Archive for February, 2007

The Man in Black

Dan and I watched “Walk the Line” over the weekend. (Our third time seeing it…). I have to tell you, I LOVE this movie. And not just because Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix actually sing, and not just because it has a great soundtrack or a truly compelling storyline…I love this movie because Johnny Cash is SO. FALLEN.

He is on the outside what we all are on the inside. Our sins are just more hidden, and in some ways, that makes them more insidious. When Johnny hits rock bottom (the usual rock star thing–drug & alcohol addiction) despite what anyone says, the squeaky-clean Carter family takes him in. There’s this great scene where Mabelle and Pa Carter hold off the drug dealer–these Southern Gospel singers in their late middle ages–with shotguns. That is how committed they are to Johnny’s recovery. He doesn’t know any of it because he is delusional and feverish from detoxing, but they all stay there with him, during the worst time of his life, and see the person he can become.

Such redemption in a film–without even saying the name of Jesus. But oh, it’s Him all right. The wonder and wideness of His grace shines right through.


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We just got a new Mac, and it has this hilarious feature called “Photobooth.” There is a small camera at the top of the moniter (probably everyone has this now, but we just got rid of a computer that we bought in 2000, so we’ve been a bit behind…) Sadie and I spent a half an hour in hysterical laughter playing with this, because it has these great effects. I thought I’d post a few for your viewing pleasure. I won’t show the ones with Sadie hiding her eyes in fright– although those shots were the funniest. I was literally crying I was laughing so hard.



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I am home today–all day–in order to get a huge clothing project done, and study for an exam tomorrow. But instead of getting right to it, I updated my About Me page instead. Oh, and I changed my blog look, too. Anything to avoid doing what I’m supposed to be doing. But now I have to get back to work.

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Coffee Buzz

The first time I used caffeine as a stimulant, I was in 9th grade, studying for a test on the Civil War. I even remember it was a Tuesday night. It was then that I discovered the wonders of loaded beverages.

Fast forward to college. My freshman year, I never went to bed. At least not until three or four am nightly. And that was my social bedtime. I didn’t want to miss any fun going on anywhere on campus. Now when a paper or project was due, I skipped going to bed all together. I began with a strong cup of tea to help keep me awake. This not really aiding my already sleep-depleted self, I moved on to tea plus two cans of Mt. Dew. Still drowsing over my IBM electric typewriter (It was 1989 ) I moved on to instant coffee mixed with hot chocolate mix. Then my roommate tipped me off that if I stuck several wet tea bags between my lower lip and gums (think Skoal) and sucked really hard the caffeine I needed would go straight to my system and work much faster. Mid October my body just gave up and I passed out in the bathroom. Not from any alcohol-induced party, but from a high fever. I was sick in bed for three days–had no idea who was coming or going. Someone fed me, helped me to the bathroom and got my homework for me, but it’s all kind of psychedelic and hazy. I have these memories of people’s faces close up and distorted and lights going on and off at random times, and voices going in slow motion.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying a strong, bold cup of coffee in the morning (my husband got me Starbucks French Roast for Valentine’s day, along with flowers, of course) and I’m just amazed how one little cup (or two) can change my mood for the whole morning. It troubles me that I rely on this to make me feel better, but the truth is, I like myself better with a little caffeine. I actually feel happier. And so far my teeth haven’t turned brown and my stomach hasn’t rebelled yet…

I talked to my therapist about this last year–how it troubled me that I had to have coffee or some other caffeinated beverage to get me started in a good mood in the morning. I asked him if I should worry about this–was it an addiction? What was the difference between needing caffeine and needing Meth?(not physically, but psychologically).

He just laughed and said ‘Join the masses, sweetheart.’

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Flipping the Switch

Ever since I can remember, I have relied on external sources to motivate me. My mom’s threats when I was a teenager, professor’s deadlines in college, and Dan’s disapproval in my marriage. Mostly, I have just waited until I have ‘felt like it’ to get something done. It is the difference between internal locus of control and external locus of control. (my psych minor showing through…) I have falsely believed that something external (a new house–easier to clean, a new job–not so stressful, a skinny body–all problems solved) would finally motivate me and give me ultimate happiness.

Recently, I’ve been wondering how to transfer the external to the internal. I’ve become convinced that there is some kind of switch that I need to flip inside of me. Once this switch is flipped, then I will feel like doing everything and I will forever be motivated to do the things I need to do to bring myself happiness and fulfilment.

Yesterday, I was walking at 5am and had a revelation. There is no switch.

I had been hoping for some magic, and realized that this switch is actually more of the same external stuff, disguised as something internal. The truth I have been searching for is this: little decisions. Pedestrian to some, earth-shaking for me. The way that I am going to get my life together is by making one decision at a time, and only one–here in the present. Two nights ago, I laid out my walking clothes and when the alarm went off, I decided to get up. I didn’t have to come up with an extravagant exercise plan. I just got up. Then I put my clothes on and went outside and walked. Sounds so normal. But if I’m constantly waiting to FEEL like doing something, I may never get out of bed. If I can break it down to little chunks–pick up my Bible. Clean out this tiny corner. Make my bed. I can make the whole journey this way.

I have always been a maximizer–extrapolating situations out to the hugest possible task and then giving up because it is all too big and overwhelming. My mom has known this about me since I was little, sitting in the middle of a mess of blocks, crying because picking up ALL THOSE BLOCKS was just too much. How could anyone be expected to do something so huge? One block at a time, sweetie, she said.

You know, I could have listened to my mother’s wisdom when I was four, and avoided 30 years of paralysis. But NO, I had to go and figure it on my own. Good thing I’m a quick learner. That didn’t take long at all.

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Inch by Inch

I was reading through an old journal yesterday and I was dismayed to note that I’m still writing about the same issues I had seven years ago. Sometimes I feel like I just can’t get my life together. I have these certain things that I want to include in my life, but lack the motivation to get at them. Seven years ago, I felt the same way. I was talking about how my house is never in order and the clutter is everywhere; how I could actually feel my thighs expanding from overindulgence and lack of exercise; and how I didn’t seem to know what to do with my time.

I might as well have written that journal entry yesterday. Same story, different year. I wonder: will I always struggle with lack of motivation? Disorganization? Poor time management? My weight? I feel like life is living me, and I can’t seem to get on top of anything.

The bright spot in reading the old journal is that I did see progress in other areas. In 2000 I hated my job and thought the only way to get out of the agony and stress of it was to move away or (and I actually wrote this…) become institutionalized or put into prison. I wrote that I wished I was in prison because then I could be alone in my little cell and read books and not have to make another decision in the world. Of course I’d probably have to become someone’s bitch, but at that time, prison seemed the better option than my life. How sick is that? To answer my own question, I was pretty sick actually. My OCD was in full swing, and boy did I want to escape. I was severely depressed.

I don’t want to escape my life anymore–I am more content with my lot than I have been in a long time. I feel like God is close, my husband is totally attractive to me, and my little girl is a delight (most of the time.) Occasionally I have to remind myself that God is in charge and when I get antsy about what I’m supposed to do with my life, but I am functioning at a higher level than I was then.

I was listening to a Cademon’s Call song the other day and the lyrics went like this:

“I ran across an old box of letters while I was packing up some clothes for goodwill. You know I had to laugh, that the same old struggles that plagued me then are plaguing me still.”

At least I’m not the only one.

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sillybaby.jpgSilly Sadie

sillymama.jpgSilly Shelley

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