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24.

It’s my birthday. Traditionally, I spend my birthday mourning the fact that nothing ever seems to end up quite how I plan it, people let me down, I am still nowhere near purpose, and everybody seems to think it is a day worth pointing out.

Today is different, though. I could bore you with the details about what I’ve done, what I will do, and why it is all important. Instead I will write only on the important parts.

Jami and I went to the annual tea held at my church to raise money for the women’s ministries. There is a darling older lady I have been meaning to get to know beyond the occasional hug and “great to see you.” This morning provided a great opportunity to probe her for parts of her story; for the details needed to begin to see her through my own eyes, for her to be someone in my life and not just the life of someone existing near mine. She is a beautiful, faithful woman and it was a blessing to merely sit near her and receive her words. To contrast that, my youngest friend, Bramwell, showed up for a little bit with his mom. As he sat on my lap and laid his head against me, I held him and felt so thankful for him. There I sat, next to someone who has seen so much, and holding someone who has so much to see – and I do not lean more one way or the other.

Upon returning home, I went upstairs and opened the book I’m currently reading – A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle. I began to think about how greatly her writing influences me. Frequently I disagree with her and roll my eyes and wonder how a woman with so much wisdom could say things I cannot agree with, but more often I find my heart leaping and I wish she was still here to receive my letter, to give new insights to the struggles and questions we both seem to wrestle with; humility, love, creativity, self, ONTOLOGY.

This brought me to my computer, to research the things she writes about, to discover my own sense of understanding of them. What a beautiful gift, to come to a conclusion for yourself that only stirs another person to want to find their own conclusion, even if it does not line up with theirs. Through a series of unimportant events, I found myself thinking about my 4th and 5th grade teacher. The same person, Mr. Gifaldi.

I used to fill out those MySpace surveys and never know what to say for the prompt “Favorite teacher:” . Do I write about the American Pop Music teacher I had at Shoreline who taught me a greater appreciation of the history of what I listen to? The science teacher I had throughout high school who made me laugh and put up with my nonsense? My science teacher in middle school who taught me so much about being a respectable person in addition to a good student (I never caught on to the latter)? Now I will say that I’ve concluded the answer to that prompt is my 4th and 5th grade teacher, who allowed me to be creative, who believed in me, who made me laugh and think and who also taught me long division (which happens to be something I love to do, even to this day).

It was this teacher who also first had me read A Wrinkle in Time, by my beloved Madeleine L’Engle. This is an easy answer.

Today is my birthday, and I am so thankful for the past 24 years. Here’s to 24 more.

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle

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Why I am thinking of breaking up with the internet, by Stephanie Orefice.

Some people on Facebook have a ridiculous number of friends. Thousands. My friends list has been around 850 for a majority of 2009. I don’t see it as any sort of popularity contest, nor do I feel the need to collect random people’s friendship approval. Most of the people I’m friends with are either people I know, knew, or am getting to know. Sure, there are a handful of really random people who I am not always sure of who they are, but for the most part they are people whose status updates or pictures I’d feel comfortable commenting on.

All day long I’ve been thinking about this acquaintence I have. We have a few mutual friends, and I know I will be running into this person within the next few years. Today I went to leave them a wall comment expressing how they’ve been in my head, but when I searched for them I discovered.. that we are no longer friends. They unfriended me.

My heart dropped a little bit. I’ve been rather faithful in every so often dropping in on them or leaving them comments or even engaging in conversation with them, and their unfriending me has kind of hurt my feelings.

Almost instinctively, I visited the profile of a random internet Facebook friend I have, whom I came across on flickr. I sent this friend a message, and realized that my message would probably not be responded to.

So I began to think of the many ways Facebook takes small stabs at my ego – sometimes people like my status, and other times nobody even notices it. I can see when people write on someone else’s wall but not mine. I also love the event feature where you can see what kinds of people want to have nothing to do with you, and who can’t decide if they do or not. The worst is seeing the boy you like on Facebook chat, and then watching them sign off moments after you’ve said “hello” to them.

But then I realized that this is not something that is limited to Facebook; these kinds of small punches are thrown at us all around the internet. Here on wordpress, I frequently like to look at how many times my blogs are viewed. I see the things people search for to stumble across my blog, and my blog views go up while my comments stay about the same.

Twitter? Yeah, today I decided it sucks. Even with a couple hundred followers, my twitter updates only result in my followers decreasing.. rarely do I get @replies.

Even just plain e-mail. Remember the days of passing people notes or spending hours sneaking your cordless phone into your room to talk to your friends at all hours of the night? I miss that.

I miss real life conflict. I miss the joy in finding out the phone number of the boy I liked. I miss memorizing people’s numbers. I miss folding my notes in cool ways and writing “2: FROM:” on the front.

But right now I especially miss the ignorance of life away from the internet. If someone “unfriended” me in 7th grade, I would have never realized it. What would that have meant, any way? That my acquaintance would be continuing to not call me or hang out with me? Nothing in my life would have changed because I would not have been aware of it.

Tonight I realized that the internet makes me feel awful about myself.. and yet for some reason I find myself drawn to it. An abusive relationship, for sure. I’m looking forward to the summer, when I will be at camp investing in real, face-to-face relationships. I’m considering giving up the internet for social networking for the summer.. even e-mail. I gave up Facebook for Lent and am so frustrated that I’ve already slipped back into codependency.

Tonight I will have dreams about my lost acquaintance and wonder what in the world is so awful about me that my blog comments never increase, my twitter followers decrease, and my acquaintances delete me from their Facebook friends lists.

Goodnight, internet. You’re sleeping on the couch tonight.

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26/365 – 41/365

26/365 - housewarming
26/365 - housewarming

My friends Savannah and Ian just bought/fixed up their first house. I dropped by on the eve of their housewarming and stayed until 1 am. Here’s Savannah reading a bed time story to her two cute girls.

27/365 - full?
27/365 - full?

Brittney, Mariah and I went down to Esther Short Park to see my friend Justin play at this thing.. and we walked by this. The sign lies.

28/365 - face mask
28/365 - face mask

Oh you know me.. just chillin in a face mask.

29/365 - 9.99!
29/365 - 9.99!

Oh you know.. went to Shari’s.. their menu said that everything on this page was from 9.99 .. except everything on the page WAS 9.99 . more lies!

30/365 - got sick ?
30/365 - got sick ?

I found myself sick, so I decided to try almost every kind of remedy we own.. tea, emergenC, cough syrup, cough drops, aleve.. and America’s Next Top Model, of course.

31/365 - still sick
31/365 - still sick

Still sick and spending time on the couch – this time I decided to get creative. Cutting things out of magazines just makes me feel awesome.

32/365 - I dont do sadness
32/365 - I don't do sadness

Drove up to Seattle to see Brandon Heath play with 3rd Day. Prior to that, I spent some time with Emily.. and her family got move that they’re moving to San Fran. Skipped the concert and spent a solid 3 hours crying in my car. This is what I looked like 20 minutes into it.

33/365 - worm E
33/365 - worm E

Decided to try and catch the Revelation tour near Portland. After driving 40 minutes, was told it was sold out. So I sat in the lobby and wrote in my journal and listened to Brandon Heath singing. It was almost like hanging out in a very strange, busy, big church while listening to a CD playing in another room. As I left, I noticed this dead, dried up worm in the shape of an E. E for Emily. So I took a picture and started crying again.

34/365 - Brittney & Mariah
34/365 - Brittney & Mariah

My friend Justin recorded a live CD and set up some chairs in the studio so that people could be a part of the recording. I went with 5 other people, two of them being Brittney and Mariah, who I very much enjoy spending time with.

35/365 - The BGP @ the High Dive
35/365 - The BGP @ the High Dive

My good friends in The BGP had a show at the High Dive. S o I went, naturally. It was awesome.

36/365 - Q Cafe
36/365 - Q Cafe

Have I yet mentioned how much I adore the Q Cafe? Mei-Ling and I went and killed some time there. Just being in that building makes me feel like I am receiving a great big hug.

37/365 - Volcano
37/365 - Volcano

Tiffany and I got coffee. Mine exploded. We then went to The Salvation Army and Goodwill, where we found treasures at both. Rad.

38/365 - Life
38/365 - Life

My very good friend Sean came to visit me, and he came bearing the gift of Life. We ate the cereal milk first, how I used to insist on eating it when I was younger. Sean makes me feel safe and cared for.

39/365 - Beths Tea
39/365 - Beth's Tea

My very good friend Beth was getting married. We all went out for tea for her bachelorette party. There were 6 of us, and we had such a lovely time. These were our little trays of tiny little food.. all of which was absolutely delicious.. our one complaint was that they were too small!

40/365 - Miss Buckaw
40/365 - Miss Buckaw

Awhile back I wrote about picking out a chicken and naming her after myself.. well this is Miss Stephanie Buckaw. She has gotten HUGE! Unfortunately… she might be a rooster!! Which means her future might not be so awesome πŸ™

41/365 - Married!
41/365 - Married!

I can’t believe my friend Bethie is married! Here’s me and the BEAUTIFUL bride. She looked absolutely stunning. When I first saw her, I gasped. I played the piano in her wedding and it was such an honor to be a part of such a beautiful, special day between two people I love.

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Soldier On.

This past Saturday I went hiking with a group of my friends. I’d been informed that so long as I was used to being in flip flops, I’d be fine on this trail in them.

You know in movies (especially in chase scenes) where someone climbs to the top of a fence, swings both their legs over, and then fall on their feet?

Picture that and then remember it.

Two minutes into the trail, we came across a log about three feet off the air. The group split between those that went around in the bushes and those that crawled over the log. I chose neither, as I decided to do that awesome high-speed chase jump over this log. That jump itself was pretty epic, but it was the landing that did me in. I somehow landed like a ballerina. Quickly catching myself, I laughed it off.. until I stood still. I glanced down and noticed my entire foot was covered in blood. It looked a bit like this:


I quickly assessed the situation and decided that since my toe was cut open and my flip flop was very slippery, it would be best if I stayed behind. After convincing my friends I’d be alright, I watched them climb down the hill we were on and begin their journey.

My toe really began to hurt. So I did what anybody would. I started exploring, trying to find a way to the river water I could hear flowing. Every potential trail was dangerous and scary.

After 30 minutes of exploring, I found a small grassy clearing and sat there in the sun, reflecting on myself.

I thought back to a set of root canals I got a few months ago. Towards the end of my second root canal and the fitting of my crown, the anestesia began to wear off. I remember the excrutiating pain as I felt them set my crown in place and then use one of those metal tools to pull my gum back over the crown. I clenched my fists and curled my toes and dealt with it.

Though my toe was killing me, I dealt with it. I ended up building a bridge, finding a lizard, and then standing on that very same log, keeping watch for my friends.

I soldiered on.

At first glance, this response seems perfect. No complaining, no whining, just compliance. But the more I started recognizing areas in my life where I emotionally soldier on, I’ve begun to realize that my inability to create conflict or accept the past has left me in a continual state of woundedness. Instead of actively tending to my wounds, I continue to walk around with open sores and every so often deal with emotional infections.

So how do we resolve the past? How can I take this old wound, where the same person continually lets me down, and address it, tend to it, and allow it to heal? What does this look like in my life?

I’m not sure, exactly. But I am sure that as my toe is sore, so my heart and spirit is becoming emotionally and spiritually sore by carrying the burdens of unresolved wounds.

My toe is alright, by the way. I impressed everyone with my robot like skills and ripped out a splinter from my open wound without a second thought. Tonight I ripped off the dead skin and cleaned out the nasty tissue that’s been hanging around the wound. Sometimes it takes a little more pain to gain the liberation that comes when our injuries have healed.

The grossest part isnt/wasnt the wound itself but rather the mass amounts of blood I stood in.
The grossest part isn't/wasn't the wound itself but rather the mass amounts of blood I stood in.

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Google.

Sometimes I think Google is like a thrift store.

It’s full of stuff. Some of it is super legit, others are just.. wrong.

Every so often you go in and find exactly what you wanted or needed or something that pleases you.

BUT. A majority of the time, you just wind up looking through piles of crap and never find anything of value.

Google failed in helping me find funny punctuation things.. it kept coming up with the same two jokes.

Epic fail, Google.

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