Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cause That's Where a Ranger's Gonna Be!

Don't bother asking me how my vacation went, because I have no idea. I slept through most of it. And no, I didn't spend too much time at happy hour or getting my benzos on. 14 days later and about 12-14 pounds lighter I'm barely coming up to breathe again. But don't worry Los Angeles, I still love you.
Though I managed to get a viewing of Inception in first, I came THIS close to having to get my tonsils out earlier this week, as my Armenian doctor scowled down at my throat and barked about how bad it looked. Lucky for me though, somehow the new antibiotic she gave me started to work--apparently against all odds--and my dreaded tonsilectemy could wait a few more weeks/months (depending on how much I was willing to hedge my bets). Finally this unrelenting bacteria infection in my tonsils showed us a peek of its achilles heel, and I collasped on my bed at my cousins' house with relief. And didn't move. For about another 6 days.

The thing about being sick is, you wanna have good people and things around you. Now, I am on my paid vacation currently in LA, staying with family. My parents happen to be out here right now as well. Does it suck being bedridden on vacation in your favorite place that you waiting all year for? Definitely. Would it be way more awesome if I wasn't sitting at home typing this as the rest of my family went out to the cheesecake factory at the Americana? Yup! Would I rather be anywhere else right now? No way. My cousin is like my big sister, and doesn't get grossed out by all my weird symptoms and selflessly drives me to the doctors everyday and picks up what I need. My parents have come over several times to bring me more things, including flowers!! :) and helped me push back my ticket so I can fly home with them this wednesday on a direct flight instead of tomorrow. I'm in my most favorite city in a beautiful house with my own room that leads onto a roof terrace.

Basically what I've concluded is: I'm gonna be a zombie, I'd rather be one in LA.
So admist all fatigue, pain, and disappointment of a vacation that ended up being not at all what was planned, I'm now sitting up, drinking sprite, blogging (less than a year later yay!!) and loving the view of palm trees outside my window. This time has been like a strange dejavu to when I got REALLY sick a little less than a year ago at thanksgiving. Well, God, I'm still a very thankful woman. Probably a lot more because of the rough times such as these. If it weren't for them I'd see You very differently (and shallowly) and my heart would be much heavier.

And for those of you that got the random Walker Texas Ranger theme song lyrics texts the past few days, I do not apologize.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Participation in Suffering

It's hard to believe that a little over a month ago I actually wanted to go to the hospital.

Most people didn't know, but I was so sick: in the middle of a really bad 2 month flare-up from my seemingly-until-now nonexistent crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel condition that can present like a stubborn intestinal virus w/ cramps --or worse. For me, it had been absent for 2 and half years, until early October 09. Things had been worsening and after two trips to the ER in one week where I was given morphine iv's and tests were run, I felt like I just needed around the clock, immediate professional care.

Little did I know.

Hospitals are so necessary, but so horrible. First there was the IV fiasco --it took 3 nurses and six tries to stick me with an IV successfully without the vein blowing or just being able to SEE a vein. I was so dehydrated and I tend to be a hard stick to begin with so that didn't help. After all that, I spent the remainder of my 4 day stay being paranoid about my IV not getting messed up so as not to have to be re-stuck and go through that again. Which it did and which I did, but that's another story.

Then came the revelation that being in a hospital is like doing Extra work on a film: it's a lot of hurry up and wait. Waiting for the MRI people to come get you, waiting for test results, waiting to find out when your surgery will happen. And perhaps worst of all (actually, this might be tied with the IV thing), was not being allowed to eat or drink virtually anything for almost 3 days. Now of course I was on IV fluids so I was well hydrated, but as they say, "ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby." YA HARAM!

On Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009, I was released to go home. I said a warm farewell to my funny roommate Flora, and had a peaceful car ride back with my mom as I took in the last of the fall colors on the trees. The sky was a clear blue that day and the air outside was not yet frigid.

Today, a little over a month later, I am about 90% back to normal. It took me awhile to get my strength back and though I've mostly been fine and symptom free, some of my symptoms have crept back again over the past few days which has honestly been frustrating and a little scary. I am so scared of going through that pain that I experienced again. And I might. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. But we do know that we are guarranteed to have pain and suffering in this life and it comes in different forms for different people. For me, this was an entirely new experience. I was so helpless and listless at times; I needed my mom to be right by me in the hospital the whole time, helping me do things that she hasn't had to help me with since I was a little kid. It was crazy humbling.

About a week and a half after getting out of the hospital I started my new and first job out of grad school as an outpatient marriage and family therapist at a clinic in Burlington County, NJ. I was so worried I wouldn't recover in time but I did. As I finish up my training and prepare to start seeing clients in the coming weeks, I'm thinking about my last few months and I realize something good that will come out of the pain. I know I will be able to empathize and understand in a much deeper and genuine way when I have clients who are dealing with the burden of physical pain and illness. Before this experience, I didn't really get it. I didn't realize the way your physical troubles can be so hindering and paralyzing when it comes to daily functioning and well-being. Now I get it because I've been there.

This brings a newer and deeper meaning of the word 'compassion' for me, a word that I've always held very near and dear --quick to retrieve as an adjective when asked to think of ones that describe myself. It's been said that Compassion actually means "suffering together with another; participation in suffering" as the original meaning of the word 'Passion' is "suffering", referring to Christ's suffering on the cross. The Latin roots of the word 'Compassion' being 'pati', (again: meaning 'to suffer') and 'comp' meaning 'with', which leads us to the "suffering with another".

This kind of compassion may be the best-equipped though it is not the kind you want to wish for necessarily. But it's what I've been given. It's another way that I'm looking for the burdens to become blessings, for the Beauty from ashes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

When Music Says It Better.

Lately I am dry of inspiration and color.
I am either so flooded with words/thoughts I'd rather not be or empty of the ones that feel more like me and Him. Or rather Him through me.

Sometimes, music says it better when you currently have nothing from your own drawing board.

Back and forth, the same,

Be careful how you frame
Your argument, your argument.

We been giving all we can
And it finally showed the end
Of our tolerance, our tolerance.

I know it's hard to say, we’ll throw it all away,
But the odds are we'll be better off.

And it’s a painful thought to try another start

But the odds are we’ll be better off

Cast another vote in our sad terminal
Democracy, democracy.

The word is out on us, we have gone delirious,
The floor is falling out from under us, it always does.

I know it's hard to say, we’ll throw it all away,
But the odds are we'll be better off.

And it’s a painful thought to try another start

But the odds are we’ll be better off.

Thanks Mutemath.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

You're Worth Dying For.

I spent a lot of time with married couples this weekend.

Some, on their wedding day, some on their honeymoon, and some had been married for 4+ years.

Everybody had stories to share, that were beautiful and unique and reflected God's own Love and Goodness. One such story even included rainbows on the day of the proposal, wedding, etc.

Anyway, the actual wedding that I went to on Friday night was absolutely beautiful. I know people say this about ALL weddings, as each one has their own aspects of beauty, but this one was different. It was simple, surprising, and the emotion was so raw and genuine I felt overwhelmed with tears of joy. It was such a reflection of God's passion for His bride, the church, you and me, and I could feel that presence in the room during the ceremony. During the Homily, one of the pastors talked about this, and how there is a sacrificing of oneself for the highest good of their husband/wife.

That Love is am amazing, wonderful thing but it costs, everything.

Just as it cost Jesus everything when he laid down his life for his bride, because she is worth dying for.

You're worth dying for.

If you're a woman who is dating someone right now, what kind of man is he? Does he demonstrate that he's the kind of man that would die for you?
What is his posture toward the world? Does he serve, or is he waiting to be served?
Does he believe that he's owed something? That he's been shortchanged, that he's gotten the short end of the stick, that life owes him something?
Or is he out to see what he can give?
Does he see himself as being here to make the world a better place?
Does he have liquid Agape running through his veins?
What does he expect of you? Does he want all of you without his having to give all of him? Can you tell him anything? Is he safe? Can he be trusted?
Can you open up to him, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, knowing that he will protect, not exploit that vulnerability?
Are you opening up like a flower?

(taken and SLIGHTLY adapted from Rob Bell's book "Sex God")

because you're worth dying for.

At this wedding on friday around sunset, they read a beautiful responsive reading about Love from Thomas A Kempis' "The Imitation of Christ". It was one of the most passion-filled, accurate and inspiring pieces I've ever read about Love and I want to be saturated with it, cultivate and am continuing challenge myself to live it out in my own relationships.

Here is the responsive reading:

A wonderful thing is love. A mighty good indeed, for love alone makes every burden light, and endures with calmness all the roughness of the world. For it bears a burden without being burdened, and makes all that is bitter sweet and delicious.
Love insists on being free, and a stranger to all worldly affections, lest its inward sight should be hindered, lest it should be held back by temporal misfortune.

Enlarge my heart with love, that I may learn to see how sweet it is to love and be consumed by love.

Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger, nothing loftier, nothing wilder, nothing pleasanter, nothing richer or better, in heaven or on earth, because love is born of God, and can find its rest in God alone, above all created things.

Love knows no bounds but burns with boundless fervor.

Love feels no burden, counts no cost; longs to do even more than it is able for, and never pleads impossibility. Love is always watchful: though it sleeps it does not wish to sleep; though hard pressed it feels no constraint: though frightened it is not overwhelmed. But, like the living flame of a burning torch, it points upward, and passed unharmed through everything in its way.

Let me be possessed by love, let me rise above myself in an ecstasy of love.
Let me love thee far more than myself, and myself only for Thee.

Love is active, sincere, dutiful, pleasant, and delightful; strong, patient, faithful, prudent, steadfast, courageous and free from all self-seeking. Love is careful, humble, and sturdy; not weak or giddy or taken up with trifles. Love is sober, chaste, calm and guarded in every feeling. The loving soul will gladly embrace for the sake of the Beloved all that is hard and bitter, and will not turn away from Him on account of any difficulty that may stand in the way.

Wherever Thou, o Lord God, all-holy lover of my soul, drawest near to me, my whole being is filled with joy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Shown during the 500 Days of Summer previews, this movie TRAILER for the film "Precious: Based on the novel Push by Saphirre" made tears trickle down my cheeks.

JUST the trailer.

Can you imagine how I'm gonna survive the film?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer 09 Songs & Shows

I've got music on the brain and heart again.

For someone that used to go to so many shows it was like a recreational activity, it feels like I've been pretty motionless in comparison.

I was lucky enough to get to see Greg Laswell for the umpteenth time a few weekends ago, thanks to a certain someone to who texted me about it the day I got back from Miami (more on that trip later)! It was a super late performance at a small venue but i was not complaining one bit! Got to here a new track and as usual Mr. Laswell rocked the house.
If you haven't already, go here to check him out.

I guess probably the only other show I've been to this year was.....eeek Underoath!! that was in Cincinnati, another interesting and rather spontaneous trip of mine last October. UO never fails to deliver, and I never seem to get tired of listening to them.

My sister and I are pretty stoked to be seeing The Get Up Kids perform in November in Philadelphia. I've never seen them before; my sister was lucky enough to see one of the shows on their farewell tour... I guess they're back??

Their music brings back so many memories for me. VU, driving through the desert to vegas, summers at home during college, road trips etc.

Mute Math is coming to town, and I am REALLY wanting to go to that one as many plans! ;) They just came out with an awesome single called "The Nerve" but here is the latest video for the single "Spotlight"

Some other bands/songs I've been enjoying lately include:

The Temper Trap

The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

however I am really digging this newest release from them 'Science of Fear'

Passion Pit

City and Colour

And lastly, I was very very excited tonight about my little gem of a discovery that Thursday is going on a fall tour that begins in philly! I have been so behind on everything that I didn't even realize they had a new album out!! since march!

Despite being out of the loop for awhile, I'm super excited to be going to some good live performances over the next few months and finding some newer tunes to enjoy in my car and while jogging. Feel free to send your own suggestions!

Fall 09, here I come.

Monday, August 3, 2009

When is the time to trust?

Life isn't the easiest when you're "betwixt and between" as my mom likes to put it. Aka, "in transition." My favorite.

So I will save original thoughts, updates, and photos for later, but for now, here is a copy of the entry for July 21 from L.B. Cowman's faith-based devotional Streams in the Desert.
(how ironic).

July 21

There are three levels of faith in the Christian experience. The first is being able to believe only when we see some sign or have some strong emotion. Like Gideon, we feel the fleece and are willing to trust God if it is wet. This may be genuine faith but it is imperfect. It is continually looking to feelings or some other sign instead of the Word of God. We have taken a great step toward maturity when we trust God without relying on feelings. It is more of a blessing when we believe without experiencing any emotion.
While the first level of faith believes when our emotions are favorable, the second believes when all feelings are absent. And the third level transcends the other two, for it is faith that believes God and His Word when circumstances, emotions, appearances, people, and human reason all seem to urge something to the contrary. Paul exercised this level of faith when he said, "When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally ave up all hope of being saved" (Acts 27:20), then nevertheless went on to say, "Keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me" (Acts 27:25)

May God grant us faith to completely trust His Word, even when every other sign points the other way.

When is the time to trust?
Is it when all is calm,
When waves the victor's palm,
And life is one glad psalm of joy and praise?
No! For the time to trust is when the waves beat high,
When storm clouds fill the sky,
And prayer is one long cry, "Oh, help and save!"

When is the time to trust?
Is it when friends are true? Is it when comforts woo?
And in all we say and do we meet but praise?
No! For the time to trust is when we stand alone,
And summer birds have flown,
And every prop is gone, all else but God.

When is the time to trust?
Is it some future day, when you have tried your way,
And learned to trust and pray by bitter woe?
No! for the time to trust is this moment's need,
Poor, broken, bruised reed!
Poor troubled soul, make speed to trust your God.

When is the time to trust?
Is it when hopes beat high?
When sunshine gilds the sky?
And when joy and ecstasy fill all the heart?
No! For the time to trust is when our joy has fled!
When sorrow bows the head,
And all is cold and dead.
All else but GOD.