I Won't Give Up

by Ellen in , , , , , , ,

So last week I went to visit Elise and Loonie and Grace at Yale! New Haven is beautiful, and so is the blue house. We had a lot of fun. OK OK OK OK OK I went because I won this THING and the biggest perk EVER was getting to stay with my BFF and my sweet first girl doggie.

Here is what happened:

I entered this contest that Jason Mraz was sponsoring and I ended up being 1 of 25 grand prize winners! Grand prize=a 20x20 CanvasPop canvas, a gallery event at the AFA Gallery in NYC, and meeting Jason. Now, all of that sounded pretty good to begin with to me, but it far exceeded my dreams and expectations. As an artist, you really are just lucky to have any exposure (no pun intended, I swear) at all, but this is HUGE. The gallery was beautiful, there were tons of nice and interesting people there, and boy oh boy, did I feel exposed. Might have had a small attack of nerves before we went in.

Elise and I took the train from New Haven to the city and got in around 4pm. We headed straight to the MoMA to see our dear friend Claire (through whom I live vicariously) because she works there and left us some tickets at the info desk. We went immediately to the 3rd floor to see all the photos, then to see all my other friends like Picasso and Van Gogh and Monet and Rousseau, and then swung by to see Diego, and then scooted out the door with Claire and we all got on the subway to have a quick drink before the event.

We are walking, there are tons of humans out because it's 65 degrees in March in NYC and it could not have been a better day. We all decide that we just love each other too much and don't want to have to part ways. I was told I could only bring one friend, and I have more than one friend, so I say that they will not be able to refuse all 3 of us at the door (they didn't). We are approaching the gallery, and we see alllll these people in a line outside of a building and then realize that they are waiting to get into the gallery. There are way more people there than I had expected in my head and I don't think I really want to go in there. Elise tells me to pull my shit together and I sort of do, and she has already told Patrick at the front door that we are here and may we please get in. Then we go in and there is my photo hanging right next to all this work by Dr. Seuss, which was really fun and cool. We mingle, Elise and Claire snack on the delicious food:

I cannot eat because I'm REAL nervous and then I start chatting with this lovely girl, when a cameraman appears behind her and she whips out a microphone that says NY1 on it and they ask if they can interview me. I go over and stand next to my photograph and I even have to spell my last name for posterity and everything and she interviews me. I hope I sounded smart, because after I'm done with that, Claire tells me that NY1 is like the Action News 5 of NYC. Awesome. We're mingling, I finally get brave enough to bring out Fitty, and am taking some pictures, when ALL OF A SUDDEN Jason is here and everyone is smiling.

We all kindof squish to the front and he is standing so close to me that I do that thing to him where I pretend to squeeze someone's bottom (friends, you know what I mean). It's funny because everyone but him can see me do it, but I'd really just like to squeeze for real. I didn't, don't worry. So this one guy says thanks for coming and yada yada yada and then Jason says a few words of thanks and stuff and then tells everyone he's going to talk to all the winners and then he's just standing there awkwardly by himself while everyone is just looking at him. So I say loud and proud, "I'LLGOFIRST. I mean, no one else is going..." and I hand Fitty off to Elise and elbow my way through to Jason, this lovely man who I've been waiting to meet for 11 years.

After the Best Hug Ever, he asks my name, and I tell him and then introduces himself as Jason to which I reply, "Really?" and we laugh like we've been friends forever. I think he is glad to have someone to talk to, and he wants to know about my photo, so I tell him about Shelby and Brian and how special they are and this wonderful interfaith marriage that they're having. He thinks all of that is neat. He wants to know what I do and where I'm from and stuff like that. He has turned his back on the crowd, so I do too, and we talk quietly together (he's one of those people that is a close talker AND a low talker, but also helps other people do that, too. Not such a bad thing for me to talk quietly every now and then, I suppose). When I am talking, he is looking at me and nowhere else, and he has this really great calming energy about him that I've really only ever experienced with priests and other pastoral characters.

I thank him for helping me not to feel nervous, and he smiles and inclines his head towards me (I really wanted to fold my hands together and say "Mariska Hargitay"). He also has been lugging around this weird bottle of purple juice and I ask him, "hey, so whatcha got there, big guy?" and he does the hottie half-smile at me and takes a BIG swig and says, "pool water", and I say, "Right. Is it so delicious?" and he says, "You bet." But not in a Tool Academy sort of way. He says things in a playful and silly way, like we already have a joke. I feel like he does these things with everyone, which is why he plays so well with others. I tell him, "don't worry, I'm not going to ask for any. I wouldn't want you to worry about germs...."??? Who am I?

Anyway, it feels normal enough for me to ask him to sign Katherine's birthday card, so he opens it before reading it, and I take it out of his hands and say, "WAIT. You have to read it first, silly. It's HILARIOUS." He says whoops and reads the card, and agrees it is hilarious and then writes Katherine a sweet little note. Then it seems the time has come for him to sign my photo, so we survey the situation together. We wonder if we should take it off the wall, and then he pulls out like 7 paint pens and sharpies out of his pocket and holds them out and says, "the people gave these to me, but I don't think any of them work." They don't. We figure out a solution to the problem and find a sharpie that kindof works, and he take my canvas down and looks at it a little closer and tells me how much he likes this one. I am stressed out that he will want to sign on the front, and so I voice my concern, and he looks at me and says, "Don't worry, I don't want to sign the front of this. It's your work, not mine." And so I say thanks and he turns it over and I ask him to write a note to Shelby and Brian because it seems only natural since the photo is of them.

While he's writing, he says, "Oh shiiiiitttt. Sorry my handwriting looks like a 1st grader's." I tell him not to worry and that I think he has lovely penmanship and he laughs at me again because I'm totally lying. He is done and puts my canvas back on the wall (Matthew noted from my pictures that he hung it back up crooked). At some point he touched me on the arm and kind of nudged me with his elbow, but I'm not really sure why or when because I was only thinking about the fact that he is the cutest and nicest boy who has ever touched my arm and was not listening to his words. While we were saying our "nice to meet yous" and stuff, I thanked him profusely for this and that I was overwhelmed with gratitude. He smiled again like we knew each other and thanked me for my work and we had a lingering handshake and then I took off.

Oh, I can't forget to mention that all the while, Elise is somehow EVERYWHERE being the paparazzi. I use it as plural because she might as well have had 800 arms and eyeballs. She's the best.

Also, I told him my name once and he continued to address me by it for the entirety of our conversation. There are people I see everyday who don't even know my last name. I like this about him so much because I'm a name rememberer, too.

Then I was done and ate tiny hamburgers, made friends, one of which came up to me and said, "You're the girl from Tennessee who writes about God!" I was SHOCKED and thrilled, but mostly taken aback. My new friend Carrie is 9 months preggo with a sweet baby girl. She was also a winner, with a photo she took of her really small boy and really tall husband at the beach. It's lovely. She let me rub her belly, her husband told us she was on Martha Stewart's Apprentice, and we just all had a great time chatting. Reallllyyyy neat human who lives just around the corner from Jason Mraz in San Diego, but flew all the way to NYC to meet him.

I got interviewed by a few more people, took my photo down, and got to meet up with my longtime SMS pal Lucy! It was very fun, and we got back on the train and spent the rest of the time playing with Loonie and Elise and taking walks and eating delicious food. It was the greatest 4 days ever, and that's mainly because of the humans involved. Thank you, my dear friends, for helping make all my dreams come true. The grace is so abundant that I'm overwhelmed with being thankful.

Loonie wanted to eat those swans.

Fasting vs. Feasting

by Ellen in , , , , ,

OK. So, if you have ever read anything I've written, you'll have an inkling that this is my favorite time of year. Lent is here again, and if you are not familiar with the word, it's the season before Easter that represents Jesus' 40 days in the desert. Lent ends with Holy Week, and then Easter. I have an entire link to it on the right to show all the posts I've ever written about Lent.

I heard something great on Thursday. My friend Father John Pitzer was the first preacher for our Lenten Preaching Series, and he started it off with a bang. This is what he talked about:

Most people give stuff up for Lent. Chocolate, fried food, beer...you know, stuff that we all really enjoy, but are not so good for our health. Lent sometimes used to kickstart a diet. And that's great and all, we should really make it a point to be healthier, but what does it do for our spiritual lives? Lent is a season of repentance, of returning to the Lord. On Ash Wednesday, we hear the words "Remember you are God's, and to God you shall return" while we get ashes smudged onto our foreheads. Lent is a time of reflection, and making more room for God in our lives, whether it's being outside more or calling your deaf grandmother every day. The act of "giving up" seems to create a void for me; it feels empty. It's more of a discipline to take something on, which undoubtedly pushes something bad for me out of the way so I can spend more time with God.

But if you are fasting from something, what are you feasting on?

Father John talked about a lot of different examples of what this could look like. If you fast from being critical of others, feast on encouraging words. If you fast from gossip, feast on holding your tongue. If you fast from violence, feast on peace.

This is where he hit a home run with me: If you fast from fear, feast on hope.

I constantly live in fear. Fear that I'm terrible at what I do. Fear that people don't actually like me and are only nice to my face. Fear that there is no one on this planet who will willingly choose to spend their life with me. Fear that because of that, I'll never get to have kids. Fear that I'm doing EVERYTHING wrong. Fear that I won't get to do what I love forever because of money.

I realize all of this is completely irrational. Sort of. All of that is very real for me, though. While I know how much God loves me and that my worth is not found in being good at anything or being married to someone, I WANT those things. And most of the time, I have ZERO hope in them. Please keep in mind that I'm not an aggressive husband hunter, nor do I think success is measured by money or power. I love my simple little life. But I have found lately that I live looking through a lens of fear much more often than a lens of hope.

Just recently I sort of made the decision to put the photo thing on hold. I need health insurance, I need a full time job, I need a steadier income. I'm obviously not good enough to make being a photographer my full-time job, so I think it's probably better to look for a real job and make photos for people every once in awhile for close friends. I have no desire to promote myself and my "work," and I feel a little like a sell-out as an artist. I feel like an IDIOT for quitting my life almost 2 years ago to try and pursue whatever it was that I thought I was being called to, and I hate that I did it. I'm now in debt up to my eyeballs, live paycheck to paycheck, work like a dog to make ends meet, I don't sleep, and I have no time to run. Or talk on the phone with my grandmother. Or travel to see my nephews. Or spend real time with friends. This is not real life. I treasure the relationships that I have, and I want to keep them alive. So I've been secretly looking for jobs that even though I know I'll hate them, I'll be able to leave work at work and be able to run with Lily. I live in fear, under a guise of living in hope.


I received an actual call that changed everything I was thinking and feeling. A call that recognized me as an artist by another artist. A call that I never thought I would EVER get from anyone, and a call where God said to me, "girlfriend, you--We--did it!" This phone call does NOT validate my life, but it has made a difference in it. I am not going to be the same after this, although it does seem a little too good to be true. I keep waiting for a flat tire on my way to work or accidentally hitting a pedestrian (it's like one of my biggest fears) just to even out the awesomeness of this event.

I'm going to fast from my fear and feast on this nugget of hope-- this chance that I've been given to let the world know that EVERYTHING comes from God. We are small and God is big and shouting our names from the rooftops.

I entered into this contest fully knowing I had no chance of winning or even being seen. I entered it because Jason Mraz is the end-all be-all for me in terms of artistry, good humanity, openness, and creativity and cleverness. I am so thankful that my heart and head together can't even hold it all. I hope I get to tell him.

This Lent, I'm going to try to let go of this great fear, and feast on this abundant hope. It's there, I just haven't been grabbing it. And not just for Lent, but for life. I LOVE life, and it's the only one I've got. Lent is just a good time to reflect on how I can live into God's purpose for my life. I just have to remember that it's not my purpose, it's God's, and I'm just a part of it. HOPE HOPE HOPE. That word means so much it's not even funny.

So thank you God, Shelby and Brian, Jason Mraz, and Mike at Atlantic Records. Besides Ben and Sam, this is the biggest thing that's ever happened. And in case you haven't seen this image enough in the past two days, here it is:
I knew it was a little bit special the moment Fitty made the fake shutter sound and I almost fell off the chair I was standing on to get it.

Also, I'm doing one good image a day for Lent like I did last year. I won't be blogging every day, but the photos will correspond to the days I take them. I love a good challenge.

And if you need to reach me, I'll be over the moon STILL FREAKING OUT about this.

Stranger than any dream...

by Ellen in ,

So on Friday, the weirdest thing that's ever happened to me, happened to me.

I was driving the rolla South on I-55, going to Jackson to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, Ben. I was driving along in the right hand lane, listening to my jamz, when all of a sudden, I see a car going Northbound on I-55 tumbling across the median towards me. I hit the brakes, the car lands upside down in the left lane not 30 feet from me.

Now, here's where it gets strange:
For some reason, I put my car in park, took my keys out of my ignition, put them in my pocket, and somehow transported myself to the overturned vehicle (I'm not exactly sure if I ran or walked briskly). I remember bending down, then somehow ending up on the ground next to this upside-down car, and I unbuckled the young man driving the car, and pulled him out onto the grass in the median. Lots of people had stopped by this point and were rushing towards the car, and some of them knew a lot more about what they were doing than I did, so I left. I just got in my car and drove away.

I'm not exactly sure what instincts took over... never in my life have I seen a wreck happen in front of my eyes, and NEVER in my life did I think I would have to be the one to do something about it. But it's almost like it never even happened. I seriously felt separated from my body, watching the whole thing unfold, like in a movie. I remember some of the things that went through my head: "I probably shouldn't move this guy, but I think I have to get him out of this car": "Why isn't there any glass?"; "Are you hurt?" I'm not sure if I just thought this, or if I actually said it out loud.

At any rate, the guy was lucid and only hurt on his elbows. It was weird, it was the only part of him that was bleeding, and he was smushed in his car. He had been driving with the windows down, so there wasn't any glass, except for the windshield, and I can't remember where that was. But there wasn't any glass anywhere. I stuck around long enough for a nice woman with scissors to cut open his clothes to see if he had any bones sticking out, and I thought, "Why didn't I think of that?"

So, my not being able to stop thinking about this has led me to think about lots of other things. One of them being what our instincts are as humans. Where do they come from? How do we get them? When do they start? Are these instincts something we all have, or just a few people? Are they part of our basic makeup, but then are altered by age, chemical imbalance, life experiences? I'm not quite sure about it all, but I do know this: whatever it was that moved me to help, was not me at all, and I have never been more aware before or since that I do not just belong to myself.

This guy was on the door at Claire's house:

Free Rice

by Ellen in , ,

I just found the greatest website EVER. It asks you questions, and for the ones you get right, it donates 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme. I love Free Rice! The vocab one gets really hard. The art and spanish ones make me feel smart because I know all the answers! I love Free Riiiiice!!

Next week, rain or shine, I'm Zooming through the Zoo! I've been excited about this for MONTHS. I had a dream last night that I ran ten miles twice in one day, and it was great. Running dreams are definitely my favorite. Also, never in my life did I think I'd ever be at the point where I just run 4 miles out of nowhere. I'm down to running only 3 times a week now, so it's not like I've been training for this or anything. But NEVER did I think 4 miles would be no big deal OR that I would be so excited to run 4 miles. But it's through the Zoo! All of my favorites will know that I do other things than just stare at them and take pictures.

I can't wait to get to SF and conquer those beastly hills. Can you imagine what my legs are going to look like? Well, I'll tell you. RIDICULOUS. I also plan on riding a bike lots of places, and friend sent me this map to show me how to avoid hills.

I don't use this word lightly: this one looks like a BITCH.

I have this sick fantasy about being this really awesome biker girl there, and that I'll be the only one to can make it to the top of all of them in a very short period of time because my legs will soon be bodies of their own.

worst nightmare

by Ellen in ,

I had the worst nightmare ever, and I've never done this, but I woke up CRYING. It was terrible. I don't have nightmares, but if I did, this would be the worst.

I dreamed that I was at this house in Cordova, and I'm not sure whose it was, but there everyone brought their dogs...like Elise and me, my sister, some friends, people from church, etc. All of these dogs were playing and hanging out in the house, in the backyard, in the front yard, everywhere. Can you see where this is going?

So, everyone is hanging out, playing with puppies, and Luna is in the group that is in the front yard. She gets really dirty and gross, and I tell her she can't come inside, because she'll mess the house up. She says OK and sits on the front porch until the party is over. I go outside to check on her a little while later, and she is GONE.

I'm frantically searching for her, running up and down the street, calling her name, and she is NOWHERE to be found. Then, this young priest, Jacob, that people have been trying to set me up with comes along in his church van, and asks me what the problem is. I tell him, and he and his bodyguard (not sure why he has a bodyguard, but he did in my dream) drive around the neighborhood looking for Luna. The sky is getting darker, and this man that I had just met at the party comes outside and is helping me find her, too. Then his mother comes out, looks at her son, and tell me that she might know where Luna is.

OK, be careful, because it gets pretty gruesome. I'm not kidding. Elise, you probably don't want to read this part.

So I follow them to their house just down the street, and they have one of those fancy stainless steel refrigerators, and the freezer is a drawer that pulls out. In the freezer, I see all of these body parts, and I'm completely terrified, even though Preacher Jacob is with me. But these body parts are DOG body parts, and they start to pull out all of Luna's pieces. I'm in total disbelief that it's her, so they show me her torso, and I can tell it's her by the scar on her belly.

These people think it's no big deal that they've just killed and dismembered Luna, and shut the freezer, telling me there's nothing I can do about it.

So, I leave their house, and I'm totally undone, because I just saw my favorite animal's body parts in a freezer, and I'm crying hysterically. On the way back, I see my friend Bill and tell him about Luna, and he just shrugs. I tell him it's my fault, and he says it's no big deal. I'm telling everyone I see that if I had just let Luna inside, then she wouldn't have gotten stolen and killed. I'm completely disgusting with tears and sadness, and I make it back to the party to break the news to Elise. She's in mid conversation with someone, and gives me a strange look because I'm so sad-looking, and I tell her what happened. She looks at me like, "so what?" and I tell her over and over how sorry I am. She doesn't think it's a big deal at all, and I'm freaking out even more, because I just killed her dog, and she's not upset about it.

So anyway, I woke up in tears, and now, this is what Luna and I are doing, because I feel so bad about killing her. Looney, I am very sorry and I love you very much.

Here is one time when she was little and we snuggled:

craaaazzzyyyy drrreeammmsss

by Ellen in

OK, so last night (well, this morning), I had a really weird dream.

I dreamed that I was still in college, and lived near school... in the area from where we just moved. It wasn't the same house, and Jackie lived with us, because it was her house. Anyway, I dreamed that I was coming home from school, and there were lots of people crowded around the house...it was on fire. Great. So by the time I get there, it had stopped, and I went in, and there were some holes in the roof and my room was destroyed except for all the furniture. It was like half-burned, and half disappeared. So I was really afraid to tell Jackie, so I told Elise instead, and she and Jackie still lived there anyway, even though half the house was gone. To soothe my worries, I went to Memphis Pizza Cafe with some friends, and ordered 2 slices, a half Greek salad and a water...when the bill came, it was $61.88. It was turning into the worst day ever. So I carried my bill around the restaurant saying, "But my HOUSE just burned down!" as if that would give me some sympathy and possibly a free meal. Well, it worked, but my bill ended up only being like $10.

Then I went back to my half-burned house and started painting it to cover up the burned parts. I painted one room Tiger blue (even the furniture) and one room pink and green. I thought Jackie would be really excited that I made the house look prettier, but then I realized that maybe she didn't want all of her furniture in that one room to be blue. So then I felt bad again. Jackie came home and didn't say anything to me about my spectacular painting job. I remember she had this really weird bedspread on her bed...it was photos of her with other people but everyone had bodies of famous people...

THEN Katherine picked me up and went to this Fraternity/Sorority show...every group was dressed up in some sort of outfit...I don't know, it was weird. But they were on this stage that was outside on a hill, but the spectators sat inside, and the inside looked like Schadt Hall from SMS. My friend Stephen was there the whole time, but it turned out that he could become a very small werewolf. Oh you know, like Jacob from Twilight. Yep. But really, it was more like he was Sirius Black from HP and he turned into a smaller version of a large animal. Apparently people could bring their dogs to this event, because he slept in my lap the whole time, and I didn't think it was weird. It should have been weird, because he could turn into a dog, but in my dream, it was normal. So he snuggled me like Luna does, and we all finally left, and instead of going home to my burned house, I went to my grandparents' old neighborhood to see some friends. In real life, there is this HUGE hill we used to race down on our bikes and sled down in the winter and at the end of the hill (in my dream), there was this house, and it ended up that my friend Daniel lived there. So I visited with him, but the whole time, I was on my cell phone. I can't remember whom I was talking to, but apparently it was important because I didn't hang up. I even went past my friend Loye's parents' house, and ignored them, even though in my dream, I had known them my whole life.

And this is the best part: in my dream, my mode of transportation was quite unusual, but I used to ride one of these things ALL THE TIME.

Yes, that is indeed a ROLLER RACER. I hope for your personal benefit that you also owned and rode around on one of these gems, but if you didn't, A: I'm sorry, and B: this thing is amazing. You put your feet on the round yellow things on the handlebars and then hold onto the handles and GO. To get started, you have to wiggle back and forth until you are really roller racin'. So, it took me awhile to get where I was going in my dream, except down that huge hill in my grandparents' old neighborhood, where this thing would reach speeds up to a shocking 15 mph. Sometimes, you could fit 2 people on it! Good thing Claire and I were the same size for a long time, because we could BOTH fit on it. I mean, she was small. She is 6 years older than I am, and we've been pretty much the same size for most of our lives (except for my fatty years). But now that we are full grown humans, I'm bigger than she is. But not for long, because the Bean is growing inside her. I wonder if all 3 of us could fit on the roller racer...?

and PS: Claire and Craig find out what the Bean is on Tuesday! I can't WAIT to start monogramming!

craaaazzzyyyy drrreeammmsss

by Ellen in

First, I just want to say that I'm SOOO excited for Winterfest! This is a photo our family group took last year:

SO, I basically had the greatest dreams ever last night.

I dreamed that I had gotten this invitation by this lawyer I know to a party at MLGW and it told me to bring my swimsuit. I think that's weird because the invitation describes that MLGW has had the biggest gas leak in the history of the world and there's all this gas everywhere, like water. So I get there, not thinking about the hazards and hoping no one lights a cigarette, and there are these HUGE water slides like there would be at a water park. There were signs everywhere describing the situation, and how the biggest water slides ever were built for this occasion of sliding into gasoline. Awesome. I'm totally excited, especially when I have spotted all of Thursdays friends and Thursday himself. We are good friends in my dream, and he's going to gas-slide with me. Woohoo! We start at the top of this HUGE deck, and we slide down, and I overshoot the pool of gasoline I'm supposed to land in and get stuck under this weird net. I find my way out, and I'm on to the next slide, keeping in mind that gasoline is very slippery.

Then, there really is a party at night, and it's more like a luau. There's a band and some tiki torches (probably a bad idea) and a bar and it's really fun. Thursday and I are hanging out, and we are being silly dancing together, and then all of a sudden it's not silly anymore because now we're in love. I also remember this weird occurrence that there were 2 of him, and I was going to pick the one who liked me more, and the other one's name sounded very similar to Thursday's name. Anyway, the other one has disappeared and we are having a lovely time dancing and making fun of other people being a little slutty, glad that it's not us.

THEN, and this is the weird part: we are running up these ladders into a house, because people are shooting at us. They are shooting at us because we're VAMPIRES (yessss!), and they are the bad vampires (who can fly) and we're the good guys. But these guys have special guns that if they shoot you five times, you die (because everyone knows that the only way to kill a vampire is to have another vamp or a werewolf rip its body apart and burn it). My weapon was a hammer. What? What kind of vampire has a hammer for a weapon? Thursday was trying to protect me from being shot 5 times, because he told me that they were after me. Not sure why, considering I had chosen a hammer as my defense mechanism. I can't remember what happened after that...

Real life note: saw New Moon yesterday. That could probably explain the vamps.

Also: went speed dating. Well, really for me, speed friending. More on that later.

ccrrraaaazzzyyy dreeeammss

by Ellen in

I seem to have really weird dreams when I'm staying at my dad's, so maybe some of these will be goodies.

So last night, I dreamed that I was at a wedding or reunion of some sort, I'm not sure, because lots of my SMS friends were there. It was at this indoor amphitheater (an oxymoron, right?), and people were running around and singing and having a grand ole time. THEN this boy that I have a crush on in real life (we'll call him Thursday) was there, and he sat down next to me on the very top bench of the amphitheater. I had remembered seeing him before, running around with everyone else, but every time I saw him, he had on a different pair of glasses. The glasses he was wearing now had big black frames, but he looked really good in them because well, he just looks really good. We talked for a long time, I'm not sure about what, because when we got up, we were definitely in love and going to spend the rest of our lives together (duh). I kept resting my head on his shoulder every time we sat down somewhere, and I feel like that is weird. THEN we were in an airport, waiting for everyone to get on their planes, and all of a sudden, I was sitting on this bench with Thursday and as I'm resting my head on his shoulder, I realize that it's not this man I'm totally into, but it's my good friend Alex. It didn't really bother me that it was no longer Thursday, and I just figured that Alex and I were boyfriend and girlfriend. Then I started to think about it more, about how he was a camper when I was a counselor and how he is definitely not 21 yet (today is his 20th birthday) and how I would be in BIG trouble if anyone knew. It was terrifying and I would never do this in real life (sorry, Ahoel, you know what I mean). Then we started to have this awkward conversation about how he would have to be my secret boyfriend and we couldn't tell anyone about it. We were both bummed, but then we saw this man about throw his puppy from a balcony at the airport. I ran up flights and flights of stairs to talk the man out of it while Alex stayed below to catch the pup. It was very intense, and I lost the fight, and the man pushed his little puppy between two bars and off the balcony. Good thing Alex was there to catch it.

THEN, some time passed, and I was going to on a covert mission to visit my dear little Alex. I enlisted the help of my sister and her husband, and we drove to this very remote place on a college campus. It was this weird outdoors store where he worked and it sold very strange things like beds with sheets sewn onto them so you don't have to worry about making your bed. And the man he worked for was very nice and gave us discounts and then we left. But Ahoel and I were in super hot love and it was so much fun, goooo Ahoel!

ccrrraaaazzzyyyy ddreeeaaaaammsssss

by Ellen in

So last night I dreamed that Jessie and I had gone together to some sort of outdoor festival...like Barbeque Fest or something. We were sitting at a table in this outdoor bar, and we see this really cute boy at the bar. I mean, he was super cute; he had this really dark good hair and his skin was sort of olive and he had really white sparkly teeth and really hot man glasses. He was wearing a Navy blue shirt, so we made up a name for him that had to do with the color Navy blue because we're weird and we were giggling over how cute he was. Then, a few minutes later, a waitress brought us two glasses filled with rice and some sort of alcohol, not really sure. It looked pretty gross, but we were excited because she said they were from the boy in the Navy blue shirt. So, we looked over at the bar, but didn't see him and we were a little sad. Then we started talking about how cute he was, and then I turned around to look for him again, and he was sitting like 3 feet behind me, but wearing a different shirt. This shirt was Navy blue and light pink striped. He was so super cute, and I remember feeling really embarrassed about all the things I was saying about him because he probably heard me. Then I turned around to talk to Jessie again and she was gone. I was a little freaked out, but then this really cute boy got up and sat down in Jessie's seat. He told me that we were on a date now, and that I should talk about myself. And boy, did I talk about myself. I talked and talked and talked and talked about myself, and he just listened. Sometimes I would look at him be struck by how handsome he was, then at other times, I would wonder why I was talking to him because he was so unattractive. Then somehow we ended up alone together at the Mud Island Amphitheatre and were running down all the seats and bleachers and everything. I felt really intimidated by him and wondered the whole time why he liked me, especially since all I'd done since we met was talk about myself. It was very strange.

crrraazzzyyyy dddrrreeaaammmsss

by Ellen in ,

So, I dreamed that Elise, Luna, and I were going to take a vacation to Bermuda. Luna was just a little pup, and we were so proud of ourselves because we found a box the exact size of her crate to put her in so we could travel. We landed, went to our hotel, which had very strange elevators, and went to the beach. It was sunny and beautiful, and Luna was very happy playing in the sand. All 3 of us got into the water, and a few minutes later, the sky darkened, and I looked up and there was a tornado on the water coming right at us. So we put Luna in her box, ran inside, and got stuck in the elevator. My shoe was stuck in between the door and the edge of the elevator, and it was very strange.

I knew I should have written this down as soon as I woke up, because now I've forgotten what happens next.

I am just not remembering my dreams as well as I used to. I go through phases of this: I remember all of them really well for a while, and then I don't.

But I CAN tell you of an almost-dreamlike experience I had a couple of weeks ago. I mean, it's not as weird as one of my dreams, but it was prettttty neat-o. This is what we did:

We got to feed/pet/love on the giraffes at the zoo! They are such kind, gentle, beautiful creatures. They don't care about you unless you have a banana in your hand. They have the hardest kick in the animal kingdom, they just never use it. They only have one predator: the crocodile. When they stick their heads in the water to drink their 10 gallons, they become prey to a mean crocodile bite on the neck. But they are majestic and wonderful and soft and smiley.

It was such a magical day. These animals are 17 feet tall, beautifully patterned with an 18-inch long tongue and a 10 ft esophagus. They wrap their tongues around branches to pull the leaves off. They spit a lot. They are so different from me, yet we were made by the same Creator and we live and breathe and eat and move around, but they ways we do those things are drastically different. It really is amazing to me to understand that I'm a part of this creation, because surely God thinks that giraffes were pretty good work (I mean, look at them!). And God thinks that giraffes are pretty good work, then I wonder what God must think of me...and you...