Category Archives: Thinking

9/11/01

When I was in tenth grade, my health teacher had us document our days in half-hour intervals. I did things like watch a Bonanza marathon on TV, play computer games, go shopping with my mom and drink Diet Coke (loved it even then).

I happened to find this assignment when I was going through a bunch of junk (albeit nostalgic) when my parents moved and decided to save it because the assignment started on September 8, 2001 and ended on SEPTEMBER 11, 2001. So, I have recorded in half-hour intervals most of what I did that day: “watch broadcast.”

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Right there in between 9 and 9:30 was when the world as we knew it changed. To think my teacher assigned this without any idea what was to come. I suppose I don’t need this assignment to remember that day or where I was when I found out, but I’m going to keep it all the same.

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Dolla Dolla Bill Update

All righty. About a month ago I posted this, and I’m here to tell you that I didn’t make it. BUT! Let me expound.

I didn’t end up in the green, but I still consider the experiment a success because of what I learned:

1. Granted, I could’ve budgeted more than $400, but it was easy for me to just settle on $100 per week. Now I ended up in the red, but I was far less in the red than I usually am simply from trying and being more mindful of my habits. I also established some spending and shopping patterns that I plan to keep implementing (e.g. buying produce only at a certain reasonable farmer’s market, topping off my gas tank once a week to make it easier to plan budget-wise, not grabbing random couple-dollar items at the store if I’m in a rush). 

2. I learned a little bit more about meal planning (which is hardly a large expenditure of effort or time, so don’t shrug this off just yet). It took maybe a half hour a week, if that, and I discovered lots of delicious recipes like this (the dressing!!!) and this.

3. Plain and simple, if I don’t like what I make myself at home, I will feel bummed at work during lunch hour and drive myself to the nearest Chick-fil-a. It was key for me to make delicious food that I enjoyed so I wouldn’t feel sad and deprived (sounds like dieting, doesn’t it?).

4. I don’t NEED snacks and treats like I think I do. (Sigh.) 

5. I spent more on gas than I thought I did, which is unfortunate but a fact of life I suppose. I do try to compound errands, make sure I do everything I need to do in whatever part of town I’m in, etc., but it is what it is.

Anyway, overall it was a learning experience, which I couldn’t ask for more, could I? I’m implementing habits and lessons this month, so we’ll see.

(Those in Greenville, S.C., I know I’ve said this before, but I can’t recommend enough the Rutherford Road farmer’s market for their insanely reasonable produce.)

Girl on a Boat.

Scene opens on the earth from outer space. Zoom in to the Western Hemisphere, North America, the United States, the Northeast, New England, Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Lambert’s Cove. There’s a boat anchored there, and I’m sitting on the stern with my feet in the ocean.

The calm inlet water laps against the boat, rocking it and lulling me into a dozy reverie encouraged by the ocean air I love so much. “Aren’t you going to jump in? The water feels great!” My dad and brother are submerged and then not, turning the water into foam as they swim back and forth.

I look toward the beach where the water is shallow, the sand visible and the ocean safe. I like where I’m sitting. I glance down past the boat stern and only see the sun’s and my watery reflection and not the elusive ocean floor. Should I jump? I can’t see the bottom.

But then I’m standing up and leaping through the air and with a splash, I’m in. I resurface, soaked in salt with the sea air refilling my lungs, and I’m laughing and happy because how could I not be?

Reading.

Why I Like To Read:

I have several reasons, but the one I value most is that books make my mind a place free of interference. I can imagine places and people on my own without the input of others. I don’t mean to seem selfish, and goodness knows I of all people need (and value) others’ opinions (especially artistic), but it is nice to have at least a little space all my own. Read and imagine away, my friends.

Working hard.

While I believe that individuals possess varying degrees of creativity and ingenuity, there’s something that we all have in common: the opportunity, the privilege even, to work hard. I could come up with a variety of excuses for the almost two months it’s been since I posted last. The main one being, “I just don’t have any ideas.” Well, I’ll call it like it is: bull. While I may not, at first glance, have had any ideas, I certainly didn’t take the time to sit down and try and let some thoughts steep into a full bodied piece. The thing is though, despite my lack of wherewithal lately, today is the start of another two months, six months, year, decade, to invest some effort. Emotionally, creatively, physically, hard work really does pay you back.

Grandma’s words.

Last year my grandma bought herself an iPad and had my brother-in-law set up an Internet connection for her. Which means I get emails from her now! She turns 83 this year and lives in Arizona, where she’s hiked the terrain for decades. She’s not as active as she once was, but she still gets out there when she can. The following is an excerpt from an email she sent me last week:

“I also went hiking. It was very strenuous but scenic. Greenery was lush; flowers carpeted the mountain. Sides in hues of yellow poppies and purple lupine with hints of various colors of small plants and shrubs.”

I’m motivated to pay more attention to my own surroundings.

2013.

Can this really be the last weekly post of 2012? Time cheats; I’m promised these seconds, minutes, hours and days, but the blur I recall can’t possibly add up to the promised allotment.

Regardless, I’m thankful for what I can see and hold-what’s tangible, but also for the inside, the thoughts and musings and growing. This year brought gifts and lessons, deeply good and mostly unexpected.

The details, really, leave the deepest impression. This same God, the Artist of the universe, pays His whole attention to me. And gives beyond what I can ask or think, just like His Word says.

Being Big.

I happen to like airports–the busyness and even the smell. I happen to like getting to the airport much earlier than necessary to catch a flight. Sure, I’ll take a good excuse to sit around for a couple of hours and read a book.

But more often than not, my eyes stray from the page and look up to see what’s going on around me, and since I’m in an airport, it’s a lot. Who’s going where and why? The suits, sweats, uniforms and Mickey Mouse t-shirts give little clues, but I want stories and backgrounds.

All these people going everywhere, all day, every day, all over the world. Makes me feel kind of…small. Small in soul. Little in purpose.

And really these are Evil Lies, because God does not see me this way, and nor should I.

But sometimes I have a hard time in the daily. To me, “big” and “purpose” are easy to figure out for people who do big things, i.e. charity workers, travelers, artists, musicians, “famous” people in any context. Little people touching a lot of lives.

And then you read these lists and articles for young twenty-somethings about changing the world one pair of shoes or bottle of water at a time. And it’s great. Great in size, but how does what they do apply to me as I wake up every day and rub little eye crumbs off my face? What does “big” and “purpose” look like every day?

(Before I continue, I must emphasize that I’m writing to myself here; I just happen to be posting it in a public place.)

Maybe I’ve gotten too far ahead of myself, because maybe it’s basic. Maybe it’s His Word, and praying for wisdom because He promises it liberally to anyone who asks. Love and kindness and hard work. Asking for help to have proper motives for my actions and praying for humility more than anything.

I’ve gotten too far ahead of myself, but: Jesus is real and He confronts insecurities in the daily. He is in the every day.

Trying.

At some point, and for everyone that point is different, “I can’t” or “I could never” aren’t good reasons to not do something anymore. Or to at least try. Try try try. Because trying is a path, and while you may never reach the desired goal, I imagine the path to get there isn’t lifeless and boring or empty of diversions and lessons and new places and new people. So if you don’t reach your end, you’ve reached far enough to be able to look back and see this panorama of how far you’ve come and how much God has helped you and how much good people mean to you. So at the very least, try.