Saturday, December 31, 2005

The End is Near

"It's New Years Eve... my heart is on my sleeve... and yes I still believe... this new years will be better than before..."

I have a few minutes amidst my cousins and family to write a few words before this year finally leaves me. I haven't said anything since October or so and much has happened since then but as it is now passed and is documented in other places I will not repeat it for the readers I don't have.

A brief reflection on the past year: Last year I made it a goal to do a number of things. Somehow I actually began a good work toward most of them. I kept a regular if not frequent quiet time. I started running regularly. And I have made this year an adventure every day; a year that I will never forget. I'm afraid my completion of that goal has been displayed in more ways than I can relate here but know this: I had a grand time.

Yes. This past year was what I wanted it to be.

And for the year approaching rapidly with ever millisecond? What will it be like? how will I change? What will occur? I know I have grown this past year. How will I grow in the next?

I would like to make a prediction. I made one last year and the year before and both ended up correct. This year I predict this: I will not be home very often this year. I don't know this, just a guess. I'm looking forward to life though.

Merriest of all the New Year tidings I bestow upon you my friends. God Bless.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

As You WIsh

Apparently no one excepting myself found the last post to be that exciting.

Ya'll have no taste in the thrills of life.

Last night Dad and Isaac slept outside in the truck. They made it the entire way unlike me and Hannah. That was my fault though because I thought it was going to rain.

Our front tree turned brilliant red. I've fallen in love with the color red recently. It is my most frequent nomination for the color of our room. Just like the Mac's living room with frosted curtains and tea cups on the shelves of our ever expanding library. And my Britain poster can go on the door and one wall can be solely picture frames filled with pictures of friends and events.

My life is so terribly undramatic. I like it that way. More of the mint tea way of things than chai I would say.

Friday was Miriam's birthday. She turned 18. And I missed it. Happy birthday, Mim! May you ever grow better at drawing fairies and finding costuming on sale!

"Treading water to keep from sinking"

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Good Times



Two years ago, these questionable characters showed up in our yard.

And destroyed it.

Do ya'll remember? I made that ridiculous video. John cut his finger on the toilet (he still has a scar from it). Andy drove the main get away car while John went back to our house to finish the job. Brian tore his pants. Carter was still here. Chrissy hadn't gone to college yet. Sarah was not married yet.

A mass operation that took around 15 people. And they nearly failed.

_____________________________

[Carter shows up at the door]

"Uh... we were working on lines and Jarad lost his play book."

[Jarad comes to the door. Confused.]

"Okay, I'll call Mom." [dials phone number but Carter leaps out panicked and says not to do that.]

[Tim flies around the back side of the house and goes screaming down the driveway]
"Andy don't do it their here!"

[I call Mom, grab the camera and start getting the whole thing on tape. The yard is covered with people and the job nearly done. They see me with the camera and rush into the two get away vehicles and drive away. I was thinking they would at least kidnap me but they didn't. We had to chase them instead]

{15 later: on back roads flying at 35mph {good job Andy} Gets car sprayed with water and drinking straws thrown at our heads. We turn home and find other car taking off after finishing the job. We give chase.

5min later: we return home and inspect the damage. "Wish you were here" on the toilet and "You have been hedgehoged."

1hr later: The caravan of delinquents shows up and wants to see the video. So Andy goes and messes up our vcr so we can watch it. Hannah returns home from soccer and we all go clean up the yard. They let us keep the toilet.]


Good times. I wish we could make them happen again.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Memories


This post is in honor of J. Tingle, the first of us cousins and grandkids, the proud namer of G-Mom, my first instructor in the waltz (see pic), and now the husband of a beautiful wife, Kendra.

Saying that I am now going to proceed to talk about our week in Georgia.

I really would prefer to not think about Wednesday and its night. Or Thursday morning. They were dreadful. I was in a lot of pain with my tooth (which Mrs. Nicholson told the world about) and rather embarrassed about my face swelling into the shape of a Muppet. It would have been comical has I not been so miserable. Isaac climbed up next to me and kissed my cheek because he felt bad. The most interesting thing about all of this was my trip to the dentist Thursday morning. They put me on this gas so I would not feel a lot of pain. It worked. I didn't feel much of anything nor could I think straight. It was kind of fun actually. All my limbs got really heavy, the pain stopped, and my brain started to slow down. The dentist would start talking and it would take me a while to clue into what he was saying. Being up for most of the previous night didn't help at all. It made me feel like I was floating sort of... like I was about to go off to sleep and I bet I would have had strange bizarre dreams.

Thursday evening I was on my way back to normal. Hannah, Emma, Katie, and I hung out together upstairs in the Tingle house while the guys were hanging out downstairs. We watched a movie that was so ridiculously pointless and stupid that we couldn't help but laugh the entire way through. "It's called a lance. Helloooo!"

Friday was when the festivities began. First came the tea in the afternoon at which I didn't spill anything on myself. I made brownies afterwards and got to talk to Matt for a good bit which was an undeserved treat. We talked a lot about the Space Trilogy and Perelandra and Till We Have Faces and other books. I meant to ask him about Blue Like Jazz but forgot until later. Then the dinner rehearsal. Lots of family was there so it was like a big party. People got up and said wonderful things about J and Kendra and how the families really connected. Everyone was going through their memories of the two so it was a lot of fun. The terrible thing was staying late restricted in heels that promised to be the death of me. I persevered and helped clean the kitchen until the last person was gone. (On a side note... that church has changed so much. I'm so proud of them all even though I had nothing to do with it but leave 7 years ago) We went to the gym for a few moments then took the girls and Nathan Kirkpatrick back to the house. (Isn't that a lovely last name? Why can't we all have wonderful names like Kirkpatrick?)

Saturday was the wedding. I was woken up early so my hair could be done in a painfully slow process. Our family arrived at the church by 11am for pictures until the wedding at 2. Amazingly they did take all the available time. Isaac was kept amused by the wonderful groomsmen (ie Matt, Caleb, and Nathan) who paid more attention than could possibly have been due this frightfully energetic six year old.

Then came the wedding. It was lovely. Emma and Katie were gorgeous. Jen was angelic. Isaac was so cute. We had a nearly front row seat to see the entire thing. I was grinning because it was so wonderful. The bit about their names really struck me... how it was more important what we bring to a name rather than what it actually is. What he said about the Tingle name was true. It does mean wisdom, manhood, honesty, integrity...

Afterwards I got to see Mr. and Mrs. Ratti. It was like being a kid again to talk with them and think about AWANA and everything that went with it. They are still the energetic and fun loving people I remember from my childhood. Then I saw Uncle Jack who did remember the interview I had with him when I was 11 or so. So long ago... and Cousin Jackie who was always trying to get me to confess who i liked at the time. That made me laugh.

The reception was one really long party. Of course what I liked best was dancing even if it was only with Emma, Hannah, Gretchen, Katie, and Jen. And it was fun to watch the other people dance. My feet were bruised from my shoes at the end of it. Walking hurt but we stayed late to help tear everything down after Mr. and Mrs. J Tingle left.

The best time of the week though was later that evening when we spent some time with the Tingles. Everything had been so hectic during the week that we hadn't had a chance to catch up on anything. Dad started talking about when J was little, and then we talked about how our families had connected in all those years gone by.... I actually don't remember what else was spoken of except that we meant to leave at 8:30 and didn't until 10. Matt started a romp in the other room which I got pulled into when Uncle Steve threw the football to me. I wasn't going to give it up except that Matt brutaly began to tickle me so that I couldn't breath for laughing. If a person can't breath then they can't hold on to the football. It's a fact of life, so I lost that one.

Shortly after we left. sigh... I'm miss them. I wish they could live closer or we could live closer or have them visit us as much as we visit them then we would have six weeks out of the year together instead of two or three... so can I come visit you Matt when you go to Oxford? Please? And to the family, will ya'll come visit? Please? So maybe that isn't practical. But who ever said that good plans were practical?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Libraries and Laughter

As I sit on my bed, nibling on shanghied fried ocra, I realize that this was a wonderful wonderful day.

This morning Mom took Hannah and me back to the library we always went to when we were little. I was in heaven. The kids section was exactly the same as it always was. I found the copy of The Princess and the Goblin that we read the first time when I was little. The hideous cover brought back so many memories. I found an old plastic boxcar filled with boxcar children's books. We then went upstairs and I discovered for the first time what a terrible library we have up there. It was lovely. I was in heaven in this new discovery. Did you know that they have ever single Lord Peter mystery? And I found a book about the history and construction of fairy tales entirely on accident. Books were so much of how I was made. I had forgotten how much I loved books when I was little. Seeing an old place that just brought up all these memories and thoughts and images and... it was so incredible. I was grinning from ear to ear.

Heaven.

Then Hannah, Emma, and I treated Kendra my future cousin-in-law to a pigish lunch at Chili's. Emma felt like she wanted to get to know her better so she was invited to join us in this tradition. I got cheese on my shorts (surprise surprise) and a quesadia and all of that jazz. Thankfully there wasn't an awkward moment at all. Kendra then took us to her work place (Creative Cookies & Creamery) for icecream and cookies. We laughed a lot and smiled and told stories and all of that. We made her late for her dentist appointment and it looks like we're going to go hang out with her Friday between the tea and the dinner.

I'm getting kicked off because Emma is going to attack hannah any second now.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The End of the Prelude

For my Christian Literature class I am assigned to write a spiritual autobiography. The first bit needs to be posted on our forum but I thought I would post it here.

The goal: for you to tell me when I am using cliches and for those of you who have known me all my life (Hannah and Dad) please tell me if perhaps I should start my story somewhere else in the chronilogy of my life. (Note: I will be returning to when I was younger. This is simply the beginning)

-Dana





When I was two years old or so, my parents bought a brown arm chair. Mom and I hid it under a sheet and surprised the already informed Daddy with it for his birthday. Its old brown color matched nothing in our small house, and its fake velvet material was rough on the hands. It had a built in foot rest, an uncomfortable head cushion we always tossed over the back, and was large enough for me to sleep on when I was small and lean against one armrest and throw my feet over the other when I was older. When I sat in it as a child it felt safe and comforting.. I suppose the reason for this can be found in old pictures. In these I am can frequently be found sitting with my dad. My dad always loved me. When he held me I had a physical assurance that everything was right with the world, that nothing could hurt me. That and he was always a lot of fun. I would feed him tea from my plastic kitchen and put my dolls in his lap and my play purses around his neck and then climb up next to him and snuggle in. And somehow, we all fit.

I was nine years old when our family moved from Athens, Georgia the town where I was born. I hated it. For months before hand I would go into my parents room at night and cry. I wanted to stay where I knew how to live act speak… being where I knew nothing frightened me. I had no friends but my sisters. I had no bedroom but the attic. I had no place to go but the tiny back yard of our even tinier rented house. I felt alone. So I hid.

The basement of the tiny house was unfinished and forever smelled of dampness and sounded of gurgling pipes. It was dark, lit by one very yellow light bulb in the far end. Beneath this had been stored our old brown arm chair. To this I would run whenever I was lonely, angry, or happy. It was a retreat from the stress of a six member family living in a two bedroom house. I would rock back and forth, listening to the rhythm of the creaking, thinking of Georgia, my school assignments, questions, doubts, fears of if I would ever find a friend. Laying across the arm rests and look up at the ceiling boards and pipes and wires, I started to talk. And as I spoke I found someone was listening. My childlike desire for friendship sent me back to the brown chair again and again just to be able to speak to someone who wouldn’t answer with words but just listen, and love. When I was done speaking into the silence, I would feel like I did when I was younger and my dad would hold me, when I knew I was safe and loved. There it was… a comfort in speaking as if someone had responded. And I knew who it was. I knew what I was doing. I was talking to God.

And He was there.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Story From the Front

There were three men guarding an access road in a small house. The rest of their battalion was spread out in the surrounding area doing other duties while still others were fighting in downtown Baghdad. This job was a quiet uneventful one. A deserted road that merely needed to be watched to make sure no unknowing civilian tried to pass by.

It was midday. Two were on rest in the house below. Their fellow was on the roof on guard. It was quiet. In the distance dust began to kick up. That was one advantage to their position. If a vehicle was coming it could be seen about a mile away before it arrived. This car was not supposed to be there.

Suddenly, the truck disappeared in into the only clump of trees for miles. Why? It felt wrong. He radioed the men downstairs and told them to get down as he got the trees within the scope of his gun so when the truck emerged he would be able to have a ready shot if something went wrong.

The truck finally came out. By that time it was close enough for the man to see the drivers face through the scope of his gun. It was seething. Hatred filled it. Intense. Bitter. Furious. Deadly.

There were two seconds for a decision to be made. Two seconds. To decide if it was a suicide bomber or a civilian. To kill or to let be. To kill or to let be.

He killed.

The truck exploded. It had been full of explosives. The force knocked the guard on his back, shrapnel landing all around him. The roof, the building, was covered with it. Somehow, he and the other two men downstairs were without injury.

The road didn’t make it. In the middle of it was a 75 ft crater.

This is the story of three men in Mr. Saufley’s battalion. Remember them all in your prayers.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Treasure

I have never seen a school year begin like this one has.

First, I started it off with bits of Jr. Camp floating in my mind. I worked a little here and there and then chess started. My first class was amazing. There hasn't been a time in the past two years of lit classes with Mrs. Bell where I have been able to start solidly and completely on the best foot possible. This year it happened to my utter amazement. In class we began a discussion on what art is, what good art is, what Christian art it. I firmly held to my point the standard is a standard, that it isn't relative depending on the viewer, and threw some thoughts in that maybe all modern art isn't art. Mrs. Bell was on my side I think though she hasnt' given her opinion on anything. Then during our online forum I sent everyone to the Paul Graham essay on good design. Mrs. Bell said it was a supurb essay and that everyone should read it and thank you Dana for the link. I grinned and danced about the house.

Tonight I went to youth group and took what I considered a risk. Small groups hadn't worked for me since seventh grade. I either hadn't been able to come or had some reason to not want to go. This evening I found myself in a small group of delightful girls who were cheerful and friendly and eager to have the group I've been looking for.

This year is going to be good.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Here We Go Again...

"I'm all alone! There's no one here beside me!" -(as the donkey from shrek sings it)

Tomorrow (or today when you read this) will be the day I return to the unmentionable place. I'm scared. I was scared last year and it all turned out fine. Every year that I can remember God has provided me with someone to sit by in all my classes to keep me going and to email when I'm confused. For years 1-3 it was Debbie Hinkle and the Renner boys on the way home. Year 4 it was Emily Hackman in Biology. We messed up every single lab we ever did. Mrs. Dincher came to expect it and it was good to have someone there to mess things up with. Last year when I had to stay for all six hours of classes for the first time, I was truely afraid of being alone. For weeks we prayed as a family that this would be avoided and it was. I had Tim, Rachel, Jenny, and Bekah in Brit Lit and Brian (my great help and support) in physics and Kristen Bell and Emily P. in math. Then there were all the frantic physics and POW conversations with Lilly the night before the assignment was due. The hours spent in the Harris's garage... I don't know who I would have done that popper with if Brian hadn't been there. I don't know who I would have done my labs with if Brian hadn't been there. Just the left over number shoved into an unwilling group, I suppose. And almost every free hour I was kept company with my ipod or some aquaintance would come and sit with me to chat away our long waits for classes to begin. The best days were toward spring when Jenny and Jarad would go outside with me and throw the last bits of icy snow around.

Just remember, Dana, remember. God has provided every year and He'll do it again. He pulled me through physics and He can do it through chem. All my pows were in on time last year and they will be again.

I'll make it. I know I will. Just think of how frightened Gretchen must be going for the first time. I'm nervous and it's my sixth first day! I'll be fine. It'll be good. I'll learn and survive and grow and be better for it. I know I will.

"he will not give you trials beyond what you can bear."

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Road Trip

Whose ready to go to Louisiana? Dad, Mom, Hannah, and myself were watching the news the other night. I think at one point Dad was ready to pack up and fly down there to see what he could do. I wish I could be there. I don't know what I could do and there's no way to get into the city at this point. I'm not a rescuer and I can't drive a bus. Maybe the best plan would be to go to Houston when they get most of the people to the Astrodome there. Start something like a vbs to keep the kids occupied while the parents try to cope. I don't know.

Drama. I can't wait. Really truely this may very well be the funniest play we have ever done. An incredibly strong cast (our weakest link is very very castable regardless) that is all psyched about it.

Just never ever stagger across a kitchen floor that has water on it. I've tried and all you get is a hurt wrist and a bruised knee. How we laughed...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Final Outing

Yesterday was my last official day of the summer holidays. Unfortunatly I spent the afternoon working which was thankfully, brightened by a few events. The first was that a large troup of my aquaintance stayed until after I was done working. They messed around with music and that sort of thing. Brian tried to teach me how to pick a lock (in case I ever get locked out of a car!) and I chased Josh with a very nasty mop until he dropped my umbrella which he was abusing. There was nothing more delightful than to see the fear on his face that I would actually wack him across the face with it. Needless to say I fully intended to carry out my threat.

The evening brought some better times. Shauna came and took Nate, Hannah, and myself to get icecream since all three of us were starting school today. I enjoyed it a lot. Shauna talked about her work quite a bit and jr camp and the summer and all of that. I do hope she doesn't end up moving away.

On other topics: I will have my first ever piece of writting in print. The sad irony of this triumph is that it is merely in a newsletter to the children's ministry staff and badly written to boot. I'm afraid that Mrs. Bell would have my head on a platter if she knew I wrote an essay that didn't have one theme with three subpoints.

And on yet another topic. I'm reading "Brave New World." I don't like it at all for the simple reason that it seems far too likely to actually happen someday. It's like F451 except that is focusing on a world without relationships instead of words. Words are baned in this world but the main focus is on the world powers trying to destroy human relationships as they were meant to be. A good read but I still don't like it.

the end

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Summer

The green is fading. Have you ever noticed how trees do that toward the end of summer? The green is less fresh as it was at the end of spring. It gets a little more greyer, drier looking than it was. Then the weather begins to get cooler and the leaves decide that its time to change color. I love autumn though I think spring and summer are my favorite seasons. Fall is not as lovely as it might be if there was no winter cold and snow to come behind it. And I'll miss swimming. Contrary to what that sentence might indicate, I do not swim as a sport or for exercise but merely love to float around and dunk people when I get the chance. Oddly enough I have been able to do lots of both floating and dunking this year, nearly every week, which I will miss when it gets cold.

Another of my favorite summer activities is ultimate frisbee at the Warren's every Tuesday night. Unfortunatly, my abilities are little more than yelling that I am open half the time and dropping the frisbee the other. However I do enjoy running about and talking with everyone. Being with a gathering of people, even if I am not entirely familiar with all of them, is something that I love to do. I like hearing other people talk. So often the strangest and most laughable things are overheard to make me smile.

The leisurely hours are almost gone... time to put my mind to work once again. And it all begins on Monday.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

AWANA Clubs

I heard Mim and Adele begin joyful exhaltation over someone in the fact that they have literally no home videos of their childhood. This is in a word, horrifying. Home videos are special to me. Whenever I watch them I find myself laughing uncontrolably and happily revisiting the best places of my life.

This afternoon, my entire family took a walk down memory lane to one of the most beloved memories of Watkinsville First Baptist Church: AWANA Clubs.

AWANA is an acronym for "Aproved Workmen Are Not Ashamed," from 2 Timothy 2:15. This was what was hammered into us week after week, every Wednesday evening throughout the school year. If we gave everything we had in everything we did, we had nothing to be ashamed of before God or men. "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God." As we watched the highlights of the first two years of awana in our church, I could see this being done.

Who could have forgotten the game time? Here Daddy pushed everyone to their vocal limits, including his own, to get us "pumped" and ready to compete for the orange pin and black and white bean bag. Some might see this as a trivial matter. Who cares about the winning of a plastic orange pin for a few seconds glory? Don't ask such a thing. It mattered. Everything mattered just to hear your team scream with ecstasy when you won. Then between games the screaming would grow louder as Dad led the chant, "I LOVE JESUS, YES I DO! I LOVE JESUS, HOW 'BOUT YOU?!" I remember my throat hurting after game time. In later years we added the yell "AWANA FEVER!" and the teams would respond with "CATCH IT!" I don't know how Dads voice lasted all those years. I know he can't yell like he used to simply from his giving the 100% of his voice every week. Those games were nothing compared to the tension that would build at the end of the year when everyone eagerly looked forward to the Olympics. Months of practice. Then Regionals. Then States. Dad pushed his boys to do everything perfectly. Perfectly. Those boys loved him. He loved them and they knew it. Somewhere they would pull out that extra energy in a sprint or perfection in a baloon pass just because he asked it of them in that tense, pumped up scream of his across the game floor.

I wanted nothing more than to be a part of the boys team that won first place in the state every single year. I wanted to perform like that and experience the thrill of winning. Unfortunatly I never had the chance to compete since I was unable to "make the cut" as part of the girls team when I grew old enough. Dad knew and understood how disappointed I was and let me go to every single of the boy's practices as his "assistant." I held his clipboard and whistle and brought him things. In actuality I wasn't needed but nothing could have pleased me more than that job. We won that year. It was our last year in Georgia.

Then there was Bible quizzing. Oftentimes I have found among the church quiz team a confusion as to my competitiveness in this area. More than once have people told me to calm down and not be so stressed. Awana was where I found a love for this. My first quiz I ever witnessed was the paddle kind. I knew one of the questions and whispered the answer out loud excitedly to Mom. I was taken out and not allowed back in. That wasn't the best time though. They had ftvs of sorts in another competition. I remember seeing Matt in this. I sat with Aunt Dale for this one and she videoed him the entire time. I have a clear image of the "ref" asking "Is that your final answer?" and an Ashford boy saying "No it is not." and then repeating the verse. I can't remember if he said it right the first time or if he had it right the second time.

Dad put the same enthusiasm, love, and energy into his coaching of Bible quizzing. One particular afternoon he had a quizzing practice/football game party. The boys would take turns going with him in the other room being asked verses to which they would yell "BEEP!" and answer, while the others would carry on a rucus over the Bulldog game.

Again I was never able to do this. I could have made the team. I have no doubt about that but we left for a six week stay in Missouri that took me off the team. Disappointed? yes. This merely added to my fervor for the sport when we moved to PA and I found that the jr high had a quiz team of its own.

Who could forget the Penny Pushes? These were Mom's forte. The goal? To raise money to be sent solely to missions. Usually it was a competition between the girls and the boys. Whoever brought in the least ammount had their leaders pied in the face. The girls usually won. What surprised me in watching the movie was how much we brought in. Our tiny little church brougth in over $1000. How we all laughed at the video of the leaders being pied...

There was such excitement in awana. I wanted to learn my verses. I wanted to have them perfect. I wanted to do everything the best I could because my leaders had such energy and passion to do it themselves. Everyone loved the leaders though Dad was the favorite. No doubt. We have a video of a girls sleepover (the older group. I was too young at this point. A number of the girls in the video are married now) where four or so of the girls did long and accurate imitations of Dad during game time. Seeing little Hannah Hager start twitching and saying "Oh I feel it coming" and then loudly screach the Jesus chant was so funny. Or seeing her running up to a girl and asking if she was pumped tonight. "Oh Baby!" was one of the common expressions.

To end, I would like to say that I wish kids could see that kind of intensity of life. To see that which made them sing "I've got a river of life" at the top of their lungs and learn their verses as if their lives depended on it. As Jennifer said, "I wish I could go to AWANA."

So to Dad and Mom and the Rattis and the Smiths and the Hagers and all the other leaders in my childhood: Thank you.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Wherever My Wimsey Takes Me

I have come. I have a blog. And I'll have things to say later but am unable to think of anything to say.

I think I should go have some tea. That will clear my head.