Wednesday, December 07, 2011


I am standing in line at the New Hill post office, minding my own business. I have two books in my arms because I need to buy a box to ship them in. I hear the bells on the door jingle, but don't give it much thought.

"You have the most BEAUTiful hayer," comes a hushed and happy voice.

"Oh, thank you," I say, turning around to see an old woman, wrapped head to toe in scarves, jackets, socks and boots.

"It's really beautiful. Merry Christmas," she goes on. "Are you shippin books? Ah am not an avid reader, but Ah am tryin to be. That is so good that you are a reader. Ah am Cecilia. What is your name?"

"I'm Emma," I say, absolutely unable to stop smiling at the wondrousness.


"Emma, E-M-M-A."

"OH Emma, hello Emma. Is thayet your husband out thayer waitin for you?" She points to an old man with a white beard in the pickup outside.

"No, no, I'm not sure who that is."

"Well thayen how did you get here? Ahr you from New Heel?"

"Yes, I am!"

"Well thank God for you!" She seems genuinely relieved that I am a local, as if my soul is safe and all is well with the world. "Did you know that Santy Clause works back thayer? Hello Santy Clause!"

The post mistress peeks around the client she's helping. "He's already gone to deliver the mail, Cecilia. Rob's back there."

"Forgive me Rob, Ah thought you were Santy," Cecilia hollers through the outgoing mail slot, then nods at the post mistress. "That is Mae. Mae can do anything. Do you see her royal gloves? She wayers purple gloves because she is a hero. She stands in the gap for the Master."

I am awed. Clearly Mae is a powerful woman of God.

Cecilia continues. "The Post Master, thayet is."

It is my turn to be helped, so I hand over my books to Mae. "Do you have a box that could fit these?" Since Mae can do all things through power of the Post Master who sustains her, it does not enter my head that I will leave with anything other than success.

Mae looks troubled. "I'm not sure we have the right boxes," she says as she rummages about.

"Oh," I say, a little crestfallen. If I can't get a box at the New Hill post office then I will have to go to the Apex location, which is the stuff of nightmares during the Christmas season.

"Ah have a box," Cecilia pipes in. "Ah pulled it from the garbage on Thursday. Let me go geeyit that box for you." She hands her parcel over the counter and disappears outside.

I'm not sure what to think. Mae has clearly experienced this before. She calmly continues to look around. "Well," she says, "the best I've got is priority shipping, which is five dollars."

"I don't mind five dollars." She hands over the box and I try to assemble it while she begins rustling for some packing tape. I soon see, however, that this box is too small. "I don't think I can fit both books into it." Just as I am handing the box back, Cecilia reappears -- wielding a cardboard box festooned with tape and labels.

"Thank God for this box," she's saying. "And thank God for you for needin this box. Ah think this is just the right size."

"Well, Cecilia, I'm afraid we don't have any tape to package up the box," says Mae patiently.

Cecilia is still busily tucking my books into her raggedy but quite functional box. She stuffs some crinkled newspaper into some of the negative space. "Ah read this paper last week and this article was very good. It will keep the books from shiftin. What is thayet about tape?"

"We are all out of tape," Mae repeats.

"Well you have some right thayer on the wall." Cecilia obligingly points to the displays of tape rolls for sale.

"Well those are three dollars each--" Mae begins.

I am just about to say that I don't mind buying a roll of tape since it will get used eventually, but Cecilia waves her hands in the air and says, "This young lady cannot afford that. Ah have some clear duck tape at my house. Ah will go and get it for you. Did you know that clear duck tape is the strongest? It is like regular duck tape, but clear." She double wraps her scarf against the bone-chilling 50 degree air and marches purposefully out the door.

Mae starts to weigh my package. "I'm sure she'll be right back," she says. "I'll just print up your shipping label so that you can pay and be ready to go."

I have just signed the receipt when Cecilia bursts back in. "This is clear duck tape. It is the strongest kind of tape. Here, you hold this box closed and Ah will put this duck tape on it."

She stretches a long piece of tape over the seam of the top. At this moment, the Post Master (who is actually a lady) comes through the front door. "Sue," Cecilia says in a voice of delighted doom, "thayer is no tape here. Ah had to get this poor young lady some tape so she could mail her books."

Sue looks a little baffled. "We have rolls of tape for sale, Cecilia."

"Forgive me Sue, you are right. Ah should not have said thayet. You are right, Ah do not know what Ah was thinkin." Meanwhile, Cecilia has been deftly mummifying the box. She pauses to survey her handiwork. "Ah will just put one more piece on. Thayer, Ah feel much mower secure. You have been so smart, shippin these books this way. Look, they are goin to Raleigh. You have saved so much money on gas this way."

"Cecilia," I say, still quite overcome by delight and respect for this woman's generosity. "Thank you so much. You are truly the kindest person I have met in a long time."

"Well, you are from New Heel. People don't treat each other right anymore, but you are New Heel and I will take cayer of my people." She goes in for a hug and I cannot refuse. "Goodbye Emma," she says. "Marry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy Hanukkah!"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Things I Don't Understand #1

Hipster glasses.

lol i'm cooler than you
What is the appeal of this? 

I mean really. Most of the popular ones look like 3D glasses with the lenses taken out. They're meant for dress-up. Or you know, seeing better and stuff. 

I know glasses are theoretically supposed to make you look smarter, and don't get me wrong, I love a good pair of specs. But these, these pieces of plastic are not for improved vision or perceptible IQ. These are for show, for telling the world that you don't care about their preconceived notions of beauty, that you are forging your own unique trail of fashion... along with every other gullible shopper. I think hipster glasses actually make people look stupid.

And when somebody posts a picture of themselves all hipstered out with their ironically unhip, unkempt clothes and oversized geeky glasses, such as this:

"you wouldn't understand this fashion statement, emma"

I have to shake my head and laugh a little, because in twenty years, people will look back at those photos and wonder, "What was I thinking?" 

I am asking that question now. What ARE they thinking?

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Whenever I'm in a plane, I wonder if we'll use up all the runway before we get off the ground. Come on, pilot. I really think you should lift off now.

That's really just very silly of me because, of course, I can't see how much runway is left. Even if I could, I have no idea how much a plane needs to take off.

I am struck by how that mirrors my confidence in God's timing. Oh no, God!  I wail. I'm going to run out of strength and grace if You don't take off soon! I'm going to crash and burn!  I say this while I look out of a tiny peephole that cannot even begin to capture the scope of where I'm going.

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Be patient. There is enough runway.

Obviously God knows what He’s doing.

Let's be honest, my mind goes here too.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

For the First Time

I am starting to realize that real life is so much better than books.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seven Random Things

Because Hannah tagged me. :)

1) I genuinely cannot understand people who don't like to read.

2) I've kept the ticket stubs of every movie I've gone to since I was eleven. The first one is Fellowship. The latest one is Captain America. There are 106 in between.

3) I just discovered that I like black tea so much better than coffee. Where have you been all my life, delicious English Breakfast? Oh honey, you make my heart sing.

4) When I use the bathroom at somebody else's house, I ALWAYS check behind the shower curtain for ax murderers. ALWAYS.

5) Someone once exclaimed "It's like a library in here!" when she entered my room and that's the best compliment I've ever received. :)

6) I have three particular teacups - one for tea, one for coffee, and one for hot chocolate. I cannot drink said drink unless it's out of its cup.

7) Seven is my favourite number!

Lindy, I choose you!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Surrendering My Teaspoonful

So lately I've been realizing that my plans and God's plans might not be exactly the same.

Um.... hmm.

I've always assumed it was just a timing thing. Okay, God, I can wait for my plans to come about. I don't mind if it takes a few years... But there's this sense of entitlement that my plans are going to happen because I obviously know best. It doesn't even occur to me that God might have something else in mind.

Specifically, these ruminations have been related to marriage. It is my dream, my plan if you will, to marry and have a family. I've wanted to adopt children for as long as I can remember. Lately, I've been pining for it. How ready do I have to be, God? You've given me these desires and You are not cruel. Surely You won't fill my heart with dreams and then withhold them from me?

Elisabeth Elliot encourages her single readers to view their singleness as a gift to be given as a fragrant offering to God. But she acknowledges that "to make that gift an offering may be the most costly thing one can do, for it means the laying down of a cherished dream of what one wanted to be, and the acceptance of what one did not want to be." (The Path of Loneliness)

That made me cry a little bit. I don't want to, was pretty much all I could whine to God.

Over the next couple days, I quietly realized that, unlike me, God is not planning my whole life around marriage. Whether it's in His plans or not, He is working for my good right now. He's not just saying, Ok let's get Emma prepped to get married. Oh wow, she's being really immature today. Add another year until she meets Fabrizio*.  No! It's not like that at all. Yes, He is preparing me to become whoever I'll grow up to be, but He's put me in this place because it's good for me right now.

"If you ask your Father for bread, he will not give you a stone. If you ask him for a fish, he will not give you a serpent (see Matt. 7:9-10). It may not be bread. And it may not be a fish. But it will be good for you. That is what he promises (Rom. 8:28)."
John Piper, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
Let's get honest here. I sincerely hope that I don't stay single forever. I certainly don't want to stay in this job forever. But I can lay down my cherished dreams and accept what I don't want to be -- although I won't lie, I cry about it sometimes. When I cry, though, I can rest in the knowledge that even though it's not bread and fish, it is good for me.
"With what misgivings we turn over our lives to God, imagining somehow that we are about to lose everything that matters. Our hesitancy is like that of a tiny shell on the seashore, afraid to give up the teaspoonful of water it holds lest there not be enough in the ocean to fill it again. Lose your life, said Jesus, and you will find it. Give up, and I will give you all. Can the shell imagine the depth and plenitude of the ocean? Can you and I fathom the riches, the fullness, of God's love?"
Elisabeth Elliot, The Path of Loneliness
*Fabrizio is our family's name for whoever I marry

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fifteen Characters

The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. List fifteen fictional characters (television, films, plays, books, etc.) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. 

1. Eowyn - The Lord of the Rings

I love her bravery and her tragedy. And I like that she finds Faramir in a way and place that she never expected. She wasn't looking, she was heartbroken, and tada! Just the right guy happens to be across the hall.

2. Bigwig - Watership Down

Yeah yeah, he's a bunny. But he's a brave bunny! He saw what needed doing and did it. He didn't allow his fear to master him, even though he put his life on the line multiple times to protect or save his bunny brethren. 

3. The Pevensies - The Chronicles of Narnia books

I couldn't pick just one. Peter, because he has always been my ideal of manliness. Susan, because her life was a warning. Edmund, because he was a betrayer but humbly turned back to Aslan. Lucy, because she never lost faith.

4. Catherine Morland - Northanger Abbey

The nearest and dearest of all Jane Austen's heroines. 

5. Samantha Carter - Stargate SG-1

She rides a motorcycle, she can pick locks, she knows how to dress up, and she's literally a genius. She can keep up the guys but she's not ashamed to cry. She awesome! 

6. Eponine - Les Miserables

I guess I don't really like Eponine as a person, but her story is fascinating. And I really got to know her, per se, so I think I'll always have a lot of sympathy toward her.

7. The Doctor - Doctor Who

Specifically Ten, of course. I didn't really learn anything wonderful from this character, but he's the first character that has made me cry THAT MUCH. *cries*

8.  Horatio Hornblower - The Horatio Hornblower Series

He is the most tangibly, immediately real character I've ever read; C.S. Forester wasn't shy about giving him quirks and flaws and shortcomings and humanity. 

9.  Zuko - The Last Airbender

I LOVE REDEMPTION STORIES, and his is one of my favourites. Also, I was pretty much in love with his many hairstyles.

10. Truvy - Steel Magnolias

She's a huge part of why I chose to be a hairdresser!

11. Anne Shirley - Anne of Green Gables, etc

Anne has such a beautiful way of looking at life. She's the girl I always wanted to be, with her grey eyes and grace.

12. Elphaba - Wicked

What girl has not, at some point, felt beautifully tragic?

13. Dorcas Lane - Lark Rise to Candleford
Her reactions to difficulties are always charming and encouraging. In particular, when *spoilers* Minnie ruins her mother's wedding dress, she is obviously heartbroken. But instead of blaming Minnie and sending her away, she gently resolves to teach Minnie respect and self-discipline. She is mature, but full of mischief.

14. The Cast of Firefly

Again, I couldn't just pick one -- some stand out more than others but as a whole they are such a rich array of people. Their camaraderie and courage and fears and failures are so believable and endearing that I cannot help but love them all. 

15. Mrs. Miniver - Mrs Miniver

She clarified and beautified so many things for me. She could see beauty in nearly everything, sometimes an odd beauty, but she always managed to draw contentment and joy in her surroundings. 

Because I love the Lion King thiiiiiiiis much

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Grand Adventure of Staying Behind

A couple weeks ago I was talking with my dear friend Laura Katherine and I mentioned to her how there are a few people I always keep "on my radar," meaning I'm always aware of them in a room and in my prayers. I quietly watch over these people because I love them best.

"Who are you talking about?" she asked.
"Oh, Abby, Nathaniel, you..." said I.
"So, basically your family," she laughed.

Yeah, pretty much.

She's going away to college this week. I am excited for her. This is good, this feels so solidly right that there is no doubt God has grandly orchestrated it. She will learn and grow -- and she will help others learn and grow. I am certain that her presence there will be an unlooked-for answer to prayer for some of the people around her.

I know this because she is such an important part of my own growing and learning. Her fingerprints are all over my life: books and letters and drawings clutter up the nooks in my room. More than that, she is a teacher, confidante, playmate, sounding board, bosom friend. So much of me is made from what I've learned from her.

Part of me is freaking out that she's leaving. Who will I watch over? Who will watch over me?

God is still sovereign, even over goodbyes. And I remind myself that this is in no way a goodbye, it's a "see you soon." I mourn the end of a season but I look forward to different seasons.

For now, I am here... on a grand adventure at home.

Our Prom Date... sort of.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

High Fives and Trust Falls

Have you ever gone in for a high five and your partner in crime jerks away at the last second? To the other person, it's a haha-gotchya! moment, but to me, it's BETRAYAL.

It's a betrayal because I am very, very bad at high fives. I go up, I line up, I mess up. My coordination is just that lame. Yes, I've tried the trick of watching the other person's elbow. IT DOESN'T WORK GUYS. Instead of crisply smacking my partner's palm with my own fleshy extremity, I aim for their elbow. It results in an awkward chase as my hand goes down and they try to follow. I can't tell you how many of my high fives go like this:

"High five!"
*awkward chase*
"Oh, let's try that again."
Despite this, I always give it my all. I love high fives. They're the all-purpose contact sport of communication. You just had a baby? High five!  Saying goodbye to a random acquaintance and you don't want to hug them? High five!  It's time for ice cream? High fives all around!  And when you give a really good high five, the kind that makes a sharp cracking sound and your palm sting a little but not too much, you achieve high five mastery for the day. It's pretty much worthy of another high five.

So when somebody pulls that haha-gotchya! thing on me, I really feel hurt. Not because they just made me look even stupider than I usually do during a high five. It's because when we're winding up for a high five, it's a commitment. I'm going to smack your hand and you're going to smack mine. We have entered a morally binding contract until smacking do us part. If you pull that high five, you have essentially served me divorce papers. I'm taking the house AND the kids!

Don't do this, people. If you were doing trust falls, would you hold your arms out until your partner turned around but then let them fall to the ground? No. You wouldn't, because that would be a betrayal.

What they do? They're smiling in your face!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Catch and Release Part 2

I'm really terrible at putting things down.

By "things" I don't mean physical things. I'm talking about spiritual things. I clutch all my struggles right to my chest. I don't show them to anybody. Sometimes I pretend that if I hold them so closely in my hands until I can't see them, maybe they don't exist. 

God has other plans for me.

I'll take that, He says.

NOOOOO!!!!!  I scream. I don't want to give it up! I want to anguish over it!!

Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.1 Give it over, Emma.

It's not that bad, I rationalize. I can handle this. Just give me a minute. 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.2 Emma, you do not have this under control.

I don't want to trouble You with this. It's really nothing. I begin to waver. Are You sure this is worth Your time?

Blessed be the Lord, Who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.3 Yes, I'm sure. Lay that burden right at my feet.

I wrestle it out with God. At last, I lay it down. I am worn out and all I have left is to give this struggle over to You. It's a relief and I always feel better when I let go and let God. But do you know what I do next?


Why do I do that? 

I forget God's faithfulness. I agonize over laying my burden down, but once it's out of my hands, I think, Maybe God forgot about me. 

Not so!

"As for You, O LORD, You will not restrain Your mercy from me; Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness will ever preserve me!" -Psalm 40:11

"For the word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness." -Psalm 33:4

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." -Lamentations 3:22-23

Let's be real here. I'm going to wrestle with God while I'm still on this earth. Sin is no joke. But by God's grace I hope I can learn to leave my cares at the foot of the cross. 

1 - Psalm 55:22
2 - 1 Peter 5:6-7
3 - Psalm 68:19

Friday, July 22, 2011

Instant Love: Just Add Newborn

I've never fallen in love before.

Everybody that I love now, I've grown into loving. It's an organic process that just takes time -- and honestly, I've always considered love as much a decision as an emotion. So all my lovelies are actually people that I've decided to love because they're worth the effort.


Zachary Dale. 

I'm pretty sure the poles of the earth shifted a little bit because as soon as that little squishy alien thing was in my arms, I was holding the center of the universe. I didn't have a choice; I absolutely, irrevocably, and undeniably fell in love. It was exciting and happy and over-the-moon-ish, but it was also very serious.

Serious because for the rest of my life, I will love that boy and there is nothing that anybody can do that will ever change that.

And can I just take this opportunity to say I TOLD YOU SO! Obviously Zachary and I have a bond and I knew he was a he all along. :)

You're just too good to be true.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weakness Leaving the Body

Alright alright, I'm a wimp.

I don't like getting hurt, it's really just that simple. I do an extremely low-impact workout. I blow on my tea before sipping. I collect novelty band-aids because everybody knows a cut heals faster when it's covered by Optimus Prime.

However, after the disaster that was last week's game and my new-found resolution that I'm not a quitter, I decided to really try to be aggressive at this whole volleyball thing. About twenty minutes into the first match and I said, "Wow, this hurts."

"Embrace the pain!" the guys laughed, obviously amused that I was suffering over something kind of pathetic.

Okay, I thought. Embrace the pain. I can do that. I'm not a quitter. RAWR!

I embraced that pain and I went after that ball. Except, you guys, I'm really not that great at depth perception. That's why I do hair: it's all close to me and I don't have to guess trajectories and speeds and spins on the fly. So pretty soon, I got hit in the face by a supersonic volleyball.


Um, I did not sign up for this. I had a little moment in my head that went something like this: Waaaahhhhhhh!!!  I had really thought my days of getting bludgeoned by sports equipment were long over. Not so!

I collected myself and carried on. Despite a sudden headache, I was still embracing pain. I think it was actually my ornery streak coming out and saying, haha everybody expects me to fall apart so I'm NOT just to spite them. That's kind of silly because nobody really expected me to fall apart, but sometimes I just gotta draw strength from wherever I can.

After the last match we ran some "terror drills" which were basically comprised of Isaac reigning big scary serves at me and Miriam so that we could conquer our fear.

"Pretend the volleyball is Aveda!" Mom called from the sidelines.

That's when I got serious, y'all.

Now it's the morning after.


Embrace the pain, my foot! This is not okay! :(

My favourite lyric is *instrumental*

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Surprised by Joy

You know how sometimes you're really scared that things are going to be horrible but then it turns out that things are totally awesome?

That's what work has been like!

I was soooo nervous the night before. Oh no they're going to hate me. I'm going to ruin everything and they're all just going to hate me. And even though my first day was sort of awkward and I didn't know where to go and I dropped a lot of stuff, it was okay. Now that the first week is done, I feel like I have a good grasp on things. Next week I'm going to start creeping more.

Erica - One of the owners. She's a little quiet and I couldn't get a read on her for awhile but I like her a lot. She's down to earth and really good at what she does. Teal.

Renee - The other owner. I mostly work with her and she's a handful and a half. Maroon.

Tracy - Used to be the assistant, now a stylist! Super super nice, she basically gave me the enV crash course. Rose-red?

Tracey - Salon manager. Hilarious. Orange.

Brie - Receptionist. She's one of those pretty, perfect people that you're a little bit scared of but then you love because they're actually really nice. Lavender.

Darrell - Mkay apparently he hates meeting new people, but he's been nothing but nice. On my first day I dropped a ton of stuff around him, then lost to a colour tray and had to ask him for help -- and he didn't give me the you so stupid look. He always speaks softly. Yellow, but sometimes light green.

Hayley - I just saw her on my first day before she went out of town to a wedding. She seemed really nice, but at this point I'm pretty sure everybody at enV is nice. :) Dark green.

Tara - So, I seem to accidentally get in her way a lot...? But she's always been (wait for it) nice about it. Red/orange.

It's clear we're going to get along!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lessons Learned

01. People can and will make something out of nothing.
02. It is almost impossible to be rude to someone who is smiling at you.
03. If you are hunting a shape shifter, never ever say to your friend, "Let's split up."
04. The drama llama wants your sympathy, not your advice.
05. It's possible to survive and even function normally without coffee.
06. Sometimes the best way to unwind is to read a book that you already know.
07. Be careful when you say "oh no lol I'm not a tenderhead at all" because everybody has a different scale of tenderness.
08. Take a lunchbreak.
09. Ask lots of questions.
10. Answer questions patiently and thoroughly.
11. When you are giving someone a pedicure, put your hair up.
12. Sometimes when people ask you how you're doing, they're really just waiting for you to ask the same of them.
13. Be nice to everyone, especially when you don't want to.
14. When you pull warm laundry out of the dryer, snuggle it for a moment.
15. The best way to stop crying is to laugh.
16. When you're painting a wall, you have to be just as neat the second time as you were the first time.
17. Usually it's just better not to announce that you speak a made-up language from a fictional world.
18. Should you choose to rub your eyeball while you're driving, check the road ahead for massive potholes.
19. If you're stressed about something, pray it over and then forget it for awhile.
20. Everyone has been lonely or angry or hurt or scared or weak at some time in their life, you're not the only one.
21. When you have a baby in your arms and someone says, "Oh could I hold him for a moment? I'll give him right back" they are actually saying "kthxBAI!"
22. Things generally take a little longer than you expect; plan accordingly.
23. Keep going, it gets better.

There's so much out there to see

Monday, July 11, 2011

Catch and Release

So, I'm a worrier.

I worry about lots of things. Am I rubbish as a hairdresser? Will I get married someday? Is my nephew going to like me as he gets older?  I get so wrapped up in fear and doubt and worry that I forget that I have Somebody on my side. In fact, the Author and Perfecter of faith is authoring me.

With this in mind, I've been wrestling with my worry. Begone, foul dwimmorlaik!  I call it catch and release, because:


"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ," -2 Corinthians 10:5 (my emphasis)
"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before HimGod is a refuge for us." -Psalm 62:8 (my emphasis)
In the first scripture, I assumed that "against the knowledge of God" meant errant worldviews, like evolution or relativism. But then I realized that the "knowledge of God" can also mean our personal  knowledge of God. I know that God is a generous, kind Father. When I worry, I am sneakily saying God isn't big enough to handle my problems. Silly Emma! So I must take every worrisome thought captive.

The second Scripture is obvious. Not only are we called to trust God, we are also instructed to pour out our hearts before Him. This is said in the context of refuge, which is defined as a "source of help, relief, or comfort  in times of trouble." There is no fear too unfounded, no doubt too unmerited, and no sin too ugly for God to handle. So I must release every worry to Him.

This is my prayer in the battle, when triumph is still on its way.

Life Lessons: Volleyball Edition

I'm pretty bad at volleyball.

For starters, the whole hand-eye-coordination thing is tough. And being aggressive, ahhh, it's not my strength. I see that volleyball flying toward me and I think, that's going to hit me in the head and I'm going to die. I get awful tunnel vision and I sort of lose my motor function in blind panic.

So, why did I join a volleyball team? Bad decision, Emma. Perhaps you should return to low-impact sports, such as crafting or watching TV.

We had our first game today. For our very first match, we played the setting sun. The combination of sun and sweat in my eyes immediately made me start crying uncontrollably. Not the best start to the game, people. From there I pretty much tumbled downhill. I think I said "Sorry!" approximately twelve million times. It's sort of extra humbling when you're playing with really good people and you're obviously dragging the team down.

My time at school really shook my confidence. Confidence in myself, in other people, and even in God. Going outside of my comfort zone feels especially vulnerable right now. So after the game today, I walked away resolved to quit the team.

But you know what I did  learn at school?


By golly, if God can get me through ten months of Aveda, He can get me through a volleyball game!

I realized that early on, I started focusing on how badly I was playing. I began to passively feel sorry for myself instead of actively playing the game. I may be pretty bad at volleyball, but I'm not terrible!

So here's my volleyball resolution: Fake It Til You Make It. I'm going to stay positive, I'm going to go after that volleyball, and I'm going to learn from my mistakes. And I'm not going to quit.

This, including the dance moves.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Migraines and the Grace of God

I used to get really awful migraines.

I would get them regularly every month, but even beyond that they would pop up at random times. If you've never had a migraine, you can't understand how truly crippling they are. I can't really even describe what it feels like. The layers of agony, the dulled brain function but the absolutely crystal-clear pain receptors... it's no fun.

We went to the doctors and they went so far as to do an MRI on my brain to make sure I didn't have any tumors or abnormalities. Nope, my brain is fine, just a hereditary propensity for migraines. My grandmother, mom, and uncle all had migraines. I gave up hope for a cure and settled in for decades of discomfort.

Switch gears. As my senior year of high school ground to a close, I began to experience rather disconcerting chest pain, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath. Anytime I climbed stairs or lifted something heavy, my heartrate seemed to shoot through the roof. At one point, I genuinely thought I was having a heart attack. I'm too young for this, I thought. I'm eighteen. Why am I having heart problems? I was actually pretty upset at God for making me feel like an old woman.

To the doctors I went. They poked and prodded and drew blood and listened and monitored and gelled and listened some more. I had a sonogram of my heart, I wore a heart monitor several times, I took a stress test. Finally, after some uncertainty, a brusk Indian man at the cardiology center in Cary informed me that I have inappropriate sinus tachycardia, which is much more pesky than lethal. He prescribed me beta blockers and disappeared.

Flash forward six months. I was feeling pretty good -- sleeping better, heartrate much more controlled, just generally wholesome. I went in for a routine check-up to my cardiologist and she upped my dosage of beta blockers. I decided to do some more research on these little white pills. What was one of the FIRST things I discovered?

Beta blockers are often used to prevent migraines.


To my shock, I realized that I hadn't had a migraine in six months. I hadn't even gotten a headache. Before, I had almost always had a low-grade pain in between migraines, and life felt like one long headache-fest. BUT NOW! No pain! No migraines! I had to laugh at myself. I was so irked at God for giving me this heart condition, but it turned out that my heart medication is a double blessing! More than double, because anybody who has had a migraine can tell you that it's no way to live.

I still get headaches sometimes. I even get what I call "half migraines," but they're just a shadow of the real thing. And I don't really mind. I think it's God's way of whispering, Remember what I saved you from. 

My go-to headache soother...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Growing Up and Stuff

Remember when you were an awkward kid and you had more knees and elbows and pimples than you could shake a stick at? I sure do.

Remember when you suddenly turned into a grown up? I sure don't. Maybe that's because I still trip sometimes and I get breakouts when I'm stressed or particularly dirty.

Actually, it's probably because I haven't finished growing up yet. That's alright. I like to think of myself as some kind of hybrid-thing, or rather that I'm in transition, like a molting chicken. One day they look like a fluffy chick, then next day they look like an alien. Eventually they'll look like a real chicken again. So for now, I'm an ALIEN!

Ways that I'm growing up:
1) I work out like a boss! (Which is to say that I actually do it instead of saying I'll do it tomorrow.)
2) I can be nice even when I don't feel like it. (Which is not to say that I always do. See list below.)
3) I pay bills. (Which is to say that I did when I had a job. And I will when I start my new job.)
iv) I can watch the news without falling asleep. (Keyword: can. Not keyword: often.)
5) I cry when Mufasa dies.
6) Actually that's all I got. I guess I'm not done growing yet! :)

Ways that I'm still a kid:
1) You know how when you're little and you find out that you're older than your playmate and you immediately feel superior? Yeah. That's me. Oh you were born three months after I was? Well obviously I'm in charge around here. You have a problem with that? Let's just take a look at my date of birth...
2) I'm not always nice even though I should be. I'm so mad that you didn't respect my feelings. Boo, hiss.
3) I have a colouring book. I know it's not canon but I'm thinking Belle's dress should be blue this time.
iv) I HATE going to bed. I'm not tired!! zzzzz
5) I cry when Mufasa dies. It's okay Simba... :'(
6) I get Happy Meals just for the toy!! A watch? THAT'S IT??!!

Strangely enough, this song brought about these ruminations...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Summer Time

Isn't summer wonderful?

My summer break was delayed and I just get two weeks -- but I'm soaking it up! The only reason I put normal clothes on this morning was because I had to run some errands. Other than that, I pretty much look like a homeless person. It's great!

Some of my favourite summery things:
1) Don't want to wash your hair? That's fine! No one cares!
2) Want to sleep all day? That's fine! No one cares!
3) I've had a stack of books building up on my bedside table and now I'm reading them like a BOSS!
iv) Let's just say -- a movie every day. :)
5) Flip flops FTW
6) Against all odds, I got a slight beige!!
7) Eating and drinking crappy crap and not caring! Oh you've already had a slice of cake today? Here's another slice!
8) Staying up past my bedtime!
9) Live concerts in your own car... performed by YOU!
10) Playing organized sports with people who are AWESOME!
11) No makeup = no problem!

What time is it?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Clouds Above Opening Up

I just graduated from hell.

It sounds a little melodramatic, but truly, Aveda has been rather nightmarish. It felt like psychological warfare. And not just school itself, the whole season of life. I have never been so angry -- angry at God, angry at my family, angry at myself. I was angry for so long that I lost my joy and my hope. I knew that I was spiraling into self-destruction and I knew that the only one who could help me was God.

But I didn't want to have anything to do with God.

He was the one that got me into this mess, right? He was the one that moved my friends away and then poured me, alone, into a deep dark place. He was the one that abandoned me right when I was loneliest. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is capable of all things, that He could turn the tides of my heart. But I figured that if He wanted to, He would have done it already. I despaired that I had become so angry, so ugly, that God had turned away in disgust. That made me even angrier.

People began to notice how dark I had become. My dad and my friend repeatedly encouraged me to spend time in the Word, refreshing myself in God's presence. I would waffle around the subject, agreeing but never committing.

I went to NEXT waiting to be rescued. One of the speakers encouraged us to expect great things to happen over the weekend. I cried. Great things didn't happen to ugly people like me.

At last, I cried out desperately to God. Oh Lord. I do not even have a desire for You. I have nothing to offer. Please, just turn my face back to You. And He quietly did. I began to see His fingerprints everywhere. A wonderful job, renewed friendships, stronger resolve. I began to press into Scripture and "God books" like Dug Down Deep. More than that, joy is creeping back in. I've got the wiggles and I can't seem to stop dancing.

I feel like springtime and waking up and unfolding. I realize how blinded I became during school. Yes, God did uproot me from my comfort zone and then plant me in unfamiliar, uncomfortable soil. But He didn't do it to isolate me until I withered, like I had thought. He brought me out to that lonely place so that I would discover just how much I need Him.

I've learned a lot during my stay at Aveda. Most of it isn't about hair.