Everything’s Changed

8 Mar

Well hello there. I’m not sure if I should be all cavalier about dusting off the ol’ blog; act like a five month drought didn’t actually happen. But there, I just said it, and you might as well know I’m humiliated. Okay, not really. It’s a blog, guys. But I do feel a bit of loss, sad that I haven’t posted since October 19 (!).

Anyway. I thought I would get you caught up on a few things. Here’s the big stuff first:

1) I got married on December 10, and the wedding was absolutely perfect. I just have to say, my husband Robert was THE most handsome groom I have ever laid eyes on. We took a gamble on an outdoor winter wedding, and Southern California delivered her most perfect December weather. The ceremony felt sacred and momentous and almost unreal; the reception was full of our signature cocktails (the Bourbon Bear and the Red-Tailed Fox) and dancing the night away. (You can see some photos HERE)

2) I am married. This is a big change, people. BIG! And it’s good. I would not recommend merging your life with another person during your 3 week Christmas break, not to mention the utter craziness of the holidays, chock-full of family gatherings. But the wedding decorations are finally out of the living room, the gifts are (mostly) put away, and as we find our groove as the Thompsons, life is getting sweeter.

3) I am about to enter finals week of the winter quarter, which means in 2 weeks I will begin my last quarter of my master’s program. I really, really wanted to write that in all caps, or with a period after every word, but that is way too bloggy-cliche. Just know, this is a huge deal. This may be the last time I’m ever in school…and I am so ready for it!

4) Related to #3, I am currently working on a thesis project for my Theology and the Arts degree program. Basically, I can do anything creative having to do with anything theological. Which basically means, I create anything about anything. Others in my cohort are writing screenplays, some are producing albums, short films, documentaries, one-woman shows…and me? I’m writing a series of narrative non-fiction essays revolving around the theme of my Pentecostal/mystical spiritual journey. At least, that’s my elevator pitch. What’s happening is that I’m writing about my family–which, I’m learning, has had a lot to do with my spiritual journey. It’s a process. Frederick Buechner says, “Let writers beware who from the start know too much about what they are doing and keep too heavy a hand on the reins.”

Which leads me to the small stuff I want to catch you up on:

1) Frederick Buechner. Dude, I am so into this author right now. Sermons, essays, memoirs…I’ve read one of his fiction pieces (Godric–go, read it, now), and I want to read more. I don’t know what to tell you, but that he is brilliant. His writing is understated and wise and beautiful and gives my heart room to breathe. Robert has been loving his work, too. I think reading him is making me a better writer.

2) Lent–I finally got the nerve to go off social media for a while; Lent is the time to do it. I was spending way too much time on Facebook and Twitter, mainly as a distraction and maybe even self-medication. It was scary the way my thoughts weren’t able to unfurl into long, connected lines anymore–they just came in short bursts, interrupted by loud noise or shiny objects. I realized (with the help of some gentle nudging from both Robert and the Holy Spirit) that this was hindering my spiritual life, and also my writing. So here I am, 2 weeks into a social media-less world (wait, do blogs count? just kidding…), and it’s been awesome! My soul has quieted. I am able to sit on our futon and stare at the wall and think thoughts again. It’s good. The only bad thing is–what do I do with all the status updates and tweets that pop into my head?

3) Well, here’s one thing I wish I could put on FB: all the new recipes I’m trying! If you know me, you know I’m not a cook. I like to say that I don’t cook, I “fix things.” Meaning, I can fix you a grilled cheese sandwich, or a quesadilla, or even a bowl of stir fry. But that’s about it. Super afraid of cooking raw chicken, anything involving hot oil, etc. But as a new little wifey, I find myself succumbing to some of the traditional roles for my gender, like cooking most dinners (even though Rob is a WAY better cook!). I’ve sometimes wished I could post photos of my successful dishes: enchilada soup! chicken pot pie with a puff pastry crust! Joy the Baker’s dark chocolate brownies! cajun shrimp and sausage stew! baked oatmeal! brown sugar and chipotle pulled chicken sandwiches! french toast casserole with cinnamon sugar topping! sesame chicken! I’m becoming a regular little domestic goddess over here, guys.

4) I am currently taking a course called, Art, Cinema, and Theology, in which we watch films about artists and then somehow discuss theology as we discuss the first two. “All three are meaning-makers,” says my professor. So right now I’m researching for my final paper, on the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (yes, THAT Frida Kahlo, with the unibrow. Don’t judge.) We watched Frida, starring Salma Hayek, and I was enthralled. (Note: I am NOT recommending this movie. Too much gratuitous nudity for my taste!) So now I’m reading her biography and also her diaries–she was quite an original! And kind of crazy.

5) In preparation for my project, I read a lot of Madeleine L’Engle, Buechner, Flannery O’Connor, a bit of Annie Dillard…and I started to get discouraged. I will never be at their level, so why even try? I know, this is the classic writer’s lament. Anyway, to give myself a break from the greats and read someone a little closer to my level, I picked up Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner. Now, I hadn’t read more than an essay by her before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. And honestly, what I got was some mediocre writing/storytelling (in my humble opinion), a shot of encouragement (if she can publish, why can’t I?), and a good dose of jealousy and resentment (why is SHE published?), followed by irritation with my own laziness (because she put her butt in a chair and wrote a whole book!). Okay, phew. As you can tell, it’s been kind of a dramatic reading experience. Robert just laughs at me.

6) Right now I am SUPER excited that Anne Lamott is coming to Pasadena to speak! However, I am currently plotting how to make it to the event, as it falls at the exact same time as my first class of the spring quarter. I keep telling myself it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission, right? I mean, she’s my hero!

6) One more thing. I have created a personal challenge for myself: to try and go as long as possible without a bang trim, yet while still maintaining stylish and full fringe (meaning, not just swept to the side). So far, it’s been 4 weeks! I’m impressed with myself here.

I’ll try not to leave Eeper alone, shivering in the cold, for 5 months again.

Till next time!

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