Thankfulness in the midst of everything going wrong

God spends more time humbling me than I like to admit. These past few days have not been easy ones. Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. This morning I felt so dejected and frustrated with the impossibility of all the wrong things happening. But this whole time God has been brutally- though lovingly- showing me that the things I want aren’t always what I need.

I am ashamed at how consumed I can be with petty issues. I am constantly reminded how unlike Jesus I am. This week, I have been beyond ungrateful. But thankfully, I serve a God who chased after me in the midst of my wandering, and continues to do so. I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to know that I am loved so unconditionally.

He’s proven to me that miracles do happen and renewal is possible and that every bad thing, from the most trivial to the most traumatic, will work out for our good and for His glory. There is so much tragedy and evil in this world. There is so much healing and renewal in this world too.

Sadly, we tend to only focus on the tragedy. As I have spent this afternoon and evening baking and preparing for Thanksgiving tomorrow, I have been convicted deeply of how ungrateful I truly am. I don’t say this to put myself down, but I say this because I spend so little time looking inward to see the brokenness in my soul. It’s why one of my favorite prayers is, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

I then watched this video where the Eagles of Death Metal recount what happened at the Bataclan.  It is painful to listen to. Yet after finishing the video, I have never been so thankful for the fact that I am still breathing. That I will wake up tomorrow and have a happy day with friends. That I am not mourning the loss of a loved one or trying to make sense of experiencing tragedies that so many, in Paris and around the world, are working to make sense of. I will never understand evil. I will never be able to make sense of why I get to sleep safe tonight and others will not. To be honest, I never want to make sense of it- it is senseless by nature. But renewal is the very nature of the Gospel. In everything, God makes things new. You see that evident through the members of Eagles of Death Metal.

I am so thankful for things I can’t begin to describe. I hope to never forget this.

And on to a new adventure.

I’ve moved house.

Approximately 530 miles away from Pittsburgh. {moment of silence}

Truthfully, there is only one reason as to why I could be persuaded to leave my favorite city and that is because an opportunity of massive proportions came up in Fayetteville, North Carolina… And when a really awesome job opportunity {as a Youth Services Librarian} comes knocking, you open the door. {that was a bad cliche}

After a whirlwind {two week} process of saying goodbye and moving, I am now sitting in my new apartment {it’s totally a townhouse}, with a week of full-time work under my belt.

I’m exhausted.

But.

I love my job {so far}. The amount of information intake is overwhelming, but it’s what I signed up for. I love my apartment too. I have finally finished the initial organization of my living room, dining room, and kitchen and will slowly get to my office and bedroom.

Fayetteville, however… might take awhile for me to love. It’s not the most hopping city {unless you count my neighbor’s music}. I just can’t wait for Kimber to get here so we can explore together!

In the end, this blog might start leaning towards being a more professional blog. I have no plans to delete anything already posted in my archives. It’s evolving and changing and quite honestly following the path I have been on.

But I make no promises.

Since I’ve been gone

Eeek!

I haven’t posted since October of 2014.

That’s typical of me.

While I could get into the stressful life I currently live (in which the majority of stress come from my ongoing and sometime seemingly unending job search) I am not going to. It’s more personal than I feel like sharing. Instead I’m going to share a different side. I’ve had a lot of extra time and in the last several months that time has been split between Netflix and Target (no joke, if you can’t find something at the Target in East Liberty, give me a call, I probably know where it is).

So here are some of my favorites of the last few months:

*This list is separated by category, but the categories are random*

Books:

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (audiobook): I have been listening to this book since October of 2013… essentially FOREVER. But it was 38 hours long and I was also in school. But all-in-all I love it. I now have only 6 hours left. I know some people can’t stand Anna Karenina, but I’ve found it so fascinating to listen to the dynamics of the various relationships.
  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend: This is a picture book, and it is beautiful. It recently won the Caldecott, and quite honestly is the best story I’ve read.
  • Scary Close by Donald Miller: I really like Donald Miller, though admittedly I’ve only read half of Blue Like Jazz. But Scary Close is about creating more intimate relationships. Instead of being a “self-help” book, it’s really just Miller’s story and some anecdotes about others. I like that there are moments in which I recognize certain issues that Miller has as ones I struggle with, but then there are others that I don’t struggle with.

Movies:

  • Birdman: I really liked the aesthetic* of this film though disliked the direction of the story at certain points. Regardless it was exquisitely filmed.
  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Be warned that this film is very sad. It follows a couple played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy who have experienced a major tragedy and have now drifted apart. The film starts without giving much information, but as it progresses, layers are added that give more context to the pain being experienced. I felt that it was very realistic in that pain and trauma doesn’t always present itself in a coherent way. Sometimes it comes out in bits and pieces.

Music:

  • Imagine Dragons- Smoke and Mirrors: I am always pleasantly surprised by this band. Their usually get radio-play, and the song that gets replayed is usually good, but then you listen to the full album and realize how truly talented this group is. I recently purchased their album and though I haven’t listened to its entirety, I know it will be on repeat for awhile. It’s hard to get through an album when you keep hitting repeat on the second song because you love the sound of it.
  • Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars: This song puts me in the nest mood. I just can’t get over how happy it makes me.
  • Arrows by Fences ft. Macklemore: These two artists have very different energies. Fences is very laid back and Macklemore is very high strung in this song. But they meld so well and I like the lyrics so much. I could wax poetic about this song. (P.S. I hadn’t seen the music video until today, but I ABSOLUTELY love it).

Television:

  • Call the Midwife: I find birth terrifying and fascinating.
  • Orphan Black: This show starts its third season incredibly soon and I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that the main actress plays more than 8 different characters on the show.
  • Friends: I’m so late to the game on this, but I wasn’t allowed to watch it growing up. It was wonderful.

Food: (weird category, I know)

  • Siggi’s Icelandic yogurt: Best. Yogurt. Ever.
  • Kale: I sincerely never thought I would like kale since I tend to dislike most green vegetables- especially if they are leaves. But it’s delicious. Current favorite recipe: olive oil + small potatoes + kale + Old Bay seasoning + large skillet + medium-high heat = deliciousness.

Well, those are some of my favorite things right now. I can’t promise that I will post often. One day I hope to really invest energy in this blog. I like it and think it could be a good platform for things.

Notes and other references:
*I jumped for joy that I spelled aesthetic correct the first time.  

My mission: to explore new worlds… or something like that.

This post is part two, so to read part one, click here.

GOTGLEGACYIf you have ever attempted to enter the world of comics, you learn quickly that in order to follow any story line, you need a time machine because there is not enough time in the world to begin at the beginning. Mostsuperhero stories began decades ago so any attempt to read them is nearly impossible.

The one benefit of the Guardians of the Galaxy is that it’s a minor comic and not as popular as X-Men or Captain America, thus meaning its canon is much smaller. As I mentioned in the first post, I had this feeling during the Guardians movie that I would like the characters better in their original form. So to find where to start, I went to the very trusted Google.

The Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in the Marvel Universe in 1969 in the #18 issue of Marvel Superheroes. They appeared in several different comics until the 1990’s when they finally appeared in a solo comic that ran for 62 issues. (Please note this information is coming straight from Wikipedia, so if any of it is incorrect, please don’t blame me). I, however, chose not to start from the beginning for a few reasons.

Reasons I chose not to begin at the beginning:

  • Being new to comics, I judge them on their appearance. Since I wanted to give this a genuine chance, I chose not to start with the originals for fear of cheesy art.
  • Also, the original team is very different from the team in the movie and would just be confusing.
  • It’s harder to find the older comics.

With these reasons in hand and a handy Google search on the best place to start reading Guardians of the Galaxy, I had two different storylines to choose from. Guardians was rebooted in 2008 by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning in Annihilation: Conquest which sets up the rebuilding of the team. My second choice was Guardians of the Galaxy: Legacy which is a crossover story that continues in the War of Kings and Realm of Kings storylines. I chose to begin with Legacy mostly because it contained many of the same characters as the movie.

I ordered Legacy, and WWAROFKINGSar of Kings Vol. 1, along with the first book of Annihilation from the library and settled down to wait… and wait… and wait some more until FINALLY they arrived.

That very day I sat down, opened Legacy, and… finished it that very same day. To say that I liked it would be an understatement. It was fast-paced and full of surprises. There were several time I had to just “go along” with the storyline because the characters would reference previous events that happened in other plotlines, but it never became too confusing.

It took awhile to get used to the art and I still have no idea how Gamora managed to be so awesome in such a skimpy outfit, but the writers were very adept at including backstory within the comic to allow new readers to understand who people were and why they were important.

A few days later I sat down with War of Kings, Vol. 1 and was very annoyed that it ended on a cliffhanger because I’m still waiting for Volume 2. It’s been so long since I was that sucked in to something I was reading. I couldn’t stop and didn’t want to. I never really had an opinion of comic books before this, but now I can say that I am intrigued at what other stories are out there. I’ve ordered some X-Men ones, so we’ll see how that goes!

Now if only I could get excited about other books to read.🙂

What to do when you can’t finish a book to save your life.

I’ve been in a reading rut of sorts. For the last few months, nearly every book I’ve begun was never finished. I would get to about page 50 and they stop because it hadn’t hooked me yet.

A list of books I’ve completed in the last few months:

  • Ender’s Game- Orson Scott Card
  • We Were Liars- E. Lockhart
  • Welcome to the Dark House- Laurie Faria Stolarz (I hesitate to count this one because it kind of sucked, but was scary enough to need to read the conclusion)
  • Rose Under Fire- Elizabeth Wein
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda- Tom Angleberger
  • The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy- Kate Hattemer
  • She is not Invisible- Marcus Sedgwick

Now, this list might seem extensive to some, but of these books, I only truly enjoyed three of them. Reading a books has become like pulling teeth, which is like a really bad nightmare.

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about this problem and why exactly reading has been less pleasurable and I’ve come to a semi-conclusion: My tastes in books has changed and I missed the memo. It is logical to assume that this happened because it has happened in other parts of my life.

My taste in music changed (quite drastically, I might add). So has my taste in television and my taste in movies. It’s all changed because I’ve changed, something that happens to be a normal occurrence in life. In order to get out of this rut, I decided I needed to do something drastic…

So now we must rewind a bit to earlier this summer when a movie called The Guardians of the Galaxy was released into theatres. Everyone seemed to love this film. The raved about it and so I got excited. Now, superhero movies and I have an interesting past. Rarely have I seen any of the Marvel movies at the time of their release. For some reason I always waited until they were on DVD or on Netflix before seeing them. I generally end up like most of them (except for the first Iron Man and I haven’t even bothered with the Hulk ones).

I did end up seeing Captain America 2 in theatres and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to see the Guardians movie. We went to a drive-in theatre, got comfortable, and then… I strongly disliked it. Ever have those moments when you realize that you are trying really hard to like something? Yeah, that was me watching this movie.

It had some shining moments, but overall it just felt like a placeholder full of juvenile dialogue and too many jokes (that no one was laughing at, btw). There’s a film critic that I sometimes enjoy reading who agrees with my sentiments. But one thing that stood out about the movie, was this feeling that I would like these character better in their comic book form.

So I decided to do something I had never done before: read a comic book.

Find out what happened in my next post! (Don’t you hate when people do that?)

My most philosophical of musings.

I have done this blog a great disservice. I’ve tried to be more than I am in my writing and have attempted lofty goals to reach a standard that can only be reached by those who aren’t trying too hard. Post after post has gone unpublished because they start off strong and then lack the point I want to make. They are deep and full of ideas I’m exploring, but nothing I truly want to share.

SO I am re-branding… sort of. I’m still going to talk about whatever I want in this blog, but I’m not going to try to make profound statements or wrestle with big ideas- on purpose at least. Instead I’m going to talk about things that I like. New music or books. Random musings of things I see, and maybe it will get a little deep on occasion.

As someone who proclaims to be a lifelong learner, I’m going to seek to do just that. To seek adventure in the most mundane of places to show that sometimes we’re living the adventure we wished we could always go on.

Okay, that was a little deep and I wasn’t even trying.

I am trying to re-excite myself with writing. I am also attempting to do the same with reading, but that’s another post for another time.

So here I go. We’re starting this again but on a simpler level. Hopefully it’s something worth reading.

A bit of an update.

Some of you reading this know that a couple weeks ago I had an interview near Denver for a Teen Librarian position. This was a second interview and the flew me out. For some of you, this is the first time hearing about it. Sadly, I did not receive the position at that library. It was a bit of a bummer when I found out last Tuesday, but thankfully, I’ve been able to push on and there have been so many positives from this experience:

  • This was my very first official interview for a professional library position. I didn’t know what to expect or what questions they were going to ask. I’m sure interviews are different for every library, but to know what one library was asking will help me in the future. Some of of the questions they brought up were things I hadn’t really thought about yet- so now I’m thinking about them.
  • I got to see my best friend for the first time since Christmas break. I honestly hadn’t realized how long it had been since I had seen Kimber until I was about to fly to Denver. I really couldn’t believe that it had been so long. 

Really, those are the positives and the negatives list is even shorter. Looking ahead, though, I’m still searching for jobs. There are some prospects that intrigue me, and I am in the process of tailoring my cover letters and filling out applications. At the same time, I am hoping to find another job in order to continue to pay my living expenses here in Pittsburgh. Which had just made me think of another positive to not getting the job in Pittsburgh:

  • I get to stay in Pittsburgh longer. I’m super excited for this because of the friendships that have been growing and there is so much about Pittsburgh that I haven’t explored yet. I get to be here for a time in which the stress of grad school isn’t looming over me. 
  • Also, speaking of the residual effects of that stress, while in Denver, I found a grey hair. I’m sure it had been there for awhile, but there were moments in grad school where I was so stressed that it felt like my hair was turning grey. (You could also see where that strand of hair lost its pigment which was kind of fascinating. 

That last one wasn’t really a positive, but more of an interesting factoid about me. Anyway, I am excited to still be in Pittsburgh, especially with so many exciting things happening for my church family (a particularization service and a move to a new time and building). It has been such an amazing experience to be apart of the growth of Grace and Peace. Never before have I been in such a loving and intentional community. 

Well, there’s an update on me. Hopefully there will be some good job news in the near future!