Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Farewell note.

Dear 2009,

What a year you've been! Perhaps, the fullest year of my life... ever. Up's and down's, but I expected nothing less!

Off-the-cuff recap.

January: Dad diagnosed with lymphoma. Spent my last J-term in the arctic tundra that is Upland, Indiana.
February: Can't remember anything significant. Nooope... not one thing.
March: Spring Break in Ireland.
April: Passed my Senior portfolio! Aaaand Dad is cancer-free!
May: Graduate college! Move back to STL.
June: Weddings, working at a kid's day camp, Job-hunting, grad-school-applying and acceptance, general confusion about the direction of my life.
July: Fam vacation. Ditched the grad-school idea, and within a week, started my first real-life job with a salary and benefits and other such grown-up things.
August: Met Jack. Haaaay.
September: Fulfilled lifelong dream of seeing U2 in concert. Dad got laid-off.
October: Moved into new house and started dating "officially." (All in the same weekend, haaaay.) Also, TU Homecoming.
November: Peeper Denver weekend trip.
December: Christmas festivities. General month of merriment.

2009 was good to me. Clearly, I love being back in STL and am OH so thankful that when I had no clue what I was doing this summer (like ZERO), God did. Such a sweet lesson in trust. God is good. I have much to be thankful for.

2010, lookin forward to ya!

Love,
B

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Aaand now it's Christmastime!

So, Thanksgiving came and went! Already! I meannn... Obviously, I love Turkey Day, but it doesn't even compare to Christmas. No way. I literally get giddy with excitement when I think of all that December holds. This time of year is absolutely the BEST! Don't get me started!

At church this morning, we sang O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Our worship leader challenged us to really think through the words as we sang them. I didn't get much past the word "Emmanuel." I remembered from some vague, distant memory - probably from an old Sunday School lesson or song lyric - that the word means "God with us." We throw that thought around a lot, but as I was focusing on it this morning, it really hit me. Emmanuel... God with me... present... here for me... always. How revolutionary and encouraging and comforting is that?! You're probably thinking, yeahhh, oook, Blake... That's like the most basic truth. And it is. But you can't help when things hit you in a new way!

Praise God he's with us always. Seriously. And praise God for Christmastime!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Colorado in Pics!

Thumbs up for the mountains! Love them!

Unexpected beauty.
Lonely Pine.

Jules.
Dace.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Secret Confession.

100.3 FM is playing all Christmas music right now.

There once was a time when I had strong convictions. No Christmas music until the night of Thanksgiving. (Respect the Turkey Day, right??)

Alas.

I was halfway to work this morning when I broke down. My convictions and I were having a fight. In a moment of weakness, I flipped on 100.3. They were playing Sleigh Ride. And that was all it took...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mi Casa!

So, I promised some pictures of my new humble abode... Heeere they are!
The lovely outside.
The Dining Room.
The Living Room.

My very own bedroom (first time ever in my life!).

And finally, the girls that live there! Love them!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quick Update.

Oh heyyy, blog world! It's been awhile! My bad...

Well. It's fall! I don't know about where you guys are, but in STL, it doesn't really feel like it. This cold, rainy weather is not very conducive to bonfires or anything else fall-ish, for that matter. I hope it shapes up soon. It makes me miss Taylor falls, because they always seemed so perfect and wonderful. Thank goodness I'll be heading up there in 3 DAYS!! What up, Homecoming?! Really looking forward to that, OBViously.

So... a lot of updates... not sure where to begin!

1. I moved into a house with some friends in Maplewood. The house is wonderful (I'll post pics later, for sure!) and so are the girls. I absolutely LOVE it. It was nice being home (at my parents' house) for the summer, but I had really been missing the space and freedom and the living with friends thing. This just worked out so perfectly... and the move felt so seamless and natural. Like BOOM! Instant home. It's only 12 minutes from my parents' house and 8 minutes from work! And like 15 from the city!
2. I maaaaay be dating. (And by that, I mean... I am!) It's still new-ish, but going really well. So yeah! But I'm not going to blog about it... haha. Just felt it was update-worthy.
3. I went to Farm Aid and saw some great performances by Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds, Wilco, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, and lots more. And I also saw Ben Folds at the Pageant, which was like a dream come true. I love good music!
4. The Cardinals choked. I'm still getting over this reality. It will probably take awhile longer, to be honest. I mean... it is what it is. It just feels wrong that we let go of it so soon.
5. I bought a plane ticket to Denver to visit two dear 1NE friends the first weekend in November. Excited beyond belief. Absolutely stoked. I love having the freedom to go... to buy my own ticket and take off work and just go!

Well... I'm sure there is more to update you on. But that's good enough for now. I've missed blogging. I've just been busy. Hopefully I'll be better as I get more into the groove of... life? Haha...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

U2.

I went to the U2 concert at Soldier Field last Sunday...

Words cannot even begin to express my emotions. It was an absolute dream come true.

Oh, Bono.
This was James' first legit concert. (He chose well... haha.)

The screen split apart for this song. And spun around. Casually.
After it was over, we spent about an hour trying to find Paul in the midst of 100,000ish people. (He drove in from Taylor and had a floor ticket, so we never saw him... until the very end!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Claiming it.

"For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me."

Psalm 63:7-8

Monday, August 31, 2009

Transition.

This weekend was just what I needed: a chill First North reunion in Indy. We talked and laughed and ate bagels and wore sweat pants all day and took a long walk on the Monon trail and watched a cheesy movie and reminisced and loved our lives. It was absolutely and completely perfect... a beautiful reminder of the friendships I've been blessed with these past four years.

Today has been weird. It's just the realization that I'm graduated and not going back for another year. Not bad at all... good and healthy... but just weird, you know? As of this weekend, my brother is moved in and doing crazy college shenanigans, no doubt. And I'm working 40 hours a week and being responsible?! I'll get over it eventually. It's just that this is my favorite part of Taylor... the fall and the beginning and the newness and excitement! (Ok, yeah... I miss it a little.)

But something good! It's fall..ish here, too! I walked outside tonight and had to run back in for a JACKET! YES PLEASE! Tomorrow is the first day of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks. So OBVIOUSLY, I will be getting one on the way to work. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Please pray.

Monsanto laid off 900 employees this morning and my dad was one of them. I don't really know what to say other than please pray he finds another job soon? Obviously, this puts our fam in a really rough spot... and my dad has had a hell of a year, with the cancer and whatnot. I feel so bad for him.

I'm trying to not be mad, but the truth is, I kind of am.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Of late.

I'm in love with every aspect of this evening's weather: cool and breezy and calm. I just got back from a long walk by myself. (I love walks by myself.) When I'm alone, I notice... the kids playing baseball in the side yard next to me, the cute white christmas lights strung across the fence, the intoxicating whiff of honeysuckle... all the "feel good" sights and smells and feels. We live on a beautiful street.

Ok, I must confess... I am absolutely obsessed with the house at the end of our street. (In the most non-creepy way possible, of course.) It's red brick with a green door and purple shutters. (I love shutters.) They have a dalmation, a white picket fence, and a brilliant, colorful garden - pinks and yellows and purples. It's the perfect blend of classy and cute. But tonight, as I rounded the corner, I heard banjos playing. Banjos! Trying not to look too creepy, I stole a glance. A father and son (I presume) were playing little tunes back and forth. I fell in love a little. And of course, my favorite part of the whole house was above them... two cute lawn chairs perched on top of the flat porch roof, perfect for star gazing... perfect for life!

I know it's Friday night, but I purposely decided to chill. I needed to. The fam has all gone in their different directions... so I took a walk and now I'm blogging?? And soon, I intend to either read or scrapbook or watch a movie. (It's more than ok... I'm quite secure in this evening's lameness.)

Lately, I've been falling into a routine. Routines are tricky things... if I don't have enough structure, I'm a mess, but if I have too much, I get all restless. Thankfully, I've been feeling somewhat balanced lately. But I'm tired. I've never actually had 40 hour work weeks before! It takes a lot out of you.

But I'm doing well. There's a certain satisfaction in finishing a busy work day and in making it to the weekend. And I've loved reconnecting with high school/church/childhood friends. Since I'm not going back to Taylor this fall, like I have for the past four years, I feel like I can really live my life as a St. Louisan again... which is kind of nice. Lots of concerts and Cards games and parties and whatnot. It's just nice to be in one spot. I mean, soon, I know the nostalgia will come as school starts back up. (Taylor falls are my favorite.)

But such is life, eh? It goes on. And thank goodness.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alice in Wonderland.

Yesterday, I stopped by the Galleria on the way home from work to pick up facewash. I had been inside the store for about 30 seconds when this employee rushes up to me and goes, "OH. MY. GODDDD." I look up to see a flamboyant gay man with his hands on his hips and jaw dropped.

I smile and say, "Heyy..."

He says, "Girl. You look look like Alice in Wonderland!"

(At this point, I am trying SO hard not to laugh.)

"Oh... thanks!"

He shakes his head and flails his arms, "NO, NO! In a GOOD way. That dress is magical... Sweet and innocent and feminine." Then he lowers his voice and whispers, "But secretly naughty!"

I BUSTED out laughing, then tried to control myself as he told me I "haaaaad" to try their new moisturizer. He stuffed trial sized samples into my bag and referred to me as "girrrrrlfriend" about six times while I was checking out. Then told me to have an "amaaazzing dayyyy!"

I left the store swinging my bag of facewash and moisturizer samples... laughing at the past 3 minutes of my life. A mall cop gave me a funny look... I was by myself, afterall. But, ohhh man. What a GREAT way to end the work day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Perspective.

Sometimes I'm such an idiot that it makes me laugh.

Today was Monday. (Strike one.) I had a bad attitude. (Strike two.) I... could keep going. But I will spare you. It just wasn't the greatest of days... right down to the moment I was pulling out of work (where you can never really see either way, due to rush hour traffic and parked cars) and an SUV came out of no where and LAID on the horn... a few unnecessary seconds longer than a normal honk, if you ask me. I swore. I was annoyed and hot and flustered and tired.

While driving home, brow still furrowed, I pulled into Tilles Park. (It was a complete whim; I never go to Tilles Park.) My arms just turned the steering wheel and suddenly, I was in the park, in search of the swings. (Naturally... because when you are mad at the world, there is nothing like a good, liberating swing with the wind in your face.)

I found the swings, but there were children. On every single swing. I muttered "dammit" under my breath. Then stopped. They were children... bright, happy, shiny, beautiful, innocent children enjoying the swings... that are technically for them anyway, I guess. I was all in a huff about who-knows-what. Unimportant things. I took a deep breath, and without warning, started laughing at my pathetic self. It was weird. I decided to loop around the park and calm down.

I took in the lush greenery and bright blue sky above me and the sun that pierced through the clouds... and all of the people, young and old, enjoying life. It was all so startlingly fresh and good. And in that moment, I was thankful. And then I was ok.

When I struggle, I'm usually forgetful. I forget how blessed I am. I forget how OK I am. I forget that even though this season of life is new and hard..ish... that I will be ok. Beginnings are hard, but we make it through. It only takes a glance around or a glance behind to see where God's brought me from. He's faithful. I am and will be ok.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Come downstairs and say hello.

Sometimes songs get to me. They move me in a way I can't put my finger on, except that as the words and melody roll around in my head, I just know it's important.

Last Friday night, I saw Guster live under the glorious St. Louis arch. For free. With great friends. On a beautiful summer evening. I wondered if life could get any better... then they played my favorite song! (This obviously does not do it justice...)

video

MAN, I love them! So much.



Lots of stuff going on in my head/heart this week. More to come after a bit of processing. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First day...

I opened the door this morning to find I was the first one in the office... with no passwords or keys. I knew they would come along eventually, so I just plopped myself down in my new swivel chair at my new desk. I basked in the moment... being the first to anything is an entirely new concept to me. And then the door creaked opened. It was Billy, an old African American maintenance man with kind eyes. He was super nice, but I think I scared him. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I was sitting in the dark. Alone. At 8.32 am. Poor Billy, haha... A strange, but funny start to my first day.

Today was basically an orientation day. Kind of... I learned how to answer the phone and transfer calls... (definitely do not have it down yet... but I WILL get it!). I learned how the security system works. I got a tour of the building. I called the DC office and got some passwords to facebook and twitter accounts... I created a sign-up form. I filled out my W-2 form... (for the first time ever, not being exempt from everything). I set up my desk and organized things a bit. To be honest, I spent most of my time going through old Collegians Director files... just investigating. I think it's how I learn the best... just figuring things out in my own way in my own time. And it's more fun!

It was kind of an exhausting day, ironically, because I think my biggest accomplishment was figuring out how to turn off the AC unit behind my desk. It revolutionized my life and made me feel like an idiot at the same time.

I can't wait to put up some pictures on my wall tomorrow. It's so minor, but it will make my little nook more homey. And hopefully, it will make me feel better about this sudden grown-up-ness. When I glance up, I will remember the days of my youth... when I studied abroad in Ireland and had no cares in the world... and when I was in college and didn't have to worry about taxes and health insurance. (Speaking of which, I spent OVER an hour tonight meeting with a health insurance guy who helped me pick out a plan... I was soooo thankful my parents met with me. AHH.)

The first job is such a big deal, isn't it? It's all people talk about their last semester of college and their summer, post-college. It's true, in the most irritating way. But now that I have it, now that I've got the first day under my belt... I'm feeling this resistance in my heart. It's not that I don't want it... it's just that I feel like childhood is slipping away... in a way. That's a bit melodramatic, but this is so new and weird. You mean I get a SALARY?? I get BENEFITS?? SICK DAYS?? VACATION??! MEMOS?! I'm beginning to get the way I often get when I'm stressed or tired or attempting to resist the whole growing up thing... Symptom 1: sudden cravings for old-school animated Disney movies. Symptom 2: eyes glaze over.

AHH. But ok! BRIGHT SIDE: At least I get to start work in the middle of the week... which means I only have two more days till the weekend!! And this weekend, I'm headed up to Indiana for a wedding reception/party and some qua-li-ty Taylor friend time in Indy. That will help with this growing-up-itis crap. I hope.

Why am I such a baby? Sigh.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Update.

So... I finally HAVE A JOB! (A legit one!!)

I'll be working at a political organization (does God have a sense of humor?) in downtown Clayton as their "Collegians Director." This basically means I'll be communicating with high school and college students (mostly via social networking - facebook, twitter, blogging, etc - updating them and interacting with them), planning a conference in DC (!), designing, writing, editing, and other random things like answering the phone, editing video, duplicating cds, etc. This also means I am soon-to-be (thankfully) health-insured and making money. And actually using that comm. degree! Wooo!

It's happened oh-so-fast, as I just went in for the interview last Wednesday! I start in two days. So goodbye, summer and unemployment and sleeping in. Hello, salary and early mornings (COFFEE) and high heels. Yikesabee!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Seriously.

So, I really want to do this at my wedding...

video

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Big week.

This week has been kind of a big one as far as decisions/productivity/developing some serious faith. It feels like it should be at least Thursday...

Yesterday, I decided that Mars Hill for this fall is a no-go. I kept clinging to these little threads of hope... but I finally had to just acknowledge that it's not possible right now. It was hard, but probably the "best" decision, as much as I hate to say it. I kept wrestling with finding the balance between making the "wise" decision and taking the proverbial "leap." I know that most decisions in life, we aren't sure about. We aren't supposed to be. So that part of me wonders if I should have just jumped and gone for it. But then I think about all the reasons I said no, and all the uncertainty I/others felt, and it makes more sense. I just wish I knew sometimes what God was "calling" me to do... really clearly and specifically. I kept thinking he was calling me to Mars Hill... and maybe he was. And maybe he is/will. But I don't know. Will I ever know? I'm really trying to listen... trying to be open... It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, and I don't think I'm doing so great.

After I reluctantly sent in my letter of intent to Mars Hill, I spent the rest of the day job hunting. I applied for a few jobs and followed up with a few people. I ended up scheduling an interview for today and tomorrow! However, today's interview seemed really sketch... They found my resume on Monster.com and I just got a weird vibe from them. I got up early this morning and researched the company a bit... they're an insurance company that doesn't pay a salary or give benefits... it's 100% commission. I guess I could have gone to "get the experience" of the interview for the heck of it... but decided to spend my time wisely. So I called and canceled and came to Starbucks for "Free Pastry Morning" instead. (A much better use of my time, right?) Don't worry... I have another interview tomorrow that I promise I will go to. :) (Sidenote... at some time in my life... I don't know when... I WILL be a barista. I have to.)

But Hilton Head was great! Good, sweet family time. A nice mix between laughing and relaxing... and forgetting all job-related things for a week. Heaven?

A delightful little coffee shop on the island.

An appropriate read for the beach. Great book with incredible truth.

Sunrise walk on the last day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Beautiful weekend.

I'm more reminded than ever of God's presence... and goodness.

I had some quality time alone on the way up to Chicago and Michigan, and then on the way home. Much of this time was spent shamelessly singing/dancing to Girl Talk... and some of it was spent in silence.  I turned off the music a few times and just kind of basked in it. And then I prayed aloud. I was alone and free to be honest... and there was a long road ahead of me. When I finished praying, I just felt so full. I cannot explain it except that I felt this tremendous sense of OK-ness. Peace.

The job interview went well, and I liked the organization, but I don't think it's for me. The 3-5 year commitment really got to me; I don't think I can do it. And I didn't feel at peace. So... I don't think I'm going to continue in the interview process (there would be 4 more interviews IN Chicago!).

The time spent with friends was beautiful and full of joy. Multiple coffee/breakfast/lunch/dinner dates with Taylor folk in Wheaton. (I was in heaven.) And the wedding was just... wonderful. From our lunch at B-DUBS beforehand (where girly squealing ensued as we ran to embrace after a month and a half of being apart) to the hilarious dancing at the wedding, and lingering in the parking lot for over an hour after the reception, just because we didn't want to say goodbye yet... it was a sweet time.

The face we make when there is no more Blue Moon to be had.

Awkward picture that kind of failed... but still brings joy to my heart.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Risk.

So... I got accepted to Mars Hill!!! As this is now more of a legit option (than when I was just mulling the thought around), I've gotten to thinking quite a bit. And reading. And praying.

I've started meeting with a dear friend, Mary Jo, for coffee and book discussion (Dan Allender's To Be Told). She has 65 years of life under her belt. She's wise and honest and real. And I love it. We discussed the first chapter today.

In addition to learning about what it means to engage in my story and to discover connecting patterns and themes, we discussed tension and tragedy. Allender writes, "Comfort is the absence of tension; growth requires a swim in murky, dangerous waters. We want adventure, but not without assurances that we will suffer no harm when we take risks... But life isn't like that. There are no safe risks. There is no growth that comes with a guarantee of success. Tension is the medium in which we breathe everyday."

Right now, I feel like there's this crazy tug-of-war going on in my mind and heart. My mind is practical and can be resort to being ok with comfort and safeness. But my heart craves adventure and risk and challenge and the unknown. And in addition, I'm trying to remember that there is more to big decisions than just a list of pros and cons... I might need to look a little more at the big picture and overarching "themes" of my life, too. As Allender says, "A merely good life reveals little beyond the fact that goodness exists, but a life that knows its plot, characters, setting, dialogue, and themes will possess a clear and abiding passion that reveals something unique about the Author."

I keep hearing about risk. The ENTIRE sermon last Sunday was about risk-taking. I'm trying to be open to what God wants... I've put my listening ears on. And in the midst of this "tension," I'm trying to set aside time to quiet my heart. I sat out on our back porch this morning to read and drink my coffee and to watch the leaves wiggle in the breeze. It was so needed.

In addition to finding out about MHGS, I found out today that I have my first job interview! (It's shaping up to be quite a week.) It's in Chicago this Thursday. The organization asks for a 3-5 year commitment.

So, hellooo, risk! I think we will be getting to know each other very well very soon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lately.

I've started five books in the past couple weeks. (Sometimes, I do this, and I have no idea why. It doesn't work very well...) But regardless, I am reading for fun now... and I just sort of wonder if there's anything better?

Summer is in full swing. (Mostly, I just mean that it is HOT. St. Louis humidity is in my top list of things I hatehateHATE, right along with stuff like traffic, powdered coffee creamer, and arrogance.) Anyway. Despite the heat, and the fact that it is summer, it does not feel like summer yet. And you know, it probably won't, no matter how hot it gets or how many iced coffees I drink. I think I just need to accept it and embrace it for what it is, not what it's not... and then, hope for something wonderfully surprising to come along. Hope is important.

This past week has been busy. I spent the days working at Eagle Lodge (for those of you who don't know - a sweet day camp for inner-city kids) and then, it seemed I had something every night, too. All good things... a bachelorette party (haha), a delightful concert, coffees and barbecues with friends... AND I had my phone interview with Mars Hill. It went pretty well, I think. I just love the honesty and grace that oozes from everyone I've talked with there. But right now, I'm just so unsure and confused about this "next step." And Mars Hill is a BIG step... a 2000(ish) mile step. Regardless. God's got it. I know that now and I'm trusting that whatever I'm supposed to do will fall into place... not meaning that I sit back and do nothing, but that I stop worrying. Worrying is counterproductive to living. It sucks the joy from life. And really, let's be honest. Life is not bad. I'm 22, only a month into post-grad life. I'm living at home with a family who loves each other, in a great city, near good friends. Not too bad. I'm so shortsighted sometimes.

Ok. I'm going to read one of those books now, because nothing is going on tonight and I love it. I've decided to embrace the quiet and mellow tonight. Yeah.. it sounds kind of nice, doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Homesick.

Lately, I've been missing my friends. It comes and goes - waves of homesickness. I'm homesick for their laughs, their encouragement, their brilliance, their presence. (I'm in a sappy mood. Be warned.) They have kept me sane on so many occasions when I was sure I'd lose it. But now we're all far away... and we're not coming back together for another round of college life in August.

(You know how things like this hit people at different times? Well, this kind of just hit me.. tonight.)



But even with the distance, I am blessed by my friends. Ridiculously blessed. They care, pray, write notes, send e-mails, and make mixes of beautiful music. It's not the same as living near each other - sharing a cup of coffee or laughing until our sides ache, or going out at 2 am to lie on our backs and stare at the stars - but it reminds me of the blessings God has poured over me. We're in different places, doing different things, but we have a bond that distance and time cannot break. It sounds desperately cheesy, I know! But it's true. And it makes me a bit weepy.

I have shoeboxes bursting with pictures and handwritten notes from over the years. I look back at them every now and then. Like tonight.

I will never throw them away.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Well, shoot.

In the midst of applying to grad school, accepting a part-time job, applying to real jobs, and after several heart-to-heart conversations, I've realized that I don't know what I want to do with my life afterall.

I mean, it's not like I'm back to square one. But... kind of.

These past couple weeks, I've considered professions from teaching to counseling. Who am I? No, really... I'm wrestling with this. And I never really expected to.

I've always loved writing. And I loved Media Communication so much that I never dreamed of switching majors. It just always felt right to me. And it still does - I don't regret it. But the blessing and the curse is that it's so broad and can be applied to so much. And right now, I just don't know. I feel lost and hopeful at the same time.

One thing I do know: this in-between time is teaching me patience. Lots and lots of patience. And trust. I've never felt so clueless in my life.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nothing of real substance... really.

I've come to realize in my recent vagabond-esque lifestyle (coffee shop to coffee shop) that not all coffee shops are created equal. No, no, my friends. They each have distinct flavor, even Starbucks. For instance, if I can avoid it, I won't step foot in the Kirkwood Starbucks. There's this creepy barista who is bitter and cynical and hates life. He's been there for as long as I can remember... maybe since high school?? It would be fine if he was a nice, decent person, who thanked you for stopping by and hoped you had a great rest of your day. But he's a jerk. And he lurks. And he is always there.

And then there are the string of Manchester Starbucks. I'm trying to get used to the one at Manchester and McKnight... but it's inside a huge shopping mall center.. thing... and it's just not homey, you know? It's usually warm inside. The internet isn't consistent. Also, they forgot my latte yesterday... Fine. But then the drink tasted funny and what's worse, there was no "oh, we're sorry we forgot you, here's a free drink on us" coupon. Blast. (I think I'm mostly bitter because they took out my ALL-TIME FAVORITE one in Webster. Damn you, Corporate.)

(This is what happens when you're unemployed and you have time to criticise coffee shop ambiances.) All I have to say is thank God for Kaldi's.

Lately, in the midst of uncertainty and mess and general disorder, I've noticed my intense craving for a creative outlet of some sort... of any sort. If I'm not writing or reading or creating or re-organizing something, I go crazy. I never noticed this much at school because at school, I was always, always busy. But now? I go to coffee shops. And shuttle around siblings. And look for employment.

I'm trying to figure out how to enjoy this time in my life. I mean afterall, it's RELIEVING to know that I am done with undergraduate work FOREVER. (That means, among other things, NO MORE SPANISH. NO MORE COM. SEM. CLASSES. NO MORE MATH OR SCIENCE. EVER! It's more relieving than I can express in mere words.) And plus! One could argue that this is an exciting time in life... anything can happen, right? That's where I get that mixed excited/nervous feeling. I think I'm just ready for that next thing to happen.

But I do have great things to look forward to this summer. I do. There are weddings and reunions... a family vacation and U2 concert. Exciting things.

And! This is coming out soon...

video

Doesn't that look wonderful? Yay. :)

Alright. Battery dying... Peace.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Could you kindly point me in the direction of this "next step"? Ok, thanks.

I tend to make music mixes... often. Regardless of my emotional state, music makes me feel alive. "It'sabeautifulday,whydon'twerollthewindowsdown?" mixes and "ijustgraduatedcollegeandamfeelingsofreakingdepressed" mixes... I have what you might call an overabundance of playlists and folders in my itunes for very specific emotions or people. It's sick. Perhaps it's time for a little spring cleaning.

Anyway. Lately, I've been listening to some rather melancholy tune-age, kind of bordering on inspiring and bittersweet... if you know what I mean. I guess I'm just missing people and places and things and lifethewayitusedtobe. The music helps. Something new and sweet and beautiful will come along eventually, right? (I hope?) In the meantime, I've been escaping to coffee shops... daily. The solitude helps. So does the coffee.

This job search thing is harder than I anticipated. I've been looking all semester, but after being home for a week, I'm discovering what patience really means. (It sucks.) And now I'm applying for grad school?? I must be crazy. But I can't get Mars Hill out of my head. I know I don't have the money, but I've just decided to apply and see what happens. I talked to the Admissions Director on the phone today. When she asked where I was from again, I responded, "St. Louis." She coughed a little and said "Oh my gosh, that's so weird..." She was drinking coffee from a St. Louis mug with a little picture of the arch on it. She said she never used that mug. (Cue creepy sound effect.) Probably a total coincidence, right? Right. But it was enough to make me secretly hope it was God. If I go to Mars Hill, it will be ALL because of God. It's so doubtful, and I'm trying not to get any hopes up... at all... but if I don't apply, I'll never know. Worst case scenerio, I lose $50.

It's hard to be in this in-between stage of life. I am beyond Taylor. I miss it, but I know it's right and good and healthy to not be there anymore... to take the proverbial "next step." But I can't seem to find the stupid step. So I'm standing on one foot, wobbling as I squint (through the darkness, of course)... there are possible steps, but none are close enough or solid enough to step down on. So I'm in this strange sort of limbo... living at home, applying to places, waiting to hear, following up, maintaining my sanity, applying for grad school in SEATTLE (??).

I have to keep reminding myself I'm only a week into post-grad life. It seems like so much longer than 7 days...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Well...

I graduated! From college!

It was a fun/crazy weekend... And now I'm home, trying to sort out how I feel. Kaldi's has become my new "office." Not that I had an office before... but I guess since I'm now a college grad (and unemployed) it works. Also, this is my 6th time coming here in a 5-day period. Yeah.

I guess the biggest thing I've been learning lately is to give my mind to God. It's been a bit of a recurring theme, you might say, so I figured I should do it... Because afterall, I'm tired. And feel emotionally... cramped? And don't know where "home" is. And have no job. My mind needs rest and renewal. Badly. Worrying about finding a job won't help find the job. So, this morning, I gave it up to God completely. I know he'll open and close doors (maybe not in my timing, but he will).

It's just weird, you know? I've always had my life "planned out" one step ahead of me. But now, all I can do is apply places and follow up and wait patiently. And try to figure out where to put all my clothes... and coffee maker and books and mini fridge and lamps and futon and tv... Hmmm.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Love note.

Dear college,
I. am. done. Officially. Just hanging around for packing and festivities (and goodbyes? whaaat??) and the big bad ceremony itself. It's a little bittersweet. And weird. And surreal. But mostly, it is deliciously wonderful. I'm FREE! (Kind of...)
Ok. Actually, I don't know how I feel.
Love,
Blake

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Last Week...

Life's been a bit of a whirlwind of late.

Last week, Paul came back from Ireland and spent a week on campus. It. was. wonderful.


Last week was also the Media Banquet... which means I am officially done with my portfolio and with our senior capstone class... PRAISE THE LORD!!!


At the end of the week, my mom came up to get Paul and to move out most of my stuff... always the most depressing part of the year. I hate bare walls and empty shelves, but it will make next week infinitely easier.

And now? I have finals... 2 of them, basically... and I am done. But not just done until next fall... done with undergraduate studies. Forever. Yeah, that probably won't sink in for awhile.

There are all these little "lasts." The last chapel... the last class... I've pushed all of it aside until this morning, when I went to my last Exit 59 church service.

I freaking love that church. I've been going since freshman year - with different groups of people through the years, and every now and then, by myself. But regardless, I've always known I can go there on Sunday mornings and be filled. Few things have been more influential in my spiritual life than this church. I have several journals full of scribbled notes and insights. I leave every week encouraged and challenged and thankful for the body of Christ. So, this morning, when I realized today was my last Sunday, I felt the tears well up... inconveniently, in the middle of a worship song. It's just hard to find a place I can resonate with so deeply... a place where I know without a doubt that I belong... a place full of broken and honest and loving people. Exit 59 is sacred ground for me. It was rough letting go this morning as I drove away.

I know this week is going to go by fast, so I'm trying to savor. Ohhh, life.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One of those days...

While I'm feeling very much ready to leave and move on with life, there's this part of me that gets tripped up every once and awhile... slightly freaked out. And then I remember to breathe and I'm ok. But for those brief moments, I revert to my childhood. Yesterday, I curled up in a blanket and watched Peter Pan on VHS. By myself. Neverland never looked so good...

I need a fricking job.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hmm..

Hypothetical question: Is it bad that when I see an individual on campus wearing a Cubs hat, my gut instinct is to grab it, run away, and burn it?





(It's not hypothetical. This has happened... a few times.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Next step.

It's funny that I have no idea what I'm doing next with my life, not even summer plans, and yet I'm kind of ready to take the next step. If you had asked me last semester, I'd have been sad... perhaps, a bit dramatic. But now, I just know that I'll be ok. And I know that college is only for a season. I can't stretch it out forever... and I wouldn't want to! I have a whole life to live. And honestly, that makes me a little bit giddy. I'm ready for something new. It would be easier to have peace with leaving if I actually had a job secured... but I guess life doesn't always take the most direct route. So, I'm learning to be ok, regardless. (Except I'm NOT ready to leave my wonderful friends. But I'm... not thinking about that part yet. Ok, moving on!)

These past few weeks have been absolutely insane. I've been drained in every way possible. And I felt a little like this slug...

But now, my portfolio final draft has been turned in... and is being graded... so we'll see. And some other bigger assignments/projects/presentations are over. So, PRAISE GOD for that. I can breathe a little easier now. (Ok, not really... but it's nice to have those things over. There's just always something else...)

A quick overview of my next few weeks:
Next week: Just... keep doing my thing. Projects and job hunting.
The week after next week: PAUL COMES BACK! MAYHEM! Senior Media Banquet. Study for finals, whaaat? Move out of the apartment... partially.
The week after the week after next week: Finals week and GRADUATION (May 23)!!!

Ahh. It's wrapping up quickly. Please pray I get some semblance of a job? For at least the summer? Ok, thanks. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The past 30 days...

The past month has been very... full. A feeble attempt at a recap:

Spring Break in Ireland was beautiful and wonderful and fun and needed. It did my heart a lot of good to spend time with my brother. And it was glorious being back. I don't think I can find a way around the dreaded cliche... honestly, it was like coming home. It was obviously different than the experience I had two years ago, but not in a bad way. Many times, while at the grocery store or riding the DART, a specific memory from 2 years ago would hit me, but it was more of a "hmm, those were good times" kind of memory. As I was walking around Greystones and down by the rocks, it felt so natural - like I hadn't left. It was the strangest (but best) feeling. Inexplainable. On my first day, I grabbed coffee and snuck down to the rocks. "My ritual." I snuggled inside my blue North Face raincoat and breathed in deeply. I literally just sat there, nestled inside a crooked nook, and watched the water slap up against the rocks. And I felt so ALIVE. Beauty does that to you...


Though it was sad to leave, I rather enjoyed the journey back. I love traveling with people, but I get such a kick out of traveling alone. While waiting at the Dublin airport for my plane, I scrounged up enough euro for coffee, then pulled out my little notebook and started writing... about leaving... about loving... about the ecclectic people around me... Airports are wonderful. So many hello's and goodbye's... a revolving door of emotion and adventure. Once I actually boarded the plane, I discovered I had a window seat. (Yessss.) A few minutes later, Thomas, a 23-year-old Canadian, moseyed up. He made a funny joke about us being plane buddies. I introduced myself. And then we were friends. We chattered about Ireland and jobs and risks and bad plane food. And then we landed in America. I'll probably never see him again, but how fun and thrilling is that? To meet total strangers and get to know little facets of their lives... and then part ways.

So now I'm back in the less adventurous realm of academia. And can I just say that job hunting while in school is by far the most tiring, tedious, stressful undertaking? Because it is. I'm "actively pursuing" jobs... and trying to calm my heart at the same time. Patience, Blake. Patience.

Easter was utterly glorious. It was one of those just REALLY GOOD weekends at home. I hadn't been home since Christmas, so it was extra good. (Below - fam shot, minus mom the photographer, and paul the brother abroad. And yes, James is now taller than me. Officially.)

And now I'm just in this whirlwind of school work and job hunting and impending goodbyes. I graduate in 33 days... which I could choose to be stressed about, since I have nothing lined up... but that wouldn't help anything, right? Right. We just turned in our rough drafts of our portfolios for my Senior Capstone class today... final copy due next week. Baby steps.

One more thing! A BIG THING. MY DAD IS CANCER FREE!!!! PRAISE GOD. He just had a Pet scan (?) last week that determined this... he'll have 2 more rounds of chemo and then be done, while they moniter him for every few months for 5 years (I think?). Anyway, this is the most wonderful news, so a most sincere THANK YOU for your prayers. They have been answered.

Ok. Back to the grind.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Well HELLO, SPRING BREAK!

TODAY is a beautiful day. In about 9 hours, I am leaving for spring break in IRELAND! (Yes, it's 3 am and I am just starting to pack. It would appear everything is right on schedule... :) But I don't even care... because SOON, I will soon be in one of my favorite places in the whole wide world (GREYSTONES!) with one of my favorite people (PAUL!). I am positively giddy. God is so good.


Greystones, I'm a comin! Blog, I'll catch you on the flipside! Love.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Unexpected.

In my researching of grad schools (for a senior capstone assignment), I have discovered that I really would like to continue my education. There's so much out there to learn! I had never considered it before, but now I like the idea... (Oh, except that I have no money. Shoot.)

Anyway, I have fallen in love with Mars Hill Graduate School... (from what their website portrays, anyway).Everything about it is beautiful. And it's in Seattle. I want to live there. With my friend, Julia, who goes there. It would be perfect!

... Stupid money.

Oh, and I stumbled upon this.

I really, really, really want to go. Hmmm...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lazy Sunday.

I'm currently sitting in my living room with my roommate, Kaitlyn - it was just the two of us here this weekend. It's Sunday afternoon and we are in our pajamas, sipping our morning coffee, waking up, and watching "The Runaway Jury."

We both had every intention of getting up at 7:30 and going to church. But somehow, we both didn't hear our alarms that we set the night before (for Daylight Savings Time). So here we sit, after a very restful 11 hours of sleep. I really think that sometimes God works it out so we get rest at an unexpected time.. like hibernation at the point when we need it most, you know?

Also, it's thunderstorming outside our open windows, which is maybe my favorite thing in the whole world. I can already tell this is going to be an unproductive day, but I'm ok with that.

This past week has been full of projects and papers, "perfecting" the resume and cover letter(s), and e-mailing job leads. Spring Break is in less than 2 weeks, which is incredibly exciting and so needed, but I know I need to apply to a bajillion jobs before I take off, because when I get back, it will be almost April... which is kind of scary.

Oh, life.

Update on my Dad: he's coming up on his 3rd chemo treatment on March 12. His bloodwork this past week was "perfect!" according to his doctor, which is such a praise. He also hasn't had any sideaffects (besides his hair) from the chemo. Thank you so much for your prayers... please keep praying.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Words I stumbled upon... and love.


"Like a snow globe, we are most beautiful when we are shaken."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ohh life.

Job hunting is in full swing. I made an appointment with the Career Development office for this afternoon for resume-tweaking help. (on my own accord - not a class assignment!), I've e-mailed friends for leads, I've spent hours searching craig's list and monster.com, and I've signed up for a million "job alerts" in the communication field. As soon as I get some professional advice on my resume this afternoon, HELLO JOB APPLICATIONS.

(It's February 25, and suddenly I'm realizing this. Life is so stinking sneaky. HO-LY COW!)

I was feeling the pressure this morning for many reasons, mainly because everyone and their mom is telling us how bad the economy is and how we need to act quickly and snatch up whatever job we can find. (I'm not kidding. I've heard this from probably four separate people this past week.) But then I opened up my mailbox and saw a letter from home. In it, was a verse that said:

"Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act." (Psalm 37:7)

Thanks, parents, for knowing I needed that reassurance. This economy scares me a lot. It's probably going to be a rough few months, but I'm going to try to be still (but proactive!) and wait patiently. I do believe God's got something great out there for me... I really do. I just have noooo idea what it is or where it is or when I'll find it.

Geeeeeze louise.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dad Update.

My dad started his second round of chemo yesterday. Mom says he is still looking and feeling good, but also that he's just recently become bald. Despite the fact that he's had a full head of hair his entire life, he's handling this well, joking that he has "a great head shape." :) Even though I haven't seen any pictures yet, this knowledge kind of hits me hard... it's like a physical acknowledgment that he's fighting cancer, you know? I try not to think about it too much.

Supposedly, the nausea and fatigue get worse with each treatment, but I'm praying that it doesn't...

So, there's a quick update. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers and for asking. I so appreciate it.


(A picture I just found today. It's me and Dad from way back when.) :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Extending grace.

Sometimes I get really pissed off. It doesn't take much, either... a headache; a friend who's short with me; a certain campus bookstore that rips me off; being sick; an egotistical boss; a wal-mart that doesn't have any damn single subject, college-ruled notebooks (thus sending me on a wild goose chase for a few simple school supplies)...

Basically, when life doesn't work out, I get annoyed. Aggravated. On edge. It's times like these that I tend to take comments personally when I shouldn't. I tend to close myself off. I tend to stress out when my friends or family are hurting, because I hurt for them and I just want to make it better, but I can't, and then there's all this hurt going around, and it's just too much.

...you know?

Today, all of the above happened. And instead of taking a deep breath, reminding myself that I'm ok, reminding myself that Jesus is in control, I got annoyed. I don't remember consciously making this decision to become annoyed. It just sort of happened. My brow furrowed. My head became more congested. I grew quiet. And I assumed the whole world was out to get me. ...which, of course, it's not. It's just fallen.

This is something I need to work on. I get so pissed when life is not fair, so aggravated at injustice and incompetent people. But if life was fair, I'd be dealing with a whole other set of issues, like unforgiven sin and being eternally damned to hell. Right??

I am so stinking thankful for grace. And because of how grace has changed my life, shouldn't I try to extend that grace to others when they treat me unfairly or poorly? And shouldn't I hand my burdens over to God instead of clinging onto them myself? Yes, I should. But God, help me, that's hard stuff...

Lord, help me extend grace. Let me release my little clenched fingers from grudges and frustration. Let me remove this notion of "fairness" and just love like you do. Amen.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Procrastination.

Geeze louise, J-term went fast. Two more days of class! Ok, I'm not even going to pretend to act surprised, because I knew it would go fast... it's only 3 weeks. I guess it just went a little faster than I'd hoped it would.

I'm supposed to be reading my book for my extra credit paper right now, but of course, since we all know how great I am at procrastinating... a little blog update.

Unsorted thoughts in no particular order:

1. Contemp is a bad class to take for J-term. I am burnt out.
2. Paul leaves for Ireland in five days. Five. (Super bittersweet...)
3. Speaking of Paul... he, his roommate, and I recently consumed 6-shot venti Starbucks drinks... for fun... with minimal caffeine effects. (Not good? But OH so fun!)

4. C.S. Lewis is THE MAN. I forgot how much I love him.
5. Rach and I redecorated the apartment. It's chic. Stayed tuned for pics?
6. I think it's really funny when people 'advertise' their blogs via facebook status. And it seems like it's been happening frequently... Please slap me on the face if I ever do that!
7. I have found my life calling. Seriously, I'm not kidding. Paul and I worked the latte bar at our church this morning. (Yes, our church has an espresso machine. We don't mess around!) It was our first time working, and I was a little nervous since it had been awhile since we'd been trained. But guys, it was like riding a bicycle. Paul pulled the shots. I steamed the milk. And it was beautiful. The thrill of the controlled chaos behind the counter and of caffeinating the church body made me want to be a barista more than anything. Something just clicked in me... and in Paul, too. We were giddy. I love when service intersects with interests and passions. :)
8. My Dad is doing well. He had his first round of chemo on Friday. My mom said that other than being tired, he's done incredibly well thus far. Thank you for your prayers! Please keep them coming.
9. I was supposed to job hunt over J-term and I haven't done squat. Any thoughts, encouragement, or hook-ups would be appreciated. Ha. I... really need to get on that.
10. Conveniently, at number 10, I'm finally tired. Guess I'm going to bed. (Sorry, extra credit reading.)

Goodnight, friends.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No good, very bad day.

I'm sure you've had one. The no good, very bad day. You might have read that children's book from long ago. But little Alexander (that's his name, right?) has nothing on this chick. Today sucked.

I mean, it had its good moments. But it was, in general, horrible. The perfect storm. It could have been redeemed, I think, until I spilled tomato soup all down the front of my white hoodie in my Contemporary Christian Belief class (Grille food TO-GO because I was running late... of course). After that, it was pretty much doomed. I will spare you all the intricate "of course that would happen to Blake" details, though I suppose some of them would be entertaining after the fact. (And some of them not... I'm emotionally exhausted and strung out... my heart is tired from caring, hurting, hoping.) Let's just say, I am glad this world is not my home. I know that Jesus said that we will have trials in this world... but to take heart because he has OVERCOME the world... which is comforting to remind myself. But it still sucks.

I'm thankful for the friends he's placed in my life to remind me that it's ok. It is ok, though. It really is. Jesus told us to take heart. Take heart. It sounds slightly more simple, more poetic... a little more beautiful than I feel right now. I'm a freaking trainwreck. But I'm pretty sure that Jesus accepts the trainwrecks... with open arms... which I'm rather thankful for.

Please keep praying for my fam. They need it. I need it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Good news.

I've had a lot of thoughts running through my head lately; a lot of blogposts I still think I should share. (Later.) :)

For now, I just want to say a quick thank you for the prayers and Birthday wishes and love. And also, to give you a little update. Ready for some good news? My dad's cancer is supposedly pretty treatable. He's going to go through several rounds of chemo over the next 6 months. The doctors seem confident about it.

This is AWESOME news, but my Dad still needs prayer, so please keep him in yours.

I have to go, but one more thing... I am astounded by the beauty of the body of Christ. Thanks for the part you play in it. I'm convinced God is going to work through this in big ways.

Love,
Blake

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

And... another update.

Guys. Thank you so much for your love and prayers for my dad. And for your comments. They help.

His procedure went well yesterday, but the results showed that he does have lymphoma cancer. We don't know what type/stage yet... hopefully we'll know more by the end of this week. I'll keep you posted. Please keep praying.

So... tomorrow's my birthday... and my dad's. I mean, I've spent three birthdays away from home, but this year, in light of all this, it just feels weird not being home. At the same time, I'm kind of.. numb? Life has been so up and down, I don't know what to feel. I guess I'm just being guarded until I know more information.

But again... thank you for being there and for caring.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Update on my dad.

I promised people I'd update them, but I don't have much time... so I'm putting it here for now. My dad's doctor is about 90% sure he has cancer of some form. They think Lymphoma. It's good news he doesn't have lung cancer like they thought, but... yeah. Still not so great. His surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. After that, they'll know for sure what's going on and what has to be done next. Regardless, it will be a long road for him. So please keep him/my family in your prayers. Thanks tons.

Love,
Blake