Thursday, August 30, 2007

you know your ___________ when...

We have all read them; "You know you grew up in the 80s when...", "You know you came from a small town if...", "You know you're a redneck if...". I pretty sure we've all experienced at least one that resonated deep within our souls. The one that always gets me is "you know you're a child of the 90s if had stirrups on your pants." I actually wore nothing but stirrup pants for a couple of years during the 90s! Sick, I know.

I have a new one today: You know you're important when...

I would love to hear some responses to this.

My response (and what prompted this whole paragraph): You know you're important when your boss's boss has your cellphone programmed into his speed dial as your boss's office.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Just a couple of random thoughts for the day:

1) Rather than the usual "Pop Goes the Weasel", our local ice cream truck plays Mozart.

2) My remote key less entry for my car does not work properly in the Wal-Mart/Sam's parking lot.

3) September starts Saturday.

4) I love ice cream.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Chris, Lauren, and Daniel

It's Sunday night, and I'm working. I have a feeling that this could easily become a trend over the next few months as I learn to balance all of the jobs that life has thrown my way, or rather, God has been so kind to give to me. I'm struggling to work tonight. Partially because it's Sunday night, and I'm tired. It's also because the songs on my Pandora "mellow" station keep sending me on a nostalgic journey. Three of my good friends are leaving the country this week; all on trips unrelated to one another. They have all brought some sort of delight to my heart so I thought I would do some small tribute to them as they depart. (I know, a blog isn't much of a tribute, but it's what I've got at this time.) This is probably more for selfish purposes, but if anyone knows these three and wants to add on their own memories or blessings, please do!

Chris leaves tomorrow for Japan where he will be teaching English to middle school girls for two years. I've known Chris for over a year now. I
first knew him as my supervisor at camp, but he quickly became a friend, confidant, and drinking partner (yeah, sometimes after being around 100s of kids at once, you just need a drink :) ) It's so much more than that though. I met Chris at a time in my life when I was revisiting and trying to work through my pain and insecurities brought about during a particular teaching position I once had. Chris, in his no-nonsense kind of way, often "put me in my place"; calling me on ideas I believed about myself that were really just lies. He helped me see myself as a woman with the qualities of a good teacher; someone who really did have something to contribute to the school world. As I walk down the path of memories with Chris, most vivid are the late night conversations over a drink, the grand opening of my day campers' garden (where Chris wore this ridiculous hat and tie and gave a speech that used the word "forefathers"), and showing him around St. Louis after Urbana. CHRIS - I will miss (do miss) seeing you interact with children, your honest advice, and your constant encouragement. You have been an integral part of some big healing in my life! May the Lord cover you as you search for Starbucks and Target in your new home! (hehe)

Lauren leaves for Barcelona on Labor Day. She will spend a semester there as a student and then move to Chile to work with a missionary for several months. Lauren is a relatively new friend, but in the short time I have known her, I have grown to love her humor, her smile, and her over uniqueness. She has a way of laughing about any situation, and she oozes an energy that infects anyone around her. Although I've only know her a short while, I've had the opportunity to laugh at least a million laughs and imprint memories on my heart. One of my favorite Lauren stories: We were playing a rather vigorous game of Sardines in a large, supposedly haunted building. Lauren and I were partners and had won the first round so we were searching for our own hiding spot. Where did we choose? A stall in a non-functioning bathroom on the 3rd (and scariest floor). We both stood on the toilet half bent over to avoid being seen. It doesn't seem that memorable in writing this, but trust me, it was. LAUREN - I am excited for the adventures that are ahead of you, and even more excited that I get to be around to hear about them! I have loved eating ice cream and having "stalking" text messages with you over the past couple of months. My prayer for you is one of protection, adventures, and sweet moments with Jesus in places unknown!

Daniel, like Lauren, is a fairly new friend. He is headed to Nanjing, China on Tuesday where he will be a student for a year. It is hard for me to pick just what to say about Daniel as I feel like he had a profound effect on my life without even trying. I cannot remember learning so much about myself from one person. Perhaps it was just a summer for growing and changing. Perhaps all of the self-knowledge was there, on the verge of being discovered, and he happened to be the catalyst that brought all to the surface. No matter the other factors, he was a large part of who I am becoming as I learn more about who I am (if that makes sense). I will always remember our very late nights working on bookshelves, the way he chops an onion, his love for classical music and Jane Austen, our brief friendship with Joe, and the way his servant's heart was always blessing different people. DANIEL - Thank you for showing me loved things once forgotten, reminding me of my "true" age, and allowing me to be real even when it was hard. May the Lord guide your studies and the decisions that come with your return to the States next spring!

I will miss all three of them very deeply, but will look forward to the e-mails about their adventures...and conversation over ice cream or margaritas or staining furniture when they return!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

naiveties of the small town girl

By now, everyone knows that I am from rural America. I can name all of my classmates and teachers as they were pretty much the same throughout school. We only had two stoplights and they were flashing red. It was 30 miles to a movie theater, Walmart, bowling, and any of that fun stuff. You took people at their word, and if you didn't, it was because they had proved to the whole town they were a dirty bag of scum that couldn't be trusted.

I live in the city now, and I would say I have converted quite nicely. I honk at other drivers (only when they are about to do something stupid and run into my car), don't make eye contact with people I pass on the sidewalk, wait in line for an hour just to mail a letter at the post office, frequent coffee shops, and (at least try to) take advantage of the fun things the city holds for it's residents.

The one thing I haven't mastered: learning not to take everyone at their word. This is a big city and unless you know someone that has had a run-in with a dirty bag of scum, you don't actually know that they are, in fact, a dirty bag of scum. I wouldn't actually assign that title to the business that caused my frustration yesterday, as I know people who have had wonderful experiences with them. I am frustrated because they didn't meet my small town get-it-done when-they-say-they-will expectations.

Two weeks ago, I had my car inspected as I have to do every couple of Augusts. For the first time ever, it didn't pass. Why? Because of a factory malfunction that happens pretty much only on my type of car! So now I'm paying a lot of money to fix what shouldn't be broken anyway. (Beginning of frustration). I got some quotes from car shops and took recommendations from wise men in my life. I picked "Shop A" and gave them a call.

"This is Amanda. We talked last week about replacing those parts on my car. Do you have time to do it on Tuesday?"
"Sure. Bring it in at 8am, and we'll have it done by noon."

And that is just what I did. At 1pm, I still hadn't heard anything. My friend from Wisconsin has been staying with me. We happened to be driving by at about that time and thought we would stop and ask.

"I know you said you would call, but we were driving by so I thought I'd take a chance. Is my car done?"
"Which car is yours?" (Are you kidding me?!)
"The mercury"
"It's the next one in."
"And it will be done by the end of the day?"

4:30 rolled around. I picked up the phone to call them, but as I did, they called me.

"Is it going to be a problem if we keep your car overnight?"
"Yes. I have meetings out in the county tomorrow morning."
"You have no other way to get there?"
"No. I'm a single woman, and I live alone."
"I'll put the bolts back on and you come get it. We close at 5"

So I put on my shoes and started my angry march in the 100 degree weather to the shop. The more I walked, the more the frustration grew and my mind raced. "They had my car for a whole day and only took the bolts off in order to...put them right back on again! This wouldn't happen in small town America. They would have it done!"

When I was close enough to see the building, I realized that I needed to calm down. While it was big inconvenience for me, I really had no idea what had gone on at the shop that day. What had come up, what jobs were supposed to be done but took longer than expected, and so on. "Give them some grace."

So I worked out a time with guy to get it fixed after all of my meetings today. But if it doesn't get done today...

a dirty bag of scum?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

when shopping equals death

For real, all that I wanted to do this afternoon was hit a few stores to look at a few "bigger" office supplies for one of my jobs (we just got a new office, and I'm in charge of some purchasing). I am still considered contagious and have been in my apartment for a few days now with all of my plans to be around people canceled, so I though being in large crowds of people that I didn't know would be safe.

WRONG! One of the stops I made was at Target. I guess I should first explain that our Target parking lot was not well designed. The rows and the parking spots are too close together - even at midnight in the middle of winter when no one goes shopping. But especially on Sunday afternoon when the the closest LARGE university is beginning welcome week. The entrance to the parking lot is on a hill. As I pulled in, the sea of cars and people made me turn up the classical music on my radio in an attempt to remain patient and calm. I turned right to avoid the most dangerous area of the parking lot, but then found myself stuck behind five cars waiting for a sea of college coeds with their new dorm decor. Ten minutes later, I finally made it to where the first car in line had been, and took a left-only to slam on my breaks for a car that thought it was okay to stop in the middle of the chaos and rearrange things in their car! I turned the music up a little louder, dodged a pedestrian and a runaway cart, and found my way into a parking slot. Although the parking was a great feat, as the car to my left had taken some liberties with the yellow lines.

Inside proved just as hairy as outside; aisles busting at the seams with people. I got cut-off, rammed into with a cart, huffed at for taking too long to look at some posters (which really was only 30 seconds), and assaulted by an office chair. I seriously thought I was going to kill or be killed before I could made an escape. Luckily, I long ago learned the back way out of that parking lot - today, it saved my life.

In other news: I now have a sore on my toe and a few new sores on my hands; my sister wants me quarantined, and my nephew said "Huskers!" for the first time yesterday. Now, he knows where it's at! Enjoy the pic of the little man!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

the consequences of kissing

I just found out that I have Hand, Fooot, and Mouth Disease (Not to be confused with Foot and Mouth found in animals). The source of the virus? Probably the cute little guy, Jacob, in the picture. Jacob is almost three, the 5th child in his family, loves trains and playing in the water, and always gets excited when I come around. His family has become my family which equates to my spending quite a bit of time with them. When I appear at their house, one of the children will stand at the door and announce "MISS SALMOND'S HERE!" only to be followed by the sound of small feet on the hard wood floor and a little voice yelling, "Miiissssssss SSSSSSSSSSSSAAAAAAAAAAAALLLMMMMMOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNDDDDDDD!"

Often that is followed by Jacob flinging himself around my legs. If he forgets to hug me or if I make too far into the house before he hugs me, Jacob will say so, "Miss Salmond, I forgot to give you a hug and a kiss." Sometimes, he will go a step farther and threaten to kiss me in the same tone that one would say "I'm gonna get you." Kissing is his new game. And I'm sure it's this game that infected me.

It's fun to be loved in such a way; to have "family" even though I'm so far from my own blood-relatives. It's even great enough to endure a mouth full of canker sores (I'm up to 11 this morning) and sores on your hands (I've only got 5 of those) and three days of pure exhaustion due to a virus smacking your body like a truck hits a squirrel.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

pain in the corners

My relationships and much of my personal life were put on hold this summer as I worked two jobs that kept me rather busy. As my summer finally winds down, I've found more time to connect with those I've been missing. Tonight, a dear friend from college and I had a delightful conversation. By delightful, I mean it was reassuring to hear her voice and, as always, she offered some insight into life's situations. We are both going through some tough stuff right now; in similar ways working through our own hurts and pain; seeing our brokenness and that in the lives of people nearest us. Experiencing the pains of growing older; facing the truth of reality; mourning what we see before us; trying to figure out where the Lord is in the midst of everything and what His sovereignty is really all about.

We are both discovering that pain hides in much deeper holes, divots, and corners in your soul than one would think. Just when I think I'm healed, something unlatches the door and pain that I didn't even know existed comes barreling out leaving me befuddled. What do you do with the unexpected hurt? Can one ever fully experience and heal from the depths of it that are hidden away?

I think I can speak for both my friend and I when I say that God really is sovereign. He knows and allows the pain. He even grieves with us. I wish I could grasp what that really means. I wish I could truly know His sovereignty; to understand the why He allows certain situations and feelings. What I do know is that no matter how hard it is to face those hidden corners in my soul, Jesus wants to reveal them to me and longs to hold me as I face them.

Somewhere in the midst of that simple fact is peace; peace enough to sustain a wounded soul, terrified, yet brave.

Blog Archive