August 31, 2015

The Chaos of A New Beginning

Tonight chaos lives in the folds of my mind.

I just finished my first day of sophomore year of college, and my thoughts are a colorful mess of chaos. I am not upset, not afraid, not depressed, I'm just overwhelmed. I get overwhelmed so easily.

There's just so much to think about tonight, or in college in general. There's the specifics. The curiosity about my  classes this semester, the professors, the classmates. I only had one class today and I don't know what to expect from the others. Or what to expect from this one even. The friendships. The "how do I avoid last year's problems" question which I still do not know how to answer. So far I've managed sleep before 11:00 every night, but I don't know how realistic that will be throughout the semester. Maybe. I have pretty high hopes and I think all my friends are willing to accommodate. They understand now how much I need sleep.

But then there's also this far away stuff. The "how am I ever going to pay for the next years of college?" I don't know if it's possible. There's the pressure I've given myself to get a second part-time job to help pay for next semester. The Wal-Mart representative at the Part-Time Job Fair was thrilled to talk to me. When he found out I was majoring in Professional Writing he even gave me all the specifics of how to move up in the Wal-Mart firm and eventually become manager or supervisor or something. I think he wanted me to dedicate the rest of my life to Wal-Mart, because it would make more money than writing. I didn't know how to tell him I just wanted a part time job. Five hours a week would do it.

I love the friends I've made here, and these last couple of days have been a lot of fun catching up after summer. Saturday night I had my roommate dye my hair with cheap Rite-Aid hair dye which the cashier forgot to charge me for anyway. The color was ten times darker than the color on the box, but I love it. It's different, and when I get too bored I like change.

Still, I can't help but remember how far away some of my other close friends are. The occasional phone calls just really aren't enough. It's rough having so much distance. I can point at a map and find at least ten places where there are people I wish could be here.

But, oh well. Life is life and I know that once I settle into the routine of things some of the chaos in my brain will also settle down and I'll be able  to think about one thing at a time. I know that I'm in college studying something that I love. I'll get to do a whole lot of writing this semester, and what better way to empty out the contents of my mind than by writing?

August 27, 2015

Stone Airplane- Shel Silverstein

I am sitting on a strange bed in a strange room that is supposed to be mine. I spent my first night back in college alone, laying on a towel and covered in my roommate's little teenage mutant ninja turtle because my bedding is in storage and won't get to me until Friday.

This room is in a newer building, much nicer than my old dorm even though I'm still undecided about this idea of wood floors. I liked laying on the carpet in our old room. We have an order in to rearrange the furniture some, but sitting here I'm not entirely sure there is any other way to arrange. The room isn't tiny bit it's oddly shaped without leaving room for adjustment.

The part that gets me the most about this room is the window. There's this massive window that goes the whole length of my bed from mattress to ceiling. I first held great hopes for this window, but when I pulled open the curtain a little bit I was reminded that we live on the first floor. And from the view of grass starting right at the edge of the window it looks like our building must sink in a little.

So I have a view of students walking across sidewalks, or biking, or skating, or longboarding. I see the walls of the other dorms in our quad, the newer nicer, not-restored-Victorian-mansions dorms. I can already imagine drunk and high college students stumbling past my window at all hours of the night to try and get back to their rooms. Not to mention the massive amount of light that comes through this window. All the lovely street lamps lighting up the quad also light up my bed. Good thing I have a couple of other curtains to double block this massive window. Maybe if it's blocked I can imagine a better view outside.

I have a poem here from Shel Silverstein with a really lovely picture. I'm writing on my phone and can't figure out how to add pictures so maybe later. In the meantime here is the poem. I feel this way often after traveling.

Stone Airplane

I made an airplane out of stone...
I always did like staying home.

Short but sweet. I feel like I can never escape this idea of travel but after traveling I always think I want to just stay in one place and never fly again. Only, within days I already am building airplanes into everything I see and imagining where I could go to next.

I'm rather a fan of change most of the time, so as this year two of college begins I need to learn how to take advantage of the changes, the knowledge acquired last year, and I just need to learn to have the best year of my life. 

August 21, 2015

A Penny for my Thoughts

I have a thousand words to write at this moment, but none of them complete. I'm thinking of pride and being proud of someone else. I'm amazed at the human mind and how we're tempted so easily but can also be so strong and can push away the temptation with endless persistence.

I'm thinking about right and wrong and about what builds our belief system and what causes one person to see light and one person to reject it.

I'm thinking about goodbyes and leaving and how often I've left and how now when I meet someone new I wonder when I will have to leave them or watch them leave me. I'm trying to decide if it's easier to be the one who leaves or the one who stays. I think the goodbye at the airport almost missing the next flight was the worst, because it's embarrassing to cry on a plane full of people. But the emptiness of staying just leaves a whole lot of reminders where the other person was once.

I am thinking of stress and wondering why all this college stuff feels so complicated and so restricting and I know I can't quit but I'm not sure why. And I'm trying to get excited and believing is but then remembering the hard work and the long days and the loneliness of it all.

I am thinking of family and of how much I love the people I used to live with and how my brother can do the same thing twice and make me laugh the first time but annoy me to death the second time. I'm thinking of my parents and which traits each of them has given me and what about them I want to copy and what I want to change and wondering if I'm not already a set blend of both.

I'm thinking of suffering and sickness and how unfair everything seems sometimes.

I'm thinking of the blessings this summer and of the extraordinary joy of reunion after months apart. I'm thinking of happiness and how my emotions are always at the extremes, and I am trying to remember how often this summer I've experienced the extremes of joy. There's that kind of deep happy that makes my whole self believe that I can fly.
These are the moments when we're standing together "gazing into each other's eyes" as my little brother said in his mocking songs. It's the moments of deep conversation when words I would have found nearly impossible to talk about with other people become so easy and so necessary. I feel like we can capture all of life in one conversation sometimes.
The moments of walking down a mountain next to my mom trying to help her down the jagged steps while also keeping myself going and checking to make sure I'm breathing all right, knowing if I need a break everyone around me would gladly stop for me.
The moment tonight when my sister showed me how to make a book and gave me all the necessary components to make one. I'm so lucky to have a sister who would help me make my own notebook.
The moments of taking pictures with cars. Our family pictures always seem to have some car or other in the background. I guess it's a fitting symbol of our ever moving family. We're like a whole lot of cars with no good parking garage.

Now I'm just thinking of the video game my brother is playing beside me and of the three hour drive we get to take tomorrow to another part of colorado and the fact they at this moment I should be sleeping since we leave at six in the morning. I'm thinking of how little I've written this summer and how much I've missed sharing my thoughts through words and how there's still so much to say but I have a lot more ways to share. 

August 20, 2015


I just said goodbye to one of my favorite people on earth after the most fantastic two weeks together. We hiked mountains, played tons of card games, ate lots of food, went on fancy dates, found the coolest coffee shops, built airplanes, played laser tag, went shopping, and talked for hours and hours. I can't explain how happy I've been these last two weeks. It's the perfect break before the start of college and the end of this peaceful break.

I still get another week before I fly off, and I'm looking forward to the time with my family and old friends here in Colorado. My sister and I still have a nail painting date we've been putting off since it's not exactly something my boyfriend would find super entertaining. So this week will be a lot of fun.

But. That doesn't change the fact that my boyfriend is now on the way to Texas in a beat up little pink car which hopefully still has enough life to get out of the Colorado mountains. Even after assuring him I wouldn't cry I lost a couple of tears while we prayed for his trip, the upcoming semester, and the end of the summer and thanked God for the awesome summer we've had so far. It's just so hard saying goodbye, knowing that it will be so long until the next time we're together and then it will just be another short trip before months apart again.

We really did have pretty awful timing with this whole thing.

But I don't want to complain. We both go back to great schools perfectly tailored to our majors. His smart people, hard classes engineering school makes him smile like a fool and he can talk for hours about the projects he's done, 3D printer and gloves to let blind people see. I loved being able to hear him talk about it and watch his face light up because he just loves engineering so much.

And while he commented that I have a much quieter excitment, I am thrilled to be at a school where writing is a community and I'm not the weird one who loves poetry, but instead one of many. I have a couple of new professors and a lot of work ahead of me, but I feel ready for a new semester.

I'm not looking forward to the rest of the goodbyes and I wish I could keep all the people I love the most together in one place, but if God wants me in Vermont then I'm going to go to Vermont. No matter how scattered my family and friends may be, I know God is scattered along with them but also set and stable right beside me, no matter where I am.

I can't go far enough away to escape Him. 

August 14, 2015

Beneath a Starry Sky

Tonight I wrote a thousand poems.

Tonight the stars lit a path for me as I walked alongside my boyfriend around the block, and then around another and another as one conversation slid into another and we talked about stories and creativity and college and family and disease and hope and friendship and futures. It felt so good to let loose. To share my fear with someone and then know as I spoke that somehow in the end everything will be okay. The walk was a poem. Every conversation was a poem. The careful way my hand fits into his while we walk is a poem.

When we said goodnight and he left me in my little trailer (life of a missionary kid. In one summer you can sleep in a thousand beds. This week has me in a trailer parked outside my sister's house with everyone else inside. A slight step up from the tent last week) I picked up my Bible and read a couple of chapters of my latest read: Jeremiah. The whole thing seemed to be about how terrible us people are. We really are. I don't blame God for being angry. But- throughout it all there's also this hopefulness. This knowing that there will be a return to God sometime. In some way. It's a tragic and yet beautiful poem.

And then there's this verse in 9:24 that says if people want to brag then they should brag about knowing and understanding God. And I'm like, but I don't understand God at all sometimes. He's too big for me. But then the verse goes on to say that He is kind and fair and does things that are right. And I do understand that. And I do want to brag about that. And that is perhaps one of the most lovely poems of all.

Last Sunday in church my pastor said that we were not created to serve God but to enjoy Him. And I love that. I can't do it right on my own. I'm not going to save myself no matter how good of a person I am. But I can enjoy God, and I do enjoy God. And He is so good. And when I step back and take a look at this life I live, well it's pretty stinking amazing and I am so full of all the wonderful poetry that has joined to form each and every day of my life. 

August 11, 2015


How can I write a post after I don't even know how long and somehow cover all the moments that joined to make up those unknown numbers of weeks. I don't even know what my last post was, and I don't want to go back and read it because I know I would get distracted and put off this post as well. 

I survived summer camp, ended with a week as a counsellor, simultaneously the best and most exhausted week of the summer. I loved it, loved the girls in my cabin (called Schrak), loved being able to listen to chapel with them, loved watching four of them give their lives over to a life of believing in God, the creator of the world and their savior. They may only have been nine years old, but they got it, and then reminded me how important it is to live with that passion and excitement which I often forget. Believing in God sometimes becomes a routine thing for me. I forget how awesome it is to know I live with a purpose. These girls reminded me. 

Still, if I have my way I don't plan on doing it again. 

That same week my parents finally made it to the same place as me. I can't tell you how good it was to eat meals with them, cry on my mom's shoulder when the day got really tough, eat grasshoppers they brought me from Mexico. It's just another reminder that home is a group of people way more than a place. 

I worked an extra week at camp doing kitchen duty as well as housekeeping, painting, and even setting up a million gazillion chairs for a wedding. It was pretty tough work as well with no breaks and trying to get permission to get off camp in the evenings to join my family at meals with various good family friends. 

But by the end of the week my crazy yet wonderful boyfriend finished his eighteen hour drive from Chicago to Colorado to come visit for a couple weeks. We've explored camp, played with styrofoam airplanes, hiked, watched movies, painted, and I don't even remember what else. It's been amazing. The perfect break after a long summer. 

Today we're headed off to laser tag and tacos al pastor. Every day is an adventure and I've smiled more than my cheeks can handle. It's incredible. A gift from the God who created this beautiful state and put me here surrounded by all these people who add so much color and so much joy to my life. 

Hm. I could keep writing but there's a lot to do and this post is already more than long enough. I promise the next one will include a poem.