Short and Sweet: That Can't Be Real....

Short and Sweet: What I'm really thinking today, in 100 or fewer words.

Have you ever looked at a word for so long that you no longer were sure whether it was an actual word or you had just made it up?

I'm hoping that some of you just nodded yes.  If you did, please let me chime in, me too.

That is all for now.  Carry on.

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"I hope we run into each other again!"

I never do this.  I never leave campus on Thursdays during the hour gap between my class and my office hours.  I always pick up a cup of soup at an on-campus cafe, head directly to my office, and check my email until office hours begin.  But last Thursday when I walked out of class, I had a thought I couldn't shake:


With each step I took, I grew more convinced that I needed to go.  Yes, I would break out of my Thursday rut!  Yes, I would leave campus!  Yes, I would eat waffle fries!  Yes, I would get back to my office in time for my first appointment!

What I didn't see coming in the face of all those yeses, however, was one no.  When I was driving back to campus with the aroma of fried chicken filling my car, and the car in front of me stopped, did I notice?

That's the no.

Or, at least, the "kind of."  In other words, I noticed enough to avoid a crash, but not enough to avoid some light bumper-to-bumper contact.  

We both pulled over into the nearest parking lot.  She got out of her car first, and in the midst of apologies and are you okay's?, she checked her back bumper, looked from me to it, and said, "I really don't see anything.  What are we supposed to do exactly?  Exchange information?"

I regarded her entirely intact, scratch-free bumper with relief and nodded.  "Sure, let me give you my contact information.  I'm headed back to campus now." 

And that's what sparked the conversation: the mention of campus.  She was headed there, too, where she helped her husband, who worked as a rabbi with a Jewish group on campus.  I shared that my husband has worked in campus ministry for years, too.  So there we stood, passing out contact information, the wives of a Jewish rabbi and a Christian minister.

It was almost the start of a joke, but then it got even better when she unknowingly uttered the punch line as we parted ways, "I hope we run into each other again!"

"Wait!" she laughed and corrected herself, "Given the circumstances, those are the wrong words!  I meant, I hope we see each other again!"

And as they'd say at Chick-fil-A, I simply responded, "It would be my pleasure."

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Knee Deep in February

Though the shortest month in days, February is the longest month in perception. It's also the answer to many of my recent questions: Why are my children acting feral?  Why do I feel lethargic?  Why am I contemplating eating my body weight in chocolate?  Oh, I know.  It's February.

All of these questions make sense in the context of February, the month where winter is no longer welcome and spring is nowhere close to being realized.  It's a month of waiting, sometimes impatiently, for the promise of something a little... well, warmer.

Over the past few days, which were characterized by frigid temperatures, snow, slush, and snow days, I've tried to bring some warmth into my life.  I've exercised to combat lethargy (and, of course, to offset the "eat my body weight in chocolate" trend.)  I've even pampered myself: taking time to paint my nails, breaking out a rejuvenating sugar body scrub in the shower, going to bed at a reasonable hour.

The result?  Just slight boosts in an otherwise continual feeling of meh.

But yesterday during a moment when I wasn't anticipating any warmth -- a moment when I was dragging my trash cans up the driveway -- I noticed a break in the clouds.  Despite the ice, the grayness, and the salty slush splattered on the side of our minivan and my tired winter boots, it happened: the sun shined.

The sun shined!  Knee deep in February, and sometimes, the sun still shines.

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We Were Together

We were together.  I forget the rest.  (Walt Whitman)

I saw a photo on Facebook of a young couple dressed up for Valentine's Day.  It was the full deal -- flowers, dress, hot high heels, a suit.  And I smiled, closed the browser, turned away from my computer, and looked at my own environment.  My comfortable, been married for 14 years, have 3 kids and a house, life.

We won't be going out for a fancy Valentine's dinner this evening.  I think we're having tacos, in fact, because for tacos seem to be a primary love language for my children.

And, in my heart, I feel simply wonderful about this.  We'll be together, and that's what counts.

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Don't forget the "DID" in "DIDN'T"

Right now, I'm sitting at the desk in our office, nursing a headache and feeling slightly overwhelmed.  Though it's only Monday, I already feel behind.  The weekend catapulted me into the week without much warning.  I didn't get the house in order, I didn't make a significant dent in the papers I need to grade, and I didn't finish the two recommendation letters students asked me to write last week.

I could list a dozen more didn'ts -- things I didn't do, didn't finish, or in some cases, didn't even start.  I'm good at noticing the didn'ts.

I realized this after completing a trail run yesterday.  It's one of my favorite places to run: a beautiful path that mirrors the turns of Spring Creek after its uneventful start at a gravel parking lot near a fish hatchery.  It ends three miles downstream at little community called Fisherman's Paradise, which, in my opinion, is one of the most wonderfully named locations ever.

Despite the location, yesterday's run was miserable.  My legs had felt heavy; my pace was painfully slow.  Bothered by a combination of coldness -- a head cold and the cold temperature -- I periodically blew my nose on the napkins that I had grabbed from my car's glove box and stuffed into my jacket pocket.  Then, losing all decorum, I blew my nose on my sleeve.  At one point, I contemplated lying on the sloppy, muddy path and dying.  (I decided against it.)

Once I finished, I stretched my quads and leaned against my car, just grateful to be done.  Noticing me as he put his gear into the back of his truck, a fisherman asked how far I had run.  Once I answered, he exclaimed, "All the way to Paradise and back?  You ran all that way?  What's that?  Over six miles?"

When you're met with a response that enthusiastic, there's no didn't.  There's no, "Well, I didn't run very fast," or "I didn't feel great," or "I didn't think I'd make it, quite frankly."  A response that enthusiastic makes you proud of what you actually did.  Yes, I ran all the way to Paradise and back.  Yes, I ran all that way.

I think I could use more of this in my life.

I'd look at my weekend differently -- not judging what I didn't do, but celebrating what I did: catching up on laundry, making a giant crock pot of barbecue for our church's Super Bowl party, reading my students' weekly blog entries, preparing this week's class materials, completing a colleague's teaching observation, baking and delivering cookies for our new neighbors, sorting through my daughters' Friday folders, and yes, running the full length of Spring Creek Canyon -- all the way to Paradise and back.

More did.  Less didn't.  It's a good shift in perspective.

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Allan Scott's New Release: "Be My All"

I love the creative process.  You start with an idea -- a concept, a string of words, a picture in your mind, a fragment of a melody -- and then, over days, weeks, months, or years, you take that idea, focus it, pound it into shape, revise it, massage it, get excited about it, start to love it, grow tired of it, begin to dislike it, worry what others will think of it, periodically give up on it, revisit it afresh, grow reinvigorated, invest even more of your heart and soul and talent, and then, after all that work and struggle, hopefully, you love it even more than before.

It's at this point -- when the creative process has produced an actual product -- the creator has to step back, let go, and release it to the world.  And just like that, it's out there.

This is what happened today for our friend, Allan Scott, with the release of his newest song, "Be My All," and I'm so glad that it did.

My husband and I have known Allan and his wife for years, and we've heard him play live on many occasions.  I love both his music and message.  Over the years, his songs have made my playlists and served as soundtracks for my life, always offering truth and hope.  Because of this, I invite you to check out "Be My All" on iTunes or Google Play and then soak it in, like a prayer asking God to be our strength when we are weak, our eyes when we can't see.  Essentially, to be our all, our everything.

Want to hear a sample of the song?  Follow the links above, and then join Allan on Facebook to learn his story and upcoming events!

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