Thursday, October 27, 2005

i know the white sox winning the world series is a big deal, but ...

bush has said he won't appoint judges who don't think our rights come to us from god (though as ira glass points out, article vi of the constitution forbids that any "religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States").

virginia legislator and confessed christian bill carrico claims that "christians by their very nature are non-confrontational."

what is the deal with christians in america?

loyola invited sojourner's editor-in-chief jim wallis to speak this past tuesday night during their week long celebration "evoke" - a week dedicated to helping students find their purpose and calling (i'll interject here a grand kudos to what i've experienced of loyola and its faculty and staff for truly taking this to heart). always up for a little public speaking action, my roommate erin and i headed north for the assembly.

i heard jim speak earlier this year at the university of chicago right after his book, "god's politics: why the right gets it wrong and the left doesn't get it," hit shelves. though many months have passed, his message on tuesday was a similar one.

the evening began on an enthusiastic note; and it was obvious jim was preaching to the choir when, not even 3 minutes into his talk, the audience was wildly applauding his generic assertion that a "new movement is rising up in this country."

fine, fine. john kerry's camp said the same thing during the democratic convention. malcom x said it. martin luther king, jr. said it. i'm certain jerry falwell said it. for crying out loud, i've said it to my own volunteers. there's always a movement brewing. i'm willing to bet that at any given time, at least one person somewhere feels desire great enough to lead people in something. jim said nothing new with that statement.

still, i decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and suppose that he was simply testing the waters, determining the majority attitude of his audience. but i still stirred in my seat. i wanted him to get to the point. i'd blow my whistle and stomp my feet when we discussed strategy.

but for the next ten minutes, the audience cheered him on as he voiced their true identities.


why is it that christians feel the need to prove who they AREN'T to prove who they ARE?

we're not the religious right. don't call US that. but we're not crazy liberals either. of course, we're not NOT liberal. and make sure you don't call us "conservative" - unless you mean it in a specific context. and really, we're not "religious," persay. and we're no longer "spiritual, but not religious." got it?

maybe what we are is plain old afraid. when will we stop trying to defend ourselves?

is it because we listen to christians like carrico who become the voice of america's judeo-christian god, representing and speaking for us because, as he admitted, "christians by their very nature are non-confrontational?"

is it because we don't want to be as narrow-minded as those religious right christians? is it because we don't want to abandon god like those crazy leftists?

what the crap. it annoys me. it annoys me on a very personal level, too, because there's little else i hate more than being pushed into a box. of course i don't like being thrown into the same category as christians who commit hate crimes against homosexuals or set fire to abortion clinics or rage against cartoon characters or sport "in case of rapture ..." stickers on their vehicles. it's much more amusing and - by my actions - seemingly much more important to me to defend myself than to become myself. and i think satan's happy with that. i think he likes to distract christians with hurled insults, tauntings, and profiles on wildly unloving christian extremists in the news, to name a few.

it frustrates me that i am annoyed by the very annoying actions i am also guilty of committing.

i wonder if mother teresa got up in the morning and thought, "damn those priests for their evil crimes against children. i will publicly wail against their atrocities BECAUSE my motive is to clear myself of any association with their kind. i may be catholic, but i am not like them."

do you think she spent her life defending her name?

jim eventually got to the muscle of his talk during the Q&A time (props to the young man who asked him to "be controversial"), addressing in specifics what he regards as the needed "moral center" of politics and challenging faith-based organizations to move from ministry to model to movement.

and after all that discussion in the beginning about who we're not, he carefully addressed his energetic, bandwagon-jumping, no-longer spiritual-but-not-religious, not-too-far-right-not-too-far-left, how-would-jesus-vote-if-jesus-would-even-vote-at-all crowd with a rather exceptional quote.

we can continue to discuss and we should, he said. but let's not forget that we need to also heed the call to action. after all, "you're more likely to live your way into a new way of thinking than you are to think your way in to a new way of living."

i think to take that to heart would allow us a freedom from defending our names. maybe then we could plainly say who we are because we're confident our actions will speak for themselves.

and jim, if you're reading this, kudos to you for having the balls to put yourself in a place where you're regularly attacked - especially by your own brothers and sisters, your fellow believers - and still actively forging ahead. and one more thing, i'm totally game for any internships you may have available ... i'm just saying ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


this is my roommate erin. i love her. i also love my roommate katherine. but katherine does not have a blog, and so does not need to fiddle with finding out how to post pictures on her blog. the end.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

i could write a book

i love the "when harry met sally" soundtrack. both the music and the movie are the only two things that make me think new year's eve is even a worthwhile holiday.

i digress.

this afternoon, i went to a colleague's baby shower. seventeen women gathered by the fireplace in a flawlessly lit sitting room, drinking bellinis and eating pumpkin cheesecake. i hadn't wanted to go simply out of the sheer desire not to let my day's schedule be imposed on by someone else's will. but that desire was no more than a bratty 10% of me and was eventually drowned out by both the felt obligation to go and the promise that it would be a casual, no-string-around-the-belly-game event.

it was wonderful. i love going to a party where the lighting is already perfect, so all anyone needs me for is to set the music (which i did happily). miles davis, harry connick, and frank sinatra accompanied us for the afternoon. and while it poured outside, i sat contentedly near the mom-to-be and passed presents. once the oohing and ahhing was over, i relaxed in a recliner near one of my favorite colleagues and enjoyed an intimate conversation about parenting, falling in love, choosing to love, and seeing yourself in your children.

my friend laura just changed the title of her blog to "one step closer to knowing nothing at all," and i wonder if that's what i feel in moments like today - discovering MORE yet that i don't know. but no, i don't think that's fully it. i feel like i've been in plane that's been driving around the airport waiting for take off, and i've gotten a really good look at the lay of the land. and i feel like only now am i taking off and beginning to see how much MORE there is. i'm overwhelmed. and still so thankful that there are people in the world who take time to share with me what their worlds look like. i learn so much from you.

maybe i should retitle my blog "ten feet higher in the air."

Friday, October 21, 2005


since all maybe 2 people have been asking, here's what my new digs look like since the upgrade.

exciting, eh?

this was during a busy week. my desk space is actually a little cramped, but i'm really grateful for the room. so no more complaining from me.

okay, back to work ...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

sing it, barbara

i am barbara streisand's "people who need people."

why can't i get a job where i have a hundred meetings a day? i love talking with people. i love planning. i love organizing. i love sitting in a coffeeshop for 20 minutes before my volunteer/colleague/friend arrives and thinking, thinking, thinking. there has to be a job where you can do this sort of thing.

i read wendell berry's piece in the newest issue of sojourners and felt my heart echo his love for farming. of course, i've never farmed. but my dad grew up on a farm when he was a kid, so i figure some of that farming life has got to be running through my blood.

of course, farming isn't really what you might call a "people" job. unless you live on a co-op farm with lots of people. perhaps if i do move to wisconsin, i'll join the benedictine women of madison. that seems like it'd be a good way to make a smooth transition to quasi-farming culture.

and if that doesn't fit quite right, i'll move to minneapolis and join the staff at youth forum and run summer festival's entire summer camp. that would be amazing.

or ... my friend annie told me last night that i really should avoid the [perceived] utopia of certain midwestern cities and answer my calling to politics by speaking up in larger public squares (she says this because she thinks that if we were to team up and teach the world about really living, that maybe things could possibly get better). i told her i felt i should first study in a land of progressive thought and open discussion before i would feel comfortable speaking on anything in such venues. she agreed, her hands wrapped around her cocoa quietly acknowledging an allowance for a few years of research. but she quickly looked up and caught my eye, and said, "don't forget where you belong."

oooh, mysterious. i laughed. fine, fine. if it's farming, or writing, or playing and planning, or politicking, i think i'm game for whatever. as long as there are people.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

nothing new under the sun

since jon asked me to make that list of 20 things i wanted to do before i die, my mind's been aflutter with list-making (a practice i fear to indulge. list-making threatens the early onset of number-obsession, a trait i think my mother is intent on passing down to one of her unwilling daughters). and yet, unless i make my lists, i fear my mind will shut down entirely, reluctant to yield any of its thoughts through any other means (really, imagine your mind being attacked by Sesame Street-esque puppet-people costumed in large foam numbers dancing and spinning around your head. voila. you understand me). still, i refuse to give in to this number obsession and yet, i will make my lists.

a) on my 19th birthday, erin and shelly surprised me with an "i am my beloved's, my beloved is mine" ring that i'd picked out earlier that summer (at the time, my relationship with god was very song of songs-based. it still is, in fact, but understand that i had been of the i kissed dating goodbye camp that year and whatever i could do to impress upon my heart that jesus was more than enough for me and i didn't NEED a boyfriend, well, i did it). long story short, i've worn this ring every day since july 30, 1999. now i fear we are at the end of our time together. at some point in the past couple days, i've managed to completely disfigure the ring to the point where it is an almost perfectly skinny oval and can no longer slide off my finger. i've yanked at it so much that my knuckle is swelling. today, my coworkers have assessed that it will take more than butter; i'll need to call maintenance. sad, but true.

b) as i began my regular blog-visiting routine today, i stumbled upon cory's new blog and immediately tumbled into a bit of nostalgia, remembering my days as a newbie blogger. one particular comment really resonated with me: "most of my words will emerge from daily crises of faith in life." yes. remember when you first started writing your thoughts? it's like you had a thousand things to say! and not enough time in the day to say them! so, cory, thank you. this is impetus enough for me to blog my thoughts from last night.

c) about a year ago, my friend allan told me that - spiritually speaking - i was in my terrible teens. i had the kind of attitude with god that mimicked my own behavior with my parents as a 13-year-old. you know, the kind of attitude that came home from school and didn't want to be harassed with questions i felt (unreasonably so) were intended to trap me and teach me, and ugh, eye-rolling and bothered, marched up the stairs, shut my door, tossed a cranberries cd in my stereo and bemoaned the hardships of being 13 (in all fairness - to any 13-year-olds reading this - 13 IS hard. i'm not belittling your pain. puberty and zits and growing and braces and relying on the lyrics of only a few solid bands to aptly give voice to the things you only wish you had the nerve - or vocabulary - to express is ridiculously difficult). this is what i did with god.

*side note: i shared this revelation of being in my spiritual teens with a friend who, i assumed, after hearing me denote a spiritual age, lost all interest in the point behind the story, and responded to my expression of heartfelt sharing with, "how old do you think i am spiritually? i mean, i kind of feel like i'm in my 30s ..." i stared blankly at her. what???? talk about completely missing each other ...

anyway, so last night i was writing my rwandan pen pal and trying to devise creative ways of talking about god in my letter without coming across as cheesy (see, i told you i'm like a teenager. here's this 12-year-old girl who writes about god unashamedly, sharing her favorite psalms with me, telling me how he patient he is with her, and i feel like the biggest nerd if i say thing one about him. i AM lame). so i confessed to her that i've been learning about how god matures believers. and how i want to choose my way over his way ALL the time. and how trying to understand this "my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways" business isaiah writes about is awfully difficult for me.

why am i so freaking stubborn?

later last night i felt isaiah 55 pressed on my heart strongly enough to visit a commentary on it. this guy writes, "we can never walk on God's way until we forsake our own way." i am annoyed that he has to use the word forsake. why not collaborate on our ways? use the best of both of our ideas?

sometimes i imagine i am playing house and trying to dress god up. like i'm trying to fit this massive spirit of GOD into cute little corduroy overalls and feed him a bottle of milk. the problem is that i can't even grasp him. he's like too much spirit for me to actually handle. and i feel like shaking my finger at god and asking him to please get dressed and then come into my beautiful plastic playskool house and enjoy it with me.

at these moments, i feel like he does two things: 1) (ahhh! shriek! numbers!) he grabs my hand and very tenderly look into my eyes while 2) using his other hand to fully destroy my little plastic house into absolute nothingness (all the while making sure to save the scraps for recycling purposes - my God is very eco-centered).and then he starts laying bricks for the foundation of the house he decides he wants to live in with me. and i feel like, ahhh! rage! this is going to take forever!!!

precisely. "and it will take even longer if you don't help." my God is very into working together.

he squeezes my hand to stop me from rolling my eyes. and my fingers react from the pressure of the misshapen ring digging into my skin. he lets go of my hand to begin working, and i stare down at my pathetically uncalloused hands to rub my weak fingers. and there it is staring up at me, this old ring, quietly revealing that i am indeed my beloved's.

my God. the things you do for love.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Stream of Consciousness

After lunch at Sopo this afternoon with Mandy ($2 breakfast burritos! hello!), Katherine and I came back to the house to reorganize. We're remodeling the closed-in porch, developing an "art space" more or less for Kat to create. The room will still be used for ironing and drying and sitting, but in the matter of a few hours, Kat's already fashioned it so that it begs for creative attention. I love it.

It's still the middle of the afternoon on a gorgeous fall Sunday. Not a cloud in sight and the perfect temperature for anyone. There's light streaming in through our family room windows, but I've lit nearly every candle in the room anyhow. There is never a time when candles are inappropriate.

Meanwhile, Erin is out at Soldier Field watching the Bears-Vikings game with her dad. Ugh, I can't even talk about the Vikings without feeling what a great embarrassment they are to my home state. Man, oh man ... if I ever have enough money, I'm going to buy a professional sports team and conduct some serious moral training.

Well, I still have a bit more cleaning to do, and my new Sugared Pecan candle is luring me back into my room, so I'm off. And, of course, could not forget to wish Paul and Lara very happy, happy birthdays and unforgettable years ahead. I'm SO happy October 16th brought you both to the world :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Before I Die

Jon asked me a bit ago to list 20 things I want to do before I die. The original two I've blogged about before - riding my bike across the US and serving as a member on the Board of Education in whatever town I'm then living - failed to even cross my mind when I wrote this list a few days ago. Funny how your mind forgets so quickly. I am getting old.

All that to say, I'm writing out this list here so I don't forget what I want to do before I get too old to remember what my heart really wants. So, in no particular order ...

1. Spend a really long weekend at a Bed and Breakfast in Prince Edward Island
2. See the Aurora Borealis
3. Make a quilt
4. Have children (two biological, and however many adopted)*
5. Spend a year writing
6. Host the most wonderful Christmas holiday for my family
7. Go camping with 12 of my closest friends
8. Own a pair of cowboy boots
9. Go to Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley for a snobby wine tasting weekend
10. Get floor seats at a Sacramento Kings or Minnesota Timberwolves game
11. Buy a lot of large and colorful hats
12. Visit the Virgin Islands
13. Be invited to be a speaker at a conference
14. Get a job where I set my own hours
15. Learn to play any kind of bongo/djembe drums
16. Take a shopping spree in Williams-Sonoma or Crate & Barrel
17. Take a spa weekend getaway
18. Change my hair (either get dreads or buy a short, black-haired wig)
19. Know the feeling that I'm with "the one" (and though I don't necessarily believe in this "one" idea, I mean more that confident feeling of being with someone with whom you are better together than alone, someone who compliments you, someone who's gonna walk with you the whole way)
20. Celebrate my 30th birthday with a huge weekend bash

I did say that I "wanted to do something that really matters," but Jon told me that was too vague. Whatever. I'm adding it here. All I'm saying is that I'm open, ready and willing to do it. And yes, yes, yes, I know that there are opportunities everyday for this sort of thing. But please, just understand me for the sake of the lack of real-time intimate conversation here.

Anyhow, I figure if I have an average life expectancy of 77.4 years (for women born in the US in 1980), then I've got approximately 19,411 days left to accomplish those 20 things.

Geez, written out like that makes me feel a little pressure. Shoot, I gotta start searching for plane tickets and cowboy boots STAT.

*Blog on the pros of adoption to follow ...

Newsmap Surfing & More

Had to post. Was looking at Pete and Lindsay's blog and saw this site highlighted. You must take a look at this Newsmap. I've been surfing the site a bit and am a bit overwhelmed, but glad for it.

Newsmap writes that it "provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.Newsmap does not pretend to replace the googlenews aggregator. It's objective is to simply demonstrate visually the relationships between data and the unseen patterns in news media. It is not thought to display an unbiased view of the news, on the contrary it is thought to ironically accentuate the bias of it."

Take a look when you get a second.

And then after that, visit Lark News. Seriously, this article is off the hook.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Lost Numbers

This blows.

I dropped my cell phone in the toilet tonight.

Long story for another time, but my phone is nearly busted and I have no way of accessing my phone numbers via my old cell. SO please send me your numbers via email or call my cell phone and leave me a message (though this way will be hard to access remotely for a little while).

And somehow pray that Sprint would see it in their hearts to get me a new phone ASAP. And for free.


Besides that, Night One of Homecoming & Reunion was fun. Makes me never want to leave Chicago.

okay - new scoop. my phone is evidently slowly dying. the sprint lady told me that the water would slowly corrode from the inside out, leaving me with phone for another week or so. i'm crossing my fingers that it holds out for another month so i can get my discount on a new phone. seriously, these are the days when i wish i was best friends with the owner of all things sprint so i could just get stuff for free without thinking twice about the hassle it is ...

Old Ladies

I've been thinking about developing a new blogger persona.

I visited the blogger homepage, selected a username, a password, a different email address and presto.

Denied. It turns out blogger didn't really want to offer me the freedom of finding a new blog. Every username I dreamt up had already been chosen by a fellow online journaling junkie.

I've been wanting a new blog for awhile, a place where I feel I can fully express myself out loud without wondering who in my blogging sphere is trying to determine who I'm really talking about in my subtle vagueness, or what issues I'm really struggling with based on previous intimate conversations. If I knew how to express myself in more artistic venues, I would, believe me.

The truth is I've long known that I was the only one of my sisters who wasn't invited to dip into the artistic gene pool in the womb. In fact, the last artsy award I ever won was an honorable mention for a drawing I did during our 4th grade's Fire Prevention Week. Other kids illustrated good children putting out fires before leaving a campsite, or parents putting matches far away out of a child's reach. But I won my honorable mention for a drawing titled "When you see signs of rain, get out of the water." On the left side of the poster, I drew Smart Girl climbing the ladder out of the pool when she felt a few drops of rain. On the right, Not Smart Girl was shown in the shallow end of the pool being struck by a bolt of lightning, her hair and limbs zapped out in all directions.

I was not a morbid child, I promise. I just drew what I knew. And that was the pool.

When we lived in Ohio, we belonged to Woodhaven Swim & Tennis, the kind of place where everyone has to flash their laminated pastel membership cards in order to get past the front desk and into the chlorine-rich air hovering above the pool. Though I wasn't a swimmer (didn't even learn that till I was 13), I loved the pool. I loved pinching my nose and having a tea party with Paula underwater sitting indian-style. I loved playing our own version of shuffleboard by the shaded playground. I loved watching Sarah perform her dead man's float for us for what seemed like an eternity, but might actually have been a mere minute or two.

But what I loved most was the old ladies at the pool. The women who slid in to the pool smelling like all sorts of old people lotions, swim caps firmly stretched across their heads, and sauntered along the edge looking for the perfect resting point. Once there, they'd prop their elbows up on the ledge, arm fat dangling just above the water, backs pressed against the wall, and stretch their legs out before them. I suppose they were more or less bicycling. I don't think it mattered.

I liked to pretend I was one of them. I'm sure I was the only 8 year old who preferred "bicycling" on the ledge to diving from the high board, but I was drawn to old people. Nothing disturbed them - not kids cannonballing in and splashing their meditative auras, not swimmers who forced them to draw their legs in and avoid a collision. They closed their eyes and you couldn't even guess what they were thinking; they opened their eyes and took in the whole. Their old lady skin pruned up just like mine. I felt like it was good to be an old lady. It was familiar.

One late summer afternoon, I remember standing outside my pink bedroom I shared with Paula, the deep orange sunlight pouring through Sarah's peach bedroom, talking with my mom. She left me with a few words I never forgot: "You're like an old lady inside a little girl's body, Mary." I'm not saying I'm anywhere near as mature or as wise - ANYWHERE - as many old women are. But I've long felt I have an old soul. A sometimes crotchety, but mostly hearty, old soul.

It's that part of me that makes me long to leave the city and move to Prince Edward Island. To be Anne Shirley for awhile, but grow up to be Marilla Cuthbert. To be amazed by God that he built us to grow up and get wrinkles and crow's feet and gray hair or no hair. It's that part of me that refuses to start a new blog. To write here whatever I please because there's no point in making up somebody new.

The old lady in me just wants to lean in against the walls of my heart, let my dangly fat show, put my feet up and stretch out. She doesn't care if she's not artistic like the others in the blog pool, as academic, as philosophic, as hilarious. In fact, she feels quite content to be whatever she is. Even if that is a long-winded blogger.

Besides, the water's nice.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

He said, She said

Tonight I called my friend Shelly to dissect a conversation I'd had with another friend earlier in the afternoon. What I like about Shelly - and what I consider a truly remarkable quality in any friend - is that she always takes my side right away (it's true, she knows I'm not as extreme as I come off in my stories and allows me the time to settle on the real truth of a story and not the exaggerated interpretation in my imagination).

Anyhow, so tonight, we talked about how in the world women are supposed to really communicate with men. Because honestly, sometimes I really feel like I speak a different language. And if the guy I'm speaking with is not hearing me, I wish for a woman to suddenly appear and translate. Argh. It is so frustrating. Is there hope?

I surfed the web a bit tonight in search of an answer, googling for the online version of the "He said, She said" dictionary my high school friend Adam (who we affectionately nicknamed "Rog" - short for "Roger" - unnecessary information, I know, but important for me to call to mind and remember as I get older) gave me on my 18th birthday. Unfortunately, I had no luck, but I did find a great article from Psychology Today that I think is worthwhile to note ...

Women's perceptual skills are oriented to quick -- call it intuitive -- people reading. Females are gifted at detecting the feelings and thoughts of others, inferring intentions, absorbing contextual clues and responding in emotionally appropriate ways. They empathize. Tuned to others, they more readily see alternate sides of an argument. Such empathy fosters communication and primes females for attachment.

Women, in other words, seem to be hard-wired for a top-down, big-picture take. Men might be programmed to look at things from the bottom up (no surprise there).

Men focus first on minute detail, and operate most easily with a certain detachment. They construct rules-based analyses of the natural world, inanimate objects and events; they systemize.

Baron-Cohen's work supports a view that neuroscientists have flirted with for years: Early in development, the male hormone testosterone slows the growth of the brain's left hemisphere and accelerates growth of the right.

So all I'm saying is NOW WHAT??? Maybe I have way too much estrogen to even be able to understand men and their testosterone-infused conversations. Argh. I need that dictionary back.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

sometimes sometimes sometimes my mind is too strong to carry on

if i take crap for making song lyrics the center of my post again, so be it. but alexi murdoch's "orange sky" has absolutely stolen my heart.

before the bus pulled away from the memorial union in madison tonight, i had tuned my ipod to that particular track. and i then spent the next hour with "orange sky" on repeat. it was the soundtrack to my crying, and rather unfortunately, i'm sure, my muffled crying was the soundtrack to my bus neighbors' ride to o'hare.

i'm not sure if it was just time for a good cry, or if my tears were prompted by the hundreds of things rather unmercifully begging for my attention, or if alexi's voice just melts my heart so much that crying seems to be the only way to fully express my gratitude for this song.

regardless, i hope you like it, too.

Monday, October 03, 2005


okay, so honestly. i know i'm a nice person. i know that my parents raised me right. i know that i'm kind and polite and very loving. i know there are lots and lots of good things about me. and i love being able to celebrate the way god knit me together. so awesome.

but it's come to my attention as of late that when my pathetic, whiny, temper tantrum nasty, obnoxious, and demanding self-centered inside monster rears its ugly head, my friends still love me and challenge me to be better than i am.

do you have any idea how much grace i get in a day?


and it reminds me that i owe all of my dear friends an enormous debt of gratitude for exhibiting such a reflection of jesus's selflessness and graciousness and commitment to me.

and even more so, to my parents: i'm sorry for all the years i was such a smart aleck. i'm sorry for throwing temper tantrums when you made me eat lima beans and wear red corduroy pants. i'm sorry for shutting my door on you when i was 13 because i just wanted to be alone, sobbing and listening to the cranberries because they understood me. i'm sorry that i hated you because i thought you were trying to ruin my social life when you refused to let me drive to white bear lake with kari the night of some massive minnesotan winter snowstorm. i'm sorry, dad, that i wouldn't let you kiss me when you got home from work if i felt you weren't letting me get my way in, well, anything i thought was important at the time. and i'm sorry, mom, that i felt so incredibly frustrated when we'd drive back home and you wouldn't let us listen to our radio station because you wanted to hear the news.

when you guys tell me you love me before we hang up on the phone these days, i feel so incredibly grateful that you are as patient as you are with me; and what's more, that you are as determined as i am to grow into our new relationship, as adult daughter and adult parents. it's all such a mystery to me how it's supposed to happen. but i'm grateful that after all these years, you still love me enough to try. i love you guys.

and, oh yes, please continue to extend me grace. i'm trying to make that "room for improvement" a much smaller space, but i still need it. LOADS AND LOADS AND LOADS of it.

thank you.