A Compendium of Songs: Seattle>SF>Salt Lake.

I mark the adventures of life in many ways, one of them being through the songs I hear in the midst of them. Often lyrics of songs relate to my life circumstances. Maybe it’s coincidence, or maybe it’s that ever-analytical teacher brain of mine working overtime to connect life and literature.

Whatever the case,  here is a  fun little journey through some songs from my last 9 months of wandering from city to city…to city (btw, I still can’t get over my 3 cities in less than a year thing, plus it turns out I can only live in metropolitan areas that start with an “s”):

The Avett Brothers – The Perfect Space ~ We’ll start here, at the Bohemian in West Seattle, enjoying a day of rest and journaling. The brothers sing through my headphones, “I wanna fit in/to the perfect space/feel natural and safe in a volatile place.” This is an over-arching theme of life, one sentiment that keeps on giving as the growing pains keep coming. That day I mused on how I must continue to persevere even if things don’t work out, and now in SLC, I continue to do so…

Arcade Fire – Empty Room ~ Last summer became the summer of The Suburbs. I love that album, and I listened to it non-stop with the windows down, through the U-District to Madison Park and back during my days of house-sitting. I had a good deal of alone time that summer to reflect on life and the direction it was headed, and the lyrics “I’m alone again/When I’m by myself/I can be myself/And my life is coming/but I don’t know when” resonated with me as I continued into the unknown.

Brett Dennen – San Francisco ~ So then, during that time, I got the job in San Francisco, and this song kept coming up on my ipod when I had it on random. Brett Dennen is singing about starting a new life in SF without this girl, and he is also paying tribute to a great city – “I’m gonna rent me an old Victorian/Down in the Lower Haight/I’m gonna find me an old accordion/Play for the tourists on the golden gate.” Of course, this made me pretty excited, especially since I had never even visited. I was going to live in SF!

Sufjan Stevens – Heirloom ~ As mentioned in earlier posts, things didn’t turn out so well there. There were sweet times though. There is a cliff that overlooks these bathhouse ruins which extend into the endless ocean. I really miss that place. One morning I got up early and drove down the coast, and discovered it for the first time. I stopped and parked at the top, plugged my headphones in and walked through the tall trees to a hidden nook at the edge of the cliff. The morning was foggy and calm. The Pandora Station started playing this song, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I felt then that God was saying to me “and when you walk inside i feel the door /i’ll never let it push your arms no more /and when your legs give out just lie right down/and i will kiss you till your breath is found.” In it, I found resolve to deal with the mess around me and to know that Jesus was caring for me and giving me strength to deal with it.

Arcade Fire – Half Light II (No Celebration) ~At first I just thought it was funny that during this whole moving to SF ordeal,  I kept hearing songs talking about San Francisco, but as I have listened to it since leaving there, it really is interesting how the opening lines in some way fit my life circumstances: “Now that San Francisco’s gone/ I guess I’ll just pack it in/ wanna wash away my sins/in the presence of my friends.”  I left SF a little worse for the wear, but I made it here, and I feel that I am already flourishing in the light and love of my new friends.

Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over ~ I listened to this in the airport on the way out of SF, and I hear it alot now as I gasp for breath running around Sugar House Park. What a great song. It’s encouraging and motivating, and it carries a tinge of the bittersweet: “Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father/run for your children for your sisters and brothers/leave all your love and your longing behind/ you can’t carry it with you if you want to survive.” I miss my home, I miss my family, but God has called me elsewhere, and I can’t be sentimental. It’s been a breath of fresh air to be in SLC, and though the dog days will come back at some point (I would be naive to think otherwise), here I have found some reprieve for a little while, and I am loving it.

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I Live Here Now

aah…i just finished pretending to sit under a hawaiian waterfall in my shower. i’ve spent the last 8 hours making coffee, and today kicked my butt. so, shower instead of exercise seemed like a fair trade.

i’m in utah! five months ago i had no idea what was in store for me here, and really, life continues in that vein with bits and pieces coming together slowly. i’ve never been a patient one, so i guess God is really wanting me to have more patience :).

the other thing God has been teaching me is to depend upon others – i have had to. stripped down after san francisco, i am starting here from scratch. for a while i didn’t have a steady job, and i had to let people feed me. now that i have a job, people are taking me to work and offering their cars to me when they are away.

it’s humbling to be in this position. after all, i am college-educated and teacher-certified. in a worldly sense, i’ve paid my dues. but really, it is humbling in the best way possible. when someone offers their help to me, it is God’s provision; his way of saying, “Hey, i’ve got this.” which begs the question: why do i live life “diy” when God, GOD is willing to create a deeper, richer life for me?

deep thoughts!

now for some fun facts:

1. i am going to The Rock Church now, where i have so many new and awesome friends. people keep telling me how well i’ve assimilated and how easily i’ve made friends, but everyone has been so amazing with me, so i give them all the credit!

2. i love my roommate! we’re as opposite as can be, and it is cause for continuous hilarity. i should note that it’s mainly her laughing at me.

3. at the same time, it was very strange to arrive in a new place and find that almost every person i have met enjoys the same healthy serving of sarcasm as me every day, my roommate included.

4. nerdiness abounds, and i have ample scrabble competitors. and, according to others, i am also in a competition with one of my other friends for the title of “knowitall.” i think she wins though, because she knows all of the presidents and their years of office.

5. my one friend that i have known since high school who lives here has a two year old and a 4.5 month who i get hang with on a regular basis – some of the sweetest times!

6. though this is mormon capital, great indie coffee shops abound, yay!

7. ironically, i moved from seattle to utah to work at starbucks.

8. there are seagulls here, but no ocean.  it’s actually the state bird. wha???

9. though there is no ocean, the mountains are beautiful and so close that sometimes they look like they are going to fall on me.

10. back to the birds thing, i have had more conversations here with people wherein we were anthropomorphizing ducks than, well, ever.

11. i like it here. i’m really happy and blessed. i pray that no matter what the next days, weeks, and months bring that i, like the woman in in proverbs 31, continue to “smile at the future.”

Hey, how’s that for a five month recap? Hopefully I’m back in the game and updates will be more regular.

Until next time!

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THIS JUST IN: HOMESICK GIRL LEAVES HOME ON PURPOSE

When I wrote my last post, I had been up since 2:30 am. I wanted to give you a story, but my endurance was low, so here is part deux.

I am at my sister’s house, and my 10 year old nephew is making bacon and eggs. He calls out “THERE’S ALOT OF BACON SO EAT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!” Bliss.

It’s so nice to be home after four months of nothing familiar. Which is why I’m moving to Utah? It doesn’t make sense in light of how much I’ve missed home, but I have to say, I am really excited for it.

While I was in SF, a friend of my mine, Suji, whom I know through one of my dearest  friends, Kim, was in Berkley for the past month on business. Kim came to visit the Bay area and her, Suji and I had an epic weekend hangout session. It was just what I needed. Upon learning of the difficulties I was facing, both Kim and Suji encouraged me to think about moving to Utah, where they both live.

Kim and her husband often lead worship at their church, The Rock, a thriving Christian church in the middle of Mormon-city. Her husband is also one of the pastors there. Their church community is amazing, and the love of Christ is evident in the way they live their lives and in how welcoming they have been to me every time I have visited.

So after deciding that I could not stay in SF, I had two options on the table: go home where I would be bunking with my nephew, or go to Utah where Suji has graciously offered me her extra bedroom and a chance to get back on my feet. As far job-hunting goes, I know that the market here has been difficult, and though I don’t know what it is like in Utah, I’d like to give it a go. There are no guarantees either way, but I am unfettered at this point, and have been handed an opportunity for adventure.

I am excited to be near my friend Kim, who is expecting her 2nd little one in February. Normally we only have the chance to see each other briefly over the holidays, and I relish the thought of getting to spend more time with her and her family.

So I am moving to Utah. My boxes are already there. I will get the chance to hang out with some cool people who I haven’t seen in years. I will look for a job. I will pine for Trader Joes and the ocean (sad, I know). I will stand outside the Mormon temple drinking coffee and thus tempting  them to sin ;). I will try to sneak into the swag tents at Sundance. I will play in the snow.

Why not? I may not always be so “mobile,” so I am going to live it up! Here’s to the future!

Utah, get ready, the HAUCK is coming.

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Let Me Break It Down For You

I know my posts have maybe been a tad frustrating to read, being all cryptic and what not, but I needed to wait until the business was all finished to share the details of this story with you.

What an interesting four months this has been – I flew into San Francisco fresh and excited, and confident that I was meant to be here. I am still confident that this is where the Lord wanted me to be. It’s just not where he’s keeping me.

This teaching job has brought so many great rewards for me – I have grown as an educator and been stretched beyond what I thought I could do. I had the opportunity to work with a small student body, so I got to know my students well. I worked with a staff who are fiercely dedicated to making the life of each student a hopeful one.

It has been an unending amount of work, none of which I begrudge. That said, the situation I walked into was not what I expected, financially speaking. While it is a great school with good intentions, the struggle the administration dealt with to pay teachers each month was palpable and caused considerably low morale.

When I learned of these difficulties upon arrival in San Francisco, I just prayed that things would work out. But each paycheck became more of a stretch until finally, even though the administration tried to spare newbies such as myself, the day came when there was no paycheck in my mailbox.

The whole time I have been here and known of the financial difficulties of the school, I have wrestled with having the faith that God will provide and having the wisdom to know when it was time to move on in order to be a good steward of what God has entrusted to me.

After much prayer, counsel, and seeking truth in God’s word, I decided that though it was a hard decision, I had to leave the school in search of work that would pay.

I will soon begin a new season. I am leaving behind some really amazing people, and though this has been what one of my friends has called my “winter of discontent,” I really have no regrets about all that has transpired here.

Now that the mess is behind, I will take some time to share stories of  the people I have met and some of the sweet and funny and experiences I have had here.

I will also share in more detail how it is that I found myself saying “Yes, I will move to Utah.”

But that’s all for now. Stay tuned :).

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Done and not done

I did what I needed to do, and the Lord has given me peace…But it’s not totally over yet. Deep breaths. More later.

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Big Decisions

It has been quite the week! So much good mixed in with so much not-so-good…’Tis the way of life I suppose. In any case, I have a big scary thing I have to do this week in light of the not-so-good events from the past week. Prayers coveted. Thank you.

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Is Love Alive?

A little mood music as you read…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkOKCWDJ4iA

My latter post was somewhat…despairing…I was waiting to write until things got better, but instead, they got a little worse. I hate to bore anyone with another somber note, for I know we all like happy things.

But I may never write again if I stick only to those bright spots…Not that it is ALL bad, and truthfully, it never has to be as bleak as it feels sometimes.

But in the past few weeks, I have had to work through some bleakness.

A stranger in a strange land, with little to go on, and then that little taken away…Certainly doesn’t make it easy to feel hopeful.

I was never promised that this road would be easy. There are no guarantees for this life; none that I will marry, that I will have a successful career, or that I will even see the dawn of another day.

I am only promised the strength and grace of Christ to sustain me in the bad and the good. Where is my hope when things are bad? Where is my joy when things are good? If there are two different answers to those questions, then I am missing it altogether.

I have to be truthful and say that sometimes my hope is in my possessions and my joy is in successes I claim as my own…So when things are bad, I look for something other than God to make me feel better.

My view of God fades as I look outside of Him for warmth in winter. Like putting on a swimsuit in the snow and wondering why I am so cold…It is silly to think of, but this is how I look every time I do not seek comfort in prayer and in the Word, when I fail to recognize the graces He brings to me through the people He has called to love me, or when I fail to love those He has placed in my path.

Winter can be so bleak. What can be our Hope be when there is only light for a few hours in the day, and when the weather turns our thoughts more easily to death and dying, sickness and soul-lessness?

Christ is my fair-isle sweater, my scarf, my fingerless gloves so I can read in the cold, my poofy and constricting “Christmas Story”-esque snowsuit. I am warmed by His love and grace, by His power to live in the midst of dying…

His death he turns into life for each of us, a blossom in the snow.

Love is alive.

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