October 21, 2009

Not Feelin' It

So I'm tired of looking at my own blog. One thing I forgot is that when you finally "launch" your blog, you have to then keep it updated. Which can be such a drag. And now instead of resenting the fact that I don't have a blog, I am resenting the fact that I never UPDATE my blog.

I feel like I might have fought off a cold in my sleep. Only that my immune system didn't escape clean, and now that one little section of the pipe that connects your nose to the back of your throat - that pipe? It's kinda scratchy. I did my Neti Pot. I blended up half a bottle of Vitamin C and poured it into my coffee.

I am still home, but I am officially in Job Search Mode, for the record (Dustan). One thing that's happened to me while I am home is that I am TOTALLY ADDICTED to a children's game made by Windows Vista, and I'm embarrassed to admit it. (But not so embarrassed that I won't, in fact, admit it). It's called Purble Place, and it's a big fat game of virtual memory and if you have XP or Vista, you've got it.

Don't say I didn't warn you. This game will make you crave cake. Big frosted cakes.

October 14, 2009

Stories That Stick

Once when I was in college, while I was supposed to be writing a paper about T.S. Eliot, I found a blog accidentally. I'm pretty sure it was less of an accident and more like a heist, in which my web browser clambered over top of Microsoft Word and kicked it in the kidneys and was like 'Look how she articulates!' and I've been following ever since.

Then a really cool thing happened. I got to watch the story of Kate's life unfold like a movie - except it's real life. She went through good things, bad things and finally, after her readers Googled 'skywriting' and decided it was reasonably affordable, they pooled their money so that Kate would look up and read: GET IT PUBLISHED. So she gave in and wrote a book. Apparently it's a slobbery mess of vocabulary words and scabs, and you might not understand it, but if you want to win your own copy, just answer the following questions for yourself. You know you love to voice your own memories and opinions as much as the rest of us!

1) You are facing an epic journey. You may choose one companion, one tool and one vehicle from any book or film to accompany you. Or just one of the three. It's up to you. What do you choose?

I choose Strider as my companion. We’ll use his horse as a vehicle and that elf necklace that Arwen gave him as our tool. Even though I am pretending to be Arwen on this epic journey.

2) You can escape to the insides of any book. Where do you go, and why?

Prince Edward Island. I want to eat bread budding from Marilla Cuthbert’s table.

3) You can bring one literary character into your current life. Who do you choose, and why?

Pippi Longstocking. I would love to skate on soapsuds in my kitchen, but I need encouraging. If Amelia Bedelia joined us, even better.

4) Gone With the Wind is my go-to book. I could read that book fifty-seven times in a row without a break for food or a pee and not be remotely bored. In fact I’ve already done that but it wasn’t fifty-seven times. It was sixty-four.

5) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most enviable?

Is it legal to have 3 answers for this one?

Reese Witherspoon’s character in A Far Off Place. Not only because we had the same hair, but also because she traipsed across a desert in Botswana and at the end of the movie, a guy gave her a bird in a cage. The same guy was later cast as her childhood friend in Sweet Home Alabama, and by then, he was gay.

I was also infatuated with Claire and Leo in Romeo and Juliet. If I had wings I’d have worn them to middle school. This film poked Shakespeare in the side and roused him to life for me.

And for those who knew and loved Sweet Valley Twins, I got two words y’all…Jessica Wakefield.

6) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most frightening?

The one-armed man in The Fugitive. It wasn’t so much his Cuban Mafia look as it was the whole concept of prosthetics. Completely freaked me out.

7) Every time I read any part of the Bible I see something in it that I haven’t seen before.

8) It is imperative that Peace Like A River be made into a movie. Now. I am already picketing Hollywood for this—but if they cast Dakota Fanning as Swede, I will not be happy. I will, however, be appeased if they cast a no-name on the rise.

9) Frog and Toad Together is a book that should never be made into a film. (The illustration would be lost in animation).

10) After all these years, the scene in The Man From Snowy River where Jessica wakes up on the side of a cliff in New Zealand still manages to give me the queebs.

11) After all these years, the kissing scene between Eric Stoltz and Watts in the book/movie Some Kind of Wonderful still manages to give me a thrill.

12) If I could corner the author(s) Jan and Stan Berenstain here’s what I’d say to them in one minute or less about their book(s) series The Berenstain Bears: If Mama and Papa Bear had decided to give Brother and Sister Bear a sibling…what would you guys have named it?

13) The coolest non-fiction book I’ve ever read is The Sacred Romance. Every time I flip through it, it makes me want to take a dive into the deep blue that disguised itself in childhood but started to show its face when God interrupted me years later.

October 5, 2009

Why Wisconsin?

So way back in the day, in land far away, I did this internship in Texas. Texas is made out of red dirt and it's heat is hotter than a thousand hells. There, the heat comes down from above and in from the sides and it kind of wafts up from the ground. An inescapable heat, way harsher than Africa. Dawn might challenge me on this. Anyway. At this internship I learned a lot about God, and people who follow God. I met amazing people who would end up shaping my world. I was also introduced to Belgian waffles. A bunch of us interns trained for and hiked Pike's Peak, but long after that mountain I was still eating waffles. It caught up with me. In some circles that internship is now known for a graceless militancy and apparently some people went there and got pushed down hills and had to get therapy because they came out feeling bullied. All I know is, my internship was awesome. I never got pushed down a hill, but if had, I still would've been paying a lot of money for it.

The friends God ended up rewarding us with landed in Wisconsin, right on the edge of Lake Michigan. Come here and you think she is the reason. Really it was to join themselves to a church body called Living Light. But the lake is nonetheless majestic and far-reaching in beauty, and has many moods.

I think everyone who thinks they're going to Wisconsin but gets here and sees Lake Michigan is a bit smitten by her beauty. Maybe it's because the expectations are so low in the first place. Funny thing is, we thought we were saying goodbye to every shred of natural beauty when we left the state of Virginia! Anyhow, in attempt to keep in touch with many of the friends we made in red-dirt Texas, we've visited here over the years.

Last year, right before we started our thru-hike, we came to Racine for a week and put a very small dent in the large task of meeting all the new babies our friends all over the country are having. On that trip we came to a Sunday meeting at Living Light and it kinda messed us up. It wasn't like we hadn't been to wonderful churches, cause we have. It was the start of being ruined for a certain type of church government that has to do with a plurality of elders overseen by an apostle on the move. It's a lot of church talk, really, but the bottom line is that we felt really challenged. The next thing I remember is my sister making us sweet potato pancakes for breakfast. I got my trail name. She drove us to Georgia and left us in the woods. We started hiking.

Much to our surprise, there wasn't much time for meditating in the woods or even big talks about our future. It was mainly hiking, conquering pain, cold and bad attitudes, reveling atop yet another summit, basking in epic views, planning town stops, and dozing off to sleep with maps in hand each night in the tent. The bible we carried weighed too much. We mailed it home before we hit Tennessee. All of that to say, hiking the trail wasn't like a magic key that unlocked the next step for us. A lot of hikers experience this. You get to the end of this amazing journey and can't help but ask ". . . now what?" People dedicate books and chapters of books to this subject alone. "Reentry to the Real World." I read about one lady who hiked the trail and couldn't bring herself to sleep on a mattress when she finally got home. She slowly had to detox from tent-life. I think she still uses leaves for toilet paper and braids her armpit hair.

Anyway. After the trail we were haunted by something this apostle guy John Lalgee had said to us during our Wisconsin visit. He said "In the end, I would encourage you to ask God to clarify and increase the vision he has put in your hearts and then be faithful to it, whatever the cost. This seems to be the way for all that would serve God and His purposes in their day." I think when he said that Ennio Morricone started playing in the background and it made me want to buy Dustan the sword he's always wanted. It was quite clear that that wasn't John's veiled way of saying "And so you should move here." More or less, it meant we're responsible for what we have revelation about. No one was asking us to come, but we couldn't get away from what we felt to be God joining us to this specific expression of the body. We moved.

The cost of moving was leaving our land, our peoples, our friends, our families. The upside is that Dustan doesn't have to work at Fasmart anymore. I don't even know how long he worked there. All I know is that he had to get up at 3am and learn how to manage the VA lottery and changing gas prices and beer stocking and the selling of candy bars and Big Gulps, which entails a surprising amount of paperwork. He put on weight and his face was grey. He never slept and if I woke him unexpectedly he'd blurt "Cash prepay inside!" Now he works in Milwaukee at a staffing company called Randstad.

I plan to get a job, but lately I have been too busy throwing tennis balls at the lake and scooping poop and choosing paint colors and then remixing them on my own. Now that I have been holed up for 3 months painting, organizing and cleaning everything in sight, I really am excited about getting a job. There's some promising stuff in the works that will hopefully be good. We shall see. Until then I just wanted to provide some context before this blog turns into what it was meant to be all along: pictures of my apartment for people back home.