Friday, August 03, 2007

San Luis and God

I say my mood is reverent because I want to love more than just the gifts God gives me in this world, this life -- but hey -- it's His world and things are pretty sweet right now. When the pain comes, let it come. I'm just not used to being this at peace, so forgive me if I sniff at it like a timid, suspicious stray dog.Here's what happened yesterday when Missy, Sequoia, Mikah and I took a trip. (These are parts of an entry from my journal that I wrote before falling comatose into bed last night):

(in town) We ate lunch at the sandwich shop by the creek. I had a salmon salad. Sequoia had blister drama. We walked to Rite Aid and to the toy store. I saw tiny dinosaurs (we used to call them 'beasties' when I was growning up) and model horses. Breyers! Woah...a total blast from the past. they were beautiful. I was entertained by tiny plastic fish and frogs on lilypads...

(on the beach) Micah loved to stand in the ocean and just look; Sequoia 'OCD' about shells, as Missy said. She has so many questions -- smart. I told them what I know about sand dollars and barnacles -- not enough. We walked to the rocks and rested and turned around. Micah sat in my lap. Again,there was that gorgeous, mellow early-evening light and the gulls and dancing waves and diving pelicans. We walked back and watched an athletic chocolate lab plough through waves in search of a floating ball on a rope...

(farmer's market) We smelled BBQ smoke everywhere. We heard acoustic drum and guitar and voice and a blues band which was louder and drew a crowd. I tasted strawberries and mole/pork tamales. I saw figs and dried fruit and nuts. I touched unripe peaches and soft, hot pretzels. I glimpsed healthy college students and different skin colors, and PFLAG displays, Libertarian booth ('End the War on Poverty!') and heard an evangelist in a wheelchair, talking about how Hell is real. The man next to him silently held up a sign about the need for repentance. As always, I felt judged. There seems to be a touch of cruelty to this approach -- on a summer night when everyone is digging into the ripe world, busy with their lives -- yet there is an inevitable, truthful quality to it as well.I couldn't decide what to eat. Finally, in spite of the threat of too much sugary dissatisfaction, I had a crepe with Nutella, banana, strawberries and whipped crea. Yeah. There was a stream, a surge, of people everywhere -- many strollers and yellow, young lab guide dogs in training...

(driving home) I slept a bit and Missy drove and sang along to a CD in her beautiful, strong voice. She pulled over with about an hour to go and I stumbled into Carl's Junior to pee. The moon was orange and low in the sky and as big as a gas station sign on the horizon. A harvest moon? I've never seen it so big. Now I will sleep, dreaming of the possibility of becoming more educated and qualified as a teacher, and receiving the gift of getting to love deeply, day after day, year after year, even when I want to give up. Thank you, Jesus, for this day!

Thanks for reading, y'all,J

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

wassup from the East Coast

Hey y'all...I don't know if anybody's reading, but here are some quick notes from Watertown, MA.

I prayed for you guys on the 24th that the worship would be blessed. I miss you! I have had an amazing time with the family; it seems like as the years go by, I treasure every moment more and more. I am caught up in the beauty of our relationships -- not that they are perfect, but that they are held together somehow, and honored during this time, especially. My nephew is tops -- running around like crazy and SUPER independent. I just want to squeeze him all the time. He's brilliant; what can I say?

I type this from the Watertown Free Library, which is a short walk from Dad's and has been renovated. It's pretty slick. There's a cafe, dogonnit. That's cool.

I hope everyone is doing well and I will see you soon soon!
love from Jules

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Bleeding Stopped!

Okay, so it's late and I really should go to bed. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I don't feel prepared. And yet I want to share this. Here it is. I wrote it this morning before we left Hartland Christian Camp.

Honesty. Compassion. Confession. Other-centered. Take up your cross and follow. Lose your life in Jesus.

If I look at my heart, I see the time of honest confesson has passed. It should not. Lord, are you calling me to confess to others my selfishness and desire for control, my desire for comfort above all else? I can't be perfect. I can't be finished. Yet I don't want to agonize over my problems if I secretly don't desire to be more like you.

I confess: I AM HAPY THE WAY I AM. And yet I now this isn't right.

There is the beginningof a tug of discomfort. How does one live with the discomfort and surrender to Jesus, yet still not feel oppressed? How do I take his yoke and treat it as the light yoke it is?

It seems you are always calling me into action, not just to survive. I skate along, thinking I am doing so valiantly by just surviving. But you whisper that I could be freer still. Your whisper is one of love, but often it mixes with, or gets distorted by, the whisper of condemnation that tells me I must act in order to be worthy.

But I already am worthy in your eyes, Jesus. And my worthiness creates the need for action, for change. It creates the need to fight against the old self-complacency, self-centeredness and fear, so that others may receive this gift I have received.

Recently, I've imagined being the woman who bled steadily for twelve years, touched a fiber of Jesus' cloak and was healed. I actually wept with relief, putting myself in her shoes. What a joy it must have been! What freedom! Early one morning, I uttered the words I think she might have said: "The bleeding stopped! After soaking the ground wherever I went, my body is fixed! Halleluiah! Praise the name of Jesus. And who is this man who did this for me? There is no question -- I want to follow him wherever I go. I adore him!"

I know I am that woman. We all are, because we have all been healed that much -- or we could be. And once that healing repairs us, it begins to multiply. It is a lifelong struggle, to keep letting his healing touch change us, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.

So I know I must keep fighting -- not to prove my worth in Your eyes, but do do my part to become who I already am in Your eyes. Only in doing this will your love bring the harvest. Only in doing this will I be gloriously, deliriously free.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

being a teacher

life is crazy
Well, I have made it almost two weeks as a full-time high school teacher. I half fear that my students are reading this. If they are, I am happy to say I don't think I have a lot to hide. I love them. They sometimes frustrate me. I worry about what they need from me and what my responsibility is toward them. I worry I am not doing a good enough job. I love learning in order to help them learn. And I know this is just the beginning....I hope this feeling of intrigue lasts and grows into a mature love beyond the honeymoon.
I guess the biggest relief in all this is that I don't feel like a jerk. I feel like me. I believe partly this is maturity on my part, yeah. The last time I had a full-time job was a few years ago. But I would hope Jesus gets ALL the credit, ultimately. He has made me feel okay about myself, truly okay. He has made me feel like there's someone out there who will always be there, to whom I can always return, with whom I can share everything.
My credit card was stolen from Kinko's yesterday, where I have been spending OODLES of time. Eeesh. And I've been too absent-minded and tired to keep track of things like credit cards and driver's licenses. Slightly alarming. I canceled it and told them the purchases that weren't mine: $100 at Fasttrip, some car wash expenditure, $100 or so at Home Depot, $16 at McDonald's. Interesting. I actually prayed for the people who stole it -- that God would give them what they need -- much of that being a realization of His love so they would obey Him and not hurt their fellow brothers and sisters!
That's all for now. Life is good, but I miss my friends. I am listening to some beautiful reggae right now. "The music makes my blood boil.Oh, Lord, my blood is hot. My blood is on fire..." Wow! I don't want to talk on the phone 'cause I got to go to bed, but if you're reading this and you know me, I love ya.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

interesting time last night

Hey y'all.

Well, yesterday was such a peaceful day...much needed reading, studying, thinking about being a teacher. I went home and took a nap and then the delightful Amy Johnson called at took me to In and Out.

I love days like this!

But it wouldn't be noteworthy without a little adventure. Here's what happened: my cellphone was on because I had agreed to be a point person in case Dee went into labor. When it rang with Brian's number, I smiled knowingly and answered, thinking she was in labor.

Actually, Brian was calling because Daryl, the guy who came to church on Sunday and for whom we prayed, had called Brian. He was wondering why noboby had called about taking him grocery shopping yet. After all, Renee and I had mentioned this possibility to him. And I had it in my mind that it would happen.

Just hadn't worked out the details. I decided to let it take care of itself. And I'll admit I would have been happy to have it work itself out by nothing happening. Not too proud of that.

I gotta say, I'm thankful that Daryl held us to our word. He trusted us. He figured we'd come through.

So, we did. They got their groceries. And to me, it was a good way to spend a few hours of free time as the sun went down and the temperature became imperceptibly, yet mercifully, a little cooler.

Is this the "messy life" Doug's talking about? If so, I'm in. It is no fun without other people, and it needs community to thrive. I guess the moral of the story is -- if it has to have one -- don't be afraid to inconvenience people and ask them for help. Don't be afraid to expect a lot of people. And if you can't shoulder the burden of people's expectations of you, then pass it on to someone who can at that moment. In this case, I was available. But as you all know, there are many times when I'm not and I need others who are stronger than I am right then.

Maybe this is one way God provides for His children and helps us honor His Kingdom each day. It's a cycle of giving, with someone always able to give and another desparate to receive. I pray that we can all be open to experiencing this, because there is a freedom in it! This freedom makes me feel truly alive.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Back from the East Coast

Hey y'all...

I'm back to Bakersfield, from the East Coast.
It is so good to be back...kind of.

No, seriously. I was talking with my Mom yesterday and she said I had a gift to be able to appreciate life wherever I am. I do feel this is a blessing, and not always with me. I also feel this is a gift GOD has given because I strive (and fail often) to be content in Him and cherish what He cares about -- which is so much more eternal and compassionate and complete than any geographical place could ever be. God is always the same and is everywhere, so why stress about where you are?

That being said, I can tell you that the East Coast was simply, achingly beautiful. Dewey fields in Vermont, clean air that smells like dirt and grass, soft, humid air, blue mountains in late afternoon sun, birds calling morning and evening.

And then there are the people. What follows is a bit of an overview, as much so I will remember as anything else. I hope this is vaguely interesting to someone else, if not, in the words of many high school students I've heard,
"Sorry, my bad..."

I interacted with, among others:
*three teachers I met on the plane on the way over
* a delightful young woman named Melissa who I met on the plane on the way back. At age 20 and having been on a plane only once before to Florida, she was setting out from her home of Milwawkee to Australia to study abroad.
* a thoughtful and smart guy named Graham is a rafting guide in the summer and snowboarder in the winter who wants to return to school to make his mom proud...

Plus, my beautiful family:
*My brother and his wife, Sonya, who are a great team as spouses and parents and have some land in Hardwick that we stumbled around on one afternoon (there aren't trails yet).
*I am still completely in love with their son Spencer. He is smiling and giggling. His nicknames are Peanut and Eggie. Eggie because when he's sad, he goes, "Egg-eee!" He's eight months old and squeezable.
*My Mom and Dad, aunts and uncles, plus all sorts of fascinating cousins who are becoming such amazing adults with stories to share. My cousin Susanna recently got back from Ghana and shared about her visit to a slave prison -- gruesome and very sobering. My cousins Caitlyn and Josh, aget 14 and 17 respectively, really struck a chord with me as a future high school English teacher. It was fun to reconnect with them.
*I also had a great time discussing writing and practicing yoga with Aunt Sarah and her husband Jim (the parents of the aforementioned teens) and reading and discussing a book of short stories my uncle David wrote, about therapists and their patients.
For Fourth of July, we read The Declaration of Independence and said what we were thankful for. We all took turns cooking for each other -- there was much of every good food imaginable.
I also got to hike a lot, including a trip to a chilly yet invigorating waterfall with deep, swimmable pools and a bike ride in a summer downpour with Josh! My MS behaved until the very last day, when I bonked on a hike with Ben and Sonya and Spencer. Ben valiantly crashed through the woods for about two miles back to the house to get the car, and Sonya valiantly made "everything" enchiladas for dinner and I presided over everything while sitting on my rear! Learning the art of doing this still...

There's much more to tell, but that's what comes to mind first. Hope it's not too long -- but share, I must. Makin' use of this crazy new blog stuff.

Maybe I'll soon figure out how to include out!
love from Julia

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Back from New England

Hi everyone. I put a My Space post about my trip. I wanted to paste it to this but I can't get into My Space right now. This is a little preview and also serves as a reminder to myself to get this on here!
Hope you are doing well. It was great to see people last night just when I got in town for Elise's birthday! Happy B-day Elise!