Thursday, November 29, 2012

going to the dentist counts as persecution

I don't intend to write much about my recent dental experience, except for that it felt like they were scraping my teeth out with Captain Hook's...... hook.  Seriously, we should get jewels on our crown in heaven for each grueling visit we suffered through to get our teeth cleaned.  I know not everyone has this experience at the dentist.  When I was relaying my story to my friend Amy about my visit, she brought up her fond memories of "Mr. Thirsty," the little suction tube that gets rid of all of the spit in your mouth .... while they go to town digging around your teeth and making your gums bleed (I guess the latter part of that was my memory).  I laughed at our shared childhood experience when she brought up "Mr. Thirsty."  Its so funny how you think only YOUR dentist had a clever name like that for the spit suction hose.  

I need to write today.  I haven't been writing and I don't even know if anyone's reading anymore, but that's okay.  I've thought of lots of things to write about but then I realize how trite and introspective they are and I hesitate to continue to make it all about me.  I actually started writing a blog post the other day and it was one of those pour your heart out sessions where the words are coming at record speeds and when you pause and look back at the witty, well-communicated display of your heart, you feel like you can breathe again after having let some of it out..... and then.... you accidentally delete it.... and then... you cry.

I seriously did cry. Not a huge melt-down or anything.... not like I was in Kindergarten.... it was maybe a good quality, third-grade hissy fit and then I went to sleep.  In all seriousness I was so disappointed.  It took a lot for me to write it all out.... just to have it wash away in a sea of nothingness. I dare not try again... no, its too soon :-)  So there it sits in my draft folder.... the empty void of what would have been.... a daily reminder of things lost.  I know, I'm really milking this now.  You see, I have to turn it into humor for it to have gained some sort of purpose.  So now that I have done that, I can gladly just.... let it go.

In other news, I'm almost done with school and have been toying with the idea of moving somewhere.  I really would like some clarity on where that should be- so if you are reading, and you have some ideas.... or if you feel like moving, but can't and you want to live vicariously through me... feel free to share any input! :-)

In other than that news, my Cousin is getting married.  She asked me to be a bridesmaid and to sing in her wedding.  So that will be fun and excitin'!

I've felt the need to "get away" so I'm thinking of making a trip down south after we have our early family Christmas up here.  I recently reconnected with one of my best friends from childhood.  We used to walk to each other's houses through the woods and I'm feeling a blog post arising as I mention her. Yes, Kristi, I may even attach a clip of the "trip to outer space" we did for our class project in middle school... or when we were "enchanted trees" together in The Wizard of Oz .... or I will just save us both from an eternity of internet embarrassment and just leave everyone wondering :-)

Much love,
Julie  




Sunday, October 14, 2012

blog is cheap

I almost gagged when I saw a news blurb on the TV about "how not to go into holiday debt this Christmas." Holiday debt... does this seem like an oxymoron to anyone else?  Don't worry, I'm not going to go into a whole "Jesus is the reason for the season" spiel, ‘cause He wasn't even born in December anyway....but don't worry, I'm not going to go into that whole spiel either.  I'm tired of all of that.  I'm so tired of hearing or reading about all of the controversy...on both sides.... about all issues.  Seriously, I'm tired of even hearing myself think.  I don't mean to be unloving, but enough is enough already...

I've always been fascinated by theology and even considered going to seminary at one point.  I was born pondering the why?, how?, and who? and something just felt intriguing about the thought of listening to (usually grey-haired) men go back and forth about the attributes of God or the truth of the gospel over a warm latte' and a cigar- or maybe a scotch on the rocks or something....yea that sounds just edgy enough ;-) (not that this is what professor's in seminary do, its just in my dream land, okay? Just go with it).
While I still think seminary could be cool, and I have nothing against it, I've begun to have distaste for the thought of so much discussion about God over becoming the very movement of God on the earth.

I know that talk is cheap, and you know what, blog is cheap too.  There are an innumerable amount of bloggers trending cool vintage looks while tweeting some thought-provoking quote from A.W. Tozer and insta-graming pictures of the gluten-free cake they just made for their son's vegan birthday party.... What? …Too much stereotyping in one sentence? Well, don't get too offended, because I am one such blogger...well not really. I am in theory, minus the fan base and the vegan children (my one-day children will be carnivorous). 
I can't live up to the coolness- seriously, I can't- and I'm sorta tired of trying to.  I know I can tend to go overboard sometimes (like Peter in the Bible...whoa! get it...overboard.....like he did out of the boat)...totally unintended pun.  Anyway, I know I can.  My passion can get the best of me and before you know it, I'm pointing Uncle Sam's finger at YOU from a platform, (which nobody gave me), and explaining why you should be drinking raw milk and why refined sugar is the reason that everyone dies.  Okay so maybe I don't go that far, but I do have thoughts about certain things...but just like Faith without works is dead, conviction without personal action is a dead man walking.  I wonder why God gave me such strong convictions, not just about raw milk, but about issues like racism and abortion, yet He really gypped me in the area of will-power or self-control, which really makes it difficult to change the world through my own efforts....and maybe that is the point…that I can’t.
Maybe, I'm getting better as I grow?  Maybe God will think of me as "a rock" by the end of my life....or maybe He is seeing me through different lenses, and He thinks of me this way, even now.  

You know what would be truly cool?  If I could just lay my life down for a friend…That is the greatest love.  I'm tired of reading books and being introspective.  I'm tired of trying to eat the exact right things. I’m tired of feeling so overwhelmed at the ABUNDANCE of choices, when I have to go into a Babies R us to shop for a baby shower gift.  How have we managed thus far...without wipe warmers and pee-pee tee-pees? (If you don’t know what those are, then you haven’t been to nearly enough baby showers lately, my friend)   
I do better with fewer choices and less talk. I mean if I was in Uganda right now, there wouldn't be much theology to quarrel concerning the gospel, because I would be too busy living the gospel.  I'm not saying we can't do that here in the states, but it is definitely harder...harder to be in need of God, or at least to recognize that need.  The need is covered up by the fluffy pillow I am sitting on and the bowl of cherry cobbler that my neighbor just brought over...dang you, refined sugar! You will be the end of me! ;-)  Don't misunderstand me to be saying that we must take a vow of poverty or do penance by depriving ourselves of anything comforting.  I don't believe that to be true. I do, however, wonder what Jesus meant by, "Sell everything you have and follow me," and if I am doing any such thing.  One thing I do know is that I am altogether unsatisfied and I have plenty. The satisfaction that I seek is not fulfilled in cherry cobbler or a hot shower, though those things do bring comfort for the moment.  I hesitate to type this, for fear that I will be wishing I hadn't in a few weeks...but I have decided not to buy any new clothes for a year.  This idea came as I was cleaning out my closet and was embarrassed at the thought of how many people I could clothe out of my one closet. 

Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  No, but I so want it to be. 
So I'm going to start with this and try not to despise my day of small beginnings, because if I am faithful in a little, I will be entrusted with much.  I have a lot of "little" to go, but maybe the "much" will be me surrounded by precious orphans someday. 

Embarrassingly, abundantly clothed…
Julie

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Holy Conundrum

I don't think that it would come as a surprise to anyone that I have always felt a bit misplaced in my family.  It was once described to me that I see the world in 5-D, when the people around me are seeing 3-D...that may be so, but it makes me sound way cooler than I actually am- like I have the power to go see certain movies without having to wear special glasses or something- but I don't have these powers. 5-D people tend to be honest to a fault.  They throw their heart out on the line when it is un-safe territory....which can make for a great adventure....OR a huge flop.  Because of the many flops, I learned to cover my passion in shame.  It still physically hurts when I see a kid who seems to embrace the world with a fire in their eyes, only to let it fizzle the first time they experience the sting of rejection.  In reality, the fire in their eyes probably mirrors the flame in God's, but because... back in the garden, sin introduced us to shame....we now allow the flames to be overtaken by shame's drowning wave.  We really do make fun of these types of people...it’s like this, biblically speaking: Peter vs. John.... let's elaborate:

Team Peter: Passionate, tactless, zealous, fiery, yet called a "rock" by Jesus

Team John: Thoughtful, gentle, confidently terms himself the "disciple that Jesus loved"

Now both of these teams have their strengths and weaknesses, the difference is, Peter's weak moments seem to be showcased in our minds.  Am I right? We tend to remember the guy who zealously got out of the boat...only to sink for lack of faith.  We remember the guy whose fierce passion caused him to cut off the ear of the guard who had seized Jesus....only to have Jesus publicly correct him and gorilla-glue that thing back on....supernaturally of course.  For real, can you imagine that scene!!??  How lame did Peter feel after throwing his whole heart out there to fight for his friend....and then he just straight up "got SERVED."  Truly, Peter's faults are infamously known.  Though, I'm telling you, in this day and age of passive aggressive-ness, the zealous guy is a breath of fresh air! If a little girl was being attacked in an ally, we wouldn't want a gentle John trying to assist her by persuading her attacker to stop through the use of some fluffy Shakespearean sonnet-language, would we? .....NO!  That's when we need a brave heart like Peter on the scene to start slicing some ears off!  I know this is an exaggerated example, and that I have stereotyped these two men into categories, but only for the purpose of making this point: though one is a bit more misunderstood, they BOTH display attributes of the heart of God. 
He is zealous and fiercely protective of us, while being full of gentleness, kindness, and patience.  He is not a contradiction....He is just whole.... He is a Father to the fatherless, He fights for those who have no voice.  He is jealous for our hearts and patient with us in our weakness. He is just and will not force us into loving Him, but allows us the free will to choose to do so, or not.  To us He is: a Holy Conundrum.  He is the "best of both worlds," to try to put it into terms that make the tiniest amount of sense. Because we cannot contain Him, we try to fit Him into a right-brained, artistic, peaceful, poetic guy, or the left-brained, disciplined, steady man....when He is actually...the Creator of the very brain we use to try to grasp who He even is.  He is the reason our hearts come alive at the idea of characters like William Wallace in Braveheart or Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice...but Oh, He is so much more that we merely cannot digest... until we get our glorified GI tract...
It reminds me of some lyrics in a song called, "What do I know of Holy"...

"What do I know of you, who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood, but the shore along your ocean?
Are you fire are you fury...are you sacred are you beautiful?
So, what do I know? What do I know of Holy?"

If you want to listen:


lovingly,
Julie

Friday, October 5, 2012

Orphans...minus the details

Ok, here's the deal.  I don't feel particularly wordy at the moment, but I'm inspired.  Sometimes I feel that I have so much to explain that if I try to do so, my eyes will bulge like a coo coo clock, my tongue will fall out, and that will be the end of me...so I'll just try to give the facts....minus the details:

- In college, some extraordinary instances happened which would allow me to believe that I would possibly, someday...be involved with Orphans....somehow. 
- A few years ago, I went to India and spent some time in three different orphanages.  It was amazing.  No, these children were amazing.....no, amazing is not even a word that comes close to describing these tiny human beings that made me a believer once again, in love at first sight...well, them and my high school boyfriend, Buck. (Wow Julie, you just went there....on the internet)
- I am in Massage Therapy school. Where am I taking this? I'm not sure, but if I tried to explain....again, I remind you of the coo coo clock image....let's just not go there, okay?
- My Mom said to me the other day that she found out that my second cousin is a Massage Therapist and she works in Vietnam massaging infant Orphans...which is one of the most admirable things because many studies have shown that without human touch and nurturing, babies can die.  Compassionate touch is so extremely vital for their wellbeing.  So my response when my Mom told me about my cousin: gulp.....are you kidding me?  It's like my passion and my skill got married, had a baby, and the whole scenario was covered in white chocolate.  Are my analogies even making sense to anybody right now?  Seriously...I didn't even know how to respond to this- it just makes so much sense to me.   

- So some of you might remember that my computer died....and I am currently extremely frustrated with this "hp pavilion ze4800" laptop I am using. Oh, you've never heard of the "hp pavilion ze4800?" Well, lets just say that it is right up there in the Technology hall of LAME with my Mom's first car phone, and it is seriously slower than a horse and buggy.  Honestly, if I literally took a horse and buggy ride to where you are right now to deliver this message to you in person, it would most likely make it there faster than I could get this blog published on this piece of....Oh, whoops.....  Julie, lets not forget what we are writing this blog about-Orphans....yes, Orphans who are lucky if they have shoes....much less an, "hp pavilion ze4800" laptop :-/  Let us pause for a moment of thanks as we get our perspective on. _________________________________Thank you Lord, for this "hp pavilion ze 4800"...even now Lord, as it delays to even bring up the letters I type until I am already on the next paragraph.

-So what will I do with these thoughts about Orphans? I'm not sure yet, because Orphans do come with a lot of details and right now, I am still just trying to keep my room clean, trying to learn not to be so selfish, trying to remember to get my oil changed in my car every once in a while, trying to have patience with this device on my lap that doesn't even deserve to be termed "a computer," ...
BUT thinking of them sure does make me want to get my life right so I can love one, or two, or a billion of them..... they sure do get my heart a'dreamin'

In other baby news:
- My two nephews, Lucas and Lex, were born! Yay! Pictures? huh, yea right....on the "hp pavilion ze4800???" That'll have to wait until I get my hands on a computer from this century. Welcome to the world you little heart melters, and job-well-done to my sister-in-laws...but I will miss your bellies :-( BUT the joy of my new nephews outweighs the sadness over the loss of cute bellies. :-) I just think that pregnant bellies happen to be awesome and I can't wait to have one.

- I cut my own hair- with a razor comb from Sally's Beauty supply. This, apparently makes me too legit to quit, according to my friend Laura, who in response said that I should, "start my own hair cutting business!"  I like to just think that Laura has a rare disease where when I anounce some modest achievement to her, she follows it with unimaginable affirmation! 
Example:
               Julie: "Hey Laura, I recorded a little bit of a song on youtube"
               Laura: "Oh my gosh Jul, its about time! The world should hear your voice...you should go on American Idol!"
  She even made up something called, "leadership night" at our church  and said I should sing at it.  This is how that went:
              Laura: Hey Jul, when are you going to sing at church instead of just play keys!?
              Julie: I dunno, I don't really want to be at the front of the stage singing, I like to be behind the keyboard all incognito in the back as I sing my little heart out.
             Laura: You should sign up for a leadership night!
             Julie: We have that at our church?
             Laura: Well, I mean you should just do it...just say you want to lead and just do it
             Julie: Wow La, I don't think that is how it works, and you totally just made up Leadership Night and made it sound like something I could sign up for in the lobby.... that is so NOT a thing!

Haha, I love her. She believes in people. What a great quality!  The funny thing is, she is so crafty and makes lamps and other crafty things and she totally DID start her own business! Way to go La!

Boy, I'm starting to think that the title of this blog was a bit misleading...I guess I'm not great at subtracting the details...
Well I will end with an exerpt from an article about Orphans and their vital need for touch.
My prayer is to be able to love Orphans. I want to give them love that would seep down deep into their roots so that when they grow up and learn who they are, they would be rooted and grounded in love and know that they are a wanted child of God.

"A hundred years ago, about 99% of babies in orphanages
in the United States died before they were
seven months old. Orphanages were an everyday part
of the social landscape. Unwanted babies were deposited
in these institutions, where modern antiseptic procedures
and adequate food seemed to guarantee them at least a
fighting chance for a healthy life. But the babies died,
not from infectious diseases or malnutrition; they simply
wasted awayin a conditioncalled “marasmus.” Sterile
surroundings didn’t cure it; having enough food made no difference.
These babies died from a completely different kind of
deprivation: lack of touch. When babies were removed
from these large, clean but impersonal institutions to
environments where they received physical nurturing
along with formula, the marasmus reversed. They gained
weight and finally began to thrive.
Touch is vital for survival in the very young. Everyday
in our nation’s hospitals sick and premature infants, isolated
in sterile environments, are given the touch therapy
of massage for fifteen minutes, three times a day."

Here is the link to the full article if you care to take a gander: http://www.benbenjamin.net/pdfs/Issue2.pdf
With love and details,
Julie

Friday, August 31, 2012

Kite flyin' in hurricane winds

Life can be confusing and people can be straight up cray cray (a saying the hipsters are using these days for, "crazy")...can't we!?

I dedicate this post to all the little tikes out there...the 10 and younger crowd...just trying to figure things out.  I hear you little man...its not easy to understand the females around you - we are complicated- and little buddy, from what I hear from the grown-up boys....it doesn't get much easier :-/

And to the little ladies...oh sweet girl, if I could say one thing to you, it would be to: guard your heart.  You may not understand how important that is until someone takes it, messes with it, then gives it back to you in an almost unrecognizable condition :-/ but trust me...later you will understand what the scripture means when it calls your heart, "the wellspring of life." 

Not that I think there are young kiddos who are out there actually reading my blog instead of playing barbies or mastering the video game, Halo....but maybe I'm just speaking to the little ones in us all.  Or maybe us "grown-ups" are all just still tryin' to figure things out too.

Ever wonder why its just so refreshing when you are listening to a comedian or a preacher and they seem to be expressing the very thoughts that go through your head...the thoughts that you believed only did their drive-by's in your  brain?  It's one of my favorite feelings...when someone understands me without me having to explain me.  I think because I long to know God on this level.  I want to be walking along in life and then when something ridiculous happens, to be able to just glance up and smirk at the one who has known my every thought and moment and just gets it...gets why the thing is funny...or why its devastating...or why it makes me sobb or laugh so hard that I can't breath.

Its like that friend who, while you are both in a crowded room, you can look over at them...and the expression on your face gives voice to the thoughts in your head without you even making a peep.  I think that is my love language...being understood.  Okay, so maybe it's not one of the 5 denoted by the author, Gary Chapman, in his book...but I feel so strongly about it that I may just write and try to persuade him to do a revised version....adding my new language....and then maybe including my name on the front cover ;-)

Maybe that is one reason I can get frustrated with God sometimes.  He is not easily figured out.  Not that I don't like a challenge, but my favorite day is one where I have clearly communicated my heart and someone just got it..or vice versa.  Harmony in communication.  It's a lovely paradise where I like to set up my hammock and stay a while...and sip a nice drink with an umbrella in it :-)

I have a friend who recently began a new relationship.  Though this particular guy was not someone she originally thought she'd be with, when I got the chance to see them together...I thought, "wow, what a breath of fresh air for my friend." Her Mom even thought so.  She told me that she could see that he just, "got her," in a way that no one had.  And THAT is saying something, because she is a complicated girl; a multi-faceted lady who often describes herself as a kite who needs a man that could hold on to the end of the string to make sure she doesn't drift off too far....to keep her grounded.  From what I've seen, her man seems to be a good kite flyer...letting her soar, but grounding the string when the wind of her emotions wants to take her to reach the unknown people groups in Timbuktu. Don't get me wrong...it's an honorable desire to want to reach lost people groups...but maybe its not EVERYONE'S calling to move to a third-world country EVERY TIME someone mentions one. Woah! In my research to figure out how to spell "Timbuktu," I found out that it is actually a REAL place!?  Did anyone know that!?  It is in West Africa on the edge of the Sahara Desert!  COME ON! Not everyone besides me knew that, right!? I decided that I'm going to go there someday for my honeymoon....just so that when people ask where we have decided to go...I can say, "A little place called, Timbuktu!" I mean it sounds like a lovely vacay spot ;-)
Hmmm....the things I learn from blogging.

Anyway, I can relate to this friend.  Maybe many of us can.  I need someone to let me be adventurous and take risks with God, while at the same time...lovingly make me wear one of those leash backpacks that you see the prone to wander kids wearing at the mall.....for when I tend to say things like, "I think we should sell everything we have and move to Timbuktu because that MUST have been a sign from God that I found out it is a REAL place!!!!??" Woah...leash it up, girlfriend. 

I'm sure God does this with us when we get cray cray sometimes.  I have to believe He has protected me from some disastrous situations that seemed like great ideas while they were floating around in irrational girl emotion inside of me...and yet there are some that He has purposefully let me fly my kite right into...only to return to Him all ripped up and stuck in a tree...and usually thinking...."Yo...I could've used a SIGN that this wasn't the best wind to take, God!"  Then He probably smiles...repairs my kite...and shortens the string a bit, to protect me of course....'cause I ain't no cat with nine lives...I'm a Dora the Explorer kite who tends to set sail beside large trees or in hurricane-force winds.  He knows what's up.  

Sometimes, when I come to the end of a blog post, I think....woah, where the heck did that come from, and then I usually end up changing the title to make it relevant to my rant :-)
He's a good God...but He ain't afraid to let you get a good paddlin' sometimes, for your own good. 
He disciplines the ones He loves. 
Job puts it well, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.  Nevertheless, I will argue my ways before Him."  haha I love that!  Job's like....Okay, He let me get the crap beat out of me for His name's sake...and I am still going to love Him and hope in Him....but I'm probably not going to stop asking, WHY!!?? :-)

Probably stuck in a tree somewhere,
Julie

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

moving sidewalk

I grew up as an airline kid and traveling used to be quite the event. I remember seeing the advances in technology on planes and at the airport... and my favorite would have to be the "moving sidewalk." A pretty funny invention if you think about it... but when the moving sidewalk came onto the scene - I always opted for it...I mean why not? A speedier way to get to where you're going without the added energy one would have to exert by simply....walking faster :-/
Because, when we flew, we were, "representing the company," we had to dress up for every flight...which, for me, meant a chance to wear my sam and libby shoes, stockings, and a spinny dress. My brothers and I used to hate when we would have to sit by strangers on the plane...but flying stand-by, without guarenteed seats, as a family of 6... we had to suck it up and take any seat we could get!  I have two favorite "stranger" stories from the plane when we were kids.  One was when my brothers had to go to the bathroom really bad, but were blocked in their row by a stranger who was snoozing in the isle seat.  My parents and I watched from the seats behind as, in desperation, the boys crawled under the man's legs...and successfully made it to the bathroom.  The other story was when I fell asleep and woke up when we landed...only to realize that my head had been comfortably resting on the stranger-man's shoulder next to me the whole trip...one of the reasons I can no longer fall asleep so easily on planes ;-)


In Ashley's wedding in Atl. Mom and Dad came too!
I've been quite the travelin' lady lately.  I went to Savannah, GA....then back to PA....then back to Atlanta to be in Ashley's wedding (my friend since age 3)....then back to PA....then to Maine....then to Conneticut....then to the Jersey shore....and now here I am....back home, where the 55 and older is a nice reminder that I have 30 years until I was actually meant to live in one of these neighborhoods...but God works in mysterious ways.....? hmm.... not sure how that one applies to my situation or what is so mysterious about living in a neighborhood where the highlight of the week is usually the "first Tuesday women's club," or my Mom's nightly water aerobics routine.  I know my tone seems snarky but I really am grateful to have a roof over my head, food in my belly, family that loves me, and a plethora of neighbor's grandkids to babysit while I finish school :-)   just keepin' it real...
This blog post has been a draft just sittin' patiently in my computer...waiting for its debut as my first post in quite some time now. My computer did die on me, so I have a bit of an excuse for the lack of blogs lately.  My fingers have been on hiadas from their normal tap dance across the keyboard to tell a story, or make a point... or to tell a totally pointless story. On one of my recent trips to the Atlanta airport, I was on the moving sidewalk and suddenly remembered that this little post was waiting for me to come home and give it some attention.  Not sure why today is the day...but the typers are back in gear and ready to tap once more! 
 
There is so much to blog about from the trip I took to Maine with one of my best friends, Shu (pronounced "Shoe"). Oh my Shu :-)  If she was a shoe, she would be a converse all-star...but with a light purple, satin ribbon for a shoelace!
We always have the best time together and we laughed so much that I came home with a six-pac of newly formed abs!
hahaha I seriously did this pose from
"The Little Mermaid"-only a few will actually get this!
Pop-overs and blueberry tea in Maine
Anyway, in an effort to keep things interesting, I will not post a picture of EVERY morsel of food we ate or include EVERY detail of how incredibly amazing the fresh lobster and smoked gouda omlets were, or about the wild blueberry pancakes, lobster/pineapple pizza, pop-overs, blueberry coffee and tea, goat milk fudge and caramels....I'll just tell you the MAINE-ly important things and give you an appetizer of pics from our lovely hikes, a seven mile kayaking trip in the Atlantic ocean, a jazz concert, a hard-to-describe-Maine-backwoods-bluegrass-ish music fest, and MAYBE just ONE more mention of the best fudge this side of the Mississippi....and on every side of the Mississippi...I don't know where these phrases come from- but my friend, Christine, says I've gotten my southern accent back since I've been hanging out with all of my friends from below the Mason-dixon line....
 

Shu and I gearing up to sea kayak....olympic style,
U.S. vs France...or so we told ourselves for
motivational purposes...to try to beat the French ppl
who were on our tour...unsuccessful :-(
We stopped in CT on the way home to see Bean!















These bluegrass-ish musicians were playing at a bar in Maine and
every one of them looked like a character from "Deliverance"....
and they smelled like pirates (none of us have probably ever smelled a pirate,
but I can't think of anything else that could accurately display this level of smelly!)
We met an old couple from GA there, who asked me what type of music this was...
When I said the closest thing I could think of was bluegrass, they were offended.
Lesson learned: don't tell an old couple from the deep south what bluegrass is...

So it has been great to do some traveling lately and to experience some new adventures with loved ones. I feel like everyone always says this, but the summer really has flown by and I can't believe its almost fall...woah...and then winter, where a Pennsylvania style snow will be coming to a driveway near me...very soon.  I'm excited for what the fall has to bring: two new nephews (YAY!!), being done with school...again, and getting ready for whatever season God has in store for me next...maybe I'll move somewhere really cool...or join that bluegrass-pirate band and travel with them...and give up showering...you never know...God works in Mysterious ways ;-) 
I still have the tendency to jump on the moving sidewalk and hurry to the destination to see where I'm headed next, but I am enjoying taking the slower, scenic route for now....learning to see God in the moment and growing to trust Him...and trying to laugh a lot along the way...but I'm not sure my abs could get more defined then they are now ;-) ...hopefully the sideways wink face shows that I am using sarcasm.

Much love,
Julie
p.s. I had a lot more neat pictures to post but for some reason my Mom's computer won't let me...I'll try to add more later :-)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mothers can surprise you...

So in my efforts to get all digi-tized with my life, I had a revealing conversation with the Moms.   She had mentioned that we have a free website with Comcast that I could use for Massage and Music biz's.  When I sat down today with her at the table she said, "Oh, Jul....you could get a wikispace....or a voki!"....uh...who is this techie lady who is using my Mother's body as a host?  and what the heck is a voki?
Apparently she already has a wikispace (which is some sort of free website) and one of her cool chemistry teacher-friends has a voki (some sort of site that you put a video of a cartooned-you on to explain your biz or something).  The point is...when did my 62 years-young-mother join the geek squad and learn how to speak R2D2?


She has the tendency to surprise me.  Especially lately...

Mom and I as we made it to sunset just in time- in Cali :-)
One night, over dinner recently, my Mom talked about her desire to skydive...uh, what?  You are a logical, play-it-safe, thrifty, chemistry teacher who carries ketchup packets, saltine crackers, splenda, and packets of peanut butter in your purse, AT ALL TIMES, to ensure that we could make a meal, if in an emergent situation.  You are the lady who allowed us to spend money on fast food, provided we could find enough change on the floor of the old station wagon to exchange for four meals at the golden arches.  You are the thrifty woman who convinced Dad and I to walk 3 miles in like 5 minutes in order to save the ten dollars it would have taken to drive through the park to the coastline to see the California sunset (we ended up running full-speed the whole way...just to make it at the EXACT moment of sundown.) You have an insurance plan for your insurance plan... And you want to throw yourself out of a plane?  My brain just twisted into an oxymoron...













Two years ago, My fantastical father was stuck in a whim to move back to Georgia and buy a house on a lot with a barn...and horses.  For a brief moment, we all got swept into the idea, including my Mother.  It was uncharacteristic of her to join us in la-la-land.  While on a visit to see the house, My Mom tried to get the attention of one of the horses that was being boarded there, while exclaiming, "I've always wanted a horse."  Again....ketchup packets.  Mom, you are aware that a horse does not live off of a casserole of edible purse-findings....and that their up-keep costs much more than the amount of change that could be found under the floor mat of the car, right?
Oh, Mom.  I'm glad you're you.
She likes it when people call her Mrs. Doggendorf- not a fan of the southern way: Mrs. Loretta. Her favorite candy is black licorice- which I for one think should not be allowed to fit in any category of edible treats. The best kind of day for her is when things go according to plan...without any hiccups. You can only get her to sit and watch a movie with you if she can be simultaneously grading papers, paying bills online, or emailing herself to-do notes for later. A Practical-Polly...a Logical-Loretta.
Yet in her dreams, she skydives...and she has a horse.  What a lady, she is :-)

Love you Mom.
Jul





Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Pinteresting, Tweet-able, blog-worthy note:

I'm not big on t-e-c-h-n-o-l-o-g-y...

AND...I'm not on facebook, so I had to join something to stay cool...or to become cool.  So now I am a Pinteresting (http://pinterest.com/bluesyjewel/) girl who tweets with little blue-birds....(birds I never thought I'd associate with @juliedoggendorf). AND, of course...you are reading Julie Doggendorf's BLOGendorf. Wow...look at my 2012-self! If the world ends this year...at least I'll go down tweeting or blogging about it...and loving Jesus, of course. I don't mean to joke about a serious matter like the world ending...but if I take myself too seriously, I'll seriously go crazy.  


I'm pretty ordinary, but I am a wanna-be crafty, witty, creative-do-it-yourself, make your own bread and cheese type of lady.  I mean what girl doesn't wanna-be like that, right?  If I said I was a wanna-be: processed food-eating, lazy, boring, girl who isn't adventurous and doesn't like sewing or the outdoors....who would want to follow someone like that on twitter?


Sorta makes me want to start a website for the normal, not-so-extraordinary people to join, who...tell the truth about themselves.  I mean, it's not the truth about myself that I am a boring girl who doesn't like the outdoors, but somedays I'm sad and don't want to leave the house and face the sunshine that would actually, probably lift my spirit...Its not true about me that I am a processed-food junkie, but I like a Chick-fil-a sandwich once in a while (especially on Sundays when they are not open....what is it with craving Chick-fil-a on Sundays....can I get a witness??)  Its not true about me that I don't love Jesus, but somedays I'm really frustrated with Him and we have fights...(which mostly entails me shaking my fist at a pretty patient, supernatural man-God who is allowing me the very breath I am using to yell at him)...sigh...makes me want to really be a Proverbs 31 kinda-woman, but I'm hope-fully flawed and that gives me character...I think? Or maybe it just piles me with the rest of the flawed humanity, who long to bake good bread, or to be perfect Fathers, or who live off the land and grow their own food for their organic, perfect, hypothetical children to eat someday...can I get another witness?

Guess I'll have to try and find other ways to be different, because it seems that different is becoming the new normal. Its funny because no matter how much we try to fit Jesus into a normal paradigm... it never works. He is not a recycling, liberal hippie...or a scholarly religious pharisee...or like our earthly fathers and mothers...or even like the most ideal earthly fathers and mothers.  He is so genuinely His own - doesn't that just make you want to follow Him...not on twitter, but like in 3-D life....not like a Pixar film with special glasses, but like in an actual, tangible wake-up in the morning with bad breath and messy hair as you set your feet on the floor for the first time in a new day where His mercies are new - kind-of-way?
I get so offended with Him sometimes, that I forget how very kind He is.  I get so busy looking for something different, that I forget how very novel He is.  I get so confused, and wander so far away sometimes, that I forget that He is patiently waiting to envelop a prodigal-y me in a warm, sin-erasing embrace.

Pinterest is cool, I guess. Twitter can be interesting - (as long as there is a remnant of privacy, and people don't go into such detail, that they are tweeting about their bathroom breaks or about the fact that they like wal-mart and are eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch as they type).
None of it is fulfilling though.  Not even the dreamiest, hypothetical life is... because if I was married to the most nearly-perfect guy, and had the most nearly-perfect children, who ate the most-nearly organic meals which made them smart enough to invent the most nearly-needed creations...or if I wrote the most-nearly amazing blogs and published a book that sold most nearly-one-gagillion copies...

I'd still be starving inside.

Nothing's gonna make sense until I see Him face to face and He tells me that He knows me....and that I know Him. the real Him. How I hope He says that.
I'm sorry I use the muscles you formed and the arm you knit together...just to shake my fist at you sometimes. I'm sorry that the brain you, so carefully, molded together- rages against who you are sometimes.  You are deserving of so much more... and yet you still hang around, and you still smile.  Who are you?

I'm going to go outside now...while there is still sunshine to be had...and vitamin D to be soaked up.
much love,
Julie


"Behold, God is great, and we know Him not..." - Job 36:26


Sunday, July 1, 2012

I may have pregnancy brain...but Georgia's on my mind

I think I have pregnancy brain.  No, I'm not preggers, but everyone around me is so I must have gotten it through osmosis.  Pregnancy brain, also known as placenta brain or baby brain drain... can be characterized by short-term memory loss or forgetfullness.  Hmm...it seems that I might have been born with pregnancy brain then. I guess its an exaggeration to say that every lady surrounding me is with-child....because remember, I'm living in a 55-and-older community and....well, that would be somethin' to blog about, wouldn't it ;-)

Fertile Myrtle stats: 2 out of my 3 sister-in-laws, best friend from home, best friend from here...and who knows, probably even my imaginary friend from childhood, Jimmy Tootie.  James Thomas probably grew up, got himself hitched to an imaginary lady-friend and she's probably got an imaginary bun in the oven as well.  It's great, don't get me wrong....I love pregnancy.  Seriously, I am forever amazed at this phenomenon.  So much so that I gotta keep a handle on myself so as not to spend the entire day staring at the bellies around me.  I can't help it...It's just so amazing.  I feel like when (Lord- willing) I have a little human growing inside of me...I will wake up everyday...in joyous shock.

My brother Matt, his wife Amberly, and my nephew Landon went back home to Georgia today.  The lump in my throat is now slowly dissipating from holding back tears a little when I had to hug him goodbye...I was strong, though.  I love being an Aunt. When Landon was born I was living at their house which allowed me to spend the first few months of his life with him...back when his little chicken legs used to curl up towards the nook of my shoulder...one of life's most wonderful feelings.  Now that Landon is ALMOST FIVE, I had to think of an adventure mission just to be able to convince him to go with me to water a friend's plants the other day while they were out of town.  I didn't mention the plant-watering to him....instead, I explained that we had to go on an Indiana Jones mission to save a bird.  Once we got there, we found the treasure map and were able to speak with Indiana through an intercom system by which he delivered the message about our mission to save the bird.... and the flowers didn't die, so.... in both 4-year-old adventure world and 27-year-old responsibility world..... Missions were accomplished.

I really miss the South.  I sang Ray Charles' Georgia on my mind at my gig the other night and it must have reminded my soul about sweet tea and grits because since then, I've been living in nostalgia.  I miss letting the muscles of my mouth get sleepy as they settle into their comfortable twang.  I miss cicada hums seeping through my bedroom windows, filling my room with their sweet sounds...acting as my personal noise machine for sleepy time.  My eyes get heavy just thinking about it.  I miss the waves and smiles on familiar faces as I turn onto my street....and the sound of country music or oldies blasting from the backyard as I pull up my driveway to my shirtless, sweaty Dad doing yard work as he greets me with his shirtless, sweaty hug.

I often dream of our house in Georgia...then I wake up, and I'm still in Pennsylvania, where some of the people are as unsweetened as their tea.  I know, I'm exaggerating, its not that people up here aren't kind or giving... or loving - its just different.  I have met people up here that feel like they are made of the same stuff as me. Ya know, heart friends.  I'm thankful that God gives me people with similar guts.  Even in the most difficult of seasons, I've always had at least one person who I connected with on a gut-to-gut level....see, I live in Pennsylvania where people say words like "gut" instead of "heart." Or "yo," instead of "hey y'all."  The south has its draw-backs too...no one knows how to make a good "hoagie," and many of you reading this now won't even know what a hoagie is.

I wonder where I'll be in a year...and if I'll be dreaming of the 55-and-older...and how I was the cutest girl in the neighborhood ;-) I'd love to write more because thoughts are swimming, but I must go upstairs to dinner and soak up every second I have left with my sweet little munchkin niece.

...pictures to follow :-)

Julie

Thursday, June 28, 2012

a thousand words

My niece, Josie...in her "cool diaps"
I feel wordless...
I actually have millions of words going through my brain, but sometimes silence is sweeter.
They say...pictures are worth a thousand words....


Zebra-striped diapers...what a diva.  Because we have had, both elderly people and babies stay with us for long periods of time...my Mom made the observation that we have a supply of : diapers for babies and adults, walkers for babies and adults, potty chairs for babies and adults...and the list goes on :-) Its funny how life seems to come full circle...isn't it?
I'm not even kidding...if, God-willing, I live to be old enough to go through the diaper stage of life...again - you better believe that you'll find my 100-year-old self in zebra stripes! No shame in that game girl. 


The Sweet Girl...


These are just a few snapshots from my phone...I will post better pictures soon - when I figure out how to use my new camera :-)
Sweet love and diva diapers,
Julie







Saturday, June 23, 2012

Everything's better with...grass-fed butter?

It's been a lil' bit since I've written...I've been busy with school and preparing for a gig I had on Friday night for a business function.  My friend Kathy accompanied me on the piano as I sang. Now I wouldn't consider myself a gadget girl, BUT I have to admit that my new favorite thing was Kathy's amazing, studio-quality microphone that she let me borrow.  It not only made me look like a super swanky chic, but it also had great sound quality! Sigh...how I love sangin'  :-)

I've been changing the look of my blog...a lot lately.  I'm still under construction.  For now, I've gone with the broken old piano...because of the whole Band Wagon theme...and 'cause I like playin' piano (almost as much as I like sangin')...and also because the keys on the piano reminded me of the different seasons of my life journey thus far....some crooked keys, some nicely-aligned ones, and some that were just.....straight up broke. Actually...I changed it AGAIN, because I fell in love....with a blue piano :) I like to think of my story as a Jazz or Blues melody.  Some jazz chords, when played outside of the context of a song, can seem dissonant or jarring...but within a song, they have the ability to weave a lovely melodic design. So maybe I'll keep this canvas for my blog...(at least for a week or so)...as I write my notes along the way and God weaves my life's design into a sweet melody...

So....about BUTTER.





I have been reading about how great butter (from grass-fed cows) can be for our brain health. I came across this website about the benefits of the healthy fats in this type of butter and how yummy it is when blended with some toxin-free coffee...and I decided to try it out for myself. Julie...girl you crazy! I know it sounds strange but just think of how it seemed to the first person who discovered that pineapple on pizza was, ahem, at least in my opinion....amaaaazing





My Recipe? 
  • 1 tbsp of UNSALTED, grass-fed butter (Kerry Gold is a good brand you can find at Trader Joe's) JULIE WHAT? GIRL you have GOT to be kiddin' me....a whole TABLESPOON of butter!? But that's so much FAT!! Well...I would actually attribute the "low-fat-fakey-chemically" diet as the true culprit that has been making Americans fatter over the years...so yea...lets take the ancient paths and PUT SOME BUTTAH IN IT!!! ;-)
  • 1 tbsp of organic, unrefined coconut oil (because coconut oil is SO good for you too) WHEW GIRL...now you just gotta be playin'...all that SAT-U-RATED fat...uh-uh, NO way. Oh dear, well you see, certain types of saturated fats are actually very good for you...its them nasty ol' trans fats, and hydrogenated oils that mess with yo' body in a bad way.  So be free, and SAT-U-RATE yo'self in some good fat. 
  • 1 - 2 cups of coffee (depending on how much you usually drink or how black you like it)
  • I sweeten it with stevia
  • blend in a blender that can handle hot stuff, or with a nifty hand-held blender like the one below....until frothy
Why grass-fed butter? Here's a motto: "Eat happy things that ate healthy things" Happy cows = ones that ate healthy grass... as they were created to do. Their poor little tummies weren't made to digest corn :-/



OK, well I'm anticipating the cuteness of my blog to rise about 100% soon, because my niece (Josie, 1) and nephew (Landon, 4) are coming to town this week!  So, if you're not down with butter...or coffee...or blending them together, I understand....BUT, if you are not down with pictures of the cutest lil' niece and nephew in the world..... well then no comprendo, my friendo.

Mucho Amor. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Blogger's block prohibited


If there's anyone out there who is still reading...you can probably tell that I've had a bad case of blogger's block lately.
It's not that there has been a lack of things to write about, but every time I sat down to type...I just couldn't.
I'm not gonna lie...I've been a little down...but I'm learning that in times like these...underneath all of the rubble.... gratefulness is just below the surface.  Well, it may take a bulldozer to get to it, but I'm willing to dig to find it.  Sometimes you just gotta start with the "small stuff," which is actually...usually the pretty amazing stuff...that we tend to take for granted...
I am thankful that I have all of my limbs and a functioning brain (a mostly functioning brain ;-)  I'm thankful for air to breath and water to drink. I'm thankful I have God and people who love me.  I'm thankful that I live by a river....
The other day, while driving, I noticed a neat bridge over the Delaware so I pulled over to get out and walk across.




I hadn't been there 4 seconds before I was bombarded with signs prohibiting me to do...most things!
Ever notice how we only see signs of what NOT to do?
Like at a museum: Do not touch
A pool: Do not dive
A zoo: Do not feed the animals


....I know, I get it- safety first...but I'd still like to see a place where you are bombarded with signs that tell you all of the things you CAN do!  
So in respect, while walking over the bridge, I did NOT... fish, loiter, jump off, swim... ride my bike or moped....


Then when I got to the park across the bridge, I made sure NOT to.... consume alcohol, unleash anyone's dog, park my car...anywhere, do any metal detecting, litter, or start any fires...in non-picnic areas (I guess one could argue that setting fire to the picnic areas is fair game? ;-)


Because I saw no signs prohibiting the following- I DID.....
Make a hair weave out of leaves: A leave weave...Lady Gaga hasn't even heard of these yet!



Cook sticks on the grill...because I had no steaks...


Find a scarecrow doing yard work in Pearls....

       I posed with her...she was sort of shy and opted out of the pose... (wow...this is scary - I need friends...;-)
Then I busted some moves on a park bench.....Yep, someone totally rode by me on their bike as I was taking a photo of myself doing this.  I shook it off and hid behind my aviators.  Lately I have been wanting to move somewhere else..."What Julie? You don't enjoy being 27 and living in a 55-and-over?" Nope....that is one of the reasons I've been bulldozing for gratefulness ;-) Truthfully, I am grateful that my parents took me in after a very difficult season in Georgia.  I was working as a House Mother in a shelter for women coming out of Human Trafficking and when I think about what they had to go through....my bulldozing for gratefulness  turns into digging with a toy shovel in a sandbox to find it.  I miss those ladies.  Some of the most brave women I have ever met.  Maybe I'll write about my experience there soon.  


I'm grateful to express myself in this blog....and for aviators to hide behind when expressing myself means making a fool of myself on a park bench :-)

Much Love.





Friday, May 25, 2012

My extraordinary inner-life

Isn't it amazing how you can put everyday, ordinary pictures to music and make life seem.... extraordinary.
My Dad has always done videography as a side-hobby, so I know first-hand about what this is like.... and some of the pictures make you think life is extraordianrily.....embarrassing!  I'm not ready to unveil those photos to the blogosphere...yet.

I've had moments, walking around, where it seemed like there was music in the air, or that I was actually watching my life, as on a movie-screen, from outside my body or something, because things just felt....special for some reason.  When I was a kid...the mundane of life - as it may have seemed from the outside- was actually an epic adventure on the inside...the swimming pool was an ocean (and I was a mermaid, of course), the garden my Dad helped me plant in the woods by the house was my, "secret garden," just like in the movie.  And....

I danced with my door....

Julie...seriously?....Yes. Its embarrassing, but I would pretend that the door was a boy....a prince...and I would hold the door handle like it was his hand and I'd sway the door back and forth as if we were dancing....me and the door of my heart.  I know....it sounds WAY cheesy, but if that was your little girl dancing with a door, you know you would video that and put it to music....making it extraordinary, and cute :-) Don't worry, I've given up dancing with doors and have danced with real boys since then....no princes though.

I'm the youngest of four.  Three older brothers and me...the little lady.
I was actually very much of a lady when I was a little bitty thing.  My Mom said I would only wear "spinny" dresses, tights, and "sam and libby" shoes.  The only thing that didn't qualify me as total lady were my haircuts.  Seriously...I didn't have ONE attractive haircut as a kid.

My Dad recently framed a picture of a little girl looking into her mirror and seeing Snow White in her reflection.  It hung in my room when I was a little girl and I had a Snow White dress, just like hers in the picture.  The only photo he could find of me wearing the dress was a family photo we had taken when I was probably about 5.  I told my Mom that I thought it was way cool of her to let me wear my snow white dress for our professional family photo.  I'm sure that I totally thought I was her...I was probably thinking...look at me, a princess with all of these commoners wanting to have their picture with me...that was on the inside; on the outside, I was just a little girl with a mullet haircut in a princess costume.     


My Dad blurred out the rest of the family so he could zoom in on me, my lovely dress,
my Mom, and great Granny....and, if you look closely.... my mullet
I also had an imaginary friend named, Jimmy Tootie.  I should devote an entire blog just to him...but just to give you a sneak peak about my invisible buddy, he wore green polka-dot tights (I guess I was watching a lot of Peter Pan when Jimmy came into my life ;-) He had long brown hair, and lived in a humungous bird's nest on the branch of a tree.  What? You think I  made him up!?  Well then how do you explain how I got the chocolates and Valentines from him in college?

...ok, so maybe my brother's sent them and signed it, "I'll always love you. Love, James Thomas" (My brother, Jeff, decided that the grown-up version of Jimmy Tootie should be James Thomas).... I have to admit, when I first opened the card...I might have wondered a little bit...ya know the same feeling you get when you are sort of questioning the whole Santa Claus thing, but then when you see the plate of half-eaten cookies and the empty glass of milk in the morning....part of you wonders ;-)  Its like that....except that I was in college, and perfectly capable of understanding these things...a psychology major no less - good thing I never shared any tidbits about my little friend with any of my Professor's...


Faith like a child...its such a beautiful thing....when you are a child.  After that, it tends to be defined as, insane.  But the biblical definition of Faith is like that....a little insane- believing in things unseen.  We all have faith in something, its just that our un-cool, grown-up brains are "too mature for such silliness."  So, instead, we watch movies about people who dare to believe in such things because we long to let ourselves believe like we did as kids.

The other day I went to lunch with my friend, Janet.  We were laughing because they gave her coffee in a Tazzmanian Devil mug and her personality couldn't be more opposite than that.  Then they brought mine in a princess mug...with all of the Disney Princesses on it!  I'd like to think God was trying to tell me something....well the boring grown-up part of me didn't, but that little girl in the snow-white dress did!  She's still alive and kickin' somewhere in there and I should probably let her out every once upon a time :-)

I've learned a lot from my Mom, but today I'm going to go with this lesson: If your baby girl wants to wear her princess costume in the family picture....by all means - encourage such behavior!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

..didn't sleep, but I made breakfast!


In the words of Bobby Lewis.....


Honestly, not a wink.  I feel like a Mama who's stayed up with baby....accept I ain't got no baby....or like someone who works the night shift at the Waffle House....nope, I have neither the excuse that there is a little one depending on me to live, or that I feed people waffles and grits in the wee hours of the morning.....I just could not sleep.  So because I feel inspired by the spirit of them hard workin' Waffle House ladies.... I'm 'bout to make me some eggs.

I rarely ever eat breakfast....but I am a HUGE advocate for breakfast eating, and today, I am gonna walk my talk :-)  I got these eggs at the farm around the corner, and the first time I pulled into their driveway, I almost ran over a chicken! They ain't lyin' when they call 'em free range. I've apparently taken on ain't and other slang phrases as acceptable words for this blog today...

I just came up with a new joke:
"Why did the chicken cross the road?"
....'cause that chicken was FREE RANGE!
Oh man...I can tell I'm probably going to later regret the sheer corniness of this sleepless-night, early-morning blog :-/

My Mom and I used to lay upside down on the couch with our heads hanging off because we heard, somewhere, that if you do that for 5 minutes, it has the same effect on your body as a 30-minute power nap.....I'm skeptical, but not above trying it now, before I have to head to class ;-)

Much love and farm-fresh eggs,
Julie
p.s. Don't ya just love oldies music?  Its the best.  If you are having a rough day, and someone puts oldies on...how can you not at least smile, right? I've always wished that I lived back then...when times were simpler and all the chickens roamed free :-)



Sunday, May 13, 2012

one day at a time.

That is what we say when we don't know what else to say, "Just take it one day at a time." When someone is sick with cancer, someone looses a spouse or a child...or is going through any difficult season...
Even though, many times, this is just our default answer, it is true, nonetheless.  More accurately it could be, "Just take it one millisecond at a time," because in reality, that is all we have- this millisecond.

It's always been challenging for me to live in the moment because I tend to be a "big picture" person.
but...
I would like to understand what it is to be sustained daily...I mean, I know that I am being sustained because God is giving me breath in my lungs, but I don't know that I remember that most of the time.  We may think, sometimes, that we are invincible, but in reality, we are so very fragile.  The intricate way in which our bodies even function or survive is miraculous in itself.

I have thought about this recently as I recover from my long battle with an eating disorder.  I have put such a strain on my body, especially my heart, and there is nothing different or miraculous that I have done to sustain myself, that would cause me to still be here... when so many others are not.  About six months ago, I came across the website, www.somedaymelissa.com - I'm not even sure how I found it.  Melissa died at age 19, from a heart attack - brought on by her bulimia. She had always dreamed of being a filmmaker, and in her memory, her Mother and Counselor made a documentary called, "Someday Melissa." After purchasing and watching the documentary on my birthday, I realized that, beyond sharing the same struggle, Melissa and I share the same birthday, we both have a brother named Andrew, and she actually only lived less than two hours away from where I do. I had the honor of meeting Melissa's mother at a showing of the film at a college about 15 minutes from here.  Though nothing could fill the void in her heart from loosing her daughter, she told me that it was healing for her to know that Melissa's story was making a difference in at least one life.

Here is a short trailer for the Someday Melissa documentary:


Whether you subscribe to it being God or not- something is sustaining us.  I believe that something is God.  I mean.... I believe its the oxygen that we breath in, the water that we drink, and the food that we ingest, but something is holding this whole thing together.  I mean... I believe its gravity, the earth's rotation, the sun, moon, and stars, but something is allowing this all to continue...right?

I'm not trying to evangelize anyone or get into a creation vs. evolution quarrel :-) I'm just thinking out loud....typing out loud.

I don't know that I, honestly, have enough ability to trust for the next....ten years, five years, week, or even the next day...but I think I can commit to trusting that God will sustain me for this millisecond, and that His grace is enough.

One of my brother's, Andrew, is going to sign us up for a 5k in Brooklyn and I know I couldn't commit to it if it was a marathon....or even a half-marathon....I'm not even sure I'm ready to think of the whole 3.1 measly miles that is the 5k...but I think I can commit to the first step...and then the next, when it comes - because that's all I know I have anyway. Right now.

Sending my love to you... in this millisecond,
Julie

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ordinary evenings

I'd like to say that every day is an adventure to blog about, but some days are just filled with the sweet, familiar ordinary. Last night I went on a spontaneous bike ride.  It was going to be great...I just got my bike fixed and I was going to ride along the trail...between the canal and the river (one of my favorite spots to bike ride)....


 The sun was setting, the weather was nice, and when I got down to the river, I was suddenly surrounded by friends....well, that would have been great, but really they were un-wanted friends....gnats....a bazillion of them - seriously one ba-zillion of them.  I had wondered why there were barely any runners or bike-riders on the trail on such a lovely evening...I decided to tough it out and deal with the gnats because look, it was so pretty out:


I literally rode the whole way with one hand steering the bike and the other covering my face and swatting at the little guys as they flew straight into my mouth and eyes....which sorta ruined my scenic route.  I rode pretty far down the trail, then decided to turn back because I thought maybe they wouldn't be so bad if I rode away from the water.  So I made my way back to town and came across this little carnival....and the SCARIEST RIDE IN THE WORLD.  I used to be able to ride all kinds of roller coasters and carnival rides....no problem...so brave, but NEVER the pirate ship ride.  I remember riding it once and laying in my bed that night feeling like I was still swaying back and forth....I don't know why, but I just can't take this ride...I'd rather bungie-jump, or even skydive, than ride the dreaded swinging pirate ship!

yikes...my stomach jumps just looking at it!

I sang at Ladies Night - with my dear friend, Kathy - at church tonight and when I came home, I was so hungry.  When I saw the pizza stone in the sink, I was hoping there would be some leftovers for me. I was delighted when I opened the fridge to find two pieces of pizza with these sticky notes on them:

"Mushroom and Onion"
"you don't want this"

My parents had been kind enough to warn me not to eat the piece that, I'm sure, my Dad piled with anchovies and God knows what other kinds of little hairy fish!!! It made me laugh a little that they labeled it, "you don't want this," instead of just "anchovies" :-)



I like to be old-fashioned and my Grandmother told me that, back then, they used to tie their hair in rags and sleep in them for a nice, wavy look in the morning!  I decided to try an updated version of this...with socks.  I saw it on youtube (which is not so old-fashioned :-) You just tie your wet hair up in socks, sleep on it, untie the socks, take them out...and vuwalah....perfect hairdo....right? not so much.
Sometimes it turns out more like Medusa snake hair :-/

I was trying to take a picture to show you my crazy Tina Turner, sock hair.... after I cropped out the rest of the frizzy nest, and then changed it to black and white...I felt artsy so I thought I'd share my wannabe artsy-ness with you....

I call it Cousin It: a self portrait :-)

Well, don't worry - I'm fully expecting the next few days to be an UNBELIEVABLE adventure of AMAZING, blog-worthy experiences....If not, then I guess I'll have to video myself sky-diving or something...oh gosh OR I could make a promise to document myself riding the dreaded pirate ship if nothing else incredible happens?
Oh Lord, please...please send something.

Much love and ordinary evenings,
Julie











Wednesday, May 9, 2012

love and duty

I'm going to try and make this a shorter blog because I really want you to take the time to watch the clip below (about 9 minutes).

I watched a movie today and there was a quote from it that stuck out to me.
A Nun was speaking to a woman who said that she was staying with her husband, who was a Doctor overseas in the middle of an epidemic outbreak of Cholera, because it was her duty.
This was the Nun's response:

"...I fell in love when I was 17....with God....a foolish girl with romantic notions about the life of a religious...but my love was passionate.  Over the years, my feelings have changed....He's disappointed me, ignored me.  We've settled in to a relationship of peaceful indifference...the old husband and wife who sit side by side on the sofa but rarely speak.  He knows I will never leave Him- this is my duty, but when love and duty are one, then grace is within you."  

I loved her honesty.
Maybe some of you are not as flawed as me and have never felt disappointed or ignored by God...but I have, and King David did....and lots of others too.  Loving God is not a matter of perfection, but a matter of sincerely flawed, human devotion and a God who keeps His vows.

Being a foolish, romantic girl myself, the thought of, "peaceful indifference," that the nun describes, makes me ill- but I get it.  Life can easily come to this.  Relationship with God can easily come to this...but I have to believe that, though my devotion can sometimes be fleeting, He is not indifferent about me.

Then, I opened my email and saw that a friend had sent me the link to this clip, (you may have seen it on facebook already, but for those of you who are not connected to the social network...like myself...here it is :-)


I cried from beginning to end at this display of the faithful love of God. This made me think even more about the Nun's quote because Larissa really seemed to embody the picture of both duty and love...and I imagine that the only way she would have the ability to love this way is through the grace within her...that comes from God.

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord"