Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana

I’m tempted to consider 2013 as somewhat unremarkable. I lived day by day, and all those days steadily turned into more considerable measurements, like weeks and months. Sometimes I stop and have to force myself to remember some of my adventures:

  • I became a full time nanny for two girls. The job was never difficult, but there was no margin for error. I would often listen to them both crooning along with my music in the backseat of the car, and I would be overwhelmed with both the privilege and the weight of the amenability placed upon me. I was also paid to do things like paint toenails and go swimming.

931255_10201332564819121_69668754_n 1006307_10201819895802091_1725123220_n - Copy

  • I traveled to Las Vegas, and hit up a few of the famous attractions, like Ceasar’s Palace. My Uncle treated me to a fantastic little upscale gem of a restaurant called Noodles, with authentic Asian food/soups that tasted perfectly balanced and divine. I sampled my first ever shrimp in my perfect bowl of pho, and yes, I liked it. I drove two hours south and made it to my old roommate’s wedding, meeting up with another roommate, Nicole, in Kingman, AZ, and it was absolutely perfect. Her mother had died of cancer only a few years before, so Jessica paid the perfect tribute by having her mom’s dress altered to wear down the isle. It was almost as flawless as her.

998711_10151726734535629_962591087_n

60745_10151726742930629_366575033_n

  • I visited the Grand Canyon. It’s so vast you lost depth perception (woah, I sense a powerful metaphor there…). And yes. I wore a dress and sandals to the Canyon. The only think I anticipated traversing were well maintained cement paths. I packed for Vegas and a wedding. You can imagine my shame as my uncle helped me down cliffs and rocks because, you know, IT’S THE GRAND CANYON. THERE WAS HIKING. GO FIGURE. But I’m not upset about it. Not at all. I could only stare wistfully as a group of backpackers we had sat by on an overlook continued their descent into the canyon. Some day, my friends. Some day.

Canyon Pointers. #grandcanyon #arizona

A post shared by Lucy (@lucyanna____) on

21099_10201168430635869_338182923_n

  • While I was Vegas, I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird. All credit goes to my friend Emily for insisting upon applying myself in succumbing to this famous work of literature. After I finished, I had to take some time and process the whole thing. It was such a delicious book.

546076_10201132831145904_1711085692_n

  • I actually got out of the house and enjoyed some of the attractions Seattle has to offer. I took roommate number 3, Rebekah, downtown. First photo is the first Starbucks, and second is the Chihuly glass museum. I was prepared to be unimpressed, but the sculptures were staggering. I was completely won over. Next time you find yourself in the Emerald City, stop and take a look.

73785_10200647127083606_2032892255_n

525550_10200665492302725_1228449961_n

  • Oh yeah, and I totaled my first car. I won’t show you a picture of the metal heap that was once my primary mode of transportation. Instead, I’ll share a photo of the license and registration I purchased a mere three days before. I had been driving with Oregon plates illegally for a year. I finally drag my but into the licensing agency, and whammy.

1013437_10201570813575191_451429248_n - Copy

 

  • Remember me telling you about the car accident? Will that occurred 2 days before my little sister’s wedding. While driving to it, actually. I was the Maid of Honor, and it was awesome.

1170740_10202045586084207_1640522804_n - Copy

 

  • I assisted in teaching Sunday school for the moth of August at my church. Not only did we read out of my favorite book (the Bible) and partake in my favorite snack (goldfish), we made some pretty sweet crafts, too. I give you Goliath:

1010472_10201861322477732_1400693537_n

 

  • And speaking of church- I attended my first ever Women’s Retreat. I almost wussed out, but two ladies from my church agreed that we should request each other as roommates, so it was settled. It was good for me to be immersed in so much feminine company. The lovely lady sitting beside me is none other than Emily, the same woman who convinced me to read To Kill a Mockingbird.

429863_10201359994344842_985298656_n

  •  Weddings, weddings, weddings. I think I’ll go hide under a table until everyone is done getting married. And if that savored strongly of bitterness, it’s all for show. I love weddings, and I would rather splurge on a ticket to be a part of a friend’s happiest day than to wander alone on some tropical beach. And that’s what I did. Seattle to Orlando took all night, I felt like death warmed over, but it was all worth it when Christi hugged me, warmed up a bowl of delicious soup her fiance, Mikey, had whipped up, and sat and chatted as he steeped me a much needed cup of tea. It was worth it to hold onto more Ecola friends who had only just moved to Georgia, and who’s wedding Christi and I had been in the year before. It was worth it, all of it, just for these moments:

1016591_10201501508882617_1291013776_n - Copy

 

1001165_10201501507322578_2016849864_n - Copy

 

9093_10201630745473451_1481681120_n

  • And while I was in Florida, I ate my very first Chick-Fil-A! And now I experiencing a piercing and constant dissatisfaction in the chick-Fil-A-less land which is the Pacific Northwest.

1010655_10201506335483279_610908338_n

  • I went to my first ever baseball game with Sydney, and the Mariners lost. But that hardly mattered; to me, it was all about the experience. I ate an overpriced hotdog (denied myself a beer), sat on uncomfortable metal benches, and inquired incessantly about the rules. I think I’d like to do it all over again, too.

561847_10201140626300778_1917879825_n

  •  Someone handed me this while walking to the bank one day. I think it speaks for itself. I still have the dollar, too, and I don’t think I’ll ever spend it.

547493_10201145358939091_718727413_n

  • I wore this trusty companion out this summer. I’m currently searching for a replacement. We’ve come far together, through thick and thin, the highs and lows. It rested so comfortably in my hands that just holding it open before me served as an anchor, it’s weight and texture was so reassuringly familiar.

1095040_10201942713592459_56868052_n - Copy

  • I learned how to milk goats. That pail of milk down there? That’s mine. Well it was the goat’s and mine. I feel like gaining a skill such as this one is significant.

1003922_10202148757143419_174364765_n

  • I made some quality friends. The best, really. We met for a walk around Greenlake, and I parked on the wrong end. I figured I’d just walk to meet them, being ignorant of the fact that the trail is almost 3 miles around, which meant I ended up walking a mile and a half before I reached them. And, get this, I was wearing The Sandals. You know, the very same ones I wore to the Canyon. In this picture I was smiling to keep myself from crying. Seriously though, I love these ladies. Left to right: Jen, Hilary, Myself, Emily.

1380720_10202355460550875_913015081_n

  • I took many selfies with cats.

1469937_10202919142122562_843375128_n

  • I hung out a lot with these goobers. My sister and her husband have provided me with many adventures.

936517_10201909807169819_1626765369_n

1016866_687350311305039_896504140_n

  • And I said goodbyes:

1238158_10202364147608046_243060056_n

Going Back

So I’ve moved away from Seattle.

I’m okay with this for a number of reasons. I’ve sat through my fair share of traffic. I had a moment in the car this summer, parked on the freeway, where I looked around at all the commuters with indifferent expressions and thought, Oh my word. I don’t think I consider this a massive waste of time anymore. I’m actually, truly, one of those people who considers it completely natural to wile away my life in my vehicle, and I’m not even depressed about it…

It was a poignant moment, my friends.

I burned through two whole cars this summer. As I watched the tow truck wheel away car #2 to the junkyard, again I had thoughts, and they went something like, screw this. I’m buying a bike. 

It was painful leaving the life I had cultivated for the past two years. I had good friends, a solid church family. I just miss Washington in general, too. I’ll miss driving over Lake Union every evening on my way home, and I’ll miss my breath catching at the sight of the Olympics and Cascades, Mount Rainier. I’ll miss the lights of Seattle made brilliant by cloudless, black nights. So many things clutter my heart in regard to that place, and I think that’s why I left. It was growing too comfortable. Too dear. I had to start running again.

So I moved back home. It’s been good. It’s quieter here. There’s no bustle and fuss of the city overpowering your senses, making you lose track of what’s important. I had forgotten that I come from a big family, and that I unconsciously crave human interaction, even if it’s simply knowing that someone else is at home, and that I’m not alone.

My sister and brother in law invited me along on their weekend getaway. They run their own business selling their wares. Kevin is an excellent engraver, and also designs beautiful Celtic knot-work designs. You can check out some of his stuff HERE. Staying true to his Scottish heritage, they travel around the Northwest setting up their booth at Highland Games. It’s been awesome camping out with them in their giant box truck, feasting on cold chicken and potato chips, serenaded all day by bagpipes and the sweet, constant whine of  Kevin’s dremel. This weekend we traveled to Yachats, OR, for a Celtic music festival. My neighbor was a guy named Shane who was selling, and demonstrating, didgeridoos. Celtic? Probably not. Interesting? Heck yes.

Our first morning we picked up some coffee and sat on a bench overlooking the ocean. As I stared out onto the familiar waters of the Pacific, I emotionally exhaled. It wasn’t so much that I was carrying such a heavy burden…no. I have a good life. The yolk I carry is light. But in the midst of moving, of contemplating the purpose of my life, hearing the sound of the waves crashing against themselves and the unforgiving rocks was like someone familiar slipping their fingers though mine and holding my hand. It was just nice.

It was so good, and I thank my Father for it.

1463039_10202650007674369_907088234_n

1465191_10202660825624811_109915274_n

1393880_10202660826144824_1074067160_n

1000358_10202660825944819_1724165715_n

482435_10202660826864842_1163052892_n

1456085_10202660825424806_896654786_n

1000259_10202660827144849_446537344_n

1451521_10202660826304828_550145813_n

1395253_10202660826584835_1814714984_n

Lost

He sat down on the cold marble, and he waited.

Rain cascaded down the glass, rivulets and streams gliding down to cement making small lakes, forcing people to maneuver to reach the double doors and enter the hotel.

Even after all this time, his jacket still smelled faintly of his sister’s cigarettes and orange blossom perfume from when he’d taken her to the symphony. He’d asked her a thousand times to quite smoking. Now the traces of it clinging within the folds, the collar, were an anchor.He sighed and leaned back against the wall. He was tired, but he didn’t allow himself to close his eyes. He might miss it. Today was his only chance. He felt around in his left pocket, eventually pulling out a tooth pick which he put in his mouth and worried with his teeth. He hated waiting. He hated rain. He hated the feeling his heart was making in his chest, which made him hate everything, which he hated.

He inhaled deeply and adjusted the collar of his wool sweater. It was hot. The walls were covered in a rich red velvet, a fire had been stoked and patrons were gathered around it pulling mink lined gloves off their hands, giving directions to bell boys, drinking hot tea. They all spoke languages he couldn’t understand, all from a different world, a world he never should have known. And suddenly, in that moment, he knew he would give anything just to be free.

His shock of blond hair fell across his eyes, and as he brushed it aside he saw it.

Sprinting up, he overturned a serving oval carrying hot chocolate and coffee, causing the server to curse. He had also startled an exceptionally small dog who was not fond of tall men or coffee, and it began to bark fervently at him, windmilling his little legs at a tremendous speed as he strained to chase the man upsetting his calm.

Leaving behind the bustle, he had made it out the door, oblivious to everything except a yellow pair of rain boots. The revelation of color had flashed through the glass doors amid a sea of legs, and was gone. He ran out to the sidewalk and searched desperately, determined but lost in the waves of movement and rain.

From inside the hotel emanated a sound that pierced his heart, and suddenly the whole street stopped. The dog had worked himself free and sprinted for the hem of a leg pant, and was promptly run over by a bellhop cart. The ensuing wail from it’s owner, a sharp keen of pain and loss, made everyone pause. The dog turned into vapor that rose to the ceiling and disappeared. Everyone stood still for a moment, half a moment, and that was all he needed. He kept his eyes locked on a small, sleet gray cloak, and he ran. As the crowds recovered and proceeded forward, he grasped and pulled the hood back, and found himself face to face with a young girl.

She had dark, dark eyes that seemed to look through him. A small thing with black hair and sweeping eyebrows, dressed in an unassuming  black dress that reached to her knees. But those boots, the yellow. He forced himself to stare into her gaze, his pulse filling his ears, and waited an eternity. But nothing could make him look away, not even her, this sentinel. He would wait forever, and she understood. She lifted her small fist up and opened it; a silver key. She blinked without expression, waiting for him. He took it. She turned around and disappeared into the bustle.

He crumpled to the ground, cradling the small key to his chest, and finally allowed himself to dream of home.

The Woman

“During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.”

~Anonymous

Favim.com-29422

It’s A Real Place

I decided to take the scenic route home, today.

On my way from Greenlake to Rainier Beach, I passed through downtown Seattle, China Town, Columbia City, and Hilman City. Some things I passed on the way that  grabbed my attention:

The man, the legend, Mark Driscoll

driscoll

Before I moved to Seattle, I had no idea who this guy was. After I moved to the Emerald City, a friend asked if we could go to Mark’s church for good Friday service, and my reaction was “Mark who?” I’ve never been one to spend time and energy searching out contemporary preachers and evangelists; Joel Olsteen’s smile was like swallowing a mouthful of sugar, and something about Rob Bell’s eyes and manner of speech made me uneasy– there was something going on behind them that didn’t quite match up, like he was making something too easy and complicated at the same time. And most of the time there’s a reason why men grow to be famous. Every time I sit in service at a mega church, I wonder to myself, alright. What kind of white bread are we going to be served today? 

But I’ve since learned more about him, and even though I’m not entirely on board with the massive scale church model, having had some first hand run-ins with MH burnouts, he’s surprisingly grounded. Sure, it’s dangerous when thousands of people gather to witness one man preach and not because they’re seeking opportunities to serve their fellow sisters and brothers in Christ, to build the Church body, but somehow he wins you over. Maybe it was the t-shirt he sported with the virgin Mary that said, “Mary is my Homegirl,”  or perhaps it’s his evident sensitivity, respect and love for women, or even his boldness to hold men and husbands accountable for their relationship with their families as spiritual leaders. And then, most importantly, there’s the powerful command he has of the Scriptures. And maybe it’s the weathered quality of his words, like he’s been and seen it all- I live only blocks away from his childhood neighborhood, and I understand his stories. I get the rawness, the depravity.

As I passed by the library,

Danger, Will Robinson.
Danger, Will Robinson.

choosing not go in because pretty much every visit ultimately turns into a 40 dollar overdue fines collections envelope on my doorstep, I was suddenly presented with this epic building:

MH-old-B-W-38

On the side is the permanent inscription, First United Methodist Chuch. New banners now proclaim the installation of Mars Hill.

MH-old-color-6

Stunning, is it not? Let’s pray that the worship offered inside is as beautiful as the vessel which contains  it.

So I continued on what turned out to be an epic journey. Sometimes I forget why I always take I5, and then I remember- it’s so I don’t grow old and senile in my car singing Killing me Softly with the Fugees. That’s why.

Next was China town. Shops full of fruits and vegetables, rice cookers, whole roasted ducks hanging by their necks, french pastries,  dilapidated used tire centers, lucky waving cats, Buddhas, statues and idols reflecting bright red and gold stacked to cover the window from flow to ceiling. My friend, Patrick, and I went out to eat Pho, pronounced ‘fuh’ (I know), in the international district a few months back. It looked sketch, like most places in Chinatown (there’s a pet store in an ally I’ve always wanted to check out), but it had gotten good reviews. It was delicious.

Literally the biggest image I could find.
Literally the biggest image I could find.

Patrick, who lives in Portland (a place Mark Driscoll claims is so white it probably only sells white bread), remarked, “I was walking up the street to find this place, and I realized I was the only white person I here.” That made me laugh. Rainier Valley is home to the most ethnically diverse community in the US, and I’ve enjoyed living in a place that helps curb my hunger and anxiousness to travel the world.

And another reason I love living where I live? Why, it’s because I can always satiate my cravings for marijuana.

Healing herbs? Sounds wonderful.
Healing herbs? Sounds wonderful.

I can’t tell you how many dispensaries are littered throughout Seattle, how many I passed on my way home, because they have become as the Israelites; like the stars, you cannot number them. Heck, there’s one half a mile from my house. I can start out my mornings with a run to the pot house and be back with brownies before breakfast. And in case you ever need a guide to pick out the best ones, Seattle’s here to help:

At last, a guide.
At last! A guide.

Like we’re not easy going enough. The last thing the Pacific Northwest needs is pot. One of my profs from Bible school was from Pennsylvania, and he flat out told us he was put off by the chill, ‘hang out dude’ attitude of the West coast. Where he was from people had things to do, and they did them. Apparently we just don’t have enough things to do over here. Obama can put that on the top of his check list: “Give West-coasters something to do.” Maybe I’ll write him a letter about that.

Denoting or relating to meat prepared as prescribed by Muslim law.
Denoting or relating to meat prepared as prescribed by Muslim law.

Oh, Halaal markets. Buildings the size of closets packed with everything you need for life.

I see these places and things while driving down a street called Martin Luther King Jr. Way, because there’s a large enough African American population for that name to actually mean something. A far cry from the bland Corvallis I grew up in, or from the entire state of Oregon, for that matter. Seriously. Where I live there are a lot of Muslims. A lot of people from places like Ethiopia and Somalia. One of the guards at the museum I worked at was from Somalia, pressed to leave country of birth his because of the escalating violence. When we (museum) catered for big companies like Microsoft, we’d always end up having to prepare separate Kosher and Halaal meals. Men wear tunics that reach past their knees, women cover all but their face and hands. Sometimes all I want to do is pull over in my car and tell them how they can be covered by the perfect love of Jesus.

I’ve enjoyed Ethiopian cuisine, and it was quiet tasty — but the injera made it’s presence known in my stomach. *sigh* Bread, you coy thing. You’re always keeping yourself just out of my reach.

injera1
Yes, please. I’ll take all of it.

And soon I was on the home stretch, and to my left I spied a place Rainier Beach can truly be proud of:

And yes, folks, it’s very much a real place. Excellent donuts, tasty teriyaki, and so far I’ve managed to clean all my clothes at home, so I can’t put in a good word where the laundromat is concerned. But that’s okay with me.

And then I was home!

The patience to wait

“Who said,” lashed out Isaac Penn, “that you,  a man, can always perceive justice? Who said that that justice is what you imagine? Can you be sure that you know it when you see it, that you will live long enough to recognize the decisive thunder of its occurrence, that it can be manifest within a generation, within ten generations, within the entire span of human existence? What you are talking about is common sense, not justice. Justice is higher and not as easy to understand– until it presents itself in unmistakable splendor. The design of which I speak is far more above our understanding. But we can sometimes feel its presence.

“No choreographer, no architect, engineer, or painter could plan more thoroughly and subtly. Every action and every scene has its purpose And the less power one has, the closer he is to the great waves that sweep through all tings, patiently preparing them for the approach of the future signified not by simple human equity (a child could think of that), but by luminous and surprising connections that we have not imagined, by illustrations terrifying and benevolent– a golden age that will show not what we wish, but some bare awkward truth upon which rests everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. There is justice in the world, Peter Lake, but it cannot be had without mystery. We try to bring it about without knowing exactly what it is, and only touch upon it. No matter, for all the flames and sparks of justice throughout all time reach to invigorate unseen epochs– like engines whose power glides on hidden lines to upwell against the dark in distant cities unaware.”

=

I am not addressing ultimate justice; what happens when we die, to those who’ve been good or done ill. Only the things of life that sweep us up. Why do cruel people rise to the top, and why are the honest not always rewarded? Why was my heart allowed to break? Why did a child’s heartbeat cease to reverberate in it’s mother’s womb? Why?

And to claim injustice is to proclaim the knowledge of a universe I’ve only begun to glimpse with weakened eyes. To point my finger at God and cry out against Him would be to attempt grasping the past, present and future all at once, and to sing a melody of a song that has yet to finish, one who’s ending I have never heard. It would be to know the heart, path and design of every man under the sun.

I am in the center of a map of cosmic proportions, a traveler like yourself, and my story is being told by One who know knows the end of all things. Although the fruits of justice are not always made clear, I feel it’s presence. And it gives me the patience to wait, and have faith.

ss-130131-grand-central-terminal-01.photoblog900

3 AM

My face was pressed deep into my pillow, and my hands that had been tucked under it were clutching a vibrating phone. I blinked once, then twice into the darkness, inhaled deeply. My body was in the same position it had fallen asleep in, and I felt warm. I was still in the midst of  realizing I was awake when I heard crickets outside my open window singing to the moon, eclipsing the faint, dying life of my dreams.

Oh, a phone. My phone.

At that time of night, my brain couldn’t reason that it was an indecent hour, and that I wasn’t obligated to answer. So I did.

I groaned when the light from the screen hit my eyes. Charlie.

Charlie.

I brought the phone to my ear.

“Hmm?”

“Kat, you awake?”

“What?”

“Sorry it’s so late.”

“I’m sorry, too.” I murmured.

There was patch of silence. Then a quiet, “Kat?”

“Mmhm?”

“I . . . need to see you.”

“Right now?”

“Yeah, I mean, could you?”

I rolled onto my back and gathered my thoughts.

“What’s wrong?” I asked him.

“Nothing, it’s just this girl.”

“Oh. Who?”

“I think I love her.”

“. . .”

“Kat?”

“Yeah. I’ll meet you underneath the tree.”

“Alright, see you in a bit.”

“Bye.”

“Thanks, Kat.”

And I turned my head back into my pillow, this time to suffocate the tears.