Friday, July 23, 2010

Emmy the Great

It makes me sad that just over 3000 people "like" Emmy the Great on Facebook. Not because facebook or liking things on facebook is all that great, but Emmy the Great is pretty awesome. But, again, it does make me feel like I have some kind of "indie cred" (to borrow the term from Strongbad) to like an artist whom hardly anyone has heard of. So I guess that's okay.

Plus, I love being able to say, "Have you heard . . . " and have someone say, "No!" and then later, "I love it!" Which was my experience today with Emmy the Great. I sent Tricia a facebook message about something entirely unrelated, but then spent three paragraphs talking about how awesome Emmy is and sharing links, and then Tricia said she loved Emmy and the music videos, and it made my heart so happy. I love converting people to music. So then I decided I needed to make a post to share with the rest of the world how much I love Emmy, because my heart would like more happiness, now :-)

What I like about Emmy the Great: I don't know if she writes her own lyrics or if someone else in the band writes them or what, but these have to be some of the most poetic lyrics ever. The lyrics are to her music what I want my words to be to my poetry. Honest, a little bitter, but phrasing things in that perfect way that captures the exact sentiment of the moment in a way that no one has ever thought to phrase it before.

I also love her folksy style and her voice and her accent. Combine that with her lyrics, and I'm totally in love with her music right now.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Trusting God

One of the things I prayed for the most before coming to Pittsburgh for the summer was that God would a) help me trust him that he would provide exactly what I needed while I was in Pittsburgh and that I would be satisfied with what he provided and b) that during this summer I would grow closer to him--not normal, "Hey, I think we're a little closer now," closer, but crazy, deep, so much more in love deeper. I think God has answered both prayers, but today I've been thinking especially about how he has answered/is answering the first.

First of all, I think that God really taught me to trust him quickly with the health part of this summer. Well, not quickly, since I don't think I really fully trusted him for the first year and a half after being diagnosed with CFS, but quickly as far as being able to say, "This summer may help a lot or it may only help a little, but either way, you're in charge, God, and you're going to do whatever is for my good and I'm okay with that." And he also really answered my prayers for provisions . . . the doctors have been wonderful, if it's possible, I think I'm even closer to Shari now than before I came, and I feel like I am making friends here who I really enjoy and will be sad about leaving.

But just in the past few days, I've discovered that I need to move to another stage of trusting God: trusting him to provide for me when I get back to Iowa. A lot has changed in my friendships in the past year in Iowa, and it's hard for me to be developing friendships in Pittsburgh only to have to leave and not know what kind of relationships I'll have with friends in Iowa. And God has provided so much through my friendship with Shari. One night, I was feeling really sick, and Shari let me lay on the couch and got things I needed and brought them to me and I said, "I look at you and think of Jesus." And then she laughed at me because apparently that's not a normal way to phrase that :-) But really, I meant that I feel like I can see Jesus' love through the way that she loves people, and I feel like our friendship has drawn me closer to Jesus. And I love friendships that do that, and when I leave, I'm going to miss our conversations and the way that we sacrificially care for each other.

I also don't know how I'll do physically when the school year begins again. I think I'll still be doing better, and I think this summer has helped and will continue to help, but it makes me nervous to remember how sick I've been by the end of each of the past three semesters. On top of that, when I keep needing to go to doctors and have tests done and get medication, it's hard to trust God financially.

I need to trust God to provide me the people, health, and money I need. And I also need to look forward to doing this joyfully--giving us what we need is so easy for God to do, and it makes him look awesome and he proves himself powerful and trustworthy every time he does it. If we didn't ever need anything, I don't think we'd trust God very much, because we'd not know everything he's capable of. We'd probably be pretty spoiled. On top of that, I think that one of the ways that God draws us closer to himself is through the trust that grows as he provides for all of our needs. Plus, then, trusting him gets our focus off of our needs and onto Jesus and his love, and it makes us care more about loving him and loving others than about getting what we want. Which is pretty cool :-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Dear blog, I am sorry for having abandoned you for awhile. The internet and I were not getting along. And there were lots and lots of lesson plans. And I was sick last week. But now I am back :-)

Okay, but really, I missed posting last week, but maybe I’ll make up by posting multiple times this week or next. The last couple of weeks have been, overall, good. I feel like I’ve settled into a routine, and I’ve started getting more work done on comps reading and lesson plans. I was reading Wives and Daughters, but I decided I needed a shorter book so that I could feel a sense of achievement sooner, so I’m switching to Pygmalion and, as per Ian’s suggestion, getting the recorded Wives and Daughters so I can listen to it in the car.

Happy news of this week . . . I’m excited for school again! I’ve only had a handful of Spring semesters when I really did not want to go to school and didn’t muster up excitement beforehand, and I’ve never had a Fall when I wasn’t at least excited by August. This summer was pushing it, but yesterday I was writing lesson plans in a coffeehouse and the optimism and excitement hit me. So now I’m trying to feed that excitement into productivity.

In other news, I got the blood work back for my “elimination diet” about a week and a half ago. They do bloodwork to see what foods your body is sensitive to, and then you have to eliminate all of them for a month and then gradually reintroduce some to see which your body can handle and which it can’t. I wasn’t expecting mine to be quite as colorful as it is . . . turns out I’m sensitive to a lot. No grains, no corn, no nuts, no seafood, no tomatoes, no potatoes, no chocolate, no garlic, no coffee. And there’s a few others, but those are the big ones. On Thursday, though, I get rice back, which will make life a little easier. And I’m already noticing my stomach feeling a little better with the changes, so that’s super encouraging.

This weekend is CHRISTMAS! Well, Shari and my Christmas. After our first Christmas apart, we decided that we should celebrate Christmas together even if it was at the wrong time of year. So, we’re going to put up the Christmas tree and decorate it, and make lamb for Christmas dinner, and put fun little things in stockings, and sing Christmas songs, and watch Christmas episodes of TV shows. I’m so excited!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


So I have two things I need to gush about . . .

First, of course, Idina Menzel. The concert was Tuesday night. I’m still having trouble believing that I got to hear her sing! Live! She sang Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” “I’m Not that Girl,” “For Good,” and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, “No Day But Today” from Rent, the arrangement of “Poker Face” from Glee, “Gorgeous” from her album . . . and lots more. And besides having an absolutely amazing voice that makes me want to smile like a crazy lady and cry at the same time, she also has a really fun, genuine air about her. Like a super down-to-earth, I'd-be-the-coolest-person-in-the-world-to-hang-out-with kind of personality that makes you want to ask her to lunch just so that you can talk to her. Except for the fact that she's Idina Menzel, so you can't. But, really, if I were ever asked which one famous person I wanted to hang out with for the day, she'd definitely be near the top of my list of candidates. So would David Boreanaz. I wonder if they'd let me hang out with both . . . ???

Okay, back from celebrity fantasy world. The second thing I wanted to gush about, and, yes, I know this is two years too late . . . I LOVE STARDUST! It took forever for me to actually see it (not because I didn’t want to but just because it never happened), but now that I have seen it, it has quickly become a favorite. We watched it Saturday night, and Sunday morning, while Shari was playing at church in Cranberry and I was at home, I thought, “I kinda want to watch Stardust again.” That’s how much I loved it. I love the scene where the glass is crashing in at Tristan and Yvaine, and he covers her back with her body and is all awesome and protective. But I also love how the movie shows that “true love” isn’t just a helpless female being saved out of an evil fortress by a fearless knight, nor does it have to be some modern, female-power story where the male is rendered helpless and incapable so that the woman can find herself as the primary power-wielding person in the relationship. Tristan is not the perfect hero--he is scared and sometimes unthoughtful, but he ultimately becomes sacrificial and loving anyways. And Yvaine ultimately saves the couple, just as Tristan has often saved her. It’s a beautiful picture of a relationship in which each partner gives everything for the other.

So, now, I leave you with the third thing I loved most from Stardust, Yvaine’s monologue about love . . .

“You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... What I'm trying to say, Tristan is... I think I love you. Is this love, Tristan? I never imagined I'd know it for myself. My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange - no gifts. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.”