Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Embarrasing story #2

Timeline: Autumn 2007 Ad
Location: State Fair, Raleigh, NC
Occasion: Every year my family gets together to go to the state fair, just because it's fun.

I think I've stated before how very much I love the fair. I have a ton of great memories from yearly visits there, and most include food. :)

As far as other activities go, I don't really do the whole 'ride' thing but I do love walking around and looking at the livestock, the biggest vegetables, the prize winning photographs and cakes. I just love all the local wares celebrated at the fair!

The attractions that you must pay for that tempt me are the animals. You know, the worlds largest aligator, the worlds smallest pony, stuff like that. Well, one year we saw some friends there who have a couple of children I adore and one of them mentioned the "huge bear!"

So, I asked "Where?" and he pointed over toward the lake where they hold logging competitions.

I asked, "How much does it cost?"

He said, "Nothing."

Then the boys mother said, "It's in the wooded area behind the lake. It's like a 26 foot bear."

I then demanded that we see this bear before we left. We went around a few other places, because we have a kind of routine going on then decided it was time to see the logging expo. They have hot apple cider over there, so of course we headed there and then I said, "Lets go see that bear!"

We walked back to the woods and there was a huge bear. Not at all what I was expecting.

It was an enormous Smoky the Bear and not a live one at all! I thought I was going to see the world's biggest bear, so I said "I thought it was a real bear!"

My ever compassionate little sister replies, "A real 26 foot bear?! I thought you graduated Magna Cum Laude?!"

My retort, "Not in bear identification!"

That's me, a regular Grizzly Adams.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Embarrassing story

For some reason, I've been thinking today about a couple of incidents for which I have been ruthlessly mocked in my time. Both of which make me laugh hysterically now, so I thought I'd share one.

Timeline: circa 1999 AD
Location: Clayton NC
Occasion: camping trip with small youth group to Carowinds
A group of about 10-15 were gathered, packing up a 15 passenger van with tents, sleeping bags, coleman stove, etc. We kids were giddy with the anticipation of spending a whole weekend with our friends. You could feel the tension of crushes in the air, the smell of packed doritoes for the drive. It was a promising time.

The adults were focused on ensuring that we had brought everything needed for the trip, checking lists like Santa. Dinner that evening was to be spaghetti, always an inexpensive dinner and lets face it, tough to screw up. Large pot: check, strainer: check, spaghetti noodles: check, parmesan cheese: check, Ragu: check, plates and untensils: check!

We circled to pray for a fun time and safe travels. All of us joined hands, which as you know is the holiest way to pray, and as we were about to bow our heads the youth leader chimed, "Did we pack the steaks?" My reply, "I thought we were having spaghetti."

Deafening silence.

Hysterical laughter.

Reddening face.

Someone finally says, "He meant the tent stakes."

Evidently to kill my pride with.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I may have it figured out

I am not a morning person.

Really. I'm not. It's bad.

Every morning my wonderful husband gets up, gets in the shower, wakes me up and we go downstairs and have coffee. I wish I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and made him breakfast and chatted with him about interesting things. But I don't. I can barely string a sentence together and I'm unusually ungaurded about my words... so that can be interesting.

When he leaves, I walk him to the door, give him a hug, wave goodbye and shut and lock the door behind me. I go back to the couch and finish my coffee. Then it varies what I do. Sometimes I do some chores, sometimes I read a bit, sometimes I just watch the news.

But that's my time. And I think that's a major reason why I look at the clock and get tears in my eyes knowing that I have to get dressed for work. I am very rarely alone, not that that is a bad thing, it's not. I've chosen to be very involved, and I love it.

But sometimes I like being alone. I get things done much quicker because I don't get distracted. I don't have to share the remote, I don't have to get out of my pajamas if I don't want to, I can eat cookies for lunch. I can dance and sing. I can do whatever, because that's my time. It's the only time I've got.

And I'm really recharged by being alone. I can journal, I can pray, I can reflect. It's hard to do that when you're always busy. And I need to make it a point to be alone for a while... maybe an extended alone period... like a whole day! I really think it would make me appreciate being busy again.

Any tips for carving out alone time?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


My church home, Seacoast, is currently studying the book of Acts. We just began two weeks ago with the study, and I'm looking forward to learning more about the early church. Most specifically about how God used these ordinary people who were committed to Jesus' commands and the Lord's plan for the church.

In small group this week, we were sharing about how masks that Christians wear affect true community. The community described in the first two chapters of Acts. The games that people play, and by people I mean me too, trying to appear better than we are have always fascinated me. I try to be authentic with people, even sometimes dodging the "How are you?" that is polite to ask here in the south following a greeting.

This mask talk has made me think. My favorite websites to visit are fmylife.com and postsecret.blogspot.com. Why? People are honest. Sometimes too much so... ha! It doesn't create true community, because it's anonymous, but people say things that they hide deep dark inside. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to write to them.

Even saying things like, "I'm angry" or "I'm so discouraged, I feel like giving up on life." Why are we hesitant to share these things? Aren't we called to live in community with other believers? Doesn't this include the good and the bad parts of our lives? Are we commanded to just live a polite, glossed-over, smothered existence? I don't think we are.

There are some people in my life that I am comfortable being who I am, struggling with what I struggle with and being honest. Why is it that those relationships are few?

So, what are we afraid of? What are we trying to keep hidden that needs to be brought to light and committed to the Lord?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Eccentric Poetry #3

A thousand papers
pain me with
a thousand paper cuts

A thousand papers
maim me with
this thousand paper weight

They pull me in
a thousand directions
my limbs feel detached

How am I to finish anything
when there are
a thousand other papers

Vying for my attention.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I Peter 5:7 - "Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you."

Sometimes I struggle with this. Okay, frequently I struggle with this. I have led a charmed life, a wonderful existense that I wouldn't trade with the Queen of Sheba. But I'm a worrier. This is one of my biggest struggles. Sometimes still, a gut-wrenching fear will grip me when I leave my parents or my husband for a trip. I'll think, "What if I never see them again?" Then I'll start to tear up, because that's my response to pretty much everything. I'll see Daniel in an accident, being carted away in an ambulance, mangled car in the background. I'll see my Dad thrown against the wall by one of the machines he's repairing at Glaxo. Or I'll see a horrible mishap at the hospital where my mother is a nurse. This is one of the situations where it is detrimental to have such an active imagination.

My work life has been an increasing anxiety-producer for the past year or so... maybe a little longer. Yesterday, I had a wonderful conversation with my co-worker/boss and it turns out, I'm not a complete nutter! She's been going through this too! I'm so glad I'm not alone! But still, anxiety will continue on here until there is a major change.

Most of the time, when I am anxious, I sing. I sing loudly until my head hurts. It usually helps dissipate some of the anxiety. Or I repeat a verse slowly putting emphasis on varying words. I make a mental list of ways that the Lord has shown that He cares for me. It's hard to do these things at work sometimes... singing at my desk is not something that would be looked upon kindly. I'm sure it would draw looks. I have to find things that are quick, because often these anxiety-producing, emotionally-charged moments are also the most frantic. So, I wonder, what are some of the ways that you "Cast your anxieties on the Lord?" This has always seemed an elusive command. One of those that would be great... if I could figure out how to do it!

Monday, September 14, 2009


There are two things I've been really pondering today. They both end with questions... as do most things in life. So, today, I'm going to elaborate on one.

I have always wondered what makes people forget why they fell in love with their spouse. There are so many people who get divorced, and very rarely do people go to the altar thinking, "This is not going to work."

At one point in every couple's journey together they have been in love. They can't stand to be apart, every moment not together is spent in great anticipation of seeing each other again, they hold hands, they look in each other's eyes, love notes are sent, flowers are purchased. When does that change?

There are a lot of things that attracted me to Daniel. The first, and most important of which is that he said what he was thinking and feeling. No beating around the bushes. He liked me, he told me, he pursued me. That was so refreshing. To not play the guessing games of "Oh, does he like me? I think so. I'm attracted to him, but he hasn't said anything. I'm reading too much into this." While falling in love is an exhilerating experience... the nausea associated with the beginnings of a relationship is not so much.

I thought Daniel talked to me on the phone longer than our other friends. I thought he watched me more carefully and paid specific attention to what I said, but I wasn't sure. So, I tried not to dwell on it. Getting let down is no fun, after all. But one day he told me, "Amanda, I like you." I'm not sure I heard a whole lot after that. But, he said it. He didn't let me wander around for months in a state of anxiousness. He told me. He said he wanted to date for a while and see where that took us. I was floored. This was different. I liked it.

We dated for a few months, not exclusively, and then he asked me to be exclusive. During that time, he had been attentive, he had driven long distances to see me, he had written me daily, he had sent me dried, pressed flowers that he picked off of plants himself because he couldn't afford boquets, he called me a couple of times a week from college. So, of course, I said yes. (Let me relay to you, getting dried, pressed flowers with a love note in the mail will get you your girl.)

We continued to date, and he continued to sweep me off my feet. On our six month anniversary he made me a card. Homemade. I still have it. That sealed it for me. Six months in was when I was as sure as I could be that I wanted to marry him.

What was it about your spouse that attracted you to him/her? When did you fall in love? What did they do that made you sure? Have they changed?