Thursday, November 30, 2006

Covered in Crafts!

I have a co-worker who is a truly gifted individual. He has a Docotrate in Conducting (Music), he sings regularly in the chorus of various productions of the LA Opera, and he also loves to crochet. I have often oooed and aaahed over his fabulous creations, and today, he brought in a scarf that I went fairly "gaga" over. I told him how beautiful it was, and he said, "Well, why don't you try it on?" I tried it on and said how much I loved the colors. He responded, "Well, good, because I made it for you!" I was so surprised and touched by his kind and generous gift. It totally made my day! Here is a photo of my new scarf. I'm also wearing a pair of earrings that my boss made and gave me last year. I'm just covered in crafts! I have to marvel at all of us creative types who work behind desks and cubicles by day and turn into mad crafters by night: crocheters, jewelry makers, and bloggers! gotta love the right side of the brain!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Has anyone seen Happy Feet? At the beginning of the movie, all the newborn penguins are gathered together at school where they are told that each of them has to find their "heart-song". Each penguin has their own heart-song that only they know. It lies deep within each of them, waiting to be learned and sung to the world.

I love the concept of finding and expressing your heart-song because it is, quite frankly, true. Each of us is uniquely created with our own personality, special gifts and talents, and this wonderful life to live! Each of us also has a choice to live as our true selves or to live in hiding, not coming fully alive to all the joy and passion and dreams placed deep within our hearts. I think it is fear that keeps us from coming fully alive to all that we are created to be. Fear that we won't be liked. Fear that we'll be rejected. Fear that we'll make fools of ourselves.

Still, there is only one you. So why not kick fear in the butt and come alive? Share your true self with the world!

I'll close with this awesome quote by modern dance choreographer Martha Graham:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open....

Monday, November 27, 2006

Meeting Up with Buttercup

Well, I'm back in Los Angeles after a great Thanksgiving holiday in Texas. I'll be writing about my time there and posting various pictures throughout the week.

One of the highlights of my long weekend was getting to meet one of my blog buddies. I'd never met a blog bud before, so this was a new experience. Buttercup and Bean is one of my favorite blogs. It's authored by two sisters. Buttercup is a self-described "Feminist Lawyer And Wanna-Be Escape Artist Living In NYC". I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her posts over the past year. She is a passionate, genuine, and deeply feeling woman who writes with a refreshing balance of intelligence and vulnerability. We have e-mailed each other about various topics over the past months, and we recently discovered that we would be in the same vicinity for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Having coffee while protecting Buttercup's anonymous blogger identity.
(Yes, we totally got the giggles staging this photo.)

We had a lovely visit and I think we were both pleasantly surprised at how easily we conversed and got along! You can read Buttercup's post about our visit here. One of the most unexpected gifts of blogging has been the unexpected community I've found--a comraderie among "strangers". I found that our conversation seemed to pick up where our blogs left off. We talked about all kinds of things, including family, relationships, and how we decide what topics are "off limits" for our blogs.

I was happy to discover that the Buttercup I enjoy reading is also someone I like "in person". I'm already looking forward to our next visit.

How cool that a blog buddy is now a friend.

Thanks for the visit, Buttercup!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thirteen Things for which I'm Thankful

My cell phone.


A lifetime of memories.


My mother's unconditional love.

My sister's friendship.

My father's generosity.

My boyfriend's heart that is always open to me.

Jesus. Your Life in me allows and empowers me to be my true self.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Home Sweet Home

eSuitor and I flew in to Texas on the red-eye and got in early this morning. It feels so good to be home.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


One of the great (and difficult) things about living in a big city like Los Angeles is that you get pushed to the edge of yourself and find out what your limits are. I experienced this living in New York. When I would go back to Texas for a visit, people would occassionally comment that I seemed more confident and sure of myself. And in truth, I was. I found out (and continue to find out living here in LA) just exactly what I am made of and what I can handle.

For example, I took a sick day on Monday--partially because I had some tummy trouble, but mostly because my life was getting away from me, and I needed to catch up with it. I spent my day off doing (count 'em!) six loads of laundry, which included bath mats and sofa cushion covers; cleaning the kitchen and cleaning the bathroom. It has felt so good to come home to a clean place all this week.

This morning, Brennan Manning is speaking at my church. For years, I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this man! eSuitor is a huge fan of his writings, and several friends have read his most popular book The Ragamuffin Gospel and loved it.

I'm not at church this morning hearing this fabulous man speak.

One of the lessons I'm learning about myself is that I don't really operate very well without some "margin" in my life. Margin to breathe, to exercise, to write on my blog, to slow down a bit, to hear from the Lord. I desperately need all of these things. So I chose them this morning.

Often the best choice comes at the expense of something good. It feels good to have made the best choice for myself today.

Follow-up note written Sunday evening (11/19/06) at 9:51 pm:

Brennan Manning spoke at church today during the regular Sunday service, and as they say in Texas, he really "blessed my socks off". He spoke about the unfathomable love of God for all of us, which was very good to meditate on. The thing that touched me the most was the benediction. Brennan is getting old and looking a bit frail, but his voice still booms with passion. For the benediction, he gave the famous Irish blessing:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

I've heard and read this blessing many times, but actually receiving such a blessing spoken from the heart of such a humble and passionate man of God was truly moving. And when he made the sign of the cross with his right hand and said, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit", I couldn't hold back the tears.

God is so good.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Readin', Readin', Readin'

J at Thinking About...recently wrote this post, which she first read about here.

It is a challenge to read five books that have been piling up on your bedside table by the end of January. I've decided to join in, and I'll be writing reviews of them as I go. Click on the titles, if you'd like more info on each book.

These are my five choices:

The Intimate Mystery by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III

The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys by Dave Barry

The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens (my holiday reading)

I'd write more, but I've got some reading to do!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Warning: I'm about to be cynical

Today, a guest speaker came to talk to my group at work about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We all walked into the training room and sat down at our various places, where we were greeted with a sheet of rules by which to abide for the following two hours. *joy!* I love rules. They read as follows (my comments in parentheses):

1. Please turn pagers/phones to silence. (Okay, I can go with this one. I mean, duh, but thank you for the reminder.)

2. Come back from breaks on time. (This is where things immediately got dicey for me. I mean seriously, if a speaker is interesting, does he really need this rule?)

3. Listen when others are talking. (Thank you. I'm pretty sure I remember this one from third grade, but whatever.)

4. Feel free to ask questions.

5. Appreciate the other person's point of view. (See parenthetical comment on #3).

6. Practice learned skills on the job. (Is that rule really necessary, since I really can't implement it until after the training is over?)

7. Enter into the discussion enthusiastically. (I'll give it the good college try, but I ain't makin' any promises.)

8. Have fun!! (Color me skeptical, but I just don't see that happening in this particular scenario.)

What if the speaker simply printed these rules in reverse order and inserted the word "please" every now and then? They still would have bugged, but maybe not as much.

Which rule bugs you the most? It's National Open Season on Rules Day, so let it out!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Age of Aquarium

Saturday, eSuitor and I went to the Aquarium in Long Beach. We saw some beautiful sea creatures. Here are a few of my favorite photos of our visit.

Maybe it was then...

When I was in high school, I had a somewhat bizarre obsession with preppiness. I regularly consulted The Official Preppy Handbook for fashion advice, and I even applied to prep schools in New England. Both the Handbook and my Dad informed me that the turtleneck was the quintessential preppy shirt. Maybe it was then that turtlenecks became my preferred style of shirt.

Or maybe it was when I was in preschool, and my mom bought me a blue, velour turtleneck sweater. I wasn’t wild about it at first, but I remember taking a cozy, winter nap in it and feeling comforted by it once when I was sick. Yeah, it was probably then.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Know Thyself Meme

One of my blog buddies, Cherry over at Cherry Extract, tagged me for this meme. Thanks, Cherry! I feel like I got picked by one of the cool kids in gym class to be on their team for dodgeball. Sweet!

As Socrates once said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." So this was a good opportunity to do a quick self-examination. Not always fun, but nearly always good.

What is/are YOUR:

Easy how-to ways to beat a bad mood? Hmmm. I’m not sure they are easy, but I tend to do any of the following, not necessarily in this order:
-Call someone. I’m a verbal processor, so it often helps me to talk my emotions/the situation at hand through with someone I trust and who loves me. eSuitor, my mom, my sister and a few close friends (and sometimes all of the above) receive phone calls from an emotional Tracy from time to time.
-I find that getting outside and taking a nice, long walk is a great way to blow off some steam.
-Cry it out: always a good stress-reliever. The bathroom stalls of my office have witnessed more than one of these mini-meltdowns. It’s a good thing.
-Pray. I wish I would remember to do this one first, but usually it happens last. Funny how the Person Who created me might just be able to comfort me when I bring my struggles and burdens and my emotional self to Him. Hmmm. Why isn’t this the first thing on my list? I guess I’m a slow learner.

Never-fail lip color? Mary Kay “Passion Flower” lip gloss. It is the perfect pink with a hint of orange that just seems to work with my “autumn” color scheme and fair coloring. I can wear it all year round.

Personality type (via myersbriggs)? I am an ENFP—that would be Extrovert, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving. One of the coolest things about eSuitor is that he knows all about the Myers-Briggs test, so whenever I do or say something that is a little off his radar screen, he’ll say something like, “You’re such an ‘N’”. It’s nice because even though, I don’t always make sense to him, he really accepts me for who I am. I love that!

Greatest strengths and weaknesses (like in a job interview)?
-I see the big picture
-Good interpersonal skills

-Not a good multi-tasker
-Not particularly detail-oriented
-Criticism (even the constructive kind) can be very hard for me to hear. I think it comes with feeling things deeply. I tend to take criticism very personally. I do listen to it and take it very much to heart. It’s just an internal struggle that I hope isn’t too evident to the person that is trying to help me with their comments.
-If the words “tedious”, “highly analytical”, or “engineering skills” are part of the job description, you probably (definitely) don’t want to hire me for this job.

Names of the trees in your yard?
I don’t have a yard, but when I look out my window, I see a palm, and I feel oh so “California”.

Mother-in-law'’s favorite flower?
I’m not married (yet!!!). However, I feel 99.9% sure that eSuitor knows what his mom’s favorite flower is. So if she becomes my MIL someday, he can give me the 4-1-1.

I'm not sure how often he checks in at The Star Shine Report, but if you're reading, I tag The Cachinnator to do this meme next! Somehow, I think he would have some fun answers to these questions.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Maybe it was then….

Never a child who liked playing with dolls, I was much more likely to be found up in a tree. I loved climbing trees--especially in the fall, when it was cool outside, and I could wear jeans and not get my legs scratched by the bark of the oaks in my backyard. Being up in a tree looking down on the world through the yellow autumn leaves provided me with the perfect blend of adventure and solitude. Maybe it was then that autumn became my favorite season.

Or maybe it was when my parents would rake leaves into piles all over the yard. And then my sister and I got to jump into them. Yeah…it was probably then.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Halfway There…A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there lived a princess. We’ll call her Tracy because…why not? Princess Tracy lived in the State of Singleness. No one in Singleness was married, because they were, well, single. Many people living in Singleness tried to escape that State as soon as possible. However Princess Tracy wasn’t in a huge hurry to leave Singleness. She enjoyed her life there. It was, after all, the State where she was born. She’d lived there all her life, and sometimes, she secretly pitied her friends who fled the State of Singleness at a young age. Living in Singleness, after all, had its advantages, and by lingering there, it had afforded the princess many opportunities to grow and learn, to travel, and most importantly to know herself well.

During her years living in the State of Singleness, the princess saw many of her friends move away. While she was a little sad to be left behind each time one of them left, she was always happy for them, and wished them well on their journey as they crossed the river. You see, the State of Singleness is bordered by the State of Marriage. They are separated by the rushing and dangerous River Courtship. All anyone from Singleness had to do in order to move away was find another person from Singleness that they really loved, and they then had to cross the raging River Courtship together. Couples from Singleness crossed the River Courtship in any number of ways. Some rented speedboats and jetted across it so quickly that they really missed the beauty of the journey. Sometimes those couples would walk along the banks of the river and wonder why they didn’t tarry there longer. Others jumped on a raft and rode the rapids of the River Courtship for years and years. Usually, that got old and they would get motion sickness, and eventually make their way to the banks of the State of Marriage a little bedraggled from the long journey, but happily refreshed by their newfound citizenship. Occasionally, a couple would fancy themselves good swimmers and they would brave the dangerous waters without anything to keep them afloat. That was such a hit-or-miss method (the currents of the River Courtship are very strong) that most couples avoided it altogether, as the outcome was never certain. Usually, the couple would arrive on the shore of one State or the other choking up water that had gone down the wrong pipe.

The most sure-fire way to make it across the River Courtship was via Dating Bridge. Dating Bridge was the route most of Princess Tracy’s friends had taken in their journey from The State of Singleness to The State of Marriage. It seemed the safest bet for most of the couples leaving Singleness, because it had several checkpoints along the way--checkpoints that included phone dates, coffee dates, dates to meet friends, dates to meet family members, dates together, and even dates apart to check in with oneself along the journey. The interesting thing about Dating Bridge, though, is that it is a bridge without guarantees. Princess Tracy was perplexed by the number of times she and so many others from the State of Singleness had begun journeys across Dating Bridge only to find at one of the checkpoints that a big red flag would begin waving as a sign appeared reading, “Proceed with extreme caution. Recommendation: Return to the State of Singleness ASAP.”

One day, the princess met a handsome knight. We’ll call him Sir Suitor because…why not? He was blonde and tall with blue eyes and broad shoulders. He was, in the words of the princess, “totally yummy”. In addition to his impressive physical attributes, the knight had a warm and noble heart. It was a heart of integrity and character. A heart that Princess Tracy believed she could trust. As the princess got to know the knight, she was so taken by him that she found herself thinking with more and more confidence that she would be willing to leave the State of Singleness and cross the dangerous River Courtship with Sir Suitor. One lovely Saturday, Sir Suitor surprised the princess with a kiss and asked her to be his girlfriend. In a pleased daze, the princess obliged the knight, and with that, they began their journey across Dating Bridge. They passed the initial checkpoints in flying colors. Dinner dates and coffee dates and phone dates every night only confirmed for the couple that their feelings for each other were true. Other dates with friends and family further confirmed what the couple felt deep in their hearts. The couple even took some time to be apart for three weeks, and their conclusion was the same. This was love, and they both knew it.

One crisp autumn day, the couple was strolling across Dating Bridge hand-in-hand, when they stopped to take in the view. The waters of the River Courtship sparkled below, reflecting the sun’s happy rays. Suddenly all was quiet. As Sir Suitor and the princess looked around, they realized that they were halfway across the bridge. They smiled at each other as their stomachs did mini flip-flops. They talked about how far they had come in the short time they had known each other. They marveled at how close they had grown. Neither had made it this far across the bridge without red flags waving, sirens blaring, or loved ones shouting “Beware!”. They only felt peace. They talked and confessed that they both wanted to continue on their journey to the State of Marriage, and they continued across the bridge.

After only a few more steps, the architecture of the bridge changed. The first half of the bridge was wide and paved, and pretty easy to cross. But now the bridge grew narrower. For a while, the two could still walk side-by-side, but soon Dating Bridge was single file with no railings. Sir Suitor walked in front of the princess, making sure each step was safe and offering his hand to steady her. Once or twice the princess looked down and shuddered because the raging waters were so far below. She had fallen from the bridge once before, and she closed her eyes tight, trying not to remember. Sir Suitor whispered to the princess in his loving and steady voice, “Open your eyes, sweet princess. It’s going to be okay.” She opened them, and looked at her knight, and she tried not to be scared. After taking a few more steps, the sidewalk narrowed into a tightrope. It seemed that the rest of the couple’s journey to the State of Marriage would be riskiest part of all. “Can’t we zoom across this last part like a zip line?” the frightened princess asked her knight. Sir Suitor replied with his steady gaze, “The journey cannot be rushed.” The princess insisted that there must be some way. The sound of the threatening waters below taunted her. Sir Suitor heard the sound of the river, too. The knight and the princess looked each other square in the eye. Both knew that the tightrope was a kind of a test. Only the knight knew that time spent on the tightrope, steadily moving closer and closer to the shore was the safest way to arrive on the banks of the State of Marriage. Princess Tracy was skeptical, but she loved Sir Suitor. And she trusted him. Both trusted in the King, who ruled over both States with great care. They knew that it was really His loving hand that had sustained them on their journey all along, and that only His hand would bring them safely to their new home.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Just Around the Corner

I always like this time of year. November has arrived, and with it twinges of the holidays. Holiday-themed magazines are in the checkout line at the supermarket, holiday catalogues are arriving in the mail, and airline tickets are being booked to fly home for the holidays. Hints of celebration are in the air.

So much joy lurking just around the corner.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Happy Welcome to ???

This is my new car! Isn't it cute?! What do you think I should name it? I was thinking about naming it "Snowball". I just enjoy the irony of driving a snowball around sunny Los Angeles!

A Fond Farewell to the Zipper a.k.a. the Bitch-Mobile

Dear Little Zipper,

We've had quite a good run together. I remember when I first got you back in 1999. You were only three years old, so cute and green. I had just moved back to Texas from New York City, where I hadn't been driving a car for a few years. When I drove you off the lot, I prayed that God would always keep me safe while I was driving you. And He did! That's not to say that you and I didn't find ourselves in a bit of trouble from time to time, but He always kept us from harm. Remember that time when another car unexpectedly pulled out into an intersection and I had to swerve to miss it? You fish-tailed right and left and right and left again and then you spun around facing us the wrong way and we skidded right into the median. We had a soft landing in the brush...right between two trees, without hitting either one of them.

I'll never forget the day I walked out of work, and saw that someone had scratched the word "BITCH" onto your hood. That was SO not nice of them! I tried to buff it out, but it never went completely away...and I was secretly happy. That mean person had no idea that his/her act of vandalism made you that much cooler. Before you were my little Zipper. But now you were my bitchin' Zipper, or as you affectionately came to be know by all who asked about your scratches, The Bitch-Mobile. Thanks for rolling with the punches on that one.

We've had some good times together, too. Lots of highway time to and from rehearsals and performances. Singing songs together. We even drove out to LA together. Thank you for being so reliable. I know that last week, when all of your dashboard lights came on and you fizzled out, you were just worn out. You didn't mean any harm. I'll miss you, dear Zipper. Thanks for the memories!

Your friendly driver,


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scenes from Halloween at Work

The Justice League!
(Is it just me, or do I look like I'm posing for a high school cheerleading picture?)

This is my co-worker. He made his own costume. Doesn't he look wonderfully wizard-ful?! He is Dumbledor from Harry Potter.

You may think Wonder Woman is chillin' in her cubicle, but she's actually in her invisible just can't see it!