Thursday, November 30, 2006

seasonal laughter

-While working out at the gym, I noticed that the woman next to me and I were both watching Jon Stewart. We realized we were laughing at the same parts, and talked about how hilarious he is.

-The way an orangey sunset crept through the trees and kudzu vines at the edge of campus.

-The cheeriness of the white Christmas lights around an old window I have hanging on my wall. I only had one strand of lights last Christmas, and put them there. I loved it so much I couldn't bear to take them down. Now, they're finally seasonal again.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

y[e]arning for Belfast

-Walking to church history last night, I heard music coming from the classroom across the hall. I leaned against the door, and heard Bill (I think) performing U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday." I was glued to the door. He sang and played so well, and as he sang memories of my trip to Derry (where Bloody Sunday happended) flooded back. I found myself a bit teary as I remembered the kids from Belfast telling each other their conflicting versions of that tragedy, and coming to realize that even though they were different in terms of Protestant or Catholic, they felt the same pain of the Troubles.

-Chatting with Christine, who was a volunteer in Belfast after me, and knowing that we understood each other's experience there better than anyone else could. We'd never met before, but I felt like I knew her, because we both lived in and loved that wee corner called Northern Ireland.

-Knitting my first stitch ever. I've wanted to learn for so long, and today in about 15 minutes, I did!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

powerful revelations

-The orange lacey pattern of lichen and bark on a tree outside. I think it may be a lacebark elm, but my aunt probably knows better than I do. The grey bark peeling away to reveal orange and tan is so pretty.

-My "The Power of One" DVD finally coming in the mail. I ordered it some time back after reading the novel, and am eager to watch it. I remember loving it when I was younger.

-Listening to Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" on my record player. It's a Christmas staple for my family, and so it ushers in the season perfectly. I've never heard it on vinyl before this year, and it sounds so rich and clear, I can almost smell the chestnuts roasting.

Monday, November 27, 2006

initially sweet

-The crackle of the WoodWick candle my Grandmother gave me. The initials on the candle are WW (like mine), and it has a wooden wick that crackles like a mini fire when it's lit. It's as close as I get to crackling fire in my tiny apartment.

-The man who works in the kitchen at seminary and always greets me when I get water from the refectory for the bookstore's plants. He is always so friendly to me, and today he said "you have a good day, now, you hear?" as I left.

-As I drove with my windows down, the sweetest floral smell wafted into my window. I couldn't see where the flowers were, but it made my drive home in traffic sweeter.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

flights of fancy

-The little boy who walked through the airport carrying a stuffed animal dog that was as big as he was. He was so proud of it, and had to work hard not to trip over it.

-Seeing the twinkling city lights below from my plane window. They looked so small, and it was fun to imagine who lived there. I wondered what their lives were like, and if anyone had ever done the same flying over me.

-Entering the train in the airport that took me to baggage claim, and seeing Sara from school. I almost took the train before it, but changed my mind and went to the second one at the last minute. We were surprised to see each other, and enjoyed catching up after the holiday break. It was so nice to see a familiar face as soon as I got off the plane.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

soul food

-A cup of tea to soothe my sore throat.

-Having my favorite breakfast casserole this morning. I also had it at a bon voyage breakfast my family held for me before I went to Northern Ireland, so it brought back good memories.

-Drinking coffee on the back porch with my sister. It was still cool outside, and the steamy coffee and lazy conversation created a perfect morning.

Friday, November 24, 2006

cartwheels and butterflies

-Doing cartwheels in the grass with Clay and Ashley's cousins at Thanksgiving. It was a lovely warm day, and Ash and I played football and ran around with the kids outside all afternoon.

-The fall-leaf-yellow butterfly that landed on a bright red flower in our backyard.

-Shopping arm-in-arm with my sister, so glad for the time together.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

whirring welcomes

-The yellow rose (of Texas) and Gaelic welcome my sister left in her guestroom for me. It's so great to spend some time with her and Clay.

-The whirr of the film projector that I could hear in the silence between previews at the movies last night. It made me feel like I was in a different time period, like the days of Katharine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier. I just watched "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" and that's probably what made me think of them. What a film before its time.

-Seeing Texas stars again. Orion was beautiful last night.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Texas four-step

(Again I'm late with the post...sorry! I've been traveling all around Texas visiting family.)

-Watching my Nana brush my Papaw's hair this morning. They're both in their eighties, and still clearly in love.

-The pungent and delicious smell of a neighbor cooking Mexican food that hits my nose as soon as I step outside.

-The way my Grandmother exclaimed, "Wonnnerful! Just Wonnerful!!" as we all munched on delicious oatmeal raisin cookies.

-Seeing my Papaw take four really big steps across the room. He's recovering from a stroke and knee trouble, and has been working incredibly hard. Those four steps were like running a marathon would be for me.

-The pinkish-yellow light cast across an abandoned building just as the sun begins to set.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

sunny side up

-Opening the fridge and noticing an egg with a happy face drawn on it. It looked sort of like old nursery rhyme pictures of the moon with a face. I brought it to my Dad and gave him a quizzical look, and he said that he had drawn a face to remember that this particular egg was hard boiled. What a creative way to keep your eggs straight.

-The little boy at the grocery store who used the grocery cart as a jungle gym. He decided to help his Mom put groceries on the belt, and grabbed for the eggs while she wasn't looking. She caught them from his hands just before he dropped them all.

-Playing in the warm sunlight with our pets, Fritz and Rose. I'm not able to have pets at seminary, and I miss them a lot. Fritz is a little miniature schnauzer, and he is always falling all over himself (literally) to get my attention. I am in awe of how affectionate and unswervingly devoted he is.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

"the road goes ever on and on..."

(Sorry I haven't written in a couple of days...I was in Houston for meetings, with no internet access. I'm writing more glimpses to make up for it!)

-In the airport, I was eating lunch, and a man sat near me. We started talking and it turned out that he was a part-time minister from England (orginally from Nigeria), in the US on business. I told him that I was in training to be a minister, and that I was going to be assessed as a Candidate for the ministry this weekend. When I said that I was interested in reconciliation ministry, and that I had worked in Northern Ireland, he said, "I thought you were Irish. I just had a feeling you were, and I guess you are on some level." He then said that I should follow my call wherever it leads. It was amazing. Then, he asked to pray with me. After getting over the initial shock of praying in public, I said yes, and he prayed over my travels, for my family and for my call. He prayed that I would be a peacemaker. I also prayed for him, and then we shared email addresses and parted ways. Had I not had his email address in my pocket, I wouldn't have believed he was real. He seemed like a guardian angel. I walked to my departure gate, bewildered, and more sure than ever before that I was going in the direction God wanted me to go.

-Having lunch at the Hobbit Cafe in Houston with my parents after my examination. It is a charming Lord of the Rings themed place, that's been a hallmark in Houston for over 30 years. The sunny outdoor seating under the trees, green wooden paneling and delicious food captures the cheer of Tolkien's Middle Earth.

-The way the sun shined through the glass ceiling of the antique shop my Mother and I walked through. It illuminated the peeling white paint and the brilliant stained glass.

-The feeling of relaxation that really only comes with being home again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

twelve's a crowd

-Having the girls over for Sex&theCity on Tuesdays. What is normally a few people ended up being twelve, crammed into my little apartment. We had the chocolate hazelnut cookies I made, and of course, wine. The energy and laughter from all being together was enlivening.

-The tick-tock of my old wind-up alarm clock. I bought it ages ago in an antique store for 50 cents. At first, the tick-tock kept me awake, but now I can't sleep well without its rhythm. I also love how the face glows in the dark, so that I can always tell what time it is.

-Driving to lunch, we blared the Dixie Chicks "Not Ready to Make Nice" and sang at the top of our lungs. I love that song, with all of its bravery and honesty. It's refreshing to hear country music that isn't afraid to break out of its political mold.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


-The woman who was walking down the street with her head turned upwards, admiring the trees. She'd found a glimpse, I suppose.

-Seeing Johanna in the library, she came over and hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and then hugged me again. It was the warmest 'hello' I've received in a while.

-While studying outside, Rodger walked by with some candy, and plopped a couple of handfuls of it onto the picnic table. I needed the sugary pick-me-up as I studied, and so did the two students and security guard who walked by and were given some.

Monday, November 13, 2006


-Visiting a little old couple that goes to Eastminster who haven't been able to come to church for eight months. We took them some of the flowers from the Sunday service. The wife looked completely delighted that we were there. They were warm and friendly, even though we've never met before.

-The way the buildings in downtown Decatur reflected the cloudy blue sky and sunlight.

-Feeling accomplished (and famished) after working out for the first time in a while. Even though my legs were tired, I think I walked a bit taller (which for me is quite a feat) as I left.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

shedding light

-Something Shirley said yesterday has been haunting me. I said that I was feeling a bit restless here in my second year of seminary, and she said that perhaps my restlessness is me being prepared for what comes next. She said it was a healthy sign, and I think I agree. Today I've felt lighter, knowing that my discontent is a sign of the Spirit. I'm reminded of a song by Matthew Perryman Jones, that says, "Change is coming now, I can feel its breath. All my fears are falling down, right to their death. Oh, may they rest." I can feel the breath of change, and it is liberating.

-I glanced over at a light on the way to church, and made eye contact with the taxi driver next to me. We shared a smile and a nice little nod.

-The quality of the light in the coffee shop this afternoon. It cascaded through the window in bright rays, making everything look softer and warmer inside (and making me feel softer and warmer inside).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

smells, exaggerations and impromptu conversations

-The smell of the fresh-out-of-the-dryer sheets on my bed as I drift off to sleep.

-The man who was biking with his daughter and used exaggerated arm motions to cue me that they were turning left. I didn't even know people used those anymore.

-An afternoon of coffee and conversation with Shirley, an exchange student from England. Kim and Elizabeth from school also happened to come by the coffee shop, and we all had a great chat. Accidental gatherings like that are the most fun.

Friday, November 10, 2006

rest and roses

-Getting my coffee in a smiley faced mug at the diner this morning. Its nose stuck out from the mug, and it had little hearts around it. It was very random and cute.

-After speaking at a seminary luncheon, they gave me one of the centerpieces. Beautiful roses, that are yellow and fade to pink. My apartment already smells like them.

-A much-needed Friday afternoon nap.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


-The little bird chirping happily outside of my Greek classroom this morning. (Not that I wasn't paying attention...)

-The woman who smiled at me warmly as I slowed to let her cross the road in front of me.

-A fun new haircut.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

heavenly indulgences

-Waking up and realizing that I'd set my alarm an hour early. I indulged in one more hour's sleep, and it was wonderful.

-Rushing in to work this morning and kicking myself for skipping breakfast (again), only to discover that Ed had brought us the most delicious chocolate donuts. Coupled with Elizabeth's divine homemade eclairs last night, I'm in chocolate heaven.

-The warm feel of the paper as it comes out of the copier.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

surface observation

-The way raindrops fell into puddles, forming circles and bubbles on the surface. I'm amazed at how perfectly round they are.

-Treating myself to a hot, chocolatey mocha because I had to be out and about in the cold rain.

-The mother who waited at the bus stop with her baby son. She was holding him, and they were both looking at each other and smiling. Now that I think about it, I should have given them a lift.

Monday, November 06, 2006

flamboyantly French

-Saying "haw" all morning with Ed and Leslie. We were entirely too unruly with our pitifully fake French accents, and had a ball. It became a greeting of sorts as we yelled "haw, haw, wee wee cherie" and the like back and forth to one another, while trying not to laugh.

-The way the sunlight crept through the brilliant yellows of this tree at Eastminster. I happened to glance up, and was stunned. God seems to be the most flamboyant during fall. :)

-The little old man that was walking down the sidewalk carrying a painting. It obstructed most of his face, and I couldn't make out what was painted on the canvas. Did he paint it? Was he taking it to someone, or just home? I guess I'll never know.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

so the darkness shall be the light...

-Rediscovering T.S. Eliot. His Four Quartets are amazing, especially the third. I love how he captures waiting, with all of its struggle and beauty.

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.
-When we were leaving church, Ed was talking about plans, and that he thinks the Holy Spirit works best through plans because we already have one foot off of the ground. He said that we can then be blown this way or that, because we're not too firmly grounded in our own agenda. I said "or we can be blown down" (meaning that our plans can be changed altogether) and, at that moment, I tripped on the concrete and stumbled. We laughed and I looked for lightning.

-A new soft cardigan for the chilly weather.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

kindness, randomness and art

-At a meeting this morning, Tom, the sweet Aggie (from last Sat's post), was coughing. A woman got up and went all the way across the room just to give him a piece of candy to help with his cough.

-The zig-zagged imprint on the bottom of my Snicker's bar. Why do most chocolate candy bars have that same pattern on the bottom?

-Driving into Atlanta this afternoon, I saw the lovely skyline, and noticed that a mural along the road was completed. Last time I passed this mural, it was half-finished and had a sign on it requesting donations so that they could complete it. It looks beautiful and bright amid the grey of the city.

Friday, November 03, 2006

memories and music

-Discussing creation in theology, and remembering a conversation I had in the car with my parents when I was really young. I asked, "who made God?" It's so interesting to discuss it in seminary now.

-Playing guitar outside in the sun. It's such a wonderful Friday tradition.

-Being transported back to South Africa by a cup of Ricoffy. It's been over a year since I last had it in there, and it tastes the same (cheers, Gareth.)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

falling into place

-Watching one leaf swirl down from a tree outside my window. It dances down, being tumbled by the wind, taking its time, and lands as perfectly as a cat. Seeing the ground littered with leaves, I imagine that each one fell just as gracefully.

-Catching up with my cousin over the phone. We haven't talked in a couple of months, and it was so great to chat and anticipate all getting together for Thanksgiving.

-Stressing out more than necessary over plans, and then just watching them fall into place better than I could have orchestrated. It's amazing how little control we really have over our lives, and how much freedom we can find in just letting go.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

aerosmith, baklava and flattery: (all sweet things)

-The criss-crossed plane trails across the sky on my way to work. It kind of looked like the Aerosmith logo.

-Baklava for dessert at lunch today. The cinnamon, honey and nut combination was divine.

-A great conversation with Michael, including a (probably in jest) job offer. Some days you just need a wee bit of flattery.