parts of my whole story.


go on, go on, get out of my life, and let me sleep at night.
as you sleep, and no one is listening, i will lift you off your feet, i’ll keep you from sinking. don’t you wake up yet, cuz soon i’ll be leaving you, but you won’t be leaving me.
i know i’ll miss you, i’ll always miss you, i know i’ll see you in my sleep.
lay back, lay back, go to sleep my man, wipe the blood from your face and your hands, forgive yourself if you think that you can, go to sleep, go to sleep my man.
i can’t be losing sleep over this, no i can’t, and now i cannot stop pacing. give me a few hours, i’ll have this all sorted out, if my mind could just stop racing.
i don’t need answers, i just need some peace, i just need someone who can help me get some sleep.
sleep with all the lights on, you’re not so happy, you’re not secure.
wasn’t it beautiful, running wild til you fell asleep, before the monsters caught up to you?
i picture you fast asleep, a nightmare comes, you can’t keep away.
things i have loved, i’m allowed to keep, i’ll never know if i go to sleep.
our dreams assured, and we all will sleep well.
when your mind is a mess, so is mine, i can’t sleep, cuz it hurts when i think.
who needs sleep when we’ve got love?
we’ll sleep where we follow no where at all.
you made it back to sleep again, wonder what you’re dreaming.
annnnnnd so we come to the end of all the song lyrics with the word ”sleep” that i could think of.

i have never in my life not had trouble sleeping. when i was little, i would sneak books and a flashlight under my bed, and i’d stay up and read until susan came in to go to bed, at which point i would lay awake and listen to her radio(she always put it on for a while when she first started going to sleep). ps, yes i was VERY little, i haven’t shared a room with my sister in thirteen years.
i never thought it was fair when i got in trouble for reading in bed and got my books taken away. 1, i was reading, some people say that’s good for kids, and 2, it’s not like i would stay up late and then be all tired the next day; i had boundless energy. i didn’t need much sleep. it didn’t hurt anyone, and i wouldn’t have been sleeping whether i was reading or not so i may as well use the time for something more profitable than just lying in my bed thinking.
while i wait for the melatonin i just took to kick in(it was only after i took it that i read that it can give you crazy dreams–like i don’t have enough of those already?), here are some clever reasons why i can’t sleep, and don’t like to sleep.
1. i am afraid of the dark.
i’m not kidding. if you want to see me cry, cut the lights off when i’m not expecting it. seriously.
i can’t remember when or why that started, but i can’t remember a time when i didn’t mind the dark. when i first went to camp(edisto), my biggest fear was having to sleep in a cabin without a nightlight. so i practiced by sitting in my bathroom with the door shut and all the lights off, for a few minutes every day. and i was ten years old at this point. sad, sad, sad.
when my roommate freshman year moved out at the beginning of our second semester, i was happiest not because i would no longer have her and her drunk friends coming in to nurse their hangovers while i studied for finals, but because i could sleep with the lights on.(and when jamie and alex go places and i’m by myself, i still do that)
i should move to canada.
2. my mind has always moved fastest at night.
when i first had my books taken away from me, i started writing my own books in my head. i would lay in bed and tell myself a story, and imagine away until i finally fell asleep hours later. i made up a whole family of characters and every night i added onto their lives.
nowadays my mind just races in endless, multiple directions. most of the time i have bad headaches while i try to sleep, either trying to slow my thoughts down or follow a single path of them. it’s a very stressful thing to rein in.
but a lot of the times, i do my best thinking at night. most of my favorite posts here came to me during an episode of can’t-sleep-can’t-slow-down-can’t-stop-thinking-oh-gosh.
3. i hate to dream.
i have weird dreams. i have LOTS of bad dreams. and because of my ADD imagination, i always have really vivid dreams that i totally think are really happening. good dreams are really good and bum me out when i wake up, and bad dreams are horrible. everything is extremes. it’s really not fun.
this gives me a lot of trouble knowing what’s a dream and what’s not. when i wake up from them, i’m usually really scared and disoriented for a good five minutes, trying to tell if i’m still dreaming or if i’m awake and if any of it really happened. even if it’s a really good dream, like something i wish would happen in real life, it just freaks me out when i find out it’s not real.
i have a post sitting in my drafts about weird dreams. i should finish that.
4. the world just does not operate on the right schedule.
when i’m on a break from school, i sleep from 3-11. at 3 am, i’m just the right amount of tired, my brain is quieted down, and i fall asleep in less than 30 minutes without tossing and turning forever. then i wake up at 11 with no alarm and feel totally rested. i think that’s just how my body works. if all my classes started at noon, and finished at like 7 pm, then i had 7-3(when i’m at my most focused) to do homework, i’d probably be a 4.0 student. but 8:00 classes just don’t sit well with me. even 9:25’s are a challenge sometimes.
5. i can’t lay still.
again, this is the ADD talking. by the time i fix to fall asleep in one position, i’ve usually gotten bored before long, so i have to move. the rolling over wakes me up some, and then the vicious cycle just keeps on going.
6. i think the melatonin is working because right now i’m thinking slowly and getting impatient with myself, b/c i’m finding it very hard to finish this post so i can get in bed.

stories about nothing and everything

the metaphorical main character.

second semester of freshman year, i had this tyrannical english teacher who just hated my writing. he was actually a really nice person…but i don’t get poetry. or symbolism in any kind of literature, which was the point of the class(i got a D, so it didn’t transfer to ciu…hence why i had to take wenger’s class last spring), so my papers were never very good.
there was one short story we had to read and do a character analysis for. it was about this really eccentric woman who had a really old house and it’s told from the point of view of the other people in the town who want to tear the house down, b/c it smells bad and doesn’t look that nice. at the end it turns out the woman has been playing house with her husband’s dead body for years. creepy stuff…i had nightmares about it.
to tie a bow around this story that was supposed to be a really brief introduction to my point: in my paper i wrote about the woman, the townspeople, and the house itself.
evil mr jones gave me a C and said that the house was NOT a character.
i still don’t understand why. i know it doesn’t speak, or react to any other characters, but it’s such a major part of the story, and more importantly, i needed THREE characters to analyze, and who else was there? the dead husband? they don’t even mention him until the end.
so. why am i telling you this scary story and why my english teacher was such a legalistic jerk?
because i was thinking about camp. as always.
i thought about how camp itself is a character in the story of any summer. how it rains there every last day, like it’s crying with us(even though i guess that’s the clouds above camp, not camp itself but whatever). how it never changes even though we do. how it stays put no matter where we go, and it’s always waiting for us when we want to come back to it. how so many hearts would break if it died.
now that i’m remembering that beautiful essay that deserved an A, i really forgot my point. i had a lot more to say about camp than that.

stories about life and God

start with yourself.

when i’m trying to get my campers to quiet down at night, i tell them “here’s the secret: you keep your own self quiet, and you don’t say a word all night. if everyone does that, then no one would have to tell anyone else not to talk, because they’d all be quiet already!” (it’s never as easy as that, but the few that understand the concept do make a difference)
from a combination of reading my book for counseling youth and families(please pick up a copy of secrets of your family tree. it’s blowing my mind), and talking to other people about this a lot lately, i’ve decided the “start with yourself” concept works with being honest too.
this is a bit like what i said here.
(side note: i think i’ve thought all the thoughts in the world and now i’m making another go-around…this is like the fifth post in a row where i’ve referred to a past post)
if you want other people to be vulnerable and share things, try doing it yourself first.
i’m bad at this.
i’m a world-class, olympic-level liar. but i don’t use that gift as often as people think. i only lie to people who don’t care enough to wonder how i really feel.
but then i started reading Secrets of your Family Tree, and found that this is something i’ve inherited.
my whole family has this convenient little talent. none of them believe in telling people how you feel. someone asks how you are, you say good. you’re sick and someone asks if you’re better, you say yes. everything has to either be good, or enough on its way to good that no one will feel sorry for you.
i don’t like this.
i’m sure i’ll be writing a lot more later about that book, and as i’ve already been doing, that whole class in general. if you want to get me talking for an hour, ask me about it in person.
anyways, i never tried very hard to be the way my family wished i was. i’ve always known who i am and who i’m not, even as a really little kid, and i know that i’m not one of those people who can tuck every emotion away and not worry about it. i may not always let the whole world see them, but i do something with them. i have a journal, i have friends, i have two blogs…i let things out.
a very good friend told me the other day that we need more honest people. if more people were honest like me, life would be much better.
i agree. not that i’m saying everyone should look up to me or anything, but that honesty breeds honesty. it’s easier to open up to open people.
and it helps to remember that everyone else is messed up too; even if they seem like they aren’t. the ones who seem the most perfect, i’ve found to be the ones with the most problems. but i don’t love them any less. really, the more i know you, the more i love you. (i said that before too dangit. i need new thoughts!)
what you are is enough for me. but if i don’t know what you are, it’s hard to be your friend.

“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis

stories about nothing and everything

a short, simple, happy rant that you are free to skip on past.

i am excited about life.
i’m ENJOYING school. i’m doing GOOD in school. i’m like a week AHEAD in school. school is just wonderful right now…and it hasn’t been for a very long time.
soccer starts in five days. or semi-starts…a meeting to figure out practices counts to me as starting. WE’RE GONNA BE A TEAM AGAIN!!!!!!!! i miss having people who otherwise wouldn’t know my name talking about how awesome i am…if i have to be known as the really little goalie, so be it. at least they know me.
the super bowl and the oscars are coming up.
i got another shift in the caf.
we have a REAL library.
i re-remembered how to solve my rubik’s cube.
i go to the best school with the best friends and the best teachers.
and i’m gonna be okay.
i’m happy to be happy. =]

stories about school

books! focus! windows! coffee!

i’m moving into the library. i wonder if this will this save me anything on room and board? ; ]
but seriously. i only ever used the book barn when i absolutely needed to, like for commentaries and word study books and stuff for my Bible classes. i hate being anywhere where there are no windows. plus it was always really hot in there, and it was so crowded, and it looked more like a warehouse than a library…i could go on.
then this morning, i went to the real library and found that it’s not only the best place in the world to people-watch(there are windows EVERYWHERE), but it’s also got this hyperproductive, unltramotivating force in it that makes homework much easier. it’s quiet and cozy and doesn’t echo like the book barn, so if i’m talking to someone, i don’t feel like everyone in the building is listening.
it smells like books and coffee in there. the book barn smelled like metal and weird carpet. if you don’t know about my love of book-smelling, read this. it’s one of my favorite rants.(the best thing about ADD is forgetting what i write. so when i go back and read them, it’s like i’m reading someone else’s work, making it not self-involved to think that it’s awesome) but i had a slight change of heart when it comes to my thoughts on the kindle…so disregard everything i said there. except i do really like seeing all my books on a shelf. that part is still true.
anyways. it’s much easier to focus when i’m in a big open space, with windows and natural light. (i will never work in a cubicle for this reason)
plus they have beanbags. if i get sick of sitting in a chair, i have an alternative besides going all the way to founders basement(which freaks me out to be in alone).
all this to say: i am a fan. this is gonna be a good semester. =]

just a thought.

words we speak.

words of affirmation is not my receiving love language. i don’t believe them. words are my number one hurt language, if that’s a thing.(as in, people can most easily hurt me by using their words)
but i LOVE to give nice words. and i mean them. i think really hard and write like three versions before i actually give people an encouraging note.
i don’t like it when people complain that i’m quiet, because at least i make it count when i do talk.
“how are you” is my least favorite question ever. because most people don’t mean it. but i do mean it, when i ask it(which isn’t often), and most people assume that no one means it, so i get the usual goodhowareyou all in one breath, when i actually want a real answer.(if i really want to know, i say it like “how are you”, so the emphasis kind of makes them want to be more elaborate then just “good”)
last year, my small group did a challenge where we tried to go a week without complaining. all of us failed. i wonder what would happen if we tried to go a week without saying anything we don’t mean?
the hawk nelson song in the title doesn’t actually go with what i’m saying, i just realized…but i like it.

stories about life and God

don’t tell God what he can’t do.

he just might do it.
piggybacking off of my last post, a bit.
last year, around mid-april-ish, i was in a really bad anti-camp mood. as said before, sometimes i just have those. i was sick of it. i was sick of the pressure of being such a high-up veteran staffer, tired of the stupid drama, and just really wanted to give up. jump ship before it sank. not bother with it.
i got it into my head that camp was 1)too familiar for me to grow there anymore, i’m complacent and need to find a new place to serve, 2)no longer a sacrifice because it was so easy(therefore felt like i was there more for myself than for God), and the stupidest excuse of all, the one i regret the most? 3)not challenging in any way.
so i prayed for a long time. me and God got lost in the woods by the lake and just fought it out. i told him i did not want to go back to camp; he told me i had to. i told him the above three excuses. the worst mistake, even though it was already in my heart i still feel like if i hadn’t said the following straight to him, it would have been different: “you can’t do anything more with me there.”
oh man. was he ever out to prove me wrong.
i went back. and he started from day one with excuse#1.
camp is too familiar.
some of cindy’s first words to me when we were driving up were “we’re really changing things up this year.” starting with the fact that there were five returning staff and twenty-four new ones. that’s drastically different than other years, first because the fewest returners we had ever had was ten, and secondly because we NEVER have only twenty-seven staff all together. the least we ever had was thirty.
just about everything about camp was different. not only did i have to adjust to that myself, but i had twenty-three people who knew next to nothing about how anything at camp worked, that i had to help get used to everything. so us returners didn’t know what we were doing, but the new ones even more so.
which rolls right into God knocking out excuse#2.
camp isn’t any kind of a challenge; going back is like being a lazy Christian.
well. with all the changes, all the new people, and all the sudden responsibility, it was harder than ever. but then unexpected things just started happening. wednesday morning i woke up and for no reason at all i was just in the worst mood. i yelled at jenna. i felt exhausted the whole day, every little thing irritated me, but of course, i’m the little ray of sunshine who loves camp more than anybody; gotta keep all that inside and act like a good little staffer. which made me even more tired and irritated. by saturday night there was already drama going on between other staff, and i had cried myself to sleep the past three nights.
no challenge? this was orientation week. usually the best week of the summer. the campers hadn’t even come yet and already i was miserably tired and stressed. i was not seeing an easy summer ahead.
this is no sacrifice anymore.
well, first that’s a lame reason because God would rather us just do what he says, even if he happens to tell us to do something that we think is easy. he told me to go back to camp; if obeying is better than sacrifice, i could have joyfully followed such an easy order without having to go through all that. but i asked for something difficult and i got it.
every morning i had to get up and be there for my girls even though i was tired and lost and just felt like being in bed. (it wasn’t all misery, most weeks i still really loved them, something just felt constantly off) every friday i had to act sad as my girls left. i mean i loved them and was glad for the time i’d had with them, but i was just so drained that i was glad to not be their mom anymore. that seems to be how most people feel about their campers, so i shouldn’t have felt terrible about it, but i did because it just wasn’t like me.
i got through the summer. as dr cooper would say, i was surviving when i should have been thriving.
if you want the rest of that story, or anything about any of my summers, go to my other blog and read “the end” from august 6 and “jericho and ai” from september 29.

now after a semester of wrestling over it, i’m more excited than ever to go back. it’s okay that all the bad stuff happened, because i know for real sure that God doesn’t want me leaving camp anytime soon. i don’t know if it’ll be hard again, or if it’ll go back to being practically effortless, but one way or another i know God wants me back, and i want me back too. i know how to deal with what went wrong if they go wrong again. i have the same feeling like i did before 2010, that just unexplainable super amazing things are about to happen there. and i’m gonna be a part of it.

stories about life and God

it shouldn’t be like this.

i love postsecret. i think it’s beautiful. (plus it’s like free therapy! seeing someone else who has the same crap in their life, and also doesn’t know what to do about it, is surprisingly comforting. you should try it)
scott hates it. he says it’s emo and scary and weird.
i think it’s judgmental people like him that make the people who have these secrets, keep them secret.
while i love the whole idea for the site, i wish it weren’t necessary. if people were able to share their hurts with real people who loved them and listened to them and took them seriously, they wouldn’t need to send them to a stranger in maryland.

where did this idea of everyone having to appear perfect and happy all the time come from? was it always like that? or was there a time way back in history when people were able to be real?
oh. actually i just answered my own question. of course there wasn’t. in the Bible you see hypocrites and judgy-von-holier-than-thou’s all over the place. they probably made a lot of people hide too.
but Jesus loved the ones that everybody else was pointing fingers at. the kind of people that send stuff to postsecret are the kind Jesus would be eating dinner with.
i read these secrets religiously(wording it that way makes me laugh because they post new ones every sunday). almost every week, there’s at least one that i look at and think, that’s my secret too. and i wish i were brave enough to have sent it myself. then again, most of the time theirs are more artsy than mine would have been too, so i’m semi glad they were the one to send it.

people should be allowed to be real. but most of us aren’t. we’re afraid we’ll be judged, gossiped about, or that no one cares enough to wonder whether they know the real you so you may as well keep pretending to be what everyone thinks you are.
we feel like we need to make everything look easy, like we have everything under control. but none of us are george lopez.* we have not “got this.” we don’t even know how to get this. most of us don’t even know what we’re trying to get. but we’re afraid of what might happen if we admitted this.
i don’t think any of us are “okay”. and i think it’s okay to not be okay. that’s what God gave us each other for. we’re supposed to help carry each other’s burdens. instead we’re afraid of them(our own and each other’s). that, is NOT okay.
i’m not sure that scott knows what TWLOHA is, but i’m sure he would think that was “scary and emo and weird” too. i love what they do as much as i love postsecret. you should check them out too.
the gist of all this rambling? i wish everyone would be real. it would start a whole chain reaction of love and empathy and getting better. because it’s easy to be real around other real people.
i know better than to share deep dark ones where the whole world can see them, but these are some of “my” less-serious-but-still-true secrets(the quotey marks meaning other people sent them in but they’re true about me).

*(just for the record, i can’t stand george lopez. but the catchphrase fit)

stories about life and God · stories about school

an unmistakable calling.

as most of anything i’ve written lately begins with: today in counseling youth and families…(can you guess which class is my favorite this semester? or of my whole life?)
well, a pre-topic from what the title is talking about, we always have ice breaker questions at the beginning of class.
1. describe your family’s origin. (too many people with too many problems.)
2. what did you worry about in high school? (how i looked, being perfect, and in general making everyone happy regardless of how i felt about it.)
3. what are you afraid of today?(honestly, the dark. but in class i said being alone, which is also true but i’d rather be alone in the light than with people in the dark)
4. i am most happy/content when____ (i need to stop lying in class. well, partial truth-ing. i said when i’m outside, but specifically it would be camp.)

we talked about what an effective counselor is like. olshine said you had to have an “unmistakable calling.” i immediately thought of camp and wondered about that unmistakable part. i’ve mistaken it a LOT. always wondering whether i’m supposed to be there. at least one day out of every summer where i just don’t want to be there.
but he went on to explain what unmistakable meant.
he said it’s something you’re afraid to do but do anyways. something you don’t always want to do but can’t get away from it. something you love and can’t always explain.
and as soon as he started talking about not getting away from it, i stopped worrying. and got really excited for the summer instead.
every year except for 2009, i’ve had at least one moment, fleeting or lasting for weeks, where i convince myself that God “has another plan for this year”.(it was quick and premature this year; it actually came and went in september) i don’t know why; i love that place. it’s my home. but something in me just gets bored around the same time every year and gets me looking into other things to do with my summer. (in 2010 i actually honestly wanted to stay home and get some normal person job. not even working at another camp, or a daycare, or some other deal working with kids, just waitressing or something. yeah, i don’t know what i was thinking either) sometimes i get so excited about them that i apply for them; then at just the right moment, here comes God, with the same plan he’s had since i was thirteen, slamming that new door in my face and shoving me in the one that says “camp la vida” on it. at first i get pouty with him and complain, offer up stupid excuses, and in general just act like a three year old for a while. but by early may, i remember how awesome la vida is, get excited again and end up having an amazing summer.
unmistakable. no other possible way. i was called to camp.