Monday, February 27, 2012

Going Dancing with Dirk

Do you ever turn on the TV just to drown out the quiet of an empty apartment? Do you catch yourself explaining social norms to household pets? Or providing commentary on a movie to the decorative pillows?
Me too. (Unless you're backing away slowly right now, then I have never done those things either. I just have this friend who does.)
I've gotten to spend a lot of time with people I love lately which has been so amazing. I would have enjoyed it even if we weren't doing anything exciting. Just cooking, talking, making fun of The Bachelor, and walking are more fun with buddies. But we've been touring libraries of Congress, having parties, hitting the town, and even going down bouncy castle slides seven at a time.
Then I came home.
Today had the potential for the post-party glums. It could have been one of those days when you resent the week ahead just for being. You don't bother doing your hair and then feel like a slob all day. When fun seems like a drug and you have a bad case of withdrawals.
It could have been one of those days, but it wasn't because I got to do one of my favorite solitary activities. I put on my shades, rolled down Dirk's windows, and played with the warm wind rushing by as we sailed past the posted speed limit--er, I mean as we respectfully observed all traffic regulations. It was just me and Dirk rocking out to the musical stylings of Needtobreathe. Like most guys, he just kind of rolls in one direction, but I make up for it by breaking it down with some mad car-dance, I mean, by driving safely with my hands at ten and two while thinking jazzy thoughts.
The best part? All this went down today. In February.
It was an unexpected lovely moment, doing one of the few things in life that is best solo. Instead of the glummies, I was simple happy, which can be the best kind.
Thank you, Jesus, for so many friends in so many places and for airplanes to carry me to them. Thank you for email and cell phones to keep in touch, for bouncy castles that they let grown ups use, for hitch-free parties. Thank you for 70 degrees in February and for music with a good beat to enjoy with the windows down.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Friends, Books, and Oh, So Much More

Washington DC. Capitol of our fine Union, home to the worlds biggest library, and residence of two old friends and one new one (pictured above).
I visited in honor of a landmark birthday that all four of us are experiencing this year. I won't say it out loud yet, but it rhymes with dirty.


There are periods when you just need to have something to look forward to. An exclamation point looming somewhere on the horizon. For the past month and a half this visit has been mine. The risk of such events is that if the weeks leading up to them are listless or strenuous, or just long, that one blip of happy that is coming becomes very important. Embellished even. It's a lot of pressure for a weekend. It's like when someone tells you that a new flavor of cupcake will change your life and make you forget your name and cause you to sell your home just to buy more. It might very well be the best cupcake you've ever had, but with such a hard sell, it can still be disappointing.
Well, I am thrilled--and a tad relieved--to admit that this weekend totally lived up to the heaps of expectations I poured upon it. If we had done nothing but sit around and talk it would have done so, but we did much more.

I didn't have the foresight to put "Listen to live Broadway hits at the Bulgarian Embassy" on my bucket list, but if I had, I would have drawn a line through it on Friday. We visited the Navy Yard (pictured above with previously noted two old friends and one new one) and the Eastern Market.
I met the most precious bookstore. It was a second hand shop made of three stories of narrow aisles  jammed floorboards-to-ceiling tiles with pre-loved volumes on everything from mountain climbing to Jane Austen.  I left with two, but could have stayed all day, bumping past other readers to squint and crouch on the hunt for special treasures. It was glorious.

In addition to the two bookstores, we visited one library. you  might say, the library.
The Library of Congress opens the doors of the reading room and other restricted zones to visitors only twice a year. Fortunately, the friends I was with also thought this was cool.
This is the reading room, where you normally need a library card and a research topic to use. Next time I come I plan to obtain both.
These are the three friends in the caged book stacks. Usually, not even most of the librarians can come back here with the rare, fine, and valuable tomes.
This is me, holding one such tome. It is a book of English poems. It looked very old. And very special.
And this is the secret escape passage, as seen in National Treasure 2. The white sign posted on the frame says there is no such thing as the Presidents Book of Secrets. Of course, that's what they want us to think.

All in all, it was a bibliophiles dream weekend, and as I am deeply in love with the written word, I found it all thrilling. And so much more so for having visited so many fine places with such dear friends.

Thank you, Jesus, for America, and for books, and for all the fine people who have, over the years, loved, valued, and compiled the written word for me, and future generations. As the librarian in the vault said, "Books are here forever. Who knows how long the Internet will last." Thank you for dear friends who refresh my soul just by being. Thank you for weekends that are just what they ought to be.  All my love.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wait, wait, wait. You want to do what with the snow?

This morning, Little Rock saw our first snow of the season. It tried once right before Christmas, but at best that was wintry mix. This was for-real snow and it lasted through the morning.
About ten a.m. I got a text from my sister that said, "snow."
I almost laughed. Not because it's a funny sounding word--but it is--rather, because I knew what I was supposed to text back. So, I hit reply, and typed, "I want to wash my hands, my face, my hair in snow."
"Really," you ask. "That's insanity. Pure, goose-bumpy, insanity."
And you're right. I don't actually want to wash any parts of me in any precipitation, especially the frozen kind. But if you've ever seen White Christmas, you may recall a scene on a train where Bing Crosby and three other grown adults grin like school kids high on glue and sing in each others faces about what hygienic purposes they've found for snow.
It. Is. Hilarious.
So, when my sister texts me snow, my mind spins back to decorating my Christmas tree with her and another good friend, and laughing our heads off at Bing and the gang.
There are a number of actions/words/quotes that spark a memory with friends and make me want to laugh right out loud. Like, "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" Or when Nat and I paw the air to the left, or any quote from Zoolander.
Okay I'll stop now. But I love those. They draw all the warmth of friendship and memory and pure fun. And when it snows on your parade, or work is slightly less fun than a visit to the lady doctor, or the world just sits on your head and farts, those unexpected memories are rays of truth that this too shall pass. Whenever the world gets up and the air clears, there will be more belly laughs to come.
I have a lot of those fun memory-moments with God, too.  Only, he doesn't send me text messages or emoticons, or movie quotes, so I don't always remember. A dear friend recently brought this to my attention. She recommended making a reminder to myself of all the times he's come through, of the moments when he's just stunned me with who he is and his love, and of the brilliant truths he's given as gifts.
The Israelites set up memorial stones, so they could look back later, and say, "See that stack of rocks? That was when God protected us from those guys with the really long name."
I have limited real estate, and a limited supply of rocks, so I think I'll go with a list for now. But I will do it. He's done so much, nay, He IS so much. I don't want to forget and miss out on that.
So, I'm thankful for God Almighty. I'm thankful that he is, am I thankful he's good. I'm thankful for all the little gifts he's given me lately, for a new scarf, a Christmas ornament, a sweet card, a Valentine, a phone call, a coffee date. I'm thankful for almost twenty-five years of faithful relationship. And I'm thankful for texts that just say, "snow."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Many Thanks

I have been in one of those phases where life is good, but its either too big or too small to mention. It's a quandary I don't face a lot, so I'm not entirely sure how to deal with it.
So here's my shot. I've decided to lift some of the things I'm grateful for. It is not comprehensive, but it's where I find myself. If you have something to add, please, please do!

People who leave comments on blogs (ahem...)
A stack of fresh novels from well-worn authors
Dried pears
Ladies night
Friends who will share their burdens and mine
Being able to see prayer working
Six more knitted inches of scarf
40% off coupons for Hobby Lobby
Hobby Lobby
Disposable Income
Jellybean and the Buckster
My Laptop
Vacation plans
A 401k, or what is left of it. Yes, I'm grateful. I'm choosing to be.
People who leave comments (hint hint!!!)
A work out buddy
Those precious moments when I really, truly hear God
Wireless Internet
Toilet paper
The auto-save feature on blogs
Salvation in this life and in the life to come
Warriors for Justice (shout out to International Justice Mission! whoot-whoot!)
Yoga pants
Big sweatshirts
Dirk The Blue Impala
A fireplace and those insta-fire logs
My pillow
The Bible
Starbucks new blonde roast...sigh...
Automatic litter boxes
Toenail polish
Downton Abbey
Writing friends who get what its' like to mentally be in two places at once
Peace...the Heavenly kind and the earthly kind, both

I will stop there for now. Wait, did I mention people who leave comments? Oh, I did?  Okay, I'm just saying...