Monthly Archives: November 2011

a critical question

Psalm 30:9 – What gain is there in my [self-]destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

Maybe it is all right, then, to move myself to a place from which I am better able to glorify God, that is to say, to get myself back to a point of adequate spiritual, emotional, and mental health so that I can choose words and actions that are glorifying to him.  Can I believe that God is less interested in my taking a particular course of action than in my being whole and thus fulfilling the purpose for which He made me?  Can I believe that I am more than my actions and that God does not objectify me?


Deal or No Deal

Last night I read about Hannah asking God for Samuel and wondered what, if any, promise I would make…

“If you give me _____________, I promise to ______________.”

Then I scared myself stupid with my answer and ran away to make things out of yarn.

All in the Family

A few weeks ago my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.  In keeping with how we do things around here, my brother treated us all to lunch on campus with his meal plan.  (They also went to dinner together the next day, don’t worry.)  Then we had a photoshoot on campus.

While I was home for Thanksgiving, we took a few more family pictures with the help of self-timer and a very flimsy tripod that had me fearing for Nikita’s safety.  But in the end, all was well and I got some pretty nice shots.

Finally, I took a few pictures of my brother on Saturday after we hacked around in the basement looking for Christmas decorations and instead found his prodigious collection of Legos.

My family has been really supportive throughout this whole job-jettison thing and are encouraging me by making me soup, buying me a full-spectrum lamp, taking me out to play, and pushing fish oil capsules at me.  After a few days of their company, though, I did find myself wishing they’d treat me less like a crazy/invalid/tiny person and more like a twenty-something adult making some changes, but I suppose I’d rather have “too” supportive than not at all.  As much as I complain about my family, I know they always have my back and that’s really important.  [Another sign that I’ve been through a seismic shift…I find it difficult, if not impossible, to write my customary mush.  Ha.]

what’s next?

Little over a week later and I have no regrets about leaving whatsoever. I can’t even say I’m sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye to the students, except for the handful that I actually connected with this year, and even then I can barely manage a half-hearted shrug of resignation.  I’m still stiff-arming almost anything that asks me to care, which is why I went on a random anti-Toms rant the other day. (Sorry, Ting.)

After a few days of initial shock, my self-analysis drive kicked back on, spurred again by the work of Susan Howatch (The High Flyer this time…is this woman stalking me with a time machine?!)  I had to ask myself one critical question: When and how did I become convinced that I have to be a martyr?

I concluded, once again, that I have inherited some fairly flawed theology as well as an extra helping of willfulness, which explodes upon contact with my similarly superfluous share of approval-seeking.  It went something like this:

Chinese Culture: Doctor, lawyer, engineer, scientist!

Me: No……English major. Musical theater. Pottery class. Fashion magazines.

Immigrant Puritan Worldview: Self-fulfillment = sin. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. Be like Martha and also feel guilty for not being like Mary because Bible says Mary is better.

Me: Oh, okay. “A good teacher is like a candle, consuming itself to light the way for others.” Well, then, moth to flame. QED.

Well, I’ve finally come to realize that self-immolation is not only unpleasant but not particularly healthy.  And so I’m going to give myself permission to be just a little bit selfish when it comes to figuring out what the next step is.

On a less dark and twisty note, I’m trying to decide whether to break out the photoblog part of this little piece of digital real estate. That will probably depend on how a certain conversation goes on Thursday, so maybe I’ll just hold off until then. Not to get too excited (even though too is the operative word of my life) but there may be some much more fulfilling opportunities on the horizon for us:

Mommy and Me matching knitwear. I need some sort of intervention.

I don’t know how to write titles right now.

From Hyperbole and a Half (

I realized today that I feel like a computer that has just been completely reformatted (rebooted? reprogrammed? I don’t speak computer, ironically).  All of the bad feelings, like an army of computer viruses and worms and trojans, finally crashed my emotional processor last week, and leaving my job–and all the attendant expectations that have surrounded me for the last two years–was the only way I knew of reformatting.  Now I have nothing but the basic operating system: breathe in and out, eat occasionally, sleep a lot. And now I have to reinstall certain programs. Serotonin, for starters. Pleasure. Hope. Faith. Love. Joy. Yesterday I wasn’t sure if feeling dead was an improvement over wanting to die, but maybe, just maybe, this is what Someone meant a month ago when I thought, “Perhaps I must die in order to live again.”

My emotional pain-meter finally overloaded this week and now I don’t seem to have any feelings left at all, which is perhaps akin to suddenly waking up with no hair.  (Since birth, I’ve had hair and feelings in abundance, you see.)

I wonder if this is what it’s like to be a boy.

That is all I have to say.

A different letter

Dear Andy,

(Surely no one has ever called you that before, huh?) I don’t expect that you will ever read this, and I think it is best to keep the door closed, but this is my small cry to a once-close heart that I am perhaps understanding better now than ever.

I think that I am now in the deep, unrelenting void that took you away from me and the rest of the world.  (This is not, of course, how I would have chosen to understand, and I got here in my own way separate from you.)  Now I too feel like I’m being asked to do something I simply can, or will, not do, and I’m sorry I never gave you credit for at least standing up for what you thought was true.  You just wanted to know what was true, isn’t that what you said?  I can’t say that I’d be brave enough to do what you did.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t understand before, that I blamed you for “choosing” despair.  I’m sorry for offering platitudes that only made it feel worse, for not knowing any better.  I’m sorry for thinking (even now a little bit) that I could have saved you or changed your mind.  You are your own person with your own heart and mind, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to respect that better.

I can’t change the past, and I’m no longer sure I can change the present and future.  But I just wanted to say sorry.


Brown-eyed Girl

Stephen & Danielle “Engagement” Shoot

Last Sunday I shot my first portrait session with my friend Danielle and her husband Stephen.  I’ve known both individuals longer than either has known the other, and it is with just a hint of smugness that I say they would never have met were it not for me.  (Ignore kindly the fact that I initially chased Stephen away with a large metaphorical stick.)  Danielle and I were classmates in high school and college (a term used loosely at a school of 50,000, but we actually did have some of our introductory English classes together) and Stephen came to OSU as a missionary associate with Chi Alpha campus ministries.

I should probably admit that my initial reaction to their dating and subsequent engagement translates roughly to, “Zuh???”, indicative of my continual amazement at the attraction of opposites. (To quote one of Danielle’s friends, “You’re marrying a young-earth creationist???”)  Their wedding in March was small but fun and relatively drama-free, and represented Maid-of-Honor Round 3 for myself.  (It was shortly after this that I decided to work on official Wedding Planner certification.)  When I got my new camera a few months ago, I found out that Stephen and Danielle had never had engagement pictures taken, and so last week we decided to remedy that.

Our sites were the Columbus Metropolitan Library Main Branch and the adjoining Topiary Park, as well as Weinland Park in the inter-campus/Short North area, which is where they first met at an outreach event for our church.  (Again: credit, yours truly.)  The weather was beautiful, my subjects were great sports, and the only disappointment was that we couldn’t find the Kama Sutra to pose with in the library. (Although the religious section we ended up in was almost as entertaining.)

Apparently Stephen still has nightmares about this happening...