Friday, October 28, 2011

remembering ruby

there are about a million things I should be doing right now...but all I want to do right now is remember. remember ruby pauline wolf. remember my grandmother.

I can still smell and feel their house like it was yesterday. the heater always going. always cozy. creaky wooden floors, old books with hardback covers lining the shelves and model airplanes or other things that clutter when you have four boys. I loved that house. it felt like a place of love and fun and get togethers. it also felt like the place where my dad grew up, and I would often look up at the senior photos of him and my three uncle on the wall above the staircase and imagine what that place must have been like back then.

I remember the lake trailer and all the memories made there. we always joked about it being a dumpy lake - one where kids scraped their knees and dripped melting flintstone push-up on their shirt - not the ones our friends went to that were characterized by speed boats and water skiing. no, we mostly swam, went fishing, made up synchronized swimming routines, and played cards into what felt like late at night (although I'm sure it was more like 10 p.m.).

I could probably write forever on the memories made in their old house, or of countless trips to the lake and excursions there...and I feel like I could write forever on memories of my grandmother.

I'm not sure if she loved games or if she just humored me and my love of games, but she would always play with me. when I was being a pestering younger sister and no one else would want to entertain me, grandma would always pull out some cards and we'd play rummy. and we played. we played hard. no letting ashley win, and no feeling bad when you out-scored your grandmother. we were out for blood. we'd sit and laugh, she'd sip on diet-coke and eat her sugar-free cookies and I'd eat anything and everything I could find. and she'd let me.

she and grandpa would come watch us when our parents went on trips in the summer. they'd roll into our small town in their giant blue cadillac and set up camp. they'd take us to softball games and haul us to the pool when our friends begged us to go. grandma would take out her giant pill container show me the "horse" pills she had to take that day. I stared in awe. she was so brave and swallowed 'em like a champ. she was always laughing at us. laughing with us. making fun of herself while pouring her love on us.

she always took her blood sugar and I remember thinking it looked fascinating. like it graded your blood. I wanted my blood graded. I sat on her knee as she helped me take my blood sugar. my number returned and she explained that meant I had good blood. she knew I'd have good blood, she said.

sometimes grandma would join us for vacations. of course this meant more evenings of eating around the kitchen table while playing a brutal game of rummy or hearts. one particular ornery night I had the urge to do grandma's short, curly white hair. what a sport she was. giggled while I strategically placed barrettes that made her look like bozo the clown. oooh I love it, she'd say as we posed for pictures.

sometimes as we age and the people we love age, we start to forget the good memories. those are replaced with fears about their health and their growing frailty. concerns over how much weight grandma had lost as I hugged her too-thin body good-bye the past few christmases linger as my most recent memories. but then I remember our fun together. the way she was always getting me to smile. the way she loved unconditionally. the way she made fun of herself while praising her grandchildren. the way she comforted me when I was down or out. watching soap operas on the couch while eating watermelon. playing wheel of fortune on her computer. being toted around town in the summer with her as my chauffeur. I will remember this woman. the one full of vitality and life and love. the real ruby pauline wolf. the real "my grandma. "

Monday, October 24, 2011

(in)security and forgiveness

our apartment was broken into last week. I wish I could adequately describe the surreal feeling of realizing your stuff has been taken from your apartment. that where there was something, there is empty space. that someone, a complete stranger, and let's be honest, a complete creepy stranger, was in your space. where you live. where you call home. the place where you go and let out a sigh after a long day. your safe haven. that no longer feels safe. 

my emotions have ranged from disbelief and shock (first reaction? maybe michelle needed our TV for work today...), to fear, to extreme anger. the latter two now intermingle and just don't make for a very positive attitude on my part. working on that. 

I've been struggling with the Godly response to this. ya know, the old "what would Jesus do?"...would Jesus go knock on the door of the culprit and say, "hey...I think you forgot to take my DVD player? here you go!" a part of me thinks this - the whole turn the other cheek concept. but God also stands for truth and can't tolerate sin. so maybe He wouldn't do that...maybe he would stand up for justice. whatever He would do, I know this: He would forgive. 

as I got angrier and angrier on wednesday night after all the drama had ceased, I was humbled thinking about a friend's family who was just brutally murdered. murdered. someone took the lives of two members of her extended family. that is irreplaceable. no insurance can repay that. no amount of time spent can recover the lives of those precious people. how do people forgive that?? all that got taken from me were material possessions and homework. let's be real - in a month, this probably won't matter. but these people will experience Christmases and birthdays without their loved ones for years to come. whew. talk about perspective. 

sometimes I feel like Satan is winning. like there is just an overwhelming cascade of awful that keeps happening. people hurting other people. shootings. break-ins. murders. abuse. then I have to remember the rest of the story - the ending. Satan loses. and God redeems. 

thursday morning on the way to work, beautiful things by gungor came on my mixed cd. 

all around
hope is springing up from this old ground
out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

somehow, He can make beautiful things out of us - out of seemingly nowhere - out of seemingly nothing beautiful. 

thus concludes my ramblings for tonight. 

oh - ps. my thought tonight: "I wonder if they ever found that man that broke into antoine dodson's apartment? I wonder if he moved to my apartment complex..."  yep. makes ya wonder, huh? 

Monday, October 17, 2011

excellent find

I really appreciate this guest post by Darrell Vesterfelt on a blog that I might be a little in love with. maybe.
thank you Mr. Vesterfelt for this letter.

now I must get back to studying my endocrine system. well, not mine in particular, but THE endocrine system.

grateful for:
-antidiuretic hormone that allows my body to retain water when I am dehydrated
-oxytocin that will one day initiate labor if I ever am pregnant
-normal amounts of GH - as to prevent gigantism (I know, some people think this happened to me anyway), acromegaly, and pituitary dwarfism
-that my thyroid does not have any issues causing myxedema or Grave's disease
-the normal development of my immune system (thanks, thymosins!)

(yes, I am a nerd, and yes, I'm counting this as "studying" time for my test tomorrow)

Monday, October 10, 2011

weddings and 27 dresses

this weekend I traveled to south alabama to see two of my dear friends be forever joined in holy matrimony. it was beautiful. everything about the simple, lovely outdoor wedding in the park was just...perfect. while all the planning clearly paid off and the weather was gorgeous, the true beauty was gleaned from the sheer joy of the bride and groom. the two interacted at times as if they were in their own world, so caught up in their love for one another that nothing else mattered - no wedding jitters or last-minute-detail stress here. just the giddiest grin I've ever seen on the bride's face and tears of joy and absolute adoration from the groom. the bride even skipped down the aisle with her loving hubby after they were pronounced man and wife.

their story isn't one typical of most fairytales - they had some truly bitter moments along the way. they fought some ugly battles together and separately, and thought they were better off apart for a long, long time. this only makes the celebration all the more wonderful. oh the situations that can be redeemed and the bridges that love can build when we think they've been forever burnt. what joy this brings my heart!

a few of my coworkers have told me that I "remind them of the girl from that movie.....27 dresses".  at first this statement stung a bit - what are they trying to say??? but I am no longer offended. if I have 27 good friends that get married and live out a beautiful love story - how lucky am I to be surrounded by great examples of loving relationships? how lucky am I to get to be a part of their days? God has joined together people dear to my heart in wonderful relationships that glorify Him, and it's soo beautiful to see. I'm excited to see what He has in store for me.

anddddd the grateful list (that I've been majorly slacking on):
*the health of my grandma and others I love that I typically take for granted
*safe travels to and from south alabama
*the giant chocolate cake that resided in our break room at work on friday
*beautiful fall weather
*two words: pumpkin.loaf.

(yes, I realize things I'm grateful for often involve food...pretty.typical.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

butterfly circus

a few nights ago, I watched a short film - the butterfly circus

now, I am not a huge fan of the circus. while I think some acts can be impressive, I can also tend to get bored. I like plays, musicals, etc. - shows that have a plot. plus, I think clowns are terrifying. so when a dear friend suggested this 20-minute movie, I was a little less than enthused. upon hearing her description of the plot, however, I warmed up to the idea...
a limbless man who is put on display at a circus as a freak - a story of redemption - a story of transformation, and the lies we believe about ourselves.

this story touched my heart and brought me to tears. how often do we hear lies from the world and believe them? how often does past experience tell us that we're not good enough - trash, even. these lies become ingrained in us so that when we hear something different - the truth - we scoff.  how preposterous. how could I be fearfully and wonderfully made? have you met me?

there are so many profound and beautiful spiritual parallels in this film. how we can use our personal struggles to help others overcome theirs. how God can take the ugly of this world and make it absolutely beautiful. absolutely wonderful. absolutely redeemed. and plus, there are no clowns. or if there are, they are used minimally and I barely remember them. promise.