Wednesday, December 14, 2011

like tomato soup on a rainy day.

There are days when I MISS THIS.

Monday, December 5, 2011

the big two five

It's my birthday tomorrow. Twenty-five years. Last year on my birthday I listened to Switchfoot's song "Twenty Four" over and over again. I'd been waiting to do that for a long time so I had to make it count. If you know of a song for twenty-five, you just let me know, it would be a shame to miss it.

A lot has happened in a year. I've graduated from college, lived with my parents for 2 months (parents are patient), gotten a full time job, moved to Seattle, learned to budget, and learned to run meetings. I've evaluated, pushed, prodded, and agonized over my faith and who God is to me, who God is at all, really. I've put Adventism, alcohol, Sabbath, friendships, expectations, and priorities under the microscope, trying to figure out what I think. It turns out I think a lot of things, but nothing really solid to report--yet.

I'm figuring it out though, I think. It's actually been quite the year, this year of twenty-fourdom. Letting go of a community you love and trying to introduce yourself into a new one is tough stuff. But you know, it's working out okay. I'm flexing and molding and recognizing that this process of growing up and figuring things out is exactly that--a process. And when I write my introspective, over-sharing blog on my 26th birthday I'll probably have wrapped a few thoughts up tight, and unravelled a whole new set of things to digest. I'll be wiser, hopefully, solider, hopefully, and skinnier, hopefully.

So here's to you, 25 years. Way to mix my life with just enough total crap and inexplicable joy to make me excited about the future, and yet wise enough to know it will never turn out the way I think.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I've been missing it today.

India, that is. Well, it's not India per se, it's the people. I miss the people and the feeling I had when I was with the people. You don't feel like that in the states. Not even close.

photo taken by: John Bohemsky

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

foreign and familiar

When I was in highschool I had this thing I would say. I'd say that, someday, I was going to move to Seattle and get season tickets to the Seahawks. I remember coming to Seattle on our annual "Seattle trips" and just staring out the window as we drove down the city streets in our huge blue bus, head cranked upwards, trying to see the tops of the buildings. I thought this city was magical--but never a place I would actually live.

Right now I'm sitting in a cute little coffee shop at the top of the hill in Queen Anne. This is my neighborhood now. My home. I live in the city and it's kind of strange--still. Everyone around me looks like they belong here, like it ain't no thang that they just rode public transportation to get to dinner, or that their dog just pooped and...look at that... they have a baggie. I still find myself staring a lot, wondering about their stories and if that piercing hurt. Yikes, I bet it did. Basically, I think I'm still in awe of it all. I think I didn't ever really believe that I would live in Seattle, and I almost don't believe it now. Not because it's some lovely, magical place, but because I pictured my life being a lot different than this. I'm not really sure what the picture looked like--but I think there was a husband, and maybe a dog, and I think I was in Walla Walla. Yuck. If I lived in Walla Walla right now I think my insides might be exploding, and I would probably be longing for a life like this.

So, here I am six years later, still smashing my forehead up against the window to look at the tops of buildings in a city where I live. I wonder if I'll lose this sense of awe someday. I wonder if my breath will always catch every time I come around that one bend where the skyline fills my windshield, or if I'll ever be one of those people running across that busy bridge, undaunted by the huge tons of metal flying past them. I guess I hope it's a mix. I hope I don't lose my wonder, but I also hope I feel more like this is my home someday. Southern's still got me...but Seattle is in it to win it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Friends, I have internet for about 15 minutes, which is just enough time to write a quick update on the life of Tara.

Lots of things have happened recently. Well, maybe not lots, but enough to feel like my life is significantly different than it was a month ago. I'd say the main thing that's happened that has trickled down into other changes is the fact that I moved a couple weeks ago. I'm now actually living IN Seattle, instead of the "Seattle area". This means lots of things... it means a new roommate and a new apartment. It means being close to friends I want to invest in and a community I want to be a part of. It means I'll go to church more and it means I'll start moving forward. It means that I live in Seattle, and I'm starting to accept that.

I joined a community group that's put on by the church I've been going to. We met tonight for the first time and I just feel really excited about it. I feel excited because I met new people who have depth and...well actually, I think I'm most excited that they're new. I mean, they're cool and I think I'll be friends with some of them--but for now I just like that they're new.

My commute to work is about an hour now--as opposed to the 17 minutes it took me before. This means I'm waking up at 6am. This means I am tired. But you know what this does not mean? It doesn't mean that I'm grumpy in the morning. I know you don't believe me, doubters, but I speak the truth. Just ask Katie...this morning I was singing Little Mermaid whilst putting on my makeup. That's right friends, I'm a new woman.

Oh darn. They're closing so I gotsta bounce. Someday Katie and I will get internet in our apartment and I'll write more on this thing. Until then... I guess there will be nothing on here, imagine that.

Monday, August 29, 2011

when the soles meet the sidewalk

[Two of the little ones at the blind school.
If you want to learn about love and joy, hang out with these kids.]

I went running tonight for the first time in months. Sheeew, that was some rough goin'. There were points where my body just did not want to move forward.

In response to a disheartened email, a wise friend once wrote that when he gets tired on long runs, it's usually just a matter of looking around him--of noticing the beauty of the things he's passing. "I notice the sore spots and the pinging spots and then I shake out my arms and keep running. I've always made it home."

We go through a lot of crap here on this earth, at least in my friend group we do. We lose people we love, we get our hearts busted, we lose jobs, or can't find them in the first place. Our parents are alcoholics, divorced, indifferent, or in loveless marriages. Our siblings can't get it together and, unfortunately, neither can we. We're insecure about our bodies, our intelligence, our future, and our faith. We can't find God in churches, in our parents religion, or in ourselves, so we read books and we discuss and we sift and we sort, until we land somewhere close to Him--we hope.

Tonight on my run I saw pink and orange clouds, a child picking flowers with his grandma, and the cutest little asian boy trying to hit a tennis ball like his daddy. I thought about my dear friends who listen to all my junk, and continue to ask about it because they know I'm a verbal processor. I thought about my parents and how they never get off the phone without telling me they love me--sometimes two or three times. And suddenly I was so grateful--in the midst of my lungs heaving and my legs aching--I was grateful for the ability to run at all.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

landed...but not here yet.

[Smiley and Nikkita: faculty kids. fast friends.]

I'm back and sitting here on my bed--bag still packed, legs still unshaved, India still coating my heart.

My watch says it's 1:25am there. All the kids are tucked in their beds, the bugs and bullfrogs are making strange noises, and the earth is breathing a sigh of relief for the few short hours of rest the sun is giving it. In about four hours the alarm will clang and they'll start to get ready for the new week of school--a new week without their American friends.

The goodbye was hard--oh it was hard. I don't know how it's possible to connect and attach to people so deeply in just two weeks, but somehow I manage to do it. There were hugs all over, teary faces, and promises of seeing each other again--soon. Sally told me that I was taking some of their hearts with me, and she was keeping some of mine here, so I have to come back, because then we'll all have whole hearts again.

I uploaded all the pictures from the trip and have been looking through them with a dull ache in my little heart. I know that Sally's right. I know that some of my heart is still there. It's with Nikkita and Smiley playing the hand slap game. It's at the Blind School, holding three hands on my right and four on my left and running down the sidewalk with giggling little girls. It's playing with the Sunrise Orphanage children at the river--heart so full and amazed at their beauty, but also so heavy because the word "orphan" just got really real. It's laughing with Sally about Jessi and I putting our Sari shirts on backwards. It's in our little guest house, with our humble team of six, laughing over meals and always, always, taking it one step too far. It's doing highs and lows in the evening and praying with hearts so wide open that God can't help but pour in. It's sitting at the evening program, with Angelee "seeing" me by playing with my hair and bracelet, listening to 160 children sing at the tops of their lungs, so out of tune that I feel like I can sing too. It's in the morning mist that hugs the awesomely shaped mountains, in the car with Varma trying to teach me Telugu, and in those last heartfelt goodbyes to my friends--who just two weeks ago were strangers.

Yes, India got me, just like I think we knew it would. I'm just not sure I was prepared for how hard it was going to hold on.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hello, India. Nice to meet you.

Well, we made it. Turns out that India is quite the distance from our little apartment in Seattle--over 24 hours of travel to be more accurate. Those flights were pretty long, but when you mix it with movies, Set, sleeping and music, it's not TOO bad.

Right now we're in Hyderabad and staying in this little hotel just off the airport. Nick and Ben came in a couple hours after us and are still sleeping in their little beds. We'll wake them up soon so they can eat some breakfast, and then we'll have worship before catching our flight to Vizak. From there we'll get picked up by an Asian Aid worker and visit the Slum School there in Vizak to assess what we'll need to do to take the the kids on a picnic later in the week.

I can't believe this is actually happening. I remember MONTHS ago when Jim (president of Asian Aid) and I had our first conversation about this potential opportunity. It was a conversation in passing, really. He mentioned that he'd love to do a summer camp program for the blind kids in India, and I mentioned that I had lots of friends with blind camp experience who had a heart for this kind of stuff. Nothing happened for awhile, but then a couple months after that plans started to happen, the team was made, and tickets were bought. Crazy.

Nick just came out. I haven't seen him since we parted ways in Seattle, but here we are on the other side of the world, embracing and talking animatedly about our traveling experiences. Apparently the Emirates flight was the bomb dot com. Good. I'm glad they had a good time.

Anyway, we're all up now so I'm going to go. It's going to be the first time the whole team is together. I love these guys and feel so blessed to be experiencing this with them.

If you want to continue to be updated about our trip you should follow our trip blog at: All six of us will be updating that one frequently.

Okay, bye friends! Keep us in your prayers if you think about it!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

for navya.

One week from today India is going to be calling my name--shouting it, actually. Me and five of my good friends will be on a plane, about to get our worlds rocked and our lives changed.

But before any of that happens, you've got to be ready for it. Ready in a lot of ways, but right now I'm talkin' about physically ready. Like, packed, planned and prepared. I am none of these things. I'm concerned that I won't be any of these things until the night before--and that will just not do. So today I decided to knock out one of the big things on my list.

One of the many things I'm excited about for this trip is meeting the little girl I sponsored through World Vision. EXCITING! Her name is Navya, she just turned six, she likes to jump rope, and she's adorable. ADORABLE. It's so crazy but I already feel so much love in my heart for her. I think about her often and really pray that she has food in her belly and laughter in her heart. I can't wait to meet her, I really can't.

So, one of the big things on my list was to make something for her--something meaningful that she could keep for a long time. Chris Clouzet and Emily Wilkens voted a backpack. So a backpack it is...

Our living room is a mess. A disaster, really. I'm surrounded by thread, pins, and fabric, and having a hard time motivating myself to clean it up. It turns out that little baby backpacks made with love take about six hours to make. Jessi was a good cheerleader all the way through, coming in clutch for the hard decisions, like fabric colors and strap length.

Tomorrow is going to be crazy--and then it will snowball from there, probably. From now on checking one thing a day off the list isn't going to cut it. Well, two things, I need a shower, and that's definitely happening tonight.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

it's of the essence.

Dear Time,

I don’t get you. I really don’t. You seem to be a little confused, if I’m being brutally honest, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to point out how you’re doing it wrong (people love that).

Now, don’t let this go to your head but I’ve been thinking about you a lot. And I think the problem is that you’re too empathetic. You want to feel the way that I’m feeling so you end up mirroring where I’m at instead of trying to balance things out. This is not necessary, dear Time.

You see, when I’m having fun, I need you to put your cape away. I know there’s something in you that makes you want to just soar when I’m having a good time—but I’m gonna need you to chill out in those moments—these are the times when I need you to drag your feet.

You know when I don’t need you to drag your feet? When I’m heartbroken. When I don’t get what God is doing. When it’s 3pm on a workday. When I have to pee and it’s 40 miles to the next gas station. Those are the times when I need you to do your make-days-seem-like-minutes bit.

I feel like I spend my life waiting for you to pull back curtains and show me what you’re up to—and you seem to drag that process out until I actually forget that I’m waiting for you. That’s your proudest moment isn’t it? When one day I wake up and realize that I don’t need you any more—I no longer yearn for you to heal and I no longer yearn for you to tell—because you’ve already done it with a subtlety only you can achieve.

So, I guess what I’m saying is… you’re unpredictable and I’m impatient…I'm trying to pin you down and you're trying to be illusive...and I wish that one of those variables were different. But, seeing as here on this earth we play by your rules, I guess it's me that needs to change, you stinker. So here's what I've decided--I’m going to trust that you know what you’re doing. After all, you have yet to let me down. So cheers to you, dear Time, that's quite the power you've got. Use it wisely will you?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

fight for your right to party

I have six or seven unpublished posts in my "edit posts" bin. There have been a lot of things I've wanted to write down, remember, get your reactions from, or vent about--but I always seem to get pulled away just as my body starts to sink into the hot tub of blissful writing mode.

That's kind of my life lately, really. I've had the wonderful privilege to have visitors for the past couple weeks--but that makes for a lot of fun and not a lot of down time. And this girl needs down time--especially lately.

We're going to India in about a month. Is that right? Oh man. One month. One month to buy tickets, get visas, order supplies, PLAN the trip, pack, do, a, bunch, of, other, random, things, and remember to breathe. There have been countless times during this process where I've had to REMIND myself who this is for and why it's all worth it. Because, MAN, it has been quite the journey.

The weather has been amazing for the last few days here in Seattle. And when lady Seattle chooses to drop her cloak of gloom and rain, you get to see her for what she really is--a sight to behold. Everything is lush and green, with white tipped mountains that stand proudly on each side like the Queen's guards --with Her Highness, Mt. Rainier, looking down at us with a powerful presence that I'll never be able to articulate.

I was complaining about never seeing this beauty because of the rain and one of my friends said, "Yeah but if you didn't have the rain this city wouldn't be half as beautiful."

It's the rain that does it. It's the rain that's going to make India sweeter, my pride take a bow, my heart grow stronger, and my communication get better. There's been a lot of stuff to deal with in these past months, but I'm coming to a place where that's okay. It's all part of the process and part of the growth--and if it's hard, that probably means there's something beautiful and good coming. That's the hope, anyway.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

really? really.

I woke up this morning with part of my eye sealed shut.

Wait a minute... I've had this before... dangit! ... do I have pink-eye again!?

I crawled out of my friend Lindsey's bed and made my way to the bathroom. Yup. There's the goop, there's the pink, there's the frustrated face of Tara. Wham bam, NO thank you ma'am, I have pink-eye.

For those of you who don't know, I had pink-eye TWICE in February. It was ridiculous, and frustrating, and all around inconvenient. So having it now, again, feels extra discouraging.

I think it's also discouraging because it's kind of the icing on the not-so-good-cake when it comes to these past two weeks. These past two weeks have been rough, to be honest.



I just want to feel like my life is making sense. I want to feel like it is full and good and on the right track. But when you add up worries of work, the heart, broken friendships, India, finances, insecurities, my lack of spirituality, and the ever constant feeling of just not quite being enough of what I'm 'supposed' to be being--somehow life loses its zest. And, frankly, I'm tired of not feeling zesty. I'm super tired of it.

Camp MiVoden and Wawona are starting up today. Many of my closest friends are gearing up for a summer filled with sun, children, laughing, and memories. I wish I was there with them. It's kind of lonely knowing that they're off the communication grid for a couple of months. Camp is a different world--and when you're in that world it's hard to make time to connect with people who aren't in it. And I think the anticipation of that has made me kind of bummed.

It's a funny thing, this working-woman life. You have to be really intentional about how you spend your time--and thus far I've kind of sucked at it. Eck. Actually, I don't really feel like writing about that. I've written enough about melancholy things for one post. Someday though I'm going to purge my brain of these thoughts I have on being in the "real world" as we call it--whatever that means.

Until then, it's time for more drops in this itchy eye of mine.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

like a polaroid picture.

I've been going to Zumba on Tuesday and Thursday nights for awhile now. It's an exercise class that let's you work it for all you're worth--gettin' those hips movin' and your inner woman out. I'm terrible at it. But I love it. After awhile you just stop caring and you just get your groove on, at least that's what the 50 and 60-year-old women are doing in my class.

Tonight there was a particular adorable little asian lady that I had the privilege of dancing next to. She had no rhythm or idea what was going on, but boy was she tryin'! Oooeeee how it made my heart just SOOOAARRR! She was just precious! Precious I say!

And there we were. Two people out of our comfort zone. Two people just tryin' to get in shape. Two people with our insecurities, separate brains, separate thoughts and worries--together for one hour shakin' it all out.

Shakin' it all out!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

mon tres bien ami.

When you've only got 12 hours together--you gotta make the most of it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

of utmost importance.

Friends. Here's what I would like. I would like to know what your favorite dessert is. I would mostly like to know this because there comes a time in everyone's life when this knowledge is necessary. It's necessary because it's your birthday, and you should be getting what you want. Now, I know a few things. I know that Nick likes pie and not cake, I know that Melissa hates chocolate, and I know that Anthony hates all things white and creamy. But, this is not enough. I must know more. If you don't like ANY desserty things, you can substitute your answer for a favorite dinner... OR...better yet, if you're feeling really decisive you could tell me both. Oh this is great. This is going to be great.

You should know that your answers are probably going to be put in a spread sheet and kept on file for the duration of our lives, ready at my finger tips for any birthday emergency. If, later on, you have changes you'd like to make, don't hesitate to let me know--but for now a simple, "cheesecake forever" or "funfetti cake has it all in the name" will suffice.

And in case you're wondering about MY favorite dessert or even if you weren't wondering, I will tell you. I don't really like cake. Especially chocolate cake. I would rather have pie any day. Fruit pies mostly. Banana cream pie very well may be my favorite, but apple and other goodies like that will do. But if there must be cake then funfetti is delicious.

Alright friends, educate me!

Friday, May 6, 2011

break the chains

I'm at a wedding in Tennessee this weekend. Well, technically Georgia. I get to be surrounded again by some of my nearest and dearest friends. The kind of friends that you can be in the car with and just sit in it. Sit in the friendship and sit in the silence--just completely content to be in each other's presence--listening to music, bobbing your head, staring out the window--doesn't matter, it's just an atmosphere of comfort.

There were a bunch of kids at the Rehearsal dinner tonight. They were everywhere, and my heart was just loving it. For you who have been around me the last year you know that I have become particularly ridiculous in this area. I don't know what happened, but ever since my niece was born something inside of me got switched on--and I am now a blubbering fool when children are around. I just want to play with them! I'm a sucker for peek-a-boo. I do it everywhere. Church, Walmart, Parking lots--no location will deter me. Children, you've got my heart!

I was thinking about this love I have for children tonight as I watched a mom wipe off the mouth of her little girl. The little girl pursed her lips and turned her head away, as if to say, "I don't care if my mouth is dirty." Another little blonde girl, pinked out, was shouting "Daddy look!" in the middle of some announcements. And then there was the rest of them, just running and playing and giggling, climbing over chairs and weaving in and out of adults. And as I watched all this happen I thought, kids are so free! They have no qualms about having a dirty face, saying when they need some attention, or running and jumping around just for the heck of it. They don't yet understand that it's embarrassing to go to the bathroom and find you've had something on your face for the whole day. They don't get that sometimes we don't vocalize what we need, and spontaneous running and jumping is, well, for kids. And I love that they don't get it! I love that they just flat don't care, or don't know that they should care.

So here's the goal--be more childish sometimes. Break the chains of self-conciousness and the overwhelming, always looming awareness that someone might not approve and just go for it--whatever it is at the moment. Eat a melted snickers without wiping your face, DANCE-JOG down the street, twirl with your arms out and face to the sky until you fall over, pee your pants, whatever. It's a little more childish, a little less chained, and a little more free. And frankly, that just sounds real nice.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

6 hours and 2 achy legs later.

Today was a very successful day. It was a success on so many levels--but mainly it all rolls up into one big success--which is that I am still in a good mood after this whole day is over.

You see, Jessi and I have been dreading this day for quite some time now. We had strategized and communicated and over communicated about the plan and how we wanted to approach things--until it was finally time to put everything into action.

It was time to go bridesmaid dress shopping.

Now, you should know that I strongly dislike shopping. No, that's not true. I like shopping for about 40 minutes and 2 stores--but after that I'm done. After that I'm Crankster McGee. Also, I hate malls. They make me feel so... consumery. It's like materialism threw up everywhere. So, you can see why Jessi and I were both dreading this. I was dreading it because shopping is not my friend and it was added with the pressure of getting an affordable, cute, feel good, matches the criteria, bridesmaid dress. Jessi was dreading it because she had to help me do that.

But let me tell you, Jessi was a champ. A shopping marathon shopping for yourself is hard enough, but she was shopping for me. I'm so grateful she did though because I'm quite certain I could not have done that without her. I am now a proud owner of TWO bridesmaid dresses. That's right. Two. One for the actual wedding and one for the reception. Just kidding... but wouldn't that be funny? I DO have two though--the loser dress gets taken back eventually.

Anyway, my point to all this is that today was a very special day. Today I shopped for 6 hours, tried on multiple dresses in multiple stores, and--most importantly--stayed in a good mood the entire time. Well, maybe MOST importantly is that I actually have a bridesmaid dress, huh? Today is also special because I, for the first time ever, dropped my shoe in a flushing toilet. Don't you wish that that's what this blog was about?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

well this is wonderful.

PHOTO: Jerrod and Jifer are engaged!
I swiped this from Facebook. Suckers.

Jessi and I went out to eat with Jerrod and Jifer tonight. They flew into Seattle to visit Jifer's brother, and then they head off to Yakima--but we got to see them first!

And let me just say this--it was wonderful. Oh MAN it was wonderful. They're just one of those couples that fills you up with laughter and warmness--leaving you with hurting cheeks and a lighter heart. I'm serious. I was flying high with joy for a good half hour after we dropped them off. I don't know exactly what it was about that visit, but I haven't laughed that hard or felt that much warmth in my heart for awhile now.

I just love it when you can tell, you know? When you can tell that this is right and they are the ones who can make each other more happy than anyone else in the world. They are just so dang happy! And I love it! I love what I see Jifer doing in Jerrod and Jerrod doing in Jifer. They just refine each other and compliment each other and make each other into absolutely more whole people. And that's how it's supposed to be--two good people coming together to make an even BETTER person.

Someday, I want that. I want people to leave my husband and I with hurting cheeks and full hearts. I want them to feel uplifted, cared for, and like they have just experienced something raw and good. I want them to feel free to be themselves when they're with us, cause we're sure as hell going to be ourselves. And I want us to be solid. Oh man do I want us to be solid. I want to be a couple with wisdom to share, but a transparency that says, "Sometimes we suck at it too." This is what I want--someday.

In the mean time I'll just be so happy for people that are having their turn at it. Jifer and Jerrod are one such couple--and hot DANG am I happy for them!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

cuatro de mayo

Seattle's forecast this week:

Collegedale's forecast this week:

Hello sun, friends, shorts and laughter. It will be good to see you all again--SO SOON!

Monday, April 18, 2011

mind over matter.

Every morning I come to my cubicle, start my computer, grab my licorice tea, and head for the coffee station. I refuse to get addicted to coffee in this job--but MAN I can see how people do. On those mornings when you really didn't want to wake up, and you really didn't want to take a shower, and you really didn't want to drive in to work, you just gotta have something that says "Yes, I can move forward with this day." So, that's what my tea does. And I've recently noticed that each tea bag comes with a nice little saying on its tag. Today it tells me that "I am beautiful, I am bountiful, I am blissful." I'm not exactly sure what it feels like to be bountiful, but apparently I am that, today.

My favorite phrase, thus far, was one that gave me a nice little nugget to reflect on for the day. It said, "May your mind learn to love with compassion." May your MIND learn to love...

I'm not good at that. My MIND isn't good at that. From where I'm standing in my own shoes, YOUR shoes don't look battered enough to pardon you from your behavior, actions or short comings. But then I look down and realize that my shoe laces are untied and they smell like I have been running in them for years with no socks (ahem, emily), and I STILL have no excuse. My point is, I'm not good at being compassionate when I think that people know better or should be DOING better--and that's just not the right way to look at things. I get MIND compassion every day from Jessi, and my boss, and my coworkers, and my friends that I don't communicate with, and the people that I am SO BLUNT to--and so why shouldn't I be giving my compassion away more freely?

"May your MIND learn to love with compassion."

Why thank you, Yogi tea, I appreciate the encouragement. I hope it does too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

i just want to start documenting more

I went to Yakima to visit my family after work on Friday. It was a short trip--less than 24 hours--but so needed. My niece is growing up so fast. Her hands are bigger and she jabbers all the time. Instead of "auntie" I am "daudie" and instead of "yeehaw!" she yells "hawyee!". And I love it.

You know what's beautiful about children? They make people smile a lot. There were times when we'd just sit and watch her dance around and laugh at herself--and we'd all just be smiling from ear to ear. We need that, you know. Life is hard and heavy and full of the unexpected (which should be expected by now, I suppose) and sometimes we just freaking need to smile and love the face of innocence.

I got pulled over on my way out of Yakima yesterday. I saw the lights as I hung up my phone. Busted. I have always joked that I'd believe that the "no cell phones while driving law" is a law when I actually got pulled over for it--well, turns out it's actually a law. The nice man told me that I was going 15 over and, did I know that I can't talk on the phone while driving? Yes, yes I did [insert lots of humility and apologizing]. After taking my information he came back and told me that my driving record was good and that he wasn't going to mess it up today, and then proceeded to give me a nice fatherly warning about the wrongs I had done and why I should no longer do them.

I drove away feeling overwhelmed with the grace. It's funny because it really did affect me. I was just so grateful. And you know what? I had been planning on catching up with friends the whole 2 hour drive home, but I didn't at all because, well, he had told me not to. I'm not sure what I would have done if he had given me a ticket. I might have actually talked on the phone, as funny as that sounds.

I've been pulled over 5 times in my life and only gotten a ticket once. I was in Oregon. Stupid Oregon. But don't worry, I got mine. Last night I got a parking ticket from a really grumpy woman who wouldn't just let me move my car. "You can move your car after I give you a ticket," she said as she began writing. She was pretty pissed--about life in general, I think. But, it's ok, I knew what I was doing when I parked--and sometimes you learn lessons the suckier way. And now I am $42 wiser.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

do you remember?

i love the stage these pictures are in. they're in the phase where the memories aren't too distant--but they're distant enough to make you have to dig back in your piggy bank of fond memories and get all warm and nostalgic. the beauty is that we're still in it--in it to win it--and we've picked up more passengers along the way.

sheeeew. friendships are a blessed thing.

our FIRST saturday night in D8.
the story of what schnell and i thought of each other at this point is pretty funny.

look how pretty ben is!

you think chris is creative with sleeping positions in the apartment?
try a road trip in a van.

i don't think this picture even needs a caption.

Anthony would grace us with his wonderful presence every once in awhile.
he was the "lava" instigator. it was awesome.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

this one's for me

"An elevated mood can only come out of an elevated habit of personal character. If in the externals of your life you live up to the highest you know, God will continually say--"Friend, go up higher." The golden rule in temptation is--Go higher."

-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

a smattering, if you will

Today, we win.

Jessi and I turned in our applications for an apartment last week and TODAY I got a call telling us that we got it!! This was a cause for joyous dancing in my cube and high fives all around. Oh man, we are READY to start this grownup thing. Living with the Blasers has been a huge blessing and we LOVE them, but it's time for us to have our own space and start to feel like we're making our own way. And, just in case you were curious, we will be making our own way in a pretty sweet location. Our apartment is a walk away from the marina, the grocery store, the library, a hole in the wall thai place and 3 retirement homes (Jessi and I are going to scope out the Bingo playing options). Now, here's the downside--a side that Jessi and I have decided to view optimistically, but others seem to think we're crazy--apparently our apartment has a 20% approval rating (we saw this AFTER we turned in our applications). And I'm almost certain that that 20% came from the managers writing nice things about the apartment with an alias name. BUT, as Jessi's boss pointed out, nobody goes on those websites to write nice things--they only go on there if they want to complain. Now, don't freak out, but I will tell you that the words "black mold" and "sucky management" were used quite a bit. But, mold schmold, you know what I'm sayin? This apartment has been renovated and is the biggest, nicest, cheapest, best locationest place we found. So there, respiratory system. Take that.

So I think we're going to be moving in next weekend. The parents will come and help us get situated. My dad has vowed to buy me a nice silverware set--he's very concerned about it. "You can't have forks that bend," he says. I love him.

Work was good today. I am getting it and being helpful and being encouraged and that equals a pretty dang good day. Man, working life is interesting. I have thoughts on that but I'll reserve them for when I'm in a more melancholy mood. But right now I want to tell you that what Jessi and I have on the docket for tonight is to make grilled cheese sandwiches and watch West Wing and then go to bed early. Doesn't that sound lovely?

Jessi and I are real funny together, I'd say. We are basically married. We pack our lunch together for work--we actually eat all our meals together, now that I think about it. We share a room, a closet, a car, a bed, the building we work in, our hearts, our worries, our support and lots of laughs. People have warned us that we need to be careful--friendships are ruined this way. We know this. And we're not under any illusion that it's going to be great all the time--but we're communicators and we're dedicated to loving one another and maintaining this beautiful friendship we've built--so don't you worry.

Last weekend we babysat my boss's kids so he and his wife could have a date night. They were so precious. So, so precious. Ah! Kids! They make my heart so happy!

Friends, today life is good--and, man, it feels good to say that.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

close to distance

Surprise us with love at daybreak;
then we'll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
we've seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you're best at—
the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
confirming the work that we do.
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Psalm 14-17 MSG

Saturday, March 5, 2011

shopping for steeples

Jessi and I have been "church shopping" for the past three weeks. Today we went to the Puyallup SDA church. We had heard whisperings of a thriving Adventist young adult group. So that's where they all are! So we went and made jokes about meeting our future husbands and friends--we made fun of that thought while meticulously putting on our makeup.

When we got there the greeters did their greeter thing, and it eventually came out that we were church shopping and visitors. Oooh man did they like that! We instantly were given a little form to fill out and one of them darted off to find Mr. Young Adult. Mr. Young Adult's name is Brian, and he seems nice, but unique. They invited us to lunch AND to games tonight. We weaseled from the commitment--graciously, mind you. Commitment in new places is scary. We're not sure if we're ready for that yet.

Jessi and I decided that it's like dating. Lunch and games is dinner... we need coffee. Coffee has a built in exit strategy, a safety net, if you will. So we have a coffee date next Friday night (maybe). They have a Bible study at Brian's house every Friday evening. This is what we've decided to attend. So, we shall see. Maybe this is the place God is nudging us, maybe not. We both really want to become part of a church family. A place where people notice if you're missing and families invite you over for lunch and you get to play with their adorable little kids.


That sounds really nice.

On another note, today happened to be Pathfinder church. Jessi and I stifled giggles pretty much throughout the whole thing. It was epically awkward and contrived and cute. We even got to sing to a soundtrack once while the guitar player sang off key. At one point Jessi reached over and grabbed my arm because it was so awkward. It was wonderful.

Friday, February 25, 2011

hugging sideways

Last week I gave a short presentation at Auburn church about the crisis center I went to last year in Peru. The crisis center is for girls who have been physically and sexually abused. Their ages range from about 11-24. I get achy every time I think about them. But it's a hopeful achy, mind you.

After Bruce and I were done talking, a woman came walking towards us. She had one of those carts that helps you walk, but also helps you keep all your earthly possessions together. Though disheveled, you could tell she had taken time to look nice this Sabbath morning. She had glitter all in her hair with plastic butterfly clips keeping the long grey locks piled on her head.

When she came closer I could see tears pooling at the bottom of her beautiful blue eyes... and then she began to share. You see, her dad was an awful man. When we talk about the sexual and physical abuse these girls went through, she gets it. All her life she was told she was stupid--that she'd never be anything better than a whore. And so he took from her. He took everything he could. Stripped her clothes, her dignity, her self-esteem, and her chances of living a normal life. She has multiple personalities now, and no one will hire her. Because, you see, her dad was an awful, awful man.

In the middle of her story she began to cry and Bruce moved to hug her--she swiveled and put out one arm. "You'll notice that I hugged you sideways. I still can't hug anyone straight on. I just can't do it," she said.

I left church that day feeling heavy. I kept thinking about that swivel--replaying it in my mind. There's so much fear attached to that motion. Fear of being vulnerable, open and embraced straight on with your heart smashing up against someone else's chest.

And I hate it. I hate that at some point that becomes instinctual. You start to shield, you know?

I've been hugging sideways so much lately, and I see other people doing it too. We're all swiveling and twisting and protecting and distancing--because we're hurt and broken and scared and so tired of getting let down. And honestly, sometimes throwing your arms wide open and leaving your heart exposed is just too dang vulnerable.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

belly buttons and brain waves

My eyes are droopy and I'm about to get ready for bed. It was a full day of work--and I mean full in all senses of the word. So tonight I took it easy and just enjoyed the fact that I'm free to do what I please. Free to read by the fire until I accidentally doze off, play around on the guitar and Skype with friends.

I've been reading a book called Traveling Mercies by Ann Lamott. My appreciation for the book, who she is and the way she views her faith grows with every word. Tonight was an exceptional night of reading. She had lots of little gems of insight that I made a point to underline in the book and take note of in my brain. She's so raw. I don't know how else to explain the way she writes--but I really like it. Tonight she talked about how belly buttons stink, and I thought that was funny and uncomfortable and real--and I think that's perfect.

Tonight she said something that I loved thinking about, and am going to love thinking about it for much longer. She said:

"Again and again I tell God I need help, and God says, 'Well, isn't that fabulous? Because I need some help too. So you go get that old woman over there some water, and I'll figure out what we're going to do about your stuff."

And so we're all in this together--just like God wants. We're falling and reaching for help with our left hand while our right is pulling someone else to their feet.

I need a shoulder.
You need a hand.
She needs a car.
He needs a check.

So tomorrow what I am going to try to do is remember that I'm trying to help God answer prayers, and while He's helping me by working through other people, maybe I can be worked through too. A tool for God, if you will. What a concept. Now if I could just remember and apply all the other things I was taught in Sabbath school...

Monday, February 14, 2011


On the way here I shared a portion of my trip with a retired car salesman named Dave. How he got in my car is a bit of a story--but it's safe and makes sense, so don't worry.

Dave is 74 years old, swears like it's nothin, and calls me 'hun' when he gives me directions. He is precious. He is a grandfather of six and a great grandfather of two ("little tots", he calls them). I was like the riddler for that treasured half hour--asking all the questions I could think of--straining every last drop of wisdom and life experience into my brain before he left. Dave isn't much of a story teller, turns out, but he was kind enough to humor my curiosity.

When he told me that he has been married to his wife for 54 years I immediately put my hand on his shoulder and was like, "Dave, that's awesome!". It's funny that this was my response. He seemed pretty tickled by it though, like I had reminded him that he was a marriage champion. When I asked about the secret to his marathon marriage he just said, "Back in those days you thought you were getting married for life."

Ah, right.


I start my job tomorrow. It's the beginning of a new phase and I have a feeling that the anticipation isn't going to let me sleep very much tonight. But the drive over was really good, and I think tomorrow will be too. And the next day will be awesome because JESSI TURNER is gracing me with her ever-loving presence. Ooooohhh man. Here we go!

beyond reason

I learned some ugly things about my family's past today. The kind of crap that makes you realize how broken people are, and how we are the ones doing it to each other.

This stuff happened years and years ago (WAY before I was born), but lives are still being altered by the mistakes. And as I sat there listening to this mess of brokenness, I thought to myself,

Man, this place sucks.

And just when you think it can't possibly suck any more there's another divorce, another broken heart, another person dying of cancer, another rape victim, another suicide--another, another, another. And it makes me want to curl into a ball, and it makes me want to scream, and it makes me want to close off whatever valve it is that is pouring empathy into my veins.

But here's the thought that has been creeping into my consciousness as the day has gone on--the thought I will choose to focus on as I get into my over-packed car and move to Seattle tomorrow:

There is still love happening. Still!

In this mess of broken trust, broken hearts and broken people there's still this magical thing going on--this thing deep in our gut that tells us that hugging someone with tears streaming down their face is the right thing to do, that combining resources to furnish a poor family's entire apartment is worth it, and that taking hours to listen to someone else's woes--when you have your own junk to deal with--is a natural response.

And I love this. I love that among all this wretched, complicated mess, people are still smiling at each other and holding doors open and giving back wallets.

You know what? The more I think about it the more I think it's a miracle. The fact that there is any trace of love in the world at all is an absolute miracle. And that, my friends, is something that I would like to thank GOD for. Yes. This has God written all over it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I was never very good at being me when I was a kid. I always had older friends who seemed to know what they wanted, and so their wants became my wants, and their likes my likes. I was a follower--but I hated every minute of it.

I remember one day, after our Unicorn Club meeting had been adjourned (I realize after typing this that I've never told any of you about my Unicorn Club days. But, that's right, yours truly was the secretary in The Unicorn Club. Think Babysitters Club, but without the babysitting--or any sort of purpose at all--except that our president liked being president and telling us what to do. I distinctly remember a unicorn journal, and we may or may not have put our index finger on our foreheads to greet each other...), we were all laying belly down on president April's bed looking at a magazine. Our knobby knees were bent up with our feet crossing and uncrossing behind us--our chins getting red marks from resting them on the palms of our hands. Jessica had brought the magazine over from her mom's house. It was a fashion magazine filled with beautiful ensembles and beautiful women.

It was always a treat whenever we got our hands on one of these magazines. We would flip through each page and examine each outfit carefully, commenting on which ones we liked best. Eventually this evolved into a sort of game. Everyone would have to choose which outfit they liked on each page--I hated it. I hated it because I wanted to be like everyone else, and making a decision on my own seemed like death to me. So I would sit there and be the very last to choose. I would pretend that I couldn't make up my mind, and always ended up choosing an outfit that at least one other girl had deemed acceptable. There were even times when someone would go to point and I knew where they were pointing and I would shoot my hand out from under my chin and say, "I like that one", just as the girl's finger would point to the same one. We would laugh and say "Great minds think alike"--conforming minds think alike too.

I've grown a lot since then. I now have a style that I like and my own (strong) opinions. I hate that the words "green" and "organic" are being used everywhere and that I, also, happen to really like the words and what they signify. I think guys with nice cars are not as attractive as guys with normal ones, and the rise of technology is legitimately starting to concern me. But I still feel like there are parts of me that aren't solid yet. I'm still floundering a bit with this "Who am I and what do I believe?" question. You would think at 24 that this would be mostly solved--but then I look at people my parents age and I think, "MAN, this is a process."

I'm excited about this next phase. I think I'll be growing into my own in that big city of Seattle. I'll be pushed and pulled and prodded and punched (hey, it's a sketchy city), and I'll come out more ME than I've ever been. I wrote a really introspective email to a friend when I was in Seattle last week. It was an emptying of the brain email and there was a portion that went like this:

"But, who will I become here? What will I hold dear and true and what will I throw out? I hope that everything I throw out is on purpose. I hope that it is a PURPOSEFUL throw--and not just a tossing of inconveniences. I hope that I become more ME in this next phase. The ME that I want--not the ME that just develops without hard work and sweat and tears. I want the ME that I choose. Intentional Me."

And that's what I want. I want to be INTENTIONAL in this next phase. I've got work on myself to do, well, God has work on me to do, really. I think I have a long ways to go before I become a force to be reckoned with for God's purposes (ultimate goal)--but I think that I'm on my way. I think that God is really leading, and I'm really loving following, for once.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

preach it, mumford.

in these bodies we will live
in these bodies we will die
where you invest your love
you invest your life

-mumford and sons

Friday, February 4, 2011

stirred, not shaken.

I climbed in bed at 8pm tonight. I wanted to read and I wanted to sleep--and bed seemed like the most logical place to do those things. Lights were out at 9, texts came in at 9:30 and 10:45, and eyes flew open at 11:30. Well this isn't happening--blog writing it is.

I got a job with World Vision yesterday. I guess I've been working towards this for 18 years now--so it's nice that this whole education thing actually works. People have asked me if I'm excited, and you know what, I am--mostly. But exclamation points quickly turned into question marks as I realized that I don't have a car, and I don't have a place to live, and I start work in 11 days. I don't mean to sound like I'm not grateful. I'm totally grateful. I love that I have a job with an organization I BELIEVE in. I love that it's in a beautiful area and that I'm just a few hours from friends and family. I love that I'm going to be an adult now. A real live one with a budget and work clothes and a stool that I'll prop my feet on when I get home. I get to say things like, "Let's get dinner after work" and "I have a meeting at 10, but after that I'm free." (I'm going to be honest and say that there are parts of this concept that do NOT excite me. For obvious reasons--at least I think they're obvious).

When I was visiting Seattle this past weekend I would try to picture myself there--going to church, picking out favorite restaurants, planning exercise routes. I wondered who my close friends might be and how I would spend my time (Jessi, you were very present in all these thoughts). There are parts about moving there that scare me, honestly. The community base is small and Adventist community--smaller. But I have dreams--DREAMS of how I want it to be and who I want to come out as. I'm so aware that this will be a shaping year, and I just hope that I shape right.

Sheeeeeew. God, help me shape right.

sole tree

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I drove from Yakima to Seattle today. The sun wasn't ready to do its job yet, so the fog was extending its stay, morphing me into a melancholy mood. I sat in silence for a lot of the time, thinking my thoughts--letting them crash into each other and take their turns--dealing with each one as it came. A few were more persistent than the others, demanding more of my attention. These ones put on quite the production, with props, different characters and alternate endings. I don't like alternate endings. Just let it be what it is.

The drive is beautiful, though. A snowy mountain pass equals awed eyes and lifted spirits. At one point I was drivin' too high for the fog to touch me--I could see it down there in the valleys--merking up people's vision. But up HERE I could see clearly. I was moving forward with clarity and purpose and EXCITEMENT--and when you get that high a car is too constricting. You just HAVE to roll down the window, SHOVE your whole arm out and SING at the top of your lungs. "...This is the sun, these are your lungs. This is the day you were born..." (good ol' Switchfoot has been stuck in my head for at least 3 weeks now).

I have my final interview with World Vision in about an hour. I don't feel nervous, surprisingly. I feel...what do I feel?... I feel anxious? Is that the same as nervous? Maybe. Maybe I'm just masking it under a different name because I want to seem tough and in control. Some cards I hold tight to my chest, only letting MYSELF peak every once in awhile. The hard thing is when you have friends that know you're bluffing.

Well, whatever happens, it's ok. There are plans in place. I know it. God has worked too hard to get me where I am to just abandon me now. Good thing, huh?

Monday, January 24, 2011

this phase

I have a phone interview with World Vision tomorrow at 11am (2pm EST). I'm nervous (So I feel you Jones, and Graves, and Nick, and Jessi...oh man THIS PHASE!). Prayers, thoughts, well-wishes, crossed fingers, chants, limericks, haikus--or however it is you choose to support your friends--are welcome at this point. Maybe just put us all in a clump when you do it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

it's like, ah.

I couldn't sleep last night. My legs were restless--really, really restless. I've had pink eye and blue thoughts, and that equals a homebody, and a homebody equals not much activity, and not much activity equals unhappy legs. They were aching to move--pushing from the inside out--all the way down to my toes. So I ran--inside my bed.

Swish swish swish swish swish. Right in between those sheets. (That's about the time my cat growled and jumped off my bed.)

There, is that better legs?

No? Alright then--Eat, Pray, Love it is.

I did lots of sit-ups last night. Not because that's what I do when I can't sleep (I wish) but because I needed to UNDERLINE. This Liz Gilbert, man, she is sayin' some good freakin' stuff. I would be reading and then WHAM, exactly! So I'd shoot up and underline. Then I'd lay back down. Then I'd shoot up and underline. Then lay back down. (My cat was pretty irritated with me at this point.)

So here are some things that my good friend Liz said last night. Don't skim. They're worth reading.

"People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it...It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."

"The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people."

I LOVE this last one. Get out of the WAY self! MOVE OVER. We've got people to serve and no time for your (my) misery.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fun Fact-oids

Did I say fun? That's definitely not what I meant. Factoids though. Factoids are what I have.

Here's a little factoid for you that I didn't know before tonight--I was in daycare when I was a kid. Yup, didn't know that. I was probably like those kids in Toy Story 3, dismantling bodies and salivating on anything plastic. And you know what else I didn't know? When I came home from daycare one day I had SCABIES. That's right. Scabies. My brother had it too. Then my dad had it. Then my mom had it. Our family had SCABIES. (scabies rabies babies)

I had lice when I was a kid too. Do you know how to get rid of lice on someone with hair like mine? My mom does. Yes, my mom knows very well.

And you know what else? When I was in sixth grade I had a skin rash called impetigo. Don't google-image it. I did on accident recently--it took me forever to find the exit button, because I couldn't look at the screen.

And currently, I have pink eye. Still, you say? Not still. AGAIN. The other eye has decided to take up the pink-ish hue.

I found out some of these things at dinner tonight. On the way home, I was venting to Jess and being all dramatic about me having SCABIES and being in daycare and all the other gross things that have happened to me. She laughed and called me a "festering wound." Gross.

Gross. Gross. Gross.

And so there are some things, friends, that you didn't know about your pal Tara. Aren't you glad that I wrote it out in a blog for you?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

i should be sleeping

I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love since I've been in Walla Walla. I underline a lot in books. I got teased recently because, really, if I underline everything, I'm never going to be able to go back and find the things that are most significant. But everything she says is so good to me right now. Some of the quotes just hit me straight on. Quotes like this:

"There's a reason they call God a presence-because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find him, and now is the only time."

I don't know what's happening with my future. I don't know where I'm going to work, who I'm going to marry, if I'm even going to get married, or if I'll always be scared of the bathroom. And so sometimes the thought of my future is disconcerting. I get this overwhelming feeling of 'I-don't-know-what's-going-to-happen-and-I'm-scared-that whatever-does-happen-isn't-going-to-be-as-good-as-I've-dreamed-it.' I spend a lot of time (confession alert) thinking and talking about these things with my friends, especially the girls. We love dreaming and giggling and scheming about how our families will go on trips together, and the men we marry will all be great friends, and wouldn't it be great if we all lived in the same neighborhood? I spend so much time talking about the future that I forget that God is trying to do stuff with me now. If I focus on God right now, then I think it's safe to say that I'm going to be ok with how the next 70 years play out.

"Faith is a way of saying, 'Yes, I pre-accept the terms of the universe and I embrace in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding."

I don't understand how God works. I understand the cliche things we say about how God works, but sometimes I don't know if that's how it is, or if that's just how we've always said it is. Either way, I think that I'm starting to really love God again. Actually, let me rephrase, I think I'm starting to remember how much God loves me, which makes me have this supernatural warmth in my heart for God. I've got questions about our theology, the way prayer works, why there's so much crap in the world, but I've decided that what I need first--before I can answer any of those questions--is to just know Him. How am I going to get answers if I'm not even close enough to hear what He has to say?

I get overwhelmed with this longing sometimes. I can just see how different my life can be with God--and then my heart starts to beat faster--and I can feel life start to grow.

"I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my blood stream the way sunlight amuses itself on the water."

Me too, Liz Gilbert, me too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

externally internal

I realize that it's a little vain to have a picture of myself like this on my blog. BUT the significance of what you see up there is--significant. When I made my hair cut appointment I didn't have this in mind. No bangs. No crazy layers. Nothing DRASTIC.

But something happened inside of me today while driving between Yakima and Walla Walla. I talked to God. And it was good. Do you know what talking to God and just being painfully honest does to your soul? You probably do. You've probably done it much more than me. But after I just BARED IT ALL I felt so FREE. And READY. And STRONG.

And so I thought, why the heck not? Why not embrace something different and new? The reactions were funny. I think it would be fair to say that mostly people were just shocked. Nothing negative, or even positive. Just shocked. Comments like, "I don't even know who you are!" and "Where did your curly hair go!?" were shouted. And the best one. The very best one. Was when my dad walked into the house and INTRODUCED himself to me. He thought I was one of my friends! Oh man. That was wonderful.

But my point here is... the haircut isn't why I feel like a different person today. It is helping, to be sure, but it's not what did me in. I think it was God. I think that something has finally clicked and I'm finally ready.

I'm finally ready to work really hard. Really hard on life. I'm ready to use this transition period as a real period in life--not some flowy, jell-o-y, murky bog of... not life. I've been blessed with this free chunk of time and I have JUST now realized it.

Anthony says that you can always tell that a girl is going through something if she does something drastic to her hair. Well hot dang, I guess he's right.