2010: Year in Review

The thing about the New Year I find so interesting is the way you can look back at the big picture of your previous year and occasionally see patterns. It's like this year the dissonance between all of my old thoughts, patterns, lies and behavior collided violently with the new creation I am through Jesus and the new life he has been calling me to live. It's been a year of uncovering what I know to be true and the difference between what I know the lies that I react to in my everyday walking around life. It's been exhausting, refining and often very hard. But I'm finding hope for the new year and trying to move forward holding onto that even if I can't quite see the end of this struggle yet.

See, the reason I don't make resolutions is that I suck at them. I did barely any of these for longer than 3 months.
Although I did pretty good on the no drive through thing for awhile. But sliding back in was my downfall. It's a good one to revisit I think.

I started realizing, and really working through the fact that getting healthy was about so much more than losing weight and wearing smaller pants.
I lost some weight, I gained some weight, I worked hard at relationships and I completely ran away from some relationships. I started realizing just how intensely paranoid I was about any and all relationships and to be honest just paranoid in general.

I flirted with an angry and cynical Bethany that I knew I didn't want to be. Sometimes, I flirt with her still.

I began what I can see now was the slow roll down the hill into what is now an intense withdrawal from relationships and human interaction of any kind. I had stopped feeling safe months before I could put the words to what I was feeling. I've felt for many months as if I've been unraveling slowly from the inside out.

I hid in the halls of Hogwarts and slowly worked on plowing through 52 books this year, I didn't hit 52, but I got close. I learned that pretending to be ok doesn't make it true and often you end up more damaged than if you would have let it all hang out in the first place.

Oh, and I had a FLOOD in my HOUSE. I honestly feel like that happened about a million years ago but really it was less than a year which is INSANE to me. But the good news is I got new flooring and bathrooms and all sorts of junk out of it for my deductible and a lot of exhaustion on my (and ok, Pete's) part. The flood sort of forced me to ask people for help, which if you know me isn't one of my spiritual gifts, like at all.
(I think I might make it my One Word for 2011 actually)

I started recording one (or several) good things a day and posting a Good Thing month in review post, which has been a lot of fun. As someone that can often see only the darkness in front of her this has been like fresh air.

I turned 31, which felt weirder than 30 and more internally climactic for me than 30 ever did.
For my birthday Pete FINALLY made the move to Cincinnati and into his basement "apartment' in my house!
It's sometimes weird living with a boy (and I use living with in the strictest platonic roommate way possible) but mostly hilarious and fun and reassuring because if there is a freak accident and I split my head open I won't languish slowly bleeding to death for 3 days...or you know...something like that.

I started to uncover exactly how deep my issues with relational abandonment ran and just how damn broken that made me feel and act.  I learned again and again that even when I can't hear or see him God still moves. I started to try to believe that there are people that will still be there when I need them to be if I can only realize they might not be the people I thought they would be.

I learned that sometimes my words weren't adequate, or even more lately I don't have the words in me to share. But other people do, so I just use their words while my heart tries to recover.

It was a good, hard year. I'm hopeful about some decisions I've made for 2011 and hopeful for how I can start to repair the damage I've done to myself and the valid damage that others have done to me this year. Because I'm just over it already and I want it to be better. I want to be better.



You know, I store up these posts in my google reader and every single damn time I read them right when I need to read them.
Here's one from in(courage):

This exhausting battle with becoming true faced – the intentional drop of the façade, and the joyful embrace of the quirkiness – both amuses and saddens me, daily.

You see, I’m a recovering people pleaser.

That desire to fit in, to be liked, and yet…be “unique”, like…well, everyone else, has been as familiar to me as breathing.  Comparison became an involuntary function, “Insecure” my middle name.

Once you learn to live under the tremendous weight of this baggage, it becomes the way you function…

crippling the way you carry yourself,

coloring the way you engage with others,

warping the way you perceive God…and His plan for your life.

Isn’t it amazing how easily we get this all wrong?  We know what brews in our hearts, what we wrestle with in our minds, and what taunts us from our past…and on this, we base our self-perception, our value, our worth.  And yet we look at others – the well polished exterior – and make an assessment based on that single layer of their existence.

We judge, applaud, compare.

And most often, based on that broken scale, we come up short.

But you see, it is I that constructed this scale in the first place.  Of course it’s faulty.  It was never intended to be.

We have been wired – absolutely and intentionallydifferent.  Marvelously unique.  And rather than thrive in the delight of this reality, we try to fix, and survive amidst, what we view as wrong with us.

I am discovering, on this glorious road to freedom, that comparison kills contentment.  Go ahead; read that again, it’s profound…

As sure as the dawn, comparison will kill contentment.

So what do we do with our brokenness, if not resent and hide it?

I have experienced, first hand, the destructive, exhausting, pretentious lifestyle of hiding, and you could not pay me enough to live there again.

For I have tasted the light, sweetness of freedom, and I could never go back.

I will never forget that hot day in August, 2003, while sitting in the front row of a stadium in New York, listening to Pam Stenzel talk about purity.  It was just 2 months before I was set to marry the man of my dreams, a guy I was sure had fallen for the girl I was pretending to be, the girl I so badly wanted to be.

But God met me in the dark, dirty caverns of my heart.  Places I was determined to never revisit.  Concealment, I was certain, was my only hope.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As it all came tumbling out; the ugly, the painful, and the downright shocking, a sense of intense fear began to grow, threatening to pull me back into hiding.

But even then, God was facilitating the exchange.  The fear was soon overpowered by a boldness that started to rise within me, and a weightless that sweetly settled on my heart, wooing me on to surrender more of what I had so ferociously protected.

I had carried this load for so long that I had no idea what it felt to live without it, to “travel light”.

God tenderly started to put me back together, like an artist painstakingly crafting a masterpiece from little shards of broken, irregularly shaped glass.  Pieces of something that used to be “put-together”, now repurposed in something new, something bigger…astonishingly beautiful and deliciously unorthodox.

It is true.  I used to want to look like a clear, crisp glass vase.




Untainted by the chips and dents of a messy life.

But I’m realizing that isn’t the image God is calling me to portray.

He gets no glory in my apparent perfection, in my finely-tuned charade.

It is in my brokenness, and reconstruction, in the wild, multi-faceted flicker of His light within me – glowing through those very shards I tried so desperately to cover up – that His beauty is displayed to a watching world.

Never before have I been so confident that He is more than able to bring about beauty from our brokenness.

The question now is simply this: will you surrender your past to the creative genius of a loving, redemptive God?

{who knows, you just might like being a human mosaic}

Ps.  In case you’re wondering…he did still marry me.  The real me!

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom



"Sometimes the facade becomes the building"

I read that in a book recently. It was about a morning news anchorwoman and what happened when she believed her own hype.
A bit later I was talking to my sister about someone we know that is struggling with the role they molded themselves into and thought of this quote again.

It also made me think about a lot of the things happening in my heart and head lately. I mean, I don't know that there is any hype about me but if there were I'd probably have fallen for it.

I'm torn between wondering if it's who I really am or if it's just a facade of who I've become. I've been getting all twisted up and confused between perception, reality and the gray area in between where life really exists.
I don't mean to sound (or actually be) melodramatic or anything. But the more I try to figure it out on my own the more lost I get in the maze of relational (and real life) paranoia.
I feel like I've been floating above my life somehow and commenting to myself about how nice the life is and how lovely the friends are, wouldn't it be nice if it were true.

It would be easy to say it was because of what happened earlier this year or last spring. But in reality (how ironic is that word) I think this fracture in my facade has been a long time coming.

Because sometimes the facade becomes the building.
Sometimes, even when you can see on one hand that you don't have to be perfect and you don't have to have it all together, even when you are surrounded by a community that lets it all hang out warts and all, you can get caught up in your own hype thinking you need to have it all together.
Sometimes you forget that the grace you so readily explain and proclaim to others applies to you as well.
Sometimes you get so lost in your facade that you believe the lies carved into your heart for years and you believe the whispers of your own mockery coming back to chip away at even your healthiest relationships.
Sometimes you don't believe that anyone could stand to see the building beneath the facade.
Sometimes you feel like there's nothing but a black pit of disappointment and "not good enough"ness hiding beneath and increasingly thin layer of smiles and I'm ok's.

It is so easy to believe your own hype and believe that just getting by, just maintaining your grip on the edge of sanity is good enough. It will do.
But occasionally you get long moments breathing the startling air of grace and freedom from the oppression of the facade and you know it should be, could be, and one day hopefully will be better.



I read this in Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen and this is exactly how I am sometimes (ok, most of the time).  The speaker is referring to Puff Ball, an Angora kitten she and her sister received from their Aunt and Uncle who they were living with. After the first part she switches to talk about how her sister (Meghan) is just like Puff Ball.

Despite her name, and her appearance, Puff turned out to be one of those cats who never met another animal that didn't look like dinner. With a grating, high-pitched yowl, she set slain moles, birds, mice, chipmunks, even frogs, on the kitchen floor. But sometimes she took on a possum, a raccoon, a neighbor's boxer, and the result was a deep puncture wound or a gash from ear to ear. We discovered what had happened only after the fact, too late for the vet, because when Puff was wounded, Puff went under the porch and nursed her injuries until the bleeding stopped and the healing began.
Whether it was when her best friend ran off with another group of girls in eighth grade, when she was unfairly denied the English prize at her high school graduation, when she was passed over for the weekend anchor spot, or when the doctors told her she would never carry another pregnancy to term, Meghan did precisely the same. She licked her wounds alone and in isolation, until only the sharpest eyes could see the scars. And then she went on as if nothing had happened. Once I had cried to my aunt, "Why can't she talk to me about it when she's really upset?"
"It's not in her nature," Maureen had replied.


Wishin' and Hopin'

Wishin' and Hopin' is another stellar book by Wally Lamb
I just really enjoy his books. So much I can even overlook the shame I feel for having discovered him through Oprah's book club.

This book was hilarious and a great pre-Christmas read. It tells the story from a 10 year old Catholic school boys perspective and I love the gray incomplete knowledge that perspective brings to the story. If kids don't know the answer to something they will often fill in the blanks themselves and it's almost always wrong.
A Russian girl joins the class during the height of the Cold War and I had a ton of fun pronouncing the botched English language with a Russian accent whenever that character would speak.

This book also cemented in me a desire to see New England, which should be happening next fall!

From GoodReads:
It's 1964 and ten-year-old Felix is sure of a few things: the birds and the bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he'll never forget.
LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone's turntable, and Felix Funicello
Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School—where Mother Filomina's word is law and goody-two-shoes Rosalie Twerski is sure to be minding everyone's business. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame Frechette, straight from QuÉbec, and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux vivants, Wishin' and Hopin' barrels toward one outrageous Christmas.
From the Funicello family's bus-station lunch counter to the elementary school playground (with an uproarious stop at the Pillsbury Bake-Off), Wishin' and Hopin' is a vivid slice of 1960s life, a wise and witty holiday tale that celebrates where we've been—and how far we've come

I don't know the words

When I don't know the words so many lovely ladies of the interwebs do.

After the War

Red door photo by bfick (flickr)

Hot tears slam my cheeks, slide down, rivers of unbidden emotion.

I’m shocked at their appearance–hot lava exploding from a mountain that had just been covered in daisies.

I slip into a bathroom stall, place my head in my hands, sniffle into a square of paper. That year…so good, so hard.

I feel more like a warrior than a writer.

My heart has the scars to prove it.

But then, softly, a whisper comes to my heart, “Put down your sword.”

And I notice, for the first time, how my heart has stood in ready-to-fight position for so long, stiff, waiting to dodge the next blow.

I relent. And something inside clatters to the ground. I see the wounds, still fresh, not noticed in the heat of the battle. I touch them tentatively. Cover protectively.

Then again, softly within…
“If I will wash your feet, will I not wash your wounds?”

I have a choice. Drop my guard or guard my hurts.

I choose the first.

And His hand touches all that aches, His voice whispers truth, His love wipes around, over, down.

It stings a little. I flinch with old fear.

But slowly I relax, lean into Him, remember the time before the war and I know it is finished.

No longer a warrior.

I’m a child, small, safe, with Daddy’s hands making it all better.



I leave the bathroom stall, finally, look into clear eyes in the mirror.

And I am never the same again.



This Christmas has been a bit of a contradiction for me.
I've been intentional about pulling back and not over committing financially or with my time. I've tried (often unsuccessfully) to read through meditations on Advent for the first time and I got stuck on hope.

Much like Thanksgiving I found myself struggling with the chaos that was happening (and continues to rage on) in my heart and the peace being sold to me through Hallmark and Folgers commercials. I struggled to hold on to the hope that this black cloud will someday (maybe soon) pass from my heart and I can breathe again.

It's a weird toned down Christmas this year. But I'm working on holding onto the glimpses of hope I can see when the clouds momentarily part.
I'm working to hold onto the kindnesses and I love you's I hear and even accept occasionally.

There's a lot rolling around in my head and heart about hope right now. But nothing seems to be able to come out of my mouth or fingertips about it. Maybe soon. Right now I'm just trying to be still and remember that He is God and I don't have to have it all figured out right now.
Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I'll breathe again
I'll breathe again
- Sara Bareilles


Rise and Shine

I know, 2 posts in one day...what?!
But I'm running out of days to post in 2010 and have a few more books to check off my 52 in 52 list. I'm not making it to 52 books, but I put a good dent in it! I'll try again next year.

Rise and Shine is a book about a woman that believes her own hype. She's a morning anchorwoman and makes an error and life just sort of implodes from there. It's told from the story of the sister which I kind of like. I like the way the sister starts defining herself more and more apart from her overwhelmingly famous sister during and after the implosion.

From Good Reads:
It’s an otherwise ordinary Monday when Meghan Fitzmaurice’s perfect life hits a wall. A household name as the host of Rise and Shine, the country’s highest-rated morning talk show, Meghan cuts to a commercial break–but not before she mutters two forbidden words into her open mike.

In an instant, it’s the end of an era, not only for Meghan, who is unaccustomed to dealing with adversity, but also for her younger sister, Bridget, a social worker in the Bronx who has always lived in Meghan’s long shadow. The effect of Meghan’s on-air truth telling reverberates through both their lives, affecting Meghan’s son, husband, friends, and fans, as well as Bridget’s perception of her sister, their complex childhood, and herself. What follows is a story about how, in very different ways, the Fitzmaurice women adapt, survive, and manage to bring the whole teeming world of New York to heel by dint of their smart mouths, quick wits, and the powerful connection between them that even the worst tragedy cannot shatter.


At work my desk is by a window.
The window looks onto the outside parking lot.
Beyond the parking lot are railroad tracks.
On the other side of the railroad tracks is the railway yard.

There's a lot of discarded junk sitting in the railway yard.

Including these giant spools. They kind of look like the old wooden thread spools.

The other day I was staring out my window wondering what they put on them. I realized it was probably cable of some kind. Then I started picturing how the cable got onto and off of the spools. I imagined the huge machinery that would have to twirl the spools while another machine fed the cable onto the spool (because obviously robots do it, it couldn't possibly be done by people right?)

Then I twirled my chair around to do some more work and thought about how grateful I was to have grown up in a time with Mr. Rogers. Because his little trips with Mr. McFeely through the spools of film that were speedily delivered got me looking at things wondering how they got to be where and how they were.

I don't know if I'm right about these spools. But it was a fun little moment during a otherwise mostly dull day.



Lately I just feel so damaged.
It's easy to say this is why or that is why but it's just become so pervasive in my heart lately I can't hardly see straight anymore.

Sometimes, I feel like I can't even breathe through the damage. It's like I'm suffocating on the brokenness that should have been repaired long ago.

I'm trying not to be to whiny about it, which I know you'll all say "oh no no, it's ok" but honestly I'm sick of my own pissing and moaning.

I just want to fix it. I just want it to be done.
I have some steps that I'm putting into place to hopefully deal with this. Insurance changes at work are making it more affordable (affordable at all really) for me to go to doctors so I'm going to go.
I'm sure that much of the issue is hormonal (sorry boys) but I also know there are some deeper issues that need to be dealt with professionally, and not with a free volunteer type person.

I still just don't feel safe. I feel extra paranoid, left out and alone. I can see that these things aren't true. I can see that the reality is :insert actual reality here: but I don't believe it. I'm feeling like I can't trust the things I see or hear because I'm misunderstanding them or they're just not true and I'm completely making them up.

It all adds up to a lot of withdrawing, a lot of silence and a ridiculous for even me amount of paranoia.
Usually I can fake it until I make it, but I feel like I've been faking it a long time and it's not getting any better. Frankly it's exhausting. So much so that on top of my tendency to sleep and stare away the hours when in a depressive state I'm so exhausted from the moments I rally for social interactions sake I have to nap just to recover.

It's all very dramatic I know.
But the thing is, it's really easy for me to keep telling you I'm ok. Depending on the day I can even mostly believe it myself. However there has been a low and dull throbbing of despair coursing through my veins for months now and I'm just losing my ability to deal with it.



This post is a pretty accurate description of my heart right now. But I'm so trapped in the panic of taping everything up I'm blatently ignoring the consequences of the withdrawal. 
I am still finding the sticky remnants of packing tape on my pots and pans.

Six years ago, my mom and I {geniuses that we are} decided that we would bubble-wrap and packing tape all of my even-close-to-being breakables for my move from DC to middle-Georgia.

We spent hours using yards of clear-plastic packing tape fastening bubble wrap around pots, pans, Pampered Chef cookware, glassware, and silverware.

We invested in a plethora of packing tape and started the taping brigade. Nothing escaped the feathery wisp of the Scotch-brand sealant as it lured everything into its vice-grip.

If it was standing still, we taped it.

When our task was finished, we had successfully taped up the majority of my kitchen into hermetically-sealed plastic pockets of impenetrable bubble-dom and called it a day.

My stuff all made it down to Georgia safely.

But six years later I am still getting stuck to my pots and pans.

Safe but sticky.

I wonder how often we attempt to tape up our hearts so that they will not get damaged along our journey…
We wrap them in bubble wrap
Tape them up tight
And seal them off from getting broken
I am guilty of hermetically sealing myself inside of a bubble so that my heart will not get broken.
Closing out the bad
Sealing off the cracks
Protecting myself from wear and tear
But just like the pots and pans, I carry sticky residue with me years later.

Packing tape can protect a pan for a tumultuous moving season, but the residue is not worth the hassle.

What if I entered into change unhindered by my efforts at self-protection?

What if I fully offered my heart to God… to my husband… to my friends and stepped outside of my bubble to engage with them?

What if?

I would have a lot less sticky-tape to remove years later.

by Jenny @ Rainmakers and Storm Chasers (jennyrain.com)


Sand Traps

Growing up there was an old picture framed hanging over the davenport (northerners call it a sofa I hear) at the farm.
I was told at one point it was a painting of "the old pond" that had since dried up. But since hardly anything I was told at the farm was true I suspected for a few years that it wasn't actually.

I was told that the pond I usually swam in, and lost my shoe in, was the "new pond". It was man made because the original "natural" pond had mostly dried up years before.

My grandfather would allow people to pay to fish in his pond and he would take the grandchildren out to fish with him too. I mostly played around the pond and removed fish lenses from their eyes once my cousins caught them, but I called it fishing... :)

I remember wandering away from the "new pond" while my grandfather was fishing one day. He was with a customer so my sisters, cousins and I wandered down a path and stumbled upon the "old pond". I was about 6 or 7 and had on burgundy hard shoes.
I remember because I left them there.
As we were climbing around the mucky bottom of the old pond I started sinking. I got stuck and couldn't get out. My cousins and sister created a chain and tried to pull me out, I think there was a really long stick involved. But I was stuck and stuck good. By the end I was almost up to my waist in muck. (although in my memory it was actually quick sand)

My cousins ran up to the new pond and seeing that our grandfather was still in the middle of the pond with his customer they ran up to the house for their dad and mine. They came chugging back and I was pulled to freedom. Finally!

At least, I think that's what happened. I'm told it never happened. I'm told I WAS caught in the muck in the general vicinity of the pond and that there WAS an old pond that had dried up on the property but it had dried up and grass had grown over it when my grandparents filled it in with the dirt from the man made pond.
But in my head, I once almost died sinking into quick sand and there's nothing you can do to talk me out of it dammit.

(small aside: years...and I mean YEARS...later the painting hung in my living room over my sofa. I told the story above to Dan about the old pond and he laughed for an obnoxiously long time. I asked him why he was laughing and he pointed out the WAVES cresting in the picture and the CLIFFS in the background and asked me how I could wonder if it was really a pond since most ponds don't have either cliffs or waves..but whatever I digress)


Basket Case

I am in no state to say anything.
Nothing terribly dramatic happening. Just the same old same old. I see what's happening and I feel helpless to stop it, helpless to stop myself.
I'm sure it will pass, in fact I know it will. But, I'm still sort of a basket case.
I don't want to talk about it to you
I'm not an open book that you can rifle through
The cold hard truth that you'll see right to
I'm just basket case without you

I'm just a basket case and that's what we do

You're begging for the truth
So I'm saying it to you
I've been saving your place
And what good does it do?
Now I'm just a basket case

Won't somebody come on in and tug at my seams?
Oh, send your armies in of robbers and thieves
To steal the state I'm in I don't want it anymore
Sarah Bareilles - Basket Case 


The Corner of my Mind

I was stalking casually perusing a friends pictures on Facebook the other day.
I say friend, because that's what Facebook calls us. I haven't talked to her in years. I haven't talked to the person whose interaction with me is the only thread that holds me to her anymore at all in over a year although there are the occasional texts.

It's odd to me, how people that can be so encompassing and important in your life fade to mere numbers in your friend count on Facebook.

Lately I've felt overwhelmed with any aspect of relationships. While I acknowledge my desperate need to relationships and community I have felt terribly vulnerable and unsafe to the point of complete isolation for awhile now. I just can't seem to shake it.

But I was struck at how consumed I was by friendship with this person several years back and how so much can change when you move away.

As you often do I pinged through numerous mutual friends pages and clicked through photo albums here and there and I was startled at how easy it was to find my mind sliding back into the drama, back into the angst and back into these relationships that while I cherished them at the time are much better off in the past tense than the present for me.
I found myself wondering if I had been who I am now, so much healthier mentally and emotionally than I was then, if I would have walked away sooner. If I would have cut ties with those toxic relationships that I can only really appreciate as toxic with all this time and geographical distance between us.

It's just funny, relationships. We're built to need them so badly that we risk so much to have them. I'm just having to remind myself lately they are worth having.


The Summer We Fell Apart

I'm finding myself drawn to these books about relationships, both familial, romantic and platonic, that hit crisis points and either completely implode or keep hiccuping along. The Summer We Fell Apart is the story of a family starting with the summer the dad officially and permanently left them all and how the kids were almost totally neglected by the mother growing up and had to fend for themselves.
I've read stories like this before, and the siblings usually are very close. But in this one, they all were as far apart as 4 people raised in the same house could be.

From the cover:
The children of a once-brilliant playwright and a struggling actress, the four Haas siblings grew up in chaos- raised in an environment composed of neglect and glamor in equal measure. When their father dies, they must depend on their intense but fragile bond to remember what it means to be family despite years of anger and hurt. These brothers and sisters are painfully human, sometimes selfish, and almost always making the wrong decisions, but their endearing struggles provide laughter through tears- something anyone who's ever had a sibling can relate to.


All or Nothing

When I was a young believer and for a long time before I let Jesus out of the closet I used to believe in an all or nothing God.
I either wanted all of Him or none of Him.
But lately, I'm feeling like I only want a little bit of God.
I only want the gracious, loving and forgiving part.
I'm finding myself shrinking away from the parts of God that tell me I need to forgive, that I need to be gracious and compassionate and that I need to be loving.

I know that I need all of him. But lately I only want a little bit of Him.
It's not the first time I've known something but believed something else.

I'm torn between wondering if it's just the cold and dreary winter settling into my bones, if I"m being melodramatic or if there's really something that needs to be seriously addressed going on.
I'm always loathe to make a huge deal out of these things, because I still don't want to inconvenience people if I can help it.

But I feel so afloat and adrift lately and I know it's because I'm wanting only a little bit of a God that has anchored me for so long with all of Him.


The House at Riverton

I freakin LOVE Kate Morton. If I could read nothing but her books from now on I'd probably be ok.
This book was just so lovely, and I had no idea what the "secret" was until the very very end. So so so so good. Read Kate Morton. Like now.

From the cover:

Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline.
In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the House, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline, and only they -and Grace- know the truth.
The novel opens in 1999 when Grace is ninety-eight years old, living out her last days in a nursing home. She is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer in 1924. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawaknes her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shatter by war, of the vibrant 1920s and of the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever.


Tangled Moments

 I feel unraveled lately. Feelings, memories and thoughts that seem to have been buried so deep they could never be reached again (which was sort of the plan) have been surfacing and tangling around my feet tripping me up.

I'm thinking through my life a lot. It's the end of the year which means it's only natural to begin to do that again. But I'm pretending I'm special and the only one that's doing it right now.
Things have to be different moving forward, and I know the things that need to change. I only lack the courage and motivation to actually move forward and change.

So I'm hanging out with my tangled moments, working out one knot at a time and trying to bring order to a chaotic mind.
In real life turning points are sneaky. They pass by unlabeled and unheeded. Opportunities are missed, catastrophes unwittingly celebrated. Turning points are only covered later, by historians who seek to bring order to a lifetime of tangled moments.
- The House at Riverton


Second Nature

Another in the line up of Alice Hoffman books. Second Nature was a weird but sweet at the same time. The way sometimes relationships get all messed up before you even notice they're falling apart and you get so far away from someone you have no idea how to get back.

From the cover:

Robin Moore never wanted to be anyone's savior. But when she sees a beautiful and innocent man mistaken for a beast, she does something she never thought she'd do: she rescues him and takes him home with her. Only there, on the tiny island where people are trying to lead a perfect suburban life, close -but not too close- to nature, does Robin begin to realize the intricacy of what it means to be human.



Lately I feel like I open my mouth and no words come out.
I mean words come out, but not words that I think I really want to say.
But I don't know what that means even, so I'm not sure how to explain it to you even.
I walked the avenue till my legs felt like stone
I heard the voices of friends vanished and gone
At night I could hear the blood in my veins
Black and whispering as the rain 
- Streets of Philadelphia Bruce Springsteen


Faithless Kiss

There was this moment. During a story you told, another story that was not true (and I knew because it involved me and it did not happen)
I realized you were a liar.

It was not new information, it wasn't anything I hadn't thought before in the moments right before I fell asleep at night.

But this was the first time I realized it was absolutely true and there was going to be nothing I could do about it. Nothing I could do to change it.

It made me really sad.
Because I can't imagine that you don't know what you're doing, since you never look me in the eye when you're doing it.


Something I'd Set Free

"Let The Rain"
Sara Bareilles

I wish I were pretty
I wish I were brave
If I owned this city
Then I'd make it behave

And if I were fearless
Then I'd speak my truth
And the world would hear this
That's what I wish I'd do, yeah

If my hands could hold them you'd see
I'd take all these secrets in me
And I'd move and mold them to be
Something I'd set free

I want to darken in the skies
Open the floodgates up
I want to change my mind
I want to be enough
I want the water in my eyes
I want to cry until the end of time

I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down tonight

I hold on to worry so tight
It's safe in here right next to my heart
Who now shouts at the top of her voice
Let me go, let me out, this is not my choice

And I always felt it before
That the world was filled with much more
Than the drowning soul I've learned to be
I just need the rain to remind me

I want to darken in the skies
Open the floodgates up
I want to change my mind
I want to be enough
I want the water in my eyes
I want to cry until the end of time

I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down

I want to let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down
Let the rain come down
Make a brand new ground
Let the rain come down


The Story Sisters

The Story Sisters is another Alice Hoffman book. They're like drugs. I feel so enveloped in the characters and stories trying to figure out what is going to happen. Sometimes I catch myself holding my breath while I read.

From the cover:
The Story Sisters charts the lives of three sisters- Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart's desire, and a demon who will not let go.
What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? These are the questions this luminous novel asks.
At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them and, finally redeem them.
This was darker than the others so far. More fantastical with the talk of the Arnish World and the demons residing there. But it was still good. I was caught up in the redemption story of the sisters relationships with each other and their mother, wondering how to keep on believing in someone even when all the hope seems wrung clear out of them.
I also found myself repeating the Arnish words because, well they were weird and I needed to see how they felt when you said them if that makes any sense at all.


Good Things: November

November 1st- Had a lot of grown up conversations and a whole lot of awkward moments today. Giggled about them with my roomie after work which was awesome.

November 2nd- Great conversations with Claire. The speeding ticket I could have done without but what can you do? Oh, right...SLOW DOWN...

November 3rd- Finally got a little more caught up at work and had a chance to work on my ACTUAL job for a few hours instead of everyone elses. Also, cleaning a little at home, HP: POA and Modern Family. I am also working on incorporating "Wow. It's like the passive aggressive Olympics in here" into my everyday vocab.

November 4th- Today was a blur of work and spinning wheels. But then there was breakfast for dinner!

November 5th- First day of dog sitting in the serial killer neighborhood.Pretty much super terrifying. Hopefully I'll survive to finish this good things post...

November 6th- Bought a huge (for me) TV this morning then after putting in some work did nothing but watch Arrested Development for the rest of the night.

November 7th- Great message at church where I was again reminded that I can say something is true or not true but not live like it. Man, God is RELENTLESS sometimes.

November 8t- Was told I make someone proud tonight. Also, encouraged to share my heart and felt confirmed in some leadership stuff.

November 9th- I was mostly productive today at work, which is greatly needed because even the slightest slow down puts me waaaaaay behind again.

November 10th- I felt overwhelmed and behind at work, I stepped in a puddle of dog pee, I woke up to a loud thud and what sounded like footsteps and couldn't go back to sleep for hours in the middle of the night...all in all it wasn't a great day. But I did finish a book which was good.

November 11th- Finally felt like I got a grasp on my work load, also 30 Rock was hilarious

November 12th- Slap happy day, dinner and a movie at the dog sitting house with the rommie and knowing that I get to sleep in tomorrow is AWESOME

November 13th- Cyclones game with work, it was a lot of fun and I even followed the game. Also fun, when I said, "They should totally have synchronized ice skating or something." and then I realized they did....it's called figure skating.

November 14th- Michelle's last day with Washington Project. She wrote a nice card saying nice things.

November 15th- Last sleep at the dog sitting house, I've never been more ready to be home!

November 16th- Happy Birthday Nicole Marie! You're my favorite Wetoskey! See also, I got tickets to a FREE screening on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 3 days early! It was double rainbow intense.

November 17th- I kind of had an excitement hangover today. But I also spent the evening on the couch catching up on DVr with roomie.

November 18th- Helped with my niece's social studies homework, briefly missed filling out worksheets for homework, thank I came to my senses....

November 19th- Jewelry party at Brenna's with Sharen. Bought a cute ring and laughed a lot. Then home for more drinks with Pete and his sister, lots of fun!

November 20th- Harry Potter again! Also bought some super cute shoes for me and slippers for Matthew

November 21st- I played football and soccer for outreach today. It was amazing and I said all sorts of awkward things about sports (like, "Ok footballers who is the catcher?")

November 22nd- Washington Project leadership team meetings are my favorite night of the month

November 23rd- I didn't feel well today, but I still cleaned the kitchen! Also, 2 hour nap after work with a kitty snuggling by my upset tummy

November 24th- Long, wet and dark drive home. But Harry kept me company and then I ate some yogurt that seems to have fixed my tummy issues. Just in time for Thanksgiving!

November 25th- Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. See also, NO BUFFETS ALLOWED!

November 26th- GLOVES! I've been looking for these certain type of gloves for 12 years! And I found them, in the Toledo Zoo gift shop of all places!

November 27th- The China for dinner. I love me some egg rolls from The China. See also, hot tubbing with Nicole and then a nice quick  but deep nap.

November 28th- Home. HOME! Alias marathon with roomie and clean sheet night

November 29th- First day of 5 week days in a row with NOTHING scheduled after work. It's GLORIOUS

November 30th- Wearing a new fleece today. It fits my waist AND is long enough for my gorilla arms that it actually falls at or below my wrists instead of 3/4 of the way up my arm!