Monthly Archives: August 2010

An august August

I can’t believe the month of August is almost over.

It’s weird how time flies when you become an adult. When you’re a child, time goes by so slowly. It seems like Christmas will never come and you’ll forever be in the fourth grade.

I think it’s when college hits that time starts its time warp. Does anyone know how to stop a time warp? Does sticking bubble gum in it work? Or what if you were to yell really loudly, “SLOW DOWN A BIT, WILL YA?”

I guess that’s why God tells us to make the most of every moment.

August is my favorite month. This is why I am alarmed that it’s almost over. Now I have to wait a whole ‘nother year for it to come again.

The origin of my favoritism could possibly be from my birthday. (It’s in August) When I think of August, I think of wistful days spent in green grass and afternoons in the summer sun.

I also think of August Gloop in the 1971 “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” Yeah, he was the boy in the Oompa Loompa song who fell into the chocolate river.

Hmm, that was a bit of a Debbie Downer throw-in. Sorry about that.

August also is just fun to say too. It’s fun to say in Thai too — “Singha khom.”

Time never slows down, so I hear, it only gets faster. This scares me because I don’t want to waste a day. I don’t want to watch days float past me like Russian racehorses on a clay track. I want to be a part of the race. While I’d like to think I am, many a time I think I take the lazy spectator approach to life.

It seems like only yesterday that I was walking across Fountain Mall at Baylor heading to the journalism building. A few days ago I sipped Dr Pepper floats. A few weeks ago I was a nervous freshman.

It’s crazy how time flies huh?

Treasure the past, savor the present and hope for the future.

That’s all I can say.

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Tears.

It’s 1:57 a.m.

I just finished reading Nicholas and Micah Sparks’ book, “Three Weeks With My Brother.”

I cried.

I didn’t intend to stay up this late reading and it’s been awhile since I have. It was worth it.

For whatever reason, I used to pride myself in the fact that I didn’t cry reading books or watching movies. A proud entertainment stoic, I’d frequently tell to others this in response to their sharing about shedding of tears.

I did cry though, don’t get me wrong. I am a very emotional person. I just usually didn’t cry during books or movies.

Now, everything has changed. I find myself crying more in general and in books and movies. And I am OK with that.

Being a stoic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I cried watching Toy Story 3 the other night. Toys held, and still hold, a special place in my heart. Just like Andy in Toy Story, my toys were close companions. I believed they were real and took their feelings into consideration always. It tore me up to give away toys. Just ask my parents.

When I was younger, I’d line up all of my stuffed animals on our couch so they could watch TV with me. I also had imaginary friends, but that’s for another post.

I cried when Woody made the choice to write a note suggesting that they be given to Bonnie. I was snot-nosed and sniffly in the last scene when Andy gave away Buzz, Rex, Slinky and especially when he gave away Woody.

Growing up is hard. Adulthood is hard

I cried reading Nicholas and Micah Sparks’ book. It is an intensely personal book. It’s a memoir. The Sparks brothers lost both of their parents and their younger sister. I promise that wasn’t a spoiler, it’s given away on the back of the book.

Reading about their losses profoundly touched me. It reminded me, not that I needed reminding, about how strong the bonds of family are. What tends to make me cry is when I relate a certain sad incident to my life.  Reading “Three Weeks With My Brother” made me think about losing family. That hurt.

I cannot imagine the pain the Sparks brothers went through. My family is so important to me, so integral to who I am, I just simply can’t imagine. I don’t want to imagine.

My extended family has dealt with a lot of loss. I lost one of my grandfathers, two uncles and a young cousin. Reading this book opened some of those wounds. It was painful.

In the book, faith and trust in God is a crucial part of the book.

I think what God’s teaching me is that crying when reading a book or movie can be good. That sounds really elementary, but I’m realizing that different books and movies can bring out our past so we can remember God’s grace, so we can remember lessons learned and so we can value and treasure life.

Media imitates life. The stories we read and watch are snippets from our lives. Spark’s book, “A Walk to Remember” is based off of his sister. His book, “Rescue” is about his son who has developmental issues. Since media imitates life, there are applications to each of our lives if we’re willing to take them.

It’s important to be in tune with feelings and emotions. It is so important to process and share feelings — especially when tragedy and loss are involved. Holding tears in doesn’t help.

Reading or watching something sad that strikes an emotional vein can bring reflection and healing if we let God work.

No longer will I brag about being an entertainment stoic. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Trust me.

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Cast of Characters

It’s really nice to be reminded that people in the Bible are real people too.

I mean, I know this, but many times I put Bible characters on pedestals and am prone to miss the obvious connections they with my 21-century life.

Max Lucado’s book, “A Cast of Characters: Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God,” helped me remember how to relate with biblical giants. They’re just like me.

The book is divided into 23 chapters with the 23rd chapter being the conclusion. In each chapter, Lucado introduces another character and makes applications to current struggles and issues Christians face.

I read a chapter or two each morning during my quiet time. While Lucado’s writing  tries a little hard to be witty and funny, he makes excellent points and has great discernment.

The Lord used the book to speak to several areas in my life. One of my biggest struggles is the fear of failure. I was reminded by Lucado’s chapter on Mephibosheth (yep, you better Google him or look him up in 1 Samuel) how treasured we are. His story shows that our worth isn’t based on who we are or what we have or haven’t accomplished.

I realized like the woman with her alabaster box, I need to lay everything at the feet of my Creator.

I could continue with spiritual insights, but I’ll leave you in suspense.

This book would be great for a small group Bible study as there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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birthday psalm

Something my mom started with me is having a birthday psalm. Whatever age you are that year, the psalm that corresponds to your age is your ‘theme psalm’ for the year.

This year I am 23. What a good psalm huh? What I’m going to do in subsequent posts, is insert personal experiences in the psalm, for example, how He’s led me through the valley of the shadow of death.

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want for He’s met my every need this past year
2He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me zip-lining through Thai jungles
He leads me beside still waters and across them in my life of travel
3He restores my soul daily as I sit in my green chair facing one of Chiang Mai’s mountains
He leads me in paths of righteousness even when I am tempted to turn
for his name’s sake spreading in Asia

4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death in the temple of the goddess of death and destruction
I will fear no evil, when my knees quake
for you are with me; even when viewing a cremation
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me in the face of idols

5You prepare a table before me I’m not lacking in anything
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; and Thai rains
my cup overflows for I am so blessed to live in Chiang Mai again
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me as they have this past year
all the days of my life, whether in Asia or America
and I shall dwellin the house of the LORD
forever.

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treasures in teak houses

*I wrote this while in college. I’ve edited it some and added a few elements.

Childhood is now a silhouette, masked by adulthood. It comes back, my childhood, that is, quite often. It sometimes feels as if I’m living in a world of un-lockable memories. Well, they aren’t really un-lockable. I’ll be driving down Chiang Mai’s “super highway” and a memory will play before my eyes, like it was in real time. Just as quickly as the memory came, it leaves.

Allow me to relive a memory of my first home in Thailand.

It was a beautiful, Thai teak house.

Our first house is now a distant memory even though I now pass by the road leading to the green gate that encloses our former sanctuary.

Thai houses are covered in windows to combat the tropical weather. Central air and heat do not exist in Thailand. Heat is never artificially needed because heat composes every season. Window-covered houses are wonderful because of the amount of light they allow. I will never get used to the lack of windows in American houses.

Wood is an essential part of houses in Thailand. Wood floors, furniture and beds are staples.

Our kitchen in that house remains one of the largest I have ever seen.

There are no such things as garages in Thailand. Each home had a “carport.” Come to think of it, that sounds awfully like a Star Trek invention. Carport? Taking off somewhere? Not quite sure…

Our yard seemed as if it came from a child’s dream. Taylor and I romped daily  in the vast green expanse bordered by  mango and jackfruit. The yard truly  was mini-botanical garden — complete with tropical flowers. I wore frangipanis in my hair as my accessory of choice.

We held Christmas pageant in that yard. Mary was pregnant with a basketball. And the crew, a motley one at that, are now all adults.

I can’t tell you how many different worlds I traveled to in that yard. Imagination limitless, I sometimes lived in an alternate reality. Having just seen the movie, Inception, I would have imagined myself superior to the architect, Ariadne, in my ability to sculpt alternate realities.

My imagination never failing, I would get “in character” and try to trick Taylor into thinking I was a villain, or Zorro. It didn’t really work, but it upset him to no end.

We shared the yard with our cats. It started out with four–then they had babies. I believe we had 12 at one time.

One time, several of the kittens decided to climb in the gas canister. Someone turned on the gas stove and we found then blackened and with whiskers singed. These same kittens I dressed in doll clothes and kept my closet as a ward for. This closet cause the death of one of the kittens.

My room was huge. I had two double beds and a chest with a mirror that I would sing Testify to Love and Backstreet Boys’ songs in front of.

I played with my American Girl dolls, paper dolls, Polly Pockets, Pound Purries and Petshop animals on these wood floors.

On the wood floors in the den I watched Cartoon Nework. On those floors I received my first CDs.

My parents gave me a classical CD one Christmas and an extended family member gave me a WOW CD. That was the beginning of the WOW obsession and my love of music. I didn’t appreciate the classical CD then, but now I wish I had it.

There is something about listening to classical music that aids you in writing. I don’t know what, because I am just discovering this.

Does music make memories surface? Is it music that enlivens the writer?Do we have a way with words, or do words have a way with us?

We lived in four houses in Chiang Mai and I still think of that house with a sense of nostalgia.

This memory surfaced as I sat in my apartment in Waco, Texas, and listened to Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

I’m now sitting in my own apartment in Chiang Mai. It’s concrete, not teak, and I’m an adult now. Before, I’d banish the thought of ever becoming or calling myself an adult. But it has come. It’s the weekend before my 23rd birthday. I’m not sure how I got this old.

I do know that memories are funny things — they surface without a whole lot of notice. Memories surface for a reason and a season.

I also now know what treasures teak houses hold.

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