Springing Forward

I could tell it was coming. It’s happened every year I’ve lived here. One day we’re in the thick of winter and the next my eyes feel the first hint of itchiness. Then my nose starts getting stuffy. I know the sneezing is just around the corner. I double up on the Zyrtec and brace myself for what I know is just around the corner: the arrival of my arch-nemesis, the blossoming Bradford Pear Trees. I’m not sure who decided to plant dozens upon dozens of these trees in my little town. I know they look pretty but they smell like fish (seriously, not exaggerating even a little bit) and they aren’t even very sturdy trees. We loose several in every major storm. All of which, might be tolerable if they didn’t constantly assault me with buckets of pollen.

Further hints that Spring is coming was the fact we lost an hour of sleep on Sunday. But this Daylight Saving’s wasn’t a typical one for me because I started working nights for the first time. The funny thing about working nights is how fluid time’s become for me. Wednesday morning at nine, after my third twelve-hour shift, felt a lot like a Friday night at nine. My attempts to sleep during the day feel more like taking long naps than getting a good night’s rest. My “day” starts in the afternoon and I leave work while most people are just heading in.

I’m actually liking night’s more than I thought I would. There’s far less distractions in the hospital at night. I have time to think about what I’m doing or need to do. I’m less panicky that I’m forgetting something in the chaos. Which is fantastic considering I need extra time to process everything I’m doing. I’ve found as long as I have some caffeine around two or three in the morning, I’m not even any sleepier than I was when I got off at 7:30 pm vs 7:30 am.

Working nights is just one more thing that’s changing lately. I think that’s why despite allergies I’m so ready for Spring. After such a cold (for Tennessee) winter, and lots of gray days, I am craving blue skies and warm breezes. I miss my sundresses and have grown tired of my coat. I need the days of driving with the windows down and the music up.

I found these beauties at Publix yesterday. They made me happy so they came home with me along with the ingredients for Jimmy Fallon’s Crock-Pot Chili (which is crazy delicious) and Peanutty Buckeye Bars.

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I love watching the leaves change colors and the snowfall. But Spring has this way of infusing hope in me like no other season. It reminds me that there really is an astounding amount of beauty in the world. It carries with it the promise of summer; it hints at BBQs, picnics, and days at the beach. But it has a grace all it’s own. Days filled with ever-increasing amount of sunshine and perfect temperatures for eating on patios and going for runs.

Spring gives me hope that something wonderful is just around the bend. That there are second-chances and new-life to be uncovered. It whispers that maybe the best is yet to come. And all that makes me believe that seasonal allergies are a  pretty good trade for some seasonal hope.

Things I Like Right Now

I love snow. I love watching big flakes drift from the sky. It always makes me incredibly happy (as long as I’m not driving in it. . . ). There’s something about the beauty of it all that makes me believe anything is possible. I love it even more now that I live south of the Mason-Dixon line after spending my childhood walking to school in feet of it up North. So, I understand that my brother shares this giddiness of a rare snow but it’s not nice to rub it in my face that he got 7 inches when the “snow” here just made my yard muddy.

IMG_0968 copy 2And it’s really not nice to do so at 6 am on a day I’m not working. But I still love snow and my still-a-kid-at-heart brother.

Speaking of not working today, I’m really enjoying working only three days of the week. I mean my schedule is downright chaotic at the moment being I’m at the mercy of the system and limited preceptors, but I think I’m really going to like it.

I also am really enjoying the Olympics. I like team sporting events well enough. I like watching people watch football. MLB’s Opening Day always feels like the start of summer. I’d like basketball more if their sneakers weren’t constantly squeaking as they ran up and down the court. And while I like like team sports, I love the Olympics. I like the variety. I like how it’s edited for TV so there’s not a lot of downtime between plays, runs, or participants. I like all the crazy tricks and spins and flips and freakishly fast speeds. I like learning about random sports and countries. I like how I can never figure out the scoring system. I like the patriotism of it all and proudly wear my team USA t-shirt. There’s something great getting so caught up in it all that you’ve stayed up until 2 am and are watching an event you’re not that into like curling. There’s always a story behind every athlete and I love hearing them.

I’ve always been a girl who loves stories. Library days were my favorite and I often spent recess reading. (Yes, I was and still am a bit of a nerd like that.) I also love going to the movies. I love everything about it minus the ticket price. I believe if you’re not there in time to see all the trailers, you’re missing out. Sometimes I get so caught up in watching the previews that I forget what movie I’m about to watch. I’ll even go to the theater all by myself when I need to escape the day-to-day and I can’t get near the water. Going to the movies alone is not sad; it’s wonderful. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it.

So, because I love books and I love movies, I love when books I love are being turned into movies. Here’s two I am a bit giddy about seeing in the nearish future:

One will have me on the edge of my seat and the other will have me reaching for Kleenex. I’ll let you guess which one is which.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m just telling you about things I like right now. That’s about the only thing connecting these scattered dots in my brain, so I’m just going to continue. Continue reading

The Beauty of the Church

“Now, I don’t know what kind of feelings are conjured up in you when you hear the word church. For me, the church has represented the best and the worst moments in my life. I have been more hurt, more judged, more left out, more ostracized by church people than any other group of people in the world. That has been my experience of church people . . . ” ~ Darren Whitehead

When, I heard those words a week ago, I was on edge. These words, I could have written them myself. I’ve lived them. And I know I’m not alone. This is true for some of them people I love the most. This is the heartbeat of social media and pop-culture’s thoughts on church.

Rachel Held Evans wrote a great article, “Why millennials are leaving the church” that resounded with so many people. I particularly loved this quote:

“You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.
Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus.”

I know this isn’t just a millennial phenomenon. This is true for the ages. I think it’s always been.

“[…] it feels like everywhere I turn, the Church (with a capital “c”) is hated, distrusted, over-trusted, mocked, angry, sad, naive, unforgiving, judgemental. Broken (with a capital “b”). It’s all of the sudden really cool to love Jesus but hate the church.” ~ Melanie Rainer, b is for broken and beautiful. c is for church.

I was blessed to grow up in a crazy-cool youth group that stretched and grew me beyond my wildest dreams. [Which you can read about here] I was exposed to teaching suited for any aged years. I made friends that became family. I had leaders that challenged and inspired me. I was allowed to step-up into leadership roles myself. I was a shy, awkward girl who desperately needed a place to belong. And I found it. It was far from perfect. There were disagreements, we broke each other’s hearts, and I’m still unlearning flawed theology I’m sure no one ever actually meant to teach us.

But I loved this group of people fiercely. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. So, when two of my former youth pastors planted Church of the City nearby I was equal parts excited and leery. Darren and Jake are people I respect and trust. They are part of my story. Their teaching and more importantly their love has greatly impacted my life. I knew that if they were involved, this would be something I could get behind. This was a place that I wholeheartedly wanted to check out and at the very same time run away from as fast as my legs would carry me. Because this church, though brand new held echoes of my past.
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You’re [Not] a Three

Trent: Duncan, on a scale of one to ten what do you think you are?
Duncan: I don’t know, a six.
Trent: I think you’re a three.
~ The Way Way Back

Last night, my family went to see The Way, Way Back upon the recommendation of my brother. He said it was the best movie he’s seen this year. We kinda laughed because back in the day he told us we had to go see I Am Legend  because it was “the best movie ever.” Now, it was a good movie but best movie ever . . . ? I guess it was to a seventeen-year-old male. But his taste in movies is usually close to my own and I’d seen the trailer so I figured it’d be a good flick. I was wrong. It was way, way good. It had an authenticity to it, yet remained funny and hopeful. That’s a rare combo these days. I’d highly recommend it.

In the opening scene Trent, Duncan’s mom’s boyfriend, asks Duncan what he thinks he is on a scale of one to ten. That’s a weird thing to ask. It’s an even weirder thing to ask a fourteen-year-old boy. When the poor guy is finally forced to give an answer, he settles on a six. Six is a safe answer. It’s not trashing yourself. It’s not cocky. And Trent just nails him with his reply, “I think you’re a three.”  To quote Duncan later on, “Who says that to somebody?

Seriously, who would say that to somebody? It’s awful. It’s mean. It’s demeaning. It’s outrageous.

But how often do we think something similar when we look in a mirror?
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