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.