Sunday, December 30, 2007

make me sing

Tonight I broke down into ridiculous, snot-nosed, air-gulping sobs while driving on 237. The cause of my emotional meltdown? My cell phone, which has not had service since I landed in Texas last Wednesday...

Clearly, I've got some issues I need to work through that run a little deeper than hand held electronics. Sheesh.

face the truth

Back from Oklahoma, with lots of musings about the word unmoored and a general feeling of anxiety as 2007 draws to a rapid close and we zoom in on 2008. But none of that now. Just this:

All the future seems unclear
never moving never near
but You hold me as I scream
wake me from my wicked dream
something out there waits for me
hand in hand we wait for it
but I'm still nothing next to You
I'm still nothing without to You

And the wonder of it all is I'm still standing
And the wonder of it all is we're still standing
Never planned it
And I wonder where I'll be next year
-Monday Morning, Wonder of it All

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

not forgotten

These last few months have been, without a doubt, a very painful dry spell in terms of my faith. It has been difficult for me to focus on the Lord, to put my faith and trust in Him, when everything around me feels like it's spinning so madly out of control and when I feel so hurtfully neglected and left behind.

I know better, cognitively, than to plead "Where are you, God?" because God never deserts us or turns His back on us. I know that sometimes God chooses to fall silent for reasons that we do not understand. I also know that it is us, His children, that forget to acknowledge Him or become so wrapped up in our own lives that we cannot possibly fathom that we are not the authors of our own story, that this life is not our own, and that God has a plan for us. In my head, I know these things. These are the basics I grew up in, the anchors of my faith, the very truths in which I have found solace for many years.

In my heart though, the wounds of the last 12 months have created deep crevices that I have been woefully content to wallow in. I hate feeling lost and alone and without direction, but I hate feeling unable to turn to God, my Rock, even more. I fear becoming overwhelmed with a job I am dissatisfied with, a thesis that feels that it will drag on forever, a social life that has disappeared in the wake of said job and thesis, and so little vision of what my future holds that I wonder if I will just stay in Davis forever. In my heart I feel abandoned and lost and I wonder where God has gone, what any of this has to do with His plan, why He has allowed so much suffering lately.

My head, of course, knows differently. My head is overjoyed that today we celebrate the birth of Christ, our Savior and that the Word became flesh to save us, to save me, in all of my inadequacies and failings. My head knows everything will be OK. That God will pull through - He always has and He always will. That this silence has a purpose, that these wounds have merit, that I am being sanctified through these trials. I know that God does not cause our suffering, but He uses it. I know that He is using this period in my life to somehow grow me into the person He wants me to be.

It's just hard, right? Because I'm a teacher, an academic, an intellectual. I'm supposed to trust my head, the things I know. But I'm also human, and I tend to trust the things I feel just as much.
How long will my prayers seem unanswered?
Is there still faith in me to reach the end?
I'm feeling doubt I'm losing faith
But giving up would cost me everything
So I'll stand in the pain and silence
And I'll speak to the dark night

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I believe

Barlow Girl, "I Believe in Love"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

for what ive done

Home, home, home. I cruised in yesterday afternoon after taking an excrutiating 3+ hours to drive the moderate 110 miles from Davis. My car = unhappy and in duress. Hopefully my mechanic can figure out what's wrong with it (and not to the tune of $3,600 - thanks a lot SpeeDee in Woodland) while I'm in Oklahoma next week.

For the first time in many years I'm actually looking forward to my trip to the midwest. I love my grandparents, but there is little to do on the ranch now that we are all older and my grandma is not well. While I normally anticipate with dread 4 days of sitting on the couch, cross-stitching, knitting, reading, overeating, and napping, this year I'm eagerly looking forward to 4 days of writing my thesis (and overeating). Hopefully I can get the bulk of the data analysis finished and write up a lot of the observational data so I don't have to worry about it anymore.... I'm throwing myself a huge party in March when this is finished.

Christmas this year should be pretty low-key. We're doing brunch on Tuesday, which is new, but I'm looking forward to it because it means less awkward-time with the cousins and more quality-time with my immediate family. I'm also way looking forward to the present giving and receiving this year. I did an excellent job of gift selection this year (Burberry Brit for Mom, the fashionista and The Lost and Biggest Brother for Dad, my true literary soul mate) and, for the first time in many years, I have absolutely no clue what my parents got me. Of course, it's not the gifts that are important, it's the time spent with my fabulous fam, but we get more creative every year and it's fun to see what everyone comes up with. Except my brother, who never gets anyone anything.

I also bought some sweet books today to take with me to Oklahoma (you know, for plane rides and study breaks), including The Keep, Second Glance, and Everything After. It's all I can do to keep from digging into them right now. However, I promised myself I would finish my second go-round of Girl Meets God and give Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell a fighting chance (I've been letting it fight for over a year but... you know. I can never leave a book unfinished, no matter how impossible it is to get through), so I'll persevere.

Mmmmm, books.

Monday, December 17, 2007

stuck on you

Only a few more days. I submitted my Benchmark last week and have spent the time since writing finals, attending SST meetings for my at-risk students, and trying to get my apartment clean before I head home on Saturday. Then this morning, on my way to work, my "check engine" light started flashing and my car threatened to explode. My car is currently sitting in an auto-shop in Woodland and I am vehicle-less until some undetermined point in the (hopefully near) future. I want to go home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

you tell the story

I've been rereading Lauren Winner's memoir, Girl Meets God, which I picked up summer '05 at a bookstore in Saratoga Springs, NY. It's so freaking good that every time I turn a page I want to open up this blog and post another quote. I love that Lauren is a scholar, first and foremost, and reads the Bible from a scholar's viewpoint - with cultural research and theology close at hand. I also love her memories of Orthodox Judaism, her descriptions of Jewish tradition, and her reflections on becoming a Christian and how God guided her to Christ. I don't really have anything else to say about it, but just felt that it was something that needed to be written down. Lame, I know.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

to see the wizard

I don't really talk about it much because it makes me feel unbelievably dorky, but I'm completely obsessed with all things Wizard of Oz.

No, seriously. Like, I love Oz more than one might think imaginable. I used to watch the 1939 Judy Garland musical version over and over again until I had nightmares about flying monkeys and could sing every word to every song by heart. I also watched Return to Oz several times but the Wheelers totally creeped me out, so my fascination with it was short-lived.

Then I got a little older and started reading all the books. I'm an avid reader now that I'm an adult, but I was the same way as a kid, for sure. I devoured stories about Oz, even though they didn't all make sense to me.

In high school, my drama department produced "The Wiz" as our spring musical when I was a junior (no one on cast was African-American, but we acted with soul). I student directed the show and played Glinda the Good, the movie-star good-witch sister who shows up in the end to send Dorothy home and sing the amazing reprise of "If You Believe".

When I got to college, I took a children's literature course and we read The Emerald City of Oz and I was amazed at the complicated politics of Oz that I obviously never picked up on when I was seven. Then I read Wicked. Oh, Wicked. I love Wicked because it takes the Oz story and turns it on it's head and gives crazy detailed background about Dorothy and the Wicked Witch and, holy crap, I love that book. (Son of a Witch is pretty good too, not nearly as good as Wicked in my opinion, but still a book about Oz, so I love it).

This long line of Oz-fascination leads me, of course, to the latest in Oz reimaginings - The SciFi channel's Tin Man starring Zooey Deschanel and Alan Cumming. Tin Man has received some pretty brutal reviews, but still achieved the title of most-watched telecast in network history when the first two-hour installment aired on Sunday night. And I love it.

It's brilliant, really, in a totally post-modern, deconstructed kind of way. It alludes to Baum's original story (Deschanel's character is named "DG" and her mother is the former Queen of the O.Z. - the Outer Zone, Glitch is a scarecrow-like character who has had his brain removed by the evil sorceress Azkadellia, Cain is a former police man - or "Tin Man" - who was encased in a tin suit of armor for years as punishment for joining the resistance against Azkadellia), but definitely isn't a retelling. There is plenty of new and reimagined information to keep me glued to the TV for an entire six hours (yeah, it's long) of Oz-induced euphoria. Exactly what I need as this long and painful semester draws to a close.

Monday, December 03, 2007

that this would all be fine

God I'm in this place again I'm trying so hard not to fall,
but everything keeps coming down with the rain.
And I try so hard I forget to call.
Everybody's looking around, and everybody wants to be found.
And I'm just hanging on; I give You all that I am.
I come to You with all that I am, I bring to You all that I have,
and all I have is nothing, and I keep on trying, and all I want is You.

-Everyday Sunday

(picture courtesy of

Sunday, December 02, 2007

that's what you get

About three years ago, I got an email from my uncle about some blog he wanted me to check out. At the end of the email, he wrote this:

"I want you to have all of the advantages of a free spirit early in your life.

I think you already do."

I need to remember things like those during times like these. I will finish my thesis. I will be a good teacher. I will continue to be a fascinating and dynamic person, even when I feel like my life is nothing but data and research...