Tuesday, December 27, 2011

from our family to yours

Monday, December 26, 2011

hope is alive


How was your Christmas?

Mine looked like this:

December 23rd: Oh What Fun!, a Christmas service for the whole family @VCC. I was an elf, and I found baby Jesus at the end. (He was under the tinsel, garland, and Christmas ornaments.) I went to Wal-Mart afterward, still dressed as an elf, and even amidst all the people walking through the parking lot, the guy selling garland picked me out of the crowd to pester me. I may have pointy shoes, but I'm a person, too. And I don't want your garland.

December 24th: Two Christmas Eve services, six Lindor white chocolate truffles, a nap, and another Christmas Eve service. I loved the darkness of the auditorium and hearing 170 voices sing out, "For He alone is worthy." It was beautiful and intimate, and I fell asleep that night thinking about how blessed I am to be in this church, with these people, and a child of this amazing God.

December 25th: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned (Isa 9:2). I watched White Christmas and ate Raisin Bran in bed before heading out to spend the day with some of my favorite people on this earth. So much to make me laugh, so much to make me full, so many bourbon balls. I will not say I did not miss my family & the traditions I missed having for the first time in 24 years. But I am one blessed cookie to have the people in my life who are in my life.

December 26th: Happy day after merry Christmas day! (To quote Mom.) I went to work for a couple of hours, thought about how practical gas cards are & how I wouldn't be sad to get one, and was surprised by a Speedway card at my desk! And when I pulled into the gas station, my empty light was glowing. It's little things like a full tank of gas that make my entire day glowier. And the fact that I've scrubbed my bathroom and kitchen floors and watched a few episodes of The King of Queens and wrote a poem.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas of experiencing God with us, wherever you were and with whomever you were. I for one hope to continue to experience His nearness in new and dependable ways in the days after Christmas. For He alone is worthy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Not true, Cinderella

Last night I had three nasty dreams.

One was that I was dying.

I woke up from that at 1am and fell back asleep to dream that Courtney and I were being attacked by a giant cockroach, with large pincers. It sounds funny, but it was not.

Finally, I dreamed my dad died. In my dream, I thought I was doing okay, until I heard this song and remembered him playing it in our living room on his guitar, and then I crumbled to the floor in tears.

That's when I woke up.

Sometimes I hate dreams.

If you described them to anyone in different terms, they would think you were describing some sort of horror sci-fi movie.

"And then you fall into this trance where you can't consciously control what pictures and images you see, and no matter how much will you might have, you can't stop them from coming."

That sounds GREAT.

And I hate when dreams leave this reside all over you the next day. I'm still trying to shake the awful feeling that my dad is gone.

So I texted him this morning.

me: What doin?
dad: I just sat down to read my bibles.
me: All of it?
dad: ru meaning from Gamiso to Ramilations?

Then I felt a little better.

But not 100%.
Saturday, December 17, 2011

my favorite Christmas hymn

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Ultimate If/Then

One time two and a half years ago, when I was feeling lonely & tired & stretched pretty thin, my friend (let's call him Mufasa) encouraged me in an email with, "Rest in Jesus."

I read his words and replied, "I don't know how to rest in Jesus."

It's been two and a half years, and I think I finally understand.

At least, maybe a little.

I've always liked the verse that says, "Abide in me, and I will abide in you" (John 15:4). Well, that's what I want, to abide in Jesus. And if abiding in Jesus means He then abides in me, that sounds like the best option out there.

But how the heck do you abide in Jesus?

I've always wanted it to be some sort of feeling, some sort of achievement. Like, hello, I'm abiding in Jesus, can't you see me floating around instead of walking? When someone tells me, "Rest in Jesus," or when Jesus tells me, "Abide in Me," I want to be able to take a deep breath, and, by the time I breathe out, to feel safe & secure & at peace.

It's like when you're about to take a trip and someone tells you, "Be safe." Or when you're really upset and someone tells you, "Calm down." Well, yes. Those are the results I would like to achieve: safety and calmness. But simply saying those words over me isn't going to magically make me safe or make me calm. This isn't Harry Potter, and you can't make me feel okay by pointing a stick at me and saying "feelicus okaytio."

So this morning is when I realized that Jesus' "abide in Me/abide in you" statement is an if/then, and here's what it means, when you break it down (& use visuals). Simply replace the underlined with any mix of words below it:

If I abide in Jesus, then I will have Jesus abiding in me.
memorize                                                         peace
pray                                                             joy
meditate                                                    a defense
remember                                                      confidence
sing                                                              refuge
praise                                                        understanding
etc.                                                                & more!

You know when you're lying in bed, and you have the thought, "Ugh, I will never get married," you counter it by thinking, "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me (Ps. 138:8)," and that's abiding in Jesus. Or when you tape a Bible verse to your dashboard so that whenever you get into your car, you see, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer (2 Sam. 22:2)," you're abiding in Jesus. Or when you are getting [justifiably!] annoyed or angry, & instead of commiserating with yourself or someone else, you choose to pray, "Holy Spirit, breathe into my attitude and change me to think more like you," you are SO TOTALLY abiding in Jesus! And when you don't feel at all like singing the same worship song about running into Jesus' arms, because you don't feel at all like the riches of His love will always be enough, but you sing it anyway, that is most especially abiding in Jesus.

So then, you know that moment when nothing has changed - the situation's still shaky, the relationship is still broken, the forecast is still cloudy - yet you have this unexplainable just knowing that everything's going to be okay (even when all fingers point at you & say, "You should be worrying")? That's Jesus abiding in you. Or when you feel compassion toward someone whose suffering you never noticed before, or feel interest in a people group you used to disdain, or feel love for someone you know absolutely nothing about, well, my friend, that's Jesus abiding in you. And when, in the middle of singing that worship song that you don't feel like singing, you suddenly feel very much like running into the arms of Jesus and that His love is so rich that you're not even tasting the amount of a teacup, JESUS is ABIDING in YOU.

True story.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things [abide in Jesus]. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice [abide in Jesus]. And the God of peace will be with you [Jesus will abide in you!!]. (Philippians 4:8-9 [over-excited exclamation points mine])

So...rest in Jesus. Thanks, Mufasa. I think I will.

(For more motivation in this, I recommend reading Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge, &/or listening to this 10/31/11 sermon from the Vineyard called "Strong Training.")
Sunday, December 4, 2011

there's no place like home for the holidays

I'm back in the great state of Wisconsin. Flying out of Baltimore into Milwaukee, the pilot ended his welcome speech with a pause, then a very mischievous, "Go Bears." I looked around for the big burly man I'd seen earlier, dressed head-to-toe in green and yellow. Luckily we had half the US Army on our flight, so I felt relatively safe. As long as they weren't Green Bay fans. In which case, who would fly the plane once the pilot was dead? So I turned on my iPod and went to sleep. I don't have the energy to worry about these kinds of things.

And who knew Wilmore was so famous in the Louisville airport? Walking through security, the man at the conveyor belt noticed my sweatshirt (it has blaring white letters spelling "ASBURY," made out of the same material as bycicle reflectors, I'm pretty sure) and said, "Ever read A Mighty Rushing Wind?"
What a random question. I'd been thinking about whether or not to take off my shoes and wasn't ready, so I simply answered, "No?" Instead, I wish I would've been more composed so I could've answered, "No. Ever read The Little Red Hen?"
But then he said, "It's about the revival at Asbury in the 70s. Are you familiar with it?"
Why, no! There was a revival at Asbury in the 70s? Instead I simply nodded my head and walked through the laser gate that searched my soul for evil thoughts. I am always terrified of those things, even though I have nothing to hide. I hate being tested. I even hate eye exams when I get my license renewed. I just never want to fail.

But then, the guy on the other side of the soul-reader glanced at my sweatshirt and asked, "Is it true there's no place in Wilmore to get a cigarette?"
WHAT the HECK. The people in the Wal-Mart in Lexington haven't even heard of Asbury. How do these people in the Louisville airport know all about our little university?
I replied, "Um, I don't think I ever tried."
"But you couldn't, if you did, right? And everything's closed on Sundays?"
I just want to put my shoes back on. I smiled and nodded and took my Sketchers to a nearby bench. Then I looked around and noticed I was the only one in line. Poor guys were probably just really bored and lonely. And who doesn't like talking about Wilmore to pass the time?

A picture of my first night home:

Dad and Brother decided to go to a college Christmas concert instead of be home for my first night (Dad tried to make up for it by taping a giant picture of his head in a Santa hat to the passenger seat for when my mom picked me up at the airport, but I was already struggling with abandonment issues), so, to retaliate, I finished Dad's carton of peppermint ice cream. He doesn't know yet.
Then, feeling more full and therefore more generous, I tried to figure out how to wrap Dad's four pounds of Lexington Coffee & Tea coffee so that he couldn't smell it through the wrapping paper. Which is impossible, and my entire room smells like Peruvian coffee beans right now. (One of the most pleasant problems I've ever had.)
Then, I laid down on the couch at eight o'clock while Mom was watching Psych (Mom: "Have you seen this episode before?" Me: "Mom, please." What episode of Psych have I not seen, at least 3 times?) in an attempt to wait for the boys to come home (Me: "It's only seven and I want to go to bed." Mom: "Well it's really eight your time." As if that makes it any less pathetic), and I fell asleep.
Then, Dad and Brother got home, I woke up, told them hello, and then went to bed.
Now they're all at church, and I'm getting ready to put a meatloaf in the oven before I head out to join them.

I want to replace the 1/4 cup milk with eggnog, to show them they can't escape Christmas cheer, or me.

Merry Christmas from Wisconsin.

Monday, November 14, 2011

my dreams turned to pumpkins

[This post is dedicated to Tim H: Future pastor (though he doesn't know it yet), hide-and-seek player (check your closets), and independent of Brandon R.]

The most amazing thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

I got on my work email between church services and ignored all unread emails except one with this subject line:


Just like that.


So I opened it, thinking maybe it had something to do with the Halloween Festival we were about to put on the next day in our parking lot. But this is what the email said (in this font, too):

meijers in hamburg has your zachary pumpkin candy their on a shelf right inside the front door they have candy corn pumpkins and something else i was there saturday nite and bought a bowl and they only had about 5 bowls of pumpkins left so if they run out you may have to wait till they restock the shelf or try a different store around town in case your wondering i live out here in dixie subdivison where vineyard church is and was looking at their website and stumbled on to your blog and read about the candy your looking for so quit reading this email and get to meijers before they sell out

        p.s. dont eat so much that you make yourself

         sick i've already  eaten half a bowl just while

         typing this email        bye  bigjoe

I read it three times, and my eyes actually watered with emotion.

After church I drove out to Hamburg with the same feeling I'm sure I'd have if I'd had many long talks with my boyfriend about marriage and was about to propose, but was still a little afraid of that tiny bit chance he'd say no.

Please marry me, mello creme pumpkins. Please.

And they did.

It was a huge shelf, right inside the doors, and it was filled to the brim with Zachary candies. And Big Joe was right. The pumpkins were there, smiling, orange, happy to be so creamy and delicious and in my paws. And I bought them and took them home with me, and we are so happy together.

Thanks, Big Joe.

Rhett & Scarlett are caught up with emotion, too....
Friday, October 7, 2011

gone, but not forgotten

It's autumn.

This means that it is time for Zachary to start producing tubs of mello creme pumpkins. Except for that I can't find them anywhere anymore. Last year I wrote that I was going to on a candy pumpkin hunt. This year I figured I'd save the gas and write to Zachary themselves.

Wal-Mart has stopped selling your mello creme candy pumpkins, and I don't know what to do. I've looked other places, but I still can't find them. I've tried Brach's, but they don't even compare. I love the creamy honey texture of Zachary candy pumpkins, and I look for them every fall, but I can't find them. Please help. I'm contemplating driving the 4 hours up to Frankfort, IN, just to buy them. Watching football is not the same without a tub of candy pumpkins on my lap. I'm not saying I need them, but I do really, really desire them. Thanks.
 I was hoping they'd offer to send me a free tub because of my profuse gushing of my love for them. Instead, they emailed me this response:


Thank you for your interest in Zachary Confections!  I'm so sorry you're having difficulty finding our product.  We do however have some options for you.  Currently you can find the mello crème pumpkins online at George Howe and the link is below.


I will keep searching and if I find any in your area I will let you know!

Have a great day!

Beth Randall
Zachary Confections
In which case, with shipping, it would cost me $9 for an 18-oz bag. At Wal-Mart, they were $1.88. So I'm putting out an alert.

Have You Seen Me?

I am an creamy mixture of honey and sugar shaped like a pumpkin. If you have information as to my whereabouts, please alert your local pumpkin connoisseur [that'd be ME] immediately. Also, do not mistaken me for Brach's, or you will never be trusted again.

I miss you.
Thursday, October 6, 2011

come back to center

There is a woman in my building who drives a yellow station wagon, somewhat the color of a melted banana popsicle. She has a license plate on the front of her car that says "Namaste" in the same letters as Disney uses for Aladdin. All I know about "namaste" is that the woman in the yoga videos on FitTV says it at the end of her yoga episodes. Namaste to you, too, yoga lady.

Well, one evening, Banana Popsicle Station Wagon Woman, pretty close to the start of my residence in my apartment building, took up two parking spaces with her bananamobile. And they were the two parking spaces closest to the dumpster, which may sound unappealing, but they're my favorite parking spaces because they're so easily accessible.

And she took up both of them.

It's okay, I told myself. It's a weekend. I'll give her some slack because she was probably drunk when she tried to park.

But then it happened again.

And again.

And I'm telling you, she does it almost every time, weekend or weekday.

So the other morning I looked out my window and caught her little station wagon in its crime.

That's not even like an "Oops I accidentally leaned across the white line a little but oh well I'll just leave it for now" parking job. That's like a "Take THAT apartment dwellers, now you can't use EITHER of these spaces! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha I am evil" parking job. How does she think that this is okay?

Next time she does it I'm going to write a little note and stick it in her windshield wiper.

Dear Resident,
       I am a quadriplegic who also suffers from epilepsy and ADHD. The closer I can park to my front door, the easier it is for me. Please stop taking up these parking spaces, as you put my life in jeopardy each time you do. And if I die I will come back and haunt you.
       Hanging on by a thread,
               A fellow resident

Namaste my eye.
Saturday, September 17, 2011

with them we praise & curse

Remember that part in Hamlet where Hamlet is reading a book, and some dude (I don't remember who it was) asks him what he's reading? Hamlet replies, "Words, words, words." He's such a smarty pants. Or, I guess, back then it would've been smarty tights. Smarty leggings?

When I was in youth group, my youth pastor, Josh, told us all to stop being so sarcastic and negative to one another, and instead to tell each other what we appreciated about one another. Of course, obviously, we then made fun of him. I distinctly remember turning to my friend Erin and saying with an overly-genuine lilt in my voice, "You're a bright young woman, Erin. I appreciate you."

Once on a retreat, Josh had us all sit in a circle. Then he gave one of us a ball, and told us to, without saying a name, describe what we appreciated about another person in the room. When we were done, we threw the ball to that person, often surprising them that the kind words that were just spoken were directed at them.

I've been pondering the power of words. A young lady I worked with in the food pantry in Salt Lake City a couple of summers ago was volunteering there to fulfill court-appointed hours. She had a daughter and lived with her mom. Sometimes she just made poor decisions.

One day I told her how much I enjoyed her company; how genuine and thoughtful she was; how much I liked her. A few weeks later I'd forgotten I'd even said anything to her. To me, I was just speaking my opinion. (I do this a lot.) But she came in to work and told me she'd been having a horrible day the day before, but she remembered my words to her, and they changed her entire day.


And not just the words we speak to others. I've also been thinking about the words I think about others.

During my spring break trip to Atlanta last spring, our group of twelve college students sat in a circle in a small attic room that we couldn't even stand upright in. One group member sat in the middle, and sporadically people spoke words of encouragement to that person. Good things we saw in that person. What impact that person has had on our week/team/lives. We were supposed to be in there for an hour and a half; we finally emerged three hours later. And after sitting in a room where nothing but encouragement, good, and positive was spoken, my entire thought processes were changed as to what I thought about my teammates. We were all different, and some of us had more in common than others. But either way, when we focused on the good, we saw more good.

WORDS can be LIFE.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. - Ephesians 4:29

This is a challenge to me. Let it be a challenge to you, too!
Monday, September 12, 2011

Why I Had a Great Birthday

The pastors at VCC gave me an edible arrangement. I've ALWAYS wanted one. And they didn't even know it!
This is me feeling very loved.
See those things that look like marshmallows? Those are white-and milk chocolate-covered bananas. See all those empty protruding white spears sticking out? That's where more white-and milk chocolate-covered bananas used to be. I ate them.

See that sheet of paper on my desk? That's the receipt for my edible arrangement that I have to file. The perks of being an administrative assistant. (What you don't see on the receipt, because they happened later, are the smudges of white and milk chocolate because I accidentally dropped a banana on it.)

Then, later in the afternoon, Leiza sent me ANOTHER edible arrangement! Because I've ALWAYS wanted one, and she knew it. It was a veritable orchard of strawberries and chocolate-covered apples and pineapples. There's not a picture of that one, though, because I didn't unwrap it until I got home. Then Katie helped me eat it, while talking about prayer and watching the Packers game. (The two were unrelated.)

Let's just say I have basically filed a restraining order against scurvy for the next 10 years, at least.

It was a great birthday. 

And I'm 24 now. When my mom was 24, she was pregnant. When my grandmother was 24, she'd been married for seven years. This morning I accidentally started dancing in my car when Jackson 5 came on my iPod, and the man in his car next to me at the red light looked at me like I was probably mentally unstable.

I'm pretty content with where I am.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

cuppycake day

This morning I woke up at 6:45. My alarm is called "Voices of Nature," which is a lovely mix of a soothing (as soothing as computerized music notes can be) melody and birds chirping in a rainforest. So if you're wondering what Nature's voice sounds like, LG has captured it and put it in my phone.

However, when I looked outside (my "I don't have Internet or cable so this is how I check the weather" technique) I saw that it was windy, rainy, and cold. Autumn is coming! Autumn is coming! But not the most inviting conditions imaginable for an early-morning jaunt.

So I decided to do Pilates instead. (Don't be too impressed. I do Pilates just often enough so that my muscles are sore for the next three days & make me feel like I've gotten a really good workout in ["Boy my arms hurt...I AM SO FIT RIGHT NOW"], but not often enough to be of any actual benefit for my body. ["If you did this more regularly, we wouldn't be screaming out in pain every three days. Sincerely, What Are Trying to be Your Abdominals."]) The thing about Pilates, though, is that sometimes I love it, and sometimes I hate it. Today I hated it.

Lara Hudson, sitting with legs splayed like a road-killed frog: "Slowly turn to your right, bend at the waist and lift your arms, flipping up your palms...."
Me, hugging my knees with 3-lb weights on the floor next to me: "I don't want to do this."

Then I remembered it's meeting day at VCC, and I decided to bake cupcakes.

They are possibly my new favorite thing in this world. That's not true, I like a lot of things more than these cupcakes. But if you like chai, you will love these little buttercream babies. Now to get an actual frosting piper so I can stop cutting holes in my Ziploc bags, and so that my frosting doesn't come out looking like those enormous grubs that Timon eats in The Lion King.

Frosting, anyone?

Happy almost-birthday & VCC Meeting Day.
Thursday, September 1, 2011

today I met the dress I'm going to marry

I went to Goodwill last night with my fellow Vineyardite, Karen. Amidst the yellow shirts with billowy lacy sleeves and the Noah's Ark-embroidered jumpers, I found my wedding dress. The sparkly beads and sequins along the neckline were what captured my eye. The yards of stiff fabric bunched into jellyfish-like sleeves and an enormous bow on the back that stretched the entire width of the butt were only bonuses. I walked out of the dressing room, giggling, and called to Karen across the store.

"That's cute," a woman from behind me said.
I giggled some more and poked the inner tube of fabric around my waist. "This part is my favorite."
"You only laugh because it's different," she said. "But it fits you perfectly." Karen arrived in time to hear the woman add, "You'd have to wear different underwear, though."
Okay, look, lady. Number one, no one would seriously consider buying this dress for any serious occasion. Number two, my fashion sense is not restricted enough to think that the purple plaid bra straps showing in the back were an acceptable addition to this outfit. I didn't particularly come to Goodwill thinking about what undergarments might go well with whatever sea creature I happened to try on that evening.

Karen and I mocked the dress for a while, until finally I turned to go back into the dressing room. I passed the lady and she sighed, "It looks like it was made for you."

Nothing flatters your waistline like wearing an enormous doughnut on it.

Maybe she was right.

Now to find a groom with broader shoulders than mine.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011

unbridled spirit

My car is an official Kentuckian. I was going to join him in this identity transfer, but then the car inspector wrote down my Wisconsin driver's license number and talked about how Wisconsin and Florida have the longest license numbers, and then I felt bad going and changing my driver's license after all the work he just put into write down its number. So I'm still a Wisconsin resident for a little bit longer. This makes me feel a little more legitimized when I get excited to watch a Packers game, because, hey, I'm legally a Cheesehead.

And guess what: The Packers are throwing a celebratory game in my honor on Thursday, September 8th, to kick off football season and my 24th year of birth. Just watch and see if Aaron Rodgers doesn't throw a touchdown and then throw his arms up in the air and shout, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY HEATHER!" Because it's all about me.

As I waited in line at the county clerk's office to register Dule (my car - he's named after Dule Hill, which I don't know if the real Dule Hill would appreciate), I stood sandwiched between a guy who kept turning around and smiling at me, and a girl who looked like she'd share her entire life story with me if I merely made eye-contact with her.

Finally I said, "Great way to spend an afternoon, isn't it?"
The guy started speaking rapidly in a thick Spanish accent, and I, not understanding any of it, smiled and chuckled and then said, "Yeah."

This is always my default position when I don't understand what people are saying. This is going to bite me one day in a very scarring way, I'm sure. Like the time I was at a Mexican restaurant with a friend and, after my friend, let's call him Fred, went to the bathroom, our waiter pounced on me like a hungry leopard.
"Is he your boyfriend or your brother?" He asked.
Oh. Um...."Well, neither."
The waiter, let's call him Manuel, smiled. "He looks like he could be your brother." Translation: You shouldn't consider dating him. DATE ME!
I chuckled. "He does sort of look like my brother."
Here's where the indistinguishable part of our conversation came in, and, not understanding what he just said, I just smiled with closed lips and shook my head.

WHAT POSSESSES ME TO DO THIS? Why do I feel it's okay to answer people when I haven't even heard their question?

Manuel, taking my shaking head to mean that I actually heard his question and was honestly answering him, looked me in the eye and said, "Too bad." Then he walked away.

What do you think he could've asked? Whatever it was, I think I unintentionally led him to believe I was off the market. Which is a blessing, because I didn't particularly feel like going out with my waiter from the Mexican restaurant. But this time I was spared; what if next time I accidentally agree to something?

"Mumble mumble mumble mumble."
"Heh, heh, yeah."
"Really? Okay, pick you up at 8!"
"Wait, what?"
"Bring your castanets!"

Back at the county clerk's office: The clerk who helped me with my paperwork was friendly enough, but she never really made eye contact with me.
She asked, "Which license plate do you want?"
I looked at the two license plates pictured on the window, one that said "Unbridled Spirit" under the picture of the Kentucky horse, and one that said, "In God We Trust." I chose the unbridled spirit one, because, though I trust in God, I think it's a little presumptuous to assume that all of Kentucky does.
I tried to say "Unbridled Spirit" as inspiringly passionate as I could, like William Wallace maybe, but the woman simply smiled accommodatingly and went about her business.
Well, of course I accepted this as a challenge to make her day brighter. I waited in silence for an opportune moment, watching her float from left to right as she grabbed papers, stapled them, ripped others, tossed some, filed those, stamped here, all in one fluid motion. I looked at her in captivated awe.
"Wow," I said. "It's like a dance."
Her face relaxed and she smiled a genuine smile and chuckled.
I'm in! "You've got this down."
"Oh yeah," she said.
When she handed me my papers, she looked me in the eye and smiled. I smiled back. Day brighter.

Then I noticed she put my "Fayette County" sticker on my license plate completely crooked.

After all we'd been through.
Saturday, August 27, 2011

that September in the rain

It’s almost my birthday.

The night before I turned eighteen, I lay on the bathroom floor listening to the first fifteen seconds of “I Saw Her Standing There” by the Beatles over and over again.

Well she was just seventeen, if you know what I mean….
Well she was just seventeen, if you know what I mean….
Well she was….

I did not want to turn eighteen. The idea of being legally able to sign my own important documents without my parents was pretty terrifying to me. Next you were going to tell me that I could call and set up my own dentist appointments. WHAT? Let’s not get crazy.

Now I’m getting ready to turn twenty-four. Isn’t that the age that Paul McCartney wrote “When I’m Sixty-Four”? My future ahead is so bright, it’s blinding.

To celebrate my birthday, I plan to bake these vanilla chai cupcakes. Then I plan to eat them. My plans do not extend further than that, except maybe a trip to Barnes & Noble, because, most of the time, if you want to bring me to pure delight, take me to Barnes & Noble, and let me just smell the books at my own leisure. When you have come to please me in this way, you have secured a place in my heart forever.

I'm at Panera Bread right now, and there is a woman sitting at the table beside me with another woman. I tuned into their conversation just in time for her to say that, when given lemons, “It’s an old adage: You can make lemon cookies, lemon bars, lemon meringue pie, lemon muffins….”

Wow, usually people just make lemonade. Obviously this woman has more culinary knowledge than the rest of the world.

Also, happy football season.

2 more weeks till Heather's birthday.
Friday, August 19, 2011

to grape-nuts

O grape-nuts, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee with milk, cinnamon, and honey,
and peaches, ripe,
and juices running.
I love thee soggy, soaked, and warm,
I love thee cold and crunchy in form.
I love thee with berries, blue or straw,
icy and frozen,
or mushy with thaw.
I love thee together with Raisin Bran,
flakes and buds, hand-in-hand.
I love thee upon the rise of the sun,
I love thee after the day is done.
I love thee while I'm young, and bequeath:
I'll love thee when I have false teeth.
Thursday, July 7, 2011

only the lonely

I have had an empty bottle of Ahava in my shower for 2 weeks, and I cannot bring myself to throw it away.

I am not good at saying goodbye.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

oh, to grace how great a debtor

Recently my friend Irene and I tried to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. First we tried to dig out the cork with a screwdriver, but the cork broke in half. Then we screwed a screw into the remainder of cork, and tried to pull the cork out with pliers.

Get it, Irene.
But the cork kept deteriorating. Those little boogers are really packed in there.

So then we wrapped the spout of the bottle in a towel, put it in the sink, and hit it with a hammer. (And by "we," I mean Irene did so, and I stood on the other side of the counter with my hands protecting my head like they teach you on an airplane in case of a crash. I was one floatation device short of the Southwest safety catalog.)

But the bottle didn't break. So finally we had to suck it up and go to Kroger and buy a corkscrew, for seven dollars. Come on, Kroger. I'm probably never even going to use this thing again. Anybody want a corkscrew? I will sell it to you for $6.99. It's quality.

This morning I was reading in John 8, and in verse 31, Jesus says, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples."

I think this would be a pretty easy verse to just breeze over. Right, obviously, in order to be a disciple of Jesus, we have to hold to His teaching. Duh. Moving right along.

But this verse really stuck out to me. (About this time you're probably wondering, What the hairy does a bottle of wine have to do with Jesus? Patience, grasshopper.) I thought, What exactly is Jesus' teaching? What is He referring to that we must hold to in order to be His disciple? Do I hold to His teaching in the way I live my life?

I prayed, "Lord, penetrate my heart with your teaching and convict me of the things I need to change."

Then I thought, "Whoa, that is a heavy prayer." You don't pray words like "penetrate" and "convict" unless you're really serious. Am I willong to go through what that prayer may bring about?

And that's when the image of the wine bottle came to my mind. I realized as I prayed, that my prayer was basically asking God to take a hammer to me and crush me, in order to make me into what He wanted. ("But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him" [Jeremiah 18:4]).


But I saw God's grace like that towel that Irene wrapped around that bottle. Breaking, yes. But gently. Wrapped in God's grace. Sweetly broken. Maybe Jeremy Riddle wasn't exactly picturing smashing a wine bottle wrapped in a kitchen towel with a hammer when he wrote that song, but I am.

And if that's what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus, that's what I want. A disciple, not just a Christian. And I think it's great that Justin's going to be preaching about being a disciple this weekend. (Saturday at 5:30pm, and Sunday at 9am, 10:30am, and noon. Shameless plug for the Vineyard? Yes.) I'm looking forward to hearing what he says.
Monday, June 13, 2011

C-I-T-Y, you can see why

I haven't met many of my neighbors, though I've caught glimpses of them. They're like those butterfly clams we used to catch on our vacations to Florida, who would stick their little pink tongues out until they realized they were in our hands, and then they'd swiftly retreat and pretend like no one was inside their pretty pastel shells. Unlike those clams, however, I can't pry open my neighbor's homes and reveal their lying fleshy bodies. Or make necklaces out of their walls.

The other day I went to my car to retrieve my iPod, however, and noticed a man sitting in his suburban (I had to google image that to make sure that's what it was - and I was right!), just chilling out. That's okay, I often like to sit in my car with the windows down in 90-degree weather next to the dumpster that smells like dead raccoons (as a friend of mine so eloquently put it). When I pulled my head out of the backseat, his suburban had used some sort of stealth mode to creep up behind my car, and he was leaning out of his window. "Excuse me," he said, "I just moved here, and I'm looking into Internet providers. I've been asking around as people come out of the building...."

In my mind I was thinking several things.

1. Do not stand too close to his car.
2. Be helpful and friendly, but not too helpful and friendly.
3. I wonder if this guy is a creeper.
4. Well, if he's telling the truth, maybe he'll find a good Internet provider and he can tell me about it and then I won't have to do any of the annoying research.
5. Wait until he is gone before going into my apartment, so he doesn't know which one's mine.

Since then I've seen this fellow talking with several other apartment-dwellers, so I feel pretty convinced he was just taking some quiet time to himself out in the parking lot, meditating on Internet providers. Ommmmm....Windstream....

I've seen several attractive men riding bicycles, but fortunately for me I don't have to worry about them hitting on me, because the only time I see them is when I, too, am exercising, and we all know how freakish I look when I exercise. Thankfully my hair is short enough that, after sweating and running into the wind, my hair sticks up straight in the front, a la Roxanne Ritchie.

Who wouldn't want to hit on this?

I've also noticed that men don't honk at me when I walk down the street. I think it's because females are much more common here in the city than they are in the country, and to see one walking down the street is not worth honking at. Life's so different far from cow country!

I've been making a lot of different foods, too, now that I'm not living at home where the men like meat and potatoes at every meal. At first I thought the spinach and artichoke hummus on my sandwich was gross because it looked like mold, but now I think it'll be a good way to keep other people from eating my food.

Random coworker: "Do those cheese puffs have mold on them? Yuck! I'm definitely not eating those."
Me: "Bwa-hahaha, THEY'RE ALL MINE." (My imaginary dialogue is always so believable, isn't it? Especially since spinach and artichoke hummus goes great with cheese puffs, and as we all know, very rarely am I seen without a cheese puff in my paw.)

Perhaps I will try this "slathering of green goop" method on other things that I don't want people to use. Like my sharpies. And the little lever that I stuck double-sided tape onto that keeps the paper cutter at the perfect measurement for cutting weekend handouts.

"Can I move this lever from 5 1/2 inches...why is there green goop all over this?"

Don't move my lever.

P.S. I confess to riding my bike multiple times without a helmet.
Saturday, June 4, 2011

someday my prince will come

This past week I was sitting at a red light. I had my windows down and I was singing loudly with the Beatles. I looked to my right and saw the car sitting next to me, a man probably in his 50s at the wheel. He looked at me, and I looked casually away as if my head was simply vacillating like a fan in the summertime. But then I grabbed my cell phone and took a picture.

Yes, that is a car covered entirely in fake flowers and Disney princess stickers.

Snow White and Belle seemed to be his chosen favorites.

I have no idea why.

I mean, has he ever seen Pocahontas?
Saturday, May 28, 2011

hair, and the people who cut it, pt. II

The last time a man cut my hair, he twisted it on the top, snipped, and said, "Oops." Then he started singing along with the radio, as if I would mistaken his blunder for a song lyric. There was no mistake. I wore a knitted hat on my head for days. And then when it started to grow out, a guy I knew said, "Yay, pretty Heather's back again!"

Note to any guys reading this: No girl likes to be told she is conditionally pretty.

Note to any girls reading this: Do not go to Super Cuts on 68 next to Kroger, even if you get a coupon in the mail.

But when I called Studio 19 the other day and asked to make an appointment "today or tomorrow," the guy on the phone said it this way: "I could take you today, or you could go with someone else tomorrow."

Okay, well, great. Now I'm stuck, because if I say, "Ummmmm I think I'll go tomorrow," then he's gonna know that I don't want him to cut my hair. And I don't have anything against male stylists, I just don't want them to cut my hair.

So I inhaled abruptly and said, "SureIcancomeintoday."

So I sat in the chair in front of the giant mirrors and he asked, "What are we thinking today?" Well, I was thinking that he smells a lot like Chinese food, but instead I answered, fingering my hair, "I'm not diggin' this nasty mullet thing goin' on in the back..." And that's when I realized that he, indeed, had a mullet. I briefly rethought what I'd just said, noting that I'd used the word "nasty" to describe "mullet." Well, I could cover it up by saying, "You know, they're fine on guys, but...." However, I do not think mullets are fine on guys. So that would be a lie. So I just kept talking.

It's okay, though, because he got me back. I told him my "Oops at Super Cuts" story, and just as he stepped in front of me to cut my bangs, he let out a, "Whoops!"

Heather - 1, Deep Fried Egg Roll - 1

Then he laughed it off with, "Heh heh, just kidding. I just thought you needed to lighten up."

Note to any guys reading this: Things not to tell girls: "Lighten up," "You look tired," "Yay, you're pretty again."

Note to any girls reading this: Do not go to Studio 19 on Sir Barton Way, even though you get a 10% discount online.

Really, the haircut was fine. Mostly I just didn't want to look like Justin Bieber anymore. And I always enjoy new experiences. Oops! Forgot to tip you. Heh, heh, just kidding.
Monday, May 23, 2011

a bicycle built for one

My bike is leaning against a wall in my bedroom. Every time I walk in the room we have this stare-down, and he just looks at me with this blank expression that anyone else would overlook, but I know what he wants.

I can't, I tell him. I don't have a helmet.
You don't need a helmet.
Yes I do, Bike.
I want to go outside.
I know. And I want to take you outside, but--
Just this once.
All it takes is once.
Lots of people ride bikes without helmets.
Do you remember the story Miss Hammond told me in 11th grade?
That won't happen to you.
Some innocent little girl--
--wasn't wearing a helmet--
All I do is sit here.
--and she fell off her bike and hit her head--
It's so nice outside.
--and she was brain dead.
...I'll protect you.
You can't protect me.
Yes, I will protect you.
You think that, but you are actually incapable of protecting me. What would you do if a garbage truck came hurtling toward us?
I am invincible.
You are starting to rust.
Under there.
Stop it.
Listen, my Schwinn, I want nothing more than to ride down to Orange Leaf--
Yes, let's go to Orange Leaf.
--but I can't. Not until I have a helmet.
Is a helmet really going to make that much of a difference.
You hesitated.
Don't talk to me anymore, Bike.

I actually have to sleep facing the opposite wall, because I think he watches me while I sleep. And I'm beginning to bend, like, maybe it wouldn't be so bad, if I rode on the sidewalks, in residential neighborhoods. Or just down to the library. It's only 2 blocks. Lots of people do it, right?

Maybe I should cover him with a sheet.
Sunday, May 22, 2011


Bill O'Reilly never sent me a signed copy of his book, so I stopped watching his show. (It also may be because I don't have cable anymore, and when I do have access to the Internet, I watch clips on billoreilly.com. So no, I don't really have any principles, thanks for asking.) It's probably for the best, because if he had acknowledged me on his show, some producer probably would've been awestruck by my brilliance and beauty, and then I would've become another one of those "discovered on YouTube" stars. I'm trying to keep it classy, like Doris Day. I can't imagine Doris Day ever making a YouTube video.

I was sitting in Panera Bread with my laptop, because I don't have Internet in my apartment, when all of a sudden his (and by "his," I mean my laptop, because he has a gender, and it is male) screen went blank and he lost consciousness. I can't restart him, and so now not only do I not have Internet or cable in my apartment, but now I can't even listen to music or type anything.

So let's recap: Bill O'Reilly ignored me, and I can't watch TV, get on the Internet, write, or listen to music. The "entertainment" category in my life right now is pretty low.

I guess this means I should pick up Gone with the Wind again, which I packed away in my move and in which still have 500 pages left to read. Or I could whip out my notebook and write with a pen, like writers used to do. Or I could journal, which I haven't done in weeks, because talking to people is much more fun. Instead, I rented The A-Team from RedBox at Kroger and stopped it halfway through because it was stupid, and I was tired.

I went to the gym to inquire about a gym membership, too, and talked to the woman for 45 minutes about youth, family, beauty, jobs, and her boyfriend. She was very friendly, and I enjoyed talking to her, but now I feel bad that I don't want to join her gym. I don't like letting people down. I have already come up with many excuses as to why I can't join her gym.
"Hi, Julie? It's Heather. Um, I'm sorry, but I was walking down the stairs the other day and....my tibia snapped in half. Yes, my tibia. And then...my fibula. And then my clavicle...which I know is nowhere near my tibia and fibula, but...it just all happened...at once...and the bones were just all snapping...so many bones snapping...so I can't work out...please don't be mad at me."

I'm not good at losing friends.

My laptop has been fixed (so much happens in the space between paragraphs, doesn't it?), but now I can't figure out how to change him back to the way I had him before. You know, like if you have this husband who made all these habits over the 25 years that you were married, and then he has a brain injury and forgets everything, and he has to relearn these things all over again. No, Compy, you go to sleep when I TELL you to go to sleep! (Okay, so it's not quite like having a brain-injured husband....) Moral of the story: When someone tells you that something could be so much better, just say, "No, thank you, I like things the way they are." Words to live by.
Saturday, April 30, 2011

Papa Bear

Dad and I watch The O'Reilly Factor almost every night. Some guy wrote O'Reilly a 4-line poem, and Mr. O sent him a signed copy of his book Pinheads & Patriots. So I wrote him a song. I want a signed copy of Pinheads & Patriots.

Your suits look nice
they complement your shoulders
Sitting behind your desk
have you gotten any older?
Surely all the these pinheads
would make your hair turn gray
but perhaps Dennis Miller
has scoffed that threat away

'cause the spin stops here
and the Factor is lookin out for you
You need have no fear
when O’Reilly is on every weeknight, on Fox News

So I’m spouting off
from anywhere in the world
name & town, name & town, name & town
and the word of the day is “chortled”

‘cause you held your own on The View
and you’re number one in cable news
without you, where would be the Talking Points memo?
caution: you’ve just entered the no-spin zone
Friday, April 29, 2011

blessed is this life & I'm going to celebrate being alive

Sometimes I see jobs that I never, ever want to have, and I start thinking about how horrible it would be if I was forced to have them, if I didn't have a choice. Yesterday I was looking at the fashion section in the Wall Street Journal and I started to panic, because what if I was forced to be a super model on the runway? What if I was forced to wear makeup on my eyes like scary space raccoons, grease my hair onto my head like a skullcap of snot, and wear a swarm of fake butterflies around my head to complement the runway's "nature" motif? Then, when I saw these shoes, I started to hyperventilate:

"Help us! We are trapped in giant mole heads!" - Feet
I had to close the newspaper and watch the Weather Channel to get my mind on something else. I would never, ever want to be a runway model. I like my hip bones softly enfolded in revolt of the vegan lifestyle, and not protruding from my body like permanent javelins.

I had a what-if-I-had-to-have-that-job panic attack a few days ago, too, when I starting thinking, What if I had to work in a daycare for the rest of my life? I have loved a few small children in my life, this being one of them:

"William, can you do Down Dog?"
But in mass numbers, little tots are not my favorite thing. People like to tell me, "It's different when you have your own." After watching several episodes of SuperNanny, however, the only difference I see is that, when it's your own kid, you're allowed to lock him in the basement after he's colored on the walls with a permanent marker because you told him he couldn't have more animal crackers, whereas if you were just the daycare provider, you'd get fired & sued. (Note: Locking in basement has never been a Super Nanny approach. I myself do not recommend this approach on a human, but it works very well with demon cats.)

I have actually been thinking a lot of jobs recently. I've been thinking about the talents and gifts God has given us, and the ones He hasn't. One of the RDs at Asbury spoke this in chapel a couple of years ago:

Don't you know that I have made you in my image? Anytime you degrade yourself, you degrade me. Anytime you deny or misuse the gifts that I have given you, you are no better than the one who hid his talent in the ground and waited for the master's return. Will I not bestow on you the same fate as him? Why do you compare yourself to others upon whom I have given other talents? Don't you know that all that I have is yours if you will just open your hands, heart, mind, and soul to receive them? When you hide the ways I bless you, you fail to expose me. No amount of false humility or religious jargon will hide these facts from me. You honor me by living life to its fullest. You honor me by speaking truth about how I have kept you. You honor me by being who I have created you to be, and I called you to be you, not [anyone else]. It doesn't matter how much you have felt you messed up things or failed in the past. You fail to humble yourself when you refuse to acknowledge how I have redeemed you. You refuse to be humble when you meditate on your insufficiency, and not on me.

I have learned this, and it has made all the difference. For the longest time I thought I had to try to be someone who would please the Lord, to change myself into someone who could be a servant of the Lord. But now I see He is most pleased when I live in the fullness of all He has created me to be, and I serve Him best when I use the very talents He has given me.

This week I am getting ready to begin a new job at one of my favorite places on earth. I feel incredibly blessed and humbled to be a part of the VCC team. And I am thankful that, when we give everything to the Lord in surrender, He gives right back to us even better.
"This morning was...great. We went to the Vineyard again, and for the first time I lost self-consciousness and felt longing to reach God. See, the sermon explained Jesus' purpose and what he did in a better way than I've ever heard, and when we began to sing "Jesus Paid it All" I felt engulfed in praise to Jesus....Wow. I simply walk into the sanctuary and I feel the presence of the Lord. I don't know if it's I who's changed...or is it the church? But Jesus seems so much more real...alive...close." - journal entry from Sunday, December 2, 2007
And 3 1/2 years later, I get to work there. :)

Vinefest, 2008
Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Saturday, April 23, 2011

trampling over death by death

To put it succinctly, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor and a theologian in Germany who was involved in a conspiracy to kill Hitler. He was arrested by the Nazis and, over a year later, executed 3 weeks before the war ended, and 2 weeks before his prison camp was liberated by the Allies. As he walked out of his prison cell to be hanged, he turned to his prison mate and said, "This is the end--for me, the beginning of life."

As I read the account of Bonhoeffer's last days, I saw him living - and dying - with complete and unquestioning faith in the incredible gift Jesus has given us:

He has given us life.

He has conquered death

We have nothing to fear.

We will be with Him, the Creator of the universe, forever.

Death shows that the world is not what it should be, but that it needs redemption. Christ alone overcomes death. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." - Revelation 1:17-18


And because He's alive, I live.
Saturday, April 16, 2011

jellicle songs for jellicle cats

I do not have a good history with cats.

Cooper hated me, probably because I put him in the closet once and forgot about him for many hours. Or because I liked to hold him like a baby, aww, da wittle beebee Coopy. He used to hide behind corners and attack my legs when I walked past. Once he bit me and then I grabbed him and bit him back. I got a mouthful of fur and he walked away like he was smarter than I was.

Dinah did love me, until I had her declawed and spayed. Then she didn't like when I touched her, as though she held me personally responsible for her loss of womanhood. I imagined her thinking something like, "I like to think you will disappear someday when I open my eyes." Instead I made her disappear.

The cat we have now we never named, because we couldn't think of one. We've had her for 7 years and she's fat with a little head and little legs that spread far apart when she sits down, because there's so much fat in between them. "Kitty, sit like a lady," I tell her. She looks at me, legs apart, and then I say, "Kitty, you're stupid." I call her Stupid now. Especially when she meows directly outside my door at 6:30 in the morning because she wants to be fed. As if she needs food. "Kitty, you are fat," I tell her, poking her belly with my toe as she lay on the floor. One time Brother tried to feed her tuna juice with a turkey baster, cradling her in his arm like a newborns. One time I smushed her face with my hands so that her ears were over her eyes like little awnings and her cheeks scrunched up around her eyes and made them all squinty, and then I proceeded to laugh so hard that the tears streamed down my cheeks. I don't really like her very much. "Kitty, I don't like you very much," I tell her, as she walks into my room. Then I throw in for good measure, "Stupid."

Then let's not forget Demon Cat who, just yesterday, attacked my arm in the same place where the scar from his previous savagery still lingers, a light purple reminder of how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away by a bengal spy cat. 

But even with my unfortunate past with kitties, I want one. I want it to be a boy and I have several literary characters' names listed out to name him, depending on what he looks like and what his personality is like. Dad won't let me get one, because he knows I'll be leaving sometime and he doesn't want to get stuck with another cat. But I want one, as soon as I move out and have enough money to support us, me and my feline refugee. We are going to be best friends, and he is going to sleep on my bed and purr, and his breath is not going to smell like Meow Mix, and when I say, "Who wants a fresher house?" he is going to raise his paw. Because my cat is going to be perfect.

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