Friday, February 29, 2008

spring is coming...

I just know it,'s coming. The sun has been shining for 3 days now, and that's a good sign. And I couldn't be happier.

Winter does things to me that I don't like. It makes me grumpy, sleepy, and probably other things that are also names of Snow White's Seven Dwarves. Winter is cold and grey and sad and flat and bare. I'm ready for warm and colorful and happy and lively and full.

I know that it snowed last night, and that means it's still cold outside, and that it's supposed to "warm up" this weekend (in IL terms that means like 40 degrees...maybe a high of 50 on Sunday). But I also know that when I go outside I can just feel spring coming. I can smell it. And I might be crazy for saying that when it's still 35 degrees outside right now with snow on the ground, but I know it's coming soon.

I can't wait to see the tulips in bloom for the short few weeks that they're alive and coloring the world with their existence. I think they might be some of my favorite flowers. And I can't wait to drive in my car with the windows down and music playing and the wind tangling up my hair--as annoying as that can be. I can't wait for life to begin anew for another season...

I guess you could just say that today I am hopeful. There is an end to this season of dullness and shivering. And in the midst of winter it's easy to lose that hope, so I'm glad it's returned again. When hope is there, deep down in you, things are good.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

free giveaway...

So the other day I found this post listed under the 'free' items on craigslist.

I laughed out loud.

Subject line: snow - (everywhere I look)
Date: 2008-02-21, 8:30PM CST

I am tired of it come and get all you want

Location: everywhere I look

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

coffee, tea, and rap nonsense

I'm enjoying a nice evening to myself outside of my apartment tonight. I had to pay a visit to my dermatologist in Peoria, and I always make an evening of it when I have any chance to be out of town. There are plenty more places to enjoy in the city of Peoria than in the little old town of Lincoln, so I'm chilling in a wonderful coffee shop tonight. It's a place called Kade's Coffee & Tea, and they have free wi-fi so I'm extremely grateful to have another location besides Panera where I can relax and enjoy free wireless.

I'm drinking the most wonderful Pina Colada tea and trying to imagine that it's a real pina colada and I'm laying on a beach somewhere and not inside a coffee shop in arctic central Illinois. The smell of this tea is incredible.

There's so much to be said about a good tea and coffee that are brewed correctly. I'm not a coffee connoisseur or even an avid coffee drinker, but I do enjoy a nice flavored coffee (of course jazzed up with loads of cream and sugar or flavoring) once in awhile. I appreciate places that are not Starbucks and that do not purposely burn their coffee beans in the roasting process just to maintain equality in flavor among their franchises. In fact, I just appreciate places that aren't franchises. But that's an entire topic for another day.

I'm learning to love just knowing that my tea is brewed properly by infusion from loose tea leaves. I don't know anything about the process, nor do I own the proper equipment to do it myself, but it makes me feel more cultural I suppose. It seems the flavors are more natural and the fragrance is more aromatic when it's made this way instead of from a measly little teabag that came from a box in my kitchen cupboard. I do love that many of the store brands are beginning to make the little silk sachets of tea instead of a paper bag that seems to leave bits of tea residue in the bottom of my mugs.

So here I sit, on a comfy brown leather couch, enjoying some of Steve Tyrell's jazzy vocals in my ears. It's a good night...despite the fact that I feel handicapped from having blood drawn from my right arm at the dermatologist, so it hurts when I bend it, but that's not interrupting my relaxation. I'm planning to sit and write a bit, probably about more nonsense. Sometimes I just have to write/type out the thoughts floating around in my mind or else they get jammed up somewhere in my brain and I can't think straight anymore. So I'll leave you with these thoughts as I go un-clog the portals in my brain:

(I was reminded of this by my pina colada tea...just so you can make the connection...)
You've gotta love the way rap songs have progressed throughout history. I still crack up every time I hear "Get Low" and they echo the parts of "apple bottom jeans and the boots with the fur (WITH THE FUR!!!!)" and "baggy sweatpants and the Reeboks with the strap (WITH THE STRAP!!!!)" I can't figure out who in the producing process decided that the echoes would make it better, but it sure adds to my enjoyment of the song. I'm glad they did it! It's a lot more fun to sing!

My favorite though (getting back to the pina colada thing...) is in the Sean Kingston song "Take You There." Here are the lyrics:
We can go to the tropics
Sip piña coladas
Shorty I could take you there
Or we can go to the slums
Where killas get hung
Shorty I could take you there

Seriously? That's what I said the first time I heard these lyrics. Really? Let's one hand you're offering the tropics...the other hand is the slums where killas get hung...let's see...which one shall I choose? I think if I was Shorty I know which destination I'd choose.

Monday, February 18, 2008

looking forward...

This weekend I'm headed to Louisville, KY to hang out with my BFF Amanda, who recently got engaged to her new BFF Adam. I'm so excited for her and can't wait to be a part of their big day! We're going to try on dresses and do all of the fun bride-to-be things that brides-to-be and their maids-of-honor do. Amanda has been my best friend since I was in 7th grade and she was in 6th, and I think our friendship began in the days of Jr. High Bible Bowl. (yes, we were Bible Bowlers...) If you don't know what Bible Bowl is, it's basically a competition like Academic Team or Scholastic Bowl, but it's with books of the Bible. I now think it's quite a ridiculous thing to compete over knowledge of scripture, but back in the day we thought we were the coolest. More than being IN Bible Bowl, I think we just enjoyed spending the time between our "practices" and youth group rollerblading around the church parking lot and eating microwave popcorn down to the last lick of the greasy, buttery, salty bag.

In less than a month, I'll be going back to Romania to take a team of LCC students to work with Rachel Ross and her ministry in the gypsy village of Tinca. I went with a group last year and we spent a great deal of time with the kids at another ministry, and I'm hoping to see some of their familiar faces in the evenings after we back from Tinca. I think spending a week there this spring will refresh my spirit and renew the joy that the winter seems to steal away from me at times. I mean, how can you not experience joy when you see faces like this cutie??

Other things I'm looking forward to:

  • seeing tulips pop up in the spring
  • warm weather
  • going on vacation somewhere soon
  • summertime
  • flip flops
  • skirts
  • wearing my Paris Hilton shades b/c it's so bright
  • friends' weddings (my good friend STEPH also got engaged this weekend!!! Hooray!!!)
  • hopefully buying a Mac.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

about missing people...

Recently I've really been missing my dad. For any of you who don't know, my dad passed away a little over a year ago. It's not like any particular things have made me miss him, but it's just a general feeling of missing him. Part of it is that this season of winter depresses me in general, and so it's easier to get down about even the littlest things like having a fingernail that gets caught on your sweater and snags it or like spilling something all over your kitchen floor. But missing someone in this season of winter is especially hard, because life just feels generally cold and all I want to do is wrap up my heart in a big fleece blanket and warm it with a hot cup of tea.

It's hard to describe not having someone in your life anymore who is a major part of who you are. It's hard to help people understand if they have never lost anyone important to them. Most days it's not something I talk about or even realize in a tangible way, but it's always there in my heart. It just sits in you like a hollow space, this empty hole that used to be filled by someone, but nothing can ever fill that void. Memories and pictures and stories might come close, but they're like puzzles pieces that just don't fit. They're in the same shape, but they're just too small. There's still space left to fill.

When I imagine the sound of my dad's laugh it is the closest thing I can hold in my heart to filling that empty space. It doesn't fill the void, and in fact, sometimes it just reminds me of the void that's there. And sometimes we just need to trudge through the ache of that empty, hollow, wordless place of missing hard as it may be.

The other night I was working on a puzzle with my 4-year-old niece, Maddy, and I told her that I used to do puzzles with her Mimi and Papa (my mom and dad) all the time in the winter. To that she said, "Sometimes I miss Papa." And I told her, "Yeah, I miss him too." Then she said, "Sometimes I wish we could go see him. But we don't know how to get there." (She couldn't actually remember the word for heaven, so she was stuck until I reminded her of where it is that he is. And she also thinks that heaven is a place you go on an airplane...but she's starting to realize it's not.) So I told her, "Yeah, well we can't really get to heaven yet. Someday we will though and we'll get to see Papa then."

I look forward to that day, and I think sometimes that's all that you can think about to get you through times when you feel empty and like all that's inside of you is frozen, dried up, and hollowed out.

On a much funnier note, here's another story from Maddy that hopefully my sister won't mind me sharing. Last week Cory (my sister) called me hysterically laughing to share with me what my niece had just told her. Cory had given her some change and a dollar to put in her piggy bank, and Maddy pointed out that George Washington was on the dollar. She told Cory that "He helps the people." And just before that, she had looked at the penny and said, "That's Abe Lincoln. He's died." So Cory said, "You're right! That is Abe Lincoln, and yes, he died a long time ago!" In response to that Maddy said quite seriously, "Yeah...I really miss him."

And so it's a season of missing people. Even a 4-year-old senses it. Whether it be Dads, Papas, or Abe Lincoln.