Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pieces of my life so far...

For Christmas, my mom gave me Amy Grant's book Mosaic, Pieces of My Life So Far. I fully expected it to be a memoir in the traditional sense and was really excited about reading all about her life. Instead, it's a collection of thoughts and reflections- snipits if you will- of her experiences. Basically, it's a published and bound blog.

This morning as I read more about her family, I started thinking about what my book, similarly composed, would look like. Pieces of my life so far.

I would tell stories of my childhood... of being a Daddy's girl; taking walks with my nanny and picking daisies; loving the way my Mom looked and smelled before she went on a date with my Daddy.

I would tell of that horrible road into adolesence... where my best friends were only my best friends if it felt right; of my Daddy moving out and that first day coming home from school to find all of his things gone... and how I first noticed the vacant spot on the counter where the coffee pot had been; of finding my first real boyfriend who I would fall for in middle school and continue to fall for throughout the years into college; of finding my first love and dreaming of a life together where I would be a preacher's wife... until a woman named Donna asked me why I didn't just want to be the preacher; and of taking my role in high school very, very seriously.

I would tell stories of years in Blue Heaven with friends who showed me what friendship was like when you chose to be friends rather than just being thrown together; of wondering if I would ever find love again; of doubting my intellect and my worth as I struggled to graduate (as discussed in great length below); and of learning to appreciate the "random" places I ended up only to find out God had put me there.

I would talk fondly of deciding it was okay to date a nerd who drove a hand-me-down mini-van and how getting over myself would allow me to fall in love with the man I would marry; of living and laughing with girls in that little farm house with a cute white dog; of developing my ministry in a church I love so much and the people that came with it; of having one of the best summers of my life only to watch it fall apart when friendships were shaken by girlfriends with unnecessary jealously or uncertain relationships after secrets were shared; then sobbing when my mini-van nerd picked me up to move me away...

I would grow up through the pages of the Land of Black and Gold where my heart would hurt unmeasurable hurt as lost and longed for babies were not met; meeting a woman in Panera who would teach me how to be a mom and how to be a bold friend; watching patterns of friendships ebb and flow as girls changed their phases of life; and how my heart became whole when I first saw that little girl with blonde hair whose skin was purple on that night in October.

My stories wouldn't appeal to everyone. In fact, writing them would be their worth... a chance for me to process through the people and events who have made me who I am. But as I read Amy Grant's book, I'm thankful for a glance into her life. Whether or not you are thankful for being able to glance into mine, I am thankful you chose to.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Things That Make Me Crazy.

Not a real "important" blog... just some thoughts I've had today. These are some things that make me crazy:

1. When people spell stationery/stationary wrong. The kind I make and sell is spelled stationery. Notice the "e". Think: "envelope." Stationary, the other kind, has an "a". My friend Renee says it's memorable because of the part of your body on which you sit... when you are stationary.

2. When things I paint are cuter in my head than they are when I paint them.

3. When my dog barks shortly after E is put to bed.

4. When my mother asks me 400 times to answer questions I can't.

5. When I get my self worked up about things that may or may not happen. i.e., Will people talk about breastfeeding too much tomorrow night at Bunko, or Will my feelings get hurt next week.

6. That people think my little girl is a little boy. But, sometimes she does look like Ralph Wiggem.

7. When I look around my "office" and see projects I still have finished. Off to work on those...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Has my life come to this?

My friend Katie summed it up nicely Monday morning at Bible Study. We were talking about coveting and she said a few months ago before they got their new car that she found herself coveting station wagons. She said her first thought when realizing that she was coveting a station wagon* was "Has my life really come to this?!? A station wagon?!?!"

I had the same thought today when I saw one of my crushes. He was driving past me. In a minivan. Has it really come to this? Have my days of crushes on real crushable people- like Kirk Cameron or Michael J. Fox moved on to the non-crushables?

I am constantly drawn to nerds. That's nothing new. Maybe I should have seen it coming when one of my first crushes was Alex P. Keaton- staunch Republican conservative. (I thought at the time that I balanced out that nerdy crush with the "rebel" crush on bad boy Mike Siever.) Because of my love for the nerds, no one is ever surprised when I confess my love for people like Peter Sagal, or (back in the day) Drew Carey. And because I'm 100% female, no one questions my love for the hot hot hot men like James Denton during the first season of Desperate Housewives, or Taye Diggs, well, anytime he breathes. And because I'm 100% Tarheel, no one (except for Erin Amrich who says that he's too old for me) questions my love for Roy Williams. Those "public" crushes kind of make sense to people.

But Lord knows I've always been cursed with the love for the "every day" man.

I've crushed on worship leaders of almost every church organization I've ever been a part of. I've crushed on my boyfriends before they were my boyfriends, and then their best friends once I was dating those boyfriends. I've crushed on teachers, leaders, friends' fathers and brothers... you name it, I've crushed.

Dan knows all about my crushes, don't worry. I am very open and honest with my love of other men. In fact, our friend Sinclair said the other day as I referrenced someone as "my boyfriend"... "wait, Becky... who isn't your boyfriend?" Sigh. So true.

The last 2 weeks have been hell for our family. We have ridden the emotional rollercoaster of cancer up and down. I have cried and cried and ached and ached. But in the midst of it... I've smiled. I have smiled... because... I was told someone had a crush on me. On ME!

An old friend from high school who I found on Myspace said these words:
Yep...I had a serious crush on you as a teenager! It was one of the only reasons I went to church! .... Anyway, how are you? Fill me in on your life. I'm so happy you messaged me...I figured you wouldn't even remember me.

Happy day of days... the crush-er became the crush-ee! My heart did a flip and I basked in my high school glow for a few minutes before I told Dan (and, yes, he made fun of me) then I wrote my friend back.

It's amazing what this silly revelation has done to my perspective this week. His words gave me confidence that I had been noticed in days when my identity felt so conflicted and bound to the identity of others. My place in the space of his life had meant something. My place in the space of someone's life other than my own had meant something. Maybe that's what my crushes are all about... allowing others to fill space in my life. Giving credibility for who they are and what they do (and, yes, even how they look.) I will continue to have crushes on people as long as I'm able. And maybe I'll even share that with them. Or maybe I'll just smile as they drive past me in their minivan... all the while thinking "Has my life really come to this?" Men in minivans, taking up space once occupied by Alex P. Keaton and Mike Siever.

As I've been sitting here writing this, an old friend who is married to a former crush called me. She asked if we wanted to hang out tonight. We are going to. Oh Lord... does this mean I have to rethink what I'm wearing?!?!?!? Some things never change... Has my life really come to this??

*Please note: I am the proud owner of a station wagon. And not just ANY station wagon. One with a NICE sound system. And... neon lights. And I'm not kidding. Who wouldn't covet that?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ten years ago, my life ended.

Tonight I went with my friend Abigail to a worship service. I know Abigail from UNC days... now she's all grow-ed up and in Law School at William and Mary. While she was home for Thanksgiving break, I got to see her. We met her earlier in the day at Target where she heard Miss Elizabeth call me "Becky" and then I invited myself to go with her tonight to worship.

This was not the first time we'd worshipped together. In fact, ten years ago, we did it quite often. We met during our time in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship where we spent tons of time together- playing cards, having crushes on many of the same boys, laughing too long at things that weren't that funny... and worshipping. And then, in late November 1997, my life- as I knew it- ended.

I was diagnosed with asthma as a three year old. My dad tells the story about seeing me in an oxygen tent during the hospitalization where I was first diagnosed... he said it was the hardest thing he'd ever seen. After those hospitalizations as a child, I continued to suffer. Unfortunately, unlike most people who "grow out of" their asthma, mine got worse.

In the semesters of my freshman and sophomore years at Carolina I had episodes where I was taken to the hospital via ambulance and didn't know I was even that sick until I woke up in the ER. Apparently those exacerbations were not typical for asthmatics- they were definitely worse than I'd ever had before. I remember that first time, after "coming to", when I got up to walk to the restroom it was like a scene from a movie. As I passed the nurses station one by one they started clapping until by the time I got there, all of the staff was applauding. I was completely confused until one of the doctors called out "Girl, we thought you'd never breathe again, let alone be able to walk to the restroom!"

The remainder of my college career was spent constantly waiting for a repeat of that night... it did happen my sophomore year, and then junior year I got away with just a "regular" hospitalization and a couple of trips to the ER. Then senior year it all changed. Mid-November, I ended up in the ER not being able to breathe... and I prayed I would die. I was so absolutely, 100% miserable, and just done with asthma, I wanted it all to be over. Fortunately for me, that prayer was not literally answered. Figuratively, though... that's another story...

1. Upon discharge from that hospitalization, my doctor requested that I move out of the dorm. I had lived in the same dorm room for going on 4 years. Now, mid senior year, I was expected to move out.

2. My tenure in IV was quickly coming to an end. We shifted leadership based on calendar years, not academic years, so my time as president was over.

3. I was beginning my job at Carrboro Baptist in January (later to be named HillSong). While the rest of my Class of 98-ers were going to basketball game camp-outs, I was chaperoning youth group lock-ins.

4. I didn't travel with my friends to Florida for Spring Break. (Which, btw, Abigail mentioned tonight was not such a big loss... supposedly the trip wasn't all that fun.)

5. I now lived off campus, so when I came in from class or work, I couldn't just hang out with whoever was around... I was stuck by myself when my roommate wasn't home.

This was one of the hardest and darkest times of my life. While I was beginning to regain my physical strength after those days in the hospital, emotionally I was only beginning to fall apart. I remember times of utter desperation and loneliness spent walking up and down the streets in Glen Lenox where I lived. I was so wounded and sad I don't even know that I had tears to cry.

So this is how my life ended.

But a new life began.

1. I fell in love with my dream job at Carrboro Baptist... with the people I worked with and the kids I worked for.

2. I got my first taste of "grown up living" and loved being able to cook meals for and entertain people in a space bigger than a dorm room.

3. I moved from that first apartment into another one with my best friend, then to a house with two very fun girls.

4. Then I met Dan.

5. Then he whisked me away (against my better judgement) to Winston-Salem.

6. Then I fell in love with this town.

7. Then I met my daughter and fell in love with her.

Clearly, ten years ago my new world was just beginning. But the one I loved so much had to end in order for me to discover what better was waiting for me. One led to another. And tonight I got the benefit of living them both. I left my husband and daughter at home, to join my dear Abigail in worship... just as we had done so many times before... before my life was over... as my life was just beginning.

I'm so glad she's been there for all of it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stalking, Cancer, and Why I'm Starting a Blog.

Last week I noticed that Peter Sagal posted he was going to be reading at Malaprop's in Asheville. Since I heart Peter Sagal, I decided it was time for a roadtrip! E and I packed our bags and headed west.

5 minutes before arriving at the book signing, I got the phone call that my stepmom's cancer has come back. She battled breast cancer 4 years ago, and until now, we thought she had won that fight. It's now back in her liver, her bones, and the prognosis doesn't sound good.This would suck for anyone... but it 'specially sucks for Mary. She won't be the only one fighting cancer in her house- my dad is currently fighting it, too. He was diagnosed this summer with colon and rectal cancer and is currently on chemo. (And, btw, throw in the fact that Mary's mom just had major surgery and is in rehab in Asheville.)

All of these things are running through my head as I pull up to Malaprop's. And I'm struck with what to do. Do I go in to hear Peter read? Do I go home and try to process? Do I just ball up in a heap and cry?

Everyone I've retold this story to in the last 3 days had the same response: "Mary would have wanted you to go." My dad even said just after telling me about the cancer "I hate to tell you this before your 'book thing'." But through all of those things I realized I needed to go. (And, you'll notice from my recently added pictures, I did indeed go... and got a picture with Peter... and apparently I make him sweaty. Or the heat in Malaprop's did. Whatever.) I realized that in moments like these, we begin to think about what's really important to us, and what it means to us to really LIVE life. And what's important to me is stalking.

Well, not really stalking, but meeting people that I find important. Like Peter Sagal. And like Roy Williams who I met this summer. And Sean May. And Rashad McCants. And, yes, even Paula Deen who I stalked last year. Dan and I have joked that in our new house we can decorate the kitchen deli-style and put up pictures of me with the famous people I've met. Already, we make Miis of them on our Wii. (Peter, you're next.)

That night it was hard to focus on all of the great stories that he shared- some from the book and some impromtu. But the night itself summed up what I value in life. Not *just* stalking, but experiencing. I value life in all its experiences. And, thus, I've decided to create a blog. My friend Beth Roberts told me when I moved to Winston that she felt God was calling me to write. Maybe this is it. We'll see.

But life is a great experience, and as you may know, talking (writing?) helps me figure out what I've just experienced.Driving home from the stalking... I mean...the book signing, I got the call that a dear woman I loved in Asheville had died. We got home to Winston, turned right around, and went back to Asheville. At Sarah's funeral, Dr. Yelton said these words: "Her life wasn't easy, but it was meaningful." I want that to be said of me. And I want to share some of those meaningful experiences with you. In a blog. Stay tuned...