Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm moving!

Hey, guys! I've gotten really tired of Blogger so I'm moving to a new blog over at WordPress. You can find my new ramblings (along with a renewed desire to, you know, actually write) over at I hope to see you all there!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dear Jon-Boy (a breakup letter to Texas)

Dear Jon-Boy,

I'm breaking up with you. I'm just done. I was driving on the loop around Abilene today and looked out to my left over the breathtaking nothingness that stretches to the south, and that was the final straw. I'm breaking up with you for good.

We've had a companionable three years together. At first, we were roommates of convenience, two strangers thrown together for a specific purpose and a specific, finite time. For the most part we drove each other nuts. You'd play your country twang, I'd groove to Neil Young and Hendrix. I'd long for eucalyptus and redwoods and you offered me mesquite "trees" and killer allergies. We'd hang out every once in a while, but that was mostly just so neither of us would have to eat alone. Come the weekends, we'd make a definite split in our own directions: you went to the two-step bars, I went to whatever small speck of nature I could find.

Somewhere along the way, though, it changed. I think it was the weekend we went to Junction to jump into the river. I gotta tell you, Texas, that weekend you were beautiful. The water was that unearthly, milky blue that always reminds me of Woolite. The sky was expansive and intricate. The rocks were bleached white; the plants were alien and interesting; the land, open and quiet. Even the chosen activity, cliff jumping, was new and exhilarating. I realized then, as I realize now, that since the "cliff" was more of a 15-foot river bank, even this experience was watered down and what we outsiders call "good for Texas," but at the time I was hungry for anything.

After that, we started a strained relationship. I knew I could never stay with you, and you knew I was always living with one eye toward the horizon, but it worked for a time. It's ironic: in this metaphor, I'm the tumbleweed. I was restless, but you were there, offering what comforts you could. Even those comforts strangled me, though. I was grateful for what peace I could achieve here, but I didn't want to be at peace. I didn't want you to be my home. I conceded my license plate -- it seemed the least I could do after two years living together -- but I hated you every second. To be fair, you have given me some wonderful people; I love my school and all the people I've met here. I don't think it's any mistake, though, that most of the people I feel most comfortable with aren't from here and aren't like you at all. We gave what we could to each other, but it was never enough, and we both knew it never would be.

I don't hate you as I once did, but I can also no longer pretend that everything's fine between us. Enough's enough. I know where I belong, I know who I belong to, and it's not you. I wish you all the best, I truly do, but I left my heart in San Jose, and this Saturday I'm going back to get it.

With love,

Monday, March 30, 2009


Well, it's been over a year since my last update, and I've been busy. I've been to Oxford, graduated, started grad school, moved to a new place, and started a new job since we last talked. A few quick highlights:

Oxford was... good, but not the magical British experience I'd been dreaming of since I was little. Oxford during summer, I'm told, is a very different place than Oxford during the rest of the year. During the summer, all of the malls of the entirety of Europe, Asia and North America empty out onto the streets of Oxford, turning the sidewalks into impromptu parties and making getting anywhere near impossible and a total pain. I mean, teenagers. In groups. On a trip. Is anything worse? All the Britons are scared indoors and you, as a student tourist yourself, feel simultaneously annoyed with all those tourists and guilty for being part of the problem yourself. The low point of the trip was probably when I was trying really hard to be good and look to the right when crossing a street, but didn't realize it was a one-way street the other way and almost ran into a little old lady on a bike. I didn't mean to, and I apologized right away, but she cussed me out and biked away. I almost cried.

I graduated and started grad school! It's so wonderful. I love it so much more than my undergrad work. All of my classes are classes that I'm interested in and care about and the work is interesting and engaging and I like that I actually have to try (even though I'm still getting all As). Another thing I love about being in grad classes is that the other people in my classes actually care about the material, too. I've been used to being the only one in my English classes who is actually paying attention and who actually finds the material interesting, so I run the risk of either dominating the conversation and being a jerk, or keeping silent to prompt someone else into speaking and making the teacher get frustrated. Now, though, everything's cool and we can all talk and share opinions and theories and they're interesting and lively and I'm not the only one who talks!

My other job now is working as a writing tutor at my school's Writing Center. I totally love this, and this has convinced me that no matter what I do in life, part of my life needs to involve teaching people about literature and writing. God has given me a gift for being able to take ideas and verbalize them in ways that make sense to others; I do this in gymnastics, and I do this with writing. I love when I'm able to make something that once seemed complicated and difficult now appear simple and helpful. Yay!

The only problem is that now I have two jobs where I'm encouraged to correct others. Sometimes I forget to switch this off and I go about correcting people out in the real world, then realize that they aren't paying me to do that and they probably don't appreciate it and I should probably just shut up and smile.

Alright, it's late but I'm up because I took a long nap today, but now I should probably go to sleep so that tomorrow morning I can get up and go do the aforementioned coaching.

I'm hoping to keep writing in this about once a week now, just to keep up my skills of writing and observing interesting things. Feel free to encourage me to keep on it!

Alright, I wish you all a sound sleep full of first editions, redwoods, and Lord Stanley's Cup.



Sunday, March 2, 2008


Man, life has been hectic, I tell ya! Actually, let me tell ya...

Since I got back from India I've been pretty swamped. I started volunteering three days a week for Sanctuary Home (the business end of things here in Abilene, anyway), and I attend all the SH board meetings and take the minutes. I'm still coaching gymnastics about thirteen hours a week, I'm taking two English classes, one Spanish and one ESL class, I'm helping plan a fund-raiser for all the missions teams from Highland this year, I'm babysitting for a Bible study group on Sunday nights and most weekends I have another babysitting gig, too.

I'm forgetting something, but I don't know what. Oh. I'm also gearing up for grad school and having to petition to take more than 6 hours of grad credit before I technically finish my undergrad, and I have to figure out where and how I can take six more hours of Spanish before December (when I'm supposed to graduate) since neither ACU nor anyone else around here offers it in time. I'm trying to take it over the internet, but they seem to be finicky about learning a language online. Something about us needing to be able to say the words and not just read them. Baloney, in my opinion.

Anyway, life has been very busy but very good. However, the bad men did make me put Texas plates on my car. I am NOT happy. Neither is my car. The two days directly following the registration switch my normally well-behaved car acted up like that kid Mike Myers played in that one skit. The hyper hypo. You know... with the helmet and the leash holding him to the jungle gym? Yeah, like that. Apparently, my car is just as upset about this whole "Texas" thing as I am. Although tonight I did get an unintentional mini-sermon from one of the kids I babysit. We're sitting there playing with a wooden puzzle/map of the U.S. and the kid (we'll call him Glasses), takes all the puzzle pieces off except for Texas. As you can imagine, the three-year-old in me threw a fit. So I said, "Hey, if we're doing the states we're from, we have to put California on there, too. That's where I'm from." Glasses gave me an incredulous look, paused a second, then said, "Yeah, but that's not where you are. You have to be where you are. You have to be here." Darn you, small child with God's wisdom! I knew he was right so I said he could take California off the map, but he saw I was sad and so he flipped California upside down and attached the two states by their heads. All better!

It seems like all I ever get on here to do anymore is give short updates and then tell everyone when I'm coming home. This time is no exception, but I'm going to try to include more in-between stuff, too. I'll be home from March 13 to March 24, so get ready, kids! I'm totally psyched to see everyone, PLUS two of my friends from ACU are coming home with me! Yay!

Well, I must get to sleep, and then get right back to work!

See you all soon...


P.S. Mom, can you tell I've been using the book you sent me? No misplaced hyphens here!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hidee-ho, neighbors!

Okay, I know that's kind of a lie since most of you live pretty far from me, but you're definitely a lot closer since I came back to the States!

I really want to encourage all of you to go over to the Sanctuary Home blog and read about our experiences there. There's just too much for me to talk about in another blog, and besides, I was blogging over there while it was happening so everything I could say has been said best already. Even if you just skim through for my blogs, I really think you'll be blessed and challenged by what our team was a part of.

For now, it's.... weird to be back. I mean, it's good, but it's weird. I still keep dreaming about India. Every time I lay my head down I'm transported back to Tenali. Let me just share a couple pieces from my latest SH blog entry:

Life in Tenali really was something completely extraordinary and completely... other. On Sunday, Amanda, Jana and I just sat for a minute after class and talked about our re-entry into American life and how strange it's been. I mean, for two weeks I didn't have keys! I didn't drive a car, I didn't do laundry, I didn't have a cell phone or a laptop... and I had 75 younger brothers and sisters! When we tried to talk about the fact that the trip only lasted two weeks, Jana's eyes got big and she said "There is no way that was only two weeks. No way." She didn't say it in disbelief, either. She said it as a fact. That trip did not last two weeks. It lasted a whole other lifetime. I still dream about India and my family there and wake up a little confused as to where I am and where my Indian family has gone.

I never knew that I would be called to India. I always thought I was better suited to a cooler clime, but God knows best and I'm kinda dense, so I'm gonna go with it. I told the kids and the Palaparthi family when I left that I was going to put a jar on my desk to start saving up money so I could go back as soon as I can, and after I finish my grad work I would really like to spend time doing a long-term mission there. I can learn Telugu, teach the kids English, and help mediate between the Indian team and the American team. I know this is big, and I know it's rather fast to state my intention for such a big commitment, but if God is at all willing, I've got the desire and I've gotta go. I say this knowing that God knows better than I do (as I said, he's God and I'm dense) and that things may change according to what he wants me to do, but this just feels right.

My heart officially has an India-shaped hole.

For now, I'm just asking for prayers. Prayers for SH, for the kids there, for Isaac and Mary, for their daughters and Mary's brothers Rajanikanth and Anil, for Ray and Amanda, for SH's attempts to be granted Indian non-profit status, for the 8 new children we took in over the course of the trip, and for my future involvement with SH... whatever that may look like. I'm resigned to the fact that God is in charge and I don't get to say where I go or when, but this just feels like God's hand is over this, blessing this, and clearing the way for me to go back.

Quick story: Before I left for India I needed to sign up for one more class for the spring. I didn't have any requirements about what it had to cover, I just needed hours. I didn't want to take an intensive Bible class or another Literature class because it would just be too much work with the other classes I'm already taking, but I also didn't want to cop out and just take bowling or whatever. I had no idea what I was going to take, but as soon as I got back from India the idea to take a class about teaching English as a second language popped into my head. Now I had no idea if ACU offered that sort of class, if they offered it this semester, if you had to be an Education major to take it, if it was open, if it would conflict with my work schedule.... yada yada yada. Basically, there were 12 billion ways in which that could have not worked out, and just one small window in which it would. Guess what, suckas? I'm enrolled in the Teaching English as a Second Language class! How freaking exciting is that? The way that popped into my head and how it worked out against all odds (especially since they apparently only offer it every once in a while) just reinforces for me that one of these days I'll be headed back to Tenali to stay.

At least for a while. :)

Welp, love you guys. I should go back to sleep. I'm still having trouble adjusting off of India time so I tend to fall asleep everywhere during the day (I'm working on that) and wake up hungry in the middle of the night. I'm going to go toast myself some tasty Pop-Tarts, climb back into bed, indulge and snooze.

Peace and love.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Greetings from India! I'm not going to blog right now, but head on over to the Sanctuary Home blog and read all about our incredible adventures and see pictures of us and the kids. I miss and love you all and I'll see you soon!

Peace and love,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Can you feel the love tonight?

Okay, did anybody else really and truly love that song? Not just in a "Disney songs are catchy and cute" way, but in a "Yes, yes I can feel the love tonight! Simba and Nala are so meant for each other!" way.

No? Just me? Moving on, then...

Right now I'm waiting for the peach cobbler I made (read: bought frozen at the store and popped in the oven) to finish baking, so I decided to do a shout-out blog entry to the amazing women who comprise my blogosphere.

First of all, I have to give a shout-out to the original blog shouter-outer: Miss Christy. She is ever so fantabulous, and here are just a few of the many reasons why: She is wise and mature beyond her years and loves her God with a fully individualized faith. Her faith is one that has been questioned, nurtured, struggled with, lovingly tended to and driven by a sincere personal desire to know God better. Alongside this is Christy's love for people, especially those who are "out of the norm." Her love, joy and inner beauty spill over into all aspects of her life and onto those lucky enough to be around her, and she is someone whom I can look to as an example. Plus, she knits some truly amazing creations. Jealous!!

Bethany is my sister and my ever-brave pathfinder. She has lead my younger sister and I by example and unerring courage throughout our lives, and has always been an example of the kind of responsible, loving, hardworking, hardplaying, quirky woman and avid sports fan I aspire to be. Perhaps the biggest way she has set the example for me is in her choice of husband, so Danny's going to get an honorary mention on here even though he isn't a lady. D-Fitty is so freaking cool, and has helped me to feel loved and accepted into my sister's new life. I love having a brother, and someday I hope I can be part of a ministry team much like Fitels.

Evie-Baby! The fourth Hall sister! Eve is awesome because she is so intrinsically motivated to do great things with her life. She's run a marathon, biked 100 miles to benefit charity, and is doing it all over again in November! She bakes, she hosts Bible studies, she climbs Half Dome, she puts up with my attempts to freak her out -- is there anything this mega-babe DOESN'T do? Eve is such a special part of my family and didn't even get mad when my Study Abroad session this summer meant that our longer Ireland '08 trip would have to become a shorter Oxford '08 trip. When I think of Eve, I think of giggles, and that's ALWAYS a good thing.

Pat is my second mom, and has been such a source of beauty and love in my life. When I wear her jewelry I don't just feel pretty, I feel loved and cared for. She and her husband have undertaken a huge project to turn a run-down house with masses of potential into a beautiful Victorian dream home in San Antonio. It helps me so much to know that you are so close and so willing to be there for me when I'm so far from my family. That sentence used the word "so" a lot, but that's how Pat is! She's not sweet, she's SO sweet. She's not thoughtful, she's SO thoughtful. Pat is just so so so so so!

Adelle is just too cool. I actually haven't been able to spend that much time with Adelle in person, but our mutual blog-checking keeps us up to speed on each other's lives, and I could not be more excited about the addition of little Scrappy-Doo to the Gabe clan. You are a wonderful encourager, a fantastic mom, a strong lady, and a beautiful soul. May God protect and bless your growing family of Gabes!

Katie is one of my good friends out here in Abilene and I joke with her that she's just like me, only better. She bakes (instead of fake-baking), she reads even more than I do, she drinks tea all the time, is a published author and is just too freaking cute. Katie is an encouragement to me in that I'm not the only one who thinks books are as essential to living as bread and water, and people love her for it. Currently she's over in Oxford working on her Master's (see -- me, only a little further ahead) and having a grand old time, and Abilene just isn't the same without her. Katie, my dear, your fiancé and I miss you terribly and want you to come back to Abilene soon. No, nix that -- I wish I could go be with you in Oxford and out of this dry, flat little town for a bit!

Honorable mention goes to my Mom and Dad. Mom doesn't have a blog and Dad isn't a lady, but they're just too fabulous not to mention. Thanks for all your support and love -- I always know who my number one fans are. Here's to (almost) 24 years of keeping me grounded and loving me for being the weird little kid I am.

Yaaaaaaaaaay! Love fest! I feel like we should all be hippies and live in an eco-friendly commune and grow our own food and wear shoes made of hemp and not bathe for days at a time!

Okay, maybe not that last one, but you know what I mean.

Much love to all...

P.S. The cobbler was so good I just may have a crush on it. Mrs. Smith's Classic Peach Cobbler. Go. Buy. Eat. Die of happiness.