Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Story for New Years

I walk through the dingy doors of the motel. My heart is beating more quickly than I'd like, giving away my nervousness more than my facial expressions already have. I see her then, and she greets me in the lobby with that kind smile of hers. I feel slightly more at ease. I haven't seen Beth* in over three months. She looks even thinner than she did in August, and I notice that she has a large sore forming on her right eyelid. Her velvety chocolate skin looks worn.

"It's so good to see you," I say, hugging her awkwardly with the bags in my hands. They are meager provisions compared to what she needs, and I feel lame giving them to her, but it was all I had in my house that morning. After all, it was short notice. I'd ransacked my bathroom cabinets, tossing old Clinique samples, glycerin soaps, travel-sized shampoos and conditioners, and half-used bottles of lotion into a big, yellow bag. I rummaged through my kitchen cabinets, trying to make an educated guess as to whether or not they had a microwave in their room. 

The two men working at the front desk watch me carefully as I set the bags down. I take in the whole scene--the Christmas lights around the banister, the old dark green carpeting, the poorly lit hallways, and the aged wallpaper that encases the entire lobby.

"It's good to see you too," she replies, smiling. "I've missed you."

I smile back then, recalling what a sweet spirit Beth has about her. "I want to hear everything, but before I forget--" I reach in my pocket and pull out a meager twenty dollar bill. I figure I'll get the most awkward portion of this visit out of the way immediately. "Crap. I have more. hold on." I hastily shuffle through my purse and my back pockets, dropping my wallet on the floor in the process. Finally, I find the last third of her money. I push the cash into her hands, looking around the lobby again. "I'm sorry it's not more."

Beth spends ten minutes catching me up. She explains why she texted me this morning, and why she and her mother are living in a motel.

Looking down at the floor, she informs me that at her last place of employment, they were looking for more "managerial experience." So they let her go. "I knew it would probably be a temporary position. I don't know...The church is paying for this first month here. Right now I'm trying to raise enough money for us to be able to stay another month. We need $800. With what you brought me, I have $350. I just went down the list of friends I have in the area..."

My brain snaps into problem-solving mode.

"So you're looking for work?"

"Oh yes. It's hard though. Disheartening. I'm spending my time right now divided between filling out job applications, and praying."

I wonder to myself how hard it must be to find work when your phone number is always changing, you're car-less, you have no permanent address, and under your highest level of education, you have to write, "home-schooled through high school." 

I try not to think about it.

"Can I meet your mom? Is she here?" I ask.

"Oh...she's..." Beth looks unsure of how to answer. "She's still a little sheepish about her appearance. You know. I mean, she's glad to be off the streets for the winter...and I couldn't stand being in that apartment without her for those few months, knowing that she was sleeping in shelters every night without me. It was just awkward. I hated it. But she doesn't really have any good clothes, and she's been through so much over the past three years...she just feels like she can't meet people yet. She's uncomfortable. I'm just glad I got her a place to stay for a while." 

I nod, and my mind travels to my own mom. She's a teacher. Right now she's on Christmas vacation with my dad in Washington, D.C. 

I think back on how I, in my "self-sufficient" state have had to ask my parents for help over the last two years, when I couldn't make ends meet. I suddenly become curious about where I would be without their help. 

Asking a few questions, I write down her mom's clothing measurements, as well as both of their shoe sizes, and the various phone numbers at which I can reach them. None of this feels real. I silently wonder if Beth and her mom are going to be back on the streets in another month. I look down at her feet. She's wearing flip-flops. It's thirty-four degrees outside.

"Well, it was really good to see you," Beth says, eyeing me carefully. She's watching me take this all in, I can tell. 

We make plans to get together the next day so I can drive her to a few places and let her fill out job applications. I give her a quick hug and tell her I'll see her tomorrow.

I drive home silently. All I can do is pray. Earlier in the week I had asked God for an opportunity to help someone--to really be like Jesus. An opportunity to step outside of my life and quit being such a self-involved, narcissistic bastard. In the car, now, I think about how he loves to answer those prayers. I figure he has probably been watching me closely, just waiting for me to utter that prayer, so he could step in and rescue me from my selfish routine and instead make me an instrument with which he could help another one of his children.

We'll see what happens.

For now, please pray for Beth and her mom. Pray that God would open doors for Beth to get a job. Pray that they would find a real home. And pray that God will bless me by allowing me to be a instrumental part of their lives in this season of need.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cookies and Kevin McCallister

This Saturday was the annual Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza my sisters, my mama, and I put together every year. Okay, that's a lie. They put it together and I show up. Smiling.

I am spacey and dopey and all kinds of air-headed when it comes to very simple tasks like following a cookie recipe, so while everyone else had to pre-bake several cookies to bring and exchange, I was given the task of baking the two cookies that needed to be made while we were all together (aka, while I could be closely monitored.). Both of my sisters AND my mom walked by me at various times during the festivities and gave me the kind of encouragement one might give to a five-year-old who  has finally managed to go three or more feet on a two-wheeler before crashing into a giant tree.

Heh heh.

Now Panic and Freak Out

So, in the last blog post I wrote, I believe I panicked--nay, I'd say flipped out a bit (went know...crazy?), about my current financial situation, specifically in regards to what I decided was a ticking timebomb of a car.

That car. Look. There's me. What an embarrassing picture.

Two days after I wrote my last post, whining and crying and asking you all why God hadn't provided for me yet, I found out that my car, in fact, is just fine, and that burning stench I've been smelling is actually a plastic bag that melted to the outside of my exhaust pipe.  

So...I probably didn't need to go losing my crap the way I did. I got the call that my car was just dandy and that they weren't going to charge me any diagnostic fees while I was at my sister's house with my entire family, and the amount of stupid happy dancing I did is the kind of thing that shouldn't really be discussed any further. But I am thankful that God in His great mercy, spared me from this round of financial mayhem. 


Thursday, December 8, 2011

The List

I'm working on tithing these days. Normally I suck at it. Between changing jobs four times in three years, moving four times, and attending three different churches, I haven't had a ton of consistency in my life. Normalcy isn't really something I have any sort of grasp on.

Last month my pastor preached a sermon on tithing that reminded me that 1) I owe the church about $1,000,000,000,000,000 in back-tithes, and 2) I have been choosing comfort over trust in God for...well really, for forever. That extra money has helped me buy groceries and paid for bills, sure, but more than not, it's been wasted on $4 soy lattes from Starbucks and yet another pair of skinny jeans that I don't really need, even if they are ridiculously on sale. My lack of tithing skills has translated over to a lack of saving skills, too, so at the end of every two weeks, I find myself praying to Jesus that there won't be any sort disasters that will require me to pull the last $32 out of my checking account. Over the past year I've sold clothes and books, I've freelanced, I've panicked, and in a few of my least proud moments, I've called my parents and very awkwardly and embarrassingly asked them for help when I haven't been able to meet my own meager needs. It's not a pretty way to live.

Listening to this sermon was a reminder that I need to put God in charge of my finances, not just the vague areas in which I like to say I give him in control. I need to legitimately put my money where my mouth is, as crappy and painful as that may seem.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pity Party

My life is punching me in the face. 

Today, I read something in the news about a really great Christian guy I used to be friends with. He was recently charged with trying to have inappropriate relations with one of his students. I knew this guy--he was that guy who would say hi to me and I'd blush and get all stupid and announce to my friends that he was the sweetest guy I knew, and that any girl would be lucky to have him. And now I'm straight up in shock. We're all one step from falling. But it breaks my heart.

I talked to a my friend Cory at work about it, and he told me that all guys are disgusting perverts. 

This did not make me feel better. 

Especially because...

Thursday Mornings

Every Thursday morning at work I spend fifteen minutes covering the front desk for our receptionist. I pretend I'm Pam Beesly. (Duh.) And eat copious amounts of Laffy Taffys from the front desk candy bowl while reading some of my favorite blogs.

So I thought I'd share: - because I laugh so hard I snort - because I want to be this woman - because she's my bestie - because sometimes there's nothing better than pining after someone else's perfect little life

And that is all I have today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I have decided to become a money saving, budget-making hosebeast.

So we'll see how that goes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

i am the youngest

And once again, I will be contributing SALAD to Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I have been a sucky blogger. I started this blog after deleting my old one a month ago, and that weekend I wrote several posts. Since then, I've thought about writing on my blog the same way I think about paying my ComEd bill early. I'll get around to it when it's necessary.

Only, the thing about writing is that it's not necessary. It's completely selfish and 100% personal. It's something I care about more than I can fully explain; a way for me to process life and create with the medium I love most: words.

Monday, September 5, 2011

You can't cook them.

I got called a feminist a few times this year.

In college the girl in charge of the Bethel Feminists Forum (I attended once, because they had a clothing swap. Never again.) didn't shave her legs or under her arms, and wore no makeup. In my mind, she was the poster child for feminism.

So when someone called me a feminist this year, my instant reaction was, "Impossible. I shave."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I hate them because you could get a dog instead...

My sister has a very small, very dumb dog who she sometimes puts in this ridiculous sweater. 

I love her.

 I never in my life thought I'd be one of those girls who loves a tiny stupid little dog, but I do. I'm sleeping at my sister's house this weekend, and when I woke up, that little idiot ran circles around me all the way to the kitchen. It's like being harassed by a fluffy ball of joy. I'm a huge fan of this, especially right now.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

I hate them because where did their hair go?

I hate cats. I hate them so much. They're snobby and rude and they smell funny and insist on going to the bathroom in  a box IN YOUR LIVING ROOM.

The Ugliest Cat Ever

I never thought my hatred of cats was based on looks, but then my friends Cory and Mary joined forces and simultaneously sent me this picture. Blarg...I think at one point it was a cat. But now it looks a lot more like a fat Yoda. A Fatoda.