26 February 2008

a draft

About a half-hour ago, I finished writing the first draft of my term paper. It's been a marathon. APA formatting, references and 14 pages of editing still to go, but for the most part its done.Thank you, Jesus.

My mind is fried, my eyes are sleepy, two point five hours until my alarm clock goes off, two point five days until my final exam. Haven't started studying (but the laundry and dishes are done... hallelujah!)

I'm tense, yet thankful.

Thinking about Richard and Karen... nearly 40 years... 40 years.
My heart hurts.

Fading. Too tired to write in complete sentences. Time to go.


My stepmom, my big little brother, a garbage disposal that works, split pea soup, toilet paper, provision for today, my laptop, my marriage... SO much to be thankful for.

17 February 2008

my nature

In my little red "Weekly Assignments" notebook, I blocked out this afternoon and evening to work on (to start) my term paper. I had BIG plans for researching, outlining... maybe a little writing today.

Well, I'm happy to report that my house is clean, the laundry is done, my eyebrows are plucked, I'm all caught up on phone calls and I've checked your blog... yeah. It's 9:22 p.m., and I haven't written ONE WORD.

Describe your theoretical orientation. What is human nature? How do people develop psychologically? What is mental illness? How does healing happen? What is the counselor's role in change? Describe how your theoretical orientation has been influenced...

Is he serious??

Dear professor: I'm 31. THIRTY-ONE! I've barely lived.What in the world do I know about a theoretical orientation?! I've never sat with a client. Heck, I feel like I just got out of high school. I'm still in my infancy... a wee babe, dear professor. I'm...

... delusional and in TOTAL denial. I'm evading, escaping, excusing, eschewing... exemplifying human nature at its finest.

I need to start writing. Just start, right? Just start, Ab... just start.

15 pages, 14 theories, a term paper, a comprehensive final, and 11 days to go...

I'm screwed.

13 February 2008

to fill a jug of water

Earlier this morning, with an empty three-gallon water jug and two whining kiddos in tow, with a morning of frustrations and annoyance percolating an inch below my surface and with the 30-minutes and $1 left that I barely had to spare (a long story; another post), I made the 12-minutes-each-way trek to Vitamin Cottage.

I'll just run in, fill the jug and head home, so I can start reading...

To save myself a little time and a lot more frustration, I decided to leave the kids in the car.

Darn, only two cashiers with lines three people deep...

I dashed for the water dispenser and impatiently tapped my foot as it took an eternity to fill my bottle. The stream of water finally reached the top of the jug, and without skipping a beat, I grabbed my water, screwed on the lid and turned to see the cashier in lane one standing at her register alone.


Now with a full bottle in tow, I approached the register and found an unattended shopping cart and groceries on the counter. Ms.-oh-I-just-have-to-grab-one-more-thing finally made her way back to her cart and spilled a couple bags of banana chips and soup before the cashier. Of course she had coupons (I didn't even know you could use coupons at Vitamin Cottage) and of course, as she reviewed her receipt, she noticed that she was charged $2.89 for a carton of soup that had been marked down to a dollar.

"You've got to be kidding me," I heard my mind say as I shifted my weight and lifted the now-heavy jug of water onto the corner of the counter.

"Blah, blah, blah," I'm not sure of the words the two women exchanged. I had a hard time blocking out the sound of the boiling emotions and growing impatience that were bubbling from my chest, up my throat, to my face. I stepped out of myself just in time to hear the cashier's amplified voice on the loud speaker request, "M.O.D. to register one." Finally, I noticed the name on her nametag: Barb.

I shifted again, bit my lip, counted my breaths and dropped my head.

Meanwhile, lanes three and four opened up, and two lucky shoppers came and went. In that moment, my finances, my frustrations, my morning (with all it's inconveniences), my schedule, my whining kiddos who I left in the car, my week... made their way to register one.

"I'm sorry," the coupon lady apologized to Barb, who was obviously flustered now as she began to fill out a return slip. "Why don't you help her first," she finally suggested.

Thank the LORD.

Seventy-eight cents and what felt like a lifetime later, I raced out of Vitamin Cottage, dropped the water jug on the floor of the car and got in my seat.

9:47 a.m.

As I drove the 12-minutes back to my house,
my mind raced through the list of things I had to do and settled on the cashier and the warm brown eyes behind her glasses.

What was her name again? Oh yes, Barb.

he reality of this morning finally occurred to me. I was that girl - the one who nearly causes an accident to get in front of ONE car on the freeway, only to face a red light a few minutes later. I was that guy - quart-of-ice-cream-guy - who could have burned a hole in the back of my head one night at Safeway because I was the MOD-to-register-one lady in front of him in the 10-items-or-less lane.

This morning, I lost a few minutes and was racing back home for what? I was so focused on myself that I lost sight of everyone else FOR WHAT? This morning, I disrespected not one, but two women whom God created in His glorious image FOR WHAT? For five minutes?!?!

The kiddos ran out back to play as soon as we got home, and then something unexpected happened: I stopped to listen. Just beneath the cacophony of my mind, I heard the steady rhythm of my heart... I set down my jug of water, and picked up the phone.

"Hello, Vitamin Cottage, this is Jen..."

Heart racing, I asked for Barb. Once she was on the other end of the line, I was finally able to see past myself. I apologized to Barb for taking the frustrations of my morning out on her. I apologized for allowing my impatience to rob her of the respect she was due . I apologized for being that girl...

"May the Lord bless you," Barb said as we hung up the phone.

And He did.

07 February 2008

colors and shades

I just had a gigantor salad with nearly every color in the rainbow (sans red and blue). I have 80 pages left to read, and I have to leave for school in about three hours, so I didn't intend on posting a picture, much less writing about it. However, I enjoyed lunch so much today that I've since changed my mind. It was supposed to be a working lunch, but as I sat down and appreciated the colors, textures, fragrances and intricacies of my beautiful salad, I decided to have a thinking lunch instead.

As I crunched on carrots and celery, delighted on grapes and avocado and savored the scent of balsamic vinegrette, I paused for friends... family. I celebrated them. I thanked God for them... For my brother and sister in the DR who still remain close to my heart... for my sister who turned 32 today (Happy Birthday!)... for my brother who's learning to be a grown up... for my sister who got some bad news yesterday, but continues to make me proud as she perseveres through med school... for my sister who got word yesterday that she will soon be the mother to three daughters...

I've been pausing a lot lately - taking back those moments when I could read another page, tackle laundry, sleep five more minutes... it's made all the difference.

In these fleeting moments I've chosen to stand still as precious time passes, I've started to see things I haven't before. I'm experiencing color - in my day, in my interactions... in my salad. A quick phone call to catch up with a friend... time spent with the Lord... a sweet conversation with my daughter... a remarkable evening with four captivating friends... an afternoon spent with my husband... an hour at library with my kiddos... a power nap... a post on my blog... dinner for lunch for the kiddos and me just because...

Brown and Wild Rice with Salmon and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

... and as the Good Lord said, it is GOOD.

Time looks
differently than it used to. The hours I once had have become minutes... seconds at times. But it is time, nonetheless. My paradigm is shifting. I can see it. I can feel it. I'm learning to see the greys - hundreds and thousands of greys that reside between black and white. And as I take the time to pause - to look more closely - I'm even starting to see color.

45 minutes have come and gone, and I still have those 80 pages left to read. I feel alive.

Back to work.

04 February 2008

bucket list

Paul and I had a date on Saturday night. We had good (great) conversation and said many things that needed to be said (mmm...), we went to Boulder for sashimi (mmmm....) and we went to the movies for the first time in a year (?!?!).

"The Bucket List" (ahhhhh). It was such a sweet surprise - exactly the movie we needed to see. Even after sitting through the credits, we left the theater with hearts pounding and big tears still rolling. SO good. I think we may actually be good for another year.