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Looking Closer for Love Notes

28 Dec

A “Glee” song played at the exact moment when I want to dance. 

Waking up to the Beatles on the radio. 

Christmas lights. 

The smell of broccoli cheddar soup on the stove. 

An unexpected message from a friend on Facebook. 

A whisper in my heart to turn off the radio and tune into an often missed world underneath the surface of the things I worry about most of the time. 

A sober reminder that we only have 525,600 minutes in a year. 

A love note

What do all of these have in common?

They are love notes. My friend, Jessica, told me about love notes yesterday. She said that they are all around and that she looks for them now that she’s aware that they exist. Some probably call them signs. I’m not sure, but I’m starting to believe that they do in fact exist.

Today I began a process of discernment and observation. I’m attempting to make some major shifts in my life and before just jumping in like I often do, I want to step back and observe to make sure that where I’m about to go, what I’m about to put my time into is worthwhile. To observe means you have to focus. It means stopping. Slowing down. Paying attention to these little things that are all around me. It is not easy because it’s actually a huge discipline. But when I do it, the worry stops. Instead, the beauty emerges.

So far, I’ve seen the above love notes. And the pain that I’ve been feeling, the sadness, the waiting, the loss, the hurt, the heartache, the question of why has become much more subtle. It’s muted because instead I’m seeing possibility. I’m seeing hope and a future. I’m believing that there’s something else happening that maybe I just don’t see or haven’t been able to see lately.

Earlier I was watching the movie, “Soul Surfer” about the young surfer, Bethany Hamilton, who survives a shark attack but loses her arm. In the movie, they discuss this idea about being so close to something that you can’t really see it for what it is. I feel like this about my life recently.  I’m so close that I don’t always have perspective. So I will actively observe. I will watch. See. Observe. And in the process, I’ll hopefully stumble across some of these love notes that my friend keeps talking about.

I want to look closer at my life. At the beauty around me. During all of the moments when I’m worried or anxious or insecure, I easily forget that God has a story for my life. I’m starting to remember. Here’s a little reminder.

From my favorite movie, “American Beauty”:

Ricky: It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing. And there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, right? And this bag was just… dancing with me. Like a little kid beggin me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid ever.
Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… I need to remember. Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it… and my heart is going to cave in.


“Rent” asks the question, how do you measure a year? 

“In truths that she learned,
Or in times that he cried.
In bridges he burned,
Or the way that she died.” 

It was all of the above. I learned truth. I cried a lot. I said goodbye to some people I needed to let go of. I died to myself over and over.

I’m proud of this year. I’m proud of where I’ve been. I’m proud of where I’m going. Right now though, I’m going to look closer and hopefully find some love notes from God that will guide me in the direction I’m going.

A few days left of 2011. Make ‘em count.


Reclaiming Home Part 2

4 Mar

My recent blog about home created a lot of comments on Facebook, and I thought I would update everyone on where I’m at. I’ve decided to create a space where I can feel at home within my own home. After a respite from the beach due to some inclement weather, I’ve decided I need to embrace my living space and create a place where I can just “be.” I’ve gotten much better at recognizing my limits these days. I can tell because I get anxious, start having bad dreams, can’t sleep, and feel resentful toward pretty much everybody. So when those things start happening, I take stock and realize that I’m doing way too much.

Here’s my recent solution to this: I bought a lemongrass candle after smelling every candle at Rite Aid.  My friend, Cara, convinced me Rite Aid had better and cheaper candles than Target. So last weekend we went with Jill and started smelling candles. I walked away with my new Lemongrass scented one. So far, it’s awesome!

I’ve filled my space with good music. Always a plus. If anyone knows where I can get good portable speakers that would be better than my Macbook speakers, I would appreciate it!

I just bought a 3 inch mattress topper because it was reasonably affordable with no charge for shipping and I can’t afford to buy a new mattress right now. This ought to give me more comfort when sleeping, I hope. Thank you,!

I plan on buying curtains because I’ve decided that after a year and a half, the venetian blinds in my room are not doing it. I’m using this pole that ballerinas at the Community Center used to use as their barre to hang my curtains. It fits perfectly over my window. It was FREE! I can’t wait to paint…

I’m packing up some of my books and all of the electronic stuff in my room and putting it somewhere else. Having books around doesn’t inspire me to be knowledgable like I would hope, instead, it inspires me to want to read and then feel guilty because I’m not doing enough. Too many unread books! I need to find another place to put these books. Maybe not away, but out of sight…

Green paint: I’ve decided. That’s the color for me. Something light. Not like gross green, like spring green! It’d be awesome if I could get an artist paint a tree or something in my room. How cool would that be?

My high school room was a much more dramatic version of this, although not as cool...

I’m trying to figure out my taste. Liz, my former roommate and best friend said to me, “You know, you’ve never actually decorated anything yourself.” She’s right. At least not as an adult. I’ve let other people determine how to decorate my space. So I’m in the process of figuring out what I like. Green is my color right now and it inspires relaxation. So I’m going to follow my instinct on that one.

More as I continue. is my new friend. I’m taking a picture of my room and then I’m going to upload it and see what it would look like with green paint. This is going to be fun!


It was 30 years ago today…

9 Dec

I don’t remember 30 years ago yesterday, but I remember 15 years ago. I was a sophomore in high school at the pinnacle of my Beatles fandom. My friends and I all wore shirts to commemorate  15 years since  of the death of John Lennon. We were really sad. For a day, we grieved the loss of his talent, musicianship, and personality. For months we had been talking about John as if we really knew him.

John making a face while standing with Julia, his mother.

In our minds, we did. We’d spent hours listening to Beatles music and then to records from John’s solo career. We counted how many times the word “and” was used in  the 90 minute “Beatles First Us Visit.” (I don’t remember but it was well over 400).  We invented stories about how John was like our older brother, witty and a prankster. We implemented words from John’s Liverpudlian lingo into our own vocabulary. We spent days reading about John’s life, trying to understand him and trying to figure out what the heck he saw in Yoko Ono. Back in those days when my teenage self needed something to believe in that was bigger than who I was, the Beatles were my religion and I was a devoted follower.

That said, on December 8, 1995, we mourned the loss as if we had just heard the news for the first time. I can only imagine how hard it would have been the actual day that John Lennon was shot. I’ve read biographies of Mark David Chapman to try to understand what he was thinking and I had to stop because I decided I didn’t really want to be in the mind of someone capable of killing like that. I’ve visited the outside of the Dakota ( creepy as it is) which is John’s old apartment building in New York City where he was shot. I’ve gone across the street to Strawberry Fields in Central Park where fans put flowers on a commemorative mosaic for John.  I went to an art show in Chicago that had John’s original drawings. Someday I will make it to Liverpool and see the Cavern Club. I will find the real Strawberry Fields.

So what did I do to grieve the loss of John yesterday? I listened to some Beatles songs. I connected with a couple of my old Beatle fan friends. And I thought about how far I’ve come since those years. How John Lennon helped me connect to a part of myself that I didn’t know before.  How the Beatles helped me learn to love and appreciate music.  How my devotion to the Beatles, while an early demonstration of my counter cultural instincts, was also a predictor to my later  follower ship of and relationship with Jesus. (more on this in later blogs).

As a Beatles fan,  I learned how to be devoted. I learned how to be loyal. I gained patience. I gained vast knowledge about something very quickly. I learned how to love something so much that it hurts.  And 15 years ago on the anniversary of the death of John Lennon, I learned how to grieve.  Since that time,  I’ve discovered that grieving John’s death, as hard as it was for my 15 year old brain to comprehend, became for me an invaluable first lesson.

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