Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Truck Day Gives Me the Sniffles

No seriously! With all the dust in those boxes from goodness knows where, it's a wonder I haven't contracted SARS...yet.

When I know I'm scheduled for a truck shift at Pier 1, secretly I'm excited. I will groan and moan with the rest of the staff about how much stuff we have to unload and the truck driver who sweats all over us and I will mutter the occasional "Where the hell am I supposed to put this?" but inside, I'm squealing for joy.

You see, truck days are like Christmas for me. I get to spend all day opening up boxes of merchandise, smelling candles and playing my favorite game- "Where Can I Hide This?". Occasionally I'm rewarded with something as quirky as these golden "Yoga Frogs". Oh Pier 1!

But materialism aside, I like being able to work at work. I like having boxes to unpack, heavy furniture to move and something to get done. I like being able to completely immerse myself in that work. Mindfully (not mindlessly) opening boxes and unwrapping things gives my mind time to rest and gives me the opportunity to be fully present in the moment. This, I realized to day, is the secret to not breaking anything. (I'm horrible about breaking things. It's a miracle I still have a job some days.)

Moments of enlightenment and peace come to me not through sitting, but through doing. (Peanut butter sandwiches) Maybe unwrapping small Buddha heads for 2 hours isn't exactly sweeping the tatami mats at a Buddhist monastery, but it's as close as I'm going to get. And I love it.

So if you come to Pier 1 to see me on a truck day, chances are I won't be at the door to greet you. I'll be in a back corner somewhere, gently unwrapping Crisp Bamboo pillar candles and smelling each one before I set it in the wall.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday morning rain is falling and I'm calling out to you...

Shh.... I've got a secret.

Every Sunday morning I get a little anxious as I roll over in bed and reach for my lap top. My pulse quickens as I open the screen and type in the web address...

You see, a few weeks ago I created and mailed in 2 of my own personal secrets. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I sat in my living room with paper stuck to my fingers trying to glue little pieces of my past to a 4x6 card. Trying to make something that was true to me and yet still aesthetically pleasing.

Now every Sunday when the new post cards are posted, I await my fate. Will my secret be posted? Will I see my innermost thoughts plastered across the computer screen, bared for the internet community to read?

But probably the strangest question that has plagued me today is- why do I care?

It's a secret. No one will know it's mine because I've never told anyone before. I won't get any credit for it and no recognition for my honesty.
But yet, I want to see my anonymous submission up there.

I want strangers to judge me? People who don't even know me to laugh and feel better about themselves because of my secret?

No...I don't think that's it.
I think I submitted it for those who it might touch. For those guys and gals who are in the same situation, who want to stop feeling like they're all alone.

I want to see my secret posted on the blog so my honesty will be validated.
So my honesty will be rewarded.
So my honesty won't be in vain.

Perhaps the biggest question is- Why couldn't I have just told you?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Eat, Drink and Get Married

(Side thought as I sit down to write this entry- One of the reasons I enjoy having my own place is because I can sit here and eat tuna straight out of the package and no one will complain...mmmm... )

This past weekend my cousin Laura got married.
This past weekend, with Mark by my side, I ate way too much good food, drove way too much, drank way too much coffee and had way too much fun.

The best part, at least for me, was being able to dance at Laura and Adam's reception. I think if I were an Islamic mystic, I would definitely be a whirling dervish. I love dancing. I didn't say I could dance, I said I love dancing. It's such a pure expression of joy and happiness and when I'm dancing I can lose myself in the music and movement. It is probably the closest to no-mind little Miss Monkey-Mind here can achieve.

Mark was a great sport and managed to keep up with me, even after hours of fake swing dancing, "Hey let's dance like Anna and the King", "Dip me!" "Ooo ooo! The robot!" and an attempt at the Bunny Hop with Allie and Nate. Oh man...people should get married and invite me to their weddings more often. :-)

I've been pretty bad at this blog thing this summer, but I feel like there are only so many entries I can write about breaking stuff at Pier 1. I'm looking forward to starting my classes at KU in a few weeks so I'll have much more interesting new things to discuss! In the meantime, I'll be holding dance parties in my apartment in order to commune with the Divine.

Aaaand as my grand finale- A horrible picture of the two of us, probably two hours into the crazy dance party. Mark might be yawning...and I might be a little buzzed. Life is good.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Devil's Rejects

(That was my secret name for my small group at camp...11 eighth graders, and while they weren't a family of serial killers by any means, singing that Rob Zombie song on the way to small group always made me smile.)

Oh camp. It's always such a great experience, but never one that can accurately be communicated in any medium. You really do just have to be there. I'm about to attempt the impossible.

I spent last week at the Disciples Center at Camp Tawakoni with 45 eighth graders and a great group of counselors. This was the camp I interned at the two previous summers, but this was my first time counseling what we call "Pre-High". It's always strange having that many eighth graders in one place, especially since I'd known them since they were only Chi Rhoers in sixth grade. The hormones are flying, the anticipation of high school is present but at the same time, they're really just looking for someone to look up to and someone to tell them what to do.

I, being the religious mutt (to borrow a term from Mark) that I am, knew that I wouldn't be a great source of spiritual guidance for these kids but I made it my goal to try and reach them somehow. I wanted them to leave camp ready for high school, with a good sense of who they are.

We had a lot of fun playing all sorts of great camp games and cheating at them every chance we could. I am the Queen of The Mighty Mighty Scoop Noodle Challenge...and by that I mean I know a dozen different ways to cheat. We got in trouble for setting a bad example for the kids, but I still loved K.C.'s (a fellow counselor) motto of "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin' hard enough".

Hopefully the worship experience were meaningful for the campers. Director Jolly did a great job of putting a lot of thought into what she shared with them each night, and the last night we had communion and a really great candlelighting ceremony.

My cabin was a lot of fun- 20 loud obnoxious girls with more eyeliner than a drag show. Every morning (much to their dismay) I woke them up with the Beatles. I was especially proud of the rainy morning when I woke them up with every Beatles song that has the word "sun" in it. They complained that they didn't like my taste in music one night, so the next morning I woke them up to the finale of the 1812 Overture at full volume. The complaining quickly ceased.

My small group posed a challenge for me. I'm great at large group stuff- leading games, songs...whatever. But when it comes to small group discussions and activities I'll admit- it's my weakness. Everyday was a struggle with these kids. They wouldn't focus, at least not on the right things and heaven forbid I brought up God...then the conversation was over.

But there was one evening where I feel like I finally imparted some tiny bit of knowledge on them. We were talking about the story of Ruth and Naomi and survival. We'd played a game dealing with the food chain and animals depending on one another. I had their attention for a moment so I started teaching them about the Buddhist idea of interdependent arising. How everything is part of everything else. I watched their little minds blow as we talked about all the things and people that are present in the food we eat. We went on to talk about mindfulness and my vegetarianism and being thankful for the lives of the animals we eat. It was a great discussion.

It was little moments like those that kept me going through the week. Little glimpses that I had broken through to them, that they were actually thinking for themselves. It was pretty awesome.

These kids are the future. I hope that I made some sort of difference in their lives.
I'm constantly amazed by the potential they have, and it's sad that most older people write them off as no good.

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have worked with these kids....camp is such a powerful experience and I'm glad I could be a part of it.

Like I said, words just never do it justice...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Pier 1 Pirate Has Scurvy

Not really...but that just sounds so much more exciting than having heat exhaustion and really bad allergies oh and a touch of grumpiness.

I'm back from camp, I survived and I had a great time!
I'm bug-bitten and sunburnt, but for those kids...it was worth it.

I promise to blog about it soon, but I want to sit down and actually think it through. The transition has been a bit much to handle- going from chasing 8th graders around and then back to the crazy world of Pier 1.

I realized I needed a moment to think and process everything that happened.
I realized this as I awoke from my allergy drug-induced walking coma 12' in the air with a dining chair over my head.
I realized this as I broke some really pretty martini glasses

I need to slow down.
So, dear readers, allow me to take a breath and I will soon regale you with tales of eyeliner, 30 minute relationships, devil children, cheating and killer mosquitoes that you are anxiously awaiting.

PS: Guess who the new assistant manager in training is at Pier 1? Oh yes, that would be me. :-)
It's nice to finally feel appreciated!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Green Tea Just Tastes Better...

when you're drinking it from a Starbucks mug. :-)

I'm sitting here taking a moment to just breathe before a week of non-stop church camp goodness.

I'm off to Pre-High camp this afternoon with 50 eighth graders.
I might be a little crazy, I know, but I just can't resist the draw of "Istanbul" and "Peace Like a River"!

So no blog posts for another week, but I'm sure I'll have great stories to tell and hopefully some great insights when I get back.

If you feel so inclined to write to me here's the address-

8492 SW Tawakoni Road
Augusta, KS 67010

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Photo Blog- A Moment of Zen

I spent this past week in Salem, MO visiting Mark and his family at their new home. On Thursday we made a trek down to a place in the Mark Twain National Forest south of Salem to check out a cave. We didn't quite make it to the cave, be we discovered the beauty of a place called Round Spring. Allow me to share it with you...

Pictures never really do places justice...it was breathtaking.

Mark takes a moment to breathe.

Lindsey takes a moment to interrupt that breath. Hey look! It's the Buddha!

And, left over from the fourth of July...here's a firework!