Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What's in a Name?

The other day I wrote a few friends to tell them...

so i think i might be related to christie brinkley - which would be a fabulous, especially if she agrees to meet up with me sometime in the city.  i tweeted her today; i'll keep you posted if i hear back.  i'm foolishly dreaming she could be the answer to help fund the company i'd like to start that would sell products/raise funds for women who have escaped human trafficking.

here's the story: after new, new guy (from eharmony) mentioned he thought i kind of looked like christie brinkley in some of my online profile pictures, i looked up christie on Wikipedia and discovered she's originally from monroe, michigan, and the daughter of a man named herbert hudson.

monroe is the same town that my Wikipedia notable relative - Stephen Herbert Langdon - is  also from.  so perhaps - just maybe - her dad was named after my great, grandfather's brother - and we're distantly related.

after dreaming of this possibility, another man messaged me today, telling me i resemble christie brinkley. ha!  how crazy would that be if we shared some of the same genes?!

I'm not exactly sure why I got so stoked about this far-fetched possibility, but I'm glad I did because it served as a reminder that the world is full of possibility and you never know what might be waiting around the corner. 

And that's called HOPE, and even when a certain hope doesn't pan out - such as with a job possibility - the hope of a better future encourages us to press on, even when the present isn't looking so pretty.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

3 AM

Over the weekend - last weekend - I received a 3 AM text, from an individual who will make it into my second book.  The book is likely to be titled, "My Life is not a Chick Flick... or is it?" and will include my movie-esque adventures from my time in New York City.

I hadn't heard from this guy in a couple of years, so I was a bit surprised to receive the shout out, and at such an hour.  But in hearing from him, I thought I'd post the tale of meeting him that I first posted to facebook November 1, 2011.

SUBWAY MISSED CONNECTION in NYC - e-mail my boss received & forwarded to our entire department at work today; he thought the inquiry was for a student, but oh no, it was for me...

"I met you dressed as Pocahontas in the subways on Saturday night.  I was dressed as 1% milk (occupy the fridge).  For the rest of the night, I kicked myself for not asking the gorgeous girl with the happy smile on the subway for her number!

So, here I am trying to make amends.  You said you worked in Residence Life at King's, and I found this email on the school's site.  If you are so inclined, this is my e-mail, and my cell phone number.  Would love to meet you for a coffee sometime."

I'm impressed that this Yale med student found me; we didn't even exchange names...

I also went on to say in my facebook post something I wouldn't post now, regarding my wish that Christian men would pursue like that...  but actually, since then, I've had several Christian men show intentional interest in me, so I'm beginning to believe this pursue thing actually does exist.

Like today, I received this special flower delivery, from a man I'm just starting to get to know. 

Although he didn't have my mailing address, he attempted to have these flowers delivered to me while I was substitute teaching.  He surmised I'd be in Onsted - my hometown; however, I substitute teach in three different school districts - and I wasn't in Onsted, so the initial surprise delivery didn't quite work as planned.  In the end, the flower place called me, and delivered them to my home.  But yes, they eventually did find their way into my hands, and I was thrilled to receive them.  After all, what girl doesn't love getting flowers?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Redefining the Wow

Sometime ago I updated my facebook status to read, "Dear You, You've redefined the WOW of what I am looking for in a man."

The "You" is a guy who reeled me in some summer ago as we sat on top of a lifeguard stand.  We exchanged stories and smiles, well after the sky had faded into night. 

He seemed different from the city men I was accustomed to - there wasn't anything particularly "flashy" about him.  He wasn't overly attractive (like the model I had dated), overly wealthy (like the man with the gold mine who took me out for drinks), or overly well-known (like the one who prayed for the president on television.)

Instead, he was comfortable.  I was comfortable.  I felt safe with him - even though we had met only hours before.  My spirit told me he could be trusted.  And I felt perfectly content sitting beside him. 

Yet, as summer shifted to fall, I was hesitant - because I still wanted the "greatness" of New York - a him who the world - not just me - acknowledged as amazing.

But "You" was patient (as love is) and persistent with me, and it didn't take long for me discover the greatness in him. 

He was gentle - a gentleman.  Author Erwin McManus once pointed out, "It takes a lot of strength to be a gentle man."  He went on to explain that much self-control is needed to not act out in anger or rage, and to still be kind even when the world isn't. 

Like I said, I felt safe with him.  I felt safe in conversation, and when he held me in his arms.  I knew he'd be an amazing husband, and father.

Yes, he was different from what I had envisioned, but a good different.  I explained to my lawyer friend that when I thought of "You" I thought of Jesus.  And how the people anticipated a Messiah of a different sorts - one who would take over their kingdom with a power they understood.

Instead, the week before his death on the cross, Jesus road into Jerusalem on a donkey - a sign of humility.  And instead of overtaking the throne, he laid down his life - that we might have life.

Jesus is different - far greater and far safer than perhaps what we have been made to believe.  And he is committed to journeying with us into eternity.

As the leaves departed from the trees, "You" decided to part from me in his pursuits to serve those overseas.  Yet he has shown me much and who he is - in Christ - still amazes me. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

To Refurbish, To Restore

Just over a week ago, I returned to the story that will someday turn novel or screen play - but not until much later on in life. Perhaps in my 50s or 60s, when the 20% of the narrative that is based on reality won't weird out anybody.  By anybody, I mean, the guy from down the shore, who often appeared in my posts last winter, and who I haven't seen since last summer.  That is, until last Thursday.

Over seven months had passed since our farewell meeting at summer's end.  Although it was hot and humid that night, he warned me to wear jeans, long sleeves, and bug spray.  He had promised to show me the Tree Bar he had built before I left for New York.  So, with lanterns, we ventured into thick of the woods to close out our year of friendship.

Even though I've been back from the city since the end of December, the snow drifts along the shore deterred me all winter from making the quarter mile trek down to see him.  But with the snow near gone, he reached out and inquired about me stopping by.  So I did - as part of a negotiated business proposition.  I agreed to help him clean in exchange for him helping me with some graphic design work for my book launch.

I arrived as he was finishing up his grill cheese sandwich dinner.  I noted, "That's right - you typically eat about 10 of those.  Wait, make that eight."

"Yep.  This is number seven and number eight," acknowledging the two sandwiches on his plate, before  digging in. 

I quickly took note of a bowl of chocolate candies sitting in the middle of his table.  "Where did this chocolate come from?"  I asked.  He explained that one of the other guys on the lake brought it over one day, and I started opening up a mini package of M&Ms, knowing he would never eat them. 

"You can take as much as you want.  I don't like chocolate."  And I thought, huh, I already knew that - and I also knew his grill cheese sandwich count - so odd to me that I would know those little details.

He then inquired about the guy from Kentucky, and the guy in New York.  And actually, to my disbelief, he recalled the actual name of the New Yorker.  And that's when it hits me.  We know each other oddly well.

We spent the next few hours cleaning and conversing, and at the end of the night he took me down into the basement to show me the project he had been working on all winter.

Last summer he had acquired a boat (as pictured above) that needed a lot of work.  But throughout the winter months, he has refurbished it into something beautiful - that will hopefully stay afloat. ;)  Through his care, and commitment, he transformed this boat that another neighbor no longer wanted.


verb renovate, restore, repair, clean up, overhaul, revamp, mend, remodel, do up (informal), refit, fix up (informal, chiefly U.S. & Canad.), spruce up, re-equip, set to rights

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Thawing Out

Sometime early in December - sometime after I knew I wouldn't be returning to New York after the New Year - my friend Alan pulled up a chair to our already crowded dinner table at a restaurant in Chelsea.  He didn't order anything to eat or drink, but rather he just dropped by to hang out for a bit.

And in his hanging, I informed Alan I'd be heading back to Michigan for Christmas, and depending on where my job search took me, I might not be returning.  "Sure, sure, I've heard that one before."  (I've been back to the city five times since I first told Alan post Hurricane Sandy clean up, that I was done with New York, and probably wouldn't return.)

"So we'll see you in January then?" He teased.  I hadn't been away from the New York for more than two months since I first claimed I was leaving for good.  "You'll be back."  He insisted, and then said it again, all of a sudden getting serious on me.  "You'll be back.  I just sense your time in New York isn't over."

He hesitated, and then went Charismatic on me (which isn't typical of him.)  But he told me he had this image of a glass of water half full, being dumped backed into a container, and then this same glass being filled back up until it was overflowing.

He explained, I think this is what it will be for you - a going back feeling somewhat half-empty (he knew about my health being poor), and then returning to the city overflowing.  He went on to say, he thought it would be a difficult winter for me, but he sensed I might be back as early as spring - after the ice thawed.

The ice on our lake started thawing out last week.  Two days ago, while I was out for a run, I noticed two swans in an open patch of water in the northeast cove of our lake.  Then, today, I saw two ducks in the open pocket of water in front of our lake home,  and a few open patches of water out in the middle of the lake.  The ice is starting to thaw, but I'm still frozen here in Michigan, as I continue to battle health issues - now knowing it's not just an iron deficiency issue (although I was severely anemic at one point), but still not knowing what's wrong with my body.

As far as Alan's words go, it is yet to be determined whether or not I'll return to the city.  But even if I never do, I still like the imagery of the glass of water overflowing.  Certainly it's a hopeful picture - and one that resonated with me.  I had volunteered with Charity:Water throughout the fall, and since last winter I've been dreaming of someday writing a book that correlates what Jesus did on the cross with what clean drinking water does for humanity.  And, I had been holding onto this picture, that one of the girls in my small group had sketched on our fall retreat in Jersey.

Saturday morning of our retreat, we spent sometime reflecting on the verse Psalm 46:10 - Be still, and know that I am God.  I gave everyone 3 pieces paper, and plenty of crayons, and asked them to write "Be still" on the first piece, "and know that" on the second, and "I am God" on the third.  I then asked them to ponder the words before them, and draw pictures or write associated words that came to them as they reflected on the verse.

After some time we shared our drawings with one another.  Monica explained for "I Am God" she drew glasses of water - some only partially full, while others overflowed.  She pointed out, there will be times in our lives when we're feeling emptied out and that we need to seek God to fill us up again, so we can overflow to the world around us.  She reminded us, God is the ultimate source of life, drawing a large pool of water around the words I AM GOD.

As we near Easter, and the celebration of what Jesus did on the cross for humanity, I reflect on John 19:34 and how both blood and water flowed from Jesus' side, as a soldier pierced him with a sword.  I once heard Erwin McManus explain that the water would have been from a ruptured heart.  He poetically pointed out, Jesus, literally, died of a broken heart.  Of course, in his death and resurrection, he conquered death on behalf of you and me.  Blood and water flowed from Jesus' body so that we might have life and hope.

* If you haven't had the chance to read the first chapter of my book, Chapter 1 of I Hate Books on Christian Dating, a memoir journey towards a mysterious God is currently posted on and yes, I would still love for you to join my 100 X 100 party if you haven't already.  :)