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.

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