention to international weather events...I mean, come on, who doesn't? But over the last few days Belize, which is about the size of Massachusetts and sits on the shores of the Caribbean, was hit by Hurricane Richard. (what a....ok I'm going to keep it classy and avoid "Richard" jokes). It was a Category 1 at 90 mph, and I've learned the cutoff for a Category 2 is 100 mph. The mission base at Gales Point was successfully evacuated, and although none of the villagers would leave, everyone was safe. I've just learned that the damage is severe. John and Mel Bjorgen are the couple from Cornerstone who are the full time missionaries, and they just had a baby last week. They are all safe, but their apartment was flooded, and they now don't have a place to stay. The base also sustained significant damage as well as the village with roofs torn off and several homes were destroyed. Again, it is wonderful perfect timing that we are going now, so that we can assist with the rebuilding and cleanup efforts so quickly.

In all of this, all I can say is that the team heading down from Cornerstone, our friends and family, and the people already in Belize need prayer. The team has been amazing at supporting each other, and I am so excited to have these people in my life. I will continue to update for anyone who is interested, as well as for myself to put my thoughts out there and away from my head....

Monday, October 25, 2010

What I Got Reprise

So I try to write things down quickly when they are in my head or on my heart. This morning as I was thinking about love and loss in life (alliteration not intentional) suddenly this Sublime song stuck in my head. The entirety of the song isn't relevant, but the lyric is. Anyway I've been kind of thinking about it all day....and have more thoughts to add.

Let's start with "holy smokes do I have amazing, AMAZING friends...."
Don't get me wrong, my family is pretty badass as well, but they are mostly thousands of miles away. But let me tell you, I knew I had some good friends, but I didn't realize how lucky I really am. I've found myself in a valley of life where I've suffered what I consider a devastating loss that has me reeling and trying to piece back together the (at least partially) shattered plans for my future. What I've discovered is that I have built up these other relationships, based on *unconditional* love for me like I've never seen from someone that isn't blood..,

I've had friends rallying around me, taking care of me. One was concerned I wasn't eating.... "Ok, your smoothie doesn't count as lunch, too. Get a sandwich. You don't want me to forcefeed your skinny ass; I was already thinking about shoveling down mayonnaise." Now that's a friend! Another boldly stated that she would like to hang out with me to make my day smell better. :) Then of course, I was told my Arizona family would always take care of me. I've literally had to schedule out my nights this week to spend time with everyone who wants to be here for me and with me. Another friend brought me Rocky Road and Frappucino, and sat watching silly movies and being a comforting presence so I could fall asleep. I could go on and on....

One of the best things they have all provided me in addition to a shoulder to cry on a hand to hold, and a good meal....is a laugh and a smile. I could write for hours funny comments and stories. One pointed out that in my head, I know i will be alright, but my heart doesn't know it yet...my response was, yes, that's true. My heart rides the short bus. And of course there is Running with Chicken, This Party Took a Turn for the Douche, and Hand Job Bland Job I Don't Understand Job compliments of hours of watching funnyordie.com

Point being, earlier I wrote quickly and passionately about love. What I am elaborating on here is, the love of friends is simply awesome. I wouldn't trade these friends for one romantic love of a lifetime. John 15:13 says "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Much of the advice I've received from Believers in my world have told me to trust God in times of pain and loss, and to hold onto my faith. As I have strived for this, I've found peace in my friends, and whether these friends are believers or not, I have faith that they are God's answer to my prayers. I thank God for each and every one of you.

Life Is Too Short So Love The One You Got

Sublime said it best, ironically before their lead singer died of a drug overdose before 30 years of age...

Life may be going great, or maybe even be in a rough spot, but either way don't take it for granted. Don't take the people you love for granted. If you love someone, make sure to take each and every opportunity to make sure they know it. Don't just tell them. *show* them. Every time. Let go of petty hurts and annoyances. This is true for your family, your friends, and your one and only. Treat every time you see them or talk to them like it might be the last, because it truly may be the last. You might have dreams, and even specific plans, and it can be pulled out from under you in a moment, and suddenly everything changes, whether you're ready or not to move forward in that new frame of reference. The only thing worse than the loss, is wondering if you made the person know without a single ounce of doubt, that you loved them.

It may sound trite or cliche, but just don't take people for granted. Love like you'll never be hurt, every day, despite the fact that you are indeed likely to feel the pain of loss sooner than you may think.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Borrowed but not Plagiarized Thoughts Night!

10+ years later....still love Blink 182.

Carousel (from Chesire Cat for all you who think Enema was their first album)

I talk to you every now and then
I never felt so alone again
I stop to think at a wishing well
My thoughts send me on a carousel

Here I am standing on my own
Not a motion from the telephone
I know not a reason why
Solitude’s a reason to die

Just you wait and see
As school life is a
It is a woken dream
Aren’t you feeling alone?

I guess it’s just another
I guess it’s just another
I guess it’s just another night alone

Now as I walk down the street
I need a job just to sleep in sheets
Buying food every once in a while
But not enough to purchase a smile

A tank of gas is a treasure to me
I know now that nothing is free
I talk to you every now and then
I never felt so alone again

Just you wait and see
As school life is a
It is a woken dream
Aren’t you feeling alone?

I guess it’s just another
I guess it’s just another
I guess it's just another night alone

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sneaky Short Cut = Creepy Short Cut

I literally just got home from a quick trip to San Diego...actually Escondido, which falls right in between LA and San Diego. From where I live in Phoenix, there are basically two ways to get there...via LA on the 10 or San Diego on the 8. The 8 made the most sense to me, to avoid Phoenix traffic and LA traffic, mainly. The tricky part becomes getting efficiently to the 8. One option is driving South/East on the 10 to Casa Grande and picking up 8....or....cutting through Maricopa and jumping on the sneaky short cut to Gila Bend, where you get on the 8. I chose sneaky short cut..... In case you are not familiar:


I left after work last night, which got me on 238 right around 7:30 pm. I can't tell you with any certainty what the landscape looks like, as it was pitch black and rainy, but it seems quite desolate and I'm guessing very desertish. The speed limit is a generous 55, and the road features many sharp turns and quick dips that would nearly lend themselves to getting awesome air.
(do you ever take it off any sweet jumps?)

Driving the way I learned to drive, naturally I settled in at 65 mph. After a few miles I could see headlights behind me. Then they were *right* behind me. Wow is this guy coming up fast! The vehicle (turned out to be an SUV) caught up like I was standing still and was on my bumper in a matter of seconds, then sat there for what seemed hours until a "passing zone" was presented. As he blew past me then tapped his brakes, my mind started flashing back to stupid scary movies...which, by the way, I always hate watching...such as Jeepers Creepers, the Strangers, and Crossroads. Ok Crossroads was scary for a whole nother reason...but I digress. I am suddenly very uncomfortable with where I am, alone in the desert, and no cell phone signal (of course).

Obviously the outcome was not as dismal as my mind briefly anticipated.

Later I see blinding headlights coming toward me, and I realize it's a train. Seeing a train out there like that in the dark seemed lonely and unnerving. I can't quite describe how or why. It just had this ominous feel to it.

I was moderately relieved to reach Gila Bend, but found that it is not a comforting section of civilization, and I'm not really comfortable again until I arrive in the San Diego city limits.

Tonight, as I returned to Phoenix, I found myself turning onto 238...a bumpy, unwelcoming intersection from 85...at about 10:45 pm. This feels even more unnerving at this time of night than the previous evening. At this point, I'm tired. Tired of driving. Tired of thinking. Just tired. A train is moving along just out of Gila Bend as I get going over the more dramatic "dips" on this end, and I find my foot feeling heavy after hours of 75 mph speed limits. I find myself SPEEDING across 238 quite comfortably at close to 80 mph. I leave the train in my dust and am just anxious to see Phoenix city lights. Maricopa lights, for that matter. I convince myself if I get pulled over, surely the officer will be forgiving when I explain my fatigue and feeling of unease. Of course this is ludicrous and I would be kicking myself had I received the very expensive ticket that would have followed, but in the moment I just needed to GO.

Thinking about the shortcut again from the comfort of home, it seems silly where my imagination takes me. I'd almost like to go drive it in daylight, but then again, I don't really want to drive it again. At least not without an arsenal. But in all likelihood...I won't be visiting that section of road again for some time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Saw God Today

During a recent camping trip, which happened to be my first visit to the Mogollon Rim (not to be confused with Mongolian Rum) I had the most simple, brief, and utterly amazing encounter with nature. As my companions and I sat next to Woods Canyon Lake, I noticed the most beautiful butterfly I've seen flying around, and it landed on the trail just behind me. Its wings were decorated with a brilliant blue and edged in gold. Experience dictates that butterflies scare easily, and I've not ever captured a great photo of one yet, even with the countless Monarchs I've seen.

I quickly snapped as many angles as I could before it flew away. Well, it didn't. So I changed my position and placed my hand in front of it. It still didn't scare, and even walked one of it's front legs onto my finger and began checking me out with its proboscis (pro-BOSS-iss)...yes it sounds icky but it's the little nose feeler thingie that they use to suck up nectar from flowers. 

Apparently it liked whatever I had on my hands...whether it be the endless hand sanitizer I used throughout the weekend in lieu of running water and soap...or body spray in lieu of shower...or dish soap...who knows. The amazing part was that it ended up on my hand and stays for a lot longer then I would have guessed. 

Everyone gathered around (as you can see...I didn't take this shot myself) and eventually it flew off. It circled around for a little while then disappeared. 

We wandered over to another area of the shore, and I was sitting watching the little fishies in a sunny spot in the water. A butterfly landed close, and it was either the same one or at least the same type as before, and again I was able to coax it onto my hand. This time the wind blew, and I could feel its little feet cling into my finger to avoid blowing away, which is interesting and I wondered why it didn't just fly off with the wind. 

This was my perfect, beautiful moment with nature. Often missed living in the City, but makes it so much more special when we experience them every now and again. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What does it all mean?

"what is she talking about...personal legend?" Until recently I would not have caught this reference either. As it turns out, in addition to writing, I also do know how to read! On my trip to MN in August for my sister's wedding, I read The Alchemist after hearing from person after person what an amazing piece of literature it is (and it is!). I read it in just about 4 days. As it turns out, I memorize lines from books nearly as proficiently as memorizing line from movies (I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal). I can remember the line from page 11 that reads, "It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."

This book has many, many quotable moments, but this stuck with me. The entire theme of the book is realizing dreams, or as Paulo Coehlo calls it, pursuing your Personal Legend.

That's why I titled my blog as such...because I think by and large it will chronicle my pursuit of dreams, and all the frustrating, tragic, hilarious, random, and awesome moments that come along with it.

Alternate titles: "Chaotic Beauty", "We All Want to Leave Behind a Legacy", "You Remember Me Forever", or "I Love Lamp".

Take your pick, but I already made mine so get over it.

The "Official" Start

If you've not had the pleasure of reading my previous, epic blogs on myspace...you are in for a treat!

I love to write, and have not done much of it in a while. I suddenly had an epiphany as to why that is...I hadn't been running! Some of my most brilliant thoughts, ideas, and eventually blogs, journals, poems, or whatever have come to me while i was running. Well I am indeed running again, and training for a 1/2 Marathon no less...so you are in for all kinds of delightful words in the coming months!

Even if no one ever reads *any* of this...I will still write it and love it. I enjoy writing and seeing my thoughts written out. I am a better writer than speaker...probably because I can edit myself and if you know me at all, if I'm allowed to blurt then blurt I will and often beg my words to come back into my mouth. But I digress.

I have many things to say now and in the days, weeks, months to come. As I said, I am training for my first half marathon. PF Chang's Rock-N-Roll to be exact on January 16th. I am two weeks into my "official" training. I've had to edit the plan a bit based on a few choice weeks between now and then that are not conducive to organized training of any kind.

In November I am also going on my *first* mission trip to Belize. I have a lot to say about that right now as well...but we shall come back to it. This is just my "INTRO" blog anyway....

Another entertaining activity I will very likely write about...is my journey with playing the guitar. There is a whole big story to tell about that...

What else is up in Lampi Land, you may ask....well right now, I desperately need to get out of my running garb. Yes, I was so excited about this when I was done with my 3.5 mile run...I came straight in the door and got on the computer so as not to lose the thought and motivation. But seeing as how my mint-chocolate GU isn't going to hold my hunger over much longer, and my feet are screaming to be set free of their rubber and nylon running shoe prison, escaping to cool water and, more importantly, soap...I will come back to this later.