Monday, December 31, 2007

"The end of the year," or, "apathy."

Good riddance. 2007 is gone...

Wow, thank you all so very, very much! I didn't deserve this; I'm stunned! There were so many other better actors up for this. I want to thank my God and my family for their love and support. I couldn't have done it without You/you, and my hope is that it will all go down in history, but that my legacy will be more than this one year...

On to a different train of thought... ("all aboard!") Why is apathy so admired but passion is so attractive? Is that just with regards to young people? Why do I so often want to be passionate but can't manage it; why do I feel empty and bored, but in a malaise where I can't muster the energy to change? It's not quite the "slough of despond;" it's more like those Saturday mornings when I was a kid and would watch 3 hours of cartoons and then was good for nothing the rest of the day. Television will do that to you. And so will working and working and working and doing it all on my own and in my own strength just because "I can" and there's no need for that special Infusion that I look for and ask for in the "hard" times. This apathy that I personally feel and that I speak with my friends about... this inability to act, to breathe it all in, to live abundantly... what is the remedy?

Here we are/the broken and used/mistreated, abused/here we are
Here You are/the beautiful one/who came like the sun/here You are...
he is the one who has saved us/he is the one who embraced us/he is the one who has come and is coming again/he's the remedy
here we are/bandaged and bruised/awaiting a cure/here we are
here you are/our beautiful king/bringing relief/here you are...
he is the one who has saved us/he's the one who forgave us/he's the one who has come and is coming again/he's the remedy

I just want to live as I know I can... with that power in me that was in Christ Jesus... the very same power that raised him from the dead. I think if I lived like I believed that, it'd be earth-shattering. In a good way.

Happy 2008, everybody.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Flouride treatments...

My new dentist said all I need to do is use mouthwash. He said flossing is good but listerine is better. He said I need a night-guard b/c I grind my teeth at night (euw), but I don't need the 2 fillings that the other dentist said I needed. Whatever. I have to kill the germs in my mouth because the bacteria is what causes tooth decay and bad breath. Not that I have bad breath... except in the mornings. But who doesn't?

Bobby Frasor got injured last night in the Nevada game. I bet Mary is heartbroken. But at least it wasn't Danny or Tyler or Ty. Q is going to have to step up. I realized a few days ago that I judge Yankees and Patriots fans because their team always wins. Only losers go for teams that always win... that's too easy. Fandom should be difficult and trying and passionate and heartwrenching. But then I realized I'm a Carolina basketball fan. And we are 12-0 and rated #1. Can't get much more insufferable than that.

I like the word "preposterous."
I get sad thinking about all the people I've loved and lost. God, protect and keep them.
Sorry for the sentimentality. It's the music-- it always does that to me. Certain artists especially... Snow Patrol (SO emo), Damien Rice (same)... I guess it's the emo factor that makes me feel like crying for no good reason.

I wrote the above last night and then more after that but I lost it b/c of my internet connection. The amazing literary feat that was my writing is now lost from the world forever. Sad. I think I started writing about boys and how they are unreliable... no, it was about how maybe you can miss one's soulmate. By that, I mean, just for a time... I think maybe your paths cross again.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh, and...

... today is 9 months since Jason died.  I consider the more important day to be the 23rd, but it was March 26th when he went to Jesus.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holidays Shmolidays

Why am I okay with Christmas but not Valentine's Day?  Why do I enjoy Independence Day and Thanksgiving but could do without Halloween and... um... Memorial Day? My cousin hates Christmas; my family's never done anything for minor holidays (Labor Day, etc.).  I took off of work for Friday and Monday; I worked today (26th), but I'm taking Thursday off to be with the family (staying in Alexandria).  I work Friday and Monday, and get Tuesday off and then work normally Weds-Fri. Random, I know.

Gabe said tonight at dinner that, along with my musings about breathing out of my hair (ask if you want to know), I also used to wonder, "What if our brains were in our toes?"  ... the thought being that if we stubbed our toes, we would die.  Where's Nick Burns when you need to have a good hypothetical conversation? (Irony alert-- a rhetorical question about a hypothetical situation.)  This came up because I asked a hypothetical question that had been deemed ridiculous.  I don't remember what it was.

Yesterday I realized that I look down on Yankees and Patriots fans because they have such an easy job.  Their team wins all the time.  But then I realized that I am a diehard Carolina basketball fan.  Even worse, I suppose.  "Judge not, so you're not judged... The same measure you use will be used to measure to you..." etc. etc.

Tomorrow we're going to see "My Fair Lady" at the Kennedy Center. I'm excited; always loved the musical; recently I enjoyed the written play by Bernard Shaw; and who doesn't love to see a musical on stage?  And Saturday I'm going to see "Spamalot," if I can find somebody to take the other $50 ticket.  It'll be worth it, I promise!! Come with me!!  Also planning on going ice skating on Saturday; hopefully I won't hurt myself.

Is it okay to say "Merry Christmas" when it's not actually Christmas?  I have a hard time doing it. Well, really, the problem for me is more about saying "Happy New Year" when it's still 2007.  Why don't we say it all year long? January 1 is just one day out of 366 in 2008 (yerp-- leap year!)  And why the heck did God make there be 365.25 days per year so we have to have an extra day every 4 years??? Weird. God is so weird and so smart.  SO SMART.  That's my favorite thing about going to the zoo and about studying biology.

I have a theory about praise.  I think we praise God's characteristic that we like about ourselves.  Let me put that a wee more eloquently.  What we appreciate most about God is what we admire in ourselves.  I think I'm relatively intelligent; I can write a damn good essay and I can converse on a number of topics with a more diverse vocabulary than most 22 year olds. And because of that, I believe, I think I praise God's intelligence more than anything else.  I love his beauty and his goodness and his bigness and his love, but I really appreciate his brains. It's so much MORE than mine; he's so much more than I.

I pity the skeptics.  They're missing more than they'll ever know.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"I'm going to marry a girl from Chapel Hill," or "Guys are all the same"

the urban sophisticates have a fun song that has a few lyrics.  one of said lyrics goes as follows: "i'm going to marry a girl from Chapel Hill/before i go on tour/and then i'm gonna call her from the road/just so she can sing me to sleep."

oh, lovely; i think i just heard my roommate having sex with her quebecois boyfriend. lovely. further underlines my conviction to move out. he comes every monday through wednesday. i have friends here a lot too, but they're here on the WEEKEND. not a work night. and she doesn't do her dishes.

anyway, back to the topic at hand.  boys are (almost) all the same.  they see one or two good qualities and decide i'm worth investigating further.  then they decide the cons outweigh the pros. or i make it clear they're wasting their time because as far as i'm concerned, they're not my prince charming.

not that i need the One Prince Charming. i need A prince charming. there are many, from what i hear.  everyone can be one if they would just try.  i know i can be a good girlfriend.  if i am happy, i can make him happy, whoever 'he' is. if i'm not happy, we shouldn't be together. i feel like i have to make somebody see that i'm worth whatever it takes. but that's not my job. it's not the job of a treasure to be found; it's the job of the pirate.  where's my pirate?

but i'm happy to be single. i can make my own decisions and live my own life without thinking of anyone else. i have a lot of freedom right now.  incredibly, i've been single now for just over 11 months... 'jason-less janel' is an interesting person to get to know.  i definitely like her more than i liked 'janel, jason's girlfriend.'  that's who i was for 3 years. some of her was good and some of her was bad. but for better or worse, i need to always be simply janel, without consideration or regard for a man.

i suppose identity is intensely personal, until marriage.  we are identified with communities, but only i have a particular amalgamation of communities in my identity.  our family, our work, our graduating class, our roommates, our past all combine to create a community-ful but individual identity.

so i can be janel-- a blanchard, a follower of Jesus, a member of the950 and of ourfriends, blake/wayzata/east class of 03, carolina class of 07, (current) employee of TransPerfect, (current) resident of DC, native of mebane/plymouth/chapel hill, traveller to Cuba, and sundry other identities-- but if you notice, i did not mention one person... except Jesus.

one day i'll hopefully mention another person in such a list.  but until then, i'm just simply me.

Friday, December 7, 2007

You make everything glorious

What is glory?

Christians and sports fans throw that word around... I think the sport fans are the ones that know what they're talking about. (Winning the national championship in 2005 was glorious... a good football game/battle of the gridiron-- that's glorious.) Christians are only trying to have a word for God. We call him glorious; we talk about living for his glory; we "see God's glory" in creation. Well, how do I know whether or not I'm thinking of creation's glory while I'm referring to God's glory? Because I don't know what the heck his glory is. It's too big; too broad of a concept for my brain.

I think about light and shiny castles and thrones and jewels. But is that beauty and not glory? Are they the same? Do I equate the two? Can something ugly or boring also be glorious?

Donald Miller writes in Searching for God Knows What that our economies of beauty and money and power are man-made... that that's not what God considers glorious, or worthy. Maybe "worthy" is a better word for the concept I'm trying to talk about. That we as humans try to validate ourselves by comparisons against others in invalid currencies.

So why does my heart leap at beauty? Why do I desire power and influence? Why do I care how others perceive me?

Are these things still part of 'glory'? God has been praised for his beauty... but "there was nothing in His appearance that we should desire him." Jesus was not goodlooking!

More later.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Where am i now?

well, i have been without a computer for 5 months.  for those that know me, this is astounding.  (be it known that i have had internet access for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week at work, however.) maybe i can start e-journalling in addition to my trad-journalling.

so now i have been blessed with a new laptop to keep me entertained and relatively technologically content for the foreseeable future (that is not saying much, since i can't see even cloudily past Christmas...).

my life has been so full since i moved to DC.  i've made amazing friends, reconnected with people from my past, and met awesome people (kelley, lyz, emilee, lindsay short, the small group girls, kari at frontline; lindsey, allison, carrie at work; jessica skinner, jessica ciotti, annie, jenny, amy, kat, aditi from various backgrounds.)

i have had visits from some of my favorite people of all time-- mary, becca, nick, jruss, kate, katie z, ellen, my immediate family, stephanie.  amy lived here for a few months.  i have had every step paved, every need met, every bill paid.  praise to my God and Dad in heaven.  he really does look out for me.

i'm learning that the fact "life is good" does not mean "God is good"... if it did, then when life changed from good to bad, God would also change from good to bad.  and the bible says "he does not change like shifting shadows" and we all know very well that life changes from minute to minute.  so instead, i'm going to start with "God is good" and then what follows from that is "sometimes life is good and sometimes it sucks ass."

i'm reading "mudhouse sabbath" by lauren winner.  the book is about the tenets of Judaism that Christians do not follow but can learn a lot about God by observing and perhaps following in a more peculiarly Christian way.  it's v interesting, b/c i've been confused as to why we no longer consider the sabbath holy beyond a token trip to church. (and even now, i go to church after my long Monday.)  i agree with todd philips--it doesn't have to be sunday; that's man's cultural and ecclesiastical decision that makes perfect sense.  but when do i celebrate and honor the sabbath?  i'm looking forward to going to church on sundays in the future, just for convenience's sake, if i'm going to live a whole 24hrs devoted to my Savior and the people around me.

big things are a-brewing in my life... more to come.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

if i had the chance/to go back again/take a different road/bear a lighter load/tell an easy story

i would walk away/with my yesterdays/and i would not trade what is broken/for beauty only...

and how would i know the morning/if i knew not midnight?
You're my horizon/You're the light of a new dawn
so thank You, thank You/that after a long night
You are sunrise

there's a moment when/faith caves in
there's a time when every soul is certain/God is gone
but every shadow/is evidence of sun
and every tomorrow/holds out hope for us, for every one of us
-nichole nordeman 'sunrise'

Questions in my head at the moment:

1. should i put all my eggs in this TransPerfect/DC basket?
2. what will it be like to have a 'real' job? can i do it/get used to it/be happy doing it?
3. when will i feel normal again?
4. what is being graduated like?
5. should i try really hard on my exams when i don't have to?

Funny how things used to seem so black and white... but the older I get, the more I realize the extent of gra/eyness in our lives, in our world.

When I was a kid, I used to lie around the house and read Nancy Drew or Jane Austen or Frances Hodgsen Burnett, then go outside and jump in leaf piles or over our stream in the "woods," then play monopoly or dinosaurs with Shaun.

Things were black and white then. I was either bad and got a spanking/made an apology phone call (ha), or I was good and had an uneventful day and slept like a log at night.

Now, so much is gra/ey. Relationships especially, but also good/bad and what I should and shouldn't do. How should my relationship with my parents be? What should my priorities be? How can I feel out the will of God when I can barely even talk to him right now?

And I agree with Nichole Nordeman... why do Christians always feel like they have to say, "I was in a really hard time and God got me out of it," instead of, "Hey, I'm really struggling here; I know God will come through for me... but he hasn't yet." Why do we only talk about our hard times AFTER we're okay again? Why don't we have the faith that God will come through our darkness just like he always has?

I believe he will. I'll see him again.

My problems aren't the biggest he's ever faced.

to every son and daughter/wayward and long gone...

i tried to throw You off track/a needle in a haystack
and i don't know how You found me/why You let me come back

and it's a long way home/when all you're left to carry
is a heart of stone/and the weight of most the world

and i'd like to lay it down a little/or lay it down a lot
i don't want to hold it anymore
lay it down in pieces/or lay it down in whole
everything i've carried on my own
-nichole nordeman 'lay it down'

Monday, April 23, 2007

Where am I right now

i don't know what i'm doing. tomorrow, i may; however, a month ago today, my life changed forever and so far i have not regained that blissful feeling of confidence, of peace, of 'all is right with the world.'

because all is most certainly not right with the world; because there is evil... because Jason was hit by a car on March 23rd and because 32 people were slaughtered on April 16th. and also a little bit because i have to graduate even if i don't want to... no, i do want to graduate. i don't want to grow up. i know that's not really comparable but it just goes to show that life isn't what i want it to be... but when is it ever? why expect anything when things are never what you expect?

what do you do when life has lost its color? does it come back? i feel like it does, but i don't know... i've never been on this side of the equation before. i know things won't ever be 'the same' again (that happens all the time), but i will feel similarly happy again, right? there is so much to be excited about... graduation, moving, a job, a car, friends, Tiffany's wedding, trips, summer... for some reason, i don't care all that much. not like i used to.

time heals everything, right? that's what they say, anyway. whoever they are. i don't understand death... i don't realize that it means forever, that it's irreversible.

or is it? in this life, yes. but this life isn't all there is. that hope will keep me from the temptation to despair that JD talked about at church yesterday. the spiritual is more real taht

i have lost a friend, the person who changed my life more than any other, who most shaped who i am today. but i've also lost my innocence... and it was blissful. i'll miss that as well as Jason Ray.

i could talk about Jason for hours. i'll leave that for another day.

life is coming, rescue is coming...

"and there's nothing wrong with me
it's just that i believe things could get better
and there's nothing wrong with love
i think it's just enough to believe

don't give up now/a break in the clouds
we could be found/rescue is coming"
-david crowder band