Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween: Success

The inspiration
The transformation


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

...But He Wasn't a Bro All the Time...

Time's sea hath been five years at its slow ebb,

Long hours have to and fro let creep the sand,

Since I was tangled in thy beauty's web,

And snared by the ungloving of thy hand.

And yet I never look on midnight sky,

But I behold thine eyes' well-memoried light;

I cannot look upon the rose's dye,

But to thy cheek my soul doth take its flight;

I cannot look on any budding flower,

But my fond ear, in fancy at thy lips,

And hearkening for a love-sound, doth devour

Its sweets in the wrong sense: -Thou dost eclipse

Every delight with sweet remembering,

And grief unto my darling joys dost bring.

Okay, so...I've been reading Keats lately. It's because I saw the film Bright Star last week and it inspired me to bust out some verse.
Yes, I just wrote "bust out some verse." So? I never said I was poetic...but I will say that this poem makes my heart feel like a melting ice cream cone. I wish I could see how this woman took her glove off! (Like, just her glove though...I don't know if Keats was referring to a little more than that. Am I still talking?)

If you enjoy anything smart, lovely, or English, you will like the film. See it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

John Keats Was a Bro

Give me Women, Wine, and Snuff
Until I cry out, "Hold, enough!"
You may do so sans objection
Till the day of resurrection;
For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Inspired Kookiness

I ran into my sweet friend JP the other day and couldn't get over how awesome her sewing machine charm necklace was. (Nice work, David.) The necklace is from the website Eclectic Eccentricity Jewellry (yep, with two L's...oh, those Brits.). I love their unique, vintagey, whimsical designs. Here are my favorites...
This necklace is called "Sew Much To Do."
"The Perfect Gentleman."A vintage key necklace. Oh man, I love vintage keys.

Nautical but nice...

Wouldn't these make nice gifts for the holidays? ;-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

American Idle

This weekend I noticed two things. First, people are so mean to each other! I witnessed two people yelling at strangers in public and it was so disheartening. Not okay, Humanity. Not okay.

Second, people are so busy! It seems that everyone is in a hurry right now. Everyone needs to just calm down. Relax. Take a break.

I had such a relaxing weekend. It reminded me of how important rest is! There is nothing healthier or more worthwhile to do with one's time during the weekends than to devote serious study to what Oscar Wilde calls "the great aristocratic art of doing nothing." Why is rest seemingly unattainable? Let's face it: time management is tough. It seems every day of my week quickly and miraculously fills up with things to do: work, small group, swim practice, family stuff, Crave, errands, and hanging out with friends. There are generally things to do all the time...granted; they are often enriching, necessary, or fun things. Rare are the moments to read, relax, renew, rest. To be still.

I count on my weekends to do things that will quiet my churning mind and rest my often weary body. Staying up and watching What Not to Wear and The Soup--fantastic! Sleeping in late--oh, what a luxury! Lounging around in pajamas until 2pm--exquisite! Moseying into Bagels and Brew the last hour that oatmeal is served, not worrying about how long the line is because I have nowhere to go--bliss! Fleeting are those moments of calmness during the week, but I try to make up for them on the weekends. When was the last time you slowed down?

It's useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don't you know God enjoys giving rest to those he loves? Psalm 127:2.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Well...That Was Awesome!

This is embarrassing to admit, but until this month, I hadn’t gone to the dentist in…wait for it…over four years. No X-rays, buzzing dental tools, dreaded cleanings, or gentle scolding. For years, I feared going back…I was certain I would be told I needed several root canals, my teeth were on the brink of falling out from some invisible mouth disease, and that I was a bad person for not flossing enough. (Okay…for not flossing at all.)

Putting something like this off for so long is unacceptable and isn’t like me. I mean, I am a hygienic person and a responsible adult. What’s the big deal about going to the dentist? I guess my fear-driven procrastination caused me to put “go to dentist” at the bottom of my to-do list. And there it stayed…for far too long.

Earlier this year, while I stood in line with my friends at Disneyland, dentist appointments came up. (We talked about normal, cool stuff, too. I promise.) My friend told me I have to go to his dentist. “You’ll love him—he’s like a grandpa.” (Note: My grandpa has the shakes and his fingers are the size of sausages—not qualities I desire in a dentist. Nonetheless, I understood the simile.)

Three months later (Hey, slow progress is still progress!), an appointment was made. Two weeks later, I found myself in Dr. Hahn’s office. I expected to hear screams from the back rooms and to see people walking out covered in blood. “We lost another one,” I thought I’d hear someone say. But no…no. All I heard was Kenny G. There were Highlights magazines and photos of nice looking people on the walls with very white smiles and well-groomed hair. They looked so happy. This place was legit.

After some X-rays and major plaque scraping, the report was in: My teeth were “gorgeous.” (His words!) The staff was glad I was there, and they were so genuine and kind and caring. I believe Dr. Hahn even gave me a high-five. A high-five…for me! The prodigal!

Overall the experience was downright pleasant. I even got a goody-bag and an orange toothbrush (how did they know?!). So may this be an encouragement to any of you hesitant dentist appointment-makers. I only wish I had gone sooner. Coffee stains are gone, rest is assured, and the proverbial slate, and literal teeth, are clean. And gorgeous…did I mention that?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Smile Like You Mean It

Pretend you're happy when you're blue

It isn't very hard to do

And you'll find happiness without an end

Whenever you pretend…

Remember anyone can dream

And nothing's bad as it may seem

Every morning, I listen to music when I get ready for work. My iPod is usually on shuffle. (I’m a risk-taker like that.) The other day, Nat King Cole’s song, ‘Pretend,’ came on. Some of the lyrics are above.

I was appalled.

Pretend you’re happy when you’re blue? Why on earth would I do that?
You'll find happiness without an end whenever you pretend? Seriously?

Lies, Nat. Lies.

Let’s face it and own up to a fact that every single one of us knows: Sometimes life’s circumstances suck.

Are we supposed to just pull a Pollyanna and pretend everything’s hunky dory like Nat suggests? As Christians, aren’t we supposed to be cheerful and happy all the time? Should we just swallow trite responses to our pain, confusion, and hurt...seemingly helpful responses like “Just trust God” or “Rejoice in all things”? (Those are good words of advice, by the way, but often not timely advice. When we’re in pain, we need comfort and compassion, not an easy fix or overly optimistic cliché.)

Yes, it’s true that Paul found the secret to finding joy in all circumstances, but I don’t think that meant he was fake with his emotions. And I don’t think God wants us to be fake, either.

I wish I was more complicated and mysterious (kind of like Spock in the new Star Trek movie), but the reality is that I wear my feelings on my sleeve. People who don’t even see very often always know when something’s bothering me. Sometimes I hate that my emotions are so transparent. Sometimes I don’t want you to know what I’m feeling.

Why is that? Is it uncool to be transparent? Is it really that dangerous to be real? Doesn’t everyone want to be known and understood? So, why do we make it so difficult on ourselves?

Be real with your emotions. Our God is an emotional God who has experienced anger, pleasure, and everything in between. And he made us in his image, which is why we experience emotions. God cares about our emotions as well. Psalm 34:18 reads, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Wow! Pouring out our feelings to God is a healthy thing and helps us rely on his power and make room for him to heal us.

Sometimes I get frustrated that I can’t hide my feelings better. But then I wonder why I’d even waste my time trying to do that in the first place. I want to be authentic and understood. And that means being real.

No more pretending, Nat...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good Advice...???

My swim coach sent us the following e-mail about trying to fake ourselves into feeling good when we are actually dying during a workout:


The goal of a "feel good" swim is to make the sensations you get on a hard set feel good, rather than bad. The idea of "feel good" is to experience the sensations you get when swimming hard in a new and non-threatening light.

When you think about it, the only thing that makes a hard set feel bad is when you think it "hurts." The sensations themselves can easily be interesting or even pleasant. When you perceive them as unpleasant, it is because you think they "hurt."

You feel them. They catch your attention. They can be intense. But they don't have to hurt or be experienced as painful if you label them otherwise and understand that there is no impending or actual biological damage. These sensations will signal biological growth through adaptation.

Experience the discomfort as something good. Make it a "feel-good" experience. Seek out these sensations. Make them happen. Notice them. Then, make a point to adapt to this new "feel-good" style in your swimming.

Wait...what? What if I am about to throw up in the pool? What if I tear a rotator cuff? What if I pass out when we're doing a set of no-breathing laps? Just pretend it feels good?

Oh. Cool. Got it.

Thanks, coach!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Post-Season Predictions

I'm so proud to live in Southern California, home of the division-winning Angels and Dodgers! Although I love the Angels, I am predicting a Dodgers vs. Yankees World Series, and for L.A. to go all the way. Right, Julie?!

(NOTE: My predictions are based on glancing at the standings online for, like, one minute. Just so you know...)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Autumn Mix

No, not that autumn mix…

Below you will find an incredible playlist for autumn, courtesy of a friend of mine whose knowledge of “good” music far surpasses my own. (Note the lack of Disney-signed artists.) It’s a great, mellow mix (but not too emo) for crisp fall nights, reading at Starbucks, or taking a weekend roadtrip. I love every single song on here and am enjoying listening to it so much that I had to share!

Behold! The Autumn Mix. Enjoy!

1. Sweet Dream--Greg Laswell
2. Why Georgia--John Mayer
3. At The Stars--Better Than Ezra
4. Comes And Goes (In Waves)--Greg Laswell
5. You Belong To Me--Lifehouse
6. Sweet and Low--Augustana
7. Wash Away--Joe Purdy
8. Off I Go--Greg Laswell
9. Say It To Me Now--Glen Hansard
10. For the Windows in Paradise F--Sufjan Stevens
11. Vienna--The Fray
12. I Found a Reason--Cat Power
13. No One’s Gonna Love You--Band of Horses
14. Don’t Forget to Breathe--Alexi Murdoch
15. 3X5--John Mayer
16. Warning Sign--Coldplay
17. The Blower’s Daughter--Damien Rice
18. Orange Sky--Alexi Murdoch

Monday, October 5, 2009

Shotgun Rules in the Corolla...Can You Handle It?

1. Under no circumstance will you attempt to usurp power over the radio. The “do not touch” policy will be strictly enforced (usually with a slap), unless you have explicit verbal instruction to alter the music situation.

2. My purse does not get demoted to the backseat just because you’re riding shotgun. Please make room for it…preferably on your lap, but I suppose it would be fine at your feet, too.

3. Please keep hands clean at all times. This is not only for basic purposes of hygiene and self-respect, but also because when I need a piece of gum to improve my coffee breath, you’ll need to not only unwrap it, but feed it to me.

4. Speaking of coffee…frequent Starbucks stops are a given on any type of road trip or travel adventure. No need to even bother suggesting we stop at a Coffee Bean, Peet’s, or other sub-par coffee establishment.

5. I don’t read maps and am severely geographically challenged. Therefore, if we are venturing beyond the outskirts of Orange County, you’ll need to perform all navigational duties and will basically be responsible for reaching our destination. I’m just the driver.

It's not like I'm asking much here...


I am going here on Saturday.
That is all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Graduation Pending

Every day I drive by my alma mater, El Toro High School, on my way to work.

Every day I look at the kids crossing the street and walking to class.

And every day I feel a little bit sorry for them. I instantly see how insecure they are. It’s in every unsure step they take, every hesitant glance they make at someone else when they gather the courage to peer up from the ground, hoping to find acceptance in someone else’s eyes. They clutch their binders close to their chests like shields. They try to project a sense of popularity as they busily text away. They arm themselves with things that might win someone’s approval, or even just a marginal amount of attention…fancy shoes, a football jersey, a group of friends, an expensive gadget.

They don’t know how great and talented and beautiful they are. No one tells them. Or they just don’t believe it. They want to fit in with everyone, but they want to be themselves, too. And they don’t even know what that means…“being yourself.” It's tough being a high schooler.

And then I think, “Wow, that doesn’t completely change as you get older.”

Does high school ever end? We are plagued by insecurities, and they manifest in our lives in so many different ways—pride, overachieving, humor at our or other people’s expense, materialism, self-loathing, always living life on the defense. High school insecurities rarely end after four years of social awkwardness and a diploma. The only difference is that we hide them in things other than letterman jackets.

Every day I drive by El Toro High School on my way to work.

And I think, “Man, I’m glad I’m not in high school anymore.”

But do we ever really graduate from all that?