Sunday, October 26, 2008


After spending Friday evening chilling out at home with my couch-surfer, talking and swapping travel stories, we called it a night around midnight. I slept surprisingly well, seeing as how there was a strange guy in the next room - but he was very nice, easy going and I felt at ease around him.

Saturday was a wonderful day! We decided to go to breakfast, but two of my favorite breakfast spots were so busy there were lines out the door. So we hit Frank's Diner on the North Side for an amazing, huge breakfast. Adam had never had huckleberries or apple butter so he tried both. Then we went to Greenbluff as they have their Apple & Harvest Festivals going on this month. At the Harvest House, I introduced him to pumpkin donuts and caramel apples (he'd never had either) and we each had hot apple cider and sat on hay bales listening to a really bad cover band, but had fun making fun of them and people watching. He took lots of pictures of the pumpkins, the children's hay maze and the fall colors. He was like a kid in a candy store, wide-eyed and excited about all of it. Then we went to Simpson's where we wondered through acres of apple orchards and picked apples from the few trees that hadn't already been picked clean. Since no trip to Greenbluff is complete without a wine tasting, we tasted a couple wines at Harvest House (I love their Christmas Cheer wine mixed with mulled cider - soooo good!) and then I took him to Townshend Cellars for more. I love it when I recommend something and someone really enjoys it. Seemed he liked most of my favorite Townshend wines. Yay!

We decided to skip my friend's Halloween Party and come home for an afternoon siesta before heading out to Hauser, Idaho to do the Haunted Corn Maze. Unfortunately, when we got out there, the line for the Haunted Maze was 2 hours long. So we did the other 3 non-haunted mazes instead. Still, it's pretty spooky being lost in a maze of corn stalks 10+ feet high, especially since the later it got, the less people we'd run into. We actually completed all three, found all the markers we were supposed to find and left around 11 PM tired and cold, but happy.

It was the perfect autumn day. The weather was beautiful - blue skies, fairly warm weather during the day, but a chilly evening. Pumpkins. Apples. Cider. Wine. Hay bales. Corn mazes - not to mention the incredible fall colors. All the orange, yellow & red leaves on the trees and covering the ground... I love this season.

Adam left this morning and thanked me for everything. He had a lot of firsts during his visit. He smiled a lot so I think he really did have a good time. Funny though - we are so different in so many ways - we covered all the taboo topics - sex, religion and politics and we disagree on most controversial issues - but we got along famously and had a wonderful weekend. I love being able to have open conversations with people who respect your stance, even when they disagree. Lately with all the political stuff going on, that is rare.

In other news... Yesterday at Townshend Cellars in Greenbluff, I noticed a guy noticing me... and he was very attractive. Every time I glanced his way, he was looking at me and he'd smile when he caught my eye. It was strange - for a moment, I could see no one else in the room - just him. As our eyes locked, everyone else seemed to disappear. Then I snapped out of it and noticed he was there with a girl and another couple and that he was wearing a wedding band. Damn! Later in the day, it was brought to my attention that an ad was posted on Craigslist's Missed Connections... the ad described me perfectly - what I was wearing and who I was with. He figured it was a long shot but asked if I would respond with where I was sitting when he walked in and what he was wearing. I did respond, told him I was with a friend, where I was sitting and told him that he was wearing a wedding ring standing by a blond girl. He responded saying that he was shocked that I even saw the ad and responded and confirmed that it was in fact a wedding ring but that he just wanted me to know that he thought I was beautiful and that there was something in my eyes that attracted him to me and he had a hard time looking away.

As flattered as I am, I'm disappointed that I'm still attracting the usual suspects... the unavailable. I'm curious to know if it's me - am I putting out vibes that attract people who are married, who live out of state or who are single but emotionally unavailable (hurt, bitter, healing). I just don't understand it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Two Words

Two small but very significant words... The addition of one and the elimination of the other from my vocabulary over the last year has impacted my thoughts, feelings and attitude for the worse.

Word 1: Can't

The more I use this word, the more I believe it. "I can't seem to get ahead." "I can't do anything right." "I can't get out of debt." "I can't find a decent man." "I can't find a better job." "I can't do this." "I can't afford that." "I can't have the life I desire." "I can't win." "I can't..." "I can't..." "I can't..."

Incorporating this word into my daily vocabulary and thought process has robbed me of my joy and hope, destroyed my confidence and left me feeling consumed by despair, discouraged, incomplete, depressed, lost, cynical, undesirable and worthless.

Word 2: Yet

A word indicating persistence and hope while still allowing one to be realistic and honest about a current situation. "I don't have the life I want YET." "I am not out of debt YET." "I haven't found my dream job YET." "I am not YET able to afford that." "I'm not whole YET."

During a blunt and brutally honest conversation with a dear friend a few months ago, I poured my heart out to her about how hopeless and worthless my life felt. After listening to a tirade of all that I can't do and don't have and am unable to offer, she simply whispered the word "yet." She reminded me that although all those things may be true in this moment, it doesn't mean this is the way it will always be. There is hope - but I must be persistent. She also reminded me of the power of my words. The tongue holds the power of life and death.

When I start noticing despair creeping back into my life and my attitude plummeting, I have to listen to what I'm saying (or not saying, as the case may be). I've never been a very negative person, but lately I've had to stop myself, check my vocabulary and make a conscious effort to choose words of hope.

It's been a rough year - the darkest I've seen. There have been moments I've felt myself sinking into an abyss so dark I lost all perception of even which way was up. They say the darkest hour is just before dawn and though this night is not yet over, I'm looking forward to the morning, knowing the sun WILL rise again, the shadows WILL be illuminated and I WILL feel the warmth of the sun on my face once again.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Often misattributed to George Eliot, the following quote by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik in her book A Life for a Life (1859) is a favorite of mine and has been stuck in my head for a couple days.

"But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject, with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort -- the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person -- having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and then with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away."

I pray that someday, I become the type of friend, trusted and capable of doing just that. And though I know I have been blessed with people in my life that love me deeply, I hope someday that I will experience that comfort of "having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words" with someone - and truly allow them to know all of me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Christians: The Greatest Cause of Atheism

I was playing poker last night with a bunch of guys that I'm just now getting to know a little and somehow, the topic of Christianity came up. Stories were shared about our experiences with Christians (I think 2 of us at the table are believers) and how so many people are turned off by Christians and their judgmental attitudes and hypocrisy. One of the guys (the other believer) mentioned that he believed the saying that "the single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians."

It reminded me of something that happened to me a couple weeks ago. I was at an Irish Pub, standing outside on the patio talking to people. I did not have a beer in hand, was not intoxicated (though I had consumed probably 2 beers so far that evening). I was just standing there talking and laughing with a group of people. A gentleman who was walking down the street approached the patio and started talking to a guy he knew. Then he saw me and for some reason, pointed at me and began telling me that I was in sin, that I have power and that I was leading others astray. I stopped, questioned his statements and asked how he could make a judgment like that of someone he didn't know and who didn't even have a drink in hand. I told him that I was a Christian and that I love God and although I will never profess perfection, I try to do the best I can. He said that by even being in a bar, I was a hypocrite and by drinking anything with alcohol, I was in sin. My first instinct was to argue with him that Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine and that he was often judged for the people he hung out with and loved - common people, sinners. Others were standing around listening and I have to say, my spirit was grieved. This interaction between two totally different people, both proclaiming to be Christians, both with completely different view points and approaches had to be confusing. I ended up biting my tongue, choosing not to argue and walking away.

The thing is, nothing I can *do* will be enough. It is only by the grace of God that I am saved. But that being said, I also know that because most people have a certain perspective of Christians and what they should and shouldn't do, I am probably often viewed as a fake. I don't live by the "don't drink, smoke or chew or go with the boys who do" philosophy. I do drink. Quite a few of the people that I consider friends and many people who I hang out with are not believers. It is not uncommon to find me in a bar - playing poker, listening to karaoke, hanging out with friends, having a good time.

There is a balance though. The rest of the quote that the guy at the poker table referenced is: "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." ~Brennan Manning

I am nowhere near perfect. I struggle with sin daily. Some days I lose the battle. I am a hypocrite. Not intentionally - I believe one way and would love to be strong enough to ALWAYS live a perfect life and rise above, but my actions do not always back up my words. I am not perfect. I will fail. I will disappoint you and God. I will not always live up to the standards that I have set for myself or that others hold me to. I will fall. But I guarantee you this - I will get up again and again and again and keep trying, keep perservering, keep learning until I reach the finish line.

Until then, I hope that my heart speaks louder than my words or actions. I hope that my lifestyle reflects LOVE first and foremost. I hope that in my humanity, I am not causing someone to stumble or turn away from God and Christianity. I hope I'm not a cause of atheism.