Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Life As of Lately...

BJ hooked us up with the Beatles Suite at the Edgewater! So fun.

No trip to Portland is complete without a visit to The Grotto. Pure loveliness.

Katie and I stayed at The Nines during our trip to Portland. Five star gloriousness. It's amazing the deals you can find when you look online and are named Katie Nestor.

This is me being mechanical and handy...finding a headlight for Katie's car.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Heart Ponderings

Every Christmas morning, my family gathers and listens to the story of Christ's birth read from the Bible. And while I have grown to take this seriously and am learning to reflect on the significance of such a passage, there is a verse that over the past couple of years has really stuck out to me. It reads:

...But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart...

Luke 2:19

I'm not an expert on scripture and I cannot say for certain what is happening here, but I'm drawn to the response of Mary. I imagine this was probably a pretty crazy time for Mary. She has recently given birth to a beautiful boy who is not only her son, but also the Messiah. That's not exactly an everyday occurrence. She is surrounded by new people-shepherds who have traveled to witness that which the angels had told them, wise men, etc. Things are turning out much differently from what she had probably grown up expecting. I can't help but wonder what Mary was thinking. Maybe she was tired and wanted some peace and quiet. Maybe she loved the excitement. Maybe she questioned her calling or her ability to fulfill her role in all that was yet to come. Maybe she was feeling a million things that words could not describe. And so, we read that she "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." I think I like that.

I often find myself feeling a mixture of things that sometimes only tears, or laughter, or silence can come close to expressing. For as big as language is, it fails me quite often.

It is safe to say, my heart has done a lot of pondering lately. Last Tuesday, Katie and I visited the prayer chapel at the Grotto in Portland. As we sat in the glass chapel that overlooked hills, and houses, and highways, my thoughts tried to find a way to articulate the ponderings of my heart. The best I could come up with was, "I wish life was different." Not exactly the most articulate way of expressing all I was feeling but at the time, it was the best I could do.

But oh how I do wish life was different. Some days I can float through life and not think too much about it. Yet other times, I am burdened by the weight of it all. How my heart aches for a life-for a world, that is different from this one. A life lacking loneliness, uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. A world void of depression and alcoholism, starvation, materialism, disease, and apathy. A place where children grow in the warmth and stability of loving families and we forget the meaning of the word orphan. A world where hope, and faith, and love prevail. Always.

Such things are not a constant reality, but for the time being, I believe we are called to embody them (faith, hope, and love) in efforts to make them a reality. That's hard sometimes.

Russia is coming. Or rather, in a few short months, I will be coming to Russia. I think I am currently experiencing what one could call, selective denial. I know it's coming. Some days I just wish my departure was here already. And other days...like those I've been experiencing lately... the thought of leaving brings me to tears or makes me want to head straight for my bed.

I'm scared.

In a million ways I wish someone would come with me. I want someone to hold my hand, tell me they understand what I'm feeling and tell me they feel the same things. But at the same time, I know this journey wouldn't be all that it will be if I had that. I need to let go. I need to step out. I need to let change, and independence, and trust, seep into who I am and transform me. I need to have faith that God has the power to do great things in and through me. And I believe he will. However, in the meantime, my emotions continue to ride the roller coaster. And as much as I'd like someone to walk beside me, for the moment, I'm walking this path alone. I think that's okay. I'm clinging to the fact that in all the ponderings of my heart, there is One who doesn't need words to understand what I feel.
Thank God for that.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Tomorrow Katie and I are embarking on our annual Portland adventure. The only thing I really have to say about this is...woo.hoo.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Last night I had coffee with a couple friends and we were discussing specific personality traits. It made me think of the Myers Briggs personality typology and so tonight I decided to take a survey (not the actual Myers Briggs but one based off it) for fun. It is a little crazy how well most of this describes me.

ISFJ-Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging
ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their "need to be needed." In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life. (Since ISFJs, like all SJs, are very much bound by the prevailing social conventions, their form of "service" is likely to exclude any elements of moral or political controversy; they specialize in the local, the personal, and the practical.)

ISFJs are often unappreciated, at work, home, and play. Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty and unstinting, high-quality work, those around them often take them for granted--even take advantage of them. Admittedly, the problem is sometimes aggravated by the ISFJs themselves; for instance, they are notoriously bad at delegating ("If you want it done right, do it yourself"). And although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself). (And as low-profile Is, their actions don't call attention to themselves as with charismatic Es.) Because of all of this, ISFJs are often overworked, and as a result may suffer from psychosomatic illnesses.

In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others. ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties; if someone they've bonded with in this way leaves the company, the ISFJ will leave with them, if given the option. Traditional careers for an ISFJ include: teaching, social work, most religious work, nursing, medicine (general practice only), clerical and and secretarial work of any kind, and some kinds of administrative careers.

While their work ethic is high on the ISFJ priority list, their families are the centers of their lives. ISFJs are extremely warm and demonstrative within the family circle--and often possessive of their loved ones, as well. When these include Es who want to socialize with the rest of the world, or self-contained ITs, the ISFJ must learn to adjust to these behaviors and not interpret them as rejection. Being SJs, they place a strong emphasis on conventional behavior (although, unlike STJs, they are usually as concerned with being "nice" as with strict propriety); if any of their nearest and dearest depart from the straight-and-narrow, it causes the ISFJ major embarrassment: the closer the relationship and the more public the act, the more intense the embarrassment (a fact which many of their teenage children take gleeful advantage of). Over time, however, ISFJs usually mellow, and learn to regard the culprits as harmless eccentrics :-). Needless to say, ISFJs take infinite trouble over meals, gifts, celebrations, etc., for their loved ones--although strong Js may tend to focus more on what the recipient should want rather than what they do want.

Like most Is, ISFJs have a few, close friends. They are extremely loyal to these, and are ready to provide emotional and practical support at a moment's notice. (However, like most Fs they hate confrontation; if you get into a fight, don't expect them to jump in after you. You can count on them, however, run and get the nearest authority figure.) Unlike with EPs, the older the friendship is, the more an ISFJ will value it. One ISFJ trait that is easily misunderstood by those who haven't known them long is that they are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling. For instance, an ISFJ child may be reproved for "sulking," the actual cause of which is a combination of physical illness plus misguided "good manners." An adult ISFJ may drive a (later ashamed) friend or SO into a fit of temper over the ISFJ's unexplained moodiness, only afterwards to explain about a death in the family they "didn't want to burden anyone with." Those close to ISFJs should learn to watch for the warning signs in these situations and take the initiative themselves to uncover the problem.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"Your Courage Asks Me What I Am Made Of..."

"I saw what I saw and I can't forget it
I heard what I heard and I can't go back
I know what I know and I can't deny it

Something on the road, cut me to the soul

Your pain has changed me
your dreams inspire
your face a memory
your hope a fire
your courage asks me what I'm afraid of
what I am made of
and what I know of love

we've done what we've done and we can't erase it
we are what we are and it's more than enough
we have what we have but it's no substitution

Something on the road, cut me to the soul

I say what I say with no hesitation
I have what I have and I'm giving it up
I do what I do with deep conviction

Something on the road, changed my world
and what I know of God..."