18 April 2008

Stargazer Lilies & My Office

My lilies early in the week...

Today's beauty!

My favorite thing about my office is that amazing view of the trees!

Please ignore the boxes under my desk...it's a sign that summer's coming and
I have no where else to store stuff!

17 April 2008

I'm in love

Thought that title might raise a few eyebrows! Hopefully I didn't give anyone a heart attack! Okay, so some might say it's been a slow week, not as in boring or moving slow, but just as I ponder the highlights it kind of seems like maybe I need to get a life. Problem is, I like my life and don't really want a new one. Give me a minute and you'll see why...

1. I received a love letter from Seth Langford this week. It was kind of creepy with scrawled out writing and a pencil drawing and a cut out magazine photo of Brad Pitt, but still it was fab. His t-shirt said, "I heart Rebecca." Seth is every woman's dream - or at least he should be - he's got rugged good looks, real convictions, and just a few quirky flaws. He's loyal to a fault, loves like it really matters, fights for the oppressed and doesn't have a fear of commitment. ;) Trust me, Seth is worth the wait. Mind you, I'm still waiting since he only exists in my heart and soul for the time being. But trust me, in my heart and soul, what we have is very very special. (Gosh, I'm trying to imagine someone stumbling upon my blog and being very very weirded out by me right now!) Okay, okay, so he also exists in the mind of a friend I am honored to have and also in the pages of an amazing novel I just read, The Calling....and to meet Seth for yourself...

2. I had to call the IRS early this week because I my return was rejected several times because the Taxcut software refused to accept my electronic signature. There's a lot of boring details I'll leave out, but after about 40 minutes on hold listening to scratchy Tchaikovsky and enjoying sitting on the parking lot they call I-10. Finally, I hear a beep and soon this deep and very monotone voice says, "This is Mr. Smith ID487964378." No kidding! His name was Mr. Smith! You have to admit that's pretty funny that Mr. Smith works for the Internal Revenue Service. I can just imagine him in a support group..."Hello everybody, I'm Mr. Smith and I'm addicted to boredom." I really shouldn't make fun, he was very friendly and at least somewhat helpful. The really humorous part is that after he confirmed that the figures I was entering were actually he correct, he must have said three times, "Well, I don't know what to say...uhhh...I'm not sure why it keeps being rejected." What? Are you kidding me. You were obviously born to work at the IRS and yet even you don't know what's going wrong? Strange, but true. And lest you worry about me, I was eventually able to resubmit by printing out a spiffy little form and sending in my signature the good old fashioned way.

3. Yet another highlight in my week is that I've been so crazy productive at work. Seriously, it's been amazing. My to do list is getting longer and longer these days, but instead of shrinking back in fear, I'm bravely taking the bull by the horns and crossing things off that list left and right. Simple pleasures, right? I love the joy of quantifiable results.

4. The best for last. A very sweet and very good smelling friend of mine brought me a couple of stargazer lilies on Monday. Each day they've become more and more beautiful as they continue to bloom and gift me with the best fragrance ever. Seriously, people walk down the hall by my office and stop to ask where the amazing scent is coming from! I think these may be my new favorite flower. The beauty has been making me smile all week and the thoughtfulness behind the gift makes makes my heart sigh. I know I'm being total total cheese, but I don't care at the moment. I love the flowers. And even more than that, I love real friends who bring you flowers even when you tell them not to.

11 April 2008

I have to tell you

Sometimes I miss living overseas really bad. I mean a whole lot. The past few days have been like that. I'm not sure why, but I just do. Last night we were eating at Pei Wei when several muslim families met up outside, the men warmly greeting each other and the women with their head coverings double kissing each others cheeks, and beautiful children will heads full of dark curls. My sister asked if they were Turkish. They weren't. I'm not even sure how I can tell, but I can. My guess is Iranian actually. I don't know what it is about seeing women with head coverings that - warning, I know this sounds weird - but it just gives me a warm fuzzy. I just want to walk up to them and ask them to please be my friend! I live in an incredibly international city and yet I don't have any international friends. How can that be? What is wrong with me? I miss that so much. I miss bad English. I miss warm hospitality. I miss spending hours at the table during a meal. I miss the muddy streets of Adapazari. I miss our phone friends. I miss being busy spending time with people, not busy with things. I miss the craziness that is Istanbul. I miss riding the boat across the Bosphorous. I miss Sunday afternoons at the Taylors. I miss my friends. I miss being so dependent on Jesus. I miss catching a glimpse of what outside of America looks like. And I miss people and a culture that are different than me. Exquisitely different.

Now I know I'm sounding romantic about it all. I remember the hard things too and I know my life is easy here. I enjoy fitting in. I enjoy owning the cultural cues and language. And I know I'm where I'm supposed to be and doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I know God has called me here. To Houston. To live with family. To be a youth ministry secretary. I love my life. I love my job. I love being where God wants me to be. But oh, sometimes, I really long to go back.

P.S. I almost "borrowed" - more like stole some pictures that I randomly found on another blog just now in my search for Istanbul photos. Instead, I thought I'd let you take a look for yourself...ISTANBUL DAILY PHOTO...so fun, huh?

03 April 2008

Hey mom, this one's for you! :)

As I was saying, last Friday night my sister's family and I headed out to a beautiful park in old Katy with about a million other people (okay, maybe just half a mil) for the west Houston Relay for Life. Basically, it was just a chance to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, show support for cancer survivors and their caretakers, and raise some money for the American Cancer Society. My sister and I had been wanting to do something like this for a while and were excited when her Sunday School class was getting a team together. I think we just felt like it was important to be involved in this whole cancer thing (I still don't really know what words to use for it) and I guess just be a part of the huge community of individuals and families who have been hugely impacted by this disease. So...my brother-in-law, nephew, sis and I put on our walking shoes to go see what all this hubub was about. Let me just say my sister and I were completely unprepared for what the night would really be like. We just didn't expect it to be emotional. I'm not sure why, I guess we just didn't think about it. However, there were so many aspects of the evening that seemed to get down inside of us. Seeing so many people in their matching Relay for Life t-shirts had an impact. Seeing all the people wearing their purple shirts signifying they are "cancer survivors" had an impact. Listening to the personal stories people shared had an impact. Hearing announcements of the youngest survivor (11 years old I think) and the oldest survivor (An 82 year old man who drove his family to the event) had an impact. Seeing hundreds of lit up luminaries in honor and in memory of those who either have fought or are still fighting cancer lined up all along the pathway had a powerful and significant impact on both of us. I think the most emotional part of the evening for us was watching the group of survivors kicking-off the night as they made their initial trek around the path. We all stood on the sidelines and cheered for them as they physically took one step after another and also to encourage them as they bravely take steps along such an arduous physical, mental, and spiritual journey of life after a cancer diagnosis. Huge. My sister and I, with just a little bravery, tried to hold back tears and smile and clap as they all walked past us. Our mom was far away, but seemed very very close in that moment. It was so powerful to both of us to feel a connection with this community of people who have been impacted by cancer - people who have felt just like us, who were completed blindsided by this intruder into their families, who have cried together, who have experienced defeats and triumphs, people who have shared this journey. At moments the weight of it was unbearable to think of all the pain and struggle these people have and continue to walk through. Yet somehow at the same time, the burden seemed a little bit lighter when shared with so many people. Belonging is huge, even when it's a club like this one. So, we did our little part and walked our hour together from 8:00-9:00 p.m. as the sun began to set. As always, my nephew was the life of the party as he walked, did fancy dance moves, played on the playground and drank 4 mini smoothies! We walked with the crowd and read the names on the luminaries. We ate barbeque. We laughed. We sang along with the entertainer singing, "I Will Survive!" We were proud of our mom. We shed a few tears. We shared in the moment of silence. We prayed. We listened. We watched. We participated. And mostly, we just belonged.