Posted in friends

I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU…MRS. JONES

I went to an outdoor wedding yesterday evening just outside College Station. For those of you who don’t know, that’s the home of the Texas A&M Aggies. Both the bride and groom are A&M grads and they found the perfect place for an outdoor wedding.

I’ve never seen such beauty in simplicity. The bride was absolutely stunning, much as she is every day, and the groom couldn’t stop smiling (which is pretty much how he is every day, too). The ceremony was full of tender and funny moments. At one point, the groom reached over and brushed away a tear that had escaped and slid down the bride’s cheek… and then the groom dropped the ring. Laughter and tears… pretty much a picture of life.

After the ceremony, we found a table out by the dance floor, and dance we did. I love dancing, though I am not remotely coordinated. Two of my little brothers two-stepped with me and of course there was dancing in groups. We laughed and danced and laughed some more. I haven’t been to a reception like that in years where I so enjoyed myself surrounded by some of my favorite people on the planet.

God uses the most unlikely people and events to change me and my heart. This wedding was another example of how much life can be enjoyed and how sharing it with people who love you makes is all the more special.

Posted in friends, random, Yahweh's fingerprints

REMEMBERING 9/11

Today a co-worker of mine told me her 9/11 story. She has a plane ticket from Boston to Los Angeles framed on her wall. It’s a reminder to her that she’s here for a purpose, though that purpose often escapes her.

She missed her flight on the morning of September 11, 2001, because she had to take an earlier flight to make a very important doctor’s appointment in Los Angeles that afternoon. She couldn’t reschedule that appointment, so she left the night before her originally scheduled flight. What had been a frustrating series of events turned out to be a series of events that kept her from an untimely death in the prime of her life.

I’ve heard other stories from that fateful September day that remind me that the next time I’m stuck in traffic, or I miss an appointment, or I end up someplace I hadn’t planned on one afternoon that I just need to calm down and let things flow as they do.

Posted in friends, movies, pop culture

HELLO… MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA…

This week, I received a shirt from my friend Angie in Ohio. Angie and I went to Anderson together many, many years ago. One night my junior year, the campus movie was The Princess Bride and though we had not heard of it, we decided for a dollar, could we turn down such inexpensive entertainment?

Phrases such as, “Have fun storming the castle!” and “Inconceivable!” have long outlived many phrases from that era of my life. Each time I’ve watched that movie since college (and I can quote it from beginning to end) I am thrown back in time to a collage of lively and fun memories and a group of lively and fun people.

Much to my delight, I received the, “Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya…” t-shirt this week. I took it out of the box and showed it to everyone in my office and everybody started quoting the movie and a few brought up the book (that I have not read, sad to say). That movie is still shown on tv, and somehow I have two copies of it on VHS. Somehow, I think that in twenty years, I’ll still be able to quote unending lines from this movie.

I hope, someday, to create something that people will discuss, remember, or quote twenty or a hundred years down the road. A work that will encourage, uplift, and educate others, or make a a person laugh would keep it alive, and as a friend once said to me about his own creation, “I want to see it live.”

Posted in friends, pics, Yahweh's fingerprints

GOING ON A PAUSE


The word, “retreat” conjures up many memories for me, some good, some bad. For several years, organizing and planning retreats were part of my job, and I never felt refreshed or renewed afterward. Retreats became work, even after producing one wasn’t my job, because I was usually underfunded and often had to work off my scholarship by working part of the retreat.

OR retreats were so over scheduled with very little planned down time and breakfast at 6-7 a.m. that I had very little time to rest, relax, or reflect. Either way, retreat many different images come to mind when I think of retreats.

Last weekend, I attended a retreat that had no speaker, a very loose schedule, and the primary goal was to eat and relax with friends and commune with God in the midst of his beautiful creation. It was unlike any retreat I’d ever been on and instead of the usual retreat hectic pace, I paused instead.

Life is hectic for all of us, and time flies by in the blink of an eye. Before we know it, we’re wound up tighter than a spring and we need a break, a pause. I was at that point when I finally got in the car to ride 5+ hours out to Laity Lodge, one of the most beautiful places in the Texas Hill Country.

The weekend was spent with some great friends old and new, and I felt the tension leave me body as we drove in the riverbed up to Linnet’s Wings, where we stayed. I was up for 42 hours without sleep (that’s another story) but it was worth it. I went on a hike up to the top of a bluff, talked to strangers, relaxed, and paused to take in God’s creation. It was a wonderful weekend, and I take away from it many wonderful memories and deepened relationships.

This pause stretched me in ways I cannot describe, yet I come away refreshed and missing the time to relax with friends in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more to share, but I’ll leave you with images from my pause.




Posted in friends, relationships, Yahweh's fingerprints

FOR MY GROWING


The last couple of weeks have stretched me tremendously. For months now I have seen my comfort zone in my rearview mirror, but now I think I’ve changed zip codes.

I’ll blog about my weekend retreat later this week. It was amazing and a real growing time for me. Tonight, though, I wanted to sit and process the end of an era in my life.

My roommate is sleeping in her new apartment tonight and for the first time in seven years, I am living on my own. God worked it out that we would only live 100 steps from each other (yes, I counted), but still, it feels incredibly odd that she won’t be living here anymore. Her leap of faith was a hop, skip and a jump, but she took it nonetheless. Hopefully she’ll take me up on my offer to do laundry in return for baked goods and we’ll see each other more often than not.

I look back at the last seven years and look at how much I’ve changed and I thank God for such a patient and understanding roommate. She helped me through some of the darkest times of my life and we’ve had many fun moments together as well. She has helped me navigate the minefield that is my life and I’ve emerged with all my limbs intact. I am grateful and know that relationship will continue, but it will be different… and I have to embrace that change.

Tomorrow night I will come home late and find my apartment half empty. While I’m excited to see what God has in store during this growing time, my heart is a bit sad. 100 steps away is a lot farther than five.

Posted in about shae, friends, Lent, Yahweh's fingerprints

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?

I was sitting at a table at Collina’s last Saturday with a friend of mine. Our conversations are usually deep and fast paced and I tread water in the ocean of his intelligence as best I can. Just when I think I’m keeping up, he almost always switches gears on me and there’s a trainwreck in my head, and this time was no different.

I don’t even remember exactly what we were talking about at that juncture of the conversation, but while I was trying to process what he’d been saying, he suddenly asked, “what motivates you?”

Most of you that know me, know I am a ponderer. I weigh my words carefully and choose them with purpose… and if I don’t, I often don’t make sense or unwittingly contradict myself because I haven’t thought things through. Sometimes this weighing of words is a quick process, other times, depending on the subject matter, it takes a couple of days.

I don’t get the luxury of pondering with this friend most of the time. His brain runs at full speed unless he’s sleeping. When he asks a question, his brain has already moved beyond my answer, because nearly every question he’s ever asked me is a bridge to a point that pops into his head at any given moment.

My brain zips along at a pretty good clip most of the time, but I still would rather think about what I’m going to say before I say it. Still,I try to keep up with him as best I can so he threw the question out there and I responded with the first thing that popped into my head.

“What motivates you?”

“Health. Health motivates me. I don’t care what I look like or if I’m thin… I just want to be healthy.” (and for me, that’s in all areas of my life, not just weight)

I could tell by looking at him that I’d hit the tip of the iceberg of what he intended that question to grow into. He let me finish, then he firmly pushed one of my buttons and said that I needed to do whatever I could to succeed, not just to prove the naysayers in my life wrong (you know, the people who said, “you’re not a writer,” “dreams are for other people,” etc), but to make sure that my father “doesn’t win,” and that if I don’t succeed, if I let life pass me by, my father most definitely wins.

I sat there and let his words wash over me. Very few people understand what I’ve been though let alone verbalize that they not only understand, but they know I can use that pain and turn it into purpose… that I need to use my past to motivate me as I build my future. My friend has done this to me before – pushed a button and taken me off guard and forced my brain to churn out one word or a phrase that can’t possibly encompass all I want to say. He’s really good at it, in fact (and I’m sure he knows it).

His questions or phrases hit me – zip! and those are the times I nod numbly, wishing I could pause him for a few minutes while I come up with a response. Instead, we usually forge on, and he gets an email hours or days later when I’ve thought over his question and the things I wished I could have said in the midst of the conversation.

The phrase, “what motivates you?” stayed with me a few days. More words poured into my head – a woman spoke at our church and talked about how she once was motivated by fear… I read or heard how money or power or security motivates others. I pondered it all for a few days, but what I really wanted to let him know, besides being right, was that I was grateful for his encouragement… because encouragement also motivates me.

I’ve been blessed over the years to have a core group of cheerleaders who have spurred me on, who at times, when I wanted to let go and give up on everything, have grabbed the cross with one hand, and clung to me with the other. These friends have lifted me up, cheered me on, filled up my tank and kept me going when so many walked away and gave up on me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them… my persistent, loving, encouraging posse.

I don’t know why I’m surprised then when my wheels start spinning again or when I feel like I’m never going to turn that corner or be able to leave that hurt or hinderance behind, that one of the posse steps up. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, either, when the source of that encouragement comes from a most unexpected place.

Why is it unexpected? It’s unexpected because, for most of my life, my posse has been made up of women for many reasons. If I continue to only let women speak into my life, I know my father wins. I’ve long known that, but in the past I’ve opened myself up to the wrong people, including men, and have been broken and ripped apart because of it. The old me had horrendous friend choosing skills and I paid for it dearly.

Fast forward to the new me, the me motivated by being healthy and a healthy person, and times have changed. In the past five months, I’ve taken leaps of faith that have drastically altered the course of my life. And, in the past two weeks, I’ve opened myself up to a new group of people…men included… and I’ve tried so hard not to hold the men at arm’s length. Though I’m still scared to death of even a close friendship with a man… I know that distance is motivated by fear. And isn’t fear… the black cloud that follows me… isn’t that what I’ve purposed to put behind me during this Lent?

I’ve gone against every impulse of self preservation in the last few months and not to say it’s been painless, but I’ve emerged on the other side a more courageous person… who still has a long way to go… but a person who is reaping the rewards of leaving fear in my rearview mirror.

My friend has told me more than once that strong hearts always make a comeback even after they get ripped to shreds. If I keep telling him he’s right, he’s going to get a big head, but he is again correct in his assessment. I’ve risked a lot for this friendship and have gone against my very nature to take baby steps with him and I think it’s paid off in ways I haven’t even began to ponder yet. I can ask him anything, and I’ve returned that sentiment, which is why I’m still pondering motivation a week later.

I’m no longer fearful of building on the new relationships that have formed the past few months, and I’ve gotten there one tiny, deliberate, purposeful step at a time. I’ve discovered my heart is a lot stronger than I’ve ever given it credit for and I’m motivated to keep walking down this path to find out where it leads.

I am motivated by health and by encouragement (among other things). What motivates you?

Posted in Adventures, friends, random

WHAT HAPPENS IN GALVESTON…UPDATE

I have a tracker on my blog that tells me what cities and countries people are reading from and how they get to or find the site. It’s interesting information to have, and so far, I’ve had hits from almost every continent. So, whoever you are (the site doesn’t tell me that) and wherever you’re from, welcome!

I did find out that someone found my blog by Googling the following string of words:

pics of girls being bad at 2007 lone star bike rally

I bet they were very disappointed when they read about my Galveston adventure!

Posted in friends, pics, random

LET THEM EAT CAKE…

Today I was presented with a cake on my next to the last day at my soon to be old job. It was a marble cake with fluffy white and pink icing. Of course, as great as it tasted, I didn’t want to take it home and have it tempt me all weekend, so I started giving it away.


This is my friend Phoebe. Phoebe always smiles and is like the brightest sun even on a rainy day. We laugh a lot together and I will miss seeing her every day.

Phoebe is generous and thought she’d take her mom a piece of cake, too. Trouble was figuring out how to carry it along with the drink she had. She stacked them as you see above, and the picture below shows what happened when the stack shifted.


Yeah. It always lands icing down.

Thanks, Phoebe for the memory!

Posted in Adventures, friends, pics

WHAT HAPPENS IN GALVESTON…


…STAYS IN GALVESTON…

Dana, Candie and I had a great time in Galveston today. It was the second day of the Lone Star Bike Rally so the streets were lined with every kind of motorcycle you can imagine.



We ate lunch at Fish Tales on the Seawall. I had the most amazing crab cake sandwich! The motorcycles would rumble by, but whenever Dana tried to talk, they were the loudest. It was funny. Poor Dana.


I love having a zoom lens… this was a great shot.

We cruised The Strand then went to the beach for a short break. We took some pictures and relaxed and I dug my toenails into the sand.

While we walked, I found this great conch shell. I stuck it into the sand. I didn’t bring it home… I’m trying to cut back on what I bring home from the beach.

Conch Shell
Seawall
A feathered friend.

The best news of all… I was in the sun for more than a half hour and didn’t burst into flames! Seriously, though, I had a blast with two great friends and we laughed until our stomachs hurt. That’s my idea of a good time.