Monday, November 27, 2006

we wear the mask

I recently had the privilege of spending an afternoon in the Saint Louis Art Museum with my fairly new boss, who is a budding student of art. I am not art savvy by any means, but there was a piece in the Rachelle Puryear exhibit that caught my attention and continues to stick with me. Ms. Puryear's exhibit combined poetry (written by others) with etchings of her own. The piece that caught my attention was accompanied by the following poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

I love this poem. I read it once in a high school literature class, but had kind of forgotten about it until I chanced upon it at the art museum. I love this poem now. Most of college, I did just what this poem talks about...I wore the mask that grins and lies...I smiled, but cried in my own room...I sang, but trudged on...(although I think I became a literal better singer because of it). Why did I do this? Perhaps it was the thought that I could better help others if they thought I was happy and put together. Or maybe it was that I thought I could handle life on my own...who can really handle life on their own? Or maybe I was too busy to allow myself the freedom of being real.

No matter the reason today. I now live by the "masks off" principle. I don't feel that I have to go into detail every time I'm asked how I'm doing, but my response reflects the true state of my inner self. I expect the same from others as well. They don't have to explain to me the reason behind their answer, but they must not grin if they don' t feel like grinning. They must not wear the mask. It surprising, the freedom that comes with the truth. That comes with the sharing of honesty.

Let the world count my tears and mask has been torn away!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

94 degrees and $1.97 gas

Last week, I attempted to do something that I don't do very often....that is, nap. The sun had heated this city to a whopping 94 degrees, and I could do nothing but sweat. Since returning from camp, sleep, even on a cool night has not been as restful as it used to be. I used to sleep hard...anytime, anywhere...immersed in the vivid dreams that would visit my closed eyes. I never wanted to wake up before the movie in my head was over and would often force myself to continue the dream...even as I was waking up. But this was not the case now...Not only was I lacking in dreams, but the sleep was not coming either. So I laid in my sweat as my brain rapidly turned through the events in my life.

Romans. I'm currently in an fairly in-depth study of Romans. The concept that has struck me the most is that we can never be righteous. Paul says no one is of the speakers at our study said this "We can either be unrighteous under sin or unrighteous under grace." Takes the pressure off of trying so hard to live as "perfectly" as possible. Yes, we as Christians, should be cutting away sinfulness in our lives, but the story goes we're human and we're matter what we do to make ourselves more Christ like, we are going to sin. We are going to be unrighteous. So do we let sin hold on to us? Or do we live under grace?

Camp. I think about camp a lot. My first summer there (2002) wasn't really the greatest experience for me. At least on a personal level. I never dreamed that I would return. But I am so glad that I did. God put some people in my life that pushed me in ways that I needed to be pushed. Got a much needed break from city life...spent every day out in the beauty of God's natural creation! And hung out with 32 super cool 1st and 2nd graders. I, like most camp staff, have had a couple of slip ups. One day I was substituting and referred to another teacher as "Aunt Jenny" instead of Ms. Brockmeyer. Another day, the teacher I have been aideing for was reading the Tower of Babel to the kids and I wanted to yell out "tomato, celery, tomato" because that is the "language" that my campers spoke when we acted out that same story (thanks Bethany!) At least now I have facebook (apparently I'm not to old!) to keep me somewhat sane on the camp end.

Job. Or lack of job. I started out doing quite a bit of substituting, but things are really slowing down in that area. I also started working part time for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as the administrative assistant for the Central Region, the Missouri Area, and the CityLights Urban Project. I am very excited to be an official part of IVCF as it was an important part of my college experience. Some of the people I respect the most are not my colleagues. I always thought it would be so great to work as staff, but never thought I could be campus gifts just don't quite fit that position. So its cool that I can use my organized (type A) side to serve some of the people that have been pretty significant in my life.

Friends. Hmmm...where have they all gone? My favorite saying recently has been "my old life didn't wait for me" When you are in college, leaving for the summer is not a big deal because everyone leaves for the summer. However, when in the real world...most people stay, and while you are gone, they continue with life. My friends...well some have left...including closest friend. She had this way of making me forget about everything I didnt want to think about just by being around her...but at the same time she was good at being real about the junk in my life. She was the one I would call even when I was just bored so that we could sit in silence on the phone...but really we talked for hours. She was about the only one I would stay up until 4 am with. yuck! Anyway...she's fighting the public school scene up in the cold air of Wisconsin. Which leaves a small void in my life. Other friends have joined new groups of people, or have graduated seminary and moved on. The friendship circle is a little strange....I feel like I'm really a new person in what was once my familiar crowd. And I have waves of missing my old Central friends...Helga, the Rohdes, Justin, Nick and Nick, Sherami, Steph, Kurt...

Somewhere in the middle of all of these thoughts, the heat overtook me and I fell asleep...AND I had one of those dreams that I had not had since I left camp. The unrestful cycle had been broken...I could return what was once familiar. Oh, and when I woke up, Gas was only $1.97!

Friday, September 22, 2006

chew on this

The following videos were made by Vintage 21 after a Bible Study on Jesus brought many of their preconceived notions of Jesus to the surface. The videos are a satirical look at some of these views of him. Before I post my thoughts on here, I would like to know what some of the rest of you think.

Jesus Video #1

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Jesus Video #2

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Jesus Video #3

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Jesus Video #4

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

my summer in a few words

Many of you have inquired about my summer. Well, it can fairly accurately be summed up (at least partially) by this picture. I spent the summer trying very seriously to plan great activities that would engage my campers in many ways. The three guys I worked with spent the summer trying to figure out how to make that difficult for me (in a fun way, not a mean way). In the same way, Phil (pictured with me) is difficult to get in to pictures. I finally got him in one on the last day, and Nolan (one of those three boys) figured out a way to crash it!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

a childhood memory revisited...and other such ramblings

I just returned from the NW of this beautiful state...a visit with my parents. Sometimes I forget how much of a country girl I am at heart. Now, I'm not hard core like some people I grew up with. But there is something about the rolling tree-covered hills, browning cornstalks, even the smell of the air that resonates deep in my soul. It resonated so deeply this time, that I actually put my cowboy hat on where it remained the final two hours of my trip. My parents, who had never seen me voluntarily wear a cowboy hat, were moderately shocked. But that may have also been the ginormous aviator glasses I have taken to wearing these days. (Both pieces of accessory were won at camp this summer. I know..I never win anything and then I win aviator glasses and a cowboy hat.)

Over the weekend, my dad and I made the trip up to visit my sister and nephew (who is still super cute!). The purpose of the trip was so that my sister could treat my dad to the Outlaw Tractor Pull at the Nebraska State Fair, one of dad's favorite things to do. (For those of you that have no clue what I'm talking about...a tractor pull is when tractors with big engines and such pull a weight down a track. The further they pull the closer the weight moves making it heavier and harder to pull. The goal is to pull the farthest. A "full pull" is 310 feet.)

As the engines roared and black smoke drifted, I was reminded of the many times that Dad and I traveled to see the great tractors. Mom would always pack us food and we would make the trip up and back in a day. One time, she packed us oranges that turned out to be rather sour. Dad decided to fling the whole bag of sliced oranges out the car window while we were driving on the interstate. Of course, they landed on the car that was passing us!

At the time, I didn't really understand much...I knew what a "full pull" was, and I understood the main idea...but never the did quite get the difference between the classes and what had really been modified on the tractors (I actually am not mechanically inclined so I still don't understand the nitty gritty of that)

THIS YEAR however, was different and a lot of fun. I got to ask Dad a lot of questions about the tractors, truely understand more of what was going on, and scream when Smokin'Hot Deere pulled a 278 to beat this season's leader, Big Temptation. (Check out these links to see what a pullin' tractor looks like! Smokin' Hot Deere has the cool smoke coming out of it!) It times like this that makes you want to put on the cowboy hat, run to the side of the tractor, and be the girl that the young, hot driver kisses after his winning run! (However, most of the drivers are not young and hot..hehe.) It's better than NASCAR!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Today was one of those days. No, not one of those days as in the sort that leaves you stressed and tired and wanting nothing more than a cup of tea and a comfortable bed. It was one of those days that you relish; not because anything special or important happened. But because the simplicity of each moment tugs at something in the corner of your brain ...or your heart..I'm not sure which. My day started with a mug of chocolate coffee (my favorite homemade drink), rain, thick traffic, and two three-year-olds, suffering from separation anxiety, stuck to my neck. One would think it was a recipe for the day that leaves you wanting only to start over or move on to tomorrow. But something about those three-year-olds...their very first day of school ever. I felt like I was part of a monumental event with all of the pictures and video cameras. Noon came and I drove home to scavenge for food. I couldn't get myself to look for jobs that didn't even exist. So I put my energy into re-organizing the library at the tutoring center...better use of my time anyway. Soon after I found myself in one of my favorite places in this city....curled up in a big chair on the 2nd floor of a bookstore. A man had sat in it before I came along. I could tell because the leather had remnants of cologne. Where had he gone? Home to his family? Back to his college dorm? To work a late night in one of the prominent businesses in the neighborhood? The rain had stopped. From my perch, I could see the busy intersections below. People bustling home from work oblivious to the fact that the clouds were still low and dark and swirly. More swirly than dark. The weather was more what I imagined Seattle weather to be like. When I could finally tear myself away from the view below, I looked through the books I had chosen off the shelf for today's visit. Yes, I'm one of those customers. I like to get books off of the shelf, read portions of them, and then leave them on the table by the big comfy chair-the one with the hole in the seat. I so often lose myself in this place. Today it was not the movement of people around me that jolted me back to reality. Instead it was pleasant phone call. The promise of a few hours of work. Now I end the day listening to the melancholic voice of KT Tungstall...she's not always that way, but my favorite of her songs consistently matches the mellow side of my inner self....and letting the blogging world in on my day...just one of those days...but in a good way.

Friday, August 25, 2006

learning to laugh at myself

I reazlied rather recently this summer, that I am always blogging inside of my head. When something funny happens or interesting words are spoken, I sort of "check out" of the situation and go into the blog world of my mind to begin fashioning the story as I would tell it to others. Sadly, many of my stories don't make it beyond my mind. Unless something triggers the memory later, I don't even retain it long enough to get it on my blog or in my journal. Ahh...the stories that have been lost.

I'm currently in the readjustment period after my stint at camp. I'm finding that my time alone is much harder than I was expecting. There is no one to laugh at all of my stupid mistakes...or give me hugs laced with pokes - thanks Nolan! Two days ago, I was walking down a sidewalk and out of nowhere found myself lying on the ground. Knees, hands, ankle stinging, I pulled myself up and looked around to see who had noticed. Luckily, there was no one in sight. I decided not to look at my knee for I was on my way to apply for a job and thought it would be better if I didn't actually know how much I had injured it. After I did the whole job thing, I made a beeline for my car where I checked out the damage....pretty big scrape along with a bruise that covers basically my entire knee. 5 cuts on my hand - must have been some rough concrete! As I was sitting in my car, laughing at what I dork I was, I was reminded of one of my camp friends who calls me "grace". Not because of the grace of God, but because of my tendency to get fall in random places...even though it would have been embarrassing, I sort of wished he was there to laugh with me. I guess I just have to learn to laugh at myself all by myself.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


So about a month a go, I was tagged by Tanya to fill out this movie questionnaire.

1) What is a movie that changed the way you think and act? Or just got you thinking, if the first question is too intimidating.

Life As a House - While it can be a very graphic is a great reminder of the gospel and just how much one person can affect change on many. I recently saw V for Vendetta. It definitely makes you think about the fact that any time , choas could ensue in our big country. There were scenes in the movie where you would see newspaper articles or the news on tv talking about the war in the former USA or it would show americans fighting just to coupons to get water. Scary.

2) It's a late autumn evening and rainy and cold? What do you have for dinner/snack? What movie do you pop in the DVD player?

Snack- chips and salsa... Dinner- potato soup and cinnamon rolls
I would probably put in one of the many Lifetime movies that my awesome mom tapes for me:)

3) You are off to wee Himalayan hamlet(...even better gift idea) for a year, your laptop hard drive can hold one film. What will it be?

One film?!? I really don't know.

4) What movie made you laugh the hardest? What movie made you cry?

Laugh- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation!
Cry- I cry at almost every movie for some reason or another. Most I've ever cried? The Passion. I started in the beginning and could not stop!!

5) Favorite actor (female, male)?

This is hard- I haven’t seen every movie everyone has done but the few people I have seen once or twice here I like:
Female: Julia Roberts,
Male: Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington. Tom Hanks , Matthew McConaughey (only because he's in almost every chick flick these days), Hugh Grant

6) What book or story would you like to see made into a film or what book do you love that could never be made into a film?

I am usually greatly disappointed by the films made after the books.

7) What is a movie that immediately after you watched it, you wish you hadn't?

CLICK! The main point of the movie is great, but the way they get to it is aweful! And it moves rather slow.

8) Do you read movie reviews? Before, after, never? Whose reviews do you find the best? Are you an analyzer?

No reviews...ever. I judge on my own.

9) What movie do you think is a must see, that you can only recommend with caveats? What movie do you really like, but can only recommend with caveats?

Crash and Life as a House.

10) What movie do you most wish to share with your friends?

Uh...the world of Lifetime!

I'm supposed to tag 5 people to do this on their blog, but I think Tanya already tagged most people that I know with a blog.

I'll tag Jonathan.
I'm back from the dead. Or more accurately, from camp. It's sort of like being dead (to your prior camp life) in a way. I mean, no time to call people computer to maintain contact on. And I was way too tired to do anything at night, but go to none of that archaic letter writing stuff (although I actually really like to do that). Anyway, I'm back...I've been back for 4 days...and things are different. Not only have I changed some, but there have been changes in what was once normal here (at least in my little corner of the world). It's nice to have non-rusty water to drink, to have clothes that actually smell clean when they come out of the laundry, to take a shower and feel as thought I really got clean. I thought I would love being back in my little apartment; away from the living environment that eighty college students produce. While its nice to have my own room, my computer, and a full kitchen, there is something sort of lonely about this little place. You can't walk out into the living room and become part of a random coversation that ends with people being duck taped to trees or using "shocking gum" on a myriad of body parts. On the flip side, I haven't been called "Grandma" for 4 days now, and I can lay in bed without having to listen to the noisy people in the hallway.

I had a great summer, and at the same time, I'm excited to be back. I'm looking forward to what this fall is going to bring.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Not a whole lot to say today, but I feel like I should blog because I'm so far away from my friends. Camp is fun. I'm glad that I chose to come back here for the summer. The staff is hilarious. And energetic. And creative. And great with kids. Ya know, the typical camp type people. My roommates, Jody and Cori are way fun. We all have the same middle name, Lynn. And they aren't messy which I like.

My campers are really cute. They all have great smiles. They like to laugh. And they really like Jake, my male counselor last week and this upcoming week. We planted a garden this past Wednesday day. Each child has their own tomato plant. I went out to water them this morning...some of them look like they are on their way to being dead. YIKES! The soil just isnt' very good up where they put the garden. And the water supply consists of me filling buckets in a creek and hauling them 50 needless to say, they may not get enough water. Oops.

Today is Saturday. A day to rest, rejuvenate, and plan for the week. And that's what I'm doing for sure! Oh, I like getting mail at camp. But in the four weeks, I've been here, I've only gotten one piece of mail. Hint. Hint.

Last week, I sprained my ankle on the slip n' slide - the first step I took onto the dumb thing! Then this past Tuesday, I took a chunk of my leg off and left a fist sized picnic tables that have screws sticking out. And I got a spider bite on Wednesday. But I'm alive. hehe.

Okay, I'm signing off now. Go read someone else's blog.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

on being old

Its wierd. Like a sickness. Or a disease. Something you aren't used to. Something you think will not actually happen to you. (I mean this in a much lighter tone than the one I am setting). Getting old. It seemed to happen to me over the course of 24 hours. I went from the youngest person among my friends to being the oldest woman on a staff of all college students. What a small battle I had I act a little bit more immature than what I am comfortable with in order to gain their friendship? Do I remain at my maturity level and feel annoyed by them frequently? Do I share from my plethera of experiences and offer up suggestions or do I remain quiet?

This battle only lasted a few hours as I quickly realized I would not only be cheating myself, but also God, my program director, and the staff if I were anyone but me. My age has most certainly been both a blessing and a bit of a challenge in the short time I have been at camp. But the Lord is teaching me to get over myself, let Him figure things out for me, and to be more flexible. He's already used me in ways I didn't think possible and stretched me in ways I didn't think would ever be stretching for me AND the kids haven't even arrived yet!

Praise the Lord for being old. For the work He continues do even as we get older. for now, I'll try to think about reverting back to being the youngest in August.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hello mudder...hello fadder

Yep, I'm off to camp today. Early mornings, late nights, campfires, and lots of kids. I'll be sure to blog my experiences as often as I can. In the meantime, write me letters!! (for those of you that have my address).

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Outlook Not So Good

I remember as a child frequently walking the two blocks to my friend Amber's house where our Saturday afternoons were swallowed up by playing house, school, "Guess Who", all sorts of imagination games, and driving her grandma crazy. Sometimes, usually toward the end of the afternoon, we would run out of things to play so we would pull out the (drumroll please) Magic 8 Ball. The questions we asked it were so silly. "Is so and so the cutest boy in our class?" "Will I get an A on my next test?" Many times the answer was very straightforward. "Yes." or "No." However, the phrase "outlook not so good" would occassionally make its way to the surface. Normally we would just reask the question without even a thought to the meaning of that phrase.

Fifteen years later, that phrase continues to show its face. It smiled in on me not all that long ago when I was lying in bed asking God a whole series of questions about my future (mostly in the job world). This time my questions not so silly. "Will I have a job?" "Will I be a teacher?" "Should I be pursuing something else?" Just as I finished my slew of questions, "Outlook not so good" popped into my head. I almost laughed out loud. Even though I was talking to God, there is no way that is what he was replying to me. For real, when you are walking with God how can the outlook NOT be good? The situation may not be good. MY situation has been hard and scary and has contained a lot of unknowns. But the outlook has never been bad. The Lord has promised to take care of me and He has been MORE than faithful in His promise this past year. YEAH!

Monday, May 01, 2006

on fiances and singleness

My car was made just before they started installing CD players, therefore, I listen to the radio when I'm out driving around. Over this past year, I have slowly fallen in love with Natasha Bedingfield. Her music is an enjoyable mix of hip-hop and pop. Her lyrics are clean and catchy. And her message is powerful! Currently she is most well known for "These Words", which is about finding the best word to say "I love you" and "Unwritten" which speaks to the fact that we have some control over our life and the direction it takes. These are the two songs that got me hooked on her, but I would have to say that "Single" is the song that I like the best.

Ah yeah that's right
All you single people out there
This is for you

I'm not waitin' around for a man to save me
(Cos I'm happy where I am)
Don't depend on a guy to validate me
I don't need to be anyone's baby
(Is that so hard to understand?)
No I don't need another half to make me whole

Make your move if you want doesn't mean I will or won't
I'm free to make my mind up you either got it or you don't

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There's no way I'm tradin' places
Right now a star's in the ascendant

I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I wanna be
I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I wanna be

Don't need to be on somebody's arm to look good
(I like who I am)
I'm not saying I don't wanna fall in love 'cos I would
I'm not gonna get hooked up just 'cos you say I should
(Can't romance on demand)
I'm gonna wait so I'm sorry if you misunderstood


Everything in it's right time everything in it's right place
I know I'll settle down one day
But 'til then I like it this way it's my way
Eh I like it this way

Make your move if you want doesn't mean I will or won't
I'm free to make my mind up you either got it or you don't
'Til then I'm single

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There's no way I'm tradin' places
Right now a star's in the ascendant

Not only does this song literally say "I don't need a man to validate me", but it also doesn't come across in the extreme feministic "more rights for women" kind of way. It's okay to be single. It's okay to not date. It's okay to want to wait.

Sadly so many women fall into the mindset that they must be with a man to have purpose and meaning to their lives. That they can't be someone without first being WITH someone. So they are constantly going from one boyfriend to another, never single for more than a week, and in the end left feeling more empty than the beginning.

How great it is to see someone in the popular radio world taking a stand...trying to empower women (in a different way) make a statement (even if it is a small one). Too bad this isn't the most popular of her songs on the radio!

On a different note (fiances): I have a former student who is now 6 years old. He attends the school where my roommate currently teaches. Recently some friends had a BBQ where both my roommate and my former student were in attendance. Now this particular student has a problem with remembering big words, but not using them at the appropriate times. The following is a conversation between Tanya (my roommate) and my former student and his mother.

Student: I remember you. You're Ms. Salmond's fiance!
Tanya: Roommate. I'm Ms. Salmond's roommate.
Student's mother: Roommate sweetie. Roommate.
Student: Fiance! Fiance! Fiance! Fiance!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

confessions of a twenty-something wanderer

On this rather warm (for April), kind of humid night, I have some confessions to make. Once upon a time, I won this award (2 years in a row) called "Lifelong Learner." Well, my lifetime has only been 24 and a few months, but I'm definately still learnin'. And most recently learnin' some things about myself. Don't laugh too might hurt.

CONFESSION #1: I own 43 t-shirts. I just discovered that tonight as I finally faced the drawer that doesn't close...hehe...I counted the shirts AND got the drawer to close.

CONFESSION #2: Somehow and at some point, I sneakily became one of those people that consistently forgets to zip up my pants. Either that or the zippers are failing on multiple pairs of my pants. One of these days I'm going to meet the love of my life (or Jamie Cullum) and realize five minutes later that my zipper was down...which, to my horror, is the way it happens each time.

CONFESSION #3: Living with a roommate who is very different from me has opened my eyes to how annoyed I get at little the dishes not being put away in the right place, or the refrigerator not being organized, or not having juice to drink in the morning. Nothing that is wrong, but everything that for some reason bothers me. I think I should win a new award called "Most easily annoyed by stupid stuff".

CONFESSION #4: I can't drink the entire 8 glasses of daily recommended water because then I have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I'm not a morning person, BUT I'm really not a wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-just-to-pee person either. In fact sometimes, I don't even open my eyes on the way there.

CONFESSION #5: I really do miss Tulip Time...yes, Centralites...I do. I know, its strange, but I do.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I write this blog today from the local library because the power at my apartment is out. Yep for about 22 hours now. I awoke yesterday from a blissful nap to find that the day had turned wonderfully spring...77 degrees, slight breeze, beautiful! I have been having a bit of car trouble lately so I took my car to a place where they'll do some tests for free...the corrosion on my battery was so bad that when they guy tried to take the piece off (technical terms escape me) it snapped in two. So he put a new one on. You would think this would be easy, but out of no where, the wind picked up and then the tornado sirens went off. The man just said to me "Let me know if you see a tornado" as he continued to work. THAT'S Service! So there we were with the wind whipping trash cans and branches and lightpoles all around us while this nice man tried to finish up my car. Unfortunately, or maybe FORtunately the rain came and we ended up waiting out the storm inside. (Yep just hanging out in a car parts store while the winds whipped through town.) Then he finished only to discover that my battery only had enough juice in it to make back home.

When I arrived home, the power, well, it was out. I have yet to hear any news, but by word-of-mouth (from people who do have power) there were 80 mile hour straight winds and a tornado not really all that far from where I live. And I was standing outside....duh. So here we are 24 hours heat (and its kinda cold out today). BUT we have hot at least I can take a hot shower:) My car is still having issues despite the new battery...what a crazy life.

On another note, spring is here. My friend Jonathan pretty much summed up how I feel about it in his blog.

I will write more later about the rest of life...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I have not blogged in a bit. Life is crazy with CityLights students here. I promise to catch everyone up after they leave. For now, here is a super cute picture of my nephew to tide you over.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

through the back door

The blogging world has been a bit foreign to me lately as CityLights, a new job, and a kitchen sanitation certification test have all quickly crept upon me. But people are dying to know about my life. right.

Unfortunately for you visitors of the "fishtank", I am feeling something a little different then the sharing of my life tonight.

I just spent more time than I should have on the phone with a woman who is becoming a dear friend. Yep, that's right, I said a dear friend. Another person for me to get sentimental over. Only this time, the Lord is creating such a unique and strong bond, that I loose track of time when I'm talking with her. (Kind of the same as when I talk with my mom (that's really the truth too mom!)). I remember several months ago, ask God to make my dependence upon Him complete and utter I-can't-live-a-day-without-you-dependence. How does that saying go? Be careful what you ask for? I was stripped of a job...and friends just seemed to be slipping through the cracks. My relationships began changing, and I found myself longing for the times I could slip back into my room, lay on my bed, and tell God what was on my heart and mind.

After about 4 months of that, I began to pray very specifically for good female friends. At the time, I thought that would never happen. That maybe the Lord thought my heart wasn't content enough just with Him. But He brought me three friends...they came in the sneakiest ways. One started with just a simple hug at our church retreat. Another in simply wanting to help a family. And the third....well, she took my job and wanted to ask me a bunch of questions.

Tonight as I write, I just can't get over the goodness of the Lord. How He knew my heart. He knew the timing of the friends I needed. And just when I thought I was at my breaking point, He delivered in the smallest of ways. The ironic thing is that this sort of thing happens every day, but I fail to see it. It's like it has to smack me in the face before I recognize just what is going on. Funny, isn't it.

It's late. CityLights, the new job, and the kitchen sanitation certification test still await me. I promise to write about the new job next time.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

a new old one.

You tell me to trust.
To be still.
To wait.
To commit.
To trust
in my own understanding.
You will make me like a mountain
The dawn, in all it's pinks, purples, and blues
Will radiate from me.
You will allow me to rebuild cities.
To clothe the naked.
Feed the hungry.
Father the fatherless.
Love my neighbor.
But I have to be patient.
I have to be still.
I have to commit.
Your grace is sufficient in my weakness.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

jesus with little feet

brown eyes peer over tiny glasses
taking in the colors of the world around.
delicate little fingers touch what is before,
a curiosity that cannot be contained.
when the music dances
so does she.
her purple dress swirling as she bops.
left and right,
her head flys
tossing the hair her momma worked so hard to do.
at music's end
she crawls into the nearest lap,
giving her affection freely.
sometimes that lap belongs to me.
i often wonder just what it is she sees.
she cares not where i've been
and even less about what i've done.
she loves me for who i am.
unsuspecting. unknowing. unintentional.
are the lessons she forces us to learn.

Jesus said "Anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:15

Long Awaited Cheesy Sweater Party Pictures

Josh and Cliff

Josh and Cliff
Originally uploaded by amanda_salmond.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Learning to play

The air has turned cold again. Ironically, I found myself saying last night "Man, it got cold!" When in reality, two days ago, I should have been saying "Man, it's really warm out!" The Moulin Rouge soundtrack is blaring in the background. I've had breakfast with one mentor-like friend and coffee with another today. It seems the perfect time to sit with a cup of something steaming and blog about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

I got really sentimental today. I know. I know. When am I NOT sentimental? It seems that this week has been a particularly extra sentimental week. I tend to be one of those people who allows people of all sorts to imprint upon my life, sometimes within a matter of days. I have a desk with a glass top under which are pictures of people from throughout my life. Little Molly, Joe, and Connor who taught me the importance of play and helped me see the world through the eyes of small, untainted children. My pursuit of a career in early childhood began with a sentimenal recollection of my days with these three. There is a picture of a group of graduates at Central. They were all seniors the year I was a freshman. It was this group of people that finally got me to grasp just what God's love for me meant. There's Betsy who spent at least an hour with me every week. She introduced me to the world of coffee shops, worship, and made me start eating chicken again. My sisters who have, without knowing it, called me out on many of my flaws and made me only want to pursue greatness. There are about 20 other people on my desk that I could continue to reminense about and probably 1,000 others that I could recount.

Most recently I have been thinking about the people at my work. It is okay for me to say that I'm not staying at my company much longer. Not because it's a bad place to work, but because I finally have some direction in my life, and the corporate world just isn't it. The people at work, especially my supervisor and the president (and his wife) have been so gracious with me - keeping me on despite knowing that I'm in pursuit of other things. But it is not them that I refer to with sentiment.

When I first started at the company, I was only supposed to be there 3 weeks; here it is 3 months later. I had a hard time emotionally in the beginning because I felt like I wasn't making a difference, for gosh sakes, I was just answering the phones. And in the beginning I wasn't even doing that great of a job! I was used to running after 13 very small children, wiping their tears and their rear-ends. Being responsible for their daily well-being (at least while in my care). And now all I was responsible for was directing calls...frankly, I almost felt worthless. Then one day, during a company meeting, one employee gave me the "Inspiration Award" which is an award passed from employee to employee when one is inspired by another. This particular man gave it to me because he had noted what a big difference it was to have someone screening and directing their calls, greeting them every morning (with a smile), running around the office searching for them when an important call was on the line, etc. It was unbelievable to me that I could make a difference in my role at this place, but clearly I didn't realize its true importance. Believe it or not, that award made me realize that I could make a work home with this company until I decided what my next path would be.

Now that I am really close to leaving (very close..I can taste it), I have been thinking about the different people at the company and the little ways they have made life fun, different, exciting. There is one guy who makes me laugh just by looking at him. When he gets excited he says "Giddy up!" There is another guy who has moved from a coworker to a friend. He encourages me in my pursuit of educational jobs and teases me relentlessly. I don't know much about where he has come from (in life, that is), but I have a strong feeling that he is one of those people that has had to overcome great odds to be where he is today. People like those are usually quieter inspirations (except the ones that write books about it). They are strong and seem to impact every stranger that blindly walks into even the smallest type of relationship with them. I was definately an unsuspecting stranger in this case.

Some people would say that this is all "sentimental hogwash", but I truely believe that without the experiences, no matter how small or large, with people who walked in and out of my life, I would be a different person. For each impacts a small piece of my heart. And all of those pieces put together makes me, me. So without Joe and Molly and Connor, I may never have learned to play.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The New Fish

This is my cousin Jeff and his new daughter, Taylor Ashlynn, born on Thursday night. Jeff and his wife Loida have been more like older siblings to me over the past couple of years. Our interactions are few and far between, but often very meaningful (at least to me). Praise God for the new little life in their house!!

Monday, January 30, 2006

A lot of randomness in my head today. Has anyone noticed how often I use the word random or a derivative of it? I bet it’s on this blog at least 30 times. There’s no logical way to order randomness which is why it is called random, but (as Tanya, George, and Neil would put it) the “J” in me wants to put some order to the mad chaos. Especially to that which occurs in depths (or shallows) of my mind.

Random bit # 1 – Does anyone out there watch Grey’s Anatomy? Holy buckets was it good last night!! I was fortunate enough to get my mom addicted to the show. During last night’s show, one particular doctor let a patient in on a big secret from her past just before commercial break. I was freaking out! And trying to call my mom. The call wouldn’t go through. WHY? Because SHE WAS CALLING ME!!! Fun times in the mother-daughter world.

Random bit # 2 – My dad is finally having his first stress test – six months later. Three reschedulings. At this very moment he is probably sitting in some doctor’s office awaiting the results. His heart attack was on August 13…Today is January 30. He has not smoked since that morning.

Random bit # 3 – I have to get a Hep A. vaccine for a job that I’m going to do for my church. YUCK! I hate shots.

Random bit # 4 – Emily has been in Wales for two weeks now and has yet to forget about me! Installment # 3 of her adventure will be posted shortly.

Random bit # 5 – A new friend introduced me to a coffee shop in south city this weekend. Not only did they provide a mocha very friendly to my taste buds, but they also had the indoor as well as location atmosphere that reminded me of being back at good ole’ Smokey Row. In fact, if they had an upstairs and exposed bricks walls, I probably could have thought I was at The Row. Only I didn’t know a single sole which would not be the case in P-town.

Random bit # 6 – I’m GOING TO SEE JAMIE CULLUM in March. Did you hear me? I’M GOING TO SEE JAMIE CULLUM!!!! I am sooooooo excited!!

Random bit # 7 – Today is the first Monday in a long time that I actually feel awake and good. Perhaps it’s because I gave myself more time to wake up. Perhaps it is because I was a little less social this weekend. Perhaps it is because I prayed on the way to work. Perhaps it is because I talked with my sister this morning as I was getting ready for work. Could it be a combination of them all? Whatever it may be, my spirit is definitely much higher than it usually is or has been the past couple of weeks. Give God the Glory for that! Te doy la gloria. Te doy la honra.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A loss of thought

I had something important that I wanted to blog about the other night, but then Neil stopped byand distracted me. Now I can't remember what it is that was so important. Speaking of Neil, he so graciously loaned me his Nikon camera so I went out on an artistic endeavor. Below are a couple of my favorites.

Emily's Adventure part 2

Have you ever seen one of those movies where afterwards you think, "Gee I really have no idea what just happened"? That would be pretty close to how my first week in Europe has been: a confusing collage of images and people talking that in the end just seems surreal.

My two days in London went by quickly. Vandon house is a short walk from Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, and the nightlife of Victoria street. I didn't realize where any of these things were. I just sort of ran into them on a walk. I tip my hat to anyone who stands in awe of these places, especially Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately I'm not one of them. Buckingham Palace = Big square building woohoo.
It would have been alright if I could have tried on one of the guard's hats maybe, but I didnt think I wanted to look down the barrel of the police officer's gun to ask. Fortunately, St. James Park was right next to the palace and I had a nice little stroll through there. The best parts of the city are definately the parts that aren't on the map. The traffic signs offer loads of entertainment when you're least expecting it. During my shuttle ride I noticed a large "Slow Down NOW" - large emphasis on the giant now - sign that was neither behind nor followed by an actual speed. What the heck does that mean? Fortunately, pedestrians have it much easier. Even I could follow the painted "Look Left"s and "Look Right"s. Much more practical than whatever genius decided to build an ash tray into the door of the airplane bathrooms right underneath the no smoking signs.

All the kids on my program arrived with no worries. When we finally got to the school, it looked - historic I suppose would be a polite term for it :) But the insides of the buildings are nice, especially our dorm. My room is probably the same size as the German House rooms with the added bonus of a little window room on the side. We've been so many places this week. We visited a two castles and different towns. Yesterday - I saw the ocean WOOOHOOOO. I walked out with no shoes, but I'm pretty sure it was a little cold to be doing that. A guy on the program and I went down on these rocks on the coast to try and get a good picture and a wave came in and hit us from behind. Luckily the sun was out, so when we arrived back at school 4 hours later I was only slightly damp instead of dripping wet. We spent one day trying to get to know the town - which is actually quite large and sort of confusing. Emily Pim and I have been lost 3 times trying to come back to town. That's probably because we have never been back without getting lost. But we are getting EXTREMELY good at getting lost. My mom always told me to do what I do best...

Love and Good Times to you all

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

my sister is hilarious

My sister, Emily, left on Friday for a semester in Wales. She has this sarcastic way of writing that just makes you laugh, as you will soon read for yourself. The following is the e-mail she sent us after a couple of hours in London.

I'd like to give a reprieve to anyone who wants absolutely nothing to do with my goings-on while abroad through the madness that is mass emails. I know it wears the edges of a person's sanity from personal experience, but hey I sure as heck ain't gonna e-mail the same thing to this many people repeatedly. I'd like to tell you your message would be original, but I can't. Just know that you all hold a special place to me ... just like the others. (Better than copying and pasting over and over)
I arrived at my hotel without any major catastrophes, but being the walking disaster I am, I couldn't avoid the little ones. On the first part of my flight, I was searching in vain for a place for my carry on and im sure you can imagine the panic on my face. I know one lady did. She felt my pain so keenly she decided to inflict it on her husband. She wacked him on the top of the head with a rolled up newspaper and told him to get his *insert creative offensive word here - or if you work in a church camp, just think happy thoughts :P* out of the storage space so i could put my bag there. Trust me, no paper should make THAT kind of thwack.
In the terminal between flights, everything went smoothly until I happened to sit in the waiting area next to two ornery guys going overseas in the army. They took it upon themselves to threaten my chance at sleep for the next eight hours - i retaliated by threatening to throw at them what later revealed itself to be overcooked pasta. As luck would have it - they were in the same row as me ! Yikes! Instead of making good my threat, I carried on a 7 hour conversation with the lady next to me. When I got to heathrow, I put my baggage on one of the handy carts they had and was ready for anything. Well, anything except my wheel flying off, which it did and all of my luggage went flying. *look at the crazy girl on the floor woohoo*
Oddly, no one went through my luggage at customs. My passport was stamped and I got my luggage after and just went straight out. I kept thinking I had missed a spot and they would be running after me. Oh, well. On the ride over, I was the only one in the Hotelink bus and the man driving was very talkative. He wanted to know where in the states I was from and when I responded with "Missouri" He said oh yeah I know it - that's where the Ku Klux Klan is. How is the Klan these days..." WHAT? I assured him I didn't know any members personally nor had ever seen them, and he looked at me suspiciously and said I saw the pictures on the internet, they're there. It was sort of creepy. After that though he drove around a bit to show me some of the sights, which was nice of him and not unwelcome with the fare i payed to get to my hotel. It was a flat rate, so he wasn't trying to up his anty, but I didn't mind upping mine. We drove past Westminster and he said, "Oh, I have something to show you." and took a side street - actually i think all of the roads in London are side streets - to a building that had a long line of middle school and high school aged girls coming out of it. Apparently, today was the day of auditions for a new female role in Harry Potter. The line wrapped itself all the way around probably 40 blocks. Not just down them, it circled each one. It was insanity at its finest.
The rest of my day consisted of one activity - sleeping. I won't bore you with my dreams, feel free to insert one yourself if you must :) I'm off to explore now. We'll see how long that lasts.
My love and well wishes to you all

Sunday, January 08, 2006

a glimpse of my heart

Do you ever feel like you know so many people that it paralyzes you in a state of loneliness? People are all around you all of the time. They want you to hang out, to talk, to be in your presence...but all that you can do is retreat to room behind a closed door?

It's funny how life's situations mold our character. And even funny-er how much a more recent event can reshape us. There is this group of people from my church, mostly singles, that get together for lunch every Sunday after church. It's a great idea to promote togetherness and friendships. I support the concept completely. Except for the fact that I never go. The weird part about my absence is that last year at this time, I was one of the spearheaders of a similar Sunday lunch group. Why the change? Why, when church is over each Sunday, do I return to my empty apartment to do my own Sunday afternoon thing?

An even bigger question? Why is it that I am most comfortable spending time with married-with-children women? What is it about these women that makes me much more comfortable than the singles, twentysomething crowd? Why is it that I look forward to my new found Thursday night Stern family time so much more then the parties I get invited to on the weekends? (Anyone who knows the Sterns would say it's just because of how incredible they are, which is true, but not my point)

I have discovered that the mere beginning of an answer to my questions...all of them actually, is intimacy (platonic, that is) . When the ways of life are hard or even just the opposite..way good, I long to have just one or two, maybe three close friends (outside of my family) to call and share with. Instead I have to sit and think about who to call...which of the 700 people that I know??

This intimacy is definately present in a couple of friendships...unfortunately one is halfway across the country-permanently-and the other is in Iowa. I think my heart (and the rest of me) could truely benefit from a friendship just like those two, only with a person physically here in St. Louis. Is it okay to ask God for that? It doesn't matter, I'm going to anyway:)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Year of Perfectness

I've been trying to write a new post on here for two days, and have been very unsuccessful! Writer's block or something. Maybe it is all of the miles I've put on my mind..or my car for that matter. I drove 837 miles this weekend-all by myself. Oh and last weekend too for Christmas with my family.

This weekend was the most fabulous way to ring in the new year. Two of my lovely friends from college had a New Year's Eve wedding. Not only was the wedding a beautiful celebration of theirlives and the new year, but it was also a huge reunion of Central alum (mostly from our class) who have since scattered across the US.

My dear friend from Chicago Semester, Adam, was at the wedding. It was fun to see his face again, not too mention catch up on life and reminicse about life in the big city. The second coolest moment of the night was watching my friend Steph practically maul Katie in order to catch the bouquet. It was totally in slow motion-Steph reached out with her hand in the air as the bouquet flew toward the mob of single women. Then she leaned forward over a shorter Katie, probably lost her balance a bit, and landed with her weight pushing Katie forward. It was quite the scene. ! The third coolest moment of the night was actually after the wedding. Adam was sprawled out on Steph's couch. Sherami and Steph were snuggled at separate ends of the other couch, and I was laying on the floor. It was 2:00 in the morning and we were trying to have "girl and Adam talk." However, the tiredness had overcome us so much that our eyes failed to open. Oh to be a fly on the wall in that room.

I spent the rest of my weekend in small town Wilton with the Rohde family. It was an absolutely wonderful way to spend my first weekend of 2006. If every weekend could look like that, I think it would be the perfect year. It's 837 miles round trip to do that. Eh, maybe I'll just shoot for a .500.

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