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...