December 25, 2017

Return of the King and Other Christmas Reflections

It's been a long while since I've blogged, but I felt the here you go...

I rang in Christmas watching Return of the King (part three of The Lord of the Rings). Far different than how I use to ring in Christmas, but I found it strangely fitting.

You see, Christmas use to be my favorite. I loved the carols and the giving gifts (yeah, getting them too, but I deeply love giving).  I would sneak upstairs after Santa came, plug in the Christmas tree lights, and just sit there, watching them, sometimes singing a carol quietly, for hours.  I use to dream about the Christmas traditions I wanted for when I had a family of my own—stockings and Christmas Eve presents, matching PJs and the nativity story.

But then, life happened, or in some cases, it didn’t happen.  My parents divorced, and suddenly Christmas was torn in two, and it wasn’t whole.  Along the way, it became a struggle.  Then I worked retail, and that all but killed Christmas cheer.  And year after year, I still found myself alone. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have family and I have friends.  But one of the deepest desires of my life has been to be a wife and mother.  I believe that human beings were created to be partnered together, that we are designed, intrinsically, to be matched up.  God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. If that is true, how much less good is it for woman, created to complete and partner man, to be alone? 

So, year after year, despite the aching and the praying and the searching and the hoping, I am still alone.  And I’ve had to watch as dreams slipped away; I will never be a young mother, I will never get to enjoy several years of marriage before starting a family, I may never get to bear my own children, and I may not even get to raise a child.  I’m on the doorstep of 40.  With each day and month and year, many of my dreams tumble out of reach due to biology and the passage of time. 

It’s true, love may still be out there for me; I still have a fool’s hope.  But that hope does little to ease the current pain, or the pain of the last few decades.  It doesn’t tell me why God has been silent over the years in regards to my pleas and petitions.  That’s a whole other post—

Back to the movie.  While the Lord of the Rings movies all came out in December, they are hardly standard Christmas fare.  Yet, given that I was alone (both romantically and, thanks to circumstance and a little bit of choice, literally without family and friends around), I felt a sojourn through Middle Earth might hit the spot.

And as I was watching through the movies (and of course, I’ve read the books, so despite the movies leaving out quite a bit, my heart can fill in the gaps), I realized this was the story I needed to hear right now.  Because it’s about a land that is kingless, it is about a world on the brink, it is about courage and hope and not giving up. 

We, here on earth, are without our King.  He’s gone away to prepare a place, and he has promised to return.  And I find myself aching beyond belief for that moment.  When Jesus comes back and gathers me to himself.  When Heaven is opened to me and there won’t be any more pain or grief or longing.  We will be perfectly and completely whole. 

And in the meantime, there is Pippin, who is a fool, and yet, an honest fool.  And I feel like that so many days.  And there is Sam, who holds the flame of hope, enough to light the way for himself and Frodo to complete the quest.  I need a Sam, and I need to be Sam.  There is Eowyn, who fears not being the woman she knows she was born to be (and not finding the love she desires…oh yes, that resounds in the deepest chasms of my soul).  I need to hope that here, in my despair, that I may yet still find a soul that would pick me, that would cherish me, and love me, not to mention the whole slaying a mighty foe bit.

And here, at Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of the King, I need to remember that He is coming back.  That I have the promise of Heaven and eternity, where I won’t feel broken and incomplete and forgotten.  I will be with my King, and it will be bliss. 

If that’s not what Christmas is about, then I don’t want it. 

July 29, 2013

about that adventure...

Remember back in January when I talked about The Hobbit and how I felt like I was getting ready for an adventure?  Well, my adventure showed up, and what a ride it has been.

Back in March, things blew up at my job. Long story short, by the end of March I didn't have a job.  And while it hurt a bit, I wasn't as torn up about it as I expected.  And in April, a job that sounded really wonderful opened up.  I had had my eye on library jobs in Wyoming for a while, and this one was for a Children's Programming Manager in Converse County.

Well, things moved, albeit slowly, and I interviewed in May.  I had prayed a lot about it and thought this would be the perfect fit for me, but I was also in that strange place of peace, no matter if I got it or not.

And I didn't get it.

But they DID offer me a position as Public Relations & Information manager.  Apparently, my skills over the years (working in Communications, writing, my degree, etc) and my engaging personality made the library director feel like I would be the perfect person for the job.  It was in Wyoming, in a small town (both things I was interested in), and the pay was right.  So I accepted.

So I packed up my entire life and moved up to Converse County, Wyoming.  I work for the county library (which has two branches, one in Douglas and one in Glenrock).  Turns out housing in Douglas is almost impossible to get (if you rent), so I ended up finding an apartment in Glenrock.

I went from living in a city of half a million to living in a state that barely has half a million.  My new home towns have 6,000 and 2,500 respectively.

Talk about culture shock.

And I'm loving it.

For the first time in my life, I have my own space.  I get to make the decisions on where stuff goes, how hot (or cool) I keep it, where to park.  I have a job that is challenging and fun.  I have great co-workers.  I live in a community where people help out, where they wave as they pass you on the road (even if they don't know you).  It's just the fresh breath of air that I needed in my life.

I know for some people out there, moving to a tiny town (where there isn't even a stoplight) would be torture.  But for me, it's good.  I needed some place where I didn't feel quite so invisible.  Some place where people SEE each other.  Where I couldn't get lost when I wanted to.  I'm too good at being lost, at blending in, at making sure I don't get involved.  But life is about being involved.

So next weekend, we are having a Choke Cherry Festival, and I'm going to go (hello, I LOVE choke cherries), and I'm going to churches to meet people and find a church family.  And I'm getting to know the patrons at the library.

I might not be slaying dragons or running from goblins, but I am sure having an adventure.

And I'm loving every minute of it.

May 17, 2013

zee zee--don't fall asleep just yet!

We've done it--we have reached the final letter in the alphabet.  This one was hard, but I managed to find a favorite story that fits the bill nicely. 


Oh come on.  Do you blame me for picking it?  Plus, I am rather smitten with Antonio Banderas. 

It's a rags to riches story, and a redemption story, and a justice story, and a hero story.  And did I mention Banderas?  I really enjoy a fun film (and I am really just talking about the two movies with Banderas, because the old tv show was fun but not a favorite) that engages me on so many levels.  I know, I think too much, and sometimes find lots of things in stories other people don't, and I'm sure for many, this is just a silly movie where swords are brandished with flare.  But for me, it's a rather epic story, with a little romance thrown in (I have to give kudos to Catherine Zeta-Jones, for her fiery portrayal of the love interest). Oh, and did I mention that Anthony Hopkins is in there too?  He is!

So check out The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro so you can see what I'm talking about.

And thanks for participating in this fun, 26 day journey through some of my favorite stories!  Don't be a stranger, and I'll try to update on a regular basis with my meandering and sojournings and whatnots.

May 16, 2013

yo yo yodel...

Here we are, with just two letters left!  Want to know what my favorite Y story is?  Keep reading, you are in for a treat!


She's the main character of three of my favorite books, The Study Series (Poison Study, Magic Study, and Fire Study), and she is amazing. 

We first meet Yelena as she is given the option to become the food taster for the commander of her country.  And she either accepts the job, or she dies, since she's already in prison for killing someone.  She takes the job.  And from that lovely start, we follow her through many adventures.

Through the course of three books (and some small snippets that the author, Maria V. Snyder has available online), we get to see Yelena as the fully-fleshed out character she is.  She struggles against injustice and her own feeling of disconnectedness.  We see her fall in love without even knowing it, and having to then pick between freedom and love.  Oh, and she has these powers she doesn't understand and that happen to be illegal in the area where she lives.  Nothing like putting pressure on a girl.

Snyder's writing is highly engaging.  I find it hard to put down a book by her.  So far, Yelena is my favorite, but there isn't a single Snyder book that hasn't kept me up way past my bedtime.  If you check her out, read the Study series before the Glass series, as they are connected (I read the first Glass story before the Study series, so I already knew the outcome of some events, which for me, is a bit sad.)

Come back tomorrow for our final letter!

May 15, 2013

x out of that screen...

Ick, I don't even like that title, as I cringe every time someone says "x" instead of "close."  But it's all I could think of, so it gets to stay.  Let's find out what X story (not rated, come on!) is one of my favorites!


I'm not a comic book fan.  But I am a huge fan of the X-Men stories (at least the ones they have made into films).  Maybe it's Hugh Jackman (another favorite!), but I think a lot of it has to do with the way the stories grab me.  It's the epic fight of good vs. evil but also the misfits vs. the accepted.  And when you blend the two together (with the so-called misfits being the good guys) you are going to get drama, and probably an explosion or two, if they have anything to do with it.

In addition to the basic storylines, we get characters that are interesting and many-layered.  I mean, come on, Wolverine has great history.  And so do the rest of them.  Which always makes me think about how every person is a misfit in some way, and yet they are so insanely unique and wonderful, too. 

And a story that can help me see beyond the surface and into the heart of humanity is worthy of being one of my favorites.