Thanks -- Nov. 27
8:51 PM | Author: Misty
I started to write out this long, drawn out, cheesy blog entry about all the things I'm thankful for. Instead, I'll just say this: If you are reading this blog, there's a decent chance that you would have made the list. Thanks for being there, and I love you. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Punkin' - Nov. 24
9:41 PM | Author: Misty
I made the pumpkin bread tonight, and it was wonderful. My apartment now smells like pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. I took the loaf over to Bobby's and Chris's house, and it got the seal of approval. Bobby even liked it, and he's not a huge pumpkin fan!

I think one of the best things was that I managed to get it out of the pan all in one piece, so it even looked good. Hooray for pumpkin bread!
Sunday-ness - Nov. 23
5:57 PM | Author: Misty
I've pretty much done NOTHING this weekend. It's been glorious.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day reading Harry Potter, with a nap thrown in for good measure. I did cook dinner for Bobby and me last night, which was somewhat productive. I cooked pork chops, garlic cheese toast on English muffins, green beans and couscous with veggies. It was majorly yummy.

Got up this morning and went to church. Realized that I'm an ass and that I take out my insecurities on other people sometimes. Apologized. Apologized some more.

After church was 4th Sunday Feast, which is basically a covered-dish lunch. I ate some beef stew, and it made my mouth happy. I also ate waaaaaaay too many of the coconut snowflake things that Katie made, but they were really good, and she assured me that they aren't all that bad for you.

This afternoon I did a little more reading, clipped coupons -- a Sunday tradition for me -- from the Tuscaloosa News and took a nice, long nap. I like naps. Once I woke up, I headed to the grocery store to get supplies to make the aforementioned pumpkin bread. I'm trying to convince myself to bake some tonight, but I'd really rather just read Harry Potter some more. I've just started book 6. I did manage to put some laundry on before I succumb to the urge to either bake or read, so my weekend won't be 100-percent wasted, but it'll be darn close.

Now I'm sitting here with Nom Nom chilling on my lap, my feet propped up and Harry Potter waiting for me. I'm looking forward to a short week this week thanks to Thanksgiving. I'm feeding my co-worker's cats tomorrow and Tuesday while she's out of town and then headed out myself either Tuesday night or Wednesday.

Gonna go visit the fam for Thanksgiving and also spend some time with Bobby's mom and dad. I'm already seeing how having two sets of parents makes things a lot more complicated. Thanksgiving shouldn't be so bad, but Christmas will be harder, I think.

Alright, HP won't wait any longer. If I don't post again before, happy Thanksgiving!
The no-knit scarves
9:17 PM | Author: Misty
So, all in all, I'm pleased with the results of the first round of scarf-making. The first, which I posted a couple pics of last night, was made with Lion brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Super Bulky in claret. The second, which I made today, was Moda-Dea Tweedle Dee Shaded Effect Bulky Yarn in Indigo. I'm a little happier with the second one, because it's longer.

Appreciating handmade - Nov. 22
12:38 AM | Author: Misty
I was recently introduced to the concept of "Buy nothing, make something day" as an alternative to the traditional Black Friday madness. I sort of like this idea, and I've been thinking more and more lately about how to be more "green" and save money, too. It also appeals to me because I can so easily get caught up in the consumerism that seems to have become the Christmas season and forget that it's the thought that counts.

So I've been thinking of what I'd like to make. I found this snazzy set of instructions to make a no-knit scarf, and I thought that might be something neat to try. So I set off in search of bulky yarn. Now, I have tried the whole knitting thing in the past, and as much as I would like to learn, I have not had much luck with it. I get through about a row or two and lost interest, get frustrated, etc. But I figured this really only involved cutting yarn and tying knots, so I couldn't get too lost.

After failing to find yarn at the only local dedicated fabric store I know of, I decided to look at Michael's, since I know that they have yarn. I found waaaaaaay too much yarn I like (which may doom me to further attempts at knitting in the near future), but I narrowed it down to the two balls I purchased.

I spent the evening over at Bobby's, but once I got home, I decided to bust out the yarn. The super bulky dark red Lion wool yarn was calling my name.

I measured out 12 strands that were about eight yards long each and after wrestling with it for a little while finally figured out I could work much faster if I hung the in-progress scarf from a hanger in my closet. The work went quicker than I thought, and within about an hour (maybe a little longer), I had a finished scarf.

Sadly, the scarf ended up shorter than I wanted (only about 4'), but I think it's a good first effort. Here's the yarn and a glimpse of the scarf:

Other things I'm considering making are apple butter and pumpkin bread. Any other suggestions are welcome!
Life as I know it ... - Nov. 21
10:52 PM | Author: Misty
It's amazing how the phrase "God, what did I do to deserve this?" can be turned completely on its head in the matter of a few months.

I don't want to go into messy details, because they're really not important, but several months ago something really bad happened to me. It made me not want to trust anyone, including myself. It devastated me emotionally. I really felt as if my life had crumbled right before my eyes, and I had no idea if I would be able to reassemble it.

I remember very specifically asking over and over again, "Why? Why did this happen to me?"

But, amazingly, less than six months later, that same situation that seemed unfixable is better. Not just better, but better than it was before this horrible thing happened. It has not been easy, not a single step. I feel like I have been stretched to my limit and tested in ways that never would have even occurred to me. I have come to a deeper understanding of me and of love and grace and peace and even dependence.

And cries that were once desperate have turned joyful. I ask "Why? What did I do to deserve this?" And it's good.
More golden sunshine, enjoy! - Nov. 12
1:34 PM | Author: Misty
Maybe I'll make a real blog entry again sometime soon, but this made me giggle:

I love Internet ads - Nov. 11
2:07 PM | Author: Misty
This weight loss formula is so drastic it apparently does more than make you lose weight:

Anyone else see what's wrong with this picture?
All about grace lately - Nov. 10
2:03 PM | Author: Misty
Seriously, I wonder if God could be trying to pound this into my head a little more. Jon talked about grace yesterday at church.

It's funny, as he was talking about it, I was thinking about the church I grew up in. The pastor there (whom I'll refer to as Pastor B) refused to allow the song "Just As I Am" to be played or sung. If you aren't familiar with the song, it contains the following lyrics:

Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me
And that thou bidst me come to thee
Oh, Lamb of God, I come, I come

Basically, a wonderful picture of God's grace and my helplessness. Pastor B didn't want the song played because he didn't want people to think they could just come to God, say a prayer and keep going on the way they were going. As a child who loved to sing in church, I was told I wasn't allowed to do this song, and my mother tried to explain it to me. The message I received was that the song was wrong and that you couldn't just go to God like you were.

Now, maybe that could be played off as a kid who didn't get it. But a large part of the culture in small-town Alabama, where I grew up, dictated that "being good" was what you did if you were a Christian. Jesus loved all the good little boys and girls, and if you said your prayers, didn't lie and went to church on Sundays, then you would get to go to heaven. So Pastor B's (and my mother's) attitude toward the song was just more confirmation that if I wanted Jesus to love me, I'd better be perfect, or as close as I could be.

I've seen this play out in my life in a number of ways: my tendency as a child to correct people (which I still do now), spending my teenage years basically hiding from my parents and learning to put up a facade of everything being great; going to college and screwing things up royally as far as my grades and classes went, because I finally caved to the pressure of trying to be perfect when it was impossible.

The thing I hate, I suppose, is that I still see the effects of this upbringing on me. I like to pretend that everything's OK. I hold others to standards that I sometimes can't even meet myself. And, as I mentioned, I still love to correct people; heck, I edit for a living.

So where does that leave me? Well, the good news is that I can at least see these things about myself now.

A lot has happened in the past year, and I really hope that most of that has come together to bring me to a place where I can finally have a better understanding of grace, and not just knowing what it is but feeling and living what it is.
So, I'm relaxing this morning, spending some time drinking coffee and listening to music. One of my favorite all-time songs is one called Love Song by Jason Morant. There's a particularly good version of it by Mutemath that I absolutely love. Here are some of the words:

Where can I go? Where can I run from you?
You're everywhere.
You know all my thoughts. You see through my ways
And still you come to me.

So I'll sing a love song to you.
So I'll sing a love song to you. ...

You walk on waves, you run with clouds,
You paint the sky for me to see
Your majesty, your majesty is why I sing.

This is a love song to you.
This is a love song to you.

My life's a love song to you.
My life's a love song to you.
My life's a love song.

I was just listening to this and thinking about what it really means in my everyday life. It's funny, as a child and as a teenager, I sort of always thought I would be a missionary or a youth minister or some other "professional" ministry position. About a month ago, my pastor, Jon, talked about how silly it is to think that the people that are paid to do God's work are the only professional ministers. In fact, as Christians, he said, we all are professional ministers.

It's really easy to think that I'm only doing God's work when I'm volunteering at the church's food pantry or leading worship or running sound, and I think that makes it very easy to get caught up in a horrible system of performance-based grace. The thought behind it, of course, is "If I'm good enough, God will love me more."

The great thing, and the thing I so easily forget, is that God could never love me more, because he loves me perfectly right now. He doesn't want me to beat my head against the wall trying to earn the love he's already given me.

What he wants from me is to live my humdrum, everyday life as a love song. Not just the times when I'm "serving." I have a chance to serve him every single day by doing excellent work when I'm at my job, by choosing love over holding a grudge with my fiance, even by taking proper care of my pets, my apartment and my belongings.

God wants me to be a good steward of the things he's given me, and that goes to more than just physical belongings. It extends to my friendships and my family. And, yes, my time.

I fail at this so often. I fight with Bobby. I take people for granted. I don't clean my cat's litter box often enough. But the thing I have to remember is that God's love for me still doesn't change, even through all this. That's what allows me to keep going, to pick up the pieces when things fall apart, to try and do better when I fail. I love knowing that I have a lifetime to learn these things and to grow and to know him more. He's been so good to me, even through the toughest of times.

My life's a love song.
National Novel-Writing Month - Nov. 4
4:13 PM | Author: Misty
Well, I've embarked on what may be the most insane journey of my 25 years.

I'm going to write a novel in a month.

Bobby talked me into it. This group (National Novel-Writing Month) apparently has been around for 10 years now. I think I vaguely remember hearing of them before, but I've never really even given any thought to participating until sometime last month when he wanted to know if I'd be interested.

One of my biggest hangups was that I was unsure if I had it in me. I mean, literally, whether I had enough words on one subject in my brain to make a whole 50,000-word novel (that's the NaNoWriMo minimum word-count requirement). For anyone who does not know me, I write and edit for a living. But that's different, because I'm generally pulling sources from interviews, books, the Internet. And basically this book would have to come completely from me.

I'm also sort of shy about sharing my fiction writing. I worry that I can't provide vivid enough details or that my dialogue writing is shoddy.

But with Bobby's encouragement, I'm giving it a shot. I started writing on Sunday, and I've gotten up to about 4,900 words so far. I'm playing catch-up a bit since I started a day late, and I really need to get to about 6,700 words tonight to be on course.

I haven't written fiction in a long time and never during my professional life. I'm finding it's a welcome break from the stuff I write on a daily basis. It lets me stretch myself and express creativity I can't in my job. And, in particular with my subject matter, I feel like I am writing me.

I'm not sure that I can sufficiently describe that, but there's so much me infused in what I'm writing, and so much of my life. I guess it's just really cool to see that all come out in the form of a fiction novel.

I was talking with my co-worker, Carolyn, about it earlier, and I told her that one of my favorite parts about it so far is taking something that happened during my childhood and fictionalizing it, seeing from an adult's eyes the way I perceived it then and imagining the way others involved may have seen it happening. And I guess the same is true of the way I saw myself and the way others saw me. The really interesting thing is that I'm also writing about a woman whose life is much more loosely based on mine, so I'm exploring a lot of my present attitudes and also the way people may perceive me now.

So, yeah, it's really interesting, and if nothing else, I'm rediscovering the joy of writing.