Friday, January 28, 2011

God's Country

 Saturday Philip and I are going to my hometown, Warden! Warden is the kind of place that elicits a "huh?" or a "where???" whenever you mention that you're from there. So for those who don't know, Warden is a glorious place located 12 miles east of Moses Lake, 2 hours west of Pullman, about 6 hours east of Seattle. In Warden,there are more cows than people, everyone knows your name, and the whole community pulls together when someone's in need. I liked to complain about being from a town where there's "nothing to do" while I was in high school, but I secretly loved living in a place where my friends and I could have a blast going to Wal-mart or playing in the park. Hope this gives you a better picture of one of my favorite places.

Amber saturates every row of alfalfa.
You see in the stained glass of the church,

just below the steeple.
A child runs through the sprinkler.
A car kicks up gravel, Spanish music, onions.
The sign that reads "Welcome to Warden,
home of Warden Wrestling,"
the rusty manure spreader, the neon orange house.
Hear who you are in the pews,
in the cracks in the sidewalk, in your grandmother's face.

Still confused? Check this map.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goodbye Seattle.

Photo from Post Secret

Last night I had a dream that a magazine wanted to hire me. I used to be a journalism major. When I switched to English Ed, I lost a little swagger. But both career paths include what I love--writing--and only one includes a secondary passion of mine--helping kids. In my dream, I kept getting phone calls from a strange number that I never answered. Finally, this big time magazine editor (who looked suspiciously like my high school journalism teacher, Mrs. Swinger) showed up at my house. By the way, I had a house in my dream, not a dorm.  Mrs. Swinger's look-a-like had been reading my blog, and wanted to me to write for the religion section of her magazine! The only catch was that I would have to leave for Seattle immediately, and stay there all semester. Dream Philip was in tears. I spent most of the dream being indecisive about that ideal offer. All the things I want to invest in this semester came to mind. Things like:  passing down what I've learned to my growth group, encouraging people to move into the dorms next year to do covert ministry, building deeper friendships with my key gal pals, discipling and being discipled, spending time with Philip and centering our relationship around God, connecting with the part of my family that lives in Pullman;  mostly enjoying the people I'm around right now because they won't be around me forever. It seems like, though not quite as glamorous as (but arguably dryer than) writing in Seattle, God has plans for me right here in Pullman. My bittersweet conclusion is:

If there are any big time magazine editors reading this, I would love to write for you--as soon as my time at WSU expires when I graduate in 2012.
P.S. Please don't judge me based on my incorrect use of colons and semi-colons.  I'm learning about them in Grammar Pedagogy and taking risks at using them in new ways.  If anything, judge me on the fact that I know the word pedagogy, and pedagogic and pedagogically, for that matter.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My favorite thing about the way my bf cares about me

 The other day Philip was holding me while we talked about my issues, yet again. I'm going through a bit of a rough patch. Struggling to trust God, seeking healing of past wounds, on the edge of a breakthrough but not quite there yet. He listened to me well. He empathized with me. And he gave me wise advice. Philip might be the wisest sage I know. But my favorite part about that conversation was when Philip said, "I could die right now." I know, morbid, right? He clarified, "I mean I would be okay with dying right now because I'm so happy." There I was, mascara and snot down my face, processing through my brokenness and he felt affection for me.

Let me give you another example. This summer Phil went on a summer project to Ocean City, Maryland. Since there were 20 girls on his team, it was bound to come up. They asked about our relationship and the mushy-gushy details of our story. They wanted to know what he first noticed about me. He might've said my ravishing beauty, uncanny charm, or perhaps my suave dance moves. However, he said something totally unexpected: that when I broke my arm at church camp he first noticed me in a I'm-sort-of-attracted-to-you kind of way. Leave it to Phil to find me attractive in my most unglamorous moment. The story of my broken arm lives infamously amongst Ross Point Campers who are old enough to remember it. Sometimes when I mention it people are like, "Oh, you're THAT girl." But for those who don't know, I didn't break my arm saving orphans from a burning building, or hiking an intense mountain, or anything exciting like that. I broke it playing 8-base: a version of kickball in which the walls are bases. I sprinted for the wall, then stopped myself by outstretching my arms. My puny arm just snapped. Now, I'd broken my arm before, so I wasn't impressed by the drama of the situation. Maybe Philip noticed how casually walked up to a counselor and mused, "I think my arm is broken." But at any rate, that's kind of an embarrassing story. Yet that is the moment that my now boyfriend (of 3 years and 9 months) first really noticed me.

I like the way Phil cares about me because it is real. He likes me at my best and at my worst. And that's love people, that's love. Authentic, genuine, close companionship. And the best part is, this is only a taste of the way God feels about me!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jesus' Proposal

Photo curtesy of Caleb and Jenna Stanton
I've been thinking about engagement lately. Maybe it's because it seems like ALL my couple friends are getting engaged/married. Maybe it's because everybody and their kid brother is asking me when I'm getting engaged/married.  Maybe it's just because, I'm a girl. Nonetheless, putting a ring on it has been on my radar.

A thought occurred to me the other day. (Sometimes that's a dangerous thing). I was imagining what it looks like when a man and a woman get engaged. Mind you, I have pretty high expectations for engagement. A bar most likely set by my male friends who care deeply about their now fiancĂ© or wife. In my experience (or vicarious experience via my friends) this is how proposals work: the man asks the woman's father for permission (which can be difficult especially when you have 2 fathers like me, one of which owns several guns and has hands the size of your face), works to save up money to buy a diamond ring, specifically selects said ring, plans out a special date on which he will ask his lady the question, he thinks about a romantic speech he will give telling her all about why he wants to marry her, then he executes all this and invites her to be in a life-long relationship with him. The girl, looks pretty and says yes.

Does that seem a little one-sided to you? It did to me. I am dating a man and normally I think in terms of what I can do for him. When I feel like I want something from him, for him to listen, ask me good questions, give me presents, I shift my thoughts to what ways I can give these things to him. Granted, loving a man looks different from loving a woman. I'm learning that men need respect more than they need love. And while everyone needs both, the way I can care about my man looks different than the way he best cares for me. At any rate, thinking about engagements, I don't need to be scheming up anything for a proposal that could potentially happen in the distant future. I just have to say yes. This baffled me for awhile. Why would a man go through all that trouble? What does he get in return? The answer is: me. The man goes through all this preparation and work and sacrifice and he gets the woman in return. I am brought to tears thinking about this. That someone would plan and work so hard just to have me. And to that man, it will be worth it; I will be worth it.

I realized that the same is true about Christ. He crafted and set into motion His redemptive plan. He humbled himself and traded his thrown in flawless heaven for dusty, gross Earth. He worked His whole life loving and training people to teach about Him. He set in motion a plan that would one day, generations later would lead to people loving me and telling me the life-changing truth of His grace. He lived the perfect life, then died in a horrible, painful way. He took His father's rejection for sins that I committed. He became, responsible for my failures. He wrote a love letter, known as the bible inviting me to be in eternal relationship with Him. All I had to do was say yes. And all He got in return, was me. And, to Him, it was worth it;  I was worth it.

Too oogle and oggle at more engaged/married couples check out:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Top Tens on the Tenth

I love lists. To-dos, favorites, shopping lists, wish lists...ah...Something feels so satisfying about writing down the jumbled mess that's bouncing around in my head in a loose, concise, free form. If you've been reading me long, you may have observed this in my writing pattern. I like how things sound together. Take three things that I love:  Wrestling, dresses, and movies. On their own, they're nice. But together, beautiful. So here's my latest idea. Every month on the tenth I am going to blog a Top Ten list. And since today is the tenth here is my list of...

...Top Ten reasons I am going to blog my Top Tens monthly:

1. It'll keep me blogging consistently.

2. It will be refreshing to have some short, easy to read blogs as a break from my novel-length musings.

3. I love lists.  :)

4. It will help me reflect upon things I love, hate, want to change etc.

5. It's cute. Top TENS on the TENTH. Cuteness is a priority.

6. I can display my original photos along with my lists.

7. It gets my creative gears 'a turnin' and opens me up to new possibilities.

8. I will have to prioritize (something I'm not always good at) and be decisive (something I'm never good at).

9. I write these sorts of things naturally, and I want this blog to reflect who I really am.

10. I feel like it. Gosh.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Once a wrestler, always a wrestler.

Yes, I was a wrestler in high school. Once a wrestler, always a wrestler. Wrestling is more of a family than a sport. I hate telling people I wrestled because the conversation automatically shifts and lingers on me. Why are people shocked that I am a wrestler? Maybe YOU can answer that for me. I guess it's hard to picture someone "sweet" and "petite" pushing competitors' faces into a sweaty mat. People that think that don't know me very well. Probably to no fault of their own. It's harder to share that part of myself because it's more controversial. I let people know the me that's easiest to get along with. Who wouldn't like a female version of Mr. Rogers?

Anywho, if you don't know the back story, my friend Evelyn and I started the first ever women's wresting team at Warden High. It was a battle since people in our small, conservative community had a hard time accepting girls being a part of the program. Our team policy was to wrestle girls only in practice and at matches. And eventually, we were allowed to compete.  That first year there were just two of us, plus our coach Valerie Hernandez. Wrestling is physically, mentally, emotionally EXHAUSTING. My senior year, with some recruitment (mostly foreign exchange students), our team grew to six. People thought the girls wrestling thing might just die off. But each year it's grown and last year the team took 6th place in the female division of the state tournament.

It's hard to invest so much into something and then leave it behind. When I go back to wrestling to help coach the girls in practice or watch a match I always feel awkwardly out of place. I wonder if they even know who I am or want me there. I'm a fatty (the wrestling term for out of shape) and most of them have surpassed the skill level I acquired in those two years. But after my mom and I drove to watch the girls wrestle in a match all those worries faded away. The team found me in the stands and in a single file line they shook my hand and hugged me. They thanked me for coming to the match and for giving them an opportunity to wrestle. Wrestling changed my life. It helped me battle my fears and self-doubt. I relied on God for the strength it required. I got to be a leader and an encourager for my teammates. But beyond that I didn't have a ton of success. I competed in, but didn't place in the state tournament. My experience reminded me what wrestling was really about.  I'd rather have the arms of those girls around my neck than a state medal any day.

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