No, you can keep your colour TV…

Something very funny and bizarre has happened to me today.  I must take a few moments from the paper and tell you all about it.  And by all, I mean Kelly at this point.

I was listening to Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll (who is a very interesting man to listen to…) who has loads of writing inspiration and inspires me to think very deeply about things.  I see a man walk up my steps and ring my doorbell.  Now, I had just gotten out of the shower so my hair is a soggy mess, I’ve got leggings and a sweater on.  I’m not wearing makeup.  Never the less, I answer a door.  The man introduces himself as someone representing Shaw and asks me if my parents are home.  Holding back a laugh, I state that I am actually 24 years old and that I own this home.  I make the decisions.  Clearly, the guy was embarrassed and stumbled into his sales pitch.  He was trying to sell me cable television with Shaw and I told him that we don’t have cable or any other form of cable or satellite by choice, not because we cannot afford it.  He smiled, kept looking embarrassed, thanked me for my time and walked away.

I resume my study position and the telephone rings.  Who could it be?  It was Shaw, calling me to offer a fantastic deal on cable.  Oi!  I tell the gentleman on the other end of the phone that we do not wish to have cable.  He says to me “if you change your heart, just give us a call.”  That last sentence struck a chord but mostly because it was Christianese.  Two offers for television in under an half an hour.

Now, this happens every few months.  Telus and Shaw will call offering their cable services with some perk at a ridiculous price.  I explain that it is not the price but more or less the principle and they back down.  No phone calls for a while and then a few calls a few months later.

It’s curious to note that the people in these companies are bewildered when I state we do not wish to have cable.  I am so, so glad that my husband and I decided early in our marriage that we do not want to have television.  We have a physical television so that we can watch DVD’s and play our Wii.  Cable or anything of that sort is something that I hope we never have.  We talk, we laugh and interact in ways that are generally impossible to do when you’re glued to a television set upon entering the door of your home.  We read books and cook or blog.  Now, I’m not saying that life without cable is perfect or that our little house has it all together because we don’t have cable.  But the point I’m trying to make is that we really, really enjoy the hours we find spending together and talking together instead of watching a television set night after night.

Plus, there are so many peaceful moments that I can close my eyes and soak in when there is not the constant chatter in the background.  I find God in these tiny moments when the puppies are sleeping, the fireplace is on and I’m sitting beside my beloved in a moment when the conversation slips off the couch and onto the floor.

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one paper. two weeks.

So, my housemate Aaron is a hermit.  He has this amazing ability to lock himself in his room for days or a week at a time and accomplish amazing feats.  For example, he finished an entire course in the span of about two days.  The school that sent him the class recommends that you take four months to finish the class.  He nailed it in two days, plus did amazing on the final exam.  Using Aaron as my inspiration, I put forth my challenge.

I have been procrastinating a paper for about a year now.  The time has come where I have taken two full weeks off of work in order to mostly or totally complete this assignment.  This is a pass/fail paper that is the determining factor of my imminent graduation in April.  The paper is as follows:

The subject: How does cocaine taken during gestation affect the developing fetus in the post-natal environment?

35 annotations, typed out with specific details.

Paper written with a discussion of said articles, totaling no less than 90% of the 35 articles. Sooo…about 35-50 pages.

Due?  Three weeks from now.

Here are my obstacles.

Youtube.

Housework.

Errands.

…pretty much everything else that I want to do other than this paper.  Which is everything.

My cousin is coming back to Calgary on Monday to start her chemo and radiation for her cancer.  The whole family is going to be here.  Essentially, I’ve got one week to crank this thing out before distractions come at me left, right and centre.

Oh boy.  Here I go.

Dear Starbucks Customer.

Dear Starbucks Customer.

There are a few things that I realize you may not know when you greet my bright and shining face in the wee hours of the morning.  This letter is to address some concerns that have been noted on my part in regards to your behaviour.  While I’m sure that your mothers have taught you well, they would be shocked at some of the things that have been going on.  Seriously.  At the end of this memo, call your mom and tell her what you’ve done.  If your mom is ashamed, perhaps you should give up the behaviors.  I digress.

Please, please take off your sunglasses.  While my personality is made even brighter with unlimited amounts of caffeine, you just look like a boob.  A pretentious one at that.

When I say “Hello” or “Hi” or another form of greeting, it is polite to respond with “Hello”.  It is rude to thrust your Starbucks card at me and bark your drink.  Please do not hold your hand out waiting me to return your card.  That delay between you handing me your card and me returning it to you is to save you the embarrasement of returning to the till when I have to retrieve you from across the store when your card was short on funds.

Yes.  A cappuccino is supposed to have THAT much foam.

Do not lean against the counter and ask the barista at the bar, “did I say non fat?  extra hot? half sweet?”.   If your drink is missing one of those modifiers, too dang bad.

Please, do not approach the till until you are ready to order.  Please do not give me your drink order and then stand at the pastry case deciding what to eat.  The addicts behind you in line will bite.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch the barista make the drink and then ask them “Is that non fat? Is that extra hot?  It doesn’t taste like 198.75 degrees….”.  There are many subtle ways that someone may sabotage your drink.  Do not tempt us.

While Starbucks may reinforce poor etiquette, the baristas are less than thrilled with your attitude.  This may manifest in forgetting your drink.  Several times.

Free drink coupons are to be given out at our discretion.  Asking for one because we did not have your preferred coffee brewed at that exact second is a definite no no.

Yes, our drink prices are ridiculous.  You know how you change that?  Stop buying the drinks! Complaining to us, the underpaid staff, will do nothing but make us want to smack you with a latte spoon.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.  If we all work together, we can all improve our lives within Starbucks.

Cordially yours on behalf of Baristas everywhere,

Ashley

Okay.

Okay God.  I’m really, really tired.  There is a giant chasm of difference in my life that I’ve noticed this week in particular.  When I was off at the beginning of the week, I was on my a-game.  I got up early, made phone calls, cancelled things that needed to be cancelled, ran errands, baked, made soup, cleaned and felt really, really great.  I felt like I had hit my “wife” groove.  Branden said “thanks for being so awesome this week.”  I felt like I helped him out allot and it was a really wonderful feeling.  Then, I had to goto work.

Working is really, really good for me.  I mean, there is only so much that I can do at home and being home full-time would make me crazy.  Work gets me up, motivated and helps contribute to the income in our home so we can have a life outside of work.  It’s more or less the environment that I have a massive problem with.  I’m hoping you can really pull through with me on this one.

I’m tired of the attitudes, the gossip, the heavy feeling when you’ve just walked into a conversation about you and suddenly, no one is talking because you’ve just walked in.  I’m tired to being treated like a total moron because I’m really smart.  I’m tired of being treated like I’m less of a human because I made a mistake or called in sick.  I’m tired of faking it and getting grossly underpaid for doing a crazy amount of work.  I’m tired of working with people who only pretend to like me but gossip about me when I’m not there.  I’m tired of not knowing what the mood will be like or that if someone changes their mind, everyone has to walk on eggshells.

Are my demands unreasonable God?  Is there a lesson that I’m missing?  Are you developing some character trait that I’m not noticing?  I’ve gone out, handed resumes in and typed the cover letters.  I’ve put myself out there and no one is biting.  I know that it’s a hard job market right now but I would really, really love a heads up from your end.  What’s the deal? If you could just tell me that I’m supposed to be at this job, that would me enough.  I could tell myself that you’ve got it under control……oh wait.  You do have it under control.  You’re God.  I’m not.

Being an external processor is a great thing sometimes.  Thanks for listening.  Thanks for being so much greater than I am.

Ashley

the perfect cup.

Every once and a while, a really great day happens.  Today was that great day.

I’ve poured all of myself into helping my cousin, who was recently diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma of the soft tissue.  She is one year and two months, one day older than I am (which makes her 25) and this cancer diagnoses has pretty much devastated my family.  I’ve realized quite a lot about my family…but that isn’t about that.

I’ve also spent an entire day recently with people who I know nothing about.  I mean, I don’t know a shred of their lives.  I don’t even know what their favorite colours are.  It was an empty and lonely day.  It sucked all the emotional energy out of me.

As I crawled into bed tonight for my alone time, I had the perfect cup of tea.  That so rarely happens but when it happens, it just tops off the day.  I had a totally awesome day with my friend and her kids attempting to make cinnamon buns.  We failed at the actual cinnamon bun part (the yeast was dead…boo) but I got to carry baby Ruth in a sling (SO GREAT!) and she fell fast asleep.  I was helping Judith make the cinnamon bun dough and Kelly (mama to Ruth, Judith and Gideon) got a picture.  I saw the picture later in the day and I’m totally rocking this baby sling, complete with sleeping baby.  Aside from cuddle time with Ruth, I also really got to connect with Kelly.

My counsellor, Barbara, told me that I need to connect with friends.  After she pointed that out, I realized that I really was missing some primo friendship time.  I got that today.  We laughed, got covered in flour (via Judith) and had a great day.  I’m so pumped.

sparkles of hope.

Sometimes, I feel really down on myself if I haven’t accomplished anything that day.  Yet, I can somehow muster the hope while I’m crawling into bed that tomorrow will be different.  I will bake, clean, wash and do whatever it is that I have set out to do in my heart.  I find “To Do” lists really helpful and I even put really easy things on the lists, just to cross them off.  Lame, I know, but I remember reading that easy things help boost your confidence in order to get things done.  As Christmas creeps up on me, I’m reminded that I said I would do things that I have yet to do.  I have tomorrow off (yay!) but now I’m all sicky and just want to stay in bed.  I wonder sometimes what comes as genuine illness and what comes as a type of opression.  Another post….

When I’m in the middle of flogging myself for a lack of productivity, I find that hope rises like tiny sparkles in my heart.  They are the same sparkles that I feel when my friends kids are feeding my dogs and laughing wildly (Judith, Gideon.  You are lights in my life) or when the twins that I look after hug and kiss me (Ethan, Zack.  Your smiles and love make me a better person).  It is the same feeling when the sun hits my face for the first warm day after a long winter.  It’s also the feeling of connecting deeply with my friends, who I have neglected as of late.  It’s the promise that my Savior came to set my life on a higher purpose, that I would have my eyes opened to conversations and ways of living that I never dreamed of.  It’s the promise of new friendships, it’s the slow breathing of my husband beside me.

For just a while, I so desire to love deeply as Christ loves me.  I want to be a light and leave sparkles in my wake.

I hate to be a bother, BUT…

I feel like this blog is going to one day, be very theraputic for me.  Until that day comes, I will use this as my personal pity party site.

I feel like I’m spinning my tires.  I hate working so ass early in the morning and I hate driving so dang far to get there.  My car wouldn’t start this afternoon and I had so much to get accomplished.  Branden, being the amazing husband he is, came to rescue me with jumper cables.  I called my Dad, who had just gotten an MRI and was at home recouping.  I hate to call him every time my car breaks down (Dad, if you ever read this….I really hate only calling to say I need help.  I wish I could call more often to tell you how fantastic you are.) but it’s always my first reaction.  In fact, any time I’m in crisis, I call my parents.  Oh wow, that is another post altogether.

I think the fact of the matter is I want to get into my life’s purpose.  I want to start doing something that I feel called to.  I also don’t want to do any work in order to get there.  I want to just be brilliant and wonderful at everything.  I also understand that God can’t give me everything I want, when I want it because I cannot see the entire picture.  I have always felt a deep call on my heart to be a mother, but my husband (who is much better at listening to the heart of God then I am) says that it’s not time.  I keep in mind that I wanted to get marrried about two years before he did and those two years were definatly formative in our relationship.  I feel old but I know that I’m young.  I feel thrilled about getting pregnant but then terrified at the same time.  I’m really self-centred and probably have quite a bit of growing to do.  I mean, I really REALLY value at least eight hours of sleep.

I hate this complacency.  The last time I asked God to break me free from the mediocrity, He led me to Rocky Mountain College for the past five years.  I suppose He didn’t let me down then and He won’t now.  I just have to be patient (UGH) and wait on Him.

Wait on Him.

Wait on Him.

Are we there yet?