Thursday, December 22, 2011


On the first Sunday of Advent, my new pastor read a quote from Quaker writer Parker Palmer,
"The insight at the heart of nonviolence is that we live in a tragic gap - a gap between the way things are and the way we know they might be...we must learn to stand in the tragic gap, faithfully holding the tension between reality and possibility." 

I have learned this year, perhaps for the first time, that Advent is a season of profound longing. 

I have one friend whose newborn baby has a rare, aggressive form of cancer.
His tiny fragile body must soon undergo chemotherapy.
I read my friend's updates on Facebook, and I stare at the screen and weep. 

I have another friend whose 22-year-old son died suddenly of an aneurysm last weekend. 
His funeral is tomorrow, and I will be there alongside my parents as we watch our precious friend bury his son.

I sit with the horror of this pain, knowing it reflects so much more of its kind, worldwide.

And I know I speak for many when I cannot help but ask, Why at Christmas, of all times?

And the answer comes back, over and over, because this is why God became human in the first place.
This is why we enter into Advent.
This is why we wait.

Jesus was born into a world where the king wanted to kill him, and therefore ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of two.
Mary and Joseph were trapped in a lonely cave with livestock, without their families or friends, devoid of rejoicing voices.

This is the same world that God created and entered; the one that He passionately believed to be worth saving.

We cannot reverse what has gone so horribly wrong.
We can only cry out to the One who makes Restoration possible.

Even if our prayers are bumbling and threadbare at best...

I'm SO angry, and so terribly sad, and I don't understand any bit of this primordial stew of suffering.  
But please, please help. 
We need the comfort, love, and peace that only You can bring. 

Friday, December 16, 2011


Post a picture of the following and explain:

1. Yourself.
Do you like having your picture taken? Why or why not?
Do you have a "good side"?

I don't generally enjoy having my picture taken, no. 
Unless I'm taking it myself. 
And yes, there are angles and "sides" that are much more flattering than others. 
Any angle or viewpoint I can find that hides my raging double chin? That's a winner. 

2. Your pet(s).
What are their names?

I live in a house with pets, yes. 

I wouldn't say that they're mine, necessarily, but I do love them as my own. 
Pippin is the dog, a Maltese whom I sometimes believe is the Cutest Thing on Earth. 
And there are two cats, Peg-a-leg (she's got 3 legs) and Pumpkin, the latter of whom is ordinarily very shy, but has somehow warmed up to me. 
She stands at my door and meows when she wants attention and cuddles. I love it. 

3. Your favourite vacation spot.
Describe exactly where the picture is taken.
What's special about this place?

Myrtle Beach, SC in 2009 was the best vacation I've ever had. 
The photo above was taken at dawn on the first morning of our visit, from the balcony of our condo on the 11th floor. 
I had never been to the ocean before, and felt therefore mesmerized by its beauty, its sounds, its sheer magnitude and overpowering presence. 
Plus, my niece Emma was the most adorable beach babe ever. 

4. Your bedroom or favourite room in your home.
Explain or tell a story about some of the items in the room.

My favorite "room" is actually the backyard patio + garden. 
It's a beautiful and tranquil spot, ideal for reading, writing, visiting with loved ones and summer soirees.
I have written many a poignant word in this garden, and hope to write many more. 

5. One of your favorite pictures of all time, whether for artistic or sentimental reasons.
Why is this picture special to you?

This is Emma at Camp Lake Louise, and I love it so much because it captures an evening that was so special, so precious; one I shared with my dear friend Robin and my family.
The sun was just lilting downward in the sky as we walked out on the sandbar.
My brother Josh threw sticks out into the lake for the dogs to fetch, and Emma ran after them too.
We laughed so hard we cried, the dusky cornucopia of color enveloped us, my soul swelled with Love, and my heart fell prostrate with gratitude. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

::le sigh

Today's been rough. 
I'm in a mood. 
funk, if you will.
My emotions match the outdoor ambience. 

What ails me is nothing extraordinary; just the everyday business of living, really. 
I so deeply treasure the gift of communication, and it can be devastating when others do not. 

It's a tough road sometimes when you're easygoing and considered "nice," because people figure they can do whatever they want, and you won't mind.

You don't have any preferences, and even if you do, they're infinitely flexible; certainly nothing to be taken seriously.
You finally start to assert yourself, lend a voice to your flimsy feelings, and they think it's cute. Comical.
They look at you the way they might at a kitten wearing a tiger costume.

A friend in college said to me one year, "I hate the holidays. They're so depressing."

And I remember regarding him with a puzzled, pained expression and asking with just the right note of annoying naïveté, "Why?"

The older I get, the more I understand why. 

Friday, November 18, 2011


I'm sitting in Starbucks, and there are lovely window-cling snowflakes everywhere.
I know lots of folks who scorn the perceived tyranny and highway robbery of Starbucks.
I understand that.
But I love their coffee. Always have, always will.
I also love the friendly employees and the wide array of characters who saunter through its doors.
Also, I have a long-standing affinity for their holiday drinks.
Peppermint Mocha seems overstuffed with some sort of narcotic.
Gingerbread latte? Oh jeez. Delicious.

I've been asked to write a spoken-word performance piece for a Christmas concert.
I have ideas, and I think it could shape up to be something special.
But I'm still nervous, like always.
What if I can't finish it? 
What if I end up writing something awash with cliches that everyone has already heard a million times? 
What if it's sub-par and everyone gets disappointed? 
What if I try really hard and still can't piece it together so it makes perfect sense? 

Self-doubt is a stubborn, cruel bastard.
I know it doesn't come from any healthy places.
I need to pray for its eradication.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I'm about to answer some questions.
Here's a song about that!

-- Are you addicted to anything?
Caribou Coffee. Instant Netflix. Cake. Chocolate. Pinterest. Procrastination. My iPhone. Angry Birds. 
-- Do you find piercings/tattoos attractive?
Tattoos - not generally, but for some reason, I think John Mayer's left arm tattoo sleeve is hot.
Piercings - Not many people can pull off the more "exotic" ones.  But I can't judge anyone. I'm seriously thinking about getting my nose pierced. 
-- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever licked?
One time when I was like fifteen, my friend dared me to lick one of these thingies in the church office.
It was in front of a bunch of people, which upped the ante to Triple-Dog-Dare territory.
I did it. 
-- Do you actually believe Alaska is covered in snow?
Ummm...not all of it?
I don't know.
I saw The Proposal. Was that filmed on location? 
-- Are you ever purposely irritating?
Well, my dad hates my British accent. It makes his skin crawl.
So naturally, when visiting my parents, I like to spread it on thick. 'Ello gov'na! 
-- If you could make someone disappear, who would it be?
This question makes me realize that I passionately dislike way too many people. 
-- What’s the most important thing to you?
Ummm, either my computer or my phone.
I'm such a techno-slave, it's gross. 
-- How do you spend your weekends?
Sleeping late (let's not kid ourselves, I do that on weekdays too), volunteering here, visiting friends, watching movies, drinking beer, eating pizza, laughing loudly in bars/restaurants, going to church. 
-- What country would you love to visit?
I'm such an anglophile. 
-- What’s on your mind right now?
I need wintergreen Tums.
Like, now. 
-- When was the last time you went to a good party?
I went an an anniversary party in July that kicked the sorry ass of every other party I've ever been to.
Read more here
-- Do you like anyone you can’t have?
It's a sickness. 
-- Do you speak your mind?
Not enough.
But I find that when I do manage to assemble the courage to speak my mind, I'm really shaky.
And afterwards, I'm instantly embarrassed.
I probably need to figure that out. 
-- What would you do if someone random on the street came up to you and started hitting on you?
Oh mercy.
This happened once. At a gas station.
I'm walking back to my car after paying, and some dude in clothes 10 sizes too big comes lumbering after me and opens with, "Wha'sup girl? You got a man?"
I hesitated, then said "Yeah...I'm sorry."
Yep, I lied. 
-- Name the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?
Ummm...How about that time I lost my keys in Meijer?
Orrr...losing my keys in Target? Twice?
Ohhhh WAIT.
It has to be that time I was desperately searching my car for my phone,
only to realize I was TALKING ON IT. 
-- Would you talk to someone you don’t know on the internet?
Oh jeez.
I do that pretty much every day.
Child's play. 
-- If you could speak another language, what would it be?
Well, I kind of speak French.
I took four years of it in high school.
I don't use it, except for when I'm feeling pretentious and watching some French movie on Netflix, and then I can understand some of the dialogue without reading the subtitles.
I am an International Woman of Mystery. 
-- One word to describe yourself?
-- What’s the last present you’ve received?
This badass pair of black knee-high boots.
I feel very Sex and the City when I wear 'em. 
-- You and your friends are bored. What do you do?
Watch Family Guy.
Always entertaining. 
-- Who hates Twilight as much as I do?
Embarrassing story: I borrowed the Twilight books from a friend and obsessively read all four of them in three weeks.
Now? I see the movies and all through each one, my cheeks flush with humiliation because I feel like such a MORON for ever being captivated by this teenage melodrama tripe.
Also, I fell asleep during the last one.
I think Taylor Lautner took his shirt off, but I can't be sure. 
-- What would you do if the world were coming to an end?
Look around for Kirk Cameron, definitely.
He seems like a guy who would know what to do. 
-- Biggest regret ever?
Right after high school, I went to college and had a really awful experience.
Finally after two years, with a raging case of Major Depressive Disorder, I left.
Going there was maybe the worst decision I ever made.
Leaving was probably the best. 
-- If you could see your future in a movie, would you watch it?
Surprisingly good question, Survey Writer!
I don't think I would.
I tend to enjoy being surprised. 
-- If you won a holiday but had to choose either a cruise ship or resort, what would you choose?
Who am I going with? Where is the cruise? And where is the resort?
Because if either option includes weather that makes you choke on your own sweat, I'll pass.
Humidity and I do not get along. 
-- Favorite color?
And yet, The Color Purple is not my favorite movie or book.
What a waste. 
-- What annoys you?
Loud chewing/eating, gum cracking, sweltering temperatures, my hair, Christian subculture, and people who talk incessantly, completely oblivious to the fact that no one's listening and no one cares.
I try to avoid those people, but once in awhile, they sneak up on me.
When all else fails, just walk away. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

::eleven eleven eleven

The thing about this whole internet business?
It's an illusion.
A gigantic, streaming, colorful, addictive illusion.

I had this conversation a few months ago with Heather, and apologized to her for paying more attention to her online persona than to her, the actual human being.

I think this is a common problem.
My friend Zach has touched on it as well, here.

Just last week, at home, my friend/housemate came out of the house and saw me sitting with two other people around a bonfire, only to find two of us fixated on our phones, the other on an iPad.
We'd forsaken the intimacy of face-to-face interaction, opting instead to stare at screens, hoping for Notifications and Messages and Comments and Likes, all of which are naturally what make the illusion so alluring.

love being online.
Probably too much.
It means I can be alone and yet connect with others at once, however superficially; like I'm getting away with something that should not be possible.
I can write comical comments on Facebook and rattle off one-liners on Twitter that make me seem witty and engaging, when in fact I'm rather socially awkward.

Perhaps we all love appearing to be much more exciting and sexy than we feel.
It's understandable.
As addicted to approval and attention as our culture is, we're bound to be seduced by the construction of facades.

Hi, I'm Stacey, and I'm an Internet Poser. 
More often than not, I'm unpolished and nervous and awkward and messy. 
But I'll always hide that from you. 
The Internet told me I could. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

::pink poodle

I may have a case of The Mondays.

Hence, I will attempt to shove myself into happiness by recapping the last time I saw Emma (my adorable 3-year-old niece.)

I drove up to my hometown last week to spend Halloween with her, at the annual carnival hosted by my parents' church.

The chief of police was roaming around with her adorable bulldog, dressed as a jailbird.
And Emma, lover of all things canine - dressed as a pink poodle herself - had to have a commemorative photo taken.

We meandered around the gym (sorry, Family Life Center) and she played nearly every game, her spirits reaching their apex at the sight of the giant Bouncy House. (They should really have those for adults.)

Although I try so hard to be a wordsmith, there are some things that even words, as magical as they are, cannot encapsulate with their elongated tentacles.
One such thing is the caliber and category of joy that Emma's presence in the world delivers to my soul.

Friday, November 4, 2011

::manner and means

I was listening to Bright Eyes this morning.
It's been way too long since I did that. 

His lyrical skills are unparalleled. 
As I listened to him harmonize with Emmylou Harris on the delicate, lovely Landlocked Blues, I was reminded of an occasion of "tough love" that I experienced earlier this week. 

I am a highly and unusually sensitive person. 
I have trouble with confrontation and avoid it whenever possible. 
When called upon to speak painful truths or receive them, I'm a nervous wreck. 

As I sat in a semi-uncomfortable chair three nights ago, thrust into a situation wherein I was required to both give and receive confrontational-yet-loving statements, I was terrified. 
My insides knotted, my eyes spilled over, and I managed to handle myself with grace and a fair amount of poise, but it was decidedly unpleasant. 
Afterward, I slipped away to be alone and exorcise residual toxic emotions. 
The next day, I still felt as though some sort of surgical procedure had lacerated my psyche.
I was tearful and raw, then angry and bitter, then terrified, then tearful again, and on and on...
Conor Oberst (aka Bright Eyes) provoked me with these (slightly paraphrased) lyrics: 

A good friend will pick you apart;
A box full of suggestions for your possible heart
You may be offended and you may be afraid
But don’t walk away, don’t walk away

My fragile feelings had been hurt, and I felt as though I'd been probed and splayed open, utterly exposed. 
I cannot foresee "tough love" ever feeling comfortable or being anywhere near enjoyable. 

But maybe it's a big fat lie that love is supposed to be this hearts-and-flowers amalgam of saccharine pleasantries.
To truly love someone, I once learned, is "to want the absolute best for them, and to do everything within your power to make sure that they have it." 

So if I love you and you love me, I suppose we must acknowledge each other's self-destructive behaviors and express our deep concern. 
We must offer our assistance with firm sincerity. 
We must say the things that hurt in order to do the things that heal. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

::yo where you been?

What's with the lack of blogging? Where have you been?

My friend Valerie, a regular reader (Hi Val! Thanks for reading!), asked me these questions last week.

Where have I been?

Well, I've had two major addictions fighting for top billing lately.
Pinterest and Instant Netflix.

Pinterest is, perhaps, the Internet's answer to heroin.
It leads me into these insomniac trances where all of a sudden it's 3 am and I'm like Holy crap, what year is it?
I highly recommend it, but also advise that you approach with extreme caution.

Also, Instant Netflix now features AMC original programming.
Mad Men and Breaking Bad, specifically.

Both shows boast supremely gifted actors, phenomenal characterization, fascinating premises, and wonderfully complex leading men.
All of those features and so much more are a recipe for addiction.
Again, they cause insomnia to the point where I'm lying in bed staring at my laptop and thinking, THEN I can go to sleep.

This is the sort of (pseudo-)logic that ultimately renders me zombie-esque and uninspired.

Hence, no updates for a while.

Also, I tend to write in spurts.
I'm not proud of it.
In fact, I kind of hate it.
But I can't seem to break away.

::all hallows

So, I had a busy weekend.
I like those.
They help me create the illusion of a social life.

Halloween, Halloween,'s all I'm hearing about lately.
Is it terrible that I don't really care?
I love caramel apples and cider, I've had plenty of fun at past Halloween parties, and I could eat a whole bag of Brach's Autumn Mix candy in one sitting, but that's beside the point.
I admire people who have the motivation to craft elaborate, complex costumes.
I'm not one of them.
Last year for a Halloween party, I borrowed fake leaves from my mom, attached them to my autumn-colored outfit and stuck them in my hair, and went as Autumn.
Conceptual costume.
Dig it.

Whatever I do this year - if anything - I doubt it will involve anything as elaborate as p
apier-mâché or, God forbid, sewing.
I may just wear my long winter coat, slap on a backwards baseball cap, draw myself a black beard, and go as Silent Bob.
This will carry the added bonus of not having to speak all evening.
Sounds promising, n'est-ce pas?

Friday, October 21, 2011

::queue and ay

-- Where is your Mother?

I'm pretty sure she's at home, in Holly.
Although she's not watching my niece today so she may be, as my Canadian friends would say, "oot and aboot."
Maybe at Wal*Mart.
Or TJ Maxx. She loves it there.

-- Where is your Father?

My best guess: taking a nap.
He has the weirdest sleep schedule of anyone ever, besides maybe Leonardo da Vinci.
The poor guy has chronic insomnia and wakes up around 2 am every day.
He needs a daily nap.

-- Where were you born?

At McLaren Hospital in Flint, Michigan.
And now I live in Detroit, which is actually
less dangerous than Flint.
Funny how these things pan out.

--How many days until your birthday?

I'm trying to make plans already.
Operative word:
I hate when people are non-committal jerkfaces.

-- What is the closest orange object to you?

A bottle of leftover Vicodin.
I like to keep it around for know, like those migraines that feel like a wrecking ball slamming against my skull.

-- How many books are in your room?

Not enough.
I have yet to undertake the grandiose task of moving my entire personal library to my new residence.
Dude, it's gonna be rough.

-- Who is your favorite teacher of all time?

Jill Armistead.
She was my favorite literature professor in college.
She had tremendous warmth, compassion, intellect, and a crazy awesome Scottish brogue.
I miss her.

-- Name one of your goals for this year?

I need a job. Jay oh bee.
Also, I'd like to submit a few poems for publication.
But I've been saying that for like five years now, so maybe it's not so likely.

-- What is the biggest trouble you have ever been in?

In 2003, I was in a car accident wherein I dislocated my hip.
Some douchey cop
followed the ambulance to the hospital so he could write me a ticket for not wearing my seatbelt.
Hey, jerkface? My leg is out of its socket. I think I may have learned my lesson.

-- Did you cry when Michael Jackson died?

I did.
I was at a movie with my friend when it happened, and when I got home and saw the news, I cried.
He was sublimely talented and yet so tragically troubled.
The sorrow of it all just kind of crashed into me at that moment.

-- What does your 9th message on your phone say?

"Okay babe"

-- Are you scared about the end of the world?

Not really.
If I thought about it more often, I probably would be.

-- Is there a TV in the room you are in?

It's an old-school TV/VCR combo.
I watched
Liar Liar on it the other day.
Good times.

-- Do you usually hold your pee for a long time?

As a matter of fact, yes.
Even though, as an avid
Seinfeld watcher, I did learn from George Costanza that "holding it in is bad for the kidneys."
That guy claimed to read medical journals a lot.

-- Worst feeling in the world?

When I am 100% sure that vomiting is imminent.
I cannot even move.

-- Name something you think is pointless?

Also, why do people cheer for games that they're watching on television?
If you're there, in person, it makes sense to voice your encouragement, I suppose... but at home or in a bar, you
know they can't hear you, right?
It's just obnoxious.

-- Favorite fast food restaurant?

Does Panera count?
If not, then I'd have to go with Arby's.
Their chicken salad sandwich is an evil temptress.

-- Did you have a weird dream last night?

Not that I remember.
I have a strange habit of dreaming about famous people, a couple weeks ago in dreamland, I was on a date with Russell Brand.
He was a perfect gentleman.

-- Do you wish at 11:11?

No, I'm not terribly superstitious.
But I think I will certainly enjoy the two occasions of 11:11 on 11/11/11.


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