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...