Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Thanking God that this sir FINALLY made it home to me.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Is it me, or are there a LOT of people writing 'open letters' these days?

And why am I still on facebook?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wild Nights Are Calling. Looks like Mellencamp knocked off an original.

What’s that quote from Dumb and Dumber?  “That John Denver's full of sh*t, man”?  That’s it, isn’t it?  Gosh that movie.  So hilarious.  Or maybe I just think it was hilarious because it came out when I was in the 8th grade, the target audience for the film's the level of humor.  Anyway, I mention it because the poet, John Denver is insulted as ‘full of it’ and I’d like to hold this up in contrast to a poet who nails it (no pun intended, read below) on another topic:  Emily Dickinson’s Wild Nights.

When Jon is away I really tap into this space of … how would I describe it?  Awareness?  Noticing?  Longing, for sure.  But it seems like it’s something more than that.  I tell people, and this is true, that there is a general underlying current of heightened emotion for the duration of deployment.  This makes over-reacting a pretty typical experience, also tears are more common over small things.  But longing offers me something too.  It offers me a posture uniquely positioned to notice things, perhaps feel them more acutely.

And so Emily Dickinson’s poem.  Right now, I feel these words.  I embody them.  This reclusive New Englander, dressed in white, pens three scandalous and spot-on stanzas that perfectly capture longing and desire for lovers apart.

Wild Nights

Wild nights!  Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port, -
Done with compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah!  The sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

Man, Emily, getting pretty racy, eh?  The thing is, she nailed it: Longing, imagination, a heart’s desire.  This is a new fave.

Many thanks to Sunshine Foods, the new health food grocery store in the neighborhood.  I’ve been meaning to try it out for months and today I did.  What luck: they offered my favorite chocolate bar, Chocolove on sale this week.  Chocolove bars always include love poems on the underside of their packaging.  Today Emily helped me express my longing for sweet Jon Horne.  And I got to eat good chocolate.  #WinWin! (Also, true confessions, I accidentally drooled on myself while eating the chocolate.  I am a 33 year old adult.  How is that even possible?)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Stonehenge, Duh.

Sometimes people give me grief for my obsession with Stonehenge.  I have always found this place fascinating.  Those who have visited say you have to drive a few hours to get there, and then you're made to stand behind a rope 100 yards form the neolithic monument.  But I would like to point out President Obama has always had Stonehenge on his Bucket List and recently took the entire Presidential entourage on a slight detour through Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE, United Kingdom, home to The 'Henge.

This guy looks as about excited as I am about Stonhenge.

And hello, just yesterday let's take a look at this article about the newly discovered expanding mystery of my most favorite place I have never visited.  (I did however, in an attempt to get a feel for the real Stonehenge, vista FoamHenge in Natural Bridge, Virginia in 2008, I think?)

Foamhenge, Natural Bridge, VA #hilarious Just like real Stonehenge, only made of styrofoam and not stones.

Link to Article: STONEHENGE ARTICLE!  And another one, for good measure: ARTICLE

Click these links. Read.  Instantly get smarter.  Good dinner party or happy hour conversation starter, and your conversational counterpart will think you're a genius + up-to-speed with current events.  He'll definitely ask for your number.

Turns out Stonehenge is just the tip of the iceberg.  Looks like there was a vast civilization connected to it at one point... thousands of years BC.  I need to go there.  That is all!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Marriage Makes A Person More Creative. Add It To The List.

There are a number of articles championing the benefits of marriage: more financial stability, live longer, satisfied in bed, less-likely to commit violent crimes, tax benefits, and the list goes on.  In my few short years I have observed another benefit seldom cited, if ever: creativity.  More specifically, I have noticed that marriage increases one's creative ability as it pertains to finding topics about which to fight.  Way to go, marriage!  I mean, before this week, it never occurred to me that I could, one day, fight with another human being about cooking spray.  It turns out, however, it's possible!

There I was, in the kitchen attempting to make Thai peanut dipping sauce.  A man, known as my husband,  faced me from about 6 feet away with a furrowed brow and one hand lightly resting on the handle of a very small, open cabinet door.  "Where is my cooking spray I bought and like to use?”  Truth is, I tossed those a few weeks back.  At this point, I felt frantic, tried to play it cool and quickly weighed my options.

Option 1:  Answer honestly, “I threw that junk away because it is full of chemicals I cannot pronounce and god-knows-what-else.  There are plenty of other options for greasing a grill currently residing in that too-small cabinet that drives me crazy and erupts every time I open the door.  And by the way, why do you always come home with some unnecessary, absurd cooking spray can every time you go to the grocery store?  It drives me crazy.”

Option 2:  Play dumb.  Also, lie.  Use sing-song voice and bat eye-lashes.  “What, honey?  I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about?”

Option 3:  Stare silently.  Caught.


My recollection of the chosen response is somewhat foggy.  Although, I believe it was an amalgamation of options 1-3, not well thought out, and somewhat aggressive.  Admittedly, I’d been having, pardon my French here, a shit day.  My eyes narrowed, a beat of silence hung heavily in the atmosphere, and I said very plainly to my now-adversary, “It’s gone.”  Errr, eeehh.  “I threw it away.”  Tiny door shuts definitively. Adversary stares me down, turns on heel, marches defiantly out the back door.  Door slams loudly shut upon noteworthy exit.

I’m not proud of the events that ensued.  They involved several caustic exchanges.  I lobbed a few condescending “You’re taking this way too personally” and “Is this really a hill to die on?" grenades his way.   I received a sucker-punch or two of a few founded accusations about my being wildly inconsistent when it comes to all-natural/organic/local culinary stances combined with, say for instance, my more than occasional consumption of gummy peach rings, pizza, and weekly trips to Half-Price FroYo night down the street.  I can’t blame the guy.  The most consistent thing I’ve got going in my life is that I am... “consistently inconsistent.”  Ultimately, I apologized.  But it wasn’t one of those good, responsibility-taking apologies:

“I mean, I am sorry throwing those away made you so upset.  If I had known how you’d react, I would have put them someplace else.  It was not premeditated on my part.”  True!  "I got fed up cramming junk into that dumb, teeny cabinet and was like, 'Oh to H with it!  I’m throwing some of this crap away.'  Your contributions to the cabinet were easy targets.”  [BEAT]  "Can we still eat dinner together?”  And we did.  In silence.  At the kitchen island.  #marriage #hillstodieon

In our defense (no pun intended), we are merely days away from Jon’s seven-month deployment.  (National defense - get it?) Emotions are running high over here.  Little things, big reactions.  Most notably, creativity is heightened!  Perhaps another perk to deployment?!

Really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find perks...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty Years Ago Today in Dallas

It is difficult for me to grasp the weight of President Kennedy's assassination in 1963.  Largely because I was not alive at the time.  As I get older, I can begin to think more seriously about the complexities surrounding such an event, but still... true understanding evades me.  A few things are helpful, though as I try to wrap my brain and heart around the shock, fear, and turmoil surrounding that time in America's history, not to mention the deep sadness that enveloped our nation following President Kennedy's death.  Today I read this recollection from a friend, Coach Bob in Virginia Beach:

"November 22, 1963. I was 9 years old, in 4th grade at St. Augustine Catholic School in Newport, R.I. – the same city in which John & Jackie Kennedy were married just ten years prior. Among the many indelible memories from that horrific weekend is the image of our teacher, Sister Mary Carmel - who most of us considered the meanest and most cold-hearted human being on the planet – sobbing and unable to speak as she came back into the classroom after receiving the news in the hallway. We were told by the Mother Superior moments later over the school’s PA system. The overwhelming grief we witnessed from Sister Carmel that afternoon, perhaps more than anything else, helped our young minds understand the enormity of the national tragedy our nation had just experienced. Hard to believe half a century has gone by since that day…"
- Bob Schniedwind

And I listened to THIS MEMORY from StoryCorps.  Simple, interesting...  This has me thinking of Jackie O as a young widow and single mother of two.

I was born 17 years after President Kennedy's assassination.  My childhood context for his death included these two images of his son.

The first, I was young and watched an old recording of this young boy saluting the flag which draped his father's coffin.  I clearly remember my dad telling me, "See that?  His dad taught him to salute the American flag every time he saw it, so there he is at this dad's funeral procession, saluting the flag as he was taught."

 In the late eighties and early nineties America was obsessed with JFK Jr.'s dark hair, strong jaw, and dashing good looks.  I remember, as a kid, being at my grandmother's house with my uncle, when I commented that People Magazine declared JFK Jr. "America's Sexiest Man."  He quipped back, "that's just because they haven't met me yet."  (How's that for confidence?)  Interesting though, President Kennedy's legacy, to me, were these images of his son, who died tragically due to an aviation incident when I was in high school.  The older I get, the more I come into the realization that his legacy perhaps has more to do with his symbolic election, one who championed minority rights, worshiped as a Catholic, and brought his young family into The White House.   I am left hoping that the current rancor in the American political system and the hotbed of ideological division plaguing us in these days won't erupt as terribly as it did in 1963.  I am also hoping that if we could navigate those divisions 1960's we can find a way to mend the fissures in our America of today.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Maybe My Last Peppermint Mocha, On Principle


Then one time Jon Horne was such a champ suggesting we hit up Starbucks for a tandem study date.  Off we go from the hours of 8-10pm, he with his missiles and flight tactics, me with my Greek textbook.  We arrive.  I grab a table, he orders the drinks.  Thanks, honey.  After an hour or so nestled in and studying hard, we have a chat about our now-finished beverages.  Somehow this happens:

I'm like, "blah blah," and "and of course mine was decaf."
His eyes go suddenly wide, "Oh no. I forgot."

And ta da!  Here I am.  It's 3:51am EST, and let me tell you.  I have been one PRODUCTIVE person since 11pm.  So far I have succesfully fastened a new slipcover on a couch, ironed and steamed new slipcover, cleared out our ten-month-long junk room, moved furniture, hung a picture, tranferred and set up TV, Roku, etc. to make a new den!  I vacuumed the front room and spent A LOT of minutes searching for coffee tables on overstock.com, wayfair.com, tuesdaymorning.com (major disappointment), worldmarket.com, target.com, and ikea.com. Then I watched two episodes of New Girl in the new den.  Now I'm trolling facebook clicking on links to dumb blogposts and certain articles about spaceships, child predators (horrifying), and wait for it (that's right, you guessed it) "Ten Foods Americans Eat That Are Banned In Other Developed Countries."  #whyisthefdatryingtokillus?

Tonight, Starbucks won.  Come to think of it, so did Jon Horne.  He's been in bed since 10:30.  Wait!  So did I!  I've been increasingly plagued by that depressing junk room - and now.... it's gone.  Win Win Win!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A dear friend once said to me:

 "I am convinced you can only love God as much as you love the person you love the least."

                                                                                                                           Dorothy Day

Then she said, "Ouch. Thanks, Dorothy."  And I agreed with her.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Awake My Soul

The thing is, I cry a lot.

Also, the other thing is, that truth is ... well, it hits you square between the eyes sometimes.  And other times it appears as a soft dawn, the sun rising around those light pinks and soft colors until glory!  The orb of light is so bright it makes you squint a little and also makes you so glad you got up that early (always a tough sell).  It's difficult to watch a sunrise without a sense of awe...  even for a real jerk.  For anyone, words always seem inadequate to describe the beauty and grandeur contained in a sunrise.  

In addition to the crying, I am easily excitable.  I love loud music because I can rock my head back, throw my arms up, close my eyes and wale.  Also, to me, dancing is just about the best thing.

Last weekend my heart and eyes filled with gratitude at the Mumford & Sons concert, outdoors in St. Augustine, Florida.  The evening was summery.  (Sure it's September, but this is Florida, people). There was a lightening storm flashing bright and beautiful jagged light nearby but never over top us - sweet provision.  Plus, I love this band.  The music is incredible.  Their lyrics are steeped in meaning and life.  With my head back, arms up, excited little heart beating and mouth moving, I was deeply struck by the voices of 25,000 people around me singing meaningfully these words:

 In these bodies we will live,
in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love,
you invest your life

awake my soul...
awake my soul...
awake my soul...
For you were made to meet your maker
You were made to meet your MAKER
You were made to meet your MAKER

And I cried!  #shocker

And I just prayed, "Lord Jesus, these people!  Do they even know what they're singing?!  They were made to meet their Maker! Gah!"  I struggle to express that deep oompff: that Spirit of ache and hope and longing and life... to translate things of God into words of men.  How do I express what I don't fully understand?  In that moment of realization the truth rose in me like the dawn and the burn of the sun continues to glow and perplex me.  I still feel like I am squinting into that truth... but I am so excited by it, a little in agony over it.  And I don't necessarily even know why.  I find that perplexing times call for soothing measures: of truth on truth. I Corinthians 13:12 "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."  And the best beauty that precedes this?  Verse 8: "Love never fails."  While eloquence escapes me, I can love.   Where I invest my love, I invest my life.
 (But I still want all those other souls to awake! Ah!)
Photocred:  http://spotted.staugustine.com/images/100008/photos/2013/09/14/gallery/2733273.jpg, Instagram: ayyitscasey,

Sad Day

Today I learned a man I never met died at the Navy Yard in DC yesterday.  I know people who loved this man and this lets me know he was one of high quality and personal pedigree: a kind one with a big heart.  A man who sought to give and to love. Prayers for this man, for his family.  And for the others hurt by the events in DC yesterday.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Way I Evaluate People

A friend, Denise, is in tune with life and has taught me much.  One of the best gifts she ever gave me was a used copy of Lynne M Baab's Sabbath Keeping.  Now Denise is offering gifts again.  I needed this today.  Glad she posted it on her facebook wall.

 (Something humorous? She shared this photo from a Facebook page entitled "Just because I don't talk to you anymore doesn't mean I don't Love you." HA! Let's hear it for emotional health and boundaries.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oh Sheesh

Maybe I should just have a special link to StoryCorps.  Seriously.

This story is drastic in its uniqueness.  The relationship reflected in this short piece is deeply moving.  Love is a fierce thing, while still retaining it's softness.  You must listen.  You must.  Even Robert Siegel loses his composure.  I MEAN....


Monday, December 31, 2012

Hail To The Redskins

I'll tell you what   ...   I like The Washington Redskins.  I really like Robert Griffin III: his demeanor and the new life he's breathed into our hometown team.  But you know who I really, really like? (besides Jon Horne)

Rookie and 6th Round draft pick, Alfred Morris.  COME. ON. 

We beat the Cowboys tonight to win the NFC East and I liked him immediately while watching his post-game interview.  Unassuming, grateful.  What a humble sir!  Evidently he broke some record for rushing tonight, but he didn't seem phased, just expressed that this whole experience was more than he could have ever dreamed.  HOW.REFRESHING.  I looked at my dad with my hand over my heart and Glenn goes, "Yeah, according to Ryan he's a real nice kid."

And so in this day and age what does one do to satisfy a celebrity curiosity?  Duh, I googled him.

He instantly catapulted to the top of my "Most Favorite Famous People" List.  Look at the man's car.

The bloggers calculated that he made well above the necessary funds for a new car down payment, but our Mr. Morris said of his 1991 Mazda 626:"It has some sentimental value to it now.  It just keeps me grounded, where I came from and all the hard work for me to get to this point. So that's what helps me." The Redskins Blog

That's it.  New favorite.  

Even The Washington Post wanted 'in' on this unusual, awesome story.  Turns out Morris bought the car during his junior year at Florida Atlantic Univ.  Incidentally, the team went 1-11 during Morris' senior year. Makes me like him even more.
Look, I don't pretend to know a lot about football, but I was reared learning Hail To The Redskins alongside The Itsy Bitsy Spider.  And I do love the 'Skins.  A few years ago I ran into a very kind, older gentleman when I was working in DC and had an entire conversation with him.  Walking away, I commented that he "sure was a nice guy."  My friend, Andy rolled his eyes and said, "Erin, that was Joe Gibbs." 


Friday, December 21, 2012

It Doesn't Change WHO He Is

The holidays seem to act as an amplifier.  If things are going generally going well in life, around Christmastime, they're going great!  If you're in a season where things are a bit of a downer in general, Christmastime can send sharp pangs of "what is not" and feel as though "will never be."

A week ago I had the privilege of attending a memorial service for a woman I never met whose life and legacy will live far beyond her time on earth.  I sat and listened to stories of deep and kooky love for others, a heart and mind committed to serving, and hilarious tales of a woman who seemed, for lack of a better term, "a force."  I got the impression that her community is grieving deeply for the loss of this pillar.  In a short google search, I found this article, which confirmed my hunch.

Her children each stood and eulogized their mother with depth, poise, and laughter.  They were honest about the heartfelt sadness each is experiencing.  For me, the most poignant moment came as her fifty-ish cowboy husband, tall and lean, spoke to God and opened the service.  His voice thick with emotion, he offered these measured words:

"Father, we're pretty tore up down here.  [Beat]  But that doesn't change who ya are."

If only I was able to lean into WHO He is...  To receive my identity.  To let go of things that do not matter.  To walk in His acceptance.  For the ability to love beyond irritation and disappointment and anger.  To follow through with things that feel tiresome.  To receive the truth that I am NEVER alone.

I spend a great deal of time attempting to reconcile what I know of God's promises with the blaring reality of pain and backwardness and loss on earth.  But perhaps they just don't reconcile.  The truth remains that things are 'pretty tore up down here' and yet also, He does not change.  All that He is and all that He promises, ARE ALSO TRUE.  For the past couple of years I've been pretty into the idea that life is not a 60/40, 80/20 even balance of light and dark, pain and joy.  Rather, I believe that life is 100/100 of opposite entities crashing into and swirling around one another.  It is in this reality that Jesus comes. Emmanuel comes.  His presence nor His character CHANGE with shifting circumstance.

I thought about this a little more.  Thing above and things below do not reconcile.  And this then is the beauty and power of Emmanuel, who is "reconciling the world to Himself" where truly, the world cannot overcome its own. [2 Cor. 5:18-20]

And so as the holiday season amplifies, I think of dear friends who are navigating deep loss.  A community in Connecticut relearning Christmas, who would probably rather not relearn Christmas without their loved ones.  I experience Christmas without j.horne9, thankful He is safe, who is flying over tropical sea elsewhere and serving us from afar.  We're pretty tore up down here, but it doesn't change WHO HE IS.  Emmanuel, God with us.

In celebration of Bethaney Swanson.  A woman who lived loudly and loved fiercely.  What a gift.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Doing The Most Good


It was then that I had this thought, "How is it that in all my years of oddball and varied volunteering this is the first time I find myself in this role?"

Three shifts this week...