monday: from bizarre to brilliant

You may not believe it, but Mondays are capable of bizarre to brilliant status. When you start the day off with your clothes on backwards, you have to wonder how things are going to go down. Add to that a proclivity for post-weekend depression (especially after one so beautiful), and you've got yourself a recipe for Monday morning disaster!

It's pushing 10 pm right now and I won't hesitate in saying this Monday shone brilliantly! I want to pack it neatly into a pretty package and send it to you, so your day might open just as wonderfully, but since I cannot this list will have to suffice. I know all of these elements are a result of God's great goodness (and in spite of me), so maybe your Mondays can sparkle too!

REASONS WHY THIS MONDAY IS BRILLIANT

  1. Last night, I set out my outfit for today and therefore squeezed at least seven more minutes into my morning coffee-quiet time-journaling routine.
  2. My morning soundtrack is bumping with some new tunes.
  3. Before school even began, the smile would simply not be suppressed... a group huddled outside my office and I cannot tell you why, but I couldn't help the top-of-the-morning tilt of the head and lopsided smile.
  4. Mondays always add an extra boost because we have chapel in the morning. There's something about standing with my seniors in worship that gives me goosebumps every time. (I also love that they've been bringing their Bibles lately... nevermind that it might be due to a little baking bribery :) A little bribery always worked just fine for my Aunt Jane during swimming lessons!
  5. We are gearing up for another SLEEPOUT this year on October 22nd and the first promo ran in chapel today... the excitement is building!
  6. Though it is temperaturally (made up that word) impossible in Honduras, it felt every bit like fall today, from the bold sun to the cool breeze... and I wanted to burst out singing Patty Griffin's "Heavenly Day" at the top of my lungs.
  7. Over lunch, I got to pray with a beautiful, dear co-worker and God made Himself so alive in those moments of community.
  8. Armed with a can of pumpkin and after beautiful discussion on every topic imaginable (so deep I missed our turn), I started what might make Mondays most beautiful this year. If that interests you, check this out.
  9. On the car ride home, I belted OUT some mad tunes from Starfield, Bright Eyes, and Joel Rakes.
  10. Now, night. I get to sleep sound, curled into my bed.

I praise God for brilliant Mondays!

let LOVE FLY like cRaZY

falling, falling, falling

I have a history (see fright story 1 and fright story 2). Before you ask about a traumatic encounter I had as a small child, I am completely unaware how this dreadful thing started. All I know is, surprises often find me on the floor or grabbing the nearest arm.

I've become pretty good at recovering from these episodes. Unfortunately, the stories keep piling up! The only good thing to come out of this fright syndrome is that I have crazy good material to make people feel better about their follies. I love to see people walk away saying, "I might be embarrassing, but HER stories make mine look like nothing!!"

So... with that, I'll give you some material to refer back to the next time you feel foolish.

Location: Office Cause: 7th grade student, Ricardo Story: I'm not sure why, but I arranged my office so my desk and I face the wall opposite the open door. So, when students or staff come in quietly, I am unaware. It just so happens that Ricardo is a very wonderful and mischievous 7th grade boy who had not been informed of my response to surprises. Last week, as I worked away at my desk, Ricardo slipped in and gave a shout directly behind my chair. With the scream of an adolescent girl, I jumped and promptly fell off my chair, grasping the edge of my desk as I went. The worst part is the few moments following, when I realized the entire hallway had heard and several classes wondered who had just seen a ghost. SO embarrassing to have the guidance counselor be (rightly) the one to blame for such an interruption!

Location: Micah Project Cause: Nelson slammed a door or dropped a chair, I'm not sure which Story: This past Sunday, I was spending some fellowship time at the Micah house... and by fellowship, I mean, ducking from flying soccer balls and rough-housing with the boys who behave like wild brothers. So, we were fellowshipping and I had turned my back for one second from Nelson when I heard the most surprising BANG and my hand shot out, uncontrolled, toward Kristi who happened to be right in front of me. I grabbed her arm and scattered my feet until I regained my composure and then hid my head in her shoulder... Ah! The worst weakness to show a bunch of adolescent boys is that you scare easily! They wouldn't let me leave without making me jump a hundred more times!

Location: Victoria's house Cause: this time I'll blame it on the dark and the cowboy boots I love Story: I had just spent some wonderful time hanging out with Victoria, a senior who has a special place in my heart, and her new puppy Milo. The cowboy boots were a gift from my mom this summer, anticipating the birthday in October when I'll be here. It's amazing how boots can make such an impression - it pretty much carried my smile all day long, straight up until I was walking out her front door. It was dark and we were talking... and then next thing I knew I was floating backwards through the air and onto my back in the grass. Slow and fast quite together explain the descent, but once I was there comfortably situated in the soft grass, I realized how silly it must all look to the guard who stood a few feet away! Victoria could barely pull herself together to help me up, she was laughing so hard. So, I lay there in my green cotton dress and cowboy boots, looking helpless and embarrassed as red punch. When I finally got up, I said, "Victoria! Oh my gosh, you can't tell anyone that I just did that!" but, moments later I followed, "uh... just kidding, I'm sure I'll tell everyone tomorrow!"

And, so I did!

Especially today, don't forget to

let LOVE FLY like cRaZY

beginning again

[slideshow] Wow. It's hard to know how to begin. I didn't write all summer, but I don't feel bad about that. I never really do. There's something about taking a break to live life and let the words drift in and out on the wind instead of flow from my fingertips. I spent some time putting pen to paper, but I even let that just be for a while.

What I DID do was enjoy the people who stood right in front of me. What a beautiful blessing it is to have community that builds us up, gives us new energy, and reminds us of the One who is responsible for anything good in this life.

I spent quiet mornings at the farm, drinking in newness of day. I passed time on the patio with my grandparents, listening to updates about neighbors and the bird family that just grew by three.

I ran the quaint streets of Atlantic and ate at my favorite Mexican restaurant. I played competitive nertz games with people who make joy bubble out in every direction and stayed up until 4 am debating politics and Christian living.

I barbecued homegrown steak with my parents on the East porch and talked about old times and the upcoming year. I spent beautiful time at my family reunion and then road-tripped for weddings in Chicago.

I picked up the biography of Bonhoeffer by Metaxas and rediscovered the biography of John Calvin. I watched some of my closest friends decide to love someone forever and I celebrated family every chance I got.

My summer was at the same time full and spaced out. It was a double-spaced, ten page paper on the most interesting topic imaginable and it never felt rushed.

And so, with that little prelude, I walk into this year with fresh eyes. All my excitement is bound up in the sincere decision to trust God in all things. In his grace, He makes every good work abound. If I could borrow a phrase from Mark Driscoll, I hope this year sees me working to the "glory of God and good of all people," knowing that God is moving regardless.

If you are still confused about this outlook, the soundtrack to Peter Pan captures it pretty well.

and, as always, I'm setting out to

let love fly like crazy