Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bob and Joan

So I work at a coffee shop as a baker. It's fun. The hours are reeeally early, which can be a challenge, but it's been working out for about 6 months now. It's nice to start your day off making things and watching people come buy them. The maker in me finds that to be very satisfying.

Another satisfying part of my job is the interaction I get to have with my co-workers and customers. Every Tuesday there are a bunch of groups who come in regularly for Bible studies, hanging out, and to work on homework or just work in general. I have enjoyed getting to see the same crowd every Tuesday and learn peoples' names and a bit about them. It's one of the things I love about working in a coffee shop and about living in a small town.

There is one couple in particular that I enjoy very much! They welcomed me in as soon as I started and always say hello when they come in on days that I'm working. Their names are Bob and Joan and they're the cutest couple. They talk to everyone there, or rather, I think most people make it a point to stop at their table to say hi...they attract people because they're so very friendly! It's beautiful to see the community amongst our regular customers. Especially the Tuesday crowd. When they leave Bob frequently tells me, "don't work too hard...but work hard enough so that you're here the next time I come in." Once he added, "We'd miss you if you weren't here."

And that's enough to pretty much make my day.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The beauty in a mundane day:

The rare chance to stay in your soft bed as long as you want to...
The relief of crossing important things off your to-do list...
The comfort of coffee when it's cold and wet outside...
The joy of sharing your heart and thoughts with another person...
The ability to remember mundane yet important times...
The mundane is perhaps the most easily missed beauty in our lives...
The daily rhythms and patterns that provide security and consistency...
The daily miracles that have lost their charm on us...
The realization that your dreams have largely come true...we just forgot to be grateful.
These are the good old days if you'll let them be.

A Night at the Orchestra...

A couple of weekends ago my friend Hope and I went to the local college's end of semester orchestral performance. It was really good! It was a smaller ensemble, but the music they chose was really fun and beautiful. They had a guest singer perform with them. He sang musical selections from Gustav Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer. They kindly thought to add the English translation of the music in the program so I was able to read along while he was singing in German. The music was very sad and dramatic...about a man who loved a woman who was marrying someone else. It was very operatic, so of course it had to be sad, right?

Anyway, this performance happened at the end of a very busy, exhausting, and incredibly emotional week for me and somehow the music and lyrics were perfectly cathartic!
One of my favorite lines was from Ging heut Morgen ubers Feld:

And then, in the sunshine, the world suddenly began to glitter;
everything gained sound and color in the sunshine!
Flower and bird, great and small! "Good day, is it not a fine world?
Hey, isn't it? A fair world?"
Now surely my happiness also begins?! No! No! What I love can never bloom for me! 

And how about this part from Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit mach:

Do not sing; do not bloom! Spring is over. All singing must now be done.
At night when I go to sleep, I think of my sorrow!

I mean, that's exactly how I felt about all the snow we were getting and the realization that it was just going to get worse as the months continue!

And this line from Die zwei blauen Augen voo meinem Schatz

To me no one bade farewell. Farewell! My companions are love and sorrow! 

Anyway, this guy Mahler was incredibly poetic and somehow he managed to write the music of my soul and the lyrics of my heart for that particular week. Maybe he was more dramatic than I am and no one I love is marrying anyone else and causing me to have a broken heart. I just was feeling particularly sick, tired, emotional and lonely that week and the sad and lonely undertones of his lyrics combined with the beauty of the way they were written and accompanied by such beautiful music really resonated with me. That even in the middle of difficult times there is so much beauty around me in harsh but beautiful winter landscapes, beautiful and expressive words, and melancholy melodies. After the performance my friend and I went to a local coffee shop and caught up for a bit and that too was perfectly encouraging and rejuvenating. I realized that in the midst of my self absorption and pity parties I am so very blessed.

I used to think life was mostly happy with a bit of tragedy thrown in. I was so sheltered and I realize that my earliest memories felt so safe and secure and that for the most part I was a happy child. As I got older I dealt with a lot of anxiety and even depression and wondered when happy times would return or if they would ever return. Now, I think both exist together. "My companions are love and sorrow." The two are always together in some way. But maybe they need each other to grow us up. And maybe together they create something beautiful. Maybe life is always sorrowful but that love redeems it and makes it into something beautiful in the end. A few years ago I wrote a poem that talked about beauty and sorrow going hand in hand. Maybe that's why it resonated with me so much.

Also, I wish I was a real poet and I wish I could sing!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Attempting to adventure!

 I mentioned that one of my goals this year is to play more and have adventures! The day after my birthday one of my very dear friends helped me start the year of right by going with me on an exploration! We picked a nearby place on the map and went out to explore it.
In the end, it was a very typical western Michigan adventure....we found a park and explored it. Western Michigan is no West Virginia! I definitely traded "wild and wonderful" West Virginia for "pure" Michigan! It's very tame. No mountains, caves, waterfalls, valleys, or scenic overlooks here. I'm told that to see those things I need to go north and maybe into the Upper Peninsula. But for what we have it's still a beautiful place. I even managed to find a funny tree to climb. Ahhh! I just am aching to do something exciting and different! I want to go see something that makes me say, "wow!" I knew to appreciate the beautiful landscapes while I had them, but I had no idea how much I would miss them when I left!

All in all, quiet and tame experience that it was, it was so refreshing and rejuvenating to be outside and enjoying the company of a friend. We found some pretty sights and saw some beautiful swans. I'm so blessed in relationships! Having gal pals to share life and your heart with is a gift and God has given me many of those friendships for which I'm very grateful!

I am still keeping my eye out for opportunities to have an adventure though! Wish me luck...send me suggestions!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


 Another year older...I kind of had a hard time with this one. I am sometimes prone to the birthday blues. Perhaps it's ingratitude, but it's also partly a feeling that I didn't accomplish enough or do enough and time is ticking away.

This year I have some actual goals. I know I posted a list of goals a month or so ago, but since then I've simplified it. Now my goal is that by the time I turn 27 I want to have turned ceramics/art into at least a part-time job that I can count on to support myself. My other goal is to have more adventures and more fun. I know 26 isn't old, but I feel like I've lost my ability to play. And I also feel like I spend most of my time working. While I like my work I feel a bit dull and I'm constantly tired which doesn't really make me feel young. I'm hoping that this year I will try new things and play and have fun in addition to working really hard! :)

I'd say I got off to a good start! While my actual birthday (Saturday) was perfectly quiet and slow I had a busy and fun Sunday! I went exploring at a new-to-me park with a friend and later my sister and brother-in-law hosted a surprise birthday party for me. I was so touched! It was incredibly fun and I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard! There was even a pinata which I've never had the experience of trying to break before. Every detail was so thoughtful and sweet. It really helped me to start the year off feeling loved and optimistic (and still young! Yay!).