Friday, March 30, 2007


Drew and Lisa, you have been promoted to the category "Nice Blog!"
Brock and Christina, you have been demoted to the category "Blog Slacker!"

Chris and Janelle, I'm still perfectly willing to recategorize you if you write an entry in 2007.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Run Away, Run Away! or not...

If anyone ever says to you, "Will you help me with my wedding?" your immediate response should be to kick the sympathetic nervous system into gear and run away, full speed! Run away! Run away!

You might say that's a jerky thing to do, but I'm pleading with you: Do it! Run away! If you do not run away immediately, something horrible will happen: you will buy into the beautiful romanticism of helping a friend with a wedding, and you think it will be FUN! I'm telling you--it will NOT be fun! Weddings are painted as romantic, life-changing, and perfect, but they are draining, tiring, humbling. Do not ever, ever help anyone with their wedding.

Okay...or maybe not...The "Running Away from Assisting with Friends' Weddings" school of thought will only assist you if you plan on having no friends...or if you plan on spending your entire life operating as an egomaniac...or if you plan to pull off the 5,972 details of your own wedding alone. So while running away is tempting and extremely attractive, I actually don't recommend it.

Maybe you can entertain a mental flight from the scene of the nuptials, but at a surface level, you must appear put together and smile at all times. Whenever anyone expresses an urgent need, you must say, "I will be glad to help." Even if you're so stressed by it all that moments before it's time for wedding pictures to start you're locked in your car sobbing on the phone to your boyfriend who's safely seven states away, you must wipe away the tears, regain your composure, and walk in the doors to the church to face the big day.

What is provoking this line of thought? The exhaustion I endured in helping my friend Corrie with logistical details for her really fantastic wedding this last weekend...which was somehow dissolved in the moment when she walked past my seat in the reception hall, a floating woman in white, put her hand on my shoulder and said, "You did a great job." Somehow--having a good friend dressed in radiant white giving you a compliment can negate two day's worth of blisters, tears, and rampant exhaustion.

Last night as I talked about the weekend exhaustion I endured in helping Corrie and Joe have an amazing and beautiful wedding, my friend Dawn said, "The only thing that can get you through a day like that is intense love for the person you're serving." And it's true. There were countless times through the day when I was carrying chairs in/out of the nursery, helping a tuxedoed preschooler clean smashed-up french fry off his pants or tracking down MIA groomsmen and grandmas that I thought, "I will leave...I will leave...and life will get better." But then I'd see Corrie looking beautiful in her dress and Corrie's parents who seemed so thankful to have me there, and I stayed. I stayed because I knew that I was shielding these people I love from more stress, and that if I left, their day would be less breezy--suddenly the mother of the bride would be on her knees removing smashed-up french fry from the ringbearers tuxedo pants. That is no place for the mother of the bride!

Not that I feel a compulsive need to turn everything in my life into a reflection about Jesus, but seriously...I wonder if that's what Jesus feels like...when we're running around stressed and distracted by mashed-up french fries, he's wishing we could just stop and enjoy the beautiful day that's before us. So he says, "Here...let me clean up that keep your gaze forward and upward."

Corrie and Joe's wedding was a beautiful day...I was exhausted beyond belief...and as far as I know...the bride was not at any time needed to move chairs, haul tables, or load her passenger seat with floral arrangements. So. For one afternoon I was consistently humbled by servanthood and got a strong reminder of how closely love and service are intertwined. And although the life lesson is strong, I must tell you that should you so desire my assistance on the day of your wedded bliss, I regret to inform you I'll be out of town...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Why is there not a better title for this entry than There and Back Again?

I've just returned from a formative trip--one that makes me feel like at the end of the trip, I've arrived back at the same place to find that everything is different.

My 9-day trip across the Southwest started last Sunday. It was preceded by a day of visiting with Hannah and Jon, who flew out to Washington on their spring break. We celebrated their visit by eating lots of good food, watching Arrested Development, and going to bed early.

Early Sunday morning I was off to Palm Springs, California, which is the brainchild of some creative capitalist who decided the best place for a bunch of green golf courses is the middle of the desert. Palm Springs is a nice town, though. On the way there, we enjoyed a breezy 2-hour drive from Ontario, in which we could intake all the beautiful graffiti that lines I-10 through San Bernadino.

My five days in Palm Springs were to attend the Christian Management Association (CMA) Conference. It was fantastic! I listened to great talks from Dr. Henry Cloud, Gordon MacDonald, Patrick Lencioni, and Priscilla Evans Shirer. I attended workshops about Financial Development and Marketing. And I enjoyed a lot of QT with the other YD leaders. In fact, beyond the info I was gathering, that was the best part of the whole week--the informal time with my coworkers, talking about the future of YD and the excitement and tension about change. I definitely got to know everyone a lot better, and a lot of trust was built. (As I like to say--relational equity.)

After five days of filling my brain with work-related brainstorms, I said goodbye to California and headed east to Arizona.

Clay met me at the rental car drop-off at Sky Harbor, and we went to visit Drew, Lisa and Justin, Taylor friends who live in Phoenix. We enjoyed a fantastic rooftop dinner at sunset in downtown Scottsdale...and if we would have desired to purchase a buffalo head for the living room wall, our dreams could have certainly come true. We enjoyed great food, fondue, and fun conversation. And I ate a lot of queso...which was so good to eat and so sad to say goodbye to after I'd eaten it all.

During our fantastic 24 hours in Phoenix with the aformentioned Drew, Lisa, and Justin, we also had coffee with my friend Laura from TU Admissions, and enjoyed a raucous afternoon with the amazingly talented Karaoke Trio of Tim, Jennifer, and Frenchy. (Apart from our visit highlight, which included Jennifer spilling gallons of Horchata smoothie all over the Gas Station Slushie aisle, we were introduced to SingShot, an online community for karaoke lovers.)

Then, Clay and I headed to Tucson so I could meet his life. During the three days in Tucson, I met lots of fun peeps from Clay's church, saw the sunrise over Tucson from a viewpoint on Mt. Lemmon, had my first Eegee, explored 4th Avenue and dined at Caruso's, drove past the US Air Force Airplane Graveyard, and saw a lot of the sun and cacti.

The weekend in Tucson was fabulous...I got a lot of confirmation about Clay and I's relationship just as a result of meeting other people who are friends with fact, it was all so fabulous, that when I got off the plane in dreary Seattle yesterday, I began crying about stupid things. (Things like missing the airport shuttle the first time it came and forgetting to take the West Seattle exit.) I think this is a testament to missing the sun, having the letdown of coming home after a fabulous trip, being alone on the car ride home, and being really sad that after 5 days with Clay, I had once again said goodbye.

So I arrive home after nine days with a lot of confidence...I'm confident in my personal relationship with the Lord...I'm confident that I enjoy my job immensely...I'm confident that Clay and I belong together...and I'm confident that what this world needs is more online karaoke and Horchata smoothie.

Life is very, very good.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Californiaaaa and Arizonaaaaa

So I'm off traveling again starting this weekend. First to Palm Springs, California for the Christian Management Association's Spring Conference. At the conference, I will go to exciting seminars on Marketing, Fundraising, and Strategic Planning. (Do not read any sarcasm into this sentence. I am actually stoked about it!)

And then I will drive to Puh-ho-nix, Arizona to see Drew and Lisa, Tim and Jennifer, Laura, and boyfriend Clay.

Here are my anticipated highlights for next week:

  1. Having my brain overloaded by exciting career information.
  2. Enjoying time with my coworkers and continuing to build relationships with the YD Leadership.
  3. Getting a tan.
  4. Wearing my new "business casual" wear from Gap Outlet.
  5. Spending four hours driving across the California/Arizona desert with my iPod blaring.
  6. Seeing six good Taylor friends I haven't seen in awhile.
  7. Drinking 14 gallons of water per day.
  8. Applying lotion 6-10 times per day.
  9. Applying aloe vera 2-3 times per day.
  10. Visiting boyfriend's place of residence, church of employment, circle of friends, etc.
And my yet-to-be highlights from tonight:
  1. Leaving work at a decent hour.
  2. Buying new sunglasses and body wash from B&BW.
  3. Preparing the homestead for a visit from Jon and Hannah tomorrow. (Hannah being my bestest friend from my time in Kenya during fall of 2001. She and husband Jon are visiting from Indiana before I leave on Sunday morning!)
  4. Getting a smoothie on the way home.
It's the small things in life, you know. I will hope to post more of exciting California/Arizona revelations. Maybe even a torrid tale of running in the desert just before heat stroke. And a blog entry on meeting the significant other's significant others will surely transpire at some point. Please wait on the edge of your seats in eager anticipation.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Re: Running.

I want to update my last post with a "four days post-run" physiological update.

Here's the update: Running is from the devil and kills your body.

What's my proof?

Since running on Thursday, I have been having dull pain in my right knee and rather uncomfortable, spastic pain up my entire right leg up through my hip. At first, I was blaming this on the "Surgical removal of the meniscus in Heather's right knee, circa 1996," which often results in post-run knee pain during the first few weeks of running. Once my muscle tone builds up, the joint pain usually stops.

This time around, however, the knee has decided to rally my entire leg to its cause, which frustrates me immensely. Two nights ago, it was keeping me awake, so at 1:30 in the am, I crawled out of bed, downed three ibruprofen, and wrapped my knee in two ace bandages. I fell asleep within twenty minutes...which was pretty fantastic.

So last night, I decided to repeat what worked so well, and I woke up with a swollen right ankle.
It was so swollen that my foot was swelling uncomfortably out of my new black flats. And--when I removed the shoe, it was not evident-at-first that I was no longer wearing the shoe, since it was permanently imprinted on my swollen foot.

I could blame this inconvenient/horrifying circumstance on a birth defect, eleven years of ballet, the violation of my orthopedic surgeon's recommendation that I "never go running," or...the liklihood that I wrapped the Ace bandage a wee bit too tight.

Instead, I will be narrow minded and blame it all on running: the sport I love to hate.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Running: Something I love to hate.

So once every spring and fall I get this bright idea called, "I should go running." The desire usually manifests itself during a sunny day in which I've been feeling rather sedentary, and it's always spurred by hope that a few months of running will result in a body like Kate Bosworth ala Blue Crush. (I know she's a surfer...but for lack of surfing options, running will have to suffice.)

"I should go running" day always begins with hope and ends in rampant disappointment. Yesterday was the first of 2007's series of disappointing running days...

The day didn't start out spectacular. My car door was frozen shut, and I had to crawl in through the less-frosted passenger door and then attempt to kick open the driver's door. (To no avail of course.) So I was driving down Hwy 20, wondering if I'd ever be able to open the Driver's side door. (When the door, of course, thawed and opened. PTL that the door was locked, otherwise I might have been strewn on Hwy 20 with my car continuing on its way.)

By mid-afternoon, however, the snow melted and it was sunny and springish outside. I enjoyed a stroll across the lawn in my capri's, and immediately thought, "I should go running." I put on all of my favorite running year (capri track pants, trail runners, a Nike running fleece, a bandana, and my iPod). I did lots of stretches. I called my roommate to let her know to leave the door unlocked...and I began "running."

After about fifty feet of running, I discovered that the air was a lot colder than it had seemed an hour earlier, when I'd made the decision to run...but I pressed on. The air felt heavy at first. Then, it started to sting. And suddenly, of course, I'm 1/2 mile from the house, staring at the snow banks next to the river, hating my life. My knee was beginning to ache; it was getting dark; and now I have a 1/2 mile walk back to the house in the dark and cold, barely able to breathe.

I returned home, frustrated that Washington does not entertain year-round perfect weather so as to always cater to my "I should go running" needs. And I pretended that twenty minutes of ballet stretches on the living room floor equates to toned body in the same way that running does.

Six hours later, as I laid in bed, my knee was crying out in pain saying, "Darn you, Heather! If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times: low-impact activities!" I shrugged my shoulders, frustrated that running had once again seemed like a good idea, but confident that once the warm weather appears for real, I'll be compelled to try again.