Saturday, June 5, 2010


It seems that it's the season for new beginnings. As I wrap up this year at school and look forward to a summer that I hope will be restful and full of renewal, there are so many goals on my mind. I struggle to discern what should be an immediate priority and what can wait until another time. There are so many things I want to accomplish - so many things I hope to be one day. It is my prayer that I may take time to listen, and to seek out those activities that will help me to become the woman I was created to be - to allow the other things to melt into the background.

I'm quite excited to be moving with my roommate to Greensboro at the beginning of July. I am also changing grade levels next year, so I will be teaching two new preps in eighth grade. Both are indications of the new season my life is beginning.

As I dream about the days and years to come, my mind and soul are filled with possibilities. Here are a few of the things I am contemplating:

  • Train for the Ramblin' Rose Triathlon (I was doing really well with this, but haven't worked out regularly since I got bronchitis a few weeks ago)
  • Take yoga and/or pilates regularly as a physical and mental habit
  • Join a choir, take mandolin lessons, and/or get a keyboard so I can play the piano at my new apartment
  • Find a church that I can belong to in Greensboro
  • Join some other groups such as SynerG and United Way Young Leaders
  • Begin grad school with an online program in Instructional Technology
  • Attend multiple professional development workshops this summer
  • Volunteer with Greensboro Urban Ministry and/or Habitat for Humanity
  • Spend some time in professional reflection and planning for the year to come
  • Write, journal, and blog regularly
  • Find some sort of organizational system for my personal and professional life
  • Listen to more music! (Loving a mix of Sam Bush, The Avett Brothers, Carole King, Stoney LaRue, Corey Smith, and Sister Hazel at the moment)
  • Go on a date with someone other than an exboyfriend :-p
Obviously undertaking all of these activities is overwhelming. But it is my goal to pick a few to pursue rather than allowing all my ambition to be quelled by overwhelm. I welcome insights as to how to separate the worthwhile pursuits from those that can wait.

Monday, February 22, 2010

This is the vision board I created this weekend while on retreat :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

God Says Yes To Me

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

(Poem written by Kaylin Haught)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Roll on Bye

Don't be shy just let your feelings roll on bye
And don't wear fear or nobody will know you're there
Just lift your head and let your feelings out instead
No don't be shy just let your feelings roll on bye - Cat Stevens

This weekend I am planning a retreat. Last time I planned a retreat it was for 100 people, many of whom I didn't even really respect. I ran myself into a rut attempting to please every possible audience. The result was that nobody really got an overall meaning or message, and I became exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically.

This time I am planning a retreat for me and only me.

I am going to spend some time remember who I am, and figuring out where I'm going.
I am going to spend some time thinking about what Lent means to me, today, in my life.
I am going to spend some time thinking about what it is I want and who it is I wish to be.
I am going to rest, and relax, and love myself.

Here is a list of some of the things I am considering for the weekend:

Vision Board/Collaging
Redecorating my room - I need that *special* piece
Phone calls to some special friends (Ruth, Abby, Crystal, Carol)
Prayer breakfast at the church I visited on Wednesday
Writing thank-you cards to some special people in my life
Renting a silly video that I've been wanting to watch
Listening to fabulous music
Creating some awesome play lists
Cleaning out my life - kitchen/fridge; bathroom; corner in my room; car; dead fern in the sun room
Listening to some inspirational speakers and writers thanks to Jennifer Louden's Virtual Retreat
Treating myself to a massage
Creating a plan of action for areas in which I'd like to evolve (finances; physical health; cleanliness of my surroundings)
Setting a goal for the month :)

Photo is a picture of the beautiful Iranian New Years tradition "Haft Sin" by Hamed Saber

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Words for 2010


Monday, October 6, 2008

Post Honeymoon Faith

Church-hopping, moving to a new city, examining my faith, trying out new relationships, beginning a new job, disciplining children, lesson planning for hours each day, managing my finances, and dealing with post-graduate life are all enough to leave me utterly exhausted recently. And as I feel I am missing something - the true community, reverence, worship, that comes from joining a church - I also feel like I've had my optimism and joy beaten out of me every time I visit someplace new.

I am absolutely tired of hearing your salvation story, your altar call, your version of what Jesus Christ did for me.

I don't give a damn why or how you became a Christian. Chances are very good that I already know.

I want to know how you keep being one.

After the salvation high, after the lust-with-Christ phase, after disappointment, and heartbreak, and failure, and lonesomeness, after all the excitement is lost and what you're left with is a day-t0-day commitment, a daily struggle, waking up to the same God and church that falls utterly short of God's glory. When you're left facing a struggling, hurting, cynical, impoverished, diseased, illiterate, intolerant, unhappy world. Facing a hipocritical, money-driven, judgemental, dry, lukewarm Church . . .

I want to know what you do then. Then, when you wake up alone, in a new city, with a new job and a new life and a soul full of doubts.

In that place, I want to know how to be a Christian. I want someone to show me how to walk that faith.

I know what it's like to fall in love with Jesus. I want to know what to do about the rest of the journey.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I <3 NC

Truth be told, I don't so much believe in heaven. Salvation, sure. Reincarnation, perhaps. But it's hard for me to get my head around us all holding hands and singing hymns on a cloud oneday. It's a pretty picture, but honestly, it sounds a bit boring. Not much like me. And it requires a little too much blind faith for my taste. So here's the confession: I don't believe in heaven. But if I did, I think it'd be a little bit like this weekend . . .

I went to the Outer Banks this weekend for the first time I can remember. And it was fabulous. I went with Heidi and Nathan. We spent the weekend in a cottage with Heidi's family. And it was soo good. Such good company - in the car, on the beach, in the pool. It's the first time since the end of July that I remember not feeling stressed. The first time I remember simply being happy. And it was such a gift.

The ride to the beach was glorious. Heidi and Nathan picked me up in Burlington around 6. We grabbed some dinner and drove to the East Coast on 64. The sun was setting just as we set out, and it was absolutely beautiful. It was this huge golden disk, just sinking in the sky. We listened to 100.7 The (New) River almost all the way to the beach. And it was just a moment of infinity. Great music, good conversation - jokes and memories and laughter. A great trip with great friends. I learned a myth about Virginia Dare, and threw a penny over the bridge for good luck, and saw the (ugly) Wright Memorial, and sang songs that remind me of college and songs that remind me high school and songs that remind me of love.

Heidi's family rented a cottage that was huge. It had its own pool and hot tub. We got the whole basement, and it was awesome. We stayed up after 1 just talking and hanging out and watching Heart of a Lioness on Animal Planet. (1 is super late for me - I usually go to bed around 8:30.) The television turned itself on sometime after I feel asleep and before Heidi and Nathan did. At first we thought it was an alarm, but the alarm wasn't set to go off. And Heidi said, "oh, it's my mom," in that way she does that is a little bit joking but not really. And I think it probably was. I talk to Heidi's mom sometimes. Not like entire conversations. Not like prayers. But I tell her hello when I think she might be around. So I told her hello. And I went to sleep and dreamed that I adopted a baby. A dream I hope comes true oneday.

Saturday morning we woke up and ate breakfast. Then we went to the beach. We drove out to Corolla until the road ended. And we all piled into the Jeep and kept driving, past the horse fence, right onto the beach. And it was the best thing ever. It's like the parkway but the beach, and gorgeous, and we opened the trunk so we could feel the wind. And we were all piled on top of each other and Heidi and Nathan and I were in the trunk. And it smelled like the sea. And we passed other 4 wheel drives and waved. And we watched a CRV being towed out of the sand, and I learned not to drive my car on the beach.

When we got to a spot that wasn't crowded we stopped. And we got out. And it turned out that I had been sitting on Heidi's mom (her ashes that is). So I apologized, and we laughed, and we poured her into the ocean. And we hugged and teared a minute, and then we swam. It was a great swim. The weather was gorgeos. The waves were gentle. It was a little cold, but we got used to it after a while. WE played and splashed and floated around. We saw some pelicans, and Nell said that her mom always loved pelicans, she would have loved for them to be there. And then we swam against the current and out to a sandbar. We were in ankle deep water 50 feet out. And when we swam back in we were with the current, and it carried us, and every step was little bounce, like walking on the moon, or flying. And then we dried in the sun and drove back to the house.

We swam for a while and played in the pool. In the afternoon, Heidi and the family went to her cousin's wedding. Nathan and I went to visit the lighthouse. It was so cool. It is so neat to stand in something so beautiful, and so old, that saved so many lives. Something that stands for protection and innovation and duty and constancy. We walked up the steps and read the information and took in the gorgeous view all around. We were surrounded by water - the sea on one side and the sound on the other. Below, in the courtyard, a wedding was taking place. I decided I might want to get married at a lighthouse oneday. Butterflies were playing in the garden, and the shadow of the lighthouse streched out over pine trees. We talked about which beach house we'd live in, if we could. I found that peace I always find when I watch the ocean. And when it was time to go, we left.

We went to Food Lion to get dinner and booze, but the line was ridiculous. We counted NC license plates in the parking lot and found 2. Eventually, we found a Harris Teeter and got frozen pizza and a gift bag for the baby shower. We went to "The Currituck County ABC Store," which is attached to "The Currituck County Visitor's Center," which we found hilarious. Then we went home and played in the pool, ate pizza, and watched ghost stories on BIO. Eddy and Claire came home and we hung out with them a bit. Then Heidi came home and we drank and swam and talked and played until 1 in the morning again. We broke 6 of the rules posted by the pool at the same time. It was fabulous, and fun. I didn't feel responsible. I felt free, and happy, and so lucky. I realized it's been a while since I felt really, truly happy, and I vowed to feel that way more often.

We finally went inside and watched CNN specials about the VP candidates and went to sleep. But I had been drinking coke and I couldn't sleep until around 3.

In the morning we swam some more and had a baby shower for Nell. We met Heidi's extended family who were all not sure quite who we are and made remarks like "It's nice to see you again" or stared blankly at the wall behind us. We took family photos and ate brownies and roast beef. And then we drove home.

The drive home is always longer than the drive to get there. And it's always a little more melancholoy and less exciting. But the music was just as good, and the conversation meant just as much. I fell asleep for a bit. I woke up to a road lined with cotton and tobacco. We drove through Williamston to see where Heidi came from. We stopped at the river, and saw her house, and the dry cleaners, and Main Street. And the houses reminded me of my grandmother's house at Park Avenue. And the farms reminded me of my great aunts and uncles. And I thought about how much I miss the mountains and how much I love the sea. And we all agreed that we love North Carolina. Tobacco, cotton, Southern Baptists, the biggest sand dune in the world, Appalachian football, Carborro, sweet Duplin wine, sunsets in the piedmont, snowstorms, eastern BBQ, the Avett Brothers, my family, my friends, and so much, so much more. I love this state.

We kept driving home. Stopped at Olive Garden for dinner. Nun bowled when we got back to my place. Talked of sex shops and Halloween and upcoming visits. And I treasured every moment. It was a great refresher, a great escape, a great reality. It was good to love and be loved. It was good to remember. It was good to make memories.