only help my unbelief


The pros and cons of growing up
January 19, 2009, 2:53 pm
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“I can’t believe we’re going to buy a car,” Christian said Saturday while we drove to Greenville.

“I know; it’s such a grown-up thing to do,” I affirmed.

As it turned out, we’re not quite the grown-ups we thought we were. It hadn’t occurred to us that the sellers wouldn’t want to take a check, so we drove to the nearest gas station and took out fourteen hundred dollarsin $20 bills.

Christian was blocking the view of my vest pocket where I was stuffing the wads of cash as we took money out of the ATM, $200 at a time.

Buying a car was fun. We may have fumbled a bit here and there in the process, but we made it back to Columbia with one more car than we owned on the way up there. It runs, it’s in good condition, and my time spent driving to hang out with Christian is going to decrease drastically.

There are other things, though, that aren’t quite as fun about growing up. Paying taxes is at the top of my current “Why-I’d-rather-not-grow-up” list. I’ve done my taxes by myself for the past two years, but this year they’ll be more complicated than last year. I’m going to help Christian with his taxes, too, and his will be even more complicated.

Getting married is a good part of growing up, and in the last couple weeks I’ve discovered that getting married has perks beyond the actually getting married part. Our wedding registries are modest – we only asked for things we really, really needed – and so when I got a package that included a comforter, bed skirt and kitchen utensils, and then another package today with a CrockPot, I could hardly contain myself. If all I have is a a wonderful husband, a warm, cozy bed and the ability to cook to my heart’s desire, I’ll be content for the rest of my life.

Another con – answering questions about what I’m “going to do with my life.” Lately I’ve been listening to the song “Have Thine Own Way” over and over again, and I wish that I could play that song as a response to that question. So far, my plans only go as far as April with a whole lot of specificity: Get married. Then the plans become vague and ambiguous, mostly having to do with pursuing Christ in such a way that I can be an excellent wife and prepare to have and raise godly kids. But somehow, that’s just not enough for everyone.

When I was 10 or 11, I made a list of “all” the things I would do when I got to college, which was my way of listing all the things I could do when I was old enough to decide what I did. The List: 1) Each month, make a bowl of brownie mix and just eat the batter; 2) Eat a bagel every morning for breakfast.

If only life were so simple.



In which Christian and I realize that we’re actually 82 years old
December 18, 2008, 12:00 pm
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Every Christmas, for the past three years, Christian and I have always done the same thing: seen Behold the Lamb together.

I am absolutely in love with the music, the people, the entire idea behind the show. You can read the Wikipedia article to which I linked, but I’ll give you a rundown of what goes on.

Basically, Andrew Peterson and a bunch of his friends (like this guy, this guy, this girl, this guy and this guy, and sometimes this guy and this girl and this girl) play some of their songs for the first half of the show. There’s an intermission, and then they come back and play through all the songs from Behold the Lamb, which basically tells the story of Christmas from the Old Testament until Jesus dies on the cross (which, actually, is the story of Christmas. Not just the innkeeper part.).

If you’re still dubious, let me just give you this line from the song Labor of Love, which describes the night Jesus was born from Mary’s point of view:

Noble Joseph at her side, calloused hands and weary eyes.
There were no midwives to be found on the streets of David’s town in the middle of the night.
So he held her and he prayed, shafts of moonlight on his face,
But the baby in her womb, He was the maker of the moon,
He was the author of the faith that could make the mountains move.

It makes me weep EVERY TIME.

Last night, Christian and I both got off work early. He drove to my house and got in my car to scoot up to Charlotte. We made it just in time for the show and found our seats.

The “in-the-round” portion, where all the members of the tour play their own songs, was great. I knew most of the songs that were played, mostly because the members of the tour basically make up my top ten favorite musicians, which made it even better. I love singing along (no feedback yet on whether the people around me loved my singing along).

During the intermission, we went up to the tables, realized we already had all the CDs they were selling, and sat back down. Then they started playing the songs for Behold the Lamb. It ended with everyone at the show singing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

As soon as the last strain of the last song faded, I picked up my purse.

“Are you ready to go?” I asked Christian.

“Oh, but didn’t you want to see Jill and Andy?” he said. Jill and Andy are married and are good friends with Christian’s former youth pastor. They’ve played several times on Christian’s church youth retreats. The last time we saw them, they remembered him and it made his day.

“Well, I do, but if we leave now we’ll beat all the traffic,” I responded. It was at this point that I realized I had become my father, who always used to make us leave sporting events before they were completely over so that we could “beat the traffic.” When I told my mom about me saying this, she was horrified.

“There’s going to be traffic anyway,” he said. “Let’s go see if they’re up there.”

At this point, I almost started crying, because I was so tired, and I said a variety of incomrephendable things like “I’m sure they’re not up there” and “They won’t remember you.” In case you’re wondering, yes, I was being a complete jerk.

So we wandered up to the stage, where some of the tour people were putting away their stuff. Of course, the only people not putting away their stuff were Jill and Andy. So we stood off to the side and joked about talking to the other Andy. I lamented the fact that I hadn’t made him double chocolate peppermint cookies, because he had commented about them on my Facebook status, which made my day.

We waited for at least 15 minutes. Still no sign of Jill or Andy. We went out to the merchandise to see if they were there. Nope. We came back and saw Andrew across the room. It was the first we’d seen of him, so we wondered if Jill and Andy were with him. They weren’t, but we decided to say hi to Andrew and remind him of some stories he told us a few years earlier.

We waited until we could talk to him, and he was friendly as always. Christian brought up the stories.

“Hey, Andrew, you probably don’t remember us, but a couple years ago we saw you in Knoxville and you told us about this time when you played in Columbia and my fiance saw you, and you were playing a song called ‘Mary Picked the Roses’ and you passed gas during it.”

Andrew laughed and said he often regrets the stories he tells.

“Yeah, and then another time, you told us that even though we were in college, we should get married, because you got married in college and you said it was awesome because you got to be in college but it was OK to have sex.”

Andrew laughed with us some more, and we told him that if they ever made a documentary about his life, we would be happy to share those stories again. I think he was really appreciative.

On the ride home, we discussed what we might talk to him about the next time we see him in concert, and decided we are actually no longer able to approach him, because what are we going to say? “Hey, Andrew, you probably don’t remember, but last time we saw you we told you about how the time before that when we saw you  we told you about the time before that when we saw you and you told us these stories…” It could go on forever.

Anyway, after we talked to Andrew, we spotted Jill and Andy. They were in the one spot we hadn’t yet surveyed. Happily, they remembered Christian and so the entire 30 minute wait was worth it. At least for him. They also spoke to me very kindly, telling me I look like the wives of one of the other guy’s on tour, which is always kind of awkward, because you don’t realy know what to say.

And with that, we left, and this is when it become readily apparent that we are no longer in college. When we first planned to go to the show, we knew it would be on a work night, but we figured we could just shake it off the next day. We left Charlotte around 10:15 p.m. for what was essentially a 2-ish hour drive. I normally go to bed at 11 p.m.

We stopped at Sonic around 11 because neither of us had eaten dinner. It took forever, and they gave me a cherry slush instead of a cherry limeade slush, WHICH IS NOT EVEN KIND OF THE SAME. My onion rings, however, were delicious.

Once we got done there, Christian was driving and trying to eat and so we got on the wrong interstate. This took about 10 minutes to correct. At this point, it was about 11:30 p.m. and we were still approximately one hour from home.

“Are you OK to drive?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah,” he said confidently. “I can definitely make it home.”

I dozed off for about three minutes.

“Are you sure you’re OK?” I asked again.

“Actually, can you drive?”

And so we pulled over and switched.

“Just let me know if you need to switch again,” he said, and then he promptly fell asleep.

And so I kept myself awake by singing along to the Hairspray soundtrack.

I stumbled into bed around 12:30 a.m., only to wake up less than 6.5 hours later for work.

When the alarm clock went off this morning, it was abundantly clear that I no longer possess the on-demand adrenaline-laced blood that pulses through your veins when you’re up all night with friends and have an exam at 8 a.m. the next morning. Even worse was the realization that I couldn’t just go to work for a few hours and then come home and nap.

My 97-year-old great grandmother, though, apparently sleeps until 1 p.m. every day, though, so maybe it’s not so bad to grow up.



Sometimes I just don’t feel like raisin bran
December 9, 2008, 10:05 am
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In the ten days that I’ve been engaged, I have felt an increasingly heavy burden on my shoulders. It’s not a bad burden, but it is a very present one.

All the blogs I read by godly moms and wives where they write about how to raise their children and respect their husbands? I can’t just skim through them and laugh at the funny pictures. I need to listen. And I need to start practicing as much as I can now, before we’re even married, because I don’t think that the honeymoon turns you into a different person.

I have a job. Christian and I are looking into his health insurance options to see what would be best. We’re looking at apartments and houses to rent. I’m desperately trying to keep us both on balanced budgets. And planning a wedding? Not exactly my favorite.

I like being an adult. I’m glad I don’t have to take exams or write papers. I like going to bed at 10:30 p.m., even on Friday nights, and waking up on my own at 6:45 a.m. I enjoy going to the gym four times a week and meeting friends for dinner to talk about work and life and the future.

There are times, though, when, in the privacy of your own home, you don’t have to be an adult.

Which is why, this morning, when I surveyed the cereal options in the cupboard of my family’s kitchen, I passed over the Cheerios and the Honey Bunches of Oats and even the semi-mature Captain Crunch.

Because Lucky Charms are delicious, even at 22.

I did, however, read my dad’s Wall Street Journal while I tried to get an appropriate ratio of regular cereal pieces to marshmallow cereal pieces. I enjoy the irony.