Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Even in all the cleaning & prep for Christmas, stress and anxiety still find their way into my heart. When I find myself stressing, I try to remember the line from Silent Night: all is calm.

Remember that part of the verse? All is calm, all is bright? Sleep in heavenly peace?
Sometimes it is hard to remember. It's even harder to put it into practice when the world around us is so insistent on chaos. 

I wrote a post over at Audacious about finding peace and calm during the Christmas season. It is still sometimes hard to remember, but when I feel myself stressing I remember what the angel said: 
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior -- yes, the Messiah, the Lord -- has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"
Do you see it? First of all, you've got terrified shepherds. Terrified. But, as Pastor Tim would say, thank the Lord for the "comma but." They were terrified, but! they were reassured by an angel of the Lord! How great is that? To have an angel come to your workplace and say, "It's ok. I know you are scared. It will be okay. Guess why? Come on, guess why?! I have GREAT news! The best kind of news! The kind of news that won't stress you out but bring you cause for great celebration!! Are you ready?"

When I take time, I mean really take time, to read that passage, I get excited. Really excited. Can you just picture that angel? All giddy with the joy of fulfilled prophecy? 

Sleep in heavenly peace tonight. Rest in the joy of the good news of The Christ, The Messiah, The Savior of the World.

Get those party hats out. 

Joy has come!

It's time to celebrate! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

hello monday: christmas edition

Two days until Christmas…and I have no idea if I'm ready for it all! 

I'm still putting the finishing touches on presents…which also involves buying/making presents. Oops. 

I am starting to feel the pressure of the holidays. And when I say "starting," I mean it's starting to make me feel anxious and like I want to stay home forever. I've been working the last few weekends at Old Navy and we are hopping from open to close. It has nothing to do with my own shopping and schedule, but being in there for a few hours stresses me out like nothing else. 

I've been trying to keep the stress that can accompany the holiday really low. For me, it looks like not going crazy decorating the apartment, keeping gifts simple but thoughtful, not over-scheduling time off, making good time for good friends and trying to keep that shalom in abundance. 

I'm in cleaning mode today. Why? 

Why, hello monday!
  • My baby sister & her husband are coming to town! They will be visiting for the whole week and I am beyond excited to see them! 
  • FAMILY TIME. This will be the first time since September that all the girls (and the husbands) (AND my niece!) get to spend time together. In the same state. In the same house. I can't even contain the excitement! 
  • I have off for 13 days! Time to catch up on all the cleaning I didn't do over finals and study break…
  • Christmas! Parties! Company! No solid plans yet, but cleaning now means less stress later…
  • My best buddy in the whole world whom I haven't seen in FIVE WHOLE YEARS is coming to visit next week! (I'm just a tiny bit excited, can you tell?!?)
Individually, these things are pretty great. But together? In the same week? Well, that is my Christmas miracle! 

What are you looking forward to this week?? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Still Thankful

It's not November any more (!) but I can still be thankful about stuff, right? 


Because today I am thankful. So thankful. 

Thankful for friends who hold your hand, give hugs and sit next to you because you are hurting. 

Friends who accept the tear stained face of a girl with very little sleep and very high emotions with z.e.r.o. judgment. 

Friends who look you in the eye and say, "Don't leave. I have to go take care of something, really quickly, but just don't leave, okay?" because they care about you. 

Thankful for people who see me. 

Thankful for my little community.

These next two weeks are going to be insane, just like the last two weeks of semester have always been. Late hours plus stressed out students equals crazy. But being a helping possibly calming voice in that sea of crazy for them is one of my favorite things about my job. Seriously. 

I heard somewhere (okay fine. It was a Gilmore Girl episode.) that sometimes it is helpful to view problems in life as challenges instead of a problem or setback. So here are some "challenges" I have to look forward to this week:

  • working a crazy finals schedule
  • finish organizing study break (food, drinks, games, etc.)
  • getting my car to the garage to (hopefully) fix what I think is a leaky radiator hose
  • laundry (or seriously, I'll be wearing all my fancy dresses to work for two weeks. And when the dresses run out, it's gonna be jeans and hoodies…)
Where's the fun in life if things aren't a little difficult, right? And if you see me sitting in a corner somewhere, rocking quietly or crying, just leave a huge cup of coffee with me and back away slowly. Trust me. It will end better for both of us.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Reflections on C. S. Lewis

On my drive home last night, I thought a lot about this man:

This still remains one of my favorite pictures of him.

If you've been on this blog for any length of time, you are quite aware that C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors. Last night, I asked myself why this was the case. 
I was made aware of Lewis long before I can even remember, truth be told. My parents used to read to us before bed every night. Or at least, a few times a week. Among other books, The Chronicles of Narnia were read frequently. When my father read, he occasionally gave British accents to some of the characters. Badly, but still. It was the thought that counted. I also grew up with that horribly low-budget fantastic BBC rendering of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I watched those VHS tapes to death, though, low budget or not. To this day, I'm sure I know the whole thing by heart. 

In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, Lewis describes what it was like growing up in his New House. The house was noisy but full of empty rooms. And also, he seems to add with joy, books. 
I am a product… of endless books. My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder…,books of all kinds…nothing was forbidden me. 
I fell in love with this attitude toward books.  I think I can also blame my obsession with books on Lewis. Though the number of my books do not compare to his or his parents, my house is also rather full of books. This is probably one of the few things Jack and I actually have in common. 
We grew up differently; his mother died when he was young, he had a difficult relationship with his father, he was sent away to schools and communicated with his family and friends through letters. I, on the other hand, am blessed to have both my parents, live semi-close to most of my immediate family, and have the technology to be able to pick up the phone and talk with friends who live hours and states away. 
To highlight even more differences, Jack was a devout atheist for at least 30 years of his life. I grew up in a home where Christ was loved, believed in and demonstrated in every day life, and I had decided to follow the same path for myself. But do you know what his journey to Christianity and Christ tells me? It is okay to have doubts, it is okay to question. But when the questions stop, make sure you listen. You will be asked to make a choice. (Though I would imagine Jack would say you have no choice when the truth is so plain. When it came down to it, he called himself "the most reluctant convert in all England.")

In all of these differences, though, I find a kinship with this man. Maybe it is in the way he so simply talks about faith and belief. His ability to read the Bible and draw out a truth from it that is necessary in every day life always makes me stop and listen. While he calls out sin he also reminds us of the very personal relationship God wants to have with us. I think I never feel so loved by Christ as when I watch Aslan sacrifice himself for Edmund or read Lewis when he says things like "When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you'd been the only man in the world." 

I suppose one of the things I really love about Lewis is that he taught me that it is okay to read fairy tales as an adult. No, that it is important to read fairy tales even as an adult. I was so eager to grow up as a child that I know I skipped many children's books in exchange for Gone with the Wind. I don't regret those choices. In fact, I am sure that because of them I am able to appreciate fairy tales and children's stories more as an adult. Instead of seeing the jerk of a selfish troublemaker in Edmund, I see myself. I see the bad choices, but I also see the possibility of redemption. Instead of just seeing a person who has lost faith in the stories of old in Trumpkin, I see myself. I see how easy it is to lose faith when you feel abandoned, but also how faith can be restored when you allow yourself to be taught and led by those with more faith than you currently posses. Instead of seeing a bossy, friendless, pain in the neck whiner in Eustace, I see myself. Stay with me here! While yes, he is all of those things, and how!, he doesn't stay that way after his encounter with The Lion. I, too, am capable and find myself trying to live life in my own strength. It is only when I cry out that I cannot do it on my own and ask for help can the scales of pride and selfishness come off.

I love that even after years of careful study and reading for pleasure, I still find joy in opening a book by or about C. S. Lewis. I love the way his speech changes from academic to common and back again, all without losing the reader or the point. 
I have much more to say about this great man and I'm sure that I shall do so in the future, but for tonight, this is where I will leave it. 
I will always be thankful to God for creating such a man, to Jack for sharing his gifts and talents with the world and for those in my life with whom I can talk to about everything Lewis. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hello Fall

Can you believe this weather? 

All fall and breezy and cool and leaf-crunching, salted caramel latte drinking, boot & scarf wearing weather? 

I adore it. 

A couple of weeks ago, if you remember (and if you live in my neighborhood…) we were having weather with an identity crisis. It was October but totally feeling like spring. I was all ready for the long sleeves, fuzzy boots and all of that, but the Sun was shinning and well…I was feeling a little over dressed. But I didn't care because I was able to spend the morning with my precious niece. It is hard for me to even believe that this girl is a whole year old already. She is a delight and I love spending time with her. She isn't talking a lot but, oh boy, she certainly knows how to tell you exactly what she wants!
We played outside that day, since it was so beautiful. We were going to go for a walk, but Miss Thang was a little sleepy and preferred that I carry her. I made no complaints. I would stop walking and ask her where she wanted to go next. She would point and away we would go. There are a few hills at my parents house (where we were hanging out that day) and how do you go down a hill with a one year old in your arms? By running, of course!
The wind caught her baby wispy hair, pushing it back off her face. The sun caught the gold in her hair and highlighted her laughing eyes. I was struck in the moment, as I am quite often when I am blessed to spend time with her, how perfectly happy she looked. She gives herself to new experiences fully. And I love that about her. She would burst out laughing when I would stop, almost as if the laugh was building up the whole time we were running and she didn't want to waste it to the wind or miss a moment of fun. 

We wandered over to the raspberry bush, where she insistently signed "more" and pointed to the bush. My girl likes her raspberries! There were only a few and I had to distract her when the ripe berries really were "all gone." We sat on the slightly damp ground and pulled up grass and ripped up a brown crunchy leaf. We just sat. No talking. We just passed the leaf back and forth and ripped it to pieces. And in that moment, as I watched the sun on her face and her little fingers work so carefully, I was thankful. 

Thankful for cold weather. 
Thankful for sun. 
Thankful for the precious child sitting in front of me. 
Thankful for being able to spend time with her & get to know her tiny self better.
And it was hard going to work that day. It was hard leaving her and those moments of peace and quiet. It seemed so wrong that I would have to go to work after spending such a beautiful morning with people I love. But even now, I carry that image in my head of Baby Girl's face: the wind blowing her hair, the sun, the joy, the laughter. And no matter how cold it gets or how many scarves I wear or lattes I drink, nothing warms my heart like that girl. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trust & Obey...but only if I have to...

Twice a year for twelve years, I sang the first and last verse of Trust and Obey. It was my small Christian school's theme song and it signaled the beginning and end of every school year. To this day, I can still sing those two verses with my eyes closed, the words seared into my memory. I am using the Merriam-Webster definition of the word seared here: to burn, scorch, mark, or injure with or as if with sudden application of intense heat.
In case you are still confused, I do not like this song. These aren't glowing terms I am using to describe the song or the memory of singing it with my classmates. While the song and the memory of it represents many years of my life,(and some of those years admittedly were good years) as a whole they aren't joyous years; they are years and years of frustration and a little bitterness.

Even now, seven years after graduating, singing this song in church produces a negative attitude in my soul. (Which says more about my heart than the song, I know.)
Well, I mean, it did. Until the other week. When we sang, not just the first and last verse, but the verses in between. 
See, the first verse talks about joyously following Jesus and how he will only walk with us when we, say it with me, trust and obey:
When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, 
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
The fourth verse talks about the sweet fellowship we will have with Jesus when we are able to bodily be in the presence of God and the willing obedience we display, without fear:
Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we'll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he says we will go,
never fear, only trust and obey.
For me in that school, this song felt like a holy battering ram, forcing me to do what the school wanted, in Jesus' name. I was to obey them without question, because Jesus said you were suppose to obey those he placed in authority over you. And if I did all that they asked, followed their many rules without fear or questions, Jesus would love me and let me walk with him! 
Two weeks ago we sang this song at church. At first, I wanted to dig my heels in, stand there, hymn book closed and arms crossed. Fool me once, shame on me. But, for whatever reason, I opened the book and sang along, thinking I knew the whole song by heart. I was surprised when I had to look at verses two and three, because they did not fit with the image of the song I carried with me for many years. 
Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay
for the favor he shows,
for the joy he bestows
are for them who will trust and obey.

 I don't know about you, but these two verses change the tone of this song for me. It does not hold to the happy clappy spirit of the first and last verse. There are trials and toils, ah but he is there! (I imagine to 'richly repay' something, you need to know what the issue is.) And the trusting and obeying, it gets rewarded. Even if it doesn't get rewarded right away. We are blessed when we trust and obey through the hard times. (Hard times? If you just sing the first and last verse there are no hard times!) That verse three? What a doozey! It is talking about full submission in every area of our life. To fully know and understand God and what He is about, total submission to Him is required. Do you see the result of submission? Favor and joy. 
And before anyone says it, I realize this isn't Scripture. It isn't something to live and die for. But music...music has that ability to speak to our souls when regular words fall short.

I'm not saying that I now, all of a sudden, love this song. I won't choose it at the next hymn sing. My apologies to the worship leaders at my church.But reading and singing these two verses, I don't know. It changed something in my heart. Trusting and obeying isn't something that will instantly make things go well for me or get me good grades.It won't make my life eternally blissful, but it will contribute to the bliss of my eternal life. And through the hard times, understanding who God is and relying on him is what will make all the difference at the end of the day.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Growing Up

When I was your age, I used to think “When I’m grown up I’ll know what I’ll want, I’ll be sorted.” But you never really know what you want, you never feel grown up, not really, you never sort it all out.

--Sarah Jane Smith

I ran across this quote on the Internet a few months ago and fell in love with it. It seemed to sum up all of my feelings on growing up and how I always hoped I would just *know* what I wanted to do, what I wanted in general and that I would, indeed, be sorted. It was a reminder that it is okay to not always know what you want, that it's okay if you never really sort it all out. Sarah Jane IS a grown up when she says this, so it must be okay to not feel grown up if a grown up is the one saying the words. 
I found it again a few weeks ago and instead of it being inspirational, I found it rather depressing! "You never sort it all out." How did I ever think that was an encouraging thought about growing up and adulthood things?

I have since printed this quote out and taped it to my monitor at work. I look at it almost every day and you know what? It stopped being encouraging. It stopped being depressing. It simply became a truth. Too often, I think, we place this grand emphasis on "growing up" and becoming some glorified version of every adult we ever wanted to be like. It doesn't happen like that. "You never really know what you want, you never feel grown up, not really..." You know what? I'm glad. I think we grow up with this vision that actual grown ups are boring and sad and have to pay bills all of the time. Which, in part, is true. But if that is really all that being grown up is, I don't want to be that person. And if you never really know what you want, it doesn't mean you don't try to find it.   

In the movie Anna and the King, Anna comments about her life taking her down roads that lead absolutely no where. In reference to their on-going discussion about the differences in their religions, she jokingly asks the king, "What would Buddha say of that?" The king answers with a knowing smile, "That roads are for journeys, ma'am, not destinations."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Feeling comfortable in your own skin

So even though I'm now in a job that fits my sleep schedule & lets me work around books all day, I still work at Old Navy on the weekends. As much as I complain over the holidays about the crazy schedules, I love it there. The people I work with and the managers I work under more than make up for some of the less than pleasant customers. But sometimes it IS the customer that makes my job worth it. 
Last night I was working in the fitting room, which I hardly ever do any more. Remember all those posts about how much I hate ringing register when I first started? Yeah...that's where they put me most of the time. Anyway, last night (and really the last two months) we were really busy. People coming in and out of fitting rooms, tons of processing to do to keep me busy and just a whole lot of crazy. I had a mother & daughter in trying things on, like you do in a fitting room. At one point the daughter came out wearing a pair of almost electric blue capris (it was a bit lighter than that, but definitely NOT powder blue. You do the math.) with green anchors on them. They are part of our summer/beach collection. The girl steps outside of her dressing room and looks in the mirror. I see in her face what I've so often experienced. The pressure to love what you are trying on because your mom wants you to like it/you picked it out because you thought it would work/you WANT to like it but you just don't. No one had asked for my opinion (which actually does happen. I break out in nervous sweats and finish whatever advice I give with, "But, bottom line, if you feel comfortable in it, go for it." Which, incidentially, is always true.) so I kept processing, but still kept a eye on the scene unfolding. The mom came over and started commenting on how cute the pants were, but I could see in the girls eyes some misgivings. I must have been paying too much attention, unintentionally, and I got called over for opinion time. The mom was very verbal and very insistent about these pants and I really wanted to just send her away so I could talk to the girl. I didn't. Don't worry. But when I went over, my main conversation was with the daughter. 
"Tell me what you love best abut these pants." It is always good to start with the positive.
"They are really soft! Really soft. And comfortable too." 
Here the mom interrupts with, "She picked them out herself! She liked them when she first saw them and even though she walked past them at first, she went back to pick up a pair."
Ah. The Indecisive Shopper. This has me written all over it. No one understands this girl like me at this point in the shopping experience. So I asked the question I know I need to be asked.
"What is your biggest problem with them?" I asked. 
The girl paused and out came a half truth. "I don't know what color shirts to wear with them."
Easily solved. We talked about summer brights, coordinating colors and neutral tops. 
"Do you feel comfortable in them? Because no matter how well they fit or what kind of sale they are on, if you don't like them and you don't feel comfortable in them, you aren't going to wear them." This one I know from too much experience.
The girl hesitated and the next thing she said broke my heart. We were more alike than I realized: I'm afraid of what other people will say at school.
The mom starts spouting things like, "If it wasn't in style, Old Navy wouldn't be selling it! Girls at school will see you wearing them and I bet the very next week will be wearing them too!"
To me, that wasn't the important bit. I looked at the girl and said, "Hon, do you like them?" She nodded. "Then that is all that matters. I know it seems really important to have others like what you wear, but I promise that it really isn't so important. If you like them, then it doesn't matter what they think."
She laughed a little and, I don't know, maybe for a moment she believed me. Maybe she didn't. If I had someone tell me that in a fitting room at her age, would it have made a difference in the way I see myself? Again, I don't know. Maybe. 
For her though, I hope it did. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Movie Nights

I've been in my new place for well over a month now. Yay! 
And while everything looks basically moved in, I have boxes in every room that still have stuff in them that need to find a home. I'm getting better at ignoring it, but every now and then, in a quiet moment, when I'm sitting with my tea watching a movie or reading a book or just existing in my place, the boxes start to get loud. Insisting they need to be put away. 
They are extra loud recently because, as I am in my place longer, the more I realize its just me in this place. It isn't bad. Not at all. But when I was living at home I had built in community, if you will. Days could pass before I saw my mom, due to our schedules, but we would leave notes, things would be moved--something to let me know that another person inhabited the space with me. I don't have that any more and it sometimes makes me lonely. 
To combat that feeling, and cause I love her, my friend Rachel and I started a weekly movie night. Ish. She's in Massachusetts and I'm here. Using Skype makes the distance feel not so far. (I mean it still is, and nothing quite is the same as real person interaction, but I'll take what I can get right now...) We did it last week, and again last night. When we started, with cult classic Shaun of the Dead staring the hilarious Simon Pegg, I don't think we planned that it would become a thing. I hope I'm not jinxing it by writing about it here, but I love that we do it. This week it was Sliding Doors. It was a movie that she brought with her to London. I think her opinion of me went down a little when she found out I'd never seen it before. We fixed that and I now own it. And love it. For me, it is as much about London as it is about friendship and love. Rachel and I love the same bits, loathe the same bits and laugh at pretty much the whole movie. It would have been ten times better if she had actually been here, sitting on the couch with me, but ya know? Watching it with her, laughing with her, making sad faces at the not so happy parts? It felt like she was here. 
Now I'm off to get ready for work. There is an AED training today...I think those are the right initials. I have no idea, really. I do know that I have all kinds of feels from the latest Lizzie Bennet Diaries (can we just get those two crazy kids together?! Also, I need to see Darcy. Not just hear his voice...grr...) and the coffee is just starting to hit me in the best way possible. It's not spring yet, but I have the window cracked to let some fresh air in the place and it is making me feel kinda happy. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Perfect Day

I don't think I call days "perfect" very often, but if I was pressed to pick a word for yesterday, "perfect" is the word I would pick. 

It wasn't perfect because I was finally at church on time. Come on, guys. Some things never change. 
And it wasn't because work was great (which doesn't mean that it wasn't) or because my car didn't flash me the 'check engine' light (because it did). 

It was perfect in that way you notice when you step back and say, "I felt loved. I felt cared for. I felt challenged, in all the good ways." 

I got so see one of my "families" yesterday. We talked about life, reminisced about when I first met them (they had 2 children then; now they have 4), and made tentative plans to get together.  This is one family that has the uncanny ability to look at me, love me and no matter what is going on with them or me, sit down and say, "So how are things?" and I know I'm expected to answer truthfully. Not just for their benefit, but for mine as well. And with the complete understanding that they actually care. It's not just a conversation piece. It's the truth.  

I got to see my little boy who I haven't seen for months. Since like Christmas. Well, it feels like that long anyway. I got to hug and snuggle, tickle and kiss him and just be with him. He's 2 and of course, too cool for most things. I'm so thankful he isn't too cool to be snuggled and kissed by this girl. Of all the people I miss, and I miss a lot on my new schedule, he is the one I think I miss the most. I've been with him, watching him, taking care of him, playing with him since he was born. I spent almost the first year of his life with him, a few times a week. And then some. And I really really miss seeing him grow up. 

And work was work. It's spring break for the kids so the campus is pretty quiet. The library is less busy than normal, but we still see a lot of traffic. Graduate classes are still in session so students still need a place to study. It was a nice quiet day, though. 

I had all these grand plans for last night after work. Cook. Clean. Attempt to get my life in some kind of order after the weekend. Not much of that happened. I put a few books away. (Which will continue to be the story of my life for months. I still have about 5 boxes of books that need to find homes...) I rewatched some of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I sat down and finished a movie. I ate some chocolate. I just had a nice night. And even though I'm still a little exhausted today, it's a good exhausted. 

And even though I'm getting a bit of a late start to the day, I'm a little excited about today. No special reason. But it's like those brilliant Relient K guys said: It's funny how you find you enjoy your life when you're happy to be alive. 

Today is one of those days. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thoughts about my job tonight

My last post high-lighted some of the more amusing anecdotes from my new job working in the library. There are so many more than the two I shared, and sometimes one right after the other. 
I hesitate to share my frustrating experiences for many reasons. They are numerous too. Problems that staff are not made aware of until well after the fact. Papers that are printed, and left to die on the printer. Empty plates & cups from the dinning commons left on desks, their previous users long gone. 
Seriously, these are just a select few of the issues I could tell you about. But I'm not going to tell you any more. 
Because there are also awesome things about the students here and about the time I get to spend with them. 
I love learning my student's names and what they are studying for/why they are in the library. I love listening to them talk about their classes, even if the classes are hard and their professors are less than helpful. I love asking, "Did you get all your homework done?" when they return a keyboard for one of the study rooms. I love hearing, "Yes", "Most of it" and "Well, for tonight, yes." I love telling them, "Please make sure you get some sleep tonight!" even though I know they won't. 
And when they need a break, I love asking them about the TV shows they are watching (The Bachelor, Downton Abbey) and the movies  they are checking out for the night. 

And at the end of the day when I really just want to go home, I know that they need the library to have a quiet place to do their work. And that because the evening staff is there, they are able to have that space. And honestly that is what keeps me coming back.  Okay, also, the paycheck factors into that as well. But mostly, it is for the students. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All in a day's work

I forgot how fun and how funny it can be working in a library. Some of my favorite moments are the most face-palm-worthy questions from students. And when I say favorite, I of course mean my favorite stories to share with others. I like watching their faces go slack as they realize the craziness of the question and ask themselves, "Can someone really not know the answer to that question?!" 

The other day I had just such an encounter, of the funny variety that is. A student brought two books to the circulation desk. It was like pulling teeth to figure out what he intended to do with the books: returning, checking out, renewing? When we finally landed on "checking out" I got his ID and scanned it and the books he wanted to check out. 
"Your books are due back on March 8th," I told him. It wasn't just him--I tell everyone the due date. 
He gives me a blank look and asks, "Uh, can I bring them back before then?"
I hope my face didn't look too confused. I replied, "Oh. Of course you can." 

It was almost as good as that time in Gettysburg when a student came up to the reference desk and said, "This is a really dumb question but,..."
Ever the encourager, I interrupted with, "There is no such thing! What can I help you with?"
"Can I check books out of the library?"
I don't remember what my face did, but I really hope it was kind and not mocking when I answered, "Yes. Yes you can."

As amusing as these situations are, they are few and far between. A typical question is, "Can you help me find this book?" or "Can I get some staples for the stapler?" or the increasingly common one, "Can you come look at the printer? I think it is broken."
And course, my favorite moments aren't just ones that I can turn into amusing anecdotes later. There was one last night: a group of 6 athletes came into the library to study musical theatre history. Granted, they were a bit boisterous and a teensy bit loud, but I mean come on. Hearing deep voices talk about and listening to musical clips? Hilarious! And adorable! 

I know I haven't been posting a lot here...but I have been super busy at my book blog over the last few months! So if you want, go on over and check it out. I'm attempting to play catch up with my reviews. So far, it is the only drawback I have found to reading so many books so quickly! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cry for help

Do you ever have a week (or month...or year...) where you just say to God, "Look, I don't know what's going on here so you HAVE to help? I mean, I really don't know how all of this stuff is gonna work out." 
It's really easy for me to get caught up in the issues of every day life, trying to take care of "small things." You know, taking care of the easy things that God shouldn't have to worry about. Silly me for thinking I'm helping God out. And then, the little problems become big problems and, I don't know about you, but those moments of desperation are what snap me back to reality. 

I've had two in the last week. 

Last Monday, I dropped my car off at the garage. The water pump had started leaking and it needed to be replaced. By Tuesday afternoon (right, and I mean exactly right before work), I was $400 poorer with a new water pump and thermostat. Did I mention that my car had been inspected (and passed) just a few weeks ago? Anyway...from the inspection I knew I needed new tires. On my way to work on Tuesday I said, "God, I don't know how I'm gonna swing inspection AND the new water pump AND new tires, especially with all the other stuff going on right now. I just don't think I can do this." 

On Thursday I finally made an appointment. I knew tires, good tires, would run me just about another $400. I figured they would probably last me for the rest of the life of my sad old 1995 Jetta. I get home, exhausted and ready for my weekend. There, on the kitchen counter, was a card addressed to me. In it was a check that would end up more than covering my tires. I stood in the kitchen with tears running down my face. How in the world...but then I stopped. Because I knew. I knew. "Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I." Isaiah 58:9.

And then...there was the epic Sunday. Due to circumstances way outside of my control (and comfort zone) my work schedule got shifted. So instead of the usual noon to 8:30pm (getting me home in time to watch Downton Abbey with my mom), I was working 3:30 to midnight. Not a huge deal, just not my usual Sunday. Everything went like clockwork, despite my slight whinging about it the previous week, and I was home shortly after 12:30am. I was up, sending emails and watching White Collar when I hear my mom get out of bed. I pause everything and put on my listening ears, just in case we've got a case of illness that I need to hide from. I'm not proud but my exact thought was "If mom has The Sickness, I'm packing up my stuff and living out of my car until she is better." Hey, I'm only human. I don't like being sick. I'll take a wild guess and say you don't like it either! Anyway, it's not The Sickness, but she is in an incredible amount of pain. Dad crawls out of bed about 30 minutes later, in pain and slightly nauseous.  It's about 1:30am and I've herded everyone to the car: we are off to the emergency room! They are both checked in by 2:15am and are diagnosed and being treated by 3:15am. I take the keys out of my newly-medicated father's hands and drive the babies home. After seeing them tucked into bed, I finally crawl into bed sometime after 4:30am, not even sure where I am or what day it is. I think back on my 20 hour+ day and I think, "God, if I had worked my normal shift this would have been 10 times harder. And I can see it, so I'd better say it (even though I don't want to!!!) : thank you for making my schedule change so I would be better equipped to deal with this. Really."

And then I was finally able to go to sleep, realizing that maybe, just maybe, I don't have to have it all together.