Tangents & Wanderings

The ups & downs, ins & outs, tangents & wanderings of a twenty-something, Minnesota born, book-loving, always running, loves-to-cook, forever changing girl who is simply feeling her way towards God. And..finding that He is not far at all, but very near (Acts 17:27)

Say ‘Aye’

Give it up already..

Ladies – and the gents in their lives – I highly encourage you to read this post by Caitlin Kelly on her blog “Broadside”. Kelly does a fabulous job of sizing up – articulately and concisely – a major issue for women: Our constant conscious.

As someone who was in and out of treatment for three months (not to mention the 3 years before treatment) for my eating disorder, I’m well-acquainted with the mental processing behind weight and size. I can tell  you the calorie, fiber, protein, and carbohydrate count for nearly any food item you can imagine. I have a list of foods that – as a rule – I do not eat. (Some would argue that this is another disorder in and of itself.) However, since beginning my recovery process, God has been faithful to bring a greater understanding into fruition.

Admittedly, I love food. But I agree entirely with Kelly – it’s too much of our focus. And, as a side effect, so is weight, size, beauty, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. As a society, we have done a pretty bang-up job of placing food at the forefront of every occasion. Studying? Best have some fiberful munchies to feed your brain. Heading for a workout? Stock up on a protein power-food. Family gathering? There’s a Paula Dean recipe sure to pack a week’s worth of sugar into one serving.

We are distracted. Fatally. Not only do we allow ourselves to become lost in the world of body image (building it up and tearing it down) and beauty, we trade health, adventure, authentic relationships, selfless service, and true meaning for fleeting conversations and obsessions over fleeting things.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 even more concisely defines beauty and the reason that the women of today often miss the mark (or rather they think they do). When it comes to food: Feed your body good things when it’s hungry. When it comes to exercise: Do it. Not too much. Not too little. Not every day. Not once a week. Not as a rule, as a lifestyle. Just move. When it comes to beauty: Love the Lord. Love yourself. Love Truth. Love with all the madness and passion your soul possesses. And when it comes to body image and everything that ensues in our pursuit of it: Forget it. If we take care of our bodies, it falls into place. If our lives are filled to the brim with what life was meant for – relationships, work, play, service, quiet – it falls into place. Let it be.

All in favor: Say “aye”.

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Dreading the Beginning

As the semester draws to a close, I have realized that graduation is quickly becoming a reality. And my heart is on the brink of having a coronary. Hands sweating, knee bouncing, mind…elsewhere.

It seems every semester in the past year has required a portfolio, resume, and cover letter. Not that this isn’t helpful…well, actually, it’s not. Beyond the fact that  I compulsively organize nearly everything in my life – my closet is color-coordinated, with labels to boot – I also fear failure more than (almost) anything. It’s a fear that permeates into even the smallest corners of my being. From failing a test (a B can qualify as “failure” in my books) to failing to find happiness (in all of its ambiguity), I can feel a stress headache at the very notion of failure.

You can imagine the prospect of failing to find the “perfect” job. Because then, you see,  I will have failed to begin the “rest of my life” properly. Yes, I’m serious. And, yes, I’m aware of the complete absurdity of that statement. But, even though I am an incredibly adept, finely-tuned thought processor, I can’t leap the expanse of the unknown.

Now, as a real-life job seeker, the prospect is all the more frightening. I’ve tossed around ideas for years. But that was all hypothetical at best. I’m truly a senior, bursting with anxiety and anticipation, fraught with wonder and dread. As a child of God, my identity is first and foremost in Christ. My future, I know, is secure – at least eternally. This gives me peace for the moment and for the long-haul. However (this is not a “but”, there can never be a “but” when referring to the power and provision of Jesus Christ), I must be willing. I do believe that is the most difficult thing. My prayer today is that God would transform my heart, that He would bear with me as He works, and that on the other side of His provision – He is never late – that I would delight in whatever it is my purpose is in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.

Grace by the Teaspoon

Remember the occasions when Mom and Dad would caution you to “take the high road”? They’d send an eyebrow raise and jaw clench your way that was supposed to remind you to be the “bigger person”…

More often than not, situations arise that call for grace. Not the kind of grace that I lack when I walk – I have none of that – but the kind that affords freedom and revolution.

In her book Captivating (which I highly recommend), Staci Eldridge writes, “A woman of true beauty is a woman who in the depths of her soul is at rest, trusting God because she has come to know Him to be worthy of her trust. She exudes a sense of calm, a sense of rest, and invites those around her to rest as well … A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become.”

Beyond the idea of beauty (let’s face it…we focus on beauty too much), is this idea that grace makes room for the future. Jesus Christ paved the way of salvation when He died on the cross. What is our role, then, when we only seem to have grace for the moment?

In the past six months, God has been painstakingly teaching me about grace. Frederick Buechner once wrote (in a seeming a paraphrase for Ephesians 2:8-9) that, “Love functions according to its nature, not according to the quality of its object.” I have discovered – through my inability to earn grace – just how precious it is. As I look upon myself and my failures and see how unworthy I am, I see why it’s important to afford others the grace that’s been given me.

Because even though I want to feel rested at the end of a weekend, I don’t. I worked all weekend, fourth one straight. And even though I had some time over the weekend, I didn’t finish what I told myself I must. So here it is, Monday morning, and I’m typing out homework that’s due in half an hour; and when I finish, I’ll begin what’s due at 10:30. The list truly feels never ending. Yesterday? Yesterday I failed to be the person I expect myself to be. I fell short of the expectations of others. This morning? My blood sugar’s are high, for what seems like no reason. And it feels like a no-win battle, one that will surely be lifelong.

But my precious-as-gold mother graced me with kind words. My roommates graced me with patience and forgiveness. My Lord graced me with understanding, redemption, and the promise that, he will never leave me nor forsake me. No, indeed He saved me because He delights in me. {Hebrews 13:6, Psalm 18:9}

Sewtastic

Back in August, my best friend asked if I would be able to sew her a case for her knitting and crocheting needles. I said, “Why, of course!” After having her choose the fabric and materials, I thought that the project would be quick and simple. Well, it was. But with a full class load, a full-time work schedule, and extra curricular activities (not to mention homework, exercise, and daily living…oh, and a small social life), I found that time to complete the task was elusive.

After nearly four months, the project is finally complete! And, it really was short and sweet.

I estimate that the entire thing took about two hours. However, this was spread out between two days. Essentially, there are ten different pockets of varying sizes. The case wraps up and ties for easy transportation. I added backing to the inside fabric to strengthen the outside layer. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out! Now to begin the Christmas projects…

Alternative Thanksgiving

Neverland

For every little girl who’s watched Peter Pan and wished upon a star that she was Wendy…for the young romantics that dream of magical glass slippers and sparkling, dancing pumpkins…for the brave in spirit who aspire to be Maid Marian, bold and strong. 

I remember as a little girl wanting the fairy tales that I read about. On my eleventh birthday, I waited for a letter with Gryfinndor emblem stamped across the seal. How desperately I dreamed of being whisked away into the magic and bliss of it all. If only, if only…

Take any basic psychology class and you’ll surely hear something about why we are the way we are. What makes us “tick”. Your dreams were squashed as a child. Your mom cut your hair short and scarred you for life. Your parents picked the absolute WRONG name for you. Your dad never read to you or called you his princess. Your brother was perfect at everything you weren’t. Heartache and Tragedy. 

In the process of growing older, I’ve searched for reasons that I do the things I do. Why is it that I am an impossibly anxious, wound-tight individual? Why do I struggle so with body image? Why is food my best friend and enemy? Why are two of the hardest things holding on and letting go? 

My questions have found answers – often blaming others. My name often invokes strange questions (Tyler? Is that your Son?). My name paired with a short hair-cut earned me wonderful nicknames in kindergarten. I can’t recall my dad calling me beautiful or anything of the sort until my junior year of college. Diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes at age seven had me convinced I was fat. 

So I found my reasons..my questions were “answered”. The only problem is that the “answers” don’t really solve any of my “problems”. And a lot has changed since I was a child. Not necessarily my heart or my personality..but my family dynamics have changed. For instance, my father now loving refers to me as “baby” and “princess”. My mother has grown and inspired growth – especially spiritually. My parents, mom, dad, and stepdad – though flawed – have become the people I aspire most to be like, next to my Savior.

My mom came to visit me today. We went to church and made lunch together. Simple. But as I’ve let go of the reasons for my pain and problems and begun to understand adulthood…it was magical. 

No amount of blame-game fun can win the battle. Our battle was won by Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary. Sin has lost it’s power. Death has lost it’s sting. And the wrongs that are done to us? Our response matters most. We can always control what we do. So what says the most about us is what we do when we don’t choose the initial action. Our responses reflect forgiveness, humility, love, patience, grace. And the beauty and wonder of those things..that swept me off my feet today. It was far grander than a ride in any magical pumpkin. And it sure beats moving to a far off castle. 

 

My Speculations

This past week I wrote an article for the SPUR on the new Mustang logo. However, as it was not an editorial, my own thoughts were omitted. After hearing most everyone else’s opinions, I think I’ll take this opportunity to share mine. 

As for the actual logo….Stanger’s new look is indeed fierce. At first glance, he’s actually a tad bit frightening. A family friend who graduated in ’98 thinks he looks rather “knight-ish”. Several conversations I’ve had with alumni have gone about the same…overall, Stanger looks a lot less friendly that he used to. Not that a face-less running horse can look incredibly frightening. 

Now, the marketing scheme. The first time I heard that a new logo had been revealed, I was incredibly confused. There hadn’t seemed to be any sort of great ruckus raised over the old one. No one I knew was complaining about an outdated logo….What was the need being fulfilled? 

We’re told that as the school itself changes, so should its extensions (logos, branding, etc.). Indeed, a revised logo gives more graphic opportunities and advertising options. I’ve seen school logos that have been “updated” for other schools and I’ve taken classes on the marketing behind logos. With that in mind, the biggest reason I can see for Stanger’s update is a profit margin. 

Our athletic director revealed that this was a two-year project. Much time, energy, and effort obviously went into creating the new logo. And with a new logo comes foreseeable costs – athletic gear, advertisements, broadcasting graphics, bulletin boards, gym floors (there’s been rumor that the RA flooring will be updated using the new logo, which probably means there will be other aesthetic-type updates around campus), fan apparel, etc. The list truly goes on and on. 

The school will both spend a lot of money on these updates as well as earn a lot of money from them. Aside from direct costs for approved use, there’s also a percentage the university will earn from copyrighting the image. Obviously, the hope is that the return in much greater than the expenditure. No matter how you slice it, though, change is money.