who needs sleep or coffee?

this morning i got up at 4 am. first and last time i’ve ever done that in my life.

like normal humans are at the butt crack of dawn, my poor team was dead when we all got on the road…but bless their hearts, i was kid-on-christmas-morning excited. i love them a lot for not throwing me off the bus. =)

around 6 when we stopped, coach ashley asked me, “you’re a morning person aren’t you?” and i said i had no clue how i was so awake.

but since everyone was asleep and i wasn’t allowed to talk until 7, i had plenty of time to think, and i came up with a clue.

i’m definitely not a morning person; i’m just a people person.

at camp, i’m high as a kite at 7 am every day no matter how late i was up the night before. my kids hate me in the morning. =p

on youth retreats, i was always the last one asleep. i’d stay up until the last leader finally needed to sleep and sent us all downstairs, then talk from my bed to the last few awake ones until they fell asleep. and as soon as i was the only one up, i’d suddenly feel exhausted.

so whether i’m waking up at 4 am, or staying up until 4 am, as long as i’m around my friends, i’m never tired.

which is why, even on a bus full of sleeping people, you’ll find me wide awake. =)

i wrote more about this a while ago…so if you feel like hearing more of my ramblings, go here.

the best textbook.

i rarely tell the truth when people ask what my favorite book is.

if a kid asks, i say Holes.
if someone my age asks, i say Mystic River.
if an “adult” asks(quotey marks being because i keep forgetting that i AM an adult, but here i’m talking about parent age people), i say Marley and Me.

but none of those is really it.

my favorite book is the Bible.

good little church kid/eternal camp counselor/Bible college student that i am, most people don’t take that seriously. and i admit it does sound like a knee jerk sunday school answer, something you’d say in a job interview or to your significant other’s parents.

much like when people ask what my favorite part of camp is and i say “the campers,” or what my favorite part of school is and i say “my teachers,” i’m being honest, but people don’t get it. sometimes they’ll even say “well that doesn’t count. what’s your real favorite?”

dude it totally counts. it’s the coolest book in the world. besides the fact that it has everything in it(stories. poetry. history. answers for every little facet of life. ev-er-y-thing), GOD wrote it. to US. who wouldn’t want to read that?
one of my study questions for my class on philippians asked me to discuss why people think bible study is boring. my answer was something like “i believe that anyone who thinks studying the Bible is boring is doing it wrong.” i used to be that kid. but i think i may write a whole other post about that, because there’s too much to that story to throw in the middle of what i meant to be a short post..

two of my cabin leaders in particular had a real love for the word. and seeing how excited they were about it made me want to understand it that much more. that’s one more reason why i love acteens: when i do Bible study with the little ones, they don’t get it when i start rambling. the older ones WANT to hear my long tangents, and they’re able to teach me things too. some of my favorite times at camp have been when i’ve gotten to sit with my girls and talk about our favorite verses.

so the moral of the story is, i’m not kidding or trying to sound good. i really love this book that much.

one last confession: even if you asked my favorite fiction book, i’d still be stretching the truth if i answered any of those three above; but most people my age would get a good laugh if i answered the sisterhood of the traveling pants. one of my many secrets. =]

peace.

there are some things that just make everything okay.
making lists happens to be one of them. so i’m making a list of things that make it seem like all is right with the world. things that i get ridiculously stressed out when my life doesn’t include enough of them.

1. list making.
i feel productive when i’m writing out things i need to do, places i want to go, people i miss, or sometimes i even make lists of lists i need to make. seeing on paper what needs to be done makes them seem twice as manageable. anything can make sense if you can fit it into a list.

2. running.
i do hate running in a lot of ways. but it’s the healthiest way to deal with life that i know of.
when you have an ice cream headache, you’re supposed to pinch your bottom lip really hard until the headache goes away. it makes your brain focus on that pain instead of the pain in your head.
freshman year, and last fall, when i was losing it so bad, i took that physical pain theory and applied it to life. in some very bad ways.
then last semester after our first soccer game, i was so mad that i went running. i ran and ran until exhaustion drowned out everything else. i ran until i physically couldn’t, and i just fell on the ground and listened to the silence. and i was okay.
i started doing that after every game. i’d run until i could barely breathe and my heart felt like exploding, then i’d lay in the grass and look at the stars and God would talk to me. i’d be too tired to do anything but listen.
so now anytime i need to not think, i run. and when i’m focused only on the sound of my footsteps and the struggle to breathe, the stabbing pain starts to move from my figurative heart to my physical heart. my thoughts fall out of my head with every mile. and everything else seems simple.

3. writing.
i don’t understand my feelings until i see them. in words, i mean. i have no idea who said it, but i love this quote:
“thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through our fingertips.”
even if i’m not having a bad day, writing is the best feeling.
but i have about three hundred and two posts about that already, so i won’t repeat myself.

i. am. so. full.

before work, i was looking at my calendar to figure out when i’m free for a weekend. and i was complaining that i hate being constantly booked like this, thinking i need more room for spur of the moment things…then i had to go to work, proving my point as i wished i had time to sit and write my thoughts about being busy.

but work is always good time to think, so i finished my thoughts and i not only finally discovered the difference between “having your cake and eating it too” and “between a rock and a hard place” as i’ve tried to figure out for years(the first is for decisions where all the choices are good, the second is for decisions between things that you don’t want to do but you have to pick one), i also decided my life is pretty great.

small side note, this summer at staff training we took this personality test, and the four types were colors. oranges like spontaneity, golds like plans, greens like whatever is most logical depending on the situation, and blues like whatever satisfies the people around them. if you hadn’t already guessed, whether by knowing me or just by reading what i’ve already said, i’m an orange.

i don’t like set-in-stone things. i like the freedom to wake up on thursday with no plans for the weekend, then find something crazy to do. surprises leave no room for disappointment; plans and anticipation suck out the fun.
this semester, i have so few hours that aren’t pre-filled. not because i’ve suddenly gotten good at scheduling; i just have too many things automatically scheduled for me. classes, chapel, work, cross country practice, football practice, meets, even my sleep is planned out. and for the hours that i do get to choose what i want with them, that mostly just means i get to choose what homework i do in them.

but oranges are also adaptable and resourceful; so if i have to live like a gold for awhile, i can find a way to be happy with it.

so today as i found that i only have two free weekends between now and christmas break, i thought to myself “when do i have time to do things i WANT to do between all the things i HAVE to do?” and i realized, i really want to do all these things i have to do.
——–
1. classes.
i LOVE my classes this semester. every one of them. it took me forever to finally decide on a “least favorite” because i like them all so much. i actually want to learn all the things i’m learning in them.

2. chapel.
i don’t know if i just wasn’t trying enough to listen before or if we’ve gotten better speakers this year, but somehow i look forward to chapel every day now. i never feel like skipping.

3. work.
as if it wasn’t enough that i don’t need to drive to it and the hours are crazy flexible, i really like my job. i get paid to people-watch, listen to random conversations, and make people laugh. sure i do all of that while standing on a sticky floor behind a hot counter and putting nasty leftover food on plates that burn my hands, but i usually don’t think much about that with all that other fun going on.

4. cross country practice.
this is my favorite part of the day. even in the beginning when i still hated running, it was worth it for the awesome people i get to suffer with. now that i like what i’m doing, it actually feels like a break from everything else.

5. football practice.
i can find no possible complaints here. i didn’t realize until our first one how much i’ve missed real sports. yes i like running, but i need something to do with my hands once in a while. cross country is a break from life…football is a break from cross country.

6. sleep.
oddly enough, i LIKE being forced to get up early. by the time i go to class, i’ve been awake for 3 hours and i actually feel like getting things done. and i don’t mind as much as i thought i would having to go to bed early in order to survive early mornings. this is the first time in my life i’ve actually gotten enough sleep; if my schedule were wide open i’d end up going to bed at midnight and sleeping in until ten minutes before class like i always have before. this way i get way more done and i’m never stressed.

7. meets.
no need for explanation. i’ve already written plenty about how much i love everything about them, from the road trip to the races. i’m totally willing to give up every one of my saturdays for that.
———
so even though my life is full, it’s not the kind of full where i have too much on my plate and not enough time to eat it all. i have just enough time for everything, and the fact that i’m always spending that time doing something that makes me happy makes up for the lack of spare time.

things that matter.

so i’ve spent a very productive day catching up on(read: starting) my online class on philippians, since everything about it has given me reason to push it aside and do other homework(it’s just 1 credit, and the only deadline i have is to finish the course by december 14th at 5 pm).
one of my study questions asked me to list the things that have happened in the past 24 hours that won’t matter in the grand scheme of my life, and what will matter.

it doesn’t matter that i didn’t beat my PR yesterday, and it doesn’t even especially matter that i did pass that one girl at the end(though that little victory has totally made up for any possible disappointment i may have felt about my time); it matters that i did it all with a smile on my face. it matters that i got to encourage my team. it matters that i have such great people to spend so many hours with every week.

it doesn’t matter that i didn’t get to do what i originally wanted with my break; it matters that i chose to sleep in, study, run, clean, and be with people instead of hiding in my room sulking and complaining.

perspective is fascinating. i think the biggest thing i’m learning this semester, despite all the time i spend in class, is how to make anything in life look good.

enjoy…don’t cling.

yesterday was both the worst day i’ve had in a long time, and the best day i’ve had in an even longer time.
it was the worst because it was a culmination of all the stress and lack of sleep i’ve dealt with all week.
it was the worst because it finally officially hit me that i’m about to be apart from one of my best friends for two whole years.
it was the worst because my original fall break plans suddenly fell apart.
but…
it was the best because i got to run in the beautiful weather.
it was the best because i got some quality time with some of the most fun people i know, who could cheer me up after even the most miserably awful day.
and it was the best because God swooped in to save the day and gave me a whole new better plan for my break.
last night i was talking to my RA, and she read me the page from Jesus Calling for yesterday. and it was so exactly what i needed to hear. this is the part of it that i like.

Though I have brought many pleasures into your life, not one of them is essential. Receive My blessings with open hands. Enjoy My good gifts, but do not cling to them. Turn your attention to the Giver of all good things, and rest in the knowledge that you are complete in Me. The one thing you absolutely need is the one thing you can never lose: My Presence with you.

i’ve written so many countless posts about missing people. thinking out loud about how easily i miss, how i hate missing, how i wish i didn’t have to miss, whether it’s even possible to not miss people.

so i was crying to God earlier, and i asked him “WHY do i have to miss people so much? nobody else has this much of a problem with it. they go on with life. why does having my friends far away screw me up so much?”
that was a rhetorical question; i didn’t even think an answer existed. so God caught me off guard when he said “because you love them that much.”
i thought a second and said “well, does that mean the only way to miss someone less is to love them less?”
as i expected, he didn’t say anything. i’ve said before, when i ask a question i know the answer to, he doesn’t humor me with an answer.
i kept thinking.
i love loving people. but i hate missing them. if i have to choose between loving someone then feeling like crap when they leave, and living in total indifference to them then being just fine when they leave, i’d take the first. but i’ve always wished there were an alternative to that rock|me|hard place situation.
then cara read me that. —-^^^ and i figured out the answer God wanted me to have.

receive my blessings with open hands. every single wonderful person that he’s put in my life is a good thing. i’m supposed to love them; he didn’t give me this stupid giant heart to keep locked away in my head, he gave it to me so i could pour it out on other people. he doesn’t want me to hold it back, bracing myself for the moment they leave.
what i need to understand, is that not one of them is essential. yes, i need them, but only because at that time God is choosing to fill certain needs through those people. once they’re gone, it doesn’t mean i have to suffer. it just means God will provide for me in some other way.
The one thing you absolutely need is the one thing you can never lose: My Presence with you. 90% of people in my life will eventually have to leave it. but God is the only one i actually need to not leave, and the only one who never will.
so that’s the missing piece. the key to getting close to people without having to hurt when you lose them. enjoy them. thank God for them. but remember that it’s God, not them, who is filling up the holes in your life.

thoughts for this rainy monday morning.

1. it’s RAINING!!!!! some people think rain is depressing or at least puts a slight damper on their mood, or it makes them sleepy and unproductive. i do see their point, but i also think it’s just like how some people like chocolate and i don’t. i LOVE rain. it looks and sounds so beautiful and it smells good and while it helps me sleep at night, it doesn’t make me drag during the day. it keeps me alert because i want to watch it.
and today i’m going to play in it because…

2. MY ANKLE IS BETTER!!!!!!!!!! i can already tell i’m not going to be focused in any of my classes today because i’m too excited about getting to run later. i’ve gone absolutely stir crazy this week. i know exercise experts would qualify my 30 minutes a day biking in the gym as “physical activity”, but i don’t. the only thing dumber than running is running/biking and not going anywhere. i don’t want to stare at a wall, i want to see trees and cars and people go by. and dang it i want some fresh air. the smell of the gym is doing things to my head.

3. i’m currently sitting in the library, warm and dry, watching the rain out the window, and laughing at all the people running out of their classes screaming(i wasn’t the only one totally not expecting rain), and it’s the funniest thing. as i say to my campers, it’s just water falling out the sky; you won’t melt if it hits you.

4. to function properly, i need two things: motion and company.
i normally associate people with my emotional sanity and exercise to my physical sanity. i get lonely and restless without either of them. but it turns out they both relate to both things.
i already ranted in another post about how important people are to my physical energy. but sort of oppositely, i discovered this week how much i need physical activity for my brain to work right.
all last week, i was in the worst mood. i was understandably frustrated having to watch my friends run while i sit on a bike and watch boy meets world, but i didn’t get why everything was pissing off and/or making me cry.

i got progressively crankier until finally on thursday when i started blowing up at people, i decided to google it. i thought, yes running makes me happy, but the lack of it can’t be making THIS big of a difference in my mood? right?

oh also i wasn’t hungry all week. i’d go to the caf and get food just because that’s what normal people do, then i’d sit down, take two bites and just not want to eat anymore.
so. i did a little research and found that if your body is used to getting lots of vigorous exercise(i.e running 5-7 miles a day for weeks), then you abruptly stop that routine, your hormones can get screwed up. possible results? irritable mood, loss of appetite, fatigue…and others but they didn’t apply to me.
so yeah…i need to be with people to wake up, and i need to run to focus and be happy and calm.

5. i’m so looking forward to this easy week of school. i only have three days of classes because tuesday is a prayer day, and friday starts FALL BREAK!!!! my goal is to take all this excited energy and throw it into studying so i can do all my homework for the week tonight. but as i tend to do, i’ll probably just run a few extra miles instead.

6. my computer charger fell off my loft and broke, so until wednesday or thursday when my new one comes in, i’m stuck using the laptops in the library…which is good because i’ll either stay in my room where i have no computer and therefore nothing to do but work, or camp out in the library where there are people.
7. i did an experiment one day at camp and counted how many hugs i got. on that particular day, i got 124 but i thought that wasn’t fair because not only did i have the most precious campers in the world that week who wanted to hug me several times an hour anyways, i also thought of the idea at the breakfast table and said it out loud, so my girls spread the word and soon the whole camp knew that i was counting, so everybody came and hugged me all the time and asked what the count was.
so i counted secretly another day a few weeks later and got 48.
last week i wondered how many i get in a day at school. so i counted, and that day i got zero, so i extended the experiment to the whole week. i got five. in three days, because on two days i got none.
i’m so lonely. but in keeping with my post on perspective, at least i have friends somewhere, even if they aren’t with me now.

when God forces my needs on me.

i don’t like that i need people. i like people(ok, love them more than anything), i just don’t like that i need them. i want to be free to only be with them when i want to.

small side note to explain some of this. as i’ve griped about in my past two posts, i hurt my ankle last week and haven’t been able to run the past six days. and all week i’ve been in the WORST mood.
i also haven’t been hungry all week, and only realized yesterday that i’ve eaten probably less than 500 calories a day all week. so i got a little concerned and googled reasons for this, and i found the answer to everything bad about my week.
see, when your body is used to lots of vigorous exercise ALL the time(such as running 5-7 miles a day), and then you abruptly stop that routine, your hormones can get screwed up and make you get cranky and lose your appetite.

which is apparently why all week, i have NOT wanted to be with people. but i knew all week that i needed them and would feel much better if were with some.
so yesterday when i had one of those supremely awful days where everything just seems to go wrong and when it’s finally over, all you want to do is go to bed, i picked up my phone to text my RA that i felt too sick to go on our hall date…and then God says to me in his exasperated what-are-you-doing-you-silly-child voice, “GO.” i look up and out loud say, “do i HAVE to?” and as with any time i ask him an obvious question, i got nothing. he knew i knew the answer.

a few hours later i’m happier than i’ve been in two weeks.
life is better with company.

one more reason to never complain.

after listening to my teammates complain about being up at 6 am, suffering through mile repeats, or running in the heat, all i’ve been able to think is, try going nowhere on a bike in the air conditioning behind dr dan for a week.

and so i’ve realized, no matter where you are and how much you hate it, someone somewhere would give anything to be there.

if you have six projects due in one week, remember all your friends who couldn’t afford to come back this semester.

if you’re sick of people coming in your room all the time, remember the people in single rooms who never see anyone ever.

if you’re sick of caf food, remember all the people downtown with no food.

you get the idea.

i may be stuck inside going nowhere, but at least my legs still work. at least i can run again someday. at least my coach cares enough to force me to be patient and get better instead of pushing me to start back the second the pain gets bearable.

just a thought.

oh wait, i DO love running!

if you know me at all, you know that i hate getting sick or hurt, and when i do, it takes about a 14 on a 1-10 pain scale to get me to admit it. i’ll go on a youth retreat with a 101 fever, stay at camp for a week with the flu, dance for a year with tendonitis, and play soccer on a sprained ankle, with a broken finger, with a dislocated thumb, with a concussion…you get my point. i keep on trucking. there’s too much fun in life to put it on pause.

due to my need to be in constant motion, on the rare times when i get sick enough or hurt bad enough that i have to stop, i go crazy.

this is most obvious right now, because in my right mind, i would never miss running.

last thursday i rolled my ankle. and being me, i ran 3 more miles and pretended nothing happened. i woke up the next morning hurting worse, woke up saturday, felt fine and raced, woke up on sunday hurting again, woke up on monday and couldn’t walk.

so now we’re here…and ALL i want to do is run.

i think i may love this.

a month ago i would have been thrilled to have an excuse to be lazy, this morning i cried because i couldn’t do mile repeats.
every other race, i’ve at some point wished i was dead, and been happy to be done with it at the end. last saturday though, with every mile i felt better and better, and at the end, i was sad and wanted to do it all over again.
last monday(like a week and a half ago), i ran five miles, on my own, just for fun. FOR FUN. running is not fun. is it?

when i so reluctantly signed my commitment forms on the last day of school, i told myself i was not going to become one of those crazy people who runs when they aren’t 1-being made by a coach, 2-playing some sport with a point, or 3-involved in a heist.

oops. guess i lost that bet. but the good thing about making bets with yourself is that if you look at it the right way, you always win. so i’m always happy. =]