Monday, July 26, 2010

miscellany monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{1} watch your back!
I'm currently on someone's hit list. But I'm safe. I think.

{2} mmmmmmocha!
The absolute BEST boost after a tough day is a wonderful Mocha Java Cooler Crunch Coffee. When I'm at my wits end and I swing by Organic Grounds to pick up one of these, I feel like a baby drinking my bottle.

{3} screamo!
My cross-cultural experience of the heading~banging variety of last Friday night describes my first {and truly unintentional} experience at a heavy metal concert. Yes, my auditory hair cells have finally recovered.

{4} powerful passage!
My new favorite Bible passage is one that I've encountered several times recently. I'm specifically touched by the promise of healing and life that comes from serving and caring for others.

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."

~Isaiah 58:6-12

{5} two of many darlings
And I'll leave you with a new pic of two very special little people:

Link up your own miscellany with Carissa at lowercase letters!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Cross Cultural Experience ~ of the head-banging variety

Having grown weary of the same ole same ole selection for evening out activities, I decided to try something a bit different last night. I had heard that our local Ethiopian restaurant, The Blue Nile, hosts concerts in the evenings; so, ever~desiring to try new things, I decided to meet my friend Mare at this downtown joint.

The concerts are held in the basement of The Blue Nile, so we parked just west of Main St. and headed towards the back entrance, paid $5, and showed IDs. We hopped up at the bar and I order my go~to drink on nights out: a Shirley Temple! {Yes, I know, I'm such a good girl. Believe it.}

I recognized the bartender as a former fellow student from our combined middle and high school. "Hey, did you graduate from _____?" Mare inquired.
"Yeah..did you all?"
*puzzled look* "When?"
"Ohh~seven," we said in unison.
"Aww, you all were mere babies when I graduated!"

Hmph...just for that, no tip. {Just kidding.}

We then moseyed over towards the stage and found spots near~ish to the stage so we'd have a semi good view. Then the music began.

"*Bleep* the *bleep* and bleeeeeeeeep*"

Now, I'm a hip~hop and R&B girl myself. But last night I had no such hopes of hearing music from my favorite genres. I figured we'd be hearing maybe Alternative Rock, which would have been fine with me because, we were trying new things, right!?

But there was no getting around this. We were at a Heavy Metal concert. HAVE MERCY.

The headbangers were lined up along the edge of the stage, banging their heads in time to the {music?} like bobbleheads jolted on caffeine. The guitarists were jumping, flinging hair, going crazy in general, and the lead screamer was a tiny, skinny dude with curly dark hair who I immediately recognized as the guy who recently quit working at one of the local coffeeshops that I frequent.

I wanted to march up to him after his band played and demand, "You mean to tell me that you quit making my Mocha Crunch Coffees so you could tour with your Screamo band?"
I would have, but he positioned himself directly in front of the stage before the next band began, and I didn't want to venture into a potential mosh.

Mare and I plan to return to a Blue Nile concert again soon, but I think we'll be doing more research on the scheduled bands next time. ;-) Nevertheless, I can appreciate last night as a "cross cultural" experience.

We'll be back ~ once my auditory hair cells recover.

Friday, July 23, 2010

So tell me again...WHY??!!!???

When I see horrible things happening in the world, when I witness struggles other people are facing, and when proverbial doors are slammed in my face, my first reaction is to demand an explanation. ::WHY is this happening? WHY isn’t this working? WHY do you feel that way? WHY did she make that choice? WHY aren’t my efforts being rewarded? WHY does he have to encounter so much hardship? WHY wasn't this disaster prevented?::

Why?! Why!? Why?! Why!?

I remind myself of a two year~old at times. {You know how older toddlers and younger preschoolers are so fixated on questioning? When they keep going and going and pushing and pushing until you're left with something like, "Because God created it that way"? Yeah...that is SO my life.} You would think that with all the two year~olds in my life I would be tired of the word "why"...but I'm not. I want to know. I want to understand.

I have a dear friend who noticed this about me, and after she displayed some {if I may say so myself} puzzling behaviors/choices, she told me,

"Don't search for an explanation for my actions, Leah. There isn't one."

Ha! That's what you THINK! 'Fact is, there's an explanation for everything! And if there isn't one, I will FIND one!! Or CREATE one!! searching for an explanation, I'm...

10 times out of 10: seeking better understanding, which would lead to greater peace and contentment with regards to life situations and events


3 times out of 10: challenging someone/something, hoping that she/he/it will see the folly in her/his/its ways.

Remember my pancake post? God's ways are higher and far more complex and profound than our finite minds can comprehend. Not only does God rarely tell us why, even if He were to explain His reasons, we would rarely understand.

I have to accept that I'm not the answer woman for situations and events in life that don't make sense. I must realize that what I need to know will be revealed to me at the correct time, and if it's not, then it really does not require my knowing!

In Take This Bread, one of my current reads, author Sara Miles states, "Faith for me didn't provide a set of easy answers or certainties: It raised more questions than I was ever comfortable with."

and later..

"Now I understand that questions are at the heart of faith, and that certainties about God can flicker on and off, no matter what you think you know."

While I will continue to seek clarity and pray for wisdom, maybe I need to accept that questions and uncertainties are part of believing, part of being human. Perhaps the lack of answers I encounter shouldn't discourage me, but INSPIRE me to continue growing and learning about God, others, and myself.

After all, inquiring minds want to know! ;-)

"...look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here." ~Ezekiel 40:4

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rest and Listening

You come to me in the silence.

I hear your voice in the thick of the night.

You speak to me through quiet narratives of pain and redemption,

and my Bible falls open to The Restoration of Jerusalem.

Not one sparrow is forgotten, You dress even the lilies in extravagance.

I have not forgotten about you, Leah.

"The LORD said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.'

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave."

I listen through life's clamor and chaos for the still whisper.

I find rest at my core while the tempestuous winds gust and the churning waves crash about on the surface.

"I will come to you in the silence, I will lift you from all your fear. You will hear my voice, I claim you as my choice, be still and know I am here.

I am hope for all who are hopeless. I am eyes for all who long to see. In the shadow of the night I will be your light, come and rest in me."
Scripture from 1 Kings 19:11-13...Lyrics by David Haas

holy experience

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Miscellany Monday ::: Beach Edition

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Random, miscellany lessons learned over the course of 19 years vacationing at the beach; some weighty, some silly, all REAL TALK:

{1} I was three years~old when my family began taking our annual summer excursions to Topsail Island. I remember as a three year~old trying to comprehend my parents' descriptions of what the ocean would be like before we arrived. "Daddy helped Mommy in the water," I remember my mom saying. I could only picture a huge pool with my dad holding up my mom above the water.

When we finally arrived that first year, I immediately ran down to the beach and picked up the first seashell I encountered. I was drawn to it like a magnet. I remember one side was tan and porous, and the other side was smooth and purple. I carried the shell everywhere I went that week, and in typical three year~old fashion, I lost it.

Lesson #1: Follow what you're drawn to, be in tune with your passions, but don't hold on too tightly lest the tide of life change and suck your dream back to sea.

{2} The next year, a burglar stole some of our beach supplies off of our deck in the middle of the night. My Miss Piggy towel was stolen ~ I was devastated. My grandpa promptly went out and bought me a new beach towel, one with a duck wearing sunglasses...and sporting voluptuous bikini~clad women in the background.

Lesson #2: The Stealing Salty Seaweed Monster has an affinity for the pink muppet porcine.

Lesson #3: Grandpas try to be helpful, but overlook certain crucial details.

{3} Several years later {I was about 11}, my sister and I got caught in a riptide current. We were both very strong swimmers for our age and fearless in the water. My mom saw us from the shore when the current started pulling us outward; she later explained that each wave would bring us closer in towards shore just a bit, but after the wave would pass, we would be sucked backwards about four times as much!! In addition to this enormously strong current pulling us out to sea, the water was well over our heads so we couldn’t use the ocean floor as emergency leverage. Being a private beach, there were no lifeguards.

*Luckily*, there was a lifeguard vacationing in the beach house next to ours ~ she helped my dad pull us out of the water. I don’t know how long it took to retrieve us, but they both collapsed on the sand when we reached the shore, demonstrating their extreme exhaustion.

Lesson #4: "Coincidences" may not be coincidences after all.

Lesson #5: Surviving a near death experience may be an indication that there's unfinished business, a purpose yet to be fulfilled.

{4} The summer of 2003 brought my official introduction to reality TV with NBC's For Love or Money. Immediately, my favorite contestant was Paige Jones, and I cheered for her the entire season. Paige made it to the finale episode, which aired the week we were at the beach. Rob chose the other woman, and I CRIED!!!

Lesson #6: Don't become emotionally involved with or attached to reality show characters. You can always become friends with them later in life ~ on facebook. Which I did.

{5} A couple years ago I suffered a wipeout while swimming in the ocean, which caused me to lose my prescription sunglasses to the sea. I thought I would never be able to see clearly at the beach ever again {my vision is about 20/400} because I couldn’t risk losing my contacts. However, after I switched to dailies {contacts that I change everyday}, I was ecstatic to be able to once again see individual shells in detail and enjoy each ripple and bubble in the water!

Lesson #7: Don't lose heart when things go wrong; new and better options may be coming your way, options capable of enhancing your "vision."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nuturer by Nature

I feel happiest and most alive when caring for someone else. If there is some sort of womanly inclination to protect, love, and nurture, I have that instinct in overdrive.

I thrive on the wiping of sticky mouths, the scooting of chairs up closer to the table to avoid falling dribblets, the serving and cutting of food for little fingers, the keeping watch over tiny sleeping bodies, the fixing of ponytails and snuggles after naptime...

But there are times when caring for these little ones is not so simple.

Her mother finally out of jail, "I loved her but then she left again," Cheerleader tells me; little bobbed haircut, full cheeks, and a matter-of-fact affirmative nod.

Miss Picasso spent yesterday with us, then spent the evening and entire night at another daycare facility, all day today with us, and then picked up in the afternoon once again by the others. Thirty~six hours is a long time for a three year~old to be without mommy and she clings to me and cries, the man who is to pick her up embarrassed. But the man who helped give her life doesn't see the light of day and spends his days in an orange jumpsuit.

She draws a picture of two figures, "Miss Leah and Me."

Legal issues and custody battles play out with Muffin today. Dad shows up unannounced without mom's permission. Mom rolls in with her entourage, next the police. I can see the escalating conflict through the window. Muffin is two and she's agitated and confused.

At naptime I lay between two floor cots and stare at the ceiling. I think, We are all of us up against something ~ we will all face trials in this life, but for these children their trials begin over a decade before mine did.

::Calm us, Lord, as you calmed the storm.::

Fireball falls asleep nestled perfectly in the crook of my arm as I pat Little Ducky's back...

...and for a moment they are mine, and we rest.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm Still Counting |Endless Gifts|

The summer passes and reaching its middle, we make our annual trek to Topsail Island. The trip is a gift, with gifts embedded within like Russian nesting dolls.

{31} fizzing ocean waters
{Real ocean fizz!!} : )

{32} silky sands

{33} swaying sea oats

{34} skittish crabs

{35} darting fish

{36} sighting of fins (!) ~ that are dolphins

{37} seashells, especially ones with unique colors, striations, and swirls

{38} salty sea air

{39} beautiful weather everyday

{40} a sunburn that doesn't hurt

{41} gentle breezes &..

{42} powerful gusts

{43} waves crashing on the shore as I drift off to sleep

{44} fireworks on the pier

{45} Patio Playground ice cream &..

{46} the delightful, eccentric owner

{47} nightly restaurant excursions

{48} grandma

{49} layers upon layers of chocolate

{50} times of peace swimming in the ocean

{51} feeling on top of the world on top of a wave

{52} getting blindsided and smacked by a wave

{53} guys who think they're surfers

{54} getting my island on

{55} mochaccino smoothies from the quaint bookstore Quarter Moon

{56} family traditions

{57} crazies with whom I share a gene pool

{58} time to slow and contemplate

{59}color splashes

{60} browner tanner less pale skin

holy experience

Thursday, July 8, 2010

a Wurk in ProhGreSS

9:00ish~ Well...I shouldn't have experimented when I don't have time to make the blog layout look how I want!! Hmmm...

12:31 AM-- okay..I think I like it now?? I'll peep it tomorrow and view it with a set of new eyes and decide then I guess.

...I think the header is still a little funky looking...maybe once I ACTUALLY install my Photoshop I can make something a little less..rough?? more..professional??

I don't know ~ all's to say: don't judge it yet! : ) I was just desiring a new look, but I think I'm in over my head! : )

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Some of my students are featured on Tiny Talk Tuesday so often that I should give them their own alias nicknames! The little sweetie from last week who picked me a peanut butter is the star of both quotes this week. From now on I'll call her Princess Tiana on here because she sports outfits themed with this Disney princess, in addition to the fact that she looks very much like her!

Last week I was supervising the kids peddling around the playground on their bikes/tricycles/scooters when Princess Tiana rode by me and exclaimed, "Miss Leah, why do you have a pimple on your foot?"

I assure you...I had no such thing on my foot. It was a bug bite.


Waking the pre~K's up from naptime, I started to sing a song that had been in my head since hearing it on the radio earlier that day.

"I better find your lovin'..I better find your heart."

They exploded in, "I know that song!" and "So-and-so likes that song!"

"Let's sing another one," Princess Tiana suggested. "Take it, take it, baby, take it, take it...."

If you're familiar with pop music, THAT would be Rihanna's Rude Boy. *sigh* What am I to do with this teenager in a four year~old's body?

Share Tiny Talk that you've overheard at Mary's at Not Before 7.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Views from Dinner

taken from my dinner seat ~ the sound side of the island

and of course, frolicking on the docks afterward.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Year Ago

For me, there's nothing like "one year ago" memories that really make me realize how much can change in a year. I also find myself thinking, "Last year at this time, I was _______." And it's annual traditions that prompt these year ago memories.

This week my family and I are vacationing at the beach. We've gone to the same beach since I was 3 years~old; I'm now 21.

I'm not the same girl who posed for this picture last year outside one of our favorite island restaurants.

I look at this girl and think, "Oh just have no idea do you?" I had no idea this next year would be such a formidable year of my life. I didn't know that I would grow up tremendously..and learn a lot about myself, perhaps more than I ever desired to know.

In some ways I'd like to be "her" again. Her {or my} outlook on life was so different then. I was so trusting. Experience has worn me, and made me cynical..and less of myself.

Ah, but vacations at the beach are supposed to be fun, light~hearted times filled with relaxation and memory making! What am I doing thinking and living inside my head when I should be taking in the beauty around me?!

Okay, I'll try. I'll try to pack away my musings until I get home. And allow my mind to fall in sync with the flowing, ebbing tides.