little darlin’, it’s been a cold and lonely winter…

1. I’ve had “Here Comes the Sun” stuck in my head, hence the title.

2. I tend to blog more when I’m in Houston, for the sheer fact that I have more time to actually think about things. When I get a more permanent job, it’s going to take more work to get in that headspace, but it’s well worth it.

3. Things I’ve been convicted about lately: “Rejoice!” is an imperative; sloth is a sin (and one I am unfortunately very prone to); I spend too much time meditating on things that aren’t the good law of the Lord, and Psalm 1 calls people who do that “chaff that the wind blows away”. Hum.

4. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m a little burnt out on U2.

5. Cause I am suddenly interested in: Human trafficking. Did you know Houston’s the #1 hub for that? Horrifying.

6. I have dreams like Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings of fighting battles, of doing great deeds. I wonder what it’ll take for me to realize that greatness is also found in supporting the ones off fighting. For her, it took almost getting killed and a guy falling in love with her while they were both convalescing.

7. *yanks off helmet* I AM NO MAN. *stabs witch king in face*

8. Sorry, all you non-LOTR people. (Wait…I don’t think any of you read this blog. Never mind.)

9. Had a conversation with Teacher Dave about how in a lot of ways it’s hard for Christians, and especially women, to know how to properly relate to our bodies. We’re caught between centuries of tradition, whether explicit or implicit, that says that thinking about your body is unspiritual, and the culture that tells us that your body is perfectly fine, but only if it meets certain criteria. How do we properly treat our bodies in light of the fact that Jesus had (has!) one and that our own bodies will one day be resurrected? How do we treat other people’s bodies, regardless of what they look like or behave like?

10. I’ve started watching this really interesting Travel Channel show called The Wild Within–this guy Steve goes out hunting in places like Alaska or Molokai, and he takes us along for the ride. He has this really articulate philosophy of hunting, how it keeps people more connected to the land and their ancestors and the origins of where their food comes from. It doesn’t have me wanting to go hunting any time soon (yet), but it’s super-fascinating. I recommend it if you have cable.

thursday 13

This week: Inspired by the blog To My Wife (by which I am utterly charmed, I might add), 13 notes for your future spouse (sorry to leave out you married folks).

1. Please, please, never grow a mustache, ironic or not.

2. If we have to get a minivan, I’m plastering the back with rock band stickers.

3. The hair is going to stay short. Trust me, it’s better this way.

4. I will, on occasion, feel compelled to quote The Princess Bride or Monty Python’s Holy Grail at you. It’d be funnier if you joined along, but whatever.

5. If you happen to be a Baptist, fine, we won’t baptize the kids. But while we’re dedicating them, I’m going to be thinking there should be a bowl of water involved, just saying.

6. There are people who loved the ending of Lost, and people who hated it. I fall squarely in the former camp.

7. If you want to go skydiving or bungee jumping or something insane like that, you can totally go, but I’m going to be a nervous wreck while you do it.

8. There are very few things in the world that outright irritate me. Not shutting cabinet doors is one of them.

9. You can call me “Mandy” only if you’re singing the Irving Berlin song to me. (Skip to 2:23.)

10. I fidget a lot in my sleep, so I apologize in advance for kneeing you in the ribs.

11. You know that thing with the stuff that you like? I’ll pick some up for you.

12. If I’m really upset–not angry, but frustrated or depressed or generally sad or worried, maybe, which happens a lot (just a warning)–the best thing you can do is listen and stroke my hair, because for some reason that helps.

13. I know my hands are tiny, but they’re strong, so you can hold them a little more tightly than you think you can.

this is not a blog post.

1. This is not a blog post; it is a bunch of light and pixels on a screen that we as a society have collectively decided to call a blog post oh my GOSH I hate postmodernism.
1a. I had a dream the other night that involved the title, “The Colonial Hegemony of Cap’n Crunch Advertisements in Post-Colonial Australia.” College ruined me, y’all.

2. Thought that is kind of related to the State of the Union address, but not really: C.S. Lewis, in That Hideous Strength, writes about this idea of the true Britain vs. the false Britain–i.e., the Britain of nobility and King Arthur and chivalry and true piety vs. what modernism and industrialization and elitism had made it. I wonder: The true America is what gets evoked in speeches like the president gave tonight–the one of hard work, revolution, equality, justice, promise, opportunity, prosperity, diversity. I fear, though, that it gets buried in the sense of entitlement, power plays, continued inequality, prejudice, sensationalism, anger, and triviality. What I really wonder is this: Where is the true America continuing to show up, how can the church encourage it, and will it–and the true natures of all the nations of the world–show up in the new heavens and new earth?

3. The thing about me is that I know I need the concrete, the tangible, the real, but i take the purely ideological instead, because it’s easier to control and therefore less scary. But it’s a poor substitute, and it just makes me want the real even more. Digital community, as Wendell Berry says, is mere metaphor.

Relationships are messy work; it has to be that way, at least for now, until we’re all turned into the glorious, majestic beings we were always meant to be. I am scared of the real, because it has so often broken my heart, but I have to embrace it precisely for hat reason, because, oddly, God wants to redeem both it and the very real me together. I’ve had to learn this the hard way the past few months, but it’s a good lesson to learn.

4. Okay, this has gotten a little too serious, so some questions for y’all:

a) What do you think of 2011 so far? Any big plans?
b) What’re you reading right now?
c) What’d you eat for dinner last night?
d) What is your biggest frustration right now?
e) What was the last fun thing you discovered?
f) What’s your favorite non-chain bookstore?

5. Finally, I’ve been playing this at least once a day:

a brief list.

1. I just saw True Grit and now I have “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms” stuck in my head. There are worse things. I thought that was an interesting choice to score the film with, all things considered.

2. Resigning yourself to your fate is not quite the same thing as faith.

3. For some unknown reason I’ve been jonesing for milkshakes lately. [Insert obligatory There Will Be Blood reference here.]

4. I think grad school rendered me nearly incapable of being able to think deeply about things. [The irony of that is not lost on me.] It feels like I’m still recycling the same stuff from college, and it’s making me a little sad. There are things I want to research, but since at the moment I feel like I don’t have a real reason to besides my own edification, I’m just not doing it.

5. I need something to write about.

in which i blog late and mix my metaphors

started at 2:45 AM

I shouldn’t be blogging this late, but I can’t sleep and my mind won’t rest. Earlier this week I watched the Golden Globes with my friend Jen, and as awards shows inexplicably do, they get me dreaming about telling stories, and about getting up on a stage and thanking people for helping me win an award. And yet, because I suck at coming up with plots and have no idea how to go about getting movie rights to things, I can’t see how that’s going to happen. And so I just practice speeches no one else will hear in my car on the way home.

* * *

Lauren Winner, in Girl Meets God, writes this great line: “I know the way an apple feels,” in the sense of being peeled. I’ve gone to bed in tears some nights, feeling like the knife keeps piercing me and stripping away my skin and leaving me to be cut into pieces. I realize it’s probably not so dramatic as that, but the waiting is hard, especially as it leaves me to think so much. A lot has happened the past few months–especially lovely things and especially difficult things, often simultaneously–and I don’t know if I properly dealt with it all until now. And in the meantime I just keep waiting.

My story is still being told, even though the ending’s been written already. It’s just really hard, being a character in the middle of it, waiting for the script to just hurry up and cut to the end of the act already. It may be that I may never get resolution, at least not in this particular part of the play. And in the meantime, I wait for the next page, and practice my lines, and wonder what the Writer is doing out there.

* * *
Because I have good friends who tend to worry about me and roll their eyes at my melodramatics (and rightfully so), I need to clarify: I’m not depressed or upset at all. Anxious, yeah. Antsy, sure. But I feel more like I’m getting prepared for something. The apple is getting peeled to be transfigured into pie; the character is backstage changing costumes; the screenwriter’s putting on her fancy dress and getting in the limo and writing the eighty-seventh draft of her acceptance speech. It’s just that there are surely good things ahead, and I am not a patient person by nature. Of all the virtues, I need to be filled up with fortitude, temperance, and faith, and the One writing my story knows that.

So. What now? I wait. I dream. And I remind myself that “it does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live”, as the late great Albus Dumbledore once said. Right now is what I have; right now is all I’ll ever have.

* * *
So hold me to this: I’m going to save some money, and I’m going to work on brushing up on my web coding, and I’m going to finish some projects. And I’m going to write, and I’m going to get plugged into community. I don’t want to be caught unprepared for when the curtain goes up.

thursday 13

This week: the last 13 things you bought.

1. Augustine’s City of God, using a gift card I got for my birthday (thanks, Dave).
2. A smoothie from Jamba Juice.
3. Pantyhose (for the dryer vent).
4. Envelopes.
5. An Oreo concrete from a frozen custard place down the street.
6. Dinner (which was quesadillas) on Tuesday night.
7. A couple of balls of red yarn.
8. Cookies, for watching the Golden Globes.
9. Dinner on Friday night.
10. Somewhere in there I bought another Jamba Juice smoothie…
11. A black shirt for work.
12. A pack of Sharpie pens.
13. A cup of coffee at Starbucks. That’s right–straight coffee. Because I am a rebel.

thursday 13

This week: 13 things you’ve ever done on your birthday.

1. I had a birthday party in Willowbrook Mall when I turned 11–we went to go see a movie in the theater that used to be in it, and I had a cookie cake, if I recall correctly.
2. 14th birthday was at a local restaurant and a bunch of friends came. There were edible candy bubbles involved.
3. My 21st birthday also happened to be the wedding day of my friend Cindy, so that happened. Afterwards Steph and I went to her house and had sparkling cider [this was clearly before we’d both gone Presbyterian].
4. I don’t remember exactly what I did on my 18th birthday, but I remember the day after my dad and I went to our storage shed and looked at some stuff to clear out of there. Long story, but it was an interesting day.
5. My 22nd birthday was spent holed up in my apartment because it was below freezing outside [the hazards of being born in the middle of January in the northern hemisphere], but some people came by for a party and we had homemade marshmallows and watched the Golden Globes, which was fun. A couple of my classmates from the English department gave me a voodoo doll, which I still think is hilarious.

[This is seriously kind of hard because I don’t really do birthdays. Not sure why, but I’m going to fix this. I can definitely remember what I did on *other* people’s birthdays, but not mine.]

6. 23rd birthday, I think my grandparents took me out to dinner at PF Chang’s.
7. 25th birthday – my dad came up to Austin and took me out to dinner. I think I spent the day writing. And I had something from Amy’s Ice Cream, and I got some flowers from one of my old college roommates.
8. 20th birthday – I think we went out to dinner or something, but I definitely remember that my roommate and suitemates and I went to go see Win a Date With Tad Hamilton.
9. 5th birthday – I have no earthly idea why I remember this, but it was at McDonald’s. My memories of it are dominated by the color orange.
10. 24th birthday – I remember sitting at our dining room table across from my roommate while she graded papers and I watched Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead that evening. There may have been drinks involved, but I don’t remember. [Madalyn?]
11. I have very, very vague memories of my 2nd birthday. There was cake and other kids, and that’s all I remember.
12. …seriously, you guys, I have no idea.
13. Tomorrow, I think I’m going to get a haircut, I’m going to brace myself for the annual birthday-related Facebook wall posts, and I know I’m going to dinner with a couple of buddies. And I’m going to put some stuff in the mail. Goodness, I don’t know if I can handle the excitement.

ah, look at all the lonely people.

1. Ever since I got back to Texas, I’ve ended up going to sleep at ridiculous hours, like 2 in the morning, and then sleeping until about 11.

2. I’ve been having really vivid, bizarre dreams, too, like the one I had the other night where I was in Waco with three sisters I know; we were at this coffee shop I went to a lot in college and then something happened where I had to start shooting at something (that was a little unclear). Odd.

3. I am coming to terms with the fact that I may be more about ideas than actually doing anything about them. This is a problem. I mean, I have all these wonderful thoughts about things, but then what the heck do I do with them? Being one step removed from reality is easy; it’s more difficult for me to actually dig in and get outside my own head and turn abstractions into tangibles. I can come up with a whole bunch of reasons why this is, but no matter what the explanation is, it’s still kind of an unhealthy way of dealing with the world.

4. There was a TED talk put up recently about how if you want to get goals done, don’t talk to people about them. Seriously. I mean, that seems kind of counterintuitive, but there’s something about telling people that fills in some of the satisfaction of actually accomplishing the thing itself, and so you don’t have as much motivation to get there. Or, you feel like you have the pressure on you to get it done, and then it makes you not want to do it. And, you know, when it comes to certain things I’ve done, I’ve found that to be the case. Odd.

thursday 13

This week: 13 goals you have for 2011.

1. Get employed.
2. Get out of my parents’ house. 😉
3. Cross five things off of my bucket list.
4. Make five things on this giant list of projects I have.
5. Get my own domain name and design my own website (which will, of course, mean getting better at HTML and CSS than I am).
6. Read 50 books.
7. Watch 50 movies. This is harder for me to do than you’d think.
8. Fit back in my prom dress. No reason for that, except that it’d mean I weighed the same I did in high school, which would be nice.
9. Finish memorizing Ephesians–it’s taken me two years; it’s about time to finish. 😉
10. I am going to take a vacation somewhere. This will happen.
11. Go the whole year without buying any black clothing (except for shoes).
12. Eventually, I may try going vegetarian for a while.
13. Oh, and I am going to make one of these:
Shiny!
(the hat, that is, not Adam Baldwin)