Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Self Realization

I'm just not all that comfortable with people who are really, super comfortable with their own bare feet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ah, hydrangeas....

Ashleigh gave me these hydrangeas from her garden, and my home office is brighter already.

Now if only Gilbert doesn't decide that I put them out as his personal salad...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book #10: Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl

"Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl" by N.D. Wilson

I almost didn't make it past the first chapter of this book. I started reading it and thought "Whoa. What a pretentious writer." I mean, the guy says "ergo" on page 5. Ergo.

But I'm so, so glad I kept reading.

This is the best book I've read this year (and maybe in a few years). Wilson writes about God's creation, our world, in prose that might as well be poetry. It's so rare that an author is able to convey exactly what he means using common vernacular, but this one is successful.

I hardly ever cry reading a book, but there were several passages in this book that made me tear up. I even called Ashleigh on Friday afternoon to read some passages aloud, because they moved me so much.

I can't do justice to this book by just raving about it, so I'll include my two favorite passages here, and let that suffice:

"Jean-Paul Sartre, in his play No Exit: Hell is other people.

A writer for Wired modified that slightly: Hell is other people's music.

...I know little, but I know this: When you have died and your leaves have been raked, when you have looked on the face of God and had your final conversation, exchanging words others may never know, you will be where you want to be. If you cannot let go of yourself, if you cling to the filth that you've loved for so long, stroking the cherished scabs that line your soul - hates and bitternesses that you cannot lay down, an imagined mirror picturing a glorious self - then He will push you away. You will be sent out into the darkness, far from His presence. You will not like the darkness, but the other option seems worse. You couldn't bear to be without those scabs.

You will be in good company, wandering with preachers, priests, and kings, and every lofty human unable to live without themselves. Many 'righteous' will crowd into that corner with you, people who cannot imagine themselves as anything other than good, who cannot bend to a God who will not bend to them.

Other people. And their music."


"Our Maker waits. He would have a conversation. What words will we have?

We need only one, the One who spoke us.

We will hear the angels sing. We will be the sheep. We will be made new and find ourselves standing in a garden. We will be handed bodies and shovels and joy.

No tree will be prohibited.

Blister your hands. Tend to the ants. Push the shadows back. Sing. Make a garden of the world.

We will laugh and carve FINIS on the earth. We will carve it on the moon. We will look to the Voice, to the Singer, the Painter, the Poet, the One born in a barn, the One with holes in His hands and oceans in His eyes, and on that day we will know -

The story has begun.

And we will rake the leaves."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"Casimir Pulaski Day" by Sufjan Stevens

I like the honesty in this song. Sometimes we don't understand why God allows pain to occur in our lives, but it doesn't mean we don't trust Him and that we don't keep praying.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I knew I liked this guy.

Compelling stuff. I've loved U2 for a long time (their lyrics are amazing), but I genuinely like the man behind the music, too.

Also, check out this hilarious blog post on whether U2 is a Christian band or not if you have some time.

Yep. I call that justice.

"...if the worst came to worst, a heaven for mosquitoes and a hell for men could very conveniently be combined."
- C.S. Lewis, from The Problem of Pain

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"Dragonfly" by M. Craft

So I'm back to mellow music this week. This song makes me want to park myself in a hammock all day long with an endless supply of poetry books and lemonade.

Friday, May 14, 2010


So I absolutely love this song by Phoenix. Love. It. Every time it comes up on my iPod while I'm driving, I host my own private dance party in my car. I just can't help it.

I was looking on YouTube last night to see if I could find the video for it, and came across this middle school chorus performing the song. Yep. That's right. Middle school chorus.

Things that impressed me:
1. Their chorus teacher's coolness. Schools need more music teachers (and just teachers in general) like this dude.
2. Their harmony and timing is spot-on.
3. Every single kid is completely into it. I love their little hand gestures and facial expressions. I love watching kids truly enjoying music.

Ok, so here it is - I hope this makes your day a little brighter, too!

And just for good measure, here's the original version by Phoenix:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dream Shower

My bathroom at my apartment has always been a point of contention with me - it's just so, so tiny.

This shower (spotted on House of Turquoise) makes me dizzy. Someday, I will have a shower like this. Granted, I might be 80 and actually have to sit on those benches in order to maintain my balance, but I will still love it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hello, cliches.

Does it drive anyone else nuts when people say things like

"You're too blessed to be stressed!"


"You know what 'stressed' is spelled backwards? 'Dessert!' Eat some ice cream and you'll feel better!"?

No. I'm sorry. YOU are now stressing me out by making stupid comments.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Old Man

Yesterday, in the middle of her piano lesson, one of my 6-year-old students asked me "Miss Amanda, can we sing the Old Man Song?"

I asked her to sing part of it for me so I could place it, and she started singing in this slow, monotone voice "This old man....he played nine...He played knick knack on my spine...."

And I got the heebie jeebies. We sang the whole song, but seriously - that song is spooky.

"This old man, he played five...he played knick knack on my hide...with a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone...this old man came rolling home."

Can't you just see the horror movie that could be made from this song?

Preview voice: "They thought he was just the harmless old man down the street..." Cue one child singing, a little off-key and with a lot of reverb, "This Old Man." And then a shot of a cane and a rabid dog.

Coming this Halloween.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bright Star

I watched this movie Saturday night, and I have to say - this is the most visually stunning film I think I've ever seen. I was literally catching my breath throughout it. It's just so, so beautiful.

And of course, the story is fantastic (and true!) as well. I bawled through the last thirty minutes. I'm definitely going to purchase the DVD for my collection.

Man. Why don't we write poetry like that now? Why don't men write sonnets for women anymore? I'd be such a goner.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Let's be honest.

Any time someone is described as being "irrepressible," I think it pretty much means I'm going to hate that person's guts.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"Spit It Out" by IAMX

This is so not the sort of song I usually gravitate towards, but I like this one for some reason. It's kind of like a mixture of Duran Duran and a sexier A Clockwork Orange. Don't you think?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nap Time

I just took a four-hour nap.

And it was marvelous.

And I don't feel one. Bit. Guilty.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh, he's a hugger...

And...this convinces me more than ever that Donald Miller and I could get married and have a few really sarcastic babies.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Little Daggers

I'm single, and I feel like (most of the time) I'm pretty thick-skinned about it. I don't dissolve into hysterical tears at friends' weddings. I don't constantly refer to myself as the "third wheel" when I'm hanging out with married friends. I don't write long poems bemoaning my lack of love.

But sometimes...people say things or put me in situations where I can't help but feel a little beaten up about my single status. Most of the time (most...) they don't even realize what they've said/done to gut punch me, but here's a few "oh, you forgot you were alone? Let's remind you" moments I've had lately:

Reminder #1: Invitations
I got an invitation in the mail to a retreat at church. In huge bold letters, it stated "BRING YOUR SPOUSE! SPOUSES ARE IMPORTANT TO OUR SEMINAR!" Great. So I guess I'll just have an empty chair next to me all night to go along with the sympathetic looks.

Reminder #2: Old lady know-it-alls at church
I actually had a lady walk up to me at my church and say "Amanda, I've really been thinking about this, and I think that you are just one of those women that God means to be single. You know, like Paul? I mean, He just doesn't want you to marry or have children."* Wow. So now even God's against me. Thanks for the heads-up.
*Yes, she actually said that. Exactly that. I'm not embellishing here. Her name is Linda. Every time I see her I think "Oh, that's the lady who wants me to die alone and childless."

Reminder #3: Children who have been taught that marriage is the epitome of adulthood
It never fails - at least once every couple of months a child will wander into my office and see the picture of my sister in her wedding dress on my desk and ask who she is. I'll tell them, and they'll say "Oh, she's older than you." I'll say "No, actually - she's three years younger." And then the six-year-old looks at me with pity. And I swear, after that moment - that kid acts a little superior.

Reminder #4: Married friends who feel like they need to include you in activities, but don't really want to
This past Sunday, one of my married friends invited me to lunch. I told her that I thought I could, but if I wasn't there it was because I had a lot to get done that afternoon. I thought I made it pretty clear that I was hopeful that I could go. And it turned out that I could. So I was maybe three to four minutes behind my friend and her husband in getting to the restaurant. When I showed up, I told the hostess I was meeting some friends and she ushered me to their table. Where they were sitting with two other married couples. And they hadn't saved me a chair. Cue awkward looks and stutters of deflated enthusiasm - "Oh, made it. We didn't think you would..."

Reminder #5: Christmas gifts
Married couples get to tack on "from Bob and Sally" on every gift tag. Therefore, both Bob and Sally have to fork over just half of whatever the gift cost. Because it's from both of them. I have to say "To Bob. From Amanda." and "To Sally. From Amanda." And yep. I paid for both of the gifts. And you got me a mug with a snowman on it. From both of you. Thanks. A bunch. Really.

Reminder #6: Waiters and waitresses
I can't tell you how many times I've heard this sentence come from a waiter/waitress' mouth when they're getting the bills ready: " two are together...and you three...and yooooooou are by yourseeeeeeeeeeeeelf." Ok. To be fair, I doubt they actually string out the "you" and "yourself," every single time, but it sure does feel like it.

Reminder #7: When people find out I have a cat
"Oh...that's so great. I'm sure he's such good company for you." Yes. Because I don't get much interaction with humans. I'm also saving all of the fur I've lint-rolled off the couch and putting it in a baby album to save for my cat so I can give it to him when he graduates from college.

Ok. I'm going to go make some tea now. For myself. And maybe heat up a tv dinner. For myself. And then I'm going to watch "Bridget Jones's Diary" while I snuggle. With my cat.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm jealous.

This looks like so much fun!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Book #9: Stuff Christians Like

Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff

For some unknown reason, I seemed to be one of the only people on the planet who hadn't discovered this hilarious blog until a few weeks ago when I found the book taken from the blog at Barnes and Noble. Styled after the blog "Stuff White People Like," Acuff has taken the everyday life of Christians and turned into one of the wittiest observations I've ever read.

Almost every essay made me laugh out loud, mainly because I've been in exactly those situations. Not every essay ends on a serious, insightful note, but some do and even the silliest ones made me think. To non-churchgoers and non-believers, some of the things we as Christians deem "normal" are anything but.

One of my favorite new books. I've already lent it out. And I better get it back, or I will gossip about you and disguise it as prayer (that means you, Tara).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Well said.

"Every time a couple gets married, two single people die."

-Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope on "Parks and Recreation"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"Feeling the Pull" by The Swell Season

I've loved these guys since I became a little obsessed with their awesome, spectacular movie "Once." It hurt me to hear that their real-life romance ended last year, but made for some good breakup songs on their new CD.