Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blessed Sacrament - Assignment #1

Well, that was an interesting service. I went to the 5:45 Service at Blessed Sacrament tonight. I walked in and the first thing a very nice greeter walked up to me and asked if I would be willing to pass out bulletins after the service. I explained that I was not a regularly attending congregant, but she didn't seem to feel that that mattered. I told her I would do it but found it very odd. The liturgy was a little different that I was used to, and I was a little more than surprised at being asked to offer service upon my first entrance to the building, but I felt welcomed and happy to be there. The building is beautiful and the music was lovely, the homily was more evangelical than I expected, but still good. I am interested in going to other services, but the Dominican approach was new to me and not one I am entirely ruling out.

To Advent, to finding home, and to stepping out.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Advent Challenge

Yes this is my third post in two days. Unusual (and inconsequential to the masses that don't read this blog) but for the sake of my own chronology, I am documenting this new challenge.

My advent challenge for myself is to visit and document a different Catholic parish for every Sunday of advent in an attempt to find my new home parish and become a functioning member of a Catholic community. Here is my list of parishes to possibly visit:

1. Blessed Sacrament (2 blocks from my apt. and my first assignment) - Dominican, U-district
2. St. Joe's (Capitol hill and 2nd assignment) - Jesuit, Capitol Hill
3. St. Bridget (a few miles from my apt. unsure about when or if I will visit)
4. St. Ignatius (Chapel at Seattle U) Jesuit, Capitol Hill
5. St. James (First Hill) The big one

There are 38 parishes in Seattle. I have picked 5 to start. Only 5. But there are 4 Sundays before Christmas, and I don't want to visit more than one parish per Sunday, with the exception of 1 Sunday. Mostly because I don't want to overdo it. I also know that I will have to visit more than one service to really find out which parish I want to attend. I am a fan of Sunday morning worship, but I know that I may find myself more at home at a Sunday evening service. So I will see what I see and report back.

I am also struggling with my attendance at ABC. I have to be honest. I love the people at that church so much it hurts to contemplate leaving, but I have been to church once in the last 2 months because the drive is such a chore. 2 hours round trip for 2 hours with people I love but never see because they live so far away that I can't invest in their lives and they cannot invest in mine. But I don't know if I know how to leave that community. I mean to whom will I turn when life really gets rough? They know me so well that I don't have to explain the background of stories every time something happens with my family. They are there, always. How do I turn away from that because of something as small as distance? I have struggled with this question since I left Covington. I also struggle because I don't fit there. And let me tell you, that is the worst excuse to leave a church, but I don't. I feel, more often than not, that I present more of a (and excuse the use of this very christian term) "stumbling block" than the growth agent I want to be. I feel guilty (yes guilt, that dirty word, but it is my feeling and I honestly believe that it is okay and right to sometimes feel it) for even thinking about leaving, and every Sunday I don't go to church I feel I must justify myself, because (and this may be ridiculous but bear with me) I can't rationalize not fully participating in a community that has so invested in me. And I believe so firmly that this community needs people like me, my age, my relationship status, my belief system. I think that this church is going to slowly die, slowly become more and more middle aged and elderly (as it already is) if it does not and cannot accept and challenge my generation. Jenn and Brian are there, they stay, but everyone else left, for reasons not so dissimilar from my own. And that again makes me feel all the more that I must be the one to stay. I love the people, but it is guilt and obligation that makes me attend, when I do attend. And so yes, I am a horrible person.

So give me advice. Someone. Anyone.

To challenges, and advent, and catholicism, and Catholicism.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


It is time to begin thinking about what music will decorate my holiday air.

My favorites (in some particular order... though that particular order is unknown to me. Maybe you can figure it out)
1. Good King Wenceslas ("Therefore Christian men be sure, wealth and rank possessing, ye who will now bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.")
2. I heard the bells on Christmas day ("I heard the bells more loud and deep. God is not dead nor doth he sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men.")
3. O Holy Night ("Led by the light of faith serenely beaming... in all our trials born to be our friend. He knows our need. To our weakness is no stranger...")
4. Stille Nacht (its in German. get over it)
5. We three kings ("Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume, Breathes a life of gathering gloom; Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone cold tomb")
6. God rest ye merry gentlemen ("Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place, And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace; This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.")
7. Joy to the World (because it makes Jonathan Morris so happy)

And you?

Our X-tian nation...

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I have decided to pause and ponder what I am thankful for. Here it is:

I am thankful for the separation of church and state.

As the government continues to debate healthcare reform, especially as it concerns abortion initiatives, the Church has stepped in to voice its opinion and make certain demands. Or in the case of the Catholic Church, in DC they are threatening to withdraw social aid from the city should legislation on samesex marriage pass. Here in Washington, the debate ranges over samesex marriage as well. For example, if samesex marriage passes here, clergy will not be allowed to decline marrying a couple based on their sexuality.

I love the separation of church and state. I am willing to fight forcefully to protect my church from my state, and to protect my state from my church. I do not believe that my state should be allowed to dictate what my church can or cannot do (within reason of course. If my church began to practice child sacrifice, then maybe my state should step in). Neither do I think my church should be able to dictate what my state can and cannot do.

Here's how I stand: The state and the church need each other. The church should always be in service to the people, and the people belong to the state. I believe we of the church should continue to offer our advice on morality, but without contingencies. We should not say, "Do this or we will do that". In the same way, the state should consider our advice, as citizens of this country, and not as advocates of religions. Neither should the state be able to force the church to participate in certain legislation. Unless the church is actually causing harm, there should be no state interference in the practices of the church.

This means that I do not think people should be able to sue the church if the church says you cannot accept Eucharist as a divorced person, or as a homosexual (although church you should allow divorcees and homosexuals at your table). This also means that I think people should back off things like the ten commandments on the capitol building, or In God We Trust on our money, and all the other petty crap we pick fights about. At some point we must set aside all of our issues with each other and remember that we are all Americans. We are not all religious. But some of us are, and that is our prerogative. So let the senate open in prayer if they want to, because its our prerogative. If your church doesn't like you because you are gay, then ditch them and worship with people who love you.

Last thing: I love my church and my Church. I disagree with some things, but I submit because I am one little me and the Church has been the Church much longer than I have been me. And the Church is much more than I will ever be because the Church is us. So although I think that priests should be allowed to marry (I've thought about this more and I've decided that priest who only want to serve on a local level should be allowed to marry, but if you want to move up in the hierarchy of the church you must remain celibate), that my father should be allowed to receive Eucharist (he's divorced...), or in the case of the evangelical church that dispensationalism is crap, and that inerrancy is stupid, and confession is still necessary, I choose to follow the orders of the churches to which I subscribe because community is more important than agreeing with everything the church says.

And! I love my state and my State. I disagree with some things, but I submit because I am one little me and American has been America much long than I have been me. And America is much more than I will ever be because America is us. So although I think that abortion should never be legal, and that samesex marriage should be legal, and that euthanasia is actually really horrible, I choose to follow the orders of the state in which I live because community is more important than agreeing with everything the state says.

So give thanks, because we are Americans, and we can protect our church from our state and our state from our church.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Auntie Day.

Because I love my nephew I took him out for Auntie day this weekend. Auntie Day turned into Auntie weekend which was awesome...

Starting with Lunch...

On to the Pacific Science Center...

Drawing his imaginary friend...

Distracted by other kids...

After fear of the dinosaurs, before he became afraid of the butterflies...

Trapping Auntie during nap time...

Overall my neph rocks socks. He snores as loudly as his father, and kicked me in the face at least three times in the night, but man alive, I love this kid. And his German gets better every time we hang out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

looking for something to blame...

I think I am experiencing something new in this moment. I am wishing that I had been intoxicated tonight... to the point that in the morning (four hours from now) I could actually have a hangover. Then I could blame everything that happened on the alcohol. I could call it a bad choice, a crazy night, but chalk it all up to some drinking and move on. Unfortunately, I am wretchedly responsible and don't do things like that. Unfortunately any bad choices from this night fall on me, as I am, wretched and heartless.

Tonight I let the boundaries of a two year friendship fail. These weren't your typical boundaries either. They were beautiful boundaries. Boundaries unlike I had ever set and kept in my life. Boundaries to be proud of. Boundaries to take home to dinner and introduce to Grandpa. The kind of boundaries you learn in Sunday School in 8th grade. And I threw caution to the wind and prayed my way through shameless behavior.

Yes I prayed. All night. Lord, have mercy. Lord, help us. Lord! Lord!

I didn't kiss him. I didn't hold his hand. I can still say we have good boundaries, but I would be lying. Nothing really happened, but everything has changed and we both know it. I am still a good girl. Still passionately celibate, but if I were his girlfriend, I would hate me, and that right there tells me that tonight I crossed the line.

JDBman and all of my favorite things about him may never be the same again. But I doubt that. I think they will be exactly the same, and in that small way we will slap each other in the face.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I have this pair of boots that remind me of him. Every zip up and down the side of them draws me to his face. I really can't help it. Admittedly, I bought the boots in his city; in that northern place, in Alaska.
Alaska still holds some magic for me. All that happened there: his hands his beard, his boots, his scruffy jeans. Not just him, though, the others there too. That man that reminded me so much of the Uncle who loved me - so much that I thought he might be the bastard son of my grandfather. Talk about embarrassment. There were others as well, but I don't remember their specifics so much.
Outside of the people, the place itself has that feel, like Hawaii, that it is one of those rare places where heaven and hell meet on earth and the spirits walk freely between the three worlds. It didn't shock me this time, when I saw it, but it draws me and pushes me away simultaneously. I am never comfortable, but at home in a frightful way. The way that is too right, so right that something must be wrong.
He is Alaska in so many ways. He is right and wrong in that same way, as if heaven and hell met in humanity and created him. There will be a day when I understand, much the way I now understand with Doug, but that day is not today, and I am still waiting for the moment of recognition. That moment will dawn and I will know why he is not right - and again I will begin the quest for one that is wrong in all the right ways.
Searching for a perfect imperfection is like searching for a missing sock. You know it exists, because somewhere in your memory you can see it, but you have no idea where it has been since the last time you wore it. I look at all of the forms of love I have known, both romantic and not, and search for patterns of soul. I want to find that weaving mountain road, the mysterious one, high above the clouds, invisible from the base of the mountain, that ends not at the mountain peak but somewhere beyond the next valley in a land of ranges yet unexplored.
The metaphors could go on forever, each more beautiful, soulful, lifting than the last, but because I am determined for reality, for sorrow, I should not remain in them. Rather, I think I should choose to find that place where I am me. I always feel that I have lost that place, and I think it is because that place is always changing as I continue to age. Home ceased to exist so long ago, and yet I am still adjusting to the idea that when life fails me, or I cannot find the next step, the way in front of me, that there is no place to return to, at least no place outside of myself. Once, not so long ago, there was still a space to return to, like the fog in front of me was indeed only in front of me. Behind me was a room in which I could sit, arms that would hold me, and a refrigerator full of food. Either that room no longer exists or I just can't see it. The fog has filtered in and surrounds me in every way so that the only solace I can find when I think I've lost my way is in me, or in this small circle of light cast around me before the wall of moisture condenses in on my ability to see.
I often wonder if it is fear that keeps me from finding what I seek, or worse, that it is fear that keeps me from beginning the search at all. I believe that there is something in that, but also I must believe that is not all of it. Mostly because I have discovered that without hope and determination I really am the smallest of small people. I once thought that made me weak, but now I do not think it makes me anything but hopeful. Foolish sure, idealist for certain, but it is what it is, and I don't want to live a life where I am not destined for hope. Sorrow cannot be unless Joy has been before it. Sorrow begets hope. And when hope is fulfilled, the joy is that much greater. So I hope for greater joy. I hope to see hope fulfilled, to make sorrow worth it. Otherwise sorrow is just whining or apathy, both of which I hate.
Whining and apathy are where I find hell in him. He whines and becomes apathetic with the best of them. Seriously he could win awards. If moodiness were a race, he would most certainly be the tortoise. Slow and steady. Never rushing forth in joy and slowing down to gloat, but slow and steady whining and apathy to win the race of life with the blue ribbon in hellish ordeals. It wouldn't bother me so much if I weren't such a hare. The hopeful hare. Rush forth, lag back to gloat and fail. It's amazing. After losing so many races you would think I would change tactics, but I trained well for my first race and can't seem to break those tried and true techniques that have brought me so far.
Heaven lies in his sweet nature, his compassion, and admittedly in those finer points of physicality. His touch, his beard, his clean smell, his voice, and most certainly his little smirk, if you could really call it that. It's more like a grumpy pout, but its endearing and I love it no matter the name it is given. I adore his little belly and the way he struts it. It reminds me of Cody and his swagger. I love his lovely steely eyes matched so well with his dark thick hair. I wonder some days if it really isn't anything more that a desire to know his kiss. Maybe if I knew the physicality would drain away, and the remaining soul wouldn't be enough to hold me. Or possibly if he shaved his beard, maybe that would be a better way to find out, but I doubt it. I worry only that if he kissed me it would all be that much worse.
Back to the topic at hand, him, he, Alaska. I feel the least of myself when I feel rebuffed by him, or as if he did not have enough time for me. I feel so small and insignificant from just a moment of apathy toward my attentions that I know I am in too deep. It is this that makes me question the validity of the love. JDBman has never been so. I have never felt anything but the honest situation with JDBman, but with him I ask all sorts of ridiculous questions, until I no longer remember the source of my discomfort.
I'm at the ocean, and ocean means thoughts of men. This old man in the sea always asks the question, "who is he?" I still don't have an answer...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Frozen toes and burning lips

What is it about the cold and chilling days of October and November that makes me crave male attention? I sit here, finally attaining what I have craved all week, time to myself with my laptop, a book, and the TV, and all I can want is a warm man at the other end of the couch to sit on top of my frozen toes and hold my hand through the scary parts in the movie I am watching. I don't want him to talk or disrupt my thinking, just to be here, to keep me company, to keep me warm, to keep me safe. And this is the moment when I hate all of the options I have to fulfill that want, to bring that warmth, because none of them is right. So in some respect there is triumph in feeling the annoying cold assaulting all parts of my body not covered by my quilt.

I spent much of my week with JDBman. I must tell you he is really my favorite person in this city. So considerate, kind, hilarious, comfortable, generous. And we are friends in the best of right ways. I just had to tell someone that, and not have them have the ability to say, "Then why aren't you dating him?"

I love how people ask that as though I'm going to have an answer. I don't know why I date the men I do and don't date the ones I don't. Of course sometimes I have a reason... because he is ugly, or mean, or annoying, or proud... but sometimes we are just friends and that is just life. That is just the way things are. So stop asking because I don't have another answer.

It has been over a month since I kissed a boy (I mean willingly and with my consent). I know that doesn't sound very long, but it sounds long to me. Even though before that it had been 3 (maybe 4) months, and before that... mmm maybe 6 months? oh wait that may not be right. The point is that one year ago (almost to the day) it had been years since I had been kissed. Years. So one month should not seem long... but it does.

And I want it to snow.

That is really all I have for now.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Not now Arctic Puffin...

Alaskabenji came to see me this weekend. He was with us Friday night and Sunday night. Friday night was short and sweet. Sunday night was long and lovely. In between he went to Portland and I lived my normal life.

Saturday morning came quickly after my very late night with Alaskabenji. I was up and at 'em at 7:00, off to Cupcake Royale to take thank you sweets and coffee to my coworkers for all of the hard work they have put in on my behalf in the last month or so. Afterward I went home and rested a bit, got ready for choir and off I went. After choir I went to my neph's 2nd birthday. He is so big and his vocabulary is so amazing. I love that little kid.

Sunday was lovely. Cloudy with a Chance of meatballs in 3D with the close fam. Not only was it my first 3D movie (It gave me a headache...) but the story was adorable and brotherBen's laugh made it all fabulous. Afterward Alaskabenji came back and we had beers and cigars at Schultzy's with BenandJess. I slept (sort of) for 1.5 hours on the floor of my living room while Aladdin played in the background. It was a sweet short sleep. I have to say if I could keep Alaskabenji around only when I wanted him, I would be a happy camper. There are days I most certainly would send him back to the arctic, but other days I would keep him close by.

Christmas is in full swing. Every year I celebrate Christmas from October 15th-30th. I love it. It's just for me. I watched my two favorite Christmas movies this weekend with two of my favorite people. Friday night, while waiting for Alaskabenji to arrive, Jessica and I watched The Family Stone. If you have not seen this movie, then you have not seen the man I want to marry (Mr. Luke Wilson at his finest... except that one scene in The Royal Tennenbaum's when he cuts himself shaving. Holy Ishmael). I just love this movie and I cry every single time, during that last scene, around the Christmas tree, when Luke cries, "Then cried Max, 'Let the wild rumpus start!". Great flick. The other movie I watched on Sunday night. ELF is the best Christmas movie in the whole world. I also cry every time I see this one, right near the end, when the dad starts to sing and Santa's sleigh can finally fly after years of not having enough Christmas spirit. I love it. People raising their voices in the joy of humanity and in faith. It's seriously beautiful. This moment was particularly great this time. Although there is no fireplace in my apartment, I was warm and comfortable snuggled neatly under a blanket my mother made and placed ever so perfectly in crook of an Alaskan arm.

Needless to say, I was exhausted at work on Monday, and all I wanted to do was shout, "Not now Arctic Puffin!" every time someone tried to talk to me... but I made it through and now it is Tuesday.

Monday, October 12, 2009

One Flight Down

I flew away this weekend to see my Julie and her Tim. It was a fabulous holiday of relaxation, rest, with the occasional romp. I am tired today, but only due to the 4:30 AM rising and the sleepless flight home.

Friday night was nosh, wine, and banter. Tim went to bed fairly quickly, but Julie and I stayed up until the wee hours catching up and remembering each other. It was lovely to be in the presence of a person who knows me so well despite the fact that we don't talk regularly, and see each other even less. I love this girl.

Saturday begin later than a normal Saturday for me, which was lovely, and after coffee with Tim (on his coffee break at Mermaid prison) we shared lunch and a walk. The most delightful moment came while watching The Holiday. We found that Julie did not know what Manischewitz is. We immediately stopped the film and went to the BevMo, for no Old Testament Major should be lacking a Manischewitz experience. We came home and worked on dinner, and drank that sweet kosher wine. After more wine (of the non-kosher variety), a couple of lemon drops, and a fabulous steak dinner, the three of us donned our dapper dans and headed to midtown for a night of what we thought would bring drinking, art, and city life.

Let me say this: Saturday night was SO much fun. However, it held very little of the expected (indeed promised) entertainment. We met up with acquaintances of theirs from church, and had a beer. Just one. How this makes me smile even now. Post beer we decided the restaurant had lost its charm and decided to move on to a more happening joint. After walking a few blocks we discovered that we had no direction. So we stopped to discuss with the six that had joined us. Turns out one of them decided to come downtown for drinks without her ID or any money. So we kept walking. Finally fed up, I turned to all of them and said, "Okay, so what are we doing? I know we can't go to a bar, but since I'm not from here you all have to give me ideas." The ID-slacker suggested a dessert place a few blocks away. "Lead the way!" I said enthusiastically. We got lost once, but finally made it. In a cute little fifties diner, we sat at a table, and no one ordered anything. Tim, being the gentleman and a food service employee, did the right thing and ordered us some cheesecake. We three enjoyed, while the other six stared on. Who are these people! I was appalled. Post dessert we gave up on them and went home.

The evening was a fun romping for Julie, Tim and I. We had a fabulous time joking and bashing about. One of the six was an attentive young man named Bryan who seemed impressed that a Christian girl could hold her own in the big city. Not being of the Christ persuasion, he casually attends church, but seems lost in himself, trying to not be the boy he was, but uncertain of the man he will be. I can relate to that, and had a great time letting him understand that Christians are not all like the five young friends he had come with that evening.

Sunday Church was interesting. The group has potential but definitely can use the outsiders perspective as they seem to miss some important relational interactions. There are unspoken crushes that could cause problems, spoken sermons that are not intended for the newbies (or even the non-congregants), fears and insecurities about what the heck they are all doing there, excitement about the possibilities and provisions before them, and an overall lack of forethought -regardless of how much time they spend on forethought. I believe they will be fine. Growing pains are always hard.

Overall, the weekend was glorious and relaxing. I have found a new escape.


PS. I bought a new purse. mmmm. accessories.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cold, colder, and coldest

I have a cold. At least I think it's a cold. It could be swine flu. It could be functional breakdown of my lungs. But I'm pretty sure it's just a cold. I feel like I have been hit by a truck.

It is getting colder outside. I love this. I get to wear boots and wool and scarves and everything good about life. But this means that I am colder during my cold.

The coldest kiss of my life occurred on Saturday night. I kissed a coworker. Bad Bad cold horrifying idea. Never ever do this. EVER. I mean, I'm not into this guy AT ALL. I don't know what I was thinking. No I do actually. I was thinking, "This is such a bad idea". Why? you may ask, did I kiss him anyway? The answer is this: I have absolutely no idea. Gah! I hate that.

The great part is we both laughed it off in the office this morning, and it isn't going to be a big deal. And that is great. But now I have a cold, and am missing my favorite part of the year (the colder part) and I have to live with the fact that there is something amazing in a kiss... something amazing that I am not finding in the kisses I am finding... because they have been coldest. Because I don't love, or really even like, the men I kiss. So something to learn I guess.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One huge sigh before bed...

I saw a movie tonight. Julie and Julia or whatever. I cried.

I presented twice today. I had 4 events. I closed sales. I succeeded. I received no recognition from my boss.

I read an entire book in between my presentations. That really says something for the extreme lack of intellectual content of said book (admittedly I occasionally enjoy some very cheesy chick-fiction, to balance out my obsession with Louis L'Amour).

I wore my new purple heels (wedges, 4 inches, rounded toe, suede).

I recognized my loneliness. I thought, when I began my journey toward emotional honesty, that recognition, admission, and acceptance were the path to happy and healthy days. But really they are just the path to recognition, admission, and acceptance.

I talked to Virgil. I got nervous, and I miss him. and I hate that about myself.

Today I know these things:
I hate my job. I love what I do, but I hate my job. I think I could love my job. I certainly have before! Mostly, I am disappointed in my boss. And utterly unafraid of her, which never bodes well. I will plug along until March. But today I feel like punching her in the mouth and watching her teeth fall out. I feel like beating her at her own game. I feel like dating the man she loves but can't have, just to spite her. I will do none of these things, but I have thought about all of them.

I hate 6 day work weeks. I love being productive and busy, but I hate being at work that much.
Only a few more weeks of this and I can slow down again.

I miss my grandmothers. Both of them are no longer fully present, either because of speech and physical impairment or because of mental decline. They are here and not. And I miss them. I miss the certainty of their pies, the sureness of their hands in teaching me, even the harshness of their tones at my failure to exceed expectations. They are so alike.

I miss having single friends who had endless amounts of time for me and for each other.

Under no circumstances do I want Alaskabenji to move to Seattle. As much as I love him, and because I love him, I do not want him here. I am wise enough to know that it would hurt too much. I think he and I were never meant to be friends. There is something in me that creates a reaction in him that is just plain mean. That reaction in him creates a reaction in me that is just plain pathetic and weepy. But I love his friendship on the phone. I do not want it in my personal life.

JDBman is so over. You probably guessed this already, but as much as I thought he was my perfect imperfection (see previous posts) I was wrong, and now I see that he is secretly very normal. A wonderful human being and my favorite friend in this city nonetheless.

I would like my uncle back. He made me special. and I just plain miss him.

I am going to tell choirboy (who called and asked me on another date... and I said yes, even though I didn't want to), that I am not interested. Before! said date. Because I am not a mean person. And because I can't practice avoidance.

I am 25. I can't decide if that is old or not. I can't decide if I should feel desperate enough to try eharmony instead of Match, which I gave up because I hated dating men I didn't know.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Warmth fills me for many reasons. Sometimes because I am easy and joyful and right in me. Sometimes because I am angry and hateful. Sometimes because I am passionate. Sometimes because I am ashamed. Today because I am anticipating warmth. For Winter and Fall are seasons of warmth.

Rereading my past is never easy. I am finding necessity though in this practice. Mostly because my life is so singular right now, that I have to read my past experiences to invoke the pieces of me I am not currently engaging, but that are still there. So that in this present I can be present.

There are causes that force reactions in me. Whenever I feel vulnerable or scared I react hurtfully by pretending I am not hurt, not scared, not vulnerable. Sometimes I am so good at pretending that I don't remember what I said, because my heart didn't really say it, but fear spoke for me. And I didn't listen. I just huddled up and let fear protect me. So when all is said and done, I know that I have retaliated against harm, without sufficiently protecting myself, and remaining aware only that I harmed the one that harmed me, but with no idea of how I accomplished it. Yuck. Then I just have to deal with feeling foolish later... and deal with still feeling hurt later... and deal with feeling horrible for causing harm later.

And yet there is this warmth of settling in to deal. Settling in to love. Settling in means cleaning up the dirty closets, wrapping up bandages, smoothing the blankets, and creating a space to nestle in with tea, without feeling the anxiety of the mess waiting to be handled. Settling in to deal means I have to work hard so that I can have peace to relax. But it's great because then I don't have to work hard to push aside the hard work that will eventually have to be done so that I can relax now. Because that is escaping and escaping doesn't accomplish much when you abuse it the way I have. Instead I can clean a little each day and relax a little each day, and eventually I will find myself at home in a space I already own.

So say hello to warmth. I've set out tea. Care for a cuppa?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So much time. So little progress.

This weekend, the labor day one, I had such a great opportunity. My apartment was empty, save me. My life was empty, save cleaning. I had time to spend with myself.

I cleaned. Success.
I hung out with only me.
I so did not invest.

I didn't have the energy to look at me. I didn't have the energy to ask me about me. I was being an introvert.

If you think getting to know me is any less extroverting than getting to know another, you are sadly mistaken. It takes the same emotional energy, because I don't trust me anymore than I trust other people. And because I am just as high maintenance as other people. Because I really do need way too much attention.

So tonight's homework: a started (just started, not finished) list of things I like about me.

So far I have one (and since I am watching the Premier of GLEE, I am not get much further):
I like that I am unabashedly unafraid of love.

That's it.

So far.

love. you.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A quest

First you should know the plan.

I want to start my new adventure in March. Right after my review and my bonus check for the 2009 year. March is 6-7 months away. Depending on how you look at it.

Here are the current adventure possibilities:
1. Boston
2. Virginia
3. Alaska
4. Israel Relations Coordinator (the job I was casually offered today!!!!!) here in Seattle. Holy Ishmael.

Now for the quest.

Because I have no idea what I want to do, or where I want to go, or whatever, and I am just wondering around in the fog (thanks for the metaphor Jess) waiting for life (or love) to step out of the mist and directly into my arms, I am going to try something.

I do not feel pursued. Ever... or at least rarely. I do not feel necessary or wanted or valuable. This does not mean I hate myself or feel that I am not worth something, that I couldn't be something. It means that I feel like I can't figure out why I am not wildly pursued by the people who know me. I mean, mostly, I think I am pretty great (I am smiling pretty hugely right now) but, mostly, I also feel unwanted. I want something to pursue me. Some community, some person, some life. I want to know. Because knowing my friend... is half the battle.

But it's the other half I am going to tackle. It's the pursuit part. So my quest is myself. I am going to try pursuing myself. I don't know what that means, but just like trying to pursue someone else, I am going to blunder around until I get it right. I am giving myself 6-7 months, to "fall in love" with me. And see what happens. It might not work. I think I have learned, or am well into learning, how to take care of myself. At least, if nothing else, I now understand that that is possible. I don't know what it is to "love myself". I am really uncomfortable saying that. I don't like it. I feel stupid. But I felt stupid when I started talking about taking care of myself too.

My hope is that toward the end, the attempt at love will at least give me some idea of the knowing. So that I can do the one thing I know I want... a new adventure.

So watch for the quest updates. I will let you know what I figure out. What I don't like. What I love. And hopefully someday, what I want.

Monday, August 31, 2009


The Barbarian? No. My grandmother.

Nan, aka Conan, is one tough English broad. The woman built her own house. And dug out a basement underneath it. She gave birth to 6 children. And has lived to see two of them die - along with her husband. She kept up with 6 acres... in a wheelchair. She could shut up any crying kid with crunched up saltines from the bottom of her purse. She learned to write with her left hand after she had a stroke which paralyzed the dominant side of her body. She didn't take anything from anybody. I've only seen her cry a handful of times.

Now, apparently, she is dying. She is on hospice. We have been waiting for her to die since 2006. I think this is it. I think that because Ian is dead. I think that because I need to believe God isn't cruel enough to leave her here any longer. I think that because my heart isn't strong enough for the wishy-washy ways of this universe anymore.

I want her to die gracefully. I am tired of messy death. I want that strength in death. That strength that doesn't fight, because it already has, but goes boldly, and certainly. I want that for her. I want bagpipes and glory. Because that's how I remember her.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Preparing for goodbye

The post I started before I left Alaska...

I thought that I would figure things out. I haven't. I thought he would say something. He hasn't.

He has possibly tried to tell me how he feels. It is possible that I am misreading everything. I found out that we are very very very bad at communication.

...What happened after:

He loves me. He doesn't want me. I cried. We are friends. I left. I came home. I am just fine. Really. I promise.

The sad part: I still really love Juneau. And I still want to live there. But now I feel like I can't. Darn.

The other sad part: He can't get over it, so now he is all aloofish thinking I need more space. I want him to know that 900+ miles is quite enough space for everything to settle into its space.

The saddest part: It was the worst and best of Andrew relived in 10 days. But I took better care of myself this time. But I know that I would have gone for it if he would have. And then I would have been miserable for who knows how long until I figured out I was walking that way again. It's not that they are terrible men. They are just not what I want. I need to learn how to figure that out before I invest myself.

The reality: I wanted a new adventure. I wanted love to be that adventure. I just wanted to fall in love. I didn't care with whom. He was just a convenient great story. But I even told the fam when I spoke with them from Alaska that he was moody and not for me. but I still wanted it. Now I know that I can have adventure. and I told my boss today that I am ready to start looking at transfers so I can find that adventure.

Like Boston. What do you think of Boston?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Last Frontier

I landed and nearly cried it was so beautiful. Unfortunately you can't have pictures until later. But just imagine a sea of mysterious fog hanging over a forest of dense wood surrounded by glistening waters of the Pacific. It was amazing.

I entered the airport to the "hallooos" of several lumberjack types. Interesting way to start the day. I didn't expect him to meet me inside the airport, but only a few minutes off the plane and there I was in one of the most beautiful embraces of my life. The man hugs well.

It hasn't been awkward. But it has been confusing. I still don't know what he is thinking. And communication is still hard even though I can see his face.

I am getting to know my way around. I am losing my bashfulness around new people. I adore Mike and Audrey, the couple with whom I am staying. I am really digging the morning walks in the rain, the afternoon coffees, the nights a movie and a boy. This place is really something else.

The team arrived today and I was happy to see some familiar faces. We start the work tomorrow and I am happy to know that I will be putting in some hard work.

May I just tell you that all of the emotion has me eating less and I've lost 4 lbs in the three days I've been here.

Some other things you should know:
1. I've seen so many bald eagles that I no longer believe you when you say they are endangered.
2. I've seen a glacier and learned that it has major melted in the last 10 years, and I don't care if you don't believe in Global warming. I do.
3. I've been to St. Terese's shrine and found the chapel in which I would like to be married. You may want to buy your tickets now. Just don't set a date... it may be 30 years before I meet the man I want to marry.
4. I've learned that I don't know everything. and that I am one snarky mcsnarkerson when I get tired.
5. I've been shown that I am still in love with little children. and that I want to teach them. and that I super love the church.

That's all for now.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

La Vie en Rose

Aside from being one my favorite movies, it is life in this moment. When ever "La Vie" is "en Rose" blogging seems inadequate. That whatever I have to say will not be entertaining or moving or important because it's not tragic. And my happiness is so small, so petty, so uninteresting. but today my loves, it is the whole of me.

My city is covered in a blanket of glistening jewels. My counselor was perfect in her grey wrap sweater, wise words, and ability to decipher my incoherent nonstop fluttering about how anxious I am about the next week. She assured me that some measure of anxiety is indeed okay. My heart feels a healthy glow of wonder about this magical world I am travelling to, and the magical friend I will see while I am there. In less that 36 hours I will be with him. and that makes me smile.

At the moment I cannot understand how tomorrow will ever come, or even worse how it will ever pass and make way for the next day. It seems impossible. It seems that I have been waiting for so long that there is a wall insurmountable between me and this getaway. And yet the wall is only 36 hours high, and the climbing will come naturally and by no work of my own. In fact working to make it come faster is ludicrous. Like trying to make Christmas happen as a child. Better to go to bed early and wake up to the love of the morning, than to wait and wait and wait. So tonight I will pack, and go to the gym, and go to bed. Tomorrow I will work all day, hard and steady, then try my very hardest to sleep. That 6 AM flight will come quickly enough... almost as quickly as my 3:30 AM alarm. The two hour flight will indeed pass with much journaling (my favorite flight pastime) and much Vanity Fair (have you seen the latest issue?! Oh the style issue is my favorite... and with Farrah and Michael to boot!) and then my plane will land (my least favorite part, second only to taking off) and I will be there. and he will be there. and that intensely awkward moment of seeing someone after five years will come and sit and then it will pass. and we will be friends.

Where are the words in this language? Why have I not studied my GRE vocab more so that I could more fabulously express to you the magnitude of my excitement?! okay I have to be done, only because I have to pack. and call my cousin.
This week I am going to read John 15 every day. Here is why:

The word used there for Remain is the same word stem used in James for Persevere. I want to remember to remain. to stay. to be. not to actively persevere, but to actively be. My challenge for myself in Alaska.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Alaska in earnest

So I leave in three days. If I don't count today, or the day I leave. More accurately I leave in 92 hours which is actually 3.8 days.

I hope to blog while I am there. I will have access to the Internet. I don't know what my time constraints will look like.

I have some trepidation. Mostly because Alaskabenji is not a planner. I am a planner.

Some things that are not planned:
1. How he will pick me up from the airport. He was supposed to get a new car this week, but it might not happen.
2. Where I will stay. I was supposed to stay with his sister but won't anymore.
3. How we will do anything other than sit and stare at each other.. no car = less freedom.
4. What we will talk about. I know it is silly to plan for these things, but I am a planner.
5. How I will hook up with my team for the mission portion of the trip after my three.five days of alaskabenji are over.

Some things that are tentative:
1. Benji wants to go to Mass with me.
2. Kayaking!
3. Driving all 40 miles of the Juneau Hwy.

Some things are are more definite.
1. Coffee.
2. Pool... apparently pool is free in the bars there. Christmas freaking Miracle!
3. Yurt building. Gotta love me some Yurt building baby.

I am excited. I am nervous. I am going to have to wait and see.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lies, Lies, Lies!

A List of Lies I have told myself (or bought into recently):
1. I am a horrible person
2. I will never succeed at love
3. I am needy
4. I eat people alive
5. I ruin men
6. I don't know who I am
7. I don't know how to change myself
8. I need to change myself
9. I am afraid

A List of truths to counteract those lies:
1. I can behave horribly. And I do. And I will again. but I love you. and I'm learning.
2. I have already succeeded at love. and I will again. and I love you. and I'm learning.
3. I am needy. but I have taken care of myself. and I will again. and I love you. and I'm learning.
4. I am not responsible for people. If they allow themselves to be eaten, that is not my fault. and I will eat people again. and it will continue to suck. but I love you. and I am learning.
5. I do not ruin men. This doesn't mean I am always as humane as I should be. but I love you. and I am learning.
6. I am learning who I am. There are parts of me I know very well. I am very good at self perception. I am still a mystery. That makes me interesting. I know me now. and I will again. and I love you. but I am learning.
7. Change is crap. Acceptance is truth.
8. Change is crap. Acceptance is truth.
9. Fear holds no power unless it rules you. I am afraid. and I will be again. but I love me. and I am learning.

Friday, August 7, 2009

On being better, catholicism, and a new blog...

It is really amazing what one little phone call, a couple of text messages and an "I love you" can do for a girl's stability. I don't need to be talked to everyday, but I found out that I need to know why I'm not being talked to everyday. I am surprised how depressed I was. Not eating is my favorite thing about depression. I know that sounds horrifying, but there is something so right in the way I can delve into my sadness with a good fast, some coffee, and a cloudy day. Thanks Jesus for creating legal addictive stimulants that also suppress hunger. You're my fav.

Here is a one liner that I would like all of you to take in, digest, and believe heartily (and frankly I don't care if you disagree, believe it anyway...): Catholics are Christians too. And more importantly first.

Some days I have patience. Lots and lots of patience with denominational differences. I'm not just talking Baptist vs. Methodist here. I mean the Catholic, Orthodox, Mormon, Evangelical, High liturgy Protestants (Espic's, Presb's, Luth's... etc etc). But then there are other days. Days like this one, where I just don't get it. I understand that your theological uniqueness is important to you. You want to be different than everyone else, so you are going to believe in a different doctrine, a different understanding, a different scripture. But come on! Can we stop with the "you're not going to heaven unless..." stuff. This is God we are talking about people! Let me just say this "Do you have an arm like God's? Can your voice thunder like His?" - Let's face the cold hard fact that we just don't know what's going to happen, or who is going to be the heretic, or if our translation of the text is correct and more importantly relevant. So let's just embrace each other. Embrace our own misgivings. Embrace our doubt. Embrace our stubborn bullheadedness about truth. Embrace modernity, postmodernity, postpostmodernity. Embrace Luther the Jew Hater, and Augustine the thief, and Joseph Smith the treasure hunter, and John Wesley the wife leaver, and Rob Bell the Universalist. I could go on. Embrace humanity. So saying Embrace this new blog I found via Ace again.

Have as much fun reading and I did writing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A ridiculous little soul

Hello my ridiculous little soul. May I just say that there are times when you should just walk away, should just put down the phone, should just let it be, but you don’t. You ridiculous little soul.
“But you should get close to everything you care about. Things come and go. People come and go and maybe some of us learn to stop caring about it. But I keep reaching out, even though my hand keeps getting slapped away. When I was little I used to close my eyes every time I wanted to hide. Maybe I thought that made me disappear. When you get older you learn that closing your eyes just makes it darker. You have to face everything, even death, if you want to grow up.”
And I want to grow up. World, I am so in control – maybe not of all that uncontrollable stuff, but at least of my heart. So don’t mess with me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Curse words

I could fill this entire page with the curse words streaming out of my soul right now. If you want to hear a tiny bit of what that feels like, watch the first ten minutes of Love Actually, when Bill Nighy is attempting to sing his new Christmas song. And that would only be my opening line. (I would just like to point out that I am not going to curse in this blog, I promise.)

I am in Angry girl mode. You know, the Alanis Morrisette, flowy skirt, tight tank, long hair, hate the world, hate myself angry girl mode. Ironically, I am listening to Peaches by The Presidents of the United States of America. Because its rough and I feel rough.

MY BOSS SLAPPED MY HAND TODAY. She does this a lot. She does this when I pick at my nails or itch my leg or say something she doesn't approve of. May I just say that I am 25 and although that is not so near her 31, I am not a child. MY BOSS ALSO TOLD ME THAT THE WAY I GREETED ONE OF MY COWORKERS SOUNDED DIRTY. I said "Hi! James!" I know that I am an enthusiastic person but I am not a whore! And gosh darn it she had best get herself under control before I lose all of my control. I understand that I have dated other employees, even my own employees. But that was a long time ago. I don't do that anymore. And even if I did, it is not against company policy and it hasn't ever turned out badly for her, or for me for that matter. And I don't do that anymore. Mostly because Seattle men are REALLY disappointing, but she needs to realize that I am not some teenage little girl that runs after everything in sight. I DO NOT have a crush on EVERY boy. Anger.

I am typing so hard right now that I am not sure my keyboard will work tomorrow. I am an ANGRY ELF. I am also angry because I hate text message relationships. I want to BE in Alaska. I am sick of this back and forth crap. I am sick of not knowing what face he is wearing. I am sick of not knowing what is going on. I am sick of having a friend that knows me better in this moment that most of the other people in my life, but whom I have not seen in five years. I am sick of it all. I am sick that I have invested so much in something that has 10 days, just 10 to become something lasting and worthwhile. All of this is like a big huge lead up and it could be one big huge flop. I could get there and the whole friendship falls apart. I could get there and die of anxiety because I still don't know what the mumbler (for he is one heck of a mumbler my friends) is saying to me. I think I am going crazy. I don't act like this. I don't get overwhelmed by stupid little boys. I don't think that I am not good enough for people. I don't DO THIS. I don't lose sleep over petty crap. I don't! I don't! I don't! I am so throwing a fit right now.

The sad part is I do do those things. The sad part is that I have never met someone that I really liked that I thought was this much better than I am. The sad part is that I feel like I am losing myself and the last couple of nights when I try to go invest in me, I fall asleep because I am so emotionally wrung out. I need a vacation to prepare for my vacation. I don't like having to deal with not feeling good enough for someone I would have turned down five years ago. for someone who doesn't have a degree. for someone who doesn't have a job. for someone who is insecure and shy. for someone who needs encouragement. for someone who needs to be told to pray. for someone who has had more girlfriends than Jesus had disciples. and yet still I shake because somewhere I know his heart is closer to God's than mine. and that my friends startles me. that takes all of the curse words out of my heart and moves me to tears. that leaves me only a wreckless hope. and I hate wreckless hope.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Aloha Nui Loa

We had the Lu'au. Ace posted pictures. It was a miracle that anything happened at all. All of the work and all of the play turned out beautifully, but so many things could have gone wrong (or I should say so many MORE things...) My family is lovely. They come together in so many ways. We all look to our leadership to guide us. Auntie Jeanette said the most wonderful things and had us all in tears. Auntie Peggy danced hula and had us all mesmerized. Heather and I were the sunshine twins on uppers. Peter and the boys roasted some mean pig (or so I am told). Grandpa oversaw it all casting orders left and right as though his hand alone would direct the ways of men. We all found our roles and played them well. Aloha nui loa.

The week was so busy I don't really know how to talk about it. There was so so so much that happened. Virgil came again and made himself known. I thought that was all over, but apparently I was wrong. I have never heard a man talk like that before. I didn't understand that he was so in love. I did understand that nothing has changed for me. I still don't want that life. I still don't want him. It still hurts. Aloha nui loa

I have been talking to Alaska-Benji more than maybe I should. I think it is entirely possible that I have worn out my welcome before I am even there. Part of me says, "yeah but he calls you". The other part says, "only because he is trying to be nice..." It doesn't really matter. I am going to Alaska, awkward or not. I am going to build a yurt, hard work or not. I am going to see the beauty, rainy or not. At the end of the day, I have absolutely no concrete conjectures about what this trip will bring to my life, or what it won't. So I might as well stop trying to figure it all out and just let it be. Only 11 days left. Aloha au ia oe.

In the end that's the difference. Aloha Nui Loa or Aloha au ia oe.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A long week and a long lesson

I have been in LA learning my business even better. I feel that I have the tools for ultimate success, but am wary because of the time it will take to implement them. The week was not only full of work lessons but life lessons as well.

I met a boy in LA. A boy that I intended to lead to my friend Pam, who was very interested in him. My plans backfired and he ended up interested in me. Interesting. He was extremely attractive, in fact our company uses him as a model, so in that it was great to know I've still got it. I did feel horribly that my plan backfired, but heavenly Jesus he was a wonderful evening of fun. The next day was not so great... because he followed me around like a little puppy. I'm not sure the lesson here, other than to remember that being so nice can have it's consequences.

I also fought with Benji, alaska benji not brother benji, this week. I found that much of what I hated in myself (or at least some piece of it) from the time of Andrew, is still in me. I was startled by this. I had to apologize and rethink myself. Remember me. Know me. I didn't know that that was a daily thing. I thought that once I knew, my actions would line up with that. It apparently doesn't work that way. I wish that life wisdom was more permanent, more instantly accessible. Less affected by emotion.

I am happy about the fact that I figured it out though, before it became a serious problem. We worked it out and all is normal again. I have to be careful though. It is the most bizarre experience of my life to get to know someone again after 5 years of no contact, especially when it is all over the phone. I am really hoping that things are not awkward when I actually get to Alaska. I hope I am not setting up expectations. I hope that I am not lost. I hope that I am not alone.

Long lessons are hard to learn. I thought that I had just grown up and out of all of the problems I saw in my relationship with Andrew. I never expected to see them in me again. I hate that they are still there. I hate that I avoided a birthday party in an attempt not to see those things in me when I faced Andrew. I hate that I am avoiding figuring out exactly what is wrong with me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More than a feeling

"When I'm tired and thinking cold, I hide in my music, forget the day. And dream of a girl I used to know. I closed my eyes and she slipped away."

I've closed my eyes, and I've slipped away.

I am ready to find myself in a new adventure.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Sermon (it's long.. don't say I didn't warn you)

Keep in mind that this was given to a very specific community. Also keep in mind that I wandered from this script a little (but not a lot...)

1 Corinthians 12:1-6 and 12 – 27 I am skipping some sections because my goal is not to talk about Spiritual gifts but to talk about community.

These two quote inspired much of this sermon:
You have to let go of whatever you were, and become who you are. – Stacy, What not to Wear

“A woman must come of age herself. She must find her true center alone.” - Anne Marrow Lindbergh

On Thursday, I turned 25. 25 doesn’t feel like me, because now I can no longer deny to myself (or anyone else for that matter) that I am an adult. However, I also realize the beauty of the freedom to be an adult. With that freedom comes the realization that it is not really about the freedom to be an adult, it is the freedom to be myself. Not to necessarily become myself, but instead to recognize the life that God has given me. It seems I have only begun to find this freedom in adulthood. I have found that I can no longer rely on outside sources to define me, but must define myself. For example it no longer makes sense for me to say, “I am Benji’s little sister.” Or “I am Julie’s best friend”. My definitions of myself must come from somewhere else.

In a conversation with my mother a couple of months ago, I remember telling her that should I ever discover that I was adopted, I would lose my entire sense of self. I think we all do this in some capacity. We build who we are, who we think we are, who we want to be, on the communities in which we interact. A tangible example of this, is the You might be from Washington if things: you know stuff like…
You might be from Washington if you wear shorts in 60 degree weather.
You might be from Washington if you think Umbrellas are for tourists.
You might be from Washington if you think Oregonians are bad drivers.

We are from Washington. These tidbits describe us. They create a part of our identity.
My point here is that we can identify ourselves as individuals by the varying communities to which we belong now, either now, in the past, or in the future. So then we should ask, How does community affect our creation of our selves? Is it a positive or a negative affect? Well I suppose that depends on the community.
There has never been a time in my life that this community has not been directly or indirectly involved in my daily life. Even when I was away at college, I was financially and spiritually supported by you all. This community makes up a very large part of who I am. But I have to ask myself if I am always being as much myself as I could be while here with you. I am so used to being a certain person within these walls, that I don’t know if I am bringing the most of me and thereby the most of my understanding of Christ when I worship here. So I ask myself what do I check at the door when I come to you. What are those things that I leave behind in order to meet this community’s expectations of who I am, of who I need to be, etc etc. Simultaneously, I ask myself what you check at the door for the same reason… and then if I personally am the reason you would leave that behind.

When I come in I most often leave behind my struggles with paying my bills, my loneliness in Christ, my passion for liturgy and the Catholic Church, my hope for a husband, my despair over my inability to have my own children. Some days, when he is not with me, I leave behind my embarrassment and loss over having a homeless father, or my love for the new life my mother has made for herself outside of this community, and a whole slew of sins not worth mentioning in this moment. It is not because I think I would be shunned (although that fear exists) or that I fear you won’t know how to deal with my life, because if any community could embrace something as crazy as my inner-world, it would be this one. It is because this community has been one of very few constants in the whole of my life and I don’t want to feel the growing pains that could occur should I bring new portions of my self here.

But I recognize as well, that because I leave all of those things behind, I leave behind a whole huge portion of my understanding of Christ. My life in the last few years has drastically changed, and with it my views of Jesus and the Church. By not being the most of myself while I am here I am denying you access to the Christ I have come to know and love.

I leave behind the Christ that stood silently and stably by while I held my uncle’s hand through long nights of rattling breaths in his last days with us. I leave behind the Christ that accompanies me on the nights when I must dig through the streets of Seattle to find my father. I leave behind the Christ that has excused me from worry of sin, in order to worship him in love and obedience, rather than in fear and guilt. I also leave behind the Christ that I encounter just an hour before I arrive here… the Christ I find in the Catholic Church. I leave behind the Christ I find in the community I work in. He is a Christ of the world… a Christ that we may not acknowledge because my coworkers don’t trust his existence but live him in a way I have not encountered before. I leave behind the Christ my mother worships in the solitude of her own home, playing hymns on the piano purchased for her by a man she is not married to because she cannot find acceptance or love in any community. He bought her that piano just so she could worship Jesus… and yet he does not believe in Christ. I leave behind the Christ I find in that same man who supports my faith by dialoging with me about it, by purchasing my newest theological books from Amazon so that I can further my understanding of Christ. I even leave behind the Christ I encountered at Simpson. The Christ you sent me to learn, because He is full of ideas and theology that I am afraid would startle you to the point of no longer believing that I am a Christian. I am keeping these portions of Christ, and of myself, from you. I do this out of fear for myself, and fear for you. I do this because I do not want to experience what Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 8.

There is a very real responsibility we are charged with to not cause our brothers to sin by doing something that so challenges their faith that they then fall into sin. However, how can I know that what I am saying or doing or believing will cause you to sin if I am not in dialogue with you about it. I can ask you, “How do you feel about the inerrancy of the Bible? Do you feel that the Bible must be 100% correct in fact and grammar in order to 100% true… to be infallible?” In this way you must confront your beliefs and I must confront my community. I have chosen you as my community of faith. It is the beauty of this country. I can go to church wherever I want. I do not have to go to the church nearest my house (if I did I would become an Episcopalian). I have the absolute freedom to drive for an hour and worship with you. By choosing you though, I choose to submit to your “weaknesses”. I use this word not as an insult, but because Paul did in the passage I just read. It is important to remember that the freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. We have freedom in Christ to be who we are, to experience Him as we would, as He would direct us to. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6 and 10 that “Everything is Permissible, but not everything is Beneficial.” This is true for us.

I have spoken much from my own examples today. I wanted to start off the dialogue. I used my examples that I could set a precedent of self honesty. I want you to see who I am, and I want to see who you are. Not only the you that comes into this building, but all of the you the interacts with Christ. I encourage all of you to consider what you check at the door. Do you leave behind your job, your worries about money, your bitterness about traffic, your fear of death, or rejection, your love of something “unacceptable”. What parts of Christ are you keeping from me because you are afraid? What parts are for my own safety? What parts are you keeping from others in this church? Let us start the dialogue. I must always, because I am afraid of humanity, give the caution to move wisely. However simultaneously I will remind us all as we hopefully embark on a journey of exploring each other and the parts of Christ we find in each other, that grace is a gift from God. And that just as it is okay for me to express to you that there is a part of Christ for me that loves loving homosexuals, it is just as okay for you to express to me that that makes you uncomfortable. It is so important that we are dialoging. As a body of believers we must realize what affects one of us affects us all. When an eye ceases to see, the feet become unsure. I have chosen you, I have chosen your weaknesses. It is not our place to choose each other and then shun each other’s weaknesses. Rather it is our place to embrace those weaknesses and work to keep each other from sin. It would be a tragedy if in order to do that, though, we ceased to be who we are, who God has created us to be, who we are when we encounter Christ. That is not community. As Paul said, a foot should not become an eye in order to worship Jesus in a certain community. A foot should remain a foot and be the most footlike it be, and the eye should find joy in that. The most footlike I can be is to be a Protesting Catholic, daughter of a homeless man, daughter of a sinner who loves Jesus on her own, believer in a Jesus who does not condemn me or allow me to condemn others, lover of Arabic nations, and passionately celibate and single woman. What is the most footlike you can be (or eyelike, or handlike, or heartlike, or whatever!)

Please stand for this benediction
Let us move together toward a broader understanding of Christ, by gaining a broader understanding of our selves and of each other. “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love. The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.”

Monday, June 29, 2009


I dreamt last night that JDBman was sent to Afghanistan for his third tour. And that he died there. And that there was no one to tell me he died. Until I went there and met the man who killed him (I know that that part is ridiculously unrealistic, but it was a dream). I woke up crying. Again ridiculous.

I went back to sleep. I dreamt that I faced these men in Afghanistan and I wept in front of them. I wept their own pain. I wept their anger. I felt none of my own emotion. This frustrated me.

The frustration stems from the fact that I am more comfortable loving men who kill my friends and letting them know that I love them, than I am telling my friends that I love them. It's bizarre. Maybe it's more than bizarre. Maybe it's wrong. Maybe it's cowardice. Maybe it's everything I tell myself that I am not.

Regardless, this has me thinking about things. Where is the line between my own cowardice and wanting to be pursued? Is it more important to keep my mouth shut and know that I am wanted or to open my mouth and know that courage in love is greater than fear of rejection. I've never asked myself this question before. Because I have always assumed it was wrong for me to consider it.

Meh, the petty meanderings of a single girl. How I love that these things are not the end of the world.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Endorphins, Efficacy, and Evangelism

Exercise amazes me. It really is a balm for the soul and an outlet for all things unholy. Anger, passion, overdrive, anxiety, and fear all melt away as the endorphins release and peace settles in. Lately I have not been exercising as much as I should (indeed very little at all). However this time of reclaiming me, I have found that I am happy to reclaim exercise. May I just share with you my favorite work out space. I can visit any YMCA in the greater Seattle area and work out, for less than I would pay at a gym, and I am supporting one of my favorite not-for-profits. I take a quick five block jaunt down the street from work, I exercise, I jaunt back to my car and TADA! I am calm, happy, and energized little girl. I adore running (or gliding is generally more accurate) and reading my Vanity Fair or my newest collection of short stories by Matthew Volmer at the same time. Just thinking about it makes me settle down.

Last night as my little feet were gliding away and sweat was poring down my back, I was reading about Bernie Madoff's sons and how they are dealing with the tragedy that has struck their family in the form of their father's horrid display of human indecency. I was sad to be reading the article in the first place, mostly because it was just gossip mongering (and a generally lower form of it than I would expect from my dear Vanity Fair), but also because so many people are so angry about this whole scam, and rightfully so? Maybe. I don't know. I am troubled that there are people throwing punches, curse words and threats over the million dollars they just lost. I understand that is a formidable amount of money, but do they not see that running for sympathy to people who will not make that much money in the whole of their lives is ridiculous? I am sadder for the sons who are taking the blame for their father's crime, than I am for the employees and investors kicking and screaming because they have to sell their yacht and pull their children out of the 40K/yr private schools they attend. Maybe that is a little harsh, maybe I just think it is ridiculous that there are that many people with that much money in this world, and still we cannot seem to feed the starving in our own country let alone those in remainder of the world. It is entirely possible (and perhaps more likely) that this feeling has spawned from the many musings rolling around in my head lately. - so that long tangent is to get to the point of efficacy.

I adore efficacy. Sometimes I forget my fondness for abstinence and the way that it feeds my soul. This can be evidenced in my love for Lent. I relate efficacy and abstinence for some reason. Maybe because keeping thing simple is the easiest way to keep things efficient. I am not sure. In my recent journey to discover how to not base my relationship with Christ and the Church on sin, I have in many instances given up my love for abstinence and obedience to delve into experiences and moments that are not driven by my fear of sin. As I am learning (and daily practicing) my new skill set, which allows me to live with Jesus outside of and irregardless of sin, I am finding that I can practice many forms of efficacy (abstinence, simplicity, obedience, monasticism, etc) because of the pure pleasure it brings to my soul, and not because I think it will make me a better Christian, or less of a sinner, or whatever other guilt-bound reasoning I have previously used to explain why these practices were so endearing to me. I do not know why I love efficacy, but I do know that there is nothing which can help me more to realize Christ in my daily life.

Listling of my efficacy as of late:
1. I have not eaten out (save father's day) in two weeks. at all... not even for coffee.
2. Gym. hmmm...
3. reading me some N.T. Wright before bed, followed by a fairy tale from this book
4. No make up (this is due as much to my recent bout of pink eye as it is to efficacy but has been refreshing nonetheless)

It is amazing how balanced I feel in these practices of efficacy. I know I am saving copious amounts of money by not eating out. I know that I am gaining peace by working out. I know that I am feeding my brain health food, rather than the fast food I generally indulge in. And every day I have gone sans make up I have received so many compliments (IE. Your skin looks great!, Well, you look radiant today., Did you do something different? You look so fresh and young. ) Still, again, the best part about all of this is knowing that it has nothing to do with the fact that I am avoiding guilt and sin in these practices. I am practicing them because I am feeding my soul and for this reason I am proud of myself. For this reason I think I may have found my sermon topic. For this reason, I have once again found my love of evangelism (by evangelism, I mean protestantism... I still see evangelism as necessary practice, but one in which I will not participate unless specifically told to do so by Jesus).

The return of my love for evangelism has come with the remembrance that it does in fact feed my soul to be both protestant and catholic. I have chosen this not because it is a calling (although it may be), not because I am avoiding sin (although I may be :P ), not because I want to teach you something (although I do), but because it feeds my soul. Rest. I am who I am.

To your rest: May it be healthy and peaceful,


P.S. My next post may be about affirmation, falling in love, Alaska, or it may be about something altogether new and different!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In preparation

July 12th, 3 days after my 25th birthday, I will speak in Church again. I have no assigned topic, and have been spending some serious time considering, researching, and writing to discover the story I wish to convey.
These are the topics I have covered in the past:
1. My father
2. The over accessibility of Christ (how to deal with how he speaks to me)
3. Post-modernity and modernity in the Church
4. Gomer

So far, I have nothing solid. I have considered talking about living in the Grey, and how that is not the same as holding a view opposite to those around you. This thought was birthed over dinner with the Morris'. I have been realizing that often I think I am "grey" because I am the black to the church's white, which is of course entirely untrue. I just am not sure where I would start or go with this idea. However, The Grey made me consider Pontifex, which is Latin for Bridge Builder, and the next tattoo I am planning for my body. The idea is my life a bridge builder between the Catholic and Protestant churches. But again, I don't know what this holds for anyone outside of myself. Pontifex made me consider what I have written in this space, and looking back on this year. I have considered talking about a year in the valley of the shadow of death, as 2009 is proving to be for me, but I do not know what hope I can offer in that topic. Lastly I have thought about talking about Jesus, but I have no idea what I would say. I feel that the topic of Christ is the topic for which I am least qualified, least prepared. My life with him is so solitary for me, so inexplicable, that I have no clue what I would say. I feel that my commitment to not base my life with Christ on sin in anyway, and the implications of that commitment, would shock those with whom I was sharing. Lastly, I thought maybe I should speak about 25 years in that church: What I've seen, who I have known, the tragedy, the growth, the love, the continuity, and the community of such a place. I don't know. Do you have thoughts?

I am preparing in this time, as well, for my trip to Alaska. My prayers are more fervent and excited than they have been in so long. I cannot begin to understand why I desire this trip so deeply. But oh how I want to be ready for anything. I am bolstering my courage, readying my spirit, working out to increase my body strength. I seriously want to be ready for anything. What is wrong with me?

Lastly, I am preparing to move to my new apartment. Packing begins on Saturday. I am excited.

That is all for now, because I am getting anxious to do something other than blog. and I am thirsty, and I want to be in Alaska now.

Bis Dann my loves,


Monday, June 15, 2009

because I love Jesus

Things I did this weekend... because I love Jesus.
1. Shot down a boy. because I love Jesus.
2. Went to church on four hours of sleep. because I love Jesus.
3. Paid a fatty check to go to Alaska. because I love Jesus.
4. Took time to relax and make cuppy cakes and watch ducklings and nap and read Things fall apart and eat dinner and discuss the church's role in social morality and watch Joel and Brain make fire and drink three cups of coffee at mom and dad's house with Jennifer. because I love Jesus.
5. I decided to really research something, which I will explain later. because I love Jesus.

So I shot down this boy. I've been seeing him a bit for a while, and the conversation of how far our relationship would go has not ever come up, until Saturday night. I shot him down... like big time. He understood, he said, "It's not a problem". I then said, "It's going to become a problem because I'm not going to change my mind... like ever and I made a promise of chastity, and well honey, you're not getting any." At this point it got very quiet. After a very long awkward silence he said, "why?". I got the biggest smile on my face, shrugged my shoulders and said, "Because I love Jesus." We talked about it a bit more. I told him I wouldn't be unfair, that I did not want to lead him on, that honesty and integrity were important to me. He said that he leaves for LA this week and will think about it while he's gone. This was a fabulous moment for me. I don't feel badly about my choice (and my friends the choice is made). More than anything else, what is great is that it is my choice, and I feel more myself because of it, even if I never see him again. Most importantly this is not about the sin (although I do recognize the importance of said sin, I have committed not to base my relationship with God on sin, and instead to base my relationship with God on Jesus, and Grace... I will discuss my theology on this in later, and earlier posts). This choice is about me being me. Because I am who I am. Because I made a promise to Jonathan Morris, that I would remain chaste. I kept my promise. And although I value Jonathan Morris and my commitment to him as my Pastor, I am more happy about the fact that I was me ... all of the way, and that I am not embarrassed about it. Does that make sense? I may have to explain it to Mr. Date further, but I know so definitely that this is my choice. This is a big deal for two reasons: 1, My choices have a tendency to be more about me being the person I am trying to please, rather than me being me and 2, I have found in this moment, that I have the ability to not sin without making sin/guilt my motivator for not sinning! Hallelujah. Maybe this seems straight forward to you, but learning to not motivate myself with guilt and sin has been (and may continue to be) a very long road for me.

Needless to say that on Saturday night (Sunday Morning?) I didn't get home until very late. I made a commitment last week, to myself and to Jesus, that I would attend church every Sunday until after I go to Alaska (btw, I AM GOING TO ALASKA!!! see next paragraph for more details). I was worried when I got in bed, that I would sleep right through my alarm and not make it to church. I prayed- I said Jesus, I made this commitment to you, help me keep it. Please wake me up. I rarely pray before bed, because I often fall asleep before I get my prayer out, but that night I prayed. The next morning my alarm went off at 8:30. I shut off the alarm and thought, Rebecca you are crazy, you can't do this, you are way too tired, just admit that you screwed up by coming home so late, you are guilty, embrace it and go back to sleep. So I closed my eyes and intended to go back to sleep. But then, I felt a jolt of energy, I opened those eyes, I smiled and I said HECK NO TECHNO! I'm going to church! and up I got. I was 15 minutes late for church, but I was there by golly. And it was ridiculously wonderful.

While at church, I wrote a check for more than 1 months rent, and I am going to ALASKA! I seriously don't think I have been this excited about anything in years. I can't stop talking about it, reading about it, loving about it. Seriously. So I have a Benji in Alaska, who was and is a good friend of mine from Multnomah. I loved him then, and by golly, I love him now. He is the worship pastor? for a small church plant in Juneau. Coincidentally, Jonathan is very close with the pastor of said Church plant and is taking a "mission team" to Juneau to help them build a yurt and do some other stuff. I decided a while back that I wanted to visit my Benji this summer, and now I am going to visit him, with a purpose. I really don't know why I am so excited. I mean I am happy to see Benji. I am happy to build a yurt. But I am ECSTATIC about going to Alaska. I just really can't wait. I think this has something to do with Jesus.

After church, I went to Jen and Brian's house to hang out. I played the farming game with Brain. He beat me. The filthy bastard. And I made cuppy cakes with Jenn, while listening to Pandora's Madonna station. yeah baby. And I napped after reading 1 chapter of Things fall apart. And I had dinner with Joel, and Mom, and Dad, and Jenn, and Brain. And it was fabu. Sunday relaxo time because I love Jesus.

Because I love Jesus, I love this little me, and am learning to love this little me very well, and I am loving it! Because of all of that, I have delving into myself to know what this little me wants to do with the next part of this little life. I think I want to do some sort of church admin. The Catholic Church has degrees in this kind of ministry. I am committed to research this, to talking to people who have done it, and to be curious about something other than my previously committed and still well loved, near eastern studies.

So Jesus. I love you. And Becca, I love you too. And Internet, you are just the peachiest peach. And friends. welcome to my world.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Exhaustion overwhelms

All I want to do lately is watch old 90210 episodes and sit on the sofa with no thoughts running through my head. I think this means I am working too hard and too much. Or maybe that the sunshine is getting to me.

I dreamt this song last night. And I've been singing it all day. It was the background to mountains and oceans and kayaks and camping.

This braver life I've come to know
begins to beat my very soul
I cannot wait to hold
your hand

All you are is sweet surrender
the hope that only you can render
I cannot wait to hold
your hand

I see you
I touch you
I feel you
I dream you

I breathe you
I want you
I hope you
I know you

This braver life you'll come to know
when I begin to share my soul
you cannot wait to hold
my hand.

All we seek is sweet surrender
the hope we can surely muster
you are the son of His
right hand.

To know you
to hold you
to see you
to breath you...

when once again I hold
your hand.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

brave enough for love

Is it possible, dear friends, that I am not brave enough for love?
This love that is chosen, and yet not provided?
Do I give hope and then dash dreams?
Do I trust hope and fall endlessly with hopes demise?

Is it plausible, dear one, that I could suffer a cowardly love?
One given and received not by its power, its humanity, its consuming nature?
but for its convenience, safety and lust?
Would I be so wretched?

Dear Friends, I know not my capacity for love. For that I rely completely on you. I hope you are pleased with your burden. I hope it tastes like brie and crackers, cold broccoli salad with apple slices, a glass of deeply red shiraz, finished with moscato and dark chocolate.

Dear One, know this: I will not suffer a cowardly love. I will choose this lonely life if I cannot burn with passion with you. Be safe in the knowledge that if you are that cowardly, you will not have to suffer through the weeping in bed during late night showings of The Reader. Fear the knowledge that I have never proven my bravery, and possibly never will. I know this is my greatest fear: that I will never know my capacity for a passionate love... it is my hope that you know this capacity of mine, but it is my very soul's journey that I know this love in me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

T minus 18 seconds.

The countdown has begun. In just a little moment, I will have a new job, in the same office, doing more work. In just a little month, I will have a new apartment, in the same city, in walking distance to my office. In just a little week, I will see my best friend, and her husband, on this crazy busy weekend.

I hate change. But I love Julie.
I need change. But I really don't have time for it.
I will change. Because I can't stay where I am.
I love change. But only because I know it will be easier in the long run.

Self-care days 3-8?

Day 3: I don't remember...

Day 4: Drinks. Huzpaz.

Day 5: Cancel Date. Relax instead.

Day 6: Long morning for getting ready slowly. Watch sisterhood of the travelling pants deux. Petty indulgence.

Day 7: Jennifer, Brian, Joel, Ace, Benji, Jessica, Kelly, Brad. Margarita. Rose.

Day 8: (this is today) look at a new apartment, so I don't hate where I live anymore.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I am exasperated. Listen to my story:

I have a strong tendency to fall in love with (or rather, attach myself to the idea of) a given man for years at a time. I can measure much of my life by the men I invested in.
Ages 0-12 Peter and Benji (brothers)
Ages 12-16 Adam
Ages 16-18 Travis
Ages 19-22 Andrew
Ages 23-Present JDBman

Granted intermingled in these men, where little crushes, little ideas, little moments, but these men are the overarching themes of my life. It makes it incredibly difficult to date. For example, I am currently dating profusely. Too much, if you ask me. But I have a goal to accomplish: Learn more about dating and men and how I feel about different types of relationships. Marriage has not fallen into my lap. I'm not yet ready to commit to celibacy (though I get nearer that point the further I go into dating). However, the more I date the more I see that the man of my current obsession is the only one for me. I can give you valid and important reasons why each of the past men could not be for me.
Peter and Benji: They are my brothers people. That is just gross. :)
Adam: Oh teen-love. This never would have worked.
Travis: As good of a man as he is, he is a normal beyond normalcy.
Andrew: Read all previous blogs.
JDBman: He is in love with another woman.

However, I cannot convince myself at this moment that there is a man better for me than JDBman. This is utterly ridiculous. I know that. I date other men. I have fun with other men. I crush on other men. At the end of the day, he is the only man I currently dream about (beside the faceless one...) This means that I wake up most days utterly in love with a man I know is not right for me, whom I cannot have. This is exasperating. How do I stop being a woman who idealizes specific men?

PS. Day Two Self Care: boldness and honesty to tell a sweet boy that I was not interested. This is selfcare because now I do not have to practice avoidance.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dating, Self-care, and dating self-care

This weekend I learned. Admittedly, it was not the kind of learning where you walk out of the classroom having learned certain equations that will always give you the right answer. It was the kind where you leave thinking it is very possible that you are less certain than ever before, because of the multitude of possibilities presented to you.

I canceled a date on Friday night. I apologized profusely, but I was just not feeling well (never drink AMP energy drink on an empty stomach). He was so angry and hasn't responded to me since. I am not too upset, but I think it's sad that he is so burned by life that he's not willing to believe that I really was unwell. This spawned a train of thought. Saturday night I went on a second/third date (second day of dates, third actual date), and then today I went on a third/fourth date with the same guy. I think I like him. When I am with him, I really like him. He's a real person and I love that. However, when I get away from him all of these worries about his expectations set in and I get all nervous...

This is where the lessons set it. I figured out these things:
1. I can be in charge of a situation. I can say no because I am not obligated to yes.
2. I am obligated (not only to myself, but also to whatever guy) to say what I need to say (yes or no) because being the most myself now is the most of the way to be honest now and later.
3. It's no big deal if I don't meet his expectations (because I don't really know this person).
4. I don't know if this is forever. and that's okay.

I have to take time to know who I am, and where I am okay, and who he is and where he is okay. This, more than ever before, is the time when I absolutely must take care of myself. It's not yet time for me to take care of him. Right now he is still responsible for taking care of him. I love how very true that is.

Today is day one of Candace's self-care project. Today's self care for me was painting my fingers while watching Mrs. Doubtfire.

P.S. Posting while trying to watch T.V. is a pain. Mostly because there is this commercial out right now for some stupid horror movie that keeps giving me nightmares, so every time is comes on I have to jump to change the channel. Grrr....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Scotland Burning

I dreamt last night that I was passionately in love with a faceless man. I woke up this morning and could not decide who he was.

I dreamt last night that I worked for the Pope. All day I have been deeply considering an administrative or directorial role in the Catholic Church. Some how that kind of ministry seems so right. Like working for Mark Carter only times 1 million.

Dreams often haunt my reality. This is partially why I watch movies in the morning, to avoid feeling all day the remnants and shadows of those powerful emotions that rack my soul through the night. I am amazed at my capacity to feel while sleeping, when all inhibitions are gone and there is no one to see my embarrassment. I love that. I want to live that.

Today I found out that my favorite coworker is "no longer with the company". My boss told me not to show so many of my emotions about the "transition" on my face and in my voice. I wanted to tell her punch herself in the face. (Really my brain had a much more forceful and explicit response to her suggestions, but I have been decidedly diligent about keeping this blog "family friendly"). I relayed to her that she has seen me through four "transitions" (transition means a coworker leaves the company and I am required to take over their job duties) in my 1.5 years with this company, and she knows that this is what I am like in times of change. I take my time adjusting, especially when I don't know what I am walking into. Her response? "You'll be fine."

Of course I will be fine. I excel at fine. However, I will not be untrue to myself by pretending I am not concerned. I understand that she is concerned about keeping a healthy office environment, as a full uprising in such a time of change would be no good for anyone. I can do my job, be professional, and excel at fine, and still be upset.

I choose to be upset. I choose to respond appropriately to the burning of Scotland, by screaming FIRE FIRE FIRE! and not watch my loved ones burn with a look of calm professionalism on my face.