Category Archives: California

everytime you go away

I’m about to endeavor on a trip I never imagined (and frankly attempted to avoid in 2006): a cross-country road trip with my mother. It’s a long story – one I’ll save for a day when I’m not attempting a laundry list of events, including but not limited to:

– Bed Bath and Beyond
– Finishing cleaning my room
– Packing for a road trip with – need I remind you?
– Lunch with a friend
– Selling books back
– Bank trips

You know, the fun stuff in life, right?

I’m blaming twitter for this song now being (as apropos as it may) stuck in my head. Thanks DB.

paul young – every time you go away


everything has changed

changes are good.




it begins.

william fitzsimmons – everything has changed

I need you now…more than ever before

I keep trying to imagine what life could be like sans the incredible amount of stress I seem to be carrying lately. I think often of the words “world beneath” and how it is not only our adolescent community which is living in such a way, but also we adults. We hide from one another, from our closest of communities about parts of our story. I feel foolish in saying it, but I know I cannot be alone. I pray I am, if only in the fear that others live as I do.

Sometimes the line of hope deferred and hope realized is implausibly seen – a vanished line in which I can only hope to trip over in the near future. Dear God, soon please.

Dance on Our Graves – Paper Route

one step forward, two steps back

Those of you who know me in Los Angeles know that one of the various hats I wear while in grad school is as a math tutor. Yes, I am a math tutor slash geek. So you may wonder a few things.

1) What was your undergrad degree in?
2) Have you always been really good at math?
3) Do you have any formal training in teaching? Or even training in math?

Thankfully, these answers are pretty easy for me.

1) Christian education, public relations and Spanish. Yes, I’ve got the humanities wrapped up in a little box. But that does not include a science there, eh? No.

2) Maybe. I mean, good? Sure. Excellent? Ha, I hope? There was that day that Lynette and I were called into the guidance counselor’s office our junior year to be told that Mr. Laska was wanting us both to take AP Calc instead of regular Calc? (I didn’t, it required two math courses, and I needed my elective for my 5th year of Spanish/3rd yr of French). I was a Geometry tutor for Mr. Laska while I took it in 10th grade, of course. That was my first official income aside from babysitting and the motivating factor for getting a bank account, actually. That good ol’ MAC card. So, yes, perhaps I am a bit of a math nerd.

A random sidenote: it was during tutoring Geometry in high school that I was told that I might actually be kinda cool if I would just get drunk with their friends. They literally said, “I bet we’d be your friend if you would get drunk with us. You’re not that weird after all.” AWESOME.

3) Um, deceiving as my degree may be, I have little formal training in public education, unless you count the worthless educational psychology class I had my senior year second semester. The class I loved. Yeah. As for training in math? Silence speaks, right?

So my job tutoring is that I hang out with a bunch of students (a lot of girls) and convince them that math isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, one of my students now is telling me “math is great.” Granted, I have somewhat forced her into saying this as a way to make her laugh back when finals occured first semester and she’d given up. I told her I didn’t care if she didn’t learn a single math fact, as long as by the end of the year she could tell me that math was “great”! Two weeks ago her mom said to me, “you know, she actually is starting to like math? How’d you do that?” And did I mention she’s also learning exponentially? Education shouldn’t be scary.

Where did this math love come from, you ask? Yeah, great question. I think it may have started from my favorite PBS show as a preschooler.  Square One anyone? I tell you, when I was 4 years old I learned this song and I have NEVER forgotten the lyrics.

Nine Nine Nine
Fantastic number 9
It’s perfectly consistent
It works out every time
Nine Nine Nine
That crazy number 9
Times any number you can find
it all comes back to Nine

2 x 9 is 18
8 and 1 is nine
3 x 9 is 27
7 and 2 is nine

I just noticed on one of the websites that Square One’s target audience was 8-12 year olds. Funny. I was 4 when I was addicted. So yeah, maybe I am a wee bit of a math nerd. But creating more math nerds in the world? Removing fear of math? Yeah, that works for me.

hold me close

Going out of town for a large period of time (read: anything more than 4 days) always results in the same amount of panic with the same amount of time remaining as finals. I have no idea why, but somehow around 12 hours before the trip hits, I have this insatiable desire to clean, organize, oh, and pack. Right, that detail. At 2:54 a.m., I cannot find one of the Christmas gifts I bought for family, and I have a mess of books and papers sitting on the floor. 

Thus yet another reminder that my organize chaos helps no one – especially right before holiday travels.

T-minus 16 hours til I land in the Keystone state’s NW corner. Here’s to the adventure I’ve been needing back at home, eh? (Yes, my hometown is close to Canada, so there!)

I think I’ll be okay

When Karen Bergquist mentoned how hard 2008 had been for her and Linford last night at the Troubadour, it not only humanized them more, but reassured me that I wasn’t alone. I recall the end of 2007 and the thoughts that while it had been a full year ending with tension, it was, in fact a good. I had high hopes for the year to come, and have been repeatedly disappointed. Certainly I cannot deny the myriad of good that has filled the year: the laughter, the friendships, the challenges, the academic successes, the professional security I’m truly beginning to sense. 

But this year has not been easy. It started hard and has only maintained in such a manner that I am not ready to welcome 2009.  I have been afraid finals were leapfrog me forward towards further pain, hurt, sadness, remorse, loss for the next calendar change. I fear there would be only more fears of academia and what it means. More days of wondering where love was for me, while my friends one by one paired off. Questioning when the stress of leading peers would force an imminent personal collapse.

I woke up from a 2 hour nap last Friday morning assuming that I would be ripped to shreds. Embarrassed. Disappointed. Overstressed. It would be another day of lamenting what could be, not what is. And the reality? I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was humbled and blessed repeatedly. E-mails, conversations, meetings. Each of them affirmed me and my gifts – even when I was giddy goofy tired, unable to complete sentences by mid-day, I knew, deep down that good was coming into my life again.

I had a sense of a dynamic shift my world and community in the last 4-7 months, and all ounces of intuition in my fingers, heart and mind have not been disappointed. Wrestling with the next, even when the next is no where in true sight, I can see God at work and am truly humbled and awed.  

Regardless of good days or bad days ahead, I’m hoping that I can even more intentionally cling to the hope that these latter days, however much of a toll they’ve taken, are reminders that life ebbs and flows. I have to hope for this.

Latter Days – Over the Rhine

they will keep you in good company

I took a little drive to LAX and back again today (seriously, I need to put a taxi sign on my car – maybe limo? Nah, that’s not right…). I got to (yes, I said got, not had) drop off my roommate and her brand new husband, Steve, on the way to their honeymoon in Mexico, and got to spend an hour catching up with them and hearing some of the funny stories post-reception or during that I missed out on, and caught them up on some of the people that I met that are important in their lives. It was really a blast to just laugh with them, see the tremendous amount of weight removed from both of their shoulders as they finally hit that “we’re married, we get a week long vacation, oh and we’re married” face. The smiles and laughter in the car, let alone their affection is infectious (in a totally good way, of course).

So on my drive back, after a brief stop in Inglewood for gas (note to self: NEVER do that again) I was on my way back for a tour (cuz you know, I can’t ever have a wide open schedule) and had some time to just process. Normally if I were driving at this time in the morning in LA, I’d call the East Coast – it’s lunch time, people are sometimes free from work, etc. But for some reason, I wasn’t remotely compelled to be distracted. I listened to the radio, but found myself often lost in my own thoughts – which was a pleasant distraction from the typical, “I have to do this, this, this, this, this and that” routine I’ve been so accustomed to lately. LIfe has been chaotically busy and Tuesday has been the day I had been anticipating for weeks. Dare I say months? Yes. it’s true.

Anyway, to the point of this. As I sat in the car, in traffic, looking at the ugly dang smog everywhere in front of me, listening to news reports about the train accident in LA on Friday, I thought about how many amazing people I have in my life, and what a privilege it has been to be a part of or at some many weddings in the past few years. I’ve missed so many more, which has killed me each time. But the last few weeks, in the midst of asinine amounts of craziness, have been such a respite in catching up with some of these newly and no-so-newlyweds. And what I realized more than anything that I’ve been direly blessed by, as actually been meeting the people so important to these friends in the process of weddings. It’s so fun, honestly.

For instance, Vera’s whole family is a hoot and a half. Seriously. I mean, seriously. Every time I go to see her, I love how her brother’s are all just goofballs and a half, but have hearts of gold. And of course, they’re goofballs. And the fact that they still remember that I live in California is amazing to me – I mean, seriously, we aren’t like BFFs or anything. And I love that one of Vera’s nieces found me on facebook and still contacts me all the time on the good ol’ FB chat. HILARIOUS! That girl kills me! At her batchelorette, I met some wives of her husband’s friends – these women were so funny and amazing. I loved re-catching up with them at the wedding a few days later.

Then of course this weekend, I got to spend a bunch of time with Steve’s mom and nana, actually. I know, random, right? I was hanging out at Anna’s mom’s place the day of the wedding with the bridesmaids, and I’d imagine that for the mother of the groom, sometimes it’s an interesting place to be – so it was totally fun to hear her tell me stories about Steve and Catherine as kids, and just laugh and crack some jokes with them. At the rehearsal dinner, I re-met people who are good friends of Anna and Steve’s at Fuller, and yet really, Jon and Shannon and I barely knew each other. I had a blast laughing with them at Steve’s family table. So funny – laughed so hard. And one of Anna’s best friends from growing up, Sarah. Girl was so much fun! Between the wedding and the reception, I haven’t laughed to hard in a while. Seriously.

While it sounds like I’m recapping just two weddings, the moral of the story: I’m blessed with some amazing friends, and even more amazing extended families as a result. Left and right, people have loved, cared for, and cried with me over the years – I could write a pages upon pages about all of you (and you know I would if I didn’t have somewhere to be in 20 minutes). But know that each of you reading this post have touched me in small and large ways – and I’m honored and blessed to know you and call you friends. Rock on, friends! 🙂

young friend :::: brooke waggoner